Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Queen's Christmas Broadcast - 1957

The Queen's 1957 Christmas Broadcast was an historic event, as it was the first to be televised. It was also the 25th anniversary of the first Christmas Broadcast on the radio. The broadcast was made live from the Long Library at Sandringham, Norfolk.  During the broadcast she states:

"This year Ghana and Malaya joined our brotherhood. Both these countries are now entirely self-governing. Both achieved their new status amicably and peacefully.

This advance is a wonderful tribute to the efforts of men of goodwill who have worked together as friends, and I welcome these two countries with all my heart."

Watch the whole broadcast:

Friday, 23 December 2011

History of the British Empire

Interested in the history of the British Empire? There is an excellent source of information available on the web.  The website is:  neither an apology for, nor a nostalgic reminiscince of the institution that so dominated the world for over two centuries. Rather, it analyses and describes the vast institution that so influenced the shape of the world that we see today.

Find out more by visiting http://www.britishempire.co.uk/.  Loads of information although the page relating to Malaya could do with a little  more information.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Malayan Emergency - Related Links

A list of related links has just been put up on this website.  The idea is to provide a consolidated source of information for the period 1948 to 1960 in Malaya, as well as background to 'Merdeka'.  This is a dynamic list and so suggestions for other links to include are welcome.

Malayan Emergency - Related Links

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Jungle Forts of the Malayan Emergency

During the research for this book I looked into the Malayan Jungle Forts.  To the best of my knowledge there were 12 permanent Forts, as well as a number of temporary ones.  One of them, Fort Iskander, is mentioned in 'Merdeka' as a re-fuelling point for the helicopters.  The Forts were established as patrol bases for the Police Field Force and also to win over the local Malayan orang asli peoples, thereby closing off a supply channel for the Communist Terrorists.

To research the Forts I mainly used the Ipohworld archive, which is an excellent resource.  Ipohworld is an education-based, not-for-profit organization established in 2004 to promote awareness and appreciation of Perak, the Silver State of Malaysia and its unique, diverse and rich heritage, with particular focus on Ipoh and the Kinta Valley.  Some of the related links are:

The Malayan Emergency - Jungle Forts and Airstrips
Fort Brooke - An Aerial View of the Fort Buildings
The Jungle Beat 

Monday, 12 December 2011

How to create an NCX file for a Kindle e-book

While this post is not related to the 'Merdeka' story, it does share how I built the 'Merdeka' e-book in a format that now (hopefully) allows NCX functionality on a Kindle.  It is aimed at other authors trying to get their self-published e-books into a Kindle ready format.

This advice will only work for you if you have built your manuscript in MS Word (and saved it as a Word 97-2003 document) and also if you are using MobiPocket creator to create the PRC file for your e-book.  It is not my intention to re-invent the wheel and I would like to acknowledge Huw Collinbourne of 'Dark Neon', and Araby Greene of 'CJs Easy As Pie Kindle Tutorials'.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Merdeka - Print Edition

Plans are now being made for a print edition (paperback) of 'Merdeka'.  This is expected to be available in early 2012.  More details will be announced on this site in due course.  Many thanks to all those of you who have provided encouragement and feedback to date. 

Get 'Merdeka' from New Kindle Stores in Italy and Spain

Amazon have just opened Kindle Stores for Italy  (http://www.amazon.it/)  and Spain (http://www.amazon.es/).  For the first time Italian language and Spanish language Kindles are available.  To see the official annoucements click on the links below.

Amazon.it Launches Italian Kindle Store and First Italian-Language Kindle
Amazon.es Launches Spanish Kindle Store and First Spanish-Language Kindle

Merdeka is now available in both the new stores

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Psychological Warfare of the Malayan Emergency

During my research for the book I found a fascinating paper on the psychological warfare used by the British led forces during the Malayan Emergency.  Prepared by Herbet A. Friedman it gives an excellent insight into the measures taken to weaken, isolate and ultimately starve the Communist Terrorists.  It is also well illustrated with a lot of photographs from the time (from both sides) and also with reproductions of Maps, Posters and Leaflets.

One remark that I found interesting, and that is attributed to an Australian Soldier is:

'Terrorists who were caught were treated like murderers, while those who surrendered were treated like kings.'

There are also some humerous quotes relating to General Templer.  Noel Barber is said to have given the following account after Templer visited a nearby village after a guerilla ambush:

'You're a bunch of bastards,' shouted Templer; and Rice, who spoke Chinese, listened carefully as the translator announced without emotion: 'His Excellency informs you that he knows that none of your mothers and fathers were married when you were born.'

Templer waited, then pointing a finger at the astonished villagers to show them who was the 'Tuan,' added 'You may be the bastards, but you'll find out that I can be a bigger one.'  Missing the point of the threat completely, the translator said politely, 'His Excellency does admit, however, that his father was also not married to his mother.'

To read the whole of Friedman's paper see http://www.psywar.org/malaya.php

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Have a look inside the book

If you visit the Amazon.com site you can look under the cover and read the first 5% of the book for free (Merdaka from Amazon.co.uk).  You can now also download it as a free sample (PDF) version:

Small revsion to Book's Index

The link from the table of contents to the glossary was not working in the initial version of the book (instead it was landing on the Author page - the page before). 

This has now been corrected.  The glossary has always been in the book and turning the page from the Author page takes you straight to it.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Book now available for download

Merdeka has been published as an e-book using Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing. You can buy it from most of the Amazon Stores. The links to some of the main ones are as follows:

Merdeka from Amazon in the UK retail price £2.23 (all inclusive)

Merdaka from Amazon.com retail price $3.44 (all inclusive)

Merdeka from Amazon in France retail price €2.99 (all inclusive)

Merdeka from Amazon in Germany retail price €2.99 (all inclusive)

Don't have a Kindle?  You can read the book on other devices.  For more information click here

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Book has now been published....

The book was finally published today.  It took a little longer than expected.  During the editing process the draft dropped from 113,660 words to 111,590.....

According to Kindle Direct Publishing, the book should be available around 12 hours after this post - it is currently under review by them.

As soon as I have found it in the Amazon Store, I will share the link on this blog

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Publication Update

I have now completed the final edit and am working on a final proof of the print out.  It has taken a little longer than expected (113,660 words) and the estimated publication date is now Saturday 26th November or Sunday 27th November.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Merdeka - A novel by Lachlan Gunn

Since the summer of 2010 I have been working on my first book.  It is a novel called 'Merdeka' which is set in Malaya in 1957.  Why 'Merdeka'?  I have had the idea for the story in my mind since a visit to the Malaysian jungle in 1990.......then some overgrown concrete base slabs on a mountain ridge in Taman Negara National Park gave the idea for Gedung Camp - clearly they had been put there as bases for Army tents, and the only way they would have got the materials in would have been by helicopter.

It was only after I started writing the book that I decided to call it 'Merdeka', which means 'freedom' or 'independence' in Malay.  The events in the book neatly spanned the day that Malaya became independent (Hari Merdeka), and the original title 'Chasing Sunset' lost its relevance as I began to realise that the chase in the book was actually going from West to East!

On current plans the book will be published next week and I will update with another post when the book is available.