My Notes, Thoughts, Resources and Recommendations for “Trauma-Informed” Education/Care and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

My Notes, Thoughts, Resources and Recommendations
for “Trauma-Informed” Education/Care
and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

For those of us old enough to remember or who have studied sociology, psychology and/or education prior to 2000, there were precursors to this research: Risk Factors, which ACEs are a subset of, as well as Protective Factors and Resilience. For more about this important research, go here or https://youth.gov/youth-topics/youth-mental-health/risk-and-protective-factors-youth:

Relevant to ACEs are the Common Risk Factors for Childhood and Adolescent Problems, by Level of Influence


image from Devereux Center for Resilient Children

  • Environmental Risk Factors Factors
    —Laws and norms favorable to antisocial behavior
    —Poverty and economic deprivation
    —Low economic opportunity
    —Neighborhood disorganization
    —Low neighborhood attachment
  • Interpersonal and Social Risk Factors Factors
    —Family communication and conflict
    —Poor parent–child bonding
    —Poor family management practices
    —Family alcohol and drug use
    —School failure
    —Low commitment to school
    —Rejection by conforming peer groups
    —Association with antisocial peers
  • Individual Risk Factors Factors
    —Family history of alcoholism
    —Sensation-seeking orientation
    —Poor impulse control
    —Attention deficits
    —Hyperactivity
  • Adapted from Fraser et al., 2004; Jenson & Howard, 1999; and Hawkins et al., 1998
    from https://us.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/5975_Chapter_1_Jenson_Fraser__I_Proof.pdf

    Some heart-wrenching causation connections between childhood stress and adult medical problems have already been made:
    —“…[M]ost adult women with fibromyalgia [emphasis mine]… have had stressful childhoods as reported by the journal, Stress and Health in 2009….The early chronic experience of stress appears to exert a much larger influence in contributing to the pain of fibromyalgia than any current stressful life event, as a 2006 study reported in the journal, Psychoneuroendocrinolgy. from http://medicalhealthnews.info/fibromyalgia-linked-childhood-stress-unprocessed-negative-emotions-2/

    The relationships between childhood experiences (“nurture”) and adult health have long been the subject of research. One precursor to ACEs research, for almost thirty years, the information derived from the biannual Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBSS) has been instrumental in determining what communities’ needs were, what prevention areas to focus upon, and how prevalent certain risky behaviors were over time because the USA government, in conjunction with state and municipal authories and school systems, began administering the YRBSS in 1990 and continues to this day, in odd years. Much of the data from the YRBSS overlaps with data needed and gathered about ACEs. See below.

    The YRBSS (https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/overview.htm) was developed in 1990 to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. These behaviors, often established during childhood and early adolescence, include

    • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence.
    • Sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection.
    • Alcohol and other drug use.
    • Tobacco use.
    • Unhealthy dietary behaviors.
    • Inadequate physical activity.

    In addition, the YRBSS monitors the prevalence of obesity and asthma and other priority health-related behaviors plus sexual identity and sex of sexual contacts.

    From 1991 through 2015, the YRBSS has collected data from more than 3.8 million high school students in more than 1,700 separate surveys.

    ACEs research and subsequent work are building on all of these studies their data to help us advance in our understands, prevention, intervention and mitigation of trauma. The ACEs researchers began with this survey and its 10 categories (see below).

    The 10 ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are, in summary form:


    image from https://cdv.org/what-is-cdv/adverse-childhood-experiences/

    If you want to have each category be more fully defined (and some of them do include aspects you might not usually consider, so I recommend reviewing these if you haven’t, yet), go here, where you can actually “fill out” the survey at the same time:
    https://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/Finding%20Your%20ACE%20Score.pdf

    However, if you find all this obvious, so is your score: you get one point for each of the ACEs that occurred in your childhood (before age 18 years old). The total of these = your ACEs score.

    This ACEs number is important for examining the likelihood (statiscally speaking) of your having adverse consequences later in life (see below). The stats have three sections:
    —> 0, 1 or 2 ACEs
    —> 3 – 7 ACEs
    —> more than 7 ACEs

    The statistics tended to group in these ways in recognition of what types and how many negative consequences were most likely to occur for those with those ACEs numbers. Below is a description of the original study.

    The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Original Research:

    “From 1995 to 1997, Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic, in collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, implemented one of the largest studies ever conducted on the origins of risk factors that have negative health and social consequences and the cumulative incidence and influence of psychological and physical abuse including: neglect, sexual abuse, witnessing violence, exposure to substance abuse, mental illness, suicidal behavior, and imprisonment of a family member (independent variables) on dependent variables that were measures of both mental health (depression, suicidality) and physical health (heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures, liver disease, obesity) and health-related behaviors (alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking, high numbers of sexual partners) and poor self-rated health (Felitti et al. 1998).

    “The ACE questionnaire was constructed using selected questions from published surveys (American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2017). Prior to the survey there had been little study of the relationship between early childhood adverse experiences and adult medical problems and behaviors (Felitti et al. 1998).

    “The ACE survey data was collected by mail from two waves of a sample of 17,000 adult members of Kaiser’s Health Maintenance Organization in San Diego, California between 1995 and 1997. The sample size itself was impressive. The release of the study findings was shocking to many when they showed the extent to which adverse childhood events negatively shaped future social and physical health outcomes, including life expectancy.

    “Perhaps less surprising, the findings showed that the more negative events a child experienced the higher the likelihood s/he had as an adult of suffering an array of health and behavior problems including alcoholism, chronic pulmonary disease, depression, illicit drug use, liver disease, adolescent pregnancy and many more (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2014a, b). Further, adults with the highest level of ACEs had a life expectancy 20 years less than those without high levels of ACEs. The study sample did not consist primarily of low-income minority adults, a demographic often found to be “at risk.” It was mainly comprised of white, middle and upper income employed people; people who might be expected to have had more stable childhood environments because of parents’ employment and income.

    “The original ACE study has generated more than 70 scientific articles, scores of conference presentations, and has shaped the design of research and as well as social programs. It is beyond the scope of this article to present a comprehensive review of the studies of the ACE survey, but ACEs Too High (2017) provides a list of ACE studies by year.

    “Studies using the ACE questionnaire have expanded beyond Kaiser’s sample of white, HMO patients to include, for example, special populations such as children of alcoholics (Dube et al. 2001), and children with an incarcerated parent (Geller et al. 2009) and have found higher prevalences of ACEs than in the original Kaiser sample.

    “ACE Studies of justice-involved populations (Baglivio et al. 2014; Messina and Grella 2006; Miller and Najavits 2012; Reavis et al. 2013) including juvenile justice-involved youth (Dierkhising et al. 2013) are raising awareness of the association of early childhood trauma and offender behaviors and needs, as are studies of justice-involved samples that include a focus on childhood trauma without using the ACE questionnaire (Wolff and Shi 2012). The studies consistently find elevated rates of childhood trauma in incarcerated populations and offender groups. For example, the Reavis et al. study (2013) of incarcerated males found ACE scores above 4 to be four times higher than in a normative male population.

    “By bringing attention to the powerful impact that negative childhood experiences have on future health and functioning, the ACE study demonstrates the importance of gathering information early in the lives of children and their families and designing early intervention programs that target violence and neglect. It also points to the importance of collecting trauma histories from clients and highlights the essential role of prevention in program design. A particularly important contribution the Ace survey has made to offender and incarcerated groups is to emphasize the importance of trauma-targeted interventions in jails and prisons as well as in diversion programs.”

    FMI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409906/

    More about How ACEs Operate in Our Lives

    This is a depiction of ACEs and their impacts in the form of a “pyramid of bad consequences”: if 3 or more ACEs form our lives’ “foundation,” we are much more likely to have a lot of other problems, including physical and mental health issues, suicidal ideation, criminal tendencies to the point of incarceration, and possible early death in our futures.

    Even having 1 or 2 ACEs can wreck a person’s life and/or health if enough mitigating factors aren’t present, especially when the adverse experience was
    —horrific,
    —happened at a formative time, and/or
    —was prolonged/repeated.


    image from https://www.communitycommons.org/2014/08/aces-adverse-childhood-experiences/

    This excellent 2014 TEDMED talk on ACEs from a health care perspective
    is on video, with presenter, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, MD

    Burke offers the best summary of the study, its origins and findings, and their immediate and long-term applications for health care and other professionals as well as anyone affected by multiple ACEs.

    “Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain.

    “This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.”

    Worth your time to watch: https://www.ted.com/talks/nadine_burke_harris_how_childhood_trauma_affects_health_across_a_lifetime

    ACEs High Scores Linked
    to Adult Emotional and Physical Health Problems

    There is a cycle regarding ACEs that usually occurs. Learning about how this cycle works is first. Then, figuring out how to intervene, interrupt and contravene the impacts can occur next.


    image from https://dribbble.com/shots/2214296-Adverse-Childhood-Experiences-infographic

    Know that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are common

    In case you were wondering about the prevalence of ACEs, here are some recent statistics from a small but supposedly representative sample and their source.

    Of the 17,337 individuals surveyed, here is the prevalence of each possible adverse experience, from most to least, represented as a percentage:

    —Physical abuse towards the child – 28.3%
    —Substance abuse in the household – 26.9%
    —Parental separation/divorce – 23.3%
    —Sexual abuse toward the child – 20.7%
    —Mental Illness in the household – 19.4%
    —Emotional neglect towards the child – 14.8%
    —Domestic violence in the household – 12.7%
    —Emotional abuse towards the child – 10.6%
    —Physical neglect towards the child – 9.9%
    —Imprisoned household member – 4.7%

    ACEs are linked with a greater risk
    of many problems in later life

    These include:

    • Alcohol abuse and dependence
    • Early smoking initiation and current smoking status
    • Illicit drug use
    • IV drug abuse
    • Obesity
    • Suicide attempts
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Hyperactivity
    • Sleep Disturbances
    • Hallucinations
    • Eating disorders
    • Suicide attempts
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Conduct disorder
    • Teen or unintended pregnancies
    • Intimate partner violence
    • Improper brain development
    • Impaired learning ability and general cognitive difficulties
    • Attention and memory difficulties
    • Visual and/or motor impairment
    • Lower language development
    • Impaired social and emotional skills
    • Poorer quality of life

    Nikki Gratix offers more links and stats about ACEs and long-term effects, with our first glimmers of hope (link is below the text, here):
    “Another long-term study indicated that approximately 80% of young adults who had previously been abused qualified for at least one psychiatric diagnosis at the age of 21 (Silverman, Reinherz & Gianconia, 1996).

    “Neglected or abused children are also
    —59% more likely to be arrested during their childhood,
    —28% more likely to engage in criminal behaviour as adults, and
    —30% more likely to engage in violent crime as an adult (Widom & Maxfield, 2001).

    “Abuse and neglect during childhood can also negatively impact the ability of individuals to effectively establish and maintain healthy romantic adult relationships (Colman & Widom, 2004). As relationship warmth and social connection are key protective factors for long-term health and happiness, many of these greater risks could at least be partially explained by the greater risk of interpersonal conflict, disconnection and isolation.

    “Individuals who have had negative experiences during their childhood can still grow and flourish as adults, and can also be more resilient as a result of learning how to overcome significant challenges when they are younger.

    This diagram, below, depicts the Risk Factors, Protective Factors and Resilience interactive model clearly:


    image from https://www.slideshare.net/PreventionWorks/bc-pc-december-13-2012, The InterdisciplinaryScience of Prevention Bernalillo County DWI Program Planning Council Meeting December 13, 2012 Frank G. Magourilos, MPS, CPS, ICPS Prevention Works

    “A major longitudinal study even found that what goes right during childhood is often more important than what goes wrong [emphasis mine], and having even one safe, stable and nurturing figure in a child’s life can reduce the later risk of psychological and physical health problems [emphasis mine] (Vaillant, 2015).

    “Creating safe, stable and nurturing environments (SSNREs) is the key to having a positive impact on reducing ACEs going forward.”

    LINK to the above: https://www.nikigratrix.com/silent-aces-epidemic-attachment-developmental-trauma/

    FMI: “Steps to Create Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments,” 2014, https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/essentials_for_childhood_framework.pdf

    4 Quadrants/Types of Attachment:

    I found this set of connections (below) to be a very helpful rubric for understanding the ways trauma impacts our ability to choose appropriate partners/friends, even colleagues and form positive relationships when we suffer from many ACEs because it brings in the main principles of John Bowlby‘s attachment theory quite intelligently.

    • secure = consistent, responsive early care
      = low anxiety, low avoidance
      = positive views of self and others; comfortable relying on others, easily comforted
    • preoccupied = inconsistent early care
      = high anxiety, low avoidance
      negative view of selves but positive views of others; emotionally dependent, negative affects, hyper vigilance, low self-esteem
    • dismissive = early unresponsive care
      = low anxiety, high avoidance
      positive view of selves (see selves as resilient and not needing others), but negative views of others; uncomfortable with closeness, denial of attachment needs, avoidance of closeness, intimacy, dependency or close relationships; high self-reliance and independence
    • fearful = frequent rejection/abandonment by early caregivers
      = high anxiety, high avoidance
      seek social contact but inhibited by fear of rejection; approach/avoidance behavior in relationships; high negative affects and poor self-esteem

    INTERVENTIONS & SOLUTIONS:
    Trauma-Informed Care vs. Ordinary Care

    As mentioned previously in this post, Protective Factors contribute to Resilience, and both are great predictors of how well a child or adult will do when affected by ACEs (or any other Risk Factors). The basic formula is that when any of the Risk Factors is present (and the higher the number, the worse the situation is for that person), increasing the number and types of Protective Factors for that person is very likely to increase their Resilience, which, in turn, decreases the likelihood that the person will succumb to peer pressure or inner motivation to engage in risky behaviors or fall victim to other risks and those consequences.

    Similarly to Risk Factors (see above), researchers have divided Protective Factors into three categories: Individual, Family and Community

    Researchers are also discovering that these same Protective Factors, particularly those that arise from within the Community and Individual (since Family is presumed to be the source/cause of the ACEs) can increase that person’s tendency toward Resilience, which then can mitigate the effects of ACEs as well.

    Individual Protective Factors include:
    —Positive physical development
    —Academic achievement/intellectual development
    —High self-esteem
    —Emotional self-regulation
    —Good coping skills and problem-solving skills
    —Engagement and connections in two or more of the following contexts: school, with peers, in athletics, employment, religion, culture

    Family Protective Factors include:
    —Family provides structure, limits, rules, monitoring, and predictability
    —Supportive relationships with family members
    —Clear expectations for behavior and values

    Community (School, Neighborhood, and Community) Protective Factors include:
    —Presence of mentors and support for development of skills and interests
    —Opportunities for engagement within school and community
    —Positive norms
    —Clear expectations for behavior
    —Physical and psychological safety
    from: https://youth.gov/youth-topics/youth-mental-health/risk-and-protective-factors-youth

    Some researchers have further divided these Factors into three age groupings: Early Childhood (ages newborn – 5 or 6 [school-age]), Childhood (ages 5 or 6 – 11 or 12 [ending before middle school or junior high school age]), and Adolescence (middle/junior high school and high school ages, 11 or 12 – 18). This classification is used to study each sector and period of a youth’s life more closely.


    image from http://buncombeaces.org/

    “Once you know your ACEs score and its impact, there are personal strategies and community resources that exist to help you. Asking for help, developing trusting relationships, forming a positive attitude, and paying attention to your instincts and feelings are ways to improve your life. These can assist in breaking the cycle of ACEs in your family.

    Reaching out to a trusted member of your community such as a doctor, a counselor, a teacher, or a church or spiritual leader is another way to get help [emphsis mine]….Using these suggestions, both early in a child’s life and as an adult, can lessen the impact of ACEs on you and your family.”

    10 Key Components of Trauma-Informed Care:


    image from https://www.chcs.org/resource/10-key-ingredients-trauma-informed-care/

    “Trauma-Informed” (for educational settings, care, caregivers, institutions, youth programs, prisons, juvenile detention centers, court and police officers, etc.) is the newest way to describe what we MUST create and strengthen given our understanding of ACEs and the impacts of trauma throughout one’s lifetime. When society has better methods for prevention, we hope this won’t be as necessary. Until then, we are in dire need of more training, better programs, and more awareness.
    https://www.rchc.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Trauma-Informed-Care-slides.pdf

    Research confirms that a person’s ability to Cope with trauma (and the neurodevelopmental effects) is rooted in the presence or absence of these circumstances and factors:

    Frequency – Single vs. repeated trauma (obviously, even one trauma is terrible, but more often is worse)
    Age when trauma occurred or began (the younger a person is, the worse off the person is likely to be)
    Agent – natural vs. human (weather disasters, earthquakes and fires are horribly traumatic, but war, interpersonal and domestic violence (being the victim OR the witness), and other human-inflicted harm are WORSE than “natural” causes of trauma when it comes to effects on the victims)
    Nature of the trauma – accidental vs. purposeful (particularly when the perpetrator was supposed to have been trustworthy and purported to “love” the victim, intentional harm is the worst type of trauma for a child)
    Environmental supports – Innate Resilience (there is some evidence in the fairly new field of epigenetics that some of us are “naturally” more resilient, particularly when it comes to resisting or lessening the effects of ACEs in the forms of bad health/diseases. Let’s find out WHY!)

    A lot of research on what contributes to resilience is happening NOW and recently.

    From 2017, we can read: “Epigenetic Embedding of Early Adversity and Developmental Risk,” from Marla B. Sokolowski, PhD, F.R.S.C., W. Thomas Boyce, MD, Co-Directors of the Child and Brain Development Program, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), Canada, who discovered: “[T]he embedding of adversity-related epigenetic marks is associated with increased susceptibility to compromised development and mental health….

    “[A]dverse conditions in early childhood affect the number and placement of epigenetic marks on the DNA sequence. The developmental and health effects of early exposures to adversity and stress are socioeconomically partitioned, with children from the lower ranks of social class sustaining greater and more severe threats to normative development. Epigenetic processes that affect gene expression almost certainly have an impact on adversity-related, maladaptive outcomes….

    “Adverse early childhood experiences can leave lasting marks on genes that are involved with stress responses, immunity and mental health, underscoring the importance of creating an optimal early childhood environment for each and every child.”

    Other researchers created two categories of children to show the differences in fragility, “‘orchid children’…are more sensitive to both negative and positive environmental factors than their more resilient counterparts, called ‘dandelion children,'” which the above researchers utilized in their studies.
    http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/epigenetics/according-experts/epigenetic-embedding-early-adversity-and-developmental-risk

    A great podcast/radio show, On Being, with host, Krista Tippett, provides many informative, entertaining and important audio experiences. This one is very relevant, here: RACHEL YEHUDA talks about “How Trauma and Resilience Cross Generations.”

    “The new field of epigenetics sees that genes can be turned on and off and expressed differently through changes in environment and behavior. Rachel Yehuda is a pioneer in understanding how the effects of stress and trauma can transmit biologically, beyond cataclysmic events, to the next generation. She has studied the children of Holocaust survivors and of pregnant women who survived the 9/11 attacks.

    “But her science is a form of power for flourishing beyond the traumas large and small that mark each of our lives and those of our families and communities [emphasis mine].”

    Read the transcript and/or listen to podcast: https://onbeing.org/programs/rachel-yehuda-how-trauma-and-resilience-cross-generations-nov2017/

    If you have more time and prefer the video format, Bruce McEwen, Ph.D., talks about “The Resilient Brain: Epigenetics, Stress and the Lifecourse,” at Cornell University in 2017.

    For science geeks, this study is awesome! “Epigenetic modulation of inflammation and synaptic plasticity promotes resilience against stress in mice”: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02794-5

    “Three key neuroscience concepts are recommended for inclusion in Trauma-Informed Care programs and practices in ways that can enrich program design and guide the development of practical, Resilience -oriented interventions that can be evaluated for outcomes.

    “A Resilience -oriented approach to TIC is recommended that moves from trauma information to neuroscience-based action with practical skills to build greater capacity for self-regulation and self-care in both service providers and clients.”

    Another source of info about ACEs comes from this report, below (audio-only, with some text), from my former home-town public radio station, KRCB, in the North Bay, San Francisco Bay Area, California:


    image from http://radio.krcb.org/post/educating-fellows-counter-adverse-childhood-experiences#stream/0

    Individual Protective Factors and Professional Training and Environmental Factors that Assist with Coping with ACEs are:
    —Social support
    —Supervision and consultation
    —Resolution of one’s personal issues
    —Strong ethical principles of practice
    —Knowledge of theory
    —On-going training
    —Emotional intelligence/regulation
    —Awareness of the potential and impact of Violent Trauma (VT).

    https://damonashworthpsychology.com/2017/09/14/the-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study/

    Then, of course, we have Oprah weighing in (finally) a few weeks ago:

    Oprah’s 60 Minutes segment on ACES, 3/11/18

    image from https://www.chcs.org/project/advancing-trauma-informed-care/

    Oprah (and others) talk about how we need to shift our focus from “What is wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” with all traumatized individuals.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oprah-winfrey-treating-childhood-trauma/

    This video also mentions two important area of research about the brain and mental health related to ACEs or positive experiences. Good to know, but I’m still wanting more about what HELPS post-ACEs. Here we go!

    “Winfrey speaks to Dr. Bruce Perry, a psychiatristand neuroscientist who authorities have consulted on high-profile events, such as school shootings. She also visits two organizations that treat their clients with the so-called “trauma-informed care” approach shaped by Dr. Perry. Both the agencies, SaintA and the Nia Imani Family Center, are in Milwaukee, where Winfrey spent part of her youth and experienced her own instances of childhood trauma.”

    So, we know that chaos, threats, inconsistency, uncertainty, neglect, violence each constitutes a kind of traumas for children, and experiencing even one of these increases vulnerability in later life to many types of issues (academic, physical and mental health, interpersonal difficulties, employment problems).

    That is the reason we need to move from focusing on consequences to preventing/mitigating early traumas/wounds.

    One main “movement” is to bring in more institutions that provide “trauma-informed care.” Installing these changes is the best way to transform education, social and human services programming and treatment.

    ACEs and I

    I have written about ACEs before, disclosing that I have a very high ACEs score (9.5 out of 10). By the statistics reported since the early 1990s (see below), I should be in prison, institutionalized, or already dead. But, I’m not. Why is that?

    Again, we need to ask “what happened?” rather than “what’s wrong?” to/with a child. Then, we need to build on strengths rather than focus on deficiencies or problems.

    Why do some of us not have PTSD after many ACEs? Our reactions seem to be proportional to the numbers and frequency of whatever positive, protective, nurturing relationships we have had in early life. I am an example of an unusual case. See below.

    I decided to look more deeply into this topic: what fosters Resilience? How do children and youth with high trauma scores not be completely unhealthy or miserable as adults? My discoveries are in this post and will keep coming.

    Please comment on my site, on this post, regardless of where you’re reading this. The post is available starting 4/11/18: http://www.sallyember.com/blog or https://wp.me/p2bP0n-27w

    Other Resources

    Alice Miller‘s work = relevant because her main recommendation and research evidence are in alignment with ACEs’ researchers and therapists: it only takes ONE significant adult in a traumatized child’s life to greatly mitigate and even ameliorate the effects and later consequences of the trauma. I can attest to that truth.


    Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller

    Here is a great post about this book and Miller‘s work: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/suffer-the-children/201206/the-drama-the-gifted-child

    Some local/regional resources (near both USA coasts), and more on their site, from CHCS (Center for Healthcare Strategies):

    Center for Youth Wellness, San Francisco, CA, will implement adverse childhood experiences (ACE) screening, care coordination, and data management strategies to further its integrated care approach for addressing the physical and behavioral health needs of families with ACE exposure.

    Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, Newark, NJ, will establish care coordination, trauma screening and treatment, professional development, and data integration practices.

    Montefiore Medical Group, Bronx, NY, will train all staff within its 22-practice outpatient ambulatory care network in trauma-informed approaches to care using a multi-disciplinary train-the-trainer model including patient representatives.

    San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA, will develop a leadership model, learning community, and collaborative work group that will infuse trauma-informed systems’ principles and practices into public health and other child-, youth-, and family-serving agencies.

    Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, Philadelphia, PA, will train all staff to adopt a standard approach to collective mindfulness practice and use an integrated mind-body treatment model in working with patients who have experienced trauma.

    Women’s HIV Program at the University of California, San Francisco, CA, will develop a formal service integration partnership with the Trauma Recovery Center at San Francisco General Hospital to address the effects of lifetime trauma on adults.

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Tell me What Types of Posts you Want More of for 2016! Update, Stats and more about Posts from 2015 for the site: Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Tell me What Types of Posts you Want More of for 2016! Update, Stats and more about Posts from 2015 for the site: Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Welcome to all my new readers, followers, and returning ones to this year-end review. I am grateful for all of your attention, especially when you reblog, comment, ask questions or poke at my opinions.

I also started inviting my CHANGES guests and a few others to be Guest Bloggers on my site and their posts were very popular! Check them out here: Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame.

Other news this year: I was invited to be “interviewed” or featured and/or was a guest blogger on over two dozen more sites, including one that paid me for my submissions, and a few online radio shows!
Please check my links (on http://www.sallyember.com —look right; scroll down) for each of these posts and go visit, comment, enjoy. Highest-traffic sites, so far, are:
The Story Reading Ape“— http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com
Blog Critics,” for film and TV reviews (and many other types of posts, but those are what I submit)— http://Blogcritics.org and
Buddhist Door,” for which I have submitted a two-part series about my personal journey of becoming a Buddhist as well as one book review (so far)—http://Buddhistdoor.com

Biggest news would be the new release in The Spanners Series and the release of all three of the first Volumes into paperback format as well as ebooks, as of 12/8/15 (see below for details). I ALWAYS post about and link to EVERY review, however, brief or whatever its opinions, as long as it is legitimate (the person actually read my book) and honest.

SO, please do read my books and submit reviews to the usual sites AND send me the URLs, especially if you post it on your own site, so I can drive traffic to your site!

AND, comment here: what do you think of my new business cards (I designed them, so be a bit nice, please)?

2016 Business Cards

Send all inquiries, requests, invitations, submissions and URLs to: sallyember AT yahoo.com

THANK YOU all for being a part of this writer’s blog and other experiences this year!

I hope you continue to visit and offer to guest post. Also, let’s keep re-blogging each other’s posts.

Please do invite me to be an interview guest or be featured and keep exchanging comments!


Quick 2015 Year-in-Review Stats and Info:

  • Sally Ember, Ed.D. blog/site has about 572 total followers:
    506 followers on WordPress and another 67 on Tumblr (which is a reposting site for this one).

    500 follows

  • I posted 300 separate times (not all mine; about 15% are re-blogs) as of 12/28/15.
  • This blog was viewed over 17,000 times with visitors from 139 countries. Most views/visitors: USA (11,200), followed by UK (1,018), then Canada (821), Australia (325), Germany (242), India (235), France (171), Brazil (162), Greece (152), South Africa (139).
  • Most of my “referrers” were Search Engines (6,808), with Facebook a distant “next” (396, but I show over 2350 “friends” and another 1006 following The Spanners Series page), followed by StumbleUpon (192), Google+ (138, despite having over 3000 followers and another 215 following The Spanners Series page), Twitter (134, despite having over 5400 followers), WP Reader (65), Pinterest (62, but showing over 500 followers), my Tumblr reposting site (23, with 67 followers), a few individual webpages, then LinkedIn (at a measly 13, despite having over 700 followers).
    The Story Reading Ape‘s site sent me more visitors than LinkedIn (18)! Thanks, Chris Graham!

  • Nicholas C. Rossis was again my most active commenter: THANKS, Nicholas!
  • Only 47 of the 300 posts garnered any comments at all. But, I passed the 500 LIKES milestone this year!

    500 likes WP-1x

  • Most popular day and time: Sunday, 8 AM (Central USA time)
  • ALEXA ratings, as of 12/29/15, for Sally Ember, Ed.D. are
    2,556,701 out of all websites in the world
    has 102 sites linking in to it (“backlinks”)
    and, is 272,166 out of all websites in the USA

  • Most-viewed day and posts: November 1, 2015, with 247 views:
    “I CONQUERED #CreateSpace! This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series is in Print starting November 13, 2015!” and several others from previous days/months, even 2014, were viewed on this date.

    3 paperbacks

Link to full annual stats report: https://sallyember.com/2015/annual-report/


If you are new-ish to this blog, I am a sci-fi/ romance/ utopian/ multiverse/ paranormal (psi) author who also has a keen interest in many other subjects, most notably: science, social issues/ politics, writing/ publishing/ book marketing/ reviews, and spirituality/meditation. Because of a fall that caused a concussion in April, 2014, I also became engrossed in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI, concussion and its aftermaths, especially as these impact meditation.

In addition to the posts listed, below, I also have Author Interviews (with me as the subject), videos of each of my CHANGES conversations (we’re up to Episode 46, to date), links to my guest blog posts and much more on my website (I’m providing the link here in case you’re reading this elsewhere):
http://www.sallyember.com

This year, after a forced one-year hiatus from fiction writing due to my TBI, I was able to finish Volume III of The Spanners Series, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change! I also put it and Volumes I and II into both ebook AND paperback formats, now on CreateSpace and Amazon, in time for Volume III’s release (12/8/15). (All buy links are on my pages; look right and scroll down.) To accomplish that, I started my own publishing imprint, Timult Books.

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My broad interests are loosely grouped into the categories I’ve tagged and which appear on my page’s “cloud” and are listed, below. If you missed a post, enjoyed a topic but didn’t realize I had more posts in that same area, or want to comment on any of this year’s posts, now’s your chance! Please do comment! I reply to all. And, feel free to share/reblog, curate/use any of my content (giving me credit, please, and excerpting ethically, of course).

I hope your holiday celebrations or whatever activities you have been doing lately have brought you joy. Best to you all!

head shot 2015 summer


TOPICS:

About My Books and Other Science-Fiction

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News, excerpts, links, sales/discount codes, blurbs and more!

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final cover print

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Creativity at Work, Here

Poetry, short stories and other creative writing not related to my Series.

About Science

Re-blogs, summaries, analyses, inquiries, theories. Focus greatly on astro- and quantum physics, astronomy, technology and inventions, medicine. I re-blog on these topics.

About Social Issues and Politics

I am a USA citizen (born and always lived here). I identify as a feminist socialist who votes in EVERY election. I usually register as a Democrat and also vote Green or Independent. I disagree with almost every one of USA’s recent foreign affairs and domestic policies and ALL wars since 1945.
We should have had single-payer health care for all since 1960. Damn Richard Nixon and his cronies in the health care “industry.” I use and advocate for an intelligent mix of “alternative” and “modern” medical methods.
I am a pacifist, Buddhist-raised-Jewish meditator. I am bisexual and an LGBTQQI2-S advocate (if you don’t know what those initials mean, you probably won’t want to read my posts on those topics unless you’d like to become better-educated).
I use science to make decisions, and climate change is real. I am an environmentalist, civil and animal rights activist/advocate who is pro-legalization of Cannabis and Marriage Equality. I work against all oppressions and “isms” actively and despise the cosmetics, “weight loss” and “beauty” industries. I use politically correct speech and in my writing and expect others to do so.
I re-blog on these topics.
I do NOT invite contentiousness or going-nowhere types of arguments. Believe whatever you do but don’t try to invalidate my views, especially on my own site. I do invite dialogue, new information and dissent that is respectful, as well as corrections.
Visit here knowing all that and you’ll be fine!

About my show, CHANGES conversations between authors,

an online, LIVE video talk show on YouTube via Google+ HOA (Hangout On Air)
Seeking guests (see below, in Announcements), and up to Episode 46 already, as of November 1, 2015!
I re-blog my guests’ news and about their new releases.

CHANGES Theme Image_3

About Meditation and Spiritual Practice

I am a devoted, practicing Tibetan Vajrayana Nyingma Buddhist since 1996, and a meditator since 1972. I write about my experiences and re-blog others’ and information about these topics regularly, including book reviews (see above, Buddhist Door.com).

About Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) and Concussions
I suffered on in April, 2014, and am still recovering. Many posts about this in 2014 and still some in 2015. These get a lot of views, so I guess many are interested in concussions and their aftermaths. I focus a lot on the impact this TBI has had on my ability to speak, write and meditate. I plan to continue. I re-blog on these topics.

About Publishing, Book Marketing, Writing, Writers

I welcome guest posts from Indie and Self-published or “hybrid” authors here. I re-blog a lot of great posts from book marketers, authors and other bloggers/writers.


Announcements:

#Crowdfunding with #Patreon: Sally Ember’s Campaign needs supporters! You can get rewards (from a free ebook for donating $4 or more, to discounts on editing, proofreading and/or writing tutoring services from Sally for larger donations) and support her writing, talk show and creativity by donating on Patreon.com/sallyember.

Seeking authors to be new guests for CHANGES as I resume shows after January 13, 2016. Please visit my page, here, and find out what your steps are for coming on and follow them! https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/

CHANGES Trailer Image_3

Seeking Guest Bloggers: Wednesdays are my invitation days. If you’d like to guest blog, please visit this page and let me know! Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame.

Seeking collaborators to engage in what I am calling Crowdcreating for both Volumes VIII (young writers and those who write for YA/NA audiences) and IX (adult and senior writers) of The Spanners Series: co-write, contribute ideas, collaborate on sections or entire chapters with me!
Deadline is January 31, 2017.
Details are in the back of each Volume (another good reason to buy and read my books!).

#Health Myths Busted: #Gluten Sensitivity is Mostly A Fad, Not Actual Gluten Intolerance

#Health Myths Busted: #Gluten Sensitivity is Mostly A Fad, Not Actual Gluten Intolerance

Celiac disease poster
image from http://nugonutrition.com

According to many researchers and recent research in both the UK and the USA, fewer than 6%, and many say closer to 1% of the general population actually suffer from #Celiac disease, which does make humans unable to digest gluten. In fact: “Ninety-nine percent of individuals [this doctor sees] who report gluten sensitivity, however, do not have celiac disease….”

Research like this utilizes a method called “double-blind,” which means not only do the test subjects not know, but the researchers do not know, either, whom is receiving the “treatment” or substance being tested and whom is receiving the fake, or placebo substance, until after the research period has ended.

What did they discover about self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity?

“The placebo effect is much greater for subjective symptoms (such as those of patients with self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity) than is appreciated. It is seen in 20% to 40% [of] individuals. That is, of patients who report an improvement in symptoms by eliminating gluten, 20% to 40% are NOT improved. They THINK they are improved….[A]lmost all have had their symptoms return or continue with reduced severity despite continuing the [gluten-free] diet.”

noncoeliac_gluten_sensitivity
image from http://allergiesandyourgut.com

Back and forth we go, with individuals making great claims at parties, schools, family dinners and restaurants about their inability to digest gluten despite not having been diagnosed formally with Celiac disease. People around them are getting frustrated, with good reason.

“[A]fter years of debating the existence of nonceliac gluten sensitivity, a scientifically rigorous study has been done that sheds light on the issue. In this study, 37 patients with self-reported gluten sensitivity, well-controlled on a gluten-free diet, were studied….[T]he group of patients with self-reported gluten sensitivity were not gluten-sensitive when tested.”
[all above quotes from link, below]
http://www.medicinenet.com/nonceliac_gluten_sensitivity_intolerance/article.htm

What are we to do, then, we who want to support our loved ones and help them be healthy, feel good, not feel negatively judged by us?

This is a dilemma, because it is difficult to determine what is causing these people’s symptoms when they do not have actual Celiac disease or wheat allergies. A number of causes could be in effect, in varying combinations, some of which cannot actually be proven to exist in each person other than through dietary trial-and-error, which, as we have seen, often fails to provide factual data due to psychological interference.

“Unlike wheat allergy and coeliac disease, gluten sensitivity does not have a known set of biomarkers — doctors can’t tell if a patient is suffering from [gluten sensitivity] by examination (although there is a blood test, it doesn’t give accurate results for many patients). So [gluten sensitivity] can only be diagnosed by first ruling out other diseases and then trying out a gluten-free diet.”

Okay. So, we tolerate our friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors as they attempt to figure out what is causing their discomfort, bloating, gas, pain, etc., but our patience is wearing thin, isn’t it? We may think that their self-diagnosed gluten problems are just the latest in a string of dietary and health fads that cause attention-seekers to become obsessed and challenging to be around, for the rest of us, don’t we?

Maybe these people mostly want to lose weight? Wrong method, though.

foods with no gluten
image from http://www.livestrong.com

Similar to the “fat-free” trend, which caused many to over-eat the so-called “fat-free” foods while clearly gaining weight due to ingesting extra calories, not in the form of fats and oils, but still getting a lot of carbs and sugars, gluten-free is no solution to weight problems, either.

“‘If you go on a gluten-free diet, taking substitutes like gluten-free beer, pasta, cookies and so on, if anything, you gain weight. If you take a regular cookie, it’s 70 calories. The same cookie, gluten-free, can go as high as 210 calories. You have to substitute gluten with something that makes that cookie palatable, so you have to load it with fat and sugars. Just consider that. A gram of protein is four calories, a gram of fat is nine.’

“But, [Fasano] adds, it may be possible to lose weight on a gluten-free diet by choosing natural products like fresh fish, meat, vegetables and fruit.”

To add insult to injury, gluten-free products are pricier than ordinary versions of the same foods.

Maybe the answer, for weight loss, is to eat foods that are both fat-free and gluten-free. Of course, those are also likely to be taste- and flavor-free. Take away the MSG, too, and you may as well drink water or eat cardboard.

[above quotes from link, below]
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33486177

Summary
Should we or shouldn’t we eat gluten-free, then?

First, how difficult is it to eat gluten-free? VERY, but getting easier.

“To avoid gluten, you have to stay away from all wheat-based foods and ingredients, from white and whole-wheat flours to kamut, spelt, semolina, and wheat bran and germ.

“That means no bread, pasta, couscous, cookies, cakes, muffins, pastries, cereals, crackers, gravies, or beer. Less obviously, it also means no soy sauce, bouillon cubes, candies, food starch, fried foods, or even oats if they’re processed in the same facility as wheat.”

Second, who benefits from a gluten-free diet, besides those with verified Celiac disease and/or wheat allergies?

gluten-free-label-uk-008
image from http://www.theguardian.com

“[T]here is some evidence to suggest gluten-free eating patterns can also improve symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and psoriasis.”

However, they may be getting relief from their symptoms not because of avoiding gluten, but because of avoiding FODMAPs.

“[P]eople who say their symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet may actually be reacting to another set of carbohydrates in wheat called called FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). In other words, it’s not the gluten that’s bothering people, but other sugars found in wheat.”

Third, be cautious. There is evidence that people who follow this diet who do not need to be on it and who do not track the supplements they’re missing out on and replace them could be doing themselves more harm than good.

“‘People who follow a gluten-free diet may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets.’ These include iron, calcium, fiber, and folate. ‘Along with fruits and vegetables, the most common sources of dietary fiber are whole-grain breads and cereals, which contain gluten,’ the University of Washington’s gluten-free primer states. ‘Many people on gluten-free diets tend to eat inadequate amounts of fiber, which may lead to constipation.'”

Also, we now know that we need certain types of bacteria to flourish in our guts/intestines, and when they do not, we can suffer greatly everything from indigestion to depression, many worse problems than bloating. “Going gluten-free may also reduce the amount of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which has implications for immune system function.”

[above quotes from link, below]
http://www.vox.com/2015/4/30/8517749/gluten-free-diet-nutrition-celiac-disease

grain facts
image from http://lifeonmanitoulin.com

Part I: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up

Part I: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up

I should have been a research scientist. I love science. I’m extremely intelligent, determined, creative, and organized. I coulda been a contenda for a Nobel prize. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Why am I not a scientist? I had a series of misogynistic (one of my teachers hated the four girls in my advanced science class so much he would pith [paralyze] the frogs by holding them in the air directly in front of one of us so that each frog would urinate on our blouses), anti-Semitic (another one wore his “John Birch Society” pin to school every day, displayed prominently on his lapel; there were three girls in my class and he insulted each of us daily), incompetent (in an lab accident at his “real” job, this poor man had lost most of his sight and drive and spent each class time mostly ignoring all of us) and otherwise horrible science teachers in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.

With better teachers in those critical years, my life could have turned out very differently. Those terrible teachers turned me so far off science I only took one more “hard” science course (because it was required, in undergraduate college), despite many more years of education, through getting a doctorate.

As an adult, I became enthralled with quantum physics, health/anatomy, nutrition, child development/learning and the multiverse/astrophysics, so I read. A lot. I also watch documentaries. I am not even close to understanding some of the physics stuff, but the rest I got quite adept at utilizing. To “keep up,” I subscribe to many science-oriented blogs and curation sites.

My favorites are: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up. I will excerpt from some of the “best of the best” of what I’ve recently perused. Part I is all from Science Alert.

I hope you enjoy! Go subscribe!


ScienceAlert.com

Science Alert logo

Astrophysics and Quantum Physics/Mechanics
19 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/TRtzJD
“For the first time, scientists in Australia have detected a gigantic burst of radio waves from outside our galaxy in real time. Called blitzars [also known as ‘fast radio bursts’ (FRB’s)], these bursts generate as much energy as the Sun does in a day, but they do it in mere milliseconds….The source of these ‘blitzars’ has so far remained a mystery….[T]hey’ve calculated the blitzar to be up to 5.5 billion light-years away from Earth.”

22 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/v6Q8S4
“Researchers have found that have found that quantum mechanics can cause more than two optical systems to become entangled, potentially across large distances….[Q]uantum entanglement states that two particles can be implicitly linked and can seemingly influence each other no matter how far apart they are….[Q]uantum entanglement exists and forms the basis of teleportation and quantum cryptography. [In 2014], researchers from the University of Geneva managed to teleport a photon across a distance 25 kilometres….[This new experiment] provides an important step towards validation of mesoscopic quantum mechanics. Mesoscopic refers to the discipline of physics that deals with matter in between micro and macroscopic.”

10 Feb 2015 http://goo.gl/v9nm44
“New model suggests the Big Bang never occurred. Instead, the Universe has simply been going forever….A new quantum equation suggests that the Universe has no beginning or end, and it could also account for dark matter and dark energy.”

05 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/BAKoZa
“The LHC [Large Hadron Collider]…the monstrous underground atom smasher that hurls particles at near light speed, has been restarted….Here’s how it could change physics forever! ”
“The hunt for dark matter is on.”
These new LHC experiments may also resolve as-yet-unanswered questions regarding supersymmetry, antimatter, gravity and dark energy as well!

08 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/i8yQw4
“NASA’s chief scientist predicts we’ll find signs of alien life by 2025: ‘I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years,’ NASA chief scientist, Ellen Stofan…
“‘It’s definitely not an if, it’s a when,’ said Jeffery Newmark, NASA’s interim director of heliophysics….
“‘[O]bservations by NASA’s Kepler space telescope suggest that nearly every star in the sky hosts planets – and many of these worlds may be habitable,’ says Mike Wall at Space.com.”

16 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/jdGFtQ
“Big news: Dark matter may not be as dark as we originally thought. Astronomers have found the first evidence that dark matter interacts with forces other than gravity.”

Child Development/Learning
05 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/5POY6W
“If you want to sure up your child’s communication and problem-solving skills, chatting…to your baby about nothing in particular while you’re getting ready or doing work around the house…can be even more important than reading to them, new research suggests….[R]eading is great for young kids, but… on its own, it’s not enough to shore up their cognitive development.”

Anatomy/Biology/Zoology and Gender
09 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/60Zmfi

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“Is it a male, or female? This unusual butterfly, apparently, couldn’t decide on its sex, resulting in beautiful and starkly different sets of wings….[I]t was a Common Archduke (Lexias pardalis) butterfly, with a condition known as bilateral gynandromorphy…[which] also been reported in crustaceans, such as lobsters, as well as in birds….”

23 Mar 2015 http://goo.gl/aQyTet
“Scientists have found a drug that makes people more compassionate. It turns out altering people’s brain chemistry can stop them from being selfish jerks….The drug, called tolcapone, prolongs the effect of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, a region involved in the regulation of complex thought and our emotions. And early tests suggest that it encourages people who take it to be more fair-minded when it comes to money.” I posit the biological bases for better or worse humans, particularly regarding behavior and selfishness, in my sci-fi ebooks, The Spanners Series.

09 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/ED8UKh
“Brain ‘gender’ is more fluid than originally thought, research reveals….[C]ontinual Dnmt [DNA methyltransferase (Dnmt), an enzyme that usually silences certain genes] exposure is necessary throughout development to ensure that a brain turns female.”
“Scientists have managed to neurologically switch newborn rats from female to male….Not only did their behaviour change dramatically, but the rats’ brains also structurally transformed.”
In the 1990s, I conducted my doctoral research and wrote my dissertation on the mutability of both gender and sexual orientation identities with the factors of interpersonal safety and connection being pivotal in how frequently, fluidly and diversely each individual’s identities might fluctuate, inventing a term for this contextualized fluctuation: differential authenticity. http://goo.gl/IOcCWJ
“‘”It was thought that once established, sexual differentiation could not be undone,’ Nugent told PBS. ‘Our work shows that sex differences in brain and behaviour are epigenetically regulated, meaning that sex differences are not hardwired in our DNA but programmed during development.'”
I would add: and identities could change throughout life, regulated by circumstances and experiences.

21 May 2015 http://goo.gl/oSpB7e
“Octopuses are able to ‘see’ with their skin, new research finds….[T]he same kind of skin perception might be happening in other cephalopods, too. In other words, these creatures can feel changes in light as well as see them.”
Cephalopods are featuredin my sci-fi ebooks, The Spanners Series.

Health and Nutrition
05 Feb 2015 http://goo.gl/RFcvRZ and https://goo.gl/2HhO4z [with two videos from ASAP Science]
“Want to know how to decrease your odds of developing a cold by 58.8 percent, and if you do get one, how to shave 1.5 days off the length of it? The latest episode of AsapSCIENCE has got all the – scientifically approved – answers.” The two accompanying videos provide tips and advice and then debunk 6 common myths about how to behave/what to do/not do/eat/not eat when getting sick or already sick with a cold.

18 Mar 2015 http://goo.gl/iU4jW4
“The longer you’re breastfed, the higher your IQ and adult earnings, study suggests, but not too long, or the benefits become disadvantages….And the difference was pretty huge. If a child had been breastfed for an entire year, they scored on average four more IQ points, had almost another year of formal education, and earned an extra 341 reais a month – which is about about a third more than the average income level in Brazil – than those who had breastfed for less than a month. But beyond 12 months, and the benefits in later life dropped off significantly – in adulthood, these people were on average poorer, and less educated.”

08 April 2015 http://goo.gl/1ImN59
“Amazing chart shows the planet’s longest-living animals. See how your puny human lifespan compares.” Humans don’t even make the top 10! The longest-living (an ocean quahog [an edible clam, pronounced in Massachusetts, USA, “co-hog”] exists for over 400 years! Eight of the top 10 longest-lived animals are all sea-dwelling creatures; the other two are land tortoises. I guess living on land shortens our lifespan considerably. Humans should have stayed in the sea.

LongestAnimals_web_480


Look for Part II in late June, focusing on info gathered by Serious Wonder.

SeriousWonder.com

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After that, look for Part III in late July, info from Cosmos Up.

CosmosUp.com

Cosmos Up logo

First-Year Ebooks Author Stats: Sally Ember, Ed.D., and The Spanners Series

First-Year Ebooks Author Stats: Sally Ember, Ed.D., and The Spanners Series

Just completed my first full year (plus 11 days) as a published sci-fi/ romance ebooks author (2 pubs, Vol I, 12/19/13; Vol II, 6/9/14) in the 10-book The Spanners Series, on Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, nook and Kobo (and Smashwords’ affiliates).

Thanks to all my readers, fans, followers, reviewers and downloaders as well as friends, family and connections in the global authors and readers communities!

Overall Stats, 12/31/13 – 12/31/14:
AZ Author Rank, overall: 182,741 – 468,671
AZ Kindle ebooks, all Combined Rank: 295,000 – 313,420
AZ Sci-fi/Fantasy ebooks Combined Rank: 23,167 – 25,127
AZ Sci-fi ebooks Combined Rank: 11,687 – 12,645
AZ Romance ebooks Combined Rank: 27,206 – 29,043

Sales Ranks and Stats:
Vol I, This Changes Everything (released 12/19/13; permafree since April 1, 2014)

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

figures for 12/20/13 – 12/31/14
Total Paid Sales: 85
Total Free Downloads: over 1,100 (figures for free DL not available from all sites)
AZ Sales Rank: 129,665 – 12,539
iBooks: unrated rank (not enough sales)
nook: 481,550 – 471,792
Kobo: 1,429 – 8,732

AZ Actual Sales: 61
AZ Free Downloads: 940
Smashwords Sales: 4
Smashwords Free DL: 45
iBooks Sales: 6
iBooks Free DL: 85
Kobo Sales: 13
Kobo Free DL: 60
Nook Sales: 1
Nook Free DL: 8

Vol II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever ($3.99, released 6/9/14)

final cover print

figures for 6/30/14 – 12/31/14 only
Total Paid Sales: 10
AZ Sales Rank: 480,464-1,559,867
iBooks: unrated rank (not enough sales)
nook: unrated rank (not enough sales)
Kobo Sales Rank: 4,836 – 5,223
AZ Sales: 6
Smashwords Sales: 3
Smashwords Free DL: 12
iBooks Sales: 0
Kobo Sales: 1
Nook Sales: 0

ALWAYS appreciating REVIEWERS for both/any Volumes, especially Volume II/the newest.
Ebooks free to reviewers in any ereader format via coupon on Smashwords.
Contact: sallyemberATyahooDOTcom

Look for Vol III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, and
Vol IV, Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude, in 2015!

Thanks to my amazing cover artist for The Spanners Series, Aidana Willowraven

logoAuthorsDen

Why I LOVE the #Smashwords Blog and you should, too!

I started with #Smashwords after months of research, watching every one of the owner/founder, Mark Coker’s, informative videos, visiting many other forum and chat room sites and investigating other options thoroughly, in early 2013. I have not been sorry in the least.

Smashwords Logo

In addition to their excellent customer support, easy-to-navigate website and ongoing info for #indie #authors, Smashwords publishes an excellent blog with researched, important, up-to-the minute updates.

Excerpts and the link to the full article from their most recent posting are here. READ and SHARE!

Smashwords Blog: Ebook Publishing Gets More Difficult from Here –
Here’s How to Succeed

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 03:59 PM PST

The article starts with “good news,” which I won’t rehash, here, but it is worth reading.

It’s the “bad news” we’re all needing to know about, for sure. Here are some highlights, but please go read the details.

“…most major ebook retailers have suffered anemic or declining sales over the last 12-18 months.”

“… after a decade of exponential growth in ebooks with indies partying like it was 1999, growth was slowing.”

“It’s easy to succeed when everything’s growing like gangbusters. It’s when things slow down that your mettle is tested.”

The article goes into depth about “What’s causing the slowdown,” which I also encourage you to read fully. Headlines, here.

“1. There’s a glut of high-quality #ebooks.”

“2. The rate of growth in the supply of ebooks is outstripping the growth in demand for ebooks.”

“3. The rate of transition from print books to ebooks is slowing.”

What can an indie author do, especially one like me, who still ONLY has ebooks?

I love Mark’s optimistic overview, including: “…tremendous opportunities still lie ahead.”
and “…there’s never been a better time to be an indie author. Millions of readers are hungry to discover, purchase and read their next great book.”

He then provides tips and tricks for our use, immediately and in the future, for “how to succeed” right now. Read about and incorporate them!

“1. Take the long view.”

“2. Good isn’t good enough.”

“3. Write more, publish more and get better.”

“4. Diversify your distribution.”

“5. Network with fellow indies.”
Mark Coker also penned the Indie Author Manifesto, well worth reading!

“6. Publish multi-author box set collaborations.”

“7. Leverage professional publishing tools.”

“8. Best practices bring incremental advantage.”

Mark offers his free ebook, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, and reminds us of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide and to “review [his] prior blogs posts here, or watch [his] ebook publishing tutorial videos at YouTube.”

As I said, I watched all Coker’s videos. If you are an indie author, regardless of how many ebooks/print books you’re self-published or published with a small press, these videos are well worth your time.

If you’re new and you’re trying to decide where to start, I highly recommend starting with your own word processing program and then using Smashwords as your first “publisher,” because that means you MUST put your ebook into the format that succeeds going through their “meatgrinder” and having it come out fine. If you follow Smashwords’ free formatting manual EXACTLY (and I recommend you start to do it NOW, prior to your final draft) that experience then forces your ebook into the format the Smashwords’ meatgrinder accepts.

Once you fulfill that, you’ll have EVERY ebook version you need for your manuscript, correctly formatted already. With a few tweaks (literally, taking fewer than 10 minutes), your Kindle format (.mobi) is ready to upload to #Amazon directly from your having downloaded it to your own computer from Smashwords.

Smashwords also provides a PDF, an RTF, an epub (needed for #nook, #iBooks, #Kobo and other ebook retailers) and excerpt-size versions (your choice of how large an excerpt) of all these formats for you to download as well.

That means you can email ARCs of your ebook in any format to potential beta readers, reviewers, family, as soon as it’s in the pre-order phase at Smashwords (which I highly recommend you utilize).

Then, about ten days prior to its actual release, you can fix any last-minute errors readers/ reviewers/ you found, add any review excerpts to the front matter and update your links before submitting the final revision. You need that 10-day lead for the revision to get sent in its new version to all Smashwords’ retailer partners.

THIS IS ALL FREE! Smashwords takes a very small percentage of every sale, but that is it.

NOTE: Using Smashwords first means you can’t use Kindle Select Publication (KSP), only Kindle Direct Publication (KDP), but it’s worth it.

“9. You’re running a business.”
I print these in their entirety, to entice you to follow the link, below, and read this entire article. FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!

Mark’s Unconventional (but proven effective) Rules for Business:
1. Be a nice person. Treat partners, fellow authors and readers with kindness, respect and integrity. You’ll find as you develop your career, the publishing industry will feel smaller and smaller as you get to know everyone, and as everyone gets to know you. It takes a village to reach readers. All these people – fellow authors, critique partners, beta readers, editors, publishers, cover designers, publicists, retailers, and distributors – have the potential to open doors for you.
2. Be honest. Business relationships are built on trust and honesty. The fastest way to destroy a relationship is to be dishonest.
3. Be Ethical. Don’t cheat. Do unto others as you’d want done unto you.
4. Be Humble. Yeah, I’ve told you have superawesome potential within you. But know that you can always be better. Celebrate those who help you succeed. Always know that none of us can achieve anything without the support, encouragement and love of those around us. It takes a village.

“10. Pinch your pennies (an American saying that means, ‘be frugal with your money’).”

“11. Time Management.”

“12. Take risks, experiment, and fail often.”

“13. Dream big dreams.”

“14. Be delusional.”
I love this story, so I also print it here. Mark Coker is the real deal. An indie author himself (and that is one of the main reasons he founded Smashwords), he is also funny, smart, and insightful.

At the Pikes Peak writers conference three years ago, I had a fun conversation with uber-agent Donald Maas. Don had just told a room full of writers that self-publishing was a fine option if they didn’t want to sell any books. Later that night, we crossed paths at dinner. I told him I thought he was underestimating the impact self-published authors would have on the publishing industry. He told me he thought I was delusional. When someone doubts me, I feel energized. To have vision – to see what doesn’t yet exist – that’s delusional. Be delusional. What’s your vision? Know that every NY Times bestseller was absolutely nuts to write a book. Most books fail. Three months ago, three years after my conversation with Mr. Maas, Inc. Magazine named Smashwords to its INC 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies in recognition of indie authors at Smashwords who sold over $30 million worth of books at retail last year. Who’s delusional now?

“15. Embrace your doubters.”

“16. Celebrate your fellow authors’ success.”

“17. Past success is no guarantee of future success.”

“18. Never Quit.”

“19. Dream big dreams.”

“20. Know that your writing is important.”
Mark supports and exhorts us authors so well, here, that I quote most of it:

“You are the creator of books. That makes you special, and it also burdens you with a special responsibility. No one else can create what you have within you. Your writing represents the manifestation of your life, your dreams, your soul and your talent. You’re special. Others might think you’re suffering from delusions of grandiosity but so what? What do they know? If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?”

“If you publish for the right reasons and you adopt best practices that make your books more available and more desirable to readers, your future is as bright as your imagination.”

“Thank you for everything you do.”

No, #MarkCoker: THANK YOU!

LINK TO FULL ARTICLE:
http://blog.smashwords.com/2014/11/ebook-publishing-gets-more-difficult.html

Why I LOVE the #Smashwords Blog and you should, too!

I started with #Smashwords after months of research, watching every one of the owner/founder, Mark Coker’s, informative videos, visiting many other forum and chat room sites and investigating other options thoroughly, in early 2013. I have not been sorry in the least.

Smashwords Logo

In addition to their excellent customer support, easy-to-navigate website and ongoing info for #indie #authors, Smashwords publishes an excellent blog with researched, important, up-to-the minute updates.

Excerpts and the link to the full article from their most recent posting are here. READ and SHARE!

Smashwords Blog: Ebook Publishing Gets More Difficult from Here –
Here’s How to Succeed

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 03:59 PM PST

The article starts with “good news,” which I won’t rehash, here, but it is worth reading.

It’s the “bad news” we’re all needing to know about, for sure. Here are some highlights, but please go read the details.

“…most major ebook retailers have suffered anemic or declining sales over the last 12-18 months.”

“… after a decade of exponential growth in ebooks with indies partying like it was 1999, growth was slowing.”

“It’s easy to succeed when everything’s growing like gangbusters. It’s when things slow down that your mettle is tested.”

The article goes into depth about “What’s causing the slowdown,” which I also encourage you to read fully. Headlines, here.

“1. There’s a glut of high-quality #ebooks.”

“2. The rate of growth in the supply of ebooks is outstripping the growth in demand for ebooks.”

“3. The rate of transition from print books to ebooks is slowing.”

What can an indie author do, especially one like me, who still ONLY has ebooks?

I love Mark’s optimistic overview, including: “…tremendous opportunities still lie ahead.”
and “…there’s never been a better time to be an indie author. Millions of readers are hungry to discover, purchase and read their next great book.”

He then provides tips and tricks for our use, immediately and in the future, for “how to succeed” right now. Read about and incorporate them!

“1. Take the long view.”

“2. Good isn’t good enough.”

“3. Write more, publish more and get better.”

“4. Diversify your distribution.”

“5. Network with fellow indies.”
Mark Coker also penned the Indie Author Manifesto, well worth reading!

“6. Publish multi-author box set collaborations.”

“7. Leverage professional publishing tools.”

“8. Best practices bring incremental advantage.”

Mark offers his free ebook, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, and reminds us of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide and to “review [his] prior blogs posts here, or watch [his] ebook publishing tutorial videos at YouTube.”

As I said, I watched all Coker’s videos. If you are an indie author, regardless of how many ebooks/print books you’re self-published or published with a small press, these videos are well worth your time.

If you’re new and you’re trying to decide where to start, I highly recommend starting with your own word processing program and then using Smashwords as your first “publisher,” because that means you MUST put your ebook into the format that succeeds going through their “meatgrinder” and having it come out fine. If you follow Smashwords’ free formatting manual EXACTLY (and I recommend you start to do it NOW, prior to your final draft) that experience then forces your ebook into the format the Smashwords’ meatgrinder accepts.

Once you fulfill that, you’ll have EVERY ebook version you need for your manuscript, correctly formatted already. With a few tweaks (literally, taking fewer than 10 minutes), your Kindle format (.mobi) is ready to upload to #Amazon directly from your having downloaded it to your own computer from Smashwords.

Smashwords also provides a PDF, an RTF, an epub (needed for #nook, #iBooks, #Kobo and other ebook retailers) and excerpt-size versions (your choice of how large an excerpt) of all these formats for you to download as well.

That means you can email ARCs of your ebook in any format to potential beta readers, reviewers, family, as soon as it’s in the pre-order phase at Smashwords (which I highly recommend you utilize).

Then, about ten days prior to its actual release, you can fix any last-minute errors readers/ reviewers/ you found, add any review excerpts to the front matter and update your links before submitting the final revision. You need that 10-day lead for the revision to get sent in its new version to all Smashwords’ retailer partners.

THIS IS ALL FREE! Smashwords takes a very small percentage of every sale, but that is it.

NOTE: Using Smashwords first means you can’t use Kindle Select Publication (KSP), only Kindle Direct Publication (KDP), but it’s worth it.

“9. You’re running a business.”
I print these in their entirety, to entice you to follow the link, below, and read this entire article. FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!

Mark’s Unconventional (but proven effective) Rules for Business:
1. Be a nice person. Treat partners, fellow authors and readers with kindness, respect and integrity. You’ll find as you develop your career, the publishing industry will feel smaller and smaller as you get to know everyone, and as everyone gets to know you. It takes a village to reach readers. All these people – fellow authors, critique partners, beta readers, editors, publishers, cover designers, publicists, retailers, and distributors – have the potential to open doors for you.
2. Be honest. Business relationships are built on trust and honesty. The fastest way to destroy a relationship is to be dishonest.
3. Be Ethical. Don’t cheat. Do unto others as you’d want done unto you.
4. Be Humble. Yeah, I’ve told you have superawesome potential within you. But know that you can always be better. Celebrate those who help you succeed. Always know that none of us can achieve anything without the support, encouragement and love of those around us. It takes a village.

“10. Pinch your pennies (an American saying that means, ‘be frugal with your money’).”

“11. Time Management.”

“12. Take risks, experiment, and fail often.”

“13. Dream big dreams.”

“14. Be delusional.”
I love this story, so I also print it here. Mark Coker is the real deal. An indie author himself (and that is one of the main reasons he founded Smashwords), he is also funny, smart, and insightful.

At the Pikes Peak writers conference three years ago, I had a fun conversation with uber-agent Donald Maas. Don had just told a room full of writers that self-publishing was a fine option if they didn’t want to sell any books. Later that night, we crossed paths at dinner. I told him I thought he was underestimating the impact self-published authors would have on the publishing industry. He told me he thought I was delusional. When someone doubts me, I feel energized. To have vision – to see what doesn’t yet exist – that’s delusional. Be delusional. What’s your vision? Know that every NY Times bestseller was absolutely nuts to write a book. Most books fail. Three months ago, three years after my conversation with Mr. Maas, Inc. Magazine named Smashwords to its INC 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies in recognition of indie authors at Smashwords who sold over $30 million worth of books at retail last year. Who’s delusional now?

“15. Embrace your doubters.”

“16. Celebrate your fellow authors’ success.”

“17. Past success is no guarantee of future success.”

“18. Never Quit.”

“19. Dream big dreams.”

“20. Know that your writing is important.”
Mark supports and exhorts us authors so well, here, that I quote most of it:

“You are the creator of books. That makes you special, and it also burdens you with a special responsibility. No one else can create what you have within you. Your writing represents the manifestation of your life, your dreams, your soul and your talent. You’re special. Others might think you’re suffering from delusions of grandiosity but so what? What do they know? If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?”

“If you publish for the right reasons and you adopt best practices that make your books more available and more desirable to readers, your future is as bright as your imagination.”

“Thank you for everything you do.”

No, #MarkCoker: THANK YOU!

LINK TO FULL ARTICLE:
http://blog.smashwords.com/2014/11/ebook-publishing-gets-more-difficult.html