Friday, October 24, 2014

World of Writing, interview

-- World of Writing -- 

* Shout out to Alli Russo, Public Relations agent with http://AlliRussoPR.com

Today we have Qwana Reynolds sharing her thoughts on the world of writing. She is a self-published author for the Friend In Your Pocket series, written to motivate anyone wanting to enhance and enrich their lives. Qwana tells us that her goal is to show readers that they have a story to tell and they should look at their trauma as a gift, and to make them aware of what others are going through. They should ask themselves the question, how can I help the people around me that have overcome or are in the process of overcoming trauma? Writers like Qwana have a sincere mission of helping the readers become more conscious and enable them to make better decisions that will impact our world in a positive matter.

Q: Tell us something about yourself.

My name is Qwana Reynolds and I love writing. I love thinking about writing and I am grateful that I get to add to the universe's canvas with my colorful pen! 

Q: Did you choose writing as a profession, or did it choose you?

You never choose to write. Writing attacks your imagination and attaches to you as a child and never leaves you. Writing lays dormant in some of us because we have not yet had the experiences needed to start our masterpieces. Everyone has the urgency to write at the right times in their lives and not a second before.

Q: What are common mistakes authors make?

As a writer, and knowing other writers, the mistakes I see frequently are over thinking, writer's doubt, and low writer's esteem. Writers are the queens and kings of revisions. We never feel correct enough or good enough. We also get bad advice from non-visionaries, which hinder us further. 

Q: What are your greatest obstacles and motivators when it comes to writing?

The biggest obstacle for writers is accepting the fact that everyone will not accept you. Everyone will not appreciate you and you must be okay with that. This obstacle is my motivation in knowing that I am affecting the minds of other humans. People are thinking about the words that I have strung together. I am motivated by the challenge of changing the heart of non-believers of my work. Writers must follow their gut instincts. The most powerful thoughts usually come first. Writers must exhibit confidence when presenting their work because your critics sense low writer's self esteem and they will attack you even if your work is flawless. 

Q: What is your favorite memory in your career as a writer?

My favorite memory is recalling writing my books while sitting in my office at work and knowing that this would be my last job. My books being my ticket off the hamster wheel made me excited about walking in my purpose. 
Q: Excuse me, but did you say you wrote your books at work? How did this happen?

I literally wrote my books as I working as a social worker in a juvenile detention facility. This job was my muse because it pushed me into writing everyday since I knew writing was my true calling. This job was just a vehicle to get me to my ultimate destination. I devoted 3-4 hours a day to writing in the midst of my chaotic job even if it meant staying up late because I was inspired. 
Q: What do you think about self-publishing?

I love self-publishing. It allows you complete creative control over your project. With all the free self-publishing websites money is not a barrier to getting your book to market any longer. Self-publishing helps you learn the business of publishing and helps you to sharpen your marketing skills. All authors, as with any artist, should understand the business that they are in fully. Self-publishing also helps introverted writers navigate the market without fear of rejection. Writing and publishing from the comfort of home is just awesome. 




Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!
  
 
 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Green Pest Control, part 2


Gary Towne was kind enough to submit a detailed overview of green pest management for our readers, which I’ve broken down into 3 articles. Gary will help us find out how we can control pests around our home or office without poisoning or harming the Earth or the people in the building and the children or pets playing in the yards. He’ll show you that there are times when you can best deal with a situation yourself and give you some tips on what to look for when choosing a trustworthy pest control operator (PCO). Gary is formally of Dr. Price Pest Control and Towne’s Pest Control, now of Propec Pest Control. He is, actually, my brother and as such he comes from a family with a tradition of respect and appreciation for nature, and focused on being environmentally (and fiscally) responsible and self-sufficient. You can contact him directly at: gwtowne@hotmail.com
* Find Part 1 of this series here via October 21st's post:  http://consciousdiscussions.blogspot.com/2014/10/green-pest-control-part-1.html

-- Green Pest Control, Part 2 -- 

 
OK, so now that we are starting to have a better grasp on the terminology and concepts, it’s time to re-phrase the concept of green pest control to: “How can I deal with pests in my home or garden, and do so both effectively and responsibly, without poisoning other animals, the environment, or myself?” This gets away from political buzzwords. Indeed, certified pest control technicians are not actually allowed to tell clients that a treatment is organic or green or natural, due to the inherent confusion over terms. Trying to cater to popular social concepts or preferences in that way is purposely misleading, even deceptive, and thus immoral. 

So, can you trust a pest control company to care about the environment, or will he just throw a bunch of harsh chemicals around, take his money, and split? Well, gone are the days of wanton, irresponsible, excessive use of chemicals. I still cringe at the old black and white pictures of children gleefully following a farm tractor spraying some herbicide or insecticide on a field; the kids would play in the toxic mist of chemicals long ago banned as if running through a lawn sprinkler. I sometimes wonder whatever happened to those kids afterwards.

 Some companies might advertise that they use only (or mostly) environmentally friendly methods, but indeed, the whole industry has changed to the point that actually, any reputable pest control company does this, at least to some degree. It is the law, actually, as the government now strictly regulates any pesticide usage. The Ministry of Environment has developed what is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which means, basically, a holistic approach. 

So what is this holistic pest control (IPM) that all licensed pest control companies MUST follow? (By the way, not all companies are licensed or follow the strict government protocols and regulation). We look at why the pests are here in the first place: where they came from, how they got here, and why they want to stay. It also focuses on treating the target pest only, without affecting non-target species, such as us, and our pets, and any other plant or animal. Like all other living things, such as us, bugs and rodents need food, water, and a place to live that they like. Take away these things, and you discourage them greatly. 

We also use traps and mechanical or cultural methods that alter the environment: improved hygiene, altering the temperature or humidity or lighting conditions, mowing the grass, pruning back trees so they don’t touch the house, keeping firewood away from the house, removing dead and decaying stumps or logs, constructing the house so that wood does not touch soil (for example use concrete footings), changing suppliers, preventing and repairing water-damage on wooden structures, find and seal up routes of pest access, using yellow lights instead of white lights outside… the list goes on. Any decent, reputable PCO would give advice along these grounds toward long-term pest management, although some perhaps more so than others.


*Watch for Part 3 of this series which will be published on October 25th



Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well! 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fund Raising Tour Of Universal Green Home

* Submitted:

For the first time, tours of the one-of-a-kind Universal Design Living Laboratory will be offered to the community to raise money for spinal cord injury research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Where: 6141 Clark State Road, Columbus, Ohio (US)
When: Open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. daily October 25 through November 23, 2014. Admission is $10, with all proceeds benefiting spinal cord injury research at Ohio State.

Universal Design Living Laboratory (UDLL) is the residence of Rosemarie Rossetti Ph.D., an internationally known speaker and advocate for people with disabilities and her husband, Mark Leder, the builder of the home. The 3,500-square foot home that features universal design was conceived and built after Rosemarie was paralyzed from the waist down in 1998 when she was crushed by a large tree while riding a bicycle.

Leder’s life was impacted by the tragedy too. The emotional impact was overwhelming. The couple worked together to rebuild their lives and build their new home.

The couple’s goal is to showcase to the public, as well as builders, architects, and designers how universal design and green building are elements that can be included in all new homes and remodeling projects. The tour will highlight how people can live in a comfortable environment that will enhance their quality of life regardless of their circumstance, age or abilities. Rossetti knows from personal experience the difficulties people face when their circumstances change due to either injury or simply aging.

A spinal cord injury left me paralyzed from the waist down. I came home from the hospital in a wheelchair and realized just how unaccommodating my two-story home was to me,” Rossetti said. “My life change was sudden; for others, life changes more gradually. I learned how fully accessible home design can provide independence for people with disabilities, as well as those who would like to stay in their homes while they age."

The UDLL is the highest-rated universal design home in North America, earning three national certifications from Livable Design, ZeroStep and Life-Flex Home. Universal design is a framework for the design of living and working spaces and products benefiting the widest possible range of people in the widest range of situations without special or separate design. It is human-centered design, accommodating people of all sizes, ages, and abilities.

In addition, this home showcases green building practices. It has achieved a National Green Building Standard rating of Gold, awarded by the Home Innovation Research Labs, an independent subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders.

To learn more about Rosemarie or the Universal Design Living Laboratory, please contact:
Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.


Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!
 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Green Pest Control, part 1


Gary Towne was kind enough to submit a detailed overview of green pest management for our readers, which I’ve broken down into 3 articles. Gary will help us find out how we can control pests around our home or office without poisoning or harming the Earth or the people in the building and the children or pets playing in the yards. He’ll show you that there are times when you can best deal with a situation yourself and give you some tips on what to look for when choosing a trustworthy pest control operator (PCO). Gary is formally of Dr. Price Pest Control and Towne’s Pest Control, now of Propec Pest Control. He is, actually, my brother and as such he comes from a family with a tradition of respect and appreciation for nature, and focused on being environmentally (and fiscally) responsible and self-sufficient. You can contact him directly at: gwtowne@hotmail.com



-- Green Pest Control, Part 1 --

So, you have some pests in your home or garden, say, mice or cockroaches or ants, or wildlife raiding your garden or invading your attic or walls. You want to protect your home, but you have distrust for man-made chemicals, so you want to be “go green,” meaning using natural or organic methods.

First, let’s look at the nomenclature, the terms we use. “Organic,” “natural,” and “green,” are socially deemed interchangeable and inherently safe, but they are not, and the common usage can be quite vague and amorphous, even emotionally charged. Does organic mean no chemicals? Are chemicals all man-made? Are pesticides all dangerous, evil chemicals? Are natural materials inherently, by nature, safe? Are pesticides all dangerous chemicals?  Is it safe to follow Internet home remedy recipes by using your kitchen blender that you also use for your breakfast smoothies?  A big, resounding nope, nope, nope on all accounts.

In elementary chemistry class we learn about H20, CO2, photosynthesis, oxidation, decomposition, the fixation of nitrogen by legumes, etc. These are all natural chemical products and processes.  Meanwhile, some commercial pesticides are organic, and some natural materials are so toxic that they are quite unsafe. You could ask Socrates about how safe the tea made from the hemlock tree is, or certain South American tribes about the efficacy of the frog-derived poison on their darts or arrows. You might also want to be careful about eating wild mushrooms, or even the leaves on your rhubarb plant. Yes, nature is full of various poisons. Just ask Steve (Crikey!), the Australian dangerous wildlife enthusiast.

So what does organic really mean? First, we have to put aside subjective, emotionally laden, politically-motivated concepts behind what we think words may mean, i.e. not focus on buzzwords. If you talk about organic material, it means the remains of something that was alive, or the discarded or by-product material of something that was alive: this is the food leftovers, egg shells, manure, leaves, grass clippings, bones, etc. that you can compost for your garden. Note: egg shells were never actually alive, any more than the shell on clams, but are the calcium covering deposited by the animal in question to protect the living part. Similarly, neither spider silk, skunk stink, nor the glue that wasps create to fasten their nests was never actually alive, but are created by glands in the creatures’ bodies, so we can call these organic. Scientifically, organic simply means material that includes carbon, so inorganic simply means not containing carbon. Organic does not mean not synthetic. A whole class of pesticides are called organic because they are carbon based, but some of them, such as the organophosphates, have largely been banned due to being deemed unsafe and excessively toxic, especially to non-target species. On the other hand, some of the safest pesticides are inorganic, meaning mineral derivatives, such as borax (from boron, a common and natural element) and diatomaceous earth (SiO2), derived from the skeletons of tiny marine life.

What are pesticides, exactly? Or for that matter, what exactly is a pest? In horticulture, a weed is technically any plant growing where you don’t want it. Similarly, a pest is simply any animal that are dangerous or otherwise problematic to humans, such as wasps, flies, mice and rats, cockroaches, ants, etc, but only if they are invading our space. Indeed, most insects are not pests but are actually quite beneficial, either to us directly or to the ecosystem as a whole, and thus should not be harmed. Wildlife, such as skunks, squirrels, or raccoons are technically not pests, and must not be harmed, but we can kick them out of our personal living space.

Pesticides are simply products used to either kill or deter pests, primarily the problematic insects or rodents, but also some birds, mites, nematodes. The range of products is quite wide, and some are very new while others have been in usage for many centuries. The mode of action is also various. Pesticides are one of the main sets of tools in pest control (or pest management) in general, which also includes many kinds of traps (including live or “humane”) traps, as well as other tools and methods, such as exclusion. This includes nets to keep deer and birds out of your garden, or birds of prey out of fish hatcheries, or spikes to keep pigeons from nesting on your veranda and pooping on your porch. The goal is not species eradication, but simply to stop a pest situation. A rat or ant colony in a forest is part of nature, but a rat in my kitchen or carpenter ants eating my house is another story. The ants just think your house is a tree that fell down, which it is. We don’t need to read too much ethics into the story. Pests are not evil and creatures in nature do not make choices based on ethics or rights, but on what they want and need, according to their station in the circle of life.

* In part 2  (scheduled for publication on October 23rd) of this series of articles Gary will explain his concept of green pest control, explains Integrated Pest Management and finding trustworthy pest control specialists.
In part 3 (scheduled for publication on October 25th) Gary closes this series with interesting tips and advice for Do-It-Yourself'ers


Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well! 


Monday, October 20, 2014

World of Writing, interview




-- World of Writing -- 

Dr. Elizabeth Armstrong has always had a strong affinity for natural ecosystems, wildlife, and non-human allies.  Her love of knowledge yielded a Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. in the sciences at the University of Arkansas and completed coursework in Financial Case for Green, Green Building Development, and Water-Wise landscaping.  She has mentored and consulted on environmental issues for over two decades.  An author’s path resulted in her new book, Align With The Wild, which addresses the need for a worldwide lifestyle shift towards heart-centered conscious collaborations with all species. 





Q: Elizabeth, could we start by having you give us a brief glance at your life experiences?


A: I was born on a military base since my father was an officer in the Army.  As a toddler, I lived in Japan.  My family settled right outside of Washington DC, in Maryland where I spent most of my younger years.  I have enjoyed traveling around the continent and Hawaii and presently live in Arkansas.


Q: What led you to the world of writing? 


A: Actually, high school English was my worst subject when I dropped out of school in tenth grade.  Journaling was a great past time yet I did not consider myself to be a writer.  I wanted a written memory of my life’s wonderful experiences.  It was fun to watch my growth over the years.

Q: What is your professional and educational background?


A: For 12 years, I loved serving as a waitress.  My thirst for knowledge carried my through higher education to complete a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences.  It was required that I write a thesis and dissertation where the scientific language was dry and incredibly detailed.  I am now a business owner of Jazzy Eco Sustainable Community.





Q: Do you use more than one voice in my writing?


A: Yes, I write to educate using sound science for support in a poetic flow of material.  Authoring my own book blesses me with the freedom to empower the reader on a path of self-discovery.  My book, Align With The Wild, allows me to serve nature and wildlife through the support created by the reader.


Q: What is your mission or goal in life?


A: My mission is to build a sustainable community that supports businesses, educates the masses on environmental stewardship strategies, and strengthens natural ecosystems.  Generating revenue through writing and sharing my expertise is the path.  Mobilizing stewards is the journey.  Embracing gratitude, faith, and spirit is the insurance.


Q: What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and your greatest weaknesses?


A: Integrity, dedication, and intuition are my strengths.  Recognizing the need to change and adapt navigates my growth.  I tend to be weakened by compassion that might alter my priorities.  I feel, though, that there is great value in love and mutually beneficial collaborations.       





Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well! 


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tips for creating press kits and author bios

 * written by: Harriet Hodgson - she has been a freelancer for 36+ years and is the author of 33 books. Her latest releases are Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss, Help! I'm Raising My Grandkids, and Seed Time: Growing from Life's Losses and Sorrows. Visit her website for more information about this busy author and grandmother.
http://www.harriethodgson.com




It's been a few years since I assembled an author press kit. I'm working on one now and have been at it for days. Things were going well and then, to my surprise, I foundered on the author bio. This surprised me because I knew my book and myself better than anyone else.

Publishing is changing quickly. Most publishers, whether they are traditional, print on demand, indie, or hybrid, ask authors to get involved with marketing. Each author has to figure out how much they are willing to do and spend. Publishers rely on social media and author websites for publicity. Fortunately, my website was professionally designed.

Despite decades of freelance experience, I needed a press kit update. Joanna Penn, in her article, "Book Marketing: Creating Your Author Press Kit," posted on The Creative Pen website, thinks the author bio should be about 200 words long. She asks authors to include "things that make you sound interesting and professional." Joel Friedlander offers more advice in his article, "Book Marketing: Your Online Press Kit," posted on The Book Designer's website. Author platform information should be in the bio, Friedlander says, and the bio should include your photo.

While I understood these suggestions, I wasn't sure I could follow them. I had already written a 300-word bio and didn't think there was room for the cover and a photo. For hours, I grappled with Penn's advice about adding copy to my bio that would make me interesting. After freelancing for 36+ years I had many stories to tell. Too many.

Should I tell the story about participating in New York is Book Country and my booth in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral?
Should I tell the story about flying to a large city, appearing on radio and TV, and finding out the publisher hadn't shipped books to stores?

Should I tell the story about the fire in the television studio? Bingo! That was the story.

The story would end my bio. Problem was, I didn't have much room for it. I revised my bio five times and it's pretty good. However, it's the publisher that casts the final vote. I've hit the highlights -- home town, writing experience, number of books, and author quotes. If you're writing your author bio now I have suggestions for you.

Check with your publisher. Knowing what your publisher expects can save you lots of time and revisions. My publisher sent me a list of the press kit contents and it was very helpful.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. I forwarded the first bookmark design to my publisher. Again, the publisher had some suggestions and they were all helpful. My graphic designer is re-doing the design now.

Pay attention to details. In the past few days I've emailed my publisher a lot and worried about being perceived as a pest. But I'm glad I checked with the publisher because the bookmark design was confusing. At the suggestion of my publisher, I wrote sell copy for the back of the bookmark.

I don't know how many hours I've spent on my press kit and don't want to know. My goal is to assemble the best kit possible. This is your goal as well. Take the time you need to assemble a top-notch kit. Your press kit is your ambassador.




Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Green Non-profit



-- Quote of the Day --


"When we are no longer able to change a situation, 
we are challenged to change ourselves."

~ Victor Frankl


-- Green Non-profit -- 

Have you heard of the Environment America Organization? I learned of them through Facebook, and if you visit their Facebook site click on the About page to find links to their offices in each of the US states. One thing I do have to mention is that most of the Facebook posts are kinda negative, something I tend to avoid, however they are a powerful organization with a wide reach across one of the power countries of the world. Therefore I thought I would pass on the following information to you:

 http://twitter.com/EnvAm
http://environmentamerica.org/




Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!