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Hello From Kah Choon Yang, Fellow Booklovers!

*This is a guest post submitted by Lim Ting Hui Lucas*

Many a times, indulging in a great book is a fantastic way to kickback and relax for the evening..

If you enjoy reading action-packed adventure series, this gripping fantasy series is a must-read!

Titled Tommy Weaving, a boy had a past life in an old kingdom almost two thousand years ago. Bearing an unfinished mission, we follow him on his journey to save the trapped kingdom, ruled by an evil lord who led with madness and cruelty.

In this first book of the series packed with swashbuckling encounters and fantasy adventures, Tommy began his steps on the path leading him to a challenging and fascinating fate when he discovered an ancient parchment – containing clues that would guide Tommy to the tasks that were destined for him.

The best part, Book 1 (Tommy Weaving and The Mysterious Parchment) and Book 2 (Tommy Weaving and The Adventures at Sea) are both released at the same time so that you can get more of the exciting development!

Feast your eyes on our little teaser for Book 1 – Tommy Weaving & The Mysterious Parchment

Chapter One – First 2 Pages (Sample)

The Magical Chair                       .

On a starry night, while many were watching their favourite television programmes in their cosy living rooms, a boy was scouring stubborn stains on the floor of a flashy restaurant.

The boy’s lungs were pumping, as if all the air was trying hard to force its way out, as he scrubbed the tough stains determined to stay on the fake marble floor of the restaurant.

The boy was Tommy Weaving, twelve years of age, a bit skinny and looking as though his spirit had just been put into a foul-smelling prison cell at that moment.

His head was covered in dust and spider web from the cleaning work underneath the over-decorated tables, making his jet-black hair look mouldy and chalky. With sweat and dirt smearing his otherwise fine-looking face, his normally brilliant hazel-brown eyes looked empty and dull from the work that was threatening to wear him down.

Tommy and his parents had moved to Great North Road only a few weeks ago in their family station wagon, which was so dilapidated that it could easily convince anyone it was scrap salvaged from a junk yard.

With holes eating through the soles of their shoes, his family had flitted around a great variety of places for a number of years in several countries, where his father had worked. It had been nearly a year since they returned to New Zealand. They had moved to different parts of the country, with Tommy’s parents hoping to find better jobs than the ones providing them with below average incomes, but were still left searching.

The travel expenses had aggressively drained his family finances to an alarming level, haunting Tommy’s parents into settling in a place fast before their options were totally flushed away.

That meant Tommy’s family had to reluctantly settle into a shabby old weather-board house with wonky floors and doors, together with a new hefty home mortgage they had obtained from a private moneylender as a last resort. Saddled with an impressively wide selection of personal loans, Tommy’s parents could only take out a loan from a private moneylender instead of a regular bank.

The private moneylender, after learning that Tommy’s parents were overloaded with many other personal loans when he granted the mortgage to them, behaved more and more like a loan shark. He came every few days to remind them not to miss even the first monthly instalment on their mortgage, or they would have to face the prospect of living in their old family station wagon, with their luggage piled dangerously high on the roof of the vehicle.

Left without much of a choice, Tommy’s parents had to let their only child take on part-time work at the restaurant after school, since they had already worked to the point where they could feel weariness marching well into their bones, yet were still barely keeping up with the family expenses.

Their home mortgage was the most burdensome. Coupled with the monthly interest, it was growing speedily like weeds in the wild.

Tommy’s boss, Mr Martin Lawrence, owned only a moderate fortune but was keen on associating with very wealthy people. His ‘ostentatious’ restaurant had been given several makeovers, with as many fake and cheap sparkling decorative materials as he could afford, so that he could fulfil his desire of outshining the middle-class neighbourhood he was in. He had lived in this area for a long time, and had a gift of ascertaining fairly accurately who the truly desperate job seekers that came to him were.

He had a near-perfect idea of the situation Tommy’s family was marooned in after barely a minute into the first conversation with the boy. He moved to further grasp the extent of Tommy’s plight with his usual speedy background check done expertly on him the following day.

Therefore, he knew he would have the upper hand in making Tommy work considerably harder with excessively low pay. Tommy’s boss was a middle-aged man with a big belly. In fact, nearly every part of his body was big, and his fat head with a huge double chin easily gave others the impression that it was simply mounted on top of his shoulders—hardly any neck could be detected.

Mr Lawrence was fond of shiny stuff, which he thought would be particularly good for his restaurant’s image and would bring him great fortune, even more than his big head could imagine. His big eyes had noticed that many shiny things tended to be high-value items, like jewellery.

Therefore, besides keenly making his restaurant sparkle noticeably, he often spent an excessive amount of time turning his clothes and shoes into.. (to be cont)

Chapter Two- First 2 Pages (Sample)

Departure of the Old Man

Tommy gasped at the mention of the wizard’s extraordinary old age. He had heard of some very old trees that could live for hundreds of years, or close to a thousand years, but he had never realised, even in his wildest dreams, that someone could live for so long. The old man noticed the astounded expression on Tommy’s face and chuckled.

‘Yes, he was very old, but he looked like he was only about eighty years old then. I had quite a shock at knowing his age too. The duels he was involved in took place about a thousand years ago. I guessed he wasn’t an ordinary wizard, but I didn’t ask too much about that, since he didn’t seem keen on discussing it in detail, and he looked extremely tired after performing the charm on my rocking chair.’

The old man looked up from Tommy’s face, and through the gaps in the canopy of trees, he stared at the silvery moon shining softly in the calm night sky, recalling how similar it was to the night he had met the old traveller.

Speaking heartily, the old man added, ‘I had a very enjoyable conversation with him on that night, because it’s been a very long time since I last had a pleasant chat with anyone.’

The old man dropped his gaze to look at Tommy and said with sheer pleasure in his voice, ‘That was a wonderful time. He told me a lot of stuff that I hadn’t been aware of and I truly regarded him as my best pal. During our conversation, I asked him why he was travelling around and not resting in a safe place.

‘He told me he was trying to contact some of his fellow wizards again, and most importantly, he was searching for someone he had been told about by his grandmother when he was very young. He briefly revealed to me that the person would save the old kingdom he was from, as it is still cruelly ruled by an evil and mad lord.

‘However, he wasn’t certain where that person would be and didn’t even know if he had been born,’ the old man paused, shrugged and continued slowly, ‘well, if you ask me, I’d say that it would be a hard job finding someone under those circumstances, not even knowing if he was born yet. It was definitely a tough mission…very tough.’ The old man shook his head as he pondered over what he had said. Tommy shared the concern, shaking his head as well.

‘Oh, where was I…yeah, I got it…he told me he was on a search mission; and considering the fact that he was my best pal, I volunteered to help. However, what he did was to give me a scroll of old brown paper, telling me it was a very precious ancient parchment. He said that by leaving it with me in this suburb, according to his last calculation, it would help him accomplish his mission of seeking the person out, even after his approaching death. I couldn’t really understand what he wanted me to do, but he told me there was nothing further he could say, only indicating that we should leave things to fate, and then his face became stone calm.

‘Soon after, he just went straight to the room I had prepared for him, all the while looking deep in thought about something important. The next morning, before leaving, he stared at the rocking chair so intently as though all his hopes were pinned on it, and that was the last time I ever saw him.’ The old man raised his head, looking grimly at the shining moon, recalling the very last moments he had with the old traveller.

After staring at the moon for a short while, which somehow diluted the feeling of missing his old friend, the old man faced Tommy again and continued, ‘After that, the rocking chair kept me company. It really made me feel terrific as if I had gone to a wonderful world. Whenever I rocked in it, happy thoughts and feelings flowed like pretty pictures and beautiful songs in my mind, taking away the loneliness and grievances that usually haunt my life. My personality was no longer considered bland by many, and I started making more friends.’

‘Wow! What an amazing story about your charming chair. But, how did this special chair get damaged?’ Tommy asked, his eyes glinting keenly at the old man’s tale.

The old man gave a long sigh and replied in a sorrowful tone, ‘Soon after my rocking chair had become my closest companion, some people in this suburb discovered that I had a chair with magical charming powers and became very interested in it. They sent someone over trying to play hardball by making a lousy offer for it, thinking they could force me to sell my chair by behaving aggressively, but I flatly rejected their offer.’

‘Oh! So, they retaliated against you?’ Tommy blurted out anxiously.

‘Yes, and it was nasty.’ The old man’s answer came with a nod and an agonised look. ‘Several days after I’d turned them down, they found an opportunity to sneak into my house while I was out and tried to steal my chair, but.. (to be cont)

Hungry for more? Get it Now to get a FREE A5 Poster and Dive into Tommy Weaving Series! 

Loving the 1st Book?

Decided that you want to get it?

Check out Tommy Weaving and The Adventures at Sea (Book 2) here!

Do you think you can put this book down?

Let us know, down below!
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Meet Children’s Author Shari Tharp

1) Congratulations on your success with your following thus far, Shari! Which social media avenue you do prefer to focus your efforts?
– Thank you!
– I probably use Facebook more than anything else. But I am really trying to use Twitter more.

2) Did you always want to write for children or did your son inspire you?
– My son definitely inspired me. I’ve always loved books and loved to read, but I never consciously decided that I would write a book. It came about quite by accident as I was telling my son a story one night. Each consecutive night the story grew, until the characters began talking. That’s when I said, “I better write this down!”

3) On Goodreads you mention your ideas come throughout the day when you see a drawing or picture that inspires you… has this always been your method or do you try to sit down and write a story from scratch?
– I do now sit down and write stories ‘from scratch’. I think about what children like – such as pirates and giants. And I also think about what skills children are learning to master in kindergarten, such as cutting paper, drawing people, writing their name, identifying and sorting colors and shapes, etc. Then I try to write books related to those things.

4) Your favourite fictional couple is Frog and Toad – what should new readers of this old series look forward to about their personalities and/or relationship the most?
– Frog and Toad is actually a series of books originally written and published in 1970. I read them in the 1st and 2nd grades. I thought they were funny and I enjoyed the relationship between Frog and Toad. They were best friends, but sometimes had ‘problems’ with each other that they needed to work through. They razzed each other a lot and I thought that was funny. Those books are still in print and I’ve recently seen them at my library. I love frogs, so I wrote some stories about a Granny Franny frog. They’re still works in progress.

5) Your Granny Franny series, be honest, is it based on someone you know?
– Ha! Sort of. I originally wrote the story based on this picture:

But, then, yes, I did loosely base it off my mother and just grandmothers in general!

6) What do you love most about writing for kids?
– I like to sneak in some adult humor. So that the adult reader and child are both entertained. 😉

7) Would you love it if your son becomes an author? Does he love writing now?
– Ha! After listening to me talk about books and stories for the past 3 to 4 years, he’s quite tired of it. He is now a teenager and while he enjoys writing, he doesn’t so much enjoy reading (or hearing about book stuff in general!). But when he was younger, he loved for me to read him stories at night.

8) Tell us about the best time you’ve had reading a book in public?
– I was at an elementary school getting ready to read my book, Gertrude and Toby’s Friday Adventure, to a 2nd grade class. I was telling the kids about Gertrude and Toby and how they like to sneak off the farm to go on adventures and a little boy raised his hand and asked, “Is this a movie?” I said, “Not yet.” The teacher laughed hysterically and I thought, Hey, it could happen! 😉

9) Besides yourself, who is your favourite children’s book author and/or book and why?
– Oh, that’s a hard question. Of course, I like Dr. Seuss books. All my favourite authors would be older ones, like Madeleine L’Engle. When I was in middle school, she and Judy Blume were two of my favourite authors. I don’t read as much nowadays, because I am busy writing. That’s one thing they don’t tell you: Once you start writing, you stop reading (as much). In other words, you lose one of your favourite passions, but in the process gain another.

10) Any advice for the parent of a hesitant writer and, the opposite, one who can’t stop writing?
– Keep writing and keep learning about the business of writing. And after you write your story, find a critique group. The best thing I did was join SCBWI [Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators]. Writing is like any other job. The longer you do it, the more you learn and the better you become. When I started writing, I thought that my love of books and reading was all I needed to know; I thought I was well equipped. But I really didn’t know anything. There are word counts and genres and … rejection. Then once your book is written, there’s marketing; how do you let people know your book exists?

Thanks for joining us today, Shari and much success for you going forward!

Sarah Butland


To My Surprise As A Food Revolution Ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (Bowling Green, Kentucky)

CJ MillerFor three years now and going into my second year as the Food Day coordinator for all of Kentucky, I consider myself blessed in many ways. First and foremost I consider it an honor and a privilege to be welcomed into such amazing movements. The wonderful people I have met from around the globe and the food education I have received while on my real food culinary journey has been priceless.

This year as Ambassador I am harvesting many crops that have been planted throughout my journey. What’s so amazing about this crop is the willingness of this community to nurture the seeds I planted and give of themselves freely so everyone can benefit from its bounty. When I started the Food Revolution it was me on my computer with more ambition than any human should ever have and tons of ideas and no idea how to move forward with them.

The moment this all changed is when I adapted to Jamie Oliver’s advice — he said, “Don’t do this alone. It can be very lonely if you do.” He was right. I had a resource of over 300 ambassadors and a community that was in dire need of food education and resources galore that I needed to tap into. The first year on my journey was the year I planted seeds and planted ideas in the community’s minds about what we all could do to raise awareness.

To my surprise, the stories resonated with people.

My speeches did not go unheard; they are forever planted in the minds of the community that is so desperately seeking change, starving to be nourished by real food and thirsting to understand the confusing world of food. Things in my community and around the world are changing and I consider myself to be lucky to watch this miraculous growth.

While I have been watching, the community has banned together more and more of us want and demand real food. To my surprise the supermarkets are adapting to this overwhelming amount of need for real organic foods.

America is no longer the most overweight country (as of now).

My friends, family, and loved ones are healthy and happy and they are living better lives because of the switch to real foods. I have even put myself under the gun. I have stopped drinking soda. I just went 80 percent meat free, gluten free, and started to exercise. This year I will be hosting the first Food Revolution Day at the SoKY Market Place Farmers market.

We are going to welcome the community to join us as we educate everyone about real food and enjoy the day. I will continue the entire season advocating for Real Food every Saturday morning at this market also. I will also be holding basic cooking classes at Hotel, Inc, a place that helps the less fortunate get on their feet.

I am currently working on getting into the school system and looking for sponsors for year-round events. I will also speak my real food jive anywhere I am invited.

What is coming up in the near future?

The farmers market I am working with is going to open up a state of the art kitchen that will have the ability to host cooking classes. I am starting a campaign this year called STOP-EDUCATE-THINK. I am encouraging everyone to STOP before they eat, EDUCATE themselves about the food they eat, and THINK strongly if the consequence is really worth it. I truly hope this change progresses and we finally win this Real Food fight. I am positive anything can happen to my surprise.

Chef CJ Miller everyone!

Thank you for stopping by, CJ, and for doing so much in the way of improving food options throughout all communities.

You can reach him through Facebook now and I really hope you stop by his page to see what else he’s been up to.


Celebrate Healthy Kids Day the YMCA Way!

YMCA is all about fun, activity and good times and Saturday June 4th YMCA Greater Moncton offers all of this specifically for kids and it’s FREE!!

There will be a bouncy castle, swimming, obstacle courses and BananaBoy! That’s right! I will be there not only to participate in the activities with my son but to read Sending You Sammy to all who stop in. I’ll have two readings, one at 2:30 and the other at 4:00 so be sure you don’t miss out!

There may even be a surprise or two for you to enjoy!

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland


Back To School With Yummy and Healthy Lunches

Are you tired of or did your kids complain when you made the dreaded peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Can’t pack peanuts because of another student being allergic to peanuts? Here are some ideas I’ve found that bring the excitement back to school lunches.

Kid-Pleasin’ Chili

1/2 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
2 cups Progresso® red kidney beans (from 19-oz can), drained, rinsed
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed tomato soup
1 soup can water
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
  1. Cook beef in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown; drain.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.
Serve With
Have the kids help by sprinkling the chili with shredded Cheddar cheese or fish-shaped crackers.
Substitution
The next time you make this super-quick soup, try adding a can of whole kernel corn, drained, with the beans.

All your child has to do is heat it up in the microwave and enjoy!

*This recipe is courtesy of BettyCrocker.com and was reposted with their permission.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

www.SarahButland.com