Kona Stories Bookstore on Hawaii Island June 6th

Aloha All,

In June I had the pleasure of heading to the big island of Hawaii with my friend, Janet Melton, for an evening of books and storytelling at Kona Stories Bookstore.


It was a lovely gathering attended by book lovers who were thrilled to be in a “real” bookstore. (On Kauai we only have one book store and it’s on the other side of the island.)

The enthusiastic owners of Kona Stories Bookstore, Brenda and Joy, put on quite a spread for the Words and Wine event.

A big Mahalo! to all those who attended and to Brenda and Joy for a memorable evening and a get away to Hawaii Island (aka) The Big Island.


My favorite place to stay in the Kona area is at the King Kamehameha or the “King Kam” Hotel. It’s right on the only spit of beach on Ali’i Drive that winds through old Kona Town past historic sites, shops and restaurants.


The King Kam pool is great. There’s a view of the beach from poolside.

The hotel is on one of the most historic sites in all of Hawaii. King Kamehameha the Great, the leader credited with uniting all of Hawaii’s islands under one ruler, established his royal residence adjacent to the current site of his namesake hotel. King Kamehameha’s residence included all of Kamakahonu, the bay around which the hotel is focused.

Our favorite stop was for lunch during a drive down the coast. Another favorite of mine is The Coffee Shack, which hangs out over a ravine and has a killer view of the coastline. Janet recalled that she and hubby, Bill, had breakfast there on their first trip to the islands years ago.  The food was as fantastic as the view.

The view from the Coffee Shack along the Kona Coast

The Coffee Shack as seen from the Highway

Writing has taken a back seat to traveling lately but it’s always good to “fill the well” as writers sometimes say.

Until next time,

Tiki On!

The Tiki Goddess

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Sneak Preview Time

All All,

Life is full. There is much to do in paradise, though writing hasn’t been one of the things I’ve been focused on lately. Let’s just say I’ve been soaking up life experiences and calling it research!


Lovely kupuna dancers on Kauai are inspiration for the Hula Maidens

Besides hula dancing, there are all kinds of tiki drinks and bars to explore.

I spend a lot of time thinking about fun things to do at Tiki Parties.

You can't beat a good Limbo contest.





Costumes to plan!

Lucille Ball ... always an inspiration as a Goddess.



So while I’m busy living the Tiki life, I thought I’d share a sneak peek of the unedited opening scene of Book Six of the Tiki Goddess Mysteries with you.

Right now the working title is “Six Shots at Sunset.”

Gun shots? Tequila shots?

I’ll leave what kinds of “shots” to your imagination.

Scene 1 Book Six of the Tiki Goddess Mysteries

“I can’t believe they’re in a mass grave!”

On a lawn behind the Tiki Goddess Bar and Restaurant parking lot, a light rain misted on the line of geriatric Hula Maidens gathered beside a seven by three foot trench.

The women stood shoulder to shoulder, neatly lined up like slices of a sushi roll. They all stared down into the open grave. Three of them held shared umbrellas while the others ignored the passing shower. Dressed alike in one of their most understated dance costumes, their muumuus were made of fabric with pink hibiscus blossoms scattered over an unflattering brown background.  They referred to them as their “poop” muumuus. Each of the ladies had a five foot ti leaf lei draped around her neck.

Kiki Godwin, the self- appointed leader of the troop of mostly over fifty, mostly haole hula dancers was afraid her hearing wasn’t what it used to be until she turned to the woman with the pink bouffant hairdo standing beside her.

“I can’t hear you with that Kleenex stuffed in your mouth, Lillian. What did you say?”

Lillian Smith, a transplant from Iowa, lowered the wad of tissue and whispered,

“A mass grave. It’s just,” she made a desperate, choking sound. “It’s just awful.”

Kiki ignored Lillian’s theatrics and stared at the long narrow trench in the ground. Uncle Louie, owner of the Tiki Goddess Bar, donated garden space in his yard for the burial. As soon as the service was over he’d fill in the hole. Tomorrow Louie planned to plant ti and heliconia on top, hiding all evidence of the grave.

Flora Carillo, the hula sister to the right of Lillian leaned around her and whispered, “You gonna say a eulogy or something, Kiki? I gotta get back to the store.” Owner of a trinket shop in Ching Young Center just down the road in Hanalei, Flora was their only hapa or part Hawaiian dancer.

Kiki shrugged. “Of course I’m speaking.”

She turned, happy to see the parking lot jammed with cars. Big and Little Estelle, a mother and daughter who were dancers and artists from Princeville had painted a banner and hung it in front of the bar on the highway announcing the time of the memorial, inviting locals and tourists alike to stop and pay their respects.

Always energized by an audience, Kiki reached up and patted the flower studded chignon atop her head, licked her lips, put a smile on her face and thought, it’s show time!

As if on cue the drizzle stopped falling, the trades blew most of the clouds away and the sun made a partial appearance as it dipped toward the horizon. Kiki carefully threaded her way around the open grave. She craved attention but figured toppling into the trench and landing on the dearly departed might be a bit over the top.

The Maidens with umbrellas folded them up and shook raindrops off over the trench. The crowd gathered behind them consisted of tourists snapping photos. There didn’t appear to be any locals in attendance, which wasn’t surprising seeing as how most folks had a love/hate relationship with the departed.

Uncle Louie Marshall, owner of the bar and the house on the beach stood off to the side beneath the eaves of his house and leaned on the long handle of a pointed shovel.

In his mid-seventies, Uncle Louie wore his usual bright aloha shirt, white Bermuda shorts, a kukui nut necklace and a Panama hat.

Kiki gave him a nod and a wink, looked down into the grave to compose herself, took a deep breath, then raised her head. She scanned the crowd assembled across from her.

“Aloha, everyone.”

Before she could continue, the tourists, being tourists who had mostly learned the Hawaiian greeting at hotel luaus, shouted back, “A-looooo-ha!”

Kiki sighed. “We are gathered here today to bid a fond farewell to our dearly departed friends.”

A loud choking sound escaped Lillian. She jammed another Kleenex against her mouth.

Kiki went on. “We knew them well. Many of us watched them grow up. Red, Gimpy, Fluff, the Kernel, Whitey, and Chicken Little lived long and happy lives here behind the Goddess. They were always darting in and out of the hedge, fighting over scraps and road kill, dodging cars and posing for photos. Uncle Louie pampered them.

“Some of you knew them by name. Many of our yearly visitors watched their countless off spring grow to follow in their footsteps. Who knows how many little ones they’ve left unprotected from dogs and feral cats? Such a tragedy. Terrible.”

Surprised by a sudden flood of tears, Kiki attempted to stem the tide by blinking them away without loosening her false lashes.

“To have them all gone in one fell swoop is almost unbearable,” she said. “At least we can find consolation in the fact that they’re all together.”

Somewhere down the highway a rooster crowed.

Kiki raised her voice and shook her hands, gesturing like a preacher at a tent revival, “To many folks, these poor creatures and so many like them are a big nuisance. But many of us feel they add a unique quality to life on Kauai. They give our island its rural atmosphere. They were here long before us, having come to Hawaii on the voyaging canoes of the first settlers from Polynesia. They’re not only a piece of island history.” She paused, lowered her hands and shook her head before she added, “They were our friends, our family.”

Tourists pressed closer. One man took telephoto shots of the bodies lined up in the grave. With the sun out from behind the clouds, the air was heating up. Kiki realized she’d not only started to perspire, but she’d worked up quite a thirst. It was cocktail time. Time to speed things up.

“And so we say aloha o’e to our dear departed friends. But before we go, we Hula Maidens promise we’ll get to the bottom of this tragedy. We promise Red, Gimpy, Fluff, Kernel, Whitey, and Chicken Little,  that we’ll find whoever did this and make certain that person, or persons, are held accountable.”

She looked at the Maidens lined up across the grave and said, “Ladies, please toss your lei into the grave and start singing.”

Then she encouraged the onlookers. “Everyone, please join us in singing Aloha O`e.”

Afterward, as Kiki walked around the grave to join her hula sisters, a trim blond female tourist in a nautical striped Polo shirt and navy shorts, pulled her aside.

“Thank you so much for opening this memorial up to the public. This is such a local experience. We’d never see anything like this in Waikiki or on Maui.”

“Probably not,” Kiki agreed. Droplets of sweat slid down her face, making it hard to focus.

“Thanks for coming.” Kiki tried to move around the tourist so that she could head for the bar.

“I mean, really,” the woman went on. “I can’t wait to get home and tell everyone I attended a memorial for six dead chickens.”


Let me know what you think of the opening scene by leaving a comment below.

THEN CLICK ON TO THE HOME PAGE of THIS website and add your email to the NEWSLETTER sign up at the BOTTOM OF THE PAGE.

Until next time,

Aloha from The Tiki Goddess


Posted in Amateur Sleuth Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Hawaii, Hen Lit, Kauai, Tiki Bar, tiki lifestyle, Travel to Hawaii, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Your 2017 Project

Alooooha Reader Friends!

Since I’m at home hard at work on Book Six of the Tiki Goddess Mystery Series, I think YOU should be home working on a fun project, too. As you know, the fictional Hula Maidens featured in my mystery series love hanging out at the Tiki Goddess Bar and hoisting a few tropical beverages between hula numbers. There’s no doubt that the fictional Maidens have their own versions of tiki bars somewhere in their homes.

So, whether you imbibe in alcoholic tiki drinks or you stick to sodas, fruit juice and iced tea, YOU NEED A HOME TIKI BAR. Why not create a fun casual atmosphere where friends can gather, kick off their shoes, relax, and talk story?

I have a tiki bar of my own in our carport…which was dubbed the Tiki Port years ago. We found an old bar that was created by a neighbor in the 70′s and I was lucky enough to buy it from his niece when she was cleaning out the garage. A little paint, some tile grout and it is almost as good as new.

My Home Tiki Bar in the Tiki Port

Watch out! As soon as you tell your friends you are creating a tiki bar or a tiki room, you’ll be deluged with “tiki” collectibles: signs, masks, lamps, clocks, glasses, mugs and anything else that says “tiki.”

By no means should you stick to a standard bar design. I’m sure more than one of you has an old television cart somewhere. They make a great rolling bar.

Rolling Bar Cart formerly a TV Cart




You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to things you can change into a home Tiki Bar!




An Old Barrel Bar

There are barrels and Grandma’s old sewing machine…

Sewing Machine Bar








Try an Old Desk Add Wheels

Add some wheels to an old desk or get creative with an entertainment center. Thrift Shops are full of them.

Retro! Don't toss out that old


I love these!








If you have a great backyard area or a pool, you might want to check out these outdoor projects. Or maybe your basement is empty and begging for some decoration and fun!

The Surfboard Bar

Cinderblocks and Wood








Go Nuts

You might really want to go all out and add a palapa shelter on top. If you decide to create your own Tiki Bar, send me a photo or post one on my facebook page. DO leave a comment here on the website blog and sign up to receive newsletters.

Mahalo to Pintrest collectors for the photos.

It’s going to be a great year.

Tiki On!

The Tiki Goddess


Posted in Amateur Sleuth Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Hawaii, Jill Marie Landis, Mystery, Tiki Bar, tiki lifestyle | 1 Comment


If you are on Kauai April 24th
from 2 to 4 p.m. join Jill Marie and her
inspirational Hula Maiden friends at the
Tahiti Nui Luau Room in Hanalei to celebrate
the publication of Book #5 of the Tiki Goddess
No host bar. Autographed copies available.
Get your Tiki on and join us.

The Tiki Goddess

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Paradise, Passion and Murder

Aloha All,

“Island” authors are very passionate about literacy. How do I know?

Last year I was asked by Terry Ambrose (author of the McKenna Mysteries set in Hawaii)  to join an uber-talented and successful group of ten authors to help raise money for Read Aloud America Hawaii.

I ask: “What do I have to do?” (I’m hoping the less the better.)

Terry’s answer: Write a short story set in Hawaii.

Me again: “About anything?”

Terry went on to say that I could use the characters from my Tiki Goddess Mysteries. And he sweetened the deal with some insight. Since we all write books set in the islands, not only would book sales benefit Read Aloud America, but through “cross pollination” our own readers might  discover more favorite authors in the compilation and vice versa.

Wow. How could I say no?

The story I wrote for the collection is entitled “Curse of the Lost Tiki” and it features Uncle Louie Marshall, owner of the Tiki Goddess Bar. Since readers never get a glimpse into Uncle Louie’s point of view in the series, this gives them a chance to follow Louie through the story as he fights to save Kauai from certain disaster brought on by the unearthing of a cursed tiki. You can find out a little more about Louie and what a cool character he really is.


From the Big Island to Kauai, the far side of Maui to the bustling streets of Honolulu, experience paradise in all its glory…and darkness. This collection of ten stories brings out the beauty of the islands, the passion of the tropics, and, yes, murder.

I hope you’ll order a copy soon and enjoy the stories by ten writers want you to savor the tropics while benefiting literacy in Hawaii. The authors are: Terry Ambrose, JoAnn Bassett, Gail Baugniet, Frankie Bow, Lorna Collins (editor), Kay Hadashi, Laurie Hanan, Jill Marie Landis, AJ Llewellyn, Toby Neal, and CW Schutter.

The best thing about this project is that ALL of the proceeds go directly to Read Aloud America Hawaii.

PASSION PARADISE AND MURDER is available in both book and ebook formats at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


The Tiki Goddess

Posted in Hawaii, Kauai, Mystery, Travel to Hawaii | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The Wait it Over

Aloha All,

Big news here in Tiki Goddess land is that Book 5 of the Tiki Goddess Mysteries will be released on February 1st. I’m so excited I can hardly wait to hold a copy of HAWAII FIVE UH-OH in my hands. Right now you can pre-order on Amazon, B&N, iBooks and wherever else you shop for your books. Try your favorite brick-and-mortar store if you are lucky enough to have one near by.

Here’s a preview of the cover:

Yes, Alphonse the Capuchin monkey is back in action, Kiki is still reeling from the monkey attack she suffered at Lihue Airport in the last scene of Book 4 TOO HOT FOUR HULA, and the rest of the Hula Maidens are in fine “spirits” as they pull out all the stops to try and solve the latest mystery they’re embroiled in on the North Shore of Kauai.

As always there are laughs galore as well as some tasty recipes included for you to enjoy. So ladies and gentlemen, start those blenders and get ready for FUN!

Take care,

The Tiki Goddess




Posted in Amateur Sleuth Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Hawaii, Jill Marie Landis, Kauai, Mystery, Tiki Bar, Tiki Cocktails, tiki lifestyle, Travel to Hawaii, tropical drink recipes | 3 Comments

Trader Sam’s Part 2

Aloha All,

A year ago I promised a follow up to my visit to Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar and Restaurant at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. The problem is, time flies when you’re having fun, but a promise is a promise so now nearly a year later, here we go.


As you’ll recall, I grabbed my trusty research assistant, Natalie Barnes, made her stop working and even had her pick me up! Not only is she a dear, long time friend, but in the Quilting world,  Nat’s a very well known author, designer, and owner of Beyond the Reef Patterns.



Together we hit the Southern California freeways and ended up in Anaheim at Downtown Disney which is next door to Disneyland, California Adventure, and the hotels. The promenade was full of shops and stores galore all gussied up for the holidays. It was a great place to soak in the Christmas decorations and people watch. Eventually we found Trader Sam’s poolside in the old Disneyland Hotel and ventured inside.

(For a detailed description of the atmosphere in Trader Sam’s see my previous blog Trader Sam’s Part I.)

Nat and I are never shy when it comes to ordering food and beverages, especially tropical drinks, so I plunged into a cocktail called “Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum.” The name is a parody of the song played over and over again in the Enchanted Tiki Room.

The drink was a really pleasant, just the right mix of reserve rum, cream of coconut, pineapple and orange juices were frothed up in a blender and served over crushed ice. What I loved most about the taste was the dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg on top.

Ever since, I’ve been adding nutmeg to drinks I concoct at home.

Readers of my TIKI GODDESS MYSTERIES know that Uncle Louie, owner of the tiki bar featured in the books, creates tropical libations and makes up a legend for each. Trader Sam’s menu has some catchy names for their cocktails, too. There is the Uh Oa!, a Krakatoa Punch, one called Ka-blue-ie (which naturally has a splash of Blue Curacao) and a Passionate Python.

I wish I’d come up with that one myself.

The food was great. I  enjoyed Ahi Poke (Po-kay), raw cubed ahi (yellowfin tuna) prepared with sushi grade ahi, avocado, wasabi, yuzu  (a citrus fruit from East Asia), and siracha aioli sauce. The Poke was served with wonton chips.

As we say here in Hawai’i, it tasted ONO!

Nat ordered mouthwatering Kalua Style Pork Flatbread smothered with pulled pork, barbecue sauce, red onion, cilantro and mozzarella cheese.

It wasn’t long before we were happily full and ready for our next outing, so we said aloha to Trader Sam’s and headed home.

Since it’s about time for me to visit the mainland again, I’ve started consulting my favorite guide book to tiki bars and Polynesian restaurants.

TIKI ROAD TRIP is by James Teitelbaum. The guide lists and rates Tiki Bars and Restaurants state by state. Check it out. There may be a Tiki Bar not far from wherever you are right now.

When I head off on my next safari into the world of Tiki, apparently the only problem I’ll encounter is “So Many Tiki Bars. So Little Time.”


The Tiki Goddess




Posted in Cozy Mystery, Disneyland, Hawaii, Tiki Bar, Tiki Cocktails, tiki lifestyle, tropical drink recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Special! Too Hot Four Hula

Aloha All,

It’s definitely TOO HOT FOUR HULA here in Hawaii this month. So to help you suffer through whatever crazy weather you’ve been having lately, Amazon is offering the Kindle edition of TOO HOT FOUR HULA to readers for only $1.99 for the month of July only.

What better way to kick back than by reading another hysterical mystery featuring the Hula Maidens of the North Shore Kauai as they take a trip to Oahu and get into barrels of trouble once again?

So what have I been doing to stay cool? Ha.

Writing. And writing. And editing. And finishing up my next book in the Tiki Goddess Mystery series. Be on the look out for HAWAII FIVE UH OH! to be available soon. I’m also planning some You Tube surprises so stay tuned. There are so many fun things going on here in Hawaii that I can’t wait to share with you.

So spread the word, pick up your $1.99 Kindle edition of TOO HOT FOUR HULA and have a great July!




Until Next Time…Mahalo!

The Tiki Goddess

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The Goddess Chats with the Neighborhood Book Club

Aloha All,

Week before last I had the opportunity to have a phone chat with a really lively group of Goddesses in the making.

Fueled by Mai Tais and still high from reading MAI TAI ONE ON, they were chock full of questions about life in the islands and all things Hawaiian. What a fun, fantastic group!

The Neighborhood Book Club of Alamo, California, was originally formed of neighbors in a three block radius and then expanded to include others. They meet once a month.


Wine, appetizers, and desserts are all part of their book club events. For books with special themes, like MAI TAI ONE ON, they go all out. Mai Tais were served, silk leis were worn, and they watched a “How to Hula” video!


The group invites authors to speak to them via phone, Skype and in person. Sometimes they bring in speakers knowledgeable about the subject matter of the novels (for example, a founder of an Autistic Foundation spoke on raising a child with autism). They take field trips (ie. Pizza and a Burlesque dance class!) or see movies that are relevant to the books.


Once a year (at least) they have a book club retreat which is a time to play and not discuss books. Delicious dinners in and out, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, shopping, and other activities are all a part of the great time the Neighborhood Book Club has just being with each other.


The Neighborhood Book Club In Leis and Fueled with Mai Tais


The women of The Neighborhood Book  Club have been together long enough to watch each others’ families grow, share life stories (exciting and heartbreaking) and grow close as members of the group created almost twenty years ago.

A big MAHALO NUI LOA to the women of the Neighborhood Book Club in Alamo, California for inviting me to chat with you!

If YOUR group is reading one of my Tiki Goddess Mysteries (or any of my books) please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below or through Facebook MESSAGING (not posting) and I’ll get back to you (Hawaiian time.)

Until Next Time when we visit Trader Sam’s Part 2,

The Tiki Goddess



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Trader Sam’s Part 1: Into the Mist

Aloha All,

There are times when even a Tiki Goddess must make great sacrifices, especially if she is also a writer (even though writing has become more of a part time job as hula and tiki-ing around take precedence).

In late December while on the mainland, I took a welcome break from focusing on the Holidays to do some research and ended up where my love of all things Tiki began–at Disneyland in Anaheim.

I haven’t yet met a California Tikiphile who wasn’t inspired by the Enchanted Tiki Room, the “Gateway to Adventureland” where fake parrots sing their mechanical hearts out and weather a tropical rain storm that booms with thunder and flashes lightening right on cue for each packed audience.

Not only did I love the “Tiki Tiki Tiki” Room, but I was so stoked on all things Disney that I worked at the Magic Kingdom every summer and holiday vacation while attending college at nearby Cal State University Long Beach. Though I was typecast and assigned to Fantasyland, I could get into the park free and visit the Tiki Room whenever I wanted!

The Enchanted Tiki RoomI’d heard a Tiki Bar called Trader Sam’s had opened poolside at the original Disneyland Hotel. I phoned my partner in crime and fellow research assistant Natalie for backup. She was more than willing to delve into the land of Tiki with me. She even volunteered to drive in case I got carried away on a wave of tropical libations.

Since time is at a premium during the holidays and the place is usually packed for the light parade, we opted to skip going into the amusement park and decided to simply explore Downtown Disney on December 23rd. It was the first visit to Downtown Disney for both of us and we were looking forward to shopping and having lunch at Trader Sam’s at the old hotel.

It was one of those really sunny, warm California days that sends snowbirds running to the Sunshine State. We walked the “Downtown” and visited various stores before we headed to Trader Sam’s.


Plunging into Trader Sam's



As we walked in the door, the dim, shadowy interior (apparently a definite requirement of a top notch tiki bar) brought us to an abrupt halt as our vision adjusted to the darkness.

A second later, the loud clang of a ship’s bell rang out. One of the bartenders yelled enthusiastically in true pirate fashion. We could see enough to spot an animated video of a sinking pirate ship on display behind the bar.

Another bartender grabbed a spray bottle of water.

“Arrrggghh! There she goes!” He hollered as he proceeded to mist the patrons on barstools hunched over their drinks as well as everyone seated at nearby tables. Either they were beyond caring or didn’t feel a thing. No one seemed to mind the misting. We looked at each other and laughed.

The interior of Trader Sam’s is small, it’s dark, and the walls are cluttered with truly tacky tiki stuff.

I took one look around and breathed a sigh of relief. I was “home.”

Next up: Trader Sam’s Part 2: The Menu


The Tiki Goddess




Posted in Disneyland, Uncategorized | 2 Comments