Siomai & Friends Fries by Chris DeBrie–book excerpt

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Kaon na? These are the impressions of an American visiting the Cebu region of the Philippines for the first time. An enlightening and hilarious account from writer Chris DeBrie.

Unlimited Kids [chp 4]

At my host family’s house, I found out that the surrounding neighborhood was dotted with relatives. When I visited the house, up to twenty children under fourteen would come running.

That’s a cousin, the host family told me, those are our other cousins… and she is our sister in law…

My wife laughed at the look on my face as I tried to process all of the faces and names and talking. Unlimited kids, she said.

A few of the kids held their arms up to my arm, comparing tones. They looked at each other, talking excitedly in Visaya, and laughing. I sang the Bahay Kubo song, and they took over, almost screaming the words. Drew pictures of superheroes and animals on someone’s homework after I’d motioned for a pen and pad. A finger reached and tapped my illustration of the Hulk. “His head’s too wide,” said one boy who could speak English a bit better. “Everybody’s a critic,” I said, and he grinned.cebu-kids-pray

There were no smartphones and iPads here. No MP3 earbuds. These children were squatting in the dirt, or leaning against my shoulders. Someone brought me a chair though I didn’t ask, and I sat in it, still ham-fistedly entertaining all the kids gathered around me, staring and trying to communicate. Kaon na? Musta na? I learned a few new words of Visaya and quickly forgot them.

Only one boy, maybe two years old, looked disturbed to see me. Wearing only a dirty white shirt, he stood a bit away from us. I could see him over their heads. He glared, ran away, stopped to see if anyone was chasing. He glared again from a distance, and then ran out of sight.

For about a half hour, I joined in a game they were playing: You and another person each held a trading card in the palm. Both of you slap palms and the card facing up takes both cards. Ties mean a do-over. A very satisfying game, and not only because I was winning before we were called to eat.

“They love you,” said one of the neighborhood uncles, who had married into the family. “You want to take one cebu-shipIMG_6231home with you?” No, salamat po. “Do you want a lot of kids?” Will take what the Lord gives me…

Lots of food had been cooking. The activity was in preparation for a birthday party. Kebobs, dipping sauces, chicken wings and whole chickens, and some veggies I had requested after trying some street vendors, and plenty of rice. My favorite was the lumpia [basically an eggroll], both the ones with meat and the ones with a fried banana inside. A fancy chocolate cake got eaten and smeared on toddlers’ faces—then on adults’ as well. Then a blast of feedback got all the kids excited and running off into the darkness.

Karaoke time… a VERY LOUD speaker system was assembled beneath a small tarp. As the sun set, lots of people (mostly females) did their thing, blasting out (mostly American) pop tunes of the last thirty years. Not my thing, but I was persuaded to sing so persistently, I finally did Elvis: “Heartbreak Hotel.” I was alarmed at how loud my voice was. Did this kind of thing make the neighbors angry? Or maybe everyone just took turns belting Britney Spears and Michael Jackson.

I had read about the pinoy culture where men were almost expected to have someone on the side. And I’d heard jokes in my youth about Catholic-majority nations where they dropped babies continually, because birth control was off-limits according to the Vatican. One expat complained that poorer Filipinos kept having children cebu-toledo-paradethat they couldn’t afford and wouldn’t use control… he partly blamed those attitudes for the poverty. Perhaps he is correct.

I only know that the Filipino children I met had a more child-like, free spirit than most American youth. That was an eye-opener because I am used to meeting children who are swimming in their apps and who ‘know everything’… not used to children who stand back and wait for their elders to get food. Not used to being treated like a respected uncle by the very young; to being protected where ever I went by a dozen little bodyguards. It was discouraging to return to the States only for that reason—because most youth here don’t have time to look you square in the eye.

Chris DeBrie is an American publisher, cartoonist, and musician.

www.meanpimento.com

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Sweet Tea by Wendi Lynn Decker — Book Promo

MediaKit_BookCover_SweetTea

The fourth anniversary of Olivia’s daddy and John Lennon’s death is approaching. Like the shot heard ’round the world, TV and radio stations keep the frenzy alive and recognize Lennon’s life, while Olivia’s mama remembers Daddy’s death. Instead of healing, Mama’s strange behavior keeps getting worse.

After viewing an afternoon talk show, Olivia discovers her mother might have more than a case of eccentricity – she may be mentally ill. When those fears are confirmed, Olivia is faced with more decisions than any sixteen-year-old should have to make. With no adult family members to turn to, she is forced to trust the only people who’ve offered help: one strange man and a friend her mother makes at the mental institution.

Facing the intricacies of her mother’s illness one minute and the decision to have sex with her new boyfriend the next, Olivia finds that through faith and determination, she can conquer it all in this poignant story of love, intuition, compassion, and hope.

 

I sprinted around the corner toward the car, slid behind the wheel, stuck the key in the ignition, and turned the radio to blasting levels. I stepped down on the gas. The Rolling Stones song Paint it Black played and the music fueled my anger. I sang along. . . . Black as night, black as coal, I wanna see the sun blotted out from the sky, I wanna see it painted, painted, painted black . . .

 

My mind kept replaying the last moments: Matt with no shirt, the girl’s hands wrapped around his waist. Her voice calling him from upstairs. Long legs. Dark eyes.  Fuchsia lips.

 

Red lights.

 

In my rearview mirror, I saw them and snapped out of my pity party. I peered down at the speedometer, and it read eighty miles an hour. I slowed down and pulled to the side of the road. By the time the police officer appeared, my emotional levee broke, and tears rushed down my face. I cried. I cried until the salt from my tears gagged me.

 

The officer tapped my window with his stick. I rolled it down and glared up at him with my tearstained face. He reminded me of the police officer who came to our door the night Daddy died, the one who stared at his shoes while the older one told us the news. And this one was going to take me to jail because I was speeding, and I didn’t even have a license. It couldn’t get any worse than this. Did God hate me?

 

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_SweetTea (1)Wendy Lynn Decker has lived in thirteen different towns in the state of New Jersey. Now, she lives a bike ride away from the ocean and her favorite restaurant. She is the author of the middle-grade chapter book, THE BEDAZZLING BOWL, which is the first book intended for a series.

 

Find her here:

 

http://www.wendylynndeckerauthor.com

 

WendyDecker19 – http://www.twitter.com/wendydecker19

 

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/pub/wendy-lynn-decker/46/166/3a2

 

Birthright by T.J. Pulley: Book Blitz

Christian Fiction
Date Published: August 2013

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Experience a journey that leads to a legacy. Birthright brings the imagination to life and explores true faith. Orion discovers that life can be so much more.
There are so many things in life that we must work hard for. Other things come to us just from being born. What an amazing feeling to have something of importance given to you. In Birthright, author T. J. Pulley tells the story of a young college student Orion who inherits an extraordinary gift after suffering the loss of his grandpa. In the reading of the will Orion heard, ‘To my wonderful grandson you brought me much joy in life so I give you my greatest treasure; I leave you my faith.’ Sitting and waiting for the rest, he realized that there wasn’t anything left to hear. What Orion thought to be pointless becomes the foundation of his existence. Join in this story as Orion navigates the challenges of life while he comes to grip with his purpose. This is a story of someone receiving something far greater than they could ever imagine. We all share in this story because we all have a birthright in God.
EXCERPT
I could see it all. I remembered every thought and fear.
I remember everything before I blacked out. I had shortness of breath, intense emotions, and disbelief. I was scared but I had an unsettling peace. I was being asked the same things in different ways, so I attempted to explain, but some of the details were hazy, so I had to go to the beginning of that day and work my way to where I was at that moment. That day wasn’t the greatest day for me because I had to attend my Grandpa Miller’s funeral.
I wasn’t hurt because he was too young—he actually lived to be ninety-eight years old. I was more hurt because of the connection we once had, and without warning, it was gone forever.
Sometimes you can feel that a person will mean a lot to your life, and that’s how I felt about Grandpa Miller.
I felt like he was teaching me without even trying to.
Despite the fact that he was seventy-nine years older than me he never bored me or even seemed old for that matter. Part of me felt like he would actually live forever. It’s nothing like someone close to you leaving your life to make you feel like your whole life has been flipped upside down. He once told me this world is a bad preview of the coming attraction. He was always finding common ground, and he knew I loved the movies. He would occasionally watch one with me even though he had no use for them. After a while Grandpa drifted away from normal things and behaviors and always seemed to be preoccupied. No matter how brief our activities got I would always remember my talks with him the most.
There was always wisdom that he had to pass on to me.
We could talk for hours on just about anything except for the one sore subject, which was my grandma Miller.
About the Author

T. J. Pulley was born in Chicago, IL. Growing up in the church was one of the best things that happened to him. It not only gave him a relationship with God but it exposed him to talents he would have never known that he had. Pulley’s writing was mostly geared toward music, but he asked God for the ability to be able to write in every way possible. Religion is a big part of his life and draws upon his beliefs in all aspects of his life and his writing. His wife, Ashlie is a great support for him and was a great encouragement while creating his book, Birthright. T. J. really hopes people are blessed by this book and he is thankful for the chance to express this story in his own way.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
Giveaway
$5 Amazon Gift Card
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