Book Trailer for Pilikia

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Some commentator, whose name I don't recall, said that February is the dreariest mont because football has ended, baseball hasn't started, and basketball has not reached the playoffs, which is when it finally gets interesting. According to that commentator, the only thing to look forward to in February is the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

I can think of other reasons to look forward to February: Valentine's Day, my granddaughter's birthday, the birthdays of Lincoln and Darwin (which they share with my granddaughter), the birthdays of George Washington and Edna St. Vincent Millay (which they share with me.) And the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

I admit I look forward to the issue, but not only for the models. I've gotten a lot of story ideas from the magazine. The swimsuit issue is not entirely about swimsuits. SI includes sports articles in between the pulchritude. They are usually features about women athletes or women's sporting events that receive very little coverage elsewhere. Warning, bad pun coming: the SI Swimsuit Issue is all about women who get very little coverage. Because the main character in my detective stories is a woman, Val Lyon, I peruse those articles carefully.

One article that stays in my memory was about a young woman who wanted to be a matador, but wasn't getting much support from the other matadors in a male sport. In fact, she received a lot of harassment. I haven't used that idea yet, but I'm still kicking it around.

Another story was about the women's Molokai to Oahu outrigger canoe race. I had seen the end of the race when I lived in Hawaii, but really didn't know much about it until I read the article. The race covers 40 miles of one of the most treacherous channels in the world. Sometimes called the Molokai Express, it is a deep water channel between the two islands where you have tremendous crossing forces--winds from the East funneling between the land masses and giant rollers from the South. Very unpredictable. The canoes sometimes surf the face of the swells like run away ore trains. These canoes carry six paddlers and weigh about 1400 pounds fully loaded. Because no paddler can paddle the entire race, each team has ten members who switch out during the race. A support boat drops a paddler into the water where she waits for the canoe to come alongside so she can climb in while another paddler flops out. The transformations are quick. The article stated that the most dangerous part of the race is the transition. The steerswoman will try to get the canoe as close to the paddler as possible. But suppose it gets hit by a wave at the wrong time? That canoe could become a dangerous torpedo. That idea became my first published short story, "Wahine O Ka Hoe,", which was published in Murderous Intent Mystery Magazine and which you can read on my website.

I did another story called "Homewreckers" after an SI article about the women of Purdue beating the women of Tennessee at home. I already mentioned my story, "Horns" in an earlier post and how it came from an SI article.

One of the most memorable SI stories was a profile of basketball player, Sheila Tighe, the top basketball player of either sex when she graduated from high school. She turned down scholarships at top universities to attend college in New Jersey so she could be near her home and her father, who was her best friend. They would talk and replay every game they ever saw. Then her father died of Alzheimer's and Sheila decided to try out for the WNBA which was just forming. Her motivation was the memory of her father. She was thirty-five at the time and competing with women just out of college, but she gave it her whole effort. She worked so hard at it that she painted her toenails black to match the bruises on her toes. Unfortunately, she didn't make the cut, but her drive is what inspires my main characters.

February, my favorite month.


  1. . L> KIner said...

    The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.

  2. Helen Ginger said...

    Ahh, man, the last one made me cry.

    Okay, you can buy the SI Swimsuit issue without me making a comment. Read on.