Asian Fest and Cherry Blossom Festival

Happy New Year and Happy Chinese New Year!

It’s time to welcome in the Year of the Boar. Oink oink! What better way to do this than to head on down to the Queen’s Market Place for Asian Fest and then to the Waimea Heritage Cherry Blossom Festival. For more information visit the Cherry Blossom Facebook page For more info on Asian Fest visit the Queen’s Market Place website at




圣诞快乐 Merry Christmas


Well it certainly has been an exciting 2018. I’ve had fun promoting my new book The Zone which was released in November of 2017. It is a historical novel that takes place in 1937 Nanking during the infamous rape of that city. I have been giving readings hosted by the Hawaii Writers Guild from both The Zone and Banana Girl throughout the year.

In addition to giving readings I’ve also been somewhat “promoted” by the Guild as the unofficial photographer and keeper of our Facebook page. I’m also the one who does all the Facebook Live feeds and I sometimes write the updates on our website.

I’ve also been making the craft fair rounds with the most recent being JoAnn William’s Christmas Craft Fair on Black Friday weekend.

Up next is the Waimea Heritage Cherry Blossom Festival which is February 2nd, 2019. I have an article coming up in Wasabi Magazine in their February 2019 issue about the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Until then I’d like to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Voices Mahalo



Our Hawaii Writers Guild just held our last event for 2018 at the Thelma Parker Memorial Library. Featured readers were Nancy Baenzinger, Jada Tan Rufo, Jim Gibbons, Greer Woodward, and Virginia Fortner. And our very own Cece Johansen has come out of retirement to resume her role as emcee.

Our next event will be February 2nd at the Waimea Heritage Cherry Blossom Festival where HWG will have a spot selling our books. If you are in Waimea that weekend come check us out.

I want to thank all who come out and support local writers. I look forward to meeting readers in 2019 and to sharing my work with you.


Jada Tan Rufo

For live videos of the event check out our Facebook page:

Hawaii Writers Guild Facebook



Virginia Fortner



Nancy Baenzinger



Jim Gibbons



Jada Tan Rufo



Greer Woodward



Cece Johansen our emcee




Jo Ann Williams 36th Annual Christmas Treasures Gift, Jewelry, Arts & Crafts Fair


From the Hawaii Writers Guild website:

Our HWG is gaining more exposure. Several of our Guild members were at the Jo Ann Williams Christmas Craft Fair over the two day event on November 23 and 24 to sell and sign books while promoting the Guild. We passed out flyers and business cards and talked to a lot of people who otherwise would have not known that there is a writers guild in Hawaii.

Our first day, Cece Johansen, Louise Riofrio, Virginia Fortner, Duncan Dempster, and Jada Tan Rufo were all there meeting people and signing books. On day two it was Cece, Jada, Louise, and Jim Gibbons. We had a lot of people who were interested in native Alaskan and Polynesian cultures. Since Louise’s book Discovery is about that, she did very well at the fair. Her books SOLD OUT!

I had encounters with a fellow ESL teacher who had also taught in China, as well as with a young man who has a podcast about Asian Americans and the issues we face. Perhaps you will hear me on a future podcast.

Jim also had an encounter with another fair vendor, a retired police officer who had written a book on his experiences, Behind the Badge. Jim told him about the existence of our writer’s guild and gave him our information. Jim also was able to barter with this man book-for-book. Virginia also was also able to barter with other vendors to get more exposure.

There were fun moments as well. They had door prizes and lucky number draws. Jim and I made out like bandits in that category. He got a prize for having a Santa-like beard, while I had to show pictures of bugs and a selfie with a hotel employee. I also pulled a muscle while trying to walk like a turkey. After all that effort I should get something!



Next up for me is our Writers’ Voices event December 5th, at the Thelma Parker Memorial Library at 6 pm. I’ll be reading from my historical novel The Zone, a story that takes place in 1937, China during the infamous “Rape of Nanking”. The passage I’ll be reading from is a true event taken from the diary of Minnie Vautrin, dean of Ginling Women’s College, who was one of a handful of westerners who stayed behind in the besieged city of Nanking, now Nanjing. Although Iris Chang wrote about the Nanjing Massacre in her book Rape of Nanking, I still find that many Americans know nothing about this atrocity. This book is my attempt to tell people using fiction about what happened in those dark days of December 1937.



Vote Wisely


Every election season, whether it is the Presidential or the midterm election, I am always reminded of a conversation I had back in 2000 with a Chinese colleague.

His name is Mr. Ji, a Chinese English teacher in Shang Shu Private High School in a small town called Anji in China’s eastern Zhejiang Province. Mr. Ji, — or as his students called him Ji Shi (Teacher Ji) was a highly respected teacher in our school. So when Mr. Ji spoke his words of wisdom carry a degree of respect and are worth listening to.

Months before the presidential election I had received my absentee ballot in the mail. Just weeks before the election I had announced to my Chinese colleagues in the office that I had planned to mail my ballot back to Hawaii.

“When you vote please think of us,” Mr. Ji begged me.

I totally misunderstood what he was asking. I thought he was asking me to vote for Al Gore, the Democratic candidate because most Chinese favor the Democratic Party because of the party’s favorable stance to China.

“I can’t vote on your behalf,” I said. “I have to vote for who I think is best for my country.”
It wasn’t until the 2016 election of Donald Trump that I realized what Mr. Ji really meant. As an American voter I am choosing a leader who will affect the lives of every individual on this planet. I am choosing someone who will not just represent me in negotiations with other foreign governments. I am also voting for someone who will affect every person on Earth.

The 2016 election also made me realize something else;that for one day we, the American people, are the most powerful people in the world. Foreign governments all stop for one day to watch how we Americans vote. Our international friends are watching as to what direction our country has taken politically. Our foes will be watching for flaws, which is why our European allies are on edge and Russia and China are trying to hack into our voting systems.

We are vulnerable to fake news by trolls posing as Americans. But trolls don’t get to tell us who to vote for or what issues deserves our attention. Only you, the American voter, can do that.

So get out there and vote. And vote wisely.