Words and Wine Author Talk Story

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - 6:00pm to 8:30pm

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.

Feburary Authors are:

From accomplished author, speaker, and dancer Mary Lou Sanelli, author of The Immigrant’s Table, comes The Star Struck Dance Studio of Yucca Springs (Chatwin Books). Her novel uses the intimate space of a dance studio to explore the families we are born into and the ones we choose, and how art enables us to overcome prejudice and fear. 

Young Lucy Maglietta found a haven from her chaotic family at The Star Struck Dance Studio in the small town of Yucca Springs, California. Now an adult, Lucy and her close friend Richard Myers successfully run Star Struck. But their lives are shattered when Richard, a gay man, and Charles, the studio’s only African-American student, are brutally attacked in a hate crime. 

Suddenly engulfed in prejudice and vicious gossip, Lucy and Richard find their friendship and their capacities for forgiveness tested in ways they never imagined. Yet through every struggle, it is dance that empowers Lucy and Richard to overcome adversity and create a safe space to be their authentic selves. 

The Star Struck Dance Studio of Yucca Springs will resonate with any person who has found art, and through art, found themselves. Young adults in particular will see themselves reflected in Lucy’s struggles to understand herself, raise her voice, and embrace her journey into adulthood. Sanelli also hopes the story will speak to LGBTQ youth who have faced discrimination and its aftermath. 

Sanelli’s novel will stay with readers far beyond the final page and makes a perfect book club read or a gift for close friends and loved ones. The Bellingham Herald described her previous work as “creative, beautifully written, and jaw-droppingly honest.” Seattle Weekly called Sanelli “an exceptional observer,” saying, “her  writing is at once intellectually inviting and deeply personal.” 

Mary Lou Sanelli, author, speaker, and dance teacher, has published seven collections of poetry and three works of non-fiction. Honors include an Artist Trust GAP Award, a Jack Straw Writers Award, a Seattle Bumbershoot Festival Book Award, and a GoodReads Notable Book Award. Sanelli is a regular columnist for Art Access, Lilipoh, City Living, and Queen Anne & Magnolia News, and is also a regular contributor to Dance Teacher magazine. Her work has been featured on The Seattle Times’ opinion page and on NPR.


Firebrand Dr Loretta Chen is an award-winning director, professor and bestselling author of Woman on Top: The Art of Smashng Stereotypes and Breaking All the Rules; The Elim Chew Story: Driven by Purpose, Destined for Change and Madonnas and Mavericks: Power Women in Singapore when she interviewed 17 of Singapore’s most illustrious women, including the incumbent President.

Hailing from city-state Singapore, Loretta was the Creative Director of The Activation Group, a creative agency with offices around Asia. During her 20-year career, she helmed campaigns for clients such as Samsung, BNP Paribas’ inaugural all-star Women’s Tennis tournament featuring Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova; Louis Vuitton, Adidas and World Wide Fund amongst others.  She also directed numerous theatrical productions including Victor Victoria that was staged during President Obama’s historic APEC visit to Singapore and The F Word (2011), which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, garnering Loretta an Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award for bringing the plight of sex trafficked women to light.

Other career highlights include being nominated as Nominated Member of Parliament, having her eponymous radio show on Lush 99.5FM, instituting a Young Designer’s Scholarship at Raffles Design Institute and being voted one of Asia’s Most Inspiring Women. She was also the International Consultant to Druk Holdings and Investments (DHI), the government investment arm of Bhutan and is currently serving as consultant on a pilot leadership capacity development program for the Kingdom together with Nanyang Polytechnic and Temasek Foundation.

She is also a frequent keynote speaker at leadership and creative media seminars, women and youth forums and has hosted several high pofile international conferences such as the World Cities Summit and facilitates global ministerial roundtables.

She holds a Doctorate in Philosophy and a Certificate in Leadership from Harvard University and  is a Visiting Professor at numerous institutions including Stanford, University of Southern Maine; Trinity University of Asia, the 400-year old Colegio de San Juan de Letran in The Philippines and APU Ritsumeikan University in Japan. She is currently pursuing an Advanced Certificate in Service Leadership & Innovation with Singapore Management University.

Despite her accomplishments, what she takes most pride in is her work with women, LGBTQIA and youth advocacy. She is the co-founder of two social enterprises, A Common Purpose (ACP) in Bhutan and Beyond Individual Good (BIG) in The Philippines.

Now happily married and living her dream in Hawaii, she teaches at University of Hawaii -Leeward Community College and started a theater program in the Waianae Coast as well as Caravan Theater, a community theater outfit for leadership and social change.  Loretta believes in compassion, karma and is cat mom to seven fur babies.

Inspiring Women of Hawaii marks Loretta’s first collaboration with Mutual Publishing and tells the stories of: Marleen Akau, Puanani Burgess, Christine Camp, Shirley Daniel, Leanne Ferrer, Raiatea Helm, Mazie Hirono, Maxine Hong Kingston, Isabella Ellaheh Hughes, Kathryn Whang Inouye, Kim Coco Iwamoto, Connie Lau, Lynette Lo Tom, Lauren Matsumoto, Mary Philpotts McGrath, Catherine Ngo, Kymberly Marcos Pine, Crystal K. Rose, Maya Soetoro-Ng, Jennifer Sabas, Ligaya Stice, Karen Tan, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, and Lee Anne Wong.

Hope Johnson is a life coach, aroma alchemist, reiki master and mother of three radiant children.  Her passion is sharing her insightful observations and inner wisdom and beauty with her community and beyond.

In the summer of 2014, after five years of research, writing, crying, praying, practicing yoga, meditating, and experimenting with many different healing methods Hope had a significant breakthrough. Instantly, the underlying cause of feeling unhappy was revealed, along with understanding how to resolve what causes unhappy feelings to express themselves.

Hope finally understood what Jesus meant when he said, “You have dominion over the world,” and she was eager to apply that understanding to her worldly perceptions.

Over time, Hope’s painful triggers arose in their full intensity; as an opportunity to be resolved through the application of her new understanding. For every resolved trigger, she could feel her childlike sense of wonder and joy returning, while watching the miracle of her relationships begin to heal and blossom.

In 2018, when the Kilauea lava flow wiped out her family home, gardens, and business facility – all of which were uninsured – Hope realized that she had attained the quality of happiness that could not be shaken by worldly circumstances.

To this day, Hope continues to use any sense of unhappiness for healing its cause; which is what brings Hope the highest sense of happiness on her journey. The world reciprocates this happiness with a reflection of kindness, gentleness, and gratitude.

Hope Johnson leads us on an amazing journey in her book, Unschooling for Parents.  At the core of this method is the right of everyone in the family, children included, to be motivated by inspiration rather than from obligation that seems imposed by the outer world.  Within this, is the belief that our children have a powerful inner guidance that we can trust.

In this book Hope uses stories from her own life to better reveal her outstanding perspective and how she attained it.  She writes that most of us don’t even know the difference between reality and illusion.  “Children are formed to express the spirit of freedom and inspire everyone to free themselves from the tyranny of a confused mind.”


Michelle Melendez has been a fitness expert since 1996, and a weight loss specialist since 2009. She has lead thousands of live and online fitness classes for women around the world. She is the author of the award winning book, End Dieting Hell: How to find peace with your body and release the weight and is the creator of the Live In A Body You Love 90-Day program and 7-day life-changing Hawaii retreat.


End Dieting Hell as an award winning, best seller! It is not another diet and exercise book. It is a book that gets to the core of why you've struggled with weight for so long an what to do about it. If you've been in dieting hell and you're ready to achieve the health and weight that you deserve, Michelle Melendez wrote this book for you!


Event address: 
786831 Alii Drive
Suite 142
Kailua Kona, HI 96740
Staff Pick Badge
The Star Struck Dance Studio of Yucca Springs By Mary Lou Sanelli Cover Image
ISBN: 9781633981058
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Chatwin Books - November 15th, 2019

Presenter at Words and Wine 2020

Staff Pick Badge
Unschooling for Parents: A Mystic's Guide to Awakening with Children By Hope Johnson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781733011204
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hope Johnson - May 26th, 2019

Presenter at Words and Wine 2020

Staff Pick Badge
End Dieting Hell: How to find peace with your body and release the weight By Michelle Melendez Cover Image
ISBN: 9780578526980
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Michelle Melendez - July 9th, 2019

Presenter at Words and Wine 2020