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Why We Need to Challenge the Pronatalist Offspring Assumption by Laura Carroll

Why We Need to Challenge the Pronatalist “Offspring Assumption”

By Laura Carroll

On June 22-24, 2012, the Rio+20 Conference occurred in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Government delegates from all over the world talked about findings from an analysis done by a group of international scientists that deserve all of our attention. The scientists report that the Earth is in a “critical transition,” and reaching a “tipping point” when it comes to irreversible destruction of the global environment.

What are the problems that are bringing the mounting pressure on the Earth’s environmental health? “Unchecked population growth, the disappearance of critical plant and animal species, the over-exploitation of energy resources, and the rapidly warming climate.”

And if it continues the way it’s been going, according to the lead scientist Anthony Barnosky,  the Earth could reach this tipping point at a “time scale of a century or even a few decades.”

As David Perlman writes in the San Francisco Chronicle article, “Close to the Tipping Point of Warming, ” the problems include:

– “Rapid growth in the world’s human population – to 9 billion by 2050 and possibly 27 billion by the end of the century – is quickly consuming available resources.”

-Fossil fuels are being burned at a “rapidly increasing rate.”

-Vast”dead zones” in the ocean (where there are no fish) are growing.

-Loss of biodiversity on land – “40% of Earths land mass was once biodiverse, and now, it “contains far fewer species of crop plants and domestic animals.”

-Loss of animal and plant species – we are seeing more extinctions than ever before.

-The impacts of the rising global temperature – in the next 60 years, it will be “higher than it has been since humans evolved.”

To slow or reverse the critical transition we are in, the scientists urge “international cooperation to slow population growth, curb dependence on fossil fuels, increase the efficiency of food production, and manage both lands and oceans as reservoirs of biodiversity.”

What do we need more of at an individual level?  When it comes to decisions to bring more children into the world, as David Paxson, President of World Population Balance, insightfully puts it, we have to come to terms with the fact that we are now in a time where “a person’s biological right to have children must be mediated by his or her social responsibility not to have too many.”

As the Offspring Assumption chapter discusses in The Baby Matrix, given the population and environmental realities we face, it is time to challenge pronatalism’s assumption that we all have the right to have as many biological children as we want.  We need to shift from a mindset that adulates the birth if another child, to one that hold couples who choose to adopt, or have one or no biological child in the highest regard. Why? Because they are doing their part to mitigate the catastrophic impact of a rapidly growing population on resource decline, rather than what they might personally want first.

The Baby Matrix also address why we need to do some serious rethinking about the supposed problems with having only one child and negative myths about adopting, and how policies need to change so that rather than encouraging births, they provide incentive to reduce biological births.

It’s time to shift away from pronatalist offspring assumptions that harm our society and natural environment. Each person’s existence has an environmental impact, which affects other humans and other species. We’ve reached a time, even the tipping point, to where it is up to all of us to choose reproductive action that lessens that impact.

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Laura Carroll is the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction will Create a Better World, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out.

In addition to writing nonfiction books, she has worked over the last 15 years as a business and litigation psychology consultant and used her expertise in behavioral sciences, psychology, and communications to advise business, legal, and nonprofit professionals on their communications strategies and goals.

Laura is a seasoned leader of personal and professional development seminars, and has appeared on a variety of television shows, including Good Morning America and The Early Show. She has been a guest on many radio talk shows to discuss social science topics.

You’ll also find her online at her nonfiction book site, LiveTrue Books, and her top blog, La Vie Childfree.

To get your copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Parenthood-Reproduction/dp/0615642993/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-2

Pick up your ebook copy at Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-baby-matrix-laura-carroll/1110625478

To get your e-copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll for your Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Reproduction-ebook/dp/B0081HSF3S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-1

To learn more about Laura, go to her website: http://lauracarroll.com/

Visit Laura Carroll on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/LauraCarroll88

Like Laura Carroll on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheBabyMatrix

Find out all about The Baby Matrix at Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13641241-the-baby-matrix

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THE BABY MATRIX: Interview with Laura Carroll on Parenthood, Reproduction and New Book

Laura Carroll is the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction will Create a Better World, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out.

In addition to writing nonfiction books, she has worked over the last 15 years as a business and litigation psychology consultant and used her expertise in behavioral sciences, psychology, and communications to advise business, legal, and nonprofit professionals on their communications strategies and goals.

Laura is a seasoned leader of personal and professional development seminars, and has appeared on a variety of television shows, including Good Morning America and The Early Show. She has been a guest on many radio talk shows to discuss social science topics.

You’ll also find her online at her nonfiction book site, LiveTrue Books, and her top blog, La Vie Childfree.

To get your copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Parenthood-Reproduction/dp/0615642993/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-2

Pick up your ebook copy at Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-baby-matrix-laura-carroll/1110625478

To get your e-copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll for your Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Reproduction-ebook/dp/B0081HSF3S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-1

To learn more about Laura, go to her website: http://lauracarroll.com/

Visit Laura Carroll on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/LauraCarroll88

Like Laura Carroll on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheBabyMatrix

Find out all about The Baby Matrix at Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13641241-the-baby-matrix

___________________________________________________

Q: Thank you for this interview, Laura. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Baby Matrix is all about?

The Baby Matrix looks at long-held beliefs about parenthood and reproduction, and unravels why we believe what we believe. It boils down to a set of beliefs that has influenced society for generations called “pronatalism.” So many of the beliefs that make up pronatalism have become so embedded we think they are “true,” yet are not, and negatively affect us, individually and collectively. The Baby Matrix lays out what is true, and explains why society can no longer afford to leave pronatalism unquestioned.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for your book?

My previous book, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, received international attention and paved the way for me to become an expert on the childfree choice.  After its publication, I wanted to delve deeper and get to the core of why society finds this choice hard to fully accept. My research led me down a path to not only talk to many more childfree, but to parents, those who want to be parents but are not by circumstance, and the child “less,” — those who want children but do not have them.

The path got even more interesting when it led me to “pronatalism” and to the surprising fact that most people remain unaware of it. Realizing this along with seeing how much pronatalism does a disservice to society fueled the fire to write this book!

Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?

I dug into lots of books and many research studies, and talked to subject matter experts. Sometimes the research turned into interesting detective work. For example, in researching the historical origins of pronatalism, I found books that were over 30 years old. I tried to find the authors, and after quite the hunt, found some authors, but learned others had passed away. This was not a dead end however; like with any book, there is magic that happens along the way. For those I did not find, I found others who ended up taking me in the direction my research needed to go.

Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?

Question what you have been taught to believe about having children! Understanding, questioning and letting go of pronatalist beliefs will make for better parenthood decisions, not just for ourselves, but for our loved ones, society and our world.

Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?

This excerpt is from the Introduction:

“It’s time to take another hard look at pronatalism. Many people have begun to question its tenets, and rightly so. They are waking up to the fact that this set of implicit assumptions furthers the agendas of power structures such as the church, state, and industry—not individuals. They are questioning how they’ve been unconsciously influenced to accept beliefs that ultimately serve others’ agendas, and how this negatively impacts not just themselves but people from all walks of life. Pronatalist assumptions dictate how we’re supposed to follow the “normal path” to adulthood. They also put unwarranted pressure on us to have biological children (and the “right” number of them), fail to foster a society in which those who are best suited to become parents are the ones who have children, and do a disservice to children who are already here in need of loving homes. The assumptions also result in inequitable workplace and tax policies that favor parents over people with no children. And they work against leaving future generations a better world.

It’s time for all of us to understand why we can no longer afford to leave pronatalist assumptions unquestioned and why now is the time to transition to a “post” pronatal society.

Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today?  How did you do it?

Getting a book published in the traditional way remains very competitive. However, more than ever, authors can get great work out there without having to solely rely on the traditional publishing route.  With the digital book world the way that it is today, I decided to self-publish The Baby Matrix. I worked with excellent freelance editors, an interior design and cover artist to develop the book. And I’ve had the help of great digital and other media publicity experts for savvy promotion.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

I greet the day with dark roasted coffee, and get news from a variety of sources. I work on website management and book promotion for most of the morning. At mid-day, I do some sort of physical activity–a walk, yoga, aerobics or resistance training. I always devote a good part of the afternoon to the current book I am working on. In the evenings, I love to cook!

Q: What’s next for you?

I am definitely percolating on my next book, but am primarily focusing on getting The Baby Matrix message out there right now. I will say the next book will be nonfiction as always, be about my quest for the answer to a question I am passionate about, and include something I love to do in developing my books-interview lots of people!

Thank you so much for this interview, Laura.  We wish you much success!

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What Your Readers and Book Buyers Want to Know About You and What You Need to Know About Them

tootyourhornEvery now and then, I’ll have an author ask me what they should write about when asked to write guest posts or what emphasis they should concentrate on when answering questions in interviews or just what they should do to create the most impact on their book buying public without becoming overbearing, pompous or downright horn-tooting obnoxious.

The first thing I tell them is get out of the mindset that you’ll be getting on peoples’ nerves with all this horn blowing and get on with the matter at hand. You are out to sell your book. Without you tooting or someone else you pay to toot for you, you might as well kiss your book sales goodbye.

Good publicity relies on these things:

  1. Perseverance
  2. Hard work
  3. Dedication

I’m sure that you know this and I’m sure you’ve got all three of those qualities going on for you, but good publicity also requires this:

  1. Knowing what common sense rules to follow when promoting your book
  2. Realizing that researching your subject in off before, during and after it’s published leads to successful promotions later
  3. Networking, schmoozing and generally getting your fans to adore you

Knowing what common sense rules to follow when promoting your book takes practice and experience. Unless you are out there noticing how other authors are promoting, you probably haven’t a clue. Are those emails coming from a certain author, publisher or publicist who has added your email to their email lists getting on your nerves by their promotional email blasts? Number One rule is never sign up anyone to your email list without their permission. I know no one is going to heed my advice but when this happens to me, I’m quick to delete and hit spam. However, if it is someone with whom you have connected in the past, they’re open bait and if they wish to unsubscribe, delete, hit spam, that’s on them but the odds are in your favor they’ll stick with you.

Researching your subject after the book has been written sounds a bit confusing, doesn’t it? Let me explain. Joe has written a book on fly fishing while Mary has written a romance novel. Both Joe and Mary have elected to promote on their own. Joe goes about the normal promotional procedures like putting up a website and/or blog and wishing for the best, but Mary decides she’s going to put her book subject in Google Alerts to find out what others are talking about relating to her book. Mary also loves to blog so she has elected to visit blogs that concentrate on her genre. Mary also has decided to pick out certain topics, locals, etc., within her book and researched them to find other like-minded people out there blogging about the same subjects in her book. Joe feels all alone in his self-promotional journey while Mary has made lots of friends, which has resulted in lots of sales.

Networking, schmoozing and generally getting your fans to adore you rounds out my third point which ties into researching your subject. Once you have found the many people out there who absolutely loves your work and loves to hear as much as they can about your book and you, treasure them like gold nuggets. These are your fans. These are the people who follow you like shadows on a moonlit night. These are the people you need to nurture. These are the very people that you must pay close attention to and never let them feel you’re just another name on another book. They are your book’s lifeline.

When you can find that happy medium between what your book buyers want to know about you and what you should know about them, book promotion gets a little bit easier.

Dorothy Thompson is CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion. Visit us at www.pumpupyourbook and let us take you to the virtual level!

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Book Trivia: Interview with Epic Fantasy Author R. Scot Johns

book-triviaIt’s time to play Book Trivia! Periodically, we scour the Internet for interesting authors who would like to play Book Trivia with us. By answering our book trivia questions, we get to learn things about the author no one else knows! So, let’s get ready…let’s play…Book Trivia!

Today our guest author is R. Scot Johns, author of the heroic fantasy novel The Saga of Beowulf. Scot is a life-long student of ancient and medieval literature, with an enduring fascination for Norse mythology and fantasy epics. He first came to Beowulf through his love of J.R.R. Tolkien, a leading scholar on the subject. As an Honors Medieval Literature major he has given lectures on such topics as the historical King Arthur and the construction of Stonehenge. He owns and operates Fantasy Castle Books , a publishing imprint, and writes the blog Adventures of an Independent Author.

Thank you for playing Book Trivia with us, Scot! Here are your questions:

the-saga-of-beowulfIf Tom Hanks, in the movie Cast Away, unearthed a copy of The Saga of Beowulf, how would that help Tom find a way off the island?

He could burn it when a ship came near (although I’m sure he couldn’t bear to until he finished reading it). Actually, the Vikings were a great sea-faring race, so it might provide the motivation to build a ship as they did with little but their knives and axes.

Everyone knows rock star idol Brittany Spears is always in trouble with everything you can think of. In what way could your book help her and set her life back on track?

Reading any book would be a step in the right direction. Reading mine would keep her off the street for months on end (it’s 640 pages long). The Saga of Beowulf deals with issues such as loyalty and courage, love and honor, that might well prove instructive.

You have a chance to appear on the hit talent show for authors, American Book Idol, with judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi determining whether your book will make it to Hollywood and become a big screenplay. What would impress them more – your book cover, an excerpt or your best review – and why?

My charming personality doesn’t count? Darn. Any of the three would impress them enough to take a deeper look, but of course, the writing is what would close the deal. All of my reviews thus far have been stellar, and I’m quite pleased with the cover art I did. But I actually wrote this novel as a screenplay first, and it shows in the highly visual style of my writing. More than one reviewer has said that it reads like a major Hollywood movie. It has action and romance, epic battles and characters that actors die for.

r-scot-johns-2Hulk Hogan, the famous wrestler and star of his own reality show, has invited you and your book to appear on his show. One catch. You have to read a passage out of it to convince him you are star material. What part would you read?

For the Hulk I would read the scene in which a hundred Vikings battle to the death against a thousand screaming Frisians. Or, of course, the scene where Beowulf defeats the ogre Grendel by tearing its arm right out of the socket and beating the wailing creature with it. Or the scene where he scares away three Stone Trolls by hurling massive boulders at them. That’s a total Hulkamania scene.

They’ve invented a board game using the theme of your book. What would the title of it be that would be different from your book and which retail store would they place it to make the most sales?

Quest for Valhalla would be the name, and the players would battle to gain the most fame and gold before they died in battle and ascended to Odin’s hall of heroes in the afterworld. A guaranteed hit in every D&D gamer shop around the world.

the-saga-of-beowulf-banner

The Arbor Day Foundation has decided to pick one tree in your honor because of your writing brilliance. What kind of tree is it and why did they choose that tree in relation to your book?

The ash tree, which was sacred to the Norse. The Cosmic Tree, Yggdrasil, is an ash, and its roots connect the three worlds of Heaven, Hell and Middle-Earth, and are watered by the Norns, the three sisters of Fate. It’s the only tree that Beowulf couldn’t easily uproot from the ground with his bare hands.

President Barack Obama has become the author of several books and he has requested your presence at a special hush hush meeting to discuss ways to promote it. Through luck of the draw, you were chosen. What would be the first thing you would tell Barack?

Start writing your next book. If you’re the President you don’t need to market your book. Promotion is only necessary for those of us the reading public doesn’t know.

Finally, you just got word that your book has received the 2009 NY Times Bestselling Book Award and you have to attend the ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan. Anyone who’s anyone will be there and it’s your shot for stardom. On stage, you must give an acceptance speech. What would you say and who would you thank?

First I’d like to say that it’s an honor to become a part of someone’s life, if only for a week or a day. Writing is a shared experience that only finds fulfillment in the touching of the reader’s heart. I am greatly thankful to every one of you who read my work and pleased beyond belief that it somehow spoke to you. Thanks to all who bore with me through the long and arduous process that often made me insufferable to live with. I’d like to thank my landlord for not evicting me, and my boss for not firing me. Thanks to everyone who gave me needed inspiration, and most of all thank goodness I finally finished it!

R. Scot Johns welcomes any questions you have! Please leave comments and questions below!

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Mailman, where are you?

the-obama-revolution1What an exciting day! I’m telling you, if you told me I couldn’t do something, I’d at least try, especially when the passion takes over, but I received an email from the author of this book right over here to the left. Yes! I know you can’t believe it, either! Now, if Obama sends me a note, I believe I will have done everything in this life and don’t need to do anymore.

Putting political persuasion aside, no matter who you voted for, Obama is our President and he’s going to be a very good President. Trust me on this one.

But look, I’ve got to tell you about my note from the author of The Obama Revolution. I had emailed him through a form on his website, or was it Facebook? I’m not sure, anyway, the message got through to him and look what he left in my email box!

Hi Dorothy,

Thank you so much for your kind email! I am excited that you will be reading and reviewing The Obama Revolution. I have been extremely impressed by Phoenix Books and the professional manner in which they turned this book around in record time. Like you, Barack Obama’s campaign kindled a fire in me that continues to burn. The book gives the first in-the-trenches look at a campaign that made history not only by the excitement it generated but also by the participation it garnered from Americans everywhere. I hope that you will have the opportunity to get a copy soon and let me know your thoughts!

Best,
Alan

Is this guy the bomb or what? I am so thrilled to be reviewing this book. Mailman, where are you???

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