Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesdays Musings...Inspire

"What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Student Beware...Or, Shame On You, Teacher

Lately I've noticed an sudden surge in the "teaching" genre of bellydance.  Well, to be specific, since I've been physically been back to teaching bellydance on a regular basis,  my radar has picked up on a how, why, and who is teaching in my area.  There have always been magical and well qualified teachers, but suddenly there is a new teacher in town.  And I use that term lightly.
Here's the deal...personally, I have three to four "grown-up" years (I kinda count the ones in my younger days, though I'm sure my technique has grown!) in cabaret, and four more in tribal fusion bellydance, to which I can attribute hundreds of hours of classes, workshops, and one on one sessions perfecting technique.  If I didn't completely master every move, I'm good with that because the mechanics and understanding is there and the rest will come with practice.  I am a constant state of learning, and because of this, of teaching.
I supplement dvd's and online classes from time to time, mostly because I have the knowledge of basic movement vocabulary that makes up the language of my dance.  And, most of these dvd's are by dancers/teachers that I have the pleasure of actually learning from in a workshop/class situation.
That being said, I know I will never stop learning, and that I am not perfect.  This is a good thing, because I am passionate and will continue to become a stronger dancer, performer, and teacher.
Current conundrum.  Taking a eight week or so beginner's class and watching YouTube or DVD's and then teaching bellydance scares me.  Because, these are people's bodies, their spirits, and self confidence you are messing with. 
Shame on anyone who thinks they can teach something they've just learned (and are doing not for the love of, but for the love of money) without training of some sort.
But, as a student, please know who your teacher is, how they learned their craft, and maybe why they teach.
I teach to give my students confidence, passion, and joy.  And in return, they give me back the same in return.
Know what you are giving and getting....

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday Musings...

"Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure."

Just remember this the next time you are having one of those days!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Retrieved By Amber Polo Blog Tour Review & Giveaway!

Dog-shifters once again face the book-burning werewolves of Shipsfeather in this charming second installment of The Shapeshifters’ Library series. 

Godiva Anglesey, Chocolate Labrador, and the ruggedly handsome English Mastiff Cynerik are forced to team up against power-hungry werewolves when Cynerik discovers an ancient Ohio mound that may hold answers to their shifter history. Knowing the mound’s secrets could benefit the dog-shifters in the ongoing contest for power, ambitious werewolf pack Alpha Sybilla challenges timid Godiva to a battle for the territory. Already faced with a malicious book-worm infestation and a censorship threat to ban all anthropomorphic books in her library, Godiva, who has no interest in battling anyone, must turn from running her small town library to train for a challenge she believes she has no chance of winning. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Godiva’s mother announces that family tradition dictates that Godiva must be married by Summer Solstice… to a Druid. Godiva doesn’t even know any Druids.

Godiva wants to run her library, retrieve books for library patrons, and keep people happy. She’s no hero. She doesn’t have what it takes to face down werewolves or save the world. Cynerik, however, believes differently. Together they must defeat the werewolves, save the town and its library, protect the most important archeological discovery in dog-shifter history… and, just maybe, find love along the way.
My Review:
 Lately, I've become a tea person.  Not just the run of the mill, paper wrapped tea in a bag variety, but the steep your own single cup loose leaf and spoon out your pleasure kind.  For me, this has become my me ritual, and the time I spend with my delicious steaming cuppa is my retreat.  It's special.  And silly as it may sound, Retrieved by Amber Polo fits right in that special time.
Released took me pleasantly by surprise, so much so that when I'm in a book rut, I page through my kindle and may just read a bit here and there.  If I can put it down, that is.
Imagine my girl geeky giddiness when asked to review the second book, Retrieved?  Oh, yes...please!!
Shipsfeather has weathered the were-storm of library burning and sure catastrophe.  Chronus and Liberty are enjoying their honeymoon (not to say I wasn't sorely disappointed...but that didn't last long!), and the shapeshifters curse has been broken.  Godiva is the head librarian now, and her office lovingly looks across the hall at Gris. All should be right and well in the world, right?
Wrong. Especially when the new pack lead of the book-hating werewolves has cleaned up her house (poor Harry) and taken control. 
New threats abound...the library is suddenly overrun with bookworms, children's books are being pulled off the shelves by irate library go-ers on a national stage, the biggest discovery of the shapeshifter's history has been taken over by the werewolves for..gulp...a golf course, poor Harry has no place to lay his paws, Gris is more aloof and rude to Diva as ever, and a Challenge has been issued to highest dog shifter in Shipsfeather by the library hating hating Alpha werewolf bent on taking over the town.
Poor Godiva, she just wants to run her library, eat chocolate, and run for her daily exercise.  If only she would notice Cynerik as more than just a loyal run through the woods Mastiff pal...
To say that I loved the sequel as much as I loved the first would be a slight understatement.  One complaint?  I missed Liberty and her dashing Chronus...
But, there is so much to love about Retrieved, from the witty and clever yet quaint story-telling (who knew the Dewey Decimal System could be such a descriptive device?!?!) to the tongue in cheek Starbark's and Zoogle, and the wonderful weaving of history incorporated into the legend of the werewolf/shapeshifter back story.  Cyn and Diva stole my heart, as did all of the loyal library loving shifters.  I loved how Amber Polo tells her story, weaving each detail with such precision that you simply cannot put it down. I simply cannot wait to see where the Shapeshifter's Library leads to next!
No spoilers here, but there is plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat, and you may just want to run out to your library and make sure no one is pulling your beloved children's book off the shelf.  Right after you enjoy hot chocolate and nice run in the snow!

Rafflecopter code for giveaway:
A Shapeshifter Public Library canvas book bag.
A print copy of "Retrieved," dog biscuits, and a tuft of genuine wolf fur. This giveaway is open only to US/Canada residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where to find Amber:
Wordshaping Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter
Pinterest | Google+

Buy Links for Retrieved, Book two: Blue Merle Publishing  | Kindle | Amazon Print | Barnes & Noble & Nook | Well Red Coyote Bookstore

Buy Links for Released, Book One: Blue Merle Publishing | Kindle | Amazon Print | Barnes & Noble & Nook | Well Red Coyote Bookstore

Author Bio:A love of books drew Amber Polo into a career as a librarian. A greater love turned her into a writer. The Shapeshifters’ Library series is an urban fantasy filled with books, librarians and dogs and a library everyone will love.

Note: Review copy provided by author.