Exciting news: my historical thriller, Rabbit in the Moon, has been selected as one among best books on modern China’s myths, religions, politics, and culture. Check out the site. The novel is available in print, eBook and Audiobook.
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My historical thriller, Rabbit in the Moon, was published almost two decades after the Tiananmen massacre on June 4, 1989. I waited to write the story of the short-lived Student Democracy Movement, hoping that with the passage of time the Chinese government might be more open to the truth of what happened there.
That was not to be. The massacre was renamed the “June 4th incident”, my book was banned on the Mainland, and as I traveled to China over the years, it became clear that the government was more determined than ever to ban any discussion of the deadly crackdown- in schools, on the street, even from the Internet.
While Mainland citizens were subject to the ban for decades, Chinese living in Hong Kong and Macau were allowed to hold yearly candlelight vigils to commemorate the anniversary. That is until last year.
Today marks 32 years since Chinese soldiers killed hundreds if not thousands of pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square.
Authorities in Macau and Hong Kong have banned the vigil for the second year in a row saying it would violate local criminal laws and citing corona virus issues.
Despite last year’s ban, tens of thousands of people defied the police, knocking down barricades that had been erected around Victoria Park where citizens had been gathering each June 4th for 30 years to mark the anniversary. This year, however, police closed off Victoria Park entirely. Thousands of officers have been placed on standby to stop any attempt to hold the event.
Several pro-democracy activists have been arrested including Chow Hang Tung who is the vice chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance which has been organizing the annual vigils. Arrested for promoting unauthorized assembly, she continued to call on residents to commemorate the anniversary in their own ways.
“Turn on the lights wherever you are – whether on your phone, candles or electronic candles,” she posted on Facebook a day before her arrest.
This year’s anniversary is the first since a new controversial security law was approved for Hong Kong, aimed at ending the city’s pro-democracy movement and criminalizing dissent. At least 100 people have been arrested since the law was enacted in June.
Already brave students from Hong Kong University have been photographed washing a statue titled the Pillar of Shame.
What the government’s response will be remains to be seen.
Imagine my big surprise when I caught up with MacGyver this weekend!
It seems as if Rogue CIA Agent Albert Miller from our award-winning novel Devil Wind, published in 2011 and set in the anxious era of Y2K managed to spread the word about his lethal weapon “The Resonator” to the villains of the global terror group Codex fighting the Phoenix Foundation “good guys”.
Yes, the very machine that uses the earthquake damage prevention system that includes base isolation to dampen earthquake waves for tall buildings/skyscrapers; made its debut on the CBS show today. Just like Agent Miller had done to LA University’s gleaming new hospital, the Codex villains manipulated the system to magnify the waves, making the building weave and shake more and more, and endangering the young heroes for 44 minutes.
Nice to know that Sammy, Gus, and their friends raced to keep hundreds of people in LA safe; and kept the resonator out of the hands of dramatic malefactors and LA TV scriptwriters for 20 years!
-by Linda Reid, co-author of the award-winning thriller Devil Wind
Deep Waters, the third in the Sammy Greene series, was set in Greece. In researching the setting, Linda Reid (my co-author) and I learned about the Romaniote Jews who are among the oldest (dating back 2000 years) and least-known of all the Jewish communities of the diaspora. Then in my travels, I met someone- now a good friend- who is a descendent of this group.
According to oral tradition, following the destruction of the 2ndtemple in 70 AD, the Jews of Palestine were sent on a slave ship to Rome. Instead, a storm forced them to land in Greece where they developed unique ethnic and religious customs.
Neither Sephardim (from Spain) or Ashkenazim (from Eastern Europe), this group traces its roots back to the Roman Empire. They are considered “Hellenizied” or Greek Jews, Their distinct language was actually Judaeo-Greek, a Greek dialect which contained Hebrew along with some Aramaic and Turkish words known as Yevanic.
Historians believe that those Romaniotes who were able to remain intact for so many centuries did so because the people adopted the language and customs of the Greek civilization as their own while maintaining their distinct Jewish identity, i.e. acculturating, but not assimilating.
That was especially true of Ioannia (Janina), a small city in NW Greece. Many other Romaniotes in Greece were absorbed into the much larger Sephardic community, adopting its Ladino language.
The Jews of Janina made their living as merchants, tradesmen and craftsmen. Theirs was a patriarchal society of arranged marriages, large families and strict Jewish orthodoxy.
While strict in their faith, the Romaniote were not isolated from the larger community. For example, during the High Holidays Christian townspeople of Janina often used to attend celebrations of Jewish New Year. Sometimes local officials also came to watch and share the joy of their Jewish fellow citizens.
On March 25, 1944 1860 men, women and children were rounded up, loaded into trucks and deported to Auschwitz. Only 200 survived.
Pre- World Qard II, large Romaniote communities were located in Thessaloniki, Janinia, Arta, Preveza, Volos, Chalkis, Thebes, Corinth, Patras and the islands of Corfu, Zakynthos, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Rhodes, Cyprus among others. Eight-five percent of all Greek Jews perished and the historic Romaniote communities in Greece were largely destroyed during the Holocaust.
After the war, a majority of the survivors emigrated to Israel, the US, and Western Europe. Today there are still functioning Romaniote synagogues in Chalkis, a town on the Greek island of Eubie, Janina, Athens, NewYork and Israel.
Interesting, second and third generation Romaniote immigrants in New York city have good knowledge of Greek. In the beginning of the 21st century 90% asserted that they understand Greek while 40% could speak Greek comfortably. Over a third could read Greek fairly well.
The Kehila Kedosha Janina synagogue in Manhattan has struggled to maintain its millennium-old traditions. Designated a historic landmark by the city of New York in 2004, it still operates in its original form.
Today between 4500 and 6000 Jews remain in Greece, only a small percentage are Romaniotes who live mainly in Thessaloniki, Chalkis, Janina and Athens.
Victor Aquista, physician, author, and fellow Mystery Writers of America member, has a wonderful podcast program called Pdfobler Productions which features selections from various authors’ work. Victor recently chose my medical thriller Silent Survivor, recording the Prologue and First Chapter. Click and take a listen.
Although the voice (Victor’s) is different from the Audiobook’s narrator (Laura Mooney Wills), I think it is a wonderful rendition.
Notorious Minds? A rogue secret agent stealing a weapon to kill thousands of innocent victims? Has to be fiction—a heart-stopping thrill ride in a hellish Hollywood, battered by Devil Winds, fiery-hot Santa Ana’s that spark an inferno in the lush hills hiding the garish mansions of the rich and famous. Devil Wind, by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid, is one of TWENTY exciting thrillers and mysteries included in the Notorious Minds Boxset, transporting your imagination to worlds beyond your door.
Venturing into a world of danger is best left to the imagination in today’s pandemic era. The COVID-19 virus has devastated our world, locking us into silos of isolation and loneliness, even as it claims the lives of family, friends, and neighbors as its victims. As physicians as well as authors, Dr. Shlian and I had hoped that the antibiotic and anti-viral era would prevent a feared pandemic such as the one that decimated WWI survivors in 1918. Yet, even with 21stcentury medical knowledge and expertise, we have met a viral enemy that we are struggling to conquer. Many of us are seeking answers as to how we can remain healthy and safe, and others are searching for reasons to explain why this virus took hold—transferring from the realm of fiction to a dangerous reality.
Theories abound, and it may take us years to understand the complete story. Meanwhile, everyone hopes and wishes that the damage and death from COVID-19 can be limited, and that we can soon return to our lives, work, and personal social connections. Reading and writing can be solace for many whose path to recovery, whether from the virus, or its social and economic damage are difficult to surmount. Devil Wind’s protagonists, investigative reporter and talk-radio host Sammy Greene and her grizzled friend Gus Pappajohn pair up for a journey that begins from despair, and aims for the light of new hope, in a gritty Los Angeles universe familiar to fans of Michael Connelly and Lee Child.
The promise of hope, of a brighter future, inspires many writers to pen novels to delight readers; however, many other authors turn to imagining dystopias that serve as a warning for our societies about where we are headed and “what not to do”. Faced with choices in an unknown scenario, we may revisit the projections and ideas of renowned futurists, such as Orwell and Huxley, and even Michael Crichton, for answers and fears about “what’s next”. Truth be told, though elements of authors’ works may resonate with today’s crises, we have tools at our disposal that we can use to opt for better outcomes than they predicted, such as scientific research, critical and strategic thinking, innovation, and free will. Let us hope and pray that our future guides us toward progress and not purgatory.
And let us enjoy adventures that exist in our imaginations, and from the imaginative fiction writers who are included in the Notorious Mind boxset, now available for pre-order from Amazon:
Be healthy and well, and enjoy our books!
Co-author of the award-winning Sammy Greene Thriller series, Dead Air, Devil Wind, and Deep Waters
Author (as Y S Pascal) of the award-winning Zygan Emprise Trilogy
In these trying times, everyone is looking for ways to distract us. For those of you who enjoy Audiobooks, as long as they last, I am giving away PROMO codes for FREE downloads from Audible of my award-winning medical thriller, SILENT SURVIVOR. Laura Wills Mooney, the narrator, is a experienced actress.
Just email me at email@example.com.
And if you enjoy the book, please write a nice review on Amazon.
Devil Wind, #2 in the award-winning Sammy Greene series, has been selected to be included in a new boxed set titled Notorious Minds. Exciting mysteries and thrillers by 20 USA Today and International Best-selling Authors! Only 99 cents! Pre-order now for the October 13, 2020 release.
January 25thmarked the start of Chinese New Year for 2020.
The excitement of celebrations in China and elsewhere has been overshadowed by the emergence of the deadly Coronavirus. The new virus, which was first detected in Wuhan, a central city in Hubei Province, at the end of December, has killed at least 56 people and sickened almost 2000, including in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Scotland and now at least 3 cities in the United States (Washington state, Chicago and Orange County, California).
Fear is high as people recall the SARS outbreak, which began in China in 2002 and 2003. That epidemic spread rapidly around the world while officials denied the seriousness of the crisis. Eventually more than 800 people died.
According to the New York Times, about 30,000 people fly out of Wuhan on an average day. Even more leave by trains and cars. With the region’s biggest airport and deep-water port, Wuhan serves as the hub of industry and commerce in central China.
No doubt the new restrictions on travel will spoil the plans of millions of Chinese citizens who planned to visit family during the New Year holiday. The government said it would close Wuhan’s airport and train stations to departures, and it urged residents not to leave the city unless they had an urgent reason to do so.
Here in the US, the CDC is carefully monitoring the situation since this virus is highly contagious with a 10 to 14 day incubation period. Whether you are traveling or simply attending events where there are crowds, make a point of checking CDC updates on the TV and Internet.
For those who are content to stay at home and have not yet read the award winning thriller Rabbit in the Moonwhich deals with the 1989 Tiananmen massacre in Beijing, here’s a link to the updated version honoring the 30thanniversary of that terrible event.
Travelers to Greece often visit the local islands: Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Corfu, Crete. But, one island remains a mystery, inaccessible to most tourists as a result of its checkered history. Just across from the Poseidon Temple at Cape Sounion, Makronissos, “Long Island”, remains relatively uninhabited, a testament to its role as a site of exile for political prisoners from the 1930s to the 1970s.
Makronissos, called Helena in ancient times, was reputed to be the island on which Helen, the wife of Menelaus, landed after the capture of Troy; or a site to which Paris fled with Helen. The island unfortunately became a military prison during the Greek Civil War from 1946-1949 through the Greek Colonels’ Junta of 1967-1974. Mikis Theodorakis, composer of the Zorba the Greek movie starring Anthony Quinn, was a prisoner at Makronissos as a result of his political views.
Greeks united to resist the Nazi Occupation of their country in World War II. After the war, Europe was “divided” among the “victors”, with many countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans “ceded” to the Soviet umbrella. As the cradle of democracy and the font of classics, however, Greece was to remain under the influence of Western Europe. Allied support for left-of-center governments was withdrawn, and the Marshall Plan endeavored to establish right-of center governance. Greeks who had fought side by side against the Nazis turned against each other, left vs. right; those labeled communist or left-wing sympathizers were killed, imprisoned, or exiled in camps for years on the long deserted island, facing harsh conditions and torture. It was only after the overthrow of the Colonel’s junta in 1974 that a left-of center government under Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou returned to Greece, and the process of healing the decades-long schisms between right and left began.
Based on the real-life experiences of a close family member who survived imprisonment in the camps, our third Sammy Greene thriller, Deep Waters, describes the horror and heroism of the Makronissos political prisoners through the eyes of ex-Boston cop Gus Pappajohn’s Greek brother-in-law, Georgios Kapsis.
In July 2019, Exile Island was declared an archaeological site to be preserved in the memory of those who suffered and lost their lives in a tragic chapter of modern Greek history.
-this post was written by Dr. Linda Reid, co-author of Deep Waters