#Nebula #Awards WINNERS Announced for 2018

#Nebula #Awards WINNERS Announced for 2018
Mazel Tov to them all!

2019 nebula conf banner

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) is pleased to announce the WINNERS for the 54th Annual Nebula Awards!

The Nebula Awards were presented during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, May 16th-19th.

The Nebula Awards, presented annually, recognize the best works of science fiction and fantasy published in the previous year. They are selected by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The first Nebula Awards were presented in 1966.

The Nebula Awards include four fiction awards, a game writing award, the Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book. SFWA also administers the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Awards, the Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award, and the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.

I list all the WINNERS and the novel finalists, below.

The 2018 Nebula Award Winners

Best Novel winner:
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, published by Tor

Best Novella winner:
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard, published by Subterranean Press

Best Novelette winner:
“The Only Harmless Great Thing” by Brooke Bolander, published by Tor.com

Best Short Story winner:
“The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” by P. Djèlí Clark, published by Fireside Magazine

Ray Bradbury Award winner:
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse written by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman

Andre Norton Award winner:
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, published by Henry Holt and Macmillan UK

Best Game Writing winner: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch by Charlie Brooker, published by House of Tomorrow and Netflix

Solstice Award:
Neil Clarke and Nisi Shawl

Kevin J. O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award:
Lee Martindale

Damon Knight Grand Master:
William Gibson

this list, the image credits for the banner, above, and logo, below, are from: https://nebulas.sfwa.org/the-2018-nebula-award-winners/

Nebula logo

2018 Nebula Award Finalists

Novel

WINNER: The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)

The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager US; Harper Voyager UK)

Blackfish City, Sam J. Miller (Ecco; Orbit UK)

Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Macmillan)

Witchmark, C.L. Polk (Tor.com Publishing)

Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)


BTW: the WINNER of the

The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book

Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi, had already been commissioned to be made into a feature-length film last February, prior to being nominated!


For indepth analysis, opinions, covers, all the winners in all categories and more, from the Science-Fiction and Fantasy Blog of Barnes & Noble:

The Winners of the 2018 Nebula Awards Are Stellar

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/the-winners-of-the-2018-nebula-awards-are-stellar/

by May 18, 2019

 

#Ebooks #Smashwords 10th Annual 2nd Annual End-of-Year Sale FINAL Days! #Free, 50 – 75% off! Through 1/1/19

#Ebooks #Smashwords 2nd Annual End-of-Year Sale FINAL Days!
#Free, 50 – 75% off! Through 1/1/19

logoAuthorsDen
The Spanners Series first three Volumes of utopian science-fiction/romance by Sally Ember, Ed.D. are on sale NOW! Proud member of Clean Indie Reads #CR4U and Fantasy and Science-Fiction Network #FSFnet

The Spanners Series‘ cover art and logo by WillowRaven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

Smashwords is having its 2nd Annual End-of-Year Sale and The Spanners Series‘ ebooks in every format (reader’s choice) are on sale for 3 more days only!
free (Volume I)
only $2.99 (Volume II) COUPON CODE for Volume II, good on Smashwords, only, 12/25/18–1/1/19: SEY25
only $2.00 (Volume III) COUPON CODE for Volume III, good on Smashwords, only, 12/25/18–1/1/19: SEY50

(usually $3.99 each for ebooks) for the the month of July, 2018! See below for links and more info.

And, go browse on Smashwords for other great discounts and sales for the month of July, 2018!

Whether you’re sweating, freezing, rained or snowed on or anywhere in between, there is still time to READ!
Give ebooks for gifts for birthdays, graduations, holidays, anniversaries, vacations: any time!

The paperbacks of all three Volumes are in the Kindle Match/Kindle Matchbook program at Amazon!
See below for links, details and coupon codes (on Smashwords, only) for each of the Volumes.

SpannersVolume1coverfinal
This Changes Everything, Vol. I, The Spanners Series

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are.

Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Chief Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions.

In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

Are YOU ready for the changes?

Volume I, This Changes Everything:
Ebooks are PERMAFREE on Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197
and Amazon: http://www.amzn.com/B00HFELTG8 

These paperbacks are in the Kindle Match program on Amazon. This means that if you purchase both the ebook and its paperback counterpart (in this case, download Volume I for free), you get a discount for the total package. Vol I Amazon link: http://www.amzn.com/B00HFELTG8

Spannersvolume2coverfinal
This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol. II, The Spanners Series

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

How would YOU do with the changes?

Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever:
EBOOKS now $2.99, 25% off the regular price of $3.99, using COUPON CODE SEY25 on Smashwords, any ebook format (reader’s choice).

These paperbacks are in the Kindle Match/Kindle Matchbook program on Amazon. This means that if you purchase both the ebook and its paperback counterpart, you get a discount for the total package. Vol II Amazon link:: http://www.amzn.com/B00KU5Q7KC

Spannersvolume3coverfinal
This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Vol. III, The Spanners Series

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back in This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III of The Spanners Series. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them to make difficult choices across multiple timelines, continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact? If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do YOU do with wanted/unwanted changes?

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change:
EBOOKS now $2.00, 50% off the regular price of $3.99, using COUPON CODE SEY50 on Smashwords, any ebook format (reader’s choice).

These paperbacks are in the Kindle Match/Kindle Matchbook program on Amazon. This means that if you purchase both the ebook and its paperback counterpart, you get a discount for the total package. Vol III Amazon link:: http://www.amzn.com/B0177Z1KRM

3 paperbacks
The Spanners Series‘ three paperbacks.


Print editions and ebooks published under Timult Books

logo Timult Books


REVIEWERS: Ask for FREE Ebook coupon codes for Volumes II and III on Smashwords any time: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com


For more information about Sally Ember, Ed.D., her bio, books, blog, video talk show (CHANGES conversations between authors), guest blog posts and guidelines, links to author interviews, book trailers and more: http://www.sallyember.com

JULY SALE’s Last Day! #Smashwords “The Spanners Series” #ebooks free, 75%, 50% off & #CreateSpace #paperbacks 25% off for the rest of July!

JULY SALE’s Last Day! #Smashwords The Spanners Series’ #ebooks free, 75%, 50% off & #CreateSpace #paperbacks 25% ENDS TODAY, 7/31/17!

Smashwords Logo

logo-createspace

logoAuthorsDen
The Spanners Series first three Volumes of utopian science-fiction/romance by Sally Ember, Ed.D. are on sale NOW! Proud member of Clean Indie Reads #CR4U and Fantasy and Science-Fiction Network #FSFnet

The Spanners Series‘ cover art and logo by WillowRaven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

Smashwords is having its annual July Summer/Winter Sale and The Spanners Series‘ ebooks in every format (reader’s choice) are either
free (Volume I) or
only $1.00 (Volume III) COUPON CODE for Volume III, good on Smashwords, only, 7/1 – 31/17: VE86U or
only $2.00 (Volume II) COUPON CODE for Volume II, good on Smashwords, only, 7/1 – 31/17: YX27E
(usually $3.99 each for ebooks) for the entire month! See below for links and more info.

And, go browse on Smashwords for other great discounts and sales for all of July!

Whether you’re sweating, freezing, rained or snowed on or anywhere in between, there is still time to READ!
Give books for gifts for birthdays, graduations, holidays, anniversaries, vacations: any time!

The paperbacks of all three Volumes are at 25% off on CreateSpace! See below for details and coupon codes for each of the Volumes.

SpannersVolume1coverfinal
This Changes Everything, Vol. I, The Spanners Series

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are.

Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Chief Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. 

In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

Are YOU ready for the changes?

Volume I, This Changes Everything:
Ebooks are PERMAFREE on Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197
and Amazon: http://www.amzn.com/B00HFELTG8   

Paperbacks are now $13.49, 25% off the regular price of $17.99, on CreateSpace, using coupon code H93664AM: https://www.createspace.com/5837347 

Spannersvolume2coverfinal
This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol. II, The Spanners Series

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

How would YOU do with the changes?

Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever:
EBOOKS now $1.00, 75% off the regular price of $3.99, on Smashwords, any ebook format (reader’s choice), using coupon code YX27E on: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  

Paperbacks are now $14.99, 25% off the regular price of $19.99 on CreateSpace using coupon code H93664AM: https://www.createspace.com/5844431  

Spannersvolume3coverfinal
This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Vol. III, The Spanners Series

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back in This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III of The Spanners Series. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them to make difficult choices across multiple timelines, continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact? If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do YOU do with wanted/unwanted changes?

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change:
EBOOKS now $1.00, 75% off the regular price of $3.99, on Smashwords, any ebook format (reader’s choice), using coupon code VE86U: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/588331

Paperbacks are now $14.99, 25% off the regular price of $19.99 on CreateSpace using coupon code H93664AM: https://www.createspace.com/5844474

3 paperbacks
The Spanners Series‘ three paperbacks on CreateSpace


Print editions and ebooks published under Timult Books

logo Timult Books


REVIEWERS: Ask for FREE Ebook coupon codes for Volumes II and III on Smashwords any time: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com


For more information about Sally Ember, Ed.D., her bio, books, blog, video talk show (CHANGES conversations between authors), guest blog posts and guidelines, links to author interviews, book trailers and more: http://www.sallyember.com

JULY SALE’s Final Week! #Smashwords “The Spanners Series'” #ebooks free, 75%, 50% off; &, #CreateSpace #paperbacks 25% off for the rest of July!

JULY SALE’s Final Week! #Smashwords The Spanners Series’ #ebooks free, 75%, 50% off & #CreateSpace #paperbacks 25% off for the rest of July!

Smashwords Logo

logo-createspace

logoAuthorsDen
The Spanners Series first three Volumes of utopian science-fiction/romance by Sally Ember, Ed.D. are on sale NOW! Proud member of Clean Indie Reads #CR4U and Fantasy and Science-Fiction Network #FSFnet

The Spanners Series‘ cover art and logo by WillowRaven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

Smashwords is having its annual July Summer/Winter Sale and The Spanners Series‘ ebooks in every format (reader’s choice) are either
free (Volume I) or
only $1.00 (Volume III) COUPON CODE for Volume III, good on Smashwords, only, 7/1 – 31/17: VE86U or
only $2.00 (Volume II) COUPON CODE for Volume II, good on Smashwords, only, 7/1 – 31/17: YX27E
(usually $3.99 each for ebooks) for the entire month! See below for links and more info.

And, go browse on Smashwords for other great discounts and sales for all of July!

Whether you’re sweating, freezing, rained or snowed on or anywhere in between, there is still time to READ!
Give books for gifts for birthdays, graduations, holidays, anniversaries, vacations: any time!

The paperbacks of all three Volumes are at 25% off on CreateSpace! See below for details and coupon codes for each of the Volumes.

SpannersVolume1coverfinal
This Changes Everything, Vol. I, The Spanners Series

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are.

Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Chief Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. 

In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

Are YOU ready for the changes?

Volume I, This Changes Everything:
Ebooks are PERMAFREE on Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197
and Amazon: http://www.amzn.com/B00HFELTG8   

Paperbacks are now $13.49, 25% off the regular price of $17.99, on CreateSpace, using coupon code H93664AM: https://www.createspace.com/5837347 

Spannersvolume2coverfinal
This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol. II, The Spanners Series

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

How would YOU do with the changes?

Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever:
EBOOKS now $1.00, 75% off the regular price of $3.99, on Smashwords, any ebook format (reader’s choice), using coupon code YX27E on: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  

Paperbacks are now $14.99, 25% off the regular price of $19.99 on CreateSpace using coupon code H93664AM: https://www.createspace.com/5844431  

Spannersvolume3coverfinal
This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Vol. III, The Spanners Series

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back in This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III of The Spanners Series. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them to make difficult choices across multiple timelines, continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact? If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do YOU do with wanted/unwanted changes?

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change:
EBOOKS now $1.00, 75% off the regular price of $3.99, on Smashwords, any ebook format (reader’s choice), using coupon code VE86U: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/588331

Paperbacks are now $14.99, 25% off the regular price of $19.99 on CreateSpace using coupon code H93664AM: https://www.createspace.com/5844474

3 paperbacks
The Spanners Series‘ three paperbacks on CreateSpace


Print editions and ebooks published under Timult Books

logo Timult Books


REVIEWERS: Ask for FREE Ebook coupon codes for Volumes II and III on Smashwords any time: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com


For more information about Sally Ember, Ed.D., her bio, books, blog, video talk show (CHANGES conversations between authors), guest blog posts and guidelines, links to author interviews, book trailers and more: http://www.sallyember.com

Re-issued & Updated: “#Utopian #Sci-fi/ #Speculative Fiction: Why it’s Intriguing and Necessary”

My guest blog post on Tonya R. Moore‘s Sci-Fi site from July, 2014, re-issued/ updated today!

#Utopian #Sci-fi/ #Speculative Fiction: Why it’s Intriguing and Necessary

utopia3.inline vertical

image from http://www.nypl.org (New York Public Library)

Writers are often exhorted to “write the books we want to read,” especially when they seem not to exist, yet. I am following that advice with The Spanners Series. I know what I want to read and what I can’t find because I am a life-long, avid reader. I have probably read hundreds of thousands of books in my 60 years of reading independently and quickly, sometimes enjoying ten books a week. If I say that books like mine—–more utopian sci-fi/speculative fiction series like The Spanners—–don’t yet exist, I’m probably correct.

However, there is a long history of utopian sci-fi that spawned speculative fiction and inspired technological and biological/ medical breakthroughs/ inventions and social and political change over many centuries. Ann Grindley’s article from May, 2014, http://www.fact.co.uk/news-articles/2014/05/utopia,-limited-what-can-sci-fi-tell-us-about-our-future.aspx, “Utopia, Limited: What can sci fi tell us about our future?” offered these insights:

Civilisations that do demonstrate utopian qualities have surpassed our view on money, weaponry and material wealth and anxiety. They have matured past our inequalities and share a common goal. This goal is usually scientific, in a sense that they have discovered, created, and utilise technology which unites people globally.

I don’t know which “civilisations” Ann Grindley referred to, but I’d like to find them!

Grindley seemed to be quite supportive of my intentions when she stated: “I’d like to think utopia still requires creativity and pleasure through art, although maybe utopians won’t need escapism.”

Grindley also verbalized my heartfelt wish: “It is wonderful how even in our social and political density and under-development, that we can imagine an idyllic and model world…” But then, she recognized the possibility that “our ideas of utopian and dystopian futures are only limited to our current knowledge and understanding, and perhaps that is why, in reality, we’re yet to achieve the fantasy; the fiction in our science. Perhaps utopia is beyond our imagination as well as our means.”

Well, perhaps our imagination is not that limited! Check out these sci-fi/ speculative fiction inventions and ideas that have become “real” as researched by Annalee Newitz, from March, 2014: http://io9.com/7-utopias-that-changed-the-future-1541411068. Newitz described several utopian sci-fi books whose ideas or inventions have influenced our lives directly, including:

Communism by Karl Marx
“Marx’s powerful vision…inspired coups, union movements, and even hippie communes….Pop versions of Communism inspired many ‘soft’ revolutions in the uprisings of the 1960s,… often inspiring positive social changes and greater freedoms.”

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Herland is a lost island nation where everyone is equal, goods are plentiful, and war is unknown. It is an enlightened, scientifically advanced society where everyone is educated and healthy…[and it is all] run and populated entirely by women…. This idea, that woman leaders would create a far less cruel and authoritarian world than men have, has influenced everything from philosophy to feminist politics.”

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World…[influenced] the Occupy movement, which is in part a rebellion against capitalist societies that try to distract people with happy consumerism, instead of addressing problems with the disparity between rich and poor.”

Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry
“Freed from the need for money and from the horrors of war, humans in the Star Trek universe devote their lives to exploration or productive work that is freely chosen. But of course, Star Trek‘s vision is almost as old as Thomas More’s. The Enterprise is a lot like the Isle of Utopia, with elements of de Toqueville’s America, Marx’s Communism, and even Gilman’s Herland thrown in.”

Newitz summed up the utility of utopian sci-fi so perfectly: “Utopia, after all, has always been a fiction. But it’s one that can inspire us to change our worlds —sometimes, if we’re lucky, in a way that brings us just a little closer to our ideals.”

In her list, Newitz, of course, included:

Utopia by Thomas More
“Thomas More was a British writer who invented the word ‘utopia’ — from a Greek pun that means both ‘no place’ and ‘good place’ — for this book about his idea of the perfect society. Published in 1516, the book is about a man who has returned from the Isle of Utopia, where many of England’s social ills don’t exist.”

Just to prove the point—that sci-fi and speculative fiction continue to influence us—let’s go further into more specifics from this ground-breaking novel with these fascinating recognitions, from Charlie Jane Anders, “Things from Thomas More’s Utopia That Have Come True Today” http://io9.com/5967561/things-from-thomas-mores-utopia-that-have-come-true-today:

—Before getting married, you should see your partner naked.
—Divorce is allowed for a married couple who ‘do not well agree.
—You’re under constant surveillance…….there’s no private property and everybody works for the common good when they’re not farming…
—Utopians eat in public….[which] basically means they eat out. All the time.
—Criminals are marked for life.
—Euthanasia is supported and even encouraged
—Husbands and wives go to war together.

In fact, we owe the term “utopia” to Thomas More! According to: http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/utopias: “…[More] derived the word from ‘outopia’ (no place) rather than ‘eutopia’ (good place)….It can be argued that all utopias are sf, in that they are exercises in hypothetical sociology and political science….[A] significant shift in utopian thought took place when writers changed from talking about a better place (eutopia) to talking about a better time (euchronia)….[U]topias ceased to be imaginary constructions with which contemporary society might be compared, and began to be speculative statements about real future possibilities…”

I agree wholeheartedly with this, and sadly agree with this opinion as well: “[Some authors set out to show that] all utopian schemes are absurd, and that real people could not live in them.”

I think this explains a lot, particularly the reasons that dystopias are so much more prevalent in sci-fi: it’s easier to write about disaster and failure than to imagine what could actually work out for the best, since we almost never see “the best” occur IRL [In Real Life].

One researcher claimed: “Genre sf has never been strongly utopian…. they were often small enclaves facing imminent destruction”

I hold out for members of this “small enclave” to become leaders and inspirations in every generation.

These and others recognize the dilemmas we utopian writers of sci-fi and speculative fiction face: “The necessity for works of fiction to be dramatic and the fact that workable plots require conflict inhibit the use of sf to display utopian schemes.” I face this problem in my current series.

Because I don’t want to depict a lot of death, destruction, violence, apocalyptic futures and heartache, many readers request and editors demand that my series “show more conflict.” I resist. I do mention it and refer to it, but most of it happens off-camera, in the wings, so to speak, or in conversations between two or more characters rather than the ways most sci-fi authors and screenwriters choose to depict conflicts.

I can’t be the only one who is bored and disgusted by dystopias’ ubiquitous conflicts—large-scale, CGI “wars” and “battles,” martial arts “fights” resplendent with wires to create impossible acrobatics, and car or other vehicle chases—awful, because they supplant character development, plot depth and actual emotions. Am I wrong?

Unfortunately, dystopian futures abound in both fantasy and sci-fi. Most genre writers, even those that include romance in their stories, choose to depict increasingly worsening conditions on and around this planet and across their universes. In some imaginary incipient time, their “visions” of our future pile on the violence, showing increasing discord, more political and social unrest, deaths and destruction even worse than we have now.

We already have too much awfulness IRL for me to want to read about even worse to come.

Enough, already!

Fortunately, I am in good company. Conferences, seminars, webinars, zines and print currently devote a lot of time/space to these topics. I am encouraged, for example, by this exhortation to writers like me from a panel http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/women-remember-a-roundtable-interview/ moderated by Mary Robinette Kowal with Ursula K. Le Guin, Pat Cadigan, Ellen Datlow, and Nancy Kress, given in June, 2014, in which Kowal summed it up: “We write science fiction and imagine the future we want to live in. We want that future now.”

Kowal went on to say: “Seeing how the field has changed gives me perspective on the future that I’m living in and, hopefully, will help women writing today continue to destroy science fiction for subsequent generations of writers.”

Even more approval flows to us writers of utopian sci-fi when I saw that a July, 2014, Science-Fiction Symposium from the World Futures Society http://www.wfs.org had listed these events:

A. Panel Session: “Fiction as a Futuring Tool,” featuring Madeline Ashby, Trevor Haldenby, Glen Hiemstra, and Tom Lombardo. “The work of science fiction writers and futurists often informs, sometimes predicts, and occasionally affects the future.”

B. Panel discussion: “Hacking into Utopia: The Future of Optimistic Innovation,” featuring Ramez Naam (moderator), Gray Scott, Lindsea Wilbur, and Kevin Russell. “Science fiction writers have been talking about utopian futures for a long time. What are young writers and innovators doing right now to create such a future?”

C. Panel discussion: “What Current Science Fiction should Futurists Read?” featuring Vicki Stein (moderator) Glen Hiemstra, Brenda Cooper, Madeline Ashby, and Brad Aiken.

I wish I could have attended and I wished that they had put the discussions, above, online.

I believe we need some hope, ideas of how else things could go, whether or not I always believe they will take these turns. I am imagining routes for improvement for the entire multiverse.

I am not alone in believing in a more perfect future that, due to simultaneous time, is already “here.” Gray Scott, Futurist/Founder of SERIOUS WONDER™, http://www.seriouswonder.com/about/ and http://www.seriouswonder.com/category/scifi/, has this tagline on his website: “The future has already happened and technology is just the echo bouncing back at humanity.“ 

His “think-tank” self-describes in this way:

SERIOUS WONDER is a progressive future concept and technology website. We are obsessed with the future. Our mission is to bring our readers the best in futuristic ideas, technology, robotics, science, techno-philosophy, psychology, space travel, and modern concept design. Intense curiosity, positive intention and inspired imagination can transform our future. This future will be more magical and abundant than anyone could ever imagine. We are constantly looking for innovation and optimistic wonder. The future is our passion.

The future IS now!

Donna Dickens listed “science-fiction becomes science-fact” from 2012:
—Quadriplegic Uses Her Mind to Control Her Robotic Arm
—Stem Cells Could Extend Human Life by Over 100 Years

And, from 2013:
—Two rats have their brains telepathically linked.
—Portable device allows users to see through walls.
—Program allows user to remotely move objects with their hands.
—The world’s first fully mind-controlled synthetic leg goes for a stroll.

If you like these “Science-Fiction-Becomes-Science-Facts” lists? Check out this great chart/ infographic:
http://io9.gizmodo.com/all-the-times-science-fiction-became-science-fact-in-on-1570282491

Here are some compelling reasons we need and want to have such optimistic creativity from writers of sci-fi:

The value of science fiction has been also recognised in the rise of a new method for designing technology, called design fiction. If science fiction stimulates the imagination about extraordinary views of the future, design fiction explores the futures that ordinary people would prefer. Design fictions—like short sci-fi films, prototypes and graphic novels—are provocative and engage people, encouraging them to envision, explain and raise questions about direction of future technology and society.

from https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/aug/13/science-fiction-reality-predicts-future-technology

Then, we have the incredible Raymond Kurzweil. I first read about him in Mike Floorwalker’s post from March, 2013: http://listverse.com/2013/03/15/10-ridiculously-specific-predictions-that-came-true/ Kurzweil is an inventor and a futurist who is also the Director of Engineering at Google. According to Floorwalker, Kurzweil has “made dozens of predictions over the several decades—–with an absolutely unbelievable rate of accuracy. Not only do Kurzweil’s predictions almost always come true, he usually can accurately predict WHEN they will come true.”

As if that’s not enough, “…[i]n his novel, The Age Of Intelligent Machines, Kurzweil predicted: the fall of the Soviet Union by 1991; a computer’s beating the best human players at chess by 2000; and, wireless Internet’s becoming practical for mainstream use in the early 21st century. In The Age Of Spiritual Machines (1999), Kurzweil predicted ebooks, facial recognition software, and nanotechnology…” among other things!

Floorwalker stunned me with these stats on Kurzweil: “Kurzweil stated that by 2009, 89 out of 108 predictions he had made were entirely correct. Of the rest, 13 were ‘essentially correct’—likely to come true within a few years. A re-evaluation in 2012 determined that Kurzweil’s prognostications are correct a ridiculous 86 percent of the time—and the good news is, this is a man who has predicted that it won’t be too long before we humans conquer death altogether.”

Kurzweil is beyond a genius: he reinforces the existence of simultaneous time. How else do you explain his timely “inventions” and uncanny “predictions”? Floorwalker informed us: “His inventions are numerous—–text reading software, speech-recognition devices—–and five of his novels have been bestsellers.”

We sci-fi writers should ALL be more like Kurzweil!

I like to believe that I am predicting, prognosticating, prophesying and foretelling, since my stories depict better times in every way. Even when things are “bad,” there is more “good” than bad. I am continuing my utopian illusions in The Spanners Series.

In my current and future multiverses, all communicative beings, including humans, will have more pervasive and lasting peace, better circumstances and conditions, and inner spiritual strengths that lead to harmonious living: we can have it all!

Speculative Fiction #Genres, According to one Jaded #Feminist

Speculative Fiction #Genres, According to one Jaded #Feminist (and two other, actual experts…)

Here are two great sources of info about the overall genre of Speculative Fiction (Spec Fic) and all its subgenres, (also the two main sources of the images, below):
About Speculative Fiction, from blogger/author, Sherry D. Ramsey at http://www.sherrydramsey.com/?page_id=1005; and,
The Difference between Speculative Fiction and Science-Fiction, from SPi Global, at http://www.spi-global.com/blog/cs-blog/the-difference-between-speculative-fiction-and-science-fiction/


from http://www.sherrydramsey.com/?page_id=1005

So, you don’t have to go by my jaded, biased, perhaps not entirely fair or accurate descriptions, below.

Also, check out many of the Spec Fic online and hard-copy ‘zines and subscription magazines that publish short stories, plays, graphic novels or excerpts, art, poetry, novellas and announcements, such as: Heliotrope: Online Speculative Fiction Magazine, http://www.heliotropemag.com/

JUST MY OPINIONS, below.

  • Science-Fiction (also known as sci-fi):
    ◙ Stories about what could be or might have been that feature science, tech, weaponry that does not exist (yet); mostly written by men and somewhat invisible women; mostly about men and almost invisible women; if in graphic novel form, the females are scantily clad for no apparent reason, while men are wearing body armor; mostly about men, with one or no female main characters, except to support or be loved by males.
    ◙ If part of a series, “good guys” do not prevail for the long-term but do win in skirmishes, until the end, which can be dystopian (no HEA–Happily Ever After) or partly HEA (at least, for the romantic component).
    ◙ If politically and/or social commentary-oriented, can illustrate the ways our current cultures are harsh (but accurate) regarding racist, species-ist, misogynistic practices and attitudes.
    ◙ Main characters can die, but usually not in the first parts of a series.


    from http://www.sherrydramsey.com/?page_id=1005

  • “Hard” Science-Fiction:
    ◙ Futuristic stories mostly about the male “heroes” (and steroid/testosterone-ridden women, cyborgs and robots) fighting alone or in groups against whom/whatever, using lots of weaponry and spaceships; see above, for costuming; mostly about men, with one or no central female main characters, except to support or be loved by males or inhabit computers.
    ◙ If part of a series, “good guys” do not prevail for the long-term but do win in skirmishes, until the end, which can be dystopian (no HEA–Happily Ever After) or partly HEA (at least, for the romantic component).
    ◙ If dystopian (typically), often includes destruction of one or more planet, victors’ having slaves, horrible classism and race/species discrimination and other awful plot points and outcomes.
    ◙ Main characters can die, but can be reborn into tech creatures. Often, a “space opera” that spans many years/centuries and vast expanses.


    from http://www.spi-global.com/blog/cs-blog/the-difference-between-speculative-fiction-and-science-fiction/

  • Steam-Punk Fantasy/Science-Fiction:
    ◙ Stories about what might have been or could be, written by both men and women; depicts women in low bodices, wearing corsets, and carrying fans; men have pocket watches, vests, and private (“public” in England) educations or tutors; everything is run by steam engines; characters are mostly Anglo and espouse or resist British/American Anglo upper- and middle-class Victorian values (e.g., either virginal or whorish women, class distinctions, elitist “manners,” rigidly gender-ized clothing); stories are mostly about men, with one or no central female main characters, except to support or be loved by males.
    ◙ If there are GLBT characters, they are usually depicted as deranged/homicidal, stereotypes, and/or objects of ridicule or pity. Rarely has human characters who are not Anglo (so I deliberately included a drawing that has males of color, here).
    ◙ Can include murders and other crimes in which females are the victims or need to be rescued.
    ◙ May not be clear who the “bad” guys are, at first (think, prostitute or crime lord with the “heart of gold”).
    ◙ Main characters cannot die unless already replaced by a successor.


    from https://writingcareer.com/black-power-the-superhero-anthology-is-seeking/

    This anthology, whose prototype cover is above, Black Power: Superheroes of Color, was released last month, February, 2017: https://thenerdsofcolor.org/2017/02/27/black-power-the-superhero-anthology/
    edited by Balogun Ojetade, with a great line-up of authors within it.

    Real cover:

  • Fantasy:
    ◙ Usually set in some pseudo-medieval or -Renaissance, Earth-like setting or Earth’s own possible past or present, but with talking animals, mythical creatures, imaginary creatures (e.g., fairies, gnomes, dwarves, trolls, dragons, giants, ogres, witches, warlocks, wizards); usually includes some kind of magic or pseudo-science mixed with magic; if there are non-human creatures, they are almost always male or overly glamorized females (large breasts, small waists, heavy make-up); could have human shape-shifters who usually become large predators (wolves, bears, lions, panthers, etc.); can have vampires, whose subplots usually include some kind of incapacitation and then sexual assault accompanying the blood-sucking, usually of women by both males and females.
    ◙ Always has “good guys” and “bad guys,” with the “good guys” prevailing in the end.
    ◙ Main characters cannot die unless already replaced by a successor.


    from http://www.sherrydramsey.com/?page_id=1005

  • High Fantasy:
    ◙ Similar to Fantasy, but with more court-like/royal characters and class conflicts/settings; usually some star-crossed royalty romance for the teen or young adult main characters that ends HEA (Happily Ever After); usually has dragons or other mythical creatures centrally featured; for specious reasons, characters often speak in upper-class British accents/styles and/or insert French- or Spanish-sounding words randomly; often heavily laced with sword fights, quests, riddles and other “tests” for the main characters (usually male), which they have to lose at least twice before becoming victorious (“getting the girl” is usually part of their “prize”).
    ◙ Duels are common.
    ◙ Usually HEA (Happily Ever After).
    ◙ Main characters cannot die unless they’re old or can become mythologized and/or unless already replaced by a successor.


    from the cover of Issue 5 of http://www.heliotropemag.com/

  • Urban Fantasy:
    ◙ Similar to Fantasy, but set in decaying cities; usually dystopian/post-apocalyptic; can blend magic with tech, though not as originally or interestingly as the author believes; not enough female characters and frequent fighting among the males; duels are common; cyborgs, androids, political and social tyrants, crime and criminals abound.
    ◙ Only HEA (Happily Ever After) for about 3 “beats,” then more fighting.
    ◙ “Good Guys” can be ethically challenged and compromised frequently.
    ◙ Main characters can die.


    from http://www.spi-global.com/blog/cs-blog/the-difference-between-speculative-fiction-and-science-fiction/

  • Dark Fantasy:
    ◙ Exactly like one or both of the above Fantasy genres, but with more sex (sometimes BDSM or hard-core porn, here); lots of blood, gore, fighting, elements of Horror, etc.; has conflicts that maim, kill off or otherwise harm the female characters severely, who then need to be rescued (when possible); hauntings, ghosts, evil from other dimensions and realms, summonings gone wrong and other horror-like elements can occur frequently, usually showing the main characters to be idiots; features ominous castles and fortresses a lot.
    ◙ Does not usually go with HEA (Happily Ever After) because the main characters get to be “happy” (have amazing sex and lie around together afterwards) for about 3 “beats” before someone tries to kill one or both of them.
    ◙ Main characters can be cursed, ensorceled and/or die.


    from http://wallpaper-gallery.net/wallpapers/dark-fantasy-wallpapers.html

  • Horror:
    ◙ Similar to Dark Fantasy or Dystopian Sci-Fi, but with more gore, blood, death, suspense, killing, maiming, scaring, scarring, psychological and physical trauma of all kinds as both the causes/ motivations and outcomes for the characters AND the readers (can you tell I do not read Horror?); often has demons, demonic forces, battles between “good” and “evil” embodied in various physical and spirit bodies.
    ◙ Doesn’t even think about including “Happy” endings, except as punctuation marks between disasters and/or parodies.
    ◙ Main characters can and do die, usually horrifically (pun intended).


    from http://www.spi-global.com/blog/cs-blog/the-difference-between-speculative-fiction-and-science-fiction/

  • Young Adult Speculative Fiction (usually known as YA Spec Fic):
    ◙ Usually dystopian, futuristic Sci-fi or Fantasy; features an abundance of orphans or single-parent-raised main characters; usually has one female for every two male main characters; often includes a plot/characterization that starts with the MC as an undistinguished, low-living, bullied, betrayed, enslaved or harried young person who then experiences the uncovering of special powers or previously unknown importance revealed in the first few chapters.
    ◙ Big on “destiny,” “fate,” “saving the world” and such…really, the MCs are attempting to help only a small number of beings within or a local geographic section of their/”our” world.
    ◙ Can be leaning more toward Fantasy or Sci-fi or blend both.
    ◙ Main characters can die, but usually only within an extended series; most do not.
    NOTE: YA Spec Fic is probably the best source among all Spec Fic subgenres for finding stories that feature people of color, those with disabilities or who are neuro-atypical, queer and other non-mainstream main characters and sidekicks.


image from a guest post by Julia Ember (no relation) on Jamie Kramer’s Books and Ladders blog, http://booksandladders.blogspot.com/2016/06/guestpost-unicorn-tracks-by-julia-ember.html


I told you I was jaded. I am not the only one, by any means. The following quote and analysis (please read entire article; link below) sums up my major complaints perfectly:

[Spec Fic is] not just about shiny, phallic rocket ships populated by deep-in-the-closet Aryan brethren conquering the Final Frontier, people. It’s about different futures, alternate realities, dangerous fantasies. You’d think such places, where dragons dwell, would be heavily populated with equally unusual people, but nope. Looks like everybody important there is white, male, anglophone and straight. Not to mention perfectly healthy physically and mentally.

—penned by Paula R. Stiles, “Diversity in Speculative Fiction,” on http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/non-fiction/articles/diversity-in-speculative-fiction/, from the Dec., 2016 (Issue 60) – People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy! Special Issue [NOTE: “Fantasy Magazine has merged with its sister publication, Lightspeed, so this site will no longer be updated with new content. However, the fiction and interviews you would have found here at Fantasy will now be part of Lightspeed, so please sign up for our newsletter (sent out once or twice a month) to receive updates about the release of new issues of Lightspeed Magazine, news about the magazine, and more.”]
——-Lightspeed Magazine also published, starting in 2014, Queers Destroy… each of the subgenres (Fantasy, Horror, Fantasy), starting with Science-Fiction Special Issues, which you can find out about here: http://www.destroysf.com/queers/
And, on that same page, they have links to their POC [People of Color] Destroy… series of Special Issues for each subgenre (Fantasy, Horror, Fantasy)


2015’s Queers Destroy Science-Fiction cover

—Women are at the forefront of these critiques and do them so well, I have so many to choose from. Here is another, from an interview conducted by Alexandra Alter with N. K. Jemisin [Jemisin was the the first African-American writer and the first woman of color to win a Hugo Award for “best novel” (others have won for short fiction)], “N. K. Jemisin on Diversity in Science-Fiction and Inspiration From Dreams,” published by the New York Times (!?) on https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/25/books/n-k-jemisin-on-diversity-in-science-fiction-and-inspiration-from-dreams.html?_r=0
Jemisin says she “decided to focus on an oppressive society at the macro scale and what that society does to individuals” in her spec fic novels. Why? Because “a woman of color from an impoverished culture, being brought up among wealthy, privileged white people and having to cope and perform in ways that she has not been raised to do… was obviously drawn from some personal experiences. I do that in everything — explorations of power, identity and belonging.”

—Another great article, “Genrequeer,” by Theodore McCombs at http://www.fictionunbound.com/blog/2016/4/6/genrequeer, offers this excellent insight: “To make space for black achievement and transcendence, speculative fiction lets us change all the rules that should never have been rules in the first place.”


So, there is a lot of hope for increasing diversity, better representation of women and girls, more interesting stories and compelling ways to resolve conflicts than wars and violence in the Spec Fic genre and all its subgenres, with dozens of websites, groups and other resources to help us find them.

Here are some:
—The Black Science Fiction Society: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com


Logo from Black Science Fiction Society website, 2017

—The Speculative Literature Foundation offers “Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds Grants …The two $500 awards support any purpose that writer recipients may choose to benefit their work.”
FMI: http://speculativeliterature.org/ and a resource list of orgs for writers of Spec Fic: http://speculativeliterature.org/writers-resources-2/writers/writers-organizations-2/

African-American Sci-Fi: http://www.africanamericansciencefiction.com/

Latino Spec Fic: http://www.latinospeculativefiction.com/, which published Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction and Fantasy, which “is the first anthology to bring together U.S. Latinos/as who are working in science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative genres”; edited by Matthew David Goodwin.


Cover of Latino@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction and Fantasy

—Two other not-so-recent anthologies: Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (2005), edited by Sheree R. Thomas, and Cosmos Latinos: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Latin America and Spain (2003), edited by Andrea L. Bell and Yolanda Molina-Gavilán, which “showcase African-American and (mostly) Spanish-speaking spec-fic writers, respectively.”

—Check out writers in the sub-category of Afrofuturism, which is defined in Wikipedia: “Afrofuturism addresses themes and concerns of the African diaspora through a technoculture and science-fiction lens, encompassing a range of media and artists with a shared interest in envisioning black futures that stem from Afrodiasporic experiences.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrofuturism

Tracy Mumford, about a year ago, wrote, in: “‘We want to hear new voices’: Diversity in sci-fi and fantasy” for https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/04/05/books-diversity-in-sci-fi-and-fantasy [as part of The Thread newsletter, which I recommend you sign up for right now (on that page)], some great commentary about those topics.
This article also has a great recommended reading list, curated during and prior to 2015, mostly, of diverse writers’ work in spec fic.

—Queer Sci-Fi has so much to offer, now, and via so many sites. Here is one website that may list the majority of them and offers more resources, besides: https://queerscifi.com/


Weigh in, please. I’d love to have great discussions, here, about other elements of Spec Fic and intersectionality (the places that social identities overlap and in which we analyze privilege, oppression and efforts to effect change). What have I left out, got wrong, etc.?

I’d love to hear from you. I also welcome Guest Bloggers (see my site for Guidelines): http://www.sallyember.com/

Look who’s included in “Sci-Fi Women Interviews: The 2016 Collection,” by Natacha Guyot!

Look who’s included in “Sci-Fi Women Interviews: The 2016 Collection,” by Natacha Guyot!

Thanks, again, Natacha, for including me in your roster of #women #scifi #authors for 2016 and now, in this compendium of your interviews as a #free #ebook on #Smashwords (which has all ebook formats available for download).

Download your copy today! https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/710894

The 2016’s women science-fiction authors Natacha interviewed and put into this book:

December 2016: Kate M. Colby

November 2016: Tonya R. Moore

October 2016: Alison Berrios

September 2016: Tracy Gardner

August 2016: Marie Bilodeau

July 2016: D. Wallace Peach

June 2016: Philippa Ballantine

May 2016: Amanda Ward

April 2016: Diana Gordon

March 2016: Sally Ember

February 2016: Jennifer A. Miller

January 2016: Robin Rivera and Heather Jackson

Visit Natacha’s website and read more of her work and blog: http://natachaguyot.org
She also has another compilation ebook and an ebook of some of her #feminist blog posts in another compilation on Smashwords, plus, the individual archives of her 2015’s interviews and the beginning two months’ worth of 2017’s interviews on her website.

“Natacha Guyot is a French researcher, author and public speaker. She holds two Master’s degrees: Film and Media Studies (Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle) and Digital Culture and Technology (King’s College London). Her main fields of interest are Science-fiction, Gender Studies, Children’s Media and Fan Studies. Besides her nonfiction work, she also writes Science-Fiction and Fantasy stories.”

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science -Fiction Writers, First Installment

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, First Installment
JULY 28, 2016 to JULY 30, 2016

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the first installment.

For any terms or concepts I don’t define or which I define poorly, please refer to: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/glossary.html

I don’t have any more than what I’m posting, here. Physicists: please add, comment, correct, elaborate, explain! Thanks!

NOTE: the superscripted and subscripted numbers and letters won’t copy/paste correctly here; sorry.


Session I, Professor Steve Rolston, Ph.D.

A. Measuring diameter by diffraction
the smaller the diameter of the hair, the greater the distance from the hair to each point of diffraction, and therefore, light is a wave

B. electrons eject from light and become collectible as charged particles when light bounces off a hard (metallic) surface, becoming photoelectric or photovoltaic

light color shows the frequency, so “yes” = blue”; “no” = red

materials also cause variations in the number of electrons emitted, so light is particles/ photons (corpuscles, in old language)

C. frequency = the inverse of wavelength

Planck’s constant is usually written as “h,” but if the reference/formula already includes h/2π, then the “h” represents that and gets a diagonal bar across its stem, “ħ” and is called “h bar

FORMULA: 6.626 * 10-34 m2 kg/s = h
(VERY SMALL number)

this refers to frequency at varying temperatures

E. a micron = 1 millionth of a meter; a human hair is about 30 – 80 microns in width

F. Lasers are usually emitting a single color of light at 10K watts, brightly focused
an incandescent light bulb is emitting about 100 watts and many colors, so this is called incoherent light

G. photons could be interacting but physicists can’t measure, observe or predict any of their interactions (yet), so physicists say that photons “do not interact”

Session II, Professor Chad Orzel, Ph.D.

A. http://dogphysics.com = his website
he handed out diffraction slides (grading)

B. Energy per photon depends on frequency

FORMULA: E*photon = hv

C. Particles have wave nature (atoms, molecules, photons, electrons, neutrons, positrons)

D. Excited gases are heated or electrified to move more quickly

E. every element emits and absorbs light uniquely, which is one way to identify them, even when they are isotopes (missing one or more electrons, and therefore “charged ions”)

F. there is a simple mathematical pattern to all light on the known spectrum (each color makes discrete “lines”)

G. Rutherford effect: scattering/deflecting pattern, “back-scattering,” occurs when using “alpha” particles, e.g., heavy atomic particles
light atomic particles, e.g., nucleus of Helium, do not have this

H. Use the Planck constant to explain energy differences between frequencies of light

FORMULA: hf = E1 – E2

I. mass (m) * velocity (v) = linear momentum

J. angular momentum = spinning or orbiting

FORMULA: MeVeR = n * h/2π

R = orbit; n = an integer; M = mass

K. electrons emit X-rays

L. wavelength, from de Broglie, λ = an object and this formula shows how to calculate its angular momentum

FORMULA: λ = h/p

M. Electron waves = the way electrons wrap around the atom’s orbital pattern

N. Standing waves = peaks and valleys of or a bit that is repeated and fixed, from start = finish
if number of peaks are high enough, then these can create a pattern

O. stringed instruments’ pitch is created by the frequency of standing waves, and are adjusted by changing the start or finish point (loosening or tightening one end of the string’s attachment pin)

P. electrons as particles behave as waves when there are high enough numbers create a pattern

Q. random numbers can be generated/derived from background radiation, which are the decay patterns of the atomic isotopes

R. molecules behave like waves, as do all other particles, even those without mass
electrons, protons and neutrons have mass
photons have no mass and always move at the speed of light (c)

S. Stanford University has an interferomoter

T. bigger objects have smaller wavelengths (a dog running has wavelengths to its running pattern of about 10-35

U. wavelength graphs become blobs because peaks of waves are touching on the paper/surface we use to show them

V. everything physical vibrates/oscillates

W. even when separated by ½ a meter , very large atoms resume wave behavior when reunited (there is no permanent divorce possible within an atom’s parts)


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
Chad Orzel, Union College
Emily Edwards, JQI
Steve Rolston, JQI

Organizing Institutions
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Sponsoring Institutions
This workshop was made possible by a Public Outreach and Informing the Public grant from the American Physical Society (APS) and support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Location
Joint Quantum Institute
2136 Physical Sciences Complex
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
USA

How did I get to go?
I applied in March and was accepted in April!

The Schrödinger Sessions II was the second of two (first was 2015) three-day (2.5 days, really) sets of seminars, Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, offering a “crash course” in modern physics for non-scientists who utilize physics and other sciences in our work and wish to do it better. It was held at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), one of the world’s leading research centers for the study of quantum mechanics. [The organizers kept their promises to] introduce participants to phenomena like superposition, entanglement, and quantum information through a series of lectures by JQI and NIST scientists and tours of JQI laboratories. [They most certainly DID] inform and inspire new stories [and sharing information, like this] in print, on screen, and in electronic media, that will in turn inspire a broad audience to learn more about the weird and fascinating science of quantum physics and the transformative technologies it enables.

The workshop was held at JQI from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30, 2016. Participants were housed locally at a university dorm with breakfast offered at a dining commons near the dorm and lunch provided at the workshop, which was at the Physical Sciences building. Evenings were free to allow participants to explore the Washington, D.C. area (but I was much too tired at each day’s end to do any exploring).

Participants were selected on the basis of an application asking about personal background, interest, and publication history. [Organizers worked] work to ensure the greatest possible diversity of race and gender as well as type of media (print, television, etc.) with an eye toward reaching the broadest audience. Applications were accepted online from March 1 through March 20, 2015, and acceptance decisions were made around April 15, 2015.

FYI: Next year, 2017, JQI plans to offer a similar seminar for a different professoinal group, Physics for Journalists, and then, pending funding, re-offer this same session as I attended, Physics for Sci-Fi Writers, in the summer of 2018.

Watch this space for more of my notes, reactions and ideas catalyzed by these great seminars, after 8/8/16! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

Why I #write utopian, #Buddhist-infused, #multiverse #scifi/rom #novels & why you should #read & share them.

Reposted from 10/30/13 and 2/5/15

Writers are often exhorted to write the books we want to read that seem not to exist, yet. I am following that advice with The Spanners Series, especially Volume I, This Changes Everything, which is now PERMAFREE, and also with subsequent volumes (Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, released 6/9/14; look for Volumes III and IV in 2015).

I am an avid reader and have probably read hundreds of thousands of books in my 56 years of reading independently and quickly, sometimes devouring ten books a week. If I say books like mine—a series like The Spanners—don’t yet exist, I’m probably correct.

logoAuthorsDen
All buy links, reviews, interviews, readings and more: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners Look right; scroll down.

Why am I writing #science-fiction/#romance, #Buddhist-infused, #multiverse/#multiple timelines #utopian #novels besides the reason already given? And, why should you read them? Because we live in a deteriorating, or degenerating Age, according to #Tibetan Buddhists (and probably many others I’m not bothering to research right now).

When I first hear this claim, I disbelieve it. Aren’t most things “improving” for humanity? Modern medicine, technology, transportation, knowledge of all types: in the 20th and 21st centuries, we are experiencing incontrovertible advances, mind-blowing progress, right? Plus, that POV is just such a downer!

Why would the Buddha’s followers propose and then Buddhist teachers and scholars maintain such a doom-and-gloom perspective on life? It’s not enough that Buddha focused his teachings on suffering and impermanence? Most Buddhists must be depressed: that’s what I thought.

I could understand why Tibetans, having been living under horrible oppression, genocide and cultural destruction under Chinese rule for decades, would be so pessimistic. But, we’re in the good ole’ USA: things are great here, right?

Not so much. I won’t go into the facts we all know now (even more than ever, thanks to Snodwen and Manning) about how screwed up the USA has been and still is, nor how terrible the economy is here and everywhere. I won’t provide the list. We all know too well the horrors of our modern life. Modern tragedies, however, are actually not even relevant to this discussion.

The “degenerating” part of our Age has little to do with actual external conditions. Our deterioration involves humans’ not being able to learn #dharma, not being able to find qualified and worthy Buddhist teachers, not being able to practice meditation well or at all. The Buddha’s teachings and Buddhists practitioners are what are degenerating, in what is called “The Third Age” or “The Latter Day of the Law.”

You can look this up. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Ages_of_Buddhism

My point is, dystopian futures abound. Most sci-fi writers, even those that include romance in their stories, write of increasingly worsening conditions on and around this planet and across the Universe. They pile on the violence, showing increasing discord, more political and social unrest, deaths and destructions even worse than we have now. We already have too much awfulness for me to want to read about even worse futures.

Enough, already: I believe we need some hope, ideas of how else things could go, whether or not I always believe they will take these turns. Since I can’t find this optimism in the daily news or libraries’ and bookstores’ fiction, I decide to create it. I need this in my personal life, for the USA, for the continent, the water, air and land: I am imagining routes for improvement for the planet and the entire universe.

When I #meditate, especially during a #retreat phase in which I was #contemplating lives of beings in the “God Realm,” it occured to me repeatedly that we live in opulence amid squalor, all over the planet. Beauty smack dab in the middle of ugliness, every day. #Yin and #yang. We do have to “take the good with the bad,” but do we have to emphasize the “bad”?

I do not.

In my novels, even when things are “bad,” there is more good than bad. Buddha teaches often that we have to discern between “good” and “bad” even as we know these are illusory. Many teachings expound on how there is NO “good” or “bad,” no “birth” and no “death,” no “coming” and no “going.”

While you puzzle over that, I’m going to continue my utopian illusions in The Spanners Series. In my current and future multiverses, beings, including humans, will have love, better conditions and dharma: they/we have it all!

Furthermore, I’m going to HOPE—even though we are instructed to meditate partly in order to relinquish all hope and all fear—that YOU read my books and enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them.

Please let me know! Write your comments here on this and other posts, on excerpts from my novel, and whatever else occurs to you. Let’s converse!

WRITING AND PROMOTING A SERIES: Series authors, Nicholas C. Rossis and Charles Yallowitz

WRITING AND PROMOTING A SERIES:

by series authors, Nicholas C. Rossis, Pearseus series, and

Charles Yallowitz, Legends of Windemere series

Guest bloggers and former guests on CHANGES conversations between authors
(Episodes 7 and 9), http://www.sallyember.com

PEARSUS VIGIL NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

PEARSEUS: VIGIL NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

This joint post was made possible by the invitation of Sally Ember, who has been gracious enough to allow us to speak on her blog. She has done this knowing that Mr. Rossis and Mr. Yallowitz have a history of crazy antics. Indeed, some of these antics occurred on Sally’s very own LIVE video show *CHANGES* conversations between authors, which you can find online. Thank you to Sally Ember and we hope everyone enjoys this post on writing a series.

Check out Nicholas’s newest release, Pearseus: Vigil, by clicking on the above cover art and
prepare for a March/April debut of Charles’s next book, Legends of Windemere: Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue.

Charles: First, I would like to say that I’m happy to be working with Nicholas again and on a post this time. Our back and forth on our blogs is a lot of fun and he has a very sharp, creative mind that keeps me on my toes. This carries over into his writing, which impressively spans several genres.

Nicholas: Same goes for me. I’m very impressed by Charles, both as an author and as a person. Plus, it’s great to have someone who gets my weird sense of humor!

What is the hardest part about promoting a series?
Charles: It’s really easy at the beginning because you can play around with teasers and you only have one book out. Then you get the second and try to find ways to promote without revealing everything in the first book. Around the third book, if you go higher than a trilogy, you get caught between avoiding big revelations in the earlier books and spoilers for the next one. It’s a really hectic balancing act because you don’t want to say too much. Yet, you have to say enough to keep people interested and lead to them to the rest of the series.

I’ve found that you have to make sacrifices in this, for example, revealing a minor spoiler to promote the next book while keeping the big stuff secret. A teaser helps, too, because it isn’t so much a spoiler, but a hint that something is going to happen or a foreshadowed event is coming to pass. Oddly enough, I found that Twitter is the less nerve-wracking social media site to promote a series on because the 140-character limit means you can’t say much and it’s hard to tiptoe around spoilers like that; you have to stick to catchy blurbs or small quotes from the book.

CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Nicholas: I agree with Charles that Twitter is a great promotional medium for a series, as my marketing relies on a short quote and a link.

One of the best things about having a series is that you can have a different book on sale each month and it will help the others’ sales as well. However, unlike Charles, I have also made a book bundle available. This contains all the books published so far in Pearseus. Obviously, when this is on sale, no one buys the rest of the books. However, it does attract a lot of attention as it offers great value for money. So, it’s all a bit of a balancing act.

How difficult is it to maintain continuity in a series and what tricks do you use to accomplish this?
Charles: I once switched one of my main character’s eye colors and a minor recurring character lost his hair. So some of the details can be messed up if one isn’t careful. Perhaps the biggest challenge to story continuity is that you can forget some foreshadowing or you do something that alters a previously established rule. Middle books can also have events that change the finale because what you plan in your head might not always be what comes out on paper. It really is a game of memory and concentration or like putting together a 5,000-piece puzzle with no picture to guide you.

There are two tricks that I use. One is that I keep notes on a lot of things that I believe I will forget. For example, I had some minor characters who step into the spotlight in a later book and I never gave them much description in their first appearances. There was just enough that they stood out and I had to make sure I had those identifiers written down. The other trick is never to be afraid to look back at your earlier books to confirm information. If you have even an inkling that you’re off on a fact, then jump back to the book where you know the information has already been written. This helps with plot lines, character descriptions, world-building and anything else that carries over from book to book.

Nicholas: LOL—I love the idea of “a 5,000-piece puzzle with no picture to guide you.” Indeed, it can feel that way at times.

I have a .doc file that includes all sorts of minor details, from names to subplots. Also, when I write, I always have my older books open as well. That way, I’m instantly able to jump back and forth and check things out. For example, a lot of the action takes place in a place called the “Chamber of Justice.” Every now and again, I’ll catch myself typing “Chambers of Justice” (plural) instead, so I have to remember it’s actually singular. I have no idea why some days it feels self-evident it’s singular and others that it’s plural, but that’s just how it is.

Pearseus Bundle on Amazon

Pearseus Bundle on Amazon

Do you have any suggestions for readers who wish to get into reading a long series?
Charles: I’m a fan of starting from the beginning, but I know many who start at the most recent book. If you do this, then I highly suggest that you read the earlier books at some point for more context and to see events that don’t get mentioned again. Also, one must be patient with a series because the story is stretched out and every book will have an opening. Also, not everything gets cleared up at the end of the earlier books. That understanding helps a reader accept that questions will remain. The only other tip I have is that you have to trust that the author knows what he or she is doing. I see a lot of readers try to demand that certain events happen in a story, but those desires might not fall in line with what the author has planned.

Nicholas: This is a typical “patience is a virtue” situation. Writing a series is a serious responsibility. Reading a series is an investment of both time and money, so we have to make sure that each and every book not only meets the readers’ expectations, but exceeds them. We owe them as much. That is why I’m grateful to all my readers, but those who have invested in Pearseus hold a special place in my heart.

There are several things we can do to make it easier on the reader, of course. For example, all my Pearseus books have a map with the cities and places that have been revealed so far, plus any new ones. Also, I have a character list at the beginning (and in “X-ray,” if reading on a Kindle), with a two-sentence description of who that person is. Another good idea is to offer a quick reminder each time a minor character first appears. For example, you can say something along the lines of:

“Parad walked into the room. He spotted Angel, his daughter, and smiled.”
This helps people who may have forgotten who Angel is.

Yet another trick I use is to give names to as few people as possible. For example, a minor character may be safely referred to by their property or occupation. Readers don’t need to know the name of every healer that tends a hero’s wounds or every blacksmith that sharpens his weapons.

Finally, the best thing to do is to make sure each book can stand on its own. That means no cliffhangers and no obscure references—at least not without a reminder.

Sadly, this is not always possible. Mad Water, the third book in the series, ends on a cliffhanger because the subplots raised there are not resolved for another 400 pages. So I could either have an 800-page-long book or two 400-page ones, the first of which ends on a cliffhanger.

Obviously, I chose the latter, which brings me back to readers’ patience. 🙂


CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Charles Yallowitz‘s Information

charles_author_photo_bw
Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cyallowitz
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/CharlesYallowitz
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Charles-E-Yallowitz/e/B00AX1MSQA/
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com
Jason Pedersen, Legends of Windemere‘s Cover Artist: http://www.jasonpedersen.com/

Nicholas Rossis‘ Information

Nicholas Rossis
Blog:http://nicholasrossis.me/ .
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nicholas-C.-Rossis/e/B00FXXIBZA/
Goodreads: Pearseus: Schism can be read for free on Goodreads.
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Nicholas_Rossis
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+NicholasRossis
Facebook: www.facebook.com/NicholasCRossis

Sally Ember, Ed.D., is the author of the sci-fi/romance/utopian ebooks in The Spanners Series. Volume I, This Changes Everything, is permafree. Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is usually $3.99. Look for Volumes III and IV in 2015.
All reviews, info, excerpts, links: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners

#Writing as Excavation of the Soul

Repost from 12/2/13

For me, #writing fiction and poetry always involves digging up artifacts and dirt. My own and others’ buried treasures, junk, secrets and lies are uncovered, examined, deemed worthy “as is” or refurbished, cleaned up and presented within the text.

Writing #ClaraBranon, as her and about her, is the most autobiographical fiction I’ve ever written. I decided to gift Clara with most of my own “stories” and history, to see what would happen when a version of me is involved in the circumstances and relationships Clara encounters. It’s a roller-coaster for me, delving into my own life to pull up people, events, emotions, reactions, wishes, fears, griefs and successes and foist them onto Clara.

Usually, she does a lot better than I do or I already have with these events and has a much higher “success” rate with her conversations and intimacies than I can claim. In many ways, I feel envious of her. I also do not want her life, especially the public part. But, I do sometimes wish I had her personal strength and courage.

Oh, wait; I do. I must. I also have her creativity, the fire that burns within her, since I gave it to her. Of course I do.

Then, why is it so much easier to see this in Clara than in myself? I believe I make a character in my own image and deliberately make her better than I am only to discover that she can’t be better than I am because I made her. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the whole “God-made-humans-in-‘His’-own’-image” story has similar issues, yes?

As a fiction and poetry creator, as a #Buddhist well aware of the illusory nature of all phenomena, as a fabricator and dreamer, I am well aware of the fantasies I make into a semblance of reality with each paragraph or stanza I put into words. I paint pictures of scenes, drawing upon deep emotional bonds and reactions in order to do it, but we all know none of this is “real.” Right? Except for the parts that are true, that is.

The exhilarating, terrifying ride of writing one’s own stories in whatever forms is that others are going to read them and get to know things about me and my inner world I would never tell them, otherwise. My best defense, then, is to mix these true tales with pure fiction.

Sometimes serving up this admixture seems to be a cop-out move on my part, as I feel a taunting voice within me saying: “Na, na: you can’t know me! You don’t know what parts of this are ‘mine’ and which are completely made up. So there! Try and figure it out. I’ll never tell!”

This is the gauntlet every writer throws down to one’s readers: “Catch me, if you can!”

I do leave breadcrumbs for your journey, especially on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember and here in my blog posts. Happy treasure hunting, readers!

Please let me know what you find and what labels you decide to put on each trinket. We can compare later. Start with Volume I, This Changes Everything (NOW FREE) and ask: “Who is #EpifanioDang?” Move on to “Are there really #aliens coming or already here from the #ManyWorldsCollective?”
http://www.sallyember.com for buy links, reviews, interviews and more. Look right; scroll down.

Continue with a chapter-by-chapter analysis of world history, politics, biology, religions, the arts and meditation and keep going: The Spanners Series has so much to offer you, including Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, which released 6/9/14, and Volumes III and IV coming out in 2015!

Enjoy! Write Reviews! Share!

National #Science-Fiction Day is Today! Celebrate #Scifi #Authors

Woo-hoo! #Aliens, #Robots and more: Oh, My!
TODAY is National Science-Fiction Day! Who knew? An entire day to celebrate #sciencefictionwriters in honor of what may (or may not) be Isaac Asimov’s birthday!

Full post here: http://genrelove.co/2015/01/national-science-fiction-day/

azimiov.jpg.662x0_q100_crop-scale
image from http://www.treehugger.com

http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners gets you all info and links about my sci-fi series.

ENJOY!

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

“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!

from B*TCH MEDIA, “#Feminism and #Science-Fiction” #Podcasts

from B*TCH MEDIA, “#Feminism and #Science-Fiction” #Podcasts

If you are a feminist, interested in feminism, a science-fiction writer or reader, or all four, you MUST listen to these 4 podcasts from Popaganda of B*TCH MEDIA.

You can listen to them all in a row (first window) or listen to each one separately. Here are the titles of the four podcasts in this Episode of Popaganda:

fem_sci_2

“The beautiful ‘feminism and sci-fi’ illustration is from Voyage by Molly Mendoza. Voyage is a visual essay on the Voyager Interstellar Mission and is embedded with the themes of wonder, distance, and exploring places far away from home.”

  • DEEP THOUGHTS ON ELLEN RIPLEY: Ellen Ripley and Gender in “Alien”
  • INTERVIEW WITH WALIDAH IMARISHA: Peace, Justice, and Octavia Butler
  • INTERVIEW WITH ADRIENNE MAREE BROWN: What Can Social Justice Activists Learn from Science Fiction?
  • AN ESSAY ON FAMILY, SCIENCE, AND POP CULTURE: The Laws of Familial Thermodynamics

If you don’t subscribe, yet, to BiTCH MEDIA, an unavoidable pop-up comes with this link, below, asking for you to subscribe. Sorry. I don’t know how to disable it, but honestly, you SHOULD subscribe and, if you can afford it, donate. BiTCH MEDIA is a great source of info, critique and news.

LINK TO ALL PODCASTS:
http://bitchmagazine.org/post/popaganda-episode-feminism-and-science-fiction

from B*TCH MEDIA, “#Feminism and #Science-Fiction” #Podcasts

from B*TCH MEDIA, “#Feminism and #Science-Fiction” #Podcasts

If you are a feminist, interested in feminism, a science-fiction writer or reader, or all four, you MUST listen to these 4 podcasts from Popaganda of B*TCH MEDIA.

You can listen to them all in a row (first window) or listen to each one separately. Here are the titles of the four podcasts in this Episode of Popaganda:

fem_sci_2

“The beautiful ‘feminism and sci-fi’ illustration is from Voyage by Molly Mendoza. Voyage is a visual essay on the Voyager Interstellar Mission and is embedded with the themes of wonder, distance, and exploring places far away from home.”

  • DEEP THOUGHTS ON ELLEN RIPLEY: Ellen Ripley and Gender in “Alien”
  • INTERVIEW WITH WALIDAH IMARISHA: Peace, Justice, and Octavia Butler
  • INTERVIEW WITH ADRIENNE MAREE BROWN: What Can Social Justice Activists Learn from Science Fiction?
  • AN ESSAY ON FAMILY, SCIENCE, AND POP CULTURE: The Laws of Familial Thermodynamics

If you don’t subscribe, yet, to BiTCH MEDIA, an unavoidable pop-up comes with this link, below, asking for you to subscribe. Sorry. I don’t know how to disable it, but honestly, you SHOULD subscribe and, if you can afford it, donate. BiTCH MEDIA is a great source of info, critique and news.

LINK TO ALL PODCASTS:
http://bitchmagazine.org/post/popaganda-episode-feminism-and-science-fiction

**** for This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol II of The Spanners Series

**** for This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol II of The Spanners Series! by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Review by: Brenda McCracken on Nov. 09, 2014: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969

and

http://www.amazon.com/Changes-Family-Forever-Spanners-Series-ebook/dp/B00KU5Q7KC/ref=cm_aya_orig_subj

I found this to book to be a very imaginative and creative story. Ms. Ember’s Jewish faith shines through her characters in this book. This is the first I have read from the series and I found the uses of telepathy within her characters and the plot interesting. I love sci-fi and fantasy and this is the real deal. Although I disagree with the cover art. As someone who has dabbled with Poser and Daz, those characters on the cover give me the willies. No offense!

Thanks for the review, Brenda! Glad you enjoyed it, but I LOVE the cover art, by Aidana Willowraven!

final cover print

Volume II is available everywhere ebooks are sold (links on http://www.sallyember.com on the right of every page) for $3.99.

Volume I, This Changes Everything, is FREE! Good idea to start with this one!

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

**** for This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol II of The Spanners Series

**** for This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol II of The Spanners Series! by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Review by: Brenda McCracken on Nov. 09, 2014: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969

and

http://www.amazon.com/Changes-Family-Forever-Spanners-Series-ebook/dp/B00KU5Q7KC/ref=cm_aya_orig_subj

I found this to book to be a very imaginative and creative story. Ms. Ember’s Jewish faith shines through her characters in this book. This is the first I have read from the series and I found the uses of telepathy within her characters and the plot interesting. I love sci-fi and fantasy and this is the real deal. Although I disagree with the cover art. As someone who has dabbled with Poser and Daz, those characters on the cover give me the willies. No offense!

Thanks for the review, Brenda! Glad you enjoyed it, but I LOVE the cover art, by Aidana Willowraven!

final cover print

Volume II is available everywhere ebooks are sold (links on http://www.sallyember.com on the right of every page) for $3.99.

Volume I, This Changes Everything, is FREE! Good idea to start with this one!

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

“Quick Book Reviews” Gives “Thumbs Up” to This Changes Everything, Vol I, The Spanners Series!

This Changes Everything, Vol I, The Spanners Series, gets a great review from Quick Book Reviews back in January but I just found out this week!

Here are two quotes from the review:

“I found the story itself to be one of the most immersive and original ones I have read recently. Amongst the sea of science fiction novel clones, there is This Changes Everything, a book in which old ideas are taken in completely new directions (such as the whole intergalactic committee actually trying to help the humans), and new ideas are spawned by the dozens.”

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

This Changes Everything is certainly much more than what I expected from it, presenting us an enthralling and original storyline set in a majestic and extremely-detailed world, populated by many characters that will stay with you once the last pages are closed. I wholeheartedly recommend the book to science-fiction fans, especially the ones who prefer their literature to explore ideas and concepts through words rather than actions.”

This Changes Everything is now PERMAFREE everywhere ebooks are sold and Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is $3.99.

final cover print

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, is due out early in 2015.

Read the full review here:
http://quick-book-review.blogspot.com/2014/01/this-changes-everything-volume-one-by-sally-ember.html

“Quick Book Reviews” Gives “Thumbs Up” to This Changes Everything, Vol I, The Spanners Series!

This Changes Everything, Vol I, The Spanners Series, gets a great review from Quick Book Reviews back in January but I just found out this week!

Here are two quotes from the review:

“I found the story itself to be one of the most immersive and original ones I have read recently. Amongst the sea of science fiction novel clones, there is This Changes Everything, a book in which old ideas are taken in completely new directions (such as the whole intergalactic committee actually trying to help the humans), and new ideas are spawned by the dozens.”

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

This Changes Everything is certainly much more than what I expected from it, presenting us an enthralling and original storyline set in a majestic and extremely-detailed world, populated by many characters that will stay with you once the last pages are closed. I wholeheartedly recommend the book to science-fiction fans, especially the ones who prefer their literature to explore ideas and concepts through words rather than actions.”

This Changes Everything is now PERMAFREE everywhere ebooks are sold and Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is $3.99.

final cover print

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, is due out early in 2015.

Read the full review here:
http://quick-book-review.blogspot.com/2014/01/this-changes-everything-volume-one-by-sally-ember.html

Latest #Author #Interview with Sally Ember, Ed.D., on Connie Dunn’s page, goes live TODAY!

Thanks for a fun and great #interview, Connie, conducted/recorded on September 4, 2014, despite numerous technical difficulties!

My interview goes live TODAY, September 29, 2014. We talked about #writing, #science-fiction, The Spanners Series and its #aliens, the Series’ #cover art and Aidana Willowraven as the cover artist,

logoAuthorsDen

my #utopian views, writing in the present tense to emphasize the #multiverse/#paranormal/#psi elements, #science/#research, book #reviews, “crowd creating” and other #collaborations, ghost writing, #series writing, writing across #genres and for multiple audiences/age groups, inspiration/creativity, my writing history (from age 9 on), #editing, #indie publishing and much more.

http://publishwithconnie.com/mondaymorning is the link to Connie’s website. Please visit, look at her books and what she offers to authors!

From there, you can go listen to my interview: http://publishwithconnie.com/teleseminar-dashboard/sally-ember/

My post for the Goodreads’ Genre-Specific Review Group’s Fall 2014 Blog Hop Tour: “COMFORT” is this year’s theme.

Do you like to read and/or write: mysteries, fantasy, science-fiction, romance, children’s, young adult (YA) or any combination of these? Genre is what we call those types of stories and novels, and if you say “YES!” then this Blog Tour is for YOU! Visit, read, comment, LIKE, share, reblog!

My “COMFORT” post appears today, on Sept. 27, so visit other sites, below, also!

THE COMFORT THAT COMES FROM WRITING AND READING
UTOPIAN SPECULATIVE FICTION

by Sally Ember, Ed.D., author of The Spanners Series ebooks, blogger and host of CHANGES, almost-weekly Google + Hangout On Air (HOA)

When I’m discouraged, disheartened, heartbroken, experiencing achingly painful unrequited love, unemployed, displaced, uprooted, tired, in physical pain, lonely, confused, disempowered and in despair about the state of world affairs, our climate and so much more, what do I do? I write my way out of this mess into my imagined (and actual, according to multiverse theories) utopian near-futures in The Spanners Series ebooks (full-length novels) and short stories.

Why be “here” when I can be in a better “there”?

logoAuthorsDen

Some of the themes and problems I “tackle” and “solve” or at least improve via my plotting in The Spanners Series via extraordinary applications of science, intervention of the paranormal, including the newly or not-yet invented and/or the embellished, are:

  • homophobia/heterosexism and gender biases due to intolerance and ignorance of actual diversity in sexual orientation and gender identities
  • violence, depression, and anti-social tendencies caused/fueled by excesses of testosterone and other imbalances in body/brain chemistry
  • species-ism and the inability of humans to communicate well with and respect other species (on Earth and elsewhere)
  • habits of thinking that embed humans in linearity, singularity and other mistakes due to misunderstandings of physics and/or lack of knowledge of simultaneous time and the multiverse
  • motion/travel sickness and altitude sickness
  • political corruption and inappropriate, sociopathic leaders in positions of power and authority
  • greed and unequal distributions of all finite and necessary resources
  • unequal access to education, health care, housing, training and opportunities
  • inability to recognize and honor multiple forms of intelligence, talent and usefulness among individuals of many species, especially humans
  • intolerance and hatred due to limited or incorrect understanding of facts (of origins, science, truth) and lack of acceptance of differences in beliefs and values that inspires violent attempts to stay entrenched despite evidence to the contrary
  • fear-based decision-making and false narrowing of options due to willful or accidental ignorance of choices
  • and even more.

    It is SO MUCH FUN as well as comforting to write my way out of difficulties we face into better circumstances, situations and experiences.

    Or, if I’m not in the mood to write, then I go searching for others’ “solutions.” I need to read some stories with a “happy ending” or immerse myself in other uplifting genre or humorous modern fiction to COMFORT my spirit during these awful times. Fiction’s positive possibilities are endless: the love is sublime, the heroes and “good” guys/women prevail, the “bad” guys/women are caught/stopped. Aaahh.

    hope love and happy endings

    image from: http://hopelovehappyendings.blogspot.com

    I rely on getting to the beneficial outcomes: all is made right by the last page (or as right as it can be). I sigh with contentment, relief, happiness as I read/write.

    What about you? What in your writing and reading comforts YOU? What do you look for in genre fiction to soothe your spirit?

    Leave comments and suggestions here, please! And, don’t forget to visit and comment on the other sites’ posts in this blog hop tour! Thanks!

    Goodreads’ Genre-Specific Review Group’s Fall 2014 Blog Hop Tour: “COMFORT” is this year’s theme.

    GSRG-blog-hop-Sept

    TOUR DATES and SITES
    (Posts are still LIVE or available in archives on and after the listed date, so visit any time!)

    September 23http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com

    September 24https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/387792.Marilyn_Peake/blog
    http://www.marilynpeake.com

    September 25http://rjcrayton.com/blog

    September 26http://www.susandayauthor.com

    September 27http://www.sallyember.com/blog
    http://michelle-abbott.weebly.com/

My post for the Goodreads’ Genre-Specific Review Group’s Fall 2014 Blog Hop Tour: “COMFORT” is this year’s theme.

Do you like to read and/or write: mysteries, fantasy, science-fiction, romance, children’s, young adult (YA) or any combination of these? Genre is what we call those types of stories and novels, and if you say “YES!” then this Blog Tour is for YOU! Visit, read, comment, LIKE, share, reblog!

My “COMFORT” post appears today, on Sept. 27, so visit other sites, below, also!

THE COMFORT THAT COMES FROM WRITING AND READING
UTOPIAN SPECULATIVE FICTION

by Sally Ember, Ed.D., author of The Spanners Series ebooks, blogger and host of CHANGES, almost-weekly Google + Hangout On Air (HOA)

When I’m discouraged, disheartened, heartbroken, experiencing achingly painful unrequited love, unemployed, displaced, uprooted, tired, in physical pain, lonely, confused, disempowered and in despair about the state of world affairs, our climate and so much more, what do I do? I write my way out of this mess into my imagined (and actual, according to multiverse theories) utopian near-futures in The Spanners Series ebooks (full-length novels) and short stories.

Why be “here” when I can be in a better “there”?

logoAuthorsDen

Some of the themes and problems I “tackle” and “solve” or at least improve via my plotting in The Spanners Series via extraordinary applications of science, intervention of the paranormal, including the newly or not-yet invented and/or the embellished, are:

  • homophobia/heterosexism and gender biases due to intolerance and ignorance of actual diversity in sexual orientation and gender identities
  • violence, depression, and anti-social tendencies caused/fueled by excesses of testosterone and other imbalances in body/brain chemistry
  • species-ism and the inability of humans to communicate well with and respect other species (on Earth and elsewhere)
  • habits of thinking that embed humans in linearity, singularity and other mistakes due to misunderstandings of physics and/or lack of knowledge of simultaneous time and the multiverse
  • motion/travel sickness and altitude sickness
  • political corruption and inappropriate, sociopathic leaders in positions of power and authority
  • greed and unequal distributions of all finite and necessary resources
  • unequal access to education, health care, housing, training and opportunities
  • inability to recognize and honor multiple forms of intelligence, talent and usefulness among individuals of many species, especially humans
  • intolerance and hatred due to limited or incorrect understanding of facts (of origins, science, truth) and lack of acceptance of differences in beliefs and values that inspires violent attempts to stay entrenched despite evidence to the contrary
  • fear-based decision-making and false narrowing of options due to willful or accidental ignorance of choices
  • and even more.

    It is SO MUCH FUN as well as comforting to write my way out of difficulties we face into better circumstances, situations and experiences.

    Or, if I’m not in the mood to write, then I go searching for others’ “solutions.” I need to read some stories with a “happy ending” or immerse myself in other uplifting genre or humorous modern fiction to COMFORT my spirit during these awful times. Fiction’s positive possibilities are endless: the love is sublime, the heroes and “good” guys/women prevail, the “bad” guys/women are caught/stopped. Aaahh.

    hope love and happy endings

    image from: http://hopelovehappyendings.blogspot.com

    I rely on getting to the beneficial outcomes: all is made right by the last page (or as right as it can be). I sigh with contentment, relief, happiness as I read/write.

    What about you? What in your writing and reading comforts YOU? What do you look for in genre fiction to soothe your spirit?

    Leave comments and suggestions here, please! And, don’t forget to visit and comment on the other sites’ posts in this blog hop tour! Thanks!

    Goodreads’ Genre-Specific Review Group’s Fall 2014 Blog Hop Tour: “COMFORT” is this year’s theme.

    GSRG-blog-hop-Sept

    TOUR DATES and SITES
    (Posts are still LIVE or available in archives on and after the listed date, so visit any time!)

    September 23http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com

    September 24https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/387792.Marilyn_Peake/blog
    http://www.marilynpeake.com

    September 25http://rjcrayton.com/blog

    September 26http://www.susandayauthor.com

    September 27http://www.sallyember.com/blog
    http://michelle-abbott.weebly.com/

*CHANGES* Episode 1 on Youtube Google+ HOA with Sally Ember and Shay West

Did you miss it? We had a blast! Catch the recorded version of my LIVE conversation on CHANGES with Dr. Shay West here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrjdj0S8AQo

or here: http://youtu.be/lrjdj0S8AQo

Shay West photo

Dr. Shay West http://shay-west.com

We talked about writing, biology, teaching, optimism, gratitude, epigenetics, horror, real-life medical horrors and community support as motivations for writing, writers’ groups, Google + Hangouts on Air, and more!

Next week, August 13, CHANGES welcomes Connie Dunn. 7 – 8 AM Pacific USA Time.

Tune in and get involved with your comments and questions, LIVE, or watch CHANGES Episodes later on YouTube.

If you are an author, philosopher, creative sort who likes free-wheeling conversations and wants to be on CHANGES, watch a show or two, then contact the host, Sally Ember: sallyember@yahoo.com and request a slot in October or beyond.

CHANGES occurs on most Wednesdays, but not all. Watch this space for schedule!

Are YOU ready for the CHANGES?

*CHANGES* Episode 1 on Youtube Google+ HOA with Sally Ember and Shay West

Did you miss it? We had a blast! Catch the recorded version of my LIVE conversation on CHANGES with Dr. Shay West here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrjdj0S8AQo

or here: http://youtu.be/lrjdj0S8AQo

Shay West photo

Dr. Shay West http://shay-west.com

We talked about writing, biology, teaching, optimism, gratitude, epigenetics, horror, real-life medical horrors and community support as motivations for writing, writers’ groups, Google + Hangouts on Air, and more!

Next week, August 13, CHANGES welcomes Connie Dunn. 7 – 8 AM Pacific USA Time.

Tune in and get involved with your comments and questions, LIVE, or watch CHANGES Episodes later on YouTube.

If you are an author, philosopher, creative sort who likes free-wheeling conversations and wants to be on CHANGES, watch a show or two, then contact the host, Sally Ember: sallyember@yahoo.com and request a slot in October or beyond.

CHANGES occurs on most Wednesdays, but not all. Watch this space for schedule!

Are YOU ready for the CHANGES?

“Would I rather…? or…?” We had such a rollicking good time! Listen to Sally Ember’s on-air Author Interview!

Catch Sally Ember’s #Author #Interview with the funny and insightful Scarlett and Nathan from the UK on their amusing, informative, unique site, Intertainment Hub, on their Youtube channel.

The interview (audio only) goes live on 8/2/14.

http://www.youtube.com/intertainmenthub

Intertainment hub logo

Intertainment Hub’s logo

Please listen, then comment there and here! Thanks!

Guest Post: “The Politics of Speculative/ Science-Fiction”

Research, quotes, opinions, infographics, questions for readers/authors, and more. Read my Guest Post on Heather Jacobs’ site: “The Politics of Speculative/Science-Fiction”

Here are the first two paragraphs, to warm you up and inspire you to go read the rest:

The Politics of Speculative/Science-Fiction

by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

No author can leave politics, religion or culture out of our writing. It’s not possible. We are gendered, classed, raced/heritaged, abled/differently-abled, language-based, value-laden, belief-ridden individuals. We are products of our culture and political systems, even if we resist the indoctrination.

A writer may not realize the impact of his/her experiences arising from culture but these permeate every idea, word, sentence. The author who builds worlds may not see the veiled political structure undergirding their dystopian or utopian societies. Nevertheless, Speculative-Fiction, of which Science-Fiction is a subgenre, arises from politics, religion and culture.

Spec Fic and subgenres

Visit, comment, share, follow! Thanks!

http://www.hmjacobs.com/blog/guest-post-politics-of-speculativescience-fiction

Through 7/31/14 only! 2014 Summer/Winter Promotion on #Smashwords!

Through 7/31/14 only! 2014 Summer/Winter Promotion on #Smashwords!

Many ebooks are FREE, 25%, 50%, and 75% off!

swlogo

The Spanners Series. Sci-fi/ romance/ utopian/ multiverse/ paranormal/ speculative fiction ebooks for adults, YA, NA

logoAuthorsDen

Intrigued by multiple timelines, #aliens, #psi skills, #romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever. of The Spanners Series. Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II. How would YOU do with the changes?

50% off Vol II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever
Sale only on Smashwords for Vol II with this coupon code: NH97X
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969

final cover - digital and web

Vol I, This Changes Everything, is always FREE!

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of  beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse, in Volume I, This Changes Everything. When Planet Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are. Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything begins the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series. Are YOU ready for the changes?

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

This Changes Everything cover

All ebook formats available.

All cover and logo art for The Spanners Series by Aidana Willowraven.

Link to 6/11/14, Barry Eva’s A Book & A Chat, #interview with #author, Sally Ember, Ed.D., 7 PM EDT

If you missed it live on 6/11/14, Barry Eva, A Book & A Chat, interview with #author, Sally Ember, Ed.D., 7 PM EDT, you’re in luck!

bookchat3

You can listen to the show ANY TIME: http://www.newvisionsradio.com/index.php/en/2014-02-26-19-59-03/a-book-and-a-chat

Also, Barry’s previous shows are archived: http://abookandachat.blogspot.com

We discussed. laughed and exclaimed about MANY topics (with a few surprises), including Volumes I and II of The Spanner Series, her background, inspirations, dreams, meditation, multiverse timelines, future memory, quantum physics and interspecies research, utopian science-fiction, speculative fiction, romance’s place in science fiction, paranormal stories without werewolves and vampires, plans and much more.

logoAuthorsDen

http://www.newvisionsradio.com/index.php/en/2014-02-26-19-59-03/a-book-and-a-chat

Who is Barry Eva and what is this show?

http://abookandachat.blogspot.com/

A Book and a Chat has proved a hugely popular radio program with people of all ages. With over seven hundred shows already recorded, Barry’s format of ‘a chat over a cup of tea’ has received nothing but rave reviews from guest and listeners alike.

“The writer of a successful young adult romance book, Across the Pond, Barry has himself appeared on a large number of radio and TV programs.

A Book and a Chat is a program for writers and readers, not so much a literary show, more like… let’s sit around have a cup of tea and a few laughs.”

More about Barry Eva (from his website):
“Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, Barry, also known as ‘Storyheart,’ left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA. Better known for his short romance stories on the ‘net and in his book, Stories from the Heart. Barry is popular for narrating his stories on local TV or as a guest on other media stations,where his whit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee.”

His shows are usually on Tuesdays and Sundays at 6:30 PM ET and Wednesday at 7:00 PM ET

Want to listen to earlier shows?
Barry used to be on Blog Talk Radio, so here is that link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/across-the-pond

If you do get to listen, please comment there or here: http://www.sallyember.com

Link to 6/11/14, Barry Eva’s A Book & A Chat, #interview with #author, Sally Ember, Ed.D., 7 PM EDT

If you missed it live on 6/11/14, Barry Eva, A Book & A Chat, interview with #author, Sally Ember, Ed.D., 7 PM EDT, you’re in luck!

bookchat3

You can listen to the show ANY TIME: http://www.newvisionsradio.com/index.php/en/2014-02-26-19-59-03/a-book-and-a-chat

Also, Barry’s previous shows are archived: http://abookandachat.blogspot.com

We discussed. laughed and exclaimed about MANY topics (with a few surprises), including Volumes I and II of The Spanner Series, her background, inspirations, dreams, meditation, multiverse timelines, future memory, quantum physics and interspecies research, utopian science-fiction, speculative fiction, romance’s place in science fiction, paranormal stories without werewolves and vampires, plans and much more.

logoAuthorsDen

http://www.newvisionsradio.com/index.php/en/2014-02-26-19-59-03/a-book-and-a-chat

Who is Barry Eva and what is this show?

http://abookandachat.blogspot.com/

A Book and a Chat has proved a hugely popular radio program with people of all ages. With over seven hundred shows already recorded, Barry’s format of ‘a chat over a cup of tea’ has received nothing but rave reviews from guest and listeners alike.

“The writer of a successful young adult romance book, Across the Pond, Barry has himself appeared on a large number of radio and TV programs.

A Book and a Chat is a program for writers and readers, not so much a literary show, more like… let’s sit around have a cup of tea and a few laughs.”

More about Barry Eva (from his website):
“Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, Barry, also known as ‘Storyheart,’ left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA. Better known for his short romance stories on the ‘net and in his book, Stories from the Heart. Barry is popular for narrating his stories on local TV or as a guest on other media stations,where his whit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee.”

His shows are usually on Tuesdays and Sundays at 6:30 PM ET and Wednesday at 7:00 PM ET

Want to listen to earlier shows?
Barry used to be on Blog Talk Radio, so here is that link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/across-the-pond

If you do get to listen, please comment there or here: http://www.sallyember.com

RT and SHARE: Release Date is TODAY! #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER, Vol II, #THESPANNERSSERIES on sale NOW!

Looking for some great summer reading in the sci-fi/ romance/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian/ speculative fiction genres? Adults, Young and New Adults will all be intrigued and entertained, informed and inspired by The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Just released for sale TODAY, 6/9/14, is This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol. II.

for RELEASE DAY 6/9/14: GIVEAWAY RULES:
1) Visit my website sallyember.com or my boards on Pinterest.com/sallyember, sallyember.Tumblr.com or Google+ or FB Spanners Series’ page and FOLLOW no later than midnight PDT (California, USA) 6/9/14.

2) DM me on what you Followed

3) and what you thought of your visit!

4) I will then DM you a coupon for FREE download of Vol II!

Sci-fi/ Romance /Multiverse/ Paranormal/ Utopian ebooks, The Spanners Series, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is on sale EVERYWHERE ebooks are sold starting today, 6/9/14, when all Pre-orders download! Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, nook @ $3.99, while VOL I, This Changes Everything, is permafree!
http://www.sallyember.com/ for all links, OR qualify for the GIVEAWAY!

Or, be a GRWAT supportive fan and PURCHASE/DOWNLOAD, RANK/RATE, REVIEW, SHARE about my ebook on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

How would YOU do with the changes after finding out we are not alone in the multiverse?

This Changes My Family and My Life Forever is the story of the first five years After Public Contact with the Many Worlds Collective (2013-2018), “The Transition” to full membership for Earth. Many of the changes, reactions, struggles and circumstances accompanying these years are related from the points of view of the main character, Dr. Clara Branon’s, adult son and his cousins as well as some of those cousins’ children. One of Clara’s nephews in particular, Moran Ackerman, who becomes Chief of the Psi-Warriors and all OverSeers, tells of his experiences and training in assuming those roles for Earth after having been a Rabbi and middle school teacher.

TCMFandMLF‘s content is edited/curated and also partly narrated by Esperanza Enlaces, Clara’s Chief Media Contact, a contemporary of Clara’s son, so some of Espe’s story and many parts of Clara’s are included as well.

final cover - digital and web

all cover and logo art by Aidana Willowraven

Reviews, Excerpts, Interviews, and more, including all buy links: http://www.sallyember.com Follow Sally on Twitter @sallyemberedd or this blog on WordPress or Tumblr http://sallyember.tumblr.com/ for excerpts from and news about upcoming Volumes!

Only $3.99 everywhere ebooks are sold.

Vol I, #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING, is PermaFree!

This Changes Everything, Vol I, The Spanners Series, includes anecdotes and events from the entire span of the series, with specific details as to how it all begins. Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of  beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse.  When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are. Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty.

The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything begins the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

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

Thanks to everyone in my family, friendship and authors’ support circles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn for helping these Volumes and future ones get into YOUR hands! Special thanks to Aidana Willowraven, Cover Artist Extraordinaire!

Are YOU ready for the changes?

5-Star #Review of #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER, Vol II, #THESPANNERSSERIES

TITLE HERE

June 4, 2014

“Clara Ackerman Branon is back, and Earth’s Transition continues.

final cover - digital and web
cover art by Aidana Willowraven

“I actually read Vol I and Vol II back to back, so for me it was like I’m reading one continuous book. I think though that one would need to read Vol I really to fully understand what is going to happen.

“In this volume, we get introduced more to Clara’s family (they are a large family!) who all get interviewed about how they experienced Clara’s first contact with the aliens and earth’s transition (when the news first broke, what changed for them, any difficulties, what are they planning for the future). One of the main narrators is Clara’s nephew, Moran, a Rabbi before Transition, who will now become the Chief in the fight against those who resist and fight the transition. There is also more info about Clara, snippets about her life from young woman to past transition, we learn about her jobs, relationships with both man and woman and in communes, what does she listen to, read etc. Though I’m still confused about her relationship with her lover / not lover, Epifanio – but hey, more volumes are to come.

“One thing I like very much about The Spanners Series is the message that we can all live together in peace, learn from each other, be there for each other. All differences (religious, racial, gender, and even between species and inhabitants of other planets) are overcome. I mean, how cool would that be to be able to communicate with animals – and not in a jokey, Eddie Murphy Dr Dolitle kind of way, but accept them and their needs / interests as equal to humans. And those people who resist change (yes, there will always be those, even if it is clear that the change is for the better) will not be eliminated, but gently persuaded to recognise at what is best for them.

“Another thing I really like is the cover artwork and I hope the author doesn’t change the cover art throughout the series, that would be a shame. It’s pretty , imaginative. once you read the first few chapters and about the first encounter with ‘The Band’, have a look at the cover again and you will go ‘ahhhh’.

“I very much enjoyed this series and the somewhat unusual structure of the book with interview. It is blurring the lines between fiction and non-fiction. One of the great pluses for me was that abbreviations or foreign language used (one of the main characters is Hispanic) are always explained in brackets straight away. Because of the non-fiction style, it does not halt the flow of the story at all, but is in fact very helpful. On the minus side, as there are several of Clara’s relatives are interviewed, it can sometimes be a bit ‘samey’ at some stage. But the writing is easy to read, so it is not a big deal and I found myself skipping over a few pages.

“A satisfying continuation from Volume I – let’s see what’s coming up in the next volume.”

[NOTE: Please forgive her English mistakes: English is not her first language.]

Visit Peggy Farooqi’s Reviews and blog: http://thepegsterreads.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/review-this-changes-my-family-and-my.html
and on Amazon.com

Her review of Vol I, This Changes Everything, appeared last month (May, 2014)!

TCE is PERMAFREE everywhere; TCMF&MLF is in Pre-Orders through 6/8/9 @$1.99 and releases @$3.99 6/9/14. Links, excerpts, more reviews and info: http://www.sallyember.com/spanners

4-Star #Review for #THISCHANGESVERYTHING, Vol I, #THESPANNERSSERIES

Sci Fi which challenges your ideas

May 26, 2014

“Finally, a Sci-Fi Series that is not exclusively aimed at teenager. Don’t get me wrong, there is a market and this book can be read by everyone. But it does challenge you mentally. What I like is that the main characters are not teenagers caught in some intergalactic wars.

This Changes Everything cover
cover art by Aidana Willowraven

“Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, a middle-aged, Ph.D., school teacher, narrates the book (in most parts). She gets contacted by aliens from the MWC = Many World Collective. Led, Mick, Ringo and Janis – Diana (as Clara names them *geddit?*) appear to Clara in her bedroom as holograms and tell her that she is chosen to be earth’s first Chief Communicator with the MWC. They have come to prepare earth for membership of the MWC. Clara is not too spooked by their appearance, as she had visions since childhood. For me, she is a very likeable character and I took to her straight away – she has a great sense of humour.

“These aliens are actually friendly, and want to help earth and all its inhabitants (and that incl human and all other life) to live peacefully together. Reference John Lennon and “Image” here! Being aware of everything that went on at earth, they feel now the time is right to come forward and help earth with its transition to a more peaceful future.

“While the book in most parts is narrated by Clara, the chapters are also interlace with interviews, press conferences and diary entries written by others. This may sound confusing and it was at first when I read the contents pages. But the title of each chapter, whilst long, explains exactly what it is, so you will always now where and when you are. And there are a lot of ideas to take in, so a very helpful section at the end explains main phrases / concepts / abbreviations. But while it challenges your reading experience, it is not difficult to get your head around the ideas presented here.

“I found the idea that the MWC have been watching earth and are responsible for some of the disasters on earth (when things have gone wrong…) thought-provoking and absorbing. The concept of ‘timulting’ was more difficult for me to take in – Clara (and others) can see different timelines at any one stage. And than there is Clara’s love interest Epifanio whom she is / isn’t married to depending what timeline she is in and I struggled a bit with it. But I think I ‘got’ it at the end.

“I loved the idea of a ‘re-set’ on your life where you can change an event once. For Clara, that was the fact that she had a car accident as a teenager which left her with a degree of disability, which than ruled her life. When she can ‘re-set’ this event and watches how her life plays out without this disability in a different timeline, she realises that she would certainly be more outgoing, but the life of those around her (mostly her son) would also change significantly – at a price.

“Loved that. So, would you ‘re-set’ if you could?

“This book is the foundation for The Spanners Series, and while I understand that the following books can be read independently, I really think one ought to read Vol I to get the main ideas and concepts on which the author can now build upon. There is certainly a lot of scope to develop the ideas introduced in Vol I.”

[NOTE: Please forgive her English mistakes: English is not her first language.]

Visit Peggy Farooqi’s Reviews and blog: http://thepegsterreads.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/review-this-changes-everything-by-sally.html
and on Amazon.com

Her review of Vol II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, appears later this week!

TCE is PERMAFREE everywhere; TCMF&MLF is in Pre-Orders through 6/8/9 @$1.99 and releases @$3.99 6/9/14. Links, excerpts, more reviews and info: http://www.sallyember.com/spanners

Important Perspectives on #Book #Reviews for #Authors

Let me say first how grateful I am to each of the mostly self-selected, unsolicited and all UNPAID reviewers, most of whom I never met or heard of prior to their reviewing my book. Each of them gave a lot of their time and consideration and most read (or said they read) the whole book. THANK YOU, Book Reviewers!

I especially thank those who review indie, first-time, ebook authors of sci-fi (hardly any do!).

bookreviews_logo

I am a newly self-published, indie author of mixed genre ebooks. Right there, that puts my book into five categories that disfavor me in the reviews department.

Then, add that my genres are

science-fiction/romance/paranormal/multiverse/utopian/speculative fiction

and that my audience is also mixed:

adults, new and young adults

and we begin to understand how my first ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, could get a variety of responses and reviews.

To date (about 6 months after publication), TCE has 13 reviews on Amazon and a few elsewhere. These reviews break down roughly like this:

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

5-Stars: 25%

4-Stars: 25%

3-Stars: 25%

2-Stars: 0%

1-Star: 25%
Did Not Finish (also gave it 1-star or 3-stars, by the way): 2%, which adds up to 102%, since these are duplicates

My summary: About one-quarter of these reviewers loved my book (5 Stars); about one-quarter hated it (1 Star). Most reviewers were mixed, with the predominant attitude’s being positive (50% gave it 3 or 4 Stars) rather than negative (no 2-Stars and 25% 1 Star).

What could any author conclude from this? NOT MUCH!

Just to get some perspective, check out some well-known authors’ book review stats, for first volumes or breakout books, on Amazon: Robert Heinlein, J.K. Rowling, and Hugh Howey.

Robert Heinlein‘s Stranger in A Strange Land (his “breakout” and most popular full-length, sci-fi novel, and one of my all-time favorites/inspirations), has about 870 reviews on Amazon for this book.

Stranger cover

5 Stars: 57%

4 Stars: 14%

3 Stars: 13%

2 Stars: 9%

1 Star: 8%

My summary: More than half loved it (5 Stars). About half were less than enthusiastic, with about one-quarter liking it (3 and 4 Stars), and almost one-fifth disliking it (2 and 1 Stars).

What did one of Heinlein’s 1-Star reviewers have to say about this much-revered book? “I know it’s one of the classics, and supposedly one of the best sci-fi novels of all time, but I actually got so bored at parts of this book that I started skimming somewhere in the middle it.

How about J.K. Rowling‘s first volume of the renowned Harry Potter series, The Sorcerer’s Stone? How is this book doing? It has about 8500 reviews. Unsurprisingly, this book has garnered about 10 times the number of reviews as Heinlein’s (published in 1968).

Harry Potter vol I

5 Stars: 85%

4 Stars: 10%

3 Stars: 3%

2 Stars: 1%

1 Star: 1%

My summary: Overwhelmingly adored (95% gave it 4 or 5 Stars), this book still has detractors. Even J.K. Rowling, one of the most successful and beloved authors of all time, can’t please about 3% – 5% of these reviewers (1, 2 and 3 Stars).

One of Rowling’s first volume’s 1-Star reviewers who actually reviewed the book after seeing the movies (and was not caught up in slamming its purchase, which apparently was a problem with the Kindle and print versions), wrote: “How did this *ever* become such a phenomenon? I mean, if I think it through I can see why it became what it became but it was definitely not for the writing! The writing was soooooooo pedestrian I found myself embarrassed while reading it!

What about an Amazon’s “top 10 Best-Selling Author,” Hugh Howey‘s Wool? It has about 1750 reviews.

Wool part 1

5 Stars: 64%

4 Stars: 21%

3 Stars: 8%

2 Stars: 4%

1 Star: 3%

My summary:Well, these stats start to look more like a mid-way place between my first ebook’s review stats and Robert Heinlein’s, above, don’t they? Howey’s first volume garnered almost two-thirds of adoring (5 Stars) reviewers, but still has about 15% who disliked or are lukewarm about it (1, 2 and 3 Stars), with about one-fifth liking it but not loving it (4 Stars).

One of Howey’s 1-Star reviewers echoed my sentiments about his book (which I couldn’t even finish because I disliked it so much): “Another depressing ‘humans living underground following apocalypse / collapse of society / alien invasion / zombie epidemic, but with a really cruel. nasty plot twist right at the end.’ I had to eat a lot of chocolate to get over it.

Moral of my post? Appreciate ALL reviews, thank the reviewers, post your own reviews and don’t take any of them too seriously.

Best to you all, authors and reviewers!

19th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

19th Serialized Excerpt, 4/14/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #2

Snapshots of Clara’s Daily Life: Fourteen Octobers, 1963 – 2017

October, 1968

(continued)

“I get sent to the office on several occasions because my skirt or dress is deemed ‘too short.’ This designation is made first by a teacher. Once at the administrators’ office, accused offenders have to kneel on the floor. If our skirt or dress does not touch the ground, we are to be sent home to change (meaning, someone has to come pick us up in a private car, since there is no reliable or close-enough public transportation), unless we opt to wear our hideous ‘gym suits’ the rest of the day.”

“Ironically,” Clara goes on, showing me with her hands how this outfit works, “this jump suit is a sleeveless top with shorts, so it shows more of our legs than any permissible skirt would. Since my mom is home with my youngest sister and often one of them is sick, I can’t get picked up, so gym suit it is.”

“‘Getting suited’ occurs on numerous occasions for many of us ‘popular’ girls. This circumstance, wearing our horrible gym suit around school for the rest of a day, becomes like wearing a badge of honor. We are the ones who dare to wear a skirt that we know in advance is too short (some of us roll the waistbands after leaving home in order to achieve a shorter hemline) and which ‘dooms’ us to wearing our gym suits. Everyone knows this must be intentional. My friends and I make ‘getting suited’ cool.” Clara laughs. “We’re such trend-setters in 1968!”

“You won’t believe the P.E. [Physical Education] classes’ misogynistic and unfair fashion policy: Here it is, summary fashion,” Clara says. “The boys get to wear a comfortable, regular T-shirt and shorts (in white and blue, respectively, our school colors) for P.E. Girls, however, have to wear these ridiculous gym suits. This detested thing is a one-piece, blouson number in an almost-royal blue color. It has an elastic waist and snaps on the too-loose sleeveless bodice with medium-length shorts attached. It has to have been designed to make every girl look terrible in it regardless of body type, which I suppose is a great leveler.”

“As I explain earlier,” Clara reminds me, “if girls forget this monstrosity at home or don’t wash it, don’t have it or don’t wear a clean-enough suit to every class (each girl is issued two and must have one to wear for each P.E. class, every day), we are marked down in our grade and also, made to stay after school (like, a detention).”

“These administrators are so uptight, they treat these infractions the same as forgetting homework or vandalizing the bathrooms. Earn enough detentions and we have to come on a Saturday, too (like the movie, The Breakfast Club), just for “not suiting up.” If we get marked down enough, we could flunk this required class and have to take it again in summer school. I am not kidding!”

Clara is still indignant, these 45 years later. “Lowering academic grades for appearance issues, particularly failing a student for noncompliance to a dress code, becomes illegal, but not yet.”

“Back to the dress code,” Clara goes on. “The only short skirts girls are allowed to wear to school have to be culottes, which are split skirts or skirts with shorts inside (sound familiar?), but only cheerleaders are allowed to wear them. Now you’re starting to understand some of the reasoning behind my wanting to be a cheerleader,” Clara tells me.

“In a typical fall or winter month, once a week all through 9th grade (on “game days,” meaning, a day the 9th-grade boys’ team of the season has a football or basketball game, usually a Friday), I get to wear my cheerleader’s outfit. The rest of the year I am at war with the skirt police and usually ‘get suited.'”

“I wear my gym suit proudly, regularly showing it off in defiance of the school’s absurd policies. There are usually a group of us on any given day. We walk down the halls showing off our legs and laughing at the adults for being such dimwits,” Clara explains. “We show more of our legs wearing these gym suits than we do in any skirt!”

I say mildly, “Quite the rebel, eh?”

Clara misses my light sarcasm, so intent on telling her story of these years. “Some teachers think I’m ‘interesting,’ ‘intelligent’ and ‘fun.’ I know because they tell me or my parents. Others detest me and the feeling is mutual.”

Clara grimaces. “Wearing short skirts and being a ‘smart-aleck’ are what passes for rebellion for a teenage girl in my era, in this town. So, yes. I am a ‘rebel.'”

Guess she does catch my sarcasm. I move to apologize, but she smiles at me and goes on.

“I earn a reputation for ‘being sassy,’ a term only applied to girls who talk back to authority in southern-bordering or actual southern states. In contrast—more sexism, here—a boy who talks back is told to stop ‘giving me lip’ by the adult who is being challenged.”

She looks at me, making sure I understand, then continues. “Disobedient girls are ridiculed and patronized; impertinent boys are given grudging respect by being viewed as threatening. See the difference?”

I nod.

Clara goes on with her reminiscing. “At one point in my dress-code and behavioral scofflaw years, my cheerleader’s status is jeopardized because I refuse to back down in some argument with the chorus teacher about where I am supposed to sit. I dimly remember that she is trying to separate me from my friends because we are ‘disruptive,’ meaning, we are talking and having fun in class. For these ‘bad behaviors,’ she wants to move my seat. I am an alto but she wants to move me to the second sopranos, which is not the part I sing. I refuse to move, declaring that we are now engaged in a ‘sit in’ (which are big in the civil rights and anti-war movements by now) to protest her unfair discrimination against my having friends, or something to that effect.”

“What happens next?” I ask. I am curious how much trouble she gets in.

Clara laughs. “She sends me to the office. I go off, waving derisively at her and happily at my friends. When I get there, the harried assistant Principal threatens to suspend me from being a cheerleader because he has nothing else to hold over me. What’s so ridiculous about this threat is that we’re already in March by now and the only sports ‘season’ left for me to cheer in is track and field, which we really don’t do cheering for, anyway. The Principal can tell his threat is not upsetting me, but he doesn’t know why.”

“When I get home, I tell my father. He decides to come in and threaten them with a lawsuit (he is an attorney by training but not by trade at that point), just for fun (for him, that is). My dad is not very involved in my life or even around much, but he does love a good fight.”

“The day of their meeting, I sit outside the Principal’s office and eavesdrop on the ensuing discussion. It is very funny, to me. My dad talks circles around these guys. They really do not have a leg to stand on, so to speak, since I have done nothing to get myself suspended from being a cheerleader, applying their own rules, my dad points out perfectly: I never smoke, drink alcohol, have public sex, skip classes, vandalize school property or commit any other school ‘crimes.’ There isn’t a policy that calls for a suspension of privileges for being disrespectful or having a ‘bad attitude,’ but they wish there have one, I’m sure.”

“As I see it clearly, now, I am an ‘impudent’ female who regularly gives certain adults much-deserved backtalk and ends up ‘getting suited’ for wearing short skirts (along with dozens of other girls) several times every month. I also have excellent grades and attendance and never forget my gym suit. I am a very good ‘bad’ girl and they don’t have a punishment for someone like me.”

“My dad prevails, but this does not endear me to my chorus teacher or the administrators. I’m glad to get out of that school and on to high school a few months later.”

“What is high school like at the end of the 1960s in the USA Midwest?” I ask.

Clara responds: “In the fall of 1969, losing the fashion battle and the legal war, unintentionally catching up to the rest of the country (at least, the coasts), the Roanne school board President announces that all dress codes are to be discarded across the school district.”

Clara is gleeful, remembering this “victory.”

“Within a few months of entering high school, we girls are wearing cut-offs, halter tops, going barefoot and bra-less to classes. The biggest change for boys is that no one forces them to keep their hair short enough not to touch their collars any longer.”

Clara recalls: “My sophomore year is quite fun and such a shocking contrast to the years of ludicrous restrictions by the fashion police that we are giddy with freedom. People are smoking pot in the courtyard, hanging out the windows playing rock music in the hallways, and generally being rowdy and undisciplined. I love it, but I don’t get into the wildest behaviors, myself.”

“It’s difficult for me to imagine having those restrictions at all,” I say, shaking my head. “By the time I get to kindergarten, we wear whatever we want. 1987, for me.”

Clara shakes her finger at me and exhorts: “Thank a feminist!”

“Thanks!” I tell Clara. I mean it.
************
“Here is the poem that won my spot in the statewide poetry magazine in 1969.” Clara reaches into a paper file folder and hands a yellowish page to me.

The poem is written in cursive writing on manila lined paper in blue ink. It has her teacher’s red-inked comments on it. I point to one part, silently asking Clara to explain.

“Mrs. Hay crosses out the last stanza all together, so I do not include it here, since it is not part of the winning poem’s form,” Clara tells me. Here is the poem.

TO DIE IN VAIN

by Clara Ackerman, 2/21/69, age 14

Sitting on a stool of self-pity

I glance up, casually,

To see if anyone had seen me

Dying.

(I wasn’t really dying, only dreaming of how much

They

would miss me) If I did

Die.

*******

“You could not pay me enough money to be 14 again,” Clara says emphatically.

“Nor me, either.” I agree wholeheartedly.

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING

19th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

19th Serialized Excerpt, 4/14/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #2

Snapshots of Clara’s Daily Life: Fourteen Octobers, 1963 – 2017

October, 1968

(continued)

“I get sent to the office on several occasions because my skirt or dress is deemed ‘too short.’ This designation is made first by a teacher. Once at the administrators’ office, accused offenders have to kneel on the floor. If our skirt or dress does not touch the ground, we are to be sent home to change (meaning, someone has to come pick us up in a private car, since there is no reliable or close-enough public transportation), unless we opt to wear our hideous ‘gym suits’ the rest of the day.”

“Ironically,” Clara goes on, showing me with her hands how this outfit works, “this jump suit is a sleeveless top with shorts, so it shows more of our legs than any permissible skirt would. Since my mom is home with my youngest sister and often one of them is sick, I can’t get picked up, so gym suit it is.”

“‘Getting suited’ occurs on numerous occasions for many of us ‘popular’ girls. This circumstance, wearing our horrible gym suit around school for the rest of a day, becomes like wearing a badge of honor. We are the ones who dare to wear a skirt that we know in advance is too short (some of us roll the waistbands after leaving home in order to achieve a shorter hemline) and which ‘dooms’ us to wearing our gym suits. Everyone knows this must be intentional. My friends and I make ‘getting suited’ cool.” Clara laughs. “We’re such trend-setters in 1968!”

“You won’t believe the P.E. [Physical Education] classes’ misogynistic and unfair fashion policy: Here it is, summary fashion,” Clara says. “The boys get to wear a comfortable, regular T-shirt and shorts (in white and blue, respectively, our school colors) for P.E. Girls, however, have to wear these ridiculous gym suits. This detested thing is a one-piece, blouson number in an almost-royal blue color. It has an elastic waist and snaps on the too-loose sleeveless bodice with medium-length shorts attached. It has to have been designed to make every girl look terrible in it regardless of body type, which I suppose is a great leveler.”

“As I explain earlier,” Clara reminds me, “if girls forget this monstrosity at home or don’t wash it, don’t have it or don’t wear a clean-enough suit to every class (each girl is issued two and must have one to wear for each P.E. class, every day), we are marked down in our grade and also, made to stay after school (like, a detention).”

“These administrators are so uptight, they treat these infractions the same as forgetting homework or vandalizing the bathrooms. Earn enough detentions and we have to come on a Saturday, too (like the movie, The Breakfast Club), just for “not suiting up.” If we get marked down enough, we could flunk this required class and have to take it again in summer school. I am not kidding!”

Clara is still indignant, these 45 years later. “Lowering academic grades for appearance issues, particularly failing a student for noncompliance to a dress code, becomes illegal, but not yet.”

“Back to the dress code,” Clara goes on. “The only short skirts girls are allowed to wear to school have to be culottes, which are split skirts or skirts with shorts inside (sound familiar?), but only cheerleaders are allowed to wear them. Now you’re starting to understand some of the reasoning behind my wanting to be a cheerleader,” Clara tells me.

“In a typical fall or winter month, once a week all through 9th grade (on “game days,” meaning, a day the 9th-grade boys’ team of the season has a football or basketball game, usually a Friday), I get to wear my cheerleader’s outfit. The rest of the year I am at war with the skirt police and usually ‘get suited.'”

“I wear my gym suit proudly, regularly showing it off in defiance of the school’s absurd policies. There are usually a group of us on any given day. We walk down the halls showing off our legs and laughing at the adults for being such dimwits,” Clara explains. “We show more of our legs wearing these gym suits than we do in any skirt!”

I say mildly, “Quite the rebel, eh?”

Clara misses my light sarcasm, so intent on telling her story of these years. “Some teachers think I’m ‘interesting,’ ‘intelligent’ and ‘fun.’ I know because they tell me or my parents. Others detest me and the feeling is mutual.”

Clara grimaces. “Wearing short skirts and being a ‘smart-aleck’ are what passes for rebellion for a teenage girl in my era, in this town. So, yes. I am a ‘rebel.'”

Guess she does catch my sarcasm. I move to apologize, but she smiles at me and goes on.

“I earn a reputation for ‘being sassy,’ a term only applied to girls who talk back to authority in southern-bordering or actual southern states. In contrast—more sexism, here—a boy who talks back is told to stop ‘giving me lip’ by the adult who is being challenged.”

She looks at me, making sure I understand, then continues. “Disobedient girls are ridiculed and patronized; impertinent boys are given grudging respect by being viewed as threatening. See the difference?”

I nod.

Clara goes on with her reminiscing. “At one point in my dress-code and behavioral scofflaw years, my cheerleader’s status is jeopardized because I refuse to back down in some argument with the chorus teacher about where I am supposed to sit. I dimly remember that she is trying to separate me from my friends because we are ‘disruptive,’ meaning, we are talking and having fun in class. For these ‘bad behaviors,’ she wants to move my seat. I am an alto but she wants to move me to the second sopranos, which is not the part I sing. I refuse to move, declaring that we are now engaged in a ‘sit in’ (which are big in the civil rights and anti-war movements by now) to protest her unfair discrimination against my having friends, or something to that effect.”

“What happens next?” I ask. I am curious how much trouble she gets in.

Clara laughs. “She sends me to the office. I go off, waving derisively at her and happily at my friends. When I get there, the harried assistant Principal threatens to suspend me from being a cheerleader because he has nothing else to hold over me. What’s so ridiculous about this threat is that we’re already in March by now and the only sports ‘season’ left for me to cheer in is track and field, which we really don’t do cheering for, anyway. The Principal can tell his threat is not upsetting me, but he doesn’t know why.”

“When I get home, I tell my father. He decides to come in and threaten them with a lawsuit (he is an attorney by training but not by trade at that point), just for fun (for him, that is). My dad is not very involved in my life or even around much, but he does love a good fight.”

“The day of their meeting, I sit outside the Principal’s office and eavesdrop on the ensuing discussion. It is very funny, to me. My dad talks circles around these guys. They really do not have a leg to stand on, so to speak, since I have done nothing to get myself suspended from being a cheerleader, applying their own rules, my dad points out perfectly: I never smoke, drink alcohol, have public sex, skip classes, vandalize school property or commit any other school ‘crimes.’ There isn’t a policy that calls for a suspension of privileges for being disrespectful or having a ‘bad attitude,’ but they wish there have one, I’m sure.”

“As I see it clearly, now, I am an ‘impudent’ female who regularly gives certain adults much-deserved backtalk and ends up ‘getting suited’ for wearing short skirts (along with dozens of other girls) several times every month. I also have excellent grades and attendance and never forget my gym suit. I am a very good ‘bad’ girl and they don’t have a punishment for someone like me.”

“My dad prevails, but this does not endear me to my chorus teacher or the administrators. I’m glad to get out of that school and on to high school a few months later.”

“What is high school like at the end of the 1960s in the USA Midwest?” I ask.

Clara responds: “In the fall of 1969, losing the fashion battle and the legal war, unintentionally catching up to the rest of the country (at least, the coasts), the Roanne school board President announces that all dress codes are to be discarded across the school district.”

Clara is gleeful, remembering this “victory.”

“Within a few months of entering high school, we girls are wearing cut-offs, halter tops, going barefoot and bra-less to classes. The biggest change for boys is that no one forces them to keep their hair short enough not to touch their collars any longer.”

Clara recalls: “My sophomore year is quite fun and such a shocking contrast to the years of ludicrous restrictions by the fashion police that we are giddy with freedom. People are smoking pot in the courtyard, hanging out the windows playing rock music in the hallways, and generally being rowdy and undisciplined. I love it, but I don’t get into the wildest behaviors, myself.”

“It’s difficult for me to imagine having those restrictions at all,” I say, shaking my head. “By the time I get to kindergarten, we wear whatever we want. 1987, for me.”

Clara shakes her finger at me and exhorts: “Thank a feminist!”

“Thanks!” I tell Clara. I mean it.
************
“Here is the poem that won my spot in the statewide poetry magazine in 1969.” Clara reaches into a paper file folder and hands a yellowish page to me.

The poem is written in cursive writing on manila lined paper in blue ink. It has her teacher’s red-inked comments on it. I point to one part, silently asking Clara to explain.

“Mrs. Hay crosses out the last stanza all together, so I do not include it here, since it is not part of the winning poem’s form,” Clara tells me. Here is the poem.

TO DIE IN VAIN

by Clara Ackerman, 2/21/69, age 14

Sitting on a stool of self-pity

I glance up, casually,

To see if anyone had seen me

Dying.

(I wasn’t really dying, only dreaming of how much

They

would miss me) If I did

Die.

*******

“You could not pay me enough money to be 14 again,” Clara says emphatically.

“Nor me, either.” I agree wholeheartedly.

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING

18th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

18th Serialized Excerpt, 4/12/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #2

Snapshots of Clara’s Daily Life: Fourteen Octobers, 1963 – 2017

October, 1968

    Age and Living Circumstances/Location:

9th-grader in Roanne Junior High School, Missouri; living in Bayonne, suburb of large city in family home with her: father, Isaac; mother, Rose; older brother, Thomas; and, two younger sisters, Cassie, 8, and Violet, 3; and, a dog.

One boyfriend, ongoing since beginning of 8th grade, and many local friends from school, Camp Cedar and same Sunday School as earlier.

    Writing:

stories, articles, songs, poetry (poem selected as winner and published in Missouri’s Youth Writes).

    Books:

Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke; More than Human, Theodore Sturgeon; Pilgrimmage: The Book of the People, Zenna Henderson; Sword of Aldones, Marion Zimmer Bradley; The Time Machine, Jules Verne.

    Music on the Radio:

“Hey, Jude,” The Beatles; “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding; “Bend Me, Shape Me,” The American Breed; “Born to be Wild,” Steppenworlf; “Build Ne Up, Buttercup,” The Foundation; “Can’t Take My Eyes off You,” Andy Williams; “Chain of Fools,” Aretha Franklin; “Do You Know the Way to San José,” Dionne Warwick; “Hello, I Love You,” The Doors; “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” Iron Butterfly; “MacArthur Park,” Richard Harris; “Mrs. Robinson,” and the Bookends album, Simon & Garfunkle; Piece of My Heart,” Big Brother & The Holding Company (Janis Joplin); “Stoned Soul Picnic,” The Fifth Dimension; “Sunshine of Your Love,” Cream (Eric Clapton); “The Weight,” The Band (Bob Dylan); “Young Girl,” Gary Puckett and The Union Gap; Bonnie Raitt; Linda Rondstadt; Bob Dylan; Peter, Paul & Mary; Little Stevie Wonder.

    Popular Songs in Sheet Music:

“I’ve Gotta Be Me,” (sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.); “The Look of Love,” Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66; “Eli’s Coming,” Laura Nyro; “For The Good Times,” Kris Kristofferson (sung by Rita Coolidge); “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” Burt Bacharach & Hal David (sung by Dionne Warwick)’ music from Cabaret (Kander & Ebb), Hair! (Jerome Ragni, James Rado), Man of La Mancha ( Joel Darion, Dale Wasserman); Yellow Submarine (The Beatles).

    Activities:

► Taking Honors classes, including Spanish
► Cheerleader
► Member of chorus and selected for performance ensemble
► Taking weekly piano lessons; wins 2nd place at regional classical piano competition for ages 12 – 14.
► Attending Jewish religious classes every Sunday morning (Sunday School) (under duress); wins engraved Bible in essay competition
► Playing outdoors, tennis, softball, soccer, field hockey
► Indoors, competing on balance beam/gymnastics
► In summers, bike riding; waterskiing, canoeing, Israeli folk dancing, swimming at Camp Cedar (Jewish residential camp, Lake of the Ozarks) and local outdoor pool

ESPE: For junior high school, Clara tells me, her 7th-grade year is pretty awful. She has braces on her teeth, her hair is curly when having straight hair is fashionable, she is slightly overweight, she has no boyfriend, she is in all Honors classes with almost none of her former friends. This school serves students from five other elementary schools, so it is quite large and most of the people and the entire set up are unfamiliar to Clara.

Each student is assigned a 9th-grader as a “Big Sister/Brother” for the first month or so. Clara gets one of the cheerleaders as her Big Sister. One Friday, which are “game days” for football in the fall, Clara immediately timults herself as a cheerleader: she sees herself walking down the hall, laughing and talking with her friends while wearing her uniform, just as she sees her Big Sister, Cindy, doing on that Friday between classes. It is the first time Clara is aware of timulting something about her “future” which turns out to occur.

After losing the extra weight during 7th grade and having a very successful summer at Camp Cedar, Clara is set for a change. At the beginning of 8th grade, Clara gets the braces off, she learns to straighten her hair, makes some new friends. Her social life changes to the point that she becomes “popular” and a leader, again.

Clara says she gets a “great” boyfriend with whom she “goes steady” through all of 8th and half of 9th grade, when they break up amicably because they’re “both tired of each other,” she tells me.

Near the end of 8th grade, Clara practices for months so that she and nineteen other girls are nominated by adults (from “try-outs” of over fifty girls) to be voted on as cheerleaders in the election for class officers and other positions.

Clara, with seven others, is elected to be a cheerleader. As one of the leaders of her class, Clara also ran for “Pep Club” President. Clara cultivates many friends in order to get selected by the committee to be a finalist and elected by the students.

Her popularity ensures that she is elected to both positions. However, the Principal makes her choose between these rather than allowing her to be both.

Viewing being a cheerleader as the pinnacle of female achievement for that era and since she already timults that outcome two years before this, Clara chooses to be a 9th-grade cheerleader. Bonus: one of her friends, her “opponent,” becomes Pep Club President.

However, Clara tells me, “After learning all the cheers and being so excited to be elected, turns out that being a cheerleader is usually quite boring for me because I don’t actually like or care about team sports. Joke is on me.”

“I continue to want the status and there are not many routes to status for girls in 1968 in Missouri public schools. We aren’t allowed to run for President of the Student Council or our Class. Secretary; for ‘higher office,’ is the top slot we can run for, and only Pep Club is considered appropriate for a girl to lead. But, Pep Club is hardly the same thing as those other two, which actually have governing functions. Plus, sitting around in meetings seems much less interesting than going on buses with the team and being the center of attention as a cheerleader. I am a Leo, after all! These experiences help build up the feminist in me, as they do for Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan and many other second-wave feminists, all cheerleaders!”

What happens when Clara gets to high school?

Clara explains: “Although the entire squad of us tries out for the sophomore squad, which is to be at the high school in which we will be combined with the other junior high school for tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades, only one of our school’s squad (not I) along with seven out of the eight cheerleaders of the other junior high school’s squad become the cheerleaders selected by the panel of adults. There is no election since the two 9th-grades’ students don’t know each other, yet.”

“Patently unfair,” Clara says to me, “but, not being selected to continue being a cheerleader is the best thing that ever happens to my personal development. I become more involved in debate, chess, theater, music, books and writing. These are much better choices for me. I become a ‘hippie-intellectual’ instead of a ‘jockette.’ Since I am very good in school, this is a more comfortable role. I can get excellent grades and make a better, more suitable group of friends in my honors classes than I can ‘on the field,’ so that is what I do in high school.”

Here is a poem Clara writes (after studying Julius Caesar in English class) about her feelings and experiences during and after this social transition. Clara goes from occupying the “popular” slot due to being a cheerleader to becoming involved in “cool stuff” due to her other (forced) choices. The “insider” becomes a different kind of “insider,” almost an “outsider,” but this time, mostly by choice.

Clara wants me to remind everyone that she makes no claims to being a great poet. However, it is significant to note that this and another poem she writes in 10th grade are submitted by her English teacher to a state contest. The other poem wins the Missouri’s Youth Writes competition and is published in the state students’ literary magazine in 1970, which is Clara’s first publishing credit.

Clara says: “It’s quite funny to me that I am first published as a poet, since I think my poetry is mostly mediocre to horrible.”

The poem is written on blue, lined spiral notebook paper (the left edge where it is removed from the notebook is ripped in spots) in cursive writing.

RUBICON SURPRISE

by Clara Ackerman, 11/11/69, age 15

Walking on my road

the way is easily seen.

Around the bend, the light

dims

and is gone.

Continue to walk, though

the way grows steep and feels

unfamiliar,

yet exciting.

Forge on through the dark,

stumbling over rocks and into

gullies

and potholes; what

is that swaying sensation?

Ah! The light returns,

only to show the way

already traveled to have been a

bridge,

smoking to ashes as I watch.

The light again dims,

but remains a dusk-glow,

enough to show me the

mockery

free will and decisive action

really are.

What else about your junior high years do you want people to know?

“I experience more misogyny, more restrictions, more unfairness due to gender than in grade school. I have two years of male science teachers and all three years of male math teachers who despise girls, even or especially those of us in Honors classes,” Clara complains.

“Furthermore,” Clara remembers, getting somewhat agitated in the remembering, “our 9th-grade biology teacher is so mean to the only three girls in a class of twenty-four boys that we generate ‘solidarity,’ which is great. We stick together even though we’re not previously close friends. Those girls and I create an informal support group, my first one.”

Also, Clara reminds me, there are more clothing issues; again, only for girls.

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING

18th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

18th Serialized Excerpt, 4/12/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #2

Snapshots of Clara’s Daily Life: Fourteen Octobers, 1963 – 2017

October, 1968

    Age and Living Circumstances/Location:

9th-grader in Roanne Junior High School, Missouri; living in Bayonne, suburb of large city in family home with her: father, Isaac; mother, Rose; older brother, Thomas; and, two younger sisters, Cassie, 8, and Violet, 3; and, a dog.

One boyfriend, ongoing since beginning of 8th grade, and many local friends from school, Camp Cedar and same Sunday School as earlier.

    Writing:

stories, articles, songs, poetry (poem selected as winner and published in Missouri’s Youth Writes).

    Books:

Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke; More than Human, Theodore Sturgeon; Pilgrimmage: The Book of the People, Zenna Henderson; Sword of Aldones, Marion Zimmer Bradley; The Time Machine, Jules Verne.

    Music on the Radio:

“Hey, Jude,” The Beatles; “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding; “Bend Me, Shape Me,” The American Breed; “Born to be Wild,” Steppenworlf; “Build Ne Up, Buttercup,” The Foundation; “Can’t Take My Eyes off You,” Andy Williams; “Chain of Fools,” Aretha Franklin; “Do You Know the Way to San José,” Dionne Warwick; “Hello, I Love You,” The Doors; “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” Iron Butterfly; “MacArthur Park,” Richard Harris; “Mrs. Robinson,” and the Bookends album, Simon & Garfunkle; Piece of My Heart,” Big Brother & The Holding Company (Janis Joplin); “Stoned Soul Picnic,” The Fifth Dimension; “Sunshine of Your Love,” Cream (Eric Clapton); “The Weight,” The Band (Bob Dylan); “Young Girl,” Gary Puckett and The Union Gap; Bonnie Raitt; Linda Rondstadt; Bob Dylan; Peter, Paul & Mary; Little Stevie Wonder.

    Popular Songs in Sheet Music:

“I’ve Gotta Be Me,” (sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.); “The Look of Love,” Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66; “Eli’s Coming,” Laura Nyro; “For The Good Times,” Kris Kristofferson (sung by Rita Coolidge); “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” Burt Bacharach & Hal David (sung by Dionne Warwick)’ music from Cabaret (Kander & Ebb), Hair! (Jerome Ragni, James Rado), Man of La Mancha ( Joel Darion, Dale Wasserman); Yellow Submarine (The Beatles).

    Activities:

► Taking Honors classes, including Spanish
► Cheerleader
► Member of chorus and selected for performance ensemble
► Taking weekly piano lessons; wins 2nd place at regional classical piano competition for ages 12 – 14.
► Attending Jewish religious classes every Sunday morning (Sunday School) (under duress); wins engraved Bible in essay competition
► Playing outdoors, tennis, softball, soccer, field hockey
► Indoors, competing on balance beam/gymnastics
► In summers, bike riding; waterskiing, canoeing, Israeli folk dancing, swimming at Camp Cedar (Jewish residential camp, Lake of the Ozarks) and local outdoor pool

ESPE: For junior high school, Clara tells me, her 7th-grade year is pretty awful. She has braces on her teeth, her hair is curly when having straight hair is fashionable, she is slightly overweight, she has no boyfriend, she is in all Honors classes with almost none of her former friends. This school serves students from five other elementary schools, so it is quite large and most of the people and the entire set up are unfamiliar to Clara.

Each student is assigned a 9th-grader as a “Big Sister/Brother” for the first month or so. Clara gets one of the cheerleaders as her Big Sister. One Friday, which are “game days” for football in the fall, Clara immediately timults herself as a cheerleader: she sees herself walking down the hall, laughing and talking with her friends while wearing her uniform, just as she sees her Big Sister, Cindy, doing on that Friday between classes. It is the first time Clara is aware of timulting something about her “future” which turns out to occur.

After losing the extra weight during 7th grade and having a very successful summer at Camp Cedar, Clara is set for a change. At the beginning of 8th grade, Clara gets the braces off, she learns to straighten her hair, makes some new friends. Her social life changes to the point that she becomes “popular” and a leader, again.

Clara says she gets a “great” boyfriend with whom she “goes steady” through all of 8th and half of 9th grade, when they break up amicably because they’re “both tired of each other,” she tells me.

Near the end of 8th grade, Clara practices for months so that she and nineteen other girls are nominated by adults (from “try-outs” of over fifty girls) to be voted on as cheerleaders in the election for class officers and other positions.

Clara, with seven others, is elected to be a cheerleader. As one of the leaders of her class, Clara also ran for “Pep Club” President. Clara cultivates many friends in order to get selected by the committee to be a finalist and elected by the students.

Her popularity ensures that she is elected to both positions. However, the Principal makes her choose between these rather than allowing her to be both.

Viewing being a cheerleader as the pinnacle of female achievement for that era and since she already timults that outcome two years before this, Clara chooses to be a 9th-grade cheerleader. Bonus: one of her friends, her “opponent,” becomes Pep Club President.

However, Clara tells me, “After learning all the cheers and being so excited to be elected, turns out that being a cheerleader is usually quite boring for me because I don’t actually like or care about team sports. Joke is on me.”

“I continue to want the status and there are not many routes to status for girls in 1968 in Missouri public schools. We aren’t allowed to run for President of the Student Council or our Class. Secretary; for ‘higher office,’ is the top slot we can run for, and only Pep Club is considered appropriate for a girl to lead. But, Pep Club is hardly the same thing as those other two, which actually have governing functions. Plus, sitting around in meetings seems much less interesting than going on buses with the team and being the center of attention as a cheerleader. I am a Leo, after all! These experiences help build up the feminist in me, as they do for Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan and many other second-wave feminists, all cheerleaders!”

What happens when Clara gets to high school?

Clara explains: “Although the entire squad of us tries out for the sophomore squad, which is to be at the high school in which we will be combined with the other junior high school for tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades, only one of our school’s squad (not I) along with seven out of the eight cheerleaders of the other junior high school’s squad become the cheerleaders selected by the panel of adults. There is no election since the two 9th-grades’ students don’t know each other, yet.”

“Patently unfair,” Clara says to me, “but, not being selected to continue being a cheerleader is the best thing that ever happens to my personal development. I become more involved in debate, chess, theater, music, books and writing. These are much better choices for me. I become a ‘hippie-intellectual’ instead of a ‘jockette.’ Since I am very good in school, this is a more comfortable role. I can get excellent grades and make a better, more suitable group of friends in my honors classes than I can ‘on the field,’ so that is what I do in high school.”

Here is a poem Clara writes (after studying Julius Caesar in English class) about her feelings and experiences during and after this social transition. Clara goes from occupying the “popular” slot due to being a cheerleader to becoming involved in “cool stuff” due to her other (forced) choices. The “insider” becomes a different kind of “insider,” almost an “outsider,” but this time, mostly by choice.

Clara wants me to remind everyone that she makes no claims to being a great poet. However, it is significant to note that this and another poem she writes in 10th grade are submitted by her English teacher to a state contest. The other poem wins the Missouri’s Youth Writes competition and is published in the state students’ literary magazine in 1970, which is Clara’s first publishing credit.

Clara says: “It’s quite funny to me that I am first published as a poet, since I think my poetry is mostly mediocre to horrible.”

The poem is written on blue, lined spiral notebook paper (the left edge where it is removed from the notebook is ripped in spots) in cursive writing.

RUBICON SURPRISE

by Clara Ackerman, 11/11/69, age 15

Walking on my road

the way is easily seen.

Around the bend, the light

dims

and is gone.

Continue to walk, though

the way grows steep and feels

unfamiliar,

yet exciting.

Forge on through the dark,

stumbling over rocks and into

gullies

and potholes; what

is that swaying sensation?

Ah! The light returns,

only to show the way

already traveled to have been a

bridge,

smoking to ashes as I watch.

The light again dims,

but remains a dusk-glow,

enough to show me the

mockery

free will and decisive action

really are.

What else about your junior high years do you want people to know?

“I experience more misogyny, more restrictions, more unfairness due to gender than in grade school. I have two years of male science teachers and all three years of male math teachers who despise girls, even or especially those of us in Honors classes,” Clara complains.

“Furthermore,” Clara remembers, getting somewhat agitated in the remembering, “our 9th-grade biology teacher is so mean to the only three girls in a class of twenty-four boys that we generate ‘solidarity,’ which is great. We stick together even though we’re not previously close friends. Those girls and I create an informal support group, my first one.”

Also, Clara reminds me, there are more clothing issues; again, only for girls.

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING

16th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

16th Serialized Excerpt, 4/8/14

CHAPTER TWO

Leah Iris, 29, Niece of Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

Interview Date: May 26, 2018

10 Questions for Clara Branon’s Niece:

the Transition, 5 Years Later

(continued)

5. How do you feel about Clara’s role when it starts? How are you affected immediately?

LEAH: Let’s see. How do I feel, not what do I think? OK. I feel kind of proud. I mean, my aunt is now the most important person on the planet. Right? That’s amazing! [laughs] And, yet, somehow, not as surprising as it might be. [laughs]

What does that make me, besides her very proud niece? Besieged.

Immediately, I have to change my cell number and make all my online and personal privacy settings more stringent because I am getting a zillion calls and messages from media people, almost as many as Zephyr (we compare). My boss starts saying I’m “out for the day” when I’m right there. The paparazzi can’t reach Aunt Clara because Espe is handling all that, but the rest of our family: we’re on our own.

Since I have a different last name (and I don’t even use mine), I’m not as battered by media contacts as Zephyr or any of the Ackermans are, but they do find me and my brothers pretty fast, through my being one of the main online posters, or through my mom, I guess (not that she gives me up; the ‘razzi always keep digging).

We all decide not to give out any interviews because we learn that, if one of us does, we’re all doomed. That refusal is your suggestion, E: Thanks! You are brilliant about all that. Precisely right.

Once media ghouls believe we won’t talk to them, they go away. Eventually. Bigger news stories than our reactions are happening, anyway, with the Transition issues, the Qings and ReInvolvements, and then the psi Wars, so relatives of the CC move lower on the ‘razzi’s priority list. Zephyr and the rest of us are “up” again when everyone gets Tinted, but that’s all right.

Then, I meet Josh, oh, about two years APC [APC, After Public Contact], and my life changes even more! We meet at Zephyr and Kayla’s wedding. So cool. Okay that I tell our meeting story later today, right?

[See Question # 10 for story.]

6. How do you feel about Clara’s role, now, 5 years later? How does her role affect you now?

LEAH: It’s funny. Not funny-“ha ha” but funny-peculiar. There are many months lately when I do not think about the MWC or Aunt Clara’s role or any of the larger goings on. Josh and I are involved with our jobs, our friends, each other, our family members as people, not as CC network nodes. Does that make sense?

Then, something will come on a vid or over the ‘net and we’re drawn into it, tractor beam on full speed. Occasionally, when I’m talking or having vid calls with Aunt Clara, she gets a visit from one of The Band and we all talk for a while. That’s cool.

I think, because of Josh’s work with the cetaceans and other marine beings, we’re invited to go to Janis—Diana’s planet any time we want. We plan to go this year or next. He probably would not be on the fast track for interplanetary travel if he works in some other field. Also, if he and I never meet Janis—Diana, we probably do not get to go as soon, either. So, being related to the CC can be useful!

During the height of the psi Wars, there is a lot of talk about assigning me and my brothers, our mom and everyone in Aunt Clara’s family protective OSes. She always has them, of course. And, Zephyr and Kayla, now Kendall, do for a while. And G-ma Rose. And, Moran’s family. We seem to have some for a while, but it’s kind of hush-hush. I really cannot remember what that is like, now. I think only Aunt Clara. you, Epifanio, Zephyr and his family have protection, these days. Right?

Mostly, I see Aunt Clara and my mom—that entire generation of women—as incredible role models. I hope to be like them as I get older. They’re awesome! So courageous, so innovative, so, well, uniquely themselves. [laughs]

7. Which of the MWC members or other species visitors do you have contact with? How and why, and how is that for you?

LEAH: Angelina, Meryl and I are good friends early on because of Aunt Clara. Then, Josh, a marine biologist and Cetacean Communicator before we even meet, introduces me to more cetaceans who become our friends. I already know ASL [American Sign Language] and Hebrew, so learning CetSS [Cetacean Sound-Sign] and PrimS [Primate Sign] aren’t horribly hard for me. I’m not as good a swimmer as Josh and many others, so the body language and positional parts of CetSS are like baby talk when I do it, but we manage.

Do you know how many spoken languages (not English), like Navajo, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects are tonal, so every inflection and pitch change makes and alters the meaning? Body position, directionality and angles are like that in CetSS, especially when the speaker is completely submerged. With our newer OPTS (thanks, Jessica!), which fit almost like a second-skin, humans underwater are completely visible and flexible enough, but I am such a klutz. I make hilarious clumsiness-induced blunders that Josh and I spend time rectifying regularly.

I feel that it’s more respectful and fun to attempt to speak with each being in something closer to their languages. I like the challenge! I always have the fish when I falter. Cetaceans are very forgiving, which is great. Some things just don’t translate well, even with the fish, and then add in my inadvertently mixed-signal comms and we’re often in confusion and amusement.

At first, I don’t know how we’ll be friends, exactly, given our different environments, but it gradually unfolds, mostly because of the tech: OPTS, iD and the fish are crucial. We message, we exchange info, we meet up in person when we can, and we use the interspecies versions of social media networking sites, which are ‘way cool. We joke about calling the Cetacean-Cephalopod-Pinniped site “Snoutbook,” but it does not catch on. Wonder why? [laughs]

The CHAT (Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry) humans create right BPC morphs into the sono-picto-graph machine which becomes the co-locating use of the fish: so amazingly cool. Wanna hear my name as whistled by Angelina? [I nod. Leah whistles a high-pitched, long note followed by 3 short blasts, laughs].

For Aunt Clara and Josh, interspecies interactions are a combo of professional and personal; for me, just personal. It’s important to me to know them as individuals, not for any “cause” or job. We play, we talk, we share our lives, as any friends do. It’s species-ist to assume otherwise, right?

8. What transforms your life more: your ifish [Interspecies Communication System], your iD [Individual Access Devices Interface], or travel to other planets/moons? How?

LEAH: I was so hopped to leave Wikijism behind and use my iD all the time. It’s is so much better than anything we have BPC! Josh and I are considering getting the implant iDs soon. Before we go off-p again, for sure. I never go anywhere without my fish, since we often interact with non-humans and humans who speak languages better than English for the purposes we’re engaged in that day. We aren’t regular off-p travelers, yet, but plan to be, soon.

I can’t say which is more important in general, but, for me, definitely the fish. I’m constantly communicating. [laugh]

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING

16th Serialized Excerpt: Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

final cover - digital and web

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

16th Serialized Excerpt, 4/8/14

CHAPTER TWO

Leah Iris, 29, Niece of Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

Interview Date: May 26, 2018

10 Questions for Clara Branon’s Niece:

the Transition, 5 Years Later

(continued)

5. How do you feel about Clara’s role when it starts? How are you affected immediately?

LEAH: Let’s see. How do I feel, not what do I think? OK. I feel kind of proud. I mean, my aunt is now the most important person on the planet. Right? That’s amazing! [laughs] And, yet, somehow, not as surprising as it might be. [laughs]

What does that make me, besides her very proud niece? Besieged.

Immediately, I have to change my cell number and make all my online and personal privacy settings more stringent because I am getting a zillion calls and messages from media people, almost as many as Zephyr (we compare). My boss starts saying I’m “out for the day” when I’m right there. The paparazzi can’t reach Aunt Clara because Espe is handling all that, but the rest of our family: we’re on our own.

Since I have a different last name (and I don’t even use mine), I’m not as battered by media contacts as Zephyr or any of the Ackermans are, but they do find me and my brothers pretty fast, through my being one of the main online posters, or through my mom, I guess (not that she gives me up; the ‘razzi always keep digging).

We all decide not to give out any interviews because we learn that, if one of us does, we’re all doomed. That refusal is your suggestion, E: Thanks! You are brilliant about all that. Precisely right.

Once media ghouls believe we won’t talk to them, they go away. Eventually. Bigger news stories than our reactions are happening, anyway, with the Transition issues, the Qings and ReInvolvements, and then the psi Wars, so relatives of the CC move lower on the ‘razzi’s priority list. Zephyr and the rest of us are “up” again when everyone gets Tinted, but that’s all right.

Then, I meet Josh, oh, about two years APC [APC, After Public Contact], and my life changes even more! We meet at Zephyr and Kayla’s wedding. So cool. Okay that I tell our meeting story later today, right?

[See Question # 10 for story.]

6. How do you feel about Clara’s role, now, 5 years later? How does her role affect you now?

LEAH: It’s funny. Not funny-“ha ha” but funny-peculiar. There are many months lately when I do not think about the MWC or Aunt Clara’s role or any of the larger goings on. Josh and I are involved with our jobs, our friends, each other, our family members as people, not as CC network nodes. Does that make sense?

Then, something will come on a vid or over the ‘net and we’re drawn into it, tractor beam on full speed. Occasionally, when I’m talking or having vid calls with Aunt Clara, she gets a visit from one of The Band and we all talk for a while. That’s cool.

I think, because of Josh’s work with the cetaceans and other marine beings, we’re invited to go to Janis—Diana’s planet any time we want. We plan to go this year or next. He probably would not be on the fast track for interplanetary travel if he works in some other field. Also, if he and I never meet Janis—Diana, we probably do not get to go as soon, either. So, being related to the CC can be useful!

During the height of the psi Wars, there is a lot of talk about assigning me and my brothers, our mom and everyone in Aunt Clara’s family protective OSes. She always has them, of course. And, Zephyr and Kayla, now Kendall, do for a while. And G-ma Rose. And, Moran’s family. We seem to have some for a while, but it’s kind of hush-hush. I really cannot remember what that is like, now. I think only Aunt Clara. you, Epifanio, Zephyr and his family have protection, these days. Right?

Mostly, I see Aunt Clara and my mom—that entire generation of women—as incredible role models. I hope to be like them as I get older. They’re awesome! So courageous, so innovative, so, well, uniquely themselves. [laughs]

7. Which of the MWC members or other species visitors do you have contact with? How and why, and how is that for you?

LEAH: Angelina, Meryl and I are good friends early on because of Aunt Clara. Then, Josh, a marine biologist and Cetacean Communicator before we even meet, introduces me to more cetaceans who become our friends. I already know ASL [American Sign Language] and Hebrew, so learning CetSS [Cetacean Sound-Sign] and PrimS [Primate Sign] aren’t horribly hard for me. I’m not as good a swimmer as Josh and many others, so the body language and positional parts of CetSS are like baby talk when I do it, but we manage.

Do you know how many spoken languages (not English), like Navajo, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects are tonal, so every inflection and pitch change makes and alters the meaning? Body position, directionality and angles are like that in CetSS, especially when the speaker is completely submerged. With our newer OPTS (thanks, Jessica!), which fit almost like a second-skin, humans underwater are completely visible and flexible enough, but I am such a klutz. I make hilarious clumsiness-induced blunders that Josh and I spend time rectifying regularly.

I feel that it’s more respectful and fun to attempt to speak with each being in something closer to their languages. I like the challenge! I always have the fish when I falter. Cetaceans are very forgiving, which is great. Some things just don’t translate well, even with the fish, and then add in my inadvertently mixed-signal comms and we’re often in confusion and amusement.

At first, I don’t know how we’ll be friends, exactly, given our different environments, but it gradually unfolds, mostly because of the tech: OPTS, iD and the fish are crucial. We message, we exchange info, we meet up in person when we can, and we use the interspecies versions of social media networking sites, which are ‘way cool. We joke about calling the Cetacean-Cephalopod-Pinniped site “Snoutbook,” but it does not catch on. Wonder why? [laughs]

The CHAT (Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry) humans create right BPC morphs into the sono-picto-graph machine which becomes the co-locating use of the fish: so amazingly cool. Wanna hear my name as whistled by Angelina? [I nod. Leah whistles a high-pitched, long note followed by 3 short blasts, laughs].

For Aunt Clara and Josh, interspecies interactions are a combo of professional and personal; for me, just personal. It’s important to me to know them as individuals, not for any “cause” or job. We play, we talk, we share our lives, as any friends do. It’s species-ist to assume otherwise, right?

8. What transforms your life more: your ifish [Interspecies Communication System], your iD [Individual Access Devices Interface], or travel to other planets/moons? How?

LEAH: I was so hopped to leave Wikijism behind and use my iD all the time. It’s is so much better than anything we have BPC! Josh and I are considering getting the implant iDs soon. Before we go off-p again, for sure. I never go anywhere without my fish, since we often interact with non-humans and humans who speak languages better than English for the purposes we’re engaged in that day. We aren’t regular off-p travelers, yet, but plan to be, soon.

I can’t say which is more important in general, but, for me, definitely the fish. I’m constantly communicating. [laugh]

*********************************

Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.

4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.

On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.

#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING