Monday, October 30, 2017

Book Review by Professor Polyvia Parara

Recently, Dr. Polyvia Parara, of the University of Maryland, Modern Greek Studies Program, read the Greek translation of my book THE GREEK MAIDEN AND THE ENGLISH LORD.  She has written a book review in Greek, and I have translated it into English. I am including both the Greek version and the English version of her reviews below:

GREEK VERSION:
Βιβλιοκρισία της Πολυβία Παραρά για το μυθιστόρημα της συγγραφέως Πάττι Αποστολίδες «Η Ελληνίδα Κόρη και ο Εγγλέζος Λόρδος».

Το ιστορικό μυθιστόρημα της Πάττι Αποστολίδες «Η Ελληνίδα Κόρη και ο Εγγλέζος Λόρδος»
 επιτυγχάνει να μεταφέρει τον αναγνώστη στα ήθη και τον τρόπο ζωής των βρετανών αριστοκρατών του δέκατου ένατου αιώνα, σκιαγραφώντας κυρίως την αγγλική επαρχία. Συγχρόνως αναφέρεται και στην περίοδο της επανάστασης του Εικοσιένα, αναφέροντας  περιορισμένες πτυχές της ιστορικής ελληνικής πραγματικότητας, όπως για παράδειγμα την ανάμειξη και παρουσία ξένων δυνάμεων μεταξύ των Ελλήνων στη διάρκεια του Αγώνα, την πώληση των αιχμαλώτων ως σκλάβων από τους Οθωμανούς, τις νομάδες των τσιγγάνων στο περιθώριο των ιστορικών γεγονότων. Η  συγγραφέας εστιάζει περισσότερο σε αφηγήσεις που σχετίζονται άμεσα με την πλοκή του έργου της, σκιαγραφώντας το ιστορικό πλαίσιο, χωρίς να έχει ως στόχευση την εκτενέστερη  ανασύνθεση ή σκιαγράφηση των ιστορικών γεγονότων και περιβαλλόντων αυτών καθεαυτών. 

Ο χρόνος της Ιστορίας είναι τα έτη 1831- 1837. Για  το νεοσύστατο ελληνικό κράτος είναι τα δύο τελευταία χρόνια της διπλωματικής ρύθμισης του Ελληνικού Ζητήματος και τα πρώτα χρόνια της Βαυβαροκρατίας  του Όθωνα, ενώ για την Βρετανική Αυτοκρατορία είναι οι παραμονές των σημαντικών  συνταγματικών μεταρρυθμίσεων στο πλαίσιο των ευρύτερων ευρωπαϊκών μεταρρυθμίσεων των δεκαετιών 1830-1840. Συνακόλουθα στο επίκεντρο της αφήγησης βρίσκονται  οι εξελίξεις στην αγγλική κοινωνία που σφραγίζονται από γάμους  πλουσίων αστών  με ευγενείς.

Το κύριο σκηνικό της ιστορίας τοποθετείται στην αγγλική ύπαιθρο λίγες ώρες απόσταση από το Λονδίνο: στο Παρθεναγωγείο/οικοτροφείο Γκρεϋστόουν  Μάνορ, στον πύργο   του λόρδου  Πιτέρμπορο και στην έπαυλη των Μοντγκόμερυ. Στα οικήματα αυτά κυρίως περιγράφονται οι δευτερεύοντες χαρακτήρες της αφήγησης με τις αρετές και τις αδυναμίες τους καλύπτοντας  ένα μεγάλο  φάσμα των χαρακτήρων στην κοινωνία. Ο πίνακας της Παττι Αποστολίδες είναι πλήρης συμπεριλαμβάνοντας καλοπροαίρετους χαρακτήρες, ηθικούς , ενάρετους , καλοσυνάτους, αληθινούς, αλληλλέγγυους αλλά και  αδίστακτους, σκληρούς, ανήθικους, συμφεροντολόγους, ιδιοτελείς, απαντεώνες, ρηχούς, συμβατικούς. Αυτός ο καμβάς χαρακτήρων με τις  πράξεις τους και τις επιλογές τους αναδεικνύει  τις ιδιαίτερες χάρες και  ιδιότητες του κεντρικού  χαρακτήρα, της  Λίλης Μοντγκόμερυ, που σκιαγραφείται στην αφήγηση ως σχεδόν ένας τέλειος χαρακτήρας πρότυπο. 

Η νεαρή Λίλη συνδυάζει την ελευθερία, τον αυθορμητισμό και την ευθύτητα των τσιγγάνων που την ανέθρεψαν χωρίς συμβάσεις και υποκρισία  μαζί με την ευγένεια της καταγωγής της και την ευγενή φύση του χαρακτήρα της που ενισχύθηκε από την εκπαίδευσή της στο παρθεναγωγείο. Η Ελληνίδα κόρη είναι ενάρετη, αθώα, γεμάτη καλοσύνη, αξιοπρέπεια και κατανόηση, με πίστη στην φιλία, με μια εξαιρετική αντοχή που πηγάζει από τον εσωτερικό της κόσμο και  με μια γοητευτική ενσυναισθητική δύναμη που ελκύει τους ενάρετους ανθρώπους κοντά της.

Μέσα από τον χαρακτήρα της Λίλης η συγγραφέας παρουσιάζει την κοσμοθεωρία της για την ζωή, χαρίζοντας αισιοδοξία στους αναγνώστες της και ενισχύοντας την πεποίθηση της συγγραφέως για την  δύναμη της Αρετής και το Καλού. Πιο συγκεκριμένα, πίσω από τα γεγονότα της αφήγησης λανθάνει η βαθύτερη πεποίθηση ότι ο ενάρετος χαρακτήρας θα δικαιωθεί από την ζωή αντεπεξερχόμενος τις φοβερές δοκιμασίες, αδικίες και απογοητεύσεις. Ο άνθρωπος που αντλεί δύναμη από την ηθική του συγκρότηση και την υψηλή συγκίνηση του πνεύματός  του παραμένει αταλάντευτος στα χτυπήματα της ζωής  ως προς την ακεραιότητα του χαρακτήρα του, ώστε να προάγει με  αυτή την στάση του την ζωή του και την κοινωνία του.  

Ο αφηγηματικός τρόπος που επιλέγει η συγγραφέας για να υπηρετήσει αυτό το περιεχόμενο είναι  η τεχνοτροπία της μηδενικής εστίασης, δηλαδή η παρουσίαση της αφήγησης σε τρίτο πρόσωπο από έναν παντογνώστη αφηγητή, που δεν αποτελεί ήρωα της ιστορίας. Η Πάττι Αποστολίδες συνδυάζει αυτή την επιλογή της  μηδενικής εστίασης με την ένταξη εκτενών διαλογικών μερών  όπου οι ήρωες διαλεγόμενοι  μεταξύ τους προσδίδουν ζωντάνια και αμεσότητα στην αφήγηση τον ακροατή /αναγνώστη. «Ακούγοντας» ο αναγνώστης του ήρωες της ιστορίας, μπαίνει μέσα στην ιστορία  και  γίνεται συμμέτοχος της αφήγησης. 

Καταλήγοντας, το μυθιστόρημα της συγγραφέως Πάττι Αποστολίδες είναι έργο φροντισμένο στην έρευνα , το περιεχόμενο και την γραφή και κυρίως πετυχαίνει στις δύο πιο σημαντικές αρετές της μυθιστορηματογραφίας, δηλαδή να πετύχει την συναρπαστικότητα στην ανάγνωση και  να εξυψώσει τον αναγνώστη εμπνέοντάς τον για μια  ζωή αληθινή με νόημα και σκοπό. 

Παραρά Πολυβία, PHD
University of Maryland
Department of Classics

ENGLISH VERSION:
Patty Apostolides' historical novel The Greek Maiden and the English Lord succeeds in conveying to the reader the nineteenth-century nobility and lifestyle of the British aristocrats, outlining mainly the English province. At the same time it refers to the period of the Revolution of 1821, mentioning limited aspects of historical Greek reality, such as the involvement and presence of foreign forces among the Greeks during the struggle, the sale of the captives as slaves by the Ottomans, the nomads of the gypsies in the margin of historical events. The author focuses more on narratives directly related to the plot of her work, outlining the historical context, without aiming at the more extensive reconstruction or outline of historical events and environments themselves. The history is in the years 1831-1837; for the newly established Greek state, this includes the last two years of the diplomatic settlement of the Greek question and the first years of King Otto’s rule; for the British Empire, it covers the eve of the important constitutional reforms within the wider European reforms of the 1830-1840 decade. Consequently, the story is about the developments in English society that are sealed by weddings of wealthy bourgeois with nobles. The main backdrop of history is placed in the English countryside a few hours away from London: the Greyston Manor Girls' Boarding School, the Peterborough and the Montgomery Mansions. These houses mainly describe the secondary characters of storytelling with their virtues and weaknesses, covering a wide range of characters in society. Patty Apostolides' painting is complete, including good-natured characters, moral, virtuous, true, interdependent, and also unscrupulous, harsh, immoral, interest-oriented, selfish, responsible, shallow, and conventional. This character canvas with their actions and choices highlights the particular charms and qualities of the central character, Lily Montgomery, outlined in narration as almost a perfect character pattern.

Young Lily combines the freedom, spontaneity and righteousness of the gypsies who nurtured her without contracts and hypocrisy along with the kindness of her origin and the noble nature of her character who was strengthened by her education at the girls' school. The Greek daughter is virtuous, innocent, full of goodness, dignity and understanding, with faith in friendship. She has an exceptional endurance that stems from her inner world, and holds a charming, empowering power that attracts the virtuous people close to her.

Through Lily’s character, the author presents her worldview for life, giving optimism to her readers and reinforcing the writer's conviction for the power of Virtue and Good. More specifically, behind the narrative events, the deeper belief that the virtuous character will be justified by life is overwhelming with the terrible trials, injustices and frustrations. The man who draws strength from his moral composition and the high emotion of his spirit remains unwavering in the blows of life as to the integrity of his character, in order to promote his life and his society with this attitude.

The narrative way the author chooses to serve this content is the zero-focus technique, that is, the narrative presentation of a third person by an omniscient narrator who is not a hero of history. Patty Apostolides combines this option of zero focus with the inclusion of extensive interactive parts where the heroes chosen by each other give vividness and immediacy to telling the listener / reader. "Listening to" the reader of the heroes of history, he enters history and becomes part of narration.

In conclusion, the novel of the author, Patty Apostolides, is a work devoted to research, content and writing, and especially to the two most important virtues of fiction, namely to achieve fascination in reading and to excite the reader by inspiring him/her for a meaningful, meaningful life and purpose.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Creative moments


When does your creative moment happen? Is it while you're working, playing, in the shower, or walking? Is it in the mornings, in the evenings, with family, or alone? My time is usually in the late mornings or late evenings.

By knowing when your creativity is at its peak, you can optimize those moments and be at your best in creating. 

FLOW


During my creative moments, I feel as if my universe is expanding and I am in the "flow" of things. 


Time stands still and I get absorbed in what I am doing. I lose myself in my creativity. I read about this state of being from the book FLOW by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and recommend this book highly.  There are some similarities to this state of being as in Maslow's self-actualization. Both experiences are peak experiences.










AVOID NEGATIVE THOUGHTS


When negative thoughts, however, take over, then it becomes difficult to create. This happened to me recently. The negative thoughts came after I went to a talk given by an author who had sold over a million copies in the past nine years. I admired him for his success, but at the same time, I felt that I could never gain that kind of recognition. The reason? I don't write in that genre  (Sci-Fi) and I don't write sex or violence. So I shut down. I didn't want to write.



It took me time to figure out why I was feeling bad after I left that talk. I have been writing for fourteen years and know quite a bit about writing. However, I have wanted to expand my readership and it wasn't happening. In an effort to understand the reason why, I asked myself the following questions: "What garners attention by readers? What excites them? How can I reach them? Do I have to put aside my interests to please my readers? How much of my own interests do I want to sacrifice to do that?"

I noticed that my thoughts were going off on tangents. This was a waste of valuable time for me, the creator.  If you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, don't do it! If you catch yourself playing these mind traps over and over again, stop! They will keep you from creating your masterpiece. You can't create when you are in that negative mode. It's impossible. Trust me, I've been through that route.

PERSEVERANCE


Remember, most of the successful creative people failed at one point. Yet that did not stop them from continuing doing what they did. They kept at it. They had perseverance, and that's what separated them from the wannabes. In Angela Duckworth's book GRIT, she describes how grit, or perseverance,  makes people successful. People who persist, even in the face of rejection and failure, ultimately succeed. 




The students that succeeded in school and the employed people that rose to the top did it because of grit, and not because of IQ or wealth. They simply worked hard at what they did. So along with creativity, one must have a heavy dose of perseverance and persistence, and self-confidence. You will have to also love what you are doing because you will be spending much time with yourself and your creative endeavor. 


MAKE THE TIME


Creating requires a devotion to time and if you don't make the time to create, to write, then there will be no product. 

I wrote an article about making the time to write. Please take a moment to read it. It is worth your time:

http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/10572/writing/making_the_time_to_write_that_novel.html




Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Poem set to music - SoulMate


Recently, I came across a poem that I had written years ago but never finished. It sat in the drawer since 2010, forgotten under a pile of other papers. Recently, as I was rummaging through the drawer, I discovered it.

It was titled "Soul Mate" and I remember that at the time it was written in 2010, I had started to write it for my husband, but was not pleased with it. 

Anyway, I  took it out of the drawer and started fiddling with it. Then I became inspired. It slowly  morphed into a more concrete poem with spiritual undertones. My husband was no longer here to receive it, since he departed this earth four years ago.  
Meanwhile, I had recently played around with some music on my synthesizer and saved it. I decided to put the poem together with the music. Then, I became even more inspired and made it into a video and posted it on Youtube. I am including the link here:
These moments of inspiration are very happy moments for me. I found myself staying up late at night, and getting up early in the morning to work on this project. I was driven, and I feel good with the results. This is the "flow" state of being that has been written about by author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, where time stands still and there is no time, while you are absorbed in what you are doing.
Here is the poem:
Is that sunlight in Your eyes
A reflection
Of Your soul?
Or is it caused by 
Shades of thought?
That like a dove
Flies away when I approach
Yet I know Your thoughts are pure
Flowing like this crystal water
Quenching the curious person that I am.
Always, I wonder 
Who You are - 
While your silence beckons to me
Like a gentle, soothing dream.
Dare you reveal your very essence?
Shades of thought
Mixed with gray,
Once depicted rainy days,
now cannot recall the loneliness,
As I gather you in my heart
One prayer at a time,
And when I look into the mirror
My soul looks back
And I see You 
in all Your glory.
by Patty Apostolides
July 25, 2017



Monday, July 03, 2017

Video of Lipsi Island - by Angelique Papadelias


It's not often we have a chance to visit Lipsi Island, the birthplace of my parents. It is located in the southern Greece, one of the Dodecanese islands and is tiny. The population is around 700 people. So when there is a documentary/video about it, I am pleased to share it with you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IduUeu26K-M

It was produced/directed by my talented cousin, Angelique Papadelias. Scenes of my sister, Rena, and her family are also in there, around 41:31 when the video goes on their tour boat, the RENA, and travels to the five islands.

So when you're reading LIPSI'S DAUGHTER, you can picture the heroine, Ipatia, in this idyllic environment.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Positive Psychology

I'm currently enrolled in a Positive Psychology course from the University of Pennsylvania. It's actually a five course program which earns you a certificate when you are finished. As soon as you finish one course, you enroll in the next one. The psychologist, Dr. Marty Seligman, who was president of the American Psychology Association, founded Positive Psychology. Now it's being used all over the world, and even is being used in our armed forces to teach them resilience.

I've learned so much from these courses, and the focus is not on the negative, but on the positive aspects of life. Our human instinct is to protect ourselves and to survive. In the past, it was useful to focus on the negative, in case there was a dinosaur or wild animal lurking afoot. Now, this negative bias has permeated our society. One sees it in the news, that focuses on violent acts and crimes. Also, in the old days, psychologists focused on what was wrong with us. They studied mental illnesses and how to correct them, but over 70% of the population was normal. Because they didn't have mental illness didn't mean they were happy or had well-being. Positive psychology goes beyond just living. It teaches you about yourself and about how to see life differently.

Being a writer, I found these courses fascinating, particularly the character strengths that came out of the six virtues: wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, transparency, and transcendence.

A website formed by Dr. Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, called Authentic Happiness, has much information about this topic. There are free questionnaires and tests on the site. Also, to find out your character strengths, you can take the VIA survey. The top five character strengths are your strongest. These character traits can be used to help define characters in your novels. They can also help you understand yourself and the people around you better.

Click on this website to take the free survey:
https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu



Here is a list of the virtues and their character strengths:

  1. Wisdom and Knowledge: creativitycuriosityopen-mindednesslove of learningperspectiveinnovation
  2. Courage: braverypersistenceintegrityvitalityzest
  3. Humanity: lovekindnesssocial intelligence
  4. Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership
  5. Temperance: forgiveness and mercyhumilityprudenceself control
  6. Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellencegratitudehopehumorspirituality

Source: Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_Strengths_and_Virtues) -




Monday, June 12, 2017

Los Angeles and the Greek Film Festival

A few weeks ago, a colleague from our writers' group, Calliopi Toufidou, told me about the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF). Having lived in the area years ago, she knew all about it, and  said that Greek film makers would be submitting their films there and they would get voted on, and the best films would receive awards. She thought it would be a good idea to take our books and see if there were any film makers interested in them. Hmmm, I said, let me think about it.

I wrote to one of the board members of the LAGFF, Mr. Aris Katopodis, and he graciously invited us to attend the event as a VIP. So I accepted and flew there with my son and Calliopi. We represented the Hellenic Writers' Group of Washington DC (HWGW). The event started on Wednesday, June 7 with the opening night reception at the Egyptian Theater in the Hollywood/Highland area and lasted until Sunday, June 11. Around 50 films were presented during this time, including feature films, documentaries, and short films. www.lagff.org




My son and I had gone there earlier in the day and were amazed at the amount of people walking along the sidewalks. The Hollywood Walk of Fame had a couple thousand stars ranging from Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, to Adam West, Marilyn Monroe, etc.


The next stop, was Universal Studios, where we took the studio tour and walked around, savoring the sights and sounds of this very popular place. We went on a weekday, but were pleasantly surprised to see so many people. 




We visited the Harry Potter area, with the Hogart Castle:


The studio tour took us to the site where the JAWS movie was made.


On Sunday morning, we visited St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles. We were fortunate because that day they were ordaining a new priest, so two bishops were present. My son served in the altar and I sang in the choir. I met a very nice woman, Judy, who was president of the Philoptochos Society, and gave her one of my books. She was very pleasant and said maybe they can invite me to speak there one day.



We finished the week with a trip to downtown Los Angeles, where we 
stopped at the library for a short visit.




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Review of Helena's Choice by Rea Keech, Award-winning author


HELENA'S CHOICE
Review by Rea Keech
The story is set in England and Greece about five years after the Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Empire. Helena’s Greek mother is dead, and she has been raised as a proper English girl by her English father. But when he dies intestate, Helena’s fortune changes. She struggles for a while to support herself in England as a governess, but eventually decides to go to Greece to claim her mother’s property.
Helena’s father was an amateur archeologist who had been digging on that Greek property and had found some interesting artifacts. When Helena arrives, she meets a returned Greek archeologist who is digging on her mother’s as-yet unclaimed property. Will Helena’s love interest remain the English doctor she had known since childhood or shift to this Greek archeologist? And will they find anything of value on her mother’s property that Helena can use to support herself?
Helena experiences a very interesting period of Greece’s history. King Otto of Bavaria has been made king of Greece by the European powers and is struggling to gain control. Valiant bandits are still roaming the countryside after distinguishing themselves in resisting the Ottoman Turks. The novel is good at picturing what it might have been like to live in those times.
Yes, there is a vague plot connection between the Helena Cadfield of the novel and the Helen who was abducted by Paris in Greek myth. This adds a somewhat timeless perspective to the story.
The many specific details of daily life in both England and Greece show an author who is quite familiar with both cultures. She tells the story in a refined, elegant prose that is a pleasure to read.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day Poem

To My Mother

Mother, my dear, sweet Mother
Your warm smile embraces my soul
Each and every day, and particularly
 On Mother’s Day
As I remember 
Your arms that held me,
Fed me, 
Clothed me, and 
Nurtured me 
Within the bosom of your love.

I am grateful that God gave me to you
And that He gave you to me.

Without you, I could not exist,
Without you, I could not breathe
Without you, I could not say I love you.
For you taught me the most important 
Thing in my life, and that’s the 
Unconditional love of a mother.

Even though the years have sped by 
And distance threatens to separate us
No matter where you are,
I will still feel you close to me,
Caring about me, loving me,
Sharing with me your sweet, special smile.
For I will always, always be your child.


by Patty Apostolides, May 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hello everyone. My book HElENA'S CHOICE has been added to the Maryland Writers' Association Contest. I need five votes to make it eligible for the contest. Right now I have three votes. if you could kindly take a moment to read and vote on my book HELENA'S CHOICE for the MWA contest, I would appreciate it. I need 2 more votes! 
Many thanks in advance!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Toast for Life - Poem

I wrote this poem for a contest back in 2010, where they asked "What gets you out of bed in the morning?" This poem was the result. Enjoy!

A Toast for Life

To gather
Soft, willowy wisps of “thank you’s”
And blow them into the air until
A smile returns my way


To favor
Random acts of kindness
To those that hurt so much they cannot see,
Except my outstretched hand

To find
The path that leads to happiness
One step at a time
With a loved one by my side

To write
A story so pure and uplifting
That brings tears of joy,
One page at a time

To share
A journey of friendship
That lasts not only a lifetime
But forever

To search
For peace in everything
And once it is found -
Never let it go

To gain
The wisdom and foresight
Taught from life’s lessons
That leads me closer to maturity

To love
With a pure and forgiving heart
And allowing to be loved
One day at a time

To learn
Through books and classes
Of the universe’s secrets
And respect their power

To depart
This earth one day
Having accomplished my purpose -
To leave a part of me behind

- Patty Apostolides 2010

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Eternal Love - Poem

I dedicate this poem to all the lovers today on Valentine's Day:

Eternal Love

Would that the day never end
When the sun and moon do meet
So that night and day entwine
While the stars watch overhead
This everlasting time
Would that the day never end.

Would that life never end
When joyful sounds of life
Tap into the inner recesses
Of our minds
Burrowing deep into our hearts
Without a clue of cost or price
Would that life never end.

Would that Love never end
When the sunshine from your smile
Warms my spirit, soul, and mind
To embrace love faithfully
Enduring all that comes its way
Would that Love never end.

Bring the sun, moon, the stars
And your smile to light the way
All together for one moment
To fill up my life with love
So that even for one day
We could feel eternity's embrace
That is why Love never ends.

by Patty Apostolides, from Candlelit Journey: Poetry from the Heart

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Now is the Time

Everyone is focused on the New Year 2017, but I say:

Now is the Time

Gather all your thoughts today
Blow them into the wind and say -
No more time to while away,
Clear the path for a Now day.

Now is the moment we all should live
Not tomorrow, yesterday, or the past,
Now is the moment we all should live
For we don't know what tomorrow has.

Gather your loved ones and say -
I love you each and every day.
No matter what tomorrow portrays
Your Love goes a long, long way.

Now is the moment we all should live
Not tomorrow, yesterday, or the past,
Now is the moment we all should live
For we don't know what tomorrow has.

Remember all the joyous times -
Live them Now, one at a time.
Smile and say you're doing fine
Now is the time to feel divine.

Now is the moment we all should live
Not tomorrow, yesterday, or the past,
Now is the moment we all should live
For we don't know what tomorrow has.
by Patty Apostolides

I might make this into a song one day. What do you think?