Research Gems: When What You Find Becomes Part of the Story

While searching for my novels in Hawaii, I have the pleasure of finding unexpected nuggets of language, geography, or history. I call these discoveries “gems”. In the following paragraphs, I will describe two of these discoveries. The former plays an important role in The second betrayal, the fourth Koa Kāne puzzle (scheduled for publication January 2022). The second finds its way into Koa Kāne’s fifth novel, and is currently in draft form and untitled as of now.

(4 Advantages of Writing Novel in Multiple Narrative Forms)

In my wanderings around the Big Island of Hawaii, I explored the back roads near Pahala, a small former sugar town 20 miles south of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Around a bend in a country road, I found dozens of colorful flags hanging from ropes from trees. They fluttered in the breeze. Upon closer examination, they turned out to be Buddhist prayer flags. Driving a little further, you come across a Tibetan pagoda decorated in bright red, yellow, and green. Two very flowery shishi, Chinese lion dogs, guard the entrance, and a gong hangs from the rafters. Eucalyptus, palms, and bamboo lined the gardens around the temple, and jasmine smelled the air. The brilliantly polished peacock roamed the ground. In addition to the temple and residences for the monks, the 25-acre site contains a guesthouse for visitors and retreat participants. I found Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling, otherwise known as Wood Valley Temple, a world famous Buddhist monastery and sanctuary.

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