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!).

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#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

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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

No Woman Wants to Have An Abortion, but We MUST Support EVERY Woman’s Right To Choose

No Woman Wants to Have An Abortion, but
We MUST Support EVERY Woman’s Right To Choose

Of course that is true. Books about women’s experiences in choosing to have an abortion, having it, living with the decision, have these titles:

In Necessity and Sorrow, Peace after an Abortion, Healing after an Abortion, Dealing with the Emotional Aftermath of an Abortion, and similar.

Why in 2014, DECADES AFTER after the clarity of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v Wade, is women’s right-to-choose to terminate a pregnancy in the USA even in question?

Here is one main reason: MEN. More than a few very loud, conservative/reactionary, unfeeling, uncaring, ignorant and idiotic men. I call these men names with great care: they deserve every one of these appellations.

Men do not get pregnant

image from http://msmagazine.com

Last winter, Republican Allan Rothlisberg (Junction City, CA) who serves on a major House Committee (Commerce, Labor and Economic Development), stated: “If I was a woman over 50, I wouldn’t need gynecological services” (1/14/14). Bad grammar aside, the guy is a moron when it comes to women’s health care requirements.

Unfortunately, he is TYPICAL of the men in leadership positions spouting garbage. Offensive ridiculousness comes regularly out of those such as Todd Akin (R-Missouri), who invented the delightful term “legitimate rape” and claimed that there is no need for abortion to be legal in the case of rape because “women can just shut that down,” meaning, decide not to become fertilized, when we are raped.

I am not making this up.

Here is the other reason: RELIGION. Or, rather, the co-optation of Christian religious tenets and beliefs, tailoring and lying about the original teachings to “support” their platform. Nevermind that the same people who call themselves “pro-life” vote down tax increases or any funding for FEEDING, HOUSING, EDUCATING, and MAINTAINING HEALTH for actual, living children and adults, and that these same politicians and their supporters also want to exclude immigrants all together from ALL services. So much for being “pro-life” or even following their own Christian precepts.

Jesus policy preferences

image from http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com

As we approach another election, one in which the entire House of Representatives is up for grabs (and this part of Congress is the most culpable when it comes to misappropriation of politics and abusing their power in the name of religion), some facts seem important to know regarding abortion, a key issue (again). Please share. Please talk about this. I know I’m probably “preaching to the choir,” but we all have friends and relatives who could be better informed, and we ALL need to VOTE!

Who gets abortions in the USA?

What are the ages of women having abortions?

Anti-choice marketers would have us believe that most abortion-seekers are “irresponsible teenagers” who need “counseling” and “guidance,” implying that ignorance, carelessness, selfishness and a wanton disregard for life are influencing circumstances and driving abortion decisions.

However (big shock), they are incorrect. Only a small percentage (0.4%) of females who obtained abortions in this time period were under 15 years old. Interestingly, almost equal percentages (7 – 8%) were for women ages 15 – 17 and also for women 35-39. What types of circumstances and emotional characteristics could these demographic groups have in common, besides having an unwanted pregnancy?

ages of women abortion

82% of the women who had abortions in the 11-year period, 1999-2010, were between the ages of 18 – 34, with 34% as the largest single group, and it was for women ages 20 – 24.

Unsurprisingly, “older” women (NOT “ignorant” or in need of “guidance”) also get pregnant and decided to terminate the pregnancy: about 3% were over 40 years old.

What the reasons women choose abortion?

The conservative, anti-choice movement wants us to believe that the “primary” reasons for women’s choosing abortion are “selfish” and therefore not to be supported by law or community attitude. Their pie chart tries to illustrate that “most” women who have abortions do so because a pregnancy comes at the “wrong time” and /or they are “not ready” to have a child at that time. Even so, by their own research (which is questionable), only about one-quarter (27%) of the women gave that as their “primary” reason.

However, look at what the other survey options were and you can understand how so many chose the “not ready” category:

  • “Lack of maturity” Who is going to self-select that reason? Very few: 8%
  • “Relationship Issues” This is so broad as to be almost useless as a survey option. Only 9% selected this.
  • “Fetal Health Concerns” and “Maternal Health Concerns” each received about the same, 3% – 4%, matching “School or Career Concerns” with 4% as well. These combined total about 12%, or one-eighth of the respondents.
  • “Can’t afford the baby” (whose wording is already emotionally loaded, labeling the fetus a “baby” and then impugning the woman’s financial status at the same time) still garnered an almost equal percentage to those who said they weren’t “ready,” at 25%.
  • “Finished childbearing” is fraught with judgment as well, but nonetheless, 20% selected this as their primary reason for terminating the pregnancy.
  • “Rape” unsurprisingly received less than any, at 0.1%, while “Incest” isn’t on this chart (one could argue that all incest is rape, but to exclude it as a reason is significant, since conservatives keep voting down the right to choose, even in the case of rape or incest….).

AbortionReasons

image from http://www.conservapedia.com

The actual facts about USA women and abortion

About half of all women experience at least one unintended pregnancy in our lifetimes. This occurs mostly due to the fact that ALL birth control, even when used correctly and consistently, has a failure rate of at least 1% and most are worse.

Birth control failure rates

image from http://www.abovetopsecret.com

The “Pill,” which is usually thought of as “effective,” fails almost 9% of the time. That means almost 1 out of every 10 women who rely on the Pill for birth control will become pregnant while taking it. In addition to causing all kinds of problems for the women that they were not expecting (no pun intended), pregnant women do not know they are pregnant until many months into the pregnancy (usually when the baby moves), which means the mothers are taking these hormones throughout the crucial first trimester. Birth control pills can have adverse effects on developing fetuses which usually causes birth defects and/or problems for these people later in life because of hormonal imbalances while they were developing in utero. The risk of ectopic pregnancies is also higher in women taking oral contraceptives after conception (which shouldn’t have occurred, but does).

Even worse, women who conceive while using spermicidal forms of birth control are counseled to have abortions because babies born to women using spermicides have astronomical rates of birth defects, up to and including stillbirth. The lesser problems include dwarfism, muscles missing or non-functional (eyelids’ muscles do not work, for example, so the eyes can’t fully open, which, without surgery, leads to blindness in newborns), hip displasia, clubfoot, cleft palate, and worse (New England Journal of Medicine), most of which, if reparable, require one or more surgeries and expensive rehabilitation.

Spermicide problems

image from http://www.nejm.org

Despite these facts, only about one-third of women who unintentionally become pregnant choose to have an abortion. This could be due to the fact that, of those with unintended pregnancies, about 60% already have one child. As I mentioned at the start: NO woman WANTS to have an abortion, and those who have already carried a pregnancy to term, parented a child, are even less likely to terminate. Statistics bear this out: most mothers choose NOT to terminate.

Furthermore, to refute another of the conservatives’ most specious arguments: the majority (73%) of women who choose to terminate a pregnancy ARE “religiously affiliated,” which means we are not ALL “godless heathens” (although, as a Buddhist, I am proud to be “godless” and couldn’t care less about being called a “heathen”).

Abortion stats actual

image from http://naralprochoicewashington.tumblr.com

I could, but I won’t, tell my entire personal story, here. Bare facts: I was “typical” in that I was in my middle-twenties, educated, and pro-child (I was teaching Kindergarten-First Grade at the time). I chose to terminate due to my having been financially and emotionally unready and unable to care for a child at the time I got pregnant, which occurred due to a birth control failure (diaphragm, which has a 4% failure rate).

Please, whatever your story or gender, VOTE in or keep in a pro-choice candidate this November. The right to choose to terminate a pregnancy is a HUMAN right and, unfortunately, sometimes a necessity. Even if the choices are often made in sorrow, they must be safe and legal to make.

Vote smart

image from http://www.kylelife.com