|Posted on November 2, 2015 at 2:55 PM||comments (0)|
In Opium Warfare there are several crimes committed that speak volumes and give an all too real scenario on actual crimes that take place today and took place back then. While I don't wish to give any spoilers about my novel what I will do is look into and list the top ten crimes that have taken place in China since 1949. Upon doing a search the only list I found was that of a list of crimes that took place from 1949 and above. I think it's important to at least look into anc acknowledge these crimes as it gives some perspective and shines some light on the crimes in my novel and how they fair compared to real crimes in Chinese history. What I will do is list the crime and tell a bit about it. At the end I will compare them all as a whole to criminal activity within Opium Warfare.
10. Man Kills 48
In 1985 a man killed 48 people and buried their bodies in pits in his courtyard. It was also found that he robbed them as well. The creepy part is he was never found to be mental ill and was executed in the same year.
In 1976 Two brothers also former soldiers became the first two people in Chinese history to have a reward out for their arrest. They killed four people and others during their escape from prison and robbed a hospital. They were both caught and killed in 1983.
8. Cold-Blooded Psycho
A man killed 15 soldiers and policemen and injured 15 more between 1996 and 1997. He did this after being released from prison after 14 years for robbery, stealing and assault. He wanted revenge so he set out and killed people including his accomplice whom he shot, bashed his head in and burned the corpse. He was caught and executed in 1998.
7.China's Public Enemy #1
Between 1991 and 2000 a man, his mistress and gang robbed places and stole millions of dollars while killing 28 people in the process. All the weapons they used and acquired they did illegally. The man was executed in 2001.
6. The Monster
A man committed 26 crimes involving robberies, rape and homicide,killed a total of 67 people, injured 10 and raped 23 during this period. The crazed man confessed to using a hammer, scissors, ropes and bricks to attack his victims, He was setenced and executed in 2004.
5. Not a First Timer
A man killed 8 and injured 11 in 2003. However, not his first offense as he killed 10 in 1990 including his ex-girlfriend's husband. He was eventually caught for his crimes in 2006.
4. Big Money Man
A leader of a gang and considered gangland-like criminal syndicate, committed quite a number of crimes including robbery, kidnapping, weapon smuggling and the illegal trading of explosives. He and his gang stole over 2,500 ROlex watches and escaped with over 30mil and in the end 25mil, the highest amount ever stolen in Hong Kong. He held an important businessmen up for over a billion in ransom, he dissappeared upon recieving over 600 million in ransom money. He was eventually caught and executed in 1998.
3. Should've Been Released
Having been in prison already for robbery a man was released in 2001 after serving eight years. After being released he spent the next 3 years robbing some more along with trading illegal arms and assaulting police officials. He was killed in a shootout in 2003.
2. Money for Nothing, Death for Free
A man and his family committed quite a bit of crimes between 1996 and 2000 with crimes such as armed robberies and two bank robberies. Among other crimes they netted around 2.5 mil. However the man and his family were excuted following a public trial in 2001.
1. Self Proclaimed Killer
A former scout who attened a counterattack in Vietnam in 1979, once said he was the No.1 killer in a Province. After retiring, he killed several people following a conflict. He fled and made his own group and the group in total killed 13 and injured 38 and of course robbed them of thousands. The former scout was killed during a shootout in 1993.
As you can see, there are sick people all over the world no matter where you go. I'm sure you'll also notice the pattern. Almost every single crime I listed was either murder, robbery or murder and robbery. What does it say about Chinese crime? Well I'm no investigator but clearly in any place it's all about money and trying to prove something...in this case they only proved what crazy people they are and how they are no different then any other criminal. I will note that I did not give the names of these criminal men because I felt it was not important nor did I give all information on the men. The whole point of this was to show a very true look into the crimes of China in the last 30 years or so. It shocks me because I honestly thought the world's most brutal criminals came from the U.S or even Eastern Europe but clearly as I stated twice before, it can't be said enough, criminals and sick invidivuals are alike no matter where they are from.
Now how does this compare to Opium Warfare? Well like I said I don't plan on spoiling the novel but I can tell you that there is no string of mass murders nor are millions of dollars in money stolen. While the book does focus on drug trafficking, embezzeling and extorting, it does touch on more harsh crimes to a certain degree. If there is anything worth noting it's that I did not find many horrendous crimes in China in the 1920's, which isn't to say they did not exist but simply that none of importance came up. Had I come across them I may or may not have included it in the novel but most likely not as the novel is not a hard-boiled or psychopathic crime, it's a Crime Thriller/Historical Fiction set in 1920's Shanghai to give the reader an idea at a what was thought to be a simpler time. Finally, exactly how villanous is Shin Shaojin to these men? Well they make him like like someone in between Skeletor the He-Man villain and a Saint. Don't be fooled at this analysis of him though, you need to read the book to decide how bad he is for yourself.
|Posted on October 28, 2015 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
One thing I breifly mentioned in the Summary and Introduction for Opium Warfare as well as a video was the Green Gang. I thought I would give a bit more insight on the Green Gang about who they are and how they play an important role in the novel. First off, The Green Gang is a criminal organization in Shanghai. Members of the gang claim the origins of the gang date all the way back to the 1450's. While they relied on making money by acting as corrupt individuals their main source of income came from the trafficking of opium. It's worth nothing that upon considering a criminal organization for the book I considered the Yakuza and the Triads. However the Yakuza is a japanese gang and the Traid are the main Chinese gang. I didn't want to use the Triads and wanted something unique and more original so a simple Google search led me to find the Green Gang and how fitting was it? As you can see not only were they in Shanghai and operational during the time of my book but they also dealt in the dealings of opium, so it was a win win all around. So you know the basics about the gang and why I chose it for my book but let's talk about some interesting details you may not know and how it tied into the book and is useful to know overall about Shanghai.
Shanghai originally had two gangs, the green and the red and both were equal. Over the years the Green Gang began branching out in committing higher levels of crime it was wasn't too long after that they had established themselves as the lead gang in all of Shanghai. Like many crime organizations they are considered a secret society and their members were put into groups called fleets. These fleets were broken up into several hundred and each given specific tasks whether it be working a deal with the Triads or working the shipping systems along the rivers and docks. A very interesting fact is that very little illegal happenings go down in Shanghai without the Green Gang knowing. This shows that the gang is the elite of the illegal and if something goes down in Shanghai it can't do so until it goes through the Green Gang. The members come from a certain hierarchical manner. They are initiated by that of a blood oath. Those who have high ranking status in the gang are usually that of businessmen, politicians and high-interest bankers. The rest of the members were made up of everyday type citizens with jobs such as merchants, laborerers, other less influential politicians and even some military.
You know that saying? "I know people" or "one phone call"? Which is to state that a person has connections, well the Green Gang had connections...with French police. Since the Green Gang did opium trading with the French they needed people on the inside and those inside just happen to be the French authorities, now that's what I call having the right people in your pocket. One of the head authority figures in Shanghai was also in connection with the gang as he was a boss. This boss was in power during the early 20's when the opium smuggling was popular and right around the time of my novel. The Green gang broke two of their organizations under two different names when trading with the French. The French paid them and this also helped pay the top Frnch officials. There was also transactions to which covered all opium dens in France, this way the ones in Shanghai made the money and the extra cash covered the costs for their connections. In a nutshell, the Green Gang got most of the goods, most of the money and covered their tracks sufficiently. This is all noteworthy because not only does it tell you of the importance of the Green Gang to Shanghai but also shows that the time period to which Opium Warfare is set in is just right, making it a fitting historical fiction.
To read more about the Green Gang feel free to check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Gang" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">this page and to read about how they operate in fiction be sure to grab a copy of Opium Warfare.
|Posted on October 26, 2015 at 11:35 PM||comments (0)|
Someone brought to my attention and suggested that I discuss the anti-drug policies in 1920's China. I can first tell you that I had done no research involving anti-drugs when it came to my story for a few reasons. The first reason being regardless of what the laws are or were I wrote a fiction which went against whatever was true in this nature. Yes, I did incorporate a lot of factual aspects in the book but felt when it came to the opium itself, the regulations and rules needed to be as wide open as possible to give it real effect and show that the city was weak and accepting when it came to a possible outbreak. So were there real anti-drug laws in China in 1920? Yes, they have had longstanding ones in place since the 1920's. In the late 20's and early 30's opium was made illegal in communist controlled regions. During the 40's and later on the regulations and rules became more thorough and demanding due to people attempting to break the law and try to obtain the illegal goods. Basically, China did in fact have a drug problem in the 1920's just like they do in my novel, however my novel makes it more of a serious matter.
China’s drug problems while small in the 20's became more known and prominent in the later half of the century and early 30's so much that it is likely the reason for the rules and regulations made in place after the fact, The 40's from what I could gather was when China became more strict about the rules and regulations they already had in place. The main reason this was done was because of opium and later on more drugs associated with opium. Political and military conflicts also tied into the stricter rules in the 30's and 40's. It appears that the more China upped their rules the more people felt the need to break them and obtain drugs or that to which was deemed illegal to have. This is likely a pattern no matter what country but nevertheless also just like any country, China did what they felt they needed to do to stop the rise and distribution of opium/drugs in their country. Given that China had two opium wars long before the 1900's, it’s no wonder and worth mentioning that they already had several programs, documents and acts in place against the use, distribution and selling of opium and nacotics.
Throughout the years people always found a way to obtain the drugs just as today being the same. Many doctors practiced in belief that opium was a good pain reliever and many published books stating the belief and practice in the matter. It was because of this belief to which the country banned and made acts, seeing as opium was given out by so many doctors to relieve pain and to any one who could acquire it was no wonder the country tried so hard to prevent it from getting any worse. There was a prohibition and several treaties with countries to prevent future opium outbreaks because it was so severe. So were their anti-drug policies in place? Of course and they’ve been in place for hundreds of years and it wasn’t until the late 1920's that things started to get worse again and the Chinese government decided to look into the laws already in place and enhance them to prevent against a war or outbreak. My book could be considered a fictional aspect of a small outbreak that took place and because it happened it lead to the reason the Chinese government upped their game and enforced sticter rues in the end of the decade and beginning of the new one.
|Posted on October 16, 2015 at 2:35 PM||comments (0)|
As many of you may know Shin Shaojin is the antagonist of my crime thriller novel, Opium Warfare. However what do you really know about him besides the fact that he's a bad guy? Well for a simple explanation of him check out a post of him on https://www.pinterest.com/pin/320037117248422254/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">pinterest. To be honest I don't really dip into Shaojin's past but tell you enough to give you an idea of the type of man he is. He is a businessman, perhaps the top businessman in all of Shaojin during the times. It isn't mentioned as to how he acquired such wealth but he owns his own business called Shaojin Enterprises and there are several headquarter locations throughout China not just Shanghai. I will give you one spoiler in simple terms that Shaojin is looking to expand his business ventures by having more buildings made in Shanghai which shows his willingness to try new things, expand and better Shanghai. Shaojin has backgrounds in fighting and hand to hand combat but never really mentions it as he is always looking forward and to the future. He's all business first and fun later type but what makes him tick? Why exactly is he so egotistical and arogant? Well there are several factors as to why this is which I will share.
I first took the ole cliche that most big head honchos of big businesses are full of themselves and only care about making more money and if it doesn't benefit them to some degree they aren't interested. This can be said about Shaojin. Also while most businessman tend to have you speak to one of their representatives and what not I sort of allowed people to be able to approach Shaojin which means he cares what people think about him and he's very quick to jump to conclusions and defend himself as he doesn't want to be misconstrued. Basically Shaojin while above people(or thinking he is) still cares what the everday man has to say about him, he's quick to snap at that person and doesn't care whether or not it hurts their feelings but in a way he cares about his image. Shin Shaojin does business with several other corporations and one can assume that he has business in overseas trading, real estate, and a Shanghai-esque Wall Street all to which accounts for his success and wealth.
Donald Trump, we all know who he is. Donald Trump is a modern day entrepreneur, a businessman who has a line of Hotels, clothing company as well as many other business type ventures. Also as you know he is running for president and it's because of this that we get to hear him and how he is. If you know Trump you know he too is egotistical, very rude, arrogant and foul mouthed. Trump thinks he's the king of swing and doesn't care if he offends people because he won't even admit to saying or doing anything wrong in the first place. Like Shaojin he is wealthy, arrogant and is quick to defend himself, always tried to get the last word in. He believes in himself a little too much and is probably his biggest fan, Shaojin can also be said to be his own biggest fan. Does Trump make good business choices? Absolutely there's no question about that and he also makes sure he follows up on topics and makes good points when need be. The problem is sometimes he goes too overboard or as any man in his position does, he jumps the gun, is quick to deliver and makes points and comes off like a total fool. He either tells you what you want to hear or tells you something as long as it's about him or benefits him.
Now everything I have said about Trump could be said to be my opinion but I'm merely basing my information off what Trump himself says and the way he portrays himself. I'm not telling you anything you probably don't already think yourself. Since I talked about what I based Shaojin off of, I'll get a bit more into Trump. Do you think Trump cares about what people think about him? No, I don't think he does and why should he? When your that full of yourself you only care about one person...numero uno, yourself. What does it say about him as a businessman? Well again I'm not downing businessman nor am I saying they are all alike I am merely really in and taking the ole cliche that most are arrogant, ego driven and while they have drive they are all about themselves. This to me is Donald Trump in a nutshell, sure every once in a while he surprises you by doing hospitality(whatever that may be) but in the long run he's the epideme of what I;m talking about, a wealthy man who thinks everything he says and does is right and if you call him out on it, he's going to tell you, put you down or say whatever he has to to make you feel bad for saying it.
Did I base Shin Shaojin off Donad Trump? No, not at all. At least not intentionally. When I created Shin Shaojin, Donald Trump wasn't even in my mind, in fact the old businessman of the day such as John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford were people I had in mind. I then took those two men, visualized they were in another country and then gave them flaw after flaw until I had Shin Shaojin(That was a very brief assessment of what I did). Now that I look back and seeing as I'm writing this article I would say Shaojin definitely has traits that are similar and like Donald Trump. How are they alike? Well let's see:
-Care what people think about them
-Are quick to defend themselves
-Make points and want you to know they made it
-Tend to have slip ups when speaking
-They(pardon my French) know their shit:
-Are very blunt when speaking their minds
However, while they are similar they are also different. Aside from the obvious ones real and the other isn't Shaojin threatens those who oppose him, Trump at least to my knowledge does not. When someone calls Trump out or goes against what he says, he stays firm and takes them down and shows no weakness if only that he turns slightly redder then normal. Shaojin shows signs of weakness when someone catches him on something, he sounds lost as of what to say gets beat red and then decides how he wants to handle it. To put it in simple terms, Trump has one face, Shaojin has many. Basically what it comes down to is that Shin Shaojin and Donald Trump while alike are also very different. I'd give you numbers on their net worth but I don't find it irrelevant and plus I don't want any of us to feel like we are worthless or shells in comparison to these two men.
To find out more about Shin Shaojin please feel free to read about him in Opium Warfare
Donald Trump is actually quite familar with Chinese books and culture. Check out this article on an interview he had with a press agency of China, he listed 20 Chinese books that he had read, from memory.
|Posted on October 9, 2015 at 5:10 PM||comments (0)|
These days heroin is all too familiar in our country and culture. It has become an epidemic and there are way too many people dying from it. I'm not going to sit here and give you numbers on exactly how many because you probably have an idea for yourself as to how deadly it is and how many people it's killed. Also just take a guess and I'm sure your in the ballpark as to the amount. Why is heroin so big these days? That's anyones guess. I'm not familar with the drug world, I do not know how it operates but what I do know is basic information that any other normal person does: those who depend on it, it's easy for them to get their hands on it and will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. Heroin is the source of more deaths in the last two years than it normally has caused. Heroin is derived from an opiate and is made from opium..again known fact. The reason I mention this is due to the fact that this is the focus of thr article...heroin compared to opium itself and how compared to when opium was popular to how heroin is now and why exactly the two drugd while similar, one has a deadly effect and the other did not cause such a panic.
In my novel Opium Warfare, I take a very all too familar trend in both U.S and Chinese culture and put my own collective spin on it. I wanted to focus on opium because it was a popular drug and pass time of Chinese people back in the day. While I can tell you it probably wasn't as big as I make it in my novel in 1920s Shanghai, I assure you it was most definitely still active though my fictional telling of it creates a knowledge of it that while small it was there. I am not going to sit here and list ingredients of the drug, Google it if you must but know the two are similar but that heroin is made from several things and a heavier much more potent version of opium. Let me run a few questions by and answer them to fruther your wonder. Was opium as addicting as Heroin is today? -Yes, any drug is addicting and opium addiction is not to be taken lightly but if anything is to be known it's that back then opium was the only known drug at the time. Sure there was others but opium was the go to drug and people who did it didn't turn to other heavy drugs back then like they are likely to do now. Did people die from overodoses? -Yes, of course they did. Opium is the drug to which most drugs derive from so just like any drug, the effects can be deadly. -How does it differ from heroin today? -People didn't think of opium as dedly back in the day but we all know heroin is very deadly in todays society. Back then opium was a way of life, a practice and people would go to opium dens and have a good time, sure it got out of hands at times but the overall message wasn't to get high and waste your life, it was to extend it. The main difference between opium then and heroin now is that people celebrated and rejoiced and treated opium as a healthy way to life and incorporated it into their culture. Heroin now is like any heavy drug of today, we know the effects of it, we know it's bad, it can kill and we don't see those who do it as celebrating or living life to the fullest.
One thing I came across after reading "Confessions of an English Opium Eater" by Thomas de Quincey and researching on opium was that people were very casual and modest about their use with it. Nowadays if people do drugs chances are the only way you know is if they are strung out out of their minds or simple signs of drug use. When opium was popular centuries ago and during the time of my book, it was almost quiet and people didn't talk about stuff like that. Think of the 50's..look at all the stuff we do now that if it were done in the 50's would have sent people crazy! Well this is the same way with opium to heorin, if people abused opium as bad as they abused heroin, chances are we'd have some serious historical events back then to read about today. I'm not telling you opium was okay to use, no that's not the point to take here. The point I'm making is that back then it was a simpler time and now while it still is simple for most people, their are some who like those who abused opium back then, abuse heroin until the point where they are no longer alive to enjoy life. You could walk into an opium den with others there and enjoy yourself, you could probably have better control habits and know ones limits, today that just doesn't seem to be the case. Way too many people are dying from drug related deaths. It doesn't need to be said that no matter what time or decade it is, drugs are bad and have an ending result that no person wants but at one point, the effects were more clear, I only wish that the awareness or acknowledgement of it back then could be incorporated t today..maybe then people wouldn't be dropping like flies at the hands of overdosing on heroin or any other related drug.
|Posted on September 22, 2015 at 3:30 PM||comments (0)|
Hello and welcome to the Opium Warfare Workshop! What I thought i'd do is hold a little place where you can find out more about the book before it's launch on Friday and even have an ongoing Q&A where you can ask me questions about the book. Basically the information within the workshop will feature the content on the home page but with a bit more analysis as well as other pieces of content. So please feel free to check it out and ask away if you have any questions.
And don't forget the Book Launch Event on Facebook Thursday where their will be lots of fun to honor the books release.
I made this after deciding people need to be educated a bit more about the book. I was inspired to do this after reading a comic book which served as an introduction to the series and it highlighted key points in the book and stuff people could look forward to without having to be taken by a spoiler. So this Summary and Intro serves as a way for you the reader to find out more about the book before hand to decide if it's your cup of tea. Some of the topics within are what inspired me to write it, character bios, places and their meaning and impact on the book. There's plenty to read up on so if your unsure as to whether the book is for you or you want to know more then check out this free PDF download and get to know the behind the scenes making of Opium Warfare.
https://www.pinterest.com/justinbienvenue/opium-warfare/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">-Opium Warfare Pinterest Board
One thing that I thought I would do that's not only informative but also fun to do is make an image board on Pinerest for the book. Many of the images depict old Shanghai, opium-esque images, people, characters and much more. I had a lot of fun and was fascinated at some of the images I came across that truly represent my book and the overall message and story I'm getting across. It is the biggest image board I have on Pinterest and will likely grow as time goes on. So take a look at the image board and get a feel of what the book looks like from a visual perspective.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emcpdnGszhg" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">-Things I Learned While Researching for the Book
Researching for this book was a task in itself. I had done research for my previous works but nothing like the research I did for this book. While the book is fiction I still wanted to make the book real and accurate in many ways, you got to give your book that authentic feel no matter if it's fictional or not. I found myself looking up nd into several different things from the city of Shanghai and it's history to the use of opium over the years. I even looked up less prominent things such as the types of chinese tea, transportation and even the gangs within China. There was much to look up so when you watch/listen to the video you'll hear me mentin many things that I came across when researching the book.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8XvDV-lDEs" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">-5 Things You May Enjoy Opium Warfare
I made this video because I felt I could give reasons that I felt were important and peek peoples interest in wanting to check out the book. My goal for this book is to entertain and educate you at the same time, these five reasons I give are more along the lines of educating but I assure you this is only because entertaining is the enjoymenty from reading the book itself. If your still unsure as to whether or not this book is for you, here's five reasons I believe you may enjoy it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r94Fi6MsGS8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Opium Warfare Book Trailer
Every good book needs a book trailer to showcase and preview what it's about. As some of you may know I like to make my own book trailers, I find it saves time and money and I'm not that bad at it if i do say so myself! The one thing I believe that makes this trailer different from the others I've made is it comes off as more of a somber mood meaning you get a sense of the good and the bad of the book but the overall feeling is that the main plot of opium gives off an unsettling feeling throughout the book. Don't take my word for it though, watch the vdieo for yourself and get to see what it's all about.
https://www.onlineassessmenttool.com/opium-warfare-quiz/assessment-25849" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Which Character Are You?
I wanted to have a little fun with the book from a game perspective so seeing as we all love those games we see on Facebook about which person you are or whatever it may be I thought I'd create a character quiz. You can answer five questions and see which character in the book your most like. It's fun to play and it gives you an idea of what the characters are like before you read about them, and perhaps when you find out who your like you may begin to question yourself..
I wrote an article which details the impact and use of opium from a fictional standpoint but also a realistic standpoint and how it has effected and played a part in the culture in Shanghai and China. I felt it was important to highlight and explain more on opium so that people are aware of it before they read the book and also get an idea of just exactly what it means to the culture. Feel free to read the article for a more in depth look.
|Posted on September 4, 2015 at 3:45 PM||comments (0)|
Sometimes one of the many issues we run into as authors is to which genre does our book fall under? Yes in most cases it’s easy to distinguish a books place and where it should fall but sometimes that’s not so clear. While my last three books already had a distinct genre ready for them after they were completed my fourth book did not. Opium Warfare was a fun project to write but the challenge of it was trying to figure out which genre it fell under. To be honest, while writing it I began thinking of genres of where it fit and none were coming into play. I knew more of what it wasn’t then what it was. Finally, one day I sat down and really thought about it. I thought about the content, the representation, the locations, the basis, you name it I thought of it. Then I picked out the one solid small piece of connection I had to a genre..the title itself...Opium. Opium is a drug and drugs are usually connected to crime, but is it truly a crime novel? No, at least not in the sense of first true definition of a crime novel. For all intensive purposes the book is a type of crime but about 4th or 5th on a list of what makes a crime novel. I then immediately thought of a thriller. A thriller not in the sense of horror but in the sense that there are many suspenseful and intense situations throughout the book. It was during this that I remembered Crime Thrillers do exist and therefore I needed not to look any further because a Crime Thriller was what suited my book best. I did also ask my members of the Opium Warfare Book Group to which genre it fell under and they more or less chose genres of Crime, Thriller and even Historical Fiction.
So what is a Crime Thriller? It’s a sub-genre in which suspenseful aspects of a thriller are mixed in with a crime plot creating a strong diverse genre of drama. In my opinion, I felt my book is better suited within this genre rather than within the two as stand alone genres. If any, out of the two I would place Opium Warfare more in the Thriller genre than I would in the Crime simply because the definition of a Crime novel has to do more along the lines of law and judicial systems. Placing a book in the proper genre is important not only to the book but to a reader. I felt more torn over this then I had with any of my other books because like I said earlier, it just wasn’t that easy to define. While this may seem like it took away from the book it in many ways helped it. It helped me not only categorize my book within two genres but it also made me look deeper and figure out if it fell into even more. Luckily it fell into two others, one which of course is Historical Fiction because it takes place in Shanghai, set in a time period of 1920 and seeing that it has actual facts and sometimes real events and places it qualifies under historical fiction.It also qualifies as a Psychological Crime Thriller.
What exactly makes the book psychological? Well there are a couple things actually. The first is the characters and how they think. At times the characters either explain themselves so you get to know their psyches, explain how they think or find themselves in intense suspenseful and intellectual moments that verge on the brink of psychological analysis. Also there’s the whole psychological crime aspect. Psychoanalysis and psychological tactics in a crime setting can create a totally intricate plot for a novel and when blended into a Crime Thriller the results are what you see in Opium Warfare. Characters who use their minds and their projected feelings toward others to create a harmful environment.Overall the question is why will you enjoy Opium Warfare? Because of it’s unique and yet at first uncertain placement but also because it transcends between several genres and even reads as a third being a Crime Thriller. I hope Opium Warfare will be enjoyed by Crime, Psychological, Thriller, Historical Fiction fans and all book lovers who enjoy a well written book with plenty in it to entertain and educate all at the same time.
|Posted on September 4, 2015 at 3:35 PM||comments (0)|
If you trace the origins of Opium back to a certain date you’ll find that your going to be going a long way back. Opium has been used for many centuries and was a key asset and even was the reason behind certain organizations fall from power. The use of opium is no secret, it started off like most drugs do as a cure for an illness or ailment. However after a while people began to discover it’s true properties and began finding themselves using it for purposes other than just illness and ailments. Perhaps the biggest thing to take from this part is the fact that from all the way back then to now, people still continue to abuse drugs especially opium which of course has made it’s way into today’s society as a more lethal compound of a drug called heroin. However, as we go back through time we notice that the influence of opium was so great that it caused two wars. First the was the Opium War from 1839 to 1842 and the Second Opium War from 1856 to 1860. It was these wars that separated China from the rest of the world. The Opium Wars were not just about the drug itself but what else they represented which was the civilization of China as a whole and the balance between nations especially between the British.
The influence and impact of opium has taken cities by storm and cultivated a flurry of outbreaks throughout Britain and Eastern Asia as well as other places all around the world. The main source, spread and usage of opium however can be traced back to China. The Chinese relied heavily on China so much so that not only did it cause two wars but it left a big mark on the culture today as well. One of the main reasons I decided to write a book about opium wasn’t because of it’s checkered past but because of it’s past in general and that fact that the past has rolled over into the present day today and we here in America face the same struggles with drugs as they did in China with opium all those years ago. However let it be understood and noted that my book is of course written of fiction. While the location and places are of real nature the purpose of the book is to entertain and also enlighten a reader. To entertain them with a tale of a fictional 1920's Shanghai but to also perhaps tell the of a tale that reads all to close to home from the fact that opium is still alive and used today and that back then talks of it were in a fascinating state to which the people did not see the fears we face today. The book’s foundation and the main plot is just that; mixing in the past and the present to create a medium which is 1920's Shanghai.
For more information on the origin, usage and impact of Opium in China feel free to read the following https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_opium_in_China" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">article
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26090434-opium-warfare?ac=1" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Click here to find out more about Opium Warfare
|Posted on June 9, 2015 at 2:45 PM||comments (0)|
*Please note the book has not been revised, edited or formatted so you may see issues within the chapter. This is to read and be enjoyed.
As a boy I remember my father telling me a bedtime story about the day my grandfather got decapitated. Sure it seems an odd tale to tell a young boy but I was strong and my father knew I could handle it. He told me because he wanted me to know about our family, where we came from, the struggles we overcame and that started with my grandfather, who was in the fur trade like his father. Business boomed but only because he made a deal with another man to help him with the money. When business got bad the money decreased and when my grandfather couldn’t pay his debt, he couldn’t pay the man back and it was in that moment that things changed forever. My father always said he knew not of the details of what happened entirely but knew my grandfather got his head taken off because he could not pay the man back. He also told me there was a myth behind the cruel act but swore to tell me when I got older; he never did. I always suspected it being something along the lines of grandfather’s head rolling down the top of a hill of the opium fields where he was killed, I always liked to mix my imagination along with the rumors.
Of course I’d like to tell you that was a different time and some things should stay in the past but sometimes you can’t control what may carry over into the present. It was 1885 when my grandfather was killed, that was thirty-five years ago. My father is now the same age my grandfather was when he was killed, I mention this because well I can’t help it. I know he doesn’t have a target on his head nor does he carry my grandfather’s blood money but I cannot shake that feeling of dread. I guess in some ways my childhood memories have finally caught up to me and how I should have been scared back then, I am now. Sure, the city of Shanghai had come a long way since those dark days but in a lot of ways it was no different then it was then. It still had it’s crime clearly visible right out in the open as any city does but this also meant if you were a kid running through the streets to run an errand for your dear mother you’d better take the back streets as best as you could. I have been fortunate in both cases; for I grew up when it was safe to walk the streets and I have no young one to fear may not end up back home. For the time being, the Tsang family tree ended with me.
Lately things seemed strange within the community. Something just seemed off about the general public. There was no efficiency when it came to coming together or the exchanging in friendly greetings and gestures. Always in a hurry, or kept to themselves in such a way that you thought maybe they all had death’s within the family and wished not to speak because of shock. Obviously this wasn’t the case but I just couldn’t shake it; me being a vibrant keep to myself young man I was curious and knew all to well of how things could change out of no where. There had been small talk of something going on within the community as the cause of it’s silent shakeup but I for the life of me could not figure out what that was or whether or not it was true. I first became suspicious of the cities activity after a day at the local market. Two men in business suits outside a local outside market on a Wednesday just seemed a bit off. I would have looked the other way and carried on if it weren’t for their demeanor. One guy seemed skiddish. He stood about 6'2 with a slender frame, black parted hair slicked back to where the back of his head was a small pony tail. Constantly making whispers to his friend while he kept looking around. I remember grabbing an apple and just glancing over into their direction only to notice the man’s odd behavior. The other just stood there with his arms folded as if he were guarding something yet there was nothing to guard.
He stood a bit taller then I at 5'11 and also had black hair though it was short. He also had a Fu-Manchu like mustache but clearly looked like he was trying way to hard, what a wannabe. My attention was diverted when a small boy about six years of age stole a good amount of fruit that he stored in a small sack. When someone chased after him I looked on with everyone else and then back to my own market goods. I then looked back over to my right shoulder to notice the two men were gone and what was even stranger is that they were no where to be found. I remember the young boy being dragged back to the market store as the guy who chased him had a firm grip of the boy’s shirt.
“Please, please I just need food for my brothers and sister’s” the boy said clearly scared.
I remember the man holding him looking over at the owner of the small marketplace and shaking his head. He put the boy down and he ran over to the owner and gave him a renminbi but it cost far more then that. I handed the man another four pieces to cover the cost and the man shook his head and gave me a smile before giving the boy a grin. The boy thanked me before running off. Before I handed the man the money to cover his expense I overheard the boy say something to him as to why he stole. It was in Chinese but I know I heard him correctly, he said “We have no money because of the Opi”. Odd thing to say and what did he mean by the Opi? As I thought about it I paid the man my money for my own goods and as I walked away I stopped and suddenly thought,
“Did the boy mean something else? I wasn’t sure what Opi meant but whatever it was the young boy knew it well and it led him to steal”
I had since forgotten about the incident until now, I don’t know why I’d forget such a thing but it just popped back into my head.
With so much going on in this place I decided to pay my old friend Liu a visit. I could always count on Liu to help me out with whatever whether it be someone to hang out with or if I needed a favor he was the man to see. More than likely Liu was on top of his roof. He liked to go up there and tend to his pigeons and if he wasn’t doing that he was usually jumping from building to building, sure it seems like a crazy thing to do but the buildings are close together and Liu knows what he’s doing. He was like many of us growing up always wanting to be a ninja; I grew out of that phase but not Liu. He was so determined to learn the way of the ninja that he once started a fight with a local gang from the block we used to live on. He went into that alley up against five guys and got his ass handed to him.
I watched from the window and then ran down to see if he was alright. His lip was gushing blood and he was beyond bruised but simply looked up at me and laughed. That’s the type of guy Liu was. I walked down the street Liu was on as he had the last apartment on it. Man, I thought, this place looked like crap since the last time I was here two weeks ago. A huge pile of garbage piled up against the building while the concrete blocks along the bottom were cracked, chipped and broken off mixed in with the garbage. One of the railings along the sides of the stairs was off it’s hinges to the building and dangling off. I couldn’t comprehend how a building could go from good condition to shambles in just two weeks. I made my way up the stairs and into the hall. I then made my way up the first set of stairs inside to the 2nd floor where Liu was. As I got to the 2nd floor I noticed the filth once more. The floor covered in trash, debris and whatever else one could possibly imagine. There was a small child playing in the doorway of the second apartment as I walked by. I got to the end of the floor and to the sixth apartment where Liu lives. I went to knock on the door but realized it was already open just slightly ajar. I knocked anyways and then slowly opened the door. I found Liu’s place almost completely empty. All that was inside was a dirty white mat where I’m guessing he slept, an old wooden chair with one of the back leg’s broken, a small dresser and table side by side. On the table and floor were what looked like broken glass and rug burns. I slowly made my way over to the bathroom to see if Liu was there but he wasn’t, just the toilet, bathtub and rusty, grim looking sink. Sitting on the sink was a broken piece of soap and hash pipe.
That’s strange I thought, Liu wouldn’t do drugs in fact he’s one of the most active people I know. I then wondered if I had the right apartment. I walked outside and looked at the number on the door which of course was in Chinese and read the number 6. Yeah, this is Liu’s place alright, maybe he moved I thought. I decided to go up to the fifth floor and get to the roof. If he wasn’t in there then surely he must have moved. As I made my way up the stairs I again noticed the uncivilized and filthy looking manner of the place. I truly thought I was going crazy. I know this was the place I was at two weeks ago in fact I walked the street to this place for a month straight when Liu first moved here. Yet in two weeks time since the last time I had been here the place had become a total disaster. The 3rd , 4th and 5th floor were no different from the 2nd. Dirty looking floors, stuff all over the place, dent’s in the wall and always at least one person hanging out in a doorway of their home.
As I got to the 5th floor I went to the EXIT door which brought me to the roof. I made my way out and was immediately hit by the bright sun just like I was always used to. After getting out of the sun’s ever so graceful stare I looked over to the left and saw four empty cages and laying next to the cages curled up in a fetal position was a man who I immediately recognized as Liu.
He slowly rolled over and awoke before speaking.
“Hey man, how are you?”
“Liu what are you doing on the floor and why does your apartment look like crap?”
“Huh..oh I just..I shipped most of my stuff to Hong Kong, I didn’t tell you? I got a job as a stunt performer.
“No, you didn’t tell me, if I had known I would have helped you.”
“Nah it’s fine man I got most of it out.”
“This entire building has deteriorated and your place looks nothing of how you live. I saw a pipe to smoke Opium in your bathroom, what’s up with that? You don’t smoke.”
“I don’t know about the whole place, I really never noticed to be honest, been so busy. I told you I moved my stuff out so I haven’t really been staying here too much and when I do I’m usually up here jumping the buildings. Had to let the birds go, maybe I’ll take it up again in Hong Kong, you know?”
“And the Opium pipe?”
“Oh, a buddy that helped me move that’s his. Yeah, he introduced me to the stuff. Let me tell you, you want to feel metaphoric just disappear for a bit that’s what you do.”
“You never do drugs Liu, your one of the strongest guys I know”
“Psh..it’s nothing man, it’s not even a big deal, I’m fine see”
Liu gets up and brushes himself off. His white shirt was covered in a bronze and light gold like stain and was ripped at the right corner. We walked over to the other side of the roof and talked a little bit longer. I told him It was nice to see him and that I’d have to come visit him in Hong Kong first chance I got and he agreed. We said our goodbyes and I walked to the door. Liu yelled over to me.
“Just think, I’ll be doing this for a living!” he said as he jumped to the next building and ran off to the next.
I just laughed and shook my head, Liu was active and vibrant alright but he was also one crazy son of a bitch.
I made my way down the stairs and just kept walking not even acknowledging the people on the floors and the things I had noticed on my way out. I don’t know why it bothered me so much, the condition of the place, but I just didn’t get how in such a short time it went from livable to utter decay. As I made my way outside I walked back in the direction I came, I have nothing to do for the day so mine as well head back home. As I walked past the small alley between buildings I hear a loud thud. I glance over and oh my god Liu! Oh dear god I hope he didn’t fall, holy shit, holy shit! I rush over into the alley and look over and thank the heavens it’s not Liu or anybody for that matter. It’s a bag of someone’s trash. The order permuting from the bag is atrocious. It smells like a dead animal carcass wrapped up in a moldy blanket of rotten eggs and body odor. I run away from it as fast as I can and no sooner do I get away I see another bag of trash in mid flight soar down to the ground just hitting the other bag.God the people who live here are inhuman! Too lazy to take their trash to the back and dispose of it properly? No of course not, what was I thinking, I said people here are off but this is past “off”.
This was just part of what was wrong with the city. People just don’t seem to care anymore, they’ve gotten lazy and even the most simple of tasks seem unbearable to them. I’m just glad I’m not like that, to think of how easy some of us have it only to think that even easy is too hard. My father would call that Chinese wisdom, I call it an un-necessary paradox. As I walk the streets I glance over at Chao’s Deli. That’s funny, the place looks packed. Normally old Chao is lucky if he gets five people on a Monday afternoon and yet there he is with a full house of people. I sure am hungry but I would hate to wait a while for food but ehh maybe it won’t be so bad. I cross the street and stop in front of the entrance. As I look over an old woman gives me a glaring stare, I smile politely and she then smiles back revealing no teeth. I slowly glance back over to the deli and open the door. Hmm..doesn’t seem too bad.
As I approach the counter I am stopped by a man in a suit. He has slicked black hair and in the back a ponytail and what appeared to be a gun on his side. I suddenly remember it’s the man I saw at the market a few weeks back. Hmm..funny seeing him here, I wonder if his trusty sidekick is with him.
“Chao will be right with you, he’s currently taking care of some business” he says.
“That’s alright, I’ll wait. Say haven’t I seen you before?”
“Nah, can’t say I’ve seen you before. Please step back”
“Yeah, sure I have, you were the guy I saw at the market with that other guy.”
“I think your mistaken sir now please step back”
“No I’m sure I’m right it was you and another guy outside the market-
We were interrupted by the other guy who was all done talking to Chao. He grabbed his friend and they began walking to the door. I couldn’t help but watch them and I’m glad I did because the guy I was talking to didn’t take his eyes off me, clearly what I had said spooked him and he wasn’t letting his gaze off me. If he stared any harder I’d think id be afraid of him burning a hole through my skin. After they left I turned back to the counter where I was greeted by Chao.
“Ryu! Nice to see you my friend, nice to see you.”
“Hey Chao, nice to see you too. Say, what were those two guys doing in here?”
“Oh those guys? Just a bit of business about the building that’s all.”
“I’ve seen them around before, they seem a bit shady.”
“Oh..no..no Ryu they are just two men that work for the man who is trying to buy the building”
I could tell I was making poor Chao nervous so I decided to not ask him anything further.
“I’m sorry Chao, I didn’t know you were selling the place and I was just worried about you that’s all”
“Oh no worries my boy, Chao is not in any danger and I’m not selling the joint the man Mr.Shaojin just wants the building for his collection, he owns a few buildings on the block.”
I got the sense that Chao mentioning this Mr.Shaojin was him telling me more then he wanted to or was suppose to so again I just let it go and decided to order.
“Oh alright good to know your staying cause where else am I gonna get that Chow Mein Sandwich?”
“Ah ha, no where! And you got it, one Chow Mein Sandwich coming up. I don’t suppose I could interest you in this new sandwich they got over in the States, called a Tomato and Bacon sandwich could I?”
“Sounds tempting Chao but I’ll stick to the usual.”
“Alright, well have a seat if you can find one, oddest thing, I’m swamped today! Can you believe it?! Haha I’ll get your sandwich out to ya.”
I thanked Chao and decided to sit over by the window as a couple had just finished. As I placed my feet under the table my feet scuffed against something. I leaned down under the table and picked up what appeared to be a card. I put it to the window for light so I could see it clear. It read: No Wait. For A Better Future Today, Shin Shaojin, Shaojin Enterprises.
I quickly hid the card underneath my arm as it rested on the table when I saw Chao coming my way with the food.
“Here you are Ryu, Chao’s famous Chow Mein sandwich and one cold beverage”
“Your welcome, you tell your father I said hello”
I smiled and nodded. I couldn’t wrap my finger around it but something wasn’t right. There was no way Chao met with this Mr.Shaojin’s associate’s over just the building. What did old man Chao get himself into?
It was hard to believe Chao could have gotten himself into some trouble or suspicious activity. Aside from my mother’s cooking I practically grew up on Chao’s. I’d been coming in here since I was a boy with my father. Chao didn’t change much over the years, he’d always been a bit chubby but now he had white hair and looked a bit like Confucius, if Confucius ran a Deli in the busy streets of Shanghai. I finished up my sandwich and thanked Chao, he gave a quick wave back to me and I headed out. I looked across the street where I came from and noticed that woman that I had seen on this side of the street before I made my way into the deli. She was with a man who looked sickly thin. They both sat on the side of the house to which they lived I guess. As I looked closer I realized both had hash pipes in their hands and they were smoking opium.
I crossed the street and slowly passed them and they looked up at me but continued inhaling the vapor of the opium. As I walked passed them I stopped and shook my head. For at least the third time today I found myself thinking about or seeing evidence of opium. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not but I have a sudden feeling that perhaps my suspicions and observations of the city and opium are somehow connected. Maybe I’m just paranoid and it’s nothing but again, it all seems so strange. I took the card I had got from the deli out of my pocket. With everything else going on I almost forgot I had it. I thought back to when I was at the deli and I then glanced back down at the card. I wonder who this Shin Shaojin is and how it is he knows Chao. Chao seemed way too nervous for an old guy talking with a regular at his own shop.
Who are you Shin Shaojin and who are your associates?
If you enjoyed Chapter 1 and would like to read and know more about the book then feel free to join the Opium Warfare Book Group on Facebook where you can get exclusive access and contrinbute to the book as well. #OpiumWarfare #EmbraceThePoppies
|Posted on January 4, 2015 at 11:25 PM||comments (0)|
So it's been a little under a year since my last book was released to the world. In that time I've had a Christmas Poem published in an anthology, I've submitted other poems to places and I have written another short story called, Horrorglyphics. Now I am ready to get started on my new biggest project, my 4th book entitled, Opium Warfare. I've had plans to write this for a few months now but haven't gotten started. The title and an idea for the novel was thought of a while back but now I am going to start piecing it all together and start writing it. I don't know what genre it falls under which is interesting because this will mark the first time I go into writing a book without an obvious genre. There's a couple genres that the book could fall under but I'm thinking when I start writing it, it will fall into a certain direction and it will all fall into place. I'd give you all a sample but i got nothing at the moment however the moment I get started I will treat everyone to a sample. Wish me luck as I begin the journey to writing novel #4.