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Words and Wine Author Talk Story

Each month Kona Stories hosts an event with local and traveling authors. This event happens the First Tuesday evening of the month starting at 6 PM. Authors are available to talk story while you are getting your plate of appetizers and glass of complimentary wine. Authors then give a 15 minute talk about their book and themselves, the writing and publishing process or a short reading from the book. After all the authors presentations there is a time for individual questions and book signings with the authors. Expect 2 - 3 authors to attend each month and the evening to wrap up around 8 PM. Dress is Aloha casual wear.

November Authors are:

Blood on the Orchids by Jill Steele is a murder mystery that takes place at an orchid nursery in the hurricane battered, lava threatened Puna district of the Big Island.  

One morning in quiet, rural Hawaii, beautiful renowned orchid grower Ellen Jenson is found dead in a greenhouse at the large nursery she and her estranged husband own.  In her hand is an unusually vibrant cattleya orchid spray.  Frustrated with the unresponsive and ineffective detective in charge of the case who refuses to take them seriously, Lauren and Jenny, employees of Jenson’s Nursery, unearth motives and unite in their quest to find the killer.   

Readers will experience the rural Big Island local style and learn about orchids and orchid growing as they talk story with local fishermen, orchid growers and surfers as they try and solve the murder.   

Until most recently, Steele lived in Kapoho, at the easternmost tip of the Big Island with her husband. Her home of 22 years was destroyed by lava this past month and now a lava river runs through the place where her neighborhood once was.  This book, though written before that happened, is a record of a place and a way of life that no longer exists.

Reflecting on the power of the island, one character observes, "It felt peaceful but there was an undercurrent of raw energy that was always present on the island, as alive as the lava simmering below the surface.  Life here was supercharged.  It wasn't a negative or a positive energy but you needed to be ready to handle what you manifested because it seemed to come at you faster here than anywhere else.” 


Jim Gibbons moved to Waimea with his wife ten years ago after spending the previous forty years in Northern California.  He had been a sailor, a carpenter, a teacher, a coach, and wrote a weekly running column for the local newspaper called FootNotes.

In 2014 he started writing about, what he calls, “the good old daze.”  One day a friend who had been reading his columns asked him if he was writing his memoirs.  His answer was “Yes, I guess I am,” though he hadn’t really thought about doing that, it suddenly seemed like a good idea.

Last year, Jim published a memoir of his adventures called Flashbacks, which he dedicated to his father, who he reports used to say: “Jim, when are you going to finish something?” -- which tells you a lot about the humorous edge in Jim’s writing.  

Flashbacks: A Memoir, starts in 1969 when he dropped out of college in his last semester at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and headed west, ending up in Sausalito, anchored out in Richardson Bay on a 22’ lifeboat he converted to a sloop and sailed around the Bay. Gibbons’ stories include meeting Alan Watts,      Shel Silverstein, Spike Africa, and Professor Irwin Corey, a frequent guest on the Johnny Carson Show.

While working at the Tides Bookstore Gibbons met a few of his favorite poets, including Richard Brautigan and Gary Snyder, who bought his recently printed  book of poems, Prime the Pump, and invited him to come up to Nevada City to see the Japanese-styled structures he and some friends were building without electricity.  Gibbons did just that four years later with a friend, and met Snyder’s beautiful Japanese wife and Allen Ginsburg, who then showed Gibbons and his friend around.

Gibbons eventually sold his boat and moved to the hills of Mendocino County, where he built funky cabins without electricity and worked on County road crews.  When his girlfriend was pregnant with their second child he decided to go back to school to get his B.A. degree and a teaching credential. He taught at three of the Willits schools before deciding to retire early, moving back to the hills, where he trained for marathons and wrote a weekly running column for the Willits News called Footnotes.

His next book, Going for the Bronze, will be a collection of articles he wrote about his experience traveling to different races across the country, from Buffalo to Boston to Miami to San Francisco, and finally retiring in Hawaii after 527 races.



Claire Elisabeth is a writer, teacher, and some would say, dolphin whisperer. She has the uncanny ability to see the truth of who you are, and to help you see it too. Claire has spent her life looking into people’s hearts and helping them find the power in who they already are. She lives on the Big Island of Hawaii with her husband, son, cat, and father, and spends as much time as she can in the ocean with her non-human relatives, the spinner dolphins. Reconcile is her first book. You can learn more about Claire and her work at

Claire first recovers from unexplained and incurable physical pain with the help of the Hawaiian spinner dolphins. She then suffers the sudden loss of her mother, and once again turns to the sea for healing.

Reconcile is Claire’s journey to wholeness. It is deeply honest and profound, while being surprisingly entertaining as well. The author’s witty and engaging style will make you laugh and cry all in the same paragraph.

There is also a wisdom contained in these pages that goes far beyond Claire’s story, reaching out to all of us who’ve ever longed to feel more comfortable in our own skin. If you read slowly, you’ll likely be transformed by her honest look at life, love, and what it takes to heal.

 “Claire Elisabeth weaves a magical tale from loss to redemption that is reminiscent of the book Eat, Pray, Love. Everyone who has (or has had) a mother needs to experience the healing power of this touching book.”






Event date: 
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
78-6831 Alii Drive
Suite 142
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Staff Pick Badge
Blood on the Orchids: Murder & Mystery on the Island of Hawaii Cover Image
ISBN: 9781983688003
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform - February 22nd, 2018

Words and Wine presenter for November 2018

Staff Pick Badge
Flashbacks: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781548459352
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform - October 19th, 2017

Words and Wine presenter for November 2018