Monday, 7 July 2014

8th July. The cold of winter

July 8th.
The cold of winter.

After the warmest June in recorded history, nature's decided "Right, now we'll give those Kiwis the wettest winter in recorded history."
The Winds! The Rain! The Shivers!
And there is this young guy called Scott Donaldson afloat miles out of New Plymouth in his kayak. There obviously isn't enough stress in his life as he'd decided a few months back to kayak solo from Australia to New Zealand -- and the Tasman is one of the wildest seas in the world. His poor wife. I can't understand why people endanger themselves this way. Can you? He'll probably get a medal next Queen's Birthday.
To matters of the literary word; am now on 45,000 into the last book of the trilogy on the Chinese Diaspora. The Kwangtung Army of Japan has been in Shanghai for a while now and are rampaging across China. They've set up comfort stations in their conquered territories. The war is about to come to Singapore but not for another couple of years.
Meanwhile, I've just had a wonderful review for the first book in the trilogy from ELocal magazine.

Memories in the Bone: He who pursues revenge digs two graves.

Reviewed in ELocal Magazine by Julie Halligan July 14th Edition
‘Memories in the Bone’ By Mee-mee Phipps. Publisher: Seriously Red Books, Auckland. ISBN; 9780473222659 Available; Rating; ***** There is a new star in the firmament of New Zealand fiction writers and her name is Mee-mee Phipps. Until one read this book one had no idea just how ignorant one was in regard to the presence and history of the Chinese in early colonial New Zealand. This is the wonderfully entertaining story of Zhou Yu, a young Chinese rebel who has to flee the terrible retribution of a despotic emperor leaving his home and family to seek refuge and a new life in the goldfields of New South Wales. Zhou Yu finds the fortune he was seeking. However, due to a series of unfortunate events he flees to the Otago goldfields of New Zealand where he falls in love with a Maori slave girl. This is Mee-mee Phipps’ first foray into fiction writing and one must give her credit where credit is due, she is a masterful story teller as this book is a compelling read from start to finish. It is with relief to discover that this title is part of a trilogy as one did not want this story to come to a close. The narrative flows with ease as Ms Phipps leads the story back and forth between Zhou Yu and his father Zhou Fengyi, a man stunted and haunted by having witnessed his own father’s fall from grace and execution as a young boy. This book should really be optioned for either a television series or a film, it has everything and more and this reviewer is looking forward to the next two instalments with relish and anticipation. Congratulations Ms Phipps, very well done, very well done indeed.

You can obtain this book from Fishpond or Amazon. Enjoy and please post a review. Apparently a writer needs 40 reviews on Amazon before she/he gets noticed.
Meanwhile, keep well. May the force be with you! Aha! This is because I am now into Starwars speak. My orchestra is now rehearsing a concert with the entire theme from Starwars.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

The passing of a wonderful friend

April 7th. 2014
The passing of a wonderful friend.

Since my last blog exactly three months ago, I have lost a wonderful friend, Miles Hughes who died on the 20th February after a two month fight with pancreatic cancer. The writing establishment of Auckland lost a wonderful man who was unstinting in his time and help. Miles was an engineer who retired early to do his first love -- writing. Within a few short years, he had ten books on Amazon. His knowledge was prolific, his goodness immeasurable. We all miss him. Especially me. He was always on the other end of the phone, knew so much about the sea, the military and the navy, in fact, he was a wonder. We gave him a WRITER'S ROAST at 121 Café in fashionable Ponsonby and amongst the items, was a light hearted skit I wrote playing on his name and the Knights Templar of which he wrote a young adult trilogy. I thought his name Miles and his wife Bronwyn were just the ticket as medieval names. So I made him Sir Miles and her Lady Bronwyn and at the end of the political skit on the local government scene in Auckland, had him starting his own brand of religion -- under the House of the Hughenots... pronounced with a hard g and you get my drift. His entire family turned up to enjoy the afternoon and within ten days he was dead. I miss him when I write, miss him when we all turn up for our Writer's Open Mike at 121 Café and miss him at our Society meetings. He was too young to be taken, ( a youthful 66) and though there might be a better place in heaven, for him the best place of all was here on earth with his wonderful Lady Bronwyn, his friends who all love him and his writing for which he had so much zest.
His works are available on Amazon and Create Space, Fishpond and Ingrams Distributors.
and others for young adults.

On my own front, The Ming Admiral: A Chinese Odyssey is out on Kindle, Create Space and Fishpond as is Destinies Divided: A World War 1 romance of the Chinese Diaspora. These are of course historical novels and have both garnered glowing reviews from Red City Reviews and Flaxseed.c
So I hope you will look into them and enjoy them. Till next time. Addios, Amigos.

Easter 2014


A happy holiday dear readers and for you church-goers, a blessed one.
Here in New Zealand, this Easter is one of raging bad weather thereby dampening holiday plans.
But for most bad weather brings solace in books and movies, even family re-unions.

Next Friday is ANZAC DAY when we commemorate the two world wars. Above is my contribution to the nearly 200,000 Chinese labourers who worked, and died in the trenches of France. They worked on the side of the Allies and made the horror of that dreadful war, slightly less dreadful. They dug the trenches, put up the barb wires, removed the barb wires, buried the dead.

 But DESTINIES DIVIDED is also the story of how mixed-race Chinese Maoris from New Zealand struggled in both their parents' countries to find acceptance only to find it finally in that most terrible place where so many millions died in such unspeakable conditions.
It is a story of love in its broadest sense, of missionaries in China during the Boxer Rebellion and their children who survived it only to meet up again in Flanders. It is available on Kindle, Create Space and Fishpond.

For us DownUnder, Easter is the beginning of the cold weather but for you in the Northern Hemisphere it is the herald to Spring and Summer. May you have wonderful sun and warmth.
Enjoy Destinies Divided. This is the book that took my heart and soul in the writing. I hope it finds itself to your heart and soul.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The year of the Earth Horst

I wish all of you a very happy new year, the Chinese Lunar one begins at the end of this month or early next. You'll all know it as it will be well advertised in your cities. It will be the year of the Earth Horse, as even though there are twelve animals in the Chinese Calendar, each is divided into the Five Elements. Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and one other, escapes my mind at the moment. It will come back to me at 3 am. So if you are celebrating your 12th, 24th, 36th, 48 th etc, birthday, then this is your year. You can look it up on Chinese horoscope sites for free and find out your character type. My gorgeous daughter is an Earth Horse, and her great free spirit and sense of adventure is also tempered by a well-grounded common sense. So she is very true to type.
I am a Wood Monkey -- yes! That is the 5th element WOOD! So even though I have the capriciousness of a monkey and the ability to mimic, I am also very set in some ways, like a block of wood. Though I like to think of myself as the finest Kauri (the best NZ native) or perhaps a majestic Sequoia. I think all in all the best way to know your type is to marry both Chinese and Western horoscopes. Then you get the most detailed reading.

Well this is going to be my very good year. I have just put out THE MING ADMIRAL: A CHINESE ODYSSEY which is now out on all book sites. You can get a paperback version from Create Space. This was very well reviewed, garnering a 5 Star. It is what some people call a 'rollicking good read' which means it is fast paced, and full of adventure, pain, and pathos. Look for it on your favourite e-book site.

The Chinese Characters here is ZHENGHE, the name of the Ming Admiral who was castrated and put into service of the Warrior Prince Zhu Di who later seized the throne from his nephew with the help of ZhengHe. ZhengHe was a great soldier, poet, diplomat and finally a Great Admiral. There are temples to him all over Asia where he is regarded as a saint.
The book takes him from his early life in the mountains of Yunnan to the end of the Emperor' s reign. A tempestuous and dangerous relationship between two of the most incredible men in China's long history.
Also to be published soon is the sequel to  MEMORIES IN THE BONE. This second book in the trilogy of the Chinese Diaspora is called DESTINIES DIVIDED and follows the lives of the mixed-race children of ZHOU YU and HOROWHAI, the Maori slave girl he saved.
It will be out by March, which is fortuitous and really quite unplanned, because 2014 is the commemorative year of WW1.
I am sure most of you are unaware of the Chinese involvement in that war. Well, nearly 200,000 of them served in Flanders on the side of the Allies. Find out why from DESTINIES DIVIDED.
Till my next blog, I wish you all a wonderful new year. May 2014 bring you all the health, wealth and happiness you all deserve.