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/

Current Research in Speculative Fiction Liverpool, UK, (CRSF) Conference was June 27, 2016

Current Research in Speculative Fiction Liverpool, England, UK (CRSF) Conference was Monday, June 27, 2016, at the University of Liverpool!

CRSF logo

Here is their report:

CRSF 2016 Post-conference Report
Posted: 04 Jul 2016 05:26 AM PDT
The sixth annual Current Research in Speculative Fiction [CRSF] conference was held last week on Monday 27th June and was a great success.

As usual, the papers delivered were of a high quality and a diverse range of topics from D&D bestiaries to feminist utopia, ecological disaster to Harry Potter, medieval English horror to Japanese dystopian YA and far more besides. As usual huge thanks go to those who presented a paper: thank you for the enthusiasm with which you approached the task and for the hard work you did preparing for the conference, a conference – no matter how the organising goes – is nothing without its delegates.

CRSF 2016 represents a record year for number of delegates, with non-presenting delegates outnumbering presenters for the first time. This was in no small part thanks to the excellent Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) conference also held in Liverpool on the 28th-30th June, a number of whose delegates came along to see CRSF in action. There were, however, a number of non-presenting delegates, including former presenters from previous years, who made the trip to Liverpool especially to see CRSF, I cannot think of a better endorsement for the atmosphere and organisation of the conference than for those who have been before to want to come back, even if they’re no longer eligible to present.

In total we had fifty-six attendees and thirty papers presented, over three parallel streams, by delegates from institutions throughout the UK, as well as Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Spain, Russia, Israel, Canada, and the United States, among others.

Thank you to all who attended. Additional thanks to all those who engaged with the conference on social media. I’m a firm believer in the Twitter back channel for conferences, and CRSF performed ably in this regard too. If you’re not on Twitter and you want to (re)discover the tweet-by-tweet coverage of the conference it’s been conveniently archived on Storify here for you.

Thanks also to our wonderful keynote speakers: Dr. Caroline Edwards (Birkbeck University of London) and Dr. Pat Wheeler (University of Hertfordshire) who not only gave fascinating and insightful keynote lectures, but also attended numerous panels, asking insightful and constructive questions throughout, and offering many a kind and supportive word for delegates in the breaks and more informal moments of the conference. Caroline’s paper opened the conference and was entitled ‘”But there is still such beauty”: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and Eco-Eschatological Time in the 21st-Century’, it took us through such post-apocalyptic novels as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Maggie Gee’s The Flood, highlighting the pastoral beauty often found in these texts and the implications of that for our vision of the apocalypse and the future (if any) of humanity’s role on the Earth. Pat’s keynote was entitled ‘”She can’t love you, she’s just a machine’: Metal-fevered Boys and their Passion for New Eves’, which challenged how we should read gynoids in the twenty-first century: as either challenge or constriction to women’s agency.

Thanks as ever to the University of Liverpool staff who provided support both in the build up to, and during, the conference: the Rendall Building staff, and Filomena Saltao, the Administrator of the School of the Arts, and Siobhan Quinn. Thanks also to Andy Sawyer, academic librarian for the Science Fiction Foundation collection at the University of Liverpool’s Sydney Jones Library, for once again arranging for all delegates to receive free copies of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction. Thanks also to the staff at Il Forno, our traditional restaurant of choice, who once again dealt with our large numbers with aplomb.

As always we welcome your feedback on CRSF 2016, all comments are useful and appreciated. Please leave a comment on our website’s post at http://currentresearchinspeculativefiction.blogspot.com, or e-mail them to us at crsf.team@gmail.com.

CRSF will return in 2017….

Glyn Morgan,
Molly Cobb,
Leimar Garcia-Siino,
Chris Pak

I wish I could have been there.

To refresh, if you missed my explanatory pre-conference post, read below:

CRSF is a postgraduate conference designed to promote the research of speculative fictions including, but not limited to, science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Our aim is to showcase some of the latest developments in this dynamic and evolving field, by providing a platform for the presentation of current research by postgraduates. The conference will also encourage the discussion of this research and the construction of crucial networks with fellow researchers.

The planned schedule was as follows:

9:00-9:30: Registration and Refreshments

9:30-10:30: Keynote Lecture #1: Dr Caroline Edwards,

“But there is still such beauty”: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and Eco-Eschatological Time in the 21st-Century

10:30 -12:00: First Round of Panels

1.1: Press START to Play
Andrew Ferguson – Clipping Out of Bounds: Reading House of Leaves Through Portal

House_of_leaves

  • Britanny Kuhn – [Awaiting Title]
  • Ivaylo Shmilev – Oppression, Warfare and Transcultural Memory in the Complex Post- Apocalyptic Environments of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Game Series

    STALKER game image

1.2: Horrific Narratives
Travis Gasque – The New Cosmic Horror: A Genre Molded by Tabletop Roleplaying Games and Postmodern Horror
Matthew McCall – “My manez mynde to maddyng malte”: Tracing Horror in the Middle English Pearl

Pearl_Poet

  • Selena Middleton – Climate Collapse and the Uncontained Body in James Tiptree Jr.’s A Momentary Taste of Being

    Momentary taste (in the 1975 anthology, The New Atlantis and Other Novellas of Science-Fiction)

1.3: You’re Only Young Once
Lan Ma – Censorship and Resistance: Information Control in Japanese Dystopian Young Adult Fiction in the 21st Century
Alison Baker – Protocols for the education of young witches and wizards
Arunima Dey – The Grotesque in the Harry Potter Series

Potter box set

12:00 -13:00: Second Round of Panels

2.1: Beasts and Bestiaries
Rob O’Connor – “The History of All Hitherto-Existing Societies is the History of Monsters”: The Bestiary and the Depiction of Monsters as Social Commentary
Sandra Mänty – Representation and function of animals in the world of Harry Potter

Potter collection cover

2.2: The Greater Good
Maxine Gee – “If something stinks put a lid on it, don’t see it”: Self-censorship and the brave new world of Psycho Pass

Psycho Pass

  • Jonathan Ferguson – Crimes Against The Greater Good are Victimless Crimes?

2.3: Character Studies
Beata Gubacsi – Monstrous Transformations: Becoming posthuman through art in Vandermeer’s Ambergris novels

Ambergris 1

  • Matteo Barbagallo – Do we have a deal? Petyr Baelish, Varys, Rumpelstiltskin and their role as Doppelganger

13:00 -13:45: Lunch Break

13:45 -14:45: Keynote Lecture #2: Dr Patricia Wheeler

“She can’t love you, she’s just a machine”: Metal-fevered Boys and their Passion for New Eves

14:45 -16:15: Third Round of Panels

3.1: Revenge of the Film
Pablo Gómez Muñoz – Greening Apocalypse: Eco-Conscious Disaster in Twenty-First Century Science-Fiction Cinema
Josephine Swarbrick – Monstrous Men and Masculine Monsters: Gender and the Cyborg in Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop (1987) and José Padilha’s Robocop (2014)

Robocop

  • David Contreras – Gothic Surrealism in Mexican Cyberpunk Short Film: The Borderlands Strike Back

3.2: Theoretically Speaking
Jo Lindsay Walton – The Dystopian Glimpse
Artem Zubov – Science-fiction studies and genre theory
Pascal Lemaire – Fans of history first, fans of S-F more distantly ? Alternate History as a form of History’s fan fiction

3.3: Tell Me a Tale
Kanta Dihal – Science and Religion in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials

Wrinkle coverPullman box set

  • Rina Jean Baroukh – “Your Light Has Come” : Fantasy and Reality in Shimon Adaf’s Sunburnt Faces

    Sunburnt faces cover

  • Laura-Marie von Czarnowsky – Re-Defining the Bildungsroman: Traumatic Journeys as a Trend in Contemporary Fantasy Fiction

16:15 -16:30: Refreshment Break [YES: English Tea Time!]

16:30 -18:00: Fourth Round of Panels

4.1: Perceptions of the Female Self
Sonya Dyer – aPOCalypso: Janelle Monae and (Science) Fictional Black Feminisms
Sarah Lohmann – “Solar Loyalties”: The Utopian Ethics of Posthumanism in Naomi Mitchison’s Memoirs of a Spacewoman

Spacewoman cover

  • Mylène Branco – The Construction of the Female Self in L.P. Hartley’s Facial Justice

    Facial cover

4.2: Alternate Beings
Tom Kewin – ‘A Society of Screens’: The State of Digital Surveillance and the Repercussions for the Humanist Subject
Mattia Petricola – From mesmeric trance to living avatars: Rethinking consciousness and death after Mr. Valdemar

Valdemar

4.3: Dystopian Time, Resurgent Space
Gabrielle Bunn – Future Ruins: The intersection of nature and culture in the post-apocalyptic landscape of J. G. Ballard’s The Drowned World (1962)

Drowned cover

  • Hollie Johnson – Anarchy, Nostalgia, and Resistance: The Role of Nature in We, Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four

    We cover1984

  • Thomas Connolly – “There was a thing called Heaven”: The end of time in Huxley’s Brave New World

    Brave New World cover

18.00 -19.00: Post-Conference Wine Reception and Official Conference Group Photo

Download a PDF of the entire schedule here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4DNnD_AmJQmeWdEREJfemd1YWs/view

Want to present or attend next year? The “Call for Papers” usually occurs in early December for the following June’s annual conference. Check out past conferences/calls and get more information here and visit their
website: http://currentresearchinspeculativefiction.blogspot.com/
or contact their team (the team members’ list has not been recently updated, yet: CRSF.team@gmail.com and follow their Tweets: ‎@CRSFteam

Their website is not very “interesting,” IMHO, but the topics ARE. Here is a sampling of Q & A from their FAQs…

FAQ

What is CRSF?
CRSF is short for Current Research in Speculative Fiction, an annual conference organised by postgraduate students for postgraduate students. The conference was first held in 2010 at the University of Liverpool and has been held annually since, attracting an international selection of speakers from as far afield as Turkey and the USA. The conference aims to provide a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for researchers who are at the very beginnings of their fields to test ideas, network with others, and gain valuable conference experience.

What is Speculative Fiction?
Simply put, we consider speculative fiction to be the collective name for the non-mimetic genres of science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and their related sub-genres. Essentially, if it’s a bit weird, it’s probably eligible. If in doubt, feel free to run your idea by us. At this juncture, it’s probably also worth us pointing out that the conference doesn’t discriminate among media: papers on television, film, video games, music, fan culture, etc., are as welcome at CRSF as papers on literature.

I’m an undergraduate student/ university faculty member/ speculative fiction fan/ author, can I attend?
We welcome non-presenting delegates from all aspects of speculative fiction whether you be a non-academic fan or a professor at a university.

How much does CRSF cost to attend?
Since CRSF is funded entirely off the delegate fees we can never be 100% sure of our budget until we know how many papers we will be accepting for the conference. As such, confirmed fees are not available until after abstracts have been processed and invitations to present accepted. However, as a guide, past conferences have charged £30 (about $44 USA) for the day with an early bird discount available for those who register early. This fee includes lunch and refreshments.

My recommendations are on “SF SIGNAL” “MIND MELD” “This Is What We Want To Read In 2016”!

My recommendations are on “SF SIGNAL” “MIND MELD” “This Is What We Want To Read In 2016”!

Andrea Johnson was kind enough to invite and include me in this amazing roster of #speculative #fiction authors’ recommendations for upcoming spec fiction books we are looking forward to reading this year.

Mine are near the middle of the list, this time.

Visit, comment, subscribe!

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2016/01/target-113mind-meld-want-read-2016/

What about other 2016 new releases in Speculative Fiction? There are so many lists/books!

Goodreads has a list:
https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new_releases/science-fiction

Here, via Barnes & Noble, some editors/publishers/bookstore owners are tooting their own horns, so to speak (hawking their own company’s books)? First:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/2016-books-sff-editors-want-you-to-read/

then, with lots of overlap, this one:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/42-sff-books-we-cant-wait-to-read-in-2016-in-2-sentences-or-less/

If you’re focused on #Fantasy and want to know when most upcoming releases (from predominantly/exclusively MALE authors, which I’m sure is some kind of weird accident… sure, it is) that are already scheduled are due to be available, use this new-releases calendar (most do not have covers, yet):
http://www.bestfantasybookshq.com/best-fantasy-books-2016/

A much better and more inclusive list, here, from Locus Online:
http://www.locusmag.com/Resources/ForthcomingBooks.html

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

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/

“Actualists” vs. “Realists”: The Evolution of Modern #Fiction thanks to #Quantum #Physics

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not read the book, FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE, being reviewed in the blog post I am quoting, written by Marti. I probably won’t.

quantum-fiction cover

But, I’m fascinated by the topic, which relates directly to my own writing and choices in The Spanners Series ebooks and appreciate her review and snippets enormously.

logoAuthorsDen

I’m sharing some of Marti’s review, linking to her blog (below) and commenting here on mine.

Of course, I encourage anyone interested to read the full review AND read Susan Strehle’s book. Some day, I will.

FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE by Susan Strehle

Reviewed by Marti on What has Been Read Cannot Be Unread book blog

9/15/14

Marti characterizes this as an “interesting but academic book” which is hard to argue with, for sure. Her summary of Strehle’s premise is: “a new fiction has developed from the influence of modern physics.”

I LOVE this idea! As a new-ish speculative fiction writer (This Changes Everything, Volume I, and This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, published as ebooks, so far) who would definitely fit into this category, I’m glad to have these choices honored and recognized as parts of a trend.

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

final cover print

Strehle calls this new fiction actualism, which I like as a term. However, I don’t like her positioning realism as its opposite, since Buddhists and quantum physicists all realize that NOTHING is “REAL” in the sense of the word as we currently know it.

Marti writes that Strehle claims we actualists are writing the way we do “in order to reflect more accurately what we now understand as real.”

This I do agree with. For example, I am choosing to write my novels in the present tense (which aggravates and confounds many readers and reviewers; too bad) to emphasize the simultaneity of time and the “nowness” of everything. I also write about the existence of multiple timelines and some people’s abilities to know facts, events, circumstances, etc., across these timelines in the multiverse. How would I and and other sci-fi writers be doing this without the influences of quantum physics?

I adore these quotes from Marti’s review, some of which are double quoted, since they’re from the book:

[Strehle] says that in the new physical or quantum universe, reality is discontinuous, energetic, relative, statistical, subjectively seen, and uncertainly known — all terms taken from new physics, and that rather than choosing between art and actuality, contemporary novelists pursue both in fiction.

“Contemporary fiction departs from realism without losing interest in reality. Reality is no longer realistic; it has more energy and mystery, rendering the observer’s position more uncertain and more involved.”

Actualist fiction is characterized by incompletions, indeterminacy, and “open” endings unsatisfying to the readerly wish for fulfilled promises and completed patterns. Gravity’s Rainbow [by Thomas Pynchon], for example, ends not with a period but with a dash. Strehle argues that such innovations in narrative reflect on twentieth-century history, politics, science, and discourse.

Read Marti’s full review by following the link, here, and read Strehle’s book by following her links to it or getting it from your local library. Enjoy!

http://whathasbeenread.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/fiction-in-the-quantum-universe-by-susan-strehle/

“Actualists” vs. “Realists”: The Evolution of Modern #Fiction thanks to #Quantum #Physics

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not read the book, FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE, being reviewed in the blog post I am quoting, written by Marti. I probably won’t.

quantum-fiction cover

But, I’m fascinated by the topic, which relates directly to my own writing and choices in The Spanners Series ebooks and appreciate her review and snippets enormously.

logoAuthorsDen

I’m sharing some of Marti’s review, linking to her blog (below) and commenting here on mine.

Of course, I encourage anyone interested to read the full review AND read Susan Strehle’s book. Some day, I will.

FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE by Susan Strehle

Reviewed by Marti on What has Been Read Cannot Be Unread book blog

9/15/14

Marti characterizes this as an “interesting but academic book” which is hard to argue with, for sure. Her summary of Strehle’s premise is: “a new fiction has developed from the influence of modern physics.”

I LOVE this idea! As a new-ish speculative fiction writer (This Changes Everything, Volume I, and This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, published as ebooks, so far) who would definitely fit into this category, I’m glad to have these choices honored and recognized as parts of a trend.

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

final cover print

Strehle calls this new fiction actualism, which I like as a term. However, I don’t like her positioning realism as its opposite, since Buddhists and quantum physicists all realize that NOTHING is “REAL” in the sense of the word as we currently know it.

Marti writes that Strehle claims we actualists are writing the way we do “in order to reflect more accurately what we now understand as real.”

This I do agree with. For example, I am choosing to write my novels in the present tense (which aggravates and confounds many readers and reviewers; too bad) to emphasize the simultaneity of time and the “nowness” of everything. I also write about the existence of multiple timelines and some people’s abilities to know facts, events, circumstances, etc., across these timelines in the multiverse. How would I and and other sci-fi writers be doing this without the influences of quantum physics?

I adore these quotes from Marti’s review, some of which are double quoted, since they’re from the book:

[Strehle] says that in the new physical or quantum universe, reality is discontinuous, energetic, relative, statistical, subjectively seen, and uncertainly known — all terms taken from new physics, and that rather than choosing between art and actuality, contemporary novelists pursue both in fiction.

“Contemporary fiction departs from realism without losing interest in reality. Reality is no longer realistic; it has more energy and mystery, rendering the observer’s position more uncertain and more involved.”

Actualist fiction is characterized by incompletions, indeterminacy, and “open” endings unsatisfying to the readerly wish for fulfilled promises and completed patterns. Gravity’s Rainbow [by Thomas Pynchon], for example, ends not with a period but with a dash. Strehle argues that such innovations in narrative reflect on twentieth-century history, politics, science, and discourse.

Read Marti’s full review by following the link, here, and read Strehle’s book by following her links to it or getting it from your local library. Enjoy!

http://whathasbeenread.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/fiction-in-the-quantum-universe-by-susan-strehle/

A DNF (Did Not Finish) Experience Does NOT Qualify for a “Review”

As a writer and as a reader, I am a genre outsider. I don’t write or read squarely within any genre except Speculative Fiction, but that is so large as to be considered a literary category and not one genre (see previous post, https://sallyember.com/2014/07/10/guest-post-the-politics-of-speculative-science-fiction/, for what belongs within Spec Fic).

Furthermore, I don’t usually like what is published in most of the #SpecFic subgenres. I don’t even like their plots or characters. Same goes for #Romance. I often have to label books Did Not Finish (DNF), although I reserve even that designation for books I read a great deal of before abandoning.

DidNotFinish_purple_Banner

image from http://www.prettyinfiction.com by Jesse Burgoyne

Here are the reasons that I often Did Not Finish (DNF) a book. Books on my DNF list feature:

  • zombies and other horror characters/plots, especially “damsel in distress”;
  • dystopian, apocalyptic downers;
  • space wars, medieval wars, any other wars;
  • combat/violence masquerading as plot points;
  • instant, superficial romance (humans with humans or humans with aliens, shapeshifters, vampires or whatever);
  • gratuitous sex or violence (meaning, does not advance the character development or plot, and appears every so many pages, anyway);
  • military characters, past/future or pretend;
  • “instant” solutions, usually involving a main character’s finding a lover, to serious grief or other problems;
  • sexist, racist, misogynistic, heterosexist/homophobic, classist, ageist and other oppressive depictions of characters, even if they’re “realistic” for the characters or eras
  • clichès, trite plot twists, 2-D characters, and /or other types of bad writing
  • too many typos, grammar or other mistakes that reveal the absence of or very poor editing
  • nothing interesting, so I’M BORED.

As you might imagine, this list includes most speculative fiction and romance books.

You now understand the main reason I almost never do “review swaps.” I so strongly dislike other people’s books/stories, even when they’re relatively well-written, that I can’t even read past the first few pages for most of them. I have tried to read and review them, especially when they are well-written or the author is someone I wish to support for other reasons, but I just can’t appreciate what I don’t like.

Unlike other reviewers who find themselves unable to finish a book because they don’t like it, I don’t post a “review” of an unfinished book unless it’s written by a well-established author whom many others are praising. In those cases, I post my dissenting viewpoint just to round out the PR for that book, knowing my minority, low opinion won’t crush or crash them.

Otherwise, I don’t post my many DNFs with ratings and I do not post “reviews.” I strongly wish other DNF readers would adopt my policy.

It is completely unfair for anyone to give a “professional” opinion (which is what a review purports to be) of a piece of literature the reviewer hasn’t completed. I’ve had some “reviewers” read a few dozen pages of my 300+-page books and then have the audacity to post a ZERO or one-star “review.” What is the justification for that? When they label a sarcastic or dissatisfied DNF response after having read only a few pages a “review,” that infuriates me.

I don’t mind that some readers DNF my books. I understand that some don’t like them. I also encourage readers to comment on any books they want, all they want. As a frequently dissatisfied reader, myself, I empathize with DNF experiences. Sometimes, I explain.

I object strenuously, however, when these DNF readers label their preliminary reactions and comments a “review.” Even more heinous is that some have the gall to rate their DNF books.

In what other profession or situation does a “professional” who has had only a brief experience with the piece become entitled to the right to judge it? Can an Olympic judge watch just a few seconds of the gymnast’s floor exercise routine, then rate it? Do we allow a jury to hear only one witness or just a few words of testimony and give a verdict? When do we ever allow a teacher to give a semester’s grade after briefly meeting the child or giving just one quiz?

DeadLast

image from mackenzian.com

Yes: not all readers finish books or even read most of a book. I am a reader who has a list of titles pages long I have done that with because they did not hold my interest. However, for fairness and professionalism, I strongly request that readers and especially reviewers who DNF not to rate or review those books. Please.

It is fair and helpful, meanwhile, for professional reviewers and avid readers to maintain a DNF list and even to share it. Better would be that we explain a little about our DNF reasons, but that is not expected or required (we’re busy!).

dnf-recap

image from mylifeinbookss.wordpress.com

I hereby proclaim: these are fake reviews, due to the readers’ DNF status. DO NOT READ DNF “reviews.” DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT THEY WRITE. DO NOT SUPPORT “REVIEWERS” who postDNF “reviews.”

One bonus: Within a DNF‘s comments are sometimes witty lines. Those I am pleased to re-post, just for fun.

Meanwhile, back in authors’ support land: please don’t ask me to do a review swap. I mostly do not do reviews, anyway. I do not consider myself a “professional” reviewer. I am just an avid reader and an author.

When I do choose to read a book and finish it, I will post a review. I promise.

Mostly, these days, #Iamwriting my books and blog posts.

Best to you all.

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

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?

17th 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.

17th Serialized Excerpt, 4/10/14

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)

9. How do your friends, family, sig other feel about your aunt as the CC and how does this affect your own relationships?

LEAH: Here’s the story of how I meet Josh. It shows some of the ways things are going during the Transition for my family.
********
Zephyr and Kayla aren’t ever going to get married and then they change their minds. I’m not sure why. They already have Kendall, so it’s not about the parenting-marriagebond. Anyway, we’re all—my giganza family—invited.

At large family events we do several things: eat, play and make music, laugh, talk and play games (all at once, usually). As the cousins all get older, we usually play cards with the older adults, definitely Hearts.

If any of us brings a newbie, like, a new sig other or spouse, they can opt out once, but, after that, they HAVE to play Hearts. It’s required. The Hearts games are a kind of trial-by-fire for joining our clan.

At someone’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, that’s part of the teen’s new status. You can’t play until you’re about 13; it’s that heavy! It’s a kind of initiation-hazing ritual-inclusion thing. When we play Hearts, many cry. Always from laughter, and sometimes from being freaked out at how mean we all get. Or, being on the losing end of a vicious pass or strategy. Usually, no outsiders are invited to play: no random guests or friends, just family and sigs.

I’m at the wedding weekend in old New Hampshire, where they and Zephyr’s dad live, Zef is born and grows up, Aunt Clara lives while Zef is growing up. Summer there is beautiful and I’m glad to be there.

The wedding is on Sunday, but we do things all weekend since people come from far away. I’m noticing this one guy I don’t know who keeps appearing but doesn’t talk to me. Very appealing, to me, somehow.

During meals, I make sure I sit where I can see him. For “down” time—no scheduled thing happening—I look to see what group he’s hanging with and nonchalantly join on the fringes. Or, if I’m already in a group, I notice he drifts over to it. We’re like non-acquainted, exopod dolphins, swimming closer and closer to one another, playing and eating in the same area, but no direct contact.

Lots of smiles, some eye contact (he has amazing, green eyes), electric charges abound. No words. I find myself wanting to rub against him the way a dolphin would do to signal interest in being friends or starting to play, but I restrain myself. I also have the urge to try whistling and squeaking, just because, but I don’t know he could answer me, so I do not do it.

Josh says later he wishes I do these things! I don’t realize at the time that he is a Cetacean specialist and through my unconscious use of some of my Excellent Skills, I’m tuning into this affinity we share.

I don’t ask anyone who he is. I’m enjoying the “dance,” we’re engaged in, which is pleasantly and intriguingly intensifying from Friday to Saturday. Saturday, late afternoon, when we’re getting together for the third or fourth Hearts game of the weekend, when it peaks.

People are setting up the large outdoor table, counting and shuffling cards, talking, laughing, organizing who’s playing and making sure the cards are set up right, removing 2s, doubling the decks, etc., for however many are playing. We’re about to start. All available and eligible in the family are at the table. That’s about a dozen for this particular game.

We’re watching my brother and my mother share the dealing when this guy I am hyper aware of comes over and asks if he can play. Nice chutzpah [audacity, courage, Yiddish].

Zephyr and Kayla look at him, at each other, then at me and say “Yeah! Sure!”

Aunt Clara gives him the eye and asks, “Josh: are you sure you want to do this, now, today?”

She is deliberately daring him. Why? His name is “Josh.” I like that name.

My mom, still dealing, says: “No way; family only!”

A few others murmur their opinions, mostly “no,” a few “next game, maybe.”

Aunt Clara holds up one hand, looks at me, at me, and says: “It’s up to you, Leah.”

Why me? But I nod. It is up to me. I accept that.

CeeCee, my mom, my aunt Violet, Zephyr smile in a way that makes the butterflies in my stomach wake up and start flying around chaotically.

Oh, oh.

The dealing is over but no one moves to take their cards or push the hands out to us. I count silently: fourteen. There is one extra hand. Shit!

Everything stops, then. No one talks or laughs, which is a minor miracle in my family. I swear, even the breezes stop blowing and the birds stop singing for a couple of seconds. I know that’s not likely, but that’s how it seems to me. Time strrrr-etch-es out and slows down, you know?

Josh looks at me and I look at him.

I know.

And, I can tell, he knows.

Given the way ES run in this family, most of us know.

So I, being somewhat an introvert (I know, not obvious, but I am), and a bit wary, blurt out: “But, who are you?”

Josh comes closer to me, gets down on one knee so that he’s eye-level with me, extends one hand to hold mine, and says, “I’m your sig, Leah. I’m Josh.”

All the breath whooshes out of me as if I am a balloon letting go. Then, I can’t breathe right. I’m hot, I’m shivering, I’m dizzy. I stare at him, at his wonderful, interesting face, at his hand holding mine with his beautifully tapered fingers, at his clear, green eyes.

I can feel everyone staring at us, waiting for me to respond. I reclaim my hand. Why does this look and feel like a marriage proposal? We just spoke for the first time!

I reach across the table and grab my cards, trying to make the game start. I look wildly at everyone, but no one is meeting my eyes. I could ignore him, but I am drawn back, against my will, to stare into his eyes. I’m speechless.

I’m so hot and my face is so red I’m sure I am about to catch fire or something. Then, right after I put them into my hands, my cards explode all over the table. Everyone but I and this guy gasps.

I am sure Zephyr has something to do with that trick. I turn to glare at him. He smiles sweetly at me. The picture of fake innocence. I may have to hurt him.

But, I am paralyzed. I stare at the scattered cards and can’t pick any up.

Josh is able to move easily.

Why is that? What’s wrong with me?

He takes both my hands, since I no longer have any cards in either.

Josh says, “Whenever you’re ready, let me in.”

So, Zephyr, being Zephyr, says: “‘Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!'”

We all burst out laughing which takes the pressure off a lot.

I breathe. Once, twice, three times. I look over at Josh. He’s so patient, so kind, so right for me. Why am I resisting?

This has been coming all weekend. Carpe Diem!

“OK. Fine. You’re in.” I say it fake huffily, as if I object, but no one, including me, is the least bit fooled.

I pat the chair that suddenly snaps into place right beside me (Zef’s work, again) and say, “Deal Josh in.”

Caleb snaps the extra hand over to Josh’s place at the table.

Everyone else puts their cards down and applauds. The silence broken, everyone is now talking, laughing, smiling at or groaning about their cards.

Josh plops into the chair, smiles at me, picks up his cards and starts arranging them as if he’s always been here, at our Hearts game.

Maybe he has. CeeCee winks at me. Sheesh. She hears that.

I lean over to squeeze Josh’s shoulder. “Welcome,” I say, more warmly.

He leans into me but keeps arranging his cards.

Oh. It’s like that, is it? Game on!

And, that’s it. Josh is in. In every way. We play Hearts. We start being together. He’s a great dancer, too.
********
LEAH: The rest is, well, private. [laughs].

10. What else do you want to tell us about your experiences of Clara as the CC or the Transition?

LEAH: I can add one important thing: Aunt Clara is the best choice Earthers could have. I know not everyone understands that, so let me explain.

She is off-the-charts in honesty, courage, integrity up the whazzoo. She is dedicated to benefiting all beings—the Buddhist thing, you know? Those all contribute, but most important, Aunt Clara has a humongous heart. She is fiercely protective and loving when she takes anyone or anything on.

Earthers are lucky she took us on. For sure.

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

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

17th 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.

17th Serialized Excerpt, 4/10/14

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)

9. How do your friends, family, sig other feel about your aunt as the CC and how does this affect your own relationships?

LEAH: Here’s the story of how I meet Josh. It shows some of the ways things are going during the Transition for my family.
********
Zephyr and Kayla aren’t ever going to get married and then they change their minds. I’m not sure why. They already have Kendall, so it’s not about the parenting-marriagebond. Anyway, we’re all—my giganza family—invited.

At large family events we do several things: eat, play and make music, laugh, talk and play games (all at once, usually). As the cousins all get older, we usually play cards with the older adults, definitely Hearts.

If any of us brings a newbie, like, a new sig other or spouse, they can opt out once, but, after that, they HAVE to play Hearts. It’s required. The Hearts games are a kind of trial-by-fire for joining our clan.

At someone’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, that’s part of the teen’s new status. You can’t play until you’re about 13; it’s that heavy! It’s a kind of initiation-hazing ritual-inclusion thing. When we play Hearts, many cry. Always from laughter, and sometimes from being freaked out at how mean we all get. Or, being on the losing end of a vicious pass or strategy. Usually, no outsiders are invited to play: no random guests or friends, just family and sigs.

I’m at the wedding weekend in old New Hampshire, where they and Zephyr’s dad live, Zef is born and grows up, Aunt Clara lives while Zef is growing up. Summer there is beautiful and I’m glad to be there.

The wedding is on Sunday, but we do things all weekend since people come from far away. I’m noticing this one guy I don’t know who keeps appearing but doesn’t talk to me. Very appealing, to me, somehow.

During meals, I make sure I sit where I can see him. For “down” time—no scheduled thing happening—I look to see what group he’s hanging with and nonchalantly join on the fringes. Or, if I’m already in a group, I notice he drifts over to it. We’re like non-acquainted, exopod dolphins, swimming closer and closer to one another, playing and eating in the same area, but no direct contact.

Lots of smiles, some eye contact (he has amazing, green eyes), electric charges abound. No words. I find myself wanting to rub against him the way a dolphin would do to signal interest in being friends or starting to play, but I restrain myself. I also have the urge to try whistling and squeaking, just because, but I don’t know he could answer me, so I do not do it.

Josh says later he wishes I do these things! I don’t realize at the time that he is a Cetacean specialist and through my unconscious use of some of my Excellent Skills, I’m tuning into this affinity we share.

I don’t ask anyone who he is. I’m enjoying the “dance,” we’re engaged in, which is pleasantly and intriguingly intensifying from Friday to Saturday. Saturday, late afternoon, when we’re getting together for the third or fourth Hearts game of the weekend, when it peaks.

People are setting up the large outdoor table, counting and shuffling cards, talking, laughing, organizing who’s playing and making sure the cards are set up right, removing 2s, doubling the decks, etc., for however many are playing. We’re about to start. All available and eligible in the family are at the table. That’s about a dozen for this particular game.

We’re watching my brother and my mother share the dealing when this guy I am hyper aware of comes over and asks if he can play. Nice chutzpah [audacity, courage, Yiddish].

Zephyr and Kayla look at him, at each other, then at me and say “Yeah! Sure!”

Aunt Clara gives him the eye and asks, “Josh: are you sure you want to do this, now, today?”

She is deliberately daring him. Why? His name is “Josh.” I like that name.

My mom, still dealing, says: “No way; family only!”

A few others murmur their opinions, mostly “no,” a few “next game, maybe.”

Aunt Clara holds up one hand, looks at me, at me, and says: “It’s up to you, Leah.”

Why me? But I nod. It is up to me. I accept that.

CeeCee, my mom, my aunt Violet, Zephyr smile in a way that makes the butterflies in my stomach wake up and start flying around chaotically.

Oh, oh.

The dealing is over but no one moves to take their cards or push the hands out to us. I count silently: fourteen. There is one extra hand. Shit!

Everything stops, then. No one talks or laughs, which is a minor miracle in my family. I swear, even the breezes stop blowing and the birds stop singing for a couple of seconds. I know that’s not likely, but that’s how it seems to me. Time strrrr-etch-es out and slows down, you know?

Josh looks at me and I look at him.

I know.

And, I can tell, he knows.

Given the way ES run in this family, most of us know.

So I, being somewhat an introvert (I know, not obvious, but I am), and a bit wary, blurt out: “But, who are you?”

Josh comes closer to me, gets down on one knee so that he’s eye-level with me, extends one hand to hold mine, and says, “I’m your sig, Leah. I’m Josh.”

All the breath whooshes out of me as if I am a balloon letting go. Then, I can’t breathe right. I’m hot, I’m shivering, I’m dizzy. I stare at him, at his wonderful, interesting face, at his hand holding mine with his beautifully tapered fingers, at his clear, green eyes.

I can feel everyone staring at us, waiting for me to respond. I reclaim my hand. Why does this look and feel like a marriage proposal? We just spoke for the first time!

I reach across the table and grab my cards, trying to make the game start. I look wildly at everyone, but no one is meeting my eyes. I could ignore him, but I am drawn back, against my will, to stare into his eyes. I’m speechless.

I’m so hot and my face is so red I’m sure I am about to catch fire or something. Then, right after I put them into my hands, my cards explode all over the table. Everyone but I and this guy gasps.

I am sure Zephyr has something to do with that trick. I turn to glare at him. He smiles sweetly at me. The picture of fake innocence. I may have to hurt him.

But, I am paralyzed. I stare at the scattered cards and can’t pick any up.

Josh is able to move easily.

Why is that? What’s wrong with me?

He takes both my hands, since I no longer have any cards in either.

Josh says, “Whenever you’re ready, let me in.”

So, Zephyr, being Zephyr, says: “‘Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!'”

We all burst out laughing which takes the pressure off a lot.

I breathe. Once, twice, three times. I look over at Josh. He’s so patient, so kind, so right for me. Why am I resisting?

This has been coming all weekend. Carpe Diem!

“OK. Fine. You’re in.” I say it fake huffily, as if I object, but no one, including me, is the least bit fooled.

I pat the chair that suddenly snaps into place right beside me (Zef’s work, again) and say, “Deal Josh in.”

Caleb snaps the extra hand over to Josh’s place at the table.

Everyone else puts their cards down and applauds. The silence broken, everyone is now talking, laughing, smiling at or groaning about their cards.

Josh plops into the chair, smiles at me, picks up his cards and starts arranging them as if he’s always been here, at our Hearts game.

Maybe he has. CeeCee winks at me. Sheesh. She hears that.

I lean over to squeeze Josh’s shoulder. “Welcome,” I say, more warmly.

He leans into me but keeps arranging his cards.

Oh. It’s like that, is it? Game on!

And, that’s it. Josh is in. In every way. We play Hearts. We start being together. He’s a great dancer, too.
********
LEAH: The rest is, well, private. [laughs].

10. What else do you want to tell us about your experiences of Clara as the CC or the Transition?

LEAH: I can add one important thing: Aunt Clara is the best choice Earthers could have. I know not everyone understands that, so let me explain.

She is off-the-charts in honesty, courage, integrity up the whazzoo. She is dedicated to benefiting all beings—the Buddhist thing, you know? Those all contribute, but most important, Aunt Clara has a humongous heart. She is fiercely protective and loving when she takes anyone or anything on.

Earthers are lucky she took us on. For sure.

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

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

15th 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.

15th Serialized Excerpt, 4/7/14

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

1. How old are you when the Transition begins, winter, 2013, and how old are you now?

LEAH: I am 24 when the five MWC holos first come to Earth to work with my Aunt Clara, and I’m 29, now. Since we’re each five years apart in my family, my brother, Caleb, is 24 and younger brother, Aaron is 19 [interviews with them and another nephew of Clara’s, Gabriel, are in CHAPTER THREE]. My boyfriend, Josh Lasky, and I are recently together (about three years, now), so he isn’t with me when the Transition begins.

2. What is your favorite part of the changes since the Transition? Why?

LEAH: Well, as my aunt Clara and everyone else who knows me knows, I’m a geek and proud of it [laughs]. Let my freak flag fly! So, Access, my iD, the fish, my cousin-Jessica-designed OPTS (totally stylin’), all the other new tech, the gadgets, toys, space and time travel components, the whole confirmation of the multiverse moment: LOVE! Also, I’m kind of a music geek: the pieces that combine non-humans with humans are the BEST! Especially, Angelina [Cetacean Leader, Bottle-Nosed Dolphin, South Pacific near former Guam] and her pod’s co-creations with Zephyr: amazing!

Also, I am very impressed with the respectful, pretty much nonviolent ways the MWC manages the Fraggers and Trenchers. That is, if you do not consider involuntary ReInvolvement or forced Qing to be violent, which I do not. The alternatives are much worse.

Having Moran and a bunch of my friends in the OSes and OSOps who are eligible to be Psi-Warriors, Levels 6 and above to fight Trenchers, especially the Psi-Defiers, is quite fine. I’m glad that “fight” takes on a different meaning in these contexts, one that is involves less physical violence and more mental competitions. I am a fan of Qing, for sure. And, dueling psi is kind of astonishing, really. I’m only at Level 2 in my ESP training, but that’s OK; I’m so busy [laughs]!

3. What Transition changes have been the hardest or least favorite for you, and why?

LEAH: Well, it’s no secret that some of my other cousins and relatives have a very hard time with the Transition; Aunt Clara talks about that a lot. I know some of Aunt Clara’s acquaintances and friends try to mitigate the damage and help people along, as does she, but, still…. Many people are unable to cope.

Although I do not agree with most of them nor miss them, exactly, it seems kind of harsh that so many get Qed or forcibly ReInvolved, you know? I mean, these hapless souls are sort of innocent, in a weird way. Born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and then handle it all so badly. Can’t help it, really. Products of their times, cultures, religions.

Thought prisons are the worst and the hardest to break out of. I know a lot about that. I have many years of dealing with my self-esteem and empowerment issues that inform and form me.

Here is the main question: How can Fraggers refuse to believe what’s right in front of them? Seriously? Things are better APC. It’s obvious.

It’s kind of a happy accident that I—that some of us—are inherently better prepared, more open and ready for these revelations and changes than others. Comic-Con fans like me, it turns out, are especially well-suited to the MWC era, right? [laughs]

Once everyone knows about Aunt Clara and that I’m her niece (because of Facebook, for one), the ways my friends are “sorted out” is also kind of difficult. Some turn out not to be such good friends and we part ways. I’m fine with that, now. A few of those losses are surprising and hurt at the time, though. Other friends and new ones really come through, liking me for me and not for my relation to the CC. Josh is one of those, and I’m so grateful!

4. Where are you and what are you doing when you find out about the Many Worlds Collective and that your aunt is the liaison/Chief Communicator?

LEAH: I don’t want to answer that, since some of what I know I am not supposed to know as early as I know it and I don’t want to get anyone into trouble. [laughs] Let’s just say that I hear about all this more than once, from more than one of my relatives, and leave it at that. I don’t tell anyone else until we’re all allowed to, though. No leaks from me. They choose to tell me a bit early so I could try to help some of those that need it.

I do try, but….[long pause] Best I could do.

Probably more than where or when I find out, you want to know how finding out affects me, right? Let’s talk about that.

I’m not as surprised as I expect myself to be, which I know sounds kind of strange, but hear me out. My Aunt Clara is not ordinary. [laughs] We all know that. [laughs] From as early as I can remember, my mom—Cassandra—and others in our family all acknowledge Aunt Clara’s uniqueness and not always favorably. [laughs]

But, Aunt Clara and I have a special bond. She and I connect many times as I’m growing up and after I am on my own. On purpose, not only because there is a family event: we talk, we message, I teach her to make vid calls, I do things for her, she helps me think about stuff—like that. We enjoy each other, even though we’re not so much alike, she and I. And, I trust her.

So, when Aunt Clara tells me something in a serious tone, I listen carefully (because sometimes she’s just being silly or playing on her weirdness, as a joke). When she and my mom tell me the same things and if I hear about it again from Zephyr and another person I trust, I believe it. Have to.

My finding out doesn’t exactly happen that way, but you see where I’m going with this? When she means to be, Aunt Clara is a trustworthy source of information, so my shock turns quickly to curiosity, then certainty. I do not spend much time in disbelief the way some people do.

I think that’s the reason I adjust more quickly. I can believe Aunt Clara and go from there. I’m all: “What does this mean?” and “What do we do now?” not, “Is it true?” See?

Aunt Clara’s very practical, so she’s direct, factual and helpful. She tells me exactly what our joining the MWC means and what to do, so I relax. As long as I have a plan, I’m fine. [laughs]

That’s one thing she and I have in common: we’re very organized. I’m a bit OCD and she’s just O, she says. [laughs] [Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Obsessed]

First thing I hear is that I’m not—we’re not—in danger. Check. The rest is easy, after we establish that. [laughs]

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

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

15th 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.

15th Serialized Excerpt, 4/7/14

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

1. How old are you when the Transition begins, winter, 2013, and how old are you now?

LEAH: I am 24 when the five MWC holos first come to Earth to work with my Aunt Clara, and I’m 29, now. Since we’re each five years apart in my family, my brother, Caleb, is 24 and younger brother, Aaron is 19 [interviews with them and another nephew of Clara’s, Gabriel, are in CHAPTER THREE]. My boyfriend, Josh Lasky, and I are recently together (about three years, now), so he isn’t with me when the Transition begins.

2. What is your favorite part of the changes since the Transition? Why?

LEAH: Well, as my aunt Clara and everyone else who knows me knows, I’m a geek and proud of it [laughs]. Let my freak flag fly! So, Access, my iD, the fish, my cousin-Jessica-designed OPTS (totally stylin’), all the other new tech, the gadgets, toys, space and time travel components, the whole confirmation of the multiverse moment: LOVE! Also, I’m kind of a music geek: the pieces that combine non-humans with humans are the BEST! Especially, Angelina [Cetacean Leader, Bottle-Nosed Dolphin, South Pacific near former Guam] and her pod’s co-creations with Zephyr: amazing!

Also, I am very impressed with the respectful, pretty much nonviolent ways the MWC manages the Fraggers and Trenchers. That is, if you do not consider involuntary ReInvolvement or forced Qing to be violent, which I do not. The alternatives are much worse.

Having Moran and a bunch of my friends in the OSes and OSOps who are eligible to be Psi-Warriors, Levels 6 and above to fight Trenchers, especially the Psi-Defiers, is quite fine. I’m glad that “fight” takes on a different meaning in these contexts, one that is involves less physical violence and more mental competitions. I am a fan of Qing, for sure. And, dueling psi is kind of astonishing, really. I’m only at Level 2 in my ESP training, but that’s OK; I’m so busy [laughs]!

3. What Transition changes have been the hardest or least favorite for you, and why?

LEAH: Well, it’s no secret that some of my other cousins and relatives have a very hard time with the Transition; Aunt Clara talks about that a lot. I know some of Aunt Clara’s acquaintances and friends try to mitigate the damage and help people along, as does she, but, still…. Many people are unable to cope.

Although I do not agree with most of them nor miss them, exactly, it seems kind of harsh that so many get Qed or forcibly ReInvolved, you know? I mean, these hapless souls are sort of innocent, in a weird way. Born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and then handle it all so badly. Can’t help it, really. Products of their times, cultures, religions.

Thought prisons are the worst and the hardest to break out of. I know a lot about that. I have many years of dealing with my self-esteem and empowerment issues that inform and form me.

Here is the main question: How can Fraggers refuse to believe what’s right in front of them? Seriously? Things are better APC. It’s obvious.

It’s kind of a happy accident that I—that some of us—are inherently better prepared, more open and ready for these revelations and changes than others. Comic-Con fans like me, it turns out, are especially well-suited to the MWC era, right? [laughs]

Once everyone knows about Aunt Clara and that I’m her niece (because of Facebook, for one), the ways my friends are “sorted out” is also kind of difficult. Some turn out not to be such good friends and we part ways. I’m fine with that, now. A few of those losses are surprising and hurt at the time, though. Other friends and new ones really come through, liking me for me and not for my relation to the CC. Josh is one of those, and I’m so grateful!

4. Where are you and what are you doing when you find out about the Many Worlds Collective and that your aunt is the liaison/Chief Communicator?

LEAH: I don’t want to answer that, since some of what I know I am not supposed to know as early as I know it and I don’t want to get anyone into trouble. [laughs] Let’s just say that I hear about all this more than once, from more than one of my relatives, and leave it at that. I don’t tell anyone else until we’re all allowed to, though. No leaks from me. They choose to tell me a bit early so I could try to help some of those that need it.

I do try, but….[long pause] Best I could do.

Probably more than where or when I find out, you want to know how finding out affects me, right? Let’s talk about that.

I’m not as surprised as I expect myself to be, which I know sounds kind of strange, but hear me out. My Aunt Clara is not ordinary. [laughs] We all know that. [laughs] From as early as I can remember, my mom—Cassandra—and others in our family all acknowledge Aunt Clara’s uniqueness and not always favorably. [laughs]

But, Aunt Clara and I have a special bond. She and I connect many times as I’m growing up and after I am on my own. On purpose, not only because there is a family event: we talk, we message, I teach her to make vid calls, I do things for her, she helps me think about stuff—like that. We enjoy each other, even though we’re not so much alike, she and I. And, I trust her.

So, when Aunt Clara tells me something in a serious tone, I listen carefully (because sometimes she’s just being silly or playing on her weirdness, as a joke). When she and my mom tell me the same things and if I hear about it again from Zephyr and another person I trust, I believe it. Have to.

My finding out doesn’t exactly happen that way, but you see where I’m going with this? When she means to be, Aunt Clara is a trustworthy source of information, so my shock turns quickly to curiosity, then certainty. I do not spend much time in disbelief the way some people do.

I think that’s the reason I adjust more quickly. I can believe Aunt Clara and go from there. I’m all: “What does this mean?” and “What do we do now?” not, “Is it true?” See?

Aunt Clara’s very practical, so she’s direct, factual and helpful. She tells me exactly what our joining the MWC means and what to do, so I relax. As long as I have a plan, I’m fine. [laughs]

That’s one thing she and I have in common: we’re very organized. I’m a bit OCD and she’s just O, she says. [laughs] [Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Obsessed]

First thing I hear is that I’m not—we’re not—in danger. Check. The rest is easy, after we establish that. [laughs]

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

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

14th 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.

14th Serialized Excerpt, 4/4/14

CHAPTER INTERLUDE TWO

Chief of the Psi-Warriors, OverSeer and covert special Operations agents, Moran Ackerman:

My Stories of the Transition

(continued)

I am re-reading the description of Level 3. Burns? Frostbite? Deep wounds? What??? I ‘path Aunt Clara: “I can’t do this. I’m not cut out for pain. Get someone else. I can quit, can’t I?”

Aunt Clara knows where I am and says she’s coming to see me, ‘pathing, sternly while she is on her way over, “That’s more than one. You are now in arrears for three days of kvetches, Moran. Want to go for four?”

I look up at the end of her remonstration to see her standing in front of me. How does she get here so fast?

“No, Aunt Clara. I’m serious.” I say, aloud, wincing at the sound of my own whining, but I am somehow compelled. “I can’t do this. I’m a baby. Truly. Liora can tell you. Agam and Lavi can tell you. Hell, Orna can tell you: I’m a wimp. Really. I get teary when I get a paper cut.” I wave one finger around, demonstrating the way it makes me feel, wiping pretend tears away with my other hand.

She is unmoved.

Led appears *POP* and hovers over to me. “What seems to be the problem, here, Moran Ackerman?”

Just Led’s appearing and calling me by my full name makes me stand up straighter, suck in my gut and pull it together. “Nothing, Sir. I mean, Led. I mean, I’m fine. Just having a moment with my aunt.”

Led hovers over to Clara. They exchange some information silently.

I don’t catch it, which I’m sure is intentional on their part.

Aunt Clara turns to me, “Moran, we think it’s best if you and don’t see each other so often for a while. Somehow you allow yourself to feel weaker or show your doubts more around me, which is not helpful to you or to your training. Probably a family thing.”

I take that in, feeling as if she’s punched me in the stomach. Not see her? She’s my only family here, most of the time. I am hit with a wave of homesickness and despair. I sit there, feeling it, then look up at her.

“You’re right. I see that, now. I agree.” I have no idea where this type of inner strength and brutal honesty come from, but the correctness of this plan permeates me completely.

“I hate it, so it must be right.” I grudgingly agree.

I give Aunt Clara a rueful smile: this formula is well known to meditators, personal growth mavens and therapists. She and I face this paradox often. Our strongest resistance and fears are sparked when we face exactly what our next steps have to be. Certain kinds of “no” actually mean “absolutely yes” when we’re talking to ourselves.

Aunt Clara steps toward me and envelops me in a very loving, long hug. “I’m so proud of you, Moran. You are perfectly suited for this. We are sure.”

I appreciate her hug and even more, her confidence in me. “Thanks, CeeCee. I won’t let you down.”

Led says, “No, you won’t, Moran Ackerman. You lead Earthers quite well.”

“Okay, then. Let’s get this party started,” I say.

Smiling, excited and filled with stomach-sucking dread, I turn away from them to walk into the Level 3 classroom.

******
I start to feel very rushed during these next trainings because things are heating up “outside.” More Fraggers are becoming Trenchers,which means the kvetchers [outspoken complainers, Yiddish] are becoming a politically organized resistance movement, no longer content with venting.

Trenchers are organizing to protest Earth’s membership in the MWC, to “throw off the yoke of alien invasion by any means necessary,” according to their websites. I feel quite worried and accelerate my practice sessions. I don’t timult, yet, but I can sense the impending conflicts, nonetheless.

Led tells me that this is all “typical.”

But I am increasingly worried because Mick shows me, via Access, that many orbs have psi Wars during their Ts. I ask them how the Trenchers learn anything like my lessons in psi from ESP training when none of them is included?

One day, Led explains.

Aunt Clara and I are called in via vid call to speak together with The Band in April, 2013. I remember it vividly because this is the first time I hear that I am supposed to not only become one of but to lead the Psi-Warriors. The most I lead up to that point is my class of twenty 7th-graders!

*******
“I am in no way suited for such a difficult role and unimaginable amount of responsibility! Please, find someone better! I’m merely a beginner. Surely you have someone with psi talent and training you can use from off-p?” I am kind of shouting, but who wouldn’t?

“Can’t I assume leadership later, like, in about five years or something? You have all these experienced OSes here. Can’t we use one or more of them? I feel intense internal opposition about becoming something I’m not. Worse, I would be having all these people, all these beings—the entire damned planet—depending on me. This can’t be right.” I’m beginning to feel lightheaded from hyperventilating. I take several deep, slow, calming breaths.

Led intones: “The leader of each Member’s Psi-Warriors, when one is needed, must be of the dominant species from that orb. Furthermore, s/he must be a close relative of the CC. We try many other variations and none is as effective. Name recognition, early acceptance of unusual traits and Excellent Skills, close contact and guidance from the MWC: these are all important to the success of the leader of the Transition OverSeers’ defense squadron.”

Why isn’t this Zephyr’s role? Why isn’t he being trained to lead the PWs and OSes?

Before I can voice these questions, Led interrupts.

“In addition,” Led inserts, “anyone who actually wants this job, who feels comfortable assuming this kind of leadership role, is prohibited from attaining it.”

Realization dawns slowly, but I get it, now. “Oh. It’s just like what’s happening with all the new global government leaders: everyone who volunteers, who runs for election or wants to be in charge, is refused. Anyone competent and good-hearted who could be leaders are the ones who are invited and trained.”

Led bounces in his YES mode.

Aunt Clara chimes in to reassure me: “You are supervised in Access contact and telepathically engaged at all times, same as I am. You will never be ‘alone,’ as you conceive of it, ever again. You don’t even have to send a ‘Bat signal’ to get help!”

I take a moment to let that sink in. Never alone again?

Now, I’m used to it. But, then, it’s a shocking concept.

I look at Aunt Clara, who is looking at me with sympathy and understanding. Oh. I get it. She’s already like that, with the MWC. Always in contact, whether she likes it or not. Her life must seem to be out of her control.

Mine is about to become eerily similar. Tell me again why this isn’t this a job for Zef?

Hearing me, Ringo cuts in. “Your cousin, Zephyr, has other roles to play in the Transition and is already engaged in them. Furthermore, experience shows us that the Psi-Warrior leader cannot be a member of the CC’s immediate family because that causes the CC to be too distracted to perform the CC duties during psi conflicts.”

Battles. Fights. People and ETs with some weird-ass weapons I can’t imagine, yet, killing and hurting each other. A war. I can’t lead a war! I’m a rabbi, a middle-school teacher!

I start to object, but again, I am not fast enough.

Led seems as if he’s trying to reassuring, here: “You receive specialized, accelerated ESP training already. We add, today, your specialized InKC [pronounced InKayCee], your Inner Knowing Center, Access training. InKC gives you some measure of privacy.”

Mick adds,”More importantly, InKC Access also enhances your ability to connect directly with everything you learn, know, and are capable of at every moment as circumstances demand without having to make an Access request.”

Aunt Clara chimes in: “InKC is great. I believe it’s saved what sanity I can claim to have. For most ESP trainees, it’s Level 8-A, but for us, it’s NOW.”

I am not even close to being sufficiently reassured.

We are all quiet for a few moments.

This is too weird, even after everything I already know.

Hearing my internal distress, again, Ringo intercedes by reminding me: “Isn’t there a great tradition of Jewish scholar-fighters?”

I nod. I breathe that in. This is HaShem’s will for me. I nod to acquiesce, with quite a bit of trepidation. Even Noah is afraid, but he builds the Ark.

I finally find my voice. “How does InKC training work?” I realize I am sidestepping my misgivings, but I can’t talk about them all, yet.

“We now show you,” Led says, somewhat gently, for him.

I look to Aunt Clara. She is already getting into meditation posture on her chair.

I mimic her, but on the cushion I use on the rug. Without further prompting, I begin the deep breathing and calming exercises that precede all ESP training sessions.

Within a few minutes, I feel the familiar heat in each of my energy centers, especially in my heart chakra [energy center, Sanskrit]. I continue breathing, eyes half-closed, turning my mind to focus on my breath. In, out, in, out.

I feel the tingle that signals a lesson is beginning. I always feel it first in my hands. Aunt Clara tells me another time she feels it first on the back of her neck.

I hear Mick’s voice, in my mind, directing us: “Allow your attention to flow through all of your energy channels evenly and without constraint. Keep the breathing steady. Release the bonds of the outer shell and join in oneness.”

Time and space expand as the multiverse timelines converge, separate, reconverge, merging into one. I no longer feel my limbs, my skin, my weight. My sense of the room I’m in fades as well. So far, all very familiar and somewhat, well, blissful. I should do this more.

Mick continues, still ‘pathing: “Now, increase the pressure from within your heart energy center so that you are expanding its presence in your chest. Let it fill the entire cavity.”

This is new. How do I do that? Suddenly my chest fills with sparkling, buzzing electricity. Energy is also zinging up and down all of my central and auxiliary channels with more speed and heat. Whoa, there, Sparky! I slow it down a little, but keep it strong by directing my attention to it, pushing the current while harnessing it at the same time.

Mick’s voice resumes in my mind: “Refocus your attention back to the center of your heart energy. Breathe into it. Consider that it is a kind of doorway. Visualize it, seek its opening and enter through that door. You will find yourself in a chamber of your own design, outfitted exactly as you need, each time you enter. Here, you are safe, fully knowledgeable, reconstituted and restored as needed. Find your resting place, your refueling station. All your information Access points are also within this chamber.”

Wow. This is so cool! My chamber is kind of like an Israeli Talmudic library and study room that also has a large couch, a small table with water and food, soft lighting, complete silence. Pictures of Liora and Orna are on the shelves.

I immediately feel happy, safe, at home. I want to come here frequently. I want to stay here.

Again, hearing me, Led responds. “Now that you establish your InKC, make this journey at least once per day exactly as we just have. Familiarity is the key.”

“Does the InKC change each time I visit?” I ask aloud. “You say something about the chamber’s changing each time we come. How does that work?”

Led makes the bubble sound that I recognize as laughter and also speaks aloud: “It’s all in your mind, Moran. Of course it can change, instantly.”

Oh. Right. I return my attention to the chamber and push the energy to make a tablet computer appear on the table. Snap. There it is. Immediately. “Sweet. I can use this!” I say, happily.
******
During the rest of the Level 3 ESP training and all my previous Levels’ practice sessions, I come to my InKC often, more than once a day. I find I heal faster, learn more quickly, feel refreshed sooner and remember lessons more reliably with many visits. I understand better each week the reason for its name.

It takes many months for me to get good enough at ES Levels 1, 2 and 3 and Health/Healing [8-B] since these are fundamental. Meanwhile, using my InKC becomes automatic and essential.

“Outside,” things are getting crazy in Trencher-ville, spawning the Psi-Defiers at the end of the summer, 2013. My training really speeds up after that.

More OSes come every week to be part of our PWs from all over the MWC membership. I get to train with each of them, individually and in groups. They know before arriving that I am going to lead us as soon as I’m ready, so they all pitch in to encourage, test, demo, model: they are amazing.

I’m not at liberty to say much more about the exact training I get, but I’ll share what I can with a story here and there.

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

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

14th 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.

14th Serialized Excerpt, 4/4/14

CHAPTER INTERLUDE TWO

Chief of the Psi-Warriors, OverSeer and covert special Operations agents, Moran Ackerman:

My Stories of the Transition

(continued)

I am re-reading the description of Level 3. Burns? Frostbite? Deep wounds? What??? I ‘path Aunt Clara: “I can’t do this. I’m not cut out for pain. Get someone else. I can quit, can’t I?”

Aunt Clara knows where I am and says she’s coming to see me, ‘pathing, sternly while she is on her way over, “That’s more than one. You are now in arrears for three days of kvetches, Moran. Want to go for four?”

I look up at the end of her remonstration to see her standing in front of me. How does she get here so fast?

“No, Aunt Clara. I’m serious.” I say, aloud, wincing at the sound of my own whining, but I am somehow compelled. “I can’t do this. I’m a baby. Truly. Liora can tell you. Agam and Lavi can tell you. Hell, Orna can tell you: I’m a wimp. Really. I get teary when I get a paper cut.” I wave one finger around, demonstrating the way it makes me feel, wiping pretend tears away with my other hand.

She is unmoved.

Led appears *POP* and hovers over to me. “What seems to be the problem, here, Moran Ackerman?”

Just Led’s appearing and calling me by my full name makes me stand up straighter, suck in my gut and pull it together. “Nothing, Sir. I mean, Led. I mean, I’m fine. Just having a moment with my aunt.”

Led hovers over to Clara. They exchange some information silently.

I don’t catch it, which I’m sure is intentional on their part.

Aunt Clara turns to me, “Moran, we think it’s best if you and don’t see each other so often for a while. Somehow you allow yourself to feel weaker or show your doubts more around me, which is not helpful to you or to your training. Probably a family thing.”

I take that in, feeling as if she’s punched me in the stomach. Not see her? She’s my only family here, most of the time. I am hit with a wave of homesickness and despair. I sit there, feeling it, then look up at her.

“You’re right. I see that, now. I agree.” I have no idea where this type of inner strength and brutal honesty come from, but the correctness of this plan permeates me completely.

“I hate it, so it must be right.” I grudgingly agree.

I give Aunt Clara a rueful smile: this formula is well known to meditators, personal growth mavens and therapists. She and I face this paradox often. Our strongest resistance and fears are sparked when we face exactly what our next steps have to be. Certain kinds of “no” actually mean “absolutely yes” when we’re talking to ourselves.

Aunt Clara steps toward me and envelops me in a very loving, long hug. “I’m so proud of you, Moran. You are perfectly suited for this. We are sure.”

I appreciate her hug and even more, her confidence in me. “Thanks, CeeCee. I won’t let you down.”

Led says, “No, you won’t, Moran Ackerman. You lead Earthers quite well.”

“Okay, then. Let’s get this party started,” I say.

Smiling, excited and filled with stomach-sucking dread, I turn away from them to walk into the Level 3 classroom.

******
I start to feel very rushed during these next trainings because things are heating up “outside.” More Fraggers are becoming Trenchers,which means the kvetchers [outspoken complainers, Yiddish] are becoming a politically organized resistance movement, no longer content with venting.

Trenchers are organizing to protest Earth’s membership in the MWC, to “throw off the yoke of alien invasion by any means necessary,” according to their websites. I feel quite worried and accelerate my practice sessions. I don’t timult, yet, but I can sense the impending conflicts, nonetheless.

Led tells me that this is all “typical.”

But I am increasingly worried because Mick shows me, via Access, that many orbs have psi Wars during their Ts. I ask them how the Trenchers learn anything like my lessons in psi from ESP training when none of them is included?

One day, Led explains.

Aunt Clara and I are called in via vid call to speak together with The Band in April, 2013. I remember it vividly because this is the first time I hear that I am supposed to not only become one of but to lead the Psi-Warriors. The most I lead up to that point is my class of twenty 7th-graders!

*******
“I am in no way suited for such a difficult role and unimaginable amount of responsibility! Please, find someone better! I’m merely a beginner. Surely you have someone with psi talent and training you can use from off-p?” I am kind of shouting, but who wouldn’t?

“Can’t I assume leadership later, like, in about five years or something? You have all these experienced OSes here. Can’t we use one or more of them? I feel intense internal opposition about becoming something I’m not. Worse, I would be having all these people, all these beings—the entire damned planet—depending on me. This can’t be right.” I’m beginning to feel lightheaded from hyperventilating. I take several deep, slow, calming breaths.

Led intones: “The leader of each Member’s Psi-Warriors, when one is needed, must be of the dominant species from that orb. Furthermore, s/he must be a close relative of the CC. We try many other variations and none is as effective. Name recognition, early acceptance of unusual traits and Excellent Skills, close contact and guidance from the MWC: these are all important to the success of the leader of the Transition OverSeers’ defense squadron.”

Why isn’t this Zephyr’s role? Why isn’t he being trained to lead the PWs and OSes?

Before I can voice these questions, Led interrupts.

“In addition,” Led inserts, “anyone who actually wants this job, who feels comfortable assuming this kind of leadership role, is prohibited from attaining it.”

Realization dawns slowly, but I get it, now. “Oh. It’s just like what’s happening with all the new global government leaders: everyone who volunteers, who runs for election or wants to be in charge, is refused. Anyone competent and good-hearted who could be leaders are the ones who are invited and trained.”

Led bounces in his YES mode.

Aunt Clara chimes in to reassure me: “You are supervised in Access contact and telepathically engaged at all times, same as I am. You will never be ‘alone,’ as you conceive of it, ever again. You don’t even have to send a ‘Bat signal’ to get help!”

I take a moment to let that sink in. Never alone again?

Now, I’m used to it. But, then, it’s a shocking concept.

I look at Aunt Clara, who is looking at me with sympathy and understanding. Oh. I get it. She’s already like that, with the MWC. Always in contact, whether she likes it or not. Her life must seem to be out of her control.

Mine is about to become eerily similar. Tell me again why this isn’t this a job for Zef?

Hearing me, Ringo cuts in. “Your cousin, Zephyr, has other roles to play in the Transition and is already engaged in them. Furthermore, experience shows us that the Psi-Warrior leader cannot be a member of the CC’s immediate family because that causes the CC to be too distracted to perform the CC duties during psi conflicts.”

Battles. Fights. People and ETs with some weird-ass weapons I can’t imagine, yet, killing and hurting each other. A war. I can’t lead a war! I’m a rabbi, a middle-school teacher!

I start to object, but again, I am not fast enough.

Led seems as if he’s trying to reassuring, here: “You receive specialized, accelerated ESP training already. We add, today, your specialized InKC [pronounced InKayCee], your Inner Knowing Center, Access training. InKC gives you some measure of privacy.”

Mick adds,”More importantly, InKC Access also enhances your ability to connect directly with everything you learn, know, and are capable of at every moment as circumstances demand without having to make an Access request.”

Aunt Clara chimes in: “InKC is great. I believe it’s saved what sanity I can claim to have. For most ESP trainees, it’s Level 8-A, but for us, it’s NOW.”

I am not even close to being sufficiently reassured.

We are all quiet for a few moments.

This is too weird, even after everything I already know.

Hearing my internal distress, again, Ringo intercedes by reminding me: “Isn’t there a great tradition of Jewish scholar-fighters?”

I nod. I breathe that in. This is HaShem’s will for me. I nod to acquiesce, with quite a bit of trepidation. Even Noah is afraid, but he builds the Ark.

I finally find my voice. “How does InKC training work?” I realize I am sidestepping my misgivings, but I can’t talk about them all, yet.

“We now show you,” Led says, somewhat gently, for him.

I look to Aunt Clara. She is already getting into meditation posture on her chair.

I mimic her, but on the cushion I use on the rug. Without further prompting, I begin the deep breathing and calming exercises that precede all ESP training sessions.

Within a few minutes, I feel the familiar heat in each of my energy centers, especially in my heart chakra [energy center, Sanskrit]. I continue breathing, eyes half-closed, turning my mind to focus on my breath. In, out, in, out.

I feel the tingle that signals a lesson is beginning. I always feel it first in my hands. Aunt Clara tells me another time she feels it first on the back of her neck.

I hear Mick’s voice, in my mind, directing us: “Allow your attention to flow through all of your energy channels evenly and without constraint. Keep the breathing steady. Release the bonds of the outer shell and join in oneness.”

Time and space expand as the multiverse timelines converge, separate, reconverge, merging into one. I no longer feel my limbs, my skin, my weight. My sense of the room I’m in fades as well. So far, all very familiar and somewhat, well, blissful. I should do this more.

Mick continues, still ‘pathing: “Now, increase the pressure from within your heart energy center so that you are expanding its presence in your chest. Let it fill the entire cavity.”

This is new. How do I do that? Suddenly my chest fills with sparkling, buzzing electricity. Energy is also zinging up and down all of my central and auxiliary channels with more speed and heat. Whoa, there, Sparky! I slow it down a little, but keep it strong by directing my attention to it, pushing the current while harnessing it at the same time.

Mick’s voice resumes in my mind: “Refocus your attention back to the center of your heart energy. Breathe into it. Consider that it is a kind of doorway. Visualize it, seek its opening and enter through that door. You will find yourself in a chamber of your own design, outfitted exactly as you need, each time you enter. Here, you are safe, fully knowledgeable, reconstituted and restored as needed. Find your resting place, your refueling station. All your information Access points are also within this chamber.”

Wow. This is so cool! My chamber is kind of like an Israeli Talmudic library and study room that also has a large couch, a small table with water and food, soft lighting, complete silence. Pictures of Liora and Orna are on the shelves.

I immediately feel happy, safe, at home. I want to come here frequently. I want to stay here.

Again, hearing me, Led responds. “Now that you establish your InKC, make this journey at least once per day exactly as we just have. Familiarity is the key.”

“Does the InKC change each time I visit?” I ask aloud. “You say something about the chamber’s changing each time we come. How does that work?”

Led makes the bubble sound that I recognize as laughter and also speaks aloud: “It’s all in your mind, Moran. Of course it can change, instantly.”

Oh. Right. I return my attention to the chamber and push the energy to make a tablet computer appear on the table. Snap. There it is. Immediately. “Sweet. I can use this!” I say, happily.
******
During the rest of the Level 3 ESP training and all my previous Levels’ practice sessions, I come to my InKC often, more than once a day. I find I heal faster, learn more quickly, feel refreshed sooner and remember lessons more reliably with many visits. I understand better each week the reason for its name.

It takes many months for me to get good enough at ES Levels 1, 2 and 3 and Health/Healing [8-B] since these are fundamental. Meanwhile, using my InKC becomes automatic and essential.

“Outside,” things are getting crazy in Trencher-ville, spawning the Psi-Defiers at the end of the summer, 2013. My training really speeds up after that.

More OSes come every week to be part of our PWs from all over the MWC membership. I get to train with each of them, individually and in groups. They know before arriving that I am going to lead us as soon as I’m ready, so they all pitch in to encourage, test, demo, model: they are amazing.

I’m not at liberty to say much more about the exact training I get, but I’ll share what I can with a story here and there.

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

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

Another 4-Star Review for #ThisChangesEverything, Vol. I, #TheSpannersSeries

4-Star Review of
This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

“As I started reading this book I was extremely confused. The initial writing style is uniquely jumbled and somewhat difficult to follow. However, I believe that this is somewhat intentional based on the first concept initiated within the story—everything happens all at once. Time is not linear, but expansive. Once I understood that this was one of the major messages being shared within the book (note, I do not believe that sharing this will be giving a spoiler as it’s pretty clear within the first 25 pages) the strange manner in which the story, itself, as written, makes perfect sense.

“Although I do not predict this story will become a mainstream success, it will definitely appear to a certain subset who have an interest in discussing the possibilities of linear time and alien interaction with what Sally Ember has labeled as ‘Earthers.’

“The concepts that the author discusses certainly align with some of my own beliefs and, perhaps, this is what kept me turning the page to see the direction in which the story would lead. By page 36, I was glad that I did. It was around this time that I started to enjoy the spin the author put on past events, giving them flavor that played well into her vision of the purposes of past alien encounters.

“I will say that what I enjoyed the most about the book was the main character’s interaction with both ‘The Band’ and her fellow humans. The interactions gave ground to the underlying plot, taking it from something akin to a research paper and back to the world of storytelling. I especially liked the fact that not all of her family is receptive to the sudden announcement of the other world visitors and her realization that, perhaps, she’d best prepare some of these people for the publication of her visits to the world at large.

“Because I did have some problems following the timeline off and on throughout the book, I’m unable to give it a solid five-star rating. However, I will say that very rarely do I finish a 248-page novel in the course of two days and that, even more importantly, I’m curious to see where the author takes this series in the next installment. This speaks volumes as to Ms. Ember’s writing skills and ability to keep her readers interested in her content.”

posted by: riyanj | Jan 23, 2014 | LIBRARY THING

http://www.librarything.com/work/14662907/book/106564730

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks
Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

Available wherever ebooks are sold. Buy links, more reviews, interviews and excerpts from Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, starting March 16, on http://www.sallyember.com
Volume II is in pre-orders via Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo and nook for 50% off @$1.99, 4/18/14 – 6/8/14 and releases 6/9/14 @$3.99 on those sites plus Amazon and everywhere.

#TheAuthorsShow #Interview with Sci-Fi Author, #SallyEmber: April 1 ONLY!

Tune in any time today (24 hours) for AuthorsShowLogo299F-250x160 #TheAuthorsShow #Interview with #SallyEmber by Don McCauley.

Use the link, below, to go to the ON AIR list. The list is near the bottom, center, of the site.

Choose “This Changes Everything, Sally Ember” on their list of Author Interviews(don’t go to YouTube since this is just an audio, not video interview).

Click on the title, then click the arrow (PLAY) on the website’s player. It’s about 15 minutes long.

SHARE! Thanks.

http://www.TheAuthorsShow.com

12th 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.

logoAuthorsDen

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.
Cover reveal for Volume II: April 15, 2014

12th Serialized Excerpt, 3/31/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #1

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

October, 1963

(continued)

I am a little over seven years old. My younger sister, Cassie, is a year-and-a-half. In Bayonne in those days, pediatricians still make “house calls,” meaning, our mother calls when we are sick or she has no way to get to the doctor’s office (in those days, most families in our suburban neighborhoods either have only one car or their mothers don’t even know how to drive). The doctor then comes before or after office hours to our house to check on or treat one of us.

On this day, right before I leave for school, my mom tells me that the doctor is coming to give Cassie a check-up because she’s been coughing a lot. I think my mom tells me this because our house is right across the street from the school and she knows I can see it from the playground.

“When you see the doctor’s car in our driveway,” she tells me, “you will know the reason he’s here and not come running home, scared that something bad has happened.”

I’m walking through the hallways just before the morning bell rings for us to signal the end of before-school morning recess, telling us to go to our classrooms, when I am hit with a physical pain in my butt, on my hip. It feels as if I have been stabbed by something sharp. I look around, but there’s no one and nothing there but me.

I stagger and almost fall into a small staircase next to the stage in the cafeteria/gymnasium. It is so narrow I can put my arms on each wall as I stumble down the few stairs, limping from the pain in my hip.

My vision of the stairs blurs as I “see” my baby sister on my bed and not in her crib. She is crying. The doctor stands over her, our mother next to her, soothing her. The doctor then puts an empty syringe (a “shot”) into a small container which he puts into his black doctor’s bag.

The doctor just gave my sister a shot. Why does my hip hurt? What is happening?

I lurch into the office at the bottom of the stairs, which belongs to the gym teacher, and blurt out: “My sister got a shot and my hip hurts.”

The gym teacher, startled, looks up to see me almost falling over and reaches out one hand to steady me.”What?” she asks me.”Clara, what are you talking about? What’s wrong with your hip?”

I start to cry.”It hurts. It hurts. Tell him to stop.”

“Who, Clara? Who is hurting you?”

Suddenly, the pain stops, my vision clears, and I see where I am.

I shake my head and look at the teacher.”What?” I ask her.”What happened?”

“You tell me!” she demands.

“I saw my sister getting a shot from the doctor. He’s at our house. It hurt, but now it’s fine. I have to go. The bell rang. My hip doesn’t hurt at all anymore.”

“Are you sure you’re all right?” she looks at me intently.

“I feel fine, now. See ya.”

I bounce out of her office and run up the stairs. I walk extra slowly past the principal’s office, sneak around the corner, then race to my classroom as the second bell rings. I throw myself into my seat.

“Made it,” I announce, to no one in particular, panting.

My second-grade teacher, not a nice woman, remarks,”Clara, if you are late to school you have no one to blame but yourself. You live closer than anyone else.”

“Right!” I say, falsely bright.

I lift my desk’s flip-up top to get my pencil, but really so the teacher can’t see my face. I grimace, rolling my eyes at my best friend, Paula, sitting next to me, and stick out my tongue insolently at my teacher, safe behind the wooden barrier from her mean eyes.

Paula grins at me from behind her now-raised desk, rolling her eyes, too.

Class begins and I almost forget about the entire thing.
*******

ESPE: Do you continue to have physically empathic reactions every time you timult?

CLARA: After that experience, I can only recall a few other times when I feel what others are feeling, physically or emotionally, during a timult. I usually get situational concepts or ongoing thoughts more than sensations or feelings of others.

Plus, I figure out on my own how to shield and re-direct fairly soon after this incident. I have to.

Even though I am not a full-blown empath, when a person in a timulted scene is a family member or close to me emotionally, I can still sometimes get empathic bleed-through, feeling their physical or emotional states briefly. My ESP training helps me keep the altered experiences and bleed-through to a minimum in terms of both duration and intensity, now. When I am younger, though, timulting is often problematic.

I also sometimes get empathic contact when I’m intentionally pre-cogging and accidentally, during dreams. In fact, empathic contact and the concomitant sensations are often my first clues that I’m having a pre-cognitive experience. More about pre-cogging in later Octobers in this Volume, all right?

ESPE: Sure. What else do want people to know about your elementary school years?

CLARA: About my being a feminist before I even know that word.
******

The part of my family that lives in Bayonne and near there are on my father’s side: his parents, his mother’s parents, his sister and her new husband, his mother’s brother and family, his mother’s single sister. We see them quite often.
I become an advocate for girls’ equal rights in my family and because of this school and its misogynistic policies. The need for this type of advocacy is all part of the era of my upbringing, unfortunately.

To anchor you younger ones: women my mothers’ age are the first generation of women who grow up with the right to vote in the USA, but women still can’t get credit, loans, property or inherit in their own names in many states until the 1970s. Even these “privileges” are accorded only to white women, remember: African-Americans of both sexes don’t get the “right” to vote until the late 1960s, when I’m in junior high school).

Men “own” their wives and can beat them up, rape them, force them to do whatever they want and the laws upholds these “rights.” Parents also “own” their children; child abuse, incest, neglect and abandonment are commonplace in some communities and there are no laws protecting the children.

There is an incident at our Reform Jewish Temple when I am four years old that is imprinted forever. In the great scheme of injustices and harmful moments, this one is not the greatest or worst by any means, even for me. But, it is pivotal in my feminist awakening.

I do not remember what holiday is being celebrated, just the incident.

We are all there, this aforementioned family of my father’s, along with my parents and my older brother. At one point in the service, my great-grandfather (my grandmother‘s father), my grandfather, my father and my brother are called up onto the pulpit (the small stage in the front of the congregation) to have their photos taken and be honored as “The Four Generations.”

I am furious. In my understanding, the “four generations” members being honored should have been this group: my great-grandparents, my grandmother as their daughter with her sister, my great aunt; my father and his sister; my brother and me. These are the four generations present today in our family, all of us.

Makes more sense, right? I suggest this, but my mother shushes me. She says, as if this explains it all,”Only men are allowed up there.”

I get angrier, especially when my brother senses my jealousy and smirks at me from the pulpit. I stick my tongue out at him. Well? I’m four!

Thus catalyzed, I am sensitized to sexism without having a word for it. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I am enraged a few years later when I encounter our elementary school’s sexist policies. For instance, there are no girls allowed on the so-called “Safety Patrol,” which infuriates me. I complain about it starting in 4th grade even though the Patrol boys aren’t selected until 5th- and 6th-grade years. I get nowhere.

I am pleased to report that, by the time Cassie comes along, five years later, girls in her class are allowed to be in this elite group. By then, selection is solely based on academic performance. I know that’s also a specious winnowing tool, but it purports to be “gender-neutral.”

Why do I militate to be “on Patrol”? Because it’s VERY COOL! On the days they’re officially “on duty,” the Patrol Boys get to wear a sash and a badge, which look very grown-up. While “on Patrol,” they get to come to class late every morning and leave early every afternoon in order to help the adult crossing guards at the intersections. This “important” work involves herding most of the students to where we’re already going, anyway. They also walk the kindergartners in and out of school for fire drills and situate them for air raid drills.

It’s not the tasks I envy; it’s the status. And, my prime motivation is the general principle of fairness.

(Yes, we have nuclear bomb air raid drills: we are told to hide under our wooden desks or whatever is nearby. The “Cold War” is in full swing while I’m at this school.)

More to be enraged about are the sexism and impracticality which dominate the school clothes rules. We do not have uniforms, but strict policies: girls are not allowed to wear pants or shorts. We have to wear skirts or dresses to school, every day.

Imagine climbing all over the “monkey-bars” (“jungle gym”), doing gymnastics, playing sports and sprinting around in dresses and skirts? We have no gym uniforms until junior high school, either, so we have physical educational games and activities in our regular clothes. Climbing ropes in skirts? Really? Skirts/ dresses really do not function well for active, sports-inclined girls, which many of us are.

As a work-around, passed down from some older girls, my friends and I wear shorts under our skirts every day or long pants in the winter. It’s so ridiculous and also infuriating. We protect our modesty and privacy (no one can see our underpants when we’re climbing or running around) but the double layers are bulky, slowing us down while making us uncomfortable and too hot in the warmer weather. I hate these rules and argue constantly to change them.

Also, my first “civil disobedience” nonviolent resistance leadership actions occur because of this. In fifth grade, I am 10 years old. That spring, as soon as the warm weather comes and we go outside for recess, I get on the playground and take my skirt off, hanging it on a less-used horizontal bar. I wear just my shirt and shorts, same as every day when I get home and all summer.

Many of my friends see me and do the same. We hoot and holler, running around, climbing freely, having a great time, daring the playground supervisors to send us to the Principal’s Office, but they studiously ignore us. When the bell rings, we put our skirts back on and go back to class, triumphant. Small victories.

***********
CLARA: Even odder, we go from this strict, sexist dress code in 1963 to no dress code at all by 1969. More about that later.

ESPE: You become an advocate for girls, you know you can timult, you write stories and songs, you get up to reading over 100 books in one year, and others see you as either a leader or rabble-rouser, all before you’re out of elementary school?

CLARA: Yes. I don’t even see myself as unusual, yet.

ESPE: That’s the weirdest part!
*********************************

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

12th 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.

logoAuthorsDen

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.
Cover reveal for Volume II: April 15, 2014

12th Serialized Excerpt, 3/31/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #1

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

October, 1963

(continued)

I am a little over seven years old. My younger sister, Cassie, is a year-and-a-half. In Bayonne in those days, pediatricians still make “house calls,” meaning, our mother calls when we are sick or she has no way to get to the doctor’s office (in those days, most families in our suburban neighborhoods either have only one car or their mothers don’t even know how to drive). The doctor then comes before or after office hours to our house to check on or treat one of us.

On this day, right before I leave for school, my mom tells me that the doctor is coming to give Cassie a check-up because she’s been coughing a lot. I think my mom tells me this because our house is right across the street from the school and she knows I can see it from the playground.

“When you see the doctor’s car in our driveway,” she tells me, “you will know the reason he’s here and not come running home, scared that something bad has happened.”

I’m walking through the hallways just before the morning bell rings for us to signal the end of before-school morning recess, telling us to go to our classrooms, when I am hit with a physical pain in my butt, on my hip. It feels as if I have been stabbed by something sharp. I look around, but there’s no one and nothing there but me.

I stagger and almost fall into a small staircase next to the stage in the cafeteria/gymnasium. It is so narrow I can put my arms on each wall as I stumble down the few stairs, limping from the pain in my hip.

My vision of the stairs blurs as I “see” my baby sister on my bed and not in her crib. She is crying. The doctor stands over her, our mother next to her, soothing her. The doctor then puts an empty syringe (a “shot”) into a small container which he puts into his black doctor’s bag.

The doctor just gave my sister a shot. Why does my hip hurt? What is happening?

I lurch into the office at the bottom of the stairs, which belongs to the gym teacher, and blurt out: “My sister got a shot and my hip hurts.”

The gym teacher, startled, looks up to see me almost falling over and reaches out one hand to steady me.”What?” she asks me.”Clara, what are you talking about? What’s wrong with your hip?”

I start to cry.”It hurts. It hurts. Tell him to stop.”

“Who, Clara? Who is hurting you?”

Suddenly, the pain stops, my vision clears, and I see where I am.

I shake my head and look at the teacher.”What?” I ask her.”What happened?”

“You tell me!” she demands.

“I saw my sister getting a shot from the doctor. He’s at our house. It hurt, but now it’s fine. I have to go. The bell rang. My hip doesn’t hurt at all anymore.”

“Are you sure you’re all right?” she looks at me intently.

“I feel fine, now. See ya.”

I bounce out of her office and run up the stairs. I walk extra slowly past the principal’s office, sneak around the corner, then race to my classroom as the second bell rings. I throw myself into my seat.

“Made it,” I announce, to no one in particular, panting.

My second-grade teacher, not a nice woman, remarks,”Clara, if you are late to school you have no one to blame but yourself. You live closer than anyone else.”

“Right!” I say, falsely bright.

I lift my desk’s flip-up top to get my pencil, but really so the teacher can’t see my face. I grimace, rolling my eyes at my best friend, Paula, sitting next to me, and stick out my tongue insolently at my teacher, safe behind the wooden barrier from her mean eyes.

Paula grins at me from behind her now-raised desk, rolling her eyes, too.

Class begins and I almost forget about the entire thing.
*******

ESPE: Do you continue to have physically empathic reactions every time you timult?

CLARA: After that experience, I can only recall a few other times when I feel what others are feeling, physically or emotionally, during a timult. I usually get situational concepts or ongoing thoughts more than sensations or feelings of others.

Plus, I figure out on my own how to shield and re-direct fairly soon after this incident. I have to.

Even though I am not a full-blown empath, when a person in a timulted scene is a family member or close to me emotionally, I can still sometimes get empathic bleed-through, feeling their physical or emotional states briefly. My ESP training helps me keep the altered experiences and bleed-through to a minimum in terms of both duration and intensity, now. When I am younger, though, timulting is often problematic.

I also sometimes get empathic contact when I’m intentionally pre-cogging and accidentally, during dreams. In fact, empathic contact and the concomitant sensations are often my first clues that I’m having a pre-cognitive experience. More about pre-cogging in later Octobers in this Volume, all right?

ESPE: Sure. What else do want people to know about your elementary school years?

CLARA: About my being a feminist before I even know that word.
******

The part of my family that lives in Bayonne and near there are on my father’s side: his parents, his mother’s parents, his sister and her new husband, his mother’s brother and family, his mother’s single sister. We see them quite often.
I become an advocate for girls’ equal rights in my family and because of this school and its misogynistic policies. The need for this type of advocacy is all part of the era of my upbringing, unfortunately.

To anchor you younger ones: women my mothers’ age are the first generation of women who grow up with the right to vote in the USA, but women still can’t get credit, loans, property or inherit in their own names in many states until the 1970s. Even these “privileges” are accorded only to white women, remember: African-Americans of both sexes don’t get the “right” to vote until the late 1960s, when I’m in junior high school).

Men “own” their wives and can beat them up, rape them, force them to do whatever they want and the laws upholds these “rights.” Parents also “own” their children; child abuse, incest, neglect and abandonment are commonplace in some communities and there are no laws protecting the children.

There is an incident at our Reform Jewish Temple when I am four years old that is imprinted forever. In the great scheme of injustices and harmful moments, this one is not the greatest or worst by any means, even for me. But, it is pivotal in my feminist awakening.

I do not remember what holiday is being celebrated, just the incident.

We are all there, this aforementioned family of my father’s, along with my parents and my older brother. At one point in the service, my great-grandfather (my grandmother‘s father), my grandfather, my father and my brother are called up onto the pulpit (the small stage in the front of the congregation) to have their photos taken and be honored as “The Four Generations.”

I am furious. In my understanding, the “four generations” members being honored should have been this group: my great-grandparents, my grandmother as their daughter with her sister, my great aunt; my father and his sister; my brother and me. These are the four generations present today in our family, all of us.

Makes more sense, right? I suggest this, but my mother shushes me. She says, as if this explains it all,”Only men are allowed up there.”

I get angrier, especially when my brother senses my jealousy and smirks at me from the pulpit. I stick my tongue out at him. Well? I’m four!

Thus catalyzed, I am sensitized to sexism without having a word for it. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I am enraged a few years later when I encounter our elementary school’s sexist policies. For instance, there are no girls allowed on the so-called “Safety Patrol,” which infuriates me. I complain about it starting in 4th grade even though the Patrol boys aren’t selected until 5th- and 6th-grade years. I get nowhere.

I am pleased to report that, by the time Cassie comes along, five years later, girls in her class are allowed to be in this elite group. By then, selection is solely based on academic performance. I know that’s also a specious winnowing tool, but it purports to be “gender-neutral.”

Why do I militate to be “on Patrol”? Because it’s VERY COOL! On the days they’re officially “on duty,” the Patrol Boys get to wear a sash and a badge, which look very grown-up. While “on Patrol,” they get to come to class late every morning and leave early every afternoon in order to help the adult crossing guards at the intersections. This “important” work involves herding most of the students to where we’re already going, anyway. They also walk the kindergartners in and out of school for fire drills and situate them for air raid drills.

It’s not the tasks I envy; it’s the status. And, my prime motivation is the general principle of fairness.

(Yes, we have nuclear bomb air raid drills: we are told to hide under our wooden desks or whatever is nearby. The “Cold War” is in full swing while I’m at this school.)

More to be enraged about are the sexism and impracticality which dominate the school clothes rules. We do not have uniforms, but strict policies: girls are not allowed to wear pants or shorts. We have to wear skirts or dresses to school, every day.

Imagine climbing all over the “monkey-bars” (“jungle gym”), doing gymnastics, playing sports and sprinting around in dresses and skirts? We have no gym uniforms until junior high school, either, so we have physical educational games and activities in our regular clothes. Climbing ropes in skirts? Really? Skirts/ dresses really do not function well for active, sports-inclined girls, which many of us are.

As a work-around, passed down from some older girls, my friends and I wear shorts under our skirts every day or long pants in the winter. It’s so ridiculous and also infuriating. We protect our modesty and privacy (no one can see our underpants when we’re climbing or running around) but the double layers are bulky, slowing us down while making us uncomfortable and too hot in the warmer weather. I hate these rules and argue constantly to change them.

Also, my first “civil disobedience” nonviolent resistance leadership actions occur because of this. In fifth grade, I am 10 years old. That spring, as soon as the warm weather comes and we go outside for recess, I get on the playground and take my skirt off, hanging it on a less-used horizontal bar. I wear just my shirt and shorts, same as every day when I get home and all summer.

Many of my friends see me and do the same. We hoot and holler, running around, climbing freely, having a great time, daring the playground supervisors to send us to the Principal’s Office, but they studiously ignore us. When the bell rings, we put our skirts back on and go back to class, triumphant. Small victories.

***********
CLARA: Even odder, we go from this strict, sexist dress code in 1963 to no dress code at all by 1969. More about that later.

ESPE: You become an advocate for girls, you know you can timult, you write stories and songs, you get up to reading over 100 books in one year, and others see you as either a leader or rabble-rouser, all before you’re out of elementary school?

CLARA: Yes. I don’t even see myself as unusual, yet.

ESPE: That’s the weirdest part!
*********************************

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

4 stars! #BookReview #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING by Nick LeVar, Free World Authors

4-STAR Review of
This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.
from Nick LeVar, Founder, Free World Authors, HIGHLIGHTS here (full review link, below)

“Being a sci-fi fan, I look forward to, and enjoy, fictional worlds that are not real, but are real, and events that have not happened, but could happen, and maybe they have happened, and we just don’t know it, yet. Confused enough? Good, because This Changes Everything is not for the fan of simplistic work. And I mean that as a compliment to the author.”

This Changes Everything challenged my sense of convention.”

“In the first paragraph, Sally immediately piqued my interest by enticing questions. Who is visiting Clara? Are they dangerous? Are they even human? Why don’t they speak when she asks questions? Getting the reader to wonder what they hell is going on is a good way to keep the pages turning. Score.”

“I got the sense that I was in the world as an Earther, feeling what Clara felt, seeing what she saw, and hearing what she heard. The world itself should become another character, and when I can experience the story rather than read it, the author will draw smiles from me.”

“Somewhere in the past, authors have gotten the bright idea to rehash other authors’ stories that have already found success. While borrowing is, in itself, a form of art, I appreciate creativity. This Changes Everything fits the bill. In it, Sally references major events in human history. But that’s not the creative part… I’ll put it this way, you will finish the book wondering what part aliens may have played in the Challenger explosion or the NSA’s invasion of our rights to privacy!”

“If you’re looking for a book that you can skim, then stick to Twilight. If you appreciate a story that reads like the author took her time and was unafraid to challenge what you think you know about story structure, then give This Changes Everything a go. I think you’ll be impressed!”

4 Stars

http://freeworldauthors.com/this-changes-everything/.html

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks
Cover and logo art by Willowraven.

Available wherever ebooks are sold. Buy links, more reviews, interviews and excerpts from Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, starting March 16, on http://www.sallyember.com
Volume II is in pre-orders via Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo and nook for 50% off @$1.99, 4/18/14 – 6/8/14 and releases 6/9/14 @$3.99 on those sites plus Amazon and everywhere.

“I write like Ursula K. Le Guin”! Couldn’t have been more honored!

I took the “Who is the author whose writing mine is most like?” test by pasting about one page from Chapter One, Volume III, This Is/Is Not The Way I Thought Things Would Change, my work-in-progress of The Spanners Series.

I write like
Ursula K. Le Guin

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

I couldn’t be more thrilled, honored, pleased. http://www.sallyember.com for excerpts from Volumes I & II, reviews of Vol I, interviews, more.

11th 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.

logoAuthorsDen

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.
Cover reveal for Volume II: April 15, 2014

11th Serialized Excerpt, 3/28/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #1

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

October, 1963

    Age and Living Circumstances/Location:

Fourth-grader, age 9, in Bayonne Elementary School, Missouri; living in Bayonne, suburb of large, midwestern USA city in family home with her: father, Isaac; mother, Rose; older brother, Thomas, 10; younger sister, Cassie, 3; and, a dog.
Many local friends from school, some who live further away from the family’s Reform Jewish Temple and Camp Cedar (residential summer camp run by the local Jewish Community Center).

    Writing:

stories, articles, songs, poetry (published in school and camp newsletters).

    Favorite Books:

Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, Robert Heinlein; A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle; The Door in the Wall, Marguerite de Angeli; Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White; The Borrowers, Mary Norton; The Bronze Bow, Elizabeth George Speare; Danny Dunn series, Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams; Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series, Betty MacDonald; Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars, Ellen McGregor; The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, Eleanor Cameron.

    Music on the Radio:

“Love Me Do,” “She Loves You,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” The Beatles; “It’s My Party,” Lesley Gore; “Be My Baby,” The Ronettes; “He’s So Fine,” The Chiffons; “If I Had a Hammer,” Trini Lopez; “I Only Want to Be With You,” Dusty Springfield; “Surfer Girl” and “Surfin’ USA,” The Beach Boys; “Up on the Roof,” The Drifters; “Wipeout,” The Surfaris; Elvis Presley; Patty Duke; Roy Orbison.

    Popular Songs Available in Sheet Music:

“Anyone Who Had a Heart” and other songs by Burt Bacharach & Hal David (sung by Dionne Warwick); “Charade,” Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini (sung by Andy Williams); instrumental music reconfigured for beginning and intermediate players of solo piano by many popular composers.

    Activities:

► Attending (under duress) Jewish religious education services and classes most Sunday mornings (“Sunday School”) during the school year.
► Reading constantly (see above).
► Taking weekly piano lessons and practicing regularly; winning prizes in regional classical piano competitions, ages 9 – 11.
► Playing outdoors a lot, climbing trees, playing hide-and-go-seek, going to play at the elementary school’s “jungle-gym” and playgrounds for kickball, softball, tennis, soccer, field hockey, sprinting, and indoors for balance beam/gymnastics.
► Also, bike riding; waterskiing, canoeing, Israeli folk dancing, swimming, sailing at Camp Cedar (Jewish residential camp, Lake of the Ozarks) and local outdoor pool in the summer.

ESPE: Clara asks me to include some stories and poems she is “guilty of writing when younger” (her words, not mine). She asks that I put each one in the closest year for the October of each of these sections.

Here is her first (and only) fairy tale, dated May 11, 1964. It’s written in pencil, on yellowing, manila-colored, lined paper, in cursive writing. At the top, next to her name and the date, she writes “9 years old” and across the top she prints “DON’T THROW AWAY!!!” Guess she keeps what she tells herself to keep!

“Princess Why” by Clara Ackerman, 9 years old

May 11, 1964

Not so very long ago, in a far-off land, lived a princess called Princess Why. She got this name because the very first and only word that she had ever uttered was “Why?”

The good Queen Falina had given birth to twin daughters, but the evil witch, Zweezy, had drugged the Queen and her husband, the kind King Loten, and had stolen one of the baby twin princesses away. When the good Queen and the kind King awoke from their enchanted sleep, neither of them remembered that there really had been two babies. They now only saw one baby princess, and one was all they now had.

Zweezy, although a very cruel witch, was nonetheless not very smart. She had not remembered to drug the other baby or the royal dog, Kays, and they had both seen Zweezy carry out the terrible kidnapping with their very own eyes.

When the baby princess, who still lived with her parents, was very small, she managed to say her first and only word, “Why?” From then on, she was destined to be called Princess Why.

The word she had spoken was meant to ask: “Why didn’t Mother stop Sister from being stolen?” “Why has Sister been taken away from us?” “Why isn’t Sister back with us, yet?”

For fifteen long years, the good Queen Falina and the kind King Loten ruled their kingdom wisely and well. Princess Why grew older and more beautiful, but she never said anything but “Why?” She grew more and more weak and sickly as she tried so desperately to tell her royal parents all that had really happened on that awful day. She tried very hard, but all she could say was “Why?”

She became very ill, and would have certainly died, but the royal nurse, Vetina, consulted the sickness god, Wade, and the Princess remained alive. For many months, she lingered on the verge of certain death, only able to stay alive by the chants Vetina did at the Princess’ bedside.

One day, Princess Why managed to sit up by her window and look weakly out into the royal garden. She watched Kays, the royal dog, romping and playing with the rabbits and the squirrels. While chasing a rabbit, Kays happened to follow it through a hole in the royal garden wall. As he ran around outside the palace grounds and into the village streets, who should he meet but the evil witch, Zweezy, the very same Zweezy who had taken Princess Why’s twin so many years before!

Kays being a good and loyal royal dog and remembering how he had seen Zweezy do the terrible deed with his very own eyes, pounced upon Zweezy. He tore her to pieces before she could even open her evil mouth to cast a spell on him!

Just then, a strange thing occurred. There was a great rumbling sound throughout the kingdom. Suddenly, in her room, Princess Why screamed and there before her stood her long-lost twin! Both were fair and kind as well as beautiful, and now both could speak and both were well.

The good Queen Fatina and the kind King Loten rejoiced to have both their daughters safe again, and proclaimed the day to be a royal holiday in honor of their daughters’ good luck and good health. They had a Royal Banquet, and at the new Christening, the two Princesses were given the beautiful names of Princess Faya and Princess Fosa.

In the years ahead, both Princess Faya and Princess Fosa would marry and have children and would always be kind and good to all. They especially made sure that Kays, the good and faithful royal dog, and all his pups, lived their lives as comfortably as royal dogs could.

The End

CLARA: It holds up rather well, all things considered, I think.

ESPE: If you say so.

CLARA: I have a comma problem then, same as now.

ESPE: Yes, you do.

CLARA: I suppose someone could analyze this to tedium. Let’s not.

ESPE: Fine with me.

CLARA: How about if I tell another story, my first memory of timulting?

ESPE: Good idea. In fact, I think the more you put in here which helps to explain the ways that your early life experiences and qualities contribute to your being selected to be Chief Communicator, the more easily we can justify spending the time on this Volume. There are hundreds of hours involved interviewing you, interviewing all your nieces, nephews, your son, me. And, you pay me a lot.

CLARA: All right. Your point is taken. Here we go.
*********************************

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

11th 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.

logoAuthorsDen

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.
Cover reveal for Volume II: April 15, 2014

11th Serialized Excerpt, 3/28/14

CHAPTER SNAPSHOT #1

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

October, 1963

    Age and Living Circumstances/Location:

Fourth-grader, age 9, in Bayonne Elementary School, Missouri; living in Bayonne, suburb of large, midwestern USA city in family home with her: father, Isaac; mother, Rose; older brother, Thomas, 10; younger sister, Cassie, 3; and, a dog.
Many local friends from school, some who live further away from the family’s Reform Jewish Temple and Camp Cedar (residential summer camp run by the local Jewish Community Center).

    Writing:

stories, articles, songs, poetry (published in school and camp newsletters).

    Favorite Books:

Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, Robert Heinlein; A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle; The Door in the Wall, Marguerite de Angeli; Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White; The Borrowers, Mary Norton; The Bronze Bow, Elizabeth George Speare; Danny Dunn series, Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams; Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series, Betty MacDonald; Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars, Ellen McGregor; The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, Eleanor Cameron.

    Music on the Radio:

“Love Me Do,” “She Loves You,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” The Beatles; “It’s My Party,” Lesley Gore; “Be My Baby,” The Ronettes; “He’s So Fine,” The Chiffons; “If I Had a Hammer,” Trini Lopez; “I Only Want to Be With You,” Dusty Springfield; “Surfer Girl” and “Surfin’ USA,” The Beach Boys; “Up on the Roof,” The Drifters; “Wipeout,” The Surfaris; Elvis Presley; Patty Duke; Roy Orbison.

    Popular Songs Available in Sheet Music:

“Anyone Who Had a Heart” and other songs by Burt Bacharach & Hal David (sung by Dionne Warwick); “Charade,” Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini (sung by Andy Williams); instrumental music reconfigured for beginning and intermediate players of solo piano by many popular composers.

    Activities:

► Attending (under duress) Jewish religious education services and classes most Sunday mornings (“Sunday School”) during the school year.
► Reading constantly (see above).
► Taking weekly piano lessons and practicing regularly; winning prizes in regional classical piano competitions, ages 9 – 11.
► Playing outdoors a lot, climbing trees, playing hide-and-go-seek, going to play at the elementary school’s “jungle-gym” and playgrounds for kickball, softball, tennis, soccer, field hockey, sprinting, and indoors for balance beam/gymnastics.
► Also, bike riding; waterskiing, canoeing, Israeli folk dancing, swimming, sailing at Camp Cedar (Jewish residential camp, Lake of the Ozarks) and local outdoor pool in the summer.

ESPE: Clara asks me to include some stories and poems she is “guilty of writing when younger” (her words, not mine). She asks that I put each one in the closest year for the October of each of these sections.

Here is her first (and only) fairy tale, dated May 11, 1964. It’s written in pencil, on yellowing, manila-colored, lined paper, in cursive writing. At the top, next to her name and the date, she writes “9 years old” and across the top she prints “DON’T THROW AWAY!!!” Guess she keeps what she tells herself to keep!

“Princess Why” by Clara Ackerman, 9 years old

May 11, 1964

Not so very long ago, in a far-off land, lived a princess called Princess Why. She got this name because the very first and only word that she had ever uttered was “Why?”

The good Queen Falina had given birth to twin daughters, but the evil witch, Zweezy, had drugged the Queen and her husband, the kind King Loten, and had stolen one of the baby twin princesses away. When the good Queen and the kind King awoke from their enchanted sleep, neither of them remembered that there really had been two babies. They now only saw one baby princess, and one was all they now had.

Zweezy, although a very cruel witch, was nonetheless not very smart. She had not remembered to drug the other baby or the royal dog, Kays, and they had both seen Zweezy carry out the terrible kidnapping with their very own eyes.

When the baby princess, who still lived with her parents, was very small, she managed to say her first and only word, “Why?” From then on, she was destined to be called Princess Why.

The word she had spoken was meant to ask: “Why didn’t Mother stop Sister from being stolen?” “Why has Sister been taken away from us?” “Why isn’t Sister back with us, yet?”

For fifteen long years, the good Queen Falina and the kind King Loten ruled their kingdom wisely and well. Princess Why grew older and more beautiful, but she never said anything but “Why?” She grew more and more weak and sickly as she tried so desperately to tell her royal parents all that had really happened on that awful day. She tried very hard, but all she could say was “Why?”

She became very ill, and would have certainly died, but the royal nurse, Vetina, consulted the sickness god, Wade, and the Princess remained alive. For many months, she lingered on the verge of certain death, only able to stay alive by the chants Vetina did at the Princess’ bedside.

One day, Princess Why managed to sit up by her window and look weakly out into the royal garden. She watched Kays, the royal dog, romping and playing with the rabbits and the squirrels. While chasing a rabbit, Kays happened to follow it through a hole in the royal garden wall. As he ran around outside the palace grounds and into the village streets, who should he meet but the evil witch, Zweezy, the very same Zweezy who had taken Princess Why’s twin so many years before!

Kays being a good and loyal royal dog and remembering how he had seen Zweezy do the terrible deed with his very own eyes, pounced upon Zweezy. He tore her to pieces before she could even open her evil mouth to cast a spell on him!

Just then, a strange thing occurred. There was a great rumbling sound throughout the kingdom. Suddenly, in her room, Princess Why screamed and there before her stood her long-lost twin! Both were fair and kind as well as beautiful, and now both could speak and both were well.

The good Queen Fatina and the kind King Loten rejoiced to have both their daughters safe again, and proclaimed the day to be a royal holiday in honor of their daughters’ good luck and good health. They had a Royal Banquet, and at the new Christening, the two Princesses were given the beautiful names of Princess Faya and Princess Fosa.

In the years ahead, both Princess Faya and Princess Fosa would marry and have children and would always be kind and good to all. They especially made sure that Kays, the good and faithful royal dog, and all his pups, lived their lives as comfortably as royal dogs could.

The End

CLARA: It holds up rather well, all things considered, I think.

ESPE: If you say so.

CLARA: I have a comma problem then, same as now.

ESPE: Yes, you do.

CLARA: I suppose someone could analyze this to tedium. Let’s not.

ESPE: Fine with me.

CLARA: How about if I tell another story, my first memory of timulting?

ESPE: Good idea. In fact, I think the more you put in here which helps to explain the ways that your early life experiences and qualities contribute to your being selected to be Chief Communicator, the more easily we can justify spending the time on this Volume. There are hundreds of hours involved interviewing you, interviewing all your nieces, nephews, your son, me. And, you pay me a lot.

CLARA: All right. Your point is taken. Here we go.
*********************************

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

9th 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.

logoAuthorsDen

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.
Cover reveal for Volume II: April 15, 2014

9th Serialized Excerpt, 3/26/14

CHAPTER ONE

Zephyr Branon, 38, only child of

Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

(continued)

4. Where are you and what are you doing when you find out about the Many Worlds Collective and that your mom is the liaison/Chief Communicator?

ZEPHYR: My reaction is not the same as anyone else’s because my mom starts sending me the “story” as if she’s writing science fiction novels, in February, 2012. I have a feeling, knowing my mom, that a lot of it is true or about to be true. I don’t say anything like that, at first.

But, when things start happening for her and Espe and for her and Epifanio, just as she writes, I ask her about the rest.

So, around October, 2012, she tells me the MWC are actually coming. I get about a two-months’ head start on most people, about a year to get mentally ready.

I’m all in favor of it. Membership in the MWC, I mean. Earth really needs help. No question.

I know how my mom explains it but I still do not understand why they choose her, of over seven billion humans and all the other, in my mind, more obvious choices among Earthers who could have been chosen. Why not one of the dolphins, for example? No offense, Mom.

But, I’m getting used to it and glad she is CC, in some ways. I get some really cool tips,”toys,” experiences and privileges as the CC’s only child that no one else gets.

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

ZEPHYR: I think I previously answer this. Move on.

Oh, all right.

I feel downright special.

There. Happy, now?

[I nod.]

ZEPHYR: OK, wait. There is one thing. Some people I know start to treat me differently. The way I could compare it might be this: if I had won the lottery, certain people would come out of nowhere and claim to be my friend, but they just want money.

In that vein, some people I haven’t talked to or don’t know well are suddenly going on and on about what “good friends” we are. Some of them go on the media and talk about knowing me and my mom, being at our house when I was growing up, being my girlfriend or best friend, or hers, and stuff like that. When it’s true, I don’t mind. But, some of them are actually lying or wildly exaggerating and that burns me.

My mom convinces me to let them be, so I do. I just don’t get the point: are they that desperate for attention? What tools.

Something else occurs to me, right now, though: I’m glad I’m already with Kayla before all this happens, or I might never know why she’s really into me, right?

In the department of stalkerville: even though our relationship is long-term, committed, monogamous, and known to the public, I still get invitations, sexual and personal, almost every month or so, from some whack-job or another. My mom’s security team collects them; I don’t even read them. Every now and then, my mom or Moran or one of the other OSes tells me to BOLO [Be On the Look Out] for some of these “fans.” When they have show me what these oddballs write to me so I can recognize their “signatures,” I am appalled. That is some crazy shit.

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

ZEPHYR: I will add to what I say before this question that I am very proud of my mom. I think she’s doing an amazing job. Really. I am a very strong critic, usually, especially of my parents. [laughs] She says if I think she’s doing “all right,” she must be doing great.

Sometimes we have disagreements about what to do, when to do it. She calls me her “best informal informant.” She comes to me quite often, especially when things are going down that affect those my age or younger.

Because of her hearing loss, we have hilarious misunderstandings. Once, recently, I tell her the reason she can’t hear me is that her ears are too far from her head. We both laugh about that for quite a while. Another time, because of her mis-hearing me, we go ’round and ’round and don’t get anywhere in our conversation. Exasperated, I say that talking to her is like talking to a bicycle. That sends us into gales of laughter for another few minutes. So it goes.

My aunt Violet, being so much younger than my mom and not at all hard of hearing, says talking to my mom is like using the auto-correct feature in early cell phones: many ridiculous messages transpire.

It’s a lot like that when my mom and I talk, because of the randomly occurring hearing loss effects. She hears some things perfectly clearly and others very garbled, but she doesn’t know how garbled until we talk about it.

I tell her: “Mom. Get a hearing aid.”

She answers omething along the lines of: “When they make better ones, I do.”

Another age-related problem: increasingly silly texts are sent when my mom doesn’t wear her reading glasses when she’s typing or reading her texts. In 2015, when she gets her personally-adjustable, digital hearing aids and corneal transplants, we all breathe sighs of relief, across the multiverse.

The hearing aids amplify only what she needs exactly as much as she needs, which is what she is holding out for all along. She knows they’re coming so she won’t put up with the substandard ones before 2015. We all suffer.

On a good note, she knows when she needs help and asks for it. My mom consults with me, some of my cousins and some of her younger friends for tech help and to discuss how current policy discussions might be perceived or impact non-Spanners (people around my age and younger). Most often, she talks to me and Epifanio for informal feedback or ideas.

The CC has all these advisors, contacts, others—you know—for formal consultations.

And, you, Espe. You’re great!
*********************************

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

9th 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.

logoAuthorsDen

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.
Cover reveal for Volume II: April 15, 2014

9th Serialized Excerpt, 3/26/14

CHAPTER ONE

Zephyr Branon, 38, only child of

Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

(continued)

4. Where are you and what are you doing when you find out about the Many Worlds Collective and that your mom is the liaison/Chief Communicator?

ZEPHYR: My reaction is not the same as anyone else’s because my mom starts sending me the “story” as if she’s writing science fiction novels, in February, 2012. I have a feeling, knowing my mom, that a lot of it is true or about to be true. I don’t say anything like that, at first.

But, when things start happening for her and Espe and for her and Epifanio, just as she writes, I ask her about the rest.

So, around October, 2012, she tells me the MWC are actually coming. I get about a two-months’ head start on most people, about a year to get mentally ready.

I’m all in favor of it. Membership in the MWC, I mean. Earth really needs help. No question.

I know how my mom explains it but I still do not understand why they choose her, of over seven billion humans and all the other, in my mind, more obvious choices among Earthers who could have been chosen. Why not one of the dolphins, for example? No offense, Mom.

But, I’m getting used to it and glad she is CC, in some ways. I get some really cool tips,”toys,” experiences and privileges as the CC’s only child that no one else gets.

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

ZEPHYR: I think I previously answer this. Move on.

Oh, all right.

I feel downright special.

There. Happy, now?

[I nod.]

ZEPHYR: OK, wait. There is one thing. Some people I know start to treat me differently. The way I could compare it might be this: if I had won the lottery, certain people would come out of nowhere and claim to be my friend, but they just want money.

In that vein, some people I haven’t talked to or don’t know well are suddenly going on and on about what “good friends” we are. Some of them go on the media and talk about knowing me and my mom, being at our house when I was growing up, being my girlfriend or best friend, or hers, and stuff like that. When it’s true, I don’t mind. But, some of them are actually lying or wildly exaggerating and that burns me.

My mom convinces me to let them be, so I do. I just don’t get the point: are they that desperate for attention? What tools.

Something else occurs to me, right now, though: I’m glad I’m already with Kayla before all this happens, or I might never know why she’s really into me, right?

In the department of stalkerville: even though our relationship is long-term, committed, monogamous, and known to the public, I still get invitations, sexual and personal, almost every month or so, from some whack-job or another. My mom’s security team collects them; I don’t even read them. Every now and then, my mom or Moran or one of the other OSes tells me to BOLO [Be On the Look Out] for some of these “fans.” When they have show me what these oddballs write to me so I can recognize their “signatures,” I am appalled. That is some crazy shit.

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

ZEPHYR: I will add to what I say before this question that I am very proud of my mom. I think she’s doing an amazing job. Really. I am a very strong critic, usually, especially of my parents. [laughs] She says if I think she’s doing “all right,” she must be doing great.

Sometimes we have disagreements about what to do, when to do it. She calls me her “best informal informant.” She comes to me quite often, especially when things are going down that affect those my age or younger.

Because of her hearing loss, we have hilarious misunderstandings. Once, recently, I tell her the reason she can’t hear me is that her ears are too far from her head. We both laugh about that for quite a while. Another time, because of her mis-hearing me, we go ’round and ’round and don’t get anywhere in our conversation. Exasperated, I say that talking to her is like talking to a bicycle. That sends us into gales of laughter for another few minutes. So it goes.

My aunt Violet, being so much younger than my mom and not at all hard of hearing, says talking to my mom is like using the auto-correct feature in early cell phones: many ridiculous messages transpire.

It’s a lot like that when my mom and I talk, because of the randomly occurring hearing loss effects. She hears some things perfectly clearly and others very garbled, but she doesn’t know how garbled until we talk about it.

I tell her: “Mom. Get a hearing aid.”

She answers omething along the lines of: “When they make better ones, I do.”

Another age-related problem: increasingly silly texts are sent when my mom doesn’t wear her reading glasses when she’s typing or reading her texts. In 2015, when she gets her personally-adjustable, digital hearing aids and corneal transplants, we all breathe sighs of relief, across the multiverse.

The hearing aids amplify only what she needs exactly as much as she needs, which is what she is holding out for all along. She knows they’re coming so she won’t put up with the substandard ones before 2015. We all suffer.

On a good note, she knows when she needs help and asks for it. My mom consults with me, some of my cousins and some of her younger friends for tech help and to discuss how current policy discussions might be perceived or impact non-Spanners (people around my age and younger). Most often, she talks to me and Epifanio for informal feedback or ideas.

The CC has all these advisors, contacts, others—you know—for formal consultations.

And, you, Espe. You’re great!
*********************************

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

8th 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.

logoAuthorsDen

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.
Cover reveal for Volume II: April 15, 2014

8th Serialized Excerpt, 3/25/14

CHAPTER ONE

Zephyr Branon, 38, only child of

Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

(continued)

For the first Technology Exchange, which is on Kepler 22 d in the Earth summer month of July in 2016, I am one of only a handful of Earthers invited and able to attend. We travel there in various ways. I go with my mom, you [Espe], and a few others. When we arrive, many are not feeling so great, especially my mom and I. Something about our livers, a genetic predisposition to problems there for us both, affects us during the off-p traveling experiences.

Knowing that some of us are physically less than optimal seems to instigate a fly-over: We have on our OPTS [Optimal Personal/Positioning Travel/Temporary Suits] for the gravity differential (about 25%), but we’re carrying the head gear since the air is breathable and many of us are reducing our sleeves since the temperature is about 77F/25C.

Led and a few others who are there in physical form (our first time meeting most of them except as holos) come to the enclosure (which has no roof) in which we are staying and hover over us. While they are hovering, a kind of mist or drizzle of some bluish substance begins to emanate, falling towards us from their bodies. When it reaches our heads or arms or wherever it first touches us, it enters our systems via our pores, hair follicles and scalps.

We are immediately calmed, soothed, happy. We are also no longer nauseated, tired, or strained. I mean, like, in one second, human time, from contact to relief.

Amazing. Best drug, EVER. Not a high, but a very soothing relief.
*************
I find out later that this is something they call, in English for our sake,”Travelers’ Juice,” even though it’s composed of something akin to nanobots suspended in a liquid medium. Hilarious.

Led tells us we could drink it, bathe in it, wear it or let it touch us: works in all those ways. Is Travelers’ Juice [TJ] something that falls within technology, health, science, chemistry, or what? You decide.

Whichever it is, Earthers start making and using it from that day onward, as we all know, now. For free. Anyone can go to a TJ bar or fountain. Stores that carry TJ offer it cheaply or free, the way people could get matches, napkins or water a while ago. Widely available.

TJ is a soother, kind of like aspirin if you have a headache, but better. No ill effects, no addiction possible. Excellent. Don’t leave Earth without it!

TJ also works for all types of motion or altitude sickness and depth diving since TJ balances nitrogen to oxyten and rectifies all neurotransmitting chemicals, inner ear workings and whatnot for humans. I have no idea what it does to other species, but all of us seem to dig it.

3. What Transition changes have been the hardest or least favorite for you, and why?

ZEPHYR: Well, it’s very weird having the CC [Chief Communicator] for a mom, or having my mom become the CC, however you want to look at it. It’s not all good or all bad. It’s unique.

People bug me a lot asking for information I don’t have or rudely invading my privacy. I can’t really blame that on the Transition, exactly, but I kind of have to, right? I mean, she wouldn’t be CC if there is no Public Contact. Anyway, I’m not the only one with this exact problem or situation, but I think it’s worth mentioning.

It’s also so WRONG, to make her into a doll or, worse, a teddy bear [Zephyr is referring to the “Clara-Bear,” which comes out as a toy and collectors’ item late in 2013]. Would you like to see one of your parents’ likenesses starting at you from a toy’s face, especially a bear’s? Downright spooky. On the other hand, our daughter, Kendall, who is almost eighteen months old, receives a few every month.

Kayla, my wife, laughs when I get all creeped out by having my mom’s face all over Kendall’s toys. For this, the CC’s son needs intensive therapy. Kidding.

Now that she can talk a little, Kendall calls these dolls or toys and my mom CAH-LAH, since she can’t manage “Clara,” yet. Kendall also calls my mom CeeCee ’cause she hears others call her that. My mom prefers “Grandma,” though. We’re working on it.

Unfortunately for my mom, I think “CAH-LAH” may become “Grandma” for my kids. It’s a tradition in my mom’s family that the oldest grandchild nicknames the grandparents, and since I’m my parents’ only child, it’s all on Kendall.

More seriously, about the Transition and my mom as CC: it is upsetting and scary to hear about all the deaths and psychotic episodes people are having during those first few weeks and even months, AppCee [After Public Contact]. My mom and I talk during this and she explains what’s going on, but, still, I am very unsettled by all that.

We all know people who die, go berserk, can’t handle the T [Transition]. My dad [Abraham Wood Branon] loses a lot of friends, mostly because his friends are a lot older than my mom, as he is [ten years older].

Some of my tech and music friends are cool with it, but a few are quite rigid in their thinking. Their minds can’t cope with the new info—aliens, other species communications with fish on Earth, off-p travel—the whole deal. They freak out.

Some join the Fraggers [Fragmenters] so they can find people who agree with them to join them in yelling or writing public letters about it. They’re angry, but mostly harmless. The scarier ones become Trenchers, fighting the T all the way until they get ReInvolved or Qed [Sequestered].

My cousin, Moran, and the other MWC Psi-Warriors plus my mom and The Band have a lot to do with how nonviolently this all goes down. I’m glad that almost no one is killed during the psi Wars without a chance for ReInvolvement or the choice to be temporarily Qed.

I know my mom does everything she can in advance to help prevent and reduce the numbers of people adversely affected, so no one can say it is her fault or responsibility, although some people DO. Those must be the same people who blame President Obama for Hurricane Katrina’s devastation on the USA southern coastal cities even though he isn’t even President when it occurs, or who blame the hurricanes on homosexuality.

I know my mom still feels badly about not being able to save more people. She’s very sensitive that way. I understand that.
*********************************

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

8th 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.

logoAuthorsDen

Cover and logo art by Willowraven.
Cover reveal for Volume II: April 15, 2014

8th Serialized Excerpt, 3/25/14

CHAPTER ONE

Zephyr Branon, 38, only child of

Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

(continued)

For the first Technology Exchange, which is on Kepler 22 d in the Earth summer month of July in 2016, I am one of only a handful of Earthers invited and able to attend. We travel there in various ways. I go with my mom, you [Espe], and a few others. When we arrive, many are not feeling so great, especially my mom and I. Something about our livers, a genetic predisposition to problems there for us both, affects us during the off-p traveling experiences.

Knowing that some of us are physically less than optimal seems to instigate a fly-over: We have on our OPTS [Optimal Personal/Positioning Travel/Temporary Suits] for the gravity differential (about 25%), but we’re carrying the head gear since the air is breathable and many of us are reducing our sleeves since the temperature is about 77F/25C.

Led and a few others who are there in physical form (our first time meeting most of them except as holos) come to the enclosure (which has no roof) in which we are staying and hover over us. While they are hovering, a kind of mist or drizzle of some bluish substance begins to emanate, falling towards us from their bodies. When it reaches our heads or arms or wherever it first touches us, it enters our systems via our pores, hair follicles and scalps.

We are immediately calmed, soothed, happy. We are also no longer nauseated, tired, or strained. I mean, like, in one second, human time, from contact to relief.

Amazing. Best drug, EVER. Not a high, but a very soothing relief.
*************
I find out later that this is something they call, in English for our sake,”Travelers’ Juice,” even though it’s composed of something akin to nanobots suspended in a liquid medium. Hilarious.

Led tells us we could drink it, bathe in it, wear it or let it touch us: works in all those ways. Is Travelers’ Juice [TJ] something that falls within technology, health, science, chemistry, or what? You decide.

Whichever it is, Earthers start making and using it from that day onward, as we all know, now. For free. Anyone can go to a TJ bar or fountain. Stores that carry TJ offer it cheaply or free, the way people could get matches, napkins or water a while ago. Widely available.

TJ is a soother, kind of like aspirin if you have a headache, but better. No ill effects, no addiction possible. Excellent. Don’t leave Earth without it!

TJ also works for all types of motion or altitude sickness and depth diving since TJ balances nitrogen to oxyten and rectifies all neurotransmitting chemicals, inner ear workings and whatnot for humans. I have no idea what it does to other species, but all of us seem to dig it.

3. What Transition changes have been the hardest or least favorite for you, and why?

ZEPHYR: Well, it’s very weird having the CC [Chief Communicator] for a mom, or having my mom become the CC, however you want to look at it. It’s not all good or all bad. It’s unique.

People bug me a lot asking for information I don’t have or rudely invading my privacy. I can’t really blame that on the Transition, exactly, but I kind of have to, right? I mean, she wouldn’t be CC if there is no Public Contact. Anyway, I’m not the only one with this exact problem or situation, but I think it’s worth mentioning.

It’s also so WRONG, to make her into a doll or, worse, a teddy bear [Zephyr is referring to the “Clara-Bear,” which comes out as a toy and collectors’ item late in 2013]. Would you like to see one of your parents’ likenesses starting at you from a toy’s face, especially a bear’s? Downright spooky. On the other hand, our daughter, Kendall, who is almost eighteen months old, receives a few every month.

Kayla, my wife, laughs when I get all creeped out by having my mom’s face all over Kendall’s toys. For this, the CC’s son needs intensive therapy. Kidding.

Now that she can talk a little, Kendall calls these dolls or toys and my mom CAH-LAH, since she can’t manage “Clara,” yet. Kendall also calls my mom CeeCee ’cause she hears others call her that. My mom prefers “Grandma,” though. We’re working on it.

Unfortunately for my mom, I think “CAH-LAH” may become “Grandma” for my kids. It’s a tradition in my mom’s family that the oldest grandchild nicknames the grandparents, and since I’m my parents’ only child, it’s all on Kendall.

More seriously, about the Transition and my mom as CC: it is upsetting and scary to hear about all the deaths and psychotic episodes people are having during those first few weeks and even months, AppCee [After Public Contact]. My mom and I talk during this and she explains what’s going on, but, still, I am very unsettled by all that.

We all know people who die, go berserk, can’t handle the T [Transition]. My dad [Abraham Wood Branon] loses a lot of friends, mostly because his friends are a lot older than my mom, as he is [ten years older].

Some of my tech and music friends are cool with it, but a few are quite rigid in their thinking. Their minds can’t cope with the new info—aliens, other species communications with fish on Earth, off-p travel—the whole deal. They freak out.

Some join the Fraggers [Fragmenters] so they can find people who agree with them to join them in yelling or writing public letters about it. They’re angry, but mostly harmless. The scarier ones become Trenchers, fighting the T all the way until they get ReInvolved or Qed [Sequestered].

My cousin, Moran, and the other MWC Psi-Warriors plus my mom and The Band have a lot to do with how nonviolently this all goes down. I’m glad that almost no one is killed during the psi Wars without a chance for ReInvolvement or the choice to be temporarily Qed.

I know my mom does everything she can in advance to help prevent and reduce the numbers of people adversely affected, so no one can say it is her fault or responsibility, although some people DO. Those must be the same people who blame President Obama for Hurricane Katrina’s devastation on the USA southern coastal cities even though he isn’t even President when it occurs, or who blame the hurricanes on homosexuality.

I know my mom still feels badly about not being able to save more people. She’s very sensitive that way. I understand that.
*********************************

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

my #SFRB post: Lending Actual People’s Bios to #Fictional #Characters: Pros and Cons

Subtitle: Why everyone who has ever been in a writer’s life should be afraid, VERY afraid!

Writers who invent characters claim they work harder than the rest of us whose characters are drawn from “real” life. How accurate is this claim? Let’s examine the pros and cons of lending actual people’s bios to fictional characters. Then, YOU decide which writers work harder!

Originally posted 3/11/14 in Science-Fiction/Romance Brigade: http://sfrcontests.blogspot.com/2014/03/lending-actual-peoples-bios-to.html

PROS:
1. Actual people already have an appearance, so we can describe instead of straining our imaginations to create features, saving time and energy for generating original plot points and conflicts.

  1. Instead of starting from scratch, we can get a head start on character development by using the people we already know. Then, take whatever liberties we want with their biographies, attitudes, styles, intentions, relationships, even ages, inventing or exaggerating in whatever ways suit our stories.

  2. Some people will feel honored, flattered, amused or intrigued when we let them know we are basing a character on them. Try to choose those people to “borrow” heavily from and not those who would object!

  3. When we put our constellations of former and current relatives, lovers, friends, bosses, colleagues, fellow students, politicians, celebrities and other famous sorts into the skylines of our stories, we can create street riots by having them act out our psychological fantasies, desires, dreams and yearnings without our actually engaging with these people.

  4. Cheaper than therapy, safer than revenge, more satisfying than almost any other way we legally can acquire to work through whatever issues we have with these actual people: write them into our stories. Especially popular is making someone we despised or who betrayed us into a villain or victim. My favorite is to give the heroine or hero a great romance with someone I secretly covet. One murder mystery author’s usual victims or villains are the same type of man…. I wonder which guy pissed her off?

CONS:
1. Make sure to make the drafted characters mostly unrecognizable to avoid the range of possible consequences, from hurt feelings to lawsuits.

  1. Getting permissions can be difficult to obtain, so choose carefully and disguise well.

  2. Even when we make the fictional characters “better” than the originals, the originals may not be happy with our versions. Be prepared.

  3. Keeping straight in the writer’s mind who is who requires a pseudonyms list. Try to avoid calling your actual people by their characters’ names in public.

  4. Changing key details, relationships, and/or circumstances can feel like “cheating,” but may be necessary for everything to work well. If you give the murderer one child because your murderer’s counterpart has one but you need your murderer to have two for a plot point, give him two and REMEMBER than you did. Maintain a spreadsheet of important dates, alterations to “actual” characters’ events, and other changes or you run the risk of causing yourself and possibly your readers undue confusion.

Those who start with “real” and then expand into fictional characters must be sharply focused and spend extra time to keep it all clear. Therefore, I declare the winner of the harder working among writers to be US!

Be careful and have fun!

Bio:
Sally Ember, Ed.D., is a published nonfiction author and produced playwright whose sci-fi/ romance/speculative/utopian/paranormal/multiverse fiction for YA, New Adult and Adults, The Spanners Series, has two Volumes available by June 9, 2014, and eight more to come. Sally also has had short stories and articles published and has co-written, edited, and proofread multiple media. Sally was raised Jewish and is a practicing Buddhist meditator. She is also an almost-daily swimmer, a mediocre singer/pianist, avid feminist, dreamer, and devoted mother/ sister/ aunt/ daughter/ cousin/ friend. Sally has worked as an educator and upper-level, nonprofit manager in colleges, universities and private nonprofits for over thirty-five years in New England (every state), New Mexico and the San Francisco Bay Area (where she now lives). Sally has a BA in Elementary Education, a Master’s (M.Ed.) and a doctorate in education (Ed.D.).

SallyEmber headshot

This Changes Everything, Vol. I, The Spanners Series by Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., 58, is having the first of many home visits from holographic representations of five beings from the Many Worlds Collective (MWC), a consortium of planet and star systems all around the multiverse, over a thirty-year, increasingly Utopian period. Earth is being invited to join, formally, and the December, 2012, visit is the first one allowed to be made public. Making the existence of the MWC public means many Earthers have to adjust our beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and, well, everything we think and are. Clara becomes the liaison— the Chief Communicator—between Earth and the MWC. This Changes Everything relates the events partly from her point of view, partly from records of meetings of varying groups of the MWC governing bodies, and partly from her Media Contact, Esperanza Enlaces, employing humor, poignancy, a love story, family issues, MWC’s mistakes and blunders, history, politics, paranormalcy and hope.

logoAuthorsDen
COVER ART BY WILLOWRAVEN: http://willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197
download excerpts free at Smashwords (or sites below), read more about author or watch author readings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTupok4wCN8

Available for $3.99 on Smashwords (any format), iBooks, nook, Kobo, Amazon/Kindle and many other sites worldwide. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8?tag=viewbookat0e-20

Read reviews and leave one of your own on any of the above sites and also
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18772075-this-changes-everything and http://www.shelfari.com/books/37044452/This-Changes-Everything-(The-Spanners-Series) and http://booklikes.com/book/5125922/this-changes-everything-volume-i-the-spanners-series-sally-ember-ed-d-

#FF (FOLLOW) Sally on Twitter: @sallyemberedd http://www.twitter.com/sallyemberedd

#FF and comment her website, which includes blog: http://www.sallyember.com and http://sallyember.tumblr.com/

LIKE and #FF The Spanners Series by Sally Ember page on Facebook or Google + and leave a comment. Add Sally to Google+ Circles: ssfember@gmail.com https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/115730970500394047116/115730970500394047116/about and https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesBySallyEmber

#FF Sally’s Boards on Pinterest! Repin! http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember

Listen to archived one-hour interview with Sally on Blog Talk Radio’s Indie Books show hosted by Will Wilson from 12/27/13 for free: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/indiebooks/2013/12/27/indie-books-show-15 with other interviews and reviews links available via Sally’s website.

This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol. II, The Spanners Series by Sally Ember, Ed.D., goes into Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook April 15-18, 2014 and releases everywhere, including Amazon, June 9, 2014.

Seeking reviewers for Volume II starting March 15, 2014, and Volume I, any time. Please contact Sally if you’d like to do a review of either Volume I or Volume II. For a FREE ebook download coupon: be a reviewer, belong to a Book Club or be a teacher/student in a class that wishes to utilize TCE or any other of the future volumes of The Spanners Series for discussion/study. Discussion questions/curricula and author SKYPE or visits available upon request. Contact Sally: sallyember@yahoo.com

Want to Read Awesome #Ebooks at Half-Price or Free? THIS WEEK on #Smashwords!

The Many Worlds Collective chooses Dr. Clara Branon, Ph.D., as Earth’s first Liaison! Are you ready for the changes?

Sci-fi, Romance, Paranormal, Aliens, Multiverse, Utopian, Buddhist, Speculative ten-Volume eoooks for Adults, New and Young Adults, <em>The Spanners Series starts with This Changes Everything.

One reviewer says of This Changes Everything: “The experience is mind-altering, and would challenge readers to think beyond the bubble that we live in.”

Another notes: “This is an alien story where the aliens are helping rather than trying to take over the world.”

A third informs: “If you like, sci-fi, fantasy and/or aliens, this is the book for you. I do recommend this book and I hope you try it.”

The Spanners Series is for particular readers: “I have this odd feeling that I’m just not smart enough for this… I don’t have the intelligence level to make good sense of it….If you like very well-structured notes, detailed descriptions of almost everything,… humor (really good humor I might add), and a slight love interest, this book will not fail to impress you. In fact, I guarantee you will love it if these are the types of things you look for in a book,” one reviewer explains.

Facts mix with fiction: can you distinguish? History, politics, biology, sociology, psychology, religion, relationships, technology, physics, interspecies communication, global changes in government and environment are integral to these unique stories.

Find out how Earthers cope with Earth’s becoming a member of the Many Worlds Collective. Read how multiverse timulter, Dr. Clara Branon, chosen to be Earth’s first Chief Communicator, deals with being with/not being with her on/off love, Epifanio Dang.

Meet Esperanza Enlaces, her Chief Media Contact, Clara’s son, Zephyr, and the rest of her family and friends. Find out how they and others respond to and cope with the psi wars and psi skills training programs and the thousands of other changes alien contact catalyzes in Volumes I – X of The Spanners Series, starting in late 2013 – 2018, with one new Volume every six months.

This Changes Everything cover
Cover art by Willowraven.

“Creative, Original Writing!”

“Quality writing, creative and original story!”

What multiverse timeline are YOU in?

KS67Q is the coupon code for 50% off through March 9, 2014 (makes it $2.00!):
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

swlogo

FREE to Book Club leaders and Teachers using these ebooks for discussion/study, with coupon directly from author for use on Smashwords, ebook format of reader’s choice, with 10 (or more) Discussion Questions upon request. sallyember@yahoo.com or http://www.sallyember.com

READ AN #EBOOK WEEK AT #SMASHWORDS, 3/2-9/14!

swlogo

READ AN #EBOOK WEEK AT #SMASHWORDS, 3/2-9/14! Please consider including MORE #EBOOKS in your library!

RAEW 2 girlreading

KS67Q is the coupon code for 50% off through March 9, 2014, for my first ebook, a sci-fi/ romance/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian series, Volume I, This Changes Everything, usually $3.99. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

This Changes Everything cover

is from The Spanners Series, which is for adults, NA and YA,

logoAuthorsDen

and prepares you for the more YA/NA Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, coming out in June! Thanks!

Many other deals for free or very discounted ebooks all week. https://www.smashwords.com/ebookweek

RAEWbanner1

http://www.sallyember.com/spanners

#Multiverse #Experiment this week: Tomorrow’s Story Written Today

#Multiverse #Experiment this week: Tomorrow’s Story Written Today

Will this week’s story turn out as #ClaraBranon writes it?

Excerpts, below, from Volume II, the sci-fi/ romance/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian ebook in #TheSpannersSeries, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., available for pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook, April 15 – June 8, 2014, and for sale via all those and Amazon as well, release date June 9, 2014.

logoAuthorsDen
Logo and cover art for The Spanners Series by Willowraven.

Pre-order Links will be available after April 15 and buy links after June 9 on http://www.sallyember.com

Here is what Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 59, the main character of The Spanners Series, writes while reminiscing about her life in 2014 from the vantage point of 2018:

It is a dark and stormy night. Picture “Snoopy,” Charles’ Schulz’s humanized beagle from the much-loved Peanuts comic strips, typing away on his old black typewriter atop his doghouse, hard at work on his novel. He always writes that line, first, with the ALT [According to Linear Time] “was” in place of “is.”

It is fun to begin this story with that infamous line, especially because it is true, and unusually so. At the end of February, 2014, California and the rest of the drought-plagued West are finally getting some of the rain we so desperately need.

Road conditions are not the best. However, I have an appointment to meet with Epifanio that I am unwilling to give it up, even for bad weather, because it is now several months since our last meeting.

Driving myself somewhere and traveling alone feels like two long-lost privileges regained on that day, even though it’s only been about a year since I acquire chauffeurs and staff. I set off in the noontime light for our late afternoon meeting.

Listening to the weather reports all week, I know the light rain I drive through now is expected, especially near the coast where Epifanio lives at this time, to be a deluge beginning in the early evening. High winds, falling trees, local flooding and poor visibility are to accompany the increasing rainfall starting at about the time I would be planning to return to The Campus.

Knowing the weather and road conditions are likely to prohibit my driving back tonight, I am ridiculously energized about seeing him. I even go so far as to add to/bring my overnight gear: daily blood pressure and thyroid medicines (enough for four days; one never knows!), extra clothes, some food we can share, and my pillow and nightshirt are in my car: a Girl Scout is “always prepared”!

Be Prepared
image from: mottoupdate.blogspot.com

Maybe today? Maybe tonight? Maybe, if I stay the night and still can’t leave safely, we spend the day tomorrow, also?

It’s always about the “maybes” with Fanio.

I seem a tad insane, driving to see him on my own, given my role and public status,in horrible weather. I feel like a teenager on her way to a rendezvous. Of course, to be a tryst, the trystees both have to want to tryst.

“Ay, there’s the rub.”

Does he or doesn’t he?

“What dreams may come?”

Let’s find out!

On my drive there, it isn’t dark nor very stormy, yet, but it is raining and the rain clouds are darkening and gathering. The wind is picking up slightly by the time I arrive, but there are not yet any fallen branches.

Do any of you know how dangerous the trees are in California? I am officially going off on a rant about the defective trees around here.
*************
Rant starts here.

I live in California after many years in New England states and growing up in the Midwest of the USA, with a recent detour in New Mexico. In all of these places, the weather is much worse. Hurricanes, ice storms, lightning and heavy snows can bring down trees, of course. Everyone knows that. But, rain alone? Seriously?

How in the world does rain bring down trees? Huge, old-growth trees, not just saplings, not just the odd one or two. Not always with flooding, not always with wind, either. Not in California. That is the reason I label these trees “defective.”

Every year when it rains here, and sometimes not even when the rain is heavy, there are people, cars (even moving ones!), houses, animals and roads that are wrecked, injured or murdered by randomly and unexpectedly, and worst of all, for no apparent reason, having trees fall and crush them. Downed trees cause loved ones, pets, property and access to roads to be lost daily during the “rainy season” or during any rainstorm, it seems to me.

At first, I am hearing blame rests on the “shallow roots” of the non-native eucalptus trees and rain-caused erosion. These could be the worst culprits. But, redwoods are tumbling at alarming rates, and I do not ever hear plausible explanations as to why they fall.

Trees-Down
image from: http://www.independent.com

Whatever the causes, the truth is: California trees are untrustworthy. They look sturdy but they are not reliably going to stay upright. Believe me.

Be under trees at your own risk. Travel with great caution when rain is falling.
***************
Rant over.

Remember my awful history and karma with cars? I am in over thirty automobile accidents in my life (to date), and for most of them, I am not even the driver. Some occur without my car’s even moving or without my being in the car at all. Yes, my own cars get into accidents without me in them (via parking attendants’ mishaps). A taxi gets into an accident with me in it. Once, when Abraham, Zephyr and I are visiting Thomas, Raisa and their brood, my brother backs out of his garage and runs into our car in his own driveway, even though our car is parked exactly where he tells us to park it.

I get into one of the worst accidents by sitting on the outside of a car, on top of the hood, when it is parked. This is the freak accident in which my leg gets permanently injured [Volume I, This Changes Everything,’s lesson for Clara about Re-sets revolves around that]. Mechanical failure, bad roads, inattentive drivers and inclement weather all contribute to my awful tally. Does it need stating, here, that I am justifiably wary of poor driving conditions and other drivers?

On the drive to Epifanio’s on this rainy afternoon, I am both hypervigilant while moving and timulting at every stop sign and red light. Which multiverse timeline is this? What is this evening holding for us?

If I spend the night (and with every mile, the likelihood of that necessity increases with the rainfall), do I sleep on the couch or with him? If I sleep under his roof for one night, what does it mean?

There are dozens of stop signs and traffic lights between The Campus and where Fanio lives.

Stop sign rain drops
image from: extras.timesheraldonline.com

I know. I’m obsessing.

How can I be almost 60 and the Chief Communicator of the PLANET and still obsessing about an almost nonexistent relationship? Oy.

Because I’m human. Because that’s how my life and mind work. Because internet. Whatever.

Do I mention that Fanio and I currently live over an hour’s drive apart, even in good weather? This trip takes almost two hours.

Since I am compulsively punctual and early is my M.O., I leave with almost four hours to go before our appointment time so that I can meditate and perhaps even take a nap in my car (not under a tree). I plan to enjoy some solitude, watching and listening to the rain, preparing myself before going in to see him.

Fortunately, the rain still isn’t heavy after my meditation and naptime. I arrive at his cabin in the redwoods (!!!). Almost as soon as I get inside, it starts to pour. I mean, deluge time.

Sheets of water are pouring off the roof and the tree branches are whipping around ominously (to my ears, anyway) as Fanio and I greet each other. We go sit in his living room area.

“You make it here all right, I take it?” Fanio asks.

“So far, so good. I don’t know about the return trip, though,” I say, testing the waters.

Fanio looks out the window, shaking his head. Well, I hope you brought whatever you need in case you’re staying here tonight.”

I look at him. Is this really going to be that easy? What do I say? Oh, right. The truth is always good.

“Actually, living in earthquake land, I always have a ‘go bag’ in the car. Medicine, clothes, toiletries, water, food, even a pillow. No P.J.s, though.”

Fanio nods. “Good. Got any popcorn?”

I laugh. Since I know he likes it and is going to ask for it, I do have popcorn.“That’s not exactly earthquake food, is it?”

“No, but I ran out,” he explains.

“I just so happen to have some,” I answer, smiling, “in the car, ready to pop.” Stick to the truth, always. “Someone asks for it recently, so I happen to have some. I can get it when it lets up a little, when I go get the rest of my stuff.”

Fanio leans back in his chair, smiling. “I’m glad you’re here. It’s fun to have a storm partner.”

“Is that what I am, now?” I ask, a bit flirtatiously. More waters-testing.

“Among other things,” Fanio says, amiably. “How are the other things going, anyway? I see your vids a lot. The Psi-Defiers are making more trouble, huh?”

“This year is the hardest so far. It takes them a while to get organized, I suppose, and for Fraggers to become Trenchers, for Trenchers to get trained and become Defiers. Now, they have many Defier squadrons. I don’t know why they just don’t see how great it is for Earth to join the Many Worlds Collective. Moran is super-busy, but doing an excellent job with the Psi-Warriors.”

“No deaths, yet?” Fanio asks.

“Luckily, just some Defiers are Qed–you know, Sequestered–and many are injured, but no fatalities, so far,” I tell him.

“We do need more trainers and teachers at The Campus, though. When are you finishing your Excellent Skills Program training? I wish you could teach right now.” I picture Fanio in several timelines living at The Campus starting some time this year, but I say nothing about that.

“I have a long way to go before anyone wants me to teach,” Fanio protests. “‘I am only an egg.'” We both smile. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land is a shared favorite.

“‘I grok you in fullness, ‘Water Brother.’ Share water with me now’?” I ask, formally. I’m glad he’s smiling.

“Seriously,” I say more ordinarily, I’m thirsty. May I get you some water while I get my own?”

water glass

“I haven’t shared water with you, ‘Water Sister,’ in many moons. Certainly. Let’s share water!” Fanio agrees.

I wonder if Fanio remembers that the “Water Brothers” ceremony includes having sex? He must. My stomach is doing somersaults.

Getting two glasses, filling them, returning to him and handing him one, I notice my hand is trembling. I quickly put the glass down. I focus on the new silence outside.

We raise our glasses, clink them, drink some water, then chant together. “‘I grok you in fullness,'” and we drink again. We sit in companionable silence, sipping, looking at each other.

What does he want? Should I ask? Not yet. Not feeling it.

I point outside. “Does it seem kind of quiet to you, now? Should I go to my car?”

Abruptly, the atmosphere gets crackly. Hairs rise on my arms. Lightning flashes outside, then: KA-BOOM. We both go look out the windows.

CRASH. Jumping back, we peer out cautiously toward the sound. Just a few feet from the house, a smallish redwood lays across the roadway, some of its needled branches landing on our cars.

lightning
image from: http://www.ruston.org

“Holy moley!” Fanio yells. “That is too close!”

“At least it’s just the car hoods and not the roofs!” My voice shakes. “In all my timults, there are no trees falling on this house, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I can never timult all the ‘lines.”

I look at Epifanio, who seems oddly at ease. “I’m scared,” I admit.

Fanio turns to me, surprised. “You are timulting about tonight? Why?”

“Well,” I’m stalling, waiting for truthful inspiration. Ah. “I don’t usually travel alone, so it’s a good habit for me to get into. I timult about going solo , especially in iffy weather and now, during the psi Wars.”

I’m already scared. Won’t get much more anxious than this, anyway. May as well tell him.

“Also,” I continue, turning to face him, away from the window, “because of us.”

Fanio takes a step back, peering at me intently. “‘Us’?”

I touch his arm gently, looking up into his brown eyes, deep with questions. “It appears I am spending the night, tonight and perhaps tomorrow as well, depending on how much it rains and how fast they clear the roads. Um. Well.” I search his eyes, not pathing him, but wishing I could.

“Where do you want me to put my pillow?” I point to my bag. That’s as plain as I want to make my query.

The lamps and other lights flicker, dilating his pupils. “We could lose power, too,” he reminds me. “I better get some candles and the flashlight ready.”

As he walks toward the kitchen, Fanio looks over his shoulder and says, not quite nonchalantly, “May as well go out now and grab your stuff and that popcorn. If you have an extra flashlight, grab that, too.”

I go out in the rain, which is now slightly lessened, and return to find Fanio rummaging through drawers to find matches.

With his back to me, he announces: “Popcorn and other food: kitchen. Your stuff: my bedroom.”

My heart definitely skips a few beats, hearing that. I guess we’re sharing a bed. Just like that. Haven’t even kissed, yet. Well, we’re grown-ups.

As I walk with my bag toward the bedroom, Fanio turns to me to lift his hand triumphantly, holding a box of matches like a trophy. “Victory all around!” I put my bag down on the bed, turn back to him and applaud.

He comes toward me, puts the candles and matches on the side table and holds out his arms. I walk into them.

Fanio gathers me in and kisses me, long and deeply.

Yes.

In most timelines, here is what actually occurs, if we even meet that night.

spiderweb fog
**************
I do drive to Fanio’s on a very stormy afternoon, believing more strongly the closer I get to his remote location that I may have to spend the night. There are thunder and lightning, flash flooding, downed trees occurring throughout the day. The night is supposed to be worse, with heavier rain predicted for already saturated areas, so even more flooding.

Our visit starts out similarly. Greetings, catching up, moving through the awkwardness of a reunion after time apart.

Small talk turns to more personal connecting as the winds pick up. We sit and talk, startling when branches whip against the window panes. The storm is making outside noises so loud that I ask Fanio to speak up.

My type of inherited hearing loss worsens slightly each year. It’s especially obvious when there is a lot of background noise and the speaker has a deep voice, as he does, and I can’t make out all of his words clearly. I am eager for digitally specific, personally adjustable hearing aids to be invented. 2016, I believe.

We do lose electric power in his little house. We get the flashlights ready and turn to candles at dusk.

After the tree falls in his driveway , we establish that I am spending the night. I start to ask him about where I should put my things when I stop and check in with my InKC [Inner Knowing Center].

Breathing deeply, watching the rain sheeting down the windows from the eaves, I am aware of Fanio’s rustling around looking for more candles and candle holders behind me. I concentrate on “going” to my InKC and “arrive” there with many questions.

The set-up for our much-anticipated (by me) long-awaited (also by me) unexpected (mostly to him) tryst is all there. I am tense, nervous, excited, intrigued.

What is of most benefit for all beings, here and beyond tonight, for my relationship with Epifanio Dang? I ask. How may I best facilitate whatever is best, here and after tonight?

I am still, aware of the movements of Epifanio as he sets up more candles around the room, while focusing my main attention on the information starting to flow into my consciousness. Almost like virtual ticker-tape or a fax received and moving through my mind, I sense but do not actually see scrolling text when I ask my InKC specific questions like this.

Epifanio Dang is not to become your romantic partner or lover. A change of that nature to your relationship is not part of his or many others’ best outcomes. This evening is best used to have detailed conversations about his art, writing, dancing, all upcoming projects in order to facilitate the best outcomes, support his contributions to Exchanges and assist with his communication among like-talented beings across the MWC.

So, there is no tryst. At least, no romantic or physically intimate encounter.

no_romance_coffee_mug-
image from: http://www.zazzle.com

We talk, long into the night in the candlelight. Sweetly, intensely, getting caught up in his artistic ideas and plans, we click along with great enthusiasm, having shrugged off the restrictions of a schedule with our “slumber party” atmosphere, complete with popcorn. I follow the prescriptions my InKC provides.

As we interact, I notice that Fanio is more comfortable talking than listening. He doesn’t ask much about my day-to-day activities. He rarely asks about my personal experiences, although I imagine he is somewhat interested. He wants to receive but isn’t all that ready to concede the focus of our talk to me, my concerns, my “world.”

I test this theory a few times, bringing up a political or social concern, talking about my upcoming week’s meetings, but he always returns to his newest ideas. He explains about the off-planetary materials’ collaborative art project he’s coordinating and a novel way to choreograph with multiple species underwater or in zero that he and one of the dolphins are conconcting.

When we admit exhaustion and each retire to our respective sleeping areas, I check in with my emotions. I am disappointed only a little. Surprisingly, I am somewhat relieved. The complications of starting a personal relationship at this time, as the Chief Communicator, are actually more than I can handle.

From this and several other encounters, I have to admit that my life and Fanio’s, while connected and significantly overlapping at times, are quite separate and need to remain that way. As I meditate before sleeping, my timults of this night fade and plans for tomorrow and the rest of the week unfold instead.

I wish him well, ‘path him a “Sweet Dreams” which he answers aloud, “You, too.” Separately, we sleep.
***************

Buy links for Volume I, This Changes Everything,

This Changes Everything cover

already are on and Pre-order links for Volume II will be available after April 15, with buy links for both Volumes after June 9 on http://www.sallyember.com

“Complex, Creative, and Compelling – 4 Stars” from B.C. Brown for “This Changes Everything”!

B.C. Brown’s review of This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., is quite positive! Here are some quotes from and a link to the full review, below. Thanks, B.C.!

“Sally Ember has created a humorous science-fiction tale with This Changes Everything. Initially woven loosely, the style is a little confusing but seems to be what the writer had in mind to introduce the fact that everything in life, and the story, happens simultaneously and it rarely makes sense from the onset. The point of time being more expansive and less linear is clearly defined by this opening.”

This Changes Everything has great wit. Its writing is simple and dignified with complex ideas and theorizes on politics, science, religion, and socio-economics. While it may not be the next ‘Oprah’s Book Club’ nominee, the book certainly encompasses a wide topical range and has something for any audience. It will resonate well with thinkers.”

“4 stars = Quite Enjoyable”…”This book was solidly in the 4-star range; a recommended read.”

Link to full review: http://bcbrownbooks.blogspot.com/2014/02/review-this-changes-everything-by-sally.html

All buy links for this sci-fi ebook are on http://www.sallyember.com. Look to the right and scroll down! Spread the word!

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

3 Stars for “This Changes Everything” from Alexander Crommich: Book Review

Three Stars from Alexander Crommich because he didn’t like the multiverse/ holographic structure of the novel (one star?) and didn’t appreciate the “spanning” nature of Volume I of the 10-Volume series (the other star?), not wanting to wait (I guess) for the details and stories coming in subsequent volumes. Oh, well, can’t be everything to everyone.

He made some great, insightful comments and put in a lot of time, so I am grateful for his review. Link is below some excerpts, here. First, from his email to me:

“I really liked the ideas you played around with in your book, but it would have worked better for me if you had picked one very small part of how the world changes that Clara gets involved with and followed just that vein. I think you tried to cover too much ground, in too many different formats and styles, to effectively do what you wanted to. Again, though, I really did find the ideas you discussed in the book quite interesting.”

-A. Crommich

from his review:
“This is one of those strange books that was, on the one hand, difficult to read, but on the other, fascinating….”

“The book deals with interesting subjects ranging from alternate realities, reincarnation, some fairly trippy interpretations of science, and alien life that’s truly alien.”

“First, the whole idea of aliens constantly resetting small chunks of the universe to try and get the best outcomes for everyone involved is downright cool. This book treats parallel universes as a given and goes to great lengths explaining the different ways the MWC plays around with them to create a greater galactic society. It’s always interesting when a book decides that alien life is not only friendly, but has a utopian agenda.”

“Second, when the presentation of the material works, it’s a very unusual take on things that I found enjoyable. My favorite part is still a council meeting in which MEMBERS of the MWC discuss how they intend to handle the advent of nuclear power on earth. That, as well as how they handle religion, involves sleeper agents, reality resets, calculating probabilities, and a whole host of funky stuff that’s quite interest.”

“In summary, this book never flows together into a focused novel, which is unfortunate given how interesting the subject matter is. It does, however, present enough fascinating ideas and viewpoints to partially redeem its shortcomings. I’d almost recommend treating it like a scrap book and picking out the various chapters that seem to interest you, rather than reading it cover to cover straight off the bat. All told, I give it a 3/5.”

http://alexandercrommich.com/2014/01/25/this-changes-everything-by-sally-ember-review/