Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Toastworthy Teens - Chad Eaton

  Chad Eaton, Recycle For A Charity

Turning 18 marks a new phrase in everyone’s life, but it held even more significance for Chad Eaton; his milestone birthday was the same week he received the new kidney that would eliminate the need for 10-hour nightly dialysis treatments.

And instead of spending the night before his surgery worrying about the procedure, Chad stayed up late working on the website for his new charity. Recycle For A Charity grew from Chad’s empathy toward other young kidney patients, about whom he says, “See[ing] them happy [makes] me happy. I just want to give them hope that things are going to be better.” 

That’s also why, seven weeks after his surgery, the promising young pitcher was back at DaVita Dialysis – this time delivering pillows, video games, headphones, baseballs, and, most importantly, spending time with each and every patient. 

Chad’s clearly an inspiration not only to those kids, but to all of us. :)

Meet Chad here:

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lazy Days of Summer GIVEAWAY HOP

This hop, organized by Colorimetry and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, features 200 (!) participating blogs offering book-related giveaways! We're all linked up together so you can hop easily from one giveaway to another; see the full list here: Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop.

Winner here at BWATE? gets a Signed Copy of either:
 "Solid" (Solid Series Book #1) or "Settling" (Solid #2)

To enter to win, just follow this blog and leave a comment/question,
along with a way to contact you.

Optional Extra Entries:
+1 Follow on Twitter
+1 Like Solid Series on Facebook 
+1 Add series to your to-read list on Goodreads

Giveaway runs from July 27th to August 1st; last day to enter is Wednesday, Aug. 1st.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Toastworthy Teens - Caitlyn Mortus

Caitlyn Mortus, Keep Kids Connected

Diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma at age 12, Caitlyn Mortus suffered as much from missing soccer, gymnastics, and hanging out with her friends as from the fatigue and nausea of her illness and treatments.

But that changed with the gift of a laptop from a family friend, which allowed her to “hang out” with her friends again via Skype and Facebook. The reconnection made such a difference in her life that Caitlyn was inspired to establish a non-profit organization “connecting to the power of healing,” which procures computers for other kids who, like herself, are battling life-threatening illnesses like cancer. 

Keep Kids Connected has now donated over 110 computers to hospitalized kids in the U.S. and even one to a young boy in South Africa! Clearly this 15-year-old philanthropist who plans to study nursing has and will brighten many lives. :)

Find out more about Keep Kids Connected here:

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Friday, July 20, 2012

FOODFIC: A Fate Totally Worse Than Death - Paul Fleischman

Danielle is wicked. Not in the pointy-black-hat sense, exactly, but she’s the type of girl that makes people say, “Today’s youth is going to Hell in a hand-basket.” 

Old people, that is, like the blind woman on the bus Danielle won’t give up her prime seat for, or Mrs. Witt, the Driftwood Manor Convalescent Home resident that Danielle is supposed to visit as part of her required community service. Instead, Danielle locks Mrs. Witt’s door, puts obnoxious shows on her TV, and goes through her box of chocolates, biting into a coconut-covered nugget, then spitting the distasteful piece out, and then [cementing] the piece she’d spit out back in place and [returning] the chocolate to its compartment

See? Despicable. 

And you haven’t even heard half of what Danielle and her friends have done. It’ll make you want to knock her teeth out.

But you may not have to; there’s an ethereally beautiful new girl in town with justice on her mind who just might give Danielle and her crew a taste of their own medicine…

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Toastworthy Teens - Benjamin Coady

Benjamin Coady, Amateur Curator

“If you have a question, ask it,” advises 13-year-old Benjamin Coady. 

He speaks from experience; when the Connecticut teen visited New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, he caught a mistake on a 6th century map of the Byzantine Empire that everyone else had missed.
He left a card pointing out the discrepancy with the doubtful front desk attendant, thinking nothing would come of it since he’s “only a kid.”

Only a kid who was absolutely right, which the museum’s Byzantine art curator acknowledged by thanking him for his keen eye and inviting him to visit her in New York.

Goes to show that kids should always speak up, and adults should always listen. ;)

To plan your trip to the Met, visit:

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Peter Anthony Kelley, Author of Paraglide

Pick your own

Head out of town in mid to late summer and the road signs start popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm:  strawberries, blueberries, apples, U-pick, self-harvest, pick-your-own. People everywhere love the harvest. There’s something compelling, almost primal about gathering your own food. How much better is it to slip a juicy raspberry off the cane than out of a plastic clamshell?

But some foods require more than just a hand drawn sign to track down. As research for my novel, Paraglide, I sought out one of the most difficult foods to find: the truffle. We’re talking the mushroom here; the outrageously expensive produce sold in tiny glass jars or laced into expensive olive oils, the aromatic finish for risottos and pastas at upscale restaurants. The ugly little root looks like a deformed potato, but is prized by chefs and foodies around the world.
Harvesting truffles requires expert help. There are no do-it-yourself destinations, no truffle farms with the tuber growing in straight rows waiting to be plucked by eager gourmands. Most attempts to cultivate truffles have failed. They grow where they will, mostly in rural France and Italy in locations jealously guarded by a small coterie of truffle hunters, many of whom work at night to keep their competitors at bay.

Our guide, Rino Ambrosio picked us up at 7:30 in the morning in his little Fiat Uno. We were a few miles South of Florence in the heart of Tuscany. I can’t tell you exactly where or, I’d have to, you know, kill you. Rino’s dogs panted heavily in a wire cage in the hatchback. These dogs are the key to finding truffles. They are trained to smell them out, digging frantically whenever they catch a whiff. Traditionally, the job was done with trained pigs, but they don’t fit very well into the back of Fiat Unos and aren’t nearly half as cute as the dogs.

After a 30 minute drive through twisting dirt roads I suspect are not on any GPS system, we arrived at the top of a long sloping hillside. The faint outline of an old road stretched toward a ruined house, craggy olive trees dotted the countryside. Rino released the dogs with a sharp whistle. Noses to the ground, they instantly began sweeping broad arcs on the edges of the roadbed. He directed them toward the base of certain trees where he’d had past success, keeping a sharp eye out for rabbits that would compete for the dog’s attention.  Within minutes one of the dogs began frantically scuffing at the dusty soil. Rino rushed forward, grabbed the dog’s collar and jerked her back (explaining that the dogs would eat the truffles if you let them). He gently scraped the ground with a foot-long metal tool, a combination knife and shovel. He lifted three fingers of dirt to his nose and inhaled deeply. Nodding once, he continued to dig, then smiled and rose to his feet, placing a walnut-sized treasure in my hand. We’d found our first truffle.

It’s said that scent is one of the most powerful memory triggers. If that’s true, the next time I smell a fresh truffle, I’ll be transported right back to that Tuscan hillside. Nothing can compare to the musky, earthy, mushroomy aroma that came from my hand. I almost staggered at the intensity and marveled that I hadn’t been able to smell it even through the inches of soil. Rino nodded at my reaction, then rushed away toward the dogs. They were digging again. Time to pick another truffle.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Peter!

Peter Anthony Kelley is the author of the young-adult novel, Paraglide. As a kid he loved climbing trees, staring off into the distance and dreaming of distant lands. Nothing much has changed, he still stares off into the distance. Only now, instead of perching on tree limbs,  he sits at a table and captures those dreams on his computer.

He currently lives in Minneapolis with his wife, two daughters and a cranky nineteen-year old cat named Brownie. He graduated from American University with a Master's degree in International Relations. When he's not writing he loves travel, biking and watching soccer. He also makes a mean spaghetti bolognese.

                              You can find Peter at:  Facebook.com/Paraglidethenovel


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Toastworthy Teens - Mackenzie Bearup

Mackenzie Bearup, Sheltering Books

16-year-old Mackenzie Bearup is one of hundreds of thousands of people diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Distrophy (RSD), a disease in which the brain continues to receive distress messages from nerves and blood vessels around an injury that has actually already healed. Suffering from RSD doesn’t just mean sore muscles or achy bones; in Mackenzie’s own words, her pain will “explode at random times [and] when something touches it, it's like I'm getting stabbed multiple times.”

Not only is there no cure for RSD, even Mackenzie’s pain-management doctor cannot prevent the flare-ups that keep the teenager bedridden for sometimes months at a time. 

So this amazing Georgia teen had to find her own way to escape the pain: reading. But that’s only the beginning of her story; when Mackenzie learned a nearby residential center for severely abused children had just built a library but didn’t have books to fill it, she wanted to relieve some of the pain felt by those kids, too. She set a goal to collect 300 books, but her flyers, newspaper ads, and website brought in over 3,000! 

Still, she didn’t stop there; Sheltering Books, the non-profit group Mackenzie founded to expand her work, has now donated almost 40,000 books to 27 different shelters in 6 states. 

You can meet Mackenzie here:

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Friday, July 6, 2012

FOODFIC: The Host - Stephenie Meyer

Who know Stephenie Meyer would follow up her super teen paranormance with a how-to manual for the end of the world? Okay, I’m kidding…but in that some-truth-in-jest sort of way. 

Yes, The Host boasts the same epic love story that Meyer is best known for and yes, it’s the love (in this case) square that will keep you reading through all 864 pages. But it’s the zompacolypse survival tip that could keep you alive.

Here, the end of the world as we know it is does not come in a massive violent event, but is instead an almost peaceful taking-over of bodies by alien creatures who believe they’re doing humans a favor by saving the species from its destructive ways. (And perhaps the greatest irony is that you find yourself rooting for one of the body-take-overers.)

Wanderer (or Wanda, to those who are willing to get to know her) almost unwittingly sets out on a quest to find the lost loves (boyfriend and brother) she's seen in  her human host’s memories – a journey that takes her to Uncle Jeb’s old ranch in the desert. The place is long-abandoned, but still partially stocked with supplies like stale crackers, Twinkies, and water stored in bleach bottles to keep it from growing bacteria. It only took a second of trolling by the Google-bots to confirm the validity of this tip; who knew? 

So I haven’t yet decided whether to shelve this book as a romance or a resource, but I do know it’s one I’ll hang onto. ;)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Toastworthy Teens - Ben Carpenter

Ben Carpenter, Ben's Mends

Ben Carpenter is a busy guy. When the high school baccalaureate student isn’t captaining his wheelchair soccer team (the Tampa Thunder), or volunteering for Junior Achievement, Shriner’s Hospitals, and other groups, he’s working his way through thousands of damaged books that have made their way to his garage.

Yes, Ben is a voracious reader, but the books are there for more than his perusal; through his Ben’s Mends organization, the 16-year-old repairs and donates them to schools, homeless shelters, assisted living facilities, and any other places that need them. 

Ben, who credits his inspiration to both his parents and his spinal muscular dystrophy, founded Ben’s Mends after asking himself, How can I bring something back to the community and combine it with my love of reading?

Ben’s words not only echo my own reason for creating the Solid series; they also remind me to keep asking how I can do and be more. Thanks for inspiring me, Ben!

Meet Ben here:

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