Stepping Out

What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipt for the Million 1857?

  1. Appear in full dress.
  2. Always wear gloves.
  3. Do not wear rings on the outside of your gloves.

Getting Ready for HNS 2017 in Portland

I’m just hours away from getting on a train to Portland for the USA Historical Novel HNS portland.Society Conference in Portland, Oregon. It will be second one I’ve attended in in the states. Last September, I was in Oxford, England for the UK version. This organization has been reviewing supporting historical fiction writers and their work for over 20 years.

Writing historical fiction is something I care about. I believe in doing good research and then write the best story I can about that place and time. I’m more interested in how people coped —like during the German occupation of Norway or being out of luck and money in the Great Depression. I’ve been lucky to be able to interview people who lived in those times, bringing depth and understanding how lives lived back. Mostly of the time, it’s having to rely on books, archives, letters, newspapers, etc.

And I love the community that writes historical fiction. I’ll be meeting up with friends I met three summers ago in Denver at HSN2015 and I’ll be spending time with some of the awesome writers in the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative I belong to. They are an amazing group of writers writing across all eras and, in my opinion, very knowledgeable historians about the times they write in. Tech savvy too.

 All over the place

 I’ve been on some amazing adventures so far in 2017: The Girlfriend Weekend in Nacogdoches, Texas, a jaunt to Spokane, WA for the Connecting Writers With Hollywood Conference, where I pitched The Jøssing Affair to three different book to film agents and now this. I’m on a panel about NW writers writing about the NW and why the history in my neck of the woods is important and interesting. A highlight for me will be an historic firearms class I’ve signed up for. I hope to learn how to handle a Civil War rifle and pistol and firearms from WW II.


I’m almost done with my “Pig War” novel, Mist-chi-mus: A Novel of Captivity. Editor notes are in and I have a few tweaks to do in a couple of scenes. Next up, the cover and getting the thing into its template. I have a Sept 30 launch at Village Books.

My other WIP, Thatch’s War is a finalist at the Pacific NW Writers lit contest for historical fiction. I’ll be posting about that and what I learned about min-balls and rifles from that workshop.

What are you up to? Going on any adventures? Write a comment and I’ll put you into the mix to win one of my LeiCrime novellas which have a bit of history in them.


Launching Again in the Lei Crime Kindle World


Lei Crime may 12

What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipt for the Millions 1857?

  1. If you are not a good writer, it is advisable to use the best ink, the best paper, and the best pens, as, though they may not alter the character of your handwriting, yet they will assist to make your writing look better.

Epic Launch on May 12th

For the third time in two years, I’m launching a new mystery novella in Toby Neal‘s Lei Volcano House_v3.jpg smallerCrime Kindle World: Volcano House. It’s set on the Big Island and involves crime reporter Wendy Watanabe of KHIN2 News, her great-aunt, Auntie Bee Watanabe, a book club, and a missing manuscript of Robert Louis Stevenson.

When I was invited in January 2015 to be part of the original launch of the Lei Crime Kindle World, I had never written a mystery, let alone a novella before, but I did know about Hawaii. This latest launch involves 11 authors. For the first time, we are launching as a group with a little help from our friend, Amazon. For us, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get known. Some of the authors are new to this Kindle World, but a few are returning writers. Scott Bury is one of the original eight who launched with me into this engaging platform for writers.

Scott and I both write historical fiction, but he also writes in other genres. He also gives wonderful advice on writing. I thought it would be fun to introduce him to you, my readers.

Scott Bury, Writer and an All-around Booster for the Writer’s Life

Scott Bury admits that he can’t stay in one category. After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. He has written children’s fiction, mysteries, historical magic realism, action thrillers, memoirs and erotic romance.

In between writing books and blog posts, Scott helped found an author’s cooperative publishing venture, Independent Authors International. He is also President of author’s professional association BestSelling Reads.

Here’s Scott’s excerpt from ECHOES. Take it away, Scott.


Echoes - smallerI am hopelessly in love with a memory. An echo from another time, another place.” — Michel Foucault

In 1999, the Kahuna was The Man on Oahu’s west coast. The coolest guy at the wildest parties, with the coolest posse, the best weed and the most beautiful girlfriend.

Then he disappeared.

Fifteen years later, that girlfriend is no longer a high school senior. She is FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm, and she sees through every lie the Kahuna spins when he shows up again to beg her help.

How can she say no when the Kahuna wants her help not for himself, but to protect his little brother. Young Cole ‘Aukai is ready to set fire to the whole Oahu illegal drug trade—for revenge.

From Chapter 4:

Vanessa was about to get up when someone startled her for the second time that day. “Oh, my god. It’s the Kahuna!” said a high, bright, girlish voice.

A heavy woman ran around the back of the minivan. Long dark hair, heavy framed glasses over small dark eyes, a loose blouse that did nothing to hide her weight, tight shorts over bare knees the color of mocha, and sensible, flat shoes. She ran up the walk to the cafe’s steps, stopping to gawk at Dylan. “Oh, my god,” she repeated, panting. “It must be more than 10 years since I saw you. No, longer. Fifteen? Oh, my gawd.” She took a ridiculously big purse off her shoulder and started shuffling through it. “You were, like, the coolest guy …” She found what she was searching for. A second later, her pudgy hand held a cell phone triumphantly.

“Wait a minnit,” Dylan said, holding a hand up, palm out.

“Come on, Kahuna, take a selfie with me,” she said.

Vanessa recognized her: Mele Acobo, a girl a few years younger than her, who had worked to make herself known throughout the Hamika Valley High School for her poetry and stories. She had had a huge crush on Dylan then, even though he must have been seven years her senior.

“No, no, no pictures,” Dylan protested, holding his hands in front of his face. “And stop calling me ‘Kahuna,’ okay? I’m here on the down-low.”

Mele lowered her cell phone, eyes widening. “Oh, I’m sorry. But Ka—I’m sorry, Dylan, you were the absolute coolest guy in high school, and … well, I’m sure you’ve been doing just fascinating things since you left town. I’d love to do a story about you for my ‘Personalities of Oahu’ series—”

“Hold on. What series?”

“Oh, I guess you don’t know. I’m the Associate Editor of the West Coast Tribune now.” She smiled, pride in her eyes.

“The what?” Dylan asked.

Vanessa answered. “The local newspaper here. Tell me, Mele, is it still owned by Walter Webster?”

Mele looked at her without recognition for a moment, then her jaw dropped again. “Vanessa … Vanessa Storm! Oh, my god! I heard you moved to, like, Canada or something.” She grabbed Vanessa’s right hand and pumped it like she thought she would get water. “Oh, wow, you two were an item, right? I always thought you were the prettiest girl in senior year.”

Vanessa could not help laughing. “Thank you, Mele, but I don’t really think …”

“Oh, stop being modest. How do you think you got the hottest guy in school?”

“I wasn’t in school anymore when we were going out,” Dylan said. He did not look happy.

Mele waved to dismiss Dylan’s comment. “Stop it. That’s what I liked best about  you two. You were never stuck up. Wow. And now you’re back together.”

“We are not ‘back together,’“ Vanessa protested. Meanwhile, Dylan was looking  over Mele’s shoulder, up the street, then over his own shoulder, down the other way.

“Well then, what brings you two back to Hawaii?” Mele insisted.

“Actually, I’ve been back here on Oahu for over a year now,” Vanessa said.

“What? You’ve been back home for a year and you’ve never come back to see your alma mater?”

Vanessa laughed. “I’ve been pretty busy, actually. I honestly haven’t had any free time for sight-seeing. But maybe soon,” she promised.

Mele stepped back, eyes narrowed. “‘Busy,’ huh? That’s what everybody says. So what have you been so busy with? What are you doing now that you’re back in the islands?”

“I work for the FBI.”


Echoes is Scott Bury’s fourth Lei Crime Kindle World title, joining these earlier works.scottforgoogle (1)

His blog is at His twitter handle is @ScottTheWriter.

Come to the Party! We’d love to have you join in the fun. There will be give aways.

You can find us on Facebook this Friday, May 12. My time slot is 6:00 PM PST.


Lei Crime Kindle World Valentine’s Day Menu Hop


What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipts for the Millions 1857?

1205. Jumble. – Take one pound of loaf-sugar, pounded fine; one pound and a quarter of flour; three-quarters of a pound of butter/four eggs, beaten light, and a little rose-water and spice; mix them well, and roll them in sugar

A Hawaiian Menu Hop for Valentine’s Day

I’m sure Mrs. Hale would be very interested in the menus.  Join in the fun.

Enter to win a $170 Amazon Gift Card! Read each post, check out the great recipe each author has to share with you! Get to know each #LeiCrimeKW book and author! Comment on the posts with your choices of Valentine’s menu items, like each author’s page, and hop on! Here is my JLOakleyAuthor Facebook page.

About Coconut Island
Memories are dangerous.
Investigative reporter Wendy Watanabe is no stranger to mysteries, but can she handle one steeped in her own family’s history? A box of letters from a WWII soldier stationed on the Big Island is found at the Hilo Historical Society and unlocks painful memories for Wendy’s Great Aunt Bee. Bee’s older sister was swept away in the 1946 tsunami, but now Wendy suspects she was murdered first. As she delves into the mystery, Wendy meets a group of nonagenarians who were at the USO center on Coconut Island during the war. One is a hero. Another is a cold-blooded murderer.

The novella at its heart is about love. Love for a sister thought lost in the 1946 tsunami that wiped out Hilo and a love story between a local Japanese girl and G.I. during WWII. He ever forgot her.
You can buy it here:

And now my recipe: Fried Chicken Hawaiian-style
When I lived in Hilo, my neighbor, Mrs. Santos, used to make this all the time. The recipe below is how I remembered with a little help from the Internet. I decided, however, to quickly fry the chicken up and then finish it off in the oven. It tasted just fine.

When I lived in Hilo, my neighbor used to make this all the time. The recipe below is how I remembered with a little help from the Internet. I decided, however, to quickly fry the chicken up Coconut Island with badgeand then finish it off in the oven. It tasted just fine.
• 4 lbs chicken drummettes
• 1⁄4 cup flour
• 1⁄2 cup cornstarch
• 2 eggs
• 2 stalks green onions, chopped
• 1 -2 garlic clove, minced
• 1⁄3 cup soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

• • Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
• • Add chicken to mixture and stir together.
• • Cover bowl and place in refrigerator to marinate 4 – 6 hours or overnight.
• • When ready to cook, remix since the batter may separate overnight.
• • Deep fry in oil.
• • Drain and serve.

Click the link at the bottom of each post, to go to the next author! Once again, here’s mine. JL OakleyFacebook page You’ll see where to go next.



Going to the Mother of All Book Club Gatherings

Going to the Mother of All Book Club Gatherings

What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipts for the Million 1857?

  1. Upon entering, first address the lady of the house; and after her, the nearest acquaintances you may recognize in the house.

The Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Weekend

Sometimes, some really good things happen to one of your novels, like winningTimber Rose v2 for Kindle an award, getting invited to a book club to discuss it or going on a library tour, but having your novel picked as a book club read by the largest book club in the world (I kid you not) has been one of the most exciting things that has happened to my historical novel, Timber Rose.

I first heard of the Girlfriend Weekend from a tweet by one of my favorite authors, Jamie Ford. Curious, I followed his link to the upcoming events in 2015 and found out it was the annual gathering of Pulpwood Queens Book Club members and authors from all over the place. Most importantly, this organization had over 600 book club chapters and each month, books selected by founder and Chief Inspirer, Kathy L. Murphy, were put out there for book members to read. I decided to submit Timber Rose which had been well received by book clubs and the North Olympia Library System in my state, won a Chaucer 1st place and a Silver WILLA award but I thought that it had no chance against books from published by the Big 5. Much to my shock and delight, Timber Rose was announced at the 2016 #GFWeekend as a back listgirlfriend-sticker February pick.

Meeting Kathy in Person

cac16-kathy-key-note-croppedAs luck would have it, Kathy was invited to the Chanticleer Author Conference 2016 in Bellingham, WA and three months later I got a chance to meet her in person and thank her for selecting my novel. I found her not only a delightful, exuberant supporter of indie bookstores and book clubs and well known to Oprah and Good Morning America book clubs but a genuine person. It was after that meeting, I was invited to be a featured author at the next Girlfriend Weekend.

Girlfriend Weekend

So, in just hours I’m off to Nacogaches, Texas for the writerly adventure of my life. As a featured author. Pinch me. I’ll be seeing my favorite author, Jamie Ford, again and many other authors I’ve gotten to know over the years. This year the events will be held the Steven F. Austin University and will celebrate the life of Pat Conroy, who was a regular here at this gathering of book clubs. To honor him, there will be an auction to raise money for a new literary program in his name and a dinner in which all authors serve the readers— in khakis, ball cap, and button down shirt. Later on Saturday night, there will be the Big Hair Ball whose theme is Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend. (I’ve been shopping for that— fascinator from Winsor Castle in England, a tiara, and other sparkly gems) Should be wild. All in the name of book club members meeting authors. diamonds-for-gwfriendDuring that day, I’ll also have my own time to talk about Timber Rose.

If you live in the area, tickets are still available for day passes. And now I must pack my gems. I promise to post pictures later.



Catching Up with 2016

What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipt for the Million 1857?

  1. Postage. – Since the establishment of the cheap postage, it is recognized as a rule that all letters should be prepaid/ indeed, many persons make it a point of never taking in an unpaid letter.

Keeping in Touch and What I’ve Been Up To

Oh, dear. I can’t blame the lack of paying for stamps for my complete silence. It’s just that since late June, I have been mightily occupied. Family stuff, a major trip to England, two conferences. The 195_bbsmallfinalistjpegmonths have just slipped away. During Jøssing Affair FINAL smallerthe first part of 2016, my focus was on getting The Jøssing Affair launched and then promoted. I’m happy to report that is has done very well, gaining interest on-line and with book clubs in my area. I have met several Norwegian-Americans who were children during the German occupation and have given their full endorsement. It’s humbling when people come up and share their personal stories or family stories. Some say that the novel would be too painful to read and I understand. Others thank me. What could be finer?

So Much to Talk About But …

With 2017 fast approaching, I think I’ll save some of my adventures for a later post (Not too late, I promise). Instead, I’ll share my experiences with the release of The Jøssing Affair. no-name-book-club-2-smaller Since it came out in March, I’ve had the honor of having it read by several book clubs in my area. At each one of these gatherings, the discussion of the novel has been lively with some book club members in disbelief over some of the true facts in the story. Most Americans don’t know about the five-year German occupation of Norway –unless you are of Norwegian descent.

At my first book club visit, they had as their guest, 89 years young Ellen Kastler, who was just thirteen when the Germans invaded. Her own story of survival when soldiers came to arrest a farmer and his wife in the Resistance was powerful, but her words that I had done something special in writing the novel was even more powerful for me. Ellen is in the center above.

bookies-book-club-1Often at these gatherings to discuss the novel, people have offered Norwegian foods. At my own book club, A Circle of Friends –all retired reading teachers – my friend Inga, who came from Norway in the 1950s, made up several foods that were in the novel. What fun that was. Here is one recipe along with the excerpt in which it was found. Bløt kake. It’s a popular cake for birthdays and celebrations.

Bløt kake.

 When Haugland emerged again, with clean shirt and hair combed, Marthe was waiting for him with a piece of bløt kake. “Come and sit, Herr Hansen,” she said, pulling out the chair. “Vær så snill.” She pantomimed eating and sitting.

Smiling, Hansen signed it wasn’t necessary. When she insisted, he sat down. He didn’t want to offend her. He bit into the sponge cake, savoring the cream and strawberries preserved from last summer. It was light and fruity, like the ones Tante Sophie made long ago.

4 egg whites    ½ cup powder sugar (beat together 2 minutes)blot-kaker

4 egg whites    ½ cup powder sugar (beat together 3 minutes)

Combine the two and beat for one minute.

Add ½ cup of potato flour (Swan), 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1 round teaspoon baking powder. Mix.

Line two 9” tins with wax paper. Divide the batter. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove and cool.

When cool, whipped up a pint of whipping cream. Frost the first layer with some of the whipped cream. Slice some strawberries and lay on top.

Add the second layer. Frost and sides. Add fruit.

Place into the refrigerator for cooling.


What’s Next for 2017?

 In August 2017, I plan to go to Norway to do research on the sequel. The novel will pick up a year later, exploring a country and people in recovery during war crime trials and settling of accounts.

#LeiCrimeKW fun this afternoon

What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipts for the Million 1857?

She has been remiss.

Lei Crime Kindle World Facebook Party today

Just a quick note and a promise to post something more substantial later this week. I have been so busy. Barely time to poke out my head, except for tweeting. But things are going so well!

Did want you know about the Lei Crime Kindle World #giveaway this afternoon. I’ve been writing mystery novellas in this wonderful world for over a year. Coconut Island, published last October, has been in the top 20 mystery/ thriller category for nine months in Kindle Worlds. Toby Neal, the author of the best selling police procedural novels set in Hawaii, is the source behind the novellas. Join us for some great prizes and fun times with many of the authors, including myself on the Lei Crime Kindle World Facebook Party.






What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipts for the Millions 1857?

2680. A Paris card of invitation to an evening party usually implies that you are invited for the season.

Time Flies by When You’re a Writer and Have a Life

Fishing village2Hang it all, where did the time go? I was going to report on what has transpired since Christmas, (sometime around New Years) mainly that my latest Lei Crime Kindle World novella, Coconut Island, has been selling very well. But in January, I made the decision to finally publish WW II novel, The Jøssing Affair. A 2013 Chaucer category award winner, I’ve been pitching and getting full reads for Jøssing for years. (Even as recent as last summer by an editor at a top house) A launch is planned at Village Books, in Bellingham, WA on April 9th. In the meantime, it is available for pre-order at Amazon on Kindle.

What The Jøssing Affair is About

British-trained Norwegian intelligence agent, Tore Haugland, is a jøssing—a patriot—sent to a fishing village on Norway’s west coast to set up a line to receive weapons and agents from England via the “Shetland Bus.” Posing as a deaf fisherman, his mission is complicated when he falls in love with Anna Fromme, a German widow. Accused of betraying her husband, she has a young daughter and secrets of her own. Although the Allies have liberated France, the most zealous Nazis hang on in Norway, sending original Jossing (1)out agents to disembowel resistance groups. If Haugland fails, it could cost him his life and the lives of the fishermen who have joined him. When Haugland is betrayed and left for dead, he will have to find the one who betrayed him and destroyed his network. He will also have to prove that the one he loves was not the informer. In wartime love and trust are not always compatible.

Writing is an Art, A Passion, and Requires Persistence to Reach a Goal

Jøssing Affair FINAL smallerAm I excited? Yes, I am. The Jøssing Affair is my first novel. I wrote it years ago, by hand before I had a computer. On it, I learned how to write long form, research an historic time, and put living, breathing characters into it. I learned how to write synopses, pitch and query agents. With it I went to writer’s conferences and entered lit contests. I also learned how to rewrite, slash and kill my darlings. Its story has always had a special place in my heart, but I think I am glad that I’ve waited this long. All the things I learned over the years, has made this novel ready to come out. You can the pro-order here.


Coconut Island and another announcement

It’s really a joy to have a story based on history to resonate with readers as has Coconut Coconut Island with badgeIsland. Many, some regular visitors to the Big Island or new residents, never heard of the devastating 1946 tsunami that hit Hilo. Some report scrambling to their computers to learn more, something that makes me very happy. I took extra effort to do the research and get the little details. Many thanks to the wonderful librarians at the Hilo Libraries and the Hawaii & Pacific Section of the Hawaii State Library.

Other News.

Timber Rose, my historical novel set in the North Cascades at the turn of the century, received a number of awards in 2015. I’ve been very humbled by the attention, but January 16, I learned that the novel has been selected by the Pulpwood Queens Book Clubs as their February back list read. This is such an amazing honor. I’ve been pretty speechless since then. The Pulpwood Queens is the largest book club in the world with over six hundred chapters. I can’t imagine the impact this will have on my novel, but I am very happy.

Finally, I’m very pleased that my manuscript, Mist-shi-mus: A Novel of Captivity received an honorable mention in the Chatelaine Romance Awards for 2015. This novel is set in the Pacific Northwest, just a year before the outbreak of the Civil War. Royal Marines and the U.S. Army occupy an island while the international boundary is decided. American settlers, Coast Salish Indians and Hawaiians also inhabit the island. Against this background is a love story that spans 20 years.

One final thing

I’ve set up a Mail Chimp account for a newsletter. It would be great if you could sign up for it. The button is calledn “JL Oakley’s Book News & A Little History too .” I promise not to spam.