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    Ron Hutchinson, a Missouri author has used his years as a high school student in Japan as the inspiration for a young-adult coming-of-age novel titled Voices of the Locusts.

    About Voices of the Locusts 

    Voices of the Locusts  
    From his deathbed, 81-year-old Jack O’Brien reveals to his grandson the existence of a long-forgotten story he wrote as a teenager years earlier while living in Japan. The 16-year-old grandson finds the story in an old footlocker in his grandfather’s attic, and spends days pouring over the real-life account. Set at a U.S. military base in rural Japan in 1948, and playing out against a backdrop of swirling post-War social change, Jack’s VoicesoftheLocusts tells the story of three families—one black, one white, one Asian. The story also recounts Jack’s love for a Japanese girl, Fujiko Kobaysi, who has been promised in marriage by her parents to an older man. Told in vivid and sometimes haunting detail, Jack and Fujiko are frustrated in their romantic quest by story characters coming to terms (often violently) with the emotional scars of World War II. (The content of this novel depicts violence, and is recommended for mature young adults.)  

    About Ron Hutchison 

    Ron Hutchison is a best-selling American author with four multi-genre novels to his credit. After graduating from the University of Missouri, Hutchison began a long career in journalism, public relations and later operated his own public relations agency. His choice of novels is determined not by genre, but by the weight of the story. 

    Hutchison has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist for newspapers in Texas, California and Missouri. A Fortune 100 company employed him as a public relations executive. Currently, Hutchison makes his home in Joplin, Missouri. 

    More information about Voices of the Locusts is available by

    Join Ron Hutchison on his upcoming Virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book in January 2013.

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  • 12/03/12--09:32: Article 3
  • Welcome to Mondays Poetry review here at Bluebell!

    Are you busy shopping? Shoveling snow? Baking cookies? Bored at the office?

    All of the above?

    Well no matter...

    There is another fresh poet waiting to steal you away and make the time go faster, so grab a comfy chair and get ready to meet our new poet of the day.

    Her name is Tara Powell.

    She is  a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.   Some of the publications in which her poetry has appeared include Asheville Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, Cold Mountain Review, Crucible, Hidden Oak, Pembroke Magazine, South Carolina Review, and Southern Poetry Review.  She wrote a monthly column for the Raleigh News and Observer from February 2001 to August 2002, edited The Carolina Quarterly from May 2002 to August 2003, and has read her creative work by invitation at a variety of conferences.

    She was nominated for Poets Under 30 by Michael McFee.

    Here is one of her poems for your reading enjoyment.

    Snow has bent the trees in robes to kiss the streets
    like disciples who mark the marvel of its passing.
    Broken to piney angles, the genuflecting boughs
    blanket and obscure the storm path,
    grasp eyeless at its hems.

    Three days in, I am still not here
    among the jumbling radios,
    the television, mincing, unprovoking,
    but I am sleeping it all off, cocooned
    in rumpled pajamas and mismatched socks
    in my bed dented with the horror of my shape,
    some hungry, sleepy monster-woman,
    hungover with need and fear.

    The object of my appetite has etched curls
    and milk marble eyes,
    a lilting tenor that punctuates
    conversation with affirmations,
    and like most new lovers,
    it seems all who came before
    were poor castings of him.

    Loving him, I feel exposed.
    Like the cold crystals to the late afternoons,
    when the moon and sun both are pushing
    back the clouds with need.

    All these days, I have embraced the secret
    of his strangeness.  With the thaw,
    he will be at my door,
    his smile to me like sun on snow,
    his affection beading on me,
    though the chills of nights, each dropped degree,
    have left ice beneath;
    his arms will skid about me, clumsy as tires;
    their heat will break us, one or the other.

    Here, before the thaw,
    I see nothing blighted and nothing rising again
    from the deep, white wonder of it all.
    Heavenly Father, stretch these frosted days to thousands,
    this sleep to an endless dream!
    These voices, all a copy of his own,
    keep them without the stillness,
    a loud, blinding, and bright igloo.

    You can read more of her poetry here

    Tara's poetry has a flowing lilt that carries through from start to finish coupled with an amazing command of oft underused words. I would call her a poet for the intellectual at heart.

    So enjoy your reading and poetry writing dear fellow readers and I will see you here around Bluebell.

    For now, I am off to  find a cup of hot chocolate and a candy cane!


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    Kafira by John O'Neil  

     John O’Neil is the author of the action/adventure novel, Kafira. Writing Daze caught up with John recently and asked him some questions about his book. Find out he weaves a story of moon landings, bio-chemical warfare and the search for a cure. 

    About Kafira
    "In 1981, Kim Il Sung, supreme leader of North Korea, announces he has landed rockets on the moon, claiming the moon for North Korea to the exclusion of every other nation on earth. His claim is not without credence, as Il Sung threatens to unleash a deadly virus if his demands are not met. Shin Min Shu is the ingenious North Korean biomedical scientist who has been forced to develop this virus.

    Kafira Weiss is an Israeli biomedical scientist whose passionate life purpose is to find cures for deadly diseases. This new development with North Korea has her angry but also afraid for the people she loves, and soon, because of her expertise, she becomes personally involved. The CIA believes the United States is being threatened; however, they need proof. How can they be sure of Il Sung’s claims?

    Kafira will be part of a team sent to the space. She will become the first woman to land on the surface of the moon. With trepidation, she agrees to the mission, but wonders, what will she do if Il Jong’s declarations are true? What if Min Shu’s virus is real and able to infect the earth with a deadly disease? Will Kafira be brilliant enough to find a cure in time, or will one man’s greed lead to the end of human life in the universe?"

    Purchase the e-book of Kafira at Amazon

    Q: What makes your main character impatient or angry? Kafira is not impatient or angry!
    She is frustrated and stressed that she cannot find a cure for the Ebola virus, yet it seems as if the North Koreans have. 

    Read more of the interview at Writing Daze


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    About Proxy Assassin 

    October, 1948. Former OSS agent Hal Schroeder gets invited to Washington D.C. by Frank Wisner, who heads the CIA’s new covert ops division. Hal is whisked off to Wisner’s Maryland shore retreat and introduced to a brace of Romanian royals, including the scarily beautiful Princess Stela Varadja, a direct descendant of Vlad Tepes Draculea.

    Then Frank Wisner pops the question. Would Hal consider parachuting into a remote mountain camp to meet with the leader of a group of Romanian anti-Communist guerillas?
    “I had already survived two previous suicide missions and a third did not appeal. But I told Frank Wisner I would need a few days to think it over. I had some sightseeing to do.”
    As it turns out Hal Schroeder gets to do a lot more sightseeing than he bargained for. A journey that brings the American Spy Trilogy to a surprising, and emotional, conclusion.

    About John Knoerle 

    Author John Knoerle
    John Knoerle began his creative endeavors in the early 70s as a member of the DeLuxe Radio Theatre, a comedy troupe in Santa Barbara. He then moved to LA and did stand-up comedy, opening for the likes of Jay Leno and Robin Williams.

    Knoerle wrote the screenplay Quiet Fire, which starred Karen Black, and the stage play The He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, an LA Time’s Critic’s Choice. He also worked as a staff writer for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

    Knoerle moved to Chicago in 1996 with his wife Judie. His first novel, “Crystal Meth Cowboys,” was optioned by Fox TV. His second novel, “The Violin Player,” won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction.

    John Knoerle’s novel, A Pure Double Cross, was the first volume of a late 40s spy trilogy featuring former OSS agent Hal Schroeder. The second volume, A Despicable Profession, was published in 2010.

    Knoerle’s latest book,The Proxy Assassin, Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy, has just been released.
    Visit his website at

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    About A Sarcastic Guide to Beating Breast Cancer

    A Sarcastic Guide to Beating Breast Cancer
    Author Jennifer Manghisi was diagnosed with breast cancer at the very early age of twenty-four. Sitting in the doctor’s office listening to the diagnosis, Jennifer and her parents were shocked. Jennifer’s life had only just begun. A recent college graduate, she had only just launched her career in the fashion industry. Now, before her life had truly begun, Jennifer was faced with the prospect of losing a breast. But she was strong. Though the diagnosis was bleak, Jennifer found the strength to be grateful that the prospects were not worse. 

    Death as a result of breast cancer is on the decline, and she was thankful for that. Even so, there is more to deal with when facing breast cancer than mortality, as Jennifer has since learned. In her motivational memoir, A Sarcastic Guide to Beating Breast Cancer, Jennifer Manghisi shares what she learned on her journey to survival. From coping with the diagnosis to managing chemotherapy to managing the depression and becoming healthy again, Jennifer shares important and insightful advice on becoming a breast cancer survivor that only experience can teach. 

    In this inspiring true story of will, determination, and perseverance, Jennifer shares the highs and lows of her intense battle for her life. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, Jennifer’s story can be a source of inspiration to you.


    About Jennifer Manghisi 

    Jennifer was born on June 1, 1984. She is a native New Yorker. Jennifer grew up on Long Island and graduated from Bentley University with a Bachelor of Science degree from Bentley University in Business Management. Her hobbies include; traveling, cooking, fashion, and writing. She currently resides and works in New York City.

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  • 12/16/12--16:49: Article 0
  • Hello fellow Bluebell readers,

    Well here we are, only two weeks from wrapping up an entire year and a new fresh year is just around the corner waiting for us.

    Isn't that a wonderful thought? All of it, the cold and frozen earth, dying only to be reborn as a new season, new chances, new opportunities for joy. The earth carries us along through this timeless cycle of dormancy and rebirth while we watch it through windows in warm dwellings surrounded by the friends, family, music and food of the season.

    That idea of a montage, of sound bites of thoughts to express or evoke a mood using as few words as possible to do so is always so amazing to me. That is why I picked this weeks poet for us.

    by  Barbara Reiher-Meyers     

    Gale warning    hail warning
    Sky sifts          high drifts
    Finding bright   blinding white
    Snowball         snowfall
    Moonscape     snowscape
    Frostbite            dost bite
    Rococo swirls    hot cocoa curls
    Icy glove          spicy love
    Huddle in          cuddle in
    Rock salt     clocks halt

    Barbara Reiher-Meyers is a Long Island, New York poet, board member of the Long Island Poetry Collective. Her poetry has been published in print journals and on line. Barbara facilitates monthly workshops in Ronkonkoma, sends weekly Emails of local poetry events, and has edited several volumes of poetry. "Sounds Familiar" is the title of her first book of poems.

    Enjoy the rest of this year and I will see all you wonderful readers and poets here soon so we can share more poetry together!


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    Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who has only one request for Santa, Robert is confused over what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift? Inspiration Behind A Christmas Kindness
    How is it that children have the ability to reach out and help others in ways adults don't always think to do? One year, our oldest daughter--then only eight--went door-to-door in our neighborhood collecting money for Toys for Tots. Coordinated by the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve, this program collects new, unwrapped toys each year and distributes them as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in our communities. This summer, my girls ran a lemonade stand so they could bring money to a local animal shelter. Why don't I think of doing such things? I guess it's easier to write a check and send it in the mail. But what effort is involved in that? My children make it personal, and much more meaningful, by giving something of themselves.
    With A Christmas Kindness, I hope to capture the generosity of a child's heart--the way they look at the world as a place of endless opportunities to make a difference.
    May you be blessed this holiday season. Cheryl Malandrinos, writing as C. C. Gevry, is a children’s author and editor. She is a member of SCBWI. A Christmas Kindness is her first book with 4RV Publishing. Visit her online at

    Pump Up Your Book and C. C. Gevry are teaming up to give you a chance to win some fabulous prizes!





    Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn’t set up to accept the form, then after they visit your blog, they are directed to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries. This promotion will run from December 17th - December 21st. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email, and announced on December 24th. Each blogger who participates is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. What a great way to not only win these fabulous prizes, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!

    A Christmas Kindness Book Blast Schedule

    Monday, December 17th
    a Rafflecopter giveaway If the form doesn't work, you can enter at:

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    Hi, How do you do?
    Thanks for the attention and masterful entries to short story slams, 
    We loved your talent and inspirations,
    Wishing all of you A Very Beary Christmas Ahead!
    Keep up the excellence,
    Keep reading and learning,
    Bless your own wit and characters,
    be happy, be caring,

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  • 12/30/12--17:45: Article 0

  •  Hello all dear Bluebell readers and poets! As we pop the cork on a new year I hope you enjoy todays format. I am bringing this  to you courtesy of

    Poems for the New Year

    Eighteenth-century Scottish poet Robert Burns may well be most famous not for a poem he wrote, exactly, but for a poem he wrote down. According to Burns Country, a comprehensive website devoted to the poet, Burns, in a letter to an acquaintance, wrote, "There is an old song and tune which has often thrilled through my soul. You know I am an enthusiast in old Scotch songs. I shall give you the verses on the other sheet... Light be the turf on the breast of the heaven-inspired poet who composed this glorious fragment! There is more of the fire of native genius in it than in half a dozen of modern English Bacchanalians." That song was a version that Burns fashioned of "Auld Lang Syne." which annually rings in the New Year at parties across the world, though most often sung out of tune and with improvised lyrics, as it has been described as "the song that nobody knows." Though the history of the authorship of the poem is labyrinthine and disputed, Burns is generally credited with penning at least two original stanzas to the version that is most familiar to revelers of the New Year. Here are the first two stanzas as Burns recorded them:
    Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    And never brought to mind?
    Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    And auld lang syne!
    Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
    For auld lang syne.
    We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
    For auld lang syne.
    Undoubtedly, some rousing version of the Scottish song echoed through the New Year’s night near where  Thomas Hardy
    wrote his haunting goodbye to the ninteenth century, "The Darkling Thrush" Dated December 30, 1900, which signaled the end of the century in Hardy’s view, the poem intones a much more somber sense of the end of one time and beginning of another. Consider the last lines of the opening stanza, which set a grim scene: The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
    Like strings of broken lyres,
    And all mankind that haunted nigh
    Had sought their household fires.
    But century’s end, for Hardy, was possibly an arbitrary marking, too, and there was hope to be found, in the form of the sudden song issued from a thrush’s voice, a "full-hearted evensong / Of joy illimited."
    For centuries, it has been the charge of Britain’s Poet Laureate to write a poem to ring in the New Year. Laureate Nahum Tate established this practice, having written eight New Year odes between 1693 and 1708. And the phrase "ring out the old, ring in the new" first comes from another laureate’s pen,
    Lord Alfred Tennyson, from his most well-known poem, "In Memoriam": Ring out the old, ring in the new,
    Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
    The year is going, let him go;
    Ring out the false, ring in the true.
    Finally, Kobayashi Issa, a great practitioner of the
    haiku form, approached the new year with a sense of humility and reverence: New Year's Day--
    everything is in blossom!
    I feel about average.
    Here is a short list of New Year’s poems to call on after the clock strikes midnight on December 31:

    "New Year's Day Nap" by Coleman Barks

    A Song for New Year's Eve" by William Cullen Bryant
    "Auld Lang Syne
    " by Robert Burns
    The Old Year" by John Clare
    "One Year ago--jots what?" by Emily Dickinson
    At the Entering of the New Year" by Thomas Hardy
    The Darkling Thrush" by Thomas Hardy
    "A New Year’s Gift, Sent to Sir Simeon Steward" by Robert Herrick
    "New Year’s morning" by Kobayashi Issa
    "New Year’s Day" by Kobayashi Issa
    "New Year's Morning" by Helen Hunt Jackson
    "On a New Year's Eve" by June Jordan
    "New Year on Dartmoor" by Sylvia Plath
    Te Deum" by Charles Reznikoff
    Archaic Torso of Apollo" by Rainer Maria Rilke
    The Passing of the Year" by Robert W. Service
    "New Year’s Eve" by Robert W. Service
    In Memoriam" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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    SUNDAY INTERVIEW: Taylor Beisler

    JAMIE: When did you realize it was time to try for publication?
    TAYLOR: Once you have a story to tell and faith in that story, there's good reason to follow through on your commitment and belief. I thought it would be a great learning experience, as well as something to put on my resume. This is just another step into what I love to do.

    JAMIE: What type of books have you written?
    TAYLOR: These are fantasy-fictioN, young-adult novels, action-adventure. they are allegories.

    JAMIE:When did you start writing?
    When I was a child, my mom would buy notebooks for me. On family trips to the beach or wherever, I would be the one pushed back into the luggage because I'm the smallest. I'd take out the trusty notebook and begin writing tales of dragons and of adventures and perils great and small.

    My love of writing came from reading books such as C.S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles and J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, which I read when I was younger. I'm 19 and it seems like I've been writing my whole life. I love it.

    JAMIE: Do you have previous publishing experiences?
    TAYLOR: I do not, but I'm open to being published by any publishers that find my stories intriguing and well-written.

    JAMIE: How did you choose your publisher?
    TAYLOR: They chose me really. I was a minor at that time. I write my books at fourteen and sixteen years old. I was searching for literary agents and publishers. I did a lot of research. I received many letters confirming a publisher's interest IF I would pay the money, which is a weighty sum. So, Eloquent Books in New York picked me up, thinking I had something worth telling and shining up a bit. I've loved their companionship ever since.

    JAMIE: What costs and expenses were involved in publishing your books?
    TAYLOR: I would say the cost depends on with whom you work and how much you work. Cost is more than money. For me, the money for a joint-venture (50/50 royalties split with publisher/author) was $600. They wouldn't publish for free on a minor. I was more than willing to work up the money for the price. Yet the greatest investment is the time. To me time is worth far more than money. Time cost me about 56+ hours a week. It was worth it. Still is.

    JAMIE: What is it about your books that readers will find most engaging?

    I would have to say my favorite part of the first book is the beginning:

    "Hear it crashing upon you; closing your eyes, you hear it-the sound that changed the course of this realm. The icy mantle yields its fraying mist, breaking as it goes, now rushing so succinctly upon your bare feet, drawing them down into the grainy earth. Then, the wave expires back into the rimy mountains and thalassic hills from whence it came. You hear it again as the sea pulses, trammeling you in its very nature of sound. The resounding gongs of the ocean cling to your senses, as they seem to be the rustling of a hand underneath the breadth of a great blanket, drawing it forth and back again. The wind finds you as it slows down and rushes through time, as a woe taking every breath by the reins. You open your eyes as you see the pulse dithering through the sea; the wave of invisible fluctuations runs after the throb of luminescent light, scampering across the horizon. The beat crashes against you, knocking the very breath away from your grasp as the pulses increase in speed, the surroundings slowly ceasing to sift into existence. You close your eyes, hardly able to breathe as the unimaginable occurs, the prospect considering how it used to ring so clearly. Then, all is still. All is silent. Your eyes crack, now shy of the gleaming light that is so strange to your glance; as the rays pierce your eyes, you direct your gaze downward upon the halted shore of polar reflections. A stone lay, caressed by the hands of fate, lingering amidst the pearled flits of light emanating from its internal. The entity seems to have been formed by this strange phenomenon, but is it real? Is it tangibly existent? You crouch, balancing your hands expertly out as to lay your fingers on the article, but something holds you back. You look up and see that the scene is crumbling into view, beholding darkness as the light. There’s nothing but you, the stone, the ancient secret, and silence. The stone remains, waxing by the now reflecting breaks in the sky. Somewhere, a rider was born, and his thoughts formed the last egg that would ever be, like a wave cultivating a shell by its pure, gleaming rush. You are torn away from this scene, left with naught but a memory. Or is it only so simple? Now the reader has to take the first action in this journey. Should you flip the page, there is no turning back."

    My favorite verse in the sequel is by far the last paragraph, but I cannot reveal that secret just yet.

    JAMIE: Do you have any hints to share with readers on how to get published?
    TAYLOR: Educate yourself. Visit google like it's your best friend. Please watch out for scammers. Anyone will publish anything for money.

    JAMIE: Who are your favorite authors?
    TAYLOR: J.R.R. Tolkien and Jane Austen were both geniuses.

    JAMIE: What are your major inspirations?
    TAYLOR: Inspiration comes from life and its very own Author - God. I have to say that Jesus Christ inspires me in the big things (the sunrise) and the little things (a flower unfolding). So, that's why I write and how I write.

    JAMIE: What’s your writing plan for the future?
    TAYLOR: Continue to grow. I'm taking Creative Writing classes at the University of Louisville right now, pursuing a minor in that subject. I also strive to be a student of life. I have a feeling there are going to be more ideas and books coming out of my experiences. For now, I'm illustrating children's books. As far as the future: well, we'll just see what God has in store!


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  • 01/14/13--19:40: Article 0
  • Hello 2013!

    Its a brand mew year here at Poetry Paradise. To get the year off to a great start I bring you the talent in the form of...

    Gary Soto

    Raised in California by his poor, immigrant mother, Soto is able to draw on his life of hardship and the lives of others to create poems that both accurately and beautifully reflect the lives of the Mexican-American community.

    The book of poetry I am featuring here today is one that touches on the most illusive, intense and shimmering of loves. First love.
    About his work Joyce Carol Oates
    noted "Gary Soto's poems are fast, funny, heartening, and achingly believable, like Polaroid love letters, or snatches of music heard out of a passing car; patches of beauty like patches of sunlight; the very pulse of a life  

    Here is a sample of his highly visual way with words:


    Cold days, cold without you
    Ice hanging from the eaves like teeth
    And the sun riding out of town before I changed
    Out of my pajamas. To get warm, I opened a can
    Of alphabet soup, got it boiling,
    And poured it into a bowl. The bowl was warm
    As your hand. I liked that, steam curling
    As I carefully carried it to the table,
    I drank from the lip of the bowl,
    And used a chopstick to form I love you
    From the tangle of floating letters.
    I drank that sentence and began to glow.

    Born in Fresno, California to Mexican American parents, Gary Soto learned the hard work ethic through his share of chores, including mowing lawns, picking grapes, painting house numbers on street curbs, and washing cars. His hard work paid off at California State University at Fresno, from which he graduated with an English degree, and later at the University of California at Irvine, where he earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.Gary Soto is an acclaimed poet, essayist, and fiction writer.

    To visit his website and read more you can go here

    And I will see YOU back here in two weeks. Go out and make 2013 your best year yet!


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     Xi mingzhe, daughter of Xi Jinping, 
    a Harverd undergraduate student currently..

      Xi Jinping (pinyin: Xí Jìnpíng; pronounced [ɕǐ tɕînpʰǐŋ], born 15 June 1953) is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and the Chairman of the Party Central Military Commission.[1] He is also the Vice President of the People's Republic of China, Vice Chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission,[2] and is the first-ranked member of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), China's de factotop power organ. Xi is now the leader of the Communist Party of China's fifth generation of leadership.[3] He is expected to become President, China's head of state, in March 2013, when the National People's Congress convenes.[4]
    Son of communist veteran Xi Zhongxun (1913–2002), Xi Jinping served mostly in Fujianprovince in his early career. He was later appointed party chief of the neighboring Zhejiang, and then briefly served as Shanghai's party secretary following the dismissal of Chen Liangyu. Xi was promoted to the central leadership in October 2007, entering the PSC and secretariat, groomed to become Hu Jintao's successor. Xi is known for his tough stance on corruption and a frank openness about political and market economy reforms.[5]

    Life and career

     Peng Liyuan, wife of Xi Jinping

    Early life

    Xi Jinping was born on 15 June 1953 in Beijing and is, by Chinese convention, a native of Fuping County, Shaanxi. His ancestral home is at Xiying in Dengzhou, Henan.[6] As a result of his upbringing in the Beijing environ, Xi is the first leader of the Communist Party to speak clear, provincial-accent-free Mandarin.[7] He is the second son of Xi Zhongxun, one of the founders of the Communist guerrilla movement in Shaanxi and former Vice-Premier. At the time, his father served as the head of the Communist Party's propaganda department and later Vice-Chairman of the National People's Congress. His mother was Qi Xin.[8] When Xi was 10, his father was purged and sent to work in a factory in Luoyang.[9] Xi was 15 when his father was jailed in 1968, during the Cultural Revolution. Without the protection of his father, Xi went to work in Yanchuan County, Shaanxi, in 1969 in Mao Zedong's Down to the Countryside Movement. He later became the Party branch secretary of the production team. When he left in 1975, he was only 22 years old. When asked about this experience later by state television, Xi recalled it saying, "It was emotional. It was a mood. And when the ideals of the Cultural Revolution could not be realised, it proved an illusion."[10]
    From 1975 to 1979, Xi studied chemical engineering at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University. From 1998 to 2002 he studied Marxist theory and ideological education in an "on-the-job" post-graduate programme at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, again at Tsinghua University, and obtained an LLD degree.[11] From 1979 to 1982 he served as secretary for his father's former subordinate Geng Biao, the then vice premier and Secretary-General of the Central Military Commission. This gained Xi some military background. In 1985, as part of a Chinese delegation to study American agriculture, he visited the town of Muscatine, Iowa.[12]

     Xi jinping and Hu Jintao

    Xi joined the Communist Youth League in 1971 and the Communist Party of China in 1974.[13] In 1982 he was sent to Zhengding County in Hebei as Deputy Secretary to the CPC Zhengding County Committee, and was promoted in 1983 to Secretary of the CPC Zhengding County Committee.[14] Xi subsequently served in four provinces during his political career: Shaanxi (during the Cultural Revolution, 1969–1975), Hebei (1982–1985), Fujian (1985–2002), and Zhejiang (2002–2007).
    Xi held Party positions in the CPC Fuzhou Municipal Committee, and became the president of the Party School in Fuzhou in 1990. In 1999 he was promoted to the Deputy Governor of Fujian province, then became Governor a year later. While there he made efforts to attract investment from Taiwan and to boost free market economy. In February 2000 he and provincial Party Secretary Chen Mingyi were called before the top four members of the Party Central Politburo Standing Committee– General Secretary, President Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, Vice-President Hu Jintaoand Discipline Inspectionsecretary Wei Jianxing to explain aspects of the Yuanhua scandal.[15]
    In 2002 Xi took up senior government and Party positions in ZhejiangProvince, and eventually took over as party chief after several months as acting Governor, becoming the first-in-charge in the economically successful coastal province. Xi was then made an alternate member of the 15th CPC Central Committee and holds the membership of the 16th CPC Central Committee, marking his ascension to the national stage. While in Zhejiang, one of China's most affluent provinces and a center of China's successful economic development, Xi provided the economic environment which secured growth rates averaging 14% per year. His career in Zhejiang was marked by tough and straightforward stance against corrupt officials, which earned him a name on the national media and drew the attention of China's top leaders.

    Following the dismissal of Shanghai Party Chief Chen Liangyu in September 2006 due to a social security fund scandal, Xi was transferred to Shanghai in March 2007 to become the new Party Chief of Shanghai. Xi's appointment to one of the most important regional posts in China was clearly a sign of confidence from the Central Government. While in Shanghai he was careful not to touch any controversial issues while largely echoing the line of the central leadership. Xi's career is notable in that during his regional tenures, he was never implicated in any serious scandals, nor did he face serious political opposition.

    Xi's appointment to the Party Secretary post in Shanghai was seen as a stepping stone for him to become an emerging member of the fifth generation of Chinese leadership. This was solidified by his appointment as a member of the nine-man Politburo Standing Committee at the 17th Party Congress in October 2007. Xi was ranked above Li Keqiang, which made him the most likely candidate for China's next leader. In addition, Xi also held the top-ranking membership of the Communist Party's Central Secretariat. This assessment was further supported at the 11th National People's Congress, Xi was elected as Vice-President of the People's Republic of China on 15 March 2008.[16] Some suggest this was because Xi had kept friendly relations with both Hu Jintao and the other power figure in the central leadership, Zeng Qinghong.

    Since his elevation Xi has held a broad range of portfolios. He was put in charge of the comprehensive preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, as well as being the central government's leading figure in Hong Kong and Macau affairs. In addition, he also became the new President of the Central Party School, the cadre-training and ideological education wing of the Communist Party. In the wake of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, Xi visited disaster areas in Shaanxi and Gansu. Xi made his first foreign visit after his vice presidency to visit North Korea, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen from 17 to 25 June 2008.[17] After the Olympics, Xi was assigned the post of Committee Chair for the preparations of the 60th AnniversaryCelebrations of the founding of the People's Republic of China. He was also reportedly at the helm of a top-level Communist Party committee dubbed the 6521 Project, which was charged with ensuring social stability during a series of political sensitive anniversaries in 2009.[18]

    Xi is considered to be one of the most successful members of the Crown Prince Party, a quasi-clique of politicians who are descendants of early Chinese revolutionaries. Senior leaders consider Xi to be an emerging figure that is open to serious dialogue about deep-seated market economic reforms and even political reform, although Xi's personal political views are relatively murky.[clarification needed] He is generally popular with foreign dignitaries, who are intrigued by his openness and pragmatism. Former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, when asked about Xi, said he felt he was "a thoughtful man who has gone through many trials and tribulations."[5] Lee also commented: "I would put him in the Nelson Mandela class of persons. A person with enormous emotional stability who does not allow his personal misfortunes or sufferings affect his judgment. In other words, he is impressive".[19] Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson described Xi as "the kind of guy who knows how to get things over the goal line."[20] Former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, commented on October 4, 2012: China's new president and party secretary general, Xi Jinping, (who) has sufficient reformist, party and military background to be very much his own man.
    George Walker Bush and Xi Jinping

    Tours as Vice President

    In February 2009, in his capacity as Vice-President, Xi Jinping embarked on a tour of Latin America, visiting Mexico,[21][22]Jamaica,[23][24]Colombia,[25][26]Venezuela,[27][28] and Brazil[29][30] to promote Chinese ties in the region and boost the country's reputation in the wake of the global financial crisis. He also visited Valletta, Malta before returning to China.[31][32]
    On 11 February, while visiting Mexico, Xi spoke in front of a group of overseas Chinese and explained China's contributions to the financial crisis, saying that it was "the greatest contribution towards the whole of human race, made by China, to prevent its 1.3 billion people from hunger".[33] He followed with a rather direct accusation for "foreigners" trying to interfere in Chinese affairs, a subject that has always been sensitive in Chinese political circles. In Chinese, Xi remarked: "There are some bored foreigners, with full stomachs, who have nothing better to do than point fingers at us [China]. First, China doesn't export revolution; second, China doesn't export hunger and poverty; third, China doesn't come and cause you headaches, what more is there to be said?"[34][35] The story was reported on some local television stations. The news led to a flood of discussions on Chinese internet forums. It was reported that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs was caught off-guard by Xi's non-diplomatic remarks, as the actual video was shot by some accompanying Hong Kong reporters and broadcast on Hong Kong TV, which then turned up in various internet video websites.[36]
    Xi has since gone on a series of foreign visits, some say to burnish his foreign affairs credentials before he takes the helm of China's leadership. Xi visited Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania from 7 to 21 October 2009.[37] Xi visited Japan, South Korea, Cambodia and Myanmar on his Asian trip from 14 to 22 December 2009.[38]
    Xi visited the United States, Ireland and Turkey in February 2012. The visit included meeting with U.S PresidentBarack Obama at the White House[39] and Vice President Joe Biden, with whom he had met extensively in China in August 2011; and stops in California and Iowa, where he met with the family which previously hosted him during his 1985 tour as a Hebei provincial official.[40]

     Barack Obama and Xi Jinping at Airport

    Political history and future

    In September 2009, at the Fourth Plenum of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping was not selected as the Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission(CMC) as expected, raising some questions[by whom?] about his succession. Political analyst Cheng Li believed that Xi's failure to secure the CMC promotion was evidence that the Communist Party was developing internal checks and balances, giving way to more sophisticated mechanisms for leadership succession.[41] Xi was officially appointed to the vice-chairmanship on 18 October 2010, a position Hu Jintao once held back in 1999 before taking over the secretaryship and the presidency years later.[42][43][44][45] By 2010, it appeared to be clear that Xi would succeed Hu as General Secretary and President in 2012 and 2013 respectively.[46][47]

    Party leader and Commander-in-chief

    On 15 November 2012, Vice President Xi Jinping was elected to the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commissionby the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, serving as the new Paramount leader of the People's Republic of China.[48][49][50][51]
    Xi was ranked ninth of the 2012 Forbes Magazine's List of The World's Most Powerful People, after taking the office of Party general secretary.[52]
    Xi visited Guangdong in his first trip since taking the Party leadership, notably paying tribute to Deng Xiaoping. During his trip, he called for economic reforms and a strong military.

    Xi, Peng, their daughter and parents... for image credit,
    Wikipedia for information

    Personal life

    Xi first married Ke Lingling, the daughter of Ke Hua, an ambassador to Britain in the early 1980s. Little is known about their marriage other than that it ended in divorce within a few years.[53] Xi married the famous Chinese folksinger Peng Liyuan (丽媛) in 1987.[54] Peng Liyuan, a household name in China, was much better known to the public than Xi until his political elevation. The couple frequently lived apart due largely to their separate professional lives. They are sometimes considered China's emerging star political couple. They have a daughter named Xi Mingze (习明泽),[55][dead link] who enrolled as a freshman at Harvard University in the autumn of 2010 under a pseudonym.[56]

    Xi holds a bachelor degree in chemical engineering and a doctorate in political science.[57]
    Peng described Xi as hardworking and down-to-earth. "When he comes home, I've never felt as if there's some leader in the house. In my eyes, he's just my husband."[58]
    Xi was described in a 2011 The Washington Post article by those who know him as "pragmatic, serious, cautious, hard-working, down to earth and low-key." Xi was also described as a good hand at problem solving and "seemingly uninterested in the trappings of high office."[59] He is also known to love Hollywood films like Saving Private Ryan[60] and The Departed.[citation needed]The Guardian noted that "perhaps more surprisingly" he also praised the independent film maker Jia Zhangke.[61]
    Members of Xi's extended family have substantial business interests, although there is no evidence that they have been assisted by Xi's political position.[62] When Bloombergreported these claims, the Chinese government censored the report, going as far as blocking access to Bloomberg's website from mainland China.[63]

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  • 01/27/13--18:35: Article 0

  • Hello fellow Bluebell readers and writers!

    I wanted to find something that was new to me and maybe new to you also...


    Each year four renowned poets select and introduce a winning manuscript for publication. Each winner receives $1000.

    One of the two winners from New York was Danielle Blau, selected by D. A. Powell

    Danielle Blau

    Nth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    For a thousand years
    we’ve lived here on this hissing rock.
    Once I saw ankles

    lift from the shallows.
    The Ambassador–Dad told me
    as we watched him wade
    away. Bivalves, we gurgle,
    we open and close.
    When I wished
    for a white sheet to drape us
    when we’re dead so it can rise
    and fall in the breeze
    from the fan, Ma
    slapped me on the cheek.
    When we’re gone, the hole left
    will be wider than life itself–she said.
    Now, instead, I pray no
    righteous match
    our sputtered tail to
    strike, meaning
    the opposite of that;
    it’s an art we all learn.
    When we leave there won’t
    be breeze and I won’t have to miss
    the whirr of the fan.
    It is sad being
    born to a punctured sphere
    but it’s something, to hear the stars
    slowly deflate at night.

    Past winners can also be read here at this link:

    Till next time, keep reading and writing and supporting fine poetry!


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  • 02/10/13--19:38: Article 0
  • Hello fellow poets and readers of fine poetry!

    Well here we are, through the holidays and landing softly in February, the month of "love".

    I haven't arranged any chocolate for us (sorry)

    and there is no champagne chilling (again, sorry).

    What I do have for you is a poem............

    a poem that softly sizzles with seduction,

    that evokes the pull of "new love" or perhaps it is talking about a

    forbidden love?

    Right person, wrong timing?

    You be the judge!

    The poet is Leslie Brill,

    Here is her book of poetry,

    and here is a luscious sample of her work:

    I peel away
     that I barely know you and really,
    am not supposed to know you here
    and now. You peel away you are not
    supposed to be social with me. these are only
    circumstances. We know our souls our wholes
    are bound only circumstantially. So part of us sits out,
    part of us dances.  Outer layers, first to drop, when heart says go
    but brain says stop. You peel away all that you know
    my hands are warm my lips are soft


    share this poem with someone you love...........

    or want to.........

    just add chocolate and champagne!

    See you next time beloved readers!


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    The mere mention of the insanity defense guarantees a lively debate. Opponents of the defense cite the loss of criminal culpability while proponents argue just as passionately that the insanity defense is the ultimate act of compassion. The protagonists would probably be quite surprised to learn that the same basic concerns consumed Americans in the nineteenth century. One factor – The Abraham Man – sowed the seeds of confusion and controversy that united the past with the present.

    Some of the most celebrated civil and criminal trials in American history were argued under the shadow of the Abraham Man. The detailed stories of long forgotten legal cases bring the antics of the Abraham Man to life. Through the process, readers will follow the careers of notable Civil War era surgeons whose post-war professional development shaped the future of modern mental health care.



    R. Gregory Lande, DO is a physician and retired US Army Medical Corps Officer. Dr. Lande completed his medical education at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Lande was commissioned an officer in the US Army. During his career in the military, Dr. Lande was active in a wide variety of clinical, academic and administrative positions. Upon leaving the US Army as a full colonel, Dr. Lande was awarded the Legion of Merit recognizing his career contributions. The next phase of his career involved administrative positions in hospital management, research, and teaching at various civilian facilities. Dr. Lande is the author of numerous medical and historical works. He lectures widely on both subjects. A sampling of historical publications and presentations include:
    Lande, RG:  “History of Military Psychiatry”, book chapter, Principles and Practice of Military Forensic Psychiatry.  Springfield, IL: C. Thomas, 1997
    Lande RG:  The Invalid Corp. Military Medicine, June 2008; 173(6):525-528
    Lande, RG: Felo De Se: Soldier suicides in America’s Civil War. Military Medicine. 2011; 176(5):531-536
    Lande, RG:  The court-martial of Sergeant George W. McDonald. Maryland Historical Magazine. 2011; Spring 106(1): 125-33
    Lande, RG:  Madness, Malingering & Malfeasance:  The Transformation of Psychiatry and the Law in the Civil War Era. Washington, D.C.: Brassey’s Inc., 2003
    Lande RG   The Abraham Man: Growth and Development of Forensic Psychiatry. New York, NY, Algora Publisher, 2012
    Speaker – 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine, Rochester, NY
    Subject:  Dummy Chucker
    Speaker – Great Lakes History Conference, Grand Rapids, MI,
    Subject:  The Court-Marshall of Sgt. George McDonald
    Speaker – Missouri Conference on History, Columbia MO
    Subject: Civil War Execution of Private William E. Ormsby
    Speaker – Florida Historical Society, Tampa, FL
    Subject: PVT Lewis Payne: Madness, Malingering, or Malfeasance?

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  • 02/25/13--11:02: Article 0

  • Hello all dear Bluebell lovers of poetry!

    Here we are in the waning days of February. Nature is giving us her last blast of rain, wind and ice. A gentle reminder to appreciate the balmy weather that will soon follow.

    This week felt like an excellent time to go in search of a great poet who is a man. Seems I tend to feature women poets a tad bit more and so in an effort to balance that out a bit, here we go!

    Edward Hirsch 

    "I started writing poetry as a teenager in suburban Chicago out of emotional desperation. I was overwhelmed by feelings I couldn't understand, emotions that were so powerful and intense, so unusual to me, that I thought I would drown. I wanted to express what I was feeling, to make sense of it, to give it order and shape, to transform it. I needed help to keep my head above water. I hit upon writing lyric poems, which are short and intense; lyrics put tremendous pressure on the sounds of words, and they break up sentences into lines, which are rhythmic experiences. Poems mesmerized me, and I felt better when I was writing them, or trying to, more in touch with something deep and dark within myself.

    I grew up in a middle-class house without books, without art. No one around me wrote poetry or even read it. Even my teachers seemed indifferent to it. The sole literary presence from my childhood was my grandfather, a Jewish immigrant from Latvia, who eccentrically copied poems into the backs of his books. After he died, when I was 8 years old, my grandmother gave his books away, and his poems were lost. My family had always noted the strong physical resemblance between us, but after I began writing poems in high school, those lost poems also became part of my legacy, an incitement from the past. Even though I was on my own, I felt less lonely because I was carrying on something that my grandfather had almost willed to me. I wanted to live up to that inadvertent gift, to use it to make contact with others. I decided to become a poet."

    Read more:

     After a Long Insomniac Night

    I walked down to the sea in the early morning
    after a long insomniac night.

    I climbed over the giant gull-colored rocks
    and moved past the trees,
    tall dancers stretching their limbs
    and warming up in the blue light.

    I entered the salty water, a penitent
    whose body was stained,
    and swam toward a red star rising
    in the east—regal, purple-robed.

    One shore disappeared behind me
    and another beckoned.
                                         I confess
    that I forgot the person I had been
    as easily as the clouds drifting overhead.

    My hands parted the water.
    The wind pressed at my back, wings
    and my soul floated over the whitecapped waves.

    Here is his book, The Living Fire

    Hope you are making the most of the remaining days of winter and as always, see you next time right here on Mondays Poetry Review.

    Until then. keep writing!


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    A day at the beach
    What could be
    More fun
    Than playing in
    The sand
    The surf
    The sun

    Building castles
    And rivers
    And splashing
    In the waves
    There's no better
    Way to spend
    Hot summer days

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  • 03/18/13--17:00: The Ides of March

  • The Ides of March

    Ever wonder where that saying comes from? Or what it means?

    Well dear fellow poetry readers today we are diverting from a standard poetry review and are going to talk about The Ides of March instead and when we are done you will forever know what it means.

    Then you can dazzle your friends with your exquisite knowledge of minutiae!

    Actually, we are not veering to far afield from our stated purpose here because Shakespeare did use this line in his play "Julius Caesar" and I am afraid I would have to give Shakespeare an excellent review as a poet and that would be so predictably boring wouldn't it?

    So here we go....

    Seems the Romans did not number days of a month sequentially from the first through the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st) of the following month.

    So never mind remembering all of that, lets just take the thought that "Ides" meant the middle of the month ok? OK!

     the Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julias Caesar  was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus (of Et tu, Brute? fame, but we will have to cover that at another time)  and Cassius, were involved.

     A a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, from whence comes the line when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

     The Death of Caesar (1798) by Vincenzo Camuccini

    So there is my over simplified explanation for this saying we all hear around this time of year.

    See you back here soon for another poetry review and as always keep reading and creating your own poetry!


    Info source: Wickipedia

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  • 04/01/13--17:44: Article 0
  • Hello fellow poetry lovers!

    The icy tentacles of winter are loosening their frigid grasp, no match for the gentle bursting buds and the swells of green popping out all over.

    Rebirth and renewal, life goes on

    and so do we here at Bluebell!

    Today I bring you a ground breaker.

      He is the first immigrant, the first Latino, the first openly gay person and the youngest person to be the U.S. inaugural poet.

    Richard Blanco

    I could have written about his 
    inaugural poem but that is readily 
    available if you want to look at it

    Instead I chose a less famous poem 
    that I found absolutely spell binding.

    His words create the picture and you feel as if you are right there touching the fruit and looking at the scene through his eyes. His writing style is profound and yet very conversational.

    here, see what you think:


    She scratches the oranges then smells the peel,
    presses an avocado just enough to judge its ripeness,
    polishes the Macintoshes searching for bruises.
    She selects with hands that have thickened, fingers
    that have swollen with history around the white gold
    of a wedding ring she now wears as a widow.
    Unlike the archived photos of young, slender digits
    captive around black and white orange blossoms,
    her spotted hands now reaching into the colors.
    I see all the folklore of her childhood, the fields,
    the fruit she once picked from the very tree,
    the wiry roots she pulled out of the very ground.
    And now, among the collapsed boxes of yuca,
    through crumbling pyramids of golden mangoes,
    she moves with the same instinct and skill.
    This is how she survives death and her son,
    on these humble duties that will never change,
    on those habits of living which keep a life a life.
    She holds up red grapes to ask me what I think,
    and what I think is this, a new poem about her--
    the grapes look like dusty rubies in her hands,
    what I say is this: they look sweet, very sweet. 

    Richard Blanco is the author of a book of poems, City of a Hundred Fires 

    Till next time lovely readers,


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    Voices of the Locusts
    Title: Voices of the Locusts
    Author: Ron Hutchison
    Genre: Young Adult
    Publisher: Create Space
    Format: Paperback and ebook
    Purchase at Amazon
    About Voices of the Locusts
    Sixteen-year old Jack O’Brien has never known the bittersweet stint of love, and romance is the farthest thing from his mind as he and his family arrives at a remote U.S. Air Force outpost in Japan where Jack’s father is base commander. The year is 1948. Jack’s life changes after a chance encounter with Fujiko Kobaysi, a beautiful and enchanting 17-year-old Japanese girl. Jack is immediately smitten.

    Fujiko’s traditional parents are overly protective and monitor her every move, and Jack and Fujiko meet secretly at her garden, located some distance from her village. There is a good reason why Fujiko’s parents are so protective and Jack is devastated when Fujiko tells him that her parents have promised her in marriage to an older man, a practice common throughout Asia at the time. The marriage is only a months away. Jack devises a cunning plan, one that will overshadow her arranged marriage and bring Fujiko and him together.
    Playing against a backdrop of swirling post-War social change, Voices of the Locusts tells the story of three families – one black, one white, one Asian. Told in Jack’s voice in vivid and sometimes haunting detail, Jack and Fujiko are frustrated in their romantic quest by story characters coming to terms (often violently) with the emotional scars of World War II. 

    Voices of the Locusts Book Excerpt
                A flutter of panic races through my body. It is instantly replaced by a sweep of joy, and a strange, unnatural lucidity overcomes me.
                Fujiko and I hesitate for what seems a small eternity, our eyes locked in a moment of mutual understanding. Finally, I lean in toward Fujiko and she leans in toward me. Our eyes close and our mouths touch in a whisper-soft kiss, a brief, gentle brush of lips.
                I pull back slowly, my heart racing, my head alive with all manner of strange, warm images. This must all be a dream. A wonderful, glorious dream. I don’t want to ever wake up.

    About Ron Hutchison
    Ron Hutchison began writing fiction full time after a long career in journalism and public relations. Voices of the Locusts is his fourth novel. A multi-genre author, Hutchison’s choice of novels to write is determined not by genre, but by the weight of the story. Hutchison graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist at newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. He was employed by a Fortune 100 company as a public relations executive, and later operated his own public relations agency. Hutchison attended high school in Japan, and much of his Voices of the Locusts is based on personal experience. Hutchison lives in Joplin, Missouri. 

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