Monday, September 17, 2012

Please, welcome my special guest, author and champion of peace, J. Frederick Arment...

I am so pleased to welcome, J. Frederick Arment, to my blog.  Fred is a talented author whom I greatly admire. You will appreciate 'why' when you read more about his writing and his efforts to promote peace.  

J. Frederick Arment lives with his family and friends in Yellow Springs, Ohio. After an early career as a teacher, Arment founded a successful writing and marketing firm and began lecturing at Wilberforce College and Wright State University. His novels include the philosophical orphan's tale, "Backbeat: A Novel of Physics," and a political thriller, "The Synthesis" (Look for it in January!). His nonfiction work, "The Elements of Peace: How Nonviolence Works," is included in the McFarland Academic Publishers' catalog of peace and conflict resolution selections.

In his not-for-profit work, Arment works in Ohio and around the world with organizations that foster a positive approach to community revitalization. He is one of the founders and served as the first director of the Dayton International Peace Museum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nonviolent alternatives to community and worldwide conflict. He now serves as the founding executive director of International Cities of Peace, a member association of cities of peace dedicated to encouraging safety, prosperity, and quality of life as consensus values for families, neighborhoods, and nations.

Arment has also served as a first reader for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and on the steering committee for the Salem Avenue Peace Corridor vitalization initiative. He is an adviser for the Unitarian Fellowship of World Peace and their art gallery, the Missing Peace Art Space, which will be hosting the AthensArt International Art Festival, 2014. Recently, Arment was tapped to provide strategic positioning consultation for the Honolulu-based international Center for Global Nonkilling.

Arment was a board member of the Antioch Writers' Workshop and associated with several publishing companies specializing in fiction, including FictionNet and Blue Hot Books. After earning a bachelor of science degree in history education at Wright State University, Arment received a master's in humanities with a focus on the eighteenth-century American and French Enlightenment period. His post-graduate study and publications have focused on the integrated disciplines of philosophy, peace, physics, and community redevelopment.

This guide to nonviolent conflict resolution presents thirty methods of maintaining or achieving peace, each with an in-depth case study. Methods covered, and their real-world applications, include the art of diplomacy (the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords), fair trade (the 1997 fair trade certification agreement), civil disobedience (the civil rights movement in the United States), humanitarianism (the rescue of the Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust), the rule of law (the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia), and peace education (the Nobel Peace Prize), among many others. It concludes with a summary of the methods and the virtues of peace.

A very human tale of love, betrayal, and quantum uncertainty, "Backbeat: A Novel of Physics" is a traditional orphan's tale told in the language of energy. Thanks to Einstein and his colleagues, this innovative novel has the advantage of a world teeming with virtual particles and collapsing probability waves in which orphans can reconcile their past and change the future. Juxtaposing the anarchic lives of New York runaways with the stoic world of physicists, "Backbeat" tells the story of Romey Argasti, a New York runaway who inherits a $2 billion estate, with one stipulation. He must find a lost piece of music written by his mother, a cellist who died soon after his birth. This heartfelt and compelling story is enough to attract any reader, but Arment puts significance into this inspirational novel with a philosophic undercurrent that is both deep and accessible. Skillfully threaded through the mystery and adventure facing the young protagonist are five epiphanies, or intuitive insights, gained from viewing the human condition in the clear light of physics: possibility, connectivity, uncertainty, probability, and spontaneity. Yet for all its attention to science, "Backbeat" is a traditional, character-driven novel with a surprising climax and fulfilling end. With the 100th anniversary of Einstein's theories upon us (in 2005), this innovative novel can shed light on how the new laws and speculations of physics can affect our motivations, actions, and fates. Don't miss this breakthrough work of fiction!

Please, leave a comment for J. Frederick Arment. Every comment is read and appreciated. Don't forget to subscribe either by RSS feed or by email. Hope to see you again soon!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why Bother with a Pseudonym?

Please, welcome my mysterious guest, the author known as Reflective Bookworm. The facts I've gleaned from my intriguing friend are these: R.B. was born in the North East of England, traveled a great deal with her father (a member of the RAF) and has a love of adventure. RB's first novel, The Darkness Through The Light, is currently in the stages of being self-published.  I've included R.B.'s photo here.  Perhaps, dear readers, we shall soon be able to put a name to this lovely face. In the meantime, let us enjoy R.B.'s post. 

Anne Rice
LewisCarroll, George Orwell, James Herriot, Mark Twain, Anne Rice, J.D Robb, J.KRowling and names that I'm sure you have no problem recognizing but all of these Author's have something in common. They are all pseudonyms. But why go to the trouble of creating books that touch the hearts of people worldwide and not even put your real name on it?

There are a number of reasons:

  • A lot of Authors back in the day felt that the genre that they flourished in was dominated by one gender so to become accepted, they needed to change their name.
  • Some used a pseudonym to avoid causing scandal for their families or themselves. For example, if I found out that my Mother was the mastermind between 50 Shades of Grey, I would never live it down (she's not by the way!).
  • Nora Roberts was massive in the romance genre but decided to branch out into Detective novels, her agent thought it would be a good idea to use a pseudonym. It worked of course but when her fans found out that she was one and the same, they accepted her wholeheartedly anyway!

J.K Rowling
As you can see, I blog under a pseudonym and when I go to publish I will use a pseudonym as well. Why? Because I am afraid, pure and simple. I don't want to pour my heart and soul into a book only to have someone I went to school with say, "What the hell did you write a book for?" or "Oh please, it's never going to work out so wake up."

Only a handful of people that I know have read my book and it took a lot for me to open up about it but I've had amazing feedback from them all. One of my dear friends even slipped up and told her big brother, and my close friend, all about my book because she just had to tell someone. His reaction? "Wow, RB, I didn't know you had it in you. I'm really proud of you though."

You might be thinking, "Why do you care what other people think?" and it's The Million Pound Question but I do care what people think, too much sometimes. Maybe one day, I'll come out of the literary closet and tell everyone my real name but for now I'm content with RB.

Of course, writing under a pseudonym won't be moonlight and roses. There are a couple of things that you need to seriously consider.

  • By using a pseudonym, the copyright of your material could be shortened.
  • Processing royalties and filing tax returns can become quite complicated (which would take up your writing time!).
  • God forbid legal problems ever arise but if they did, using a pseudonym might not work in your favour. Some states reason that the name doesn't actually have any legal authority.
The best thing to do is always to do research, over and over until your mind boggles with legislation and html code. Always check with your local Government/Copyright office and definitely have a word with your Citizens Advice Bureau because they might have a few pointers!

Suggested Resources:

So, now I open this up to you, friends, do you use a pseudonym? And, if you do, why?

Thank you so much for your comment at Scarlett Rains Sisters of the Hearts Blog. Every comment is read and appreciated. Don't forget to subscribe either by RSS feed or by email. Hope to see you again soon!

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Multicultural influences: do they tear me apart, or broaden my world?

I am excited to welcome my friend, Catalina Egan.  Many of you may know her as, M.C.V.Egan.  Catalina is an American by choice. She has lived in Mexico, France, Sweden and various parts of the USA. In this post, she explores the pros and cons of being multilingual & multicultural. As much as her life experience has opened doors and broadened her  perspective, Catalina shares how difficult it feels, at times,  to really belong. Please, welcome her, and enjoy her story.

In many ways today’s technology as well as ease to travel has made most in the world multicultural to some extent. We are as a whole aware of what people in other countries believe, eat, how they dress and much else about their cultures. We are connected and informed; even if reluctantly at times.
This was not always so and from my 53 year old perspective I have very clear memories when foods were not as international; believe it or not McDonalds were not everywhere. Stores were all different, The Gap was only in the USA and the world at large did not share the same coffee, Starbucks was not even a thought. Today we share all this and more this unites us and makes us global; we are in many ways citizens of the world.

I am so thrilled to be invited to share with you this week how my multicultural and multilingual background makes me at times feel very much like a citizen of the world, like I could fit anywhere and at others like a person with no real sense of belonging.
I was born in 1959 in Mexico City, Mexico. My first language was Spanish and my upbringing very Catholic. I felt out of place even then because I am very tall and have a very deep voice; yes it was a gift of birth and not the cost of a smoking habit. (Now kicked) I was never one to accept and compromise and that too was not the norm for girls of my era and frankly more so to the macho culture of Mexico.

I came from a family with many international influences. I grew up surrounded by books and toys from foreign countries. At a young age I became very aware that some people are born where they belong and others are born to seek out the place that feels like home. I was also very aware that I was part of the latter.

At the age of 12 my entire family moved to the Washington D.C. area.  I had already spent a school year in America a few years earlier so English as a language was not an obstacle. It was a very strange era in America because Watergate was about to change the face of what I had perceived as a country where politicians were so honest (not a perception in Mexico) all honest Abes. There was also the Vietnam War and long lines at the gas stations because of something called OPEC.

Every day I felt more and more at home in America; in spite of all the things that seemed to disturb the adults.  I pledged allegiance to the flag and felt great about it. That was all good and fine, because although I felt very much at home and like I fit in my resident Status was a G-4. Guest with privileges and those were temporary. I will not bore you with the logistics of immigration experiences to any country which has also been a big part of my multicultural experience. But it needed to be addressed as it is part of being multicultural and adapting to the other countries.

I lived in France as a student for almost 2 years and Sweden for five years. I have such a love for so many aspects of the four cultures that have left a strong imprint on who I am. For a long time I felt like I was a misfit and did not really belong.

I identified with songs like Neil Diamond’s I am I said where he expressed the confusion between trying to belong in New York or in LA. An Argentine  Facundo Cabral’s song Ser Feliz  a song with an angst of not belonging. In that song the words being happy is my color of identity vs. the colors of a flag. Were the words I felt defined me. I was not from here nor from there…to date on facebook I can’t bring myself to choose a “hometown.”

Another aspect of the multicultural point of view is that history varies as it is taught in different countries and with the difference in perspectives. A good example is the UK National Archives where so much of the American Revolution is housed our Patriots and heroes are their rebels.
Today as I observe the wonderful sense of nationalism displayed by all the people competing and cheering in the Olympics I become a bit confused. I am an American by choice with a nuance of influence from three other countries. That being said, when I watch tremendous athletes from Mexico, Sweden or France…and when they succeed, I get a flow of emotion, feel their joy and I am so happy for them and for those three other countries that helped define me. I also still feel strongly that the color that most represents me is my ability to be happy.

Get to know Catalina...


Please, leave a comment for Catalina and Scarlett. Every comment is read and appreciated. Don't forget to subscribe either by RSS feed or by email. Hope to see you again soon!

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