Chicken Dancing, time for creativity - home school adventure, Andrew Cairn's "Sandy Beech&q


Dance Like a Chicken Day is observed each year on May 14th!

This is an entertaining day from start to finish! Everyone has probably danced the “Chicken Dance” at least once in their lifetime. This silly fun song is popular at wedding dances, Oktoberfest, and other celebrations. The song gets people of all ages up and moving on the dance floor.

Written in the 1950s by Werner Thomas, a Swiss accordionist, the Chicken Dance didn’t even make it to the United States until sometime in the 1970s. The Chicken Dance is associated with polkas or oom-pah-pah music. Originally written with the name Der Ententanz (The Duck Dance) it was rumored to have been written as a drinking song for Oktoberfest. The song’s name was later changed to Vogeltanz (The Bird Dance).

Upon arriving in America in the 1970s, the song had acquired choreography with repetitive beak, wing, and tail motions as well as the new name, The Chicken Dance.

  • Cincinnati, Ohio — September 20, 2004 — At the Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, rock musician Vince Neil served as Grand Marshall at the World’s Largest Chicken Dance.

  • Judson Laipply’s Evolution of Dance featured “The Chicken Dance”.

  • November 13, 2009 — In support of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, CIHT-FM played “The Chicken Dance” continuously until 389 tickets for the CHEO Dream of a Lifetime were purchased for $100 each. They played for over 3 hours straight.

  • April 23, 2010 — An attempt at the World’s Largest Chicken Dance record was held at Byron Center, Michigan at Jake’s Restaurant in a fundraiser for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Jake’s Restaurant is the site of a giant plastic chicken sculpture.

  • July 4, 2010 — Mandan, North Dakota established a new World Record for the Longest Chicken Dance at their annual Independence Day Parade and Street Festival. The Mandan, ND “Chicken Dance” line covered twenty-four city blocks and was 1.627 miles long.


Use #DanceLikeAChickenDay to post on social media.

Because my daughter and her husband, who is a Naval officer, move frequently (I wrote about them in Military Brat Day a few weeks ago) she decided - especially when the assignments were going to be short, to Home School her three children.

Many families home school for a variety of reasons: frequent moves, religious reasons, a desire to have more interaction with a child, freedom of creating one's own curriculumcertain learning disabiliities or physical limitations, giftedness which needs extra stimulation not found in a general school setting, and health or social concerns.

There are many benefits, but there are also extra challenges. This week I traveled to Arlington, VA to visit. From me, the children learned about Kemetic Yoga and the Flower of Life as well as sacred geometry (exercise, history, math and art). They practiced Tae-Kwon-Do. (exercise, discipline, culture)I read them a story I wrote and taught them how to clean their rooms every day. (social skills, writing) We made tortillas (reading and math, some science, cooking). I made fry-bread. We danced the Chicken Dance and played other silly songs. Then there was a regular lesson taught by their mother for workbooks.

Here is Joey doing second grade Math,

Sam is practicing kindergarten handwriting and little Stell (Yes she is a Little Person) is learning left handed writing of numbers on a chalkboard for Preschool. This afternoon they will watch a movie about a Mexican child (culture and literature) and write or draw about the food while they eat the tortillas they made.

Creativity. One think I've stressed is writing down ideas about dreams, nightmares and all the stories that just pop in. If Joey spells incorrectly, the words become his spelling list and then he makes syllable cards for his little brother and sister.

Sometimes it's hard to keep them still and easy to think "I could just end them to school" my daughter says, but this opportunity to make a creative and knowledgeable child (in this time) is an opportunity she didn't want to miss.

Last week I introduced Andrew Cairn. This week we meet Sandy Beech at the beginning of The Witch's List

First a 5 star review!

"We all pretend to be rational, logical, empirical thinking citizens of a modern world but bubbling beneath the surface lie our primeval fears, our pagan practices, our superstitions."

Sandy and Martin, two thirteen year old boys, discover a book in their Roman Catholic school's library. 'Witches and Warlocks' detailed graphically a range of witchcraft and dark art practices, and it was the beginning of the narrator's - Sandy - fascination with witchcraft.

In a fast-paced, highly entertaining so-called fantasy novel (first of a trilogy) lie some hidden truths about the dark side of magic and mysticism. Yet it reads like a part-adventure, part travel-tale, recommended for anyone who has an interest in how life is affected by coincidences which run way deeper than anything we could ever plan.

The backdrop of the story - first Scotland, then France, and last but not least - Cote D'ivoire - where most of the story unfolds, is fascinating. Having lived in Africa for some years, I recognised the underlying mystery of dark magic that is an integral part of African culture.

I look forward to reading the sequel!

1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.

Sandy Beech. Yes, I know - crazy name. My family's little 'joke'.

2.Tell us where and when were you born.

Dundee, Scotland. 70s. 3. How would you describe yourself?

An open-minded young man, with a passion for exploring other cultures. 4. Tell us about where you grew up.

Grew up in one of the nicer areas of Dundee, Broughty Ferry - a leafy suburb of Dundee, with parks, beaches and beautiful views of the river Tay.

5. How old are you? 

13. 6. Did you have a happy childhood?  Why/why not?

Early childhood was fine. Moving into my teenage years is tough. Going to a high school in a rough area, and bearing the name Sandy Beech makes me a natural target for the bullies. 7. Past/ present relationships?  How did they affect you?

So far I haven't had any relationships. If I were to choose a girlfriend it would be Gabriella Ndugu. She is a gorgeous girl in my year who comes from from Kenya. Her exotic origin, her beautiful velvet black skin and her teasing humour all make her irresistible in my eyes. 8. What do you value above all else in life?

Freedom to choose my path in life.

9. What are you obsessed with?

Gabriella. Opposites attract and for a blond-haired blue-eyed boy like me, she embodies the other: other sex, other skin-colour, and other culture/beliefs. But where will this obsessive attraction take me and can I find a moral direction in life ?

10. How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?

I hope to one day have children and teach them the values of being virtuous and open to others.

11. Biggest fear?

That I will somehow lose my way in life. That everything I dream of - a happy, healthy, prosperous and virtuous family - will be ruined.

12. What line will you never cross?

The line of accepting personal injustice. 13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you?  The worst?

The best: When I first met Gabriella and she smiled at me seductively.

The worst: Going to Saint Saviour's - my secondary school. As described by our primary school teacher, "You'll go from being a big fish in a little pond, to a little fish in a big ocean"; it wasn't long - a matter of hours - until I encountered the sharks. 14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

One of the school's holier-than-thou prudes, Alice Peterson, catching my best friend Martin Cardosi and me perusing the notorious ‘Witches and Warlocks’ encyclopaedia in our school library. It's the sauciest book in the whole place, filled with filthy pictures of witches performing various ceremonies - black masses and the like - naked!! 15. Biggest secret?

My attraction to Gabriella. I am totally smitten by her, but for fear of my mates’ ridicule and a humiliating knock-back, not to mention my inherent shyness, I have so far kept my attraction to her secret. Is it possible that she could ever feel as strongly about me as I do about her? Will I ever pluck up the courage to ask her out on a date? And would our respective families accept such an 'inter-racial' relationship? 16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?

Curious. 17. What is your current goal?

Escaping from Saint Saviour's relatively unscathed, having passed enough exams to be able to go on to university, and having won Gabriella's hear

Children of Stone is a series about a group of humans who become gifted by creatures of another dimension. They become as gods. Book One Voices in Crystal brings us Marai the Main character and introduces his family, women he loves, an enemy and an unlikely friend. Book Two Going Forth By Day develops the characters of the women and the royal characters of Ancient Kemet who cross Marai's path. Book Three Opener of the Sky is about an emerging antagonist Maatkare, and a young relative Djerah as well as a mystical Akaru.

In Book Four Heart of the Lotus, (coming soon) the interaction of the characters increases, a mission brings them together and an even greater villain from another realm who has been steering the story from the beginning (although we might not have known) steps into the foreground to cause even more difficulty.

Here is a small snippet I posted in Facebook recently: Wserkaf and his wife Khentie have entered an ancient crypt seeking the flint box containing the mysteries of the gods when they walked as men. It becomes a journey into mystery and a memory of his love.

Years before, Wserkaf had paid little attention to anything other than just getting past the door. Now, everything was different.

(It’s so quiet in here,) he reflected, (it’s a holy place but us empty-handed doesn’t seem to matter. It’s like home in a way. I feel joy now that I am here. She’s afraid because she thinks the gods are about wrath if they aren’t respected, but…) He noticed the chill they experienced when they reached the first room had vanished.

By contrast, this room felt warm and welcoming as a memory of his childhood when his mother sang to him. That feeling, not the fear of dissatisfied gods, pushed him to his knees.

“Wse, what?” Khentie was instantly with him when he stumbled.

“Do you feel it, Khentie?” he asked, his eyes trying to make out the expression on her face in the dim light. In one instant, he thought of his mother singing to him as a child, but realized the singer was Khentie, young and vibrant, holding him in her arms in the shade of the trees in the fig groves beyond her father’s palace.

They had made love gloriously that day. The sun had come filtering through the leaves where they lay, far from the eyes of any servants or attendants. It brought out the bronze highlights in the black froth of her short curls. She sang to him and it made him want to love her again. She would claim him before her father, because they had fallen deeply in love. He was a rising young acolyte in Hordjedtef’s school, being groomed for a high position, and he was a prince.

The next author is Stephen Trolly. Welcome Stephen!

What made you want to be a writer?

I don’t think that I was given much of a choice. I was imaginative, always looking for new stories to tell and new worlds to discover. Once I started writing them down, the only thing I could do was keep going back to them.

Tell us your book’s genre? Rising Vengeance (and its sequel, Devil’s Dominion) is a mix of a few different Fantasy sub-genres: Epic and Political, with just a hint of Apocalypse. It’s the story of a people’s struggle against what they consider to literally be the forces of Hell, but also their fights and their intrigue within their own race.

Tell us about your book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.) My books are available for Amazon Kindle. Paperback versions are also available through Amazon.

How important is it to read books when you want to be an author? I think very important. Every time I run out of ideas, I can ask myself “how long has it been since I read something?” and the answer is always “too long.”

How did you come up with this fantastic idea? It’s an odd story. I was 13 years old, a junior counselor at a summer camp. One of the senior counselors was leaving the camp early because he was travelling to a wedding, and on his last day, he gave each of the counselors a ring. They were just twine rings with a plastic bead. I was still young enough to believe in magic, but was old enough to be obsessed with The Lord of the Rings. Magic plus a ring? Fantasy story.

Which character do you identify with most in your novel? That’s a hard question, because I started writing this book so long ago. At the start, I most related to Taren. I wanted to be the hero. As I grew up, Taren and I went on different paths. He became much darker, more focused on conquest, and I stopped wanting to be the hero that Taren believed himself to be. The character I relate most to now is one of the more minor characters in Rising Vengeance, but he gains some prominence in the sequel, Devil’s Dominion. His name is Daken Calmi. He’s sort of like me, quiet and introspective with quirks and habits that no one can bleed out of him, but with this hidden ferocity that makes him terrifying if you force him to that point. He just wants to lead his quiet life, but he’s not afraid of wading into the bloodshed if it means getting it over and done with.

Did the Bible have anything to do with your idea for this novel? There’s probably quite a few unconscious connections. I was raised Christian, and I still consider myself to be one. But, the Bible didn’t directly inspire the story or any particular aspect of it, aside from maybe the apocalypse and the significance of the number 7.

Is there a message you’d like to send through your book? My book deals heavily with shades of grey and morality verses rationality. Both of those concepts interest me, and I think that I try to convey that some things need to be done whether they are the right thing or not: the difference between what is right and what is necessary, and that someone can be a good person but still do the wrong things (or vice-versa).

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most? Waiting

Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc. Typically, the atmosphere where I write best (or come up with my best ideas) is actually in my car. I’ll record myself while driving, or I’ll sit in a parking lot with a notebook. Something about my car inspires my creativity.

What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing? A pen. That may sound a little smart-assy, but there’s something luxurious about a really nice pen.

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.

When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to? My girlfriend. She’ll either be blunt and tell me to suck it up and finish, or she’ll yell at me about killing characters that she likes. Both of those actually motivate me to write more and better, because I know that she is invested in my books and my characters, and if she is, then other people out there can be too.

How do you market your book? I’ve done a few different things: word of mouth, some promotional posters (both of which more suited to the local author part I’ve been playing in my hometown), and some online advertisements through Facebook and Amazon. Mostly, I’ve just been trying to create a large enough web-presence to be noticeable. Things are starting to pick up.

Have readers every contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you. So far, the majority of my readers are people I know personally. One told me that she was angry, because she couldn’t put the book down, so she’d stayed up all night reading.

Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication? My girlfriend. I trust her opinion about books in general (she’s much more well-read than me) but I especially trust her with MY writing, to tell me honestly if it’s good or not, because I know that she understands that importance and isn’t going to spare my feelings and let me sign my name on something terrible.

Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc. Would that I could do that. I have yet to actually do a formal book signing, though I have done small art conventions in Ottawa that I’ve enjoyed.

What do you enjoy when you’re not writing? When I’m not writing, I’m an incredibly boring person. I like to play games, read fantasy novels (and reread my favourites).

Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. Let them in to just who Stephen is. Favourite food: Shepard’s Pie. I can never have enough of it. Favourite colour: A little harder. Somewhere between blue and red at this point.

Tell us your favorite novel? The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve been in love with the series since I was old enough to read. It’s a huge part of my life and a huge part of the reason why I became a fantasy author.

Now a fun game I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you love.

A live drama or the opera? Not much of a theater person. And by not much I mean not at all.

Chips or crackers? Sort of mood-dependent. Crackers are good if I have hummus. Mostly though, I prefer chips.

Hamburger or chicken sandwich? Right in the middle. Chicken burger.

Fries or onion rings? Onion Rings

Milk shake or smoothie? Smoothie I guess. Easier to make, more you can do with it. Milkshakes are for special occasions.

Thunderstorms or star gazing?? I love a good storm. The way the air smells, before and after. How much different everything looks, even though it’s the exact same.

Kindle or paperback novels? Paperback. I’ve never been able to read on a screen unless I really had to.

Are there any mistakes you made with your first book? I sent it out before it was ready, then was unreasonably stubborn about doing everything myself. I’m still self-published, and I do like it that way, but I could have stood to be more patient looking for a publisher.

What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors? You’re not as good at editing as you think you are. After I first released Rising Vengeance, I went through with a pen and circled edits that I missed making before the initial release. So, either hire someone or find someone you know will do a good job.

When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out? I went to college to get a writing degree. I made a few friends there whose opinions I respect when it comes to the quality of my work.

When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale. My Anarian Chronicles series’ third book, Western Dawn, is in the works, but I’m not close enough to the finish line to look at a release date for it yet. Both books that are finished are available for Kindle and paperback on Amazon.

Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book? Facebook. Or I have a wordpress blog, but finding links on that is a bit of an adventure on its own. The blog is really more for world-building and giving readers more information about Anaria and backstory for the characters they know (and hopefully love).

Contact Stephen Trolly at:

Buy Stephen’s books at:

Next week some new releases and back on schedule

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