Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Long Time

It’s been a long time. I guess I was lazy or bored or both. Probably I just forgot how much time has really passed since my last posting. At least, I’d like to blame my absence on the fleeting passage of time.

But a few weeks ago, I dusted off a few manuscripts in my desk and decided to publish them myself—print-on-demand-wise. I guess I finally realized the power of ‘why not?’

There are so many obstacles in one's way, so many powerful excuses, so much procrastination in life; yet like some bully you finally tell off, the obstacles, the excuses, the mañanas vanish with two simple words: ‘why not?’ Why not publish those manuscripts? Why not tell people about them in this blog? Why not redo your website so that these new books have a prominent place? 

And so, here is an introduction to four new books from my Mānoa Press. You can find them on Amazon. Just paste the title in the search box. The books are $12.50 or less. [Click on images to enlarge.]

The first book I want to tell you about is Miss Margaret, Cat Magnet [$9.75]. The germ of this book began many, many years ago, when my wife bought a patchwork doll made by Sonja Hagemann of Hale‘iwa. The creator had stuck a cloth cat to the doll. I was fascinated and wondered what it would be like if a girl had the power to attract cats just as a magnet attracts iron. It took several years to come up with a story. When I did, I had to bring Margaret to life in a drawing, but I liked nothing I did—until I met Pamela Telford of Maui. Her flowing, red hair stopped me dead in my tracks, and I went home to find a red-haired Margaret smiling from my drawing board.

Book two is very, very different from the whimsical nature of Miss Margaret. In Bright Star [$12.50], we meet an African king named Njoya [en-joy-ah], who lived a hundred years ago in the grasslands of the modern African nation of Cameroon. 

This book, too, began many years ago, as I was working on my book about Sequoyah, the Cherokee man who invented writing for his people. That book was published by Houghton Mifflin and was honored with many awards. As for Bright Star, I could find no publisher for it. Africa is too far away, too complicated for most publishers. It is hard for them to understand what happened there a hundred years ago. As for readers of such a story about an African king, where would they come from? I would like to think that such readers exist. After all, Njoya was unlike 99.9% of all the people who have ever lived. He was a Peter the Great, a George Washington of sorts, a man who understood his people and saw their potential. He stood up to colonialism in a way that made him more powerful than any rebellious leader, any guerrilla fighter or terrorist with a mass of weapons. He had but one weapon, his dignity and his belief in his people.

The third and the fourth books are a re-publication of my second children’s book about Polynesian navigation, The Island-below-the-Star, which came out in 1998. The remake is called: Island below the Star [$12.00], for which there is both an English and Hawaiian version. The new edition contains a star map as well as a series of maps so that the reader can follow the progress of the five brothers as they make their way up from the Marquesas Islands in the south to Hawai‘i. To find out more, see my website: 

In the coming months, I hope to dust off many more of my manuscripts and get them out there. After all, why not?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jim, Sonja Hagemann here. Most curiously enough, today i painted a ginger tabby cat that i made yesterday of soft muslin cloth.
    The name of cat is Hammy, after a cat i have known and loved.
    Thank you mentioning being inspired by a bit of my imagination and fabric art by hand.
    That is what the work is all about isn't it, inspiration!
    Aloha, Sonja