Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Circle of Sisters anthology giveaway on Goodreads, and I'm in it!

A Circle of Sisters by JoLyn Brown

This is so exciting! I have a story in this fun and inspiring book. A Circle of Sisters is now on Goodreads and Walnut Springs will be giving away three free copies of the book. Click here to enter! And share the news! Don't forget to put it on your To Read list!

Look into the lives of ordinary Relief Society sisters as they share 50 stories of love and service. Whether it is facing a new calling or dealing with the sickness or loss of a loved one, these stories testify of the very real power of women devoted to God and His work. In trial and doubt, in faith and in joy, sometimes all it takes is a circle of sisters to change a life for the better.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Exclusive interview with dance performance group Fusion Fighters who combine Irish, tap, African gumboot, and hip hop - VIDEO

Fusion Fighters

New on the dance performance scene are a group who call themselves the Fusion Fighters. Wearing custom tap shoes and masks, these dancers combine Irish, tap, African gumboot, and hip hop, in an effort to push the limits of how each of these separate dance forms have traditionally been viewed.

The dancers remain anonymous as they perform onstage and in video. One of the dancers said, “The new age of dance is coming, and it’s more about the movement and not about us as individuals—less distractions and more intrigue.”

A masked identity allows the Fusion Fighters to transcend boundaries. “Because of a lack of identity of age, race, or color, our performance is accessible to a wide group of people,” said one of the dancers.

During a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Trafalgar Square (see video below), the mayor of London presented the Fusion Fighters to over 18,000 people. “It was quite a unique experience to have the mask on the whole time,” one Fusion Fighter said. “There was a tangible excitement in the crowd. Never mind that it was hard to breath.”

So how did this group come about? Two of the dancers had worked in Africa, learning the gumboot dancing. They met together in New York and found that they had similar goals: to bring something new to the dance performance world, and experiment with interactivity, technology, and comedy. The dancers agree: “We are more than a dance crew, we involve interaction with the audience through comedy, instruments, music, film, and technology.” Plans for more events with the Fusion Fighter's DJ, including laser lights, looping pedals and responsive technology, are already in the works.

Each of the dancers in the Fusion Fighters is an elite performer—a world champion in his or her field. They are multi-talented dancers who are able to perform each of the disciplines, and collaborate on the dance forms.

Much of the preparation for performances is done separately. The choreographers get together for a creative period and focus on the steps, making sure that each dance form is incorporated into the whole. The dances are then recorded, and each dancer starts his or her own rehearsal. A few weekends before a show, rehearsal are held together in London, working together to finalize the dancing.

Costuming for the Fusion Fighters is as eclectic as its members. Each piece of the “armor” you see in their first video was selected from vendors all over the world—Asia, Africa, and Europe. “I had a contact at Bloomindales, of all places, and got the boots for a great price,” one of the Fusion Fighters said. “We found a cobbler and had them custom made with taps.” The female member of Fusion Fighters was unsure of how the armor would work out for her, but she quickly got on board with the unique costuming. New masks are already purchased—you will get a chance to see them soon.
Shield of the Fusion Fighters

The group’s first video went live in March, and showcased the Fusion Fighter’s ability to pull the many aspects of each dance form into an engaging, limit-pushing experience. Currently the Fusion Fighters are performing at nightclubs and other events through Tourism of Ireland. They will be performing on a larger scale at the University of Limerick, The Gathering (in Dublin, Ireland), and the City of London Festival, among others, and boast a corporate crew who are available for performances anywhere in the UK. New videos are already in progress, each one very different, and plans for the future include performances with many unique interactive, and comedic elements.

“We want to bring people together and encourage Irish dancers to help and support each other, and not focus on the competitive nature that stems from Irish dance,” a Fusion Fighter said. "It's far from just being Irish; there are many different flavors in the melting pot that will appeal to a large range of people and ages. We want to be on the cusp of the wave of groups out there who are pushing along to experiment and evolve"

Watch for a groundbreaking video from Fusion Fighters, coming this summer. 

Fusion Fighters "painting the town red"
Fusion Fighters "painting the town red"

Fusion Fighters in Trafalgar Square

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bookmarks for Awakening!

Look what came in the mail today! This is proof that my book is real, and not still a figment of my imagination! Don't they look great? I'm not sure that you can read the loglines on them, but I especially love the one that says, "...because the luck of the Irish isn't always with you." Chills!

Next month I will be doing a cover reveal for the book. I would love you to be involved, so stay tuned. Thanks for all of the fantastic support everyone has given me!

I'm going to the Storymaker's conference in Provo, Utah this weekend, where I always meet so many great people and get together with long time author friends. Are you going?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

There are some things you can’t leave behind… 

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys. 

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down. 

~Published March 26th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin

The premise of If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch caught my eye. Two young girls living alone in a camper away from civilization? How do they live? How would they adjust to normal life?

I look for emotional release in books and I knew that there would be some major character arch here. I wasn't disappointed.

Carey is such a strong character, and although she's lived alone with her sister for many years, she is intelligent and wise beyond her years. I enjoyed reading the story through her eyes, and her emotions were powerful and spot-on.

I was impressed with the imagery in the book. Ms. Murdoch certainly knows how to use metaphors to enhance the story. The imagery was naturally woven into the book, and always felt genuinely spoken by a young girl who carries so many burdens. Here's an example:

"I almost choke on the v word (violin) with the planet-size history curled up inside it, a history that could break me if I let it, spilling out my middle like Gran's jam cake when you first cut into it."

Carey's perception of the world is colored by her experience and I rejoiced and cried for her as she learned more about her past and her family.

Because of some the things that happened to Carey, If You Find Me is a read for older teens and young adults. The issue of child abuse is handled carefully but if you are sensitive to that sort of thing, proceed cautiously.

If You Find Me is a heartbreaking and hopeful look at the human spirit. I highly recommend it.