Friday, March 26, 2010

Wonderful Review of Wai-nani from Good Reads

I have read quite a few historical fiction novels that take place in Hawaii, but none quite like this. It's not about leprosy or American colonization or even sugar cane plantations, but the natives of Hawaii and their lives, customs, superstitions, and rules before the white man's arrival. It follows a young woman, Wai-nani, the daughter and wife of chiefs. She is a woman of the sea and swims with dolphins and even "converses" with them. Let me be clear about that. She doesn't converse with them like a child would her favorite dog, but has the ability to make the dolphin sounds and clicks to convey her point.

Wai-nani leaves home after breaking a tabu. She literally swims into the arms of Makahu, who becomes her husband. She must now be accepted by his people, tolerate another wife, deal with barreness, and watch her husband deal with the inner turmoil and struggles that often afflict a fighting warrior. The arrival of Captain Cook does not improve matters on the island either. All thru these tribulations, Wai-nani has her own inner turmoils being a strong minded woman in a time when women were not even allowed to eat with the men.

Whenever Wai-nani's life story comes to a "lull" or she is is not swimming with her dolphin family to attain her inner peace, the author manages to interweave stories of the Hawaiian gods and godesses into the primary tale. From Lono's missing wife to waterfalls in love, these "myths" add a nice touch. Not to mention the descriptions... I really felt as tho I was in Hawaii and felt the water around me.

In the author's preface, she asks readers to be the judge. Was Ka'ahumanu (Wai-nani) a forerunner to the modern woman and a daring liberator, or was she a traitor to her times? Having completed this, I have come to my own conclusion. You must come to yours.
Top reviewer at Good Read- Tara's books »

Saturday, March 20, 2010

For My Equestrian Friends

The first article I published called the "Art of Falling" was featured in Horse Illustrated. At the time, I was jumping and doing cross-country courses. My trainer told me a spill was inevitable, but did not tell me how to prepare for this event. In response to this dilemma, I interviewed a vaulting champion, a gymnast, and an orthopedic surgeon. In the process of writing this article I created an equestrian fall. In it I let you know how to mentally prepare yourself and what actions to take when you find yourself parting company from your mount. One gentleman who read the piece told me it saved his life! If you would like a copy just email meat and I will send you a pdf. I don’t have a live link for this one.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Water Baby

I was pleased to learn that Ka’ahumanu, the fiery chiefess who remained Kamehameha the Greats favorite wife for forty years is having a birthday. Born in Hana, Maui into the royal Ali’i class on March 17, 1777, she served as the inspiration for the heroine in my historical novel Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii. Through the eyes of young Wai-nani a passionate, athletic, brave woman you learn what the dynamics of the Hawaiian culture were when the explorer Captain James Cook stumbled upon the Islands in 1778.

Wai-nani, like Ka’ahumanu, is a “water baby” finding sustenance and solace in the sea. Her best friend is a dolphin named Eku who once saved her from drowning. Her world is molded by the powerful forces of moana the grand and vibrant sea, the voices whispering in the winds off the velvet green see cliffs lining the shore and the violent eruptions of volcanoes, and the gods in every rock flower and tree. She rebels against the 2000-year old kapu system that called for human sacrifice and harsh penalties for those who broke the laws.

A controversial figure in history some remember Ka’ahumanu as the loving mother of the people. She was a master in healing, knowledgeable about the native plants used as medicines. A supremely humane woman she helped, and stood up for the common people. But, as she was instrumental in bringing down the kapu system and the burning of the gods, many Hawaiians remember her as “the flaw that brought down the chiefdom.”

It pleases me to know that Ka’ahumanu is being honored by the royal Hawaiian society with a program of songs, history and lei draping at the statue of the great Chiefess on Maui for her birthday. Since I can’t be there for her celebration, I am writing this entry in the name of Ka’ahumanu, a woman I believe embodied female empowerment and was a forerunner to the modern woman.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

All who wander are not lost

Solo: On Her Own Adventure (Seal Women's Travel) Solo: On Her Own Adventure by Susan Fox Rogers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Never hike alone. How many times have I been admonished not to hike solo? This advice has come from people I respect and I would like to comply, but I can’t. The joy and ultimate purpose of the walks I take is to let my mind wander and to take time to allow the tape to run and make room for new impressions. This meditative state is hard to achieve when there is another consciousness crowding in on your thoughts. So, even though my father warned me against walking alone of the bear invested, misty shores of the Lynn Canal southeast Alaska when I was a teen, I still wandered away from civilization to absorb the cool breath of the forest. This is why I love these stories by other women who for some reason they can’t deny need to experience life on their own terms, testing their own limits. That is what going solo means. You have no one to blame for mishaps and only your own inner river to listen to for advice. It is the path to self-growth and understanding taken by one woman who must ski in Yellowstone in the dead of winter alone, and another who becomes the first woman to sail from San Francisco to Hawaii in the Pacific Cup(a blue water crossing I’ve dreamed of making myself) solo. There are many more adventures in this anthology that call for a much higher degree of personal fortitude and courage than I have ever mustered on any of my experiences in the wild. This is one of several collections edited by Susan Fox Rogers that stands out on travel narratives shelves as quality examples of women who are not only stretching their limits, but teaching us all how to be brave and true to ourselves.
Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler's Tales -soon to be released

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