New Look . . . New Book?

It’s been a wee bit of a wait—but we all know how very good I am at standing by—and the first cover of my first Triple Threat Investigation Agency books has received a new cover!  How exciting is that?

dance dancing GIF by The .GIFYS

I’m a little sad to see the gals go, but—per feedback—they truly did have to.  As pretty as they are, they’re too doll-like to be appealing to the potential reader. WPCaper1

And speaking of the gals . . . JJ’s fine with the new cover, though she’d liked to have seen the mansion a bit more “creepy” looking.  Linda loves it; the colors, font/title are strong and have “oomph”.  Rey’s happy as a mussel swimming in saffron-wine broth.

When the three subsequent covers arrive, a face-lift for The Triple Threat Investigation Agency Facebook page (and this blog) won’t be far off . . . and that, my dear friends, is a promise!  So, please—hold me to it!!

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Rewriting Dinner

Rey likes to post when The Boss isn’t available, but she’s [happily] on volunteer duty this weekend.  Linda’s flying to the Mainland for three days “just because” (she’s been wanting a break for a while now, so let her have some fun).  As such, you’ve got me: JJ.

Rey’s right.  It’s not always that easy coming up with an idea for a post.  I really had to wrack my brain and then—hurrah!—it came.

If we—Rey, Linda, and myself—could invite three authors to dinner, who would we invite?  Here you have it, beginning with campy Cousin Reynalda.  1WPauthorsAffinityMagazineDOTUS

Rey:  I’m not much of a reader, as you may know, but of the few books I’ve read, these three authors would be very welcome at my dinner table:

Nora Roberts:  Who doesn’t enjoy a good romance?  I like how she began—homebound with the kids during a blizzard.  She just started writing a story and, yup, a star was born—well, not right away.  There were rejections.  I applaud the perseverance.  As a former (now occasional) actress, I know all about rejection.  It’s tough.  But it makes you strong.  And determined.

Danielle Steele:  Her characters are memorable; you get pulled into the storylines, struggles and traumas.  She’s sold 650 million books worldwide, which is impressive, but I really admire that she founded, and governs, two worthy foundations.  The Nick Traina Foundation (in honor of her son) funds organizations involved in mental illness, child abuse, and suicide prevention.  A second foundation, helps the homeless.  How awesome is that?

Janet Evanovich:  She’s what I’d love to be if I were an author: talented, creative, and productive.  Not only does she write various mystery series—regularly—she pens romances, too (in fact, that’s where she originally started).  The actress in me would love to get firsthand advice on character and story development.

Linda While I enjoy contemporary fiction, I tend to lean more toward the classics.  

Jules Gabriel Verne:  Multi-talented as a novelist, poet and playwright, Verne was also one of the first sci-fi writers . . . as well as the father of steampunk.  His personal life was equally fascinating (do check him out).  My favorite book would have to be The Mysterious Island.  I saw the movie a few times when I was a kid and it captivated my interest and imagination.  No question, Verne would be a intriguing gent to break bread with.

Jane Austen:  She seemed an iron-willed, dynamic woman, one not opposed to speaking her mind re British aristocracy—or, perhaps I should say, remarking upon it through compelling characters.  It’s unfortunate there’s so little information about her and that only a few of her letters still exist (I understand she had quite the “acid” tongue).

Agatha Christie:  Who doesn’t love a good mystery?  And this woman penned some of the best!  I’m not sure who I liked more: Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple.  Who wouldn’t want to share a sherry over syllabub with the “Queen of Crime”?

JJ:  Like Linda, I’m more inclined to stick to the classics or “masters”.

Wm Shakespeare:  The Bard caught my attention in high school, when we had to memorize soliloquies from Hamlet.  I’ve been hooked since and every now and again, I make sure to pick up some sonnets or a play, or whatever tickles my “Shakespearean” fancy.  His life and that period in history are enthralling; I have no doubt he’d be a captivating individual to chat with over ale and mutton.

Ernest Hemingway:  His life, travels, journalism, and Red Cross adventures make for riveting tales.  Although his writing leans toward sparse, it’s as descriptive as it can get—when you read a Hemingway book, you’re effectively transported in time and place. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald:  I suppose I’m drawn to globetrotting Fitzgerald because of the years during which he wrote—the earlier 20th-century, the Jazz Age.  Romantic times.  Scary times.  . . . Tragic times.  And here’s a bit of trivia I only recently learned: he was named after another famous American, a distant cousin who wrote The Star-Spangled Banner.

And who might you invite . . . ?

The Overflowing Bucket

Hey-ho, it’s Rey, leading off the weekend post.  The Boss asked if I’d take over.  Sure!  Love to!  . . . Thinking of a topic, though, hasn’t been easy.  I’m not up for providing writing or editing advice (and Linda’d be the first to claim I suck at that).

The other day I thought of something to add to my bucket list.  That got me to thinking—hey!—why not share what’s on mine?  I mentioned my great idea to Linda and she suggested I feature hers and JJ’s, too.  Sure!  Sounds like a perfect plan and post.

So, here you have it, the experiences and accomplishments the three of us at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency hope to realize before we shake this mortal coil.  Given we had enough items to fill three posts (not kidding), they’ve been limited to 10 each, in no particular order. WPbuckettrio

Me—Rey:

  1. Appear (as a main character) in a Broadway play.
  2. Record an album.
  3. Spend a week in Paris (and buy at least two designer outfits).
  4. Buy designer wear when it’s not on sale.
  5. Experience Mardi Gras (by taking part on a parade float).
  6. Be rid of debt.
  7. Learn to hula.
  8. Learn to cook fancy food.
  9. Do a cleanse.
  10. Eat healthy for a month.

Linda:

  1. Parasail.
  2. Swim with dolphins.
  3. Hike all the trails on all the Hawaiian Islands.
  4. Run in a marathon . . . and then do a triathlon.
  5. Write a thriller.
  6. Visit Iceland and spend time at a wellness center.
  7. Spear a fish and prepare it.
  8. Try unusual foods—in the country of origin.
  9. Count my blessings every day.
  10. Have high tea with royalty.

JJ:

  1. Experience a hurricane first-hand (in honor of my sister).
  2. Learn to scuba dive (not because I love the water, but to master my fear/dislike of it).
  3. Ride a horse on Kauai.
  4. Take art classes.
  5. Spend a summer driving around Europe, going wherever the wind blows.
  6. Spend a week with an Amish or Mennonite family.
  7. Earn a black belt.
  8. Have a weekly community show (I miss being on-air).
  9. Learn to barbecue (so I don’t burn off anymore eyebrows).
  10. Have a vegetable and herb garden.

There you have it.  They sound doable, but I’m not so sure about the 200 other items we have on the ol’ list—that’s 200 each, by the by.  <LMAO>

 

Resolutions, Pledges, and Promises

Call them what you will—most of us make them at the start of a New Year.  And then many of us sweep them under a mat before the end of a New Year we’d hoped would be different, better, calmer, different.

It’s Linda, authoring the first official post of 2019 for The Boss, who’s managed to catch someone’s nasty cough and cold.  T’is the season!

It seemed fitting to reflect on something we focus on once the spectacular, celebratory fireworks show has ended.  We’ve all made resolutions at one time or another—those qualities, habits and manners that need improving (as we perceive).  In terms of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency trio, we haven’t made them in years, but I asked Rey and JJ, as well as The Boss, to each provide three resolutions they’d like to adopt for 2019.  My BFF only agreed when I offered to provide mine as well, so here we go:

Rey:

♦   Resist learning and open my mind more.  ♦   Be less melodramatic or devil-may-care (Linda suggested that one).  ♦   Expand the agency.

JJ:

♦   Become a better marksperson.  ♦   Be less “waffley” when it comes to boyfriends/lovers.  ♦   Learn to surf (because I so hate the water).

Me:

♦   Become skilled at a martial art.  ♦   Do more volunteering.  ♦   Eat healthier again (private eyeing often means eating/snacking on the run, which results in grabbing/scarfing fast food).

The Boss:

♦   Not allow negativity/depression to re-gain the upper hand.  ♦   Re-embrace faith and hope.  ♦   Learn, learn . . . and learn some more (so that blogging and all the technical knowledge that it requires no longer daunts).

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All these are certainly achievable.  The big question, though, with any resolutions/pledges/promises is: just how much effort will be invested to make them actually happen?   <LOL>   Time will tell, dear friends, time will definitely tell.

Have an awesome 2019, everyone—may your dreams and desires come to fruition this year.  God bless.

Something I Said . . . ?

<LOL>  Taking another breath(er).

A Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? feature that was to take place yesterday didn’t happen.

Something I said?  I won’t take it personally.  . . . We-ell, maybe a teeny-weeny bit (given Rey’s not stopped yammering about it for the last [long] while and hasn’t taken a “chill pill” as Linda’s suggested).  <ROFL>

As the saying goes, onwards and upwards . . . or . . . forwards and frontwards . . . or something like that.

From JJ, Rey and Linda [and yours truly, of course]—have an awesome day!

Tour Day 1 (Dec 1): thebookwormdrinketh.com

Not only do I adore the name of Nicole Campbell’s blog—thebookwormdrinketh—I love her opening statement: “I am Nicole, and I am an avid reader and an alcohol connoisseur . . . which is totally different from an alcoholic.”  Too funny!

Yesterday, Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? (the second Triple Threat Investigation Agency series featuring private eyes JJ, Rey and Linda) is featured on:

www.thebookwormdrinketh.com

Firstly, I must say thank you (!!!) to Nicole for having me—and the TTIA gals—visit.  Secondly, a huge thank you for the review . . . and the constructive criticism (you’ve opened my eyes about a few things and I’ll have a talk with Jill, or JJ as she prefers, about her beau woes).  Lastly, I love the Mai-Tai recipe (which I’ll definitely give a go)!

Please check out visit Nicole’s fun blog and see what she’s up to.

Seriously Silly

Hi there.  Linda here.  The Boss is suffering from a bout of super-stress coupled with the blues.  We’re hoping she gets better and soon.  In the meanwhile, the three of us from The Triple Threat Investigation Agency put our heads together and thought we’d have a bit of fun (hopefully, that’ll bring a smile to her face).

Hey-ho.  It’s Rey.  We considered doing something fun—but couldn’t come up with anything.  <LMAO>

Howzit?  JJ’s on-line, too.  That’s not entirely true.  We couldn’t think of anything original that was fun.  But maybe “originality” is overblown?

That’s right, Cous, so after some silly chitter-chatter, we thought we’d play word games where each of us would use three words to describe the other as a person and as a P.I.  So JJ and Linda will start off re yours truly.

Describing Rey as Person

Linda:  histrionic, brash, kind-hearted  ♦   JJ:  melodramatic, impetuous, fun

Describing Rey as a P.I.

Linda:  histrionic, brash, determined  ♦   JJ:  melodramatic, impetuous, dogged

Describing Linda as Person

Rey:  smart, focused, sunny  ♦   JJ:  intelligent, sympathetic, agreeable

Describing Linda as a P.I.

Rey:  dedicated, watchful, mindful  ♦   JJ:  attentive, wary, sensible

Describing JJ as Person

Rey:  stubborn, persistent, persevering  ♦   Linda:  stubborn, resolute, considerate

Describing JJ as a P.I.

Rey:  committed, careful, proper  ♦   Linda:  attentive, fixed, thorough

. . . Yeah, we probably played it safe.  Like, I didn’t make a point of saying how bitchy my cousin JJ can be when she’s sleep-deprived or how weird (as in creepy weird) my BFF Linda can get when she thinks someone’s done her wrong.

. . . And I didn’t refer to my cousin Rey’s over-the-top diva-like theatrics or Linda’s strange (unnerving) bah-hah-hah laugh when she finds something or someone super strange.

Hey, I didn’t mention that my BFF Rey likes everything to be solely about her or that JJ’s “Ms. Indecisive” (otherwise known as “dense”) when it comes to the men in her life.  Nor did I—

Maybe the three of us need to reconvene—as in now!!!

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The Boss’ Blog Tour

Hey, it’s Rey.  (I am so lovin’ writing these posts.  What happened?!  LMAO)

The Boss is doing a blog tour re our second adventure—Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?—which has been organized by Jina S. Bazzar.  A huge thank you to Jina!  (There’ll be more about Jina, her blog, and writing in a future post.)

Here’s a rundown on what the three of us from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency—JJ, Linda, and yours truly—experienced during the Hula adventure, as detailed by The Boss.

♦  ♦  ♦

Can you Hula Like Hilo Hattie, the sequel to The Connecticut Corpse Caper, finds the three amateur sleuths—Jill (JJ), Rey, and Linda—serving as bona-fide detectives.  The owners of the newfound Triple Threat Investigation Agency even have a paying assignment, courtesy of their first client, WP Howell: discover the secret of his young, pretty wife, Carmie.  Millions, and a much-desired divorce, rest on it.

What seems straightforward enough quickly evolves into complicated when Carmie’s battered body is found in the sapphire waters of the Hawaiian 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. 

In their quest for answers, the women encounter a plethora of suspects.  It appears there is no lack of people who have a dislike for, or hold a grudge against, Carmelita Sangita Howell.

Their P.I. travels lead them along a few side roads and detours, where drug dealers and informants, treachery and blackmail, abound.  Benny Pohaku, working both sides of the drug-pushing fence, is young and brash, and his arrogance ticks off the wrong people.  Bullets soon silence those boastful lips.  Dealer Cash Layton Jones is as galling as he is attractive, and his habit of entering Jill’s condo uninvited results in a few heated encounters.  He also has JJ wondering if there’s more to the enigmatic man than a penchant for loud Aloha shirts and a proclivity for being “conveniently” close by.

Carmie’s intriguing if not odd, ‘tini friends serve as pieces to an expanding puzzle.  A few have reasons to want her dead.  Jon Jonson, a currently down-and-out musician, has been blackballed by Carmie from playing the local music circuit.  He is definitely no fan of hers.  Stacy Kapu, Carmie’s trainer and former lover, may not have cared to be unceremoniously dumped.  Restaurant co-manager, Benoit Paillisson, has always had a hate-hate relationship with the rich young woman; he has had no qualms about telling people how happy he would be if she fell off the panoramic Pali Lookout.

And there is no love lost when it comes to hubby WP Howell.  What had Carmie “known” that could have proven detrimental?  Was it damaging enough to prompt the man to kill?  Salv Smith, a young Trango gang member, and his affiliation with Carmie is not immediately evident.  Because she sports the same black widow tattoo as her stepson, it appears Lee Smith has a connection to the gang as well . . . and it could be more ominous than anything Salv may be caught up in.

Gino Carpella, Carmie’s twin brother, has been rumored to associate with “questionable sorts”.  It has even been suggested that he had had his sister’s fiancé executed.  Is the rift in the twins’ once caring, close-knit relationship to blame for Carmie’s death?  If so, how?  Or has one of Gino’s enemies retaliated by striking out at his closest family member?

As the women detect, they find relations between people and happenings as clear as the contaminated waters of the Ala Wai Canal.  Fortunately, in addition to perseverance, they receive assistance now and again.  Composed, thorough, and discerning Detective Gerald Ives works closely enough with JJ, Rey and Linda to provide guidance, but not so much as to have them tramp on his toes . . . too much.  A seasoned private investigator residing on Big Island, Petey May, serves invaluable to the women.  His P.I. experience helps in bringing new facts—and evidence—to light.  He also provides JJ with unpleasant news regarding a personal matter.  Their bond will transcend many cases to come.

As the body count increases and the suspect list decreases, the women confirm the murderer’s identity, but proving it will not be easy.  Resolve and help from pretty pink Tasers bring the evasive murderer, and cohort, to their knees.  Literally. 

While major incidents are explained, a few loose ends (and cannons) remain.  These will be addressed, but not necessarily [yet] tied up, in the third novel, Coco’s Nuts.  JJ, Rey and Linda are budding detectives, after all, but they do still have lessons to learn and skills to hone.

♦  ♦  ♦

So there you have it, the Boss’ take on the case.  Not bad.  A bit wordy for my liking (too bad she wouldn’t let me tackle it, LOL).

Again, a big thank-you to Jina.  Please check out her site and work at: https://authorsinspirations.wordpress.com.

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Sleuths United

Because The Boss wants to take off a few days from posting, she asked us if we’d each post about our favorite detective—be he or she from books, TV, or films.  (Writing about Nancy Drew got her to thinking about sleuths and private investigators.)

Rey, JJ and I took turns playing rock-paper-scissors to see who’d post first, second and third.  I won—“I” being Linda, of course.  For me, it has to be the ever-brilliant “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Although I enjoyed reading classic literature in my teens, I was never into mysteries or detectives, but once I began working as a screenwriting assistant, I hung around with film people who were into classic films.  Through them, I was introduced to a wonderful world of B&W movies . . . and Basil Rathbone.

A bit of trivia: Rathbone, along with Nigel Bruce as sidekick Dr. Watson, played in 14 films between 1939 and 1946.  The first, The Hound of the Baskervilles, was my favorite.  Rathbone’s exploits, coupled with Bruce’s wit, prompted me to pick up the stories with—yes—The Hound being the first.  I was hooked immediately.  For a short spell, I was even a bit of a Sherlockian.  There’s a cool site, by the by, called Sherlockian.net (“The Portal About the Great Detective”).

I took a quick gander and based on a 2009 CNN Entertainment piece, Sherlock “The Game is Afoot” Holmes has been played by 75 actors in 211 films.  Wikipedia claims 254 times as at 2012.  That’s pretty damn impressive. WPshusetoo

The quintessential Sherlock Holmes for yours truly, however, was Jeremy Brett, who played him in 41 episodes from 1984 through 1994 (when Brett passed from heart failure).  I thought the series seemed like the real deal in terms of how I imagined 221B Baker Street and Victorian England to look and feel.  Others did as well apparently; praise was provided in spades re adhering to original concepts and Brett received accolades for his portrayal.

As an FYI, Brett once stated that “Holmes is the hardest part I have ever played—harder than Hamlet or Macbeth”.  Additional minutiae: Brett was the only actor who played both Holmes and Watson.  <LOL>  Rey’s usually the film enthusiast.  Hmm, speaking of, I wonder who she’ll pick as her favorite.  She wouldn’t tell us and simply said we’d have to read her post.

With that, I leave you with one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes quotes (from The Man with the Twisted Lip): “I confess that I have been blind as a mole, but it is better to learn wisdom late than never to learn it at all.”  Linda1

Forever Poi, Forever Hopeful

It’s Linda on post patrol today.  The Boss is still under the weather, but then the weather in her neck of the woods is under-whelming.  <LSMH>  (Winter’s on its way and she’s not overly excited about it.)

Given I’m a food and wine blogger when I’m not a P.I., I thought I’d post about poi—firstly, by explaining the significance of “Forever Poi”, the fourth Triple Threat Investigation Agency case and, secondly, providing a little background about poi (with recipes).

The Boss explained it quite nicely, succinctly, in her new Smashwords interview: “In terms of me: it’s an homage to Hawaii.  Poi is a Hawaiian staple, a delicious food made from taro.  Hawaii [a hope, a dream] is in my heart and soul and always will be; hence, forever poi.”

In terms of the case, there’s mention of “Forever Poi” as associated with a comment from an intriguing [if not dangerous] individual who shall remain nameless.  (Alternatively said: please read our new adventure.)

The three of us enjoy poi different ways.  I love poi as “cereal”, sprinkled with raw sugar and cinnamon.  Rey prefers taro in the form of chips.  And JJ likes it in the form of soft-serve ice-cream or mooncakes.

For those not in the know about poi, it’s an essential Hawaiian staple, made from the underground plant stem of a root vegetable known as taro.  There’s a lot of fascinating information re its origins and where and how it’s used, but I’ll leave that for another time.  Feel free, however, to go Googling.

A quick note, though: traditional poi is made by mashing the cooked corm (plant stem) of the taro.  The time-honored method is performed on a wooden board with a pestle (pounding implement) while the modern method involves a food processor (I’ll opt for traditional anytime, thank you).  You can enjoy it fresh or allow it to ferment.

There’s an intriguing way of measuring consistency: “one finger”, “two finger”, and “three finger” poi relates to how many fingers are necessary to scoop a mouthful of the delicious mashed product.  The thicker the poi, the fewer the fingers.  Thickness or runniness is a purely personal preference.

Now that I’ve condensed a plethora of info into a pint-sized post, let me share some easy-peasy recipes: Simple Poi (a fav of mine), Simple Poi Mochi (a fav of JJ’s), and Simple Poi-Nut Bread (a fav of Rey’s).  . . . Can you tell the three of us really like “simple”?  <LOL>

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Simple Poi

♥ 4 lbs taro root 2 ½ tbsp coconut oil   ♥ 2 ½ tbsp butter   ♥ 2 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt   ♥ 6-8 tbsp celery or asparagus juice   ♥ water

⇒ Preheat the oven to 300°F.     ⇒ Wash the taro root and pierce consistently all over.     ⇒ Bake for about 2 hours (until soft all the way through).     ⇒ Cut open the taro root and spoon out the taro into a large bowl. Throw away the skin.     ⇒ Add the salt and juice.     ⇒ Mix well.     ⇒ Cover with a cloth and leave to ferment for a minimum of 24 hours.     ⇒ Once fermented, melt the butter in a saucepan.     ⇒ If you’re going traditional and mashing the taro with a wooden board and pestle, do so, and then add to a bowl.  If you’re going modern, add the taro to a food processor and “mash”.     ⇒ Add the oil and butter.     ⇒ Add the water and blend to the desired consistency.

(You can add various “flavors” or serve it as is.  As mentioned, I like sugar and cinnamon, but anything’s doable.  Feel free to experiment.)

Simple Poi Mochi

♥   1 lb poi, ready-made/bought or homemade (see “Simple Poi” recipe above)   ♥ 2 cups water, give or take   ♥ 2 10-ounce packages Asian sweet rice flour   ♥ 1 ½ cups sugar   ♥ 1 quart canola oil for deep frying

⇒ Combine everything except the oil.     ⇒ Add water slowly (you want a thick batter).      ⇒ Drop by the teaspoon into the heated oil and deep fry until slightly crisp.     ⇒ Drain.     ⇒ Makes about three dozen pieces.     ⇒ Feel free to dust with sugar or a sugar-spice combination.

(You can add various “flavors” to the mixture before frying.  JJ likes red-bean paste.)

Simple Poi Nut Bread

♥ 1 lb poi, ready-made/bought or homemade (see “Simple Poi” recipe above)   ♥ ¾ cup water   ♥ 2 cups flour   ♥ ¾ cups brown sugar   ♥ 1 tsp cinnamon   ♥ 1 tsp nutmeg   ♥ 2 tsp baking powder   ♥ 1 tsp sea salt   ♥ 3 eggs, beaten   ♥ 1 cup oil   ♥ 2 tsp vanilla   ♥ 1 ½ cups macadamia nuts (or substitute your favorite nut, or a combination thereof)   ♥ ½ cup currants (or dried fruit of preference)

⇒ Mix the poi and water together.  Let stand in a bowl.     ⇒ In a second bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.     ⇒ Combine both mixtures.     ⇒ Add the remaining ingredients.     ⇒ Add to an oiled/buttered pan and bake at 350°F for about 45 minutes.

Hope you enjoyed the post about poi.  It’s a bit of a departure from the usual, but what’s wrong with digressing now and again?

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