Friday, November 30, 2012

Languid Thoughts


Sometimes I see something beautiful in my life, like this evening sky from my backyard. How wonderful it was to capture the moment with the camera! The colors in the sky were amazing and I wrote a little poem to go along with it.

Our thoughts can reach many heights, and when we capture them by writing them down, anything is possible. Poetry is one avenue of capturing thoughts.

Dare to dream, and you open the door to life.
Enjoy!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!




We celebrated our Thanksgiving by beginning the day with a prayer of thanks. There are so many things to be thankful for, our health, our loved ones, the roof over our heads, etc. It's not only on this day we should be thankful, but every day of our lives. I consider each day to be a blessing. Having gone through so many losses in my life, particularly through the departure of loved ones, I do not take anything for granted.

After our morning breakfast, the family went and played tennis at the nearby tennis courts. The weather was in the mid-50s, sunny and lovely. It was fun running around hitting and catching the little balls. Afterwards, I prepared the meal while everyone watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on TV. It was a joyful occasion with nice music and dancing. There were several public schools involved and I enjoyed watching all that young talent on the screen. I particularly liked the elves.

In the evening, after the Thanksgiving meal, we played a board game followed by watching a favorite movie, "Sense and Sensibility." I chose this 1995 movie because it has influenced me in so many ways when I was writing "The Greek Maiden and the English Lord." Emma Thompson did a wonderful job in weaving drama, humor, and music into this wonderful, wonderful story by Jane Austen. One of the humorous  parts of the movie, were  the "F Major" theme. In addition, there were several  dramatic parts, or highlights of the story: when Elena realized her sister was dying, when Marianne walked in the rain the second time and stood looking at the mansion of Willoughby, when Elena realized Edward was not married, and so on.  The acting was fabulous and my favorite actors were Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson. How did all this influence my story? Read my story to find out! It is available FREE until January 2013 at the following site:

The Greek Maiden and the English Lord

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Next Big Thing Blog Tour


Hello everyone!
 I am delighted to have been tagged by the talented Maria Karamitsos in The Next Big Thing blog tour! The idea is to hop from blog to blog to discover exciting authors and their books we might not have heard about or that are still Works in Progress (WIP).  This is Week 21. 

The hop rules require me to answer predetermined questions, and then at the bottom of my post, to list links to authors who will answer the same questions on their blogs next Wednesday. So, let’s get started.

1) What is the working title of your book?  

The Greek Maiden and the English Lord.




2) Where did the idea come from for your book?

Every year, the Greeks celebrate Greek Independence Day on March 25th, which marks the day when the Greeks broke away from the Ottoman rule. I began researching the topic a few years ago, which eventually led to my book. Greece had been under the Ottoman rule for hundreds of years, but after the French Revolution, in 1814, a group of students outside of Greece formed the “Filliki Etairia,” or “Friendly Society.” This underground movement formed the groundwork for the 1821 revolt. On March 23, 1821, the town of Patras was set on fire by the Ottomans and several people perished. Many Greek women and children were taken as slaves by the Ottomans. The idea for my novel resulted from the question “What happened to the women and children on that day and beyond?” Also, I am a romantic at heart, and have a soft spot for Cinderella-type stories where the virtuous and good heroine is down on her luck but is loved by a good and gentle prince or nobleman.


3) What genre does your book fall under? 


The genre is historical romance.

4) Which actors would you choose to play in your movie rendition?  


I particularly liked Kate Winslet in the Sense and Sensibility movie (with Emma Thompson). She is attractive and blond like Lily and has a sympathetic character. 






Jeremy Northam from the movie Possession would make a dark, handsome Edward.







5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?  


During the 1800s, a gypsy girl searches for her real parents in England and finds love in the process.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 


I published this book through a print-on-demand publisher Virtualbookworm.com

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 


It took me about two and a half years to research and write it. This was the first time I attempted a historical novel, so there was an intense period of research that needed to be done before the writing began. I researched the 1800s, particularly the culture of England, what clothes they wore, what foods they ate, as well as other things.

8) What other books would you compare this story to?  


My story has been compared to Jane Austen’s works.

9) Who or what inspired you to write the book? 


Although I was born in Greece, I was raised up in America. I was a career woman all my life, working in the fields of biology and healthcare. When I married and became a stay-at-home mother, my life changed, and I had more time on my hands. There was always this urge inside me to write a novel, but I never had found the time before. Now at home, I found the time, so I began to write stories related to Greece. I have a wonderful, loving relationship with my husband, and he has been my inspiration in writing my love stories. 

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 


It is 1831, and sixteen-year-old Lily, a gypsy, learns from Mirella her gypsy grandmother that her real parents are an Englishman and a Greek heiress. Shocked by the news, Lily questions her identity.

Her search for her parents begins not only a journey that physically transports her to England, but a coming-of-age journey of self-discovery. Finding out from cousins that her father is away in the Indies and her mother presumably dead from the war with the Ottomans, Lily is sent to a boarding school in York. There she abandons her gypsy way of life and learns how to dress, walk, and act like a lady.

Lily adjusts to life in England, and eventually returns to her familial home. The events that follow, stir up in her the dark, hidden past that she had buried all these years in her psyche. Flashbacks reveal the trauma she experienced as a child during the Greek war of independence against the Ottomans. She secretly falls in love with Edward, a handsome nobleman, but he is engaged to another. Haunted by her past, will Lily overcome her fears to face what awaits her?

The book in its totality is now available for free until January 2013:

  
 Click Here to Read



 

Next Wednesday please visit these author’s blogs to find out about their Next Big Thing!


Lynne Constantine 


Dimitris Sarantis

Audrey Bennett

Tracy Kauffman

Marva Gregorio De Souza

Katina Vaselopoulos



Thank you for visiting me and I hope you enjoyed yourself!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Poem - Parting Words


 Parting Words

Then all was dark
And I floated toward heaven
The light guided my way

I didn’t know that you’d be my life
My soul, forever gentle source,
Streaming through every pore
Of me, my essence,
Loving me, bathing me
In warm splendor
Lighting my inner being
With everything that is whole

Yet I pause and look back
At my loved ones
Even as I float above them
I see their sadness
I feel their pain
But they cannot see me
I waver, hoping our love
Reunites once more

I reach down to stroke away
Your tears, hoping you will know
That I still love you
My father
My mother
My sister
My brother
All who still live on this earth
That will taste fear

I no longer fear
But am filled with love
Even though I have parted this earth
Not of my doing.

One day we will reunite,
One day, and it will be the
Happiest day for us all.

2012 by Patty Apostolides

This poem is dedicated to all the children that have left this earth, including my nephew Nikita, and the children in Gaza, and others all over the world.  God bless them and their families!

Why I Write About Greek Themes

Isn't this a beautiful picture of the Parthenon? 
It is located in Athens
So memorable, it stands out  
In my mind for a long time.


I was born in this country, but 
Raised up in the United States.

Yet how can I forget to be Greek -
When I speak the language,
Attend the Greek Orthodox church,
Eat a Mediterranean diet
And am married to a Greek man.
All these are reminders 
Of my Greek heritage.

Yet how can I ignore my American
Way of life that has given me
Everything, my education, 
Endless opportunities to achieve
Higher realms of possibility
And my writing, yes my precious writing.

To write what I know
Is to breathe Greece into my stories
The Greek way of life, filled with 
Emotion
Family
Religion
Love
Music
Food


I invite you to join me in 
This journey I have taken, 
To another world, where life
Is meant to be enjoyed, and
Love reigns in every way

To triumph over evil

To erase the world of today
To imagine a better world
A better way of life
This journey I capture
In my writing.
Will you join me?
 
 

 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop Coming November 21!

Greetings!

I recently joined what's called The Next Big Thing Blog Hop! I have never done one, and was excited to have been tagged by Maria F. Karamitsos, associate editor of the GreekStar newspaper in Chicago and author at https://fromthemommyfiles.wordpress.com/
and I look forward to participating in it on November 21!

The way it works is like a chain letter, one author answers several questions about themselves and about their writing, and at the end of that session, list five other authors who will be answering their own questions and "tag" five other authors, and so on.

It is a great way for an author to gain exposure, as readers move from one blog to another, reading about their favorite authors as well as learning about new authors....isn't that great?

I hope you return next week to read more about me and get a chance to see what other wonderful authors have to say about themselves and their writing!

See you then!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tips for Authors

 Tips for Authors: 

This is what I learned from the book "Stand Out Social Marketing" by Mike Lewis -
 

Social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, push content away from the viewer very quickly. In the first hour after you post something on these sites, only 34% engagement was observed in 10 days, as compared to other sites like Flickr, which earned 82% engagement in 10 days. Also, Youtube, Flickr and WordPress
experienced upticks for the first 24 hours, while Facebook and Twitter, dropped dramatically in the first hour of publication.

The best way to get your work out there is to build a landing page (website, blog) and drive traffic to it to maximize exposure. You can sign up for a free blog through Blogger. Directories such as Digg, Reddit, and Stumbleupon help drive additional views to your content.

Also, use Video (Youtube) and Photos to share with your readers.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Prescription Drugs leading cause of Accidental Death



Today I read an article http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/17/local/la-me-drugs-epidemic-20110918 stating that prescription drugs are the leading cause of accidental death. Wow!

It states:
"Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "

That's a powerful statement, but I can see how that may happen. Although the article focuses on drug overdose (particularly pain and anxiety drugs), and therefore putting the blame on the patient or user, there are other complications as well, like side effects and drug interactions that can also be blamed.

I used to work as a data manager at the Cleveland Clinic in the Cancer Center, pouring over charts of cancer patients, and later at the Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, and one of my tasks was to look at the side effects of the chemo drugs used in treating the patients, who were in clinical trials or just being treated for cancer, and report them. This was a very revealing time for me, for I was able to see how drugs can really affect the body in a negative way. So it was a fine line of balancing the benefits of the drug as well as the side effects. Of course, we want the benefits to out perform the side effects.

Over time, I used my work experience to help elderly family members who were prescribed medicines that for one reason or the other, always seemed to cause them problems. One relative, who had heart problems, was taking many, many pills, and was on oxygen, and could not walk without a cane. At first, I thought it was because of the heart problem, but as I investigated the causes, and checked up on the side effects of the drugs, I found out that all the drugs he was taking was mostly to counter the side effect of some other drug. This "Soup of Drugs" had incapacitated him to the point that he could not function normally. Given that, we took him to another doctor, who prescribed another drug, which worked better for him. We also slowly weaned him off the "anxiety" drug that he needed to take because one of his heart medicines was giving him anxiety. Eventually, he stopped using the oxygen, but the sad part is, he moved, and then was given a whole set of new medicines, and within a few weeks had expired. I have many, many stories to tell regarding the side effects of drugs.

I am seeing the same pattern with another elderly relative, who has now started on the same path for her heart, first she was given one drug, and then another, and then another. I will not name drugs because each one has its own side effects, and sometimes they have similar side effects. I do know that at one time she had diabetes because of a drug's side effect and when she switched doctors and changed her medicine, her diabetes stopped. Now it's a battle with the doctors over her cholesterol. The statins incapacitate her. She cannot walk when she takes them. She is now taking the smallest dose. Statins affect muscles, and they also remove COQ10 from muscle. Heart is not the only muscle in the body. I told her cardiologist recently, that what good do statins do if the patient cannot walk due to their side effects? Walking is one of the most important activities a heart patient can do, it cleans the arteries, for one. So how can statins be beneficial?

Going back to that article, which focuses on people misusing and overdosing on drugs, why even have them taking those types of drugs in the first place?

Drugs are poisons, and they need to be treated as such.


My Facebook Page

As a homeschooling mother and author, I find myself spending much time at home, giving classes to my twelve-year-old son  as well as writing my next historical novel. The rest of my time is spent cooking, cleaning, reading, and spending quality time with my family. Our extended families live out of town, and our church is an hour away. This lifestyle is different from that of the close Greek community that I used to have in the past. One way to overcome this feeling of isolation is to maintain contact with family and friends, and I do it through Facebook. I know that many people worry about the privacy on Facebook, but I believe that the benefits outweigh the hidden costs.

I have been having a lot of fun on my Facebook fans page http://www.facebook.com/GreekNovels and am enjoying the ongoing discussions from all the fine people that have liked my page. I bring up questions for authors and also provide tips that I hope are valuable. The author response has been positive, and I also learn a lot from other authors.

Another online community that I've learned to respect is http://www.authonomy.com which is sponsored by Harper Collins, a publishing company. Another author alerted me to this site. On there, I have listed the contents of my latest historical novel "The Greek Maiden and the English Lord" which will be posted free until New Years. This is my Christmas present to everyone. The link to the book is:

http://authonomy.com/books/46125/the-greek-maiden-and-the-english-lord/read-book/#chapter

Happy reading!
Patty