Saturday, May 24, 2014

Video clips shed light on #Ancient Hawai'i

As an adventure travel writer I love to travel and spend time writing about my explorations.  I also love sharing Wai-nani, A Voice from OldHawai’i with book clubs, but I cannot be available for Skype meet-Wai-nani and to direct them to my video playlist.
ups. Brief video clips answering the most common questions I receive from readers about my book seemed a very good answer to this dilemma.
In the story I weave myth, legend, and actual historical incidents that raises the question in the minds of readers “What is True?”   In this clip I address this very important question.
Is the story historically accurate?
Each of the thirteen clips I created answer specific questions about the Hawaiian culture. For instance, the death of Captain James Cook at the hands of the Islanders has long been a controversial topic in Hawaiian history, so I presented my position on the matter.
Did the Hawaiians stab Captain Cook in the back?
Here is my response to the question “Did Hawaiians have “Love Games?”
Did Hawaiians Have Love Games?
 It is my hope that sharing in this way readers will not only come away with a better understanding of the ancient Hawaiian culture, but that they it will give readers a more personal connection with me.  People love videos because reading huge amounts of written content becomes over-whelming. I hope people will find my videos about Wai-nani, entertaining and informative and will share them with friends!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Under the Cover with Randy Jay Braun

Over the years that it took me to write Wai-nani, A Voicefrom Old Hawai’i, I had two yellowing postcard images taped to my wall. One was of a woman with arms stretched to the heavens, knees bent deeply, wearing a swaying ti leaf skirt in a classic kahiko dance pose.
The other was a muscular Hawaiian man glistening with vitality wearing a malo, or loin cloth, with knees bent arms outstretched, hair flying also doing hula. I looked to these two images while conjuring the love scenes that take place in the story. This man and woman epitomized the natural beauty and grace of people in a culture I so admired.

After a year of searching on the internet for an image that would convey the spirit of my book, I settled upon one by Randy Jay Braun. He is a photographer internationally known for his realistic depictions of Hawaiian dancers doing the ancient kahiko dance of Hawai’i. It is called “Celebration of Life.” Since Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i is a celebration of the people of old, I felt it was fitting.
The silhouette of a dancer with arms stretched to the heavens to capture mana, or spiritual power, depicts a sacred ceremony.  The deep purple, tinged with gold, sunset evokes a sense of mystery and hopefully invites the reader to enter a world largely unknown to western readers.
Randy Jay Braun

It is ironic that the two images I held in my mind over twenty years of research and writing were also those of Randy Jay Braun. I was not aware of that fact until I found them on his site along with the image that eventually became the cover of my book.   Writing Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i has been a long, satisfying journey with many serendipitous discoveries along the way.  I have met many wonderful people who have opened their hearts to me with warm aloha and lent their talents to enrich the telling of the Hawaiian story. A special thank you to Randy Jay Braun for allowing me to use his image for the cover of my book.