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Tag Archives: Darien Gee

  • Writing the Hawai'i Memoir Now Available on Audible.com

    Darien Gee's award-winning writing guide, Writing the Hawai'i Memoir, is now available as an audiobook via Audible.com.

    This step-by-step blueprint for starting and completing your memoir (or family history) leads writers of any experience level through a natural, intuitive writing process that can be followed at any pace, quick or slow. This guide is for anyone who has a life story and wants to share it with others.

    Narrated by Carin Gilfry, with a dedicating pule written and recorded by Rev. Danny Akaka, Jr., the audiobook edition of Writing the Hawai'i Memoir lets you absorb Darien's advice while you're on-the-go. Or, sit in your favorite chair and think of it like your own personal writing seminar!

    Courtesy of Darien, we have three free Audible downloads to give away! Want one? Here's how to enter: Tell us the one-sentence summary of the memoir you would write.

    You can tell us in any of three ways:

    • Leave a comment on this blog.
    • Post a comment on our Facebook Page (preferably where we've shared the link to this post, but anywhere on the page is OK).
    • Tweet us (@watermarkhawaii) using the hashtag #hawaiimemoir ("Hey @watermarkhawaii, my #hawaiimemoir would be: ...")

    On September 1, 2015, we'll gather up all the responses and pick three lucky winners at random. (You'll need to sign up for an Audible account and have either a smartphone or Kindle in order to redeem and listen to the audiobook.)

    Here are some examples from our Watermark Publishing and Legacy Isle Publishing memoir releases to inspire you:

    Kapoho

    by Frances H. Kakugawa

    A coming-of-age memoir of life in a Hawaiian plantation village—now buried beneath a blanket of lava.

    My Name is Makia

    by Makia Malo with Pamela Young

    A child of Kalaupapa who grew up to carry his message of hope and love around the world.

    The Society of Seven: Last of the Great Show Bands

    by Frances Kirk

    The saga of the Society of Seven, one of the most enduring success stories in show business.

    Wayfinding through the Storm

    by Na Leo o Kamehameha with Gavan Daws

    The human story of a crisis that erupted at Kamehameha Schools and came close to destroying a historic educational community.

    We can't wait to hear your memoir ideas!

  • Awards for Hawai‘i Memoir Writing Guide and Brother Noland’s Wilderness Handbook

    9781935690535Watermark Publishing has swept the Special Interest Books category and received further recognition in the Design category at the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association’s 2015 Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards. Honors were given to Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir: Advice and Exercises to Help You Tell Your Story by Darien Gee (Award of Excellence, Special Interest) and The Hawaiian Survival Handbook by Brother Noland, illustrated by Andrew J. Catanzariti and designed by Jen Tadaki Catanzariti (Honorable Mentions, Special Interest and Design). The awards, which recognize the best local books published during the previous calendar year, were announced at ceremonies held on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at the East-West Center.

    DarienGee_headshot Darien Gee

    “What an amazing gift it would be for the Hawaiian Islands and the rest of the world if more people started to write down what might otherwise be lost,” the competition’s judges observed in their comments regarding top award honoree Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir. “It’s a daunting task to actually sit down and know where to begin. Darien Gee has solved this problem. [This] book takes you through the process step by step…it takes the stress out of where to start and how to start. The format of Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir is inspiring in itself, creative and original in its design.”

    Gee is a nationally best-selling author with six novels to her credit. A resident of Waimea on the island of Hawai‘i, she continues to write fiction (also under the pen name Mia King) and teaches writing and publishing workshops.

    SurvivalHandbook_webThe judges praised Brother Noland’s The Hawaiian Survival Handbook as “a guide like no other, not just because it includes plants, animals and scenarios specific to Hawai‘i, but because it considers the culture and customs of the people that live here. This valuable collection of knowledge is a unique addition to the typical guidebooks about our islands.” In the Design category, the Survival Handbook was acknowledged “a very close second to the winner. Fresh and unique…its compact size, black-and-white illustrations and gently distressed cloth cover perfectly complement the subject matter. The judges also enjoyed the endlessly amusing titles such as, ‘How to Deal with Eels.’”

    Noland_SurvivalWeb Brother Noland

    Brother Noland is an accomplished Hawaiian musician and lifelong outdoorsman. He offers traditional Hawaiian tracking and outdoor skills workshops and camps for adults and children through his Ho‘ea Initiative program. The Hawaiian Survival Handbook is his second book to be recognized by the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association; The Lessons of Aloha: Stories of the Human Spirit, also from Watermark Publishing, was honored in the Nonfiction category in 2006. Husband-and-wife illustration-design team Andrew Catanzariti and Jen Tadaki Catanzariti have also collaborated on a Watermark Publishing children’s book, Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!

    Each year, the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association presents the Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards to honor the best of Hawai‘i book publishing from the previous year. “Ka Palapala Po‘okela” literally translated from Hawaiian means “excellent manuscript.”

  • Make a Plan to Start—and Finish!—Your Memoir

    Have you ever thought of writing your own memoir? Or preserving your family’s history by recording your relatives’ life stories? Many of us have, but so few of us do it. Why? Maybe we think we’re not “good enough” at writing. Or perhaps we’re scared to reveal family secrets. You might have started and somehow just never finished.

    Bestselling author Darien Gee understands how hard it can be to start and finish writing a memoir. In her book, Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir: Advice and Exercises to Help You Tell Your Story, she provides concise, step-by-step guidance for writers of all experience levels. Even better, her book goes beyond “how to” and gets you to completion through exercises and encouragement. The emphasis is not on publication—though if that is your end goal, you’ll find pointers for that, too—but on finishing your memoir so it can be shared with others.

    9781935690535Here, Darien shares some writing wisdom, beginning with why we might want to write a memoir in the first place:

    Sharing our lives opens us up. It connects us. It helps us (as the writer) to make sense of things, to celebrate moments that might otherwise be lost, to remember what matters most. It helps us (as the reader) to see that we’re not alone, that our lives are both personal and universal, that the human spirit is deeper and more profound than we may remember when we’re trying to pay our bills or care for a sick child or parent. We get to be a part of another person’s experience. We can share the joys, the laughter, the chicken skin coincidences, the sorrow, the grief. We can take what we learn and apply it to our own lives. Then we can turn it around and do the same for others.

    In Hawaiian, mana‘o means several things—thought, belief, intention, ideas, desire. Your mana‘o emanates from who you are as a person. It is individual and unique. You get to claim your life, your experiences, your story. What you put down on the page is up to you. You are the only one who can put the words down in that way. But how to get started…?

    It’s actually as simple as this:

    Start Wherever You Are.

    Writing is ready when you are, wherever you are. All you need are the thoughts in your head, something to capture them—pen and paper, typewriter, computer, voice recorder, whatever suits you best—and a place to sit still and just do it.

    Set Goals.

    The key is to start simple. There’s nothing wrong with setting an ambitious goal, but you want to set yourself up for success. That means having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and establishing a rhythm that works with the realities of your life. Twenty minutes or three pages a day may not sound like much, but you’ll know when you’re ready for more. Better to start at a place that feels easy than one that feels too hard.

    Establish a Routine.

    Many people approach writing a book in a haphazard way. They sit down, write a few words, organize their desk, get up for a cup of coffee, write some more, take a bathroom break, check their email, do some laundry, make a sandwich, then throw in the towel for the rest of the day because it’s time to pick up the kids or catch the evening news. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if you want to write a book—more importantly, if you want to finish writing a book—you greatly increase your chances by establishing a routine.

    Set a Deadline and Finish What You Start.

    Do you want to write your memoir, or do you want to write and finish your memoir? It may seem like an odd question, but there are lots of writers who write without ever finishing their manuscript. Setting a deadline isn’t meant to quash your creative spirit. It provides focus, and when the brain puts its full attention on something, it filters out everything else. You can move the deadline up or push it back, but you must set a deadline when you begin. Without it, your writing project will be unmoored, left to float about and be pushed around by circumstance or whimsy. The brain loves parameters, and it will rally all your resources around it. The time to do this isn’t when you’re midway through the project, but before you begin. If you want to have a finished manuscript in your hands, set a deadline.

    Even boiled down to four simple steps, the idea of writing something as “serious” as a memoir may seem daunting. A task for “a real writer,” not you. But if you know how to write, you are a writer. It’s as simple as that. You may be a terrible speller, suffer at the thought of writing a single paragraph or hate reading anything over two pages, but you are a writer. And you already possess all the material you need—your memories. While you may want to look for ways to develop and improve your basic skills (such as punctuation, grammar, story structure), the first thing you must work on is your own thoughts, especially the negative ones. This trumps everything else, because tormented, unhappy writers are no fun at all. Don’t put yourself down. Be kind. Trust your words. Trust your desire to write. I know you can do it—shouldn’t you, too?

     * * * * *

    DarienGee_headshot Author Darien Gee wants to help YOU with your memoir!

    Need more help? Join Darien Gee at her upcoming intensive workshop through Pacific New Media or free lecture at Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana.

    • Pacific New Media Workshop. “Writing the Memoir: A One-Day Intensive with Darien Gee.” Saturday, March 21. 9am – 4pm. UH Mānoa. Workshop fee of $125 includes a copy of Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir. Optional one-on-one 25-minute consults available following the workshop ($45). outreach.hawaii.edu/pnm/programs/2015/EVENT-L13668.asp or 808-956-8400 to register.

     

    • Lecture & Book Signing. Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana, Sunday, March 22. 1pm – 2pm. Bring your laptop or a pen or pencil and some paper as Darien will lead a short writing exercise to get you inspired! A portion of proceeds from books purchased on this day help benefit PBS Hawaii and their “New Home” Campaign.

     

    PBSBookFairCoupon_Darien

    Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir: Advice and Exercises to Help You Tell Your Story

    by Darien Gee
    Softcover, 144 pages

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    Excerpted from Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir by Darien Gee. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information retrieval systems, without prior written permission from the publisher, except for brief passages quoted in reviews.
  • Words of Love

    Ah, love, that writers' muse!

    To get you in the mood for romance and love this Valentine's Day weekend, here are some excerpts from our archives to share with you concerning love. And because we know you love books (and we love book lovers), scroll down to the end of this post for a gift from us: a coupon code good for 30% off your entire purchase at our online store. (Excludes used books.)

    * * *

    The Sound of Hilo RainNot only did Asa love Nancy, but Nancy loved Asa. This was romance. Just like the movies. In fact, this was better than the movies. This was really, really something. I was glad I had joined Asa at Orinoco. I was learning something. After this, everything else would be dull stuff.

    “How do you know she loves you?” I asked.

    “The way she looks at me, dummy.”

    “The way she looks at you?”

    “Yeah, the way she looks at me.”

    “How does she look at you?”

    “For Christ’s sakes, do I have to tell you everything?”

    “Sure would be nice, Asa.”

    - From “Romance at the Swimming Hole,” The Sound of Hilo Rain by Roy Kodani

     

    * * *

    Don't Look Back“Why don’t you tell me more about what’s happening in your love life? You said it’s on the rocks?”

    “I’ve never been great with relationships,” she admits. She tucks her legs underneath her. “It’s one reason my older sister and I don’t get along. She was very angry at me for seducing her husband.” She rolls her eyes derisively.

    I try to hide my shock but she notices my discomfort immediately.

    “What?” She arches a perfectly plucked eyebrow. “It’s not as if we can control whom we love. Or desire.”

     

     

    - From “Pele in Therapy” by Darien Gee, Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New edited by Christine Thomas

     

    * * *

    My Name is Makia“Makia, I really like you.”

    “You nice, too.”

    “You have a girlfriend? A lady you’re close to?”

    “I have friends, nothing romantic. I was married before.”

    She thought about that.

    With all I had to cope with I didn’t think there was anything there to love. I felt bad for her. I told her. I wasn’t being cruel, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I wanted her to know, “Look at me, you’re out of your head.” The place for her was not with me. She was haole and she was rich. She didn’t have the disease. I was fifty-one. She was in her forties.

    But it was tough to say no to Ann. She slowly started to cut the resistance. And we had fun together, joking each other. She thought I was something, but she was something. She said she loved me and I gave in. Despite my fears I began to see a life with this woman who was so different from me.

    - From My Name is Makia: A Memoir of Kalaupapa by Makia Malo and Pamela Young

     

    * * *

    Frank, Sammy, Marlon & MePeggy was as bubbly in person as she was on the screen. She was very warm and friendly. No star-like airs. During the lunch she casu­ally asked, “So, where is Mrs. Sherman?”

    “There is no Mrs. Sherman,” I answered.

    Her eyebrows shot upward. She paused and smiled, “Oh!”

    She was a star entertainer. World famous. Played the best hotels and nightclubs. She had appeared in dozens of films from childhood and guest-starred in all the top TV shows. Me? I was just a hack news­paper columnist, way out in the blue Pacific. A great star like Peggy Ryan certainly couldn’t take our Hawaii romance seriously. Marry me? Impossible.

     

    - From “Peggy Ryan,” Frank, Sammy, Marlon & Me by Eddie Sherman

     

     

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