Hawaiian Noir

Murder Calls

Time to get out the uke and practice.

BB292925-6284-4D76-A019-9C6A34E17254Christmas is around the corner. You’ve gotta know “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Get the tabs here: https://ukutabs.com/m/mariah-carey/all-i-want-for-christmas-is-you/












If you need some traditional melodies, here is the Ukulele Christmas Songbook: http://www.ukuke.co.uk/Ukulele%20Christmas%20Song%20Book.pdf

Let it Snow!



Texas Author Bill Crider

Many of you are already acquainted with Bill Crider and his work. If you are not, you should be. Bill is a writer’s writer. He not only writes stories that are worth reading over and over for enjoyment and inspiration, but he is knowledgeable about nearly all aspects of genre fiction, especially mystery, western, science fiction, and horror. Bill is a contributor to many lists such as Rara-Avis He has been a fixture at many conventions, especially Bouchercon, Aggiecon, and many others. Most importantly, Bill has been a helpful and encouraging voice for beginning writers and a friend and advocate for established writers throughout the United States.

I first met Bill at a mystery workshop in Chicago about 1991 or 1992. He was a featured speaker and I was an unpublished nobody, but he was friendly, gracious and encouraging. At that time, I was a member of Brazos Writers and was on a committee to develop a writing workshop. I asked Bill if he would take part and he generously agreed, even though, as a small organization, we couldn’t offer much in remuneration.

Over the years, I encountered Bill at many conventions and communicated with him often by email. At Conmisterio in Austin, I shared a panel with Bill. The topic had to do with books and authors from our youth. I mentioned reading the Saint series by Leslie Charteris. Sometime later in the convention, Bill gave me a paperback of Saint stories he had found at a used bookstore that day and thought of me.

When The Splintered Paddle was published in 2014, Bill was kind enough to give me a pre-publication review it and write a blurb for it.

Those of you who have followed Bill’s blog, know that he is ill with cancer and has recently entered hospice care. For all of us who know him, it is truly sad news. There is not a kinder, gently, more knowledgeable person in the literary scene. On Friday, December 15, Patricia Abbott devoted a post of Friday’s Forgotten Books to Bill. Friends and followers of Bill contributed their thoughts and reviews of his work. You can read the testament to Bill here: https://pattinase.blogspot.com/2017/12/bill-crider-day-on-ffb-december-15-2017.html

Aloha Bill Crider!

Holiday Giveaway!


Christmas Book Tree

Yesterday, Mary Fran and I put up our tree, shown here. How many books make up the tree? If you think you know, send me an email at mark@marktroyauthor.com. The person who comes closest will receive an audiobook (Audible) of The Splintered Paddle. Send your guess by midnight, Thursday, December 21. I will make the announcement on December 22. You can be over or under. Closest wins. Hint: The stack has 39 levels.

A date that will live in infamy!

Yesterday, December 7, 2017, we remembered Pearl Harbor and the more than 2,000 sailors and soldiers who died in the early morning attack. Some twenty survivors attended the ceremony at Pearl Harbor yesterday.

In the aftermath of the attack, the islands were placed under martial law. The police and courts became militarized. The police were tasked with hunting spies and saboteurs. So who did the normal policing? Somebody had to write speeding tickets, respond to robberies and burglaries, and investigate crimes. In addition, there were now curfews that needed to be enforced. Much of the police work fell on volunteers.

The Honolulu Police Department already had a volunteer program in place. It was introduced in July 1941. This is where things get interesting. On December 6, 1941, the Spartans of San Jose State University played the Rainbow Warriors of the University of Hawaii in football. On December 7, the Spartan players woke up to learn the islands were under attack and they were stranded. Only naval vessels or ships carrying military cargo could enter or leave the islands. So, the players volunteered for the police department. Some eventually joined the armed forces and left, but others remained throughout the war. You can read about it on the Honolulu Police Department website. http://www.honolulupd.org/department/index.php?page=history

Go For Broke

The 100th Infantry Battalion first adopted “Remember Pearl Harbor” as their motto. They later adopted “Go For Broke.” Their original song was Remember Pearl Harbor. I don’t know who wrote the Remember Pearl Harbor lyrics. The Go For Broke lyrics were written by Martin Kida, who was killed in action.

History in every century
We recall an act that lives forevermore
We recall as into night they fall
The things that happened on Hawaii shore

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor
As we go to meet the foe
Let’s remember Pearl Harbor
As we did the Alamo

We will always remember
How they died for liberty
Let’s remember Pearl Harbor
And go on to victory

Four Forty-Second Infantry
We are the boys of Hawaii Nei
We will fight for you
And the red white and blue
And will go the front
And back to Honolulu-lu-lu
Fighting for dear old Uncle Sam
Go for broke we don’t give a damn
We will round up the Huns
At the point of a gun
And victory will be ours
Go for broke! Four Four Two!
Go for broke! Four Four Two!
And victory will be ours.
All hail our company.


On Wednesday, I wrote about how the ukulele got its name. George S Kanahele, in his book, Hawaiian Music and Musicians: An Illustrated History, 1979, University of Hawaii Press, cites the Pukui-Elbert Hawaiian Dictionary, which is the authoritative source on the Hawaiian language. According to Pukui and Elbert, the name comes from an Englishman, Edward Purvis, who came to Honolulu in 1879 after serving in India as an army officer. Soon after his arrival, he took the post of assistant chamberlain to the court of King Kalakaua. Because of his size and nimbleness, the king nicknamed him “Ukulele,” “little jumping flea.” “Uku” meaning “flea,” and “lele” meaning jumping. Purvis was a fine musician and learned to play the braguinha well enough that he frequently performed for the court. He became so identified with the instrument that it came to be known by his nickname.

So now you know.

The Tiki Bar is open!

E15C0D6A-6645-430D-99DA-4DC31C7008D6The holiday season is upon us. If you’re hosting a party, what is more festive than a good punch? This one serves 12. It is called the Cinerama Luau Punch. It was created for the 1958 release of the Cinerama South Seas Adventure movie, the fifth in the Cinerama series of travelogue-type films composed of fictional vignettes in exotic places. In this movie you can fly over fjords of New Zealand, and surf big waves in Hawaii, among other adventures, all captured in the curved screen Cinerama style. If you are old enough to remember Cinerama, you are old enough to drink the punch.554EFEF7-D19C-47EC-B4B1-6689DFF2248F

8 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
8 oz fresh lemon juice
8 oz fresh lime juice
8 oz orange juice
2 oz orange curaçao
½ bottle of any white wine
1 ½ bottle gold Jamaican rum

Mix everything in a punch bowl and chill with ice.
This recipe came from Beachbum Berry.


Who invented the ukulele?

The ukulele is Hawaii’s iconic musical instrument, but the instrument itself did not originate in the Hawaiian islands nor was it invented by a Hawaiian. It is actually a development of a Portuguese stringed instrument, known as the machete or braguinha, a small guitar-like, four-stringed instrument. The machete was brought to the islands by three Portuguese woodworkers from the island of Madeira in 1879. The three, Manuel Nunes, Augusto Dias, and Jose do Espírito Santo, came under contract to work in the sugar cane fields. When their contracts expired after three years, they set up shops as woodworkers, their professions back in Madeira. All three made guitars and other stringed instruments in addition to furniture. Which one actually made the first instrument we now love, is unknown. The basic shape of the machete was retained. It was the adoption of the G-C-E-A tuning and the use of koa wood in construction that made it unique. Read more about Nunes, Dias and Santo here: http://www.ukulelemag.com/stories/the-birth-of-the-ukulele

Where does the name “ukulele” come from?

”Ukulule” is actually Hawaiian for “cat flea,” a pest that was imported in the early 1800s. Novelist Jack London wrote that “ukulele” means “jumping flea.” Certainly “uku” is Hawaiian for pests that included fleas and head lice. How did it get applied to the instrument? One account is that when Hawaiians play the instrument, their hands jump all over the fret board like fleas. Whatever the source, the instrument and its players are sometimes called “fleas.”

Ukulele Pic of the Week




Jim Nabors, R.I.P.

Long-time Hawai‘I resident, Jim Nabors has passed away in his Diamond Head home. He was 87. The Star Advertiser has the story.

Nabors moved to Hawai‘I in 1978 when he purchased a macadamia nut and flower plantation in Hana Maui. He was already a huge television star, best known as Gomer Pyle, first on the Andy Griffith Show and later on his own show, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. His portrayal of Pyle made him into a staunch advocate of the Marines, who, in turn, bestowed on him honorary promotions to Lance Corporal, Corporal, and Sergeant.

During his long career, he appeared often on Carol Burnett’s specials. He also headlined several holiday shows from Hawai‘I and, in the late 1970’s appeared in the Polynesian Extravaganza at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome for ten months out of the year.


54 Bridges to Hana Town


Waterfall on the Hana Highway

Hana is a small town on the east coast of Maui. It is reached by way of the famous Hana Highway, a 64 mile narrow, cliff-hugging road from Kahului that puts the white in white knuckles. The drive takes 2.5 to 3 hours without stops. There are approximately 620 curves through lush tropical rain forests. The highway crosses 59 bridges (54 according to the song), 46 of which are one lane. The views are spectacular. You cross tumbling steams and pass cascading waterfalls on one side. On the other are steep cliffs and gorgeous ocean views. The speed limit is 25mph on most stretches of the highway, though some places it drops to 15. Not that anybody would dare to speed with all of those curves.

The rule on the one lane bridges is that the first car to the bridge has the right-of-way. There are some stretches where the road itself narrows to one lane and, in those places, the etiquette holds that the vehicle on the uphill side backs up to a spot where the other can pass.


Hana Cottage

Hana’s attractions are quiet and solitude. We stayed in a one room cabin in the midst of a tropical plantation, surrounded by flowering trees, plants, and myriads of birds. The location was so remote that had no WiFi and no cell service. In order to make a call we had to drive to the middle school and call from the parking lot.

Hana has a beach park, which is a gathering place for local families and canoe clubs. Other than that, there is not much to do in Hana.


Canoes at Hana Beach Park

Continuing beyond Hana, you come to Hamoa Beach, a crescent shaped silver and black beach lined with Hala trees. James Michener called it the most perfect South Pacific beach which happens to be in the North Pacific. The beach is open to the ocean and the surf can be rough, which makes it popular for surfing. We didn’t have a board, but the waves broke close enough in that we could swim out and body-surf. If you’re not a surfer, it’s a great place to relax on the sand


Hamoa Beach, Hana Maui


Go For Broke

The battle for the Gothic Line in the Appenine Mountains continued through April of 1945. On April 7, the 2nd Battalion pushed toward Belvedere. The enemy they faced was the Kesselring Machine Gun Battalion, a crack force. Sergeant Yukio Okutsu single-handedly knocked out three machine gun nests and captured four Germans at the the third one. That action broke the deadlock and, by nightfall, the ridge was in 442nd hands.

From April 9 to April 18, the 442nd continued to push northeast, taking town after town. They had to scale 3000 foot cliffs and battle entrenched Germans who had been ordered by the Fuhrer to hold at any cost. Finally they reached the town of Aulia and Mount Nebbione, which was heavily defended by the Germans. The Aulia road was the last remaining escape route to the Po Valley for the Germans.

The 442nd attacked on April 21. Private Joe Hayashi, of 3rd Battalion, K company, near the town of Tendola, single-handedly silenced three machine gun nests before being killed while perusing more Germans. On a fortified ridge named Colle Musatello, 2nd Lieutenant Dan Inouye led his men against two machine gun nests. Though shot in the stomach and he continued to lead his men on. He crawled to within ten yards of a third machine gun nest. Rising up to throw a grenade, he was struck in the arm by a rifle-fired grenade, which nearly severed his arm at the elbow. As his men rushed forward to help he ordered them to keep their distance, because his now dead hand clutched a live grenade. He prised the grenade from his hand and threw it left-handed at the machine gun, taking it out, and then charged the nest, firing his Tommy gun left handed and killing the occupants. Inouye wasn’t done. He continued leading his men until hit by another round, this time in the leg, which ended his fight.

Aulia fell to a 442nd pincer attack on April 25. The Germans surrendered in the hundreds. Two weeks later, on May 7, the war ended with Germany’s surrender.

Through the Gothic Line/Po campaign, 101 Nisei died and 874 were wounded. The 442nd was awarded Presidential Unit Citation signed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, which read, in part,

“. . . In four days, the attack destroyed positions which had withstood the efforts of friendly troops for five months. . .[The Combat Team] accomplished its mission of creating a diversion. . . which served as feint for the subsequent breakthrough of the Fifth Army forces into Bologna and the Po Valley. The successful accomplishment of this mission turned a diversionary action into a full scale and victorious offensive, which played an important part in the final destruction of the German armies in Italy. . .”

Medals of Honor

Okutsu, Yukio
Born: November 3, 1921 at Koloa Hawai‘i
Died: August 24, 2003
Rank: Technical Sergeant
Unit: 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Yukio Okutsu joined the Army in March 1943 and volunteered for the 100th Infantry Battalion.

Medal of Honor Citation

Technical Sergeant Yukio Okutsu distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 April 1945, on Mount Belvedere, Italy. While his platoon was halted by the crossfire of three machine guns, Technical Sergeant Okutsu boldly crawled to within 30 yards of the nearest enemy emplacement through heavy fire. He destroyed the position with two accurately placed hand grenades, killing three machine gunners. Crawling and dashing from cover to cover, he threw another grenade, silencing a second machine gun, wounding two enemy soldiers, and forcing two others to surrender. Seeing a third machine gun, which obstructed his platoon’s advance, he moved forward through heavy small arms fire and was stunned momentarily by rifle fire, which glanced off his helmet. Recovering, he bravely charged several enemy riflemen with his [[submachine gun]], forcing them to withdraw from their positions. Then, rushing the machine gun nest, he captured the weapon and its entire crew of four. By these single-handed actions he enabled his platoon to resume its assault on a vital objective. The courageous performance of Technical Sergeant Okutsu against formidable odds was an inspiration to all. Technical Sergeant Okutsu’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.


Inouye, Daniel K.
Born: September 7, 1924, Honolulu Hawai‘i
Died: December 17, 2012
Rank: Captain
Unit: 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Daniel Inouye served as a medical volunteer during the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1943, when the prohibition against Japanese-Americans serving in the armed forces was relaxed, Inouye volunteered for the 442nd. He served in Italy where he was wounded. Following the war, he entered the Territorial legislature. After statehood, he was elected to congress as a representative and then as a senator.

Medal of Honor Citation

Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

Ka Lae, Hawaii

0AF9D219-8C41-4B34-872A-EC13B3AF1244At Ka Lae point on the Big Island of Hawaii, the southernmost point in the United States, sits the Kalalea Heiau. A heiau is a sacred place where ancient Hawaiians often left offerings to the gods in exchange for favors. At Kalalea Heiau,


Kalalea Heiau, Ka Lae, Hawaii

they were praying for a bountiful catch. The ocean at this point is rough and the cliffs are steep, but the waters teem with ahi and yellowfin tuna. Fishermen would tie their canoes to rocks and to mooring holes carved from the rock. They would then play out the ropes until they were far enough offshore to cast for the fish in the deep channel. The mooring holes are still visible, though fishermen today do not go out in canoes. Instead they tie bags of air to their lines and let the bags take the lines out to the deep.


Canoe mooring holes, Ka Lae Point

Near the heiau is a wooden structure jutting out over the water from which hardy souls jump into the water. We decided against taking the leap when we visited, but we watched many attempt it. One jumper remarked that, after the experience, he no longer needed a colonoscopy.


Dive platform at Ka Lae, the southernmost point of the US

From Ka Lae, we traveled to Kona on the Leeward Coast of the island. Our condo in Kona was right on the water. We had no beach at that point, nothing but rocks, but the view was gorgeous. Our first morning we woke to spinner dolphins leaping out of the water close to shore. In the evening we could watch the sunset from out lanai. It was from our lanai that we saw a green flash.


Kona Hawaii

The green flash occurs just as the sun sets on a clear evening, usually over the ocean. It appears as a green light at the top of the sun’s disk when the sun is almost entirely blow the horizon. The explanation is that the light is refracted through the atmosphere which separates the wavelengths making the green, and sometimes blue wavelengths distinct. We each saw one on separate nights. It’s an amazing phenomenon.

Go For Broke

The 37th annual Hawaii International Film Festival closed on Sunday, November 12 with a showing of Go For Broke, the origin story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Fittingly, Sunday was the day after Veterans Day. The movie was written and directed by Stacey Hayashi with music by Jake Shimabukuro.


Jake Shimabukuro

The movie won the Inaugural Hawaii Movie Maker Award. You can learn more about the movie and view the trailer here: https://www.goforbrokemovie.com.

The Gothic Line

The Gothic Line was a German defensive line built across the Apennine Mountains in Northern Italy. It stretched from the Ligurian Sea on the west to the Adriatic on the east. German Field Marshall Albert Kesselring oversaw construction, using the same German company that had built the Gustav Line and thousands of Italians as slave laborers. They drilled into solid rock to build concrete-reinforced pits and trenches. They fortified the line with 2,400 machine guns whose fields of fire overlapped. Beyond the line was the Po Valley and the beyond that the Austrian Alps. This was Hitler’s last line of defense and he ordered his army to hold it al all costs.

Since taking Pisa and the Arno River, the Fifth Army had made no headway against the Gothic Line. General Clark wanted the 442nd returned from France. For that he had to go head-to-head with Eisenhower who wanted the Nisei for the Battle of the Bulge. General Clark prevailed and, in late March, 1945, the 442nd returned to Pisa, Italy. This time the 442nd was attached to the 92nd Infantry Division, a segregated African-American unit, the only African-American combat unit in the European theater. Also at the front were other segregated units from British and French colonies.

On the nights of April 3 and 4, the 100th and 3rd battalions moved through the night, scaling steep mountains with laden backpacks filled with supplies and ammunition.At dawn on April 5, the 3rd was behind the Germans. They launched the attack westward at the same time the 100th attacked eastward, catching the Germans in a pincers movement. They faced heavy machine gun fire, mortars and land mines.

Private Sadao Munemori of the 100th battalion, A-company, attacked alone through enemy fire and single-handedly took out two machine gun nests. When taking cover in a shell crater with two of his comrades, a grenade bounced off his helmet. Without hesitation, he threw his body on the grenade and saved the lives of the others. He was awarded a Medal of Honor for his sacrifice. In fact, his was the first awarded to a Japanese -American during World War II.

On the night of April 6, the 100th and 3rd closed on a hill called Cerreto. The 2nd battalion’s F-company had taken a hill called Carchio. Other Nisei companies took seven other hills in the line. In four days, from April 4 to April 8, the 442nd advanced two and a half miles over the saw-toothed Apennine range.

More fighting was to come.

Medal Of Honor

Munemori, Sadao “Spud”
Born: Los Angeles, CA, August 17, 1942
Died: Seravezza, Italy, April 5, 1945
Rank: Private First Class
Unit: 100th Infantry Battalion

Munemori, an auto mechanic, volunteered for the US Army in November 1941, before the attack on Pearl Harbor. After the attack, he was demoted to 4-C status, along with other Japanese-American soldiers, and removed from combat training. He was assigned to menial labor at several Southern bases. Meanwhile, his parents and siblings were incarcerated in Manzanar. In 1943, when Japanese Americans in the camps were permitted to serve, Munemori volunteered for the 442nd. He trained at Fort Shelby and joined the 100th in Italy. He participated in the rescue of the Lost Battalion in France before returning to Italy with the 100th for the battle of the Gothic Line.

Medal Of Honor Citation

Munemori, Sadao. He fought with great gallantry and intrepidity near Seravezza, Italy. When his unit was pinned down by grazing fire from the enemy’s strong mountain defense and command of the squad devolved on him with the wounding of its regular leader, he made frontal, one-man attacks through direct fire and knocked out two machine guns with grenades. Withdrawing under murderous fire and showers of grenades from other enemy emplacements, he had nearly reached a shell crater occupied by two of his men when an unexploded grenade bounced on his helmet and rolled toward his helpless comrades. He arose into the withering fire, dived for the missile and smothered its blast with his body. By his swift, supremely heroic action Pfc. Munemori saved two of his men at the cost of his own life and did much to clear the path for his company’s victorious advance.

Hawaii Author, Katharine Nohr

Katharine Nohr is a mystery writer, athlete and attorney in Honolulu. She is a consultant on sports risk management and has traveled widely speaking on the topic. She is a former judge who continues her career practicing law as an insurance defense attorney. Her disappointment at not finding novels about triathletes led her to pen some herself. I met Katharine at Left Coast Crime in Honolulu in March where we shared a panel on writing Hawaii. Katharine’s two novels in her Tri-Angles series, Land Sharks and Freewheel, feature ambitious attorney Zana West and some fierce (and deadly) triathlete competition. Her third book in the series, VO2 Max will be out soon. Please welcome Katharine Nohr.

MT: Let’s start with you. You’re an attorney, an athlete and consultant on risk management in athletics. How does your background inform your stories?

CA5B899F-9CC3-4D7C-8360-089073A2DFB1KN: I write what I know. My legal mystery series, Tri-Angles offer stories of attorney and triathlete characters and stories based on my own experiences. For example, in Land Sharks, there’s a scene in a deposition in which a fight breaks out. Something similar happened to me.

MT: What drew you to writing mysteries?

KN: I wrote Land Sharks and in the process of trying to identify the genre, my publisher and I settled on mystery as the predominant genre.

MT: How would you characterize your mysteries? Cozy, hard-boiled, noir, humorous, zany, amateur, other? Why did you choose that sub-genre?

KN: They’re legal mysteries with humor, sports and romance.

MT: Tell us about Zana West, an ambitious attorney with a competitive drive. How does her drive come into play in the cases she gets involved in?

KN: Zana West grew up in dire circumstances, living with foster families and enduring periods of homelessness. Her drive comes from her need to survive. She believes that if she loses her job at the law firm, she’ll end up homeless again.

MT: If your books were made into movies, who would you cast in the roles?

KN: Zana West is 5’11” tall and so she should be played by a young woman of similar stature. Taylor Swift could play her if she dyed her hair (and, Taylor does have acting experience). January Jones has the Zana West look when her hair is straightened and her bangs cut.

Jerry Hirano is a younger Keanu Reeves. Daniel Henney or a 40 something Asian actor with ripped abs could play Jerry.

Brad Jordan could be played by Theo James and Jennifer Lawrence could play the twins—Heather and Megan Alexander.

Ryan Peterson could be played by any famous actor, also named Ryan.

Alexia Moore is a Julianne Hough-type.

MT: Marshall McLuhan said that if you don’t know if you will like a book, turn to page 69. If you like what you read there, you will like the book. What happens on page 69 of your latest book and how significant is it in the story? (Or another book of your choosing.)

EB8A0BF4-DD83-4548-B25A-BC0E9C51A087KN: In Freewheel, on page 69, Zana is meeting with her client, Ryan Peterson, and they’re discussing some key elements of the defense of the litigation and about facts that might exonerate him in the lawsuit. This is a pivotal moment in the book.

MT: How important is the Hawaii setting to your stories?

KN: Hawaii’s beautiful island environment is important for its stunning beauty and lovely weather to swim, bike and run. The setting also offers the Hawaii culture with diversity in ethnicity as well as its adaptation of elements of Asian and Polynesian culture. The characters usually have the Aloha spirit and the male attorneys wear Aloha shirts to work.

MT: Could the stories be set anywhere else? Why or why not?

KN: No. The books are about Honolulu law and I know of no other place in the world with the same culture in law firms and law practice.

MT: What do you do to give readers a sense of Hawaii and Hawaiian culture?

KN: The characters eat local food with chopsticks, enjoy the scents of tropical flowers, island breezes and they take their shoes off before entering a house. The characters fly to Maui for the day and they use some Hawaiian words, such as “Mahalo”, which means thank-you.

MT: What’s ahead for Zana West?

KN: The third book in the Tri-Angles series, VO2 Max, will be published in December of 2018. Will Zana land her dream job as sports agent in her firm? We’ll find out in VO2 Max.

MT: What’s ahead for you in your career?

KN: I’m currently writing an international thriller. My hope is to continue writing the Tri-Angles series in addition to thrillers.

MT: Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you and/or your books?

KN: They’re Allie McBeal meets Hawaii Five-0 and the perfect beach, airplane or armchair read for a vicarious visit to Hawaii.

MT: How can readers contact you and learn about your books?

KN: They can find me on Facebook (Tri-Angles Series or Katharine M. Nohr), on Twitter and Instagram (@TriathlonNovels), on Linkedin (Katharine M. Nohr) and my website: KatharineNohr.com

Mahalo, Katharine!



Go For Broke

This Veterans Day weekend, Go For Broke, the movie telling the origin story of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team premieres at the Hawaii International Film Festival. The premiere closes out the festival on Sunday, November 12. 

The Champagne Campaign

Following the fierce fighting in the forests of northeast France, the 442nd were sent south to the Maritime Alps and the Riviera. The unit needed rest and reinforcements. It was less than half its strength with close to 2,000 men in hospitals. Eventually about 1200 replacements arrived from the United States and about 250 men were released from hospitals to rejoin their units. The objective was to guard a stretch of the French-Italian border and to prevent the Germans from breaking through into southern France.

From mid-November, 1944, to mid March, 1945, the 442nd engaged in what became known as “the Chanpagne Campaign.” While there was fighting, which resulted in injuries and loss of life, the fighting was nothing like the Vosges campaign. The men were able to visit the beaches, the casinos, the nightclubs and restaurants of the region. They were able to bask in the hospitality of the French citizens.

It was a welcome respite from the intense fighting they had experienced and the fighting to come.

Medal Of Honor

Hayashi, Joe J.
Born: August 14, 1920, Salinas, California
Died: April 22, 1945, Tendola, Italy
Rank: Sergeant
Unit: 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Hayashi was a mechanic before the war. He enlisted in the Army in May 1941. After war broke out, he volunteered for the 442nd. In April, 1945, the 442nd returned to Italy for combat. Near Tendola, Hayashi exposed himself to enemy fire to direct mortar fire on enemy positions. Two days later, he single-handedly silenced three enemy machine gun positions, but was killed in pursuit of enemy soldiers.

Medal Of Honor Citation

Private Joe Hayashi distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 20 and 22 April 1945, near Tendola, Italy. On 20 April 1945, ordered to attack a strongly defended hill that commanded all approaches to the village of Tendola, Private Hayashi skillfully led his men to a point within 75 yards of enemy positions before they were detected and fired upon. After dragging his wounded comrades to safety, he returned alone and exposed himself to small arms fire in order to direct and adjust mortar fire against hostile emplacements. Boldly attacking the hill with the remaining men of his squad, he attained his objective and discovered that the mortars had neutralized three machine guns, killed 27 men, and wounded many others. On 22 April 1945, attacking the village of Tendola, Private Hayashi maneuvered his squad up a steep, terraced hill to within 100 yards of the enemy. Crawling under intense fire to a hostile machine gun position, he threw a grenade, killing one enemy soldier and forcing the other members of the gun crew to surrender. Seeing four enemy machine guns delivering deadly fire upon other elements of his platoon, he threw another grenade, destroying a machine gun nest. He then crawled to the right flank of another machine gun position where he killed four enemy soldiers and forced the others to flee. Attempting to pursue the enemy, he was mortally wounded by a burst of machine pisto fire. The dauntless courage and exemplary leadership of Private Hayashi enabled his company to attain its objective. Private Hayashi’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.


After a hearty supper we waited until it was thoroughly dark and then started to the crater. The first glance in that direction revealed a scene of wild beauty. There was a heavy fog over the crater and it was splendidly illuminated by the glare from the fires below.”
—Mark Twain, Roughing It, 1866.


Kilauea Caldera

The Big Island of Hawai‘i is made up of three volcanoes. Mauna Loa is the world’s largest mountain. Mauna Kea is the world’s tallest.The third, Kilauea, has been in continuous eruption since October 1982, the month our son Michael was born.

Volcano House, on the rim of Kilauea Caldera, facing Haleuma’umu’a crater is the oldest hotel in Hawai’i, dating back to 1846. The hotel was already in its second reincarnation when Twain visited in 1866. The current structure was built in 1941 and remains the only public accommodation inside Hawai‘i Volcano National Park.

The hotel looks right into the glowing caldera. At night you can see the fountains of lava inside. You can wake up in the morning to a rainbow rising from the crater.


Pele by Herb Kawainui Kane

In Hawaiian mythology, Haleuma’umu’a is home to Pele, the goddess of fire and the shaper of all things. Read more about Pele here.


Between Hilo and Volcano National Park is the small town of Pahoa. It’s a small, rural community that has attracted a lot of people who just want to get away from urban life and live simply. In the 60’s and 70’s, we would have called them hippies. As a result, the town is full of quaint shops and restaurants. It was also the location of one of the KEEP (Kamehameha Early Education Program) dissemination schools in the 70’s. Pahoa Elementary housed grades K-3 of the KEEP program and my assignment at KEEP was to evaluate the dissemination programs. I made several trips to the school to collect data. It looks much the same as it did back then. Some of the subdivisions near Pahoa were buried by lava flows from Kilauea, but the town itself was spared.

Lehua and Ohia

743D58CB-0839-4AAB-92A7-CF3D5FA36C7AThe goddess Pele, she of the volcano, is the most powerful force on the the Big Island. Everywhere and everything has some connection to Pele mythology. One of the more charming myths is the legend of the Ohia tree and the Lehua flower. The Ohia grows on the lava fields. It is a pioneer, one of the first forms of vegetation to appear on the flow. It starts the process of breaking the lava into soil. Everywhere on the lava flows you can see an Ohia tree and its beautiful red flower, the Lehua.

The legend goes that Pele fell in love with a handsome warrior named Ohia, but Ohia had already pledged his love to Lehua. This so enraged Pele that she turned him into a 01CFD7FF-95F5-4484-9984-25AAE8D5C82Ctwisted tree. Lehua came looking for him. When she saw the tree, she immediately guessed what happened. Distraught and in tears, she appealed to the other gods to reverse the spell. The other gods were moved by Lehua, but feared angering Pele. Instead they changed Lehua into a flower on the tree so the two would be joined forever. Some people believe that plucking the Lehua flower will bring rain on that day, presumably Lehua’s tears.

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