Lookin’ Good with a Logo

?  Logo = Branding  ?

Basically, a logo is a visual (pictorial, illustrative) symbol or representation that identifies you—as an individual, company, or business.  Some might refer to it as a trademark or identity design.  Branding is distinctive name or trademark identifying a product or service, company or business.

Are they the same?  Not really.  But they work hand in hand.  Branding encompasses different components: market/marketing, voice, promotion and positioning, to name but a few.  Brand identity is a broader but more defined approach; it embraces the logo.  It’s said that if brand identity is successful, a person can recognize the brand even if he or she can’t view the logo.

So, let’s touch upon that magical symbol.  I have a new one, er, rather the private-eye gals at The Triple Threat Investigation Agency have one.  It’s simple.  It conveys what the “product” is via the words: Triple Threat Investigation Agency Series.  The magnifying glass and high heel present concepts: sleuth/detective and female.  I like it, but this doesn’t mean others will, of course.  For those following this blog, I’d be happy to receive your valuable input.

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So, what makes a good logo?  Visual appeal, unquestionably.  It should:

  • be crisp, clean, and uncluttered
  • define you, your product or service, company or business
  • be unforgettable.

Because your logo’s going to be around for a while, ensure it’s strong and definitive.

Whether you’re designing your own, or having someone do it for you, go with the one that grabs you: it has to feel as right as it looks.  Make sure to receive feedback, too.  Ask friends and family, coworkers, clients.  Is the message clear?  Does it set you apart from others (specifically, your competitors)?  If your “reviewers” aren’t getting it, your [future] audience likely won’t.  Consider going back to the drawing table.

An appealing, memorable  logo will enable you to connect with your audience . . . and have it remember you.

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Coming Soon . . . We’re Hopin’

That’s hopin’ and not hoppin’, as in frogs and toads.  But, in truth, we’ve been doing a lot of that throughout the “Forever Poi” case.  Er, I should say, oodles of suspects have kept us hoppin’.  And all over the map!

Rey here.  The Boss requested a break.  Given Linda’s surfing on the North Shore and JJ’s volunteering at the animal shelter, that leaves l’il ol’ me to post.  That’s okay.  Between you and me, I’m really starting to enjoy it.

Instead of providing snippets of potentially useful info, I decided to share one of our more hairy “Forever Poi” moments.  Just to give you some quick background, the case starts with a double homicide that occurs when two Chinatown art galleries are torched.  The two murders lead to a few more . . . with a whack of wacky persons and incidents along the way.

I don’t have JJ’s voice, but here’s my account of an excitement-filled evening when a possible witness bites the dust, uh, table . . . .

♦   ♦


Dim Donald’s was a long, narrow bar on a side street not far from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  We’d only gone there once, when we first settled in the office but, as Linda had said, it wasn’t our cup of tea.  The inside was dark and drab, the drink selection limited, and the evening crowd looked like a perfect fit for the biker-like place

It was just after midnight and the bar—or watering hole, as I called it on the walk over—held two dozen heavy-duty bikers, uh, drinkers.  Seated on cheap ladder-back chairs at a window table, we ordered a round of beers for ourselves and glass of red wine for Timmy-Tom.

“You hungry?” I asked, unable to stop staring at Timmy-Tom’s milk-pod fuzzy eyebrows.

Cousin Jilly, or JJ as you know her, kicked me under the table.

He waved to a scruffy-looking middle-aged couple wearing jeans and jean jackets over black Ts with flaming skulls.  “I could go for a basket of wings and fries.  They’re pretty good here.”

I got the attention of the only waitperson, an old dude named Ched, who looked like a grinning leprechaun.

“What can I do for you?” Timmy-Tom asked.  He sampled the wine and nodded, and leaned back with a loud sigh.

“Where you around when the fire broke out?” JJ asked and took a sip of watery beer.  The weird expression on her face suggested it tasted about as good as it looked.

“I was at the rear of the first gallery, eating dinner, when the trucks arrived.”

“Was that long after the fire broke out?”

“Not long, no.”  He scanned the bar and shrugged.  “I hung around for a while, thinking they’d get it under control, but they didn’t seem to be having much luck that night.”

Linda sniffed her beer and scrunched up her nose.

“Do you know Carlos or James-Henri, the gallery owners?” I asked on a whim.

“By sight.”

“I’m guessing you didn’t see much that night, if you were at the back,” Gail stated, studying him closely.

“I walked around some after dinner.”  He eyed her curiously, as if he might know her, chewed his bottom lip, and finally continued.  “I saw people go in and out of the galleries.  Some were really pie-eyed leaving.  Must have been a helluva party.”

JJ pulled out her cell phone and showed him a photo of Lolita/Mary-Louise.  “Ever seen her?”

He studied it for almost a minute.  “Yeah.  A couple of times.  The first time was maybe a week before the fire.  The lady all but bolted from the back of the gallery, looking fit to be tied.  The second was the night of the fire.  She looked different—all fancy, with her hair in an updo.”

“Tell us about that night.  What did you see?” she asked, leaning forward eagerly.

He smiled sheepishly.  “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but to get to the side street, I needed to walk past her and the person she was with.  I didn’t want to scare them or anything, so I waited in the shadows, figuring they wouldn’t stick around long.”

“Person she was with?” I asked, getting excited re a possible lead.

“She was chatting with someone—actually, they were talking under their breaths, like they didn’t want to be heard.  But there was this urgency about the way they talked and moved their hands and arms.”

“As if they were angry?” Linda asked.

“Angry or worried, or maybe both.”  He nodded to Ched when he placed cheap cutlery and paper napkins on the scarred table.  “How’s the family, my friend?”

“Awesome.  Always good to see you, Timmy-Tom.”  With a wink, Ched saluted and hurried off.

“Can you tell us who she was—”

I never got to finish the question.  Like a melon thrown from an overpass, Timmy-Tom’s smashed-mashed head dropped to the table with a clunk-thump.

JJ and I gazed from the awful mess to each other and back again, looking like we got hit with a stun gun.

Gail, on the other hand, dashed out the door after Tommy-Tom’s killer.


I’m Ba-ack . . . with Back Covers

The last four-five weeks have been crazy-bad ones . . . but in a good way.  Sometimes you have to undergo a breath-sucking plummet—like shooting down Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Full Throttle loop-de-loop rollercoaster—to ascend again.  And this time, you’re totally revitalized, very optimistic, and ready to take on the world.

Angst now [blessedly] cast aside, I’m ready to rock ‘n’ roll.  “Forever Poi” is almost done.  One final edit and all that’s required is formatting, a front and back cover . . . and to find my MIA formatter-designer.  <LOL>

Front covers, as we know, must be appealing, period (I’ve posted about them in past).  Back covers are equally important, but I don’t believe we often give them as much thought or weight.  We should, because as soon as a potential buyer has eyed the engaging front cover, he/she will check out the back.  It had better be equally engaging.

The words on the back cover—about 150, give or take—serve as your selling tool.  They must entice.

In present tense, summarize your novel in one or two paragraphs; ensure to include a couple of key plot hooks.  Such as . . . ?  Your protagonist’s predicament or quest would be ideal.  Add an appealing question perhaps; it often works well in snagging that potential buyer’s interest.

As an example, the Triple Threat Investigation Agency gals’ latest case involves arson and homicides.  I’m apt to add something like this to my back cover: Who in the close-knit local art world is desperate enough to set a gallery ablaze in a drastic attempt to conceal two brutal murders?  Yeah, needs a little refining, but you get the idea.

If you’re doing this for the first time, take a look at several in your genre.  Get a feel for what works (and what doesn’t).  Most fiction back covers follow a formula.  They’ll begin with a situation, present a problem or conundrum, provide a kink or two, and then end with a sentence that prompts the reader’s curiosity, be it via aforementioned question or cliffhanging scenario.

Make sure that first sentence is a killer (mystery writer talking).  If it’s not, it won’t encourage your potential purchaser to carry on, much less buy.  Play around.  Use words appropriate to your genre.  Invest serious time in getting that back cover—blurb, selling tool—to prove effective, because you want to attain your ultimate goal: sales.  If you’re able to get an endorsement or two from writers recognized in your sphere, go for it: nothing adds credibility like testimonials.

You’ve got what it takes: have at it, my friends!



⇒ A big thanks Rey for holding the fort these last couple of weeks. 

Starting Off a New Year Just Right

JJ and Linda haven’t returned from their holiday trips and festivities, so I’m taking over the 1st official post of the year.  The topic was super simple to figure out—how to start off a new year just right.  How, you ask?  Not with those New Year’s resolutions that never last long, but with a goal (or two) and commitment.

As an FYI, I hear that of the folks who make resolutions, not even half manage to keep them until mid-February.  That’s depressing.  But having made them—a lot!—over the years, I can confirm that.  It’s tough keeping promises, but not impossible.  For example, as someone who wanted to be an actress from the age of seven on, I can attest to the fact that if you want something badly enough, you can make it happen—through commitment and perseverance.

Decide on what you’d like to accomplish this year.  Make it a significant and/or life-changing goal.  Avoid having too many goals (or “resolutions”), because too many equals non-success.  Remember this my friends: to attain something means you have to give up or change something, which isn’t easy.  This is where commitment comes in.

Take your goal and break it into manageable bits.  Draw up a plan.  It doesn’t have to be extensive.  Keep it simple.  For instance, when I decided I was going to become an actress, I didn’t hop on the first bus to Hollywood.  I jotted down actions needed to make it happen.  I started reading up on the performing arts and film folks, and learned (devoured) all I could.  I took acting lessons, tried out for community stage productions, and volunteered in the theater world.  Some things worked out brilliantly; some not so much.  That’s okay.  It’s all part of the process.

Consider all the things you can do to make your goal reality.  Know that there’ll be setbacks, that you may receive criticism, warranted or otherwise (some folks can be just plain nasty).  Play duck: let the negative stuff flow off your back like water droplets.

Share your goal with others.  I told my mother (mistake, but live and learn), friends and cousins I trusted, and a couple of teachers.  I felt that by stating my intention—my quest, if you like—I had to, and would, stick to it.

Motivation: be your own driving force.  You can do it if it’s in your heart to do.  I know, because I’ve been there.  Sure, there’ll be off days.  The odd one may even knock the winds out of your sails.  And no, it won’t be simple, but think of it this way: if it were super easy, that awesome (!) sense of accomplishment—joy, triumph—wouldn’t happen.  Let me tell you, there’s no better feeling than experiencing a sense of success that comes from knowing you—yes, you—did it.


I’ll leave you with some quotes that have kept—and still keep—me from straying off the path (too often):

“You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear.” – Sammy Davis, Junior (actor, comedian, dancer and singer)

“Life is a challenge, meet it!  Life is a dream, realize it!  Life is a game, play it!  Life is love, enjoy it!” – Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Indian guru and philanthropist)

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti (racing-car driver)

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews (actor, singer, and author)

Here’s to 2018 being your year.



Happy New Year’s Cheers

Hey there.  Today, all three of us are posting from different parts of the U.S.—me (Rey) first, Linda second, and JJ third.

** from Hawaii:  Hauʻoli makahiki hou!  It’s been an awesome year for the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  There were a lot of small cases.  Some were challenging and some were fun, and all were put to bed in a pretty timely manner.  The big one—“Forever Poi”—should be completed soon.  In terms of me, I did some fun ads . . . and as an FYI, the money’s going toward a house.  I’m so stoked.  Have an awesome year, everyone.  Here’s to 2018 being a fantastic year!

** from the Mainland:  Cheers!  I’m meeting up with my sister and brother for a few days here in L.A.  Then we’re driving through three or four states for the fun of it.  We’re doing our best to stick to a recently made promise: to communicate regularly and meet at least once a year.  So far, so good.  May your New Year be the best one yet!

** from North Carolina:  Happy 2018!  I’m visiting with Mom and my nephew, Quincy.  He’s growing so fast.  Have been getting together with some old friends and coworkers.  Loving it.  May even meet up with an old beau, Adwin (we parted ways after The Connecticut Corpse Caper, but have kept in [sporadic] touch).  Wishing you all good health, happiness, and prosperity in the coming year!

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♥Aloha from the gals at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency♥

Voice 101 or Sing Out Loud, Sing Out Strong

Hey, it’s Rey again.  The Boss overindulged in the sugar/carbs department these last few days.  She’s groanin’ and moanin’, the poor thing.

Linda and JJ are both off enjoying holiday fun and family, so that leaves me.  But seeing as I’m doing two performances daily as an elf at a kids’ theater thru Sunday, I’ll have to make this a quick post.

Given I’m a part-time actress and not a writer—though I’m getting pretty good at it, considering all the posting I’ve been doing lately—a lot of writing and blogging rules are alien to me.  . . . Hmm, I think Linda would have called that a run-on sentence.  Whatever.

Here’s the “topic” for today: voice.  For example, an actor’s voice can make or break him or her.  You have a Minnie Mouse voice and you may be limited in the roles department.  The good thing is, like any skill or talent, you can work at it.  For an actor, a voice coach can be a godsend.

A writer/blogger needs a voice, too.  When you start out, you develop a blog concept and design that’s uniquely you.  That’s very cool.  Now you need to make sure that uniqueness is reflected in what you’re blogging about—and “be projected” in how you write.  That’s also known as—you got it—“voice”.

If you’re super smart and posting about things a lot of us wouldn’t understand, you’d probably write like one of those academic sorts.  Someone who’d be more inclined to post about shopping, fashion, and entertainment could use a more happy-go-lucky tone—one like mine.

Whatever you’re writing, that voice should totally reflect you—it has to sound like you . . . and be you.  Grammar and spelling are easily fixable (there are enough sites/programs), so don’t let them intimidate you like they do me.  Go with the flow and fix the little things later.

Write (speak) from your heart.  Let that unique voice flow.  Chances are, the longer you post, the more your voice will develop because you’ll become increasingly more comfortable and less self-conscious—like me.  You’ll become/feel more natural with how you express ideas and opinions.

If it helps, do what I do when I’m playing a role: I deliver to one person, the guy or gal who’s on the receiving end of a comment or reaction.  I don’t think about the audience, director or producer, or anyone else.  I focus on my delivery, my intent . . . and express it with purpose.  I take pride, kinda like an opera singer belting out an aria.


The kids are waiting.  I better run because I still need to pick up my elf costume (I kinda spilled hot cocoa on it).

I hope my last post of this year on A Writer’s Grab-Bag proves of some value . . . and I sure hope I’ll have a chance to write a few more in 2018 (I’m really getting to like this).



Happy Ho-ho-holidays from TTIA

The three of us are heading our separate ways, but wanted to post a little poem—a [major] reworking of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic “Twas the Night before Christmas”.

Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the Triple Threat Investigation Agency

The excited P.I. gals considered pressies and holiday places.

Keenly and happily they put to bed all current cases.

JJ was flying to North Carolina to be with family,

While Linda intended to learn more about the Nativity.

Rey was ecstatic about being a comical elf,

A far cry from playing her usual self.

Though not together this holiday season,

The Triple Threat trio was happy, with reason.

They’d soon be together, and cheerfully breezin’.

Again enjoying Hawaii’s splendid warm weather

While accepting thrilling new clients and projects

And perhaps even paid with [welcome] big checks.

But before they parted, they merrily chanted for everyone to hear,

Happy Holidays to all . . . and to all an awesome New Year!

(Hey, we never claimed to be poets.  <LOL>)

*** Thanks ever so much for your support and “followship”! ***


Happenin’ Holidays

The Boss is MIA.  Too much happening re that full-time job and Mom caregiving.  So it’s Rey to the rescue again . . . one day early.

Seeing as the holidays are nearly here again—like where’d the year go!?—I thought I’d post about what the three of us Triple Threat Investigation Agency P.I.s have planned.

JJ’s off for a week to North Carolina to visit her mother and nephew.  Apparently, her ex-boyfriend Adwin will drop by her mom’s B&B.  They were an odd match back when and he was kind of weird.  I hope they don’t get back together.  I’d rather see her with Cash/Richie J, that self-absorbed undercover-agent-playing-drug-dealer.  Or maybe not.  They’re an even odder match (but, damn, is he hunky).

Linda’s getting together with Loretta and Lido, her sister and brother.  They’ve never been close—at all—but have done some bonding since our move to Hawaii.  The two of them are kind of flaky, but that’s okay.  Family should stick together.  Life’s too short for resentment, hostility, or indifference.

As for yours truly, I’m playing an elf for 10 days at a local kids’ theater.  It’s something new for me, so I’m both excited and nervous . . . which is kind of funny, coz normally I’m pretty calm about acting gigs.  My mom called about flying over for five days, but she’s struggling to organize family get-togethers.  If she leaves it much longer, she probably won’t swing a flight.

Between you and me—and I know what I just wrote about family—we’re not very close.  Never have been.  Linda thinks I should suck it up and let bygones be bygones.  We’ll see.

As a gung-ho shopper, I got shopping (and shipping) done early.  Woo-hoo.  Feels great.  Under the trees we haven’t yet put up <sigh> JJ’ll find a Giani Bernini bag (a gal can never have enough) and Linda an awesome Free People sweater (bought three for myself).

If I’m not posting again in the next wee while, have an amazing holiday season everyone!

Here’s to 2018 being the best year yet!


Sharing Aloha

It’s Rey.  The Boss asked me to do another post coz that full-time job of hers is taking up way too much of her time.  Actually, she asked JJ first, but JJ’s off to the dentist.  She should just have come to me; I’m getting good at this.  <LMAO>

The Boss had mentioned using audio and video in A Writer’s Grab-Bag to bring some life and animation (“one day”).  I think that’s a fantastic idea, so much so, I thought I’d post about it.  Hawaii’s our home, life, and soul.  Yeah, I may have been Cali-bound back when—where else would (should) an actress be?—but now that we’re living in the land of aloha, I feel like I’ve always belonged.

Take our awesome musicians.  We’ve got Bruno Mars (what a hottie), Iz (a talented singer who died waaaay too young), Don Ho (of course!), and Anuhea Jenkins (what a sweet voice) to name a few.  All four would definitely make for an awesome Triple Threat Investigation Agency playlist.

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I’m thinking it would be cool to have some audio and videos of fun island places—for tourists and locals.  They’d have to be short and sweet, though; we wouldn’t want viewers and followers taking snoozes.

And we can’t not feature some traditional hula dancing—the swaying and songs are so-o beautiful and soothing.

Now, if smell-o-rama were possible, we’d feature fragrant flowers like Kahili Ginger and Plumeria, local foods like laulau or poke or malasadas, and island scents like the briny ocean or produce-bursting farmers’ markets.

Man, I’m stoked.  A hundred ideas are whirling around my head.  Call me Gal on a Mission!  Back soon.  Alo-hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhha!


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Huh? Can’t Hear Ya

Okay, audio probably isn’t that important when it comes to a blog post—but then it depends on what your blog’s about, doesn’t it?

I got so stoked about succeeding with video embedding last time, I felt a need to attempt the audio counterpart . . . and now sweat beads are beginning to trickle.

One day, when The Triple Threat Investigation Agency series becomes a full-time blogging-writing-promoting venture, the plan is to utilize auditory effects.  The crucial phrase: one day.  <LOL>  Everything in its time.

The reasoning behind the plan to use audio: to make my private-eye gals come alive . . . share Hawaiian sounds (coz JJ, Rey and Linda would love for you to hear “aloha” as much as see it) . . . for me to talk to you as a blogger/writer.  Maybe I’ll even include a P.I. playlist.  The sky’s the limit.  It’s easy to envision; it’s merely a question of finding the time.  That crucial phrase again: one day.

Evidently, adding an audio file or music to a blog post is super easy.  They’d said that about video, and they were right (relatively).  I won’t list the steps here, but there’s a quick vid at the end of the post on how to accomplish this [another pat on back to moi].


So, that doesn’t look too appealing, does it?  Poop.   . . . Ah, okay.  Looks fine in Preview.  Whew.  Awesome!  Yeah, the sky’s the limit.  I’m loving this.

Ya know . . . maybe I’m not so technically challenged, after all.