Thursday, March 20, 2014


Author Kent Reinker
Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: Today’s guest for a ‘Friday - 13 Authors’ interview is Kent Reinker. Kent, thank you for sharing with readers your short story included within the anthology, MYSTERY IN PARADISE 13 Tales of Suspense, and for taking time to visit with us today. 

Writers, by default, are independent contractors who sit alone at their computer or journal composing for hours on end. Can you please offer a brief insight into something humorous, poignant, or unusual in your life that led you to a career in writing? 

KENT REINKER: All creative work has to be done in seclusion. Bryce Courtenay used to say that the secret of success for a writer was “butt glue” - you glue yourself down to the chair. But good writers are never alone or bored. They’re constantly surrounded by interesting characters in impossible situations that even the author doesn’t know how to solve. If I knew how my books were going to end when I started out, it would take some of the fun out of it. But I don’t. They always seem to end differently than the way I’ve outlined them. 

I’ve been writing since grade school. I was a sports stringer for my high school and the social editor of our yearbook, and I was an editor for the Yale Daily News during college. But I also have a love of science and majored in physics, planning to be a nuclear physicist after graduation. Then, one day, I was asked to write a profile of the Yale Medical School for the alumni magazine we published. A week later, I switched to pre-med. I graduated from medical school five years later, and came to Hawaii for further training as an orthopaedic surgeon. Twenty years later, I was a retired Colonel, a specialist in pediatric orthopaedics, a Professor in the University of Hawaii medical school, and Chief of Staff of a pediatric orthopaedic hospital. 

Most of my writing after college was scientific, either writing research articles or chapters for textbooks. But my job took me to many countries, and I always liked writing fiction. Hawaii is at least a five-hours plane ride from everywhere else. I got in the habit of writing at least one short story every time I left home. I’d start on the plane and finish the story in my hotel room. Eventually, I wrote a novel. Then another one, and another, until I had six written. It became obvious, though, that nothing would ever be published unless I gave up the seventy-hour workweek of my day job. So I resigned two years ago. Now, I have three novels published, with another (a mystery) coming out in the spring, I’m working on my seventh novel, and I have outlines for my eighth and ninth.

Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: Why did you choose to collaborate with other authors to participate in a short story anthology? 

KENT REINKER: I have written many short stories but have published few. Two stories in my “creation file” involved criminal activity, but I didn’t think either would fit into the anthology as described to me. This gave me an opportunity to write a fresh one. It was a nice break from the novel I’m currently writing, and it gave me an opportunity to associate and collaborate with some wonderful professionals. At the same time, I’m hopeful that the story will entertain and provoke thought in my readers. What could be more satisfying?

Sisters in Crime/Hawaii:  In Gloria, what is one phrase or scene that reflects something about you as a writer? 

KENT REINKER: Some of the main scenes take place in a medical clinic. I’ve used my medical background to depict the difficulties involved with providing good medical care in a setting of budgetary constraint, and I’ve tried to show the positive impact that a single competent individual can make. Governmental administrators seem to have a genetic defect: they believe they can hire excellent people for lousy salaries. Sometimes, this strategy works, but more often, the result ranges from mediocrity to blatant incompetence.

Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: Can you tell us a bit about your current project? 

KENT REINKER: All of my novels have an underlying theme. For example, one involves the relationship of science and religion. My last one involved the shady distinction between humans and beasts. It’s named If Pigs Could Cry and it should be coming out next week. (SinC/Hawaii note: If Pigs Could Cry is now available at I plan to publish The Honey Bee in June. It’s about a murder in a small town in Ohio that exposes a thirty-year-old secret. 

The one I’m writing now is about prejudice. The tentative title is “The Death of Aloha” and one of the key characters is an eight-year-old boy who is the son of the newly-elected mayor of Honolulu. Here’s how it begins: 

Luke Silva was so lost in his imagination that he never really noticed the two larger boys that were following him home from school. He was imagining himself in space, fighting robot aliens. He was winning of course, because he had perfect night vision and could see in the blackness of outer space, whereas the aliens were fighting blind. 
He had walked this route so many times before that he could do it blindfolded. Imagining himself in space, he was doing just that right now, closing his eyes to help his daydreams, and seeing how far he could walk before he had to open them because of insecurity or stepping off the sidewalk. His right arm flailed as his light saber cut down innumerable imaginary aliens.
He had guessed the number of steps to the next curb and was counting his own steps when he suddenly walked right into one of the two boys. The next instant, he found himself shoved backward and lying flat on the ground, his backpack popped open and his schoolbooks all around him.
He opened his eyes to see two boys above him, glaring. They were big, probably twelve years old or more. One already had the beginnings of a mustache. Mean-looking. Luke was scared.
“Watch where you goin’, you pulagi motha’ fucka,” said the one.
“Sorry,” said Luke, smiling. He started to get up, but had his legs kicked out from underneath him.
“You think you goin’ just leave after walking right into me?” said the one. “Show him,” he said to the other guy.
The other one kicked Luke, trying for his balls, but missing and kicking his thigh instead.
The boy may have missed, but it still hurt Luke a lot. He bundled up into a ball and quivered from fear. In his eight years of life, he had never experienced anything like this, and he was suddenly terrified. They’re going to kill me, he thought, not really understanding the concept very well, but knowing it would hurt.
One of the boys took a knife from his pocket and put it to Luke’s throat, confirming Luke’s fears. His face was right next to Luke’s when he spat in Luke’s face, and said, “We got to have your money,  pussy. Whatevah you got. Otherwise, I cut your throat.”
Luke pulled everything out of his pockets. It wasn’t much; only a couple dollars remained from his lunch money and allowance. The boys weren’t happy.
“Shit!” said one. “We got to get him again tomorrow.”
The one who had spat in his face, grabbed him by the collar. “You get more money tomorrow. Lots more. And if you tell anyone about this, we’ll kill you sure as hell. Understand?”
Luke nodded, his eyes wide, cold sweat pouring down his forehead.
The boy got up and put away his knife. “Next time we see you, you better have mo’ than two dollah,” said the other. Then they both walked away, leaving Luke quivering on the sidewalk.

Kent, where can readers find your books?  

            All my books are available on Amazon. The links to the first two are and . For the rest, check out Alain Gunn or A K Gunn on Amazon.


Thursday, March 13, 2014


Sisters In Crime/Hawaii: Today’s guest, Lehua Parker, is a Kamehameha Schools graduate, but has been living in exile on the mainland for more years than she’ll admit. In addition to writing award-winning short fiction, poetry, and plays, she is the author of the Pacific literature MG/YA series the Niuhi Shark Saga published by Jolly Fish Press.  

Welcome, Lehua, and thank you for visiting for this interview. Can you please offer a brief insight into something humorous, poignant, or unusual in your life that led you to a career in writing? 

Lehua Parker: I read all the books in my school library and couldn’t afford to buy new ones. I was so very tired of snow that I wanted to escape mentally to the beach. I needed to pay my mortgage and writing is way easier than ditch digging. Penning quick reviews for the local newspaper is the perfect way to score free theater tickets. There were no books for middle grade/young adult readers that showed Hawaiian culture the way I knew it to be. “I’m working on a novel” is an awesome excuse for avoiding laundry and dishes. 

All of these and more are true reasons of why I’m an author. 

Sisters In Crime/Hawaii: Why did you choose to participate in the anthology of short stories set in Hawaii, MYSTERY IN PARADISE 13 Tales of Suspense? 

Lehua Parker: When you’re exiled to the mainland, writing fiction set in Hawaii is a lonely venture. Critique groups scratch their heads at we stay go and bumbai. Publishers want to know when the coconut bras and cellophane skirts are going to come in. I was very excited to work with other writers who understand that calling someone Aunty doesn’t automatically mean she’s your mother’s sister. Since most of my published fiction set in Hawaii is for MG/YA audiences, it was particularly fun to write something more adult. There’s a mystery at the heart of the Niuhi Shark Saga, and readers of Tourists in the anthology get an insider’s view to some key characters. I also think anthologies are a wonderful way to meet new writers—and readers. 

Sisters In Crime/Hawaii: In Tourists, what is one phrase or scene that reflects something about you as a writer? 

Lehua Parker: The idea behind this story is an attempt to explore consequences for a person who disrespects or dismisses Hawaiian customs and beliefs. The woman in the story embodies every unkind, unthinking thing I’ve heard from tourists enjoying Hawaiian beaches. A couple of my favorites:
“Kah-pooh means no trespassing. Why don’t these people just say what they mean instead of being all wink-wink with the Hawaiian? It’s still America, damn it.”

“He’s just trying to keep you safe. The ocean’s tricky at night.”

She scoffed. “You mean he wanted to keep this place to himself. Locals. Never want to share. Think everything belongs to them.”

“Sometimes,” he said, rounding to her side.

“Without tourists this island would fall apart in a week.” 

Sisters In Crime/Hawaii: Can you tell us a bit about your current project?

 Lehua Parker: Wah! I have too many irons in the fire! In addition to editing novels for other authors, I’m working on a new children’s adventure series, The Roxy Sparkles Adventures, book three in the Niuhi Shark Saga, One Fight, No Fist, and several short stories for anthologies. I’m also speaking at writers’ conferences, schools, libraries, and wherever there’s free food. So, yes, the laundry is reaching Mt. Everest proportions, pizza delivery is on speed dial, and the kids are arranging their own rides to soccer practice. Just the way I like it. 

Where can readers find your books?

One Boy, No Water and One Shark, No Swim, the first two books in the Niuhi Shark Saga are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Free short stories, articles on everything from raising a rodeo princess to living like fish out of water, and information about upcoming appearances and releases can be found on my website:

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Please welcome today’s featured guests for a “Friday - 13 Authors” interview, the writing team of Rosemary and Larry Mild. Their entries in the short story anthology, MYSTERY IN PARADISE 13 Tales of Suspense, are The Joss at Table Twelve and Adrift on Kaneohe Bay. We look forward to hearing more about these stories and the authors’ writing careers. 

Sisters In Crime/Hawaii: What led you to a career writing fiction? 

ROSEMARY MILD: When I met Larry I was fifty-one, divorced, and out on a blind date. As he was driving me home, he announced: “When I retire, I'm going to write a novel and I want you to help me.”
I chirped, “Okay!” What was I thinking? I'd never written a word of fiction and neither had he. And I'd only known this man four hours! I was a career editor and journalist. Larry was an electronics design engineer writing technical papers. It didn't occur to me to say "Forget it" because in a matter of minutes we had become soul mates. It was chemistry, folks, and I'm convinced I knew him in a previous life. 

We married the following year, but it was seven years before we started writing together. Larry retired and, with his typical gusto, wrote the first draft of the novel he’d dreamed about. It’s our thriller, Cry Ohana, Adventure and Suspense in Hawaii. (Ohana is “family” in Hawaiian). Then he handed me his 450-page manuscript and said, “Your turn.” 

Yikes! It was truly the halt leading the blind. This is the book on which we cut our fiction teeth. We subjected it to two critique groups, three different titles, and umpteen drafts. After twenty years as snowbirds in Honolulu, we're steeped in local color and cultures, which gives Cry Ohana its authenticity. Recently we waved goodbye to Severna Park, Maryland, and moved here permanently to be with our daughters and grandchildren. 

Sisters In Crime/Hawaii: Why did you choose to collaborate in a short story anthology? 

ROSEMARY MILD: We already had a stable of stories under our belts, many of them published. We've had a series of eight stories featuring a "soft-boiled" detective named Slim O'Wittz in MYSTERICAL-E, an on-line magazine. We were thrilled that Gail and Laurie created the project Mystery in Paradise. An anthology has a lasting quality, and our fellow contributors are excellent writers. It's an honor to be included. We lucked out getting a second story in it when one contributor backed out. 

Happily keeping our Maryland connections, we're members of both the Chesapeake and Hawaii chapters of Sisters in Crime. This fall, we'll have a Valentine's Day story in the "Chessie" chapter's anthology Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays 

Sisters In Crime/Hawaii: What is one phrase that reflects you as writers? 

ROSEMARY MILD: Larry and I are cheerful partners in crime. We have a great time thinking up well-deserved punishments for characters that our readers love to hate. In general, mystery writers are placid, genial folks, because we can take out our aggressions on our villains. 

Our titles in Mystery in Paradise are "The Joss at Table Twelve," based on an ancient Chinese legend: Where lions and dragons prowl, six strangers take a chance on fate; and "Adrift on Kaneohe Bay": Captain Rick's glorious day-sail takes a tack into a deadly enigma. 

Larry and I have coauthored two novel series: the Paco & Molly Mysteries: Locks and Cream Cheese, Hot Grudge Sunday, and Boston Scream Pie. They have food titles because one of the sleuths is a gourmet cook—and because Larry is an incorrigible punster. The night we met, he slipped a pun or two into our dinner conversation. I retorted: “I bet you pun in your sleep.” 

“Sure,” he said. “I was born in the Year of the Pun. That’s the thirteenth sign of the Zaniac.” (I still laugh. I’m pretty sure our marriage depends on it.) 

Our newest series begins with Death Goes Postal, A Dan and Rivka Sherman Mystery. Rare fifteenth-century typesetting artifacts journey through time, leaving a horrifying imprint in their wake. The Shermans risk life and limb to locate the treasures and unmask the murderer. Not quite what they had in mind when they bought The Olde Victorian Bookstore. 

Sisters In Crime/Hawaii: What is your current project? 

ROSEMARY MILD: Death Takes a Mistress, the second Dan and Rivka Sherman Mystery, is our work-in-progress. Woefully behind schedule, I admit; I'm the villain here. 

The way we work is this. Larry says he's more devious than I am, so he conjures up our plots and writes the first draft. I come behind him, tossing and dressing the narrative salad and breathing life into the characters. Then we "negotiate" to be sure the writing comes out seamless, sounding like one author. Larry has tremendous drive. He depends on me to keep pace with him. But I don't. 

I also have a writing life of my own in nonfiction—essays and memoirs, and I tuck my projects in between our fiction. For months at a time! My new book is Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with My Mother. (It's on Kindle now; paperback coming soon.) I recently published Miriam's World—and Mine, my second memoir of our daughter Miriam Luby Wolfe, whom we lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. 

Still, I love working with Larry. He's the Energizer Bunny—only cuter.  

All our books are available on Amazon, Kindle, and Nook. Or from us. Visit us at or email us at: 

Thank you for including us on the Sisters in Crime/Hawaii blog.