Sunday, 28 July 2013

'The Fox and It' is now available on Amazon

So, 'The Fox and It' is now available on Amazon! The links are as follows:

Amazon UK (
Amazon US (
Amazon India (
Amazon Japan (
Amazon Germany (
Amazon Canada (
Amazon Spain (
Amazon Italy (
Amazon Brazil (
Amazon France (

Happy shopping! 

Saturday, 27 July 2013


I was in town with a friend, and as we walked down a street we thought an alarm had gone off, but it turned out to be a choir. My friend couldn't identify the song they were singing, and it took a while before I heard the unmistakable chorus of David Guetta's classic, 'Titanium'.

'What a horrible song,' my friend said and, shock horror, I agreed with her, and was torn by that! I love, love, love Electronic Dance Music (EDM), but hearing that choir forced me to accept A Sad Fact of Life: some successful EDM songs do not have a tune and meaningful lyrics, and no amount of rearrangement by a choir can disguise that.

I started kicking myself there and then, mentally, with my invisible third foot, because I refused to accept that all EDM is less than perfect.

Actually, I still refuse to face this! I don't want to be a grumpy old woman way before my time. I'm not becoming one, am I? I can't be! 

But when I got on the bus home, a little girl of about four started humming. Again, it took me a while to figure out what she was singing. This time, it was the otherwise otherworldly 'La La' by Naughty Boy and Sam Smith.

My family and friends will tell you that I'm the biggest EDM nut, and yes, I'm pleased that EDM has always been big in the UK and in Europe, but I wasn't raised on an EDM-only diet, and now, having been forced to endure the mangling of two, yes, two anthems, I don't think an EDM-only diet is good for anyone. I listened to other genres of music as well, and only appreciated EDM after comparing it to those other genres. This has led me to conclude that kids and choirs, if they can't sing properly, should be given the option to learn to sing songs with lyrics and tunes before rearranging any EDM song to their taste, otherwise they'll wreck EDM songs and alienate people from EDM, which is not what I want and which I'm sure many people would want to avoid!!! So record companies and music industry moguls, take note and try and sign up as many musicians from as many genres as you can, so that you can expose people like that choir and the little girl to music genres that are more suitable for singing along to!

Have a great weekend! :-)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A post that isn't about the Royal Baby

It's really sweet that there's a new baby boy in the Royal Family, and I wish him all the luck in the world! I'll leave the news and views on him to the BBC and others as I think they'd be better placed than I am to write about him. 

I'm not a Buddhist, but I like learning about languages, and this video shows something which I think is very interesting from a linguistics point of view:

(No, it's not what's on his chest, but having said that,  I'll just point out that in China and Chinese-speaking communities, the swastika is a good-luck charm and a character that means '10,000', 'eternity', 'myriad', 'blessings' and 'goodness'. It is pronounced as 'wan4' in Mandarin.)

The soundtrack is a Buddhist chant called 大悲咒 ('The Mantra of Avalokiteshvara' / 'The Mantra of Great Compassion') and what's really interesting is that many thousands of years ago, Buddhist monks used Chinese characters to record the sounds of Sanskrit. This is akin to using the Latin alphabet to render 大悲咒 as 'Da Bei Zhou' instead of 'The Mantra of Great Compassion'. 

The first two lines are written as 


which not only look nonsensical, but are normally read in Mandarin as 
nan2 wu2 he1 luo2 dan4 na4 duo1 luo2 ye4 ye1 etc.

But in the chant, they're read as 

ná mó ·hé là dá nā ·duō là ya yē ná mó ·ā lì yē pó lú qié dì... 

while the original Sanskrit is rendered with the Latin alphabet as: 

Namo Ratna Trayaya, Namo Arya Jnana...

So the language of the chant in the video is neither Mandarin nor Sanskrit, but a hybrid. In addition to the sounds of Sanskrit, the meaning of each Sanskrit word was also noted, so monks nowadays do know the meaning of what they're chanting.

I think it's possible to use the surviving Chinese texts and chants to reconstruct Sanskrit texts and pronunciation, and to infer that modern Mandarin wasn't the language the Chinese characters were originally read in. I don't know if this is the case, and which Chinese language could have been used, so if anyone knows this, do let me know!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

'The Fox and It' has a foxy-tive review, yay!

It's only been a day, but 'The Fox and It' has already received one glowing review from Singapore!! I am so chuffed! Here it is in full:

By Anne Leong,, Twitter: @anne_leong

      'I really liked the story because of Runty. Being inquisitive, being a little daring, not waiting for Mum's go ahead, wanting things all to himself,......and OOPS!  Well, at least he learns a lesson at the end. Phew, what an adventure!'

Thank you, Anne! 

Get 'The Fox and It' here!

Have a great evening!


Monday, 8 July 2013

My children's picture book 'The Fox and It' is out, yay!

Morning everyone, I hope you enjoyed watching the tennis at Wimbledon and learning the inspiring stories of Murray (the winner) and Djokovic (the runner-up) over the weekend as much as I did!

Last week I wrote about finishing my children's book; well, here is the front cover!

'The Fox and It' is 99 pence (£0.99) and if you recommend it to your friends, you will get a discount! Buy it here: At the moment, it is only available as an ebook.

Runty, a curious little fox who lives in the English countryside, stumbles across It one day. Find out why, and what happens next in this rhyming poem for very young children, complete with bright, colourful pictures. 

I'm pleased with how my book looks because the illustrations and text were all by me. Many people I know have black-and-white Kindles and I hope that by using Payhip, they can download a copy of the book to colour devices. Enjoy!