Being Prepared is Everything

The Boss is caught up in a project and Linda and JJ are in court today to serve as witnesses for a former client.  So today, you’ve got me—Rey—on post patrol.

I thought I’d do something a little different—nothing to do with writing or editing, because that’s not my thing.  Something tweaked my interest more than usual this week: hurricanes.  There’s a nasty one brewing in the Atlantic and one dancing in the nearby distance.

The only hurricanes I’ve experienced are ones on screen and those that were backdrop in two films I appeared in.  They’re as awesome as they’re frightening and dangerous.  The first time I heard we might be hit here on Oahu, I got super stoked.  I’d always wanted to experience one.  Linda thinks I’m nuts and JJ just gives me “looks” (a few years back, her sister got swept out to sea by one).

Being curious (and a damn good P.I.), I put my researcher cap on.  It turns out that it’s pretty rare to get a Category 5 hurricane here, though they do tend to be rare, period.  That said, given the Hawaiian Islands are pretty small . . . teeny targets sitting on this ginormous ocean . . . they’re easy to miss or swing by.  Apparently, a solid sub-tropical high-pressure system in the north also helps push storms elsewhere.

In case you’re not sure what the difference is (I wasn’t): a hurricane watch means there are 48 hours to get ready (as in p-r-e-p-a-r-e) while a hurricane warning means the weather’s likely to become dangerous within 36 hours.

Some basic FYIs . . .

If you’re visiting these amazing Islands and staying in a hotel, there’ll be a hurricane/storm plan in place.  Learn what’s expected.  If one happens along while you’re here, call the airlines before heading to the airport: you don’t want to be stuck there hours on end.  And don’t go into the water (!) even if you see surfers having the time of their lives.  They’re a passionate (if not obsessed) bunch; they love those high, swelling waves. WPsurfersinhawaii

If you live on the Islands, stay informed.  If you’re on a coastline, near a stream/river, or on a flood plain, it’s best to leave.  If you’re in a solid house/building that’s not situated near a coastline or rainfall flooding, you can give thought to staying.  Here’s a good question to ask yourself, though: if you stay, could you do so safely?

To prepare, make sure you (among other things):

  • secure heavy outdoor objects (like lawn tables and chairs, pots, bins and cans)
  • see that your vehicle has a full tank of fuel (and set extra fuel aside)
  • have items (like boards, lumber, and shutters) on hand to board windows and doors
  • make sure there’s lots of food and water on hand (it’s suggested two weeks of water or 14 gallons per person)
  • invest in a small cooler—with cooling packs—to house refrigerated items
  • have lots of batteries on the ready (for flashlights, radios, Coleman stoves, cell-phone charger, lanterns)
  • make certain to have a full/proper first-aid kit and an emergency survival kit on hand
  • consider keeping cash handy (credit and bank cards won’t be of much use if there’s a blackout / electrical outage). WPHurricanestuff

Things to do when a hurricane is near:

  • Listen to Civil Defense.  Leave if instructed to.
  • Make sure to board up those windows and doors (and batten down anything outside that might be blown or swept away).
  • Stay clear of areas where storm-surge flooding can occur.
  • Evacuate sooner than later, if that’s on the agenda.  Note that shelters don’t take pets, so leave lots of food and water.  (I can’t imagine leaving Bonzo behind, but do what you have to, I guess.)
  • Share plans with someone “just in case”.

When it arrives:

  • Stay clear of windows and doors (and keep them closed, blocked and braced).
  • Tuck yourself in a small room or closet.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or a mattress.

If the eye of a hurricane is passing over and it’s calm for a spell, stay inside (it’s temporary, so don’t be fooled).  And be aware that it could take several hours for the storm to pass.

You truly do learn something new every day, like being prepared is everything.  On that note . . . I’m off to Walmart to stock up on supplies (coz ya just never know).

Stay safe! WPstormafterRey

 

Characters, Caricatures, Clowns

The trio from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series—JJ, Rey, and Linda—possess distinctive personalities.  They’re not caricatures nor are they clowns, though some of the situations the three gals find themselves in do lean toward the clownish . . . and Rey, hammy actress that she is, can certainly play the comic or comedian.

In a post early last year, I touched upon character sketches/summaries—i.e. recording traits, appearances, dislikes and likes, family history, and so forth.  Besides helping make characters come alive and providing depth, you’re enabling consistency (particularly if you’re doing a series). WPlogo1

There are a dozen pages for JJ, Rey and Linda, which I wouldn’t dream of cutting and pasting here (the snooze factor and all that).  Because characters can and should change over time, I’ll stick to the most current notes (for Forever Poi).  It’s just a taste—a condensation—of components you might like to include in your own character summaries.

JJ (Jill Jocasta Fonne):

Appearance

  • below shoulders, chocolate-brown hair with honey highlights
  • heart-shaped face
  • loon-black eyes
  • fit
  • average weight
  • 5’7”
  • tattoo at base of spine (turtle)

Miscellaneous details

  • has a deep, sexy voice
  • jogs along canal and boardwalk daily; does elliptical and bike
  • can’t sing to save her life; sounds like a frog that has barely been missed being run over by a truck
  • not a great swimmer
  • bitchy when sleep deprived

Likes & Dislikes

  • enjoys eating saimin
  • prefers poi as soft ice-cream or in mooncakes
  • 2 favorite colors: seashell pink and sea blue
  • loves animals, particularly tortoises

Family

  • mother: Janis Joy Fonne opened a wellness B&B in Wilmington after moving there from Dallas when JJ young
  • nephew: Quincy has lived with JJ’s mom since JJ’s sister, Reena Jean, was yanked into ocean during hurricane
  • father: JJ never knew him (mother never provided name or details)
  • aunts/uncles/cousins: (there are several and all are detailed in full notes)
  • childhood: (certain events are listed in full notes)

Expressions

  • in Caper: f’ing, damn, frig, pooh
  • in Poi: same, but dropped pooh for dang (Linda’s favorite word) . . . .

Rey (Reynalda Fonne-Werde):

Appearance

  • shoulder-length wheat-colored hair with sunshine-yellow streaks
  • once pigeon-gray eyes are now grass-green
  • Hollywood nose
  • slim; lanky
  • Clara-Bow lips
  • 5’10”
  • tattoo on lower back, over derriere (rainbow)

Miscellaneous details

  • can sing up a storm
  • can eat everything and anything without gaining a pound
  • part-time actress
  • not a great swimmer (like JJ)
  • melodramatic, high-strung; can be a diva

Likes & Dislikes

  • loves pizza
  • prefers poi as taro chips
  • likes rye and ginger
  • enjoys adventure

Family

  • mother: Rowena Jaye had prickly relationship with daughter Rey; she didn’t like having her daughter pursue acting career when young
  • father: didn’t know much about him; he was an actor who died during filming
  • aunts/uncles/cousins: (there are several and all are detailed in full notes)
  • childhood: (certain events are listed in full notes)

Expressions

  • in Caper: f**k, man, hey, Gawd
  • in Poi: f’g, dude . . . .

Linda Royale (born Smith):

Appearance

  • shoulder-length, layered raspberry-red hair
  • latte-colored eyes; almond-shaped
  • narrow forehead
  • slightly exotic cast
  • unusual button-shaped lips
  • 5’5”
  • tattoo on left hip (butterfly)

Miscellaneous details

  • writes food and wine articles for website/blog
  • has become more health-conscious since Caper
  • runs and lifts weights regularly
  • studies part-time now and again; explores new things

Likes & Dislikes

  • loves poi
  • likes learning
  • enjoys writing and cooking
  • likes local music

Family

  • mother: Theresa Smith died during squally weather when Linda very young
  • father: didn’t know anything about him
  • sister and brother: Linda didn’t spend much time with her estranged siblings in past

Expressions

  • in Caper: dang, crap, hey
  • in Poi: same . . . .

There you have it—brief examples of what makes each of the TTIA characters unique.

Other components worth including are significant life- or personality- changing events, pets, lovers/partners, habits, eccentricities . . . everything and anything.  

Happy developing.

WPgalsuse

The Journey . . . Back

Hey there.  Okay, so I’m finally getting there re “Forever Poi”, which got me to thinking about my next post.  Should it be on marketing?  Promo plans?  Hopes and dreams re the fourth Triple Threat Investigation Agency book and the series?

All sound fine, and I can certainly put pen to paper—er, fingers to keyboard—for any one of them.  The question is: can I [truly] do any marketing or promotion, given what’s happening in my life right now?  Maybe.  If I could survive on two hours of sleep a day.  <LOL>

So, that got me to thinking some more (yeah, it did prove a little taxing on the ol’ gray matter) and that took me back to where it all began—i.e. what got me started loving and writing mysteries.  Nancy Drew.

Remember her?  She was a young detective who resided in River Heights.  Well-to-do, she had a supportive father, who was also a lawyer, and a kindly housekeeper who provided motherly support.  Nancy solved mysteries around the globe with best friends, Bess and George.  The two were cousins, but polar opposites.  While Bess was timid and leaned toward pudgy (the way I remember), George was athletic and, as her name suggested, a tomboy.  Nancy’s beau was Ned Nickerson.  Let’s see if memory prevails.  Dave was Bess’ boyfriend and . . . right, Burt was George’s.

My first Nancy Drew mystery, which will always hold a very fond place in my heart was The Haunted Showboat.  I can still visualize the murky, marshy bayou, hear the birds in the twisting branches and creatures clambering in the foliage, and smell the molding wood and dense vegetation.  . . . What an awesome journey back in time this is turning out to be. NancyDrewuse1

I just took a gander re Showboat and learned it was the 35th book in the series.  Spunky Nancy first appeared in 1930 (who’d have guessed she dated back that far?).  As a bit of FYI trivia, publisher Edward Stratemeyer featured her in a series as a “counterpart” to the Hardy Boys (which I also read, but with less zeal).

Carolyn Keene wrote all the books, but the name was actually a pseudonym for several authors.  “She”, by the by, also penned the Dana Girls mystery series.  Oddly, I never really got into them, though I did regularly play the Dana Girls board game with a friend.  OMG—recall/flashback!  I’d forgotten all about those days.

Thank you, Nancy, for setting me on the path to writing mysteries.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  . . . And thank you, followers, for allowing me to travel back and share a period of my life that was genuinely enjoyable.

nancydrewusetoo

Blurb Burble

Nothing like a good, attention-grabbing blurb . . . excited/exciting words . . . a wooing pitch.

I’ve touched upon writing both blurbs and pitches in past, but given the last edit for “Forever Poi” is [finally] almost completed, it’s time to write a winning blurb.

Cartwheel

Before I share mine, let’s not forget that a [selling/successful] blurb is what convinces someone to buy your book.  Simply put, it’s a sales pitch—yours.

Here are some things to consider re writing one.

Now, just for the record, there are a couple of types—the one you use for the back cover of your magnum opus and the one you use as a review.  Given I’m writing the former, let’s stick to that.

If you’ve never written one, Google some.  Get a feel for what works . . . and what doesn’t.  Review how they’re written and arranged.  Take notice of that first sentence; it should be dynamic and have us wanting to read more.  Consider the words that pull you in.  Note the voice, too; it should sound similar to the book.

Blurbs generally have a formula: they offer a situation or event, provide an issue or dilemma, and guarantee a surprise or shock.  Introduce main character(s) so readers have someone to relate to.  Provide a hint of setting (place and time).  Don’t reveal all, though—ensure you leave folks hanging, so they’ll yearn to know what happens!  Above all, keep it short and sweet in length and sentence structure.

Rewrite that blurb a few different ways.  Determine which one(s) works best, and hang on to them all.

After you’ve written one or five or ten, like your book, leave those blurb(s) for a few days so that you can review (and edit) with new eyes.  Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, and followers for input.

One last note: if you have a writing background and have received awards and/or good reviews, you may want to add this information, but only if it relates to your book.  And if you do, again, make sure to keep it—yup—short and sweet.

Here’s the initial draft of the blurb for “Forever Poi” (feel free to offer input) . . .

The ever-proud owners of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency JJ, Rey and Linda, have stumbled through three major cases with stellar results.  Now, the not-so-novice private eyes have a double-arson case to solve: who set ablaze two happening Chinatown art galleries, leaving a couple of charcoal-broiled corpses in the rubble?  Any number of persons in the local art world could be responsible.  A cast of curious suspects include a haughty gallery owner with a questionable past, an art consultant as treacherous as she is beautiful, a risk-fond photographer who lives on the edge, and an aspiring manager with a dicey history.  If the gals can determine the reason, they might just catch the culprit.  A major insurance pay-out?  An ugly relationship break-up?  Pure vengeance?  Or a cover-up for past transgressions?  Whoever claimed the insurance and art worlds were uneventful or mundane?  Certainly not our sleuthing trio.burned building 

Impending Prospects

It’s Linda on post compilation duty today.  If you’ve read the last two, you know we featured three present and three past events from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency trio (us).  Today, we’re sharing future hopes/aspirations.  They’re far from thrilling or sensational in the grand scheme of things, but they are ours.

Me (Linda):

  1. I’ve never had roots to speak of. Considering my upbringing, if you could call it that, I’ve never been much inclined to learn my family history.  But I do want to set up roots in some way.  Being married with kids isn’t really my thing, but I like the idea of “stability”.  Maybe, with time, I’ll figure it out. wplinda1
  2. I’d like to write a book. The story may not be a terribly original idea, but given our P.I. profession and my interest in wine and cooking, I’d like to do a mystery featuring a chef as an amateur sleuth. 
  3. A year traveling the world, maybe on a sailboat, is something I’ve been thinking—dreaming—about lately.  It would provide an opportunity to broaden my horizons and see a world I’ve only viewed via travel programs.

Rey:

  1. As I’ve told the gals before, I’d like to see our agency expand to Maui and Kauai.  Maybe in a couple of years, that dream will become reality.  We’ve done pretty good so far, so it’s very possible. wprey1
  2. Speaking of reality, the actress in me would love The Triple Threat Investigation Agency to have a reality show.  Dog the Bounty Hunter had a great one.  P.I.’ing can be just as exciting as bounty hunting.  . . . Hmm.  Maybe I should put that idea out there; whadya think? 
  3. I’d love to own some property—like a house with a lanai and pool.  Condo living’s fine, but there’s something about grass and flowers, and sitting outside, under a heavenly sky.  Never had that as a kid . . . never really thought about it much, either . . . until now.

JJ:

  1. Learning Hawaiian and Japanese is something I’d really like to do.  So is being taught to hula.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be here for the long haul; as such, I don’t just want to live here, I want to “be” here. wpjj3
  2. Rey’s mentioned buying property.  I think she may have something.  I enjoy condo living, but I also like the idea of having a little land, where rescue pets can roam and I/we can relax under the sun or stars after a long day at the agency.
  3. Having my mom and nephew Quincy move here would be awesome.  She could open a B&B, or something similar, and he could learn to surf.  I guess I’m kind of missing them (I never had a need to have family that nearby before). 

There you have it, friends.  As mentioned earlier, our dreams and desires are nothing sensational or outrageous, like winning a big Powerball pot, but they are near and dear to our hearts.

Here’s to ours—and yours—coming true.

4avK

PRESENTing the 2nd P in 3

Happy weekend.  It’s JJ, continuing with part two of three.  The last post featured three past events from the three of us from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  Today, we’re sharing present moments.

Me (JJ):

1.   I’m flying to Florida in a couple of days to spend four days with Cash / Richie J.  If I don’t, he’s promised (threatened) to come here.  Seeing as I’ve never spent time in the Sunshine State, and I don’t feel like having a head-butting contest with my “sometimes boyfriend” (as my cousin calls him), I’ve decided to suck it up and go.  But I’m not staying at his place (that could result in major property damage).

2.   Linda and I have decided to clean out and stock up the office.  It’s a little project we’ve wanted to complete for some time.  (Yeah, I didn’t feel it was that exciting to share either, but if I post about it, we’re compelled to see it through—right?)presentblogjj4

3.   Even though Eddy, our part-time assistant, has lived on Oahu for 23 years, he hasn’t seen much of Hawaii.  I’m treating him to a long weekend on Kauai.  He’s super stoked (which has me super stoked).  <LOL>

Rey:

1.   Met a guy in Macy’s.  He tripped over a three piece, hard-side luggage set and I caught him.  Had to—he fell into my arms.  Name’s Booster (never met one of those before) and he’s a CA.  Doesn’t look much like one.  He’s got a GQ face and not-too-bad bod (medium build, not toned, but not flabby).  We’re gonna have drinks at Duke’s in a couple weeks when he’s back from visiting the folks in Seattle.

2.   I’m still in Cali, hanging with friends.  Loving it, but missing home and those awesome walks along the beach.presentblogrey

3.   Auditioning for another commercial when I get back.  If I get it, I’ll look like me for a change.  No fruit or insect costumes.  Just sitting beachside, looking good, and sipping a long, tall sweet smoothie.  How sweet is that?

Linda:

1.   I’ve decided to start a new blog about Hawaii flora and fauna, which will feature recipes using both.  I’m experimenting every chance I get.  I’ve had a couple of disasters—and there was an adrenalin-pumping condo evacuation—but everything’s a learning curve, right?  presentbloglinda2

2.   My brother and sister are coming for another visit.  We may do some island-hopping as we continue to bond.  Never thought that possible.  I’m pretty sure they didn’t, either.  <LOL>

3.   I made a new friend last week when we literally bumped into each other at a coffee shop.  Eunice is a spinning instructor.  Besides being incredibly fit and attractive, she’s funny and engaging.  Rey, JJ and I have pretty much done everything together since moving here, and having someone “new” in my life is kind of weird, I have to say.

As you can see, there’s nothing earth-shattering to share currently.  It’s all good, though, because there’s nothing to complain about either, and that’s even better.

Look for Linda’s post about prospect (the f-u-t-u-r-e) mid-week.  In the meanwhile, keep going with the flow.  And if the flow gets too choppy, adjust for waves and current, and carry on.  Keep happy thoughts.

Hula for Present Blog Post

3Ps . . . from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency Trio

Hey-ho, it’s Rey.  The Boss is being pulled in 10 different directions these days, so we told her we’d be happy to take over for a wee bit.  We put our heads together and came up with a plan to write three posts re three events in three periods from three [pretty] gals: past, present, and prospect, as in future (got that one from Lindy-Loo).

We’re daring to share three major [and private] past events—ones we can’t forget ‘cause they were emotional, moving, or plain out and out embarrassing.

3 and box

Me (Rey):

1.   You may have guessed I’m flirty.  It’s fun.  Hold that thought . . . walk back.  It was fun once upon a time ago.  Nowadays, it’s just entertaining.  Like me.  Back when I had my first and only 9-5 job, I was a Production Assistant for a way-too-serious dude named Fletch.  He was a doc director, who made movies about miracles.  I used to flirt shamelessly back then (which got me oodles of attention and free drinks).  Anyway, I made the mistake of flirting with Howie, the assistant director one night while a bunch of us were at a bar.  Things went from bad to worse.  He fell in love and became my shadow.  I had to tell Fletch.  He was so not happy and ordered me to set things straight.  Howie cried foul when I told him to remove those blinding stars from his eyes.  After a major scene that would have done any soap opera proud, I got canned.  Me.  Can you imagine!?pastRey 

2.   While we’re on the topic of men, you must know I’ve been married three times.  There was Monty the gaffer, Fabio the community theater actor, and Lester the catering assistant.  I left Cecil, a video editor, at the altar.  What no one knows—not even Cousin Jilly—is that I had a pretty serious relationship with a pastor.  Just after completing that second-rate series Flings and Frolic in Fresno I was feeling kinda lost and churchy, so I joined a local religious group.  No, I didn’t get flirty with Pastor Tir, but we did connect and became coffee and movie mates.  Long story short, he thought I should put my great personality and acting to good use, and asked me to take over Sunday school classes.  I was never good relating to kids, but I gave it a shot (I’m an actress after all and can handle any role).  I really starting liking the kids (too much) and weekly “lessons”.  Because acting was my chosen profession (and I was getting too “soft”), I walked away.  Confession?  I still regret it. 

3.   This one you can never tell JJ or Linda.  They’d never let me forget.  . . . Huh?  Ugh, you’re right—I guess they’ll know now.  <LMAO>  Early in my career, I had a fringe-theater acting gig for a couple of months.  One scene had me wearing nothing more than my birthday suit.  The reviews were pretty decent, but I always wondered if I didn’t sell myself short . . . or out.

JJ:

1.   My cousin Rey and I didn’t get along much when we were younger, and when we got together—courtesy of summer family vacations—the trouble we caused, oh my.  Those holidays were filled with squabbles (and resulting black eyes or bruised lips) or embarrassing events—like the time we came across a moonshine still (turned out to be a smoker) and decided to take it for a ride, so to speak.  The lakeside community is still talking about the explosion that took out four sheds, two SUVs, a lean-to, and an outhouse.  That someone’s dog ended up hairless still haunts me. pastblogJJ

2.   I never knew my father, not even his name.  My mother has always refused to talk about him, other than that one time to tell me he’d been killed climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.  I’d boasted to schoolmates that “Edmund H” Fonne was an explorer and adventurer, and his last planned exploration—before returning home to his beloved family—had been a fateful trip to Tanzania.  Lately, I’ve started thinking about him again.  As a P.I., maybe I should start P.I.’ing.  But what if I discover something that’s better left buried?  What a conundrum: to detect and expose or to neglect and forget?

3.   While we have a family that leans toward [very] eccentric, I’ve always been [fairly] level-headed.  But I’ll admit that I’ve always envied—and desired to be like—my crazy, now-deceased sister Reena Jean.  She was exciting and unpredictable, a true thrill-seeker.  She’d chain herself to trees or cars or people for causes, travel the globe on a dime and borrowed gym bag to visit obscure sites or meet up with infamous characters.  I couldn’t help but admire that courage—or recklessness as some called it.  That fateful day when she struggled onto a pier during a Category 4 hurricane and challenged Mother Nature to “bring it on” was so cool. Mother Nature complied by yanking Reena Jean into a raging ocean.  It’s hard not to admire that zest for life . . . even if it cost Reena Jean hers.

Linda:

1.   I never shared my married life with Rey and JJ.  Barely 18, I married this super talented, great-looking jazz musician named Chiffre Royale, a brilliant sax player featured on several notable artists’ albums.  The guy was twice my age, but oh-so-cool.  When we chatted at that festival, he seemed so into me.  Who knew that far-out look and attitude was due to drugs?  Not me; I was too pie-eyed and naïve.  Chiffre died in a fleabag motel of a heroin overdose one night after a gig.  The call came at 4 a.m. and at 8 a.m. I was on my way to Cali with nothing more than a duffel bag filled with clothes and a head full of memories.pastLinda1

2.   I’m not overly knowledgeable about my past.  My mother had two kids they always said, but there were three of us.  Who flunked math?  JJ never knew her father and Rey has some scattered memories regarding hers, but my parents are ghosts; even the tales told by relatives were ghost stories.  Unlike JJ, though, I have no desire to learn anything about my history.  Some things are truly better left buried.

3.   This one makes me laugh, especially when I look at photos.  Rey hasn’t been the only one to dress-up in silly costumes.  I once earned money dressed as a globe-round pig with a pork-pie hat and checkered bow tie.  For six months, I stood outside a fairly successful fast-food joint as Paulina Porker, and waved and oinked at customers.  It was the only way I could make ends meet.  It was okay, though—live and learn, and all that.  Mind you, I’ve never looked at pork the same way since.  <ROTFL>

I’m sure we were all being careful about which “events” to share (‘cause if I recall a few dozen doozies, so can they).  Maybe, with time, we’ll share more.  There’s something soul-cleansing and guilt-releasing about purging.  Sometimes, though, you need to do it in dribs and drabs.

JJ’ll be here on the weekend with some present-day offerings.

Aloha all.

How it All [Kinda] Began

Forever Poi, the fourth in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, has taken much [much!] longer than anticipated.  But there were extenuating circumstances truly not in my control, so I’ll just count my blessings and offer gratitude to the Great Power that is that it’s nearly there.  Hurrah!!!!!

FPWed1

I went for another final edit (#23), but glad I did—found a couple of “flaws”.  You read and review, scrutinize and consider, yet you still don’t necessarily always catch those wily little buggers  As writers, we often see what we think is there and sometimes what’s not there.  This is a good reason to have someone else take a gander—new [fresh] eyes, that sort of thing.

I thought I’d go back and share when JJ, Rey and Linda seriously [or not] discussed the possibility of becoming Hawaiian private eyes.

And speaking of time, it was hard to believe that the Connecticut Caper—as Rey laughingly called it—had happened nearly a month ago. Yet in some ways, it felt like a year. The entire episode seemed dreamlike and distant.

I dropped onto the only piece of furniture I’d purchased for the Brentwood apartment so far: a beautiful two-piece leather sleeper sectional sofa that set me back a lot more than budgeted for. But it would serve as a perfect focus piece and last for years, and I wasn’t planning on being that extravagant with anything else. It rested to the side of a large deep-set fixed window with solid panel shutters. Sitting here, I could gaze four stories below onto a lush courtyard with two burbling fountains.

Christmas was around the corner and it felt strange to not have my nephew Quincy racing around, trying new seasonal recipes, or sticking Quincy-would-like gift suggestions in obvious places. The first week of December, Mom usually had the B&B decorated with lights, holly and ivy, and a couple of tinsel-trimmed Christmas trees. A stunning silver menorah rested on the dining room sidebar for Jewish friends and guests.

I’d made a move to California. Sold all belongings, put the Wilmington condo up for sale, packed clothes, and wondered what I’d gotten myself into besides a three-day weather-forecasting job at a local community television station. I’d have to find other work, of course, if we didn’t make money serving as professional sleuths (which I had doubts about), but it was a start. Rey was planning on getting the detective agency going in the next month or so.

Yes, that was correct: detective agency. Back at the Moone manse, as the three of us were packing and making promises to stay in touch, Rey had revealed a plan that she’d been considering since May-Lee had been wheeled away: opening a private investigation agency in California. To make her happy and keep me sane for the remainder of the brief stay, I’d said I’d consider the wild notion that seemed as probable as a Minnesota drought in January. But somewhere and somehow over the weeks, I’d decided maybe it wasn’t that wild after all.

Even Linda had gotten caught up in Rey’s enthusiasm. I wasn’t quite sure how to inform them about California’s strict licensure. They’d be devastated to learn they weren’t going to be private investigators any time soon. Among other things, we’d need a combination of education in police science, criminal law or justice, experience equaling three years or 6,000 hours, and to pass a criminal history background check. Oh yes, we’d also have to receive a qualifying score on a two-hour written exam. It was surprising that Rey hadn’t yet discovered that; or maybe she had and had simply refused to accept facts. In any event, at present, in addition to scouting offices, my cousin had signed up for a business course. Kudos to eager and determined Cousin Reynalda.

The drive back from Connecticut had afforded Adwin and I time to talk about life, goals and objectives, feelings and family. By the time we’d reached Wilmington, we’d decided that moving in together was probably not a great thing. We truly weren’t that compatible or in sync, and that was fine we both acknowledged. I loved Adwin, and he loved me, but in the grand scheme of things we weren’t really a romantic couple or marriage material; we were more of a buddy-bud duo. We’d remain in touch and he’d visit California, and I’d see him—and Fred—whenever I returned to North Carolina. We’d take the odd vacation together. Pledges were made and, with a bit of luck, they’d be kept.

I stretched bare legs onto the sofa, and sipped mango nectar from a bottle via a straw. It was thick and sweet and perfect for the sunny weather outside, and seemed to work well with little, decadent mouthfuls of a Red Velvet cupcake I was enjoying. I’d been off sweets since Connecticut—hadn’t wanted to see another cookie to save my life, but this morning, after a three-mile power walk, I’d dropped by Suzee-Sooz’s Cupcake Houz and bought the sinfully delicious treat that was nearly the size of a soccer ball. (Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much.)

“Hey you.” The door opened with a bang.

“Hey yourself and watch it. I don’t want to buy a new door, thank you,” I groused, watching Rey all but dance into the small L-shaped living room, Linda in tow.

Both were dressed in the same Chip & Pepper jeans and similar Aloha shirts. While Linda sported colorful Converse runners, Rey wore strappy sandals. I half expected them to have the same polish on their toes and fingers. Maybe they’d both been deprived of high school friendships and were making up for missed girly-girl BFF moments.

I looked back at the shirts. Hawaiian wasn’t Rey or Linda’s usual taste. Oh-oh.

“What’s up ladies?” I asked suspiciously, putting my drink aside but keeping the cupcake on my lap. I suspected I’d be needing sugar-enhanced comfort momentarily.

Linda closed the door and followed Rey. They leaned into the kitchen counter comprised of pretty pale blue and dusty rose ceramic tiles. I liked the cozy, bright kitchen, but why did I suddenly suspect I’d not be enjoying it for long?

Rey moved into melodramatic mode. “The licensing requirements to become private eyes in California are tough.”

“We’d don’t have the qualifications or background,” Linda affirmed.

Oddly, neither looked deflated or upset. I smiled dryly and said nothing.

“I know, you’re thinking that our detecting days are over before they’ve even begun.”

Not really, but I eyed Rey expectantly.

“They’re not!” she announced gleefully, hanging an arm around her friend’s shoulders. “Guess what?”

“I couldn’t even begin to,” I responded wryly, gazing from one to the other.

Rey grinned. “We’re going to become…”

“Hawaiian P.I.s!” Linda finished with a jubilant grin.

“Pack your bags, Jilly!”

The Red Velvet cupcake caught Rey in the middle of the forehead.

An index finger sporting neon blue polish removed some of the frosting clinging to her brow. She licked it and smiled. “Delicious. Mahalo.”

Should all go well, Forever Poi will be available around the beginning of August.

Aloha, my friends.

 

Forever Poi . . . Takin’ Forever ?

Hey guys, Rey here.  The Boss is under the weather and may be out for the count for a wee bit.  If so, you’ll be hearing from me a lot.  If not, it’s back to editing tidbits—snippets of advice, I believe she calls it—mid week.

I know she’s been wanting to update you re “Forever Poi”, our latest case.  Good news!  It’s almost complete.  If all goes well, it’ll be available as an e-book the first week of July.

On a personal/professional note, though, I wanted to share thoughts on “Forever Poi”, our third case at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.

Cousin Jilly (JJ), as you may know, had doubts when I first suggested becoming private eyes.  Come to that, so did my best friend, Linda.  I’m happy to say JJ’s feeling pretty good about it now; she thinks we’ve learned a lot and honed some must-have P.I. skills.  With time, she believes (hopes) we’ll develop a solid reputation.  It’ll be a stellar one, I say!

Linda’s of the mind that we’re still doing a lot (too much) by the seat of our pants.  Pfffft to that.  If you can’t trust your own judgment, whose can you trust?  Still, as long as cases come our way, she sees us doing this for the long haul.

And me?  I’ve always believed we’re awesome P.I.s.  Sure, we can be rash on occasion, but sometimes, you really do need to seize the moment.  If that means doing a little B&E or beaning a villain, so be it.

Yeah, I’d say we’re pretty pleased with our choice of profession.  Here’s to the Triple Threat Investigation Agency gals always catching their culprits.

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Break Time (Sorta)

That 9-5 j-o-b has The Boss in training all week, so her time’s more limited than usual this work week.  But have no fear, Rey’s here!

She’s been posting about editing, but I’m gonna steer clear; sure, I could research a related topic, but to be honest, I’m not really into it like she is.  So what’s my post about?  Me, who else?  Okay, okay, the three of us—JJ, Linda, and me.

Update re “Forever Poi”.  The Boss is still at it.  Work/life have been getting in the way, but she’s determined it will be ready sooner than later.  Besides, she wholeheartedly believes nothing good comes from rushing.  So true, so true.  To be honest, though, the three of us would love it if we could move on to our next big case; there’s rumor of one coming soon.  Fingers crossed!

I know she wants to extend a wholehearted, heartfelt thanks to all her followers, so on behalf of the Boss: thank you!!!

Starting with me, I’ve got a three-week engagement at a community theater as Betty Rizzo in Grease.  For those not in the know, yes, I do sing.  Don’t get many opportunities anymore, except at b-day parties, but it’s all good.

 

JJ’s got an invitation from “Sometimes Boyfriend”, a cocky undercover agent who’s too way too dishy for his own good, to visit him in Miami.  Personally, I think she should ditch the dude, but she thinks she’s suffering from “bad-boy syndrome” and just can’t seem to rid herself of the symptoms.  Been there.  Poor kid.

Linda’s still doing wine and food blog reviews.  Loves it.  She’s made friends with a couple of women in the building where the agency’s located.  They’ve started going out for lunch every Thursday.  I’m glad she has new people in her life; I’m just hoping she doesn’t forget who her BFF is.

There you have it folks.  The Boss’ll be back on the weekend with more editing advice.  Given the last one was about plot and subplots, I think she’s looking to post about conflict and friction (because, as I understand it, the plot contains, or should contain, a lot of both).

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