Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Jade Rubies

Now everything sacred and dear to him was gone. He had to sacrifice his wife, his two beautiful daughters, Hing and Jasmine, his business, and his integrity. It was a pity really. His daughters were to marry into good families, but now that would change because of his greedy, impetuous moves. Disgraced, he couldn't find any other way out. He recalled their last discussion ,the scene still vivid in his mind. Rosie had argued with him when he suggested that this was the only way out, but in the end, he did what was necessary. What she wanted didn't matter. Now she could no longer speak. She was gone. He couldn't envision his girls starving so he did what he had to do.

He took a deep breath. It was time for him to join his wife. He picked up the gun with his right hand and aimed it at his right temple. The metal felt cold next to his skin. He twisted it sideways. His fingers tightned on the trigger ...then blackness.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Jade Rubies

Less than five miles away, another man sat alone in his downtown office, his body bent over his desk. Despondent, he took off his glasses, rubbed his forehead, and stared blankly at his ledger. Althought lighted, the lamp offered no comfort -- only stark reality. Heartsick over what he had done, he wished at that precise moment that he was blind. He stared at gun he had purchased, and took stock of the scene in front of him on his thick, royal blue rug. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He gasped and watched the bright red blood of life drain from his beloved wife's body. He got up, bent over Rosie's body, and picked up the two jade rubies grasped tightly in her hand. He put them in an envelope and addressed it so that someone he trusted would somehow see to it that his daughters got them. It had come down to this, selling off all their jewels so that he would not lose face. Rosie had tried to help him, but it was too late. Everything was his fault. He had let her down. He believed that things would get better, but they never did. Now he had nothing. He had lost it all because of one man -- the man he couldn't find to destroy. He had been a fool. He had believed Wong Yuen Sik's words and all the time it was only words, empty words that meant nothing. It was a scam.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Jade Rubies

The Jade Rubies --

Prologue - 1904

In a residential section of Guangzhou two men quarrelled, "Sai-kai-yai, you've messed with me once too often. I'll see you in Hell before I'm through with you." The fat man lifted his gun to aim at the arrogant young man in front of him.

The thin man's eyes flashed in anger. He reached behind his back to fell the razor-sharp blade of his knife. He turned slightly, gripped it. and deftly threw it at his target.

A gunshot blast exploded and a bullet zipped by, deathly close to his ears. Wong Yuen Sik breathed a sigh of relief when he stared down at the smoking gun that had fallen out of the fat man's hands. He shrugged his shoulders, not at all affected by the stunned expression on the dead man's face. He reached down to retrieve his weapon, wrapped it in his handkerchief, and quickly exited through the back door. He paused to look around. So far, so good- no one saw him.

More to come --

Friday, February 19, 2010

Twin Cities Daily Planet Article 2009

Read my article "Gung Hay Fat Choy" - The Year of the Ox:

Article From Asian Nation

Here is my article in the Asian Nation:

Visit my Facebook Page!/?ref=home

I was Nominated for the Writer's Digest 16th Annual Self Published Book Awards

My Book: The Jade Rubies

The Jade Rubies is the story of two young sisters, Ming Yik and his wife Yook Lan who takes them to Vancouver in 1915. As if being in a foreign country is not bad enough, the girls are subjected to every degrading indignity such as rape, torture, and sexual abuse. They
are pawns in a grownup game but struggle to survive, even though they are prisinors in their Master's house and tormented by their owner's sadistic wife.

Years later when they are finally reunited with their Mother and Aunt they learn the shocking secret about the dangerous man who enslaved them. Despite everything, the girls find love and happiness in their new country.

My Book (The Jade Rubies) was reviewed in Tri-City Voice Newspaper

Please have a look:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rejection. Not a pretty word and even harder to take when you get one from an agent or publisher. I have attended many events, agent's gala, conferences and parties where you might be able to give one of them a 5 minute pitch. But what you don't know is that most of them already have it in their head to turn you down. Once I approached an agent, I knew almost immediately just from the way he looked at me that he wasn't exactly interested in what I had to say. Still I figured, why not? I will give it a shot and before I finished my second sentence, he said to me, "Why are you writing about a serial killer? Who would want to read that? He's dead in the water." I stood up and said, "What do you mean? " He just looked at me coldly and said, "Don't waste your time on that." I just turned around and left. That man was terribly rude and he was right, it was a waste of time, especially for me talking to him. I still strongly believe that the story I wrote is a good one and will appeal to many people but after seeing him, I got really discouraged but maybe it's time to look at it again. Besides, what does he know?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Writing eventually gets done and then it's time to send it out. You look up some possible markets in Writer's Digest magazines and Writer's Market. Then you sit back and wait. You know you sent it to the right newspaper and they won't accept multiple submissions so you abide by their rules. Within a week or so, you get a rejected letter from them. You start to despair and figure you will try others but this time you're not going to follows their rules. Why worry? If there are more than one editors who want it, then you will have a problem but it's unlikely that will happen.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ever tried writing a children's story? That market seems to be changing quite a bit. I think it has a lot to do with illustrations today. When I was young, I could sit in an library, read some short fairytales (some with very few drawings) and be quite happy using my imagination as I drifted into another world. Stories like Cinderella and Snow White were so popular that today there are many different versions. That's okay but let's face it, nothing is ever as good as the original. That goes for everything.
Now that we write -- many of us feel that we need to get into a critique group so they can give us their take on what we wrote -- I've been doing this for many years -- and I've learned that it's best not to be a large group -- by that I mean no larger than 4 people. Otherwise, it drags on and on and on. And I think it's important to be with other writers who have been at this for the same length time as you only because there are so many wannabees that don't take it seriously. Most people are lonely and sees this as an opportunity to make friends, communicate and then nothing gets done -- this also wears on some writer's patience and that's not good. Writing is serious business and others should respect that --

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Writing is not all that hard. It's getting published that is! It's amazing how everyone thinks they can teach and try to get you to take their class so they can give you information on how to write. One of my mentors once said to me that you need to find your own voice and I believe she is right. No two people write the same. A person can give you a subject matter, tell you to write about it and someone else will come up with something totally different than yours. We all have our own interpretations of things and that makes life interesting. Of course it might have something to do with life's experiences.
There are so many things to write about that interest me but I find that if I don't get it down on paper right away, it disappears. Sometimes the best ideas come late at night when I suddenly wake up and then I figure I'll remember and write about it when I get up -- but when I do get up in the morning a few hours later, I don't remember a thing. It's a complete blank and try as I may, I can't remember. That really is annoying! Memory is a funny thing. Then there are an incident from the past, maybe 20 or 30 years ago that I can envision and write about. The brain is a strange machine.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chinese New Year -- Year of the Tiger --Most popular New Year's dish is Jai, or Monk's food. This dish originated with the Buddhist monks who were vegetarians who went begging door-to-door and were given meager portions of vegetables. From this, being inventive cooks, they came up with the delicious meatless dish. Jai is a play of Chinese words, especially those symbolizing good luck -- Fat Choy (hairlike seaweed) is wealth: Fun see (cellophane noodles) and Chin Ngee (fungus) is longevity; Foo jook (dried bean curd sheets) means blessing every household: Bak Ko (ginkgo nuts) means 100 Grandchildren. Ho see (dried oysters) means good tidings and successful business. Gum Choy (dried flower) means gold and good luck and Hua Sing (peanut) means deceased ancestors. Candied preserved fruit and vegetables together with melon seeds are symbolic of Chinese New Year and signify something -- melon seeds mean many children: and the long vines of squash and melon mean a long line of descendants; lotus seeds means production of sons; carrots, tangerines, kumquats are also prized because, also being round and golden, they signify prosperity-"kum or gum" in Chinese means gold thus golden wealth. Coconuts are hopes for a strong relationship between father and son.
Walking around Vancouver Chinatown was an adventure in itself when I was a child. I remember the first time I went with Dad to pick up something to cook for dinner. In front of a Chinese poultry store we stared at all the fresh chickens stacked in boxes one on top of the other. I grimaced and said, "Dad, what is that smell? It stinks." He laughed, "That's the way it is." He grabbed my hand and dragged me inside the store. Aroma wasn't any better inside either but fresh fish swimming around in a large fish tank got my attention. Distracted, Dad told the butcher, "Get me one of the chickens outside, just make sure you clean and feather it good, rinse it too." He returned a few moments later with a squawking bird, wiped his hands on his apron, and right in front of me, slit it's throat. Blood spurted out all over his already filthy blood-stained apron. The bird's head went down, going limp in his hands. I recoiled, "Ugh, that's horrible! I can't stand the sight of blood." Then Dad pointed to a large rockcod and the butcher used a mesh net to pull it out. He placed the squirming fish on the same chopping block and hit it hard with the flat side of his cleaver to kill it. The fish stopped struggling and then the butcher proceeded to clean it before handing it to Dad.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Vancouver Chinatown was like our own little World when I was growing up and it was safe because we all knew each other so I wouldn't hestitate for one moment to go down there. The Chinese community wasn't that large, but large enough, and we had family and friends closeby. I loved to be down there because it was charged with all kinds of energy and excitement. The Streets were always jammed with cars and people running back and forth. Bright neon signs attracted tourists and of course who could forget all the great restaurants down there like Bamboo Terrace, Chungking and Ming's? My Dad had a taxi business and his office was situated right down in the center of it all. His fleet of perhaps 8 automobiles were all black with the words Lee's Taxi on it and they were easy to spot, too easy because wherever I went, a cabdriver who saw me would call into the dispatch office and say "Car 9, your daughter is approaching Main and Hastings. Shall I bring her home now?" It was annoying since I had just left Strathcona School and was on my way to Chinese school but first I had to drop off some library books. I would protest and then would hear my father's distinct voice coming across the cb radio, "It's okay, no need, she's probably going to the library."
When I was young, I use to doodle quite a bit and write little notes to myself and liked writing letters. Working as a waitress in my Aunt's restaurant in the Okanagan one summer I would pen many letters to my parents and one day, my Dad said to me, "Gee, you sure had lots to say about Penticton. My goodness, there were always so many pages to read that you should have no trouble writing a book." I merely laughed and never thought about his words at all. After all, I was a teenager and I had other things to think about. I also loved books and libraries. Every spare moment I had I would wander down to Main & Hastings Street to check out books from the library's fiction section even though I thought it was a spooky place with stuffed wild animals like bears and tigers hanging on their walls. It was easy to get there since Chinatown was just around the block but I will never forget the dark grey brick building on the corner that always appeared so dark and mysterious. I must have been brave to have gone there myself in those days. Perhaps even then I knew that I was going to someday become a writer.
Someone recently asked me how to cook a carp (catfish) As we all know fish is good for us and so many of us love to include it with our many other dishes. So think about it for your next meal.

DON'T FORGET - cooking a fish doesn't take that long --- only a few moments-- so do it when you are almost ready to eat ---Here's a recipe for a 1 1/2 lb. catfish and how to cook it. First, buy it fresh at some Chineses supermarket -- and of course, have them clean it for you -- if you want the head removed, that's fine - they will do it for you. Then rinse it off when you get home -- leave in cold water -- when ready, put catfish on a flat dish and put it in the microwave and cook until it is done --put aside -- then chop up some green onions, fresh ginger, and place over fish (after it's cooked) sprinkle 1 tsp. sugar on top, add 1 tsp. soya sauce (as desired) and pour some hot sesame oil (1 TBSP) over it to seal in the flavor. Makes a great gravy too. Enjoy! Another excellent dish to add to bring in and celebrate that Chinese New Year feast.
Chinese New Year ----The Year of the Tiger is just around the corner and strangely it starts on February 14th --Valentine's Day -- imagine that -- a chance to have a double celebration -- be with the one you love, dress up, spend money for a real elaborate dinner and maybe be lucky enough to not even have to pay for it because most single Chinese will get a gift --Lai See -- that wonderful tiny little red envelope with some money that we all welcome.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I enjoy writing and my favorite spot to do this would be by hand, writing with a pen and sitting in a restaurant in a corner booth ALONE. Don't know why it works better but I think when you're away from distractions, no phones, no houseworks, no kids, it's easier to get things into focus and you become more creative. Writer's block -- I never have that problem about knowing what to write about. My problem is finding time to do it. I have lots of stories in my head dating back many years so I usually zero in on a topic, write it, and finish it. Then I move on. That's why I have so many articles that I will eventually toss into one book, sort of like a puzzle, and put it together in the right sequence.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Human trafficking -- this is something that is still happening today. Every time you turn on the television set, you hear more and more about it in Third World Countries but it also happens in America. What is it that drives people to do this? In my book, "The Jade Rubies," which is about two young girls being sold in China in 1915, I had no idea that I would touch upon a subject that still continues today. No idea whatever. It's an disgusting practice and I can't figure out why there are no public outcries from women and everyone else around the world to put a stop to it. But then it might be the very people that we trust so much who are guilty of the very thing I'm talking about. Selling human flesh. Can you imagine how you feel if you were the one being sold? Think about it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Still haven't figure out how to use this blog -- got to get the word out as to where people can contact me.

Should go the library and get a book on how to use this blog successfully.