Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lehua Parker is my chum!

Michelle "Aunty Luhua" Parker
She's a Chum!
Michelle “Aunty Lehua” Parker and I are making progress. When last she visited the Blog Mansion we had a surprise dutch treat buffet because somebody wouldn’t buy me lunch the week before. Then there was the whole shrimp fork incident and blood stains all over the upholstery, but hey, she offered to drive me to the emergency room.

Now that her insurance finally coughed up enough dough for some new seat covers, we’re friends again and she has a new book! One Shark, No Swim, book two in the Niuhi Shark Saga. For an awesome review of the first book, One Boy, No Water, go no further than my little write up on Amazon.

Johnny: (in the water, belly up to the pool bar) So Lehua, welcome again to the Blog Mansion. To make up for last time, and to make you feel at home, I thought we’d have drinks at the pool bar.

Lehua: You’ve been holding out on me. This pool is huge! But why is it so murky? I can’t see the bottom.

J: Filter’s acting up. I left a swimsuit for you on the lounge.

L: Johnny, this is a package of dental floss and two band aides!

J:  Too much?

L: You’re confusing Hawaii with Brazil again. Wait, what are you wearing?

J: Ah…something not Hawaiian apparently.

L: (throws hand up) I don’t want to know. I’m actually glad the water’s cloudier than Sponge Bob’s sexual orientation.

J: No swimee, no interviewee.

L: Fine. Fully clothed it is. But I’m sending you the dry cleaning bill. (splash) Johnny, this water tastes funny.

J: Saltwater. Environmentally superior to chlorinated pools.

L: I know saltwater, Dude, and this isn’t it.

J: Details. What you need is a drink! I’m having a Blue Hawaii. What’ll you have? Mai Tai, Lava Flow, Chi Chi? Oliver knows how to make them all. What’s your poison?

L: Diet Coke on the rocks, Oliver, but make it caffeine-free, please. I’m addicted to carbonated carcinogenic cocktails, but don’t want to stay up all night.

J: Boor-ring. But whatever. When last we chatted, your first book One Boy No Water was all the thing; now the second book in the Niuhi Shark Series is out. Remind my reader about the series.

L: An adopted Hawaiian boy named Zader is allergic to water. He also has an imaginary friend he calls Dream Girl and a bully’s target on his back. His brother Jay is a popular rising surf star who won’t get back in the ocean after a shark scare. Zader figures out a way to keep Jay safe, and it’s the first time he’s able to be the protector instead of the guy getting rescued. At the end, in a nightmare Dream Girl tells Zader he’s in danger, calls him brother, jumps into the ocean, and turns into a shark.

J: Now—without spoilers—I’m watching you—give us a tease of One Shark, No Swim.

L: Zader suspects he’s Niuhi, a shark that can appear as human. Before deciding whether or not to jump into the ocean and find out, he learns knife-fighting skills, meets his biological parents, and escapes through a bathroom window.

J: How is it to write a sequel?

L: The actual writing was much easier, but finding the time to write it was harder. With the first book I just sat down and wrote it. With the second book my time was split between blogging, social media marketing, editing books for other authors, building websites, creating classroom materials, and reviewing books. I had to learn how to manage my time better. It helped when I realized those free-loading children of mine were really indentured servants.

J: Have you outlined the whole series? Do you know how it ends?

L: Originally it was sold as a five book series. In my head I knew the major beats in each book. But Jolly Fish Press now wants just a trilogy with the possibility of books four and five. I’m having to adjust what’s in my head vs. what’s actually printed in the books so a trilogy will make sense. I think I know how book three ends and where it begins, but I don’t know what happens in the middle. That’s typical for me. I don’t outline much on paper. I tend to plan each day’s writing mentally in the shower and then at some point write the ending and work backward.
Box Jellyfish courtesy
Uncle Bunco's Used Fish Mart

J: Oliver, that Blue Hawaii was outstanding. I’ll have another.

L: Me, too. Let’s get crazy. Oliver, can you add a twist of lemon to mine? (Pointing) What’s that?
J: You mean that plastic bag thingy floating over there?

L: Plastic bag? Are you sure, because to me it looks like—

J: That’s a Jellyfish.

L: A box jellyfish!

J: Yep. I can buy fifty gallons of box jellyfish for $35 at Uncle Bunco’s Used Fish Mart. Such a deal.

L: Johnny, those things are highly toxic!

L: But the clown fish over there likes them. I named him “If you point at me at say, ‘FOUND HIM’ one more time, I’ll tear your heart out.” It’s all terribly expensive, even used, but since I have a book out, BEATRYSEL, now available on Amazon in trade paperback and eBook, I can afford it.

L: Did you just hijack my interview to plug your book?

J: Details. Really, Lehua, it’s so tiresome to talk about you. But I understand you’re going to have hula girls at the book launch of One Shark, NoSwim.

L: That’s the hope.

J: Fire dancing dudes?

L: Nope. Something about OSHA, tinder, paper, liability, blah, blah, blah. Bookstore lawyers suck.
Blue Hawaii  courtesy Oliver

J: So no tiki torches?

L: No.

J: Can I wear tie-dye and bring a lighter?

L: Knock yourself out.

J: Cool. Where is it?

L: It’s at the Barnes & Noble in Layton, Utah, on Saturday, October 19th,  starting at 5 pm. We’re bringing a little aloha to the desert.

J: Are you giving away books?

L: Are you mad? (whispers) See me later. I’ll hook you up. (flails in the water) Ouch! Something just took a chunk out of my thigh!

"Morey" courtesy
Uncle Bunco's Used Fish Mart
J: Oh, that was Morey.

L: Morey?

J: Morey. The eel. Get it? He lives under the bar. It was just a love peck. He likes you.

L: I’m bleeding.

J: Nah, that’s nothing. Besides, saltwater’s the best thing for wounds. Great for detox.

L: Oliver, I need a tourniquet. Please hand me that dish towel and a spoon. Thanks.

J: You’re such a drama queen. Don’t be ungrateful. Most places charge an arm and a leg for wildlife encounters. Anyway, how’s it been to publicize your series? Has it caught hold in Hawaii?

L: Frankly, when you’re thousands of miles and an ocean away, it’s a hard sell. Jolly Fish Press just inked a deal with IPG to distribute the series, and they’re working on a re-launch with new editions in February 2014. JFP thinks IPG will be able to get physical books on the shelves in Hawaii. The few copies I sent to Hawaiian libraries last year are worn out. Islanders who read the series really like it, it’s just been tough to get it in their hands. Middle graders are not big eBook readers; at least not yet. Parents and kids want to handle the books before they buy. Schools want to meet the authors in person. It would all be simpler if I were there.

"Oliver" courtesy
Uncle Bunco's Used Fish Mart
J: I have to say that I love the way you set the tale. I feel like I’m on the beach. Much of that local color comes from Pidgin. Talk a little about that in One Shark, No Swim.

L: It’s a chicken and egg thing. I wrote the books particularly for island boys who don’t like to read and have seldom seen people like them in print. I shouldn’t be surprised that they aren’t buying it—they aren’t even looking for something like this. The only way to get their attention is to sell it first to kids who like to read, but don’t necessarily speak Hawaiian Pidgin English. That means changing most of the heavy Pidgin dialogue into something a lot closer to American English so schools and kids outside of Hawaii are more receptive. Non-Pidgin speaking adult readers don’t seem to have a problem with the language, just kids. Too bad it’s a MG/YA title. As I’m preparing the second editions, I’m trying to find ways to make it more palatable without watering down the Mai Tais to the point where you lose the island flavor.

J: You mean Blue Hawaiis. I’m on my third. Want another Coke? Might slow the bleeding.

L: I am feeling a little woozy. Do you hear music? I hear a lot of bass, but just two notes. E to F? No, F to F#. Da-dum. Da-dum.

J: I don’t hear anything. Give me your links, so I don’t have to struggle to stalk you.

One Boy, No Water               

One Shark, No Swim
J: After reading your books, I want to go to Hawaii. If only there was an easy way to get there without the TSA molesting me and stealing my stuff.

L: Wear what you’ve got on now; I guarantee no security guard’s going to get close. (head whip) What’s that?

J: What did it look like?

L: A fin. A shark’s fin. And then a flash.

J: Are you sure?

L: I think so. But it’s the Diet Coke, right? I mean, there’s no way—

J: Drat! You’ve seen your surprise. They were on sale at Uncle Bunco’s. I got six of them on close-out.

Shark with a friggin' laser beam attached to its head  courtesy
Uncle Bunco's Used Fish Mart
L: You’re kidding me.

J: No, check it out. Sharks! Sharks with friggin’ laser beams on their heads!

L: Johnny, move it. We need to get out of the water right now!

J: What do you mean us? You’re the one bleeding into the pool.


  1. WAAAY entertaining as always, Johnny! Loved what you added, Lehua! Had me laughing SO hard. :) Shared it!

  2. Johnny, you owe me $39.26 in dry cleaning. Still waiting on the bill from the ER.

    1. Not going to happen. I had to pay $150 to the vet because Morey has rabies! I know he didn't have them before he bit you. Uncle Bunco assured me he was rabies free when I bought him, though it was strange he brought it up.

    2. Is anybody else thirsty or it it just me?