Mechanic Leigh by Eric Alagan

I want to use this blog to promote Mechanic Leigh, a book by my dear friend, Eric Alagan.  Yes, I know I’ve not yet read the book, but when you have the work of a talented author like Eric ready for your reading pleasure, you can’t help but feel excited. My excitement knows no limit. That’s why I want to use this medium to introduce you to his highly acclaimed book. Eric was kind enough to write a summary for folks like me who cannot resist a good read. You can find the summary of his book below its colorful cover.


Book Cover
Book Cover


Eric wrote:

Mechanic Leigh is a composite of boys I grew up with in 1960s Singapore and all his stories are our stories – not only mine. When I ran this series, what I found enlightening was people from all over the world (Asia, Africa, Europe and America) could relate to his experiences and antics. It was mind-blowing for me, as I thought our childhood in rural Singapore was somewhat unique. People who are now in their forties to sixties, will discover their growing up years in the pages of Mechanic Leigh. Younger readers will catch glimpses of their parents’ childhood.

Leigh also brings to bear a child’s perspective. For example, he muses that because of desperate poverty, “we searched for reasons to laugh but adults mistook that for mischief”. In another episode, he says, “we were poor but happy because we made so much out of so little.”

But his stories are not all pensive, in fact far from it. Every episode gives one belly laughs. For example,  when the teacher asked whether he “stole fruits today”, he vehemently denies and when pressed, replies “honest, I stole them last week!” He tears out pages from his dictionary to make paper boats to float in rainwaters. When his mother asks why his dictionary was so thin, his reply, “I loaned half to my friend – the half which contains all the words I already know.”

The book is peppered with similar ‘smart alec’ cracks. In fact, the opening episode is titled, “Smart Ah Leck” a distortion of the English ‘alec’ to the Chinese name, ‘Ah Leck’.

Writing this book, opened my eyes in many ways and reinforced my belief in humanity. Leigh captures it well, “When you read Mechanic Leigh, you’ll relive your childhood. Of this, I’m sure, because inside, we’re all the same.”


Mechanic Leigh is one of the several books , Eric has authored. You can find more about his novels and business books by taking a trip to his blog. He blogs at

Away from writing, Eric is an aircraft engineer and a corporate man. He’s a friend worth having.

Details of Mechanic Leigh on Amazon:

  • File Size: 3563 KB
  • Print Length: 363 pages
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KA70OLS


“We have two options medically and emotionally: give up or fight like hell”—Lance Armstrong

Book Cover of "En Garde: My Battle with Breast Cancer" by Ronnie Hammer
Book Cover of “En Garde: My Battle with Breast Cancer” by Ronnie Hammer

Open a conservation with anyone about cancer and you’ll learn that it’s either she or he has had the disease, knows someone who has it, or is always worried about the frightening possibility of another loved one or friend being diagnosed with the disease. In her book, En Garde: My Battle with Breast Cancer, Ronnie Hammer, talks of her fear, disbelief, and anxiety after medical tests showed she had cancer. As terrifying as the news was, she didn’t delay her treatment. She made up her mind  immediately that she would  undergo surgery. Even though her family were there to support her, once the doors of the surgery were shut, she felt alone and terribly nervous. To help deal with the situation, she visualized Percy, a tall very proper Englishman, as an embodiment of hope. Percy didn’t hesitate to come to her side. During her surgery he reached deep, took position like a fencer, and attacked the cancer cells with his umbrella.

Her successful surgery kindled her interest in biofeedback for which she went ahead to receive a training in the field. She now helps other people ready themselves physically and mentally to fight cancer and other related diseases. In her book, she also discusses how powerful anxiety can be. Like a scatter bomb, it can do a lot of damage to a person. With her step by step approach to achieving good relaxation, one is able to combat stress.

Having gone through surgery myself, I find Ronnie’s visualization technique very helpful. Before I read her book, however, she’d suggested that I invite Percy over to help me cope during my surgery. In truth, it did. I’d like as many people as possible to read this book and to share it with their loved ones as well as those among us who are ill.



Product detail on Amazon:

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release date: October 24, 2013

Language: English

Number of pages: 132 pages

ISBN-10: 149358411

ISBN-13: 978-1493584116


You may also like visit Ronnie’s blog HERE. She blogs about true stories, sometimes spicing them with humor.


Illimitable Beauty by Skywalker Payne


It could have been dismissed as forgetfulness or wasteful thinking but Jewel, a science teacher, is not taking this particular feeling lightly. Not even the sceptical remark of her close girlfriend, Diane, is able to dissuade her from paying attention to this ‘out-of-body’ experience. The more her mind seesaws from her conscious state to realms on Earth and beyond, the more she gets to see, admire, and embrace life from a wider perspective. This divine alteration alongside physical observations finally point her to a sad truth about John, the man she’d loved for more than twenty years; the one who is the father of her children.

My Review:

This novella is delivered with well-structured lines (some of which I find quite poetic). Told from the first person point of view, Payne tactfully reveals the emotions of her main character, Jewel, and how she’s able to relate with other characters as the story unfolds. This is a very important step in character development from the first person’s as it helps the reader decide who the protagonist really is and why there should be a special attachment to him/her. The environment and places mentioned in the book point to a story that takes its roots in our contemporary world. Because of length and intent, Payne has cut down on the description of the weather and terrestrial activities/existence. This would have come across as superfluous if stretched beyond what is already written. What you don’t find by way of storytelling, you find in the dialogue. For me, this is an intelligent move. It gets the reader more involved than distanced from the narrative. I’m a sucker for well-knit endings. Jewel’s note of goodbye took me by surprise. It’s filled with a strong emotion. That’s thumbs up. And I mean it. In Illimitable Beauty, Payne depicts a picture of freedom and subtle happiness beyond pain and disappointment. She puts poetic justice in its proper perspective and covertly warns that truth that cannot be kept away forever…not even in solitary confinement. I will be recommending it to my friends.


Skywalker Payne Interview:

Thanks, Uzoma Okoroafor,  for reviewing my book and giving me a chance to answer a few questions about it.

What’s your first major writing experience? I wrote my first, very crude, book when I was in third grade. It was written on construction paper with illustration. On the back, I had a short questionnaire addressed to my family members asking them what they thought of my book. I’ve been writing ever since, I began a diary in fifth grade after reading Ann Frank’s Diary. It’s taken me so long to get published because I did not handle rejection well.

How did you come up with the idea of Illimitable BeautyThe idea of a woman leaving her body came to me over 15 years ago – I put the slow in slow writer.  I wrote several versions of the story, and at one point even saw it becoming a novel. Then I put it aside,  got married, got a degree in storytelling, we moved around, the next thing I knew, I was in nursing school. My first nursing job was with the Indian Health Service and after a year or so, I began writing again, over a year writing a screenplay.  I cannot remember what prompted me to return to Jewel’s story, but I did so in the past couple of years. The story went through many rewrites, submitted to magazines, rejected, more rewrites until I submitted it to Amazon. They rejected it but provided a link to their Direct Publishing. The choice was spending more money submitting to magazines – and getting rejected – or publishing my e-book, with no up-front costs. My husband read the story and chose the title and designed the cover.

In your book, you mentioned an “out-of-body” experience. Do you believe that there is a connection between the physical and spiritual realms? I’m a practicing Buddhist so the question quite simply is yes. But, I’ve not had experiences like Jewel’s.

What type of books do you like to read? I primarily like to read books about Buddhism now. As a teen I read a lot of the great classic writers, I read Crime and Punishment before I was 16. Now, I read a variety of fiction they comes across my eye, from Chekov, to the interesting stories and poetry of WordPress bloggers.

You self-published Illimitable Beauty. With your next book on the way, would you like to be represented by an agency/publisher? I’m already submitting my book The Ultimate Wonder to agents. I think it’s really marketable and have just started submitting queries to agents. The book is a collection of rewritten world folklore, original stories, and commentary on the theme of death.

Aside from writing and trying to get your book published, do you have any other major project for the year? Well, that’s a lot. I wrote over forty poems and forty haikus last year which I want to refine. I’m researching for another story, and yes do want to find a publisher. I have a day job as a school nurse and a loving husband, so no other major projects.