Monday, April 29, 2013

Displaced by Joni Heirzler, for a good cause

Joni Heirtzler is living the dream, even when it takes a tremendous amount of work, sweat and tears. 

In the ninth grade, she began attending an early-college high school so she could graduate with her associates degree at the time of her high school graduation. She’s attained that degree, earning two scholarships in the process to further her education.

At the age of eighteen she’s ahead of most students her age, academically, and she wants to do more. She has a dream to see the world, but not only see it, to serve others while she’s overseas. 

She’s chosen to do this through the International Language Program, a nonprofit organization that places people from the U.S. with schools in other countries to help teach the students English. 

She’s signed up for Lithuania. 

But there’s a setback. Because Joni has been enrolled in college courses, serving the community in association with the National Honor Society, finishing her high school degree, and participating in track and orchestra, she’s had little time to find regular employment. Her family has helped, but she needs more.
She’s worked hard to earn her own way to go to Lithuania with ILP, and she’s drawing on her talents any way she can to get the remaining funds. 

As a talented writer, she’s compiled three short stories to sell as an ebook, all the funds going to help children she doesn’t even know. 
The three story compilation is entitled Displaced and can be purchased on Amazon for only 2.99. It contains three stories, The Influence, Last Minute and Rain.

Excerpt from The Influence:
“Precious memories swam through my mind. I hadn't realized how dull life was without a body until I'd received one. The world had become vibrantly beautiful. I remembered the first day; all of the senses overbearing.”

Joni Heirtzler is the second of five children. She’s active in track, plays the violin and loves to serve others. She’s kind and compassionate and dreams of seeing more of the world before settling down to complete another two years of college to obtain her bachelor’s degree. She’s planning on pursuing a degree in marketing through Southern Utah University as soon as she returns from Lithuania.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Irish dance diet - 5 non-scale ways to find victory - PHOTO

Christy Dorrity 19 pounds lost
on the Irish Dance Diet
Photo: Christy Dorrity

When people ask me how much weight I've lost, I cringe. I've lost a bit more than 10 pounds since Thanksgiving, and that's pretty slow going for the amount of work I'm putting into it. The scale isn't the only indication of victory in my quest to be healthy and fit.

How I'm doing on my Irish dance diet:

Month: 5
Weight: 144
Weight lost: 11 pounds
Muscle gained: 8
Total fat loss: 19

So what are some other ways that you can keep motivated when the scale stays the same (notice that I did not lose even a pound this month, but my fat loss decreased)?

When you exercise and eat healthy:

Your body is happier.
My trainer had me do a test on the treadmill to see how my cardiovascular fitness is improving. Not only did I beat my last test by going further in the same amount of time, but my resting heart rate has slowed significantly. That means that my heart isn't working as hard, and I'm getting in better shape. Victory!

You can do more.
Last year when I started taking an extra Irish dance lesson with the teens in my school, I couldn't keep up with them when they would do stamina exercises, an exercise they fondly call "the circle of death". As they did leaps and skips in circles around the room, I would stick to the inside and let them pass me as I struggled to breathe. Now when we do the circle of death, I can keep up with them. Victory!

Your clothing will fit nicely.
I've found that as I lose weight, shopping becomes more fun, and a wider range of clothing look good on me. When I went to a writing conference in February, I went shopping and bought some new clothes to wear for the workshops. This weekend I put those same pants on to go on a date, and found that they are already baggy. Victory!

You look better.
Just last weekend I went out of town and went swimming at the hotel in my new swimming suit. A woman with two kids stopped me on her way out the door and told me that I look great in my swimming suit. Victory!

Your self-confidence will shine.
Self control is contagious. When I felt sluggish and unproductive about my lifestyle, the feeling spread to other areas in my life. I stumbled over my dance steps at a feis, and I began doubting my ability to finish the book I was writing. I've noticed that as I've taken control over my body, my confidence has blossomed. I'm able to get through my steps, and my book will be published this July. Victory!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Giftcard - The Buttersmith's Gold, an Evertaster novella by Adam Glendon Sidwell

If you haven't read Evertaster yet, you are really missing out. Such a yummy treat! I mean read. Sidwell is coming out with companion novella in the Evertaster world. It comes out May 2nd!

The Buttersmiths' Gold

Everyone knows the most coveted treasure of the Viking Age was blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffins so succulent that if you sniffed just a whiff, you'd want a whole bite. If you bit a bite, you'd want a batch; if you snatched a batch, you'd stop at nothing short of going to war just to claim them all. 
Young Torbjorn Trofastsonn comes from the clan that makes them. He's a Viking through and
through – he's thirteen winters old, larger than most respectable rocks, and most of all, a Buttersmith. That's what he thinks anyway, until a charismatic merchant makes Torbjorn question his place among the muffin-makers. When Torbjorn lets the secret of his clan's muffin recipe slip, he calls doom and destruction down upon his peaceful village and forces his brother Storfjell and his clansmen to do the one thing they are ill-prepared to do: battle for their lives.

About The Buttersmiths' Gold
The Buttersmiths' Gold is a spin off novella in the Evertaster series that tells the story of two Viking brothers and their adventurous past. The Evertaster series (Book #1 released June 14, 2012) is about Guster Johnsonville, who goes searching for a legendary taste rumored to be the most delicious in all of history. Along the way he meets a slew of mysterious characters, including two Viking brothers Torbjorn and Storfjell. The Buttersmiths' Gold is their story. 124 pages. By Adam Glendon Sidwell. Published by Future House Publishing. 

Evertaster, Book #1:
A legendary taste. Sought after for centuries. Shrouded in secrecy.
When eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother’s casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him into the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city they meet a dying pastry maker. In his last breath he entrusts them with a secret: an ancient recipe that makes the most delicious taste the world will ever know — a taste that will change the fate of humanity forever.

Forced to flee by a cult of murderous chefs, the Johnsonvilles embark on a perilous journey to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves. Along the way they discover the truth: Guster is an Evertaster — a kid so picky that nothing but the legendary taste itself will save him from starvation. With the sinister chefs hot on Guster’s heels and the chefs’ reign of terror spreading, Guster and his family must find the legendary taste before it’s too late.

You can get the book on Amazon here

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Taipei Irish dance academy hosts the first open feis in Asia - PHOTOS

Taipei Irish Dance Academy at the first Taipei Feis in Taiwan Photo: courtesy Yi-han Hsiao
Taipei Irish Dance Academy at the first Taipei Feis in Taiwan
Photo: courtesy Yi-han Hsiao

Yi-han Hsiao TCRG, and Ronan Morgan TCRG founded the Taipei Irish Dance Academy in 2006. In November they hosted the first open feis competition in Asia, and recently sent their first World qualifier to the World Irish dance competition in Boston, USA.

Christy:  Tell me about the Taipei Irish Dance Academy. How did the academy get its start?

Yi-han:  Along with my teacher Ronan Morgan, we set up the school in the summer of 2006. I lived in Europe for 14 years, and felt that it would great opportunity to return home and open the first Irish dance school in Taiwan.  We spent about 3 months promoting classes and were well up and running by September.  

Taipei Irish Dance Academy trophies at the first Taipei Feis in Taiwan
Photo: courtesy Yi-han Hsiao
Christy:  You recently hosted Asia's first open feis. How did this event come to life?

Yi-han:  Our initial objective was to begin the competitive scene here in Asia, and provide a platform for dancers from other Asian schools to compete close to home. Up until now, dancers in Asia either traveled great distances to compete, or did not get a chance to experience the competitive side of Irish dancing at all. We felt that as the first Irish dance school in Asia, it was up to us to get the ball rolling in the hope that other schools would follow suit.  We now hope that dancers from other regions will come here to participate in the future to raise the overall standard across Asia.   

Christy:  Was the feis well attended by schools in the area?

Yi-han:  We were delighted to welcome dancers from schools in Hong Kong and Japan, and believe that dancers from other countries will attend in future as the word spreads about our feis.

Christy:  What was the atmosphere at the feis? Were the dancers nervous? Was there a feeling of camaraderie, as well as competition?

Taipei Irish Dance Academy dancer
at the first Taipei Feis in Taiwan

Photo: courtesy Yi-han Hsiao
Yi-han:  It was a great feis and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We did our best to keep it light and fun over the microphone. It helped that our students had competed abroad before and  they really danced well, and managed to control their nerves. They were very welcoming to the visiting competitors, and I think everyone went home with good memories from Taipei.

Christy:  Do you teach adult Irish dancers?

Yi-han:  We teach people from the age of 4 and have no upper age limit. We are delighted to have many adults in our school. In fact, I would say we have more adults than children, although the school is growing on an ongoing basis and we are starting more children's classes now than in the past as Irish dance spreads here.  We feel that Irish dance is for everyone, and should not be limited by age. [Students] attend classes on a weekly basis, and also participate in CLRG feiseanna worldwide.

Christy:  Is there room for Irish dance to grow in Taiwan?

Taipei Irish Dance Academy dancer
at the first Taipei Feis in Taiwan

Photo: courtesy Yi-han Hsiao
Yi-han:  We have worked hard over the last seven years to promote Irish dancing and Irish culture here, through the mediums of television and public events.  We were asked by the promoters of Michael Flatley's "Feet Of Flames" tour 2012 to participate in promoting the show. We had camera crews from different local tv channels visit us in the studio, and the lead dancers Bernadette Flynn and Damien O'Kane also came to visit and work with our students, which was televised. It's growing all the time, thankfully.  

Christy:  What do you feel is the future of Irish dance in Asia?

Yi-han:  Irish dance has just started to take off now in Asia. There are CLRG schools in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul. Now it's up to us teachers to ensure that it remains and grows, as it has in every other region, and we look forward to getting to the stage where we have our own qualifying round for the World Championships. At the moment, our students have been granted permission by An Coimisiun le Rince Gaelacha (CLRG) to qualify through Europe, as the Asian region is so young. We look forward to the day when the numbers and standard justify having our own regional qualifiers.

Christy:  Thank you, Yi-han, for giving us a peek into what Irish dancing is like in  Asia. Good luck to all of the Irish dancers at your school.

Daisy by Josi S. Kilpack

Daisy by Josi S. Kilpack

Daisy by Josi S. Kilpack is the first to be released book in a collection of four books, each focusing on a different character from a common book club, and each written by a different author, all of which I have had the please of meeting and learning from. 

It took me a little while to get into Daisy's story. I'm used to reading young adult and it was hard for my brain to make the switch from fast paced angst to the internal workings of a mother's mind. 

Daisy is teetering on the edge of empty-nesthood, and she is ready to embrace it. When she finds out that she is pregnant, everything changes. 

Things don't come easy for Daisy, as her second husband never planned to have more children, and life with her teenager is not roses. I like the fact that Daisy's story doesn't end up tied up with a pretty ribbon. She learns and grows and becomes a better person because of the adversity she faces. 

Daisy's monthly meeting with her book club sustains her in ways she couldn't have anticipated. I love getting to know the other women in the book. I'm looking forward to getting to know Athena, Olivia, and Paige, all of whom have their own book that tells their stories. I'm interested to see how the authors weave each of the characters around each other. 

Oh, and Josi included a recipe at the end of the book--and you know I love food in books!

Daisy is a fun start to a great new set of books that are perfect for spring break and summer reading.

Book Bomb for a worthy cause-download Nightingale by David Farland

A dear friend of mine, author David Farland has a sixteen-year old son who is in critical condition following a long-board accident (more info below and at I'm joining in a book bomb to spread the word about Dave's fantastic books, and encourage you to help. If you don't already have either of these books by Dave, please purchase copies of them today. They are both fantastic and I can't recommend them highly enough. On top of that, Dave is the most giving author I've ever met, always encouraging and mentoring writers around him. Please click through the links below to purchase the books:


David Farland’s young adult fantasy thriller NIGHTINGALE has won SEVEN awards, including the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Festival--beating out ALL books in ALL categories. It is available as a hardcover ($24.99), ebook ($7.99), audio book ($24.99), and enhanced novel for the iPad ($9.99).

You can purchase it on Amazon: Order on Amazon 

Barnes and Noble:  Order on B&N

The Nightingale website:

You can get the enhanced version complete with illustrations, interviews, animations, and its own soundtrack through iTunes: Order on iTunes

If you are a writer, you may want to consider purchasing David Farland’s MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES. It has been a bestseller on Amazon for over a month and is only $6.99.

As a bestselling author David Farland has taught dozens of writers who have gone on to staggering literary success, including such #1 New York Times Bestsellers as Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), James Dashner (The Maze Runner) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight).

In Million Dollar Outlines, Dave teaches how to analyze an audience and outline a novel so that it can appeal to a wide readership, giving it the potential to become a bestseller. The secrets found in his unconventional approach will help you understand why so many of his authors go on to prominence.

Get it on Amazon: Amazon Link

Get it on Barnes and Noble: B&N

Read one of the 26 reviews here: Amazon Reviews

Ben Wolverton, age 16, was in a tragic long-boarding accident on Wednesday the 4th, 2013. He suffers from severe brain trauma, a cracked skull, broken pelvis and tail bone, burnt knees, bruised lungs, broken ear drums, road rash, pneumonia, and is currently in a coma. His family has no insurance.

Ben is the son of author David Farland, whose books have won multiple awards, and who is widely known as a mentor to many prominent authors, such as Brandon Sanderson, Stephenie Meyer, and Brandon Mull.

Ben's treatment are expected to rise above $1,000,0000. To help raise money for Ben, we are having a book bomb (focused on Nightingale and Million Dollar Outlines) on behalf of Ben.

Information on how to help is in this post and on this website/blog. 


The best way you can help is by spreading the word of Ben’s donation page, and/or this book bomb. Share it on facebook, twitter, pinterest, your blog—anywhere you can. Invite others to the event.


David Farland has been keeping everyone posted on facebook. Subscribe or friend him to get up-to-date information: Dave's Facebook. At the moment, Ben is stable and appears to be improving.