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Blankety-Blank

This is post some may consider blankety-blank.  But this brain is blank re a post topic of worth/note, so blankety-blank to that.

kindpng2111A-ha.  <Light bulb turns on as it hovers above dormant brain.>

COVID-19 and the variants are blankety-blanks.

A toxic relationship is blankety-blank.

Selfish / self-centered / self-absorbed people are blankety-blanks.

A constant complainer is a blankety-blank.

People who won’t see the whole picture are blankety-blank.

Tyrants and bullies are blankety-blanks.

A list of blankety-blanks that can go on for pages and pages is blankety blank.

Life, if one may call it that in relation to yours truly, is [still] blankety-blank . . . but here’s hoping that the distant dim light somewhere at the end of that long winding tunnel will soon be blankety-blank visible.  (Yeah, a pity party is pretty blankety-blank too, LOL, but I had to put it out there, so blankety-blank to me  too.)

It’s a blankety-blank shame when you give something your all, and nothing happens . . . but that does not mean to give up.  Just give over.  And blankety-blank (!), start again.  You can blankety-blank do it (and so can I).  Keep the faith.

Hmmm.  Maybe the old (emphasis on “old”) gray matter isn’t as blank as initially thought.  Yeah, okay . . . maybe that light bulb was a teeny one, but it sure wasn’t a malfunctioning one.

Have a blankety-blank great day (that, my friends, is said with humor and meant with love).

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Snow Day, Play Day

And, hey, it’s Rey.  The Boss is off, enjoying a snow day, play day.  Well, not really, but she’s taking the day off.

Living on Oahu these days, we don’t see snow except on TV or media.  To experience it, we’d have to fly to Big Island or the Mainland.  Do we miss it?  JJ does; she likes to skate and toboggan and stroll through the soft white fluff.  Linda says she can take it or leave it.  Me?  I can do without it—except maybe around the holidays.  There’s something about a fire, woolly socks and flannel PJs . . . and snowflakes drifting past uncurtained windows.

So, that leaves me to post.  Well, JJ and I flipped a coin and I won . . . or lost . . . or whatever.  And I don’t have a clue as to what to write about—except, well, maybe snow.

Yes, Hawaii does get it.  Surprised?  He-he.  So was I.  I only found out once we’d moved here.  It snows every year, in fact, but only on the peaks of three volcanoes: Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on Big Island, and Haleakala on Maui.  It’s not usually that much and it doesn’t stick around very long, but it’s there. Oh, there’s also been the odd snowstorm and blizzard.  Yeah, really!

What’s more, hurricane-strength winds blow fairly regularly on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, which results in snowbanks and ice formations.  Last year, the latter saw nearly 3’ of it, creating deep snow drifts.  The white stuff has also been documented as having fallen on the peaks of Molokai and been photographed on another Big Island volcano—a dormant one—Hualalai.

And, not to forget our new home: in 1953, snow pellets descended on Oahu during a series of thunderstorms.  Can you spell brrrrrrrrr?

giphyWinter weather ain’t as rare an event in Paradise as ya think.  On that note, think I’ll grab me a cup of hot cocoa—heavy on the ‘mallows!

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Fantastic Followers, Fabulous Friends

Not a rambling post per se, simply an observant [self-indulgent] one … leaning toward followers and friends.

I know my blog has [very] limited likes and [very] few followers (mostly friends).  <LOL>  That’s okay.  It’s not as if I post anything enlightening or eye-opening.  And, in truth, the blog itself is rather blah.  It’s not “pretty” like others.  Not fetching.  Not much of anything, really.  But it’s mine.  And, given what my personal life entails (or doesn’t), I take pride in what I’ve accomplished thus far. 

I follow a number of blogs.  When I like something, I can read the post via email or visit the blog.  When there, I see some have no likes at all except mine, or maybe a small handful.  I can relate, being in the same boat.  Do I feel bad for the blogger?  No, just a little sad.  They’ve put their hearts and souls into something and have received next to no accolades. I suppose that annoying saying is, alas, appropriate here: it is what it is.

On the flip side, other bloggers receive an abundance of compliments/likes and I must confess I am a bit envious (but far from jealous).  Kudos.  And, undoubtedly, well deserved.  I suppose blog likes, followers and friends, are much like life: unpredictable (which can prove exciting) and sometimes unfair (which just plain sucks). 

Merely a meager observation.  And a heartfelt thank-you to fantastic followers and fabulous friends; I love that you care.

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And a Five . . .

Welcome to Day {Final} Five of the 99-cent promo for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?.  It’s the Triple Threat Investigation Agency’s first official case . . . and JJ, Rey, and Linda couldn’t be more ecstatic.  Here’s an opportunity to prove they made the right choice moving to Oahu and becoming professional private eyes. 

All they have to do is prove that a pretty, young trophy wife is cheating on her elderly, millionaire hubby.  Easy peasy . . . not.  She’s found floating in the waters of a secluded beach—and it’s not because she’s enjoying a relaxing swim.  

A lot of people didn’t much care for Carmi; she’d ruffled a lot of feathers over the years.  Determining who the killer is proves to be a challenging task.  But the trio has the patience and perseverance to determine who he/she is. 

Much like the number of suspects, clues abound—as do gang members, drug dealers, and tense/dangerous moments.

If you’re interested in learning how JJ, Rey, and Linda fare, please check out Hula at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

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And a Four . . .

It’s JJ today, hey!  Welcome to Day Four of the 99-cent promo for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?.  It’s our first official—paying—case.  We’ve recently opened the Triple Threat Investigation Agency and Rey, Linda, and I are out to prove we made a wise decision about becoming professional P.I.s.

We’re hired by WP Howell, an elderly millionaire to discover what Carmie, his young and very pretty wife, is up to.  He’s thinking “affair”, which will make a divorce that much easier.

“But there’s more, my dear. It’s not that I simply want to prove she’s an adulteress . . . but . . . it’s possible she may actually have something on me. As such, I’d like to ensure we keep each other’s dirty little secrets.”

“What is it she may have on you?”

There was a hint of annoyance in the smirk. “Let’s see what you and your associates uncover.”

“If anything” hung at the end of the flat comment. Fair enough. Time—and detecting ability—would tell. “If all we discover is that she’s having an affair with the pool boy, it will help your divorce outcome. If there’s nothing else to be discovered, then . . .”

“You’re suggesting you’re not up for the task?” Another smirk.

“You yourself said ‘may’. It’s quite conceivable there’s nothing to find,” I declared, refusing to be intimidated.

“Let’s say it is more than ‘may’.”

He was testing me. Fine. “Then, we will uncover it.” I sounded and appeared ten times more confident than I felt. But I was good at researching and ad-libbing, so why not apply on-camera skills to something that went beyond weather reports and community events? I leaned back and mirrored his smug smile. “You do realize that your wife could get very p’o’d if and when something comes to light? The phrase ‘payback time’ comes to mind.”

With an expression devoid of emotion, he tilted his head to one side and then the other. “That’s entirely possible. If you find out the ‘may’ concerning me, so be it. I’ll laud your talents to everyone I know. If and when you find something on my wife, yes, it will definitely get her ‘p’o’d’ as you eloquently worded it. But it will also be enough to maintain her silence.”

I regarded him closely. “Why do I have the impression you know what it is and the last few minutes of conversation have merely been . . . an evaluation of some sort?”

“All right Jill, yes, I do have an idea, but I don’t know for a fact.” The smile was droll. “Let’s call this little one-on-one a getting-to-know-each-other moment.”

I bowed and brandished an arm like a page might before his king.

William laughed heartily while I merely watched and waited to see what else, if anything, would be revealed. “You’ll start Monday. I’ll pay six-hundred dollars a day, plus expenses. You have ten days. Take photos, as you see necessary. Send a findings report at the end of each day. If all proves acceptable, I’ll pay a two-thousand-dollar bonus at the end of the assignment. Should you discover the ‘may’, I’ll pay an extra ten-thousand each and you’ll forget about whatever you’ve unearthed once you’ve delivered.”

“That seems satisfactory,” I managed to say without having my eyeballs pop out of their sockets. “And all the éclairs and tea cakes we can eat?” I added in jest, feeling a need for lightheartedness.

“I’ll have Sonie pack a box.” He rose.

The meeting had officially ended.

Before we can find out what Carmie is involved in, she’s found murdered—floating in the sapphire waters of the Pacific.  There is a long list of possible killers (she’d annoyed a few folks over the years).  Add gang members and drug dealers to said list and you have one heckuva challenge!

You can check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

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And a Two . . .

Not an original title, but I never claimed to be a writer/blogger.  Hey, it’s Rey today (gawd, I love that—illiteration I think Lindy-Loo calls it).  Huh?  Ah, okay – alliteration.  So-o, it’s Day Two of the 99-cent promos for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie and, yeah, it’s a bargain.  And a great stocking-stuffer, hint-hint.

JJ, Linda and I are hired to find out what a millionaire’s young wife is up to—as in, maybe she’s having an affair?  It’s our first official case and we’re aiming to please!  Unfortunately, we’ve barely begun when young wife is found dead.  Floating in the Pacific.  And not by accident.

As we’re trying to figure out who her killer is—from a long list of possible perps—we go head-to-head with gang members and drug dealers.  This case proves to be one crazy, thrilling rollercoaster ride.

Here’s a “tidbit”, as told by Cousin Jilly…

I shrugged. “She has money—lots of it—courtesy of hubby. She’s too health conscious to be into drugs, at least to ingest. Her body would be a temple and all that. Moreover, drug suppliers tend to lean toward the seedy, at least the small players do, and I can’t see her associating with low-lifes. As for big drug-dealing guys and gals, no, I don’t see it.”

“But you had a gut feeling about the shop and it wasn’t because you had a hunch she got a good deal on hand cream and mac nuts. It appears to have paid off.” Linda slipped on her sandals, stood, and stretched. “What do you think this is all about, Jill—I mean, JJ?”

“She’s into something illegal, or at least suspect. We have to go with that because William so much as said that when he asked we find something on her,” I replied.

“And he knows exactly what it is,” Linda proposed. “Those bags could well be that ‘something’. You were brilliant to trick Salv into giving us the ‘same’.”

“Brilliant, maybe,” I said wryly, “but successful remains to be seen.”

Rey put on her slides. “The closed sign just went on. Let’s mosey on over to the entrance.”

“Would you take a couple of photos when Salv exits?” I asked Linda.

“Pics of a guy with bags coming up,” she said cheerily, pulling out a Sony digital camera from a small Hawaiian print knapsack, one of three purchased during a recent shopping excursion. “I’ll hang back a bit.” She glided toward a plumeria tree twenty feet from the main shop door.

A young couple carrying a couple of store bags stepped from the entrance, bid Salv good-night, and strolled to a Toyota Tercel rental. He waved, stepped back in and locked the door, then disappeared, likely to set an alarm and depart from the rear.

Rey and I moved forward and leaned into a waist-high railing that ran along the portico and was comprised of curved black balusters and light oak. The apparent aim was to provide a homey feel, but missed the mark.

“Waiting for me?” Salv gave a quick smile as he stepped from behind.

We jumped, having expected him to appear from the other side.

He chuckled and held up a big Sweet Paradise bag. “As requested. Who’s paying?”

“Carmie Howell had two bags, smart boy,” Rey said flatly.

“Why waste an extra? These babies are expensive.” He offered a toothy smile. Strange, but under the diffused lighting, he appeared to possess fangs. Before I could peer more closely, he closed his mouth.

I flipped my hair in a lame attempt to appear nonchalant. “Is it the same amount for the same stuff?”

He looked me up and down, and then did the same with Rey. “You’re not in the same league as Carmie Howell,” came the casual observation.

Rey squared her shoulders and eyed him up and down in return. “We didn’t luck in with the millionaire crowd, smart boy. So f’g what?”

“Keep trying. You may not have the years anymore,” he smirked, “but the looks are still there.”

Care to find out how we do, nudge, nudge?  Please go to:

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

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And a One . . .

It’s Day One of the 99-cent promo for Can you Hula like Hilo Hattie (a bargain, as Rey likes to say).

Hula, the second book in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, has our amateur sleuths—JJ, Rey, and Linda—donning official private-eye hats on the beautiful island of Oahu.  The new agency is open for business!

Their first client is wealthy WP Howell, a septuagenarian who wants the trio to discover what his pretty, young wife, Carmie, is up to.  Millions—and a much-desired divorce—rest on it.

What seems fairly straightforward quickly evolves into fairly complicated . . . when Carmie’s battered body is found in the sapphire waters of the Pacific.  It soon becomes evident that Carmie was not the only one with a secret, nor the only one to die an untimely death.  Who among a cast of curious, unconventional characters is tenacious (or crazy) enough to eliminate all living liabilities?  JJ, Rey and Linda determine to find out.

Perhaps you’d like to find out how these aspiring P.I.s fare?  Please check them out at . . .

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

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To Err is . . .

. . . human.  Sure, of course it is.  But to err as a writer is not a good thing.

As an editor, I make mistakes; I may miss the odd typo or don’t see for looking <slap on wrist>.  That’s human, but not professional.  Nor is it professional for a writer to make errors.  Yes, there may be an editor to catch things, and that’s fine . . . to a point.  I believe, from both the writing and editing perspectives, that it’s important—as I’ve often stated—to  demonstrate competence.

So, why don’t we review those things that writers, perhaps more specifically new ones, make.  Here is some food for thought . . .

Say, as that new writer, you’ve determined what you want to write, how you’re going to present it, and that you’ve perhaps even completed it.  Are you going to send it off—to an agent or publisher?  Perhaps.  But maybe you’d like to review it first (emphasis on the maybe, as in “yes”)?  First drafts should not be final drafts.

Have you checked out the genre your book embraces?  There are certain practices that should be followed; readers of given genres have certain expectations.  A great way to see what’s what: read, read, read (learn, learn, learn) as many books as you can in your given/preferred genre.

Does the story/book start with a strong opening—one that attracts the reader (wants him/her to continue reading)?  If not, consider how you might make it more tantalizing/gripping/intriguing.

On a similar note, does that opening provide too much background or history from the get-go?  If it does, again, consider how you might make it, yes, more tantalizing/gripping/intriguing.

Are you telling as opposed to showing?  Sounding like a colleague spewing facts and figures at a never-ending meeting?  Mix in dialogue and action with the details and descriptions.  Add friction and tension.  Speaking of telling, what about the voice, the narrative?  Does it flow naturally or sound forced/stilted?  Is it repetitive?  Don’t repeat details or have characters recounting events and the like over and over . . . and over and over . . . and over again.

And what about your plot (storyline)?  Is it strong?  Does it keep the reader interested?  Are there any holes (errors) in it?  Does the action flow (is there logical progression)?  Are loose ends tied up?

What about typos and grammatical inconsistencies and punctuation errors?  Getting feedback is a good thing.  Ask friends and folks to read/review your book.  If you can, hire an editor, but if you can’t, there are a lot of wonderful writers’ groups to be found on social media; ask if someone would be interested in helping a fellow writer.

If you’re submitting to an agent and publisher, learn what the submission requirements are . . . and make certain, when you submit, your query is professionally presented.

That’s it, that’s all.  For now.  <LOL>  Happy writing . . . and editing.

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Ring Ting Tingle, Sleigh Bells Jingle

A little early for the holidays?  Nawww.  We blink; they’re here.

I’m happy to share the news that James J. Cudney is releasing the eighth book in the Braxton Campus mystery series—Sleigh Bell Tower—December 20, 2021.  And there’s a blog tour from December 11th through the 20th.  Exciting news indeed.

I’ve enjoyed the series, featuring amateur sleuth Kellen Ayrwick, a thirty-something single father and professor at Braxton University.  Included in the cast of characters: a precocious daughter (Emma), feisty grandmother (Nana D), love interest (April), and intriguing (quirky) assortment of townsfolk.

When Bell Towers decides to build a new boutique hotel in Wharton County, Braxton establishes a hospitality program as part of the university expansion. Despite the Ingram and Lynch family ties to prominent citizens, a dispute over the proposed landsite pits citizens against one another. One takes matters into their own hands and slays the hotel magnate during a campus holiday party. As the list of suspects increases, long-lost family members are anxious to keep their secrets from being revealed, complicating Sheriff Montague’s ability to determine the murderer’s true motive. Even Kellan is forced to cast doubt on his friends and colleagues when it becomes obvious someone he knows committed the ultimate crime.

Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing
Ring ting tingle-ing too
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you   (Leroy Anderson)

Kellan and April celebrate their first Christmas and Hanukkah together, exchanging gifts based on the classic Twelve Days of Christmas song. While they trim the tree, light the menorah, and experience all the traditional holiday festivities with the kids, Nana D delivers her sarcastic brand of humor and endlessly tortures the town. Among Eleanor’s surprise news, Augie’s new girlfriend, and Myriam’s hilarious demands, Kellan’s dealing with unexpected holiday drama. The poor guy simply wants to spend the merry season with his family before he’s forced to trek to Scotland to fulfill his promise to the late Constance Garibaldi.

And what about our prolific author and fine friend, Jay?  As well as being the aforementioned author, he’s a blogger, reader and reviewer, genealogist and researcher, and thinker.  He’s also a pretty amazing person.

1jayPlease check him out at:

https://jamesjcudney.com/

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=james+j+cudney&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56803291-sleigh-bell-tower#_=_

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Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha . . . Splittin’ my Sides, Laughing

With happiness ‘cause HA-HA-HA-HA, the fifth mystery in our Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, is available for next to nada . . . only 99 cents!

Hey, it’s Rey.  Although it’s not an official paying case, we’re out to nab the serial killer who’s terrorizing the island … and wanting us to play his game, by his rules.  GrimReaperPeeper, or GRP as we call him, seems to have an obsession with us.  He won’t leave us alone—which is kinda good, given we have to find and stop him!

Unfortunately, GRP’s victims are found all too regularly.  Given he leaves handcrafted black roses with his tortured victims, he’s dubbed the Rose-Pin Killer. And when a plane flies overhead at one of the crime scenes—with a banner reading “HA-HA-HA-HA”—he’s soon referred to as the Ha-Ha Killer (much to his displeasure).

As we try to figure out who he is and why he leaves roses with victims found along streams and waterways, we take on a couple of cases.  Gorgeous Caprize Marquessa de Sade is sure she is being stalked.  And another woman, super rich Hardena Antigua, is certain her young husband is seeing someone on the side.

The give it our best to catch this mysterious man; he’s crafty and cunning, but we’re patient and persevering.  And we have some help—from our new friend and neighbor, Sach Martin Morin, a personal fitness trainer who’s keen on becoming a part-time assistant P.I.

Meanwhile, Adwin, JJ’s former beau (he was with us during The Connecticut Corpse Caper) and her “sometimes boyfriend”, Cash, show up.  And it seems both are interested in my cous.  Which leads to a bit of tension, to say the least.

Wanna find out how we do?  Please check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Tyler-Colins/dp/B094SZRSVN

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21 Reasons for . . . Being Me?

Hey, it’s Rey!  Man, did I have a hard time figuring out what my reasons would be related to—and if they’d be good/positive ones or be excuses for something.  Like, should I post about me being happy to be me?  My life as an actress?  Being asked to do something I don’t want to?

You should see my notes.  If you could read—what Lindy-Loo sneeringly calls “akin to chicken scratches”—you’d find five pages of points.  A “mish-mash” Cousin Jilly calls them.  And a pffllllllllllt to you both, ladies.

So-o, I opted for 21 reasons why I like being a P.I. and having founded the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  Okay, okay—having co-founded the agency.

    1. I like the excitement and thrills that come with solving a case.
    2. Putting together the pieces of a puzzle—that case—gets the ol’ gray matter movin’.
    3. We’re good at what we do, so we can take pride in that, and that makes for a bleepin’ solid reason for being a P.I.
    4. And speaking of pride, I’m proud of the reputation we’re building as a bona fide, budding agency.
    5. It’s great to help people.
    6. It’s even grander to assist in easing a person’s burdens (yeah, Linda helped me reword the original one: “it’s cool to end people’s problems”).
    7. I like the “power”.
    8. I like the variety; no case is ever the same.
    9. It’s a blast trying to outmaneuver a bad guy/gal.
    10. The networking part is fun; building relationships is super cool.
    11. It’s fantastic to make new friends.
    12. Meeting people in different professions is awesome.
    13. Learning new things related to those different professions is also awesome.
    14. Growing as a P.I. and person is worth a few pats on the back.
    15. B&Eing is something I’m good at and I enjoy (it’s fun, even if my cousin and BFF would disagree, big time).
    16. My mom can’t criticize me—too much—for not having a “real” job.
    17. It’s cool (and self-satisfying) to tell people—especially those family folks who always looked down their nose at me for being a B-actress—that I’m a successful private investigator.
    18. Even if salary is based on the completion of a case, I (we) earn pretty decent money . . . which helps with those sales I do so love (can’t resist those bags, shoes, and earrings).
    19. I love the flexibility; it’s not working 9-to-5 in an office environment (I’d so not do well at that).
    20. While we do “report” to our client, there’s no boss.
    21. I like the unpredictability; it’s exciting and keeps me on my toes.

Yeah, life as a P.I. is really good.

Here’s to a great weekend.  Enjoy!

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The Flopping Bouncing Blank-Minded Bed-Time Blogger

It’s Saturday and the post of the day just wasn’t coming; the funny thing is, it did, during the night.  Then . . . blankness.

Did yours truly get up at any time between flopping and bouncing for hours on end, to write down that notion?  Did yours truly remember in the a.m.?  Of course not.  It was . . . sheer blankness.

What I do remember:

♦ flopping from one side of the queen-size bed to the other like a water-filled balloon being propelled from one side of the room to the other

♦ flipping like a flapjack (and rather craving a plate with blueberry preserves)

♦ bouncing like a bunny from the headrest to the footboard, and

♦ contemplating worthy post ideas to, uh, post.

Could have gone with a review.  Read two great manuscripts recently, but neither are officially published, so that wouldn’t have been fair to the authors.

Might have gone with some editing/proofing tips.  Yawn.  Literally (and frequently).

Didn’t think about featuring an author . . . until now.

Didn’t want to have the Triple Threat Investigation Agency gals post on my behalf—they’re busy on the Murphie the missing (birdnapped) mynah bird case.

I don’t normally leave things until the last minute (but there are circumstances that make it difficult to follow the Girl Guide motto of “be prepared” . . . especially, well in advance).

So, there you have it . . . a post about . . . producing a post . . .

Hmm.  Now I have flapjacks on the brain.  Guess I’ll just have to make some, won’t I (elsewise that craving’s going to hang around, unlike that middle-of-the-night post notion)?

Enjoy your weekend!

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Ninety-Nine Sounds Pretty Fine

Hi, it’s Linda posting today (Rey’s on an audition and JJ’s volunteering at the animal shelter).

For 99 cents, you can get a copy of Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?, our first official (as in “paying”) case.

We’re hired to discover what the pretty, young wife of an elderly millionaire is up to—is she having an affair or into something nefarious?  Just as we settle into our new P.I. roles, we find the wife murdered–floating in the beautiful, sapphire waters of a secluded Oahu beach.

There are a sundry of suspects . . . but some of them soon become casualties themselves.  We’ve dealt with murderers in past, thanks to a wacky week in Connecticut at JJ’s weird aunt’s haunted mansion, so we’re not [that] surprised at some of the things we hear or encounter.  It’s one zany roller-coaster ride (as Rey called it), and what a thrilling one!

Here’s a chance for us to prove we made a sage decision in opening the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  Perhaps you’d like to find out how we do?  Please check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Can-Hula-like-Hilo-Hattie/dp/1074454073

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HA-HA-HA-HA . . . The First (Awesome) Review

Thank you, Jay . . . for this awesome review!

Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha by Tyler Colins

Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha is the fifth book in the Triple Threat Mysteries written by Tyler Colins. I’ve previously read the first four books, and this one is probably my favorite so far. Not quite a suspense thriller nor a cozy, it falls somewhere in the middle of the mystery genre, offering a truly quirky and eclectic cast of primary characters, and an even more diverse set of supporting ones. Between the nicknames and the murder scenes, it’s hard not to bust out laughing… but it’s also providing some pretty dark stuff about a serial killer who loves his/her black roses. The first name: Grim Reaper Peeper, or GRP for short. Run for your lives folks, this one’s out for blood.

It was quite funny, and seeing the games being played with the three lovable private eyes by this intensely weird killer made the words in the book leap off the pages. There were at least 10 unique attempts to lure the detective team into a trap, and they fell for some… yet there were so many murders happening, it became the kinda situation where I just said, “oh, another dead body.” But it works, because you’re not meant to choose between a list of suspects in this book. It’s all about the humor and the chase between the good and the bad. Who will win out?

Colins is a highly descriptive writer. Everything is meticulously covered in a way that keeps your memory sharp on who each character is, or what each location is, all about. Sometimes I get lost in the details and forget the plot point we’re trying to uncover, but in the end, it’s a relaxing and humorous approach to the traditional mystery novel. If only these amazing women, who work in Hawaii I might add, had real life counterparts. They’re even more special than Charlie’s Angels, and that’s going back a few decades in popular culture.

Hoping there will be more in the future. With the covers, we’re getting all the spectrums on the color wheel… and soon, we need to get something in all black or all white (covers, I am referring to), meaning it’s time for them to go retro. Wouldn’t that be fun?!? Either path, I’m looking forward to the potential for book six. Give this series a chance, please.

If you’re not familiar with Jay and his books (he’s written some great ones) and blog/website, please check him out here:

 https://thisismytruthnow.com/author/jamesjcudney4/

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Brain Drain . . . ?

Hey, it’s Rey.  The Boss has left us high and dry this week.  So, it’s on us to put together a post.

I can’t think of a thing.  You guys?

It’s JJ, hey.  He-he.  Can’t think of anything terribly exciting . . . you, Linda?

Given this isn’t a wine-review blog, I’d have to say no.  I’ve got brain fatigue this week.

More like brain drain.  It’s Rey again, hey.  We-ell, that puts us in a bit of a bind.  I say, let’s give a quick synopsis of our five cases—

Four.

Don’t be picky, Lindy-Loo.  Connecticut wasn’t an official case, but it did give us the idea to become private eyes.

You decided that.

Funny, you two . . . not.  I simply put the idea out there.  And you two agreed.

Not initially.

Did too, Cousin Jilly!  Did too!

LOL.  Okay, did too . . . but not really.  Anyway, Cousin Reynalda, honeybun, why don’t you give our friends a quick rundown of our five “cases”?

Love to!

The Connecticut Corpse Caper

This has the three of us gathering for a week-long stay at wacky Aunt Mat’s haunted mansion (guess where it’s located?).  There’s a sizable inheritance to be collected by those who manage to stay to the end.  Those that decide to leave early—maybe not by choice—must give up their share.  Bodies start to drop and the suspect list grows.  Add to that a resident ghost, dark and dank passageways, and weird sounds behind walls, and you’ve got one heckuva mystery.

Can You Hula Like Hula Hattie?

The three of us have moved to Oahu and opened the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  Our first paying case has us trying to discover the “secret” of the young and pretty wife of an elderly millionaire.  Sadly, she dies before we get too far.  Several persons seem to have wanted her dead so we have our hands full figuring out who the murderer is.  As luck would have it, a few more bodies turn up—and the perp list grows.

Coco’s Nuts

Buddy Feuer’s a gorgeous former socialite turned truck driver who’s been set up to take the fall for two murders.  We don’t believe she’s guilty, no matter what the police believe and the evidence suggests.  There’s one oddball character, Coco Petersen, who appears to be the key to solving this puzzler, but he’s disappeared.  We have our P.I. work cut out for us!

Forever Poi

Who torched two Chinatown art galleries and left two charred bodies in the rubble?  That’s what we have to figure out.  Are the arsonist and killer the same person?  We think so and there is no end of possible perps.  The day before the fire, Carlos Kawena, one of the arson victims, had an “ugly break-up” with his partner, James-Henri Ossature.  There were financial issues, too.  Could James-Henri have done the dastardly deed to collect insurance and be rid of his lover?  What about the second victim, Mary-Louise Crabtree, a former queenpin?  Given her sketchy past, might some former foe have murdered her?  If so, was Carlos merely collateral damage?  It’s a head-scratcher . . . but we do so love those.

HA-HA-HA-HA (or Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha if you’re on Amazon)

This case finds us on a serial killer’s “buddy” list.  When he’s not taunting us, he’s challenging us to “play the game”—by his rules.  The GrimReaperPeeper, as he introduced himself not long after we solved the art-gallery case, proves to be as intelligent as he is devious and dangerous.  GRP, as we prefer to call him, leaves a lot of calling cards . . . and victims.  DNA and fingerprints are never found; the guy’s good, unfortunately.  But we’re not bad, either.  <wink, wink>

So, maybe not that much of a brain drain.  Maybe we’ve been relaxin’ a bit too much on the beach of late.  <he-he>

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Fa-La-La…La!

Just singing for joy – because you have one more day to get HA-HA-HA-HA, our fourth official case for only 99 cents!  Hey, it’s Rey on the fifth and final promo day.

Like Frankie once sang, I’m gonna “start spreading the news” about our exciting (kinda crazy) case that has a serial killer, GRP (The GrimReaperPeeper), scaring the <bleep> out of Oahu.  He’s leaving tortured victims alongside waterways—with a black rose, no less.

GRP wants JJ, Linda and me to play his game, by his rules. But he keeps changing them!  While we’re trying to figure out who he is (and, hopefully, stop him), we take on a couple of cases: seeing if a hubby is having “fun” on the side and if a young woman is truly being stalked.

Meanwhile, Adwin—Cousin JJ’s old “beau”—is back on the scene.  He’s interested in getting back together, but I don’t think her “sometimes boyfriend”, Cash, is too keen on seeing that happen.

Our killer—our shadow—proves to be pretty clever, even charming.  He keeps us on our toes, researching similar crimes and locating potential suspects (those that might fit the profile) . . . and attempting to stay one step ahead of him  It’s probably our most perplexing case yet . . . and certainly our most dangerous.

If you’d like to learn how we do, please check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Tyler-Colins/dp/B094SZRSVN

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Day 3 and Filled with Glee (Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha)

It’s the third day of the HA-HA-HA-HA 99-cent promo, an awesome price that may prompt a smile or chuckle.

HA-HA-HA-HA is the fifth book and fourth official case of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  This time, a rather ingenious serial killer known as The GrimReaperPeeper has challenged the three pretty private eyes—JJ, Rey, and Linda—to “play the game”.  Unfortunately, it’s by his rules, and he likes to change them as the mood strikes.

He’s already got the island of Oahu in panic mode; everyone is wondering (worrying) who’ll be the next tortured victim to be found alongside a waterway, sporting a black rose?

The gals are determined to discover who he is, but he’s proving clever and cunning.  DNA and evidence are never found.  Nor is he, despite his brazen visits, taunts and repartee.

Who’s going to prove the winner?  The creepy yet charming killer or the dogged and determined private eyes?

If you’d like to see how the private investigators fare, please check them out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Tyler-Colins/dp/B094SZRSVN

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ROTFL . . .

. . . on the second day of the HA-HA-HA-HA 99-cent promo.  For less than a dollar, you can get a copy of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency’s fourth professional case.  Now, that’s worth some mirth.

A serial killer, The GrimReaperPeeper, has challenged JJ, Rey, and Linda to “play the game” … by his rules.  They have little option but to partake.  But who will prove the winner?  The clever and cunning killer or the persevering and persistent private eyes?

If you’d like to see how the trio fare, please check out:

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Tyler-Colins/dp/B094SZRSVN

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HA-HA-HA-HA . . . the Joke’s On . . .

 . . . no one.   He-he.  Hey, it’s Rey!

And JJ, hey-ho (gotcha, Cous)!

You’ve got Lindy-Loo, too!

It’s the first official day of the first HA-HA-HA-HA promo.  We’re very excited.  For a mere 99 cents, you can get a copy of our fifth book and fourth case. 

For those not in the know, we’re private eyes from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  It’s been fairly successful since we launched it on fabulous Oahu (a move we’ve never regretted). 

A serial killer, who calls himself The GrimReaperPeeper—we refer to him as GRP for short—has taken a intensely serious interest in us . . . so much so, he’s challenged us to “play the game”, by his ever changing rules. 

Our newfound friend likes to leave his victims near waterways, with black roses no less.  Why?  Do these people have something in common?  What?  And what’s the reason re leaving clues and messages?  Simply to taunt?  Does he want to be caught?  Or is he merely showing us how brilliant he is?  He’s certainly not stupid; he knows not to leave DNA at the scenes.

Confounded but [always] determined, we endeavor to discover who he might be and how we might stop him.  Not an easy feat, given the lack of constructive evidence and cast of oddball characters.  While we’re at it, we have a couple of other cases to solve: ascertaining whether a handsome hubby has a roving eye and figuring out who is stalking a young, beautiful woman.  As clues are uncovered, so are coincidences.  Could it be that these two cases are somehow connected?  

A worrisome question on all three of our minds: who’s going to prove the winner in this deadly game of taunts and perplexities?  GRP is clever and cunning . . . but we’re persevering and persistent.

Maybe you’d like to check us out?  We’d love it [truly] if you did.  And we’d really [!!] love it if you’d consider providing a review.

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Tyler-Colins/dp/B094SZRSVN

Aloha!

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One More Rah-Rah . . . HA-HA-HA-HA

Hey, it’s Rey today.  The Boss has a number of meetings/calls going on this week related to her personal life.  Linda’s doing volunteer work and JJ’s having lunch with an old high-school friend who flew in for a week with her new hubby.  So-o, that leaves me to post. 

I’m just gonna keep it short and sweet . . . and remind you that our fourth official case HA-HA-HA-HA (the fifth book in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series) is now avail. 

Although it’s not an official [as in paying] case, a serial killer who calls himself GrimReaperPeeper (we call him GRP), has decided he wants us to play his game—by his rules.  But the game keeps changing!  How’s a P.I. (or three) gonna cope?

He keeps JJ, Linda and me on our toes, to be sure, as we try to discover just who this crazy, calculating dude is.  And why does he leave black roses pinned to his tortured victims, who are always found along streams and waterways. 

A couple of other cases come our way: find out who is stalking our pretty client and if hunky hubby is having an affair or five.  Then another curious thing happens—it seems that there may be links between these two cases and the killing sprees.

Here’s an excerpt, as told courtesy of my cousin, JJ.

“Nice flowers,” Rey commented, peering over my shoulder at the gold-flecked carton that had just arrived at the agency. 

It was a few minutes before noon and Linda had joined Mink for a casual lunch in the doggy-wear designer’s office.  I’d declined as I’d already picked up shrimp wonton mein at a noodle house not far down the street and Rey had passed with a monotone “not hungry”.  Whether that was because she wasn’t a fan of Mink or the fact her BFF and Mink were becoming good pals remained to be seen.

She dropped onto the rattan sofa beside me with a thud.

“Hey, we can’t afford to replace broken furniture,” I chided.

“You going to open that?”  She poked the carton with a long apple-red fingernail.

“My, my, my.  Aren’t we curious?”

“We are.  Now, open it!”

Chuckling, I untied the satin ribbon.  Inside, wrapped in lightweight tissue were twelve long-stem crimson roses.

“Nice.”  Her tone was flat, her gaze narrowed.  “What about the card?”

I passed it.  “You do the honors.”

She unsealed the small gilt-edged envelope like a pro.  “Lovely flowers for lovely ladies.”  She turned it over and shrugged.  “Looks like you have—hold on, it says ‘ladies’.  But the delivery was to you.”

“Looks like we have a secret admirer.”

She frowned.  “They’re roses.”

“But they’re not black,” I said with a tight smile.

Her frown deepened.  “You think they might be from GRP?”

“It’s possible, but I’d expect him to enclose a taunting or sinister message.  And the flowers would be black, or close to.”  I shrugged.  “These could be from a former client or a mischievous friend.”

“Our friends don’t have money to blow on high-end roses,” she stated, eyeing them circumspectly.  “Maybe a client.”

I stood.  “May as well put them in a vase.”

“We don’t have one.”

“Then I’ll run down to the little trading shop next door and buy one.  They’re too pretty to let wither.”

“Take ‘em home.”  She smiled faintly.  “The place could use some color.”

“They still need water until we leave.”

She shrugged and started to remove them from the box—and shrieked.  “Shit!  I forgot about thorns.”

But it wasn’t a thorn that was sticking from a bleeding finger when she held it up—but a mini razor blade for a snap-blade knife.

She looked at me crossly.  “You were sayin’ something about friends?”

You can check us out here . . . and we would so love it (!!!) if you’d consider doing a review, should you decide to check us out, of course.

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Triple-Threat-Mysteries-Book/dp/1006971653

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HA-HA-HA-HA . . . The Laugh’s on Me

The fifth book, HA-HA-HA-HA, in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency is officially available—someone posted me to say they’d bought a copy!  <LOL>  How out of it can one be?! The private eyes—JJ, Rey, and Linda—are enthralled.  And I’m both embarrassed and excited (embarrassed because I should be on top of it, and networking/promoting, but excited because, hey, it’s out!!!!). 

Hooo

HA-HA-HA-HA finds the trio on a serial killer’s buddy list.  When he’s not taunting them, he’s challenging them to “play the game”—by his rules. 

The GrimReaperPeeper, as he introduced himself in a teasing text at the end of Forever Poi, proves to be as intelligent as he is devious and dangerous.  GRP, as they prefer to call him, leaves calling cards—on windows, with a boy on the beach, in a neighbor’s foyer.  And, unfortunately for our private eyes—but fortunately for him—DNA and fingerprints are never found.  They add clever and cunning to the description list.

Although it’s not an official [paying] case, GRP’s obsession with them yanks them into the chaos and holds them there.  As they attempt to figure out who he is and why he leaves black roses with his tortured victims (always found along streams and waterways), they accept a couple of other cases.  It soon seems evident that there may be a link or two between these cases and the killings; they simply have to figure it out.

Perhaps you’d like to discover how the pretty gals from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency do, going head-to-head with a crafty serial killer and dealing with his bizarre fixation with them . . .

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Triple-Threat-Mysteries-Book/dp/1006971653

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Another B-Day Cometh/Goeth

Hey, it’s Rey!

And you’ve also got JJ, having a great day!

You’ve got me, Linda, too, scooby-doo-oo!

Scooby-doo-oo?  Like what the <bleep>?

Listen, Rey, I can be cute, too.

That’s not cute, Lindy-Loo, it’s just peee-u.

Ha-ha.  You’re so not funny.

Uh-huh.  As the narrator of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, maybe I should take over, ladies. You two can continue that petty arguing outside—hey, don’t you dare, Cousin Reynalda!  Not one word.

Good, now that she’s buttoned those lips and is [begrudgingly] following her BFF into the yard, I just wanted to give a head’s up that there’s no post of note today.  The Boss has the day off—we gave it to her.  Birthdays come but once a year.

c73f0c0fa8f35c9fe580a4b5b9f2a8baShe doesn’t care much; as she said, “b-days cometh and goeth”. 

Still, it’s a special day, one where you can be a kid again if you so choose, eat [and/or drink] as much as you want, enjoy the day that’s just for you

Have at it, Boss!

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Short & Sweet Today

Hey, it’s Rey!  Hope you’re havin’ a fabulous Saturday.  The three of us are, he-he.

We were fooling around with the new FB pic—to include our latest Triple Threat Investigation Agency case, HA-HA-HA-HA.

Another drum roll, pul-leeze ……..

21-210856_drum-png-free-download-drum-roll-image-with

And another ta-da!

20161001_103547aaaaa

Whadya think?  Nice, huh, huh, huh?

Catchya later!

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Taaa-Daaaaaaaaa!!

Hey, it’s Rey!  And, for once, I don’t have much to say . . .

. . . except that . . .

The Boss is excited—and the three of us from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency (JJ, Linda and l’il lovely me) are stoked—the cover of HA-HA-HA-HA, our most recent [super exciting] case is ready!  Can you spell w-o-o-h-o-o? 

The Boss, at first glance, thought it was a bit too green.  Linda wondered if maybe the rose should have been blacker and JJ was thinking a roulette might have worked, too.  Me, I’d have liked it to have a bit more pop but, you know, it’s pretty consistent with the others, so . . . drum roll puh-leeze . . .

drumroll

. . . taaa-daaaaaaaaa!

HHHH1a (1)

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HA-HA-HA-HA-ing . . .

A little laughter and a little/quick update.

I signed the Next Chapter contract re HA-HA-HA-HA (the fifth book in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series), so now it’s a matter of waiting for it to receive a cover and be put on Amazon, etc. (Hopefully, those last few pages of research stuck at the end of the manuscript I submitted, mentioned in a recent post, will not be there, LOL.)

A little more laughter.  I’ll really have to focus on marketing.  Which means some serious reviewing of promotion principles.  And applying.

Wish me luck (coz, as Rey might say, I sure as bleep’ll need it).  <He-he>

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Do as I Say . . . Not as I Do . . . Ple-ease (!)

A quick post today.  As you may know if you read my FB posts, I finally submitted HA-HA-HA-HA (the fifth book in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series) to Next Chapter. 

Was I proud?  Happy?  Relieved?  As Rey might say, you betcha!

Lo and behold, I went to cut and paste the epilogue of the next (sixth) book into a new Word document and what did I find?!  That I’d left 10 pages of research notes and the like at the end.  Groannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

<bleep>  I could have sworn I’d deleted those.  Where the <bleep, bleep> did those suckers come from!?  Great editor/proofer, huh?  I couldn’t catch a major faux pas in my own book.  I’m not sure whether to laugh hysterically or weep profusely. 

I’m slapping myself mentally for having been so dim-witted.  Like really? 

And that leads me to the message of this post.  Proof and edit before you submit something—again and again.  It will save in the embarrassment department, unless you’re thick-skinned, of course, and could care less.  I, however, do care . . . very much.

Be as professional as you can be, and take pride in that professionalism.  Do as I say, not as I do.  Groannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

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Hopping Happy

It’s Rey, hey!

And JJ, hey-hey.

Hey, that’s my word.

You have exclusive rights to it, Rey?  He-ey, it’s Linda.  We’re giving our Boss the day off.  None of us could agree (quelle surprise) as to what we should post about so, given it’s Easter weekend, we thought we’d simply share what we’re up to.  Nothing informative or educational or enlightening.

WPfreepickDOTesYesterday, Cousin Jilly (JJ, as you know her), Lindy-Loo, my best friend (for the time being), and I had a super quiet Friday.  JJ grilled fish, ahi to be exact, Linda prepared roasted potatoes with dill and crunchy green beans, and I made two salads—Thai and Greek.  They were particularly tasty, I might add.  Dee-lish, in fact.

WPall-free-downloadDOTcomThat’s my humble Cousin Reynalda for you.  Today, the three of us are coloring eggs . . . a new one for us.  My cous got the idea from a Food Network show she got caught up in, and Linda thought it might be great fun to do.  I’m not sure about it being “great”, but it’ll certainly be enjoyable (if not messy).

WPpublicdomainpicturesDOTnetRey’s heading to the mall to buy chocolate bunnies and stuff.  Given she’s the queen of sales, bar none, JJ and I are sure she’ll bring home some fabulous finds.  I just hope she doesn’t go overboard; those sales are also her weakness (as her monthly credit-card statements will attest to). 

Tomorrow, we’ll have an Easter barbecue with a few neighbors, then head to the North Shore around six.  A fellow P.I. is throwing a luau.  We are so in for that.

And there you have it: an effortless Easter weekend post.

May Mr. Bunny bring you lots of treats.

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Hau’oli Lā Pakoa!

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The Pleasure of Perfection

Hey, it’s Rey.  The title’s courtesy of Lindy-Loo, but the post is all mine.

The Boss actually gave me the idea—the inspiration—from something she said the other day.  She’d finished editing “HA-HA-HA-HA”, turned off the laptop, and murmured “perfect”.  Not that she thinks it’s actually flawless or spot-on or anything like that.  Perfect because she’s given it her all and—yeah, although she knows she could edit it another five times—it’s time to say and embrace “The End”.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be thoroughly skilled, or defect-less (my word), or “excellent” but remember this: perfect isn’t about being that, it’s about being good enough in your eyes.  Aim to be the best you can be; there’s nothing wrong with that—in fact, it’s something we should all do—just don’t expect to be p-e-r-f-e-c-t.  That will never happen—as perfectionists (or high achievers, as they’re sometimes called) can confirm—because there’ll always be something that could use tweaking.

There’s nothing wrong with setting high goals, either; just don’t obsess about it.  Take me.  I was a B-actress.  I’d have loved to be an A-list one.  I’m talented, but I also know exactly how talented I am—i.e. I acknowledge my limitations and accept them.  Yes, I can work on them (and I have, and I do), but I’ll never be a Meryl Streep or Julianne Moore, and I am fine with that.  I . . . am . . . good . . . enough.  I take pleasure in being as perfect as I can be.

There are some fields/areas that do need 100% perfectionism—like medical and engineering (anything where being off even a teeny-weeny bit could be deadly or dangerous), but I don’t have the perfect (he-he) background to provide insight on them.  And I suspect that’d be a major snooze-fest if I did.  I’m simply l’il ol’ Rey, a pretty decent private eye, who’s posting about giving something/yourself your all and recognizing how far you can/will go to achieve that.

“Practice makes perfect” is a valid saying.  The more you do something, the better you are at it.  The Boss will readily admit she was a lousy (!) writer when she first started out a few decades ago.  She kept applying herself, though . . . kept learning . . . kept practicing.  Still does.  Now, she believes she’s a good (not great) writer—she knows her limitations.  She’ll never be a James Joyce or Margaret Atwood.  She’s not perfect but she is good [enough] in her eyes.  And that’s okay . . . because she’ll still endeavor to do it better the next time around.

I’m going to end this perfect little post; it’s as perfect as I can make it, given my limited writing background.  But I’ve come a long way—just look at my first post.  I won’t say we [all] develop/grow, because I’ve met some people that truly “never learn”.  I think that’s because they think they’re perfect as they are.  Well, bully for them—and, boy, do I have news for them (he-he).

On that note, I hope you have a perfectly lovely Wednesday and week.

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Becoming Bulletproof – Part 2

Per the previous post, I wanted to share a [sort of] review of a book—Becoming Bulletproof by Evy Poumpouras—one I’d label both enlightening and engaging.

As mentioned, it was given to me by a friend who understands what “space/place” I’m in these days and thought it might serve of value.  It has, as it’s certainly giving me food for thought.

Besides giving us a bit of background as to how she became a Secret Service Agent, and what that entailed, Evy provides guidance on how to “protect yourself / read people / influence situations / live fearlessly / become bulletproof” (per the back of the book jacket).  Sounds good—is good.

Divided into three sections/parts, we have “Protection”, “Reading People”, and “Influence”.

There are, for example, three types of fear: flight, fight, freeze.  I tend to embrace fight mode, though on the odd occasion, I might freeze.  Speaking of fight, you’ll find information on how to learn to fight; i.e. know your limitations, have a plan, maintain a reality check.

What else might you learn?  How to better secure your life.  “Whether at home, online, or out in public, you’ll have the strategies you need to keep your property, possessions, and information safe.”  Who doesn’t want to know how to do that?

I particularly liked Part Two, with chapters on how to read people, via diagrams as well as descriptions, and how to determine what people are truly saying, via verbal red flags.

As well as being enlightening and engaging, Becoming Bulletproof is a good, solid, straightforward read.  Need I say more?

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Becoming Bulletproof – Part 1

I’m reading a great book right now (one I’m not editing)—Becoming Bulletproof by Evy Poumpouras.

The intention was to do a review, but as I was strolling along pre-dawn streets this morning, it came to me to do a two-parter.  One: how the book came into my possession.  Two: the review itself.

This year has been one of sharing, of communicating things about my personal situation, and what a challenge life has become over the years.  I never had the inclination to be transparent [that much] in past, but somehow, these days, this year, it seems a cathartic thing to do.

I’ve been sad/depressed off and on for a long time; sometimes, I can handle it, sometimes I slip deep within and/or spit razorblades.  Lately, it’s been the latter.  I’ve walked away from people (the very, very few friends I have, all three of them).

One friend, however, was sweet enough to give me a feel-better bag filled with lovely pick-you-up pressies.  Scented candles (I couldn’t peel my nose from those heady fragrances).  Sweet treats (how nummy).  A soft blanket (so ni-ice at night).  And the book . . . Becoming Bulletproof (Life Lessons from a Secret Service Agent).  Thank you, Krystyna.

“The one person you should be able to fully rely upon to save you is you.  You are the hero you’ve been waiting for . . .” is how the back jacket reads.  Love it.  Ultimately, it’s true; the only person(s) we can rely on are ourselves.

The book revolves around how to deal with and overcome fear.  I’m all for that; who doesn’t want to take charge of her/his life?

My fear?  There’s really only one: never being free of mom-care.  I’ve devoted most of my life to taking care of a woman who could care less what the toll is on me, nor is she thankful for the multitude of things I do every day.  That’s okay.  Some people simply can’t say thank-you.  And I don’t criticize or condemn her for that; that’s just who she is.

I’m often feeling like one of the walking dead because I am exhausted beyond exhausted.  And hope and faith are merely memories.  But real [uninterrupted] sleep will come one day.  Maybe not tomorrow or next month.  But it will come.  Hope may return and I hope (he-he) it does.  Faith I’m not so sure about, but maybe I take the Wayne Dyer approach to life.  Faith is found in many forms and it doesn’t have to be “religious”.

I must learn to go with the flow better than I have been doing.  Pull up the socks.  Keep a stiff upper lip.  Let things happen/unfold.  Allow the cards to fall where they may.  How are those for overused—but appropriate—sayings?

wpbookI must also apply what I’ve learned from the book.  It’s merely a matter of putting advice into practice . . . and practice does make perfect (one last familiar saying, he-he).

And, with time, yours truly will become bulletproof.

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Four . . . Only Two More

. . . days to get Coco’s Nuts for only 99 cents!

It’s JJ today.  Linda’s doing volunteer work at the shelter and Rey’s off on a theater audition, and our Boss is running amok (don’t ask).

The three of us, aspiring P.I.s from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency, undertake our second major assignment: proving our client, once-socialite-Vassar-grad-turned-trucker Buddy Feuer, isn’t responsible for two murders.  Despite what the folks in blue maintain, she [really] had no motive to kill her boss, infamous entrepreneur Jimmy Picolo.  Nor did she murder her best friend, Eb Stretta, a fellow trucker and Picolo employee.

Yes, the evidence points to Buddy being the murderer, but we’re convinced that Buddy has been set up.  Nutty Coco Peterson, another Picolo employee, has been MIA since the murders went down, and appears to be a central piece in this perplexing puzzler.  But where is the little sh-uh-prat?

As we endeavor to uncover a killer amid another cast of curious and unconventional characters, we find ourselves in some dangerous situations—exploding bombs, for example, suggest we’ve ruffled a few feathers by asking too many questions.  Hopefully, we’ll obtain some legitimate answers before anything significant blows up . . . like us!

Coco's Nuts11111Maybe you’d like to accompany us on this challenging and thrilling ride?  If so, please check us out at: https://www.amazon.ca/Cocos-Nuts-Tyler-Colins/dp/1078374368

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Three … Almost Free

You have Linda today and I’m here to remind you about the 99-cent Coco’s Nuts promo.  It’s Day Three, two more to go.

Coco’s Nuts is the third mystery in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series and it has the three of us newbie private investigators—JJ, Rey, and myself—pursuing our second official assignment: proving socialite-turned-trucker Buddy Feuer didn’t shoot her boss, infamous entrepreneur Jimmy Picolo.

Instead of revealing too much, maybe I can pique your interest by providing an excerpt.

As beautiful as a Bamboo Orchid and as cool as an English cucumber, Buddy Feuer seemed neither fazed nor anxious, given the grave predicament. Tall and willowy, the thirty-four-year-old former society woman turned truck driver was easy on the eyes no matter what your predilection. A “looker” or “dish” she might have been called back in the days of gin rickeys, trilbys, and gumshoes. Some females truly lucked out in the comeliness lottery, as unconventional, chinchilla-faced Aunt Rowena Jaye was often heard to utter about a relation or friend (with a wistful, wishful sigh).

Buddy had contacted the Triple Threat Private Investigation Agency after researching our involvement — and success — with the handling of the “Gruesome Twosome Case” (as we’d jokingly dubbed our first P.I. job) and the ensuing arrest of our client, William Pierponce Howell. The now-deceased WP Howell had been as wealthy as he’d been eccentric (a tactful way of saying f’g zany) and the murder of his young, pretty wife was not the only crime he’d been guilty of. HPD’s Detective Gerald “Ald” Ives had been gracious enough during a media interview to credit the agency with providing “some valid crime-stopping information”, which had led to the apprehension of the millionaire and his equally culpable (f’g zany) partner. The truth was we’d done considerably more, but we were cool with letting HPD take credit.

Our latest assignment was fairly clear-cut: prove Buddy hadn’t murdered renowned entrepreneur Jimmy Silone Picolo III.

Jimmy Man-I’m-Fabulously-Rich Picolo was second-generation owner of a hapu’upu’u pickling factory called Braddah Jimmy’s Pickled Aquatic Delights (who’d have guessed preserved fish cheeks and eyes could be such popular delicacies). In addition, the shrewd man owned JSP Capital-Credit Corporation and Balz to the Walz Incorporated, a demolition-construction company that knocked down buildings as rapidly as it put them up. There were also pet projects here and there, little businesses he absorbed or annihilated.

Slim and trim and relatively short, Jimmy was a cross between Dean Martin and Sal Mineo in their heydays. Over the years, the attractive man had rubbed a few people the wrong way. You see, equally successful had been his loansharking and racketeering — excuse me, alleged loansharking and racketeering.

Unlike Jimmy Silone Picolo II, who’d been indicted on racketeering and murder in the 70s, “III” had never been convicted of anything. Equally charmed and charming, he’d navigated the tranquil waters of life and business with a multi-thousand-dollar smile and a playful monarch-like wave . . . of the middle finger. The odd time the folks in blue had become involved, paperwork transformed into ashes and lawsuits dropped like smoldering charcoal briquettes. Witnesses developed curious cases of amnesia or hopped continent-bound jets faster than Hollywood celebrities changed partners.

Picolo had been found in an alley in the business district, not far from his opulent Bishop Street office. The capital-credit company took up half the fourth floor while the main office occupied the entire top floor. Lavishly decorated with marble, crystal, and 14-K gold, it even held an interior waterfall rumored to stream champagne instead of water. How decadent was that? No longer a concern, however: expanding that firm fiscal foothold and/or working long hours while sitting in a gold-trimmed leather barrister chair before said waterfall. The quinquagenarian’s face had greeted a brick wall several times before three bullets created cranial air vents. Had he survived, attractive would certainly no longer have described Jimmy Silone Picolo III.

If you’d like to learn how we tackle this challenging and goosebump-exciting (Rey demanded I throw that “adjective” in) case . . . or would like to leave a review (we would be greatly appreciative if you did), please check us out at . . . https://www.amazon.ca/Cocos-Nuts-Tyler-Colins/dp/1078374368

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Forever Poi, Not bein’ Coy

Hey, it’s Rey again.  Lindy-Loo’s “too busy” to post today.  Whatever.

He-he.  I’m never one to be/play coy, as you who know l’il ol’ me are totally aware of  . . . so-o, here you go . . .

You can get Forever Poi for a bargain at 99 cents!

Forever Poi is our third official (and paying) case, which has MIA Linda, Cousin JJ, and me determining who set fire to two upscale Chinatown art galleries and left two bodies in the ruins.  One was the co-owner.  It’s possible his partner may have wanted to collect the insurance money.  The other: a former queenpin whose past may have caught up with her.

Here’s a tidbit, as told by Cousin Jilly (JJ):

Ald adjusted the volume. “Two galleries are pretty close to being cinders, specifically the ones belonging to Carlos Kawena and James-Henri Ossature. Weren’t you supposed to be here for Carlos’ 6-tu-8 do?”

“I had to be somewhere. But I had drinks with Carlos last night to celebrate his forty-sixth and he provided a sneak-peak of the exhibit.” Xavier’s voice had taken on a serious, business-like tone. “What happened? Is he okay?”

“We found a body that wasn’t recognizable. All I know at this stage is that it’s pretty certain the fire was no accident. The only thing I can confirm is the little intimate soirée ended at eight on the nose. He’d planned to leave the gallery no later than 8:20 to be at a snooty function at nine. The fire was called in at 8:35 p.m.”

“Did he show up at that affair?”

“He didn’t tell me much about it. And I haven’t been able to reach James-Henri.”

Rey, Linda and I gazed solemnly at one another.

“Where can I meet you?”

“I’m at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.” Ald snickered and rolled intense Maya-blue eyes. He’d always found the name of the agency comical, but hadn’t mentioned that until a few weeks ago. In truth, I’d never liked it much either, but my theatrical over-the-top cousin, also a part-time actress (commercials primarily these days), had insisted upon it. Arguing with her was rarely worth the effort, so the Triple Threat Investigation Agency it was.

“Be there as quick as I can.”

“We need serious caffeine, A, not the watered-down crap I see sitting in a pot across this office.”

“You got it.”

Ald replaced the mobile and exhaled at length. Facial lines were beginning to deepen and a thick, notched scar along the right temple was pulsing, sure signs he was growing both fatigued and irritated.

“A?” Linda asked, getting up and stretching.

“A for adjuster,” he replied with a pert smile. “That’s what he does for a living.”

“Does that mean we call you D for dick?” Rey asked breezily.

If you’d like to check out our challenging if not crazy (body-heavy) case, you can do so here: https://www.amazon.ca/Forever-Poi-Tyler-Colins/dp/1079716483

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Forever Poi – What a Joy . . .

. . . to get an ebook for a measly 99 cents!

Hey, it’s Rey today (Linda was reviewing a few wines last night and hasn’t climbed out of bed yet).

Forever Poi, our third official—professional—case, has Hungover Linda, Cousin Jilly (also known as JJ), and me trying to find out who set fire to two up-and-coming art galleries . . . and left two bodies in the ashes.  One was co-owner and it appears his partner in business and love might have wanted to collect on the insurance (evidently, it’s happened before).  The other was a former queenpin who seems to have turned over a new leaf; maybe someone didn’t want her to?

As we determine who’s done what, a few bodies show up (they have a habit of doing that around us), and our case proves anything but straightforward or simple.  That’s okay; we’re up for the challenge.  But it’s one heckuva roller-coaster ride!

Maybe you’d like to check us out?  You can find Forever Poi here: https://www.amazon.ca/Forever-Poi-Tyler-Colins/dp/1079716483

. . . And, if you’re so inclined, maybe you could please leave a review?  We’d love it if you would.  Aloha, dear friends.

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Forever Poi – Please Enjoy . . .

. . . the 99-cent promo, starting today.

It’s Linda starting off Day 1 of the Forever Poi promo.  You can get a copy through March 13 for a mere 99 cents.

Forever Poi is the fourth mystery in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, and it has us three private eyes (JJ, Rey, and myself) out to solve double-arson and murder.  Who torched two Chinatown art galleries and left two charred bodies in the rubble?

Are the arsonist and killer the same person?  We think so and, as we endeavor to determine who that is, we encounter a plethora of possible culprits.  The day before the fire, Carlos Kawena, one of the arson victims, had an ugly break-up with his partner, James-Henri Ossature.  There were financial issues, too.  Could James-Henri have done the dastardly deed to collect insurance money and be rid of his lover?  What about the second victim, Mary-Louise Crabtree, a former queenpin?  Given her sketchy past, might a former foe have murdered her?  If so, was Carlos merely collateral damage?

We encounter a collection of curious characters, some with dicey “careers”.  The case proves challenging, even dangerous, but that doesn’t stop us from finding answers—even when faced by a gun, bomb, and [enter weapon of choice].

Perhaps you’d like to find out just how exciting this mystery-solving, roller-coaster ride is?

Please check us out at: https://www.amazon.ca/Forever-Poi-Tyler-Colins/dp/1079716483

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The Old Boat Float

Hey, it’s able Rey today.  <he,he>  I made a little rhyme.  The Boss is swamped, so I’m taking over on what Lindy-Loo would call “post patrol”.

To be honest, I was a bit lost as to what the topic should be, then I remembered the last one, and our Boss’ favorite (kinda silly) expression: whatever floats your boat.  Like really?  But whatever.

So-o, I thought I’d share with you guys what floats our boats—“our” being the three of us from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency, me, Cousin Jilly, also known as JJ, and my BFF, Linda, or Lindy-Loo as I sometimes call her, much to her annoyance.  Don’t know why.  It’s cute, doncha think?

I’m gonna start with her and what, these days, does it for her.

Linda:     Lots of things float mine—blogging, reviewing wines and food, being a P.I., volunteering at the shelter . . . enjoying the day.  I’m fairly down to earth; it doesn’t take me a lot to be happy or content.  But, if I have to pick something “current” that brings me joy, given these trying times, I’d say that it’s the goodness in people—LOL, Rey just gave a big roll of those grass-green eyes and stuck her index finger in her mouth.  It’s true, though.  No matter how difficult and challenging things are right now, so many persons are still reaching out to help one another . . . like Chicago’s “Pilot Pete”, who gathered 6000 coats and gave them to the homeless—with coffee.  I love it.  Hope (lots!) abounds.

Thanks Sister Linda.  And what about you, Cous?

JJ:     Like Linda, many things float mine, but I do love animal stories with happy endings.  As such, I’m going to go with a recent one, where a young navy sailor from Thailand leapt into rough waters, and swam several grueling yards, to save four kittens from a burning ship.  Thatsaphon Saii placed three in a sack and perched one on his shoulders.  If that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye—and warm your heart—I don’t know what will.  Yes, hope does abound.    

Okay, that brought on a sniffle.  Last, but never least, me . . .

Rey:     Guess I’m what Linda and JJ might call petty-minded, not in a niggling or nagging way, but in a trivial one.  Sure, saving the monk seals brings me joy (as you may know), and I love private-eyeing—that certainly floats it, too. But I am who and what I am, and the entertainment world (still) does it for me.  I was a B-movie actress and I still do some part-time acting.  Not because I have to, because I want to.  I love being in front of a camera and on the stage.  It’s fun and it’s totally me.  So, you know, I’m going to say what really floats my boat is . . . being honest.

So, friends, what floats yours?

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HA-HA-HA-HAing

The Boss is enduring another meltdown, so you have Linda today.  I’m going to keep it quick and light, and let you know that our fourth case (fifth book)—HA-HA-HA-HA—is almost completed. 

We’re so happy, we’re ha-ha-ha-haing.  How can we not be pleased?  It’s been a long, complicated case that fell into our lap courtesy of a nutbar serial killer.

Here’s an excerpt to [hopefully] whet your whistle (unlike the beer that Rey is sucking back at this moment) . . .

The two detectives had arrived fifteen minutes after we’d called Ald to tell him about the rose and message.  Both men had been wearing 50s-style polyester black-and-red bowling shirts.  Funny, who’d have guessed either HPD homicide detective was a bowler?  As Rey would say, ya truly do learn something new every day.

Pets on our heels, it was fifteen minutes after midnight when we finally locked up and trooped upstairs. 

Leaning into the far wall, Linda frowned and appeared pensive.  “GRP’s becoming close and personal.  I wonder whose blood he used.”  

 I parked my butt on the edge of Rey’s queen-size upholstered storage bed and wearily said, “I suspect we’ll learn soon enough.”

“Do you think they’ll find anything incriminating?”

“That dude won’t have left any evidence or DNA,” Rey responded, removing a folded oversized T-shirt from one of two marquetry-motif nightstands.  She started undressing.  “Guess we can open an official case file, starting with the photos we took earlier.”

“And the details Ald said he’d provide tomorrow,” Linda added.

Limited details,” I emphasized.  “He’s not going to share all.”

“There should be enough for us to begin some serious private-eyeing.”

“Think we should get a security system, like Hives suggested?” my cousin asked, tossing a crimson lace bra across the room.  It landed at the base of an “awesome mega-sale piece”, a variegated solid-marble and brushed-brass floor mirror.

“Given our line of work, yes.”  I flopped back and stared at a ceiling in dire need of paint.  Bonzo landed beside me, his face—whiskers twitching wildly—inches from mine.  “Let’s do it first thing.”

Linda glanced at her ice-pink Coach watch.  “I’m bed-bound.  Nighty-night ladies.”

“Who can sleep?” Rey asked drily, slipping the T-shirt advertising a local rib joint over her head.

“Count sheep.”

“More like corpses,” she said with a cynical smile.

Aloha Saturday everyone—enjoy your weekend!

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Review: THE BLACK FLEET – The Crimson Deathbringer Book Three (Sean Robins)

The third book in the series, The Black Fleet, continues to satisfy.  It’s not quite as complex perhaps as the previous two (The Crimson Deathbringer and The Golden Viper), but it still delivers—with brisk action, campy humor, and the crazy cast we’ve grown so fond of.  They abound with zealousness (or is that insanity?).  The threat this time deals with the fate of the future.  Scary!

There’s protagonist Major Jim Harrison—with new wife, Ella, a career military woman—and his nemesis/alter-ego, Venom.  Jim’s still an ace fighter pilot but is also the author of well-selling autobiographies; not only have they granted him a certain level of fame but have bolstered an ego that was rather big to begin with.  Comrade Kurt returns, as does prankster Tarq, but the “insect” seems a little less dynamic than previously.  General Maada takes a pivotal role and gives Jim a run for his money, er, space fighter, er . . . .

Sean’s characters are well crafted and alternative planets and lifeforms—like the Akakies, Volts, and Talgonians—are thoroughly detailed.  It’s easy to visualize the action in all its explosive fervor.  Energy and danger overflow as heroes/heroines and enemies engage in thrilling skirmishes.

I looked at Earth, visible from the front window, and admired its magnificent beauty for the thousandth time. No matter how often I saw Earth from orbit, this view always made my breath catch and my spirit lift. My planet, where all my loved ones lived, including my unborn child. In this wide universe, this was the only place I called home, which incidentally I’d helped save a couple of times, along with the rest of the galaxy.

If pride really were a deadly sin, then I was going straight to hell.

And now new baddies were coming for her. Well, guess who was standing in their way. But first, there was a minor issue I had to deal with.

“You know what, Tarq?” I said conversationally. “It’s just occurred to me you never answered for the seven hundred million humans you got killed.

Another thrilling ride to be sure, one that leaves you longing for another.  Lucky us—there’s a fourth one to come.

A definite 4 out of 5!

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What about Sean Robins?  As may be evident from the Crimson Deathbringer books, he’s a huge fan of Marvel, Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Star Trek.  He’s a university/college-level English teacher and has lived and worked in six different countries, including Canada.  Sean has met people from all around the world, which is “probably why my characters look like the bridge crew from Star Trek”.

His favorite author is Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), which is why he ended up writing in first-person POV with the same light-hearted, funny tone.  The fact that his MC’s name is Jim is purely coincidental, and has nothing to do with Captain James Kirk either.

Please check Sean out on Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter (@seanrobins300) and/or Facebook (facebook.com/seanrobins300).

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2 for 2021

The last 2 weeks of 2020 were nightmarish, for reasons best not shared.  But here’s to dropping negativity and aiming for—and embracing—positivity.

Day 2 of 2021, a brand spanking new year, has  started calmly . . . with resolutions made . . . and now to be kept.

The private eyes at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency shared theirs not long ago, as have I.  We’ll endeavor to see they don’t fall to the wayside.

And while we’re on the topic of a new year, here’s to:

blogging and writing regularly    meeting fellow bloggers and writers and making new friends    augmenting our crafts    keeping promises    moving onwards and upwards    helping / teaching others, and    believing anything is possible.

Life sends many challenges our way (and some seem beyond taxing) but, ultimately, we do overcome them.  Know that any trials and tests you encounter can be surmounted, no matter how overwhelming they may seem at the time.  You can and will conquer them; they will not conquer you!

Let’s keep the faith.  Always.

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Review: Fishnets and Fire-Eating: A True Story (A Dancer’s Diary in Japan)

WPMicheleold1useMy reading frenzy has calmed, but I did have the pleasure of reading Michele E. Northwood’s most entertaining sequel to Fishnets in the Far East: A Dancer’s Diary in Korea.  Like the first [personal account] book, the narrative in Fishnets and Fire-Eating: A True Story (A Dancer’s Diary in Japan) is humorous, exciting, and even edifying.

Fire-Eating is an absorbing story, another can’t-put-down read.  This time, we follow the “antics” of Michele and three other young women—performers—who travel to Hokkaido to entertain Japanese audiences with their dancing, acrobatics and, yes, fire-eating.

The quartet—Michele, Rachael, Anna, and Claire—encounter a plethora of interesting (if not off-putting) people, sex-crazed men, Yakuza henchmen and chiefs, Nutty Nora, and a crowbar-wielding fellow who has undergone shock therapy.

The appealing storyline also provides wonderful descriptions of culture and customs, locales and history.  Japanese words and phrases, interspersed throughout, make us yearn to learn a few more while photos supply we-are-there visuals.

As is human nature when people live together for an extended period, tension and friction (jealousy and envy) rear their unpleasant heads, adding to the women’s various dilemmas.  They do manage to work their way through the assorted conflicts, however, though not always well or easily.

One night, not long after they arrive, the women “consult” a Ouija board; spirits appear and impart ominous premonitions/messages.  Bizarrely, if not frighteningly, they start to come true.

Michele2use1As in Far East, Michele and her colleagues are not paid well; someone appears to be skimming their wages.  Still, despite many challenges, they persevere and life (eating/working) doesn’t seem quite as desperate as it did when Michele was in Korea.

I so enjoyed Fire-Eating, maybe even a little more than Far East; I have to give it 5 out of 5.

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For those not familiar with Michele, she’s quite amazing/accomplished.  Not only was she a dancer, she was a magician and fire-eater who toured the world for 20+ years in theater, musicals and the circus.  She has also been featured in the Guinness Book of Records; during her years in entertainment she was part of the world’s largest Human Mobile while working for the Circus of Horrors as their first “girl inside a bottle”.  Other fascinating jobs included working as a knife thrower’s assistant, assisting a midget in his balancing act, and taking part in a Scorpions’ concert grand finale.

Upon retiring from the exciting world of entertainment, she returned to school and acquired a First-Class Honors degree in Modern Languages (English and Spanish).

Michele currently lives in Spain with her Spanish husband, Randy, two dogs and two cats, and serves as an English teacher.  She loves living in the countryside with views of the sea and enjoys sitting on the terrace at the end of a long day, looking at the stars and contemplating (sounds divine).

Please check her and her books out at: https://www.amazon.com/Michele-E.-Northwood.

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Alo-Ha-Waiiiiiii Once Again

Hey, it’s Rey!  So, per my Hawaii post suggestion, Linda took it one step further: the three of us had to feature our favorite Hawaiian author or Hawaiian-themed story.  I’m not a reader, but given The Boss’ love of Nancy Drew, I grabbed The Secret of the Golden Pavilion (I do so like an “easy” read).

This is the 36th book in the series, penned by Carolyne Keene (the pseudonym of many authors) back in 1959.  The mystery finds Nancy and her housekeeper, Hannah, and her pals, George and Bess (and beaus Ned, Dave, and Burt) on our beautiful Islands, formerly known as The Sandwich Islands, by the way (I do pick up facts now and then, he-he).

The case involves an old golden pavilion—no surprise there, he-he.  Someone has been hacking the floor.  Maybe in search of something?  Mr. Sakamaki, Carson Drew’s client, provides the pretty sleuth with two mysterious symbols, possible clues to solving his mystery . . . one of two, actually.  Two claimants, a brother and sister, have suddenly appeared in connection with settling Mr. Sakamaki’s estate, known as Kaluakua, which he inherited from his granddad.  Hmmm.  Are they the real deal?

In addition to learning about the history of the Islands and indulging in a luau and visiting cultural locations/places.  There’s never a dull moment, either . . .

Nancy turned on the television set and tuned it to the proper channel.  The telecast had barely started when the announcer electrified the Drews with a news bulletin which he said had just been received by the station.

“Word has come,” he began, “of a plane in trouble over the Pacific.  It is one which was chartered by a group of students from Emerson College.”

“Oh, Dad!” Nancy cried out fearfully.  “That’s the plane that Ned and Dave and Burt are on!”

Ooooh, will they crash?  You’ll just have to read the book to find out, won’t you?

Aloha everyone!  And Happy Holidays!

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Alo—Ha—Waiiii Once More

The posting assignment from Boss Lady, also known as my BFF Rey, was pushed to the wayside a wee while back, but she was quick to remind me yesterday that we—she and I—hadn’t yet posted about our favorite Hawaiian author or Hawaiian-themed story.  In case you’re not familiar with us (the P.I.s from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency), I’m Linda.  Unlike Rey, I do read—huh?  Oh, sorry Sunshine.

I decided to go with Matthew Kaopio’s Written in the Sky, penned about a decade ago.  It’s a gritty, intense tale—YA, interestingly enough—that revolves around young Ikauikalani, or ‘Ikau, a fourteen-year-old who resides among the Ala Moana Park homeless.  He does have a “family”, one created over time, but he’s basically on his own.  And life far from safe—he encounters unsavory sorts, like a creepy fellow who offers him drugs and propositions and ghastly gang members who taunt and threaten.

The homeless hold a place in my heart and soul, and this book struck a chord with me.  The story is a solid, if not eye-opening read.  And it’s not for the weak-hearted; living on the streets can be dangerous, and violent.

“How would you like to be branded like cattle?” the leader whispered.  “It only hurts for a short time, then you don’t fell a thing.”  The boy trembled as the bright-orange cherry came close to his eyelashes.  “What, fag, you scared?” With a burst of energy, the boy let out a long, high-pitched scream.  He stepped down hard on someone’s foot and managed to break free.  Swinging his bag again, he smacked the gang leader in the eye, knocking the cigarette out of his hand.  “Assholes!” the boy yelled.  He ran toward the snack bar, loud jeer sounding behind him. “We’re not pau with you, faggot!” the leader called after him.  “We’ll be back, you’ll see!”  The gang hooted and howled as the boy, exhausted, slumped behind a sea-grape tree, wishing with all of his heavy heart for his grandmother to come back and make this nightmare go away.

We learn how this young teen lives—survives—but also [happily] discover there are kind-hearted people to be found.  It’s not hard to envision him people-watching, interacting (with wariness), swimming in the brilliant-blue Pacific, pawing through garbage for food and castoffs, searching for money, and standing his ground, regardless of fear.

What makes him different from countless other ill-starred kids?  ‘Ikau can view the future via clouds.  Upon hearing from his dead grandmother in a dream to locate Mariah Wong (a name he’s not familiar with), ‘Ikau begins a journey to find himself, as well as use his gifts.  As he undertakes this odyssey with an owl spirit guide, he learns about Hawaiian culture and traditions, as well as his family’s history.

For those of you unfamiliar with Matthew Kaopio, he became a mouth-brush artist and writer while undergoing rehabilitation for a severe spinal injury that occurred while swimming; it left him a quadriplegic.  His first book was Hawaiian Family Legends.  I’ve not yet checked it out, but I understand it “combines ancient Hawaiian oral storytelling with modern-day painting”.  Written in the Sky, interestingly enough, incorporates Kaopio’s own experiences in Ala Moana Park during the rehabilitation process and is also based on a 2004 Master’s thesis in Pacific Island Studies.

One last fascinating fact: he was also a skilled chanter.

“Chanting and poetry are ways of harnessing the spiritual and magical power of the spoken word.”

Sadly, this talented man is no longer among us, but his wonderful works carry on.

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Making New Year’s Resolutions (Again) and Keeping Them . . . or Trying To (Again)

Another year is nearly over.  Have I accomplished any of my writing/blogging resolutions?  My personal ones?  No to both.  <loud lengthy sigh>

Now, I could list all the things I let slip to the wayside and the reasons why, but what’s the logic in that?  They didn’t happen.  No point in beating myself up about it.  There’s another new year around the bend—and with it—new resolutions.  Ones to make happen!

Here are mine as a writer/blogger:

♦   write one more book (maybe something outside of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency)    ♦   blog regularly (as I have been, so pat on back to self for managing that)    ♦   re-organize the blog (maybe start a new one), and    ♦   become more social-media savvy.

That’s enough.  Being realistic helps resolutions happen.  If too many are listed, they don’t/won’t happen.

Here are mine as me:

♦   learn to deal with the demands and stress of caregiving    ♦   discover how to balance caregiving with the full-time job, and    ♦   nix the resentment.

That’s enough.  Being realistic helps resolutions happen.  If too many are listed, they don’t/won’t happen.  Hmm.  That sounds awfully familiar.  <LOL>

I’ve got several days to live with these planned undertakings before putting them into action.  Wish me luck!

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Day Four, Only Two More

Hey, it’s Rey and I have an amazing guest post-er for Day Four of the Coco’s Nuts 99-cent promotion—Buddy Feuer, our pleased-as-punch client.  Take it away, Bud!

Thanks Rey.  I’ve never posted before.  Too busy helping run a Maui-based distribution company these days.  I still drive a truck now and again (like it too much to stop completely).

I hired the three private investigators when the police thought I’d killed my boss, Jimmy Picolo (who had some dubious dealings outside of his many successful businesses).  If that wasn’t enough, my best friend was killed a few days later.  And guess who they wanted to blame for that, too? 

Rey, Linda and JJ went up and beyond, I thought.  They talked to all sorts of dicey, dangerous individuals—a few who’d have liked to take them out, I’m sure.  They asked a lot of questions and wouldn’t give up searching for clues and evidence.

Coco, by the way, was a coworker who disappeared in and around the time Jimmy was shot.  He leaned toward weird and a lot of people didn’t particularly like him, myself included.   

“I’ll get back to Coco, Mr. Lookeeng Goo-ood, in a few.”

“Mr. Lookeeng Goo-ood?” Linda chuckled.

I grinned and rolled my eyes.  “Coco believed he was—is—the reincarnation of Freddie Prinze of Chico and the Man fame.  At thirty-five, given the math, this is highly unlikely, but who knows how this ‘rebirth’ thing works.  Moreover, Coco wasn’t—uh—isn’t even remotely Latin.  He’s a Hawaiian-Irish mix, courtesy of Makani Kalama and Druson Patrick Peterson, with taro-colored hair and freckled skin an odd shade of sand-beach brown.”  I sipped some of Linda’s delicious lavender-lemon iced tea.  “Jimmy Junior is—”

“No you don’t,” Rey cut in, pointing her fork and the chunk of cake it loosely held fell onto her lap, but she didn’t seem to notice.  “You can’t move on to the kid until you finish with this peculiar Coco dude.”

Linda and JJ concurred.  Coco Peterson definitely had their curiosities piqued.

My description of Coco was quite extraordinary, but very real.  Hooded bile-green eyes ogled anyone remotely female.  Apparently, when you looked into those gawking, goggling eyes you could almost feel those unusually short stumpy fingers of his clutching you with libidinous zeal.  And that tongue—he flicked it as if he were a gecko on amphetamines.  It was all the more gross because he had a gap the width of the Suez Canal between two big front teeth.  But Coco truly believed he was cute and sexy when he did that tongue thingy.

I have to laugh as I recall that afternoon when I’d first sat down with the three P.I.s  What a wise decision I’d made in hiring them.

Coco’s Nuts was a great case, according to Rey—it enabled them to develop private-eye skills, allowed her to adopt an adorable bunny named Bonzo, and got them some steady cases, even if they were wayward-hubby and missing-poodle ones.

You can check out Coco’s Nuts at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Cocos-Nuts-Tyler-Colins/dp/1078374368

NOTE: $0.99 promotions are active only in the US and UK stores.

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Day Three . . . Still Me!

Hi, it’s pretty little me again—Rey!—and it’s Day Three of the 99-cent Coco’s Nuts promo.

Coco’s Nuts, the third mystery in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, finds us three private eyes entrenched in our second major assignment: proving socialite-turned-trucker Buddy Feuer did not shoot her boss, infamous entrepreneur Jimmy Picolo.  Bizarrely, her best friend, Eb Stretta, is found a few days later in a nearby alley.  And not long after that, Razor, Picolo’s assistant, takes five fatal bullets.  The police are adamant she’s guilty and the evidence does point to her.

Hoping to help, we contend with a slew of suspects.  A ton of people hated Picolo enough to kill him, but locating the one who actually pulled the trigger proves challenging.  Apparently, the killer hates Buddy, as well, because she’s been set up to take the fall.

Our detecting travels lead us into the dark and weird world of gambling and the “limb-breakers” that are part of it.  Picolo’s daughter, Annia, owes thousands of dollars to debt collectors in Vegas and Oahu.  Could this have been a reason to kill her father, so that she could profit from the will?  Or did Picolo’s son, Jimmy Junior, want to take charge of his father’s multiple and highly successful businesses before the old man died of old age?

Nutty Coco Peterson has to play a pivotal part; a driver for Picolo, the odd little guy (pest, some call him) has been missing since the murder of his boss.  As luck would have it, while searching Picolo’s million-dollar Haleiwa retreat, we discover “remnants” of Coco—his tattoo and jewelry.  It appears Coco is another casualty but locating the rest of him is as difficult as proving Buddy innocent.

Previously made friends and acquaintances reappear: Detective Ald Ives, a little less amiable, Faith Suren, a diner waitress, Petey May, a Big Island detective, Gail Murdock, police Administrative Specialist, Coltrane Hodgson Coltrane (Colt), an agent and romantic hopeful (on my part), and the ever-arrogant Cash Layton Jones, an agent and JJ’s short-term/sometimes lover (I don’t know what to call that relationship, I tell ya, it’s a strange one).

There’s more action and goings-on than I can list, but it’s quite an exciting—dangerous—adventure.  Maybe you’d like to check it out?  You can find Coco’s Nuts at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Cocos-Nuts-Tyler-Colins/dp/1078374368

Back tomorrow (with that guest post-er I mentioned yesterday).

NOTE: $0.99 promotions are active only in the US and UK stores.

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Day Five, So Happy to be Alive

Hey, it’s Rey again.  I ended up handing over the posting reigns to Xavier yesterday (a community theater audition that took priority).  Nice guy, huh?  (And super easy on the eyes, too.)

So, it’s Day Five of the Forever Poi 99-cent promo . . . juggling two  promos at the same time can get kinda discombobulating (hope I spelled that right).

I’ll keep it short and sweet.  Cousin Jilly—you may know her as JJ—and my best friend Linda and I are hired by Xavier to learn who burned down two up-and-coming Chinatown art galleries.  Two bodies were found in the ashes and they weren’t a result of the furious flames.

There are a lot of possible perps—one of the art-gallery owners, who has a curious past, his weird half-sister, who’s as dangerous as she is beautiful, her eager-to-please lovers, and a local artist, to name a few.

Why burn the galleries?  For that matter, why kill?  Greed?  Vengeance?  Mania?  Self-preservation?  It seems any one of these reasons is viable as we enter the intriguing worlds of art and insurance.

If you’d like to find out how we solved this complex case (The Triple Threat Investigation Agency’s third official paying one), please check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Forever-Poi-Tyler-Colins/dp/1079716483

NOTE: $0.99 promotions are active only in the US and UK stores.

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Aloh-hawaii

A new posting assignment from Boss Lady (as opposed to “The Boss”), otherwise known as Cousin Reynalda.  She thought posts about Hawaii would be a pleasant change (uh, we haven’t had any of late??).

Linda took it one step further and suggested we write about our favorite Hawaiian author or Hawaiian-themed story.  I liked that idea but Rey not so much (she doesn’t read a lot).

It’s JJ, just in case you weren’t sure, and I’ll go first (Rey’s still scratching her head and uttering words best left unwritten).  I have to go with Kaui Hart Hemmings’ The Descendants.  I loved the movie, as I once posted, so much so I finally read the book.  It was everything I expected and wanted—a great character-driven story.  The book, as an FYI, is told from a man’s POV, yet written by a woman.  It works; it sounds natural and flows well.

The storyline revolves around Matt King, a well-to-do [somewhat self-absorbed, or is that workaholic?] lawyer who is the descendant of a Hawaiian princess.  He’s also a husband who finds himself having to play father/parent when his wife ends up in a coma.  The two daughters, pre-teen Scottie and seventeen-year-old Alex, prove a handful . . . and make him realize how out-of-touch he’s been with his family.

Parenting skills take time to master, but thrust into the role of mother as well as father, Matt begins to develop as pater and person.  Soul-searching accompanies him on the journey for truth and self.  Yes, it sounds like it might be a heavy read, but it’s not; there’s humor . . . even during dire moments.

I look at the photo, which looks like those joke snapshots everyone takes of someone sleeping. I don’t know why we think they’re so funny. There’s a lot that can be done to you while you’re sleeping. This seems to be the message. Look how vulnerable you are, the things you aren’t aware of. Yet in this picture you know she isn’t just sleeping. Joanie has an IV and something called an endotracheal tube running out of her mouth to a ventilator that helps her breathe. She is fed through a tube and is administered enough medication to sustain a Fijian village. Scottie is documenting our life for her social studies class. Here’s Joanie at Queen’s Hospital, her fourth week in a coma, a coma that has scored a 10 on the Glasgow scale and a III on the Rancho Los Amigos scale. She was in a race and was launched from an offshore powerboat going eighty miles an hour, but I think she will be okay.

The Descendants is a great, easy read, something pleasantly diverting to hunker down with on a stormy day or evening.  If I were giving stars, I’d give five out of five.

Aloha, my friends.

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T’is the Season – Sorta

Hey, it’s Rey!  How’s everyone doin?!

T’is the season to be thankful and Thanksgiving gave us reason to be just that . . . and got me all revved up for Black Friday.  Mannnnnnn, did I have a great time with all those sales!  (Yeah, okay, so I’ll spend a few months—all right, years—paying it all off, but it was funnnnnnn.)

Given the boss is in a slump at the moment (the poor dear wonders if she’ll ever have control of her own life), we elected to take over today’s post.  Okay, I did.  JJ’s still got a Thanksgiving pumpkin-pie hangover and Linda’s slumped on the lanai, wishing she’d not shoved down that fourth mushroom-heavy tofu burger.

Today, I’m just touching upon things to be grateful for, now and to come:

friends and family    first responders and those who so unselfishly think of and put others first    compassionate souls   easy-going colleagues  kind words  smiles and chuckles  bellyache laughter  unconditional love (like those our pets give, in spades)  supportive professionals  starry nights and sunny days    sunsets and sunrises  colorful flowers  stunning nature  pumpkin pie with real whipped cream (I just heard a shriek from JJ, he-he)  pepperoni-less pizza (!)  hopes and dreams and wishes    worry-less times  pleasant/pleasing music and enjoyable dance tunes    fantastic films  great stories  enlightening posts  beautiful poetry  and super-duper sales!

It’s been a crazy year so far, to say the least, and maybe it’ll only get crazier.  But here’s to staying strong and safe, keeping the faith, and believing next year is going to be a [much] smoooooooooooooth(er) one.

Have an awesome weekend.  The Boss should be back Wednesday, in better spirits (I’ve got her making a list, he-he).

God bless.

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Review: Fishnets in the Far East: A Dancer’s Diary in Korea by Michele E. Northwood

I’ve embarked on a reading frenzy these days (won’t last much longer, but it’s fun)!

Michele E. Northwood’s Fishnets in the Far East: A Dancer’s Diary in Korea has received great reviews—for obvious reasons.  It’s a fascinating real-life tale.  Usually, I find autobiographical accounts rather flat and dry, but Michele’s flows smoothly, like a gently rippling late-spring stream.  It’s entertaining, engaging, a can’t-put-down read.

Here’s a bit from the Amazon blurb:

Set in 1989, a year after the Olympic Games in South Korea, this is the true story of Michele, a young dancer, whose naïve dream of working in the Far East quickly turns into a nightmare. She finds herself in a host of situations for which she is ill-equipped. Dancing her way across Korea with Louise and Sharon, she is—among other things—propositioned by the Mafia, turned away by the British Embassy, caught in a student riot, and taken to Korean brothels. Both shocking and humorous, this Double Award Winning Memoir takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as you follow the life of a timid young girl caught in a male-orientated world of alcohol, sex and seedy nightclubs.

If that doesn’t pull you right in to Michele’s well chronicled story, nothing will.  This last paragraph of the first chapter makes for foreshadowing . . . as, indeed, fate does take its course.  

This struck me as a bit odd and rather deceptive, but I did not voice my opinion. The deed was done. I had signed the paperwork, so all I could do was let fate take its course.

From the get-go, you’re compelled to accompany the threesome on their crazy journey.  

I equated our situation to how animals must feel when loaded into a cattle truck heading for slaughter. I could not help but feel as though we were heading for the same fate – comparatively speaking. What did destiny have in store for us now?

Our author has a disarming narrative manner; description, characters, and dialogue are convincingly presented.  It’s easy to visualize the various venues (like dim or dirty bars with daft or dangerous customers), appreciate the fluctuating feelings as Michele and her colleagues interact with sordid sorts, and hear the emotions as they discuss dilemmas and incidents. 

WPFishnetstwitterDOTcomAs the dancing trio travel around the country, they deal with dubious agents and managers, meet some pervy people, and encounter lascivious males.  Work is often an “audition” and money is tight (if at all).  Food is sometimes scarce and hotel rooms are rat- and insect-infested.  You know things will go from bad to worse before they get better—and there are moments where you wonder if they truly will improve—but you hang in, needing to learn what transpires.

Funny moments intersperse the drama; Michele, Sharon, and Louise share humorous moments and situations just as they share grim ones.  It takes strength—perseverance and persistence—to contend with what they did.  Hats off to them!

The editor in me usually deducts a half point or so when there are typos or the like; but in this case, I so enjoyed Fishnets, I have to give it a 5 out of 5. 

Rating:  savesavesavesavesave

Please check out Michele at:

https://www.facebook.com/michele.e.northwoodauthor

https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/michele-e-northwood

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18794280.Michele_E_Northwood

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By the By . . . By Gaslight

It’s rare that I get to pick up a book just for the pleasure of reading—what little novel-related “me” time I have is devoted to reviews for authors I’ve come to know through Next Chapter or social media.

When I picked up By Gaslight (lying on a friend’s coffee table) and read the back flap, I had to borrow it.  I was intrigued.  Very.

LONDON, 1885.  In a city of fog and darkness, the notorious thief Edward Pinkerton, the son of a famous detective, is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows.  Adam Foole, haunted by a love affair ten years gone, has returned to London in search of his lost beloved.  But when these two are drawn together in their search for answers, what follows is a fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and séance halls.

How could you not want to read Steven Price’s thriller?  Obviously others were of the same mind, because the book (published by McClelland & Stewart, 2016) was a Canadian National Bestseller and on the prestigious Giller Prize Longlist.

Price has an enviable way with description—he writes eloquently, evoking vivid images.

It was a wide tunnel high and well ventilated and the waters moved at a steady drift, muscling past, scraping the filth and detritus of a world city against its bed.

(Can’t you just feel the layers of rubbish and smell the wretched stench of waste?)

This is far from a review, simply a suggestion: if you’re search for a good [long] riveting read, this book is for you.  The one thing that takes getting used to: no quotation marks denoting dialogue.  It’s not unheard of . . . but it is . . . weird.

Regardless, as the Toronto Star called it, it is a darkly feverish page-turner . . . or, even better, as Anakana Schofield advised, a poetic, persuasive pea-souper.  Love it!

Blah Blog . . . Pretty Post

Looking at the previous post, I realized I’d forgotten to “pretty” it up a bit (add some zip, as it were).  The ideas were there . . . and that’s where they remained.  There.  Alas, memory being what it is these days (leaning toward n-i-l), I’d neglected to add a couple of things I’d fully intended to.  <sigh>

That seemed worth posting about: having a blah blog due to a lack of pretty posts (bad memory issues later).  And just what makes a blog blah, as in b-o-r-i-n-g?  Lack of good/interesting content for one.  Sure, most topics have likely been written about (countless times), but that doesn’t mean it has to be dull.  Consider who it’s being for.  Then, speak to that audience.

Make sure headings/titles are to-the-point and “captivating”; pull in (attract) readers.

Give the post a distinctive spin.  Add humor.  Insert commentaries/opinions.  Provide pep.  And, perhaps most importantly, make it sound like you.  Unique!

heart-shockedPics/images make for happy eyes; they can prompt people to peruse the post.  If it’s a short post, there likely won’t be a need to add more than a pic—it depends on the subject—but if it’s long, break it up here and there.  GIFs are great, if not fun, but don’t throw them in for the sake of it.

Some color never hurts.  Spice it up a little.  Maybe those colors are ones that will help define/identify your blog and, subsequently, you.

Again, depending on the subject, add statistics, quotes, examples, or back-up data.  Don’t simply “plop” them in, though.  Make sure they are relevant and that the information/post flows well.

<LOL>  Think I went in a slightly different direction than intended, but it’s all good.  Some food-for-thought . . . and (hopefully) not enough to make any eyes glaze over.

Happy posting.

Missing Mynah No More

Hey, it’s Rey . . . and JJ . . . and Linda!  We’re posting as a threesome today. 

It took a while to decide what the topic would be, but I—Linda—thought it might be fun to backtrack a bit and update re a case or two.  Over to you, Rey . . .

Hey again.  Yeah, so we went with Murphie the mynah bird case.  For those of you who missed this one, here’s a rundown.  We were hired to find Mrs. Maynard’s prize bird when he was birdnapped back in August.  The perp(s) had broken into her la-di-da Kahala condo and slipped out with Murphie and his gold-barred cage (yup, as in 24-karat).  They wanted 5K for the feathered fellow.

So we had Linda serve as the go-between; she was to deliver the ransom at a designated place on Kuhio Beach.  Unfortunately, the 5K was “Payment #1” and they didn’t leave the mynah.  But we did luck in with locating one of the birdnappers: Plucko.  Too bad he wouldn’t talk.

Yeah, that dude was more tightlipped than sour-faced Aunt Gertrude when confronted with something—or someone—of “a dubious nature”.  Anyway, Murphie’s cage was found, but the bird wasn’t.  Poor Mrs. Maynard; the dear ol’ gal was so upset.

And understandably so.  Thanks Rey.  It’s Linda again.  We kept an eye on the area, hoping Murphie would return, but one mynah bird pretty much looks like another.  Mind you, he did love hearing “Rockin’ Robin” regularly, so we’d sing that—a lot.  Sadly, no luck. 

Until—it’s JJ (in case you were wondering)—last week!  We’d returned to the park (as we had off and on since September), sang Murphie’s song—and lo and behold, he landed on Rey’s shoulder!  We always came prepared, and this time was no different; we got him into a little treat-filled cage and back to his “mom”.  She was beyond ecstatic.

So were we.  No one likes a happy ending—and a happy client—better’n us. 

And a Three . . .

Hi, it’s Linda today and it’s all about threes . . . it’s Day Three of  the 99-cent promo for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?.  The Triple Threat Investigation Agency is officially open for business and the three of us—Rey, JJ, and I—are excited about taking on our first case as professional P.I.s.

Yes, we’re pretty green, but we’re all about accepting challenges . . . and overcoming them.   The task: uncover the “secret” of an elderly millionaire’s pretty, young wife.  It could be an affair, and it certainly seems like it might be—until gangs, drugs, and peculiar persons enter the scene(s).

Unfortunately, said wife is found murdered in the sapphire waters of a secluded Oahu beach.  Who of the unconventional cast of characters is the murderer?  As we attempt to fit intricate puzzle pieces together and figure out what’s what, we encounter a body or three.

We’ve dealt with a sundry of murderers in past, however, thanks to a wacky week in Connecticut at Rey and JJ’s equally wacky aunt’s place, and while this new set of quirky personalities proves equally taxing, we have enough faith in our [budding] talents to persevere.  We may be many things, but quitters we’re not.

Here’s an opportunity for us to prove we made a wise choice in becoming bona-fide detectives.  Can we do it, however, before the murderer strikes again?  If you’d like to find out, please check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

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