Monday, December 31, 2012

Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry

In a secluded village, magic sparkles on the edges of the forest. There, a young girl named Evie possesses unusually strong powers as a healer. A gypsy's charms—no more than trinkets when worn by others—are remarkably potent when Evie ties them around her neck. Her talents, and charms, have not escaped the notice of the shy stonemason's apprentice. But Evie wants more than a quiet village and the boy next-door. When the young king's carriage arrives one day, and his footman has fallen ill, Evie might just get her chance after all . . . 

Berry's debut novel garnered glowing reviews and strong sales—and now she's done it again with a beautifully woven tale to keep all readers, young and old, absolutely charmed. 

~Published October 12th 2010 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Food to Eat While Reading: ( Coming Soon)

Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry is just the kind of book I like to lose myself in. Fantastic creatures,   magic, adventure, and some boy-next-door romance thrown in.

I was surprised by all of the directions that Evie kept going, and how the plot kept twisting and turning, kind of like her serpentine water dragon. I might have been tempted to complain that things were jumping around too much, but Berry did an excellent job reminding me of the character's motivations and showing me how Evie is growing throughout the book.

There are many unique and fun things about the book that drew me in. Gypsies, leviathons, charms, kings, princes, carnivals and acting groups. Such fun!

The romance was sweet enough to make me want Evie and Aidan to get together. And who can resist a boy named Aidan Moreau?

I rode along on the wave of the story, but the ending was what cinched the deal for me. It was the perfect mix of  "Oh no, all is lost--how will they ever accomplish their goals?" to "Ahh, they lived bittersweetly ever after.". Perfectly ended (and gave me great ideas on how to tie up my own work in progress-thanks Julie!).

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind. 

~Published January 10th 2012 by Dutton Books

Rarely have I read a book that affects me so deeply as The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I finished the book while working out on the elliptical and instead of working out for 45 minutes, I actually went over an hour and didn't even realize it! And I was bawling the whole time.

This book is more raw and edgy than I usually like to read, or recommend. However, I do recommend this book for the author's ability to reach inside the teenage mind and touch on those notes that make up the music of a life wanting to be remembered. I wish that I could put this book in my 2013 cookbook, but I don't feel comfortable recommending a book that has strong language or implicit scenes, no matter how well placed. Just saying.

Hazel's story of trying to find her place in a temporary world and leave behind something of value is heart-wrenching and inspiring.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will she be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

~Published March 27th 2012 by Shadow Mountain

Food to Eat While Reading: Orchard Peach Pie (recipe coming shortly)

Orchard Peach Pie
for Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

I knew when I read the dedication to Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson, that I would fall in love on my journey through its pages. It reads, "To kindred spirits everywhere". Edenbrooke is Anne of Green Gables meets Pride and Prejudice, a lovely combination.

Edenbrooke is the first of a line of "Proper Romances" put out by Shadow Mountain. This means that the book is without racy scenes, but not without a good dose of wholesome sexual tension.

Marianne is a refreshing contrast to the stuffy society ladies around her.  She loves to paint and ride horses and doesn't take to stifling gentlemen who write her horrible poetry. She longs to be a free spirit in the country and I can quite relate to that.

I enjoyed Marianne's journey, and though I'm not a huge fan of regency romance, the love story is sweet and the dialogue so witty that it kept my interest. Phillip is quite the catch and I found myself routing for the couple to be together.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Partials by Dan Wells

Partials by Dan Wells

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out. 

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask. 

Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.

~Published February 28th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Food to Eat While Reading: (coming soon)

I have mixed emotions about Partials by Dan Wells.  I've met Dan a few times and I've wanted to read some of his writing, but I've been too scared (I admit it) to read his serial killer books.  So I was excited to hear that he wrote a YA dystopian. I had a hard time getting into Partials, but I do recommend it as a good read.

I'm a romance reader, and I kept waiting for the tension to increase, and so I was disappointed.  I would like to have seen some more angst going on with the characters. I have read reviews from others who say they like the book for that very reason, that they are tired of simpering teens caught in love triangles. me the love.

The idea of two factions needing each other to survive is very interesting.  I enjoyed learning about the medical issues and wondering how it would work out.

Written from a young woman's perspective, I wanted a lot more emotion. I'm not talking about weeping or crying. I'm talking more internal dialogue. I wanted to know what she's feeling, to feel the issues along with her. It lacked that for me and I kept thinking about how this was written by Wells, who is (obviously) male.

I like how Wells keeps putting the characters into more and more danger, taking away every opportunity that he can so that they have to go to plan B or C.  This increased the jeopardy for me and I never knew what was going to happen.

What I learned for my own writing:

Because Wells keeps throwing stones at his characters, it reminds me that I am supposed to make my characters feel pain.  That is what makes a great story.  I am all too often nice to my characters.

I am paying attention to endings of books right now as I try to find the right ending for my own work in progress.  I think Wells did a fine job with a climax, a short bit of falling action to show what happened afterward (just the right amount), and then an introduction to the new story problem that will be faced in book two.

Partials is a clean read; action packed, and original.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Awesome Giveaways! Nightingale by David Farland

I'm so excited to be participating in a giveaway to help you get a free book and lots of other great goodies from David Farland, the author of Nightingale and over 50 other books!

David is giving away an AUTOGRAPHED hardcover of Nightingale, the enhanced ebook, and 5 lucky winners will each receive an awesome T-shirt featuring Bron, the main character from Nightingale. A total of 7 prizes will be awarded. Enter by December 17th at midnight!

Just enter using the rafflecopter below. Enjoy!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win a T-shirt like this one!
Grand Prize Winner of the Hollywood Book Festival, placed first in all genres, all categories.

Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year!

Finalist in the Global Ebook Awards
Some people sing at night to drive back the darkness.  Others sing to summon it. . . .

Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Thrown into foster care, he was rejected by one family after another, until he met Olivia, a gifted and devoted high-school teacher who recognized him for what he really was--what her people call a "nightingale."

But Bron isn't ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know.  Bron's secret may be the most dangerous of all.

In his remarkable young adult fantasy debut, David Farland shows why critics have called his work "compelling," "engrossing," "powerful," "profound," and "ultimately life-changing."

Purchase Nightingale in time for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Irish dance in Hong Kong is not too different than in Glasgow

Isn't it amazing to see how a love of Irish dance hops and leaps over continents all over the world? I love hearing from Irish dancers from different cultures. Today I've got Kathryn O' Connor-Barton TCRG, ADCRG, who began the O'Connor-Barton Irish Dance school in Hong Kong, Asia.

Irish dancer in Hong Kong
Photo: courtesy Kathryn O'Connor-Barton
Christy Dorrity:  Please tell me about Irish dancing in Hong Kong. How long has the dance form been present, and how did your school begin?

Kathryn:  The school began in November 2011, after a move to Hong Kong for our family meant me leaving Scotland, and the irish dance school I had there, and opening a dance school in Hong Kong.

Christy Dorrity:  Where do your dancers compete and/or perform?

Kathryn:  My dancers will compete across Asia and the first open competition was November 24th, in Taiwan. We have another feis in Shanghai in March, and this will be the catalyst for Irish Dance competitions across Asia. It is very exciting to be part of this new chapter for Irish dancers in Asia.

Christy Dorrity:  Do you teach adult Irish dancers? 

Kathryn:  I teach to any age group!  I have had adult Irish dancers in the past, and have had requests to do so in Hong Kong, so this is something definitely on the agenda.

Irish dancers in along the Hong Kong skyline
Photo: courtesy Kathryn O'Connor-Barton
Christy Dorrity:  I've heard that Irish dancing is very popular in Asia. Are your dancers well received in Hong Kong?

Kathryn:  Irish Dancing is certainly growing in Asia, and my dancers are very well received wherever they perform. They recently performed in a public area, in Hong Kong, for a promotional film and drew in a massive crowd. They received an amazing unexpected response, so they were all delighted to get such a reaction.

Christy Dorrity:  You recently received your ADCRG in order to be an adjudicator. How do you feel that this help your students?

Kathryn:  I think because the Irish dance competitions are just starting across Asia, the opportunity to adjudicate outwith Asia will ensure that I keep up to date with what is 'current' in terms of choreography, costumes, networking with other teachers and adjudicators, etc. It also allows me to generate exposure for our dancers in Asia, and create interest from schools outwith our region who may be willing to travel, and take part in future Asian Feisanna.

Christy Dorrity:  Is Irish dance different for your students, who live far from feiseanna, then for you growing up in Glasgow, Scotland?

Kathryn O'Connor-Barton with the
O'Connor-Barton Irish Dance school in Hong Kong
Photo: courtesy Kathryn O'Connor-Barton
Kathryn:  There is no difference in how I teach the students or the structure of the classes, this is very similar. However, most students commit to only one class per week, compared to three or four when in Glasgow. This is due to the lifestyle out here, and children having so many opportunities to try different things. The other difference is that, until now there has been no Feisanna, but I am hopeful that this will change and that once the dancers start to compete, they will commit to coming to more classes.

Christy Dorrity:  What do you feel is the future of Irish dance in Hong Kong?

Kathryn:  For my school, it is to compete, to improve standard, to work through the grades to championship level, and to welcome more opportunities to perform at events on a local level.

Christy Dorrity:  What is your favorite thing about teaching in Hong Kong?

Kathryn:  I think the diversity is amazing. A lot of the children actually don't have an Irish heritage, but the dancers and their families are so enthusiastic to learn this form of dance, and supportive of the school and the journey we are taking.

Christy Dorrity:  Thank you so much for sharing your love of Irish dance with us. Good luck to you in the future.

Shrilugh by Myndi Shafer - 5 stars

Shrilugh by Myndi Shafer
Nothing can explain to Aydan Fulbert how she survived the savage attack in the woods. Why her left eye, instead of being blinded by the injuries she’d sustained, had simply turned a shocking shade of silver. And nothing can explain the fact that she can hear the Stranger speaking in her mind - or that she can answer him back without using her mouth.

Nothing can explain it - unless he’s telling the truth. 

Nothing can explain the things the Stranger knows about her - things that she, until just a few hours ago, hadn’t known herself: that she’d healed faster from her injuries than was humanly possible. That the cruel family she’d been raised by isn’t biologically hers. That her stepfather is now hell-bent on bringing her to his own form of justice for a crime she didn’t commit. 

Nothing can explain it - unless he’s telling the truth. 

Nothing can explain why she so easily agreed to go with the Stranger. Why she didn’t find the notion of another world ludicrous and impossible. Why she didn’t cut and run the minute he explained where he wanted to take her. 

Nothing can explain it - unless she believes he’s telling the truth. 

Aydan knows she’s being intentionally naive. She knows her decision to follow the stranger is at best, reckless. At worst, deadly. ...unless he’s telling the truth.

 ~Published August 30th 2012 by Myndi Shafer at Smashwords

Food to eat while reading: (check back later, it will be something to do with water. Odd, I know, we shall see)

I love it when I find a gem of a book that is struggling to come to light. Shirlugh (Shree-lo) is one of those books that I'm thrilled to bring to your attention. With romance, adventure, danger, emotion and otherworldliness, this is just the kind of book I like to recommend. Put this one on your to read book, right now!  It's available on Smashwords and Amazon, among other places.

There is real danger here, with emotional impact. Aydan, the heroine of the story loses here eye in the first part of the book, by the hand of her sister, no less. And there are too men in her life, the loyal and cute Brig that I dare you to try not to fall in love with, and the secretive and edgy Rein, whose past binds him so tightly to Aydan that you will be routing for him before the end.

I love stories that make me feel deeply. There are plenty of dilemmas that have emotional impact in Shirlugh. I so hurt for Aydan when she left her world.

I love Rein's world, with it's glowing Shirlugh trees and unique ways. It is a blend of Victorian society and modern ways that give it a romantic, yet contemporary feel.

There were a few copy edit issues in the ebook, and passive writing scattered throughout. But I easily forgave these small imperfections as I was drawn into Ayden's world. 

Shafer has a talent for storytelling, creating a sense of place and evoking emotion. I'll definitely be watching for more from this author.

*note, the book was clean in language and sex, however, the preview for the second book had a scene in it that I cannot recommend to young readers.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Contest for Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune by Craig Everett

Enter to win a copy of Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune, by Craig Everett. All you need to do is follow me on Google friend, which you would do anyway, right? Good luck!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 30, 2012

Irish dance diet - Four ways to celebrate without food

Enjoy Christmas foods while on the Irish dance diet
Photo: flickr user wiccked

The holidays can be a challenging time to lose weight. You and I can do it with a little bit of planning.
After all, there are other ways to celebrate!

I really didn't want to post an update on my Irish dance diet this month. Yes, I did lose weight, but I gained it back last week over the long holiday weekend. I didn't want to post about my failure to lose this month, but I decided that many of you may struggle with holiday weight as well. I'm going to re-commit myself and find healthy ways to enjoy the holidays. Are you with me?

This month I've been faithfully attending my Irish dance classes, one for adults and the other for Intermediate level for all ages. I feel good about my dancing, better than I have for a long time. My teacher is focusing on basics and muscle training, and I can feel my muscles growing stronger. Now I need to tackle my food habits.

If you have any suggestions for me, please leave them in the comments.

Here are a few tips for curbing the urge to celebrate with food:

1-When eating out, ask yourself, is this a special occasion?  If it is, splurge a little and make up for it earlier in the day or the next day.  If not, eat similar to how you would at home.

2-Find non-food ways to celebrate. Reward yourself with a bubble bath, a new book, some great smelling lotion, or a night out at the movies.

3-Bring a healthy contribution to an event. If you are attending a Christmas party and you don't have control over the meal, bring a healthy salad or entree for your part of the meal. At least you know one thing that you will be able to eat. And bring some healthy portable snacks with you. If the food selection is too high in calories, you don't actually have to eat it.  You can survive a few hours without food and the snacks you bring will tide you over.

4-Have a water in hand. Drink plenty of water all day to fill you up and keep you satisfied.  If you have a glass of water in your hand at a party, you will be less likely to snack on high calorie hors d'oeuvres.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Irish dancing school thrives like a rose in the Mexico desert

In May of 2000, Irish Dancing de Mexico was founded by Alicia Mosti, a trained ballerina, and self-trained and later certified, Irish dance teacher. Now there are seven academies under Mosti's dance school, the newest of which is located in Tijuana, taught by Yovanna Torres Blanco, who also runs an academy in Guadalajara. 

Irish dancers in Mexico
On November 8, 2012, dancers from Irish Dancing de Mexico participated in "Fiesta de los San Patricios", a celebration honoring the Irish fighters of Mexico. Along with the Rose Ritchie Academy of Irish Dance, Blanco's students were able to perform for an enthusiastic crowd. "For the first time, dancers from Mexico and USA shared a stage to dance at a bicultural event without involving any competition," Blanco says. 

Yovanna Torres, adult Irish dancer in Mexico
 in "Take the Floor 2012"
Photo: courtesy Yovanna Torres
Many of the Irish dancers in Mexico began learning the sport on their own from videos of the famous dance shows, Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. From those humble beginnings, a rose has sprouted in the desert. Students of all ages, including adults participate in dance performances and travel to competitions in the United States and Mexico, including the school's own Feis Acapulco. Today Irish Dancing de Mexico claims over 500 students and more than 7600 medals and trophies. 

Irish Dancing de Mexico
Photo: courtesy Yovanna Blanco
Among the dancers in Blanco's school in Guadalajara, there are several adult Irish dancers. Blanco encourages adults to join in and dance, regardless of their age. "I like to tell my adult students: in Irish dance, nothing is impossible," says Blanco. "If you are a late starter it will take you longer to get a step right, but it is always possible."

Ciara Sexton and Yovanna Blanco at Take the Floor 2012
Photo: courtesy Yovanna Blanco
Blanco herself began Irish dancing as an adult at 22 years of age. She  had the opportunity to compete as a senior lady, and recently performed in the show Take the Floor 2012.
She trains by herself and travels once a month to Mexico City, where Alicia Mosti teaches her the steps and helps her polish her technique. "It has not been an easy road," says Blanco,  "but the best feeling in the world is to teach people (Irish dance), and see them grow, and reach their goals."

There is plenty of room for the growth of Irish dance in Mexico, and Blanco intends to put in the effort to help others dance for many more years to come. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Forgiven by Janet Fox

Kula Baker never expected to find herself on the streets of San Francisco, alone but for a letter of introduction. Though she has come to the city to save her father from a cruel fate, Kula soon finds herself swept up in a world of art and elegance - a world she hardly dared dream of back in Montana, where she was no more than the daughter of an outlaw. And then there is the handsome David Wong, whose smiling eyes and soft-spoken manner have an uncanny way of breaking through Kula's carefully crafted reserve. Yet when disaster strikes and the wreckage threatens all she holds dear, Kula realizes that only by unlocking her heart can she begin to carve a new future for herself. 

~Published June 2nd 2011 by Speak

Food to Eat While Reading: (coming soon)

Reading Forgiven by Janet Fox was a breath of fresh air.  Although I love fantasy, I've been saturated in it lately and this wild west story was wonderful. I love a great historical fiction, especially one like this that doesn't feel like history, more like fiction.

Forgiven is set during the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  I had no idea what San Francisco was like at that time and Fox gives a great feel for the city and the people.

Kula is a fascinating and complex character.  I love her determination and her ability to make a way for herself in a world where different in frowned upon.  I love that she has weaknesses and that when confronted with them, she is able to recognize and change.

The romance between her and David Wong is sweet and poignant.  Kula's relationship with Will is unpredictable.  I love how all three of them are woven together with more than just a love triangle.

The many characters are real and distinct, from Miss Everts, to Jameson, to the nefarious Wilkie (ugh, I love to hate a great bad guy).

Forgiven is part mystery, part romance, and great historical fiction, all rolled into one.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gall-Tír dance group promotes Irish dancing in the Czech Republic

Gabriela Klášterková, adult Irish dancer, with her husband, Jan.
Photo: courtesy Gabriela Klášterková
"I think I can say that at least every second or third Czech knows Irish dance, which is a great progress 
in my eyes."
~Gabriela Klášterková, adult Irish dancer.

Gabriela Klášterková is an adult Irish dancer, and co-founder of the Gall-Tír dance group in the Czech Republic. She and her husband, Jan, founded the school in Prague. 

Christy Dorrity:  How did your love of Irish dance begin?
Gabriela: More than 10 years ago, I had a friend who danced in one of very few dance groups, because Irish dance had just come to our country at that time. It took some time before I decided to try it, and result? My friend Katy stopped after 2 or 3 years, and I have been going on through many injuries, and other problems until today. I think it changed my life maybe more than I realize.

Christy Dorrity:  Is Irish dance popular in the Czech Republic?  How are you received when you perform?
Gabriela: It is very young form of dance in my country. Czech people started learning very first steps approximately 15 years ago. "The teacher" had been a very kind Irish lady working at the British Council who danced a few basic steps, and some ceilí dances, and was willing to share it with people excited to learn.

Gabriela Klášterková, adult Irish dancer with 
Gall-Tír dance group in The Czech Republic
Photo: courtesy 
Gabriela Klášterková
Since then, Irish dance is becoming more, and more famous every  year. Really huge work has been done by the shows like The Lord of The DanceRiverdance, and later Gaelforce Dance, as well that started having their performances here regularly after 2000.

I think I can say that at least every second or third Czech knows Irish dance, which is a great progress in my eyes.

Our performances are received extremely possitively. Even people who look bored at the very beginning are coming to us after our show, impressed and amazed, to praise us.
Christy Dorrity:  Do you teach adults? Do they fit in well with your dance school and community?
Gabriela Klášterková, and husband Jan, 
qualifying for World's.
Photo: courtesy 
Gabriela Klášterková
Gabriela: Yes, I do! The Irish dance group Gall-Tír that I and my husband founded, have still been leading mostly of adults. Adults in my country usually have no problem with community. They all fit in well before the steps start to be harder. We have to demand harder work from them in case that they wanted to achieve higher. 

Christy Dorrity:  Where do you perform and/or compete?
Gabriela: I and my Irish dance group, Gall-Tír, perform usually in The Czech Republic. We have not tried to arrange any performance abroad yet because we are absolutely focused on competitions. We, of course, would not refuse a nice offer, but we do not look for it now.

A few years ago my husband, I,  and a friend had a performance in an Irish pub (my husband qualified for The World Championship that year), and I think this experience was probably more exciting for us then for the audience. However, they were  surprised that someone from the middle of Europe, living far away from them can dance their "national treasure" so well.

We are used to participating in all the Europian feiseanna,  especially those closer to Prague,  like our own Prague Feis. We have been at London Feis,  The World´s in Dublin, and Belfast, and my husband also at The All Ireland´s and The Great Britain´s.

Christy Dorrity:  Why do you think Irish dance is popular all over the world?
Gabriela Klášterková, adult Irish dancer with 
Gall-Tír dance group in The Czech Republic
Photo: courtesy 
Gabriela Klášterková
Gabriela: It is just magnificent! Definitely! I think it is really noble, and elegant dance but also unbelievably difficult, and everyone can see this paradox. You work like an athlete for the Olympic Games but you have to look like an elegant dancer flying somewhere above the dance floor, obviously using no effort. Even people knowing nothing about any form of dance can appreciate Irish dance and we very often hear the people who had never been interested it dance in general say, "Wow, this has really got me!"

Christy Dorrity:  What do you envision for the future of Irish dance?
Gabriela Klášterková, adult Irish dancer, with her husband, Jan.
Photo: courtesy Gabriela Klášterková
Gabriela: That it will spread more and more, it will be more popular, everyone will know it, and many people will do it. This is my belief, and my wish to all irish dancers as well! Irish dance undoubtedly has a future, and we do our best to be a part of this al,l and to be the ones who help Irish dance to penetrate the public awareness.

Christy Dorrity:  Are you currently working toward any shows or competitions?
Gabriela: Yes I am, and so are all the dancers I teach. The qualification for The World´s 2013 in Salzburg is coming (in November 2012) . This is my husband and my closest goal!

Christy Dorrity:  What is the best part of Irish dancing, for you?
Gabriela: Everything! I cannot choose any part because only all of them together can make the final impression I love!!!

Thank you Gabriela.  Good luck to you as you prepare for upcoming events.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Indie-giving Blogfest win The 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook

I'm happy to be participating in the Indie-giving blogfest. I'm an indie writer, and it's a fun journey.  
Part of the fun of Indie writing is the control that you have of your book. It's not just enough to write it and send it out into the void. You need to promote!

So how do you know if you should host your own virtual book tour or if you should hire a professional to do it for you?

Ask yourself:

1-Do I have a significant number of contacts who will helps promote my book? Ideally, you will have collected contacts naturally as you connect with other authors, bloggers, and book reviewers. If you don't have a few hundred contacts (not counting your mother, your dentist or your book club members) who have an audience that will be interested in your book, your launch tour might not reach those who would read your book.

2-Do I have time to set up, maintain and follow up on the tour?  It takes a few weeks to set up a tour and do it right. At least an hour per day of the tour will be spent promoting the tour itself, and there will be more time spent on thank you's and following up with participants and helpers.

3-Am I organized and professional in my communication with others? The way you handle yourself reflects on your book tour and will ultimately jade the perception of your book.  If you can't be nice to others, or you are terrible at returning emails, you may not give the impression your book needs to succeed.

If you find that you would rather hire someone to handle the book tour for you, there are many online services available.  Here are a few:

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Welcome Irish dance lovers, and those of you who aren't, yet

Ali Cross, author of the Desolation series (review on her first book coming soon) is writing a fabulous series on media and branding. She recommended that I combine all of my blogs (author, book reviews, cooking, Irish dancing) all in one. 

I love all of her hints, like how to create an online presence that is consistent across all social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blog, etc. I'll be revamping my image in the near future, but for now my big switch is to coming all of my blogs into one. This one. 

So welcome to all lovers of Irish dance.  I am hoping that those of you who don't have a love of Irish dance soon will, and those of you don't read will get something out of my book reviews, and those of you don't eat food--wait. Never mind. I hope all of you, my friends, will feel welcome here. 

Also, you will notice that my posts are more personal than previously.  I think everyone loves a story and I will be sharing more of my life and personality in what I say.  I am hoping this will encourage some lively conversation.

If you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Blog Tour - Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune by Craig R. Everett

"Money is the most dangerous magic."

I'm pleased to be included in Mr. Everett's blog tour for Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune. This book is aimed at the middle grade audience, and teaches kids and teens the importance of learning about and managing their own money.

"Unique children’s lit that cleverly tackles interest rates, endowments, fluctuating commodities, bullying and identity." 

- Kirkus Reviews

 An infant is discovered one night on a commuter train from New York City during a stop in the sleepy town of Wallingford, Connecticut.  The local police are summoned, but are unable to locate the boy’s parents, despite painstakingly questioning each person on the train.  For some strange reason, none of the passengers can remember seeing his mother falling from the train – after falling victim to an assassin’s bullet.

Assigned the name “Toby Gold” by social services, the mysterious child grows up in Wallingford, moving from foster home to foster home, not knowing who his real parents are - or why he was born with such freakish skills with math and money.

Now a teenager, Toby’s money skills are noticed by the wrong people, and thus he is unwittingly sucked into a high-stakes financial conspiracy that puts his life, and the lives of his two closest friends, in great peril.  Ultimately, Toby solves the crime, saves his friends, and even saves his school—all in one harrowing afternoon.

"This fast-paced adventure weaves fundamental concepts in economics and finance seamlessly into the story. Toby Gold makes learning finance exciting."

- Francis A. Longstaff, PhD, Professor of Finance, UCLA - Anderson School of Management

About the Author: Craig Everett

Craig R. Everett was born and raised in Maine, spending his childhood summers digging along the shores of Bar Harbor for buried pirate treasure.  Fortunately, he was able to remain blissfully unaware that pirates seldom, if ever, ventured that far north.  He received his B.A. in Economics from Tufts University, an MBA from George Mason University, and a Ph.D. in Finance from Purdue University.

Dr. Everett is currently a finance professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, where he teaches corporate and entrepreneurial finance. Dr. Everett also volunteers in public schools teaching financial literacy principles.  

You can learn more about Craig here:

Toby Gold and the Secret FortuneReading Level: 9 and up
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Fiscal Press (October 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1-936-21495-2
Dimensions: 8.75 x 5.75 x 1.0 inches 

Blog Tour Schedule for Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune by Craig Everett, 2012
04-Oct-2012  Free Money Finance 
11-Oct-2012 Queen of Random  
12-Oct-2012 Why Not? Because I Said So
12-Oct-2012 LDS Women's Book Review
13-Oct-2012 A Storybook World
15-Oct-2012 A Thousand Wrongs
16-Oct-2012 Say This Write
16-Oct-2012 Money and Me for Canadians
16-Oct-2012 Word Spelunking
17-Oct-2012 Couponing with Boys
18-Oct-2012 Book Launch of Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune at the Access to Capital Conference at the LA Westin Bonaventure Hotel.
18-Oct-2012 The Book Bug
18-Oct-2012  I Am a Reader not a Writer
19-Oct-2012 Of Writerly Things
19-Oct-2012  Troop Petrie
22-Oct-2012 Renae's Writespot
22-Oct-2012  The Write Path
23-Oct-2012  Monique's Musings
23-Oct-2012  My Mommy's World
24-Oct-2012  The Things I Love
24-Oct-2012  Adventures of the Mommy Homemaker
25-Oct-2012  Live to Read
26-Oct-2012 Ordinary Happily Ever After
29-Oct-2012  Fire and Ice
01-Nov-2012  Jeffrey Olsen
01-Nov-2012  Bookworm Lisa
05-Nov-2012 Debbie's Inkspectations
07-Nov-2012  With a Side of Thriftiness
10-Nov-2012 A Storybook World

12-Nov-2012 Christy Dorrity's Dearest Dreams
15-Nov-2012  The Non-Reluctant Reader
19-Nov-2012  Taffy's Writings 
Nov 2012-