Yang Shen, Book II, Close-hauled, 1861 by James Lande. The tale
continues with Fletcher's recovery from wounds received in battle with the
Taiping rebels, his struggle to build an effective army, and to overcome the
interference of both Chinese mandarins and British officers opposed to his
force. The Manchu emperor forbids the use of any mercenary soldiers, the
rebels attack Shanghai before Fletcher's army is ready, and he is arrested
and confined aboard ship by a British Admiral. Those who know him best
soul to boot.... You're not what you make yourself out to be, Fletcher, not at all. You've
never led an army, a brigade, or a regiment. By your own account, you only commanded a
battery in the Crimea, and taught Mexicans the manual of arms at Juarez. Reading books
about war does not make a field commander. I fear for your safety. I fear you'll convince
some ignoramus to let you command an army and lead it into the field, and then your little bit
of military school and book learning will fail you. I fear my only brother will die on some
lonely battlefield because he thought he understood more than he really knew.”
Historical fiction expected to be available some time in 2014.
Yang Shen, Book III, Departure, 1862 by James Lande. Fletcher begins
another journey of discovery when amidst the chaos or war he takes as his
bride the daughter of his mandarin sponsor and, after puzzling long months to
comprehend the Chinese men he is thrown in with, he must now learn how to
understand the mind of a Chinese woman who cannot speak his language.
take no more British deserters and is forced to find an entirely new and unexpected way to
Yang Shen Journals by James Lande. For many years, Yang Shen author
James Lande kept journals while traveling the American West on writing
sabbaticals, and in Ireleand and China. The first sabbaticals were in a 24-foot
motorhome named Arvee (because Rocinante was already taken by
Steinbeck), with "whom" Lande had running conversations about their travels,
the mountains, forests, seashores and deserts where they stayed, and issues
with the novel (more was written in the journals those years than in the book).
Old China Books
September 9, 1995, Saturday. Weather turned sunny and warm for today's drive, and
turned my mind sunny-side up. Took the wrong turn out of Orofino [Idaho] and [wound up
on] the road between Nezperce and Kamiah, a solid dark line on the map, which is maybe
what some legislators, surveyors and map makers hoped for before highway funding was
cut, but the new map I'm now using shows the road as "improved" dirt …with a couple-
thousand foot drop from the plains above to the valley below, the Clearwater river valley.
Toujours Gai by Luise Shannon Landers. In this unique memoir, a lady 95
years young looks back over her long and tumultuous life, reflecting on how
the times changed and how she changed (or did not change) with them. Born
the year the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, she came to see her country at
war in the Middle East – bookends, sort of. Toujours gai was her motto, and
"there's a dance in the old girl yet" is as good a motif as any for her life.
always merry, which I pronounce two-zhoor-gay. I believe this buoyant disposition arose out
of something genetic, rather than just plain dumb ignorance, of which I had plenty."
marvel at how he prevails.
"You seem to me like water – you find your way around every obstacle."
And they worry, too, about what Fletcher may become.
"You lose yourself in this role of mercenary soldier-of-fortune, Fletcher, and maybe your
Again he is thwarted on all sides, by Chinese generals keen to control him and his force, and
Taiping generals eager to massacre his army and suspend Fletcher’s head in a bamboo cage
hung from the gates of Nanking. Fletcher’s army, finally honored by the Manchu with rank
and title, captures many towns within thirty miles of Shanghai, but the rebels counterattack
across the Yangtze delta and once more threaten Shanghai. The foreigners there come to rely
on Fletcher’s army to defend their little settlement, but fear his strange soldiers cannot hold
back the rebel horde.
Abraham Lincoln receives a letter from the his minister to China telling the president of
Fletcher’s exploits. Lincoln left no record of his thoughts, but the letter reached him in some
of the darkest days of the Union's battle for survival, and the harassed man in the White
House, many of whose generals were fumbling and misdirecting the northern armies, may well
have sat in silence and wondered wistfully if Fletcher might not be the military genius whose
services the cause of the North so urgently needed then.
Historical fiction expected to be available some time in 2016.
The British have finished warring on China and now fight together with
Fletcher’s little army to check the Taiping advance, but Fletcher agrees to
"I've always felt a kindred spirit in Mehitabel the Cat, in Don Marquis's
Archie and Mehitabel, which cat was fond of quoting "toujours gai,"
"Some people's lives change more than others. I went from Louise to Luise to Weezie. I
grew up as an only child, but was a mother at 9 - to my baby sister. I became a widow at 12 -
when my daddy died. My memoir passes through a gauntlet of two world wars, and more
since, the Great Depression, five marriages, twenty-two jobs, law school, and travel to seven
"There are some advantages to being this old. In a hostage situation I'm likely to be released
first. There's nothing left to learn the hard way. Things I buy now won't wear out. I eat
dinner at 4:00pm to avoid acid reflux, but had to give up wasabi and Jack Daniels. I can live
without sex, but not without a Nasa-developed foam mattress. My secrets are safe with my
friends because they can't remember them either."
"If I wanted to court unhappiness, I could resent the few options I had. But I was a child of
my times, as we all are, so resenting would be an exercise in futility. I believe I was endowed
by nature with a cheerful disposition, not inclined to dwell on the unpleasant. Toujours gai!"
Memoir, availability to be announced.
It was a white-knuckler, folks; even Arvee'll give testimonny: 16 miles of potholes and gravel
washboard just wide enough on the hairpin turns for one Arvee and what seemed a near vertical
1000-foot drop - I explained to Arvee that this is how it felt to fly in a Piper Cub, and asked that
he not bother me ever again with questions about what it feels like to fly. Arvee said I should tell
him whenever I was ready to drive faster than 10 mph, and would I please loosen up on the
steering wheel because I was choking him. It must have been an hour before we came to asphalt
on the descent into Kamiah; we were greeted by wild turkeys and deer in the road. Arvee said
that with all the washboard he'd been over you'd think he'd be cleaner. I said I was going to book
him into the Kamiah Grange Hall as a one-motorhome standup comedy act. Arvee said I didn't
have to be sarcastic; after all, he'd saved both our butts countless times coming down that
August 25, 1995, Friday. Montana morning: First comes a faint glow over the Flathead Range,
then the sallow light expands to fill the eastern sky and is reflected in the quiet surface of the
lake. The horizon blazes up like a fire in a hearth, spilling warmth over the andirons and ottomans
of the forest on the western shore, suffusing gray mists with gold, setting aglow the brown bark
of the tall pines. The long, slender fingers of Phoebus reach among the trees and (as once the
god marked the sanguine hyacinth with his sorrow) streak with canary-yellow the white sashes
and epaulets of a company magpies on maneuvers in the branches [a reach almost as long as that
of the impoverished writer for a long-out-of-fashion classical allusion to completely mix up the
tone]. Too soon the sun rises behind low-lying storm clouds and the light goes out of the forest,
the mists return to gray, and the bark of the pines is dark again.
But then a sudden encore of sunlight bursts through a break in the clouds and flares like the
aureole of an angel of the Lord descending to announce "Hail, forest, the Lord is with thee!"
How about "grim seraphim" for "angel of the Lord?" Need I remind you, Journal, that these are
just exercises; anyway, classical allusions were more fashionable in 1860, 'tho more likely on the
quarterdeck than in the foc'sle of clipper ships.
Writer's journal, availability to be announced.
OCB Future Offerings
San Diego Public Library
Borrego Springs CA
Saturday, April 21, 2012
5:00pm to 6:00pm
How to Buy
eBook on Kindle & Nook
An eBook version of Yang
Shen is now at Amazon and
Barnes & Noble. See the
Yang Shen website eBook
page for details
Release of Yang Shen
New eBook formats
Yang Shen can now be
downloaded in other eBook
formats (besides Kindle and
Nook) from Omni Lit. See
the Yang Shen website
Yang Shen Videos
Three videos related to Yang
Shen can be seen now on
Yang Shen Book Trailer
An introduction to the story
told in Yang Shen and the
players in Shanghai in
1860 (2.3 min, 44MB).
Yang Shen Media page.
China in 1860
A brief overview of the
history underlying the novel
Yang Shen, giving the reader
the historical context of
China's Ch'ing (Qing)
dynasty, the Opium Wars,
Treaty Ports, and
the Taiping Rebellion. A
painless introduction to
complex times (7 1/2 min,
108MB). Yang Shen Media
The Lower Reaches
Journey aboard the clipper
Essex to China, and the
Confucius up the Yangtze
River into the heart of China
following the maps in the
novel Yang Shen and visit
the locations of the story
(15 min, 210MB). Yang
Shen Media page.