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Interview with Laura Carroll, author of ‘The Baby Matrix’

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:

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

To learn more about Laura, go to her website:

Visit Laura Carroll on Twitter:!/LauraCarroll88

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Find out all about The Baby Matrix at Goodreads:

Laura Carroll is giving away a free Kindle Fire!  Click here to enter!


About the Book:

In the movie The Matrix, the character Morpheus offers two pills to Neo—if he takes the blue pill, he will go on with life as he has before, believing what he has always believed. If he takes the red pill, he will find out what the “matrix” really is, and many of his earlier beliefs will be shattered. When it comes to taking a hard look at a specific set of beliefs about parenthood and reproduction that has driven our society for generations, The Baby Matrix is the red pill.

What is this set of beliefs? Pronatalism. At its core, it’s the belief that having children should be the central focus of every adult’s life. In this book, author Laura Carroll shows us how pronatalist beliefs have become so embedded that they have come to be seen as “true” and takes a critical look at their pervasiveness in our society.

Carroll examines the historical origins of pronatalism, the reasons why it has such a deep hold on societies even though most people remain unaware of it, and whether it makes sense – for individuals or for the world as a whole. She examines the ways in which pronatalism is perpetuated, scrutinizes seven major pronatalist assumptions that lead people to accept them without question, and offers alternative mindsets that reflect realities, true reproductive freedom and responsibility in today’s society. Whether you are already a parent, want to be a parent, or don’t want children, you will never think about parenthood in the same way.

Investigating what few have had the courage to discuss, The Baby Matrix examines the negative effects of pronatalist beliefs, including how they dictate the “normal path” to adulthood, put unwarranted pressure on people to have biological children, and fail to foster a society in which those who are best suited to become parents are the ones who have children.

Carroll also brings to light the impact that pronatalism has had on the world at large and will continue to have if its ubiquitous influence is not challenged. Citing compelling statistics, she shows how our belief that we can have as many children as we want is a serious threat in a world with finite resources. In the process, she brings into focus how every life brought into the world directly affects our survival.

This manifesto makes the case for why it’s time for all of us to understand why we can no longer afford to leave pronatalist assumptions unquestioned. Without compromise, The Baby Matrix is a reality check for us all. Are we willing to hold on to beliefs that aren’t necessarily true … even to our detriment? This book will make you examine your own intentions and beliefs, will rile you, and might just change your mind.

The Baby Matrix is a must-read for anyone interested in psychology, sociology, anthropology, parenting issues, environmentalism, and social justice. Those who revere the truth, want the best for themselves, their families and our world, and decide to take “the red pill” and read this book will find the truths that need to be told about pronatalism, and why it’s time to shift our thinking for the betterment of all.



Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Laura.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

In addition to my latest book, The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World, I am also the author of Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out was initially picked up by a medium size house in California, but they ended up delaying the publication date. I ultimately decided to self-publish to get the work out there.

Families of Two was picked up by a pioneer in the digital publishing industry owned by Random House at the time. I went this route because like them, I believed digital publishing was the future.

Both books ended up coming out about the same time.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

All three books took me about a year to write. Families of Two and The Baby Matrix were out shortly after, but Finding Fulfillment took a bit longer, as I had to decide whether to wait for the house to determine the pub date or to self-publish.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I felt like I had finally realized my calling in life. Celebrations have included everything from champagne to weekend splurges at a great hotel and spa!

Q: What was the first thing you did to promote your first book?

With Finding Fulfillment, I sought out print media, schools, and career counselors to tell them about the book. The word got out there, and it ended up being used in college Life Planning courses for awhile.

With Families of Two I hired my own publicist, who ended up being awesome and got me lots of syndicated radio and network TV media, including The Early Show and Good Morning America. I was also interviewed for articles in newspapers and magazines.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I would have to say I am much better now at trying to separate the creative writing time with the editing time, and not attempting to do both together. Trying to do both kills the creative flow. I also realize that half, if not more of what it takes to be a professional writer is being skilled at book promotion. On one hand, writing is so often an introverted endeavor. But to sell the book, one needs to be able to really put on an extraverted hat.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I have been surprised how long it took traditional publishing houses to go digital. The business model just makes more sense from a profit perspective, and allows them to take on more new authors with far less risk.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

The most rewarding thing is know I have helped people live their best lives. Receiving emails from readers telling me how my work has made a difference in their lives means the world to me.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Pursue the questions that you are passionate about, and follow what you are called to create.  In today’s publishing climate, don’t be afraid to get your own editorial, interior and cover art help and self-publish. There are so many talented people in all of these roles outside traditional houses today. Find experts to help you promote your work in all realms of media, and stay on a learning curve of the ever changing art of digital media. But most of all, enjoy all phases of bringing what you want to say into the world.

What’s One Reason Why Pronatalism Remains So Pervasive? Babies are Big Business by Laura Carroll

What’s One Reason Why Pronatalism Remains So Pervasive? Babies are Big Business

By Laura Carroll

Pronatalism is a set of beliefs about parenthood that has driven society for generations. The beliefs encourage reproduction and exalt the role of parenthood.  The historical origins of pronatalism go way back. What people have been influenced to believe about parenthood and reproduction might have served a purpose at one time, but now has outlasted its usefulness. Or, believe it or not, what we have been taught to believe has never been true to begin with.

If this is the case, why does pronatalism remain so pervasive? One reason is because birth and babies are big business. As the recent article in Time magazine, “The 1% Birth” says, the birth business is “worth more than $30 billion a year.”

Recently, the baby business has taken itself to new heights. Take the business of the “luxe” birth. Many hospitals have “VIP” wings with “hotel -like accommodations” and include “limousine labor,” like things such as total hospital room redecoration, birth teams with massage therapists, chefs and more. This is not just for the Beyonce celebrity births. The 1% likes the first class treatment too, says Ellie Miller, a co-founder of Ellie & Melissa Baby Planners. According to the American Academy of Private Physicians, the number of “concierge doctors,” those who don’t take insurance and charge membership fees, has recently increased 46 percent.

Not only do all the baby bump media make getting pregnant cool, the luxury birth business ups the ante to the rich and famous way to give birth to your baby. Hospitals across the country that offer “luxe maternity” can charge around $4000 a day, which is more than most standard hospitals charge for the whole kit and caboodle of delivering a baby.

Pronatalism glorifies pregnancy and the raising of children; “lux” birth adds to the glorification by pushing red carpet delivery. And glorification continued to pay off. Business greatly benefits from the perpetuation of pronatalism. Pushing pro-baby, pro-parenthood values creates more demand for products and services that bring big profits to business. Along with government and religious power structures, business works to keep pronatalist norms in place to promote reproductive conformity, so it can continue to gain power.

And “power” is the operative word when it comes to describing what drives the The Baby Matrix.  This word sums up the reason why pronatalism remains so pervasive today, despite the fact that assumptions that make it up no longer serve, or were never true in the first place.  It is time to take a hard look at pronatalism, why we continue to accept beliefs that ultimately serve others’ agendas, and how this negatively impacts people from all walks of life.


Laura Carroll is the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World. She is also the author of 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, Laura has worked 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. She has appeared on a variety of television shows, including Good Morning America and The Early Show, and been a guest on many radio talk shows to discuss social science topics. Laura reviews nonfiction books and more at LiveTrue Books. She lives in San Francisco.

Laura Carroll is giving away a free Kindle Fire!  Click here to enter!

Character Interview: Lelia Marie Freeman of ‘Dark Side of Valor’

We’re thrilled to have Lelia Marie Freeman here with us today!  Lelia is the director of ChildSafe Shelters in Los Angeles, California, and the lead character in Alicia Singleton’s blockbuster book, Dark Side of Valor.

We interviewed Lelia to give us some between the pages insights on her character and whether the author caught her true personality.  Welcome Lelia!

Thank you so for this interview, Lelia.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I don’t like being in the spotlight.  My business is my business.  It was bad enough being blasted on national television and dubbed, “The Street Angel”, then there’s that annoying, pain in my tail disc jockey, Zenith Starr and his constant harassment, now there’s this book about my life.  The kids are what’s important.  Not me.  Not my life. The kids.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

She made me seem a little rough around the edges, almost crass sometimes, but if that’s the way the world sees me, then…whatever.  I just don’t stomach bull-crap well.  Will there be any questions or some information published on how to help the homeless and runaway child population?  If not, then you’re wasting my time.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Not tolerating bull-crap, but ok, I’ll bite.  My heart.  Good or bad, life or death, I’ll always allow my heart to lead me.  Now, about the children and how people can help…

Worse trait?

My adopted mother says my big mouth.  Translated that means, I don’t stomach bull-crap well. But I promised her I’d be polite today, so my answer is, my heart.  Again, good or bad, life or death, my heart leads me, even if the situation could kill me.  I’d go to the ends of the earth to rescue my kids.  Who, by the way, we still haven’t discussed.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Who?  Elijah?  Absolutely not!  He’s brash, a bully, arrogant and a nut job.  If I didn’t need a way out of Sudania, I’d tell him where to get off.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When I woke up in another country with nothing to my name except the dress on my back and my underwear, I knew I was in deep trouble.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

President Marwein Boll Deng.  He’s not at all what he seems.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

The very end of the book is a dream I never thought I’d live.  Right before the end of the book is…well I promised my mother I’d watch my mouth.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Can you cut me some slack?  Bullets flying, being chased by crazed men, dropped in the middle of a jungle…what!  Less danger, more focus on the kids.  Can you ask question about them, now?

Thank you for this interview, Lelia.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Yes, you’ll see Elijah, Asha, Marcellus, Sierra and me again.  And when we talk again, let’s keep it about the kids.  Okay?

About the Book:

Child advocate Lelia Freeman saves children for a living. As the director of ChildSafe Shelters, she ventures to abandoned squats and crackhouses to rescue teens from the hellish streets of Los Angeles. When she is summoned to Washington to serve on a committee that aids the children of a war-torn African nation, Lelia is kidnapped and becomes a political pawn in a sinister conspiracy. Oceans away from everything she knows, she must trust a mercenary to save her life, or die in the clutches of a psychopath.

Hunting, combat and staying alive are Elijah Dune’s specialties. Vengeance is his passion. Haunted by past demons, he’s travels to the Motherland to collect a debt. A debt that demands one payment. Death.

Caught in the crosshairs of a madman, Lelia and Elijah must survive the jungles of Zaire and the horrors of their pasts or be forever consumed by the DARK SIDE OF VALOR.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Philadelphia, the Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving, older sister whom, while they were youngsters, made the author eat lotion on a regular basis. Realizing the need to sound-out the ingredients on the lotion label, Alicia stopped the lotion-eating practice, but continued to read the labels of the concoctions her sister brought for her to try. This early necessity to read flowered to a passion; hence, a writer was born.The award winning author resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son. Still an avid reader, label or otherwise, Alicia is hard at work completing her next suspense novel.Her latest book is the suspense novel, Dark Side of Valor.

Visit Alicia’s website at

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Pump Up Your Book Announces Michelle Richardson’s ‘It’s Simple Virtual Book Publicity Tour 2011’!

It's SimpleJoin Michelle Richardson, author of the contemporary romance novel, It’s Simple (iUniverse), as she virtually tours the blogosphere November 1 – 23 2011 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

The general consensus is that relationships are easy to start but challenging to maintain. Although we may not think so, our choices ultimately determine the types of relationships we have. It’s truly funny how after we’ve contributed to the chaotic state of the relationship, we hire therapists to fix us, to tell us it’s not our fault when it typically is. The truth? Therapists don’t fix us; they provide tools that guide us. Ultimately, we find the solutions ourselves and, for the most part, we really need to forget what we’ve heard. Relationships can be complicated, littered with challenges and that preventable thing called drama. Just ask Tia and Chase.

They met as teenagers. Upon graduation from college, things got complicated. Chase was drafted to the Los Angeles Lakers; Tia was offered a position in the Obama administration. Despite the geographical distance, Tia and Chase stayed together.

But how easy is it to make love last? It’s simple-if we can be honest, forgiving, and patient with each other. Here’s a unique look at a progressive couple and how their choices impact their journey; providing a truthful and sometimes painful look at real life scenarios and how two fiercelly driven and stubborn lovers choose to handle them. Experience life from a different perspective.

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!


Would you like to win this gorgeous basket with lots of goodies from Michelle Richardson???

On Friday, November 18, Michelle will be giving this beautiful basket away at the Pump Up Your Book Live! Chat / Book Giveaway Party! Contents include one signed copy of It’s Simple, five (5) It’s Simple bookmarks, one earthenware mug w/Tea for Life packets, one decorative votive candle holder and candle and one Live. Love. Laugh decorative box!

Participate in the chat and you could win!

Click here to find out more details!

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It’s Simple Thanksgiving Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of It’s Simple, Michelle is having a contest! Share your ideas for establishing and maintaining a fulling relationship, tell us if there is someone from your high school years you regret not developing a relationship with or what you would sacrifice to have a good, loving long-lasting relationship, you could win a “Live Love Laugh It’s Simple Keepsake Box” with a host of delectable goodies inside!

To win, click on Michelle’s It’s Simple Facebook Fan Page here and leave your comment! You can find out how to win by clicking here! If you already aren’t a fan, click “Like” at the top of the page to leave your comment. Good luck!

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Enter to win a copy of It’s Simple at Goodreads!

Win a copy of It’s Simple at Goodreads! Contest closes November 19.

Click here to enter!

You can visit her official tour page here!

Pump Up Your Book Announces Sheila Roberts The Nine Lives of Christmas Virtual Book Publicity Tour 2011!

The Nine Lives of ChristmasJoin Sheila Roberts, author of the women’s fiction novel, The Nine Lives of Christmas (St. Martin’s Press), as she virtually tours the blogosphere November 1 – 23 2011 on her fifth virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!Bestselling author Sheila Roberts brings us a humorous, heartwarming Christmas novel about a matchmaking cat who brings a couple together just in time for the holidays. When a guy is in trouble, he starts making deals with his Creator…and Ambrose the cat is no exception. In danger of losing his ninth and final life, Ambrose makes a desperate plea. He’ll do anything—anything!—if he can just survive and enjoy a nice long, final life. His prayer is answered when a stranger comes along and saves him, and now it looks like he has to hold up his end of the bargain.

The stranger turns out to be a fire fighter named Zach, the quintessential commitment- phobe who’s in need of some serious romantic help. If Ambrose can just bring Zach together with Merilee, the nice lady who works at Pet Palace, it’s bound to earn him a healthy ninth life. Unfortunately for Ambrose, his mission is a lot harder than he ever anticipated. Now it’s going to take all his feline wiles—and a healthy dose of Christmas magic—to bring them alltogether in time for the holidays.


In honor of Ambrose the Cat, Sheila is having a fun contest over at her blog! Leave a comment telling Sheila in 25 words or less about the coolest cat you have ever owned and she will pick the best entry on November 30 and announce the winner on December 1. Sheila says, “If you have the coolest cat of all we’ll send you a Sheila holiday reading package, consisting of my three Christmas novels, ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS, THE SNOW GLOBE, and THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS. Contest ends November 30th and we’ll announce our winner on December 1st. Can hardly wait to hear about your awesome kitties!”Leave your comment about your coolest cat at her blog here!

Please show your support for such a talented lady by visiting her official tour page at Pump Up Your Book by clicking here!

Book Excerpt: Illusion of Certainty by Greg Messel

ILLUSION OF CERTAINTY, by Greg Messel, Yorkshire Publishing, 452 pp.

The Illusion of Certainty follows two parallel storylines. Marc is a successful businessman who seems to have everything—a great job, a beautiful wife, a house in an upscale neighborhood of Portland, Oregon and two great kids who are preparing for college. But something is not right. Marc is unsettled by the sudden change in his wife, Aimee, who seems distant and unhappy. What’s going on with her?

The second storyline involves a successful young attorney, Alexandra Mattson. Alex, as she is called by her friends, meets a handsome young cop, Sean, during an unexpected crisis in her neighborhood. Sean and Alex seem made for each other and begin to merge their futures in a world of uncertainty.

The only certainty in life is that we will face uncertainty. Despite all fo the technology and controls available in the modern world, sometimes the only comfort comes from the human touch.


The naked woman stood motionless, leaning against the wall of the shower and letting the hot water strike the top of her head and cascade down her back. She placed her hands flat against the tiled shower wall and leaned forward and closed her eyes. The warm water soothed her exhausted body and she felt enveloped in its comforting caress.

She felt safe and was now pampering herself after a grueling night shift at the hospital where she was a nurse. A nurse with considerable responsibilities.

Aimee Hunt-Wilson had enough experience and clout to avoid these awful shifts but as a supervisor she was on a mission this summer. She had been working nights most of the summer to try to rehabilitate the night shift, which was in disarray. Someone needed to repair the damage brought on by an incompetent supervisor who was now gone. Aimee was trying to shape things up. It’s what Aimee did best; however, it was taking a toll on her.

Marc Wilson was having his first moments of consciousness on this Tuesday morning. He slept alone. That was happening more and more these days. From the bed he could see Aimee, his wife, through the clear glass box that was the shower in their master suite. The only light filtering into the bedroom and casting a soft light on Marc’s bed was the light from Aimee’s shower.

He leaned up on his elbow and gazed through the steam at the nude Aimee. He was getting aroused. Marc still loved his wife’s body. Lately, when he saw her, she was always hidden in the baggy scrubs she wore at the hospital. Her long black hair was plastered to her wet bare back by the shower water. Aimee always tanned so well. At this point in the summer she had a perfect swimsuit tan. Her body had matured but it had actually gotten better since the college days when they first met.

Her breasts and hips were fuller now but the rest of Aimee’s body was taunt and lean. She was about 5-5, probably in the best shape of her life. Aimee obsessively exercised and carefully monitored her diet. After her shower she would come to bed to rest and then be pounding the pavement this afternoon running, getting in her miles. Aimee had always been so meticulous about what she ate and she imposed the same standards on Marc.

Marc’s favorite meal, a burger and fries, was considered in the same category as rat poison by Aimee. If Marc went through a fast food window to sneak a burger, he felt compelled to hide the evidence from Aimee. But all of this vigilance certainly paid off in the way Aimee looked. This mother of two, with a manic schedule, looked terrific as she approached Illusion of Certainty middle age. Her long dark hair, which was naturally curly, was a stunning combination with her bright blue eyes.

Marc now lay in the early morning light watching Aimee step from the shower, all pink and soft, as she began to towel off. She then plugged in her hair dryer, bent over and began to dry her long hair. As he observed her maneuvers to dry her hair, he was taking in the sight of her bouncing breasts and lovely body. Marc knew that when she finished, she would quickly throw on one of his oversized t-shirts and jump under the covers—just as it was time for Marc to get out of bed and begin his day. Marc rolled out of bed and attempted to head her off before she dressed and made it to the bed. He was hoping that somehow he could have her, that he could enjoy the physical pleasures of his sexy wife. This had not been planned but the moment was presenting itself and he wanted her. Marc hoped Aimee would want the intimacy, too. Aimee slipped on some bright blue bikini panties just as Marc stood in front of her and said, “Hey you’re really looking sexy this morning.”

Oh Marc, I’m so exhausted, you seem to have the world’s worst timing.”

“Oh come on Aimee, wouldn’t it be fun?”

“Trust me Marc, it wouldn’t be fun right now. I just need some sleep.”

“So when, in this whole summer, would you suggest I make love to you?”

“Marc,” Aimee said with resignation, “I’m begging you to not start right now.”

— Excerpted from The Illusion of Certainty

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