Saturday, September 29, 2012

LEHUA PARKER "One Boy, No Water"

AWESOME author, Lehua Parker (Auntie Lehua to family and friends), is guest posting here about her history in Hawaii and her writing of middle grade/YA book, One Boy, No Water (my review of the incredible story is posted just below this one). This book, the first in her Niuhi shark saga, is about a Hawaiian boy, Zader, who's allergic to water on his skin and his trials in dealing with that, added to the prejudice of other kids his age. But family ties come through with the love and support of his brother, parents and uncle Kahana as Zader begins to discover his own talents and worth and to see just who (or rather WHAT) he really is. Such an exciting day for Lehua and eager readers everywhere as her book is being released TODAY (September 29th, 2012)! Mahalo, Lehua, for answering my questions! Take it away!

Aloha, Elsie! Thanks for letting me drop by to answer a few of your questions about my MG/YA novel One Boy, No Water, book one in the Niuhi Shark Saga. It’s available now from Barnes & Noble and Amazon in hardback, trade paperback, and ebook.

Q – Does your first name, Lehua, mean anything in Hawaiian?

Lehua is part of my middle name, Kalehuamakanoe. In Hawaiian, words have layers of meaning, both literal and poetic. Lehua is a type of flower, and Kalehuamakanoe is the name of a variety of Lehua that grows on Kauai. The literal translation is Misty-Faced Lehua. One of the figurative meanings of my name is Misty-Eyed Companion, meaning one who bears another's burden, particularly in times of sorrow. I guess that means I'm the one people complain to!

Q – What is the Hawaiian myth that your story is based upon?

Throughout the Pacific there are stories about demi-gods and gods who can change from human form to something else like molten lava, a wind, a pig--practically anything you can think of. From these stories I took the idea of beings that look like humans, but are really sharks. I asked myself all kinds of what if questions, put the answers in a contemporary Hawaiian setting, and the Niuhi Shark Saga was born.

Q – When did the idea first come to you to write this saga . . . and was it a saga from the beginning or just one book at first?

The first spark came from a movie about Hawaiian legends I saw when I was seven years old. The villain was revealed to have a gigantic gaping shark's mouth where his back should be! Over the years I've thought a lot about that image.

Initially, I planned the story as one long novel for adults about the grown-ups in the saga. Zader and the gang were pawns in a high stakes chess game and the themes and character motivations were more adult. But the story quickly grew too complex with too many competing storylines, points of view, and main characters. I had the most fun writing about Zader’s perspective, so I scrapped most of what I had written and started over with an MG/YA audience in mind and telling the story through a series of books. Sometimes I think I have enough story and backstory in my head to fill ten sagas!

Q – Did your parents speak Pidgin in the household?

No. My Dad and his side of the family are from Hawaii; my mother is from the mainland, what islanders call the continental United States. When we were growing up in Hawaii, we always spoke standard English at home. My parents were sticklers for proper English grammar and pronunciation. (The number is three, Lehua, three with a th! A tree has leaves!) Pidgin was for friends and school. Now that we've all grown up and live on the mainland, my siblings, Dad, and I often lapse into Pidgin around the kitchen table. It keeps all the grandkids guessing!

Q – Did your decision to write a YA/middle grade story stem from your years as a teacher for that age group?

Not consciously. I began the adult version of the story before I started teaching and left the manual gathering virtual computer dust during the four years I was a teacher at a private school. The story is really about growing up and discovering who you are and how you will live your life, and I chose 6th grade to begin the story because it’s a huge year for most kids in Hawaii—the last in elementary school and when the pressure’s the greatest to get into a good prep school. It’s also what I think of as the beginning of growing-up. Since Zader and his friends start out as 11 year olds, it fit into the MG/YA category.

Q – Have you incorporated any personal favorites into your story (ie: a favorite Hawaiian dish, a beloved Hawaiian activity/sport, a favorite animal . . . besides sharks “smile”)?

In typical Hawaiian-style, One Boy, No Water is filled with hidden inside jokes and clues about plot and characters. People familiar with the culture will catch a lot of them. It helps to have a Hawaiian-English dictionary handy. A great one online is at

Brief Bio

Lehua Parker is originally from Hawaii and a graduate of The Kamehameha Schools and Brigham Young University. So far she has been a live television director, a school teacher, a courseware manager, an instructional designer, a sports coach, a theater critic, a SCUBA instructor, a poet, a web designer, a mother, and a wife. Her debut novel, One Boy, No Water is the first book in her MG/YA series the Niuhi Shark Saga. She currently lives in Utah with her husband, two children, four cats, two dogs, six horses, and assorted chickens. During the snowy Utah winters she dreams about the beach.

Lehua's Contact Info
Facebook author page:
Parker Blog:
Goodreads: Lehua Parker

Pick up One Boy, No Water at Barnes and Noble, from or order from any book store.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review of "One Boy, No Water"

My review of ONE BOY, NO WATER, book one of the Niuhi Shark Saga by Lehua Parker who will be guest posting on my blog Saturday, September 29th, the day her book is released.

One Boy, No Water is both entertaining and educational as Parker’s knowledge of the Hawaiian culture comes through with beautiful narrative and vivid scenes. At the beginning of this middle-grade story my non-native tongue often tripped over the Hawaiian words and pigeon-laden dialogue as I tried to decipher meanings and pronounce the language. Farther into the book, however, my reading had smoothed as my mind grasped the Hawaiian sounds with familiarity. At that point, I really felt like part of the story and culture. Parker’s Hawaiian word glossary at the end of the book was indispensable in helping me achieve this.

Parker’s descriptive imagery of the Hawaiian culture and practices gave me a respect and understanding of the society, and I felt like I was really there. Especially interesting to me was the Niuhi shark legend the story was based upon. Awesome myth!

There was a mystery throughout the book that kept me wondering and wanting to know more about how certain characters related to the main boy, 11 year-old Zader. This kept me interested to the end. The book ended with another mystery, opening the way for Parker’s next book in the saga.

My favorite line from the story, and a message I feel encompassed the entire first book, was what Zader said to his Uncle Kahana. “Nothing’s ever perfectly safe unless it stay locked behind glass. If we want to live, we have to experience life outside the glass.”

Lehua Parker is an exceptional lady of imagination, knowledge and wit. I’ve had the opportunity, on several occasions to sit by her at writing conferences, allowing me to see her not only as a talented author, but as a loving mother, educated teacher, and fine friend.

One Boy, No Water will be available at Barnes and Noble, but can also be ordered from any other bookstore.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Shortbread, a classic Scottish dessert, is a sweet biscuit/cookie, named for its crumbly, or “short,” texture due to the high butter content. Rusk, a twice-baked biscuit rolled in sugar and spices, was the medieval predecessor of shortbread. Rusk used yeast instead of butter until butter became wider spread (no pun intended) throughout the British isles. Shortbread, using the expensive ingredients sugar, flour and butter, was typically reserved for special occasions including, but not limited to, weddings, Christmas and Scottish New Year’s Eve (Hogmanay).


1 ½ sticks softened butter (or 3/4 cups)
¼ cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix softened butter with sugar, and then add flour. Stir until well mixed. If too crumbly, add 1-2 more Tablespoons softened butter.

To make bars: With hands, evenly pat dough into ungreased 8 by 8-inch baking pan.
To make cookies: Roll dough to 1/2–inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into small shapes with cookie cutters or by hand. Place ½ inch apart on ungreased baking pan.

Bake bars/cookies for 20 minutes or until edges start to turn golden (not brown). Remove from oven. Cool. Enjoy!

-Add chopped pecans to the dough.
            -Dip the cooled cookies/bars in melted chocolate and let set.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Medieval Clothing and Musical Instruments


McCall's Sewing Pattern #3653

BLIAUT / BLIAUD (above in purple/blue) – an outfit of French influence worn by both men and women in the 12th-early 14th centuries. For woman it was a long flowing dress (with or without a belt) that fit snugly at the torso, and then flowed freely from the waist down. The sleeves were tight around the upper arm before opening up into large flags above or below the elbow and reaching to knee or floor length. The neck line could be round, square or keyhole shaped. For men the outfit length was typically to the knee and the sleeves tight all the way to the wrist, but they could also flag out and reach the knee as well.

SIDELESS SURCOAT  (above in red) = An over garment popular in the 14th century (1300s) for men and women. It lacked sleeves and remained open at the sides all the way down or came together at the waist, attaching to the skirt. Women’s were typically longer than the knee and worn over a kirtle, while men’s were typically to the knee or shorter and worn over under garments as well. A surcoat was also worn over a guard’s or knight’s armor with distinguishing colors or an insignia printed on the front.

BRAIES (below in white) = Men's under trousers, often covered with leggings called chausses. -

CHAUSSES (above in black) = leg coverings that extended to the knee or covered the entire leg. They were made of different materials depending on the circumstance. As armor they were made from chain mail or padded material worn under the mail. These offered flexible protection against slashing weapons. Woolen chausses were worn by male civilians as outer trousers. 

KIRTLE = A simple long dress for women,  could be worn alone or under a surcoat (over garment). The sleeves could be tight around the arm or billow out at the elbows.

TUNIC (below) = A simple slip-on garment (shirt) with or without sleeves, most often cinched with a belt. In early centuries, the length extending below the waist reached to the knee or longer, but it shortened to just above the knee, to the thigh and finally the hips as history progressed.

WIMPLE (below) = A cloth covering for a woman’s head. A full wimple covered the head and neck, and sometimes the chin. A half wimple covered the head only and was kept in place by a snug circlet (usually of soft material) worn like a crown over the head.


DRUM / PERCUSSION (below) = An instrument made of a round body, usually wood, covered with animal skin (leather) and beat upon with a stick. It could accompany music or be played on its own during battle.

LUTE (below) = A stringed instrument with a pear-shaped body, vaulted back, fretted fingerboard and a head (often angled backward from the neck ) with tuning pegs.
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History:

PSALTERY (below) = A musical stringed instrument with 30-40 strings stretched over a horizontal board and played with the fingers or a pick.
RECORDER / PIPE / FIFE (below) = Wind instrument made of a tube (wooden or bone) with a mouthpiece and finger holes.
Philippe Bolton, Recorder Maker:
TABOR (below) = A small drum of soft calfskin, often hung from the neck to rest on the chest and used to accompany a pipe or fife played by the same person.
VIOL (below) = A bowed, 6-stringed instrument similar to the viola, violin or fiddle of our day

CAROUSE / CAROUSAL = A party, usually with drinking.

CHIDE = Scold or nag

ERE = Before

JOUST = A fight on horseback with lances, providing battle tactic practice for knights.

HYDROMEL = A simple drink consisting of water with a little added honey (popular among monks).

MAID/MAIDEN = A young woman of upstanding virtue.

NONPAREIL = Unequalled,  a paragon (often speaking of beauty)

PRATING = Babbling, talking too much

PRAY TELL = Please tell me

STAY = Stop or wait


YONDER / YON = Over there / those

Sunday, September 16, 2012

To Live is to Learn, To Learn is to Live

To LIVE is to LEARN. To LEARN is to LIVE – My thoughts on writers’ conferences
I just returned from attending an enjoyable and informative writer’s conference in Park City, Utah, hosted by the League of Utah Writer’s (an organization over 75 years old). When I signed up a few months back, a well meaning relative made the silly comment, “Why are you going to a writer’s conference? You’re already having your book published,” as if going to a writer’s conference was only for those needing help writing their first novel until it was picked by a publisher, and then there’d be no more need to attend writing classes. 

Well, I politely informed my sweet relation that even though my writing was publishable, it didn’t mean I’d learned all there is to know about writing. On the contrary, I’ve probably only scratched the surface of writing potential. I presently write in the historical/medieval fiction genre, but if I ever try a new genre, I’ll need to learn and research anew. But even remaining in one genre an author should NEVER feel, even after countless publications, there’s nothing more to be learned. Such an author is prideful and in need of a reality check. The world is ever changing, as are writing styles, desired content and audiences. There’s always SOMETHING to be gained and applied to writing to make it better, whether it’s a new idea or simply a reminder of something forgotten. 

I don’t write (at least for now) science fiction and fantasy, but I attended a sci-fi/fantasy class because I liked and respected the author presenting it. I came away with awesome notes and pointers that pertained to my medieval fiction genre. You can’t really separate the writing processes into genres. Yes, different genres have differences story content, but at the base, the formation of grammar, characterization, pacing, dialogue, action, plot and structure are the same. 

I came away with OODLES of notes to help me improve from guest speakers and presenters who included authors Andrew Smith, Marion Jensen, Elana Johnson, Barry Eisler, Dinty Moore, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, and marketing/publicity guru Kirk Cunningham of Jolly Fish Press. There were others whose classes I couldn’t attend because of overlapping class times, and I’m sorry for that. I missed some equally awesome classes presented by Sarah M. Eden (one of my FAVORITE authors), Maxwell Alexander Drake, Chadd VanZanten, Annette Lyon, Robison Wells, Dianne Hardy, Margot Hovley, Heidi Thornock, Daniel Coleman and Ali Cross. 

On top of the information acquired at a conference, there’s the added benefit of the encouragement to keep going, keep trying, keep your hopes up, and to KEEP WRITING. The joy of mingling and conversing with fellow authors can’t be duplicated as they come from all walks of life, have diverse personalities and write all types of genres. The warm camaraderie and respect from other writers is uplifting. Even the meals are delightful, for me anyway. My favorite this year was the baked chicken and wild rice with large decadent slice of triple chocolate cake for dessert (that was for the awards banquet on Friday night). Shhh, don't tell my diet I splurged this weekend.

Bottom line, NEVER be so prideful of your writing that you feel you’ve learned everything possible and can’t benefit from anything else someone might pass your way. The author who holds that way of thinking may find they soon diminish and disappear altogether.

Never stop learning in some way or another.