Thursday, 8 August 2013

Spring in Winter

Hi, everybody,

Well, what a time of music this last month has been. The Auckland Symphony played two concerts for community and was well received as always by packed theatres. The programme was called Little Britain and Peter Thomas, our conductor and director cheekily started the concert with God Save the Queen, an anthem we have not used for about 40 years. New Zealand's national anthem is God of Nations, which we normally sing in both English and Maori. So that surprised everybody who scrambled to their feet!
Have you noticed how most people only know the first verse of their national anthems? We have three verses and everyone I know just knows and sings the first.
Well, below is the photo of my first book which is on all e-book sites. It's the first of a trilogy on the Chinese Diaspora of the 19th Century and takes in the Taiping Rebellion, the biggest peasant uprising in China by Hong Xiuquan who believed himself to be God's Chinese Son and Jesus' younger brother. The story takes the protagonist to Australia and New Zealand where he ends up in a Christianised Maori village struggling to come to terms with their new religion and loss of land in a new and changing world. So it tells the culture of both races in both countries as well as the gold mining days in Australia and Central Otago, New Zealand. If you like your stories meaty, full of heart, then this book is for you.
There is a free chap on Amazon too. Please give me four stars!

Now my serialised short story, The Connection continues. Enjoy....
Soon Chingmei’s food ran out.
There were many villages scattered across the valleys where she exchanged work in the fields for food - work normally done by men. At each place she stopped the stories were similar to Lungshan. The men had been taken and none returned.
When the day finally came and she saw the curving monument looming on the distant mountains, her spirits lifted. She walked faster. It took most of the day but she reached the wall just as the sun was sinking. It cast shadows across her path like a demon looking for a soul.
Thousands of wooden shacks cluttered the hillsides and thousands of men worked cutting and chiselling stones out of the mountains. Above the din, the shouting of the work commanders and the occasional crack of a whip mingled with the neighing of horses as mounted soldiers rode back and forth.
Exhausted, Chingmei slumped weeping to the ground. How could she hope to find her husband and father amongst all these men? Her clothes and eighth pair of shoes were in tatters, her calloused feet bled but her resolve was still strong. She decided to rest for the night and in the morning she would begin her search for Honglun and her father.
Chingmei rose with the sun.  
She stopped a passing guard. “Sir, can you show me where I can find the men from Lungshan? Theycame three years ago, three hundred men in all.”
“Be gone, woman, who is to know where anyone comes from?” He strode away.
Dispirited, Chingmei walked on further. She walked over many hills. Late in the afternoon she found a man who knew the way.
‘Sister, see that large gate over there?  The men you seek are just beside it.’
 She ran to the gate. She shouted the names she knew. Faces turned, tongue-tied, these ghosts of her beloved kinsmen. Finally one found his voice. “Hong, Hong, your wife is here!” From a distance, a skeletal figure with sunken eyes, cracked lips and sinewy arms held stiffly apart, moved towards her. The sight of the advancing man appalled Chingmei but she recognised her husband and rushed to him.
‘At last, at last,’ she sobbed. ‘Where is Father?’ Her legs, weakened by her arduous journey collapsed under her and she fell to the ground.
Honglun knelt beside her, clutching her thin shoulders with his bleeding fingers. Tears rolled down his leathered cheeks.
 ‘Chingmei, your father died on the march here as did mine,’ Honglun said. ‘We had to leave them where they fell. There were many others who died that way. Only the young survived.’
To be continued.

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