Nǐ hǎo, friend!


In The Kowloon Jukebox, Sparks has the opportunity to hang out with her on-screen idol Jane Dee a.k.a. Jane Bond. Jane is a Hong Kong movie starlet who, like Sparks, is a master of martial arts.

The character of Jane is based on real-life cinema sweetheart Connie Chan Po-chu. In her early movies, Chan often disguised herself as a boy, and she was a skilled martial artist. She really did star in a series of James Bond-inspired films that replaced the leading man with a clever girl spy. They were popularly known as "Jane Bond" films. It's easy to see why both Sparks and I would be smitten with the star.

Interested in learning more about Connie Chan Po-chu? Read this fascinating interview with her from the South China Morning Star.
Check out Chan's epic fists of fury in this clip from her 1965 film The Furious Buddha's Palm.


As unlikely as it may sound, Helen MacInnes' spy novel Assignment In Brittany was required reading for British MI agents working with French Resistance fighters during WWII.
MacInnes was known for her rigorous research and daring imagination. She was a passionate opponent of fascism wherever it was found, and she used that zeal to fuel her novels. At the 1964 Book and Author Luncheon, she was introduced as "an adult Ian Fleming," and a counter-intelligence agency said of her, "She's very perceptive about us types. She has a gift for understanding that we're not just machines. Prick us and we bleed like hell."

I first discovered MacInnes on my grandmother's bookshelf, and it was love at first sight. The book was Above Suspicion. It follows a young British housewife recruited on a dangerous undercover mission while traveling abroad. It was MacInnes' first book, inspired by a holiday on the Continent with her MI6 husband in the '30s. MacInnes had made copious notes on the rise of Nazism in Germany as she traveled, and her husband encouraged her to use them to write a novel.

She wrote 22 novels between 1941 and 1984, and her books have remained relevant and thrilling. If you're looking for an exciting summer read, you can't go wrong with MacInnes.
Thanks to the New York Public Radio Archives, you can listen to MacInnes speak on writing espionage novels, the psychology of propaganda, and the responsibilities of authors at that 1964 Book and Author Luncheon. Click here for a fascinating trip back in time.


“Wait just a minute, kitten!”

It was Jane, her voice projected by a hidden microphone. She was on her feet, and with the agility and speed of a cheetah, she leapt from the ottoman where Perilous was seated to the top of the tv set. The screen flashed black and gray static for a moment. When it righted itself, it showed an image of Jane standing atop the tv, her hands on her hips. The crowd swiveled to get a look at the real deal, and Sparks could hear the murmur of wagging chins behind her. 

“Who’s the bird?”

“That’s Jane Bond, innit? I seen one of her films over at the Paris Pullman.”

“You say she’s a show-off, eh? Never heard of her.”

“Oh! It’s a proper tub-thump they’re putting on here!”

“It’s you!” said the Black Cat with all the wide-eyed kitsch surprise of a movie villain. The crowd swiveled back to the stage. “I might have known my nemesis Jane Bond would make an appearance. What a disappointment you are! Working for The Man when you should be fighting for the people!” 

She raised her fist, and the crowd went wild.

“I don’t like yes men any more than you do,” Jane said from her perch atop the television, “but this is no way for a lady to behave. I think you need a lesson in proper etiquette.”

Jane launched herself from the television into a graceful flip that planted her on the stage less than a meter from the Black Cat. The instant she landed, she spun, kicking the plastic machine gun out of the Cat’s hands. The moves had been painstakingly choreographed. Sparks was enthralled.

The Skeleton, whose jarring performance had tapered off during the exchange between Jane and the Cat, began to beat out a palpitating rhythm again, and the Red Devil accompanied her on the Thunderbird with a staccato throb. The Black Cat leapt into a backwards flip that took her out of Jane’s reach. Jane pursued with a flying sideways kick that just grazed the Cat’s jawline. 

The crowd oohed, captivated by the cat fight, but the action was interrupted by the booming voice of George Spiggot projected through the multitude of television sets. It was his sallow face and brooding eyes that now dominated the screens, “Hold on, there, girls! If you’re going to play in my club, you’ve got to play nice, on instruments, like the boys do. You’ll wreck the place at the rate you’re going.”

“Who you calling girls, man?” the Black Cat wailed into the microphone.

“Yeah! Who you calling girls, man?” Jane cried out, stretching out her hand. 

From backstage, the hidden prop master tossed a sleek black May Queen guitar to her, and the pair launched into a rowdy refrain backed by the primal drums and the caterwauling bass.

Be on the lookout for The Kowloon Jukebox in September. If you still haven't had a chance to read Les Stone Cold Killers, now's the time to get caught up on Perilous and Sparks' adventures.


If you've got a moment to spare and need a little encouragement this Tuesday, visit Perilous & Sparks HQ to peruse a few Innocent Postcards penned with you in mind. 


Intrepid indie author Aurora Medina shares her insights on the importance of IRL relationships in a VR world.

Read on...


Fierce feminist and contemporary author L.J.Savage delivers the best mission to date. 

Read on...

P.S. If you know someone who might enjoy this newsletter, pass it along. It's an easy way to support a hard-working indie author without spending a dime. 

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