Volume I, This Changes Everything, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are. Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family's and friends' reactions. In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth? This Changes Everything begins the 30-year story of Clara's term as Earth's first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series. Are YOU ready for the changes?
Excerpt from Volume I, This Changes Everything, The Spanners Series
First Contact between the Many Worlds Collective (MWC) and
Clara Branon, Ph.D., in northern California, December, 2012
The clear, cool, northern California night of December 21, 2012, I go to bed at around 8 PM as I usually do. I always meditate in bed at the end of each day. As I near the end of my meditation, about to go to sleep, I hear several voices in a kind of chorus, speaking my name: “ClaraBranon… ClaraBranon… ClaraBranon… ClaraBranon…” They sound expectant, insistent, and are saying my names as if they were all one word. Not loud, not scary, but right in my bedroom.
Ridiculously, my first reaction is not fear but bewilderment, and a bit of resentment. Again? More interruptions of my sleep? What, now? Who are you and what do you want? Go away! I project expulsion images.
Here are the reasons.
Ever since I am about five years old, I’ve had nighttime experiences that go way beyond strange. Objects in my room or on my walls take on new identities, shapes, purposes. My radio’s numeric display seems to pulse, move, change: it seems to be trying to communicate with me, but I never know what it’s trying to say. I sense and sometimes "see" creatures moving along the ceiling or walls or right through them. Posters and pictures assume new positions with changing contents, colors, or designs which then open up or move around.
Often, when I live near a cemetery, as I do for eleven years growing up and now, for six years in Kirov, I get “visitors”: newly-dead spirits. They are confused, wandering and pausing at the first dwelling they find. They don’t seem to want anything from or even see me. They’re just passing through.
I often talk to them aloud, as I do tonight: “Who are you? What do you want?” Or, I try to command or inform them: “Go away! You’re dead.” In recent years, I also chant mantras, burn incense and sing to them.
As soon as I turn on a light, all of these apparitions and occurrences, objects and fixtures return to normal and the specters and creatures drift or scurry away. All is right, again.
However, none of them ever speaks aloud or seems to know my name before this evening.
So, although being visited or having other odd events at night isn’t all that new to me, hearing anyone speak my name is. I am tired and not in the mood, so my first reaction is to eject them.
They do not leave. They keep chanting.
Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever of 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 of The Spanners Series. Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II. How would YOU do with the changes?
- Tell us a little about your series.In The Spanners Series are: a romantic entanglement (or not), spanning about 35 years; dialogue and scenes of the relationships among the Chief Communicator (CC), Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., and her mother, son and siblings; dialogue between the CC and some friends; info about the selection and identity of the chosen media contact for the CC, Esperanza Enlaces, with excerpts from her journal; news stories about the CC and the MWC events from Earth media as well as Many Worlds Collective (MWC) media; background about the CC and the reasons for her being selected; excepts from minutes of meetings of the InterGalactic Council of the MWC; meditation, Buddhism, Judaism, and much more.In Vol I, This Changes Everything, which spans Clara's entire 30-year tenure as the CC (and centuries of Earth's history as well) , after the MWC educational resources and information become widely available in 2013, all time is known to be simultaneous. That is the reason I write the series in the present tense, which takes some getting used to for readers and reviewers.No, I am not making grammatical or usage mistakes: the use of the present tense is intentional!Writing from any point in time and timeline means that the love story and other aspects are depicted in multiple versions. I like that the readers will have to decide: do Clara and her Future or Fictional Husband, Epifanio Dang, get to be together? Which Re-set of the Transition After Public Contact prevails?The Spanners Series' tone is both humorous and serious; the mode is utopian. I really disliked being inundated with the endless stream of dystopian futuristic sci-fi. I decided to write the books I want to be reading!
- How did you come up with the titles?
This Changes Everything is Volume I of The Spanners Series. Most of the Volumes have the word "change" in them to convey the ways the publicizing of the presence of life on many other planets and orbs in the multiverse as well as a new understanding of other species right on Earth, simultaneous time and many other topics catalyzes change for humans on Earth.
As a “Spanner,” Clara Branon is one of millions of “Baby Boomers” who survive across two centuries and bridge the divide (hence, “Spanners”) between nonpublic and public contact with the MWC and many other major changes that occur during these decades.
Because most Earthers are not prepared to accept this type of reporting or storytelling as nonfiction, this first and some other volumes of the series are of the realistic fiction/science fiction/fantasy genres. Many of the characters, events and locations are actual; some are not, or haven’t happened (yet) at the time of first publication.
When aliens do make their first public contact, as they do in these novels, it's one of those events that people say "this changes everything" about, right? Then, because all the circumstances and events of the Transition and decades after Earth joins the Many Worlds Collective involve more changes, every Volume in the series has the word "change" somewhere in its title.
Vol II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, features interviews with each of Clara's nephews and nieces as well as her son, and reactions from her siblings and mother as well. I wanted readers to know that Clara's family's experiences during The Transition would be the focus of this book.
- What inspired you to write this book?Unrequited love. Really. I needed an outlet and a place to write the life I wish I were having with the man I love who does not return that feeling. BUT, I also wanted to write him OUT of my life. So, I'm doing both!Furthermore, I feel a deep despair about Earth's future, including extreme disgust with many humans. I recognize the need for better interspecies communication here and with beings from off-planet.Combine all that with a life-long keen interest in and belief in quantum physics, astronomy, multiverse existence and life elsewhere, and BOOM: sci-fi/romance.I am writing the future I wish us all to have. Somewhere, somewhen, not just because I'm writing it, all of this IS happening because, as physicists are fond of reminding us, everything that can happen is happening in the multiverse.
- How are your story ideas born?Dreams, visions, meditations, experiences.One night in February, 2012, I was awakened by a very clear voice that said: WRITE. I went to the computer, hearing sentences and seeing scenes in my mind. Five hours later, most of the first Chapter, all of the summaries for all the Volumes, and the Chapter outline for Volume I were drafted. I kept going from there and finished the first draft of Volume one in 8 weeks.TCE went through 19 other drafts via my own ideas, consults with friends and family,and letting it "sit" over an 18-month period to reach the final version. During that time, I started Volumes II, IV, and V and sketched out parts of the others as well. I feel very driven. Part of the reason is that I identify a lot with Clara.The line between fiction and nonfiction is very blurred in these Volumes, intentionally, and my life seems that way sometimes as well. I'm curious as to what the readers will decide is "real."
- Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?I strongly believe that Earth is in serious trouble, politically, economically, environmentally, socially: in every way. I do wish we could be rescued by stronger, more intelligent, compassionate, capable beings! I wanted to show how things would change, and especially, how things would improve, if Earthers could be certain that we are not "alone." Then, there would to be some dissenters of various types and intensities, so the psi Wars came about, with the Psi-Warriors and Psi-Defiers.Fascinated by physics, multiple timelines/multiverse concepts, alien life and psi phenomena, family relationships, world affairs and the environment, and unrequited/requited love, I have incorporated all of these themes and topics into my sci-fi novels. I have and continue to do extensive research for each Volume. The parts that are scientific and authentic are the most fun to fictionalize.I also subscribe to the optimistic view that their are inherent intelligence and value in all species, so interspecies communication among equals, both on Earth and off-planet, becomes central to the Series.Because I am very interested in the Excellent Skills Program (ESP, or psi) aspects. I look forward to and have enjoyed writing the parts about each character's ESP training and experiences, uses of the Excellent Skills and the ways having access to these Skills changes Earthers.Finally, my erstwhile love is not with me, just as Clara's is sometimes not with her, so I empathize with that situation and write scenes in which she and Fanio are together as a sort of wish-fulfillment. Then, I introduce other interests, romantic and personal, for Clara, to show how a strong, independent woman does NOT need a lover to be happy.
- How much of the book is realistic?I've been writing since I was in 2nd grade: stories, songs, articles, plays, journals, letters, emails, posts online; nonfiction and fiction. My first story, "Princess Why," was published in the school newspaper and I believed I would be world-famous from that.Nine-year-old Sally sat on the couch by our picture window that overlooked our busy street and had a view of the school parking lot day after day for months, reading, looking out the window regularly. I was waiting for the news trucks and reporters to arrive. They never did....I give “Princess Why” and much of my mediocre poetry to Clara as "her" writing.I also give Clara my own biography in many ways. She has versions of my siblings, mother, family, romantic interests and friends as seeds for the main characters. I expand on them, make some composites, make stuff up and generally change them all as I go along, adding and subtracting experiences, characteristics, emotions, so none can complain that I've misrepresented them: I misrepresent us all!I put Appendices in The Spanners Series to help readers learn, understand and remember the new terms and acronyms, learn Clara's family tree (it's large!), be able to refer to the psi Levels and skills in the Excellent Skills Program (ESP) trainings, and read more about the actual people and situations referenced throughout the Volumes. I add to the listings and even add Appendices with each additional Volume.
- Tell us about the cover art.Aidana Willowraven is my cover artist. She is a professionally trained and experienced cover artist in many genres whose website attracted me to consider her. We worked together on the ideas I had for each cover so that she could render them appropriately for my wishes AND for what works on an ebook cover (which often were NOT the same thing, unfortunately for me!). Aidana is a skilled, patient collaborator for a newbie like me, who has zero art background. I recommend her highly: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/The Spanners Series logo is comprised of crossed vajras (dorjes, in Tibetan), a highly sacred and symbolic representation of enlightenment in Buddhism. Dorjes are used in meditation, rituals and art to depict the intersections of wisdom and skillful methods (means), absolute and relative truth/reality, and yin/yang: unification of opposites and inclusion of all that is. The background of space for the dorjes is to let readers know the series is sci-fi.For Volume I, This Changes Everything, I wanted readers to know right off that the main character is a middle-aged woman and that the story features aliens. The scene in which Clara Branon meets the aliens in hologram form for the first time starts Chapter One, so it seemed fitting to have it on the cover. It also helps readers visualize Clara and the aliens from more than just my written descriptions.Clara and one of her nephews, Rabbi Moran Ackerman, are the main narrators of Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, and they speak a lot about their psi training in this book. Their being on the cover shows readers that they are prominent in this book, along with three of the aliens (couldn't fit all 5 on this cover!). I asked Aidana to show them learning how to levitate objects (books), which brings in the psi element.8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I regularly update my Pinterest boards and one is “Writers I Love,” with pins of specific books' covers. Http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember I appreciate most the speculative fiction authors who built worlds that offer solutions, alternate concepts, ways of living and being. I strive to join them.I was most influenced, inspired and entertained by feminist, utopian, psi-infused stories, so I wanted to add to that “library” with The Spanners Series.
For photos, images, music, bios, locations and other memes relevant to me as an author and directly to The Spanner Series, please visit my Boards on Pinterest: "The Spanners Series includes..."; "Inspirations for the Earth locations in The Spanners Series"; "Music of The Spanners Series."
I also have boards about my inspirations, visually, textually and conceptually: "Flora and Fauna that amaze me"; "Space Shots I like"; "Books that changed my life"; "TV shows and movies I actually like"; "Resonating Pins" (from others' boards), and *CHANGES* Episodes.
One board has links to each of my own Blog Posts. I pin to a Board to highlight Musicians and Artists I Support. I put up promos for my own and other authors' books. Please follow and repin from my Boards: http://www.Pinterest.com/sallyember
9. What’s next for you? / What is your next project?
I am hard at work on adding to The Spanners Series with Vol. III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, told from the perspectives of Clara's siblings and friends, her mother, her husband/not husband, Epifanio and Espe, and Vol IV, Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude, told by and about the first children and teens to attend and graduate from the Excellent Skills Program training. I hope to finish and release both in 2015.
I blog regularly and post on both my site and as a guest on others (invite me!). Starting this August, 2014, I host an almost-weekly show, *CHANGES* (Wed., 10 - 11 AM EST USA), which features a LIVE conversation with an author on Google+ Hangouts on Air (HOA).
I also have some short stories based on the characters from The Spanners Series I'm working on and hope to finish and publish in 2015-16.
Check on The Spanners Series pages on Google + or Facebook: and my website (see links) to find out when the next Volumes will be available and get other news and reviews. Read and comment on excerpts from the current and latest Volumes on Authonomy and Wattpad. I also have a very active Goodreads page and blog and use Twitter and LinkedIn regularly. Join, follow, friend, LIKE me anywhere you go!
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I am “Crowdcreating” Volumes VIII and IX of The Spanners Series, so I seek YA-aged and -themed and NA-aged and -themed writers, readers to contribute to Vol VIII and I seek adult authors/readers for Vol IX.
I am also requesting readers' suggestions, questions and ideas for what I've left out of or you'd like to see of alternate timelines' versions of stories in any previous Volume to put into Vol X (the final Volume in the series).
Please contact me (sallyember AT yahoo DOT com) no later than Jan. 1, 2016, if you want to participate in Crowdcreating by offering suggestions and even writing portions or entire Chapters of Vol VIII or IX. The deadline for submitting questions and ideas for Vol X is January 1, 2017. Share!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sally Ember, Ed.D., has been passionate about writing since she was nine years old. She’s won prizes for her poetry, stories, songs and plays. She began meditation in her teens. Now, Sally delights fans of paranormal and romance by blurring the lines between fact and fiction in a multiverse of multiple timelines, often including exciting elements of utopian science fiction and Buddhism. Her sci-fi /romance/ speculative fiction/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian ebooks for New Adult/adult/YA audiences, "The Spanners Series," are getting great reviews. Vol I, "This Changes Everything,” is now FREE everywhere since Vol II, "This Changes My Family and My Life Forever," released April, 2014. Look for Vol III, "This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change," in 2015, and Vol IV - X soon after that.
Born Jewish on the cusp of Leo and Virgo, Sally's life has been infused with change. Currently, she meditates, writes, swims, reads and hosts her Google+ Hangout On Air (HOA) *CHANGES*, LIVE conversations with authors, almost every Wednesday, 10 - 11 AM EST USA, in Missouri.
Learn more about and get yourself scheduled on as a guest: http://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/
Sally blogs regularly on wide-ranging topics and includes reviews, interviews, guest blog posts, and excerpts from her ebooks. Visit and comment, follow, "like," and share! http://www.sallyember.com/blog
In her "other" professional life, Sally has worked as an educator and upper-level, nonprofit manager in colleges, universities and private nonprofits for over thirty-five years in New England (every state), New Mexico and the San Francisco Bay Area before returning to live in St. Louis, MO, in August, 2014. Sally has a BA in Elementary Education, a Master's (M.Ed.) and a doctorate in education (Ed.D.).
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