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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“Most-Anticipated” #Films of #2015: Yeah or Nay? And, one look back at 2014 #SciFi and #Fantasy Films

My Predictions and Preferences for the
“Most-Anticipated #Films of #2015: Yeah or Nay?
And, one look back at 2014 #SciFi and #Fantasy Films

Let me start by reminding you (or letting new readers know): I am NOT mainstream. I am almost NO ONE’s “target demographic.” These films, others’ opinions, most TV shows and reviews written by others are not in harmony with my preferences and tastes. Not at all.

If YOU consider yourself “mainstream,” “typical,” “normal” or otherwise “regular,” you probably would be happier watching the video and ignoring this post entirely. Link and embed are below.

If, however, you are somewhat atypical, keep reading. Then, if/when these films become more widely available, you can let me know if your opinions match my predictions or preferences. Deal?

The 10 “regular” films, the video-maker’s opinions and my predictions, first (stay tuned for more, below):

  1. Fifty Shades Of Grey
    “A big money-maker…” Release date: Feb. 13, 2015

  2. The Fantastic Four
    “Could be a pleasant surprise…”

  3. Ted 2
    “A complete comedy classic…” Release date: June 26, 2015

  4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
    “It’s gonna look awesome, hopefully…” (He hasn’t seen Part 1 at the time he made this video, though.) Release date: Nov. 20, 2015

  5. Bond 24
    “Daniel Craig’s returning with Naomi Harris, not even released the name [title], yet…”

  6. Fast & Furious 7
    “The series is getting better and better…everyone wants to see how they put a tribute to Paul Walker [the lead actor who died in real life]…” Release date: April 3, 2015

  7. Terminator: Genesis
    Terminator 2 is one of my favorite movies of all time…and one of the highest-rated movies of all time…Arnie [Arnold Schwartzenegger] is back…A very good time-travel movie is setting up, here…” Release date: July 1, 2015

  8. Jurassic World
    “I want them to keep the Jurassic Park feeling but not be a continuation… want to see something new…”

  9. The Avengers: Age Of Ultron
    “I want to see something different and not continue Avengers… more story, more twists and turns…” Release date: May 1, 2015

  10. Star Wars Episode 7
    “It’s got a chance of getting up there with Avatar on gross…Hopefully it’s a good movie and not like the prequels…” Release date: Dec. 18, 2015

Other “anticipated” movies (my choices are marked with an *):
Blackhat
*Focus
*In the Heart of the Sea
*Jupiter Ascending
*Kingsman: The Secret Service
Mad Max: Fury Road
Outcast
*Predestination
*Seventh Son
Minions
Inside Out
Taken 3

Another list (the ones I KNOW I want to see):
*Friends: the Movie

*The Age of Adaline

*Cinderella

*Annie

Then, we have Jordan Hoffman, from Popular Mechanics, giving his/her 15 “most-anticipated” #Sci-Fi Films of 2015, which are overlapping many of the above.

Most of these are not original (remakes; sequels or expansions of “franchises”; adaptations of books, comic books or T.V. shows), but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying them, if you’re able.

This list even provides release dates, so you can plan your budget, schedule date nights, get your passes in advance, make your costumes.

There are a few from this list I do want to see; most, not interested. Again, I marked my faves with a *.

*Jupiter Ascending, Release Date: February 6
“…this interplanetary adventure featuring Mila Kunis as some sort of unknowing space queen and Channing Tatum as her guide beyond the stars promises to be far-out.”

Furious 7, Release Date: April 3
“The huge international ‘family’ of good guy criminals have returned for a bittersweet chapter in this series.”

Ex Machina, Release Date: April 10
“Oscar Isaac is the genius inventor tucked away in a slick-looking home and Domhnall Gleeson is the young employee summoned to meet Ava (Alicia Vikander) a creepily sexy android….this could be the stand-out mid-budget sci-fi flick of the year.”

Avengers: Age of Ultron, Release Date: May 1
Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, The Hulk, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and Maria Hill back together again, and this time they’re fighting Ultron, an artificial intelligence designed for peace that (surprise) brings just the opposite. New additions to the mix include Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and the Vision, because superhero teamups are awesome.”

Mad Max: Fury Road, Release Date: May 15
“…a bone-cracking ride through a dusty apocalyptic wasteland. The stunts look insane and the high-velocity action promises to reach out from behind the screen, grab you by the back of your neck, and smash your face in the gravel.”

*Tomorrowland, Release Date: May 22
“It may just be one gigantic advertisement for Disney’s Magic Kingdom, or it may be a whiz-bang universe-hopping tale of futurist poptimism. More than likely, it’s a little of both.”

Jurassic World, Release Date: June 12
“…Steven Spielberg isn’t directing and Michael Crichton (obviously) isn’t involved, but in the middle of the summer there’s nothing better than seeing a bunch of dinosaurs stomping around while humans line up as fodder, right?”

Terminator: Genisys, Release Date: July 1
“Arnold himself will return for this one, and he’ll be joined by The Khaleesi from Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke.”

Ant-Man, Release Date: July 17
“Paul Rudd is Scott Lang, a small time crook who ends up with scientist Hank Pym‘s technology for getting really really small. Michael Douglas is onboard as Pym, and Peyton Reed, who directed Down With Love, is at the helm.”

The Fantastic Four, Release Date: August 7
“…a somewhat dysfunctional group of scientists and weirdos blessed/cursed with superpowers.”

*The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Release Date: August 14
“Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin….Guy Ritchie is directing this gadgets-friendly flick, so this will be definitely be one to ogle. …it stands for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.”

*Spectre, Release Date: November 6
“It’s pretty much the same production team as Skyfall, so there’s not much more to say except ‘shaken, not stirred.'”

*The Martian, Release Date: November 25
“Matt Damon…plays a marooned astronaut on a Martian colony. Of note: the book upon which this is based was originally self-published by its author on Amazon. So keep hope alive, ye amateur novelists!”

*Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Release Date: December 18
“J.J. Abrams is igniting the hyperdrive to a galaxy of new stories. This first one will be a bridge – we’ll get Luke and Han and Leia, but who knows how big their roles will be or if they’ll return again. Chances are this is going to be the most spectacular film of the year…”

Mission Impossible 5, Release Date: December 25
“[4 was]…an exhilarating ride…. Tom Cruise…[in 5] will be just as exciting.”

If you want to view #trailers and read more about from Jordan about each of the above sci-fi films: http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/digital/visual-effects/15-sci-fi-movies-most-anticipated-in-2015#slide-1

For another opinion about some of these ranked differently, annotated, check KIRSTEN ACUNA’s list:
http://uk.businessinsider.com/biggest-movies-2015-2014-12?op=1

Link to original video for above’s Top 10:
http://youtu.be/pVwhiLIksd4

Video to watch here:

In case you missed any already released in 2014, here are:
“The 10 Best and 10 Worst #SciFi and #Fantasy Films of 2014,” according to Charlie Jane Anders
http://io9.com/the-10-best-and-10-worst-science-fiction-and-fantasy-mo-1672135627

Happy Watching!

My Fall #NewTVShows Reviews: 2014 is a VERY Mixed Season, thru 10/1/14

Yes: I watch TV. Not reality shows, not zombie shows, not most half-hour sit coms and not late-night or daytime shows. But, prime time shows sometimes get my attention.

I have a few I keep watching (until they end or are cancelled; you can find most of those on my Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember), but this post is about new shows.

Then, there are this Fall’s new shows. For a somewhat unbiased summary of each new show, check TV Guide: http://www.tvguide.com/special/fall-preview/new-shows.aspx

Since my mom and I are sampling some of the new shows, I kindly provide my /our recommendations and opinions, below.

#unexpectedlygreatTV: Red Band Society premiered this week and blew me away. My mom didn’t want to watch it since it features adolescents and she isn’t so interested (well, she is over 80…). But I have a soft spot for teens and decided to give it a try. It has Octavia Spencer and Dave Annabelle, it is produced by Steven Spielberg: how bad could it be?

#RedBandSociety is astonishingly excellent: script, acting, story, values, humor, poignancy, pathos, hope. It’s got it all. The promos (branding it as “‘The Breakfast Club’ in a hospital” does NOT do it justice) are not sufficient.

redbandsociety

Give it a watch. I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprise. Bring tissues. BTW: I am not paid or compensated in any way for this review. I HATE Fox news, but Fox TV is often great.

Episode 2 was also good, but not as good as Episode 1, BTW. http://www.fox.com/red-band-society/

#asgoodasexpectedTV: Madam Secretary was excellent. If you like great acting, scripting, suspense and twists in your political dramas, watch #MadamSecretary!

Kudos to Tea Leoni for picking, co-producing and starring in this intriguing show and to producer Barbara Hall for bringing another of her favorites from other shows into this one: great to see Tim Daly again. Enjoying the relationship between his character and Tea’s (married to each other).

Give this one a chance. http://www.cbs.com/shows/madam-secretary/

#reallylikethisshow Forever has an interesting premise, a good-to-excellent cast, and Sherlock-like mysteries/crimes to solve. Well-timed flashbacks give just enough to tantalize and inform slightly. What’s not to like?

Good to see Judd Hirsch, again (liked him in NUMBERS), and I like the dynamic between him and Ioan Gruffudd (the lead). Their actual relationship becomes apparent and is fascinating. Ioan Gruffudd and the police detective, Alana De La Garza, have great potential as well.

Also interesting to see one of the former interns from BONES working in another morgue-like setting (Joel David Moore) and Lorraine Toussaint in another role as a high-up police officer.

Give #Forever a whirl! Both the pilot and Episode 2 (playing in the same week for inexplicable reasons) were fun. http://abc.go.com/shows/forever

#fantasticTV Scorpion delivers, bigtime, especially if you like harrowing, fast-car and airplane antics, last-minute rescues and strange combinations of characters and plot. I like the “true-story” basis, with the backstory and complicated relationship between the Robert Patrick character (loved his irascible self on the X-FILES and his odd-ball, shapeshifting father on TRUE BLOOD, among other roles) and one of the leads,
Elyes Gabel.

Scorpion

Great to see Katherine McPhee in a non-singing, maternal-figure role and getting to play an action heroine as well. So far, so great! Had some great actors in bit parts for the Pilot which bodes well for future episodes.

Plus, the co-producers/exec producers is like a who’s who of film and TV producers that spans SCRUBS to STAR TREK to THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN to FAST & FURIOUS. Unique plot and effects combos can come from that crew!

If you liked and miss TOUCH, ALPHAS, SNEAKERS (film), and/or other ensemble cast of misfits shows in which they each showcase their talents/skills and solve problems/crimes and save lives, #Scorpion is for you. http://www.cbs.com/shows/scorpion/

#ShondaRhimesdoesitagainTV I predict that Shonda Rhimes has another hit on her hands with How To Get Away with Murder. Strong female leads, especially African-Americans, are her specialty: THANKS for those, Shonda: great storylines, interesting supporting characters, fascinating peeks into medicine, politics, and now, law. Throw in parenting, marriage, college/graduate school, small business dynamics and sex and you can see the formula but it doesn’t feel formulaic at all.

I like the writing, by Peter Nowalk. Viola Davis was provided a nuanced, deeply troubled character to play: a brilliant role that Davis plays to perfection. Good to see [a very much blonder and thinner (why?)] Liza Weil (loved her in Gilmore Girl, among other series and guest appearances), Alfie Enoch (from Harry Potter movies, now all grown up and calling himself Alfred) again along with many surprise “new” and not-overused faces in this diverse cast.

VIOLA DAVIS

If you like courtroom/law and mixed-age dramas, you’ll like this! #Howtogetawaywithmurder does not disappoint! http://abc.go.com/shows/how-to-get-away-with-murder

#triteandprobablycancelledTV The Mysteries of Laura, with Debra Messing, should have been better. Instead, the script was predicatable and trite, many of the fine actors were wasted, there were too many car chase sequences, and her single-mom-as-crack-detective is not credible, if only because she keeps leaving her NOT pre-school (but billed as such) twin hellion boys with random staff and who knows whom to race off to solve crimes. Sure.

And no one predicted (SPOILER ALERT) that her soon-to-be-ex is her new boss. Right.

Messing looks great and has wonderful acting chops but is wasted in this travesty of a cop show. Give it a miss.

I did watch Episode 2, just so no one could say I made a hasty judgment. It was marginally better than Episode 1, but only in that they kept the fake pre-school-aged kids mostly out of it. Otherwise, The Mysteries of Laura is now is a parody of itself, cliches abounding. Too bad.

My prediction: #MysteriesofLaura will run probably 4 shows, tops. http://www.nbc.com/the-mysteries-of-laura

#beentheredonethatbetterthanthisTV Gotham was disappointing in almost every way. First of all, do the writers not understand anachronisms? E.g.:

  • 1) There would NEVER have been any people of color, much less any women, in high-ranking positions in either the police or organized crime syndicates when the character of Bruce Wayne was a child, yet this Episode, the pilot, had several in the PD and one in crime.
  • 2) Black women in that era did not dye parts of their hair bright red (probably didn’t even have the materials to do so), yet one character in this Episode had hair like that.
  • 3) The opening scene, intended to make the character of Jim Gordon as a rookie seem brave and clever just came off as his being arrogant and stupid, especially since the anti-psychotic pills the criminal was clamoring for did not exist in that era; that criminal, if he had been that psychotic, would have been in residential care (pre-Reagan, they ALL were); and, the PLASTIC bottle of aspirin did not exist yet, either.

Sheesh.

Next, why is the character of Alfred suddenly more Australian than British? Was that an accident or are the writers that ignorant of the original Batman story?

Finally, the story was improbably, boring, and untrue to the origins in too many other ways. Whenever any TV show or film spends a lot of time in “chases” or creepy entrances, we know they are short on plot and low on in-depth characterization.

Too bad. The original story and premise would have made great TV. Oh, wait; they already DID movies and a TV show about Batman. http://www.fox.com/gotham/

#anotherdisappointingspinoffTV NCIS New Orleans is not only disappointing but completely unnecessary. There was not one original moment in the entire first Episode of the series even though NCIS and NCIS Los Angelesgave this series a running start and even had many of the characters and the setting pre-trialed last year on NCIS.

What a waste of the many talents of Scott Bakula (he wasn’t even playing the piano live in the jazz music scene!), C.C.H. Pounder and the rest of the cast, writers, crew and director. Too bad. No wonder they don’t look happy in this promo shot…

NCIS NO

Even staunch fans of NCIS‘ other two shows, like my mom, didn’t like it. She and I agreed that it was BORING.

I give it a half season at best. #NCISNO is a no-go. http://www.cbs.com/shows/ncis-new-orleans/

October 2 and beyond:
#lookingforwardtoTV
Kathyrn Heigl’s new drama, State of Affairs (Mon., 11/17)

#suretoskipTV
Kate Walsh’s sure-to-be-short-lived “comedy,” Bad Judge (Thurs., 10/2, NBC)

#mightgiveitatryTV
Cristela Alonzo’s semi-autobiographical comedy, Cristela (Fri., 10/10, ABC)

#neverina1000yearsTV
Jane the Virgin (Mon., 10/13, CW) offends me just by the title.

Shows I already Skipped and I am not Sorry:
A – Z
The Affair
Black-ish
Constantine
The Flash
Gracepoint
Happy Land
Intruders
Kingdom
Manhattan Love Story
Marry Me
The McCarthys
Mulaney
Selfie
Stalker
Survivor’s Remorse
Utopia
Z-Nation