Allyson Johnson

Pieces of my Mind

Coming February 27th to my sister site: Fox Spirit – A Tale of Two Cultures

Here’s a sneak preview of my novel Fox Spirit, which I will be publishing chapter by chapter on my sister site, with new episodes every Monday and Thursday until the thrilling conclusion.

When Sara Miller’s husband dies and the inquest is inconclusive, Sara impulsively accepts an offer to work in Beijing, away from gossiping neighbors and a resentful daughter-in-law. In Beijing she finds a new set of challenges, as she navigates culture clashes, political minefields, and a perilous possibility of new love.

Here’s the first few pages:

Fox Spirit

Huli jing (Mandarin Chinese): Fox spirit. Literally, “exquisite fox.” Also a modern colloquial term for a dangerous seductress.

你做过了一万里的路  来完成我的等待

为此停滞的夜 升起了繁星

            – 陈立强

You traveled a ten thousand mile road

To fulfill my long waiting.

Hence from the stagnant night

Burst forth a million stars

            -Chen Li Qiang (1998)


August 1997

            “I thought sure the corpse would be bleedin’.”

            Sara was certain she was meant to overhear the half-whispered remark. She stiffened her back, sitting as straight as possible, and willed herself not to turn her head. She could feel the tell-tale flush rising, knew her cheeks would be splotched with red, but if she didn’t turn her head, they would not see.

The mortuary chapel was quiet for the moments between the soft organ music and when her brother Jasper would step forward and begin the memorial service. She was the widow, she was not expected to speak, she would not have to face the whisperer. At the end of the service she would be in a receiving line with her son Mark, his wife Rennie, Jasper and his wife Carol. Everyone would walk past and take her hand. She would not try to identify the whisperer, not look for shifty eyes, ironic voice tones. They would be there, in more than one face, more than one voice.

            If she had known the consequences, would she have acted differently?


If you would like to follow Sara’s adventures and misadventures in China at the turn of the 21st century, hop over to my sister site and look for a new episode every Monday and Thursday.

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4 thoughts on “Coming February 27th to my sister site: Fox Spirit – A Tale of Two Cultures

  1. I love it!! Will enjoy reading it again. Michele



  2. cindyspeakman on said:

    I tried the link and get a message that the site cannot be reached. Do I need to wait until Feb. 27?


  3. That’s odd. YOu should be able to get to the site, though the first episode will not be available until Feb 27. Thanks for letting me know you had a problem.
    Alternatively you can just go to and click on the “Follow Chinese Puzzlebox” bar and it will set you up


  4. What a thrilling and exciting novel! I can’t wait to read more about Huli jing and the exciting challenges Sara face.


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