6 Common Book Launch Mistakes to Avoid At All Costs: Guest Post by Desiree Villena

6 Common Book Launch Mistakes to Avoid At All Costs:
Guest Post by Desiree Villena

Launching your book is arguably more challenging than writing it. After all, you’re a writer, not a marketer, and there’s a massive to-do list of tasks:
—sending offers to your email subscribers
—deciding on price promotions
—possibly even planning a launch party!
Publishers will lend you a hand if you’re going the traditional route, but when self-publishing, you’ll do most of the work yourself — and that’s where mistakes can happen.

On that note, let’s talk about six of the most common book launch mistakes and how not to make them, so that you have a smooth(er) launch. We’ll be focusing on the digital aspect because online marketing is essential whether you are a novelist or nonfiction writer and regardless of how much experience you have.

Mistake #1:
Not Investing in a Strong Book Cover

(Covers, above, by Isabelle Arné, Jason Anscomb and Patrick Knowles, from the gallery of book cover art)

Unfortunately, despite the overused idiom, people do tend to judge books by their covers — at least when they’re considering whether to buy them. Even when buying classic books that have been reprinted numerous times, we already more-or-less know what’s inside, so our decision to buy often rests on how the volume looks.

And for lesser-known books, the group to which yours likely belongs, a visually unappealing cover can lead to readers’ disregarding it altogether. Unless they’re first compelled to click on your book cover, they probably won’t even make it to the first line.

Many self-publishing authors, especially those working on their first launches, are tempted to cut costs by making their own covers. However, unless you are very familiar with design tools and artistic styles, this decision is bound to backfire. Now’s not the time to skimp! A professional cover will pay for itself once you launch your book.

On a separate but related note, your book’s interior design should also be perfected (and, yes, this is crucial, even if you’re only selling ebooks!). Regardless of medium, reading is about more than just enjoying a book’s content; you also need to facilitate a smooth visual experience, and interior design is a huge part of that.

Mistake #2:
Failing to Utilize Back Matter

Speaking of what’s inside your book, let’s talk about back matter, or end matter. This comes after the main contents of your book and often includes an epilogue, acknowledgements and an appendix. But don’t limit your back matter to just these things — instead, try to tap further into the interests of your readers while they’re still thinking about your work!

Consider providing some personal information about yourself and your book — perhaps its conception or charming stories about the writing process. You might include a Q & A from yourself, ideally led by another author, to shed light on certain details. If this is a nonfiction book, include a guide or a link to your website for more useful information.

Indeed, encouraging readers to visit your primary landing page helps you build a rapport with them. It also increases the chances of their buying your future books.

Marketing has to be continuous if you’re building a career as an author, so don’t make the mistake of passing over this opportunity! Not only will you be adding readers to your leads, you’ll be taking them one step closer to a platform where they can buy and review your book.

Mistake #3:
Rushing Through the Book Description

Once you’ve ensured your book is optimally designed and structured for its launch, it’s time to return to Amazon and construct a perfect product page. Amazon self-publishing can be your best friend, if you know how to do it efficiently, and that means writing a stellar book description!

But make no mistake, your book’s blurb is not its description, and you can’t just stick it on your product page and call it a day. Ideally, a blurb summarizes the book’s content in a way that makes the reader curious about it, while a description does more than that — it addresses the reader more directly. Think of your description as a sales pitch; if you’ve cranked out an attractive blurb, you’re about one-third of the way there.

The other two-thirds include the parts that sandwich your blurb: a first-line hook and an encouraging ending. The hook should be short but impressive, while the end can be more elaborate.

One effective technique is to let readers know what to expect in terms of genre by mentioning well-known similar books or comparable titles. You could also include a review or two to boost the credibility of such comparisons:

(above, from the Amazon product page for This Changes Everything by Sally Ember, Ed.D., The Spanners Series, Volume I)

Make sure to put your “grabby” bits at the beginning! Amazon only displays the first couple of lines of your description by default — the buyers will have to click “read more” if they’re curious — so this book description structure can really make a difference in terms of converting traffic into sales.

(Note that these tips also apply to your Amazon Author Page, but that’s less crucial to sales than your book product page itself.)

Mistake #4:
Planning for a Short Launch

Setting your book’s presentation aside for now, let’s dive into actual marketing strategy. As mentioned, book marketing is an ongoing task for most authors, although many believe it’s only a one-time thing. As a result, a lot of authors start their marketing campaigns too close to their launch dates and end them too early.

To combat this, consider dividing your campaign into pre-launch, soft-launch, and the final move in order to generate a constant flow of new buyers. Given that the Amazon algorithm tends to favor books with steady sales over a longer period of time, you should definitely plan for a process that lasts at least a month, from pre-launch to finally letting your book sell on its own.

There are plenty of strategies and tools you can use to fill up this month. For example, for the pre-launch, it’s generally good practice to provide free previews for people who are already following you before the release date, so you can attract reviews as soon as possible.

For the soft launch, consider making your book free or deeply discounted for several days, especially if you are a new author and have limited preexisting reach. Otherwise, just be ready to sell the book cheaply for a week or so to gain traffic and reviews!

The final phase of this gradual process is to increase to the standard price. Maybe do one last round of email marketing to those who haven’t responded to your previous calls to action.

Mistake #5:
Not Optimizing Your Ads

One cannot talk about launching a book without advertisement — but optimizing your book’s ads can be tricky. There are three main platforms to choose from when it comes to advertising your book: Facebook, Amazon, and BookBub. If you are publishing through Amazon, it’s handy to use its advertisement tool as well, since you’ve already done most of the work by creating the perfect book description with good keywords and category tags.

Unfortunately, things aren’t so simple when it comes to advertising on other platforms. The audiences on Facebook and BookBub are very different, since Facebook is obviously a much less book-focused community. Consequently, advertising on each requires different practices (you can learn more about that from Mark Dawson and David Gaughran, respectively). It may seem harmless to ignore these subtle differences, but you’ll save yourself a world of stress and money if you can adapt specifically to the algorithm of each platform.

Mistake #6:
Disregarding Professional Help

So you need to maintain an online presence on several platforms, refine your Amazon product and author pages, create extra promotional materials, and get your Facebook and BookBub ads going. Despite all there is to do, most authors simply roll up their sleeves and take it on — because how hard can it be, right? On top of that, doing things yourself means cutting costs.

But of course, the day-to-day responsibilities of promoting a book can really add up. On any given day, you could be researching anything from Amazon algorithms to Facebook ads. The five mistakes previously covered should give you an idea of how much can go wrong when you don’t have the expertise. Also, even if you can handle each small task individually, it’s unlikely that you can give 100% to all of them at once.

The result may be that nothing will be of high quality. What’s worse, you won’t be able to keep track of how each part of your campaign is working, i.e., what is most effective in increasing traffic and fostering conversion. Consequently, it’ll be hard to know how to revise your strategies for maximum success.

The truth is, you’ll do much better with professional help. Most authors have at least one weak spot where they could use some assistance: a fiction author who writes in a popular genre may want advice on how to narrow down the vast market, while a nonfiction writer may want help dealing with metadata and website optimization. No matter what your situation, rest assured that hiring the right marketers will not be a waste. If anything, it’s a valuable investment not just in your current launch, but in your next launch, too.

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

Launching a book can sometimes feel like launching a rocket. It may be a bumpy journey from here, but don’t be discouraged; at least now you can avoid making some common mistakes (and you can access even more tips through the guide linked here). With the right help and mindset, you’ll be able to get through it all.

Good luck, and happy marketing!

***********************************************
Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories. She’s very passionate about indie publishing and hopes to help as many authors as possible achieve their dreams!
Connect with Desiree Villena:
https://www.instagram.com/reedsy_hq/
https://twitter.com/ReedsyHQ

#selfpublish #selfpublishing #selfpublishingtips #indiepublishing #indiepub #authormarketing #bookpromotion #authorbrand #pubtips #authoradvice

#MacArthur Foundation 21 Newest Fellows 2020: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

#MacArthur Foundation 21 Newest Fellows 2020: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

“The MacArthur Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential….Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.”

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:

  1. Exceptional creativity
  2. Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
  3. Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Meet the newest crop of very fortunate creative sorts, this year’s MacArthur Fellows, who will each receive $125,000/year for 5 years to do WHATEVER THEY WANT!

For bios, specific info on each Fellow, and more about the Program and the Foundation, check out their website: https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/

Imagine: There are no outside or public applications or nominations. The process for selection is so secretive and unknown that very few people (no one outside the Foundation, supposedly) even knows who the nominating and selection committees’ members ARE each year!

“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”

In the Foundation’s favor, this year—for the third time since I’ve been tracking it, which is many years—the female-appearing Fellows outnumber the male-appearing Fellows: 9 seeming males, 12 seeming females. The Fellows process has been great on “diversity” and varying geographic locations (but still too many are from the coasts) for quite a while. You can check out the stats on their site any time.

Again, LOVE this!

My fave recipient this year: speculative fiction author/social activist, N.K. Jemisin, who “received a BS (1994) from Tulane University and a MEd (1997) from the University of Maryland….The City We Became (2020) is the first in what will become her Great Cities series….Her additional books include The Inheritance Trilogy (2010–2011) and The Dreamblood Duology (2012), the story collection, How Long ‘Til Black Future Month (2018), and the comic book series Far Sector (2019–2021) for DC Comics. Pushing against the conventions of epic fantasy and science fiction genres while exploring deeply human questions about structural racism, environmental crises, and familial relationships.” Love her work!

Also glad to see author and changemaker, Jacqueline Woodson, as a recipient this year. “She is a frequent lecturer at universities across the country and was a member of the founding faculty of Vermont College’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She served as the Library of Congress’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature from 2018 to 2019…..Redefining children’s and young adult literature to encompass more complex issues and reflect the lives of Black children, teenagers, and families….[She is] a writer redefining children’s and young adult literature in works that reflect the complexity and diversity of the world we live in while stretching young readers’ intellectual abilities and capacity for empathy. In nearly thirty publications that span picture books, young adult novels, and poetry, Woodson crafts stories about Black children, teenagers, and families that evoke the hopefulness and power of human connection even as they tackle difficult issues such as the history of slavery and segregation, incarceration, interracial relationships, social class, gender, and sexual identity.” Very cool!

You can view ALL recipients of this Genius Grant (all Fellows): https://www.macfound.org/fellows/search/all

#Ebooks #Smashwords 11th Annual Summer/Winter Sale for 10 More Days! #Free, 50 – 75% off! 7/1—7/31/19

#Ebooks #Smashwords 11th Annual Summer/Winter Sale for 10 More Days!
#Free, 50 – 75% off! 7/1—7/31/19

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

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

Smashwords is having its 11th Annual Summer/Winter Sale and The Spanners Series‘ ebooks in every format (reader’s choice) are on sale!
free (Volume I)
only $2.00 (Volume II) COUPON CODE for Volume II, good on Smashwords, only, 7/1–7/31/19: TL98M
only $1.00 (Volume III) COUPON CODE for Volume III, good on Smashwords, only, 7/1–7/31/19: DK23V

(usually $3.99 each for ebooks) for the the month of July, 2019! See below for links and more info.

And, go browse on Smashwords for other great discounts and sales for the month of July, 2019! https://www.smashwords.com/shelves/promos/1/any/any

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are YOU ready for the changes?

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

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

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

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

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

How would YOU do with the changes?

Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever:
EBOOKS now $2.00, 50% off the regular price of $3.99, using COUPON CODE TL98M on Smashwords, any ebook format (reader’s choice).

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

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

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

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

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

What do YOU do with wanted/unwanted changes?

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change:
EBOOKS now $1.00, 75% off the regular price of $3.99, using COUPON CODE DK23V on Smashwords, any ebook format (reader’s choice).

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

3 paperbacks
The Spanners Series‘ three paperbacks.


Print editions and ebooks published under Timult Books

logo Timult Books


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


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

#Nebula #Awards WINNERS Announced for 2018

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

2019 nebula conf banner

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

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

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

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

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

The 2018 Nebula Award Winners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solstice Award:
Neil Clarke and Nisi Shawl

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

Damon Knight Grand Master:
William Gibson

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

Nebula logo

2018 Nebula Award Finalists

Novel

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

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

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

Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Macmillan)

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

Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)


BTW: the WINNER of the

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

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


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

The Winners of the 2018 Nebula Awards Are Stellar

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

by May 18, 2019

 

2019 Reading Room’s #Women’s #Prize for #Fiction’s #Longlist Nominees

2019 Reading Room’s #Women’s #Prize for #Fiction’s #Longlist Nominees

Cut pieces of paper with text on SEO theme. Isolated on white.

Cut pieces of paper with text on SEO theme. Isolated on white.

Briefly, here are this year’s UK nominees:

The Silence of the Girls Pat Barker
Remembered Yvonne Battle-Felton
My Sister, the Serial Killer Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Pisces Melissa Broder
Milkman Anna Burns
Freshwater Akwaeke Emezi
Ordinary People Diana Evans
Swan Song Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
An American Marriage Tayari Jones
Number One Chinese Restaurant Lillian Li
Bottled Goods Sophie van Llewyn
Lost Children Archive Valeria Luiselli
Praise Song for the Butterflies Bernice L. McFadden
Circe Madeline Miller
Ghost Wall Sarah Moss
Normal People by Sally Rooney

To chat about these on Twitter: https://twitter.com/womensprize

FMI and to read about the process: https://www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/reading-room/news/announcing-the-womens-prize-for-fiction-2019-longlist

Finalists announced for 2019 #Minnesota #Book #Awards

Finalists announced for 2019 #Minnesota #Book #Awards

MNBA-logo-2019
image and article from The Friends of the Minnesota Public Library http://thefriends.org

About the Minnesota Book Awards

The Minnesota Book Awards is a year-long program that fosters our statewide literary arts community and connects readers and writers throughout Minnesota.

The process begins in the fall with book submissions and continues through winter with two rounds of judging. Winners are announced at the annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony each spring. Woven throughout the season are various engagement activities and events that promote the authors and connect the world of Minnesota books – writers, artists, illustrators, publishers, editors, and more – to readers throughout the state.

Winners announced April 6, and tickets are available now (use link, here). https://thefriends.org/minnesota-book-awards/

Finalists’ info and book covers are linked to, HERE. https://thefriends.org/minnesota-book-awards/minnesota-book-awards-winners/

Mazel Tov to the 36 authors who made the final cut, listed separately in drop-down hot buttons on the live links, below, or the above page, for each of these categories, below.

I include the complete list (4 finalists) only for Genre Fiction, here:

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are YOU ready for the changes?

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

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

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

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

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

How would YOU do with the changes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do YOU do with wanted/unwanted changes?

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

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

3 paperbacks
The Spanners Series‘ three paperbacks.


Print editions and ebooks published under Timult Books

logo Timult Books


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


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

#nationalbookawards USA 2018 have more female and POC authors on each #longlist than ever before!

“THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST FOR #FICTION”
national Book Awards Foundation logo

https://bookriot.com/2018/09/14/2018-national-book-award-longlist-for-fiction/

Read about the other #longlists released for the 2018 National Book Awards:

Young People’s Literature Longlist

  • Elizabeth AcevedoThe Poet X
    (HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers)
  • M. T. Anderson and Eugene YelchinThe Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
    (Candlewick Press)
  • Bryan BlissWe’ll Fly Away
    (Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Leslie ConnorThe Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
    (Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Christopher Paul CurtisThe Journey of Little Charlie
    (Scholastic Press / Scholastic, Inc.)
  • Jarrett J. KrosoczkaHey, Kiddo
    (Graphix / Scholastic, Inc.)
  • Tahereh MafiA Very Large Expanse of Sea
    (HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Joy McCullough, Blood Water Paint
    (Dutton Children’s Books / Penguin Random House)
  • Elizabeth PartridgeBoots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam
    (Viking Children’s Books / Penguin Random House)
  • Vesper Stamper, What the Night Sings
    (Knopf Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House)

Translated Literature Longlist

  • Négar DjavadiDisoriental
    Translated by Tina Kover
    (Europa Editions)
  • Roque LarraquyComemadre
    Translated by Heather Cleary
    (Coffee House Press)
  • Dunya MikhailThe Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq
    Translated by Max Weiss and Dunya Mikhail
    (New Directions Publishing)
  • Perumal MuruganOne Part Woman
    Translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan
    (Black Cat / Grove Atlantic)
  • Hanne ØrstavikLove
    Translated by Martin Aitken
    (Archipelago Books)
  • Gunnhild ØyehaugWait, Blink: A Perfect Picture of Inner Life
    Translated by Kari Dickson
    (Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers)
  • Domenico StarnoneTrick
    Translated by Jhumpa Lahiri
    (Europa Editions)
  • Yoko Tawada, The Emissary
    Translated by Margaret Mitsutani
    (New Directions Publishing)
  • Olga TokarczukFlights
    Translated by Jennifer Croft
    (Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House)
  • Tatyana Tolstaya, Aetherial Worlds
    Translated by Anya Migdal
    (Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House)

Nonfiction Longlist

  • Carol AndersonOne Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy
    (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Colin G. CallowayThe Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation
    (Oxford University Press)
  • Steve CollDirectorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan
    (Penguin Press / Penguin Random House)
  • Marwan Hisham and Molly CrabappleBrothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War
    (One World / Penguin Random House)
  • Victoria JohnsonAmerican Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic
    (Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company)
  • David QuammenThe Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life
    (Simon & Schuster)
  • Sarah SmarshHeartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
    (Scribner / Simon & Schuster)
  • Rebecca Solnit, Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays)
    (Haymarket Books)
  • Jeffrey C. StewartThe New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke
    (Oxford University Press)
  • Adam Winkler, We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights
    (Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company)

and

Poetry Longlist

October 10: Finalists Announced

November 14: National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner (Winners announced)

The Sixty-Ninth National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner will be held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Wednesday, November 14, and will also be live-streamed online in its entirety.

FMI, book covers, other years’ awards lists, to get tickets and more:  http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2018.html#.W6FbVs5Kipo

“40 Writers’ ‘Rules for Writing'” from Emily Harstone at AUTHORS PUBLISH (reblog)

40 Writers’ ‘Rules for Writing’
curated and annotated by Emily Harstone at AUTHORS PUBLISH (reblog)
August 26, 2018

What a great compendium of ideas about writing in the form of “rules,” so that we can argue with, agree/disagree, utilize, benefit from, whether we’re experienced or newbie writers or an interested readers/fans of some or these authorial rule-givers!

BTW: KUDOS for including a lot of women, writers from different eras, and various types of writers.

Saved the best one for last, IMO, from Phillip Pullman:

40. Phillip Pullman’s One Rule for Writing

“My main rule is to say ‘no’ to things like this, which tempt me away from my proper work.”

http://www.authorspublish.com/40-writers-rules-for-writing/

Grateful for Musicians, Singers, Musical Leaders who “keep on keeping on” in “The Movement(s)”

Grateful for Musicians/Singers/Leaders
who “keep on keeping on” in “The Movement(s)”


from http://www.lovethispic.com/image/150339/keep-on-keeping-on

I spent a wonderful (but kind of sad; see below) evening last week (Friday, May 4), at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in St. Charles, Missouri, USA, listening to the fabulous Roy Zimmerman sing, talk, and cleverly satirize many social, political, cultural and legal developments and issues from the last several decades.


Roy Zimmerman, ReZist show, performing in St. Charles, MO, 5/4/18

Roy Zimmerman is the most recent addition to my life’s intentional collection of dozens of extremely talented and special musicians, writers, filmmakers, poets, playwrights, other artists and performers and, of course, political/social leaders who continue to inspire, encourage and demonstrate commitment to whatever movements they believe most in. These often outspoken heroes and heroines also collaborate with and support others day after day, week after week, year after year, decades on decades.

Is there a category—a title—for such a role in our culture? I wish I knew what it is or could invent one. IDEAS HERE, please: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

I wanted to take a moment, here, to name the ones I can remember best who have personally inspired, entertained, encouraged and led me, and without whom I would certainly have given up feeling optimistic and collectively working for positive change a long time ago.

“Big Mike” Lainoff

—My first and most treasured inspiration is the recently-deceased and much-missed former director of the four JCCA (Jewish Community Center Association [of St. Louis]) summer camps I attended as a child and teen: Camp Council (a day camp), and residential Lake of the Ozark area camps, Camp Hawthorn, Red Bud Camp and their successor, Camp Sabra, Harold “Big Mike” Lainoff (I wrote about him prior to this). In addition to being a recreation manager/leader, Big Mike was a gifted guitar player/singer/songleader and storyteller who could captivate, involve and educate a mess hall or a campfire of over a hundred rowdy kids, teens and staff for long periods of time despite pouring rain, high humidity, blazing heat and roaring wind. Amazing.


“Big Mike” Lainoff, circa 1965, Camp Hawthorn, Kaiser, MO (Lake of the Ozarks)

When I first heard Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie‘s songs and stories, I thought they had stolen them from Big Mike (I was 7 when I met Big Mike…). Later, I realized it was the other way around. But, who cares? Big Mike brought Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul & Mary, Phil Ochs, John Lennon, Tom Paxton, Donovan, Jackson Browne, Tom Lehrer, Judy Collins, Odetta, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell and many more USA civil rights’ and social activists’ songwriters’ lyrics and melodies directly to us—mostly Jewish kids, from the suburbs of St. Louis, in the 1960s—while we learned to swim, make campfires, pitch tents, hike, canoe, sail, waterski and so much more.

I grew to love these songs whose lyrics explained class differences, racial injustices, yearnings for peace and equality, deep and abiding love for each other and for a special person, recognitions of mistakes and ways to rectify them, inchoate longings for a better world and to be a better person. I learned the words and melodies and sang them to myself all year long, for decades. I still remember most of them: “Banks of Marble,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Respect,” “The Song is Love,” “Both Sides Now,” “Fountain of Sorrow,” “Changes,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Reel, Oh Reel,” “Oleanna,” “Ain’t Gonna Study War No More,” “Summertime,” “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “We Shall Overcome,” “There But For Fortune,” “The Draft Dodger’s Rag,” “Imagine,” “One Tin Soldier,” “The Sounds of Silence,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “Universal Soldier,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Black and White,” “What Have They Done to the Rain?” “Oh, Freedom,” “Hair,” “The Power and the Glory,” “I Ain’t Marchin’ Any More,” “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” “Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends,” “The Circle Game,” “Fixin’ to Die Rag,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!” “We Shall Not Be Moved,” “Four Strong Winds,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” “I Can’t Help But Wonder (Where I’m Bound),” “The Last Thing on My Mind,” “Ramblin’ Boy,” “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” “Eve of Destruction,” “How Can I Keep From Singing?” “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” I can’t ever list them all.

Big Mike helped create and then raised my social consciousness, informing without indoctrination so that we became subliminally aware of social/political music and key movements: 1963 was the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, and the middle- to late 1960s were the Vietnam War’s protests’ heydays.

I hadn’t yet heard of the Freedom Riders (which was going on every summer I was first at camp!), I was too young to march in anti-war protests (14 in 1968) even if I had known about them. I was old enough to understand “Jim Crow” segregation and discrimination laws in St. Louis, Missouri, and HATED them. Big Mike and other camp songleaders chose songs whose lyrics’ sentiments felt right to me. I needed to sing, to protest, to be wishing and working for everyone’s equality and freedom. I was excited that more people felt that way I did than I had ever known existed.

At the above-mentioned camps, joining and adding to Big Mike‘s contributions, were several talented musical counselors and staff: special shout-outs to the Kean brothers, Ron and the late Mike (“Nix”); the cook, Maxine; “Fitz“; “Howdy” (Howard Schwartz) and “Twinkle” (Laura Resnick), for international and Israeli folk dancing fun; and, so many more, for adding to the songs and artistic experiences.

Big Mike‘s stories and songs my nascent ideas about social justice, fairness, anti-racism, anti-war, collaborating for peace and practicing nonviolence were developed and nurtured first. Blessings on Big Mike and his inspirations as well as his heirs and successors, forever.

Some places and people are pivotal in our lives, right? These people formed the foundations for mine, preparinhg me for the ones who came later.


Further creating a foundation and launching me into adulthood was a group of people I met in several places in the late 1970s in New England. Many of these key people lived at/founded or attended events at Boston’s mid-1970s spin off of Project Place, the Another Place Conference Center in Greenville, New Hampshire, and its spin-off, Spring Hill, Massachusetts, were then and later became great leaders of artistic social and political movements, personal growth and community-building for me and many others. Here are the “stars,” below.

Robert Gass

—It was through Another Place that I got to go to Spring Hill and meet Robert Gass and The Wings of Song band. Briefly, I performed with and sang in the band’s chorus (I am listed as “Sallie Fleishmann [neither name spelled correctly] on their first album, Many Blessings, pressed in 1980). Singing with this chorus was my first experience of spiritual uplifting through song. It had happened without my understanding it through some camp songs; Robbie‘s songs were intentionally written and selected to raise up the singers and the listeners, the audience and the dancers. We were inspired, connecting, infused with desires to serve and to love.

Robbie and his wife, Judith Ansara (Epstein) and a few others, created the formats for the popular personal growth Opening the Heart workshops (which I attended with my then-partner in 1979) which morphed into their current work, Sacred Union. Robert (as he became known, later) still sings, makes albums and leads people to inner and outer growth (now living in Colorado). Judith is also a dancer and a poet.


Robert Gass, circa 1989

I still hum and sing some of Wings of Song‘s tunes/songs to myself, but I can’t find my favorite anywhere online or for sale. Sad.

“Not My Will, but Thine” is the first line of the chorus, but I don’t know what title the song actually has. Perhaps “Teach Me to Love,” or “Kindle my Heart’s Flame” (all in the lyrics)?

If you know where to find a recording of this song, please email me at sallyember AT yahoo DOT com

Medicine Story

—I also met Medicine Story (Manitonquat, Francis Story Talbot) at Another Place in 1978. He is an author and storyteller as well as Native American activist who also lived at Another Place. Story, with his then-wife, Emmy (Emilia) “Rainwalker” Ianniello and their first son, formed the nucleus of the second of my many communal households in New England. Story and Emmy introduced me and dozens of others to Native American sweat lodges (building, experiencing ceremonies in, learning about) and to living in wiki-ups (outdoor structures more sturdy than tents), as well as to praying and connecting with the earth and animals and many other sacred rituals, origin songs and songs/chants.

Add these sweat lodge experiences to my Finnish saunas in Rhode Island (1977-78) and the Dutch-esque saunas at Stepping Stone Farm in the 1980s. When I went camping with some friends in the 1980s and 1990s (before hypertension took me out of the game) who were offering sweat lodges, they wondered how a Jewish girl from St. Louis knew so much about how to build them, use them, be in them? Why was I so comfortable with nudity in high heat and various ceremonial rituals that involved sweating and chanting? I mentally thanked Emmy and Medicine Story.

We would go into the sweat lodge to settle conflicts, build teams, get inspiration, celebrate a birth or birthday, prepare for a marriage, strengthen commitments, purify, cleanse, dream, remember, honor, be grateful, grieve, pray, sing and chant. Some participants used mind-altering substances in small amounts before or during; I did not. Many would fast beforehand; it’s recommended not to go into a sweat lodge on a full stomach.

This photo, below, is of a sweat lodge that looks a lot like the ones we built.


image from and FMI: https://adventure.howstuffworks.com/sweat-lodge.htm

If you’ve never built, prepared and then been in a sweat lodge, it’s probably impossible to imagine how close relative strangers can get and the kind of bonding that occurs during such experiences: unmatched.

Story and his second wife, Ellika Lindén, a playwright, actor, director, and collaborator, created Circle Way and currently travel around the globe to raise awareness of earth-related preservation and community-building.


Medicine Story and Ellika Linden

Bill Whyte and Katie Schwerin

—Several other songleaders, ritual organizers and community activists lived at and were my friends from that era, including those who shared our first New Hampshire collective household with Story, Emmy and their first son. Katie Schwerin and Bill Whyte and Katie’s daughter joined our group to live in Sharon, NH, in 1978-79.

In addition to learning many songs and chants from each of them, I also credit them with showing me how to live collectively, since we shared a household for two more years after that in several SW NH locations. We were pregnant at the same time and had our two home births (Katie‘s second; Bill‘s first and my only) in one of those homes in 1979-80 in Stoddard, NH. Katie and Emmy, with Cindy Dunleavy, all lay midwives, then (Cindy still delivers babies), attended the homebirth of our son.

Katie, along with director an co-creator, Pamela Faith Lerman (also someone I met in 1978 at Another Place), with about eight other women and I were in a show in Peterborough, NH, in 1980 that included poetry, songs and dramatic scenes from many feminist artists and sources, a fundraiser for a women’s health center we were trying to start for the Monadnock region.

Katie and Bill also founded and, with two of their adult daughters, operate the family-friendly Badger Balm, a “B” (Benefit” Corporation, that “makes certified organic and all-natural body & skin care products including healing balms, natural sunscreens, skin moisturizers, muscle rubs, aromatherapy and other personal care products,” Bill Whyte and Katie Schwerin, who run the business with their award-winning two daughters, Emily Schwerin-Whyte and Rebecca Hamilton.


Badger Balm‘s 2016 founders, family and staff

Katie and Bill taught me a lot about organic food (gardening and cooking), herbal and natural healing, nutrition, raising children respectfully and living collectively, starting me on a life-long path in those areas, beginning in 1978. Bill also introduced me to creative visualization and “green” building via his company, Whyte Light Builders.

Additionally, Katie brought Waldorf education (Rudolf Steiner’s schools) and the Unitarian Universalist (UU) community into our family’s life. Because of her influence and connections, I was hired to accompany the Eurythmy movement program classes for one year, in 1987, at the newly created Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene, NH, where we then lived. The following year, our son attended the Monadnock Waldorf School from 3rd – 8th grades (1988-1994). I took over the Director of Religious Education (DRE) position at the Keene UU Church in 1988 from her when Katie left on maternity leave and then to go back to school for her master’s in Waldorf education, where I stayed until 1990, when I decided to return school to get my master’s and doctorate in education myself.

FUN FACTS:
1) The Monadnock Waldorf School‘s Eurythmy teacher then is the mother of ER and The Good Wife star, actor, Julianna Margulies;
2) Before he became my Buddhist teacher, Wyn Fischel (Lama Drimed)’s first wife, Susan, was a Eurythmy teacher;
3) Before I met him, Wyn taught woodworking at the other nearest Waldorf school, Pine Hill, in Wilton, NH.
4) For several dramatic productions, both I and my then-partner, Christopher Briggs Ember, helped with music, blocking, directing, make-up and other aspects of the plays for Monadnock Waldorf School.

It is not an exaggeration to say that my entire adult life would have been different (and much smaller and less satisfying) had I not had the great good fortune to become involved with the Schwerin-Whyte family. I am so grateful to know them. We all had so much hope, optimism, energy, faith…

Mario Cossa

Katie is also a performer whose interest in drama brought me to my long-time collaboration with Mario Cossa, playwright, actor, performer, dancer, singer, lyricist, songwriter, director, choreographer, and nonprofit manager who became a counselor and then psychodramatist.

Mario Cossa is yet another person I met at Another Place in 1978 whose contact with me altered my life’s trajectory profoundly and for the better.

Because of and often with Mario, I was able to earn money through part-time and full-time work in areas I loved and have many amazing experiences, including:

  • working in several youth-serving nonprofits;
  • co-writing and -directing, performing in, narrating/facilitating audience-interactive performances for and touring with several plays and dozens of improvisational scenes (the play I wrote, Crystal Dreams, won a prize that featured a performance of it at a professional public theatre, the Portsmouth Theatre-By-The-Sea, in 1984);


    Cast of Crystal Dreams, 1984

  • learning to tap dance;
  • learning some A.S.L. (American Sign Language) and using it in a few plays;
  • learning to and performing as a clown;
  • becoming involved in Co-Counseling International (CCI);
  • meeting Caroline Myss, who became a close friend of mine for many years;
  • practicing and learning more about conflict resolution and mediation;
  • improving my storytelling and writing;
  • expanding my repertoire for improvisational acting;
  • learning about and leading prevention/mitigation and education groups on topics ranging from substance/alcohol abuse/use, pregnancy postponement, HIV/AIDs, suicide, teen homelessness/running away, Tourette’s Syndrome, learning and behavioral disorders to family systems conflicts;
  • co-leading groups for kids, youth & adults/families that utilized expressive arts;
  • participating in collaborations with other organizations and individuals;
  • becoming more familiar with and meeting/working with interns and faculty at Antioch/New England Graduate School who were part of the Dance Movement Therapy profession (which my daughter-in-law graduated from in 2016, over twenty-five years after my first exposure to it);
  • taking groups of students to see live musical theatre productions in Boston and New York City for several years (we saw Rent, Big, Miss Saigon, and a murder mystery audience-interactive play whose name I can’t remember);
  • conducting ethnographic research on gender and sexual orientation social identities that became the basis of my dissertation for my doctorate degree;
  • co-writing, editing and figuring out how to get our nonfiction book about improvisational scenework for educational groups published, in 1996 (my first traditional publishing credit): Acting Out: The Workbook–A Guide To The Development and Presentation of Issue-Oriented, Audience-Interactive, Improvisational Theatre
  • editing and assisting with other pieces and books Mario wrote which also were published in the 1990s and 2000s;


    Acting Out book cover

  • learning to write grants (to solicit funding from individual donations and family foundations for as low as $50 to multi-million/multi-agency federal proposals);
  • developing/designing and implementing program evaluations;
  • preparing and managing budgets; and,
  • working in outreach/marketing for nonprofits (something I did for many years for several other nonprofits).

Mario founded and runs Motivational Arts Unlimited, based in Bali, Indonesia, and travels around the globe doing psychodrama and sociodrama trainings, educational programs and certifications.


Mario Cossa, circa 2008

More in each about the impact, feelings, uses, singing spiritually

Holly Near

Ellen Fleischmann, my singer/songwriter, conductor/pianist middle sister, introduced me to Holly Near in 1978. THANK YOU, again!

I had told my sister that I was bored and needed music because I worked as a packer for a wholesaler/warehouse that packaged and shipped herbs, spices and essential oils to specialty and health food shops all around the USA, Attar, in New Ipswich, New Hampshire. I spent 30 hours each week NOT using my college degree in elementary education, having been burned by several jobs and needing a break. All day, I hefted huge barrels, bags and bottles and wrestled their contents into smaller containers/bags, boxed, labeled and prepared the boxes for shipping. I was usually there alone since it was a “mom-and-pop” shop and they had a young child. So, very under-stimulated, I craved music. Ellen sent me tapes from her dorm room at Brown University to play on my boom box.

—Oh, Holly! What a revelation it was to hear Holly Near‘s amazing voice, lyrics and energy pouring into my otherwise silent space. She also sent me tapes of James Taylor, Carole King and a few others, but it was Holly I kept coming back to and memorizing. “It Could Have Been Me,” from A Live Album, 1974, inspired by the government-sanctioned murders of college students at Kent State University in Ohio during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration in 1970, made me cry, rage and want to continue to/return to ACT UP.

Her songs included sentiments about being bisexual and discovering her love for women for the first time in “Imagine my Surprise,” moved me because it spoke directly of my experiences. After my male partner and I had a child, her song “Started Out Fine,” made me laugh and cry. So many songs, so many inspirations, such great lyrics.

Holly‘s songs have supported and propelled movements, such as the “zipper” song (we can insert other lyrics in key places and keep singing): “We are a gentle, angry people, and we are singing, singing for our lives,” which became the AIDS’ activists’ anthem and the LGBT-rights’ marching song. I also memorized and sang, often:

We will have peace;
we will because we must;
we must because we cherish life, and believe or not, as daring as it may seem, it is not an empty dream, to walk in a powerful path;
either the first nor the last, on the Great Peace March:
Life is a great and mighty march.
Forever, for love and tor life, on the Great Peace March.

from “The Great Peace March,” by Holly Near

I listened to Holly for several more albums/years, but never got to see her live. UNTIL I found out that my good friend, the dearly missed Jaye Alper (her death anniversary/Yahrzeit was this past Tuesday, 5/8/18; gone 6 years; I miss her all the time), had a connection. Her mother, Jackie Alper, had been an original member of the singing group, The Weavers, which had included Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman , and Pete Seeger (Jackie had left the group to stop touring when she became pregnant with Jaye and to help fight the HUAC (McCarthy-era “witch hunts”).


Jackie Alper, Ronnie Gilbert, Pete Seeger,
the remaining Weavers, reunited, circa 1998.

Jackie had stayed active in the social justice/women’s music scene, having her own radio show (“Mostly Folk” on WRPI) for decades, helping start and run the Old Songs Festival (see below) in the Albany area, and staying friends with “Aunt” Ronnie, as Jaye knew her.

In the 1990s, Jaye contacted Ronnie, since Ronnie was performing, making albums and touring with Holly, and they were coming to the Boston area (where Jaye then lived). Jaye brought me backstage to meet them. I stood, starstruck, as Jaye and Ronnie hugged and talked. Holly was standing in the doorway, smiling at me and eating spaghetti, which she offered (I declined).

Holly Near, 1970


Holly Near, 2017

Holly started Redwood Records in 1972, “to produce and promote music by ‘politically conscious artists from around the world.'” She has included so many political activists/musicians on her albums, tours, and concert stages over the decades, many of which I was lucky enough to attend.

I learned a lot more about or heard for the first time the musicians affiliated with dozens of worthy causes around the world, their songs and political/social movements in the USA and elsewhere, that I never would have, otherwise, through Holly and her musical colleagues, including:
—the late Pete Seeger,
Arlo Guthrie,
—the late Mercedes Sosa,
Bernice Johnson Reagon (of Sweet Honey in the Rock),
Bonnie Raitt,
Jackson Browne
Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert and Pete Seeger performed as HARP to raise money for various causes,
Meg (Shambhavi) Christian,
Cris Williamson,
Linda Tillery,
Joan Baez,
—the late Phil Ochs,
Harry Belafonte,
Emma’s Revolution (which includes Pat Humphries), and
Inti-Illimani.

Beyond being a renowned and beloved singer songwriter, Holly is a former TV/film/Broadway star and ongoing political activist, still going strong at age 68. Holly Near has mentored dozens of others (see below) and continues to fill my life with inspiration and songs. THANK YOU!

In addition to introducing me directly to Holly Near, Jaye and Jackie Alper had invited me and my family to the Albany-area’s annual Old Songs Festival (officially, the Old Songs Festival of Traditional Music and Dance in Altamont, NY) where we got in free to help Jaye (as “Crystal,” the name she had gone by in the 1970s) sell iced tea and her famous baklava, chocolava and maplelava each June. The musicians there played music which has often been featured or discussed in Sing Out! magazine walked amongst and camped with us. We encountered, met, had lunches with and heard the late Utah Phillips, Sally Rogers, The Amidon Family, Arlo Guthrie, Pat Humphries, Cheryl Wheeler, John McCutcheon, Tom Chapin, and many more. Quite a scene, for a folk music lover like me!

Olivia Records

Beyond and including Holly Near, I met fans of “women’s music” through friends, lovers, colleagues and family members throughout the 1980s and 1990s, attending many concerts/performances and enjoying festivals outdoors when possible, which expanded my repertoire to include Margie Adam. “The Unicorn Song,” “We Shall Go Forth,” “We Are The Women We’ve Been Waiting For,” “Sweet Friend of Mine,’ and many excellent piano-accompanied songs became favorites I learned to sing and play on the piano (and lead in sing-alongs, sometimes).

After I moved to California in 2002, I went to many concerts and performances that featured Holly 9she lived about an hour from where I lived) and felt lucky to be able to see her perform and hear her speak so often. She was always on top of knowing what cause needed championing, available for fundraisers, awareness-raising shows and gatherings of all kinds. Holly always remembered me; in the smaller venues, she would smile and come over to say “hello” after her last encore. Before the spring of 2012 (when Jaye passed away), she had always asked about Jaye.

Both Jaye and Jackie had passed on before Pete Seeger (who left us in the winter of 2014), so I went to the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley to attend the tribute concert for Pete, which Ronnie, ill and using a cane, also performed in and which Holly was the emcee and main performer for; Holly and Ronnie had organized most of it. During intermission, Holly came over to me and we shared a few tears and a hug. What treasures these people are/were!

Cris Williamson, solo and with Meg Christian, Teresa Trull, Tret Fure, Barbara Higbie, Linda Tillery, Lucie Blue Tremblay, and many more great women musicians, brought me and my family the inspiring and beautiful, fun-to-sing songs from Cris‘ albums, The Changer and the Changed and the musical play, Lumiere, and other amazing songs, like “Waterfall,” “The Changer and The Changed,’ “The Rock Will Wear Away,” “Lullaby” (“Like a Ship in the Harbor”), and “Lean On Me (I Am Your Sister).”


Meg & Cris at Carnegie Hall, 1982, album cover

I learned so much about feminism, bisexuality, intersectionality, positive parenting, social activism, many types of love, community and collective efforts from these wonderful musicians.

—The talented brothers, the late Happy Traum and the late Artie Traum were some of the musicians I met when I worked at Camp Med-O-Lark in Washington, Maine, in the early 1980s, because of my enduring friendship with yet again a contact from Another Place from 1978, Zea Moore. In addition to getting me and my then-partner two wonderful summers with jobs at this camp (because her then-partner, Neal Goldberg, owned and directed it), Zea introduced me to Wiccan & Goddess Chants, Libana, and so much more of the newly emerging women’s spirituality music and rituals.

Civil Rights, Environmental/Social Activist Musicians & Storytellers

Thanks to these live music venues, without whom I would not have heard most of these singers live: The Folkway (Peterborough, NH), The Iron Horse (Northampton, MA), The Colonial Theatre and the Keene State College’s 1990s Coffeehouse (Keene, NH), The Common Ground (Brattleboro, VT), Temple Mountain Ski Area (Temple, NH, outdoor concerts in the not-snowy weather), Passim Coffeehouse (Cambridge, MA), Brighton Music Hall (Brighton, MA), The Freight & Salvage (Berkeley, CA), ACTING OUT’s 1990s coffeehouse series (Keene, NH), and many more.

PLUS, radio stations that play and support “Americana,” “Women’s Music,” “Folk Music,” and many other overlapping genres that play music to inspire and activate us all. Here are some: KPFA (“Across the Great Divide” and “American’s Back 40” are my favorites, there); KRCB (used to have many shows; now, not so many); other NPR affiliates, everywhere; KDHX; WRSI; college/university radio stations also often have shows/D.J.s that feature great music like this. Check our your local or online options.

SUPPORT LIVE MUSIC!
—If you haven’t heard Christine Lavin‘s story songs, parodies and other political music, please give her a listen!
Please also go find and listen to the songs of any of the amazing individual singer/songwriters/activitists who also sometimes play as the group that includes Lavin, 4 Bitchin’ Babes:


4 Bitchin’ Babes (Christine Lavin, Sally Fingerett, Megon McDonough, Julie Gold), 1993

Patty Larkin (“Not Bad for a Broad,” “Metal Drums”)
Megon McDonough (“Amazing Things,” “Wake Up And Dream”)
Sally Fingerett (“Home is Where the Heart Is,” “Here’s to the Women”)
Julie Gold (“From a Distance,” “America,” “The New World,” “Love is Love is Love,” “Goodnight, New York/Ellis Island”)
and others have comprised this fun, talented quartet.

Also, these musicians/singers/songwriters are great to find/remember:
Nanci Griffith (“Cold Hearts/Closed Minds,” “If These Old Walls Could Speak”),
Fred Small (who began his career as a lawyer and later became a Unitarian Universalist minister and climate change activist/leader; “Peace Is,” “Only Love,” “No More Vietnams,” “The Peace Dragon”),
Judy Small (unrelated to Fred, and a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia who was previously an Australian entertainer, folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Known for her feminist, often patriotic, and political songs, usually following a traditional theme, she produced twelve albums) (“You Don’t Speak for Me,” “How Many Times?” “Montreal, December ’89 (What is it about men?”),
—the late Rosalie Sorrels (“I am a Union Woman,” “Always a Lady,” “The Baby Rocking Medley”),
—the late Stan Rogers (“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” “The Mary Ellen Carter”),
RosenShontz, Bill Shontz and the late Gary Rosen (“Hugga Hugga,” “Share It!”)
Betsy Rose (“I Can’t Imagine Life Without … (Popcorn),” “For the Mothers,” “Welcome to the Circle,” and who shares others’ songs, such as, “Return Again,” “Sending You the Light”),
—the late Malvina Reynolds (“Little Boxes,” “It Isn’t Nice,” “Turn Around,” “What Have They Done to the Rain?” “Magic Penny”),
—the late Peggy Seeger (half-sister to Pete, full sister to Mike) (“I Want to be an Engineer”),
—the late Dave van Ronk,”The Mayor of MacDougal Street,” who re-arranged and covered many “traditional” and others’ songs so well,
Gould and Stearns (Stephen Stearns and Peter Gould),
Ani DiFranco, founder/owner of Righteous Babe record label, a la Redwood Records and Oliva Records,
Ruth Pelham, founder of “The Music Mobile,” which “brought singalongs, simple musical instrument construction, merriment and a message of hope to generations of youths at inner-city parks” in the Albany area for 39 years (“Look to the People,” “The Turning of the World,” “Under One Sky”),
Bill Staines (“The Roseville Fair,” “A Place in the Choir,” “Child of Mine,” “River”),
David Mallett (“The Garden Song,” “Open Doors and Windows,” Parallel Lives”),
The Roches–Maggie, Terre, and Suzzy Roche (“Dear Mr. Sellack,” “Another World”),
Eric Bogle (“The Band Played ‘Waltzing Matilda,'” “No Man’s Land/The Green Fields of France”),
Cosy Sheridan (“Quietly Led,” “The Losing Game,” “Sharp Objects”)
Catie Curtis (“People Look Around,” “Truth from Lies”),
Dar Williams (“When I Was A Boy,” “The Christians and the Pagans”),
Lucy Kaplansky (“This Morning I am Born Again,” “Reunion”),
Susan Werner (“Sunday Morning,” “Help Somebody,” “Heaven So Small,” “Did Trouble Me”),
Cry Cry Cry, = Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell, with many others accompanying/doing back-up vocals (“Arrowhead,” “Ascent” — Shindell; “I Know What Kind of Love This Is,” “Fall on Me”—Cry Cry Cry),
Molly Scott—not the politician! (“Centering Home,” “We Are All One Planet”),
Si Kahn (“Gone, Gonna Rise Again,” “Aragon Mill”),
Sarah Pirtle (“Earth, My Body” and more, here: http://sarahpirtle.com/hope-sings/index.htm)
Susan Osborne, Paul Winter, David Darling and the rest of the Paul Winter Consort,


image of Paul Winter Consort band, circa 1978, from http://www.paulwinter.com/the-consort/

and many others previously mentioned in this post or which you find while wandering around YouTube and the internet listening to these. These singers/musicians share songs that are inspiring, moving, intelligent, funny, thought-provoking and insightful as well as musically very fine.

—There are many ministers, singers and song leaders I met through the Unitarian Universalist (UU/UUA) Association’s events and fellowships/churches, starting with Rev. Rick Paine (co-founder of Spring Hill and co-creator of the Opening the Heart workshops, with Robert Gass, Judith Epstein and others) and Rev. Sydney Amara Morris (co-founder of Another Place, with Bill Whyte and Mark Sarkady). Later, I met and sang with Nick Page (who doesn’t love to sing “More Love”?), and so many others. In 2011, the UUA published a great compilation of their music, 50 YEARS OF UU MUSIC, available here: https://www.uua.org/ga/past/2011/worship/185029.shtml , which features “Let It Be a Dance”). Also, check here: https://www.uua.org/worship/music and here: http://www.recessionals.org/ and here: https://www.uua.org/worship/music/hymnals

—Have to mention the great storyteller, singer, performer, Jay O’Callahan, since his stories and songs kept us happy on long car trips across the country in the 1980s, and we got to see him perform live in Boston during that time.

A Cappella Women’s and Other Choruses Respecting Socially Conscious Diversity

—I sang with and joined several choirs that are part of the Threshold Choirs as founded and formatted by Kate Munger,who led two groups I was part of in California in the mid 2000s. If you know someone ill, dying, or giving birth, that is the time these singers will come when asked (if there is a choir near you): A Capella singing at its best.

—The A Cappella singing of the singers of Sweet Honey in the Rock inspired many women to start community women’s choruses, and I was lucky enough to belong to two: the /Brattleboro Women’s Chorus, founded and conducted by Becky Graber, and Keene, NH’s Animaterra Women’s Chorus, founded and conducted by Allison Aldrich Smith (but now also conducted by Becky since 2016, after Allison moved to Maine), in the 1990s.

I miss those groups a lot and have never found any like them since then that met close enough to other places I have lived. If you are looking for a women’s chorus like these, check out this site and see if you get fortunate enough to live near one!

The Sister Singers Network is an international, “cooperative web of feminist choruses and ensembles, composers, arrangers, and individual singers working together to support and enrich the women’s choral movement.”
http://www.sistersingers.net/index.shtml#.WvNEeKQvypo

The Threshold Choirs (see above) are a part of this network, but have a specific mission.

[NOTE: I found and temporarily joined Charis: The St. Louis Women’s Chorus here in St. Louis, MO, and it is all females (except for the conductor, which I found odd), but the style, the music, the format, the ambiance weren’t at all like the A Cappella choirs in New England that I’d loved, so I dropped out after a few months. Not for me. Many love it, though, so if you’re local, you should try it out!]


As I said at the beginning of this post, this is what I meant when I said that attending and listening to Roy Zimmerman‘s lyrics and being at that performance was somewhat sad, bittersweet, in this horribly disappointing, discouraging, horrifying period in our lives.

Our generation, and specifically, some of the people I knew and admired enough to mention in this and other posts, HAVE accomplished a lot. However, so much of what we fought for and won is threatened, unraveling, already destroyed beyond repair: it’s happening RIGHT NOW.

What else can do besides sing, listen to and make music? VOTE! ORGANIZE! MARCH! OBJECT! RESIST! Please?

I end with this, one of my favorites, written by Sally Rogers, who also gives us “What Can One Little Person Do?” “In the Name of All of Our Children,” and so many more great songs,

“Love Will Guide Us”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xWMnf9SYjo or

“THE READING ROOM” 2018 WOMEN’S FICTION PRIZE SHORTLIST announced

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p align=”center”>“THE READING ROOM” 2018 WOMEN’S FICTION PRIZE SHORTLIST announced

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FMI: https://www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/reading-room/news/revealing-2018-womens-prize-shortlist

Mazel Tov to the Finalists!

Elif Batuman, The Idiot

Imogen Hermes Gowar, The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

Jessie Greengrass, Sight

Meena Kandasamy, When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife

Kamila Shamsie, Home Fire

Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing

They are all WINNERS, IMO!

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“4 Ways Music Can Enhance Your Writing”: Guest Blog Post by Dan Buri

4 Ways Music Can Enhance Your Writing

by Dan Buri

If you find your writing is becoming stale—and let’s face it, we all find our writing is stale from time to time—sit back and enjoy music. I mean that quite literally. Lean back in your writing chair, turn on a song you love, close your eyes, and enjoy the music.

Music has a way of seeping into the soul more viscerally than any other form of art. Let music inspire the words you are writing.

In my recent book, 40 Tips on Creative Writing, I provide an inspirational guide for writers aiming to write their first, second, or even twentieth book.

In any creative endeavor, we all have moments of keen inspiration and moments where our well of creativity seems all but dried up. I wrote the book because of reader requests to consolidate some of the tips and tricks I use to continue to find daily motivation in my writing.

Music is a tried-and-true way for me to find my motivation on days when I find it might be lacking. When I’m not listening to music I’ve purchased and downloaded on my devices, I gravitate toward a couple of different streaming services, including Pandora and Spotify. Here are 4 Ways Music Can Enhance Your Writing.

1. Music Taps Into Our Creative Mind-Wandering Mode.

In Daniel J. Levitin’s book, This is Your Brain on Music , he describes the brain as having two primary modes: (1) paying attention closely and (2) mind-wandering. It is believed that most creativity happens when we are in mind-wandering mode.

This shouldn’t be surprising. When do you usually stumble upon your best ideas? If you’re like me, it’s not when we are laser focused on a task, but instead, when we’re in thoughtful, unorganized contemplation. It’s during these times that our brains will connect two seemingly disparate things and a spark of creativity will occur to bridge them.

There are plenty of ways to get yourself into mind-wandering mode, but as Levitin says, “Music is one of the most exquisitely effective ways of allowing you to enter the mind-wandering mode.”

If you’re looking to inject a spark of creativity into your writing, listen to music you enjoy. You will find your mind entering a realm of creative ideas.

2. Music Increases Verbal Intelligence

In a 2011 study published by the Department of Psychology at York University, researchers found that 90% of children had a significant increase in verbal intelligence after only one month of music lessons. Sylvain Moreno proposed that there is a transfer effect that happens in our ability to understand language from music training, particularly for kids.

What writer wouldn’t like to have a better grasp of language? I know my writing could use a boost in writing and reading comprehension. The more I can increase my verbal intelligence, the better I’ll be as a writer to see the big picture and connect all the dots for my readers.

3. Music Lowers Stress

We now know that music helps to open up creative avenues in the mind, but it also lowers stress levels (just like spending time in nature does). Let’s face it: we writers find ourselves in a variety of stressful situations, like, a deadline is rapidly approaching, or we’re unable to find a journal or website to publish our latest article, or our book is not getting into the hands of readers. If it’s not one stressful encounter in our writing life, it’s another.

A large number of studies have found that listening to music that you enjoy will decrease levels of cortisol—the stress hormone—in the body. One 2002 study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that active participation in music produces a significant boost in the immune system.

Sing away, my friends!

4. Music Enhances Memory

I keep a lot of notes. In fact, my wife often gives me a hard time about the number of journals I have floating around the house at any given time. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it. I have to jot it down so I can refer back to it later. I now know, however, that my listening to music is helping me remember things as well.

Researchers have found that listening to pleasurable music activates areas of the brain implicated in emotion and reward. They discovered that there’s a correlation between listening to music and our ability to remember or memorize things.

Want to be a smarter writer? Want to increase your vocabulary? Listen to music!


Dan Buri (@DanBuri777 on Twitter) is a trusted resource for writers to gain insight into the difficult world of indie publishing. Dan is a founding member of the Independent Writers Guild, a worldwide organization of writers and publishing professionals dedicated to promoting the interest of indie writers by encouraging public interest in, and fostering an appreciation of, quality indie literature. His website (<a href="http://www.Nothinganygood.com&quot;http://www.Nothinganygood.com<) provides quality advice for all stages of the writing process, from the brainstorming and writing process, to becoming published, to marketing your writing and reaching readers.

Dan Buri’s latest book, 40 Tips on Creative Writing, is currently available in ebook and print formats. His first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, which has been recognized on multiple Best-Seller lists, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption.

His nonfiction works have been distributed online and in print, in publications including Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. He is an active IP attorney in the Pacific Northwest and lives in Oregon with his wife and two young children.


DAN BURI

LINKS
Dan Buri email: danburi777@gmail.com
Blog for Indie Writers: Nothing Any Good
Books: Pieces Like Pottery and Newly Released 40 Tips on Creative Writing
Twitter: DanBuri777
Goodreads: Dan Buri

“5 Crucial Tips to Consider When Writing Erotica,” by Guest Blogger, Cassidy London

5 Crucial Tips to Consider When Writing Erotica
by Guest Blogger, Cassidy London

THIS POST WAS REMOVED AT THE REQUEST OF ITS AUTHOR ON 10/25/17.

If you would like a copy, contact the host, Sally Ember, Ed.D.: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com with a valid email address in your email or as your return address and you will receive it as a MS Word attachment.

#Indie #Author Day 2017: Saturday, October 14! Start Planning NOW!

#Indie #Author Day 2017: Saturday, October 14!

TODAY (September 16, 2017) were events at our local library’s main branch (St. Louis County) for “Indie Author Day,” but YOUR library may have other plans! Check!

The second annual Indie Author Day will be held IN SOME PLACES on Saturday, October 14, 2017. This event brings together libraries and local writers around the world for a day of celebration and inspiration devoted to indie authorship.

Registration for Indie Author Day 2017 is officially open. Visit the Indie Author Day website, https://goo.gl/6HJZG3 . to learn more information about this year’s event and how to get involved in IAD programming near you.


From the Indie Author Day website:

HOSTING AN EVENT

In addition to a selection of on-demand video workshops that will be available from Indie Author Day sponsors, there are many activities for your #library to offer as part of its Indie Author Day 2017 event.

To get you brainstorming, here are some suggested activities that #libraries have done at past events:

—An #author panel featuring traditional, hybrid and self-published #authors from the community
—Presentations from local indie authors about writing, marketing and more
—Book readings and / or signings from local authors
—Presentations from local industry leaders
—Writing workshops
—Presentations and workshops to inform the writing community about tools available for them to use through the library
—Author readings and open mics, featuring short segments of each author’s works

Check out our Brandisty page, https://brandisty.com/indieauthorday . for logos, web banners, posters and postcards to help you promote your Indie Author Day!

Alert the media with our Press Release templates for Authors and Libraries [there are downloads for each on this website].

Are you a #library hosting Indie Author Day? Spread the word with these pre-written social media post. http://indieauthorday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Indie-Author-Day-Social-Media-Posts.pdfs [there are downloads for images, logos, more, on this website, such as the Partners’ Logo, below]!


Here are their sample posts (you can add your own hashtags and other info, such as “RT,” to these):
— Calling all #indieauthors! Join us as we celebrate our local authors for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct.
14!
— We’re hosting an event for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct. 14! Join us if want to support our local
#selfpub and #indieauthors!
— Are you an #indieauthor? We’re #indie you! Join us for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct. 14!
— We’re excited to support our local authors for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct. 14!

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

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

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

utopia3.inline vertical

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In her list, Newitz, of course, included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enough, already!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The future IS now!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indie Author Fringe’s 2nd online conference, “Fringe to BookExpo,” is Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

2017’s Indie Author Fringe 2nd of 3 online conferences, “Fringe to BookExpo,”, happens in a few weeks, on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017. Click here for more info and to register: http://selfpublishingadvice.org/what-is-indie-author-fringe/

This year’s conference “features 24-hours of self-publishing sessions for authors with an independent spirit. The agenda we’re developing will help you reach more readers and sell more books, and includes tips, tools, and techniques for marketing and promoting yourself and your book.”

I am a proud member of Alli, and this message is from one of the three organizers, Orna Ross, of Alli (the Alliance of Independent Authors)(David Penny and Jay Artale are the other two):

SPEAKERS

We’ve added more speakers and you can click here, http://selfpublishingadvice.org/bookexpo-indie-author-fringe-2017-speakers/ , to view the bios we’ve published so far.

COMPETITION

It’s free to enter our Book Cover Competition here, http://selfpublishingadvice.org/indie-author-fringe-2017-cover-competition-submission/ , and you can check out the competition entries we’ve already received [on that site as well].

Over the coming weeks, we’ll let you know about the Sponsor deals and discounts, and reveal the changes we’re implementing for this upcoming Indie Author Fringe event.

Until then, happy writing and publishing…

Next Alli Indie Author Fringe online conference: October 14, 2017.

“Last Pass” Proofreading Already Successful!

“Last Pass” Proofreading Already Successful!

NEWLY REVISED info below…

Experienced editor, writer, grammarian and excellent speller as well as college-level writing professor now available for your document’s/manuscript’s FINAL proofreading.

Found no fewer than 14 errors and made several suggestions for two SHORT pieces (brochure, poster) from recent client who told me her current proofreader and she had BOTH already “proofread” these pieces! Last Pass is excellent…and essential!

Pay me less if your piece has fewer mistakes!

Only $0.25 per error
(one quarter, USA currency, payable via PayPal or snailmail checks).

When you’re fairly certain your other proofreaders have “done the trick,” let me have the “last pass.” If I don’t find any mistakes, you pay me only $25.00 for every 200 pages, because it usually takes me one hour/200 pages (about 40,000 words), to read through for errors. All errors marked, for evidence.

Usual no-error costs:
— $5 for short pieces, fewer than 2500 words (brochures, blurbs, posters, banners, etc.)
—$10 for short stories
—$15 for novelettes
—$25 for novellas
—$50 or more for full-length plays or novels

$2 extra, per page, with or without other errors, if you want the document to be checked for formatting and consistency in usage as well as the usual proofreading checks (punctuation, grammar, word choice, capitals, spelling and typos).

— Manuscripts must be provided in as a document in MS Word or OpenOffice Word or similar format (not epub, Scrivener, PDF). $5.00 surcharge, approximately, for editing suggestions and/or if the document does not allow for mark-up changes right on the document and I have to send each error/suggestion by typing out sentences, 1 per error/suggestion.

No developmental, story or other larger editing provided.

If I deem that the manuscript isn’t proofreader-ready, I return it/do not proofread it, charging only $10 service charge.

Quick turn-around on most jobs. I am fast, thorough, accurate and correct.

No ebook or publication final formatting provided. No book design, cover design, or blurb-writing (but will proof these, when requested).

I accept almost all genres in fiction and topics in non-fiction, EXCEPT those with graphic violence, war/military/terrorist scenes or BDSM/erotica. I do not proof graphic novels/comics or artwork.


Invoiced on 4/1/17 for the first two projects for this new “Last Pass” proofreading service!

Total, $18.50
—Invoice 1, $15.00, 41 errors/concerns, 6-page brochure, fewer than 2500 words; editing suggestions cost about $5.00 extra per document, under 2500 words.
—Invoice 2, $3.50, 14 errors/concerns, 1-page poster, fewer than 2500 words.
Not April Fools, either.
Affordable, reliable, quick turn-around, excellent eye for all types of errors.
Check me out!


Contact: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com
For more information, my blog, my books, more: http://www.sallyember.com

Reblogging: A Harvard linguist [Steven Pinker] reveals the most misused words in English

A Harvard linguist [Steven Pinker] reveals the most misused words in English
from INC., by Jessica Stillman, Inc., Dec. 17, 2015

An excellent list for writers/authors, readers, speakers, anyone who loves English and wants to use it correctly. Thanks, Jessica and Steven!

http://www.businessinsider.com/a-harvard-linguist-reveals-the-most-misused-words-in-english-2015-12

#Writing #Contest! And, USA National #Punctuation Day® is TODAY! September 24, 2016

Are you (more than slightly) OCD [Obsessive-Compulsive Disordered] about punctuation and grammar? Do you have a mental (or, like me, an actual) correcting pen ready at all times?

In a day-long Professional Development workshop (which included reviewing the state standards on English Language Arts…) last week, I spent many happy minutes disparaging and then correcting the mistakes in the presenter’s Power Point slides and the manual provided.

I found 17 errors in a three-paragraph story alone.

So fun!

Oy!

No wonder this is one of my all-time favorite non-holidays!

USA National #Punctuation Day® is TODAY! September 24, 2016,
Jeff Rubin, Founder

national-punctuation-day-announcement

Also, every year there is a CONTEST! YES! Sharpen your red pencils!

National Punctuation Day® announces 2016 writing contest

This year, for the 13th National Punctuation Day® on September 24, we salute the unsung and under-appreciated heroes of our lives — TEACHERS.

Have you had a teacher who changed your life, someone who brought into focus a subject you hadn’t previously understood, or introduced you to something that became your passion? Maybe you had a teacher who helped you develop a skill that wasn’t natural for you.

Maybe you have a teacher like that now.

Did you have a teacher who, along with the basics they he or she was supposed to be teaching, taught you that it was better to try and fail than to not try at all?

Perhaps two teachers? Three? More?

HERE’S THIS YEAR’S CONTEST: Write a thank-you note of no more than 250 words to a teacher, expressing your gratitude for having been taught how to write using proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and how those skills have helped you in your student or adult life. Make it personal by identifying the teacher, subject, school, grade level, and state/country.

Entries will be accepted through October 31 at Jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com.

Winners in the student and adult divisions will be announced, and prizes will be awarded, in December.

PLEASE visit founder, Jeff Rubin’s, website, where he has explanations of EVERY type of punctuation WITH PHOTOS of those used in English, AND pages of info, recipes (!?) and resources, like “Punctuation Products” and “Punctuation Playtime Program”! http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com/ for more information and fun stuff.

The site also has great posters/signage of excellent punctuation mistakes, videos, radio spots, schools’ participation pix, newspaper coverage of NPD (even right here in St. Louis, MO!) and much more!

Love this sign!

dianadaycare
We can only hope these “Little ‘Genius’s'” can’t read, yet.

Most unusual tribute?
Video of a Punctuation Rap Song by Dots N Dashes: https://youtu.be/4vYrws3766Q The participants make punctuation marks on the football field, as if they were a marching band. Hilarious.

Photos of bad signage and more at: http://www.NationalPunctuationDay.com

Got a photo of an incorrectly punctuated sign?
E-mail it to Jeff Rubin Jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com and it will be posted on the National Punctuation Day® web site–—with a photo credit!

Here is another video:
http://wabi.tv/2012/09/24/celebrating-national-punctuation-day/

CONTACT JEFF: Jeff also does presentations and answers your punctuation questions and makes live appearances (he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, California): (510) 724-9507 and Jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com

Special note
— to any of the students who had/have me as a teacher who happen to have read this far: Copies of your entries and thank-you notes are appreciated, but please proofread them first! ~~~~

Or, here is what I will look like when I see YOUR errors:

win_20160822_092915

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I do not.

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

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

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

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

Reluctantly, I give this mess of a book 2 stars, but buyer beware!

I am sorry to have to post this review, but I have given the author, Amy Collins, over a month to make this right. Despite many emails preceding and after the one I quote, below, including promises of payment by a certain date and apologies for its lateness and a new promise, she has posted no payment and provided an unusually bizarre response to my having given her the deadline to respond by the end-of-business yesterday (Thursday, January 28)—see below.

I am appalled and surprised that someone who is publishing a book on writing entitled The Write Way: Everything You Need to Know about Publishing, Selling and Marketing Your Book, would unironically send out ARCs and then another version pre-publication that are both riddled with errors for reviewers.

Know this: the Author and her “publisher” (which I now think is comprised of Collins and one other person in the business) INVITED ME TO REVIEW THIS; I did not solicit her and I rarely do reviews.

After I had read about twenty pages and marked up every page, including the cover, with up to 15 errors PER PAGE, I sent her emails, left voicemails, asked her to communicate with me before I continued. I couldn’t believe this was her final draft. Maybe there was another version, I hoped?

She wrote to tell me that she had had a death in her family and while she was out, that “someone at her office sent out the wrong ARC” (there are two?). Then, for many days, she mostly did not respond (except via automated emails saying she would respond within 24 hours) for this entire communication stream.

She did send me a PDF of another ARC version which was supposedly “the right one,” but it, too, was filled with most of the same errors and some new ones. I read about twenty pages into that and emailed her back, telling her that this PDF ARC was a “new” but not a better version.

I asked for a newer, final ARC; no response. I now think there isn’t a better version (yet).

I waited a few days and sent the email, below. After reading my proposal, the author wrote back to say that she knew that I had given her a break on my editing rate (I did have sympathy for her at that point). She wrote to say that she was very grateful for my offer and agreed to pay me for my editing and postage for me to ship the marked-up edition back to her upon receipt of payment. She promised to pay “by the middle of January.”

I told her that I didn’t want to post a negative review. I’d rather that she revise and improve the book before publication: win-win. Plus, I had already completed reading and marking up the book and had marked up every page. I would be happy to get paid for my work.

January 15 came and went; no payment. More emails, more promises, and no payment, and here we are, January 28: nothing. The author said on January 18 that she had been traveling (and still is, apparently; now she’s on a cruise with other authors and publishers, publicists, etc.), but has she obviously access to the internet, since she’s live tweeting from the cruise ship!

I sent her this on Twitter yesterday (1/28/16):

from Sally Ember, Ed.D. ‏@sallyemberedd
to @NewShelvesBooks AMY: Deadline is EOB today Central USA time. My review goes live at 2 AM CST USA Friday, 1/30/16 if no payment is posted

She responded, astonishingly and terribly unprofessionally:

from Amy Collins ‏@NewShelvesBooks
Hi @sallyemberedd Grateful for all the time you put in. Had to redirect the $ to a project I am afraid. I know your review will be spot on.

To which I replied, with a quoted retweet of the above:

from Sally Ember, Ed.D. ‏@sallyemberedd
Sally Ember, Ed.D. Retweeted Amy Collins
This is known as “breach of contract” by professionals. We had a written agreement. #Youoweme #Payup

I won’t bore you with all of our previous correspondence.

In this post, then, the review occurs, starting with the email I sent the author in which I detailed for her many of her book’s most frequent and egregious errors.

Dear Amy,

I don’t know who your developmental, copy and proofreaders/editors are, but they should all be fired.

Here are a sampling of the errors I’ve found, so you know I’m not being a “troll” or pretending to know what I’m doing. You have these types and/or numbers of errors:

—3 errors ON THE COVERS (back and front and spine) in that your formatting is inconsistent (font color, size, style)
—1 error on the TITLE page (do not capitalize “by” or use it at all, actually; this is not a college essay)
—5 errors on the copyright page (no city of publication is listed; no proper copyright symbol was inserted; no need for “by”; missing colons)
—up to 15 errors(!) per page, with at least one and usually more errors on every page throughout the entire book
—TOC has no page numbers in either version, or the page numbers are wrong, and is on the verso rather than recto side
—Some pages have no numbers (the entire Glossary; all front matter)
—paragraphs and some sentences inexplicably start and end mid-sentence on many pages
— bullets are not formatted in a standard fashion within your own book; most of them are formatted incorrectly; AND, you inserted rhetorical questions within them while you BULLETED those questions(!?)
—seem to have no idea how to use (or when to use) the Oxford comma, apparently, and neither do your editors
—random sections (not consistent as to which or why) in italics
—show no permissions granted from the original authors, nor even where the pieces end, when you quote entire articles within your book
—repeating entire sentences and/or paragraphs and/or concepts from one page to the next within the same chapter, sometimes on facing pages. Word for word, sometimes
—use “so” over a hundred times, mostly inappropriately and without proper punctuation
—no standardization I could fathom for/ among and between your levels of headings regarding font, font size, font styles, alignment and/or purposes
—chapters do not all start on the proper side and you have random blank pages between some chapters (which do not result in their staring on the proper side—recto)

This and much more are wrong. I can’t even group or list all your errors.

All unacceptable, wouldn’t you agree?

I had one idea: You could use this as an opportunity to discuss the very things you warn other indies against within your book, and I would work with you on that if you choose to be honorable and do that.

Or, you could pretend it’s all fine, try to fix the errors yourself (good luck with that; you obviously have no clue how to edit your own work), and hope my review sinks to the bottom beneath all your sycophants’ fake ones.

Anyone who gives this book more than 2 stars (and that would be for content, not professionalism), is lying or has no idea how to read or what to expect from a professional nonfiction book.

I actually got quite a lot of good information from this book and do not want to slam you, but your whole “death-in-the-family—someone sent the wrong version” (in a two-person office?) sounds to me, now, like “the dog ate my homework.”

I am sorry for you any anyone who buys a poorly edited version of this book.

Here is another idea: if you pay me $400 (which is low-balling my rates, considering how much time I put into my mark-up and these emails), plus $5 shipping, I will send you my marked-up copy.

Then, when you complete all the revisions, send me a new one and I’ll review it at that point.

And, now, as we know, I will not receive any payment for my work, despite her emailed promise to do so. I still have the edited copy.

Here are some photos of the mark-ups:

write way cover
front cover of The Write Way with font, color, size errors and inconsistencies.

write way 1
There are multiple errors on almost every page and not one page without an error.

write way 2 upright
Apparently, can’t even keep paragraphs together; this occurs on several pages. How on earth does a copyeditor/proofreader not see these types of formatting mistakes?

write way 3 upright
There are up to 15 errors on some pages; this one has only 8.

Believe me, I take no pleasure in this.

I would certainly have preferred to have been paid for my time and expertise and to have had a positive relationship with this author.

I also wanted this book to be everything it said it would be and for it to live up to its title and promises. Many other authors would then be able to benefit from it.

However, since Ms. Collins doesn’t keep her word and seems to be clueless as to how to behave professionally, I am no longer surprised by the poor quality of the writing, the editing and the proofreading. Very disappointing, though, wouldn’t you agree?

Whoever did the editing and proofreading should have to refund their money to Ms. Collins. If she or anyone else continues to hire them, s/he/they should fire these horrible excuses for professionals immediately.

As I already stated, there are many great points, tips, ideas and resources in this book, if readers can ignore or get past all the mistakes and problems with the formatting, writing, proofreading and repetitions.

Especially for amy writers who are new to self-publishing, such writers would benefit from reading this book and taking notes. Do as she says, not as she does!

Try to borrow it; don’t buy this version!

Reluctantly, I give this mess of a book 2 stars, but buyer beware!

Definitely do not hire the author or her team for anything at all, ever. She calls herself a “teacher” and an “expert,” but I also found mistakes on her website (no surprise, now), which is: http://www.newshelves.com/ Do not contract with New Shelves for anything since they seem to have with no respect for agreements, unless you’re willing for her/them to decide arbitrarily to put time and money into other projects.

Sorry to have to post this saga and review. I would vastly have preferred the other plan to have occurred, as we had agreed.

When you get back from your cruise, fix your book and try to behave more professionally in the future.

proofreading-details-1
image from http://www.michellerenegoodhew.com

MacArthur [Foundation] Announces [a year-long series of] Performances, Discussion to Celebrate 35 Years of Iconic Fellowship Program”

MacArthur [Foundation] Announces [a year-long series of] Performances, Discussion to Celebrate 35 Years of Iconic Fellowship Program”
https://www.macfound.org/press/press-releases/macarthur-announces-performances-discussion-celebrate-35-years-iconic-fellowship-program/#sthash.wuDoFQcB.dpuf

AND

Events Calendar
https://www.macfound.org/events/fellows35/?all=1

The-MacArthur-Fellowship-Program logo

These events are happening mostly in Chicago and on the East Coast (Washington, D.C., New York City), but will be broadcast/put online as well. Awesome! And, “Most of the events will be open to the public for free or at low cost.”

I have always been fascinated by and love seeing who gets these grants each year. I adore the entire secrecy of the process (no one knows, supposedly, who does the selecting, no one can be nominated, and no one can self-nominate). So, one day, my friends and I imagine, someone gets this phone call or email saying: You have been selected as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for a “Genius Grant”! What an amazing thing to happen!

The panel chooses such an excellent variety of creative, intelligent, talented and skilled individuals, also. Each year, we can learn about their Fellows and meet jugglers, dancers, scientists, writers, playwrights, poets, musicians, choreographers, youth workers and other educators, environmentalists and activists of other types and whoever strikes their fancy all honored in this way. Usually they choose about 20 people from all around the country. Not all are young, not all are older; not all are men or women; not all are Caucasian. Fabulous.

The MacArthur Fellowship[s], called “genius grants” by the media, recognize[s] exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future.

Fellows each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, which comes with no stipulations or reporting requirements and allows recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions. Since 1981, 942 people have been named MacArthur Fellows.

Fellows are selected through a rigorous process that has involved thousands of expert and anonymous nominators, evaluators, and selectors over the years.

The Foundation does not accept unsolicited nominations.

This year “is expected to include the following events as well as others to be announced later.

  • Public artist Rick Lowe will deliver a lecture on “Art in the Social Context” at Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service as part of the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor program (Stanford, CA, Feb. 4).
  • The College Art Association will host a discussion with photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier and public artist Rick Lowe as part of its 104th Annual Conference (Washington, DC, Feb. 5).
  • The Poetry Foundation will present the Chicago-based collective Every House Has a Door’s adaptation of a work by poet Jay Wright (Chicago, Feb. 20).
  • In conjunction with an exhibition of her work, the Whitney Museum of American Art will host a discussion with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (New York City, Feb.).
  • Sixth & I, a historic synagogue and cultural event space, will present a panel discussion on immigration featuring writers Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Aleksandar Hemon and Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz (Washington, DC, March 7).
  • New York’s 92nd Street Y will present a panel discussion featuring MacArthur Fellows (New York, March).
  • Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry will host MacArthur Fellows for events marking National Robotics Week, including Jr. Science Cafes, a public conversation, and robotics demonstrations (Chicago, April 2).
  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration with the American Historical Association, will host a conference on “The Future of the African American Past,” featuring scholars, activists and historians, including several MacArthur Fellows (Washington, DC, May 19-21, 2016).
  • The Poetry Foundation will host a reading by poet and writer Alice Fulton (Chicago, May 24).
  • The Economic Club of Chicago will feature two conversation pairings with arts entrepreneur Claire Chase and music educator Aaron Dworkin as well as computational biologist John Novembre and historian Tara Zahra (Chicago, May 25).
  • Wingspread will host a public event featuring MacArthur Fellows working on issues of interest to the Johnson Foundation and the Racine community (Racine, Wisconsin, May).
  • The Chicago Humanities Festival will host a one-day series of programs highlighting the work of MacArthur Fellows (Chicago, May).
  • MacArthur Fellows will be featured in a plenary session at the annual convention of Americans for the Arts (Boston, June).
  • Orchestra conductor and MacArthur Fellow Marin Alsop is designing three free evenings of performances in conjunction with the Grant Park Music Festival that will showcase MacArthur Fellows working in music and science, including cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Regina Carter, and composer Osvaldo Golijov (Chicago, July).
  • The Harris Theater will host a free, two-night dance performance series featuring curated works created by MacArthur Fellows, including Kyle Abraham, Merce Cunningham, Michelle Dorrance, Susan Marshall, Mark Morris, and Shen Wei (Chicago, Sept. 16 and 17 or 18).
  • The Chicago Humanities Festival will incorporate MacArthur Fellows into its regular annual programming (Chicago, Sept.).
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will host two free public performances by MacArthur Fellows through its Millennium Stage series (Washington, DC, Oct.).
  • Conservation biologist Claire Kremen will speak at as part of the Women in Science series at The Field Museum (Chicago, Nov. 2).
  • Also during the year-long anniversary MacArthur Fellows will field questions from the public in Reddit ask-me-anything sessions and appear on other digital platforms.

Attend! View! Learn! Appreciate! Enjoy!

More info about the Fellows Eligibility, Criteria and Selection Process, from their website:

Criteria:
“There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

“The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. In keeping with this purpose, the Foundation awards fellowships directly to individuals rather than through institutions. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.

“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”

How Fellows are Chosen:
“Nominees are brought to the Program’s attention through a constantly changing pool of invited external nominators. The nominators are encouraged to nominate the most creative people they know within their field and beyond. They are chosen from as broad a range of fields and areas of interest as possible.

“Nominations are evaluated by an independent Selection Committee composed of about a dozen leaders in the arts, sciences, humanities professions, and for-profit and nonprofit communities. Each nomination is considered with respect to the program’s selection criteria, based on the nomination letter along with original works of the nominee and evaluations from other experts collected by the program staff.

“After a thorough, multi-step review, the Selection Committee makes its recommendations to the President and Board of Directors of the MacArthur Foundation. Announcement of the annual list is usually made in September. While there are no quotas or limits, typically 20 to 30 Fellows are selected each year. Since 1981, 942 people have been named MacArthur Fellows.

“Nominators, evaluators, and selectors all serve anonymously and their correspondence is kept confidential. This policy enables participants to provide their honest impressions independent of outside influence.

“The Fellows Program does not accept applications or unsolicited nominations.”

Eligibility:
“There are no restrictions on becoming a Fellow, except that nominees must be either residents or citizens of the United States, and must not hold elective office or advanced positions in government as defined by the statute.”

2015 #MacArthur Fellows: 24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

Let’s celebrate extraordinary and amazing and beneficial and FUN people! I first heard about these annual awards when they were only about $200,000 and they were called “Genius Grants.”

The cool thing about this award is that the group of people who nominate and select these individuals every year are ANONYMOUS and it is apparently impossible to discover their identities. This protects the process from corruption, one would hope.

I’ve heard that the recipient gets a phone call “out of the blue,” since they don’t even know they’re being considered, to announce that they are selected and about to receive one of our highest honors and a huge cash award.

The idea behind these awards is that the Fellows can then “quit their day jobs” or work less for money while living on the investments/cash they get/accumulate from this award. That liberates them to pursue their genius ideas even further! YEAH!

I also love that they make a concerted effort and usually succeed in finding obscure, diverse, interesting and helpful people to whom to give this important award each year. Check out the 2015 cohort!

Spread the word! Read about these people and their projects to youth and adults to inspire us all to be better! There is no upper age limit on recipients, either!

2015_McArthur F fellows_feature-alt

2015 MacArthur Fellows: 24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

Recognizing 24 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future, the Foundation today named the 2015 MacArthur Fellows. Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

“These 24 delightfully diverse MacArthur Fellows are shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “Their work, their commitment, and their creativity inspire us all.”

https://www.macfound.org/fellows/class/2015/

“Should You #Write What You Know?” Guest Post by Krysten Lindsay Hager

I am excited to welcome back a previous guest blogger for today’s post, someone who was also a guest on Episode 15 of #CHANGES conversations between authors (see below for links), and who is an award-winning #YA and middle grades #novelist, #blogger and nonfiction author, Krysten Lindsay Hager!

Read her insights into what an #author ought to write about, below, and please comment here, http://www.sallyember.com/blog and on her site (see below for all her links).


“Should You #Write What You Know?”

What makes a person go back in time to those #teen years to relive all the awkward, cringe-worthy moments of growing up, crushes and trying to fit in while juggling homework and friendships? Was I crazy even to think about writing about that?

Probably.

Yes; most definitely, yes.

But, then again, sanity is overrated…or so I’ve heard.

Back when I began #writing seriously, I had been taking creative writing classes and even did a one-on-one independent study with my English professor. This is the first time that I finished a young adult novel. I liked my finished book, but I felt there was another story I needed to tell.

I tried different ideas out, outlined, free-formed it, scribbled on napkins and in journals, but nothing felt quite right. I had heard the phrase, “write what you know,” but it didn’t resonate that strongly with me. However, when I heard, “Write the book you would want to read,” well, that one hit home with me.

desk one

I decided that instead of trying to write for the market or what I thought people would want to read, I would write a story that I wanted to read. I told myself this story was just an exercise for me and there was no pressure to submit it or even finish it.

You know what happened? The words began to flow. It wasn’t so much about form and structure as it was about enjoying the process again. I’d soon learn that the writing reflected that.

A few months later, I had heard somewhat late about a writing conference that gave writers the opportunity to sign up for a critique. Since it was first-come, first-served, I had been waitlisted.

However, when I arrived at the conference, I saw that I had a spot in the critique queue. I asked the woman behind the counter how was it that I suddenly had a critique time assigned? I’m not saying she winked or anything, but she told me “they had found a spot” for me.

I didn’t question anything. I just said, “Thank you!” and I went to my appointment.

I went in, anxious and about to throw up. Those of you who have read any of my Landry’s True Colors Series or remember the scene in Next Door to a Star with Hadley getting ready for her first day of 10th grade, are now thinking, “Oh, that’s where Landry/Hadley gets her feel-the-fear-but–do-it-anyway bit from.”

The editor went through the chapter with me and then she came to the part in which my character has been left out by her two best friends and has to get up and walk across the room and ask another group of girls if she can join them. The editor looked at me and said: “My heart was in my throat as I wondered: would these new girls accept her? Would they let her sit with them?”

As she told me how she felt emotionally connected with the character, it hit me–—that moment I had written about was based on my own feelings. Way back in middle school, I had done that incredibly long walk in the cafeteria to another table to see if someone would let me in their group after my own crew had stopped talking to me for a day. (Who knows why, and, at the time, it seemed catastrophic to me.) That awkward, uncomfortable memory that I wasn’t even sure I should write about had brought up something in this woman who was reading it for the first time.

It was then that I realized that writing honestly about my character’s (and my) vulnerabilities was the only way to bring truth and authenticity to my stories. The fact that this person was so interested in this story’s world made me realize that I had something that someone wanted to read.

desk two
Krysten’s Writing Area

I found out that when I focused on the story I needed to tell and had written from a different place inside of me, that all brought my book to life. It made me realize the importance of writing what is in your heart–—the story only you can tell.


Krysten’s new release!

NEXT DOOR TO A STAR
by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Audience: Young Adult
Realistic Fiction

★ SYNOPSIS ★

Hadley Daniels is tired of feeling invisible.

After Hadley’s best friend moves away and she gets on the bad side of some girls at school, she goes to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Lake Michigan resort town of Grand Haven. Her next-door-neighbor is none other than teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson, who is everything Hadley longs to be–—pretty, popular, and famous—–and she’s thrilled when Simone treats her like a friend.

Being popular is a lot harder than it looks.

It’s fun and flattering when Simone includes her in her circle, though Hadley is puzzled about why her new friend refuses to discuss her former Hollywood life. Caught up with Simone, Hadley finds herself ignoring her quiet, steadfast friend, Charlotte.

To make things even more complicated, along comes Nick Jenkins…

He’s sweet and good-looking, and Hadley can be herself around him without all the fake drama. However, the mean girls have other ideas and they fill Nick’s head with lies about Hadley, sending him running back to his ex-girlfriend and leaving Hadley heartbroken.

So, when her parents decide to relocate to Grand Haven, Hadley hopes things will change when school starts…only to be disappointed once again.

Cliques. Back-stabbing. Love gone bad.

Is this really what it’s like to live…Next Door To A Star?

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnLXsu2c43k

Next Door to a Star
NextDoor Cover

Excerpt from Next Door to a Star:

The school year should end right after spring break, because all anyone can focus on is summer vacation. You can’t learn anything new because all you can think about is all the fun stuff you’re going to do once you don’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Summer always seems full of possibilities.

Nothing exciting ever happens during the school year, but maybe, during summer vacation, you could run into a hot celebrity and he’d decide to put you in his next music video. Okay, it wasn’t like I knew anybody that happened to, but my grandparents did live next door to a former TV star, Simone Hendrickson, and Simone was discovered in an ice cream parlor one summer. Of course, she lived in L.A. at the time and was already doing plays and commercials, so the guy who discovered her had already seen her perform. But hey, it was summer, she got discovered, and that was all that mattered.
Amazing stuff didn’t happen to me.

You know what happened to me last summer? I stepped on a bee and had to go to the emergency room. They’re not going to make an E! True Hollywood Story out of my life. I didn’t go on exotic vacations—–like today, I was being dragged along with my parents to my cousin’s graduation party. Most people waited until at least the end of May before having a grad party, but Charisma was having hers early because she was leaving on a trip to Spain.

I was dreading this party because I didn’t want to listen to everybody talk about how smart and talented Charisma was–—making me feel like a blob in comparison—–but my mom RSVP’d even though I said I’d rather die than go. My death threats meant nothing.

But still, for some strange reason, I had a feeling this summer was going to be different.

About Krysten

Krysten Lindsay Hager
(author photo courtesy of Shannon DiGiacomo)

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Connect with Krysten Lindsay Hager

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor
Twitter: @KrystenLindsay
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8298036.Krysten_Lindsay_Hager
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Book trailer for Landry’s True Colors Series provided by Videos by O.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFp2fPFbvTQ&feature=youtu.be

Buy links:
Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/Next-Door-Krysten-Lindsay-Hager-ebook/dp/B0149HTAK0
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Next-Door-Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/dp/1680582690
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/next-door-to-a-star-krysten-lindsay-hager/1122588304?ean=9781680582697
Nook UK: http://www.nook.com/gb/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&%5Bs%5Dkeyword=krysten+lindsay+hager
Books-a-million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Next-Door-Star/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/9781680582697?id=6130980443153
itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/krysten-lindsay-hager/id890673226?mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/search?query=Krysten%20Lindsay%20Hager&fcsearchfield=Author&fclanguages=all

If you enjoyed this post, please comment/like it here AND go visit Krysten’s sites.


Krysten Lindsay Hager was my guest on Episode 15 of CHANGES conversations between authors. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

Learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest:    https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/


Want to be a guest blogger on my site? Visit my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame” to review other guest posts and read my guidelines. Then, contact me if you’re interested: http://www.sallyember.com/guest-bloggers-hall-of-fame/

How I use Science Research in my Science-Fiction Writing for The Spanners Series

How I use #Science #Research in my #Science-Fiction #Writing for The Spanners Series

First, Some #Tech History

Typewriters to Word Processors
I am old enough to remember learning to type on a manual typewriter whose action was so “hard” or difficult that I had to slam each finger onto the keys to get them to hit the ribbon with enough force to get sufficient ink to mark the typing paper. If I were trying to make carbon copies, I had to hit the keys even harder or the copy wouldn’t be impressed with the keys enough for the carbon paper to work properly.

Luckily, I was already a piano student (from the age of 9) by the time I started typing (age 10) and I took my only formal typing class the summer I turned twelve. By then, my fingers were very strong. I do not know how others learned to type and made it work without being pianists. Even with my hours of piano playing every week, I still found it tiring and challenging to type with enough force on these typewriters to make the keys impress the carbon paper, especially when making more than one copy.

manual typewriter
Keys on a Manual Typewriter

The first revolution was the IBM “Selectric” (invented in 1961, but got to me and my part-time jobs in St. Louis, MO, in the late 1960s and early 1970s), which had a spinning ball rather than key action. This made the typing of the letters cause the ball to spin, putting the typed letter in contact with the ink ribbon without having to use as much force. My days of a typewriter jam were almost over (I became an extremely fast typist, but the machine could not keep up!).

The early 1970s brought further great relief from typewriter drudgery with the electric typewriters (soft-touch, less force-required) and then the amazing automatic carriage return. Remember that lever we had to yank on at the end of every line? Gone!

typewriter_jam
Typewriter Jam
image from http://ecocatlady.blogspot.com

Finally, the best invention for writers and secretaries: the correction key, which worked by back-space-erase-retype action. Before this functional key existed, typists had to use special typewriter erasers (those round ones with the feathery ends so we could brush off the eraser dust from each part of the page) and carbon paper erasers for any mistakes, OR (usually) retype the entire page for one mistake! For larger mistakes or the carbon copies, we newly could use “Liquid Paper” or “Wite-Out”(THANKS, Bette Nesmith Graham, who invented this in her kitchen in 1956!), which also was a revolution in making typed pages appear mistake-free even when they were not.

Liquid_paper_products_Womens_Museum
Liquid Paper display at the Women’s Museum
image from http://en.wikipedia.org

Card Catalogs and Index Cards
Along with these trips down memory lane for typists, which brought us to word-processing/computer-like typewriters and, finally, word-processing software for home computers (the BEST!), we have the trajectory across the last fifty years for researchers. Remember those little pencils that were ubiquitous in libraries for use near the card-catalogs?

I used to spend hours or days or weeks cross-referencing, by hand, with my fingers and tired eyes, to find authors, titles, types of printed works, or microfiche/ microfilm copies of materials. Then, some were not allowed to be “checked out,” only used “in-house.” Or, some had to be requested via Interlibrary Loan, which could take months.

The photocopier was an electrifying (LOL) invention that allowed us to take home pages we wanted to study or read. We could mark them up and use them to take further notes on when items couldn’t be taken out of the library, but they cost a lot per page for my budget. I invented my own shorthand to take copious notes very quickly, a system I learned to use in lecture classes as well. I could quickly crib information from precious materials I couldn’t afford to make copies of in the large numbers of pages I needed for a project.

I am a speed-reader, fast note-taker, and quick thinker. Still, this type of research was slow and laborious since I had to read each page to determine what I wanted to notate, photocopy or ignore. Every resource also had long lists of their own resources which I usually had to follow-up on (and was grateful for the “trail”), but many items were one-of-a-kind and not available when I needed them.

Index cards, notebooks, looseleaf binders, photocopies, smudged ink and so much paper, paper, paper: I was drowning in it. We had to ORGANIZE: color coding, use of tabs, physically taping-moving-retaping the cards or notes on large pieces of paper or a bulletin board, wall or floor. It is at this point I would notice the gaps and have to trudge back (often through snow and ice; not kidding) to the library.

floor outlining
Floor Outlining
image from http://fairfieldwriter.wordpress.com

I was SO excited to use removable tags and “post-it” notes when they came into our lives: 1968, serendipitous discovery by Dr. Spencer Silver at 3-M, of the reusable glue; and Arthur Fry, mid-1970s for the mass-market applications, like “post-it” notes and removable tabs. If I only could keep it all straight and remember my own process. For example, was I using blue for my thoughts or quotations…?

Art Fry oppfant Post-it-lappene og forandret måten vi kommuniserer på. Gul lapp på pannen med lys idé tegnet .
Arthur Fry, inventor of the “Post-It” note
image from http://en.wikipedia.org

Research Access and Writing, First Major Innovations
Fast-forward to the 1990s and (thanks to Al Gore…), the World Wide Web, or as it’s now known, the Internet. At first, not a lot was available to “laypeople.” Research didn’t change for me much during my graduate schools years (1991-96, for my Master’s and doctorate). The scanning interfaces were horrible: grainy and hard to read, with many odd mistakes and quirky formatting problems. Plus, most items weren’t scanned in and scanners were still prohibitively expensive and large, so not widely utilized. Professional journals, esoteric sources and other materials still needed to be found and used at libraries or in person.

The biggest boon and the one I still praise daily is the word processing personal computer. Best parts of that: copy, cut and paste functions. Gone forever are the days of using actual scissors (although I love that the “cut” icon is a pair of scissors). I no longer use sticky tape or post-its to move text around and it’s easy to create outlines that I can change quickly.

First-time, ever: specialized software programs that allowed us to create bibliographies as we write, using sources freely in our properly-positioned footnotes and endnotes, all automatically formatted to the chosen “style” guide, if we were clever enough to input the data correctly. Incredible!

endnote foot note dialogue box
Endnote/Footnote Dialogue Box

Using Science Research in my Science-Fiction Writing

A Researcher’s Paradise!
Now, in the mid-20-teens, the Internet is alive, well, thriving and chock-full of information. Google, Yahoo, MSN, Wikipedia and other -pedias, specialized news sources and wikis along with nonprofit organizations’, professional associations’ and corporate websites populate the web with more facts than anyone could gather. I can capture and bring them to me via my home computer’s browser with the entry of a few simple search terms.

I am now overflowing with science breakthroughs, breaking news and older sources, with accompanying images, data and video/audio files. I am in a researcher’s paradise!

Word-Processing Software’s References and Resources
We have our own dictionary and thesaurus right within our word processing programs, with grammar and spell-checking functions operating within our own preferences and parameters. We can change these, add words and terms, personalize it all at will.

We can also become completely autonomous as bloggers, authors, producers of content of all sorts. We can independently research, write, edit and format an entire book in electronic or print format from our homes or offices: this is the true revolution of “desk-top publishing.”

My Evolving Research and Writing Process
Best part, for this sci-fi writer: science information on any topic, any time, at my fingertips. I have changed the way I write because of what is available and how I can use it in my books. I used to be an avid outliner (remember the notecards and color-coded tabs?), but usually, now, I mentally sketch out what I want to write about and what characters to include.

Then, throughout the year, I gather tidbits of information that I believe I may want to use. I get links to articles from organization’s or group’s pages’ and friends’ posts on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and other social media sites.

When something piques my interest, I don’t have to go anywhere to read it. I don’t have to take notes or pay to copy the entire article. I don’t have to carry backpacks filled with heavy books, research journals and articles home.

Oh, no; I do not!

Instead, with a few “clicks,” I travel online to the site to copy and paste part or all of the article and its URL to a word processing document. It is then stored in my research folder with a specific title and date. I review it in its entirety or portions of it later, usually on the day I plan to consider using it.

Screenshot (28)
Screenshot of my research folder’s contents

When I’m ready to write, I begin to mine my research folder for its gold and other ores. When I find something I may want to use (for its facts, explanations, ideas or announcements), I copy and paste parts or all of each article right into my story or book draft. Sometimes, early on in my writing a book for The Spanners Series, I’m not sure what I’ll use, exactly, so I paste them all “at the end.”

When I’m ready to place items by subject somewhere in the chapters set-up, I move the paragraphs or entire articles to that chapter, by topic. As I write, I read more carefully to learn from the parts I’ve captured.

BUT, I am careful NOT to not use these authors’ exact words or do much paraphrasing. Instead, these snippets become my “notes,” acting like outlines, as guides. The sections I’ve pasted show me where I want to take my characters, my plot, or even my series by providing me with the science and facts to back up the next part of the world I’m building and the story I want to tell.

Once I’ve utilized this chapter’s store of ideas and facts (of course, attributing and giving credit in my Appendices when I use any part more literally than conceptually), I put each accessed article into my “USED” folder in my computer. Then, as I write, I delete the “notes” from the copied-pasted nonfiction/research articles’ sections of the draft.

All that is left in each chapter are my own ideas, in my words, with my characters, my plot. I then move on to another source or chapter section.

Summary of All the Changes: Pros and Cons
This process sometimes wreaks havoc with daily word counts, but I’ve learned how to distinguish consistently the “notes” sections separately from the written portions. What I love about this evolving process is how time- and resource-efficient and budget-friendly it is. There are only a few steps, with nothing to photocopy or borrow, no handwritten notes and bits of paper to misplace, fewer or no pieces of paper.

Plus, when I find out I’m missing something crucial or want to go in a new direction, I can open a browser tab and find a new information source in about one minute on my computer, from where I am already sitting. When inspiration strikes, I can “scratch” my creative “itch” immediately. Right away, I can find out if my new idea is feasible by setting the data up right within my draft, look it over, consider it all, then resume writing.

I can easily and quickly re-arrange entire sections, chapters, and themes, distributing ideas and information among my draft volumes as I write each one of my 10-book Spanners Series. For each of the three Volumes I have completed and the one I’m currently midway through, I have re-organized the chapters multiple times. I have changed sections, moved paragraphs and altered the events in timelines (my series includes multiple timelines) so that the chapter sequence changes almost weekly for a while.

I keep track of all these events, data and movement by using header dates for each chapter. I list them in my series’ spreadsheet by chapter and title. I also include some of the chapter’s content, characters and its current Volume number in the cell.

Screenshot (27)
The Spanners Series’ timeline spreadsheet, screenshot

Given the fluid nature of ebooks and self-publishing, it would not surprise me to find out, years from now, that I want to re-arrange the sequence within or of the Volumes I’ve already published significantly! Doing that wouldn’t even be difficult, since self-publishers can withdraw and resubmit Volumes for distribution whenever we want.

Of course, there is one big problem: too much sitting! I have to remind myself to take breaks, get up, walk around, go swimming 5 – 6 times each week, take naps, go outside and walk around. The temptation to stay inside and keep working is so much greater than in the past because everything I need is “right here”!

I also have to be careful not to have another incident of RPI (Repetitive Stress Injury) to my arms, fingers, hands and wrists, which I had severely in my first semester of graduate school. I learned exercises, ways to sleep, the use of ice and NSAIDs to avoid overusing my home computer as I transitioned from relying on an electric typewriter. When there is no paper to load, no carriage level for returns, no ribbon to change and no carbon paper, we don’t move around physically enough.

We have to remember: raise our eyes to look out a window to change our eyes’ focus from near to far, remove our hands from the keyboard to stretch our arms, shoulders, necks, backs, fingers. We need to get up and actually (HORRORS!) leave the keyboard and screen for frequent breaks, or we will ruin our bodies.

Many (like my son, not pictured, but his set-up is similar) now use standing desks and ergonomically designed keyboards with vertical access to prevent the worst harm and future injuries. However, exercise and frequent “away” periods are the best ways to avoid physical problems from developing due to computer overuse.

ergonomic desk set up
Ergonomic Desk and Keyboard Set-up
image from http://www.instructables.com

However, I would not trade the convenience of this era for all the manual typewriters and liquid paper in the multiverse. Thanks to all the inventors, developers, creators, scientists, researchers and writers who made/make this all possible for the rest of us!


This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., Permafree

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks
Volume I cover

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

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

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

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

Are YOU ready for the changes?
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8 </a
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., @$3.99

final cover print
Volume II cover

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back.

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

How would YOU do with the changes?
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., planned pre-orders 11/1/15 – 12/7/15 @$1.99; planned release 12/8/15 @$3.99; Cover Reveal 10/26/15!

logoAuthorsDen
The Spanners Series logo

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. To join, Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

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

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

What do you do with wanted/unwanted changes?


LINKS

http://www.sallyember.com  main website
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW  author page
https://www.twitter.com/sallyemberedd Twitter: @sallyemberedd
https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber Spanners Series’ page on FB
https://www.facebook.com/sally.ember
http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember
http://goo.gl/tZKQpv Spanners Series’ page on Google+
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SallySueEmber/about/p/pub Sally Sue Ember on Google+
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w/videos
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7237845.Sally_Ember  

More purchase/free links on Kobo, ibooks and nook as well as reviews, book trailers, author interviews and readings, blog posts, research, series updates and more on Sally’s website: look right, scroll down. http://www.sallyember.com

Cover art and logo by Aidana Willowraven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

Why I Started a LIVE Talk Show: *CHANGES* conversations between authors on Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) and YouTube

“Why I Started a LIVE Talk Show: CHANGES conversations between authors on Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) and YouTube”
originally posted on http://www.asidefromwriting.com on July 6, 2015

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In early April, 2014, I had just completed and uploaded Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, of my science-fiction/romance/ multiverse/ utopian/ paranormal (psi) ebooks in The Spanners Series for adults, New and Young Adults, and joined two new writers’ groups in the East Bay (one in Berkeley and one in Hayward, California, where I had been living), when I was in a terrible accident. The resulting broken nose has been healing fine and didn’t require surgery; the concussion has proven to be a lot more problematic.

For several months, it was as if I were in a fog. I wasn’t allowed to do any serious computer work, reading or thinking (I had been about halfway through Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, when I got hurt). Since I couldn’t wear my glasses without causing myself enormous pain (glasses would be sitting on the broken nose, right?), and I was overwhelmingly aphasic, exhausted, confused and injured, unable to process much, the respite from writing, reading and working seemed necessary. The accident had also caused extreme damage to my arms, hands, shoulders and upper back, so keyboarding wasn’t all that feasible, anyway. Plus, when I did type, I made more errors than words, typed very slowly (usually over 100 WPM; then, about 40 WPM, with numerous mistakes).

However, once the enforced hiatus was over, I still couldn’t return to my regular life. My memory was horrible, both short- and long-term. I couldn’t find words, or the right words, to speak or write. I no longer sounded as if I were drunk, but I was still extremely slower and less able, all around, than I had been prior to the brain injury. I usually function in the top 10 percent of intellectuals, with an extremely large vocabulary and many types of intelligence. I had been fortunate, up until the accident, to be a wide reader of many subjects, with both formal and informal education beyond the doctoral level and a larger variety of knowledge, experiences and insights than most people. Post-concussion, I was barely above-average and often, not even that.

Before the injury to my brain, I had been writing my fiction series quite quickly, often exceeding 2,000 words per day. My creativity seemed boundless, my energy matching it. Volume I’s first draft had been completed in under two months, and it was over 130,000 words. I had developed a spreadsheet to record my (very brief) notes on my series’ dozens of human, animal and alien characters, multiple timelines, overlapping realities, historical and future events and people, but most of the series’ details and plans had been in my brain which had been injured to the point of being severely compromised.

In July of last year, I discovered all I could create were short, nonfiction blog and other posts, and it took “forever” to finalize each one, since I typed sentences that were riddled with errors. Each post needed to be proofread multiple times. I could barely read others’ blogs and reblog/share, almost couldn’t read short pieces/stories.

Yes, after a few months I was improving and could do these with increasingly better understanding, but I still couldn’t return to my fiction series. My “executive functions” and “working memory” were still extremely low-performing due to the post-concussion syndrome I had been diagnosed with in June.

I wasn’t well enough to return to my “regular” life of work or writing, but I was well enough to be bored. Luckily, I had discovered Google+ the previous year. During the winter and spring of 2014, I had been attending Hangouts On Air (HOAs) somewhat regularly.

After my accident, watching videos was about the only thing I could do, since reading, writing and other glass-wearing activities were excluded. I attended and participated (when that was allowed) in many HOAs by leaving comments, questions, and interactions with others also viewing or presenting, on topics ranging from books, book marketing, authors, writing, marketing, social media, spirituality/meditation and more. I watched most on Google+, but they were also archived so I could watch those I missed on YouTube, where I found even more entertaining, informative videos. (Find me on Google+ as Sally Sue Ember)

I got into watching one HOA in particular, Lights, Camera, HOA!, run by an excellent trio of women: Meloney Hall, Rayne Dowell and Sheila Strover.

After I attended a few shows, Rayne read Volume I of my series and reached out to invite me onto the show to learn more about being in/on a HOA. The entire reason for this show’s existence is to help newbies (like me) get comfortable with the HOA format and technology, both on- and off-camera. I LOVED it! What a great service this show provides. THANK YOU! https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Bigupticksociallightscamerahoa/about

As a former actor/performer, being “on camera” wasn’t hard for me. As a writer/author, being able to interact with viewers LIVE was so much better than having readers I almost never hear from or meet. I was hooked on HOAs and wanted my own. I learned everything I could in the next several months, wondering if I’d be able to manage my own show.

What could I have a HOA about, exactly? There were an infinite number of choices. By then, I had been interviewed on several radio shows online and submitted many “author interview” posts to others’ websites, so I was familiar with that format and was beginning to feel it was somewhat overused. Frankly, and no offense to the current website(!), I find most author interviews to be awfully repetitive and, well, boring.

I did NOT want to interview authors, but I wanted to meet more authors and talk about writing as well as many other interesting topics. By the end of July, four months post-injury, I still couldn’t write for my series, but I was able to talk better and listen very well. I decided to launch in August and to have a show that I would want to watch.

Since I wanted to be around other writers and hear about their experiences, hoping to be entertained and inspired until my own writing would (hopefully) be accessible to me again, I posted on Twitter, Facebook groups and in general, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ communities to invite authors to be guests on CHANGES conversations between authors. I also ranged around to those sites that posted award winners in science-fiction, particularly, and invited many of those authors on my show as well.

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The response has been more than gratifying. I welcomed Dr. Shay West as my first guest for my August 6, 2014, premier Episode, with several more super authors scheduled to be on subsequent shows. Since then, with a few planned and even fewer unplanned exceptions, I have had an Episode each week. The live show airs three or four times per month (with one week off, to rest) on Wednesdays, 10 – 11 AM Eastern time, USA, and TODAY, August 5, 2015, I air my one-year anniversary show!

Amazing authors have been guests on CHANGES (http://goo.gl/1dbkZV on my website for full schedule of past and upcoming guests). I have had guests who joined me live and/or hail from France, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Canada, Israel, Guyana, and many states in the USA. The authors I have talked with enrich me weekly (and my viewers as well, I hope), writing in every fiction genre and including those who also write nonfiction, plays, screenplays and poetry.

Ethnically, my guests have been American mixed-Causasian, African-American, African-Jamaican, Spanish, English, Indian (continent, not tribe), Russian, Jewish, German, Norwegian, Israeli, Guyanan, Irish, and Greek (so far). Editors, publishers (magazine and book), and translators, with an age range, as of today, August 5, 2015, of 15 – 78 years old, are in my CHANGES guests club.

Our conversational topics list is too lengthy to include here, but has been exactly as I had planned: wide variety, high-level subject discussions that are informative, entertaining, insightful, funny and poignant. My guests and I share personal and professional stories, discuss books and writing, publishing and editing, book cover artists and much more.

I am quite happy to say that, as of August 5, 2015, CHANGES Episodes (now up to 37, http://goo.gl/1dbkZV on YouTube) have garnered audiences as large as over 1000 in one day, totalling over 3600 views, so far.

My YouTube channel went from having 2 to almost 50 subscribers. I now have over 3000 followers on Google+ and Facebook, each (although some are the same people, I’m sure), and over 5000 on Twitter. Pinterest followers’ number has quadrupled; so has LinkedIn’s.

I know these are small numbers compared to many, but I’m happy that my network is growing. We receive many compliments, positive comments and excellent questions for each CHANGES Episode from viewers who watch live or later, and more watch weekly.

Since starting CHANGES, I’m delighted to report that downloads of Volume I of my series, which is permafree since I uploaded Volume II (right before my accident), are steady. I do wish for better sales for Volume II, but I’ve heard a series has to have at least three books released “to really take off.”

What’s Next?
CROWDFUNDING to meet my Goals

—I wish to convert the *CHANGES* videocasts into podcasts, for those who prefer to listen-only, but the podcast hosting sites are not free.
—I also wish to pay for my next book covers,
—I need to buy better equipment for my home videocasts, and
—I must keep writing.

However, the concussion has severely limited my ability to work and I am in deep debt. If you’d like to help, http://www.patreon.com/sallyember has a video about my goals and rewards to donors in which I sing (really; not so well, but, hey; I’m not a professional singer!), and more information.

$4 gets you a free ebook; larger donations earn you deep discounts on professional editing, proofreading and writing tutor services, all of which can do well, despite the concussion.

Concussion Recovery News
As of May, 2015, I am back to writing new parts of Volumes III and IV! Slowly, much more laboriously, with an ongoing need for referrals to notes and dictionary, thesaurus and spell-check than remembering going on, but glad to be writing!

I wish I could open up my brain and retrieve the Spanners Series ideas that had been so accessible, so easily before the concussion and look them all over, but…

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The network of authors, book bloggers, book marketers and other writers I have been developing over the last two years has blossomed into a group I can call upon for help, advice, and exchanges. That has proved amazingly gratifying as I trumpet my announcement, below, because many have stepped forward to play a role in this next phase.

Good news: I finished the Beta readers’ draft of Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, in late July! Five wonderful writers are reading it right now and will offer their sage wisdom on its improvements by late September. I then hope to be finished with the final proofed version no later than mid-October. I have already begun the cover design process with Aidana Willowraven, The Spanners Series‘ cover artist. The Cover Reveal is planned to occur on Alesha Escobar‘s site in late October. Pre-orders start 11/1/15 and the release of Volume III is scheduled for December 8, 2015!

Wish me luck!

How Else You Can Become Involved
Beta readers for upcoming draft of Volumes IV and reviewers of all Volumes welcomed! Contact me: sallyember@yahoo.com

Also, watch a few Episodes of CHANGES any time: http://goo.gl/6xjSKl Please comment on YouTube or go to the original G+ Event page for that Episode and comment/ask questions, get more info and links. I will respond!

Become/Refer a Guest! #Authors and #bloggers, especially those in sci-fi/speculative fiction, but not only those: learn more about and get yourself on CHANGES, and #Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest.

OPENINGS 8/12/15 and later this fall! For more info, schedule and past/upcoming guests list, visit here: http://goo.gl/1dbkZV.

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Also, I’ve invited former guests and others I appreciate to Guest Blog on Wednesdays, with excellent posts, so far! Check out the Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame on my site (see below) for previous and upcoming posts.

I strongly suggest you check out others’ HOAs as well: there are some great shows out there in Google+ land! Two good places to find them (and another great G+ community, User2User: LIVE!):
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/101944073205735325459 for User2User-Live!
Http://www.hangouteventscalendar.com for the HOA Calendar

For updates about and links to available Volumes of The Spanners Series, me as an author, my own and guest blogger’s posts, Patreon and much more: http://www.sallyember.com has all links and info. Look up or to the right and scroll.


May all who are ill recover and all who are in pain find comfort.

Best to you all!

“What to do to Keep Writing Even if You Think You Don’t Feel Like Writing”: Guest Post by John Howell #Amwriting #author

Suffer from writer’s block (which today’s guest blogger declares NON-EXISTENT)? Lack inspiration? Find it difficult to keep to a schedule, a word count goal, a deadline?

One of my guests on CHANGES conversations between authors (see below for more info about our Episode), John Howell, offer tips, advice, humor and more to help you out of your slump! Welcome to my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame”, John!


“What to do to Keep Writing Even if You Think You Don’t Feel Like Writing”:
Guest Post by John Howell
#Amwriting #author

a frustrated  writer for John H
image from http://venture galleries.com

I am very grateful for the guest spot on Sally Ember’s blog. Thank you, Sally, for having me today. I had originally wanted to do some humorous stuff about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

However, as I thought about being a guest of Sally Ember, Ed.D, I had some second thoughts. After all, Sally’s blog is a source of all kinds of interesting information as well as a place to visit to learn new things. Stand-up comedy may be more of a fit over at my dump.

I should explain why I chose the subject I did choose. I have been asked, since becoming a full-time writer, about the most important piece of advice I could give a new writer. My answer always includes the advice to keep writing.

Just last week I was being interviewed and the question came up again. I gave my answer. Then, after the interview, I thought about what I would say to someone wanting to become a writer but not knowing how to keep writing. I decided right there and then to put some hints down on paper.

This post is the result of taking the time to detail some strategies that may be helpful to encourage a person to keep writing. So here goes.

To keep writing…

  1. establish a routine that includes writing something.
    This routine, by necessity, has to include other parts of the person’s life as well. It does a writer no good to commit simply to writing and meanwhile ignore all the other things that make a life a life. These other things include eating, sleeping, socializing and whatever work one has to do. It also includes those things that being part of the family dictate.
    When I first started writing, I would do jobs around the house in the morning and then turn to writing after lunch. One of the problems with this routine is there are so many things that can get in the way of the writing. Things getting in the way is especially true if the writing is difficult or the scene a little unclear.
    So, I changed my routine. I gave writing the top priority and once a minimum amount accomplished, I would be available for other parts of living.
    I am suggesting that new writers only commit to writing a low level of word count or page count. As a writer progresses, the count will go up during the same amount of time.
    I currently write one thousand words each day. After that, I am free to do other things or keep writing.

  2. do not show others any work that is not finished. Work includes full manuscripts, short stories, and poems. The quickest way to stop writing is to succumb to well-meaning criticism before the work is complete.
    Once you complete a piece of work, you can show it to anyone you wish and collect all the comments meant to improve the product. Trying this prior to finish is a completion-killer.

  3. do not recognize the phantom phenomena called writer’s block. There is no such thing. There may be a lapse in creativity, but as far as blocked is concerned, a writer should not give themselves the excuse of explaining the lack of writing as writers block.
    When I feel stuck on a story line, I write a short story. In this way, I am still writing and keeping the creative mind open. I find that the story will cause me to think of a solution. I have had some short stories become part of the manuscript, since the story solved whatever the issue was in the first place.

  4. vary the medium. Do this by creating a blog, guest posting on other’s sites, entering contests and writing book reviews. These are just a few of the things that can be done to keep the writing assignment fresh and interesting.
    Simply working on a novel day after day can cause the creativity to dry up: the writer will find they are going through the motions as opposed to bringing the passion and creativity needed for the task.
    I currently post seven days a week on my blog. The posts are original material and of various subjects. I do not write about writing. I spend enough time doing writing; I don’t feel like continuing the subject in some informational format. Besides, there are a lot of very qualified people who give a lot of good advice on writing. I just want to have fun. [Except for today!… note from Sally]

  5. don’t pay any attention to query rejections. The only message in a rejection is the piece did not fit what was going on with the reader at the time of the rejection. It could be that the one who is rejecting the work couldn’t face reading one more thing that day and didn’t take enough time. They could have awakened on the wrong side of the bed or quit drinking coffee for some unknown reason.
    The point is, when a writer gets a rejection, it does not mean to stop writing. It is just a rejection; heaven knows, we all have received a lot of those.

  6. find a way to reward yourself for accomplishing your daily quota of writing. It can be as simple as relaxing with a TV show or book. The important thing is that the writer is giving the writer permission to recognize themselves for a job well done.
    When I finish the week with my word quota achieved, I take some time on the veranda with a margarita. It’s not for everyone, but is my way of telling me I’ve done a good job for the week.
    By the way, there is no other person on the Earth who will give writers kudos for doing what the writer loves to do. If a writer does not love what they do, they should find something else to occupy the time.

To summarize, Keep on writing, no matter what.

Thanks again, Sally.


About John Howell:

John H photo
Photo by Tim Burdick

 John W. Howell was held captive for over forty years by organized commerce. In 2012, he was finally released to begin writing full-time. His novel, <em>My GRL</em>, has been published by Martin Sisters Publishing and is the first of a <strong><em>John J. Cannon</em></strong> trilogy.
 The second is now with the publisher and the third in the final editing stage. In addition, John has also finished another novel not in the series which is being queried. 
 John lives with his wife and rescue pets on a barrier island off the coast of South Texas.

Find John:
Twitter: @HowellWave
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241
Website: http://www.johnwhowell.com
Authors db: http://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/6604-john-w-howell
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-w-howell/48/b59/462/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+JohnHowellAuthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/johnwhowell/
Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/johnwhowell

my grl  John

My GRL is a fiction thriller telling the story of John J. Cannon, a successful San Francisco lawyer, who takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. John is unaware that his boat has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a symbol of America’s greatness. John’s first inkling of trouble occurs when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the body of the woman who first sold him the boat. John now is the only one standing between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

Links to My GRL:
on Amazon
Amazon US: http://goo.gl/3bgc0E
Amazon UK: http://goo.gl/Q3gLxI
Amazon CAN: http://goo.gl/rLjzwD
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Elsewhere
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/397934
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-grl-john-w-howell/1118199518?ean=2940045582575
ibooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/my-grl/id803503649?mt=11
Kobo: http://www.store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/my-grl
Martin Sisters Publishing: Http://www.martinsisterspublishing.com


John Howell was my guest on Episode 14 of CHANGES conversations between authors. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

Learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest:    https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/


Want to be a guest blogger on my site? Visit my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame” to review other guest posts, read my guidelines and then contact me if you’re interested: http://www.sallyember.com/guest-bloggers-hall-of-fame/

“What We Bring to the Table”: Guest Post by Colette Black

I am delighted to welcome dance-, art- and music-lover, author, and previous guest on CHANGES conversations between authors (Episode 16; see below for more info and URL), Colette Black, as a guest blogger today! Please enjoy her post as much as I did, comment, visit her sites, check out her series.

“What We Bring to the Table”
by Colette Black

piano-pinkies
Piano Pinkies: by Deanna Roberts

Art, like most information, is diverse and subject to interpretation. I grew up listening to my oldest brother’s piano skills. He could play almost anything by ear, read and juxtapose most pieces of music, and composed according to his fingers’ whims. My brother never seemed to get rattled, always even keel, but his music told a different story. Sometimes, it told me he was happy, contemplative, angry, annoyed, or a myriad of different emotions. When he was going through a divorce, it spoke of profound loss, confusion, anger, and pain. That is what art does: it speaks to us in a deeper language.

I started to understand art’s language when I saw my first ballet performance, in lower elementary school, on the small stage of our cafeteria/rec center.

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Ballerina: Wikimedia Loadmaster (David R. Tribble)

I was amazed, entranced, dumbfounded. And I began to seek. Dancing was out of the question. My sister had told me I had the coordination of a clown from the time I could walk. As a side note, I now love to dance and my coordination is much improved. Unsure what this inner yearning meant, I attended plays, participated in plays, failed at orchestra, did pretty well in high school choir, developed a love for Shakespeare and poetry, melted in bliss as I walked the halls of the Louvre, and even dabbled in cake decorating. I learned a few things. One, is that I never want a career as a cake decorator; too much stress. The other, that art’s language is broad and powerful.

For example, the Mona Lisa. I’d seen replicas and art prints of the Mona Lisa more than once. Eh; no big deal. What’s all the fuss? Then I saw the real deal in the Louvre. Wow. It touched me on a deep and profound level: the “mystery,” the “humanity”: all of the adjectives I’d heard to describe her finally came together. Other paintings and sculptures within that gorgeous museum had similar effects, but some didn’t. Some expressed an appreciation for the human body while others seemed to only suggest lust and base emotions.

Mona_Lisa,_by_Leonardo_da_Vinci,_from_C2RMF_retouched

Some brought a smile to my face while others brought only darkness and discomfort. Now, I’m not making a judgment on the value of art, but I made a personal decision.

Whatever I bring to the table, I want it to make a positive difference in people’s lives, even if subtly. So, when I started to write with hopes of publication, I tried to come up with nice, Christian stories….and failed.

As a devout Christian, this was difficult for me to accept. Was I not good enough? Was my faith lacking? It took time to realize that my muse just didn’t roll in that direction. I wanted to observe and recreate human nature from the viewpoint of alternate worlds, realities and circumstances. We all live in the real world, but it’s when we put ourselves in another world, with other possibilities, that I feel we are able to look at our biases and our beliefs with the most clarity: there are fewer preconceptions to stand in our way. And so, after seeking for decades, I found my medium and I knew exactly how I wanted to use it.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00038]
Desolation: Cover art by Suzanne Helmigh

Words placed in the strategic organization of sentence structure, as an art, is both limiting and unlimited. Like other media, there are rules, but just as the rules of dimension, line, and color can be dabbled with by an artist, the rules of grammar and vocabulary are the author’s palette. Many have at least painted a room or a piece of furniture, taken pictures with their cell phone, or at least watched one episode of Dancing with the Stars or The Voice? But some people haven’t. Words, whether spoken, signed, or read, are something that resonates with everyone, regardless of race, socioeconomic class, or age. As authors, we arrange that familiar-to-all medium so it evokes the same deep message that comes from other forms of art. Each sentence and each page are asking our reader to look at life from another angle, under different lighting and with a different knowledge set. When readers are done, we hope they can set the book down and see their own world, even themselves, from another perspective, under different lighting and with more knowledge.

That is what I hope to bring to the table. In the end, I hope it makes for a brighter, better world.
#Art #cmbvyawrite #Words


Colette

Colette Black lives in the far outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona, USA, with her family, 2 dogs, a mischievous cat and the occasional unwanted scorpion. She loves learning new things, vacations, and the color purple. She writes New Adult and Young Adult sci-fi and fantasy novels with kick-butt characters, lots of action, and always a touch of romance. You can find her at: http://www.coletteblack.net/ or http://www.fictorians.com/

You can find her series, Mankind’s Redemption, in ebook and paperback formats:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Noble-Ark-Mankinds-Redemption-1/dp/1497456207
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Colette-Black?store=allproducts&keyword=Colette+Black
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=Mankind%27s+Redemption
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Mankind%27s+Redemption
and other major retailers.


Colette Black was my guest on Episode 16 of CHANGES conversations between authors. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

Learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest:    https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/


Want to be a guest blogger on my site? Visit my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame” to review other guest posts, read my guidelines and then contact me if you’re interested: http://www.sallyember.com/guest-bloggers-hall-of-fame/

“Trust the Process,” Guest Post by Krysten Lindsay Hager 

I am excited to host today’s post from another previous CHANGES conversations between authors’ guest (Episode 15; see below for links), blogger and author, Krysten Lindsay Hager

“Trust the Process”

Years ago, whenever I’d go to writing conferences, workshops, or critique groups, there was always one particular type of writer that showed up and made me feel anxious. I would wonder what I was doing with my life and/or career. It wasn’t that this person’s success made me question my work; they’d say something that seemed to imply that if we were not getting our work published, then we didn’t count as “real writers.”

I joined a critique group a few years ago that got me back into enjoying the very act of writing again. I found that having regular meetings was keeping me accountable and I enjoyed getting constructive criticism and feedback. I also appreciated talking about the story with people who were on the journey with me and my characters.

Then, another person came along with the constant talk about all the agents and editors they had met and often dismissing anything that wasn’t “hot” in the industry at the moment. I’ll never forget the day I brought a chapter of my young adult novel to read and I was excited to share it, but right before I went to read, this person declared that no agent or editor would ever be interested in my novel because it was written in first person. Her tone very dismissive, as if I shouldn’t even bother. I sat there feeling so small. I went on to read, but even I could hear the insecurity in my voice. I sounded like a little kid who had been reprimanded.

I went home that night and started to think about my story, how writing it and editing it had brought me so much joy. I had begun to rewrite that novel during a difficult time for me. I had gotten sick and was dealing with a whole new way of life. That story had brought me back, so to speak.

It hit me that the point of the writing process for me hadn’t been whether or not this piece got published, but the enjoyment I got from writing and working on it and sharing it with other people who enjoyed it as well. As I folded laundry that night (doing laundry is my stress reliever), I realized that there was more to writing than just getting to what some called the final destination—-publication. It was about the journey for me.

So, a few weeks later, I returned to the group, determined not to let this person into my head. They again put out little comments about how I shouldn’t bother with a first-person narrative, but this time I took it as an opinion and not the final word.

That night, I started reading a book called The Creative Call, which talks a lot about how it’s not about what the work can do for you or getting it published, but what the work can do for others. Reading that took the pressure off.

However, when I mentioned this very thing to my writing group a few weeks later, some of them weren’t receptive to it. A few of them had publication as their only goal. That’s fine, but for me, this was what I choose to believe: that I would do the work and leave the outcome (and my ego) out of what would make this story successful in my eyes. Even if the book were never published, I felt that writing, finishing, sharing and enjoying it would be enough for me.

A week after I finished reading The Creative Call, I realized that maybe I should send out my young adult novel, True Colors, to see if it would be something that might help teens dealing with the similar self-esteem/self-image and other young teen issues that my character faces. I knew that trying to navigate through upper elementary and middle school while attempting to fit in as well as dealing with frenemies and mean girls would resonate with many readers. I submitted the story.

True Colors Krysten

In less than two months, I got a contract for the book. I remember sitting at my computer staring at that acceptance email and I felt a calmness come over me. It felt as if a weight had been lifted. I guess I had always assumed I’d be dancing around the room, but it was more like a confirmation that writing was the right path for me. I knew that I was supposed to share my novel. Receiving the contract and knowing that the book (my first book in the Landry’s True Colors Series) was going to be published ended up not being about me at all, but more about what I could share with others.

The books I have written as part of this series are the ones I would have wanted to read at that age. The first one was now going out there into the world, which said to me that maybe there kids out there who need to read about these issues.

A lot of people go into writing wanting fame, money, etc., but I think that takes away from the purpose of writing a book. It’s not what you can get out of it, it’s what you can give back. For me, it has been about those messages and comments I’ve gotten from people who say that, when they see my character, Landry, and her insecurities and worries, they feel less alone in what they are going through. When I heard about a teen who had been upset about dealing with being left out by people she had called “best friends,” then she had read my book and gotten perspective on the situation, well, that made me happier than I was the day I signed that first contract. It made me feel that I had a purpose.

Sure, it took me a while to get to a place where I saw the benefits of enjoying the journey and not focusing on the end goal or numbers. However, it has been so gratifying to appreciate the writing process more fully and to feel connected to my greater purpose.

About Krysten:

Krysten Lindsay Hager
(author photo courtesy of Shannon DiGiacomo)

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series. Originally from Michigan, Krysten has lived in Portugal and South Dakota; she currently resides in Southern Ohio, where you can find her reading and writing, when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Connect with Krysten Lindsay Hager:
Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor
Twitter: @KrystenLindsay
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8298036.Krysten_Lindsay_Hager
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Book trailer provided by Videos by O.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFp2fPFbvTQ&feature=youtu.be

If you enjoyed this post, please comment/like it here AND go visit Krysten’s sites.

Here is the cover of Best Friends Forever, Book Two in her Landry’s True Colors Series:

BestFriendsForever Krysten 2


Krysten Lindsay Hager was my guest on Episode 15 of CHANGES conversations between authors. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

Learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest:    https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/


Want to be a guest blogger on my site? Visit my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame” to review other guest posts, read my guidelines and then contact me if you’re interested: http://www.sallyember.com/guest-bloggers-hall-of-fame/

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

WRITING AND PROMOTING A SERIES:

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

Charles Yallowitz, Legends of Windemere series

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

PEARSUS VIGIL NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

PEARSEUS: VIGIL NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pearseus Bundle on Amazon

Pearseus Bundle on Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Charles Yallowitz‘s Information

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

Nicholas Rossis‘ Information

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

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

Pros and Cons of #Writers’ Critique Groups

Pros and Cons of #Writers’ Critique Groups
Reposting from one year ago, since it’s all still true and useful and I have new Followers/Readers

Everyone know the biggest drawback to #self-publishing is the isolation. Yes, every #author who doesn’t collaborate in their #writing writes alone. However, prior to the explosion in self-publishing, most books and ebooks that came to readers went through several other sets of eyes and had several editing and revision drafts done by others that helped polish and tighten the writing prior to publication.

artsy-writer-working
image from vidyasury.com

Today more than ever before, pieces of writing from short stories, blogs and articles to full-length books, both nonfiction and fiction, are getting all the way to a reader with no other editor than the writer. This is not a great situation for most readers or writers.

Because many writers seek professional companionship and critiques as well as audiences for drafts and new ideas, writers’ groups have sprung up for many centuries, both formal and informal. These groups usually meet regularly. Size can vary from a pair to a large group of a dozen or more.

The activities in the group can include public readings and/or sharing of written material with participants’ immediate oral comments, pages returned with mark-ups and discussions of the shared pieces. Locations can vary and many are not available free, so some groups charge a fee or require members to pay dues to cover costs and perhaps invite a speaker/presenter to conduct a workshop or give a talk on occasion.

writers_group 1
image from http://www.audreypress.com

Writers’ groups often appoint or hire a facilitator to guide and contribute to the critique. In better-run groups, this leader also keeps time and makes sure the comments are constructive and fair.

However, some groups are not well-run. The ground rules are not clear. Time is not equally distributed because it isn’t tracked well. Comments are not always fair and constructive. The facilitator dominates the discussion. Discussions veer away from the writing into personal stories and tangents introduced by participants. Suggestions are made that are not conducive to the writer’s intent, restrictions, topic, genre or format.

The diverse types of knowledge and experience among participants and in a leader of a writers’ group can be rich sources of varied perspectives OR generate too many irrelevant and unhelpful comments.

Pros and Cons of #Writers’ Critique Groups

CONS: An unskilled or distracted facilitator
— allows too many destructive comments to occur and this encourages more of the same
— allows the exposed author to experience immediate hurt feelings or bewilderment
— allows the writers to leave the critique session discouraged and confused by conflicting advice and too many off-topic remarks
— offers too many comments and dominates the discussion, shutting down, arguing with or interrupting other participants.

Writers in poorly-run groups can be led astray, which can causes them to depart from writing in their own voices and to lose sight of their personal or professional writing purposes. Many writers get discouraged or even “blocked” by attending poorly run writers’ groups.

BEWARE! Better to be isolated than to attend a group that operates negatively.

critique
image from thewildwriters.com

PROS: An skilled or focused facilitator
— leads a well-run group peopled by dedicated, experienced writers as well as “newbies” who each feels comfortable sharing and contributing
— trains and supports members to utilize the time effectively for receiving and offering constructive critiques, with newbies learning from old-timers the most effective methods for delivering and receiving criticism
— can foster an atmosphere of professional support that provides many gems of advice and new points of view for each member, even ones who don’t share in every meeting.

These productive sessions are wonderful catalysts for the writers who share drafts and any who attend. Authors in well-run writers’ groups return from each meeting with new vigor for editing, revising and creating new content.

Tips for Writers’ Groups:
1) Productive critique sessions are NOT riddled with “we loved it,” “it’s great,” and “keep going” with little or nothing else.
Critics must provide reasons for their opinions, especially when they’re positive, so that writers learn what we do well and can replicate our successes.
Critics must also defend their opinions that tell a writer to make changes by offering suggestions for revision or reasons for the ways the writing doesn’t “work” for the reader/listener.

2) Without the prompting of a skilled, focused leader, opinions may be offered with insufficient or no reasons given. Offering positive or negative opinions without rationales is not useful to a writer and should not be allowed.

3) Focus, clear ground rules (e.g., the requirement to give reasons for opinions, taking turns, sharing time equally) and giving both emotional and cognitive responses to a piece of writing are all parts of a productive writers’ group.

4) If YOUR writers’ group is not productive and positive enough, make an effort to change it or leave it. Start your own or join a different group.

5) Networking has never been easier. http://www.Meetup.com is a source of in-person writers’ groups. You can also check your local library’s, college’s, county’s/parish’s, state’s/province’s and country’s organizational listings for professional writers’ groups in your geographic area or genre. Check Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and many writers’ associations and genre-centered groups online and around the world for possible writers’ groups, critique opportunities and other networking options. Some groups are now meeting online and virtually via SKYPE, iCHAT, Google Hangouts, etc.

CA writers club logo

If you are a writer seeking a group, I hope you find or start a great one!

Best of luck in your writing.

#Writing as Excavation of the Soul

Repost from 12/2/13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy! Write Reviews! Share!

Is all disagreement “negativity”? When did that happen? I DISAGREE!

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO MY MIDDLE SISTER, W. ELLEN E. FLEISCHMANN, A MISSOURI STATE CHAMPION DEBATER, WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS TODAY!

Is all disagreement “negativity”? When did that happen? I DISAGREE, and I am not being “negative,” unless we’re in a debate, in which case my “side” is “con” (as opposed to “pro”).

This issue has arisen in various ways over the last two years or so, since I became a indie author, blogger and online participant. However, in my latest foray into online “conversations,” I engaged in an exchange that has been very disappointing.

An online acquaintance who moderates one of the Facebook groups I belong to has a public website that includes a blog where she often posts reviews. I’ve been following her site and occasionally reading her posts. Otherwise, we don’t know each other.

A bit of background: I don’t usually comment on hers or anyone’s reviews unless one is particularly well-written or I happen to vehemently agree or disagree with it, which was the case, here. This is a public site and she allows for comments.

This reviewer (who shall remain nameless) posted rave comments for the 50 Shades trilogy, including her wish to speak with E.L.James (making it seem as if she had an “author crush” on E.L. James, which I have no issue with at all). It was her calling the main relationship portrayed in 50 Shades “the greatest modern love story” of her time (this reviewer is about 20 years younger than I am, by my estimate; perhaps younger), that compelled me to respond.

I thought carefully about what I felt and thought and how I wanted to convey these bits, edited and revised my comments a few times before I posted them for approval. Then, I went on to my day’s other business.

Unfortunately, I received the following message (see below for our email chain) later that day.
Her decision not to “approve” or post my comment on her site and her intense, personal reaction surprised and appalled me, as you will see by my email response to her.

I’m not trying to start any kind of conflict or flame war. I really want to know what you all think. (See below.) Here are my main questions to you, my blog readers:

—-Are we supposed to withhold responding when we have ANY disagreement between us and any members of our online “community”?
—-Is ALL disagreement “negativity”?
—-Do we have to speak in “soft tones,” “soft-pedaling” anything that might possibly be critical, because so many writers/bloggers seem unable to tolerate being criticized?
—-Are we supposed to keep our sites (and purportedly, our lives) free of all conflictual conversations by not approving critical comments?
—-Do those of us who have criticisms to levy have to refrain or risk being called “trolls,” or banned/kicked out of review groups, comments sections, social network platform groups, etc.?
—-Do only “yes” people and “supporters” feel (and get) welcomed online?

not every critic is a hater

I can’t recreate my exact comment, but here is the gist:

Your post made me feel sad and I feel sorry for you. What world do you live in, that these two-dimensional characters and their dysfunctional sex and interactions constitute any kind of “love story,” much less “the greatest one”? James’ depiction of her disempowered, ignorant female lead character is insulting to women everywhere. The “billionaire” male lead is selfish, clueless about healthy relationships and awful to his “girlfriend.” The “plot,” thin as it is, is implausible. Some of the “play” depicted in the sex scenes is not credible or even possible (people have tried to recreate it with laughable and/or injurious results).

I reviewed and disliked all three books, giving many considered reasons. Please go read my reviews. I also consider E.L. James’ writing among the worst to receive public acclaim, so as an editor, author and reader, I challenge your evaluation of the writing of these novels. Your opinions caused me to feel discouraged.

Here are the first email I got from this reviewer, below, and our exchange below that.

Subject: Blog Comment

“I was really on the fence with whether or not to approve your comment, Sally, or to respond to it. Because realistically the best way to deal with negativity is to not feed into it. So in this case, I’m going to respond privately.

“In answer to your question: ‘What world do you live in?’ I live in a democratic world where everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and since it is my blog, I am free to express it. You chose to read my blog, just as you obviously chose to read Fifty Shades of Grey. And like all readers in the world, we all have different viewpoints on how we interpret a book. You have no right to judge my opinion, just as I have no right to judge yours.

“However, the fact that you chose to try and publicly insult me on my blog, saying that you feel sorry for me for my opinion, that you feel saddened by it, is extremely hurtful.

“I have supported your posts on [the Facebook group I moderate] since its inception, and I am disgusted that you would even try to publicly insult me, as I have never done anything but provide you with support. I did not approve your comment.”

comment not approved

I’m reading this, stunned. Really? These two lines, in the same paragraph, written without irony?
“I live in a democratic world where everyone is entitled to their own opinion…” followed by
“You have no right to judge my opinion, just as I have no right to judge yours.”

If we have a “democratic” right to our opinions, isn’t judgment a form of opinion? Why does she think we “have no right” to judge anyone else’s opinions? That is so absurd I don’t even know where to start with a response.

And, a deletion of my comment follows this “explanation”? I’m sputtering and laughing, both.

What IS a review, if it’s not exactly that: one reader and possibly another writer JUDGING another’s opinions and writing?

What is the function of comments on reviews, if not to JUDGE that review (like it, dislike it, agree/disagree)?

I considered, took some deep breaths, decided it was worth my time to respond. Maybe she could learn something… Maybe not.

I wrote, revised a few times, then responded:

Subject: Re: Blog Comment

“Dear XXX,

“It is your blog, your review and your opinions: all true. But, if the only comments you ‘approve’ on your site are those that agree with you, make you feel good and support your opinions unequivocally, you will stagnate.

“Your choice.

“I did not set out to be nor do you have to take my comments as ‘hurtful.’ I was expressing my dismay, my personal (as a female and feminist who is a lot older than you) and my professional (as a writer who has been writing a lot longer than you) sorrow at your conclusions and approval of those books. I read them all, too. I reviewed them all, too.

“If you want to go and comment on my reviews, please do. Say whatever you want, as a reviewer, a writer and a reader: that is your right. I encourage you to do so.

“Your previous support of my posts is appreciated, but your using that as if you ‘paid’ for my approval forever by doing so is insulting to me. Stop approving, stop supporting, if you think you ‘deserve’ some special and DISHONEST responses from me for doing so.

“If you want to close off conversations between us because you disagree and get hurt feelings when I don’t like what you write or post, I can’t stop you, but please; don’t make it as if I did anything wrong. You have a public blog. Comments are public. I did not ‘publicly insult you.’ I responded to your public post, in public, where comments belong.

“Sheesh.

“Sally”

She wrote back:

Re: Re: Blog Comment

“I will not respond to your negativity, Sally.

“We obviously do live in two different worlds. I’m happy to stay in mine.”


I did not and will not respond directly to her. I gave up on her: not apparently willing to be learning; not worth my time.

Instead, I am writing this post and asking for YOUR opinions.

Maybe I could have phrased my comment more “gently,” in some misguided attempt to protect her, but I would NEVER consider doing that for a man or someone my own age. Wouldn’t I be subjecting her to gender and age bias if I were to withhold, “dumb down” or soft-pedal my considered and professional opinions just because she’s a woman and/or someone younger than I am? She presents herself as a professional in public so I treated her as one.

Why doesn’t she expect some responses that don’t please her and have a better way to manage her own feelings about them? Why can’t she handle disagreement and criticism with more grace, or, even better, engage in a conversation with me about her points of disagreement, defend her opinion, argue her points, instead of playing the “hurt” and “insulted” cards? Why is all right for her to judge my comments but not all right for me to judge her review?

Are we “fellow authors” and reviewers/bloggers really obligated—no; supposed to—send all comments in which we disagree with a blogger to them privately, first? Why?

I vehemently disagree with these ever-expanding hiding-from-public-view practices. I am certain that hiding disagreements results in the disappearance of complex, nuanced dialogue and provides the public with pablum, instead. Then, the only thing readers get is a distorted picture of author engagement, in which we all hold hands and sing “Kum Ba Ya” all the time. When we post only glowing reviews, readers are misled and we breach the public trust.

When some label comments they don’t like as “negativity” and relegate disagreement to the private realm, we are all then left with sanitized, white-washed, dishonest and hypocritical non-dialogue in all public spaces: what is the point of engagement, then? Just keep patting everyone on the back, regardless of value, worth, logic, perceptions?

Not all disagreement is “negativity.” Not all conflicts between us should position one person as “good” and the other as a “troll.” Yes, there are “trolls.” I am not one of them, and this person should realize that. I am not hurt, just pointing out the obvious.

If she really can’t tell the difference between my expressing my honest opinions, while I am respecting but not liking hers; if she can’t see that I am not liking that she came to the conclusions she did or made the choices she did, but I am taking the time to tell her that as one professional to another, then I am led to give up on her.

Authors and bloggers, in my view, do not “earn” uncritical support (or maybe you think you do and you want it, but I do NOT) just by joining a group or getting to know each other online. If you are my professional “friend” or colleague, PLEASE tell me the truth. I don’t want applause; I want critiques and engagement that matter.

Just so you know: I do not go around looking for people to disagree with. I am busy. Most of my posted comments are supportive and positive, and I don’t post a lot of those, either.

HOWEVER, when something disturbs and moves me enough to write to someone about it, that writer should be grateful: I read his/her piece, respected the author enough to consider their opinions or positions, and responded from a thoughtful place.

When I am writing to the reviewer or blogger in order to provide my emotional as well as logical responses, that is further proof that I believe in this author or blogger enough to take MY precious time to craft and post a response.

If this blogger and any others do not understand that all thoughtful comments, however contradictory or critical, are a gift, their censorship is going to make honest dialogue even more rare.

Some writers apparently don’t have the courage to stand by their own public proclamations and engage publicly with people who do not agree with them. I term this behavior “unprofessional” and deem them unworthy of my time and opinions in the future.

BTW: I went to her FB group to see if she (the moderator) had kicked me out, and so far, not. However, she posted and pinned this query, right after our email exchange:

“Since this group is becoming more and more of a spam magnet, and not so much about [the group’s stated topic] anymore, I’m thinking it’s time to put it to rest?

“If anyone cares to keep it open, please respond with a comment, and I’ll see what reception I receive.

“I’m thinking about opening another one using a different name and with a slightly different purpose. Thoughts?”

Shutting down this group and using a different name to start another one?

Coincidence? I doubt it.

PLEASE post your comments here, on my main blog, to this any any other post:
http://www.sallyember.com/blog.
ALL comments that are not SPAM are ALWAYS approved.

comment approved baby
image from http://www.phoenixheart.net

Keep writing, keep commenting, keep reading, keep approving.

Best to you all.

“Grade Inflation”—the Widespread Awards and Exalting of Effort—are Ruining Writing and Writers

I am hereby and for an undetermined length of time giving low credence to most book reviews, awards, contests and other honors conferred upon books/authors.

Why? I know some of the awardees’ writing. Many are undeserving of any accolades.

“Grade Inflation”—the widespread awards and the exalting of effort—are ruining writing and writers.

inflated A
image from http://www.wrkcapital.com

Why does anyone reward mediocrity and worse? How many “open mikes” have you attended in which EVERYONE, no matter how badly they perform or how horribly they read aloud or recite poetry, gets wild applause or even a standing ovation? Does the audience believe that everyone deserves the same response regardless of the quality of their presentation?

I do not.

How does it help any author/artist grow when no one is honest with them about the areas they need to improve and all they hear are overly exuberant praises? Neither are we helping authors or keeping faith with readers when so many provide undeserved 5-star “reviews” for shoddy writing. We are helping our writers and performers when we honestly and with specificity critique their work.

We are not doing our children any favors to give everyone who participates a “winner” ribbon, unless everyone understands that showing up and participation are what get awarded. However, I contend that, for professionals, the industry should not be labeling greatness on effort alone.

Grading on effort makes greatness lose all significance and confuses us all. When everyone “wins,” no one does. For evaluations and competitions to matter, the creation being evaluated of any top-ranking writer or other artist must be excellent by objective standards to have earned that award.

When all are given “A”s, or 5 Stars, or First Place, the rankings become meaningless. Participants can’t begin to discern their actual place among their peers or the value of their work in the world when reviewers and judges do not provide accurate, meaningful, thoughtful critiques and feedback, in the form of awards to the deserving.

participation trophy
image from http://cutemonster.com

At the end of a sports event, such as a foot race or team game, the winners and losers are indisputable. Those that swim are racing each other and the clock, which are immutably obvious regarding who swam the fastest for that race and for all recorded events of that type.

Art assessments should not merely be based on the creator’s intention or your affection for the creator.

Exceptions: if the artist is a child or disabled in some way, then that participation alone is sufficient to earn an award. Obstacles that participant has already overcome just to be involved in that competition or performance do deserve to be honored. THOSE types of contests, in which “everyone wins,” I wholeheartedly honor, e.g., the Special Olympics.

BTW: I strongly believe in and promote cooperative games, the postponement of competition, and an “everybody wins” concept for most activities for children and youth. I wish more youth sports and other harshly competitive games would be permanently removed from options so that everyone could play, learn and grow without that pressure.

This post is not to remove those cooperative and noncompetitive games or friendly, networking-type of awards passed around for fun and support. We all need encouragement.

However, when the competition is on a supposedly “level playing field” (more or less: let’s not get into gender, socio-economic class, age, racial and ethnic biases that unfairly prejudice judging and preclude fairness; that’s another subject), I strenuously object to fairly set competitors’ receiving awards, praises, great reviews or any other merit when the subject of the assessment is insufficiently unscrutinized.

I know some awards are merely a matter of “taste” or “current trends,” and that what anyone “likes” is always subjective.

Fine. Let those competitions be labeled clearly as having someone’s personal preferences, not accepted standards of excellence, as the main criteria for winning.

I’m talking about competitions that adults, professionals, and mostly, writers enter that supposedly have criteria that winners have to meet or exceed, in which the “best” is supposed to be honored the most. I wish that all of these competitions would be judged by obvious and agreed-upon standards of excellence and not determine winners based on effort, affection or popularity, or worse, payment of entry fees.

Also, I’m not talking about what people “like.” I’m asking for awards based on what is excellent, as objectively measured as possible.

Maybe it’s easier to talk about what is NOT excellent. I believe these components, below, are not purely subjective measures and therefore can be evaluated fairly and “blindly.”

FYI: For professional writers, grammar matters. Spelling counts. Syntax is significant. Context is not everything.

grammar shit
image from http://the-modern-housewife.blogspot.com

Here are my “what not to award” components for all types of fiction, whatever length.

[NOTE: I do not believe these need any explanations, but comment here or wherever you see this or email me if you are not sure what I mean, below.]

  • Poorly plotted stories
  • Superficially drawn or insufficiently motivated characters
  • Illogical, incomplete or inconsistent world-building
  • Triteness in storyline, characterization or setting
  • Not credible settings and/or situations
  • Poorly edited, insufficiently copyedited, badly spelled and/or incorrectly written sentences, paragraphs, entire works
  • Repetitious language, situations, characters and plots across one or more works by the same author
  • Sexism, racism, ageism, classism, ethnocentrism and other oppressive biases as expressed through one’s characters and plots/situations

The next time I hear a writer “won” an award, I hope s/he deserved it. I really do.

In case you need a reminder of what quality is and how deserving some authors are…

Ursula--Le-Guin-and-Neil--010
Ursula K. Le Guin and Neil Gaiman at the National Book Awards, 2014, in New York.
image from http://www.theguardian.com Photograph: Robin Marchant/Getty

P.S. I find Gaiman unreadable (personal preference) and adore Le Guin, but I recognize the similar greatness in their writing.

10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

What is the value of social networks in easing the loneliness of the solo writer? How do online groups/communities provide opportunities for sharing ideas? How do today’s writers, especially for those newly published or about to seek options in publication, benefit from building communities of virtual friends?

There are now thousands of online groups/communities a writer can join. Some are only available via membership in existing social media sites, such as Goodreads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. Others are stand-alone groups that have their own websites and memberships but may also host a page on any of the other social media sites to attract and inform potential members and continue to post info to members regularly.

Then, there are the groups, chat rooms or fora one can join, lurk on and/or contribute to on Yahoo, KindleBoards, Smashwords, Bublish, Authonomy, Jukepop Serial, Wattpad, and probably hundreds more, Add to that specific professional sites’ groups, such as Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, etc., plus international groups and marketing sites and it makes one’s head spin.

If you are a blogger as well as a fiction writer, if you are a new and/or indie pub author or just one of millions who has no outside PR firm hired to market your books, you NEED groups/communities to get your “brand” known, find readers, attract followers and fans, get “pingbacks,” improve your ALEXA rating, your KLOUT or SNAP scores, get a Google Page Ranking for your website….

Don’t you?

How does a busy writer wade through all these opportunities to decide where to plant one’s online presence “flag” and still have time to write? The discerning writer who actually wants to protect your time and keep writing while marketing effectively can use these 10 criteria to choose your online memberships.

10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

Join-us-banner

image from: http://www.tabularasa.com.au

DECIDE whether or not to:

1. PAY or stick with FREE memberships?
Some groups are free; some start out free or have a free level but change into/have paid memberships that provide additional services or opportunities to those who pay. If you have an unlimited budget or find yourself drawn to one or more of these groups and can afford it, go ahead and become a paid (upper-level) member. Some of these groups’ upper levels really do offer services to authors that are useful; some just say they do but when you read carefully, the “services” are not much more than occasional tweets.

Beware of those that over-promise, do not deliver, or are vague about what paid membership avails members of before paying. Research them: search for the group’s hashtag or tweet handle and then privately message someone [not the leader] about specific ways that being a paid member benefits him/her.

So far, the most I have paid to “belong” to any group or purchase any “marketing” service was $15 and it wasn’t worthwhile. If you do join a group and pay your fees or dues, make sure you’re getting what you pay for and only renew if it’s worth it: no automatic renewals!

pay dues

2. Participate in “review swaps”?
As a newbie desperate for reviews for seemingly invisible books, I found these groups to be so tempting. They seemed so supportive. They offer REVIEWS, sometimes in great quantity, sometimes with rankings and votes as well. But, free or not, these review “exchanges” come with several “prices,” and I personally decided the prices were too high.

For one, I am not comfortable providing pre-arranged and necessarily positive reviews (usually these swaps require/request a review rating of 4 or higher) for books I haven’t yet read in order to get the same for my own books (which the “reviewers” may or may not fully read). I “got into trouble” for daring to critique the books I read for being under-edited, overwritten, poorly constructed, badly plotted, shallow, etc.

Second, and much more chilling: if you join these groups and participate, you run the risk of having any or all of your reviews summarily removed from Amazon for not being inauthentic (some rightly so).

Third, some social media sites (Goodreads, for one) monitors members’ activities and sends messages to those members it believes are abusing the site, such as by “buying” or “trading” votes on Listopia, for example, or providing “fake” 5-star reviews to numerous members’ books. If you even get accused and especially when caught, you will discover that most sites’ TOS say they can suspend your account permanently and remove your books’ reviews, rankings, votes, etc., often with no warning and no recourse.

banned from Amazon

Although I joined some of these groups initially, I found out all of this later. Then, I removed myself within a few months of joining. I never paid to join.

If you are comfortable with the risks and conditions, go right ahead and participate.

3. Participate in Blog Hops and other “required” activities?
Some of these are great and worth doing. Others, not so much.

Look around, visit a few, comment, see what happens. THEN, decide.

4. Join a “Tweet” team or use group hashtags when posting?
This is highly recommended by some, disregarded by many. When someone posts nothing on Twitter but lists of others’ handles and the group’s hashtag, NO ONE CARES. Don’t do that.

But, if your group actually retweets, comments, replies, shares, ENGAGES with each others’ tweets or posts, that is worthwhile and those groups are worth joining.

5. Become a regular responder/poster or stay in the “shadows” (read/lurk but don’t comment, “LIKE,” +1 or post)?
I highly recommend lurking/reading many days’ or months’ worth of posts for some “Boards,” Communities or Groups before posting yourself. Get the “culture” of the group: the tone, the topics, the length, the repartee, the purposes. See if these resonate with you and your “brand” or style. If yes, go right ahead and join in the conversation. If not, move on.
Do not join a group to argue, criticize, lambast or attack.

Remember: the internet is “forever”: if you get into a “flame war,” readers/fans and publishers (and employers) can find it years later. Perhaps use a pseudonym for controversial posts.

Zooey Deschanel quote about trolls

6. Become a “help offered,” “help requested” or both type of participant?
You can become a resource to others on many sites (Quora, Ask an Expert, Reddit, etc.) or request help yourself.

Respect, assistance and expertise are admired. Whining, complaining, false information or bragging: not.

7. Join as yourself, your brand/books/website, your pseudonym?
EVERYTHING you post becomes part of your brand unless you use pseudonyms. The intentional and judicious use of pseudonyms is recommended, particularly if you write in vastly different genres (children’s books and erotica) or want to comment on controversial topics but not affect your brand.

If you become a “content curator,” offering information, help, creative/fun posts, and these are consistent (or at least not contradictory) with your brand, go for it! Join groups and comment/post frequently as yourself. Get to know/be known by the members, become a fan /follower of theirs.

I belong to several groups whose members and I are becoming virtual friends. We support each other’s efforts.

encouragers-wanted

image from: http://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com

These are the groups worth joining and continuing to be active in and are valuable even when you have little time. If you comment here with one of yours, I’ll share some of mine!

Dump the rest.

8. Join any genre-specific or topic-specific groups?
If you are a “genre” writer, then, YES: join one or more of these groups.

I belong to sci-fi, romance, paranormal, ebooks, indie pub, fantasy, “clean” indie, female-oriented, YA, speculative fiction, blogger, author, writer, marketing, science, tech, G+ HOA help and many other groups that I interact with, enjoy and learn from weekly.

Be sure to read and follow each group’s posting guidelines carefully to avoid getting disliked, kicked out or otherwise censored.

9. Offer any giveaways, have contests, provide guest spots yourself?
If you have print books or swag, go right ahead and offer it/them. I highly recommend that you think of what you have to offer and start offering (e.g., free PDFs of writing tips, samples of your writing, free passes, discount coupons) whenever you can.

I have a blog (http://www.sallyember.com/blog) and an almost-weekly Google+ Hangout On Air (CHANGES HOA), so I can and do offer guest blog opportunities and guest starring spots. If you’d like to propose a guest blog topic and date and/or be on CHANGES, get in touch with me here: sallyember@yahoo.com

I am also a series ebooks novelist, so I offer the first book in The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, as “permafree,” which is highly recommended for newbies to do, once we have subsequent books for sale.

When you are doing many other types of writing and interacting regularly with several online groups/communities, you can occasionally plug your own books! Like, NOW!

logoAuthorsDen

10. Enter any contests or pay for reviews or marketing?

When a group’s entire purpose is to further its own ends and fill its coffers with entry fees, service charges, etc., these make me suspicious. But, I am naturally cynical.

I decided early on not to pay to enter any writing contests, not to pay for reviews, not to pay for “members’ services” and mostly not to pay for marketing. These are my decisions and not everyone agrees with them.

Some individuals offer a combination of free and for sale services/marketing, so you can decide which you want to participate in/join. I have met several great people and had excellent experiences in some groups in this way: I participated in their free activities and then did not continue when the next steps required payment since I couldn’t afford or did not need those services at that point. I do give these “helpers” regular “shout-outs” and thank them publicly for all they do/have done, actions which I hope make up for my lack of financial support to them.

The professionals left me alone when I asked them to do so. The ones who wouldn’t stop emailing and kept on when I asked them to stop or when I told them I wasn’t buying got relegated to spam and ignored.

You have to decide for yourself. However, if you are considering paying for any of these, please research the contest, reviewers, PR person, etc., thoroughly.

Writing Community

It’s bad enough not to win or not to get what you paid for; it’s worse when you’ve paid a lot. BEWARE!

If/when you find groups worth joining, please comment about them here.

Best of luck to you all!

Two in three weeks! “Versatile #Blogger #Award” also landed here!

versatile blogger award

Thanks, Inger D. Kenobi, upcoming guest for Episode 20 on 2/4/15 of CHANGES, and my sangha sister, for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! I am so honored!

Here is her posting with all Inger’s nominations:
http://theviridescentconsumer.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/the-viridescent-consumer-receives-the-versatile-blogger-award-fist-pump-mandatory/

The rules are:

  • Show the award on your blog.
  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 blogs.
  • Link to your nominees’ blogs and let them know.

I am going to take the title of this award literally and nominate those whose blogs are versatile and fascinating (to me, of course):

Seven MORE things most people do not know about me…

  1. My first languages were Yiddish (no longer fluent, though) and English. I also speak/know Spanish as well as some Italian, German, French, Tibetan and Sanskrit.
  2. I won a competition and represented my school on the balance beam in 6th grade and continued to work the beam until I wrecked my ankle during a poorly spotted dismount in 10th grade. This injury prevented me from trying out for cheerleading as well, which greatly improved my intellectual and artistic lives and friendships.
  3. I have a negative physical reaction to roller coasters and anything mechanical that carries people to or across high places (ferris wheels, trams, ski lifts) which includes some acrophobia.
  4. I read about 1000 words/minute unless the text is very dense or complicated.
  5. I have some friends still in my life whom I’ve known since we were 5 years old. We are now 60.
  6. My first role in a play was in Kindergarten. I was cast as the rabbit. The day before the play, I sprained my ankle (not the same one as above), so my mother brought me to school in a red wagon (we lived across the street from the school) and I hopped my way through my part: best method acting ever.
  7. My grandmother (may she enjoy TV in the ether), my mother, and I have all spent way too much time watching a long-running USA soap opera, Days of Our Lives. Knowing this, one of my sort-of-stepchildren gave me a mug with the DOOL logo on it which I recently gifted to my mother.

Tell me What Types of Posts you Want More of for 2015! Summary & Links to Posts from 2014’s Sally Ember, Ed.D., Blog by Category

Tell me What Types of Posts you Want More of for 2015! Summary & Links to Posts from 2014’s Sally Ember, Ed.D., Blog by Category

Welcome to all my new readers, followers, and returning ones to this year-end review. I am grateful for all of your attention, especially when you reblog, comment, ask questions or poke at my opinions. THANK YOU for being a part of this writer’s blog experience this year and I hope you continue to visit!

Quick Year-in-Review Stats and Info:

  • My post, Pros and Cons of #Writers’ Critique Groups, 2/20/14, brought the most visitors in one day (195).
  • My post, 15 Points about the Effects of #Concussions on #Meditators’ #Brains, 5/2/14, was the most-viewed post (356) (see below for list of ALL my posts, by category and date).
  • My post, How to STUPENDIFY my #Ebook’s Release with a Virtual Book Tour, garnered the most comments (22).
  • This blog was viewed about 14,000 times with visitors from 127 countries.
  • Nicholas C. Rossis was my most active commenter: THANKS, Nicholas!

Link to full annual stats report: https://sallyember.com/2014/annual-report/

If you are new-ish to this blog, you may especially appreciate that I have listed most of my blog posts and major categories, below, so you can cruise around by topic rather than date, if you choose. I am a sci-fi/ romance/ utopian/ multiverse/ paranormal (psi) ebooks author who also has a keen interest in many other subjects, most notably: science, social issues/politics, writing/publishing/ book marketing/ reviews, and spirituality/meditation. Because of a fall that caused a concussion last spring, I also became engrossed in Traumatic Brain Injury and its aftermaths, especially as it impacts meditation.

In addition to the posts listed, below, I also have Author Interviews (with me as the subject), videos of each of my CHANGES conversations (we’re up to Episode 16, to date), links to my guest blog posts and much more on my website (I’m providing the link here in case you’re reading this elsewhere):
http://www.sallyember.com

My broad interests are loosely grouped into the categories I’ve centered and bolded, below, but some posts had to be listed as “doubled” because they straddled more than one area.

I’ve highlighted the TOP (1st, 2nd and 3rd), as in most-viewed, posts as well as some of the least-viewed.

Regarding the least-viewed, many of these are not listed, below, because I didn’t originate the content and/or the posts were not about my own books, but these posts which had between 1 – 3 views included: most reblogs of others’ posts; links to interviews of me or others as Authors; links and excerpts from my books’ reviews and The Spanners Series‘ Vol II’s serialized excerpts; personal stories from my meditation retreat and experiences; announcements of The Spanners Series‘ book trailers, releases, reviews; announcements of my being on someone else’s radio show, blog or other format as an author; some of my opinion pieces on various topics.

No pattern, there, so not sure what to make of these low-readership posts. Wrong day? Wrong week? Not enough followers, yet, when posted? We’ll see in future months!

If you missed a post, enjoyed a topic but didn’t realize I had more posts in that same area, or want to comment on any of this year’s posts, now’s your chance! Please do comment! I reply to all. And, feel free to share/reblog, curate/use any of my content (giving me credit, please, and excerpting ethically, of course).

I hope your holiday celebrations or whatever activities you have been doing lately have brought you joy. Best to you all!

WIN_20141113_151054

About My Books and Other Science-Fiction

1/8/14: “Finishing the Hat” or, in my case, another #eBook
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/08/finishing-the-hat-or-in-my-case-another-ebook/

logoAuthorsDen

1-16-14: “5 Wonderful Stars” for #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING!
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/16/618/

1/18/14: #DNF Review for #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING still shines!
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/18/dnf-review-for-thischangeseverything-still-shines/

1/23/14: Surprisingly Glowing #Review by Carrie Shepherd of This Changes Everything
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/23/surprisingly-glowing-review-by-carrie-shepherd-of-this-changes-everything/

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

1/24/14: Stellar Review by David ben Efraim for This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series: “The End of Humankind’s Loneliness”
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/24/5-star-review-by-david-ben-efraim-of-this-changes-everything-volume-i-the-spanners-series-the-end-of-humankinds-loneliness/

1/25/14: New Book Trailer for This Changes Everything right here!
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/25/new-book-trailer-for-this-changes-everything-right-here/

1/28/14: 3 Stars for This Changes Everything from Alexander Crommich: Book Review
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/28/3-stars-for-this-changes-everything-from-alexander-crommich-book-review/

2/5/14: “Complex, Creative, and Compelling – 4 Stars” from B.C. Brown for This Changes Everything!
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/05/complex-creative-and-compelling-4-stars-from-b-c-brown-for-this-changes-everything/

2/6/14: 4 Stars from “April” for This Changes Everything on Amazon and elsewhere
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/06/4-stars-from-april-for-this-changes-everything-on-amazon-and-elsewhere/

2/6/14: 2nd #BookTrailer for #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING, Vol. I, #THESPANNERSSERIES
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/06/2nd-booktrailer-for-thischangeseverything-vol-i-thespannersseries/

2/10/14: High Praise from Rebecca T for #ThisChangesEverything!
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/10/5-stars-from-rebecca-t-for-this-changes-everything/

2/18/14: #ThisChangesEverything #BookTrailer with #Multiverse Focus
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/18/thischangeseverything-booktrailer-with-multiverse-focus/

2/28/14: #Multiverse #Experiment this week: Tomorrow’s Story Written Today
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/28/multiverse-experiment-this-week-tomorrows-story-written-today/

3/13/14 – 4/18/14: LEAST-VIEWED POSTS (most with only 1 view), so probably will not do for Volumes III and beyond unless YOU encourage me! “Acclaimed, eagerly-awaited SPANNERS SERIES’ Volume II Excerpts”
https://sallyember.com/2014/03/13/acclaimed-eagerly-awaited-spanners-series-volume-ii-excerpts-starting-31614/

3/30/14: 4 stars! #BookReview #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING by Nick LeVar, Free World Authors
https://sallyember.com/2014/03/30/bookreview-thischangeseverything-by-nick-levar-free-world-authors/

4/1/14: #COVER #REVEAL! #THISCHANGESMYFAMILY&MYLIFEFOREVER, Vol II, #THESPANNERSSERIES
https://sallyember.com/2014/04/01/cover-reveal-thischangesmyfamilymylifeforever-vol-ii-thespannersseries/

final cover print

4/3/14: Another 4-Star Review for #ThisChangesEverything, Vol. I, #TheSpannersSeries
https://sallyember.com/2014/04/03/another-4-star-review-for-thischangeseverything-vol-i-thespannersseries/

5/9/14 (doubled category): 3 Reasons That This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, is Permafree
https://sallyember.com/2014/05/09/3-reasons-that-this-changes-everything-volume-i-of-the-spanners-series-is-permafree/

6/3/14: 4-Star #Review for #THISCHANGESVERYTHING, Vol I, #THESPANNERSSERIES
https://sallyember.com/2014/06/03/4-star-review-for-thischangesverything-vol-i-thespannersseries/

6/6/14: 5-Star #Review of #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER, Vol II, #THESPANNERSSERIES
https://sallyember.com/2014/06/06/review-of-thischangesmyfamilyandmylifeforever-vol-ii-thespannersseries/

6/9/14: RT and SHARE: Release Date is TODAY! #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER, Vol II, #THESPANNERSSERIES on sale NOW!
https://sallyember.com/2014/06/09/rt-and-share-release-date-is-today-thischangesmyfamilyandmylifeforever-vol-ii-thespannersseries-on-sale-now/

8/9/14: 5-Stars for Volume II of The Spanners Series on Goodreads!
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/09/5-stars-for-volume-ii-of-the-spanners-series-on-goodreads/

9/10/14: “Mrs. G” Reviewed This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/10/mrs-g-reviewed-this-changes-everything-volume-i-the-spanners-series/

9/25/14: 5 Stars for This Changes Everything from “Raving in Alaska” on Amazon!
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/25/5-stars-for-this-changes-everything-from-raving-in-alaska-on-amazon/

10/4/14: “Quick Book Reviews” Gives “Thumbs Up” to This Changes Everything, Vol I, The Spanners Series!
https://sallyember.com/2014/10/04/quick-book-reviews-gives-thumbs-up-to-this-changes-everything-vol-i-the-spanners-series/

11/11/14: **** for This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol II of The Spanners Series
https://sallyember.com/2014/11/11/for-this-changes-my-family-and-my-life-forever-vol-ii-of-the-spanners-series/

12/20/14: SF The Spanners Series, Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, excerpt
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/20/the-spanners-series-volume-iii-this-isis-not-the-way-i-want-things-to-change-excerpt/

Creativity at Work, Here

3/29/14: The Cloud People Dance at #sallyember.com
https://sallyember.com/2014/03/29/the-cloud-people-dance-at-sallyember-com/

Women writer upholding book

7/18/14: Criteria for Selecting Speculative Fiction for Younger Readers: What to Discuss and Why
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/18/criteria-for-selecting-speculative-fiction-for-younger-readers-what-to-discuss-and-why/

8/18/14: My Best Give-Away Story: “Our Family Table becomes Ryan and Gina’s Family Table”
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/18/my-best-give-away-story-our-family-table-becomes-ryan-and-ginas-family-table/

8/19/14: #iamsubject story: “I Find Myself Wherever I Live and I Move A Lot!”
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/19/iamsubject-story-i-find-myself-wherever-i-live-and-i-move-a-lot/

9/4/14: Moving back “home” after living elsewhere for over 40 years https://sallyember.com/2014/09/04/moving-back-home-after-living-elsewhere-for-over-40-years/

9/8/14: How I Benefit from the Celebrities I Grew Up /Worked with and Still Do
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/08/how-i-benefitted-from-the-celebrities-i-grew-up-worked-with-and-still-do/

9/22/14 (doubled category): Goodreads’ Genre-Specific Review Group’s Fall 2014 Blog Hop Tour: “COMFORT”
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/22/goodreads-genre-specific-review-groups-fall-2014-blog-hop-tour-comfort/

9/27/14: My post for the Goodreads’ Genre-Specific Review Group’s Fall 2014 Blog Hop Tour: “COMFORT” is this year’s theme.
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/27/my-post-for-the-goodreads-genre-specific-review-groups-fall-2014-blog-hop-tour-comfort-is-this-years-theme/

10/1/14: My Fall #NewTVShows Reviews: 2014 is a VERY Mixed Season, thru 10/1/14
https://sallyember.com/2014/10/01/my-fall-newtvshows-reviews-2014-is-a-very-mixed-season-so-far/

11/8/14: Today, in #SPAM
https://sallyember.com/2014/11/08/today-in-spam/

12/10/14: “Non-Reciprocity Leads to Less Selfishness”
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/10/what-do-we-have-to-lose/

12/16/14: “Discovering My Inner Con,” for Where do I find it?, Yeah Write Poetry Challenge #192
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/16/discovering-my-inner-con-where-do-i-find-it-for-yeah-write-poetry-challenge-192/

12/23/14: “Most-Anticipated” #Films of #2015: Yeah or Nay? And, one look back at 2014 #SciFi and #Fantasy Films
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/23/most-anticipated-films-of-2015-yeah-or-nay/

About Science

1/30/14 (doubled category): #Buddhism and #Science: the Facts, the Yogis, the Practices
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/30/buddhism-and-science-a-marriage-of-minds-convenience-a-sham-the-truth/

parallel universes image 1

2/14/14: Because of Hormesis: When Heartache Doesn’t Wreck You, It Makes You Stronger
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/14/because-of-hormesis-when-heartache-doesnt-wreck-you-it-makes-you-stronger/

3/14/14: My #1980s #Computer Tutors: Thanks to Jaye Alper (sorely missed ) and Mario Cossa
https://sallyember.com/2014/03/14/my-1980s-computer-tutors-thanks-to-jaye-alper-sorely-missed-and-mario-cossa/

4/11/14 (doubled category): What are the Four Major Upsides and Downsides of #Paranormal #Presentiment?
https://sallyember.com/2014/04/11/what-are-the-four-major-upsides-and-downsides-of-paranormal-presentiment/

8/2/14 (doubled category): Proven, Long-term Effects on Physical Health of those who suffered childhood Trauma, Abuse, Neglect and Bullying
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/02/how-childhood-trauma-can-have-lifelong-consequences/

8/20/14 (doubled category): Bras and Shoes: Breast Cancer, Bunions, Back Strain and “Beauty” Lies
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/20/bras-and-shoes-breast-cancer-bunions-back-strain-and-beauty-lies/

8/28/14 (doubled category): Deadly Eye Makeup and other “Beauty” “Aids”: STOP USING THESE!
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/28/deadly-eye-makeup-and-other-beauty-aids-stop-using-these/

9/18/14 (doubled category): “Actualists” vs. “Realists”: The Evolution of Modern #Fiction thanks to #Quantum #Physics
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/18/actualists-vs-realists-the-evolution-of-modern-fiction-thanks-to-quantum-physics/

10/16/14: #Love According to #Psychology and #Biology
https://sallyember.com/2014/10/16/love-according-to-psychology-and-biology/

10/21/14 (doubled category): Lead Lipsticks, Folliculitis with MRSA from Hair Removal, and other Deadly “Beauty” Choices
https://sallyember.com/2014/10/21/lead-lipsticks-folliculitis-with-mrsa-from-hair-removal-and-other-deadly-beauty-choices/

11/10/14: Latest News in #ParallelUniverses and/or the #Multiverse, According to #Science in 2014
https://sallyember.com/2014/11/10/latest-news-in-paralleluniverses-andor-the-multiverse-according-to-science-in-2014/

About Social Issues and Politics

2/3/14: 15 Ways I PERSONALLY #Conserve #Water and You MUST, Too!
ttp://sallyember.com/2014/02/03/15-ways-i-personally-conserve-water-and-you-must-too/

Where_Water_Is_Used

5/20/14: Guilty is Guilty: Step up and Take Your Punishments
https://sallyember.com/2014/05/20/guilty-is-guilty-step-up-and-take-your-punishments/

6/10/14: #Sexist, #Racist Dress Codes? What is “Proper #School Attire” in the 2010’s?
https://sallyember.com/2014/06/10/sexist-racist-dress-codes-what-is-proper-school-attire-in-the-2010s/

6/27/14: 3rd TOP POST: 271 Views, Why posting about fruit is insulting to women: DO NOT PARTICIPATE in this year’s “Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign”
https://sallyember.com/2014/06/27/why-posting-about-fruit-is-insulting-to-women-do-not-participate-in-this-years-breast-cancer-awareness-campaign/

7/1/14: Facts about #BPA, #Water Bottles, Shower Curtains, #Cans, More, and What to Do
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/01/facts-about-bpa-water-bottles-shower-curtains-cans-more-and-what-to-do/

7/7/14: ‘BOT v. HUMAN: Score 2 for the Human! Transcript of Actual Online Chat with AT & T “Service Representative,” July, 2014
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/07/bot-v-human-score-2-for-the-human-transcript-of-actual-online-chat-with-at-t-service-representative-july-2014/

7/29/14: Supporting gender and sexual orientation diversity is important: It’s sometimes a matter of life and death
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/29/supporting-gender-and-sexual-orientation-diversity-is-important-its-sometimes-a-matter-of-life-and-death/

8/2/14 (doubled category): Proven, Long-term Effects on Physical Health of those who suffered childhood Trauma, Abuse, Neglect and Bullying
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/02/how-childhood-trauma-can-have-lifelong-consequences/

8/20/14 (doubled category): Bras and Shoes: Breast Cancer, Bunions, Back Strain and “Beauty” Lies
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/20/bras-and-shoes-breast-cancer-bunions-back-strain-and-beauty-lies/

8/28/14 (doubled category): Deadly Eye Makeup and other “Beauty” “Aids”: STOP USING THESE!
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/28/deadly-eye-makeup-and-other-beauty-aids-stop-using-these/

9/16/14: Being #Single vs. Social #Isolation: Benefits and Costs of #Solitude
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/16/being-single-vs-social-isolation-benefits-and-costs-of-solitude/

10/13/14: #Nobel Prize Winners 2014: Why we should pay attention and be grateful
https://sallyember.com/2014/10/13/nobel-prize-winners-2014-why-we-should-pay-attention-and-be-grateful/

10/21/14 (doubled category): Lead Lipsticks, Folliculitis with MRSA from Hair Removal, and other Deadly “Beauty” Choices
https://sallyember.com/2014/10/21/lead-lipsticks-folliculitis-with-mrsa-from-hair-removal-and-other-deadly-beauty-choices/

10/24/14: No Woman Wants to Have An Abortion, but We MUST Support EVERY Woman’s Right To Choose
https://sallyember.com/2014/10/24/no-woman-wants-to-have-an-abortion-but-we-must-support-every-womans-right-to-choose/

10/28/14 (doubled category): CONTROVERSY: #Buddhists and #Organ Donation at #Death
https://sallyember.com/2014/10/28/controversy-buddhists-and-organ-donation-at-death/

11/20/14: We Should All Contribute to Raising All Children
https://sallyember.com/2014/11/20/we-should-all-contribute-to-raising-all-children/

12/9/14: “Waiting For Your Boyfriend to Marry You” My Response
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/09/waiting-for-your-boyfriend-to-marry-you/

12/11/14: TEN Ways to Encourage #Victims of Any Age to #Report #Sexual and Other #Abuse
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/11/ten-ways-to-encourage-victims-of-any-age-to-report-sexual-and-other-abuse/

12/30/14: You need to reorganize your life if you are outsourcing your dating activities
https://sallyember.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/you-need-to-reorganize-your-life-if-you-are-outsourcing-your-dating-activities/

About my talk show, CHANGES, a Google+ HOA (Hangout On Air)

7/21/14: “Getting Comfortable with #Technology Takes Time,” Meloney Hall’s “Lights, Camera, #HOA” with Sally Ember, Ed.D., from 7/21/14
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/23/getting-comfortable-with-technology-takes-time-meloney-halls-lights-camera-hoa-with-sally-ember-ed-d-from-72114/

CHANGES Theme Image_3

7/28/14: Sally Ember’s CHANGES Google + HOA (Hangouts On Air) Start August 6
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/28/sally-embers-changes-google-hoa-hangouts-on-air-start-august-6/

8/8/14: CHANGES Episode 1 on Youtube Google+ HOA with Sally Ember and Shay West
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/08/changes-episode-1-on-youtube-google-hoa-with-sally-ember-and-shay-west/

12/9/14 (doubled category): #Crowdfunding with #Patreon: Sally Ember’s Campaign Needs Your Support!
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/09/crowdfunding-with-patreon-sally-embers-campaign-needs-your-support/

12/26/14 (doubled category): Sally Ember’s #Crowdfunding Song
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/26/sally-embers-crowdfunding-song/

12/29/14 (Doubled category): The Very Inspiring #Blogger# Award Landed Here!
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/29/the-very-inspiring-blogger-award-landed-here/

Lama D laughing 2012

My Teacher, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu, known as Lama Drimed

About Meditation and Spiritual Practice

1/11/14: When #Spiritual #Teachers Respond with #Countertransference
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/11/when-spiritual-teachers-respond-with-countertransference/

1/14/14: Another Friend’s Death: Mortality in Daily Life https://sallyember.com/2014/01/14/another-friends-death-mortality-in-daily-life/

1/30/14 (doubled category): #Buddhism and #Science: the Facts, the Yogis, the Practices
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/30/buddhism-and-science-a-marriage-of-minds-convenience-a-sham-the-truth/

2/17/14: How Having a #Buddhist #Spiritual #Teacher Changes Me
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/17/how-having-a-spiritual-teacher-changes-me/

2/23/14: 18 Tweets/3 photos inspired by the live speech of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, 2-23-14, Berkeley, CA https://sallyember.com/2014/02/23/18-tweets3-photos-inspired-by-the-live-speech-of-his-holiness-the-14th-dalai-lama-2-23-14-berkeley-ca/

2/25/14: The Swan Song of my #Buddhist Mini Home #Retreat Sung a Bit Early
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/25/the-swan-song-of-my-buddhist-mini-home-retreat-sung-a-bit-early/

5/2/14 TOP POST, 356 Views (doubled category): 15 Points about the #Effects of #Concussions on #Meditators’ #Brains
https://sallyember.com/2014/05/02/the-effects-of-concussions-on-meditators-brains/

6/20/14: #60for60: 60 ACTS OF #KINDNESS AND GRATITUDE– each of the days before my 60TH
https://sallyember.com/2014/06/20/60-for-60-60-acts-of-kindness-and-gratitude-for-the-60-days-preceding-my-60th-birthday/

6/26/14: I can #Meditate, Again! Ahhhh!
https://sallyember.com/2014/06/23/i-can-meditate-again-ahhhh/

7/14/14: The #Freedom to Die without Regret: Post for #RaveReviewsBookClub #Blog #Recruitment Day
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/14/the-freedom-to-die-without-regret/

8/22/14: #60for60 ENDS Today! 6/21 – 8/22/14
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/22/60for60-starts-today-621-82214/

9/22/14: 10Q begins September 24th, 2014 (Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah)
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/22/10q-begins-september-24th-2014-jewish-new-year-rosh-hashanah/

10/28/14 (doubled category): CONTROVERSY: #Buddhists and #Organ Donation at #Death
https://sallyember.com/2014/10/28/controversy-buddhists-and-organ-donation-at-death/

11/3/14: 5 Ways for #Giving 1% to Offset the Splurging Inspired by the Holidays
https://sallyember.com/2014/11/03/5-ways-for-giving-1-to-offset-the-splurging-inspired-by-the-holidays/

12/13/14 (doubled category): Linda Ronstadt’s Rendition of Desperado Burst my Grief Dam
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/13/linda-ronstadts-rendition-of-desperado-burst-my-grief-dam/

About Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) and Concussions

4/11/14 (doubled category): What are the Four Major Upsides and Downsides of #Paranormal #Presentiment?
https://sallyember.com/2014/04/11/what-are-the-four-major-upsides-and-downsides-of-paranormal-presentiment/

meditation-mind-brain-waves

5/2/14 (doubled category): 15 Points about the #Effects of #Concussions on #Meditators’ #Brains
https://sallyember.com/2014/05/02/the-effects-of-concussions-on-meditators-brains/

6/25/14: The Latest Research on Traumatic Brain Injury (#TBI): Causes, Diagnostics, Treatments
https://sallyember.com/2014/06/25/the-latest-research-on-traumatic-brain-injury-tbi-causes-diagnostics-treatments/

9/12/14: #Injuries to the #Mind, #Brain and #Psyche that Cause Difficulties with #Meditation
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/12/injuries-to-the-mind-brain-and-psyche-that-cause-difficulties-with-meditation/

12/13/14 (doubled category): Linda Ronstadt’s Rendition of Desperado Burst my Grief Dam
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/13/linda-ronstadts-rendition-of-desperado-burst-my-grief-dam/

About Publishing, Book Marketing, Writing, Writers

1/20/14: My #Writing Process: Revealed!
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/20/my-writing-process-revealed/

SWpreorders

1/21/14: My #Pinterest Boards are for you, my #Readers and #Fans
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/21/my-pinterest-boards-are-for-you-my-readers-and-fans/

1/27/14: My #Literary #Meh List 2014: 15 Plots, Devices, Characters I’m BORED with
https://sallyember.com/2014/01/27/my-literary-meh-list-2014-15-plots-devices-characters-im-sick-of/

2/15/14: #Smashwords vs. #Amazon for #Indie #Authors #ebook #epub: Pros and Cons
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/15/smashwords-vs-amazon-for-indie-authors-ebook-epub-pros-and-cons/

2/16/14: #Female #ebook #Authors: Getting Checked Out More at #Libraries
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/16/libraries-top-circulating-print-books-and-ebooks-in-jan-2014-how-ebooks-are-leveling-the-gender-playing-field/

2/20/14: Pros and Cons of #Writers’ Critique Groups
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/20/pros-and-cons-of-writers-critique-groups/

2/23/14: 2nd TOP POST: 310 Views, Why My First Experience with Using #Pre-Orders Will Help Get My NEXT #Ebook Higher on #Best-Seller Lists
https://sallyember.com/2014/02/23/why-my-first-experience-with-using-pre-orders-will-help-get-my-next-ebook-higher-on-best-seller-lists/

3/12/14: my #SFRB post: Lending Actual People’s Bios to #Fictional #Characters: Pros and Cons
https://sallyember.com/2014/03/12/945/

3/29/14: “I write like Ursula K. Le Guin”! Couldn’t have been more honored! https://sallyember.com/2014/03/29/i-write-like-ursula-k-le-guin-couldnt-have-been-more-honored/

4/29/14: 5 Things Wrong with #Sex Scenes in #Romance Novels and How to Improve Them https://sallyember.com/2014/04/29/5-things-wrong-with-sex-scenes-in-romance-novels-and-how-to-improve-them/

5/9/14 (doubled category): 3 Reasons That This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, is Permafree
https://sallyember.com/2014/05/09/3-reasons-that-this-changes-everything-volume-i-of-the-spanners-series-is-permafree/

5/14/14: The Anguish of Posting a 2-Star Review of a Colleague’s Book
https://sallyember.com/2014/05/14/the-anguish-of-posting-a-2-star-review-of-a-colleagues-book/

5/16/14: Important Perspectives on #Book #Reviews for #Authors
https://sallyember.com/2014/05/16/important-perspectives-on-book-reviews-for-authors/

5/22/14: #AUTHORS: #Plot Spice, or the 5 Worst Places to Wake Up Unexpectedly
https://sallyember.com/2014/05/22/authors-plot-spice-or-the-5-worst-places-to-wake-up-unexpectedly/

5/27/14: 16 Ways I Use #Goodreads https://sallyember.com/2014/05/27/16-ways-i-use-goodreads/

6/6/14: How to STUPENDIFY my #Ebook’s Release with a Virtual Book Tour
https://sallyember.com/2014/06/06/how-to-stupendify-my-ebooks-release-with-a-virtual-book-tour/

7/2/14: Guest Blog Post: “#Utopian #Sci-fi/#Speculative Fiction: Why it’s Intriguing and Necessary” https://sallyember.com/2014/07/02/guest-blog-post-utopian-sci-fispeculative-fiction-why-its-intriguing-and-necessary/

7/3/14: Excavating your Soul! – Indie and Proud
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/03/excavating-your-soul-indie-and-proud/

7/6/14: 10 Ways to Celebrate #Indie #Authors https://sallyember.com/2014/07/06/10-ways-to-celebrate-indie-authors/

7/10/14: Guest Post: “The Politics of Speculative/ Science-Fiction”
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/10/guest-post-the-politics-of-speculative-science-fiction/

7/16/14: Good #Writing DOES Require #Talent, Not just Hard Work
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/16/writing-does-require-talent-not-just-hard-work/

7/22/14: Parallel Construction: What it is, what it isn’t, and how to write better despite hating your 8th-grade English teacher
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/22/parallel-construction-what-it-is-what-it-isnt-and-how-to-write-better-despite-hating-your-8th-grade-english-teacher/

7/24/14: A DNF (Did Not Finish) Experience Does NOT Qualify for a “Review”
https://sallyember.com/2014/07/24/a-dnf-did-not-finish-experience-does-not-qualify-for-a-review/

8/10/14: My Blogaversary and 1st year of Book Marketing: Report Card
https://sallyember.com/2014/08/10/my-blogaversary-and-1st-year-of-book-marketing-report-card/

9/2/14: Book Sales are like PotLucks: You Don’t Know Who Appreciates Your Creation
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/02/book-sales-are-like-potlucks-you-dont-know-who-appreciates-your-creation/

9/18/14 (doubled category): “Actualists” vs. “Realists”: The Evolution of Modern #Fiction thanks to #Quantum #Physics
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/18/actualists-vs-realists-the-evolution-of-modern-fiction-thanks-to-quantum-physics/

9/22/14 (doubled category): Goodreads’ Genre-Specific Review Group’s Fall 2014 Blog Hop Tour: “COMFORT”
https://sallyember.com/2014/09/22/goodreads-genre-specific-review-groups-fall-2014-blog-hop-tour-comfort/

10/31/14: NOT DOING #NaNoWriMo Writing Plans
https://sallyember.com/2014/10/31/not-doing-nanowrimo-writing-plans/

11/16/14: 15 #Fiction #Promos that should be Revised or Trashed Completely
https://sallyember.com/2014/11/16/15-fiction-promos-that-should-be-revised-or-trashed-completely/

11/17/14: SHARE! EXPERIENCED #editor #proofreader available for quick-turn around jobs
https://sallyember.com/2014/11/17/experienced-editor-proofreader-available-for-quick-turn-around-jobs/

11/18/14: Stale writing? 4 Underused Literary Devices: Aphorism, Hyperbole, Tmesis and Zeugma
https://sallyember.com/2014/11/18/stale-writing-4-underused-literary-devices-aphorism-hyperbole-tmesis-and-zeugma/

11/21/14: Why I LOVE the #Smashwords Blog and you should, too!
https://sallyember.com/2014/11/21/why-i-love-the-smashwords-blog-and-you-should-too/

11/24/14: “What I Wish I had Known for #Indiepub #Ebooks 1 and 2: An Open Letter to my Earlier Self,” Guest Post on The Book Cove
https://sallyember.com/2014/11/24/what-i-wish-i-had-known-for-indiepub-ebooks-1-and-2-an-open-letter-to-my-earlier-self-guest-post-on-the-book-cove/

12/1/14: “An Open Letter to my Earlier Self about #Book #Reviews and #Reviewers,” Guest Post on The Book Cove
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/01/an-open-letter-to-my-earlier-self-about-book-reviews-and-reviewers-guest-post-on-the-book-cove-goes-live-today/

12/8/14: “Part III: Letter to my Earlier Self about #Preorders,” Guest Post on The Book Cove
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/08/part-iii-letter-to-my-earlier-self-about-preorders-guest-blogger-post-on-the-book-cove-reviews/

12/9/14 (doubled category): #Crowdfunding with #Patreon: Sally Ember’s Campaign Needs Your Support!
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/09/crowdfunding-with-patreon-sally-embers-campaign-needs-your-support/

12/15/14: “Part IV: Letter to my Earlier Self about #Blog #Hops and #Virtual #Book #Tours,” Guest Post on The Book Cove
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/15/part-iv-letter-to-my-earlier-self-about-blog-hops-and-virtual-book-tours-guest-blogger-post-on-the-book-cove-reviews/

12/26/14 (doubled category): Sally Ember’s #Crowdfunding Song
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/26/sally-embers-crowdfunding-song/

12/29/14 (Doubled category): The Very Inspiring #Blogger# Award Landed Here!
https://sallyember.com/2014/12/29/the-very-inspiring-blogger-award-landed-here/

The Very Inspiring #Blogger# Award Landed Here!

My blog and I have been nominated for the The Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

very-inspiring-blogger-award

Thank you so much, Dale Furse, for nominating my blog for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award! I am honored!

Dale is a children’s and YA fantasy author/ playwright/ songwriter/ poet who writes science-fiction novels, as I do. Please visit Dale: https://dalefurse.wordpress.com to find out more about her, her books, her reviews and more. She lives in Australia, so be aware of the time difference between there and where you live, if you’re not also Down Under!

The Very inspiring Blogger Award rules are as follows:
–Display the award on your blog
–Link back to the person who nominated you
–State 7 things about yourself that most people may not know
–Nominate 15 (I CHOSE 16!) bloggers, link to them, and notify them about their nominations

Seven things most people do not know about me…

  • I am no longer even 5 feet tall (I used to be almost 5’2″).
  • My first publication experience was to have a poem placed in my elementary school’s newsletter; I was 9 years old.
  • I studied faith healing in the Philippines in 1986.
  • My play, Crystal Dreams, was selected to be and was performed at Theatre-by-the-Sea at its end-of-summer New Playwrights’ Festival in 1984.
  • I began playing the piano and composing at age 3 but didn’t get formal lessons until age 9 because someone told my parents to wait until my hands got larger. I was aiming to become a concert pianist, having placed highly in a regional competition at age 13, but my hands did not grow from age 11 on.
  • I am now living about ten minutes’ drive from where I grew up after having lived elsewhere (on both coasts and in New Mexico) for 42 years.
  • I learned to swim and to read at age 3; I still do both.

I nominate these 16 bloggers, my first CHANGES Google + Hangouts On Air (HOA) talk show guests:

  1. Dr. Shay West, Ph.D.: http://shay-west.com/
  2. Marianne Jones: http://www.mariannejones.ca
  3. Connie Dunn: http://publishwithconnie.com/
  4. Janice Ross: http://culturalcocktails.com
  5. Tonya Moore: http://www.signalpositive.wordpress.com
  6. Charlee Allden: http://www.smartgirlsscifi.wordpress.com/
  7. Dr. Nicholas Rossis, Ph.D.: http://www.nicholasrossis.me
  8. Chase Knightly: http://www.chaseknightly.com
  9. Charles E. Yallowitz: http://legendsofwindemere.com
  10. Stefan Bolz: http://www.TheThreeFeathers.com
  11. Victoria Noe: http://www.friendgrief.com
  12. Dr. Anna Faktorovich, Ph.D.: http://www.anaphoraliterary.com/
  13. Dr. Olga Nuñez Mirét, M.D., Ph.D.: http://www.olganm.wordpress.com/
  14. John W. Howell: http://www.johnwhowell.com
  15. Krysten Lindsay Hager: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/
  16. Colette Vernon Black: http://www.coletteblack.net

Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

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#AUTHORS: Learn more about and get yourself or #READERS: recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest: CHANGES G+ HOA https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/

Best to you all and Happy New Year!

Sally Ember’s #Crowdfunding Song

Watch/listen to Sally singing this song (not very well, including a sneeze, mid-song):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eehr3F0TZzs
OR
http://youtu.be/Eehr3F0TZzs

For more info and to donate:
http://www.patreon.com/sallyember Thanks!

Sally Ember’s #Crowdfunding Song
(lyrics by Sally; based on You’re Gonna Miss me When I’m Gone, or The Cups Song)

I tripped and fell and broke my nose and head
…. About 8 months ago
I also lost my job, had to move and lost my house:
Crowdfunding is the way to go.

Way to go
Way to gooooooo:
PLEEEEEEASE help me meet my goals?
Turn my vids into podcasts,
Fund my other worthy tasks:
I have a long way still to go.

I’m not a super singer or a poet, true:
This video is proof of that;
But I need to catch your eye, wake your urge to open wide:
Pockets, purses: share your stash.

Share your stash
Share your staaaaash:
Convert your good vibes into cash!
Help this writer stay on course,
You will feel no remorse
If you decide to share your stash.

If you help me, I can help you, too:
Edit, proof or entertain.
If you donate just a few
I will give ebooks to you
More dough helps us both and quells my pain.

Ease my pain
Make it raaaaaain
Crowdfunding could relieve my pain.
Buy a cover; do not stint;
Turn my ebooks into print;
Please donate to reach my aims.

I tripped and fell and broke my nose and head
…. About 8 months ago
I also lost my job, had to move and lost my house:
Crowdfunding is the way to go.

Way to go
Way to gooooooo:
PLEEEEEEASE help me met my goals?
Turn my vids into podcasts,
Fund my other worthy tasks:
I have a long way still to go.

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“My Writing Process: Revealed!” Guest Blog Post on The Indie Writer’s Guide

Visit The Indie Writer’s Network, The Indie Writer’s Guide (link, below) to read my guest blog post, “My Writing Process: Revealed!” and many other great posts. Check out their other resources as well. Thanks, Amy Joy and the crew at TIWG.

writing process three parts

http://indiewritenet.com/writersguide/2014/05/08/my-writing-process-revealed/