E komo mai ~ which in Hawaiian means, welcome to my world. (There's a couple of NSFW shots :-)) And formatting throwing a berky, so apologies.
I fell in love with the mystique and magic of the Hawaiian Islands when I was nine years old. And it’s never changed.
Mum went on a world tour with her dad in 1972. Back then, landing in the Hawaiian Islands meant you still were met by Hawaiian hula girls and ukulele players, offering music and fresh flower leis. Imagine walking down the aircraft steps into that sultry, tropical heat and being presented with the magic of the islands after flying from cold, miserable, New Zealand. It must have seemed the height of exotic! Mum used to rave about tasting fresh pineapple for the first time in her life—not out of a can. “The juice dripped down my arm, I’d never had anything like it in my life! It was out of this world,” she said.
I have a deep, abiding love for Hawai’i and specifically the Big Island. Mum brought me back dollies from a few countries. But my most prized was an el cheapo plastic hula dollie, wearing a fake grass hula shirt, and a wee lei. She had no shoes on and long thick black hair with beautiful brown skin. I thought she was the most gorgeous thing I’d ever seen.
I come from a family of Irish Seanachie (pronounced Shawn-ah-key) or Irish story tellers.
I think these two pieces have shaped my life every day since—my love of storytelling and the Hawaiian Islands. I’m a New Zealander born and bred. But I’m a US citizen as well. I received my citizenship in the courthouse in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai’i, making Hawai’i my American home state. For me, it’s home. When I’m there, I live in sunny, tropical Kona on the west coast of the Big Island. Known to locals (you were born and bred in the islands) and kama’aina (you’ve been there for a while and you’re part of the island) as ‘the B.I.’
It's’s confusingly shown on maps as Hawai’i too. Think of us like, New York, New York, except we’re the island of Hawai’i in the state of Hawai’i.
I’ve always wanted to write a story set at home in the islands, but have lots of half finished/started ones on my computers and past saved discs. One day my writing buddy and fellow Muse and Loose Id author, Michele Michael ‘Mikey’ Rakes said, “You know you talk about Hawai’i a lot. Why don’t you write a story there? It really seems to be calling to you at the moment.”
And so The Hawaiians series was born, just when I needed my connection home the most. Without Mikey’s suggestion, I wouldn’t have either the series or the name for it. I started writing a new gay romance story set in my beloved Kona. I wanted to incorporate all the wonderful things we have on the B.I. We’re often overlooked for the more American islands. To be honest, that suits us. :-) But the people that make it past Maui to us—love it.
|Ni'ihau, Kauai, O'ahu,|
Moloka'i, Lanai'i and Koho'olawe surround Maui
The Big Island at the bottom
We’re the largest of the islands in the Hawaiian Island chain. You can fit most of the other main islands into ours. Our population though is smaller than Ohau’s, where Honolulu and Waikiki are; they sit close to a million. We sit at about 190,000 people. We’re the most southern of the Hawaiian Islands with the most diversity. You can drive around the island in about six hours flat if you don’t stop. But you’ll want to stop often. There are so many gorgeous spots and things to see and do.
We have eight main islands in the Hawaiian archipelago chain which extends for about 1500 miles in a northwesterly direction. The Big Island (Hawai’i), Maui, Kaho’olawe, Lana’i, Mokoka’i, O’ahu, Kauai and Ni’ihau. Most people know the B.I., Maui, Oahu and Kauai. The Big Island and Kauai I think of as Hawaiian-American. Oahu and Maui have American-Hawaiian energy. We still largely retain the kick back aloha spirit on the B.I.
Janie and I once went to ‘the big smoke’ ~ aka O’ahu for the weekend. We stopped to let some surfers cross the road at pipeline on the North Shore where all the big surfing takes place. These guys looked at us like, “What the hell are you doing?”
We said, “Oh, we’re from the B.I. ~ we stop for people to cross the road.”
They looked at us like we were mad, but it really is like that on the Big Island. It still has that cruisy islander energy. People don’t lock their doors or panic if someone knocks on their door at 10.30 at night a wee bit lost. They help them out.
We take our ‘slippahs’ off at the door and leave them in great piles in the entryway of our houses. These are the national island footwear of flip-flops to the Americans. If we want to dress up at home, we wear expensive leather sandals or slippers for men and women. We also might wear ‘dress’ shorts and a nice Hawaiian shirt untucked for the men. A Hawaiian dress or pretty tropical sundress for the ladies.
We really do say aloha every day. The lei's aren't just for tourists. Locals are given them too when there's a wedding, christening, birthday, a game's won, leaving the island or coming home. Actually, just about any celebration calls for a sweet smelling lei of plumeria, orchids or gardenia. I wear a plumeria bloom behind my ear every day I’m home. Every time I turn my head, I get a gorgeous whiff of the islands. Heaven. The secret for getting it to stay behind your ear is a toothpick through the stem end. :-)
These are a quintessential part of island life for me. The flora and fauna of Hawai’i immediately invokes images of the tropical paradise we call home. Lei’s of flowers, leaves, nuts and tribal ink. Sometimes I’ll grab a large hibiscus or an intensely velvety scented gardenia or pikake in Hawaiian. Tiare is the Tahitian version of gardenia. And the first book in the series was born...
|Beau's Stearman biplane. These are lovely to fly in!!! :)|
|Tiare Lei or Gardenia|
|These Tahitian and Samoan ink leis are often done with a comb and black ink in a traditional way. Ouch.|
|This is flying into Bora Bora on Tahiti|
My two main characters are Beau Toyama, a gorgeous looking “mixed plate” local. “Mixed plate” is the name of local lunch dishes. They come with meat, 2 scoop rice, one scoop something else, like mac salad or coleslaw. There are some pure Hawaiians left, but nearly everyone is mixed plate. Beau is Hawaiian, Japanese and Tahitian.
He meets and falls in love with New Zealander Matt Quintal who comes to find himself on the Big Island and stay with his sister Rach. Mattie’s also Polynesian. He’s olive skinned with a dusting of freckles. His blue eyes are a throwback to his Norfolk Island heritage, from the Bounty mutineers and his Cornish ancestor and namesake, Matthew Quintal. He’s also New Zealand Maori from two tribes, the tough warrior Ngati Raukawa and Tukorehe in the North Island.
Beau’s a shy, gentle, biplane pilot and flight instructor. Mattie’s an accomplished painter. Their souls connect when Matt is out paddling one day and hears the sound of the radial engine overhead. Little does he know, his soul is being guided to Beau Toyama by his mom Tehani who’s passed over and wants to see her son with his soulmate.
This book comes out next month on 17th March with Loose Id!! Yay.
|Beau's long hair on the next guy down... gorgeous|
Meet my gorgeous guys.
The B.I. is a very healing place. It’s also a worldwide
leader in harvesting macadamia nuts and orchids. Orchid literally means ‘testicle’
and they have that unique male and female exoticness to them. I like the
sensitive but male nature of them.
|This is very much Beau Toyama, but he's older, with long hair. Very sexy Hawaiian/Japanese man|
|This is my best muse I can find for Mattie. He's this build, but his skin is more olive, tanned and his hair slightly longer, with freckles across his nose and blue eyes. But that's his smile and eyes. :-)|
|Kulani has a large orchid tattoo on his back and one on his left foot|
I was having trouble with a wee bit of a bolshie person one day on fb. I then put up a picture of Dayvid Thomas, the Hawaiian/Samoan musician. Writer, Lily Lamb said, “He needs a story.” I agreed. He’s stunning. He became my muse for Kulani Mahikoa who is ‘The Orchid,’ a Hawaiian pro-surfer who’s had a rough upbringing.
He meets the lone and lonely New Zealand widower, Rob Masterson when he drops anchor in Kona Harbor and the sparks fly. Two wounded men have to learn to trust and heal with each other.
Kulani’s has more layers than Rob ever bargained for. And Rob has his past life with his dead husband Tony to cut ties with. They travel to New Zealand to tie up loose ends, but the majority of this book is still set in the Hawaiian Islands.
|My muse for Kulani Mahikoa... gorgeous man|
|Colin Farrell looks remarkably like Rob. :-)|
|Two NSFW's coming up... :-)|
|I think Kulani's body is very like these two shots... Yummmm|
Some of the most beautiful tropical flowers in the world are grown on the Big Island, including the wild gingers. The delicate heavenly scented whites or butterfly ginger, the thick phallic, red, torch ginger, the shell ginger or the spiky ornamental red and pink ginger flowers. I love them all.
I also love to dance and have a great love of the dance couple Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Book Three was born in the series. As yet, somewhat unformed, but the ideas are percolating away and my Muses gave their promise or promos as Zane would say to fill me in on the story:
When Rob and Kulani get together, he doesn’t realize Kulani is a mentor for the ‘lost boys.’
Young gay men who are now homeless, abandoned, and abused because they’re gay. Zane Andrews, is partially deaf, and a dancer. He comes from an extremely religious family who didn’t react well when they found him cuddled up with his boyfriend, Kaleho MacAdams one day. They weren’t doing anything, but the ultimatum was given. Give up each other or else. They took the or else and ran away from home together, rather than be apart. They stole things from Kulani and he takes them under his wing.
Zane, despite his hearing impairment is a superb graceful dancer and has an auburn tinge in his hair. This is his story.
|Zane's hair is longer to his shoulders, but otherwise, this is pure Zane :-) He's very feminine.|
The lei’s are one of my deepest loves about the islands. I love all the colors. We mostly get them in white, yellow, light and hot pink. But now new colors are turning up, burgundies, apricots, some lilacs. Just gorgeous. If I’m living there, I wear a fresh plumeria bloom behind my ear every day. The plumerias are the most loved of the fragrant Hawaiian flowers for me. I wear Jessica McClintock perfume because it reminds me of the scent. They are the fragrance of the Hawaiian Islands and represent a rich, exotic nature.
The other ‘exotic’ thing which you don’t expect to get on the B.I. is horse country. The Parker ranch, is one of the biggest contiguous ranch in the USA in the north of the Big Island, up Waimea way. Cooler, wetter, lush, with grass and horse fences like Kentucky. The Hawaiian cowboys are called Paniolos.
Danny Lucerno is mixed plate, part Portuguese from a wealthy, plumeria farm family. He’s a fourth generation Big Islander coming from the powerful and influential Lucerno family. His folks also own substantial ranch land and are horse people up in wet lush Waimea where the mighty Parker Ranch is. Not that the scent of his moneyed background supports him much. When he came out to his family at seventeen, they disowned him. Kulani found him living on the beach.
Now he’s got a bad boy attitude, smokes cigarettes and is the most hurt and angry of the boys. He was raised on a horse, but he’s also an expert waterman like Kulani. Another departure from his families graces. He and Zane often go head to head.
The diversity and richness of the B.I. makes it one of the most interesting of the Hawaiian Islands. We’re the only US state to grow coffee. Kauai grows it too, but theirs is machine harvested. Kona Coast’s is all hand harvested because the terrain is too steep to get vehicles onto. When you see signs on the side of the road saying, ‘We buy cherry.’ It means they’re buying the ripened red beans of the coffee plant. They’re soft pulpy berries at that point that contain two coffee beans in them. When they only contain one, they’re known as peaberry coffee. The beans are dried by raking them out on concrete to dry. They are then roasted.
Because most of the ‘cherry’ is evenly red by hand picking, they roast evenly. You don’t get the sharp bitter taste of South American coffees. It’s why Kona is one of the smoothest coffees in the world. If you like the super smooth taste, make sure to buy Pure 100 % percent Kona. I love it. And I’m not a coffee drinker. The island has a rich Japanese heritage too and every year the Cherry blossom festival is held on the B.I.
The Japanese twins Haru and Kisho come down from old coffee farmers in South Kona. Some of the family haven’t done as well as others. Their mother is a drug addict, the ICE on the island, capturing another willing slave to it. When she gets a new boyfriend, he sees the twins at fourteen as fresh meat and the twins are another statistic in the crimes and cruelness against young GLBT kids.
|These are the closet I can get to the twins Kisho and Haru|
Most of the world’s macadamia nuts are grown on the Big Island. They came from Australia in 1879 by a sugar plantation manager and now even outstrip Queensland, Australia in production. The sweet, rich nuts are part of my daily diet when I’m home on the island. I love Mauna Loa brand. The plain, salted nuts are the sweetest and best, but some people swear by Hawaiian Host. I love the varieties in Mauna Loa, their coffee glazed are my all-time favs after the plain ones. Yum. :)
The Mac nuts have an extremely hard outer shell and are cracked under great pressure, but inside they are sweet, rich, fatty and the most prized of the nut species. Pure exoticness.
Kaleho MacAdams is the last character in the series as it stands at the moment. He’s a mixed plate Hawaiian with a touch of Chinese blood and Haole as well. His family is poor and his fathers a shocking bigot. "My son’s been corrupted by that fairy faggot retard…" You know that ugly story. Kaleho and Zane have been best friends, since they were little keiki and nothing will keep them apart.
All these beautiful men have deep, soulful stories to
tell. And they’re graciously letting me do the honors. I write about
relationships and love of all kinds. And I get to tell their stories in my
beloved island Aloha State—the 50th and last state to enter the
union in 1959.
|Kaleho MacAdams, this is a very Hawaiian look with the black hair dyed blond :-)|
We have everything there that I love. Volcanoes, beaches, mountains and aqua blue ocean. Our beaches are beautiful. Our snorkeling is some of the best in the Hawaiian Islands. We have whales, dolphins, honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles), mantas, fish… Our tropical fruit and flowers are abundant. Our island lifestyle is cruisy and laid back. It’s a paradise.
Hawaii is the most isolated population center on the face of the earth. Hawaii is 2,390 miles from California; 3,850 miles from Japan; 4,900 miles from China; and 5,280 miles from the Philippines.
This gives us beautiful clear energy all around us on the island. Other than when Madame Pele is having a bad day and puffing out ‘vog—’ a smog or haze that contains volcanic dust and gases. If the wind is going the wrong way, it drifts up the Kona coast and we’re all annoyed with Pele when she does this. We take her moods quite personally on the island. We see her energy and life force as very real. She’s the fire goddess who lives in the Kilauea pit on the Eastern side of the island.
She’s one of the slowest moving volcanoes in the world and has been actively degorging flowing lava since about 1983. Most of the time you can walk out and see her letting her hair down. I have seen the lava flows at different times and it’s never the same thing twice. You’ll always get something completely different each time. When Pele does something naughty like take out a house in Pahoa, we islanders all wonder what’s pissed her off. Because she’s slow moving though, she’s mostly not dangerous to live on the same island with.
When she lets her hair down, we either get the very sharp a’a lava that looks like crunchy honeycomb in black/grey/red. Or the smooth, slower ropey lava called pahoehoe. Thanks to Pele, our island grows every year as the new lava cools and hardens, forming new land.
|This is the Pahoehoe lava, slow moving, ropey when set. Just up on the top right side, you can see some a'a lava. Crunchy sharp, much hotter and moving faster generally.|
The Hawaiian Islands are the exposed peaks of a great undersea mountain range known as the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain, formed by volcanic activity over a hotspot in the Earth's mantle.
The highest mountain in the world from its base is Mauna Kea. It aptly named, it gets snow in the winter. Mauna means mountain. Kea means white. It’s not what you expect from a tropical island and we all see snow as a bit of an event, worth a drive when it happens. On top of Mauna Kea is one of the biggest telescopes in the world and the most observatories in one place. You have to acclimate part way up at the visitor’s center or you’ll get altitude sickness.
Don’t try to learn the Hawaiian words after a bout of this, not fun! And if you’ve just had the oxygen tank (been there, done that… LOL) then skip the next bit and go for a relaxing cocktail on the beach and watch the sunset go down…
Some of the Hawaiian words look unpronounceable. But they’re simpler than they look. There are only 17 letters, so that cuts it down a wee bit.
and seven diphthongs:
In 1826, the developers voted to eliminate some of the letters which represented functionally redundant interchangeable letters, enabling the Hawaiian alphabet to approach the ideal state of one-symbol-one-sound, and thereby optimizing the ease with which people could teach and learn the reading and writing of Hawaiian.
· Interchangeable B/P. B was dropped, P was kept
· Interchangeable L/R/D. L was kept, R and D were dropped
· Interchangeable K/T. K was kept, T was dropped
· Interchangeable V/W. V was dropped, W was kept
When I translate back and forth between New Zealand Maori and Hawaiian, I have to pick up and drop letters, but Maori, Hawaiian and Tahitian are very similar and came from the same language.
The Hawaiians say Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. White Mountain and Long Mountain.
In New Zealand Maori it’s Maunga Tea (the added g, the K/T exchange.) And Mauna Loa (the added g, the K/L exchange.)
Aloha and aroha are the same word. The L/R exchanging.
Well nice you might say, but how the hell do you pronounce these words?
Here’s the quick and dirty on this: Split each word up into syllables that end in a vowel.
Ukulele – a small guitar like musical instrument popular in the islands.
Aloha – Hello, goodbye
Mahalo – Thank you
Pau Hana – To finish work
Pau (Pow – this is a diphthong with the double vowels forming one sound) Ha-na
Kuleana – To take responsibility for something. Have authority over it.
Kealakekua Bay – One of the most beautiful snorkeling bays in the Hawaiian Islands.
Even the big words are easy when you split them. Say them piece by piece, then speed it up a bit and you’ll sound like a local in no time. Although seriously, we don’t say our state fish in full much. We say Humu.
Humuhumunukunukuapua'a – Our state fish.
Hu-mu- hu-mu (the word repeats) nu-ku-nu ku (the word repeats) ah-pu-a’a. The ‘ represents an okina or “ot oh” sound. A-lee-ee for Ali’i.
Makalawena – One of the most beautiful sweeps of crescent beach on the Big Island, but I like the beach next door Kekaha Kai with some shade and just as beautiful.
Ma-ka-la-vay-na. The w often has a v sound. Like Hawai’i. Ha-vai’i
After all that, you’ll be up for a nice relaxing cocktail that we in the islands are known for:
How about a Lava Flow? Or the famous Mai Tai?
· 1 oz. Dark Rum
· 1 oz Light Rum
· 1 oz Orange Curacao
· 2 oz Orange Juice
· 1/2 oz Lime Juice
· Dash Orgeat (almond syrup)
· Dash Simple syrup (bar syrup)
Combine all of the ingredients in the order listed in an style glass over shaved ice. Stir with a swizzle stick. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cherry.
This is the authentic traditional Mai Tai recipe from the "Mai Tai" Bar at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki. The original Mai Tai was created by Victor J. Bergeron in 1944 and brought to Hawaii in 1953 at the Royal Hawaiian, Moana and Surfrider Hotels.