Rooting for Truth: A Legacy Lives On

“There is something in all of us that thrills to this experience of touching the past. It could be an old letter, a genealogical record, a battlefield, a cemetery, or fragments of an ancient text.” (James Tabor)

Those words touched me deeply as I pondered how to share the story that I’d unearthed as I searched for my roots. I had hit many walls when it came to my immediate family, but as they say, “When one door closes, another opens.” In this case, it was the door to the Forbidden City, the world’s largest palace complex, and to Yangshi Lei, the architectural family who played a part in its creation. In fact, Yangshi Lei designed and built one fifth of China’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and was recognized by UNESCO in its Memory of the World Register.

As the 400th anniversary of the birth of Lei Fada, the progenitor of Yangshi Lei approaches, I am honored to fulfill a promise I made recently to Lei Zhangbao, the tenth-generation descendant. That promise was to share the story of Yangshi Lei with the Western World. I am pleased to announce that “The Legacy of the Lei Family Architects Lives On: The Story of Yangshi Lei” is now available on Amazon.

The Legacy of the Lei Family Architects Lives On_cover_XXXMy sincere thanks to  my sister Florence Louie Bass, who joined me on the journey in 2018 even though rooting is not her cup of tea; to my guide Liu Hao from My China Roots for her assistance with my research including finding Lei Zhangbao and arranging our meeting; to Zhangbao and his family for meeting with a distant cousin from a far away land; to Friends of Roots who helped pave the way in 2016 for this journey; to all of the Louie/Lei clan; and to my ancestors who guided me to share this amazing story.

Carole Louie, aka Lei Bao Ling 雷宝玲


FREE Summer Read: The Not So Secret Life of Emily Elizabeth

Happy Birthday, Dad, who was my first guide on the “other side.” He would have been 106! I am still working on the book,

I am still working on the book, Conversations with a Hungry Ghost: Memoir of a Reluctant Medium, which was inspired by the experiences I shared with him since 1990 when I sensed him at his funeral. I promise to finish it after my trip to Dad’s birthplace in China. Definitely, by the end of the year.

In the meantime, I finished a paranormal short story, The Not So Secret Life of Emily Elizabeth. So, I thought it only fitting to offer it for FREE to celebrate Dad and all the other ghosts who want to share their stories. CLICK HERE to pick up your copy. Enjoy!

If you like the story, please feel free to share this link with your friends and to write a review when you are finished.

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Happy Year of the Monkey


Every year I look forward to the New Year celebration. Not January 1st, but rather the Chinese New Year. The date changes every year and with it, the animal that represents the year. This year, Chinese New Year is on February 8, 2016 and it is the Year of the Monkey.

To honor my Chinese heritage, I  get together with my family for a feast, and with my friends for another feast. We do not continue all of the traditions of the new year; however, there is one tradition that I love to do because it helps me hone my psychic gifts. I learned how to read palms years ago and also to read tea leaves. I wonder what fortunes this year will bring.


If you need a little help discerning whether this will be an auspicious or challenging year for you (and remember that fore-warned is fore-armed), here is a website that tells you what the energies of the year of the monkey mean to you, based on the year you were born (Note: Because Chinese New Year begins on a different date each year, it is important to double check your year if your birthday falls in January or February). Scroll down to “A Glance of 2016 Monkey Year Prediction.”

To celebrate, click the link to receive a free copy of my paranormal short story, The Not So Secret Life of Emily Elizabeth, on February 7 and Feb. 8th.

Gong Hay Fat Choy! (Good fortune in the new year.)


Back by popular demand

Just kidding, but now that I have your attention . . .

If you are looking for a diversion from your everyday life, I hope you will check out, read, and review my short story, The Not So Secret Life of Emily Elizabeth.

On January 16th, you can get it FREE on Amazon. Caveat emptor: It’s not for the faint of heart.

Emily_Elizabeth (1)

Available on Amazon



“Life is a series of choices, but for Emily Elizabeth the choice is clear. Or is it? When justice blindly desserts her family, what can she do? Can Emily Elizabeth come out of her safe, librarian shell and take justice into her hands? And how will she know when justice has been served?”


Free Book Promo

If you are looking for a diversion from shopping for Christmas or your everyday life, I hope you will check out, read, and review my short story, The Not So Secret Life of Emily Elizabeth.

On DECEMBER 17th, you can get it FREE on Amazon. It’s a quick read but not for the faint of heart.

“Life is a series of choices, but for Emily Elizabeth the choice is clear. Or is it? When justice blindly desserts her family, what can she do? Can Emily Elizabeth come out of her safe, librarian shell and take justice into her hands? And how will she know when justice has been served?”

Emily_Elizabeth (1)


Review By Wendy R. Williams on December 3, 2015

“Carole Louie has penned a great short story! There’s more going on than meets the eye as mousy librarian Emily Elizabeth reclaims her personal power in a most unusual way. I loved the clever literary device of Emily Elizabeth shelving books featuring the author! I look forward to more of Carole’s quality work as she shares more stories inspired by her own personal past life memories.”


Don’t miss this offer!

Even though the story is written as fiction, I hope it leaves you scratching your head with lots of questions about life.

The Clarences in Our Lives


Although I am not into rituals, there is one that I observe faithfully every Christmas.  I watch my favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. Maybe I relate to the main character, George, who experienced one set back after another as he reached for his goals in life.  He did his best with the hand he was dealt, but a turn of events brought him to the brink and to the side of a bridge where he contemplated jumping off.

The movie pans to an etheric scene where a bumbling character, Clarence, is given an assignment to save George.  Clarence will receive his angel wings if he is successful.

If Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol is a story about a rich man who discovers how poor he is without meaningful connections with the people in his life, It’s a Wonderful Life is a story about a man who thought he was poor but who discovered how rich he truly was because of all the people his life touched.  I laugh and I cry and, like George, I am reminded that it is, indeed, a wonderful life.

Like George, sometimes, I had to be reminded that I do indeed touch the lives of others.  Sometimes, that reminder is a two-way street – a message given that boomerangs back to me.  Such was the case when I helped my friend, Peter, understand the “chi” of his apartment.  Peter expressed an interest in Feng Shui and asked if I would help him apply the principles of Feng Shui to his apartment.  He made tea while I walked through the space to read the energyWhen I walked into the kitchen, I felt something that did not feel like the energy I read using the Ba Gua.  It was as if I had bumped into something.  Energies talk to me – even energies from objects most people consider to be inanimate, but the energy I sensed so strongly remained silent.

I moved on knowing that if it was meant to be it would eventually speak up.  My analysis throughout the rest of the apartment was effortless.  I did not know Peter well but as I did the reading of his apartment, I sensed a feeling of familiarity that comes from a reunion with someone I knew before, in a previous life.  I did not know Peter’s spiritual beliefs so I did not share this tidbit with him.  As I circled back to the kitchen, I attempted to zero in on the frequency of the energy I felt earlier.  I knew the energy I bumped into was a spirit, but I did not know how Peter would react to ghosts in his home.  The ghost seemed friendly and he seemed eager to say something to Peter.  His energy was warm which indicated to me that he was a higher vibration.  I closed my eyes, took a deep cleansing breath and trusted what was about to happen would be for the best.  Everything went black and I felt like I was floating in deep space.  Then, words came out of my mouth, but my voice was different.

“Remember the movie It’s a Wonderful Life?  Peter, you are like George.  You touch many people’s lives.  Never forget that.”

When I opened my eyes, Peter and I were both teary.  Then, Peter told me about his very close friend who died several years ago.   Both men believed that life goes on and they made a pact.  Peter asked his friend, “Will you be my Clarence?”  We both knew Peter’s Clarence was with us in that moment and that he wanted us both to see how much we touch the lives of those around us.

Peter’s Clarence reaffirmed a message that we all too often forgot, but he also affirmed to us that life goes on even if we do not understand how or what it looks like.

It’s been many years since that first meeting with Peter’s Clarence.  Peter moved on, but we keep in touch.  A reunion with Peter reminded me that there are Clarences all around us and that it is a wonderful life.

Merry Christmas, Peter, and all the Clarences in our lives!

Take a mental break from shopping and explore the “other side”

I have known for a very long time that I had a “gift” for designing. I will never forget the day I had a vision of being a designer. I was only eleven but I knew that it is what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was not an easy path. Somehow, I jumped over every hurdle and it has been very rewarding.

Another vision beckons me these days: to be an author. More hurdles to jump, “learning curves.” I offer this little short story, which was an assignment for my writing class. I joined the group in October. In the spirit – pun intended – of Halloween, the first assignment was to write a story about a conversation among three ghosts who are buried next to each other. Since I am working on a story about the conversations I have had with my father’s ghost, this assignment was right up my alley.

This story is fiction; however, it is based on my experiences. My father was Chinese and his ghost told me about many of the things in this story – things I did not know when he was alive. Do not be surprised if you experience goose bumps when you read it!


April 1990
Colma, aka The City of the Dead, south of San Francisco, CA

Sunlight broke through the fog sending rays of light onto the copper lid of the coffin. Jimmy Lei stood there as if frozen. He watched as the family left the cemetery but still he could not move.

“What a waste,” he said as he looked at the elaborately carved granite double headstone and, then, at the well manicured grounds.

‘Well, will you look at that? What are the odds?” Ming Li tipped the pointed end of his fedora to the tombstones on each side of Mr. Lei’s gravesite. He adjusted the handkerchief in his breast pocket so that his initials were prominent.

“I don’t believe it,” W. G. Fong replied.

Jimmy said, “Who are you and what . . .” he stopped before he could finish. The man on his right died on April 5; so did the man on his left. “Wait just a minute. I died on April 5th, Ching Ming, the day I should honor my ancestors. The last time I saw my parents was in 1931. I was a new father and widower in less than two weeks. I had to leave my newborn son to return to America.” He looked around and saw the remnants of the Ching Ming rituals, evidence that others did indeed honor their ancestors.

“What are the odds that three people buried next to each other would die on the same day? Well, I’ll tell you. You have a better chance of winning the lottery,” Ming, who loved to gamble, said.

Mr. Fong recognized his family’s floral arrangement, the wreath with red ribbons inscribed with details about the deceased. His family, known for its beautiful calligraphy as well as its floral work, merged the Western tradition of placing flowers at a funeral with the Chinese tradition of an announcement scroll. “He must be Buddhist. See there. The words on the banner ask permission to enter into heaven and I heard a woman mumbling a Buddhist prayer as her fingers counted the beads on her mala.”

“What are you talking about?” Jimmy said.

Ming said to W.G. “He still doesn’t quite get it.”

“Don’t be so hard on him. You were the same, Ming.”

“Don’t remind me. It’s as if it were yesterday instead of fifty years ago.”

“At least, you were used to this country. I wanted to go back home to die or at least to be buried. I had no one here. In China, I had family who would honor me. I never dreamt that Huang Er, my brother’s second son, would come to the States and make good with the money I left him. I was a second son also. I knew he would be neglected in favor of the number one son. I knew Huang Er had talent but I see now that he also had ambition. He turned my little florist shop into a chain of fancy shops. When he dug up my body from the old Chinese cemetery, and had it moved here, I felt like a king. I guess it paid off to leave him my small fortune.”

“Old Uncle, you’re too old-fashioned.” Ming said. He patted the shoulder of W.G.’s mandarin jacket causing W.G.’s wispy white hair to fly up like a spider’s web disturbed by an intruder.

“Yes, but it is still an honorable thing to pay respects to your ancestors, whether you are a Buddhist like him; a rice bowl Christian, like me; or an Atheist, like you. Shou Shen, brother, Shou Shen.”

“Shou Shen – Filial Piety. You’re talking to an orphan, W.G., but I lived my life right. I did not need a parent or customs or a church to tell me right from wrong.”

“How can you be so sure you were abandoned? China was in chaos between the Japanese invasion and the fighting between Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists and Mao’s Communists. Can’t you find it in your heart to forgive them, Ming?”

“So, you did learn a thing or two from the Christian priests.”

“Yes, but, then, why am I still here? It’s now seventy years. Why didn’t I go to the pearly gates?”

“W.G., I think it’s something more than a coincidence – this April 5th thing. Hey, Jimmy, what’s your story? Why are you here and not in the Buddhist heaven?” Ming said pulling at his eyebrow hair that persisted on sticking out.

Jimmy looked forlorn. He tugged at the well-worn buttonhole of his favorite cardigan. “I made the preparations: the roasted pig, the whole fish and chicken, the paper money and petitions to the guards of heaven to burn in the altar, the family blankets, and a band to ward off evil spirits. I did it all. You tell me. Why am I still here?” He knew these last minute compliances to rituals could not make up for years of neglect. He knew that he had not sent money back to China, squandering it instead on gambling, drinking and women. He shut out those words – Shou Shen – because he knew he had not paid the proper respects to his ancestors. He knew now that the ticket into heaven was not words on a piece of paper, nor dutiful submission to a long list of rituals. He knew that he would have to pay dearly for his deeds in his next life.

“I was wrong,” he admitted to his new neighbors, “but I have another chance to get it right.” His broad nostrils flared, making them look even broader and his eyes even smaller. He tugged at the buttonhole like a child caressing his “blankie.”

“What are you talking about?” Ming asked.

“We are all still here – because we are stuck until we realize our karma. W. G., you would call it “sins.” I thought I got away with my deeds. I have to accept what I did wrong and make it right. I know that now. You think it’s too late but I do not think I’d be here talking with you now if it were too late.”

“If there’s a way to leave this place, I want to hear about it. Maybe, it’s time for me to look at my life. I thought I did the right things but now I’m not so sure. It was the ultimate gamble,” Ming confessed.

W.G. held his head down as he tried to hide the tears that ran down his sunken cheeks. “I went to the mission so I could eat. We were so poor. I’d do almost anything to get some food for my family. I ate the rice in the rice bowl and I hid pieces of vegetables and meat in my clothes to take home to my family. I worked in the kitchen just so I could steal the scraps of food left on plates.

“I listened and pretended to pray. I tried to learn the English language. Of course, they taught it to us by reading the Bible. I wanted to learn the language so I could be a “Gold Mountain” man. After I came to America to find my gold, I discovered the truth. Gold was not everywhere as the traders told us. I worked hard and sent money home to China. I guess I learned enough about sinning to feel bad because I just could not believe in their Jesus. I was not a good Christian man but I did love my family.”

Something in them changed as they shared their stories. They developed an inexplicable bond with one another.
April 5, 1991
Colma, CA

“Look, our families are coming,” W.G. said. My nephew is an old man now but he looks young. He has a good family and a good heart.

“As many years as we’ve been here, our families never came at the same time,” he said to W.G.


Jimmy Lei’s family passed the first tombstone. Jenny said, “Hey, guys, he died the same day as Goompa.” Lily set the basket on the ground and, then, sorted out the incense, papers, and Jimmy’s favorite foods while the neighbors swept the grave sites and added fresh flowers.

“Hey, this guy over here, Mr. Wai Gauy Fong, died on April 5 also – but in 1920 – and Mr. Ming Li over there died in 1940. I bet they would have great stories to tell if we could talk with them. This is weird. I have a feeling this is not a coincidence.”


“Let them figure it out, either in this life time or the next. If we can, they will also,” Jimmy said to his new friends. “Are you ready to go now?”

“Where are we going?” W.G. and Ming said in unison.

“I’m not sure but I think we need to cross that arched bridge. It wasn’t there before but I feel we need to go over it. Remember, the Buddha said the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

As if on queue, they took that step together.