Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Iron Butterfly: The True Story of a Mermaid's Daughter

Very few stories are about women who quietly achieve great things. These women believe their story is not important to others than her and maybe her immediate family and friends. They do not believe that they have achieved outstanding goals. They believe their patience and perseverance was simply blessed with luck. Sometimes, these women are ashamed of what they had to go through in life and do not want others to know. But when an outsider learns about what they have done, how they have done it, and the immense dedication and resolution these women must have within to achieve a better life, then outsiders are in awe and wonder, what would I have done if I had been in her shoes? When the outsider is a writer who wants to share with the world the good things its inhabitants have to offer, then the writer must write these women's stories.
Lucky I was one day when I met one of these outstanding women. She is the martial arts instructor of my sons. She did not want her personal story to become public. She did not want anybody to know about the endless obstacles she had to overcome and her most traumatic personal secrets. Finally, she agreed to place her concerns aside and tell me her story and we have written a book together. She told me her story, and I wrote it. On March 2011 we will celebrate the 6th anniversary of the beginning of our project with the release of her book. We are thrilled!
Her name is Choon-Ok Harmon and she was born in a time and place where a woman's destiny was determined by tradition. She did not want that destiny to be hers. Her dramatic childhood experiences had convinced her the hard way that life had to be better than being hungry, extremely cold, and worrying for her personal safety all the time. She did not know how, but she would find a way to live better when she grew up. And she did. But she did it in a way so unusual, so against tradition that it proves that real life stories are many times better than fiction. She is living proof that 'when there is a will, there is a way.' I have been changed by her story; by the experience of knowing her deeply inside. My problems seem tiny compared to hers. I feel inspired to find a solution to the obstacles life presents along my journey. As she says, "Just do what you have to do!" I have invested a lot of me in this project, and now that the book is almost out, I know the journey will continue ahead. I think this is one of those stories that deserves to be heard, even better, it deserves to be listened to. We have set up a website for the book, ( ) or you can click on my own website link: ) And we have a lovely book cover! Thank you and I hope to receive your feedback! AMR
PS. Yes, she is a 'mermaid's daughter', but I will leave you wondering, what kind of mermaid was her mother? More in my next post!


  1. Sounds like a great book. I've come to the conclusion that the best thing about writing nonfiction is the people we meet. I'm glad she agreed to tell you her story so you could share it with the world.

  2. Hello, Linda, and thank you for reading my blog. Working with THE IRON BUTTERFLY has been (and still is) an eye-opener experience and writing her story brought me great satisfaction.

  3. I am The Iron Butterfly's husband. I am also completely amazed by her story. I can't imagine never seeing a light bulb until almost 10 years old as Master Choon Ok did. Her story is inspiring for women but I think men will enjoy it and be just as inspired. Both men and women can often relate to overcoming difficulties and reading the extreme difficulties The Iron Butterfly had to overcome makes ours seem less difficult and easier to overcome. I'm truly glad she finally decided to tell her story.

  4. I have had the pleasure of receiving training in the martial art style of Kuk Sool Won from the "Iron Butterfly' Choon-Ok SSYKJN.
    My book is preordered and I look forward to enjoying your collaborative efforts.
    Sincerely, Karl Stolt