Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paperback for "Last Kiss In Tiananmen Square" is available in Amazon

                                                   Click here to get your copy

                                           An Excerpt From Chapter 3

Several hundred people assembled in front of the men's dormitory, #41, near one of the campus gates.   The red Beijing University flag was billowing in the wind.  Some windows of the dorms were open and the students who'd overslept yelled, "Wait for me.  I will be down in a second." Some came down with a piece of bread in their hands. 

When Baiyun, Yumei and their roommate Li Yan arrived at 7:00am, each girl had a different feeling about being there.  Baiyun wore blue pants and a faded jacket, hoping her appearance would attract no attention. Yumei's bright orange sweater indicated that she wanted to be noticed immediately. Li Yan wore a neutral white top and black pants, as though she was still in mourning for the death of Hu Yaobang, which was absolutely adequate. Her approach to life was more realistic.  She was a stout girl with two bushy pigtails and she loved sports and politics, so she was just happy to be a part of it.

Their decision to skip class on Monday was a big one.  The liberal arts students organized the march.  Since the girls were chemistry majors, Baiyun, Yumei and Li Yan would probably be the only people there from their class.  Besides, most chemistry majors would not have a friend like Longfe, an economics major, to inform them about the march.  Math class was important but easy to skip.  Physical education wasn't as important, however it was much harder to skip because as soon as they lined up, the instructor would notice who was missing immediately.  The physical education teacher was reasonable. Everyone loved to skip the Political Science class.  No one listened during those lectures anyway.  Everyone read either their math textbook or a novel right under the instructor's nose as he tried to politically indoctrinate his students by swinging his arms and spraying saliva through spaces between his teeth.

The sky looked gray on that spring morning, for the sun hid behind thick layers of clouds and seemed far, far away.  Occasional gusts of wind blew the dust into the air, a familiar scene in Beijing.  Yumei was a girl from Shaanxi, an ancient province southeast of Beijing.  She began to sing loudly, even though they hardly knew anyone around them.

"Beijing, our great capital,
  Beijing, a beautiful city.
  But in the spring,
  Ladies cover their faces with gray scarves."

Li Yan was a news addict, and she kept informed on everything through her radio.  She was carrying a Walkman. "On the broadcast they said it might rain today." Li Yan informed them.

"Come on, I never believe the weather forecast.  They are rarely correct," said Yumei, absent-mindedly.

"But it rained yesterday," said Baiyun, pushing her glasses up a bit on her straight nose.

"Maybe God is weeping for Hu Yaobang's death," said Yumei, looking around to see if anyone had noticed her.

"Have you heard anything interesting on the BBC?" asked Baiyun.  She knew Li Yan listened to the BBC short wave broadcasts every day.

"Yes, they're making all kinds of strange predictions about China's future.  Some say Hu Yaobang's death is a sign that the conservatives will come back.  Some say his death could stir up a full-scale student movement, which would begin to turn China into a more democratic society."

Longfe approached the girls.  "Hi, Yumei!  It's nice that you are here already."  He wore a tan blazer and a pair of blue jeans.  His big eyes were beaming behind his square-rimmed glasses.

Baiyun felt ignored after Li Yan left to join students from other departments.  She found Longfe very attractive.  She liked his big tall body, the deep set of his eyes and his smooth round face.  But every time he was around, she was too nervous to open her mouth.  She felt embarrassed just standing there, and an idea dawned on her.

"Yumei… I'm going back to pick up our raincoats or an umbrella for us." Baiyun interrupted Yumei and Longfe's conversation.  Longfe stared at her and frowned.  Baiyun turned and ran away.

On her way out, she saw Li Yan along with Xia Nan, a communist party member and the head of the student association in the economic department, talking to a group of students with a megaphone.

Baiyun quickly got back to the dorm, and after looking through the suitcases, drawers, and under the beds, could not find any raincoats or umbrellas.  Then suddenly she realized that she had left hers at home and Yumei had probably had lost hers as usual.  She decided to go to the campus grocery store to buy an umbrella.  If she was late, she could always ride her bicycle to catch up with everyone.  In any case, she wanted to be truly part of the march this time instead of being just a bystander as she had been on previous occasions.  She was famous for always missing exciting events by staying in the library and studying.  As she walked toward the store, she heard a voice accompanied by the noise of a motorcycle behind her.

"Baiyun, what's the rush?  Let me give you a ride."

Lao Zheng, fully equipped with a helmet, leather jacket and goggles, had stopped his motorcycle behind Baiyun.  He had a big grin on his face. Yuck, what is he doing here?  Baiyun asked herself.  She quickly composed herself and faked a smile. "You've come to the wrong place to find Mother."

"Well," he set his left foot on the ground.  "Are you going to Tiananmen Square? I can give you a ride.  It's such a long way to walk."

"How did you know about the march?"

"I saw a group of students marching out of the gate when I came in.  I asked them where they were going."

"Have they already gone?"  Baiyun felt bad.  What would her friends think of her if she wasn't there?  They would think she had missed another important event again. Baiyun could just imagine how the others would talk about her: "How clever, that Baiyun.  Going back to get an umbrella is just her excuse.  Do you remember how she got out of the march last time?  She stayed in the library overnight and came out once everyone was gone."

"Ha... You really need a ride now."  Lao Zheng smiled like a victor.

"Would you?"

"Let's go"

Baiyun jumped onto the back seat of the motorcycle.  Although she hated the cigarette smell on his jacket, she had to hold on to it tightly and bury her head in it, because she did not want others on campus to see her riding on a motorcycle with such a man.

The streets were full of busy people going to work on bicycles, buses or occasionally on motorcycles.  The ringing of bicycle bells and honking of bus horns awakened the city like a rooster's crowing at dawn.  At every street corner, there was a little yellow cylindrical station painted with red stripes.  Policemen wearing white summer uniforms and sunglasses either sat in the station looking out, or stood in the center of the intersection of two streets, directing the busy traffic with a little blue and white stick.  Sometimes a policeman would stop an unfortunate bicyclist because he was carrying his son or both his son and his wife on the bike fender seat.  They usually got a warning from the policeman and were told to walk to the bus station to let the wife and son take the bus.  But as soon as they were out of the policeman's sight, they would get back on the bike and fly.  Violating traffic laws was not considered a crime in China.

Lao Zheng and Baiyun found the marchers stopped in front of a big farmer's market, two kilometers from the campus.

"Hey, Baiyun, we caught up with them in no time at all.  Let's ride along with them.  What do you think?"

"Would you let me get off?"  She pointed toward the market. "So I can buy an umbrella and find my roommate."

"Don't you want to march with me?  We have a motorcycle, the modern transportation."  Lao Zheng stood by his motorcycle proudly.  With his sunglasses and shining new leather jacket, he almost looked like a movie star.

Baiyun was not impressed.  "Please let me off!"  She screamed.

"Actually your mother asked me to come here and pick you up.  She worries about you," Lao Zheng's tone changed.

"I don't believe you.  Mother never bothers me at school.  She trusts me."

"Ok, I came here to find you myself.  I think you'd enjoy going out with me. We'll spend some money and have a good time.  This demonstration is boring.  What do you think?"  Lao Zheng put on his charming mask again.

Baiyun jumped off the slowly moving motorcycle and ran to the other side of the street where the students were, trying to hold back her tears.

"Baiyun!  Baiyun!" shouted Lao Zheng, dumbfounded.

"Baiyun, why are you so late?"  Baiyun could hear someone in the crowd yelled at her.

As Baiyun was crossing the street, she saw that Yumei, Longfe, Li Yan and the other students were staring at her.  She blushed.  How shameful!  She said to herself.  But to the others, she was speechless.  There was a lump in her throat.

"How do you know someone who owns a motorcycle?  How exciting!" said Yumei.  Then she took Baiyun's hands and smiled charmingly, which cheered Baiyun.

"According to the BBC, motorcycles are the practical modern transportation for the future in China.  I'm proud of you, Baiyun.  You'll be a pioneer motorcycle rider on campus," said Li Yan.

"I didn't know there is another side of you, Baiyun. Your hidden side is really exciting," said Longfe, looking impressed.

Yumei hit Longfe on the shoulder. "Stop!"  Then she took Baiyun to the side.

"What's the matter with you?"

"I feel awful."  Tears streamed down Baiyun's face.

"So, that's your mother's boyfriend? What does he want?"

"He wants me to spend the day with him."  Baiyun stared down on the ground as though this was the most embarrassing moment in her life.

"Oh, my God.  He's really interested in you," said Yumei, half teasingly.

"Yes, is that awful?"

"I don't know.  If you don't like him, yes."

"I'm not going to go back home anymore."

"Ok, stick with us."

"Sure," said Baiyun.  She couldn't think of a better way to spend the day.

The following books have been published by Fantasy Island Book Publishing and are available at

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Last Kiss In Tiananmen Square" is FREE Today

"Last Kiss In Tiananmen Square" will be FREE again on January 14th, 2012 (Saturday).

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349 Free in Kindle Store: "Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square" is on her way up the rankings chart.
#14 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical

                                                                      Click here to get a FREE copy

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Scariest Moments In My LIfe: Why did I decide to become a novelist?

I have experienced a few scary moments in my life as I was growing up in China.  The scariest moment was when my mother was threatened at knifepoint by one of her co-work/boyfriend at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution when I was 10 years old.  It was indescribable fear.  It was like someone had pushed me against the wall and pressed the knife-edge on my neck.  The time was frozen.  I thought of going off to find some neighbors for help.  Yet most of them were still at work and I was running out of time.  I could imagine mother lying in a pool of blood, struggling to get up and putting cigarette back to her mouth. 

The second scariest moment was when my father raised a cleaver threatening to cut off my mother's head when I was 15 years.  Now in age fifty, I just begin to fell its impact on me after having a successful family and a relatively successful engineering career.  This is why I have written two books and one of them "Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square" is in Kindle now.  It has taken me 20 years to get it published.  However, I have felt immensely lucky.  Here is a short excerpt from my novel "Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square":

“I don’t know.  Because of my harsh childhood, I felt like an old woman by the time I was fifteen.  Now I feel so happy, I’m actually getting younger.  Maybe I’m too young to die.  I want to experience true love.”  Baiyun stared at Dagong and her eyes were brimming with tears. "I can't think of anyone I'd rather share my last meal with."

“So, you picked me.”  Dagong beamed at Baiyun. 

“I think you have picked me.  Remember, it was your idea to come here?” Baiyun sounded a little happier.  She was smiling. 

“I think we have chosen each other.”  Dagong reached across the table and took Baiyun’s hands in his. 

 “Are you ready to order?” The waitress showed up all of sudden.

“Sure,” Baiyun was skilled at switching her moods as needed.  She had plenty of training in hiding her emotions during her complicated childhood.  “I would like to order a plate of sliced beef tongue and a plate of pig ears.”

“I would like to have some crispy shrimp. That’s it,” said Dagong.  He handed the menu back to the waitress, who walked away, wiggling her hips as she went.

“I hate that she interrupted our nice conversation about the life, death and love, especially the last one,” said Dagong.  “I’m still curious about why the Qigong knife feat disturbed you so much.  Do you care to tell me?” 

“Why not, even though it will give me nightmares tonight,” said Baiyun in a matter-of-fact way, as though she was commenting on the furniture.

“You don’t have to if you don't want to.  I don’t want to wreck your mood.”

“No.  Everyone knows that I’m different and strange sometimes… it is because of this… it's about time for me to tell everyone, so let me begin with you.”  She looked boldly at Dagong.  “It is time for me to come out as a young woman instead of staying an old one.” It felt good for Baiyun to say it out loud.

“Great.  I’m glad that I helped you to come out,” said Dagong.

“One day, I arrived at my apartment after school.  After walking through the dark hallway, I opened the door. I saw my mother sitting, smoking a cigarette and on her right standing by the bed was a slender young man with mustache…” 

The north-facing one-room apartment was dark in the late afternoon.  A double bed and a single-bed filled up the far side of the room.  On the left stood a dresser with a big vacuum radio on top and a big wooden desk; in the center, a square wooden table.  Initially it was so quiet that Baiyun could make out the clock ticking.  Then she saw the young man with the knife in his hand and the world no longer stood still. 

Baiyun heard thunder in her head; her mind was racing.  She remembered the young man coming to her apartment once before and she thought he was friendly.  She quickly realized that she was mistaken and the young man was obviously mad.  He was mumbling chants and waving a knife as he slowly approached Meiling.  Then with swing of his long arm, he grabbed Meiling’s head and held the knife to her throat.  Baiyun was ready to leap forward to punch him, or bite and kick him. 

Baiyun heard Meiling’s steady voice.  “Take the knife away.  Have you heard me?  Take the knife away,” said Meiling.  Her voice was so firm that it made 

Baiyun think it might be a joke that the young man was playing against Meiling.   All those years later, as Baiyun told Dagong about the incident, her voice was not nearly as steady as Meiling's was that afternoon.   Baiyun stopped speaking to take a breath as Dagong listened.

“What happened next?”

 “Nothing.  Mother is still alive.  He didn’t even break the skin.  He packed his things and left, as she finished her cigarette.”  Nothing happened.  And yet it was the most intense moment in Baiyun's young life.

Dagong was engrossed in Baiyun's story.  He didn’t even notice that the food they ordered had been set on the table before them.  Baiyun began eating.  "Does it give you nightmares?" he asked her.  She did not answer, but not because she did not have nightmares.  She did not answer because her mouth was full.  Dagong did not yet understand; he assumed the best and joined in the feast.  “As long as you are eating, you are doing fine.  Otherwise you wouldn’t have grown to be a college student.  You would have perished a long time ago.”

“You are right.  I’m doing fine.  Don’t worry about me… it only showed me that my mother is invincible.”  As Baiyun said it, she realized that she could be invincible as well.    

Baiyun looked at Dagong carefully, trying to gauge whether his attitude toward her had changed.  She nearly regretted telling him so much.  But whom else could she speak to? 

Dagong touched Baiyun’s hand. “If you ever need to talk about it, talk to me. ” 
Baiyun smiled at Dagong through a mouthful of beef tongue.  She swallowed before she spoke.  “Am I full of surprises?” 

“I love the fact that you are full of surprises.” 

Dagong held Baiyun's hand, and she knew he understood her.   “How about you, Dagong?  Do you have any secrets?”

“Of course.  But I think we have revealed enough secrets for now.  Maybe if you're lucky I'll tell you one of mine over the cream puffs.”  Together they laughed over their past tragedies.

                                                   Get your copy in Kindle

Next post: I was raped but didn't know about it until now.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

A New 5-Star Review for "Last Kiss In Tiananmen Square"

               Love the Chinese Voice of Lisa Zhang Wharton
                                     By Connie J. Jasperson

I love the Chinese voice that Lisa Zhang Wharton writes with. Her experience as a Chinese woman comes across in her story, and it feels almost autobiographical. You feel the grimness of the conditions that the people of China lived under during the time of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Hope thrives under the conditions of hopelessness. Baiyun struggles with her mother's morality, her own wishes and dreams, and with the burdens that were inherent to being a modern woman in China. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves modern literature, and especially those who love anything about China, as I do. 

                                    Amazon Link: Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square