Saturday, October 25, 2014

NaNoWriMo, the first step

Perhaps I took the first step last year. If so, it did not lead anywhere. Our local writers' group hosted two regional facilitators (or whatever it is that they are called) for an evening earlier this month and I was inspired to think I would try again. Besides, I am experiencing a writer's block in the worst way and believe extreme measures are in order if I am to get even a draft of the second volume to The Chinese Spymaster (published in 2013) done/started this year. 

The spy novel was announced as the first of three as I wanted to challenge myself to write something other than about Chinese Classics. Since last year, I have written a retelling of a GREEK classic (the subject of several posts on this blog), but I did not know this when I dreamed up the Spymaster. As an aside, let me note that some kind of political correctness filter must be in place on this site or on the sites to which I link this blog because the cover of The Chinese Spymaster will not show at the other site. But I digress.

As the facilitators shared their enthusiasm, I was lulled into thinking this year's NaNoWriMo would be a good exercise, at the very least. I determined that I would sign up and be official this year.

So here's the OFFICIAL logo and the link to the NaNoWriMo website. The website requires participants to check in regularly and to upload the novel occasionally. It also provides opportunities for writers to connect in person or "virtually." Early
life experience has taught me that I was more likely to get something done if I told other people, especially family (Mom in particular), what I wanted to achieve. 

Alas, Mom is no longer around. So I am telling my potential readers, you.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Giveaway on Goodreads

In the attempt to "get with it" in the promotion department of an independent author's life, I decided to have a "Giveaway" on Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Agamemnon Must Die by Hock G. Tjoa

Agamemnon Must Die

by Hock G. Tjoa

Giveaway ends October 26, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

I hope this works!

If it does, who knows ...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Loukia Borell

I am occasionally able to present a guest blog. Today's is by Loukia Borell, who tells briefly of her Greek-Cypriote heritage and her recent writing.

Certain events in our lives stay with us, and when you are a writer, those are the times you remember when you need material for your books. In 1972, I went to my parents’ homeland, Cyprus, and encountered a world that might have been mine if my parents hadn’t immigrated to the United States.  I spent the summer in a small, mountain village surrounded by my grandparents and other relatives who lived off the land. The village was a study in agrarian life: Most of what they ate was grown by them – olives, figs, cheese, grains, fruits¸ and eggs from their own chickens. They had their own lambs or poultry when they wanted to add meat to a meal. There was a village church, built under the direction of the village priest (my great-grandfather), water came from the mountain, and donkeys were ridden to go from one village to the next. I was 9 years old and completely fascinated by this old world, a place that was 50 years behind the one I lived in.

In 1974, everything I saw two years before was blown away when Turkey invaded the Northern third of Cyprus in an effort to stop plans to unify the island with Greece. My maternal grandparents and other relatives were among those who were killed by advancing troops. Their bodies, along with hundreds of others, have not been recovered. Other Greek-Cypriots on the island were now refugees, driven out of their homes to live in exile in other Cypriot villages or to leave Cyprus entirely. When I overheard my parents talking about the atrocities, my mind was filled with scenes I was just beginning to understand: Stories of men and women shot and killed, young girls and their mothers raped repeatedly, families piling into cars with the clothes on their backs to flee to safety, men shipped to prisons and never seen again.

In 2011, years after my trip to Cyprus and long after the crisis that changed our lives, I wrote a historical fiction novel, Raping Aphrodite, and told my family’s story. A few weeks ago, I self-published the prequel to Raping Aphrodite. Delicate Secrets explores the love story of my two primary characters when they first met.  Both books are available on and as e-books. Raping Aphrodite is also available in paperback; Delicate Secrets will be released in paperback in 2015.

Book Reading - Six Stories

These six stories show some characters from the Shu and Wu kingdoms. Liu Bei, the warlord who dedicated himself to the defense of the Han Dy...