#Writing Opp/#Publication Opp for #Women #Writers: Deadline June 1, 2014

Dear Friends of Women Writers, Women Books,

Warm spring greetings from North Carolina to all of you who have commented on our online magazine at http://www.booksbywomen.org Your participation is what makes the difference on our site.

WRITING OPPORTUNITY

Our Site Sponsor, Diane DeBella, author of a powerful and disclosing memoir, I Am Subject: Sharing Our Truths to Reclaim Our Selves, is inviting submissions of your stories for an anthology she will edit, and we will publish.

You don’t have to call yourself a writer. You don’t have to be previously published. You don’t have to have a blog.
All you need for this opportunity is the desire to share a powerful moment in your life when you claimed, or reclaimed your self.

Women writer upholding book

image from writersrelief.com

DETAILS

Under 1250 words.
Written specifically for this project, the #iamsubject project.
Email: diane@iamsubject.com or anora@booksbywomen.org with any questions.
Deadline June 1, 2014. (Email us if you need a little more time.)

Submit by email to diane@iamsubject.com OR Read more about the #iamsubject project:
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=5f0ec05277&e=777d21d198

The Call for Submissions information:
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=be30d2dac6&e=777d21d198

Read submissions here: http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=269003237f&e=777d21d198

We will select a collection from the essays submitted for an anthology, which will give you a publishing credit, important if you’re just starting out, and fun to be part of no matter what your writing experience is.

NEWS: DIANE DEBELLA’S MEMOIR

Diane DeBella teaches writing and women’s studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and has just published an analytical memoir that draws from the lives of important women writers. It is a powerful book, and through May 31 is available internationally as an ebook for our readers at the equivalent of $2.99 US.
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=7519bc9987&e=777d21d198

We would be thrilled to hear that you would like to submit an essay!

Anora McGaha
Founder and Co-Editor of Women Writers, Women Books
anora@booksbywomen.org

#Writing Opp/#Publication Opp for #Women #Writers: Deadline June 1, 2014

Dear Friends of Women Writers, Women Books,

Warm spring greetings from North Carolina to all of you who have commented on our online magazine at http://www.booksbywomen.org Your participation is what makes the difference on our site.

WRITING OPPORTUNITY

Our Site Sponsor, Diane DeBella, author of a powerful and disclosing memoir, I Am Subject: Sharing Our Truths to Reclaim Our Selves, is inviting submissions of your stories for an anthology she will edit, and we will publish.

You don’t have to call yourself a writer. You don’t have to be previously published. You don’t have to have a blog.
All you need for this opportunity is the desire to share a powerful moment in your life when you claimed, or reclaimed your self.

Women writer upholding book

image from writersrelief.com

DETAILS

Under 1250 words.
Written specifically for this project, the #iamsubject project.
Email: diane@iamsubject.com or anora@booksbywomen.org with any questions.
Deadline June 1, 2014. (Email us if you need a little more time.)

Submit by email to diane@iamsubject.com OR Read more about the #iamsubject project:
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=5f0ec05277&e=777d21d198

The Call for Submissions information:
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=be30d2dac6&e=777d21d198

Read submissions here: http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=269003237f&e=777d21d198

We will select a collection from the essays submitted for an anthology, which will give you a publishing credit, important if you’re just starting out, and fun to be part of no matter what your writing experience is.

NEWS: DIANE DEBELLA’S MEMOIR

Diane DeBella teaches writing and women’s studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and has just published an analytical memoir that draws from the lives of important women writers. It is a powerful book, and through May 31 is available internationally as an ebook for our readers at the equivalent of $2.99 US.
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=7519bc9987&e=777d21d198

We would be thrilled to hear that you would like to submit an essay!

Anora McGaha
Founder and Co-Editor of Women Writers, Women Books
anora@booksbywomen.org

Support #Authors this Month: Join Your Local #Writers’ Club!

Any writers' club

Are you a #writer/#author? Do you find yourself alone a lot or looking for other writers? You can belong to a local group almost anywhere in the USA and around the world, now, or start your own! Use the example of California, which has such a long-standing and active network of writers’ clubs, workshops, groups.

california-writers-club-redwood-writers-

I am lucky to live in California, home of a large network of excellent Writers’ Clubs, each with its own niche and geographic location. Each CWC has its own way of doing things, but there are some similarities and a set of by-laws.

CA writers club logo

The NorCal coalition of these clubs had an excellent annual meeting of leaders and newbies this past Saturday right in Newark. I was invited to attend by our club’s President, Carol Hall (Thanks, Carol!) and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Learned a lot, networked, shared. Exactly what a writers’ clubs’ coalition meeting SHOULD be!

My “home” club, since I live closest to it, is the Fremont Area Writers’ Club. Great people, excellent organization. Monthly meetings with guest speakers, activities, genre support critique sessions, as well as public open mike and book-signing/selling opportunities throughout the year. Thanks, FAW!

FAW logo

Every month at BookSmart bookstore in the Newark Park Mall, Newark, CA, we have an Open Mic at 7 PM on the 4th Monday. Come!

FAW other logo

There are writers’ clubs, reading groups, book clubs, writers’ critique groups/circles, and many more variations on these themes for writers and readers. For inspiration, information, support, ideas, networking, critiques and more: JOIN!

Do a web search, ask at your local library or bookstore (SUPPORT BOTH!).

Check for “writers” groups in your geographic area on http://www.MeetUp.com OR http://www.writers.com/groups.html

PLEASE support and join a group or attend an event as a guest this month. Volunteer, attend, participate! Keep books, writing, reading and sharing ALIVE!

Thanks!

5 Things Wrong with #Sex Scenes in #Romance Novels and How to Improve Them

5 Things Wrong with #Sex Scenes in #Romance Novels and How to Improve Them

1. Men, even the first time having sex with a long-awaited or extremely attractive partner, can last more than fifteen seconds (three thrusts) before orgasm, even when impassioned, unless they are under age 20 or suffer from PME (Pre-Mature Ejaculation), in which case, that man is not a good candidate for being the romantic lead.

Dear Jayne Ann Krentz/Castle/Amanda Quick or any of the 4 other pseudonyms you use: I’m sorry the men/man you have sex with can’t last more than fifteen seconds after being undressed, touched, licked or inside a woman. The rest of us have had better lovers. I pity you.


PME timer
image from healthystateofthinking.blogspot.com

2. Oral sex in the 2010’s is not shocking, novel, strange, shameful, disgusting or horrifying. Really. No recipient or provider should be having these reactions unless the participants are ages 15 and under, in which case, please do not depict them having sex. That is not “romantic”: that is sexual exploitation of minors.

Dear YA Authors: take note. Teens having sex (and oral sex DOES count, despite President Bill Clinton’s assertions to the contrary) with older lovers (having more than a five-year age difference when over 14; more than a two-year difference when under 14) are victims of statutory rape in most US states.

3. Having protagonists/female leads who are “virgins” or incredibly inexperienced with sex in the 2010s, yet who are stunningly beautiful, capable and independent who are older than twenty is absurd. This characterization of inexperience as what makes a woman desirable caters to archaic/paternalistic fantasies.

Dear Historical Fiction Romance Authors: You may be exempt from the atavistim, but you are nonetheless feeding into these fantasies. Please stop. It’s okay to depict these girls/women as appropriately inexperienced, but to make that lack of knowledge the center of their attractiveness means that after one encounter, they automatically become less attractive. Awful.

4. Thanks for including clitoral stimulation in heterosexual sex scenes. Thanks for depicting male romantic leads who not only know the clitoris exists, but can find it, know how to please a woman, and want to do this. It only took about 100 years of romance writing to get men to be this aware. Okay.

Dear Modern Romance Writers; Now that we’ve established that clitoral stimulation is important and necessary for females’ sexual satisfaction, not every sexual encounter has to depict women’s having both oral and digital stimulation to the point of orgasm, always having multiple orgasms and the woman having the first orgasms before the man’s, every time. Repetition and routine kill sex. When a reader becomes bored reading the sex scenes, you have failed.


how to find clitoris
image from http://www.buzzfeed.com

5. Bondage, rape, domination and other masochistic sexual relationships are NOT psychologically healthy sexual expressions even if consenting adults decide to act these out. Also, these “relationships” do not accurately depict what occurs in most women’s lives and your characterizations set women back about three centuries.

Dear Shades of Whatever Authors: We know your books sell well. We know they’re not especially well-thought-out or well-written, are easy to write and are quick to get published. Since you insist on writing and publishers insist on publishing these types of drivel as “romance,” could you at least occasionally depict a strong, intelligent, capable woman who refuses to engage sexually with such mentally ill men? PLEASE?


not-sex
image from feministing.com

Three ways to write better sex scenes:

1. Have sex scenes in which a variety of activities occur with enthusiastic, willing participants of legal ages and with male participants who can last longer than fifteen seconds when erect.

2. Depict at least some of your female leads as strong, capable, experienced and independent prior to having sex as well as during and after meeting their romantic lead.


feet
excelle.monster.com

3. Include some sexual encounters in which female’s multiple or simultaneous partners’ orgasmms do not occur and participants are happy with each other, anyway.

Thanks, Romance Authors who already write sex scenes like this. Many of you do.

5 Things Wrong with #Sex Scenes in #Romance Novels and How to Improve Them

5 Things Wrong with #Sex Scenes in #Romance Novels and How to Improve Them

1. Men, even the first time having sex with a long-awaited or extremely attractive partner, can last more than fifteen seconds (three thrusts) before orgasm, even when impassioned, unless they are under age 20 or suffer from PME (Pre-Mature Ejaculation), in which case, that man is not a good candidate for being the romantic lead.

Dear Jayne Ann Krentz/Castle/Amanda Quick or any of the 4 other pseudonyms you use: I’m sorry the men/man you have sex with can’t last more than fifteen seconds after being undressed, touched, licked or inside a woman. The rest of us have had better lovers. I pity you.


PME timer
image from healthystateofthinking.blogspot.com

2. Oral sex in the 2010’s is not shocking, novel, strange, shameful, disgusting or horrifying. Really. No recipient or provider should be having these reactions unless the participants are ages 15 and under, in which case, please do not depict them having sex. That is not “romantic”: that is sexual exploitation of minors.

Dear YA Authors: take note. Teens having sex (and oral sex DOES count, despite President Bill Clinton’s assertions to the contrary) with older lovers (having more than a five-year age difference when over 14; more than a two-year difference when under 14) are victims of statutory rape in most US states.

3. Having protagonists/female leads who are “virgins” or incredibly inexperienced with sex in the 2010s, yet who are stunningly beautiful, capable and independent who are older than twenty is absurd. This characterization of inexperience as what makes a woman desirable caters to archaic/paternalistic fantasies.

Dear Historical Fiction Romance Authors: You may be exempt from the atavistim, but you are nonetheless feeding into these fantasies. Please stop. It’s okay to depict these girls/women as appropriately inexperienced, but to make that lack of knowledge the center of their attractiveness means that after one encounter, they automatically become less attractive. Awful.

4. Thanks for including clitoral stimulation in heterosexual sex scenes. Thanks for depicting male romantic leads who not only know the clitoris exists, but can find it, know how to please a woman, and want to do this. It only took about 100 years of romance writing to get men to be this aware. Okay.

Dear Modern Romance Writers; Now that we’ve established that clitoral stimulation is important and necessary for females’ sexual satisfaction, not every sexual encounter has to depict women’s having both oral and digital stimulation to the point of orgasm, always having multiple orgasms and the woman having the first orgasms before the man’s, every time. Repetition and routine kill sex. When a reader becomes bored reading the sex scenes, you have failed.


how to find clitoris
image from http://www.buzzfeed.com

5. Bondage, rape, domination and other masochistic sexual relationships are NOT psychologically healthy sexual expressions even if consenting adults decide to act these out. Also, these “relationships” do not accurately depict what occurs in most women’s lives and your characterizations set women back about three centuries.

Dear Shades of Whatever Authors: We know your books sell well. We know they’re not especially well-thought-out or well-written, are easy to write and are quick to get published. Since you insist on writing and publishers insist on publishing these types of drivel as “romance,” could you at least occasionally depict a strong, intelligent, capable woman who refuses to engage sexually with such mentally ill men? PLEASE?


not-sex
image from feministing.com

Three ways to write better sex scenes:

1. Have sex scenes in which a variety of activities occur with enthusiastic, willing participants of legal ages and with male participants who can last longer than fifteen seconds when erect.

2. Depict at least some of your female leads as strong, capable, experienced and independent prior to having sex as well as during and after meeting their romantic lead.


feet
excelle.monster.com

3. Include some sexual encounters in which female’s multiple or simultaneous partners’ orgasmms do not occur and participants are happy with each other, anyway.

Thanks, Romance Authors who already write sex scenes like this. Many of you do.

#Opportunities in May and June for #Writers from #Aerogramme

In case you missed this posting, check out these #publication opportunities, #grants, #conferences and #festivals, #competitions and #prizes/#awards and more for #writers. Occurring/deadlines are in May, June, ongoing/rolling and beyond.

Compiled by Aerogramme Writers’ Studio. Thanks!

My favorite: Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading
publishes one story a week and reopens for submissions on 1 May. Previously unpublished fiction ranging in length from 2,000 to 10,000 words will be considered and each contributor is paid US$300.
https://electricliterature.submittable.com/submit

trophy

http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2014/04/24/opportunities-for-writers-may-june-2014/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AerogrammeWritersStudio+%28Aerogramme+Writers%27+Studio%29

Forget your “#authorplatform” and BE NICE! Write better, make connections

Building Platform: What Most Writers are Getting Wrong
Mar 23, 2014 EXCELLENT POST by Anne R. Allen

Thank you Anne! Your blog is the BEST!

Best part?

“But guess what is the #1 thing an agent, editor or reviewer wants to find out when they Google you?

“Whether you’re a pain in the butt.

“Seriously.”

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/03/building-platform-what-most-writers-are.html

Part I to this topic, also from Anne: “7 Ways Authors Waste Time ‘Building Platform’ on Social Media”

“The best way to sell books is to write more books. Good ones.”
http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2013/06/7-ways-authors-waste-time-building.html

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

“Follow My (Book) Blog” Friday

“Follow My (Book) Blog” Friday

RSS-300x180
http://www.sallyember.com/feed

Feature and Follow Friday

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

If you’d like to join, follow these rules!

(Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers (Parajunkee and Allison Can Read are the Hosts, so everything is on their sites)

Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing, above. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.

Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.

If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed

Please follow Sally Ember, Ed.D. using RSS Feed since I am on a free WordPress site.

Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”

If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers

If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

Best to you all!

Reblogging: “10 Tools to Make Your Social Media Management Easier” by Andrew Jenkins

“Execnote” “Nimble” “Commun.it” “Pocket”

If these sound like foreign terms, you’re not alone. Indie authors and many others doing our own marketing and outreach are inundated with tasks, content, tweets, posts, blogs, podcasts and videos until we’re ready to explode.

We have to get our social media to be more manageable, don’t we?

Let Andrew Jenkins explain and provide reasons for you to learn about and start using these social media management tools!

Thanks, Andrew!

Social media icons\

http://arcompany.co/10-tools-to-make-your-social-media-management-easier/

SUPPORT-INDIE-ART

Read About and Links to #Nebula #Awards Nominees Online

Read About and Links to #Nebula #Awards Nominees Online

THE NEBULA AWARD NOMINEES (THAT YOU CAN READ FREE ONLINE)
by Susana Polo
http://www.themarysue.com/read-nebula-award-nominees/

Here are the lists. Plan your reading, purchases and sharing!

Awards Nebula

Best Novel

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Read a sample here)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Read a sample here)
Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon
Hild, Nicola Griffith (Read a Kindle sample here)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Read a sample here)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Read a sample here)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Read a sample here)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker

Best Novella

‘‘Wakulla Springs,’’ Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages (Tor.com 10/2/13)
‘‘The Weight of the Sunrise’’ (excerpt), Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s 2/13)
‘‘Annabel Lee,” Nancy Kress (New Under the Sun, Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick)
‘‘Burning Girls,’’ Veronica Schanoes (Tor.com 6/19/13)
‘‘Trial of the Century,’’ Lawrence M. Schoen (lawrencemschoen.com, 8/13; World Jumping)
Six-Gun Snow White (excerpt) Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)

Best Novelette

‘‘Paranormal Romance,’’ Christopher Barzak (Lightspeed 6/13)
‘‘The Waiting Stars,’’ Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)
‘‘They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass,’’ Alaya Dawn Johnson (Asimov’s 1/13)
‘‘Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters’’ (excerpt), Henry Lien (Asimov’s 12/13)
‘‘The Litigation Master and the Monkey King,’’ Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/13)
‘‘In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,’’ Sarah Pinsker (Strange Horizons 7/1 – 7/8/13)

Best Short Story

‘‘The Sounds of Old Earth,’’ Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed 1/13)
‘‘Selkie Stories Are for Losers,’’ Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/7/13)
‘‘Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer’’ (audio recording) Kenneth Schneyer (Clockwork Phoenix 4)
‘‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,’’ Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13)
‘‘Alive, Alive Oh,’’ Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (Lightspeed 6/13)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Doctor Who: ‘‘The Day of the Doctor’’ (Nick Hurran, director; Steven Moffat, writer) (BBC Wales)
Europa Report (Sebastián Cordero, director; Philip Gelatt, writer) (Start Motion Pictures)
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, director; Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, writers) (Warner Bros.)
Her (Spike Jonze, director; Spike Jonze, writer) (Warner Bros.)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, director; Simon Beaufoy & Michael deBruyn, writers) (Lionsgate)
Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, director; Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, writers) (Warner Bros.)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

andre_norton_award_from-sfwa

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (PDF excerpt), Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo)
When We Wake (excerpt), Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin; Little, Brown)
Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central)
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
Hero, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
September Girls, Bennett Madison (Harper Teen)
A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty (Levine)

Damon Knight Grand Master Award:
Samuel R. Delany

Why My First Experience with Using #Pre-Orders Will Help Get My NEXT #Ebook Higher on #Best-Seller Lists

Thanks to Mark Coker, Founder/CEO of #Smashwords, #indie #authors have lots of information in FREE slide shows and several webinars to help indie ebook authors succeed in self-publishing.

Mark provided excellent instructions, tips and support for my first ebook’s publication last fall, the sci-fi/romance which has been getting great reviews, This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, including persuading me to engage in a “Pre-order” period prior to full sales release.

In his post (link to full post, below), Mark defines Pre-orders:
preorder defn

Mark gives great info on how to schedule a Pre-Order, here:
preorder timing

Furthermore, he details the benefits of Pre-Orders for Authors and Readers:
preorders 5 benefits 1

A great realist, Mark also provided great info as to what to expect, a “Reality Check”:
preorder reality check

So, how did my first experience with pre-orders go?
Not so well.

Let’s review the Tips Mark provided and my own experiences:

Tip One: Plan and implement AGGRESSIVE, multi-week marketing campaign
This was my first time as any kind of book marketer, but luckily (?), I was laid off in August, 2013, which gave me family support (thanks, Ellen Fleischmann, Merlyn Ember, Sarah Miranda, Lauri Stern and Carole Harris) to move my unpublished book forward into self-publication. I began immediately to learn, via Mark Coker’s and others’ Google Hangouts, free webinars, blog posts, groups’ posts and articles, all about the publication and marketing processes for indie authors.

I did it ALL, except pay for PR (no extra funds): I started a new website and blog; I became active on Goodreads and Twitter; I opened Pinterest Boards; I became more active on Facebook, both on my personal and Series pages; I became more active on LinkedIn; I joined Google+ and began to use it more. I joined many Groups/Communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ as well as Goodreads. I engaged a professional cover artist (thanks, Willowraven!) and started tracking my KLOUT, SNAP and ALEXA scores.

I had OUTSTANDING results (I thought) in the first few months, bringing my KLOUT score from 31 to 61 by release day (12/19/13) and my website went from no ranking at all to being in the top 3.5 million via ALEXA. I gave up on Snap. My Twitter #FF went from 7 to over 1600; my blog gained almost 40 #FF (NOT my family, either!). I had almost 300 LIKES on my FB Series page and over 300 contacts personally there and on LinkedIn and Goodreads. 60 were #FF on Pinterest. Seemed good, to me.

I also worked hard networking on Wattpad, Goodreads, and Authonomy as well as the above groups and individuals’ websites to garner several very positive pre-sales day reviews which were posted on/into my front matter, my website, Goodreads and all other social media.

I joined Shelfari and BookLikes, Authors’ Database and other sites with author and then book pages. I created and updated my Author’s book page on Amazon (which doesn’t do Pre-orders, but I already had a nonfiction book authorship, so I could do this prior to uploading my ebook). I provided copy for and linked to postings of several author interviews on several websites and BlogTalkRadio’s IndieBooks show. I gave public readings and then videoed myself doing them and posted these on youtube, to start my Series’ Channel.

Using the Cover, I printed up 50 flyers (second time I spent money on this endeavor, first being the cover) and gave them out everywhere I went (which wasn’t many places, but I tried!).

This Changes Everything cover
cover and logo art by Willowraven

I talked it up everywhere I went, also. I sent out FB and GR reminders of the release date and planned an Author Q & A on Google Hangout and Goodreads for release day as an “EVENT,” which I extensively promoted, along with the pre-orders themselves, for weeks prior to sales date.

I believe I did everything I could to create a strong “Author Platform.” But, being a new author to sci-fi/romance and to ebooks, and an indie, self-published author in a very crowded field, the “splash” I was making, despite KLOUT’s encouraging stats, was not feeling large.

Social media icons
from http://www.bakerviewconsulting.com

Furthermore, I had no way to gauge the success of either my Pre-order marketing via the numbers of Pre-orders, because Smashwords, iBooks, KOBO and nook do not provide ANY kind of info as to the numbers of Pre-orders accumulating to authors, EVER. This is very frustrating and I wish this would change.

It is now two months since TCE’s release date, and I still have no figures, other than ranks on nook and KOBO, to tell me how many actual sales TCE has had.

Smashwords does provide “sales” numbers, but mixes “free” or coupon-use downloads with cash sales. This is mixing apples and oranges since my ebook is only free to reviewers and a select few others. Even with a cash total, this is a net profit figure, not a gross sales total: I have to do the math myself to estimate actual cash sales numbers, something else I wish would change.

iBooks sets up threshold before it puts out even a ranking that my ebook hasn’t met up to now (and neither the gate nor my sales number is known, which is frustrating; also needs to change).

As a regular Kindle (KDP), not Kindle Select, author, I did not have the option to do Pre-orders on Amazon, but at least I can check in on any day, any hour and get not only several different sales and author relative ranks, but go look at my actual sales figures online, including total sales, gross cash intake and net royalties. Yeah, Amazon!

Going solely by Amazon’s and Smashwords’ sales figures (the only ones I have), my Pre-Order and regular sales periods have not yet been huge successes, to say the least. I just got my first royalty checks, from Amazon (since Smashwords only pays quarterly and includes all the other vendors in one check). The total would not even pay for one tank of gas.

BUT, I am now a professional, paid ebook author, nonetheless! Woohoo!

My Recommendations: Every book sales site should provide real-time and accumulated stats to authors during Pre-orders as well as regular sales updates if not hourly, then daily, with no “qualifying” threshold to become eligible to see stats. AND, please do not mix free downloads with paid sales in the figures.

Tip Two: Mobilize fans
I tried to first gather fans (see above) and then mobilize them. However, as a first-time ebook author with no other fiction sales before this, my “fan base” is minimal even now, two months later, and nonexistent prior to Pre-orders. So, great tip, but I couldn’t use it for TCE.

I plan to use my growing fan base extensively for This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, however, which goes into Pre-Orders in April 15-18 (because of policies and schedules not in Smashwords’ control, other ebook vendor sites do not open Pre-orders on the same days as each other) and on sale June 9, 2014.

Tip Three: Special pricing
I took Mark’s advice about pricing all the way. He suggested lower prices or free for Pre-orders, but strongly suggested NOT offering it free if the ebook has no others before it in the Series.

Mark also suggested, based on his extensive research, the “sweet spot” balancing sales with profits for ebooks, currently is set at $3.99.

So, I set TCE’s Pre-Order price at $1.99.
The sales price for TCE has been $3.99 and will stay that way until Volume II goes into Pre-orders, 4/15/14, at which point Volumes I and II will both be set at $1.99.

On Volume II’s release date, 6/9/14, TCMF&MLF will go up to $3.99 and Volume I will become FREE forever more, to all, as recommended for series authors.

When The Spanners Series ebooks start selling well and my fan base has grown even more, I will bump up Volume II’s price to $5.99 during Volume III’s Pre-order period, November – December, 2014, making This Is/Is Not the Way I Thought Things Would Change, Volume III’s Pre-order price $2.99.

Volume III’s sales price, starting in mid-December, 2014, will then probably be $5.99.

If sales aren’t great (YET), I’ll follow my previous pricing plan for a while longer for upcoming Volumes (the series has 10, total).

I do not believe the exact pricing made that much difference, but I really can’t tell. I also don’t know about the switch from Pre-order’s lower price to the higher sales price regarding sales impact. See Tip One: I don’t know, yet, about any sales figures, except on Smashwords, for Pre-orders, and those were not strong the first time, an understatement.

Tip Four: Use your other books to help
Wish I could. Will do for Volumes II onward. Good tip!

Tip Five: (MY TIP): Do it better each time
Yes, I plan to do it all better, as mentioned above.

CHANGES and IMPROVEMENTS:
1) I’m doing more about getting Beta readers for Volume II.

2) I’m turning reviewers for Volume I into reviewers for Volume II. I have more fans, I am involved in several networks of authors and others that help with promoting each others’ social media sites.

3) I now have 3 Book Trailers ( which I created myself, free, via Animoto) so that my youtube Spanners Series Channel GROWS. Each time I released a Book Trailer, my sales went UP on Amazon. Don’t know about the other sites, but my ranks did go up slightly.

4) I now have 50 more flyers and first, via KLOUT, free business cards via MOO, and when those ran out, got inexpensive ones via Vistaprint which I designed. They have my links, TCE book cover and Series logo on them. I give them out EVERYWHERE.

5) I joined and attend workshops with several local writers’ groups.

6) I comment on and re-blog/re-post others’ blog posts instead of always writing my own

7) I use StumbleUpon, Reddit, Quora, AllExperts.com and other sites to raise the visibility of my “brand” and drive traffic to my website (via WordPress.com). My website now has over 120 #FF, which I know is still small, but it’s a 300% increase since launch date 2 months ago!

8) I set up cross-posting and opened a Tumblr website that receives all posts from my WordPress blog, so my blog posts are re-posted on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google +, Goodreads, Shelfari, BookLikes and Amazon.

9) I use JustUnfollow to keep my Twitter #FF useful, active and not ‘bots. Now up over 2300!

10) I continue to use author networks to share and collaborate for increasing each other’s visibility, rankings and comments. All of my numbers are fairly high and staying there on the book and author sites mostly due to these efforts.

So, with all the above, I am READY for the next Pre-order period much more than I was before. I hope this one ROCKS!

Links to TCE’s Reviews, Author Interviews, Book Trailers and more on http://www.sallyember.com

Link to Mark Coker’s full Pre-order Slide Show post here, which is well worth viewing: take notes! Please share, tweet, USE!
http://www.slideshare.net/Smashwords/hit-the-ebook-bestseller-lists-with-preorders-a-guide-to-preorder-strategy

Thanks, Mark. Next time, I’m ALL OVER IT!

#Female #ebook #Authors: Getting Checked Out More at #Libraries

#Libraries’ Top Circulating Print #Books and #Ebooks in Jan, 2014: How Ebooks are Leveling the #Gender Playing Field

library facade

FICTION (PRINT) = 11:4
NONFICTION (PRINT) = 11:4
TOTAL (PRINT) = 22:8, male #authors to female authors (about 3:1)

Female Authors in both print nonfiction and print fiction are outnumbered by male authors almost 3:1. In 2014. This does not bode well for 2014.

How about these figures: Fiction = 15:0. That is the ratio of already published and known authors on the Print Fiction list to unknown/previously unpublished authors.
Fifteen to NONE.

ZERO new authors are among the top circulating Print Fiction in libraries (nationwide, USA) for the first month of 2014. (Link and full list, below, from Library Journal.)

We can’t view a comparable list of ebooks because 1) not all publishers or authors of ebooks provide them to libraries and 2) not all ebooks available are purchased by libraries.

I realize the same could be said for print books, particularly #2, but the vast majority of print books published by major publishers ARE purchased by libraries, whereas there is no such comparable circumstance for the mostly independently published/uploaded ebooks regarding ebooks’ presence in library collections.

Just for thinking purposes, look at what authors’ ebooks are on the “front page” of the lists of 2013’s top circulating e-books that are available to borrow from the Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s public libraries (six or seven, total, on each “page”):
FICTION (EBOOKS) = Kate Atkinson, Sophie Kinsella, Eleanor Cattin, Robert Galbraith and J.K. Rowling, Linwood Barclay, Herman Koch, Dan Brown. 4:3
NONFICTION (EBOOKS) = Kristine Barnett, Kelly Oxford, Shelley Sandberg, Sonali Deraniyagala, Reza Aslan, Michael Moss. 2:4
TOTAL (EBOOKS) = 6:7, males to females.

http://torontopubliclibrary.typepad.com/news_releases/2013/12/2013s-most-popular-ebooks-available-for-borrowing.html

For all of 2013, the authors who wrote the top 30 ebooks (still in Toronto) are:
Mixed, FICTION and NONFICTION (EBOOKS) = 21:9 = 7:3, males to females

http://toronto.lib.overdrive.com/B90B1104-76FA-4C84-B329-CC1A56561D25/10/50/en/SearchResults.htm?SearchID=33874100

You might think: Oh, that is just in Canada, or just Toronto. All right.

Here are Sacramento, California’s figures for 2013, Top 20 physical (print), which are all Fiction, and Top 20 Virtual (ebooks and audiobooks), which are mixed Fiction and Nonfiction, most-circulated titles.
FICTION (PRINT) = 12:10 (three have joint authors), = 6:5
MIXED FICTION/NONFICTION (EBOOKS & AUDIOBOOKS) = 12:10 (two have joint authors) = 6:5
a TIE!

What about the people in “middle America”? Let’s check Marion County, Indiana, which published a list of its 15 most popular (top circulation) ebooks for 2013.
FICTION (EBOOKS): 8:7, male to female authors.
Almost a tie!

Let’s check the New York (City) Public Library, or NYPL top 10 circulating print books’ authors for 2013.
FICTION (PRINT): 3:7
NONFICTION (PRINT): 6:4
TOTAL (PRINT): 10:11, males to females

I requested the top ebooks from NYPL; waiting for that.

http://www.nypl.org/blog/author/miriam-tuliao

My tentative conclusions are these:
1) ebooks are “leveling” the playing field for female authors since, for the first time in publishing history, authors do not have to wait for the largesse or permission from publishers to get our books into the hands of readers, and traditional publishing has always favored males (to date).
2) once more ebooks are available in libraries (still to come), even more ebooks authored by women will be in the hands of readers.
3) since public library patrons are skewed, economically, to the less affluent among us, ebooks and particularly female authored ebooks may not get into everyone’s hands until ebook tech (ereaders) will be borrowable.
4) Because of Indy publications for both print and ebook formats, more female authors are getting published and therefore getting purchased by libraries and into the hands of readers.
5) Don’t have exact numbers, but general stats show that there are more females than males borrowing both print and ebooks from USA libraries. If I had to make an educated guess, I’d say the ratio of readers in the entire USA, using libraries or not, is about 1:2 or 1:3, males to females.

PREDICTION:
More female than male authors are going to be on best-seller and top circulating lists of both print and ebooks in future months and years.

Meanwhile, please donate money, give your used print books and sponsor the purchase of ebooks for your local public libraries so that ALL authors’ work becomes available to more readers! Thanks!

donate to library

http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2014/01/best-sellers/best-sellers-books-most-borrowed-january-2014/

FICTION
RANK
1 Sycamore Row. John Grisham.
2 The Goldfinch. Donna Tartt.
3 Never Go Back. Lee Child.
4 Gone. James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge.
5 Identical. Scott Turow.
6 Takedown Twenty. Janet Evanovich.
7 Doctor Sleep. Stephen King.
8 W Is for Wasted. Sue Grafton.
9 The Longest Ride. Nicholas Sparks.
10 Storm Front. John Sandford.
11 And the Mountains Echoed. Khaled Hosseini.
12 Doing Hard Time. Stuart Woods.
13 The Cuckoo’s Calling. Robert Galbraith.
14 The Valley of Amazement. Amy Tan.
15 The Gods of Guilt. Michael Connelly.

NONFICTION
RANK
1 David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. Malcolm Gladwell.
2 Killing Jesus: A History. Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard.
3 I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb.
4 Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Reza Aslan.
5 Still Foolin’ ’Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? Billy Crystal.
6 Johnny Carson. Henry Bushkin.
7 Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. Piper Kerman.
8 The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism. Naoki Higashida.
9 The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. Doris Kearns Goodwin.
10 Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics. Charles Krauthammer.
11 One Summer: America, 1927. Bill Bryson.
12 Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will To Lead. Sheryl Sandberg.
13 My Story. Elizabeth Smart & Chris Stewart.
14 Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers. David Perlmutter & Kristin Loberg.
15 This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral—Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!—in America’s Gilded Capital. Mark Leibovich.

Most #self-pub #ebook #authors are earning more $ on fewer books and earnings discrepancy will grow greater over time

Most #self-pub #ebook #authors are earning more $ on fewer books and earnings discrepancy will grow greater over time, favoring the #indie authors! Full explanation and more data in article linked, below.

A few more excerpts, paraphrased for Twitter, just to whet your appetite!

86% of top 2,500 genre fiction bestsellers + 92% of Top-100 best-selling books in overall Amazon store are e-books!

Indie authors outnumber trad pub authors in every earnings bracket but one. Even extreme outliers do better w/self-pub.

Self-pub authors make 50% more profit than trad pub, even though indie books represent only half of the gross sales revenue.

“Our data suggests that even stellar manuscripts are better off self-published.”

“When given a choice, readers will buy books other than those vetted by [the New York Times]. The Kindle bestseller lists prove this.”

Self-Publishing
image from http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com

Advice self-pub author, Hugh Howey (article author), gave publishers three years ago, when the Big 5 were still the Big 6. Did they follow it? What do YOU think? (From the same article):

“Publishers should stop trying to convince themselves and others that they’re relevant, and start actually being relevant. Here’s how:
1. Offer much better royalties to authors.
2. Release titles faster. It can take 18 months after a book is turned in to be published. I can do it myself in a week.
3. Use up-to-date accounting methods that are trackable by the author, and pay royalties monthly.
4. Lower ebook prices.
5. Stop futilely fighting piracy. Hint: all such fighting is futile. Piracy can only be made redundant with cost and convenience.
6. Start marketing effectively. Ads and catalog copy aren’t enough. Neither is your imprint’s Twitter feed. Especially if your author has more Twitter followers than you do.”

Link to article I’m referencing, here:
http://jakonrath.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/me-hugh-howey-and-legacy-john-on.html

Are you an author (either or both trad and indie/self-pub)? DO THIS!
“The authorearnings.com website is now up and running again. Even if you’ve read the info here, I encourage everyone to visit http://authorearnings.com and take the Author Survey and sign the Petition.”

Thanks, Joe Konrath and Hugh Howey!

If you’d just like to read Hugh’s report without the Q & A and conversation with Joe (less entertaining, but shorter), here is the link:

http://authorearnings.com/the-report/

My #Literary #Meh List 2014: 15 Plots, Devices, Characters I’m BORED with

Maybe I’m jaded.
I know I’m old.
My vim could be faded.
But, truth must be told:
I’M BORED!
and, I’m not the only one…

yawning-is-contageous

Here are the 15 #Literary #Plots, Devices, #Characters that made my 2014 #Meh List. #Writers/#Authors/#Publishers/#Producers: PLEASE stop using these!

15. Vampires as sexy
Really? Blood-sucking, fangs-wearing, skin-ripping, not breathing, cold-feeling, immortal, amoral, selfish, violent, predatory, soul-less monsters are messy, painful, adolescent and FAKE. NOT SEXY. Not role models, either.

Vampires YA poster

14. Werewolves, shapeshifters, or any human who becomes a hybrid of something as sexy
Lovers who are hairy to the max, with bones bursting through into other shapes, moon cycle problems, clothing issues, ever-present danger and mind-numbing repetition of animalistic and imbecilic behaviors do not serve as candidates for great relationships. Another variation of: “He’s /she’s a psychopath and violent, but I love him/her” that NO ONE NEEDS.

13. Sexual abuse/incest/rape/molestation/personal trauma as the rationale or cause for character traits or plot twists
Yes, these abuses are horrible. Yes, these children or adults have suffered. Yes, I’m sure that, for survivors, it’s therapeutic to write about it. But, it is NOT therapeutic to READ about it for the thousandth time. THERE IS NOTHING NEW TO SAY, here. I’m not unsympathetic and I’m more than a little empathetic. That doesn’t mean I want to read or watch stories with these plots or characters AGAIN. I do not.

12. Addiction/recovery as heroic or interesting
I know I risk the censure of every 12-Stepper who ever pledged to “Take One Day At A Time,” but I’m SICK OF THIS topic. I just cannot view the people who chose to become addicts and then finally decide to stop using as “heroes.” (YES, regardless of whatever story the current mental/physical health industry wants to spin for this decade, the START of this journey for almost all of these addicts was a CHOICE.) Their “journey” is not interesting. Their feelings as addicts or those in recovery are not interesting. Many people with their same backgrounds, chemistry and traumas make better choices. Addicts are not interesting, until they stop using/cutting/gambling/having compulsive sex. Then, we’ll talk.

addiction_logo

11. War/battles as fascinating, fun or heroic
War is awful. It is horrible for those who fight in it, it is horrible for those who die or get injured in it. War and battles cause untold injury, damage and tragedy to everyone touched by it. WE ALL KNOW THAT and it’s not fun, fascinating or interesting to ME to see yet another martial arts/special effects kick-boxing/flying show, or more weapons than I can count added to with C.G.I. effects, or any other depictions or descriptions of war or battles in stories. STOP CHOREOGRAPHING FIGHTS, glorifying the military and positioning anyone who volunteers for these unnecessary, terrible wars as “heroic.” Start writing better characters and more interesting stories, please.

10. Terminal or long-term illness, disability or dementia: having it or witnessing it as if it were unusual or interesting and automatically makes the bearer and/or the caregiver a “hero”
Of course, having a long-term or terminal illness in oneself or family is awful. Some people rise to the occasion as bearers or caregivers; some do not. Life goes on. It is no longer interesting, new or entertaining in the least after the tenth book/movie about “my autistic child” or “phantom pain from my missing limb makes me grouchy.” May be educational: make a documentary. Then only the people who need/want to know the gritty details can watch and the rest of us can be spared. Real life is hard enough; everyone suffers. Please stop bringing death, disability and despair to my books or screens, please.

9. Death of a child as the foundation or pivot point
The worst grieving occurs when a child dies. We all know this. There is nothing new to say about it. Marriages falter, friendships wither, people suck. We know.

cat-the-sting-of-death-is

8. “Love” at first sight
After one glimpse, one touch, one word: that isn’t love. Lust, attraction, crushing out, wish-fulfillment, fantasy, sure, but never was and still isn’t love. STOP SAYING IT IS.

7. Bullying/”mean” girls/frat-type hazing as the major problem in a teen’s life until s/he a) develops a super power or b) finds out s/he is magical/royal/superhuman or c) both
Harry Potter and his ilk aside, how many times do we have to see this same plot recycled? Get some new material about and obstacles/miracles among children and teens, please?

6. “Coming out” as the shocking or unique event
Still? in 2014? Please. Even those living under a rock in some remote locale don’t care who’s gay or lesbian, trans or transvestite, any more. Or, not enough for me to care. Come out, don’t come out; it’s not a story any more. It’s a thrift store!

Out-of-the-Closet

5. Muslims or Islam as the “other,” the enemies, the terrorists
Anti-Semitism isn’t always against Jews; it’s alive and well in most TV and films, targeting/vilifying Muslims, the religion of Islam and anyone looking like or coming from countries that include these religious practitioners. Racist/prejudiced and, worst of all, BORING. Enemies wear many faces, and most actual terrorists are white, Christian males if we’re talking about law-breaking, economy- and environmental- destroyers, socio-pathological and inappropriately powerful, overly-wealthy 1%-ers. Move on.

4. Former USSR folks or Chinese as the “mafia” or terrorists and Hispanics as populating the drug “cartels”
Fact: most of the money behind ALL of these illegal activities comes from and flows back to the 1%. See #5. Stop blaming the middle-men (and they are mostly men). Let’s see more stories about the actual criminals of this planet, please, and not just from filmmakers Michael Moore and Robert Reich!

3. “Meet cute” or “hate” at first sight becoming “love,” especially after being “forced” to a) work together or b) share a small space or c) both
Just so trite, tired and over-done. Right? Find some new material!

Fake Love

2. The “ugly” person is actually “beautiful”
If I see one more montage in which the “friends” help this “uglypuss” overdo hair, remove glasses, trendify wardrobe and stir, I may vomit. And, BTW: size 10 is not “plus” sized and losing 10 pounds doesn’t make anyone look all that different.

1. Women who crave billionaires who use bondage, domination, abuse and sado-masochism and women who consider those to be romantic and sexy: 50 shades of ridiculous
Glorification and presumption of women’s rape and bondage fantasies are THE favorite tools of the 1%. Of course: they’re sociopaths. See #5. Feminists need to rise up against this horrific “trend” in “entertainment” and object strenuously to its depiction of vacuous, disempowered female 20- or 30-somethings who “find their bliss” in being beaten up as “romantic.” BREAK FREE of this and every other oppressive stereotype!

woman-EMPOWERMENT

That’s my Meh list for 2014. Argue, agree, applaud, critique, make your own!

My #Writing Process: Revealed!

“Where do you get your ideas?” is the most-asked question of creative people. I’ve been paying attention to my own #writing process since people started asking me that more often. I now know I have three distinct phases for my creative process, but they are not entirely linear in sequence.

Without even consciously knowing I am in it, I am often in the incubation period, phase one for all creative endeavors. This assumes ground zero is pre-phase one, the part in which I determine I’m open to creating and what I want to create, in a general way.

For me, the incubation period is highly receptive. I am like a sponge; I am seemingly almost indiscriminate in my voracious appetite for information, as in Short Circuit‘s Johnny Five’s demands for “more input.”

Short Circuit need input

Phase one includes: getting cognitive but silent input from reading fiction and nonfiction books and magazine or ‘zine articles and blog posts; visual/emotional/audio content input from watching films/TV, TED talks and videos via Facebook, youtube, Google+, blogs and other sources; musical inspiration gleaned from radio, Spotify and other online music players, playing piano, singing; conversing with friends, family, strangers and acquaintances. All of this sparks thousands of ideas.

Next comes the internal percolating, still incubation, from all input and other connections being made. Percolating occurs while: dreaming, meditating, thinking, contemplating, swimming, walking, driving. I love this part: although most of it is invisible, it is palpable. I feel buzzed: re-routed, re-programmed, inspired, electrified. I often feel as if I am in a remembering or retrieval mode, recalling and almost hearing or seeing what I’m about to write as if it’s already written.

Inevitably, I get woken up from sleep or can’t fall asleep because these first gems of ideas are starting to surface and I MUST write them down. I hear them narrated or see them in paragraphs. I make lists, gather URLs and quotes, write down remembered dreams and conversations, make mini-outlines, generate summaries and plot intentions, describe characters and do many other cultivating things with the seeds already planted.

I have to move quickly; these deliveries are clear and sharp at first, but the longer I wait or the longer it takes to put them into form, the weaker the connection or recollection gets. This phase is very exciting but also quite frustrating. I feel as if I only get to write down or collect about half of what I receive.

I am now in phase two: full writing mode. I’m generating and composing my ideas into text. Organizing, whittling, deciding, creating connections are now dominant. Characters, plots, dialog, events, circumstances, facts and conflicts all converge in seemingly random and chaotic ways until I can sift through and wrest them into some order. It feels as if I’m gathering spiderwebs, tantalizing aromas and musical notes and transforming them into particular words, coherent paragraphs, comprehensible stories.

spiderweb fog

Once I start writing them down as lists or collect ideas into documents and folders for later use, I am compelled to follow clues, leads, research trails. These lead to more input and ideas, and those lead to further incubations, more percolating, etc.

These first two phases loop many times until the ideas erupt from me, birthed into existence as writing. I hate to be interrupted when I’m on a trail.

However, I love and crave, even make my own interruptions in the next part, the testing period of writing. I reach out to people to talk things out, hear ideas or dialogue aloud for the first time, getting first bounce-back reactions and more ideas from these interactions. I call certain people many times: my son, my mom, my sisters, a niece, some friends. I post questions and comments online and get responses from strangers/acquaintances. Suggestions, critiques, future-use ideas all welcomed, here.

social-sites

Eventually, the input receiving slows down and the output starts to take precedence. I spend more time writing than researching. This is the highest output part of the process, generating most of the writing. Much of what I generate may not get used, or not used for this immediate project, but I keep it all.

I have dozens of drafts, pieces, drafts of chapters and whole volumes for The Spanners Series in folders that may be mined for future Volumes if not used for the one I’m currently writing. I leave myself gifts and find them later. When I was ready to write Volume II, I was shocked to discover that I had already written large chunks of it while writing Volume I and didn’t even remember having done so much writing for that Volume!

Phase three involves combining, rewriting, generating, refining, selecting, drafting and completing the work. I spend more time revising than creating, which means I’m in the third phase. I do get new ideas and do more research during this final phase, in many of the same ways, but the proportions reverse from the earlier phases.

Some people call these three phases Prewriting, Writing, Revising. Works for me.

writing process three parts

Steven Johnson’s TED talk from 2010: Where good ideas come from, in which he ends with “Chance favors the connected mind,” describes a lot of what I experience. I love that quote.

http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_from.html

Good luck with your writing!

#SciFi and #Fantasy #Books into #Films Upcoming

READ THEM NOW, WATCH THEM LATER: SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY AND HORROR ADAPTATION WATCH by John DeNardo on January 15, 2014 | Posted in Science Fiction and Fantasy

John DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, a Hugo Award-winning group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. You can follow him on Twitter as @sfsignal.

Read these books, then go see this year’s film adaptations:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Wool by Hugh Howey
Beta by Rachel Cohn

More about each here, including DeNardo’s summaries, opinions and links:
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/features/read-them-now-watch-them-later-science-fiction-2/

“Finishing the Hat” or, in my case, another #eBook

Am I the only author who is reluctant to finish a book? In Stephen Sondheim’s depiction of Georges Seurat in Sunday in the Park with George, his song, Finishing the Hat, eloquently and poignantly describes this exact chiaroscuro-type emotional state.

http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/sundayintheparkwithgeorge/finishingthehat.htm

We artists, writers, creators enter and create “the world of the hat” “where there never was a hat” and then have to leave it (temporarily, and then, forever, in the case of a series of novels or works). I feel both proud and sad, both happy and relieved, both excited and frightened to go forward.

Going forward: beta readers, feedback, critiques, discussions, defenses, relinquishments. Then, editing, revising, altering my “hat” into its final formatted form for ebook publication on Smashwords. Next, reviews, rankings, more feedback, more critiques. Finally, publication/release. Endless marketing and attempts to increase readership/visibility, all along.

Writing is the best part. I hate to end it.

I am dragging my literary feet; I have had an unfinished near-the-end chapter of This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II of The Spanners Series, for two weeks. Well, I was away and “couldn’t write” for a week (really?). Home for two days and still couldn’t make myself finish it.

Until a few hours after I drafted this post, yesterday afternoon: finished and sent off my draft to two beta readers.

Writing this post helped make the finishing occur, somehow. I explained and confessed my hesitation to complete my work. Then, I had no more excuses or barriers.

The hat must be finished.

top-hat

I am already thinking frequently about Volume III (the next hat), This Is/Is Not the Way I Thought Things Would Change.

5-month Blogaversary this Week: Stats & Questions

This week marks my 90th Post and my 5-month Blogaversary. I appreciate greatly how authors, artists, writers, editors and many creative people join together to help increase one another’s reach and visibility on FB, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Booklikes, Shelfari and increasingly, on Google+.

Here are my end-of-first-five-months’ stats and questions (mostly for other authors). Please leave responses to mine or add your own questions in the comments section on the WordPress or Tumblr blog post site. (You will have to sign in via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or your own WP or Tumblr account on these sites to comment.)

First, many thanks for the support and receptivity: on WordPress, my blog now has 50 followers (MY GOAL for 1/1/14!) and 12 on my Tumblr site (which has all cross-posts from the WP site), for a grand and wonderful total of 62 #FF who receive (and an unknown number who read) my posts.

I’m inviting guest bloggers this year.
QUESTION: Would you like to guest blog? (I am restricting guest blogging [for now] to followers of my blogs on WP or Tumblr: good reason to become a follower!)
Please let me know when and on what topic(s).
Topics on which I welcome guest posts: Buddhism, meditation, yoga, meditation retreats, having a spiritual teacher, the influence of your spiritual practice on your writing; writing, publishing, marketing our writing; or, any of the many topics I have already blogged about (read my past posts for hints!).

sallyember.com has gone from being “invisible” (no ranking at all) via ALEXA (Google’s ranking system) to being in the top 3.5 million websites worldwide in only five months.
QUESTION: How much does an ALEXA ranking mean, and what is your site ranked?

Concurrently, Twitter followers have grown from 7 in August to over 1700 this week (almost reached my randomly set goal of 2000 #FF by 1/1/14). @sallyemberedd finds me there. Special thanks to #ASMSG, the World Literary Cafe @worldlitcafe and Keith Fritz’ Author Megasheet on Google for such great contacts and networking opportunities which help build visibility and connections on Twitter. Due to cross-posting via Facebook, Pinterest and my blog, I don’t always post directly on Twitter, but I do have an active presence there.
QUESTION: How much do Twitter followers actually read further/click on Tweets’ links and which ones appeal most to you?

Also, my original Spanners Series page on Facebook now has over 450 LIKES (my modest goal for 1/1/14 was 200!) with many “LIKE for LIKE” events hosted on FB and contacts via Facebook groups, such as the Science-Fiction/Romance Brigade, the World Literary Cafe, Clean Indie Reads, Authors Social Media Support and many others, to offer THANKS for this amazing rise in connections on FB in recent weeks (at the beginning of December, my series page had fewer than 200 LIKES). I also have a lot more “friends” (as Sally Sue Fleischmann Ember) via these same networks and groups for writers/authors and science-fiction fans as well as those interested in Buddhism.
Question: What impact do FB LIKES have on an author’s visibility, in your opinion? If you are an author and your LIKES have risen lately, how exactly have you experienced a change in sales, interactions, or network invitations that you can attribute to this increase?

I am fairly new to having a series page on Google+ (3 weeks), so my Spanners Series page there only has 9 #FF. But, I (as Sally Sue Ember) have joined many groups and hope to increase the number of people in my circles and who follow the series page by connecting and networking more via these opportunities as well. Groups for writers/authors and science-fiction fans as well as those interested in Buddhism are my main ones here, too.
QUESTION: How do you use Google+ and what is your opinion of it?

On youtube, I now have 3 videos of me reading from or talking about The Spanners Series and particularly Volume I, This Changes Everything (about one/month) since October, 2013, but only a handful of viewers, so far.
QUESTION: If you are an author, do you have a book trailer or other writing-related videos on youtube? How successful has your video presence been for driving traffic to your books’ sites, for sales, for views?

Again, partly thanks to networking and support via #ASMSG, on Goodreads, This Changes Everything is getting 4- and 5-star reviews and ratings and moving up on many lists on Listopia. As a member of only about 12 months, my “friends” number has grown to over 650. I also joined some groups here as well.
QUESTION: How do you use Goodreads as a reader? What about as an author?

Since the release date (12/19/13) of This Changes Everything, the first ebook in the The Spanners Series, TCE has been moving erratically but promisingly through the sales rankings on Amazon, Kobo, Nook and Smashwords (don’t have rankings, yet, on iBooks). Many more reviewers are about to post their reviews over the next several weeks, which will help spread the word even more.

Examples: on Amazon, TCE has risen into the top 58,000 (out of 8 million) books on Amazon, and my author rank (so far) has risen to 89,000 (out of over 500,000).
On Kobo, TCE has moved up over 2000 other books in all Fiction and over 300 other books in Romance, Paranormal (through a mix-up, it’s not in Sci-fi, where it belongs) since it’s release date.
On nook, TCE has been in the top 500,000 overall (out of over 2 million books).
QUESTION: If you have published and sell ebooks in the last 12 months, what advice would you give to new ebook authors about these types of stats?

TCE is also on Shelfari, Booklikes and several independent sites (sites that post ebooks, reviews, author interviews and stories about indie books/authors). On http://www.sallyember.com, on the right of each page. Scroll down for live links.
QUESTION: What alternative sites feature you or your writing? What are your experiences with these? Do you do “blog hops,” “cover reveals,” cross-posting of other types? Advice?

The eleven Boards I have on Pinterest which I add to frequently, relate to my writing, the series, authors and music, locations and information connected to the series and my life. Started with NO followers in September; now have almost 70. sallyember is my Pinterest address (button to this on my website).
QUESTION: How do you use Pinterest? Experiences?

Through all these and other efforts and, again, much support from friends, family and colleagues/network members, including on LinkedIn, my KLOUT score has risen to over 61 (anything over 50 is considered good; over 65 is considered excellent).
QUESTION: What is your KLOUT score? How important do you think this ranking is for a new author?

I recently joined some LinkedIn groups for writers/authors and science-fiction fans as well as those interested in Buddhism. Since I’m so new to these (less than 1 month’s membership in most), not sure of the impact, yet.
QUESTION: What LinkedIn groups do you belong to/recommend and why?

Enough for now. Thanks for reading, responding, explaining, advising, recommending, warning, sharing. Best to you all!

Opps for Guest Blogging/Posting

Authors/Writers and others are often looking for ways to become more visible, become associated with “better” (and more well-known) bloggers, and reach a new audience. Guest blogging/posting is a great way to do this. Here are some opportunities and ways to find opps that I’ve come across. Check them out! [FYI: I am not endorsing, merely curating others’ content, here.]

First, be careful! Your writing, including all comments and blogs you post, comprises a key part of your professional/ personal brand. Anything online is public and stays around forever. Make your visible, online presence the one you want to have. Protect it, use it well, be intentional!

Belinda Summers provides some warnings: “5 Things to Consider Before Guest Blogging.” Belinda “works as a Business Development Consultant for CallboxInc. She helps businesses improve and maximize their marketing campaigns by providing expert advice on lead generation and appointment setting. She provides tips and trainings on telemarketing, email, social media, and other marketing strategies.”

5-Things-to-Consider-before-Guest-Blogging2

The Word is looking for guest posters/bloggers (400 wds) on the topic of writing. Andre Cruz is the owner of this site.

Ways to find guest blogging opps are laid out well by Rae Hoffman, “(AKA “Sugarrae”) is a veteran in the affiliate marketing space and the CEO of PushFire, a digital marketing agency that provides SEO and PPC management services.”

Mackenzie Fogelsen has “5 Steps to finding the right guest blogging opps,” given with examples and details, a different approach (largely good for nonfiction writers, but easily adapted for fiction authors) from Rae’s to finding guest blogging opps. “Mack is the Founder, CEO, and full-on Evangelist for Mack Web Solutions. She is a Moz Fan and honored to be an Associate. Mack is a firm and passionate believer in user experience and the building of community.”

On my site, since it’s only a few months old, I’ve been the only blogger (although I reblog and link to others’ content regularly). I’ve now finished my first quarter of having my own blog and am ready to open it up to guest bloggers.

guest-blogging-image

Become a follower so you don’t miss the announcement! http://www.sallyember.com

That’s more than enough to get you started! Blog away!

Gratitude Day!

Today marks the completion of my first ebook’s official first Launch into retail sales. I have many to thank for helping this happen. Here is my SPEECH in written form.

thank-you_gratitude_maui

First, I want to tell my son, Merlyn Ember, how much I respect, love, and appreciate him. His insights, lexicography, tech assistance, re-posting on Facebook and support have been invaluable to me as an author and as a mom. THANK YOU, Merlyn! And, THANK YOU to his partner, Lauren Harrison, my newest family member and friend, for her support and wonderful warmth.

Then, my second-oldest niece, Sarah Miranda, deserves her own special mention. Sarah is my first and most reliable Beta reader, my website developer and maven, on-tap tech help and Facebook quality control “friend” who re-posts on Facebook and corrects my mistakes. Sarah has inspired, supported, amused and informed me continually. THANK YOU, SARAH!

Next, my sister, Ellen Fleischmann. Without her generosity and support, there would not be such an amazing book cover. She has also supported, encouraged, re-posted on Facebook, and inspired me and my writing in numerous ways, including being THE instigator and prime mover of this entire push to publication and marketing since I was laid off from a trad job this summer. THANK YOU, ELLEN!

Special thanks to my cover artist, Willowraven, for helping me understand and develop my cover design with feasible and affordable guidelines without losing my vision or missing my deadline by too much! Visit her site! Give her your business (but not when I need her!): willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com

Next, my youngest sibling, Lauri Fleischmann Stern, for her ongoing support, re-posting on Facebook, and encouragement, ideas, and laughter. She is currently reading my book and I eagerly await her comments. THANK YOU, LAURI!

My mom, Carole Harris, in spite of technical hurdles, continues to leap over them (or knock them down) to support and encourage my authorship. She has also been a great friend, on and off Facebook. THANK YOU, MOM!

My sister-in-law, Laura Weis Fleischmann, even more hampered yet determined to overcome technical obstacles, remains a staunch supporter and is about to be a new reader of my ebook. THANK YOU, LAURA!

My brother, Jonathan Fleischmann, while mostly quiet about it, has nevertheless been a support and help to me and I THANK YOU, JON!

My long-time friend (since 1978!), Mario Cossa, has been a supporter and cheerleader for my efforts. I expect his enjoyment and critique of my ebook to start floating over the oceans and airwaves via SKYPE from Bali any day, now. THANK YOU, MARIO!

My newer friend (since 2011), Diana Ruiz, who drove all the way from Sonoma to Hayward yesterday, my ebook launch day, just to celebrate, encourage and support me, also treated me to lunch and then proceeded to post on Facebook and her own org page to support my ebook’s visibility. THANK YOU, DIANA! Send support to Women’s Global Leadership Initiative, her org: http://www.wgli.org

My recently departed but never-forgotten, long-time friend, Jaye Alper, figures into this ebook and series as the inspiration for one of the characters. She was too ill when I was drafting this to read any versions of it, but we did talk about it before she passed and I know she’s laughing and critiquing away and sharing it with her librarian contacts from wherever she is now. THANK YOU, JAYE!

Thanks also to many other friends, family members and supporters, including but not limited to: Christopher Ember Briggs, David Garelick, Pema Lama, Jim Shucart, Edward Elbers, Pamela Faith Lerman Gluck, Katie Schwerin, Bill White, Sandra Mellander, Heidi Henkel, Diane Stolar, Edina Adler, Helen Perdue, Suzanne Yeomans, Jennifer Foltz, Jennifer O’Donnell, Wendy Boldizar, Bill Weiss, Randi Weiss, Leo Weissman, Jody Serkes, Pat Lenobel, Bonnie Mulliken; Jeff Kravin and Julia Wersema; Debbie and John Paggi; Don and Fatima Frazier; Jeremiah and Elijah Kneeland; Emily, Noah, Amanda and Jamie Stern; Malka, Yakov, Akiva and Shaya Fleischmann as well as Adina, Talia and Estey Fleischmann; Ron and Scott Cytron; David, Michael and Kathy Rosen; Hillary, David and Adrienne Levin; all my colleagues and friends on Goodreads, #ASMSG and other FB, LinkedIn and Google+ groups’ members.

Thanks to those on Twitter whom I follow and who follow me. Especially grateful for the Retweets! #FF @sallyemberedd

Very important thanks to those who offered and then posted Author Interviews and read pre-pub editions/wrote and posted reviews: Pippa Green and others at the Science-Fiction Romance Brigade; Andrea Barbosa; Debbie Brown/Amethyst Eyes; Skye Callahan; New Book Journal; Shah Wharton; Bits, Bytes and Books “owner” and new author-friend, Ria Stone, author of Gina’s Dream; Zach Tyo; Lynda Dietz; Janice G. Ross. Links to all of these are on this website: http://www.sallyember.com Look to the right and SCROLL!

Thanks to Will Wilson for inviting me to his radio interview show which will air live on BlogTalk Radio, 11 AM EST, Friday, December 27: http://blogtalkradio.com/indiebooks

Special thanks to my first pre-pub reader and reviewer, fellow sci-fi author, Mary Josephine O’Brien, and best of wishes to her on the publication of her ebook, Shared Skies.

Thanks to all the groups, sites, book clubs, librarians, independent bookstore operators online and in person, and bloggers who post, re-blog and support indie authors and indie books. I can’t possibly name you all, but I hope you know how much your support and help with increasing visibility mean to us authors, typing all alone and creating who knows what in our little writing caves.

Special thanks to the Fremont, Redwood Empire and Hayward, CA, writers’ groups for critiques, support, inspiration and opportunities to do public readings, and encouragement.

Very special thanks to Jordan Rosenfeld, author/editor/blogger, for her professional information, inspiration and energy for improving my writing and for revision after revision.

Thanks and a tip of the hat in amazement to Mark Coker, Ted Summerfield and the entire Smashwords team for all your support, great instructional guides and videos, tech support and encouragement for my becoming and many millions of others being able to become ebook authors.

Thanks to Author U, Judith Briles and the team and invited marketing mavens there, for great webinars and advice for authors/writers. Take advantage of their “Mentoring Mondays”! Free! http://authoru.org/

Last and certainly not least: my spiritual teacher and long-time (since 1983) friend, Lama Drimed (Alwyn Fischel), who is the inspiration for many themes and topics in this series and for one of the characters (guess which one?), has my heart-felt devotion and eternal gratitude for so much, including all of his teaching, support, guidance and encouragement for my spiritual and professional paths. THANK YOU, LAMA DRIMED!

May all beings benefit.

Cheryl Morgan’s “Year in Review,” Part I

Check out Cheryl Morgan’s “Year in Review,” Part I, from her feminist perspective. Comment on her site and here! Interested in your opinions. Check back for Part II.

http://aqueductpress.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/the-pleasures-of-reading-viewing-and_1839.html

Cheryl Morgan is the owner of Wizard’s Tower Press and the Wizard’s Tower ebook store. She blogs, reviews and podcasts regularly at Cheryl’s Mewsings.

Author Interview at Amethyst Eyes’ site!

Thanks, “Amethyst Eyes” site author, Debbie Brown, for hosting an Author’s Interview that went live today, 11/22/13! Please visit and comment!

http://amethysteyesauthor.blogspot.ca/2013/11/sally-sue-embers-and-this-changes.html

Author interview with Sally Ember, Ed.D. on Houston Writers’ Guild website

Thanks, Houston Writers’ Guild for posting my Author’s Interview last week. Sorry I didn’t know until this week!

http://houstonwritersguild.org/category/indie-authors/

Appreciating Lia London’s: “12 Things You Should Know about Indie Authors…”

I was NOT going to go the indie route. I was an indie snob, myself, having grown up around “Vanity” presses and other such unprofessional ways that previous self-published writers had become authors. Their books were objects of scorn, their accumulated unsold volumes gathering dust in their garages, basements and storage areas, testimonials to their misplaced pride, I thought.

Then, the internet and ebooks led to this revolution in publishing. In the last several years, according to many reports, ebook sales have gone through the roof and indie publishing has more than quintupled x 100. Really.

This explosion, which has made available SO MANY books written, edited/proofread (or not), and distributed outside of or alongside of (often, while using) the traditional publishing houses’ and online stores’ routes, means several things:

1) My sci-fi concept, The Spanners Series, which languished in my computer and as various printed-outs in boxes of drafts that never made it past the query stage, is now getting PUBLISHED (well, ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I is, and I plan to publish the other 9 Volumes as well, via Smashwords.com: thanks, Mark Coker!) mostly due to my own hard work rather than waiting for luck.

2) There is a lot of variety in what is being distributed. Quality is hard to detect. You CANNOT judge the book by the cover, since many indie authors are on tight budgets and covers are expensive. Also, authors purchase or accept only “good” reviews. Paid armies of PR people or an author’s family and friends game the rankings’ and stack the reviews’ “ballot boxes.” PR hacks generally mess with readers. Authors can buy Twitter followers. Marketers blow many other false trumpets to herald a book that is actually HORRIBLE (or might be wonderful). How can any reader separate the wheat from the chaff?

3) Many millions of ebooks are now available. MOST are made free or ridiculously low-cost (under $5) for some or all of their “sales” periods. The sheer quantity and bewildering array flooding the market with cheap and free books make it even harder for any one book or author to get noticed, even those of high quality.

4) Getting our books noticed is made both more and less difficult by the fact that the author has to do all the marketing. I can tell you: it’s exhausting. And, doing all the marketing means it’s hard to carve out time to write, which is ironic, at best and extremely frustrating, at worst. Yes, we are motivated. Yes, we know our book best. Yes, we are committed to its success. However, most of us DO have (or, in my case, SHOULD soon have) other paying jobs and other books or stories to write!

Please read this great article (link, below) by Lia London about the trials and tribulations of and reasons to admire indie authors like me.

THEN: Help out us indie authors! Read reviews, read excerpts, shop around, engage with us. Finally, BUY OUR BOOKS! We need readers to rank us, write comments, recommend and refer to our books. We need readers, reviewers and bloggers! Thanks!

http://lialondon.net/about-indie-authors

Author Interview, Sally Ember via Andrea Barbosa

Another great opportunity, this time on Andrea Barbosa’s website, for an Author Interview! Check it out and share! Thanks, Andrea!

http://magictrendsreview.blogspot.com/2013/11/books-interview-with-author-sally-ember.html

“This Changes Everything” gets 5 Stars from Janice G. Ross

Thanks, Janice, for a thoughtful, enthusiastic, complimentary review of This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series!

Some quotes, here, and the a link to the entire review:
“What Ember has created is a fascinating concept that addresses the what ifs of the world that we know. Not only has Ember written an exceptionally detailed Science Fiction novel that incorporates all the proper elements, she’s brought it to life in a remarkable manner. This Changes Everything does not follow a standard outline for a novel, as it chronicles the experiences of Clara Branon. The writing is very complex, causing readers to pay close attention; however, it is very intriguing.”

and, “I would surely recommend This Changes Everything to anyone that enjoys a a well-written and researched Sci-Fi series. I will point out that it pushes the envelope, and toys with one’s perception. Well done!

“As I consider the rating, I am torn between 4 and 5. I’ve considered five stars because of the quality of research and overall planning that has evidently been put into this work, also the fact that it is well-written. Four stars because of its complexity.

Then, Janice reconsidered and sent me an email changing the ranting to 5 stars, explaining:

“I decided to change the rating to 5 stars. The review is still
the same…. I welcomed the complexity, but was not sure that everyone could appreciate that fact….Your work has allowed me to raise the bar and increase expectations for future reviews. And that is a big compliment!… your work is exceptional.”

★★★★★

http://jgrwriter.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/review-this-changes-everything-by-sally-ember-3/

Authors and Google+

Great for newbies to Google + and even some “old-timers,” if you’re trying to increase your use of its components. Thanks, Kobo!

Kobo Writing Life

By Evo Terra

Google has built an interesting and useful platform that’s designed to be approachable. Many elements baked into Google+ make it the ideal social property for an author. But like anything, it takes a little learning to understand all the moving pieces. Even those familiar with other social properties or the inner workings of Google+ can get a little tripped up with some of these terms.

Google+ is a social network based on shared interests and people you want to know rather than friends and people you already know. If you’re familiar with other social networking sites, many of the bells and whistles will be familiar to you. Some terms have the same or similar meaning on Google+ as they do anywhere else, but there are often subtle nuances you should be aware of.

Profile (for people): This is you and the things you’ve chosen to display to…

View original post 1,157 more words

Great Writing Tips from Roger Colby via Jonathan Gunderson

Great stuff, here. Not sure what I’ll do about the ISBN thing, but if my ebooks sell enough, I would want a print version, also, and CreateSpace is getting good comments by users, so far. We’ll see!

BookSmart,Newark Park Mall, CA

What fun! Thanks so much to the Fremont Area Writers, especially Carol Hood and Tony (Anthony) Pino for organizing and to Tony for moderating this “Open Mic,” and to BookSmart at the Newark Park Mall, which provided a venue for my first public reading.

Some reactions from the audience, all fellow writers:
“YOU are a WRITER!”
“That was amazing! I really want to hear more!”
“You really know how to get us involved. It was so real!”
“That dialogue sounded so natural and you read it so well!”

It was a lot of fun to be there and very inspiring to hear the poetry, short stories and excerpts the other writers shared. Plan to go monthly, if you can: 4th Mondays, 7 – 9 PM. See you there!

BookSmart, Newark Park Mall, CA

First public reading from This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, Sally Ember, Ed.D. author/reader

More photos on Facebook: The Spanners Series by Sally Ember page and my personal page. LIKE my page or become my friend! Sally Sue Fleischmann Ember is my FB name for my personal page.

http://www.cwc-fremontareawriters.org/events/ leads you to their calendar and possibility of becoming a member of this and the California Writers Club, of which FAW is a branch (which I have done!).

Free: I will profread…proofread 5 pages if you interact!

Authors, bloggers, other writers: I will trade interaction for light editing/proofreading! Trying to build my “platform” for pre-orders of my first ebook: Volume I, This Changes Everything, The Spanners Series and build buzz for sales. Pre-orders, $1.99 (50% off), 11/5 – 12/19/13, via Smashwords.com, iBooks, Kobo and Barnes & Noble. Release date: 12/20/13, via Smashwords and many other retailers, including Amazon, @ $3.99.

I will proofread/lightly edit 5 pages of any text you have for FREE for every way you interact with me between now and December 20, 2013. Choose one of the following for each 5 pages you want proofread!

1) comment on a post on my blog (http:www.sallyember.com)

2) follow me on Twitter (@sallyemberedd) and RT at least one of my Tweets

3) LIKE The Spanners Series Facebook page and leave a comment on a post there (https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber)

4) follow my blog and share it with your own blogosphere (http:www.sallyember.com)

5) write a brief review of This Changes Everything (TCE) which has excerpts posted on my blog, http:www.sallyember.com , and two other sites (http://authonomy.com and http://wattpad.com)
****5 pages proofread for EACH!
For each site, read and rate what you read, comment, back the book, put it on your shelf (whatever ways you can uplift it).
BTW I’m NOT telling you how to rate or rank TCE!

6) become a friend of mine on http://Goodreads.com and comment on any post I put on any group I belong to there (Sally Ember, Ed.D.)

7) add me to your circle and find me in any Google + Community to comment on any post I have in a g+ group (ssfember@gmail.com)

8) Become a follower of my 10 boards and re-pin at least one pin on Pinterest.com/sallyember

To “cash in” on the proofreading, contact me and send notice of which interaction(s) you did. Send your 5-page (or more, if more interactions) attachment to: sallyember@yahoo.com as a MS Word doc. I will use “Track Changes,” “Save As” with my initials appended, and email your proofread text back within 72 hours.

Thanks. SHARE this and let me know and you get another 5 pages proofread!

Happy interacting!

More about living in a “God Realm”

Yesterday my at-home #Buddhist #meditation #retreat, week one, contemplating living in a “God Realm,” took some interesting turns due to “regular life.” That’s the beauty and the challenge of having a home retreat: life keeps on happening, and not very far away or able to be ignored. Need to deal with my car, keep connecting with some people, job-hunt and apply, have a job interview (when invited), shop for essentials, tend to chores.

As a writer who is finishing Volume II, This Changes My Family and my Life Forever, and marketing (release date, December 20) Volume I, This Changes Everything of The Spanners Series, I am also writing, marketing, learning about ebook publishing, indie pub networking and methods, editing/revising, weighing in on cover art for Volume I (thanks, #Willowraven!) and learning about this whole ebook process for the first time from Mark Coker of #Smashwords (thanks, Mark). My days and some of my nights are quite full, already. Adding in 3 – 6 hours of meditation each day (sometimes more) is quite a feat. I’m not bragging; just explaining. Something’s gotta give.

So, yesterday, the meditation time “gave” to the car repair and friend times. However, I did walk and meditate/contemplate while my car was being assessed (one hour). During that hour, I walked around downtown Hayward to do errands (bank, library) and then sat in an rarely-used chess-players’ seat at a small city park.

No one else was in the park. In fact, it was officially “closed,” but the walkways were open. I and a dog-walker were the only park users when I was there. I could picture the park on busier days, ghost figures filling the space: the traditional-old-men-playing-chess images, some teens hanging out on the benches, a stroller-pusher or two, a dog-walker or two. But, since it held no other appeals, with no playground, no fountain or pond, no climbing structures, no other places to sit, I ran out of ideas. Besides the two chess stations and two park benches, there were a few patches of grass (well-trimmed), some flowering shrubs, one tree: that was the corner park.

Meditating/contemplating living in a God Realm caused me to look around more closely as I walked and then, sat. I discovered several aspects of this downtown that struck me as relevant. First, there are a lot of abandoned or empty, unmarked buildings and vacant lots among some seemingly open ones or those not due to be opened, yet (it was before 11:30, so many places weren’t open, yet). In this particular moment, one day in 2013 in Hayward, California, I could see evidence of better days.

One large, brick building had odd-shaped and oddly placed spaces high on one wall facing the busiest intersection. I puzzled out that these were vacancies left by large, individual letters which must have been adhering to the brickwork to display the owner’s or business’ name. Gone. But, before that era ended, those people must have been very wealthy to have owned such a large, prominent downtown structure. Most owners live in a God Realm, until they don’t.

They would have had servants and workers under them, surplus income to spend on themselves. They would have indulged themselves and their family members in luxuries and vacations, had most every whim fulfilled. Fancy clothes, fast and expensive cars, jewels, lavish parties, food and beverages, entertainment, sex, exotic pets, travel to beautiful locales, music and art would have filled their lives. Let’s give them good health, love and intelligence, too. A perfect human existence, probably in the latter part of the last century or earlier.

Where are those owners now, if any of them are still even in those human forms? Assisted living or nursing homes? Scattered from Hayward, younger family members out of touch or estranged? Dead already? Where are their money, those luxuries, that business? What happened to their residences, cars, clothes and other possessions, friends and colleagues? Gone to others or just completely gone. Empty. Abandoned, like this building.

Even when “everything is perfect,” it can’t last. Even if the outer pleasures continue, the enjoyers do not. These “Gods” age, get infirm, die; or, die suddenly. But, die they must, taking none of that gilded life with them.

I returned to retrieve my car (can’t be fixed until part arrives. I chose Halloween for my next foray into town, since I have a medical appointment that day, anyway). Driving the short distance home, I contemplated the ephemeral nature of all life and the futility of accumulating wealth, possessions, pleasures and such.

We may be living in a God Realm or not, but what we all share is impermanence. Whatever ways we are enjoying or suffering through our existences, our pleasure or pain is just a moment in the great span of time. Whatever we have, whatever we want: Feel it, live it, then go on to the next moment. That is the merry-go-round of samsara.

Prayers for all beings to recognize the illusory, temporary nature of samsaric existence and to buckle down (or ratchet up) to be on the path to individual liberation. Bodhicitta and gratitude for my path filled my heart as I re-entered my home, my retreat space.

#Meditation with #Contemplation on Dying without Regret

What will you do today to be able to end your life at the uncertain time of your death with as little regret as possible? Comment here! I am doing meditation practice intensively for many months as part of my life-without-regret plan.

Yesterday during my second day of walking meditation on living in the God Realm, I walked through my neighborhood, Cherryland, CA, an unincorporated part of Hayward, in a new direction, on streets I haven’t walked, before. There was a wide variety of landscaping, from untended dirt to blooming plants, especially very large, standing roses, and dwellings (ranging from assisted living, apartments, and tinier cottages than mine to what I’m sure was a mansion when it was built in the early 1900s). Such a haphazard continuum of land use and conditions of the habitations gave me ideas for all the Realms’ meditations to come.

This week, I am focusing on the God Realm, so I lingered in front of the beautiful fountains and shrubbery, adored two little front-yards’ ponds and then went to sit in the neighborhood park on this beautiful fall day. The feeling of the sun, the peacefulness, the sweet-smelling breezes, the cloudless skies, complete freedom, all at 70 degrees combined to give me a perfection moment.

A girl about 4 was playing with “Papi” (Grandfather). Papi had a large bubble wand and jar of bubble mixture. Their game involved his dipping the wand and waving it to let the bubbles flow toward her in the light breeze. His granddaughter would leap, run, stretch high, crouch and kick to get the bubbles within her reach to pop them.

She buzzed around the playground, laughing and calling out, “Papi! Papi!” with joy each time she popped a rainbow bubble. He laughed with her delight and kept sending them to her. At one point, his enthusiasm and the breeze conspired to put them ahead of her, coming too fast and out of her reach. Out of breath, she went over to him, stomped her foot, put her hands at her hips (in her best imitation of her mom?) and said, “Papi! Wait for me to come to you!”

“Oh, yes, of course, mi Princesa!” he replied, bowing, and did as she asked. Satisfied, she resumed her annihilating spree with vigor.

Life in the God Realm is just like that: everything is beautiful, within reach, delightful, fun and able to be changed at our command. As Gods/Goddesses, we live impossibly long lives, replete with splendor and abundance of all that we could possibly desire.

Yet, those lives, as any, are actually just rainbow bubbles, able to be burst at any time by another’s actions, or the breezes, or by striking an object, or just coming to the ends of our bubble existences: POP and life is over, Royal or not.

Then, unlike a bubble, which seems to be free of self-reflection, we know we just died. Gods/Goddesses have an inordinately lengthy time, to match our long lives, to contemplate our lives and deaths as we die; that’s part of our existence. Royals have long, self-recriminating death throes that go on and on, all the way until we land in our next incarnation, which happens to be in the Hell Realms. What a way to go.

All our self-castigations are for naught: no matter how many ways we imagine we could have done things differently, at death, it’s too late. Regrets are useless as we die.

Buddhist teachers often say that the best humans can hope for, especially the ones who do not have the teachings and practice of dharma in their lives, is to die without regret. How many of us could die today and die without regret, dharma practitioners or not?

Something to aim for: dying without regret. And, since we do not know the time, manner or date of our death, start NOW on that course.

What will you do today to be able to end your life at the uncertain time of your death with as little regret as possible? Comment here!

4 new Boards on Pinterest

4 new Boards on Pinterest Writers I Love, Inspirations for the Locations for The Spanners Series, Space Shots I Like, The Spanners Series includes