Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

April 23, 2012

Everybody is kung fu reading

Author of popular book series visits Middlebury students

MIDDLEBURY —  “The first thing is that I love to learn new stuff,” said author Jeff Stone. “The second thing is that I love to tell everyone.”

Stone, author of the award-winning Five Ancestors series, visited Northridge Middle School students Friday and Middlebury Community Library patrons Friday evening.

The series features five orphan monks in 1650s China, each trained in a different kung fu animal fighting style, and each on the search to discover their past that will help them save the future.

When Stone says he loves to learn “new stuff,” he’s not talking about book learning.

“I really didn’t read much when I was a kid,” Stone said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t important in my house.”

But he was active in school, participating in baseball, football, basketball, soccer and track. He had always been interested in martial arts, but never had the opportunity to pursue that sport.

Stone, a Michigan native now living in central Indiana, attended Michigan State University as an engineering student, switching to an English and journalism major.

“Writing came easy,” Stone said. “I ended up with an internship at General Motors as a technical writer for the advanced engineering staff.”

In his last semester at Michigan State, Stone finally began a life-long passion. He took Tae Kwon Do lessons, earning a yellow belt.

The classes ended with his graduation and Stone didn’t pursue martial arts for another 10 years.

Then in his early 30s married with two children, Stone still had a list of “big things” he wanted to do. His list contained three items. Get in shape. Find his birth mother. Write a book.

And with that list Five Ancestors began to take shape.

Stone pursued martial arts at a high level, learning Shaolin Du Kung Fu, and having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to test for his black belt at the legendary Shaolin Temple in China.

“It was a little intimidating,” Stone remembered. “But I was so focused from move to move that I really don’t remember anything.”

He didn’t remember swinging a staff, jumping and almost hitting a tree. He didn’t remember losing his glasses. And he didn’t notice that what started out as a group of 50 spectators turned into hundreds including several temple monks and busloads of tourists.

Fortunately for Stone, he passed the test. He could check one thing off his list.

With this experience and a journalism degree behind him, Stone began writing the first book of the series.

“I tell everyone to write what they know,” Stone said. “And I tell them to show the reader what you mean, don’t tell them.”

He advises students not to describe a character, but to put them in a situation that shows their qualities, strengths and weaknesses.

And while that new project was underway, Stone returned to a familiar story — trying to locate his birth mother.

“I tried five major searches over 15 years and didn’t have any luck,” Stone said. “But as I finished the first draft, during the sixth search, I found her!”

Now he could check two items off his list.

With the publication in March of 2005 of Tiger, Stone checked the last item off his list.

Seven books later, Stone is still signing autographs, traveling the country talking to children and adults and trying to spread the message to get active, get excited and get writing.

Stone’s latest book, due out this September, is called Phoenix. While this first book in a trilogy also features Kung Fu, the story is set in the present and brings in a new sport — mountain biking.

And yes, Stone has mastered that activity, too.

“I have to live the books,” Stone said. “I have to do it while I’m writing.”

Stone spent Friday morning and afternoon signing books and bookmarks, answering questions and hearing lots of comments.

“One day I spent the whole day reading Tiger!” said sixth-grader Nicholas Kirchner, who had Stone sign six books.

“Your books are amazing!” yelled another student who ran past the table toward the cafeteria.

“Will you sign my forehead?” asked another student.

“No.” laughed Stone. “I’d get in trouble!”

His afternoon ended at the middle school auditorium where Stone called students up on stage and helped them demonstrate several Kung Fu animal stances.

The Five Ancestors series include Tiger, Monkey, Snake, Crane, Eagle, Mouse and Dragon.

 

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • GN140801 Mackowiak new Millersburg marshal.jpg Retired Goshen police officer sworn in as new Millersburg town marshal

    Retired Goshen police officer Al Mackowiak was sworn in as Millersburg's new town marshal Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hunt_Jeffrey New Paris home invader sentenced to 120 years in prison

    Jeffery J. Hunt was sentenced to 120 years after being pleading guilty to a violent home invasion in New Paris.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kulp is new Goshen softball coach Brent Kulp was hired as the new Goshen High School softball coach at Monday night’s school board meeting. He was a physical education and health teacher in the Baugo Community Schools for 18 years and head softball coach at Jimtown High School for 15 seasons. Under his direction, Jimtown earned five Northern State Conference championships, five sectional titles and two regional titles and his teams compiled an overall record of 285-133-1.

    July 28, 2014

  • Middlebury man burned in water heater blast 
 MIDDLEBURY — Authorities say a Middlebury man has been hospitalized after he was injured when a water heater exploded. Firefighters tell WSBT-TV the man in his 20s was trying to light a water heater that had run out of gas and used too much fuel. The

    July 26, 2014

  • Clinton Frame leaving IN-MI Mennonite Conference over same-sex marriage

    After nearly 100 years of being in the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, Clinton Frame Mennonite Church officials announced it will be leaving because of the controversy related to same-sex marriage.

    July 24, 2014

  • Red D Mart armed robbery New Paris Police ask for public's help in identifying would-be robber

    Elkhart County police have released still photos captured from video of the man who attempted to hold up Red D Mart gas station, 68310 Ind. 15, New Paris, on Saturday, July 19.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Red Cross in urgent need of donors

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huron Street residents under boil order

    Tuesday morning, Goshen water crews shut down the water main on Huron Street to replace a broken fire hydrant.
    The Indiana Department of Environmental Management requires the Water Utility to issue a boil water order for the affected area, which is Huron Street from West Lincoln to Pike Street.

    July 23, 2014

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspicious blinking package with battery pack causes police to evacuate business area

    A package with a battery pack and a blinking red light found on the desk of an employee at MSC, 28551 Laura Court, Elkhart, caused police and firefighters to evacuate the area this morning.
    The package turned out to be a GPS tracking device and not a bomb.

    July 22, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Poll

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
     View Results