Sunday, October 28, 2012

Flying Tigers Bond

I'm currently at the midwestern regional conference of the U.S.-China People's Friendship Association. Last night we had two speakers, General Chennault's grandaughter Nell Calloway, who is in charge of the Chennault Aviation & Aeronautics Museum, and General James Whitehead Jr. Both of them spoke of the Flying Tigers, a group of pilots who the Congress wasn't interested in during a time when our country was pulling itself from the Great Depression,but who President Roosevelt signed an executive order to support. A group of pilots who protected the Chinese landscape against Japanese invasion during WWII. One story stuck out for me:

General Whitehead talked about an air-bombing raid mentioned in my new novel, Blossoms and Bayonets. Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle organized a raid over Tokyo in 1942, one of the first attacks on Japanese soil. His pilots planned to raid Tokyo and then fly to safety in Chinese fields. Of the sixteen pilots, 11 were killed or captured by the Japanese who were scouting for them. The remaining crew were rescued by the Chinese. As punishment for their rescue efforts, the Japanese killed 250, 000 Chinese.

Said General Whitehead, "During the war, 95% of pilots shot down were rescued by the Chinese, and they returned to fight again."  He said an amazing bond was formed during the war, one which involved incredible trust and sacrifice on both sides. "How can we not work to bring back this friendship that was?"

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blossoms and Bayonets now Available

I have to share this release with you:

Impossible to put down—or to forget—authors’ grippingly suspenseful and deeply affecting historical novel limns the lives of a Korean family under Japanese rule with astonishing grace and power. –Caroline Leavitt, bestselling author of Pictures of You.

Hi-Dong Chai and Jana McBurney-Lin, the award-winning author of My Half of the Sky, turn their hands to a remarkable story of a family and country torn apart by outside forces.

The time is 1942, the place is Japanese-occupied Seoul, Korea. Fifteen-year-old He-Seung is full of fire, ready to take on these Japanese...if only he could convince his father, a Christian minister more concerned with saving his flock in a time when Emperor-worship has become mandatory. Since occupation, the Japanese have eradicated the Korean language, names, even the country's flower. Now they are seeking Korean boys as volunteers for their army. When his father is arrested by the Japanese, He-Seung must swallow his hatred of the enemy. Even harder, he must leave his mother and baby brother He-Dong to fend for themselves.

Based on a true story, Blossoms and Bayonets is suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period. The story lends an eyewitness perspective to events as they unfold, revealing an era of nuance and complexity. The result is a work that speaks volumes about how and why one war led to the next.

Riveting internal dialogue and narration interspersed with quotes from those running the war efforts on various fronts combine to compel the reader forward. I say compel rather than propel, because I had to read. I had to know how this family and those around them would fare in the end.—Keri Rojas, bookseller at Cornerstone Cottage, Hampton, IA

Friday, October 12, 2012

New Book is Here....Almost

I just learned that Blossoms and Bayonets (Redwood Publishing) is "in review" on Amazon. I'm so thrilled. It's been quite a journey working on this story, a story that native Korean Hi-Dong Chai brought to me for editing one afternoon at a writers conference. I was quickly caught up in the story and the characters, and the two of us have spent the past four years writing it.

Said Caroline Leavitt, bestselling novelist of Pictures of YouImpossible to put down—or to forget—authors’ grippingly suspenseful and deeply affecting historical novel limns the lives of a Korean family under Japanese rule with astonishing grace and power.

Please take a look, get your copy....and enjoy.

What People Are Saying About My Half of the Sky

My Half of the Sky was the BookSense Pick for August 2006 as well as a Forbes Book Club Pick.

"McBurney-Lin tells a wonderfully entertaining story with the traditional coming-of-age theme (which is experienced universally)...weaving in the cultural challenges of growing up in China's rapidly changing social system."
Mary Warpeha, co-President of the Minnesota Chapter of US-China Friendship Association
March 2010

"The novel ...includes many of the tales and the folk ways of the people living in the rural areas of South China, still followed provincially. The story takes place in current China, but could relate the dilemma of any young woman in rural China through the ages."
Kitty Trescott, National Board of the Midwest Region of US-China Friendship Association. March 2010

"A lot is expected of a young Chinese girl. My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin is the story of Li Hui, a young girl who has just achieved marriageable age. She seeks to make the most of herself, but the expectations all around her make it difficult, as her parents seek to use her as pawn to their advantage, she is faced with what she believes to be true love. She must balance career, romance, and family, all to somehow make everyone happy, a tough endeavor indeed. An engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end, "My Half of the Sky" is a poignant tale of the modern Chinese woman, and recommended for community library collections.
--Midwest Book Review November, 2008

“It is a rare women’s novel that sensitively describes the life of a young educated woman in modern-day China in its full complexity, without resorting to unnecessary sentimentalism. Jana’s deep knowledge of the realities of life in China and Singapore makes the reading extra rewarding. In fact, with every new page the novel gets harder to put down and you find yourself gobbling it up before you know it. Finally, the author has given a voice to the Li Hui in all of us, as we struggle for the golden middle between tradition and the modern momentum of our world.”
Isabella Sluzek
Friends of the Museum Book Review 2008

You'll be rooting all the way for Li Hui as she struggles, ahead of the curve, to be her own woman in an emerging, modern China. Jana McBurney-Lin's My half of the Sky is a beautiful, witty, touching debut novel.
Thomas B. Sawyer
Head Writer TV Series "Murder, She Wrote,"
Author - The Sixteenth Man

A complex and mesmerizingly original tale of a young Chinese woman caught between the modern world and the pull of her ancient culture. McBurney-Lin’s intimate portrait of China sparks with insights and is peopled with characters so rich and alive, they seem to breathe on the page. Dazzling and unforgettable.
Caroline Leavitt,
Author - Girls in Trouble

McBurney-Lin's debut novel is a gift. Li Hui is a memorable heroine, a young woman torn between her heart and her culture.Her daunting journey is a trip into China's complicated soul, and a deeply moving exploration of love, honor, duty, and loss." Frank Baldwin, Author - Balling the Jack

My Half of the Sky is a wonderfully-crafted story that was obviously written with a piece of McBurney-Lin's heart. A masterpiece."
Lee Lofland, Author - Howdunit: Police Procedure and Investigation

My Half of the Sky heralds the arrival of a fantastic new storyteller. With artistry and precision, Jana McBurney-Lin's clear-eyed prose takes the reader on a new journey into a past world that speaks to a modern sensibility, a modern world, a modern woman. This is a book to be treasured.
Emily Rapp, Author - The Poster Child

Through vivid descriptions of sights and smells, Jana McBurney-Lin's My Half of the Sky is a haunting, emotional journey of what it means to be an honorable female in modern China. Jill Ferguson, Author - Sometimes Art Can't Save You