TITLE: A Wizard in Waikiki
AUTHOR: A.J. Llewellyn
PUBLISHER: Ai Press
COVER ARTIST: Sid Love
LENGTH: 62 Pages
RELEASE DATE: April 25, 2016
BLURB: Summoned from the past, Konu rises naked from the sea to reclaim his power for the freedom to live—and love. If the forces of evil don’t get to him first!
On a hot day in Waikiki, beachgoers are stunned when a tall, handsome man rises from the ocean. Striding naked to a small, ringed enclosure containing four huge stones most tourists never even notice, he becomes visibly upset. These are Wizard Stones, positioned between the beach and the foot traffic on Kalakaua Avenue. Konu, the naked man, is agitated by a young Asian girl draping her beach towel over the stones. He's come a long way, from Tahiti, and is one of the ancient wizards whose power was infused into these sacred stones four hundred years ago.
With the invisible battle between good and evil raging, Konu has been dispatched to help balance the power. Landing in modern-day Waikiki, he's stunned by the changes – and to find he is alone. A cop tries to arrest him for indecent exposure but the young girl's grandfather – who thinks Konu's a homeless lunatic offers him refuge. Will the ancient forces of evil beat this wizard in Waikiki? Or can Konu find his power again, and perhaps…even love?
Publisher’s note: This book was previously published. It has been edited and re-released with Ai Press.
He rose from the cold, dark depths of the ocean, pain and fear eating at him as his human form slowly molded and emerged, begging for air. Precious, sweet air. He needed to breathe. As he stumbled onto the hot sand at last, the heat seared his feet, but the pain in his body vanished as he took deep, gulping breaths. His human form was so astonishing, it struck him as being perfect, even though his feet hurt.
It wasn't ego. He had been forbidden to enjoy his physical, earthly body for five hundred years.
I am alive. I am human. I am here!
He longed to stand and just… be, to absorb the moment he'd waited for, but Konu sensed the stares of people at the beach. His long, wet black hair clung to his face and shoulders as his gaze took in the mass of bodies… the colorful strips of fabric they wore. He had come a long way. Under cover of darkness, using only the stars for guidance, Konu arrived at the place they called Waikiki. Now, in the late afternoon light, his strength sapped, he'd been forced to leave the sanctity of the sea. He'd tried to wait for night, but he was tired… so tired.
For five hundred years, his soul and those of the four sorcerers he'd worked with, watched and waited.
In the distance, at the edges of the sand, he saw the flash of large beasts… loud sounds, flickering tiki torches, the flashes of smiles. He heard laughter and the jarring sound of a dozen different languages. Then he saw them. All of the sights and sounds stilled. His heart gave a lurch at the sight of the stones.
Konu flushed with anger as a woman draped a thick, brightly colored towel over the iron gate and onto one of the four boulders representing the sacred mana of the ancient, fifteenth century wizards—Kapaemahu, Kahaloa, Kapuni and… Kinohi, Konu's grandfather. Konu had been the fifth wizard, the sacred protector of the stones… until he'd been banished.
“Hey!” the woman shouted as he pulled her wet towel from the iron gate surrounding the stones and tossed it onto the ground.
The word Aloha flashed up at him from the pooled fabric.
Konu narrowed his eyes as his gaze shifted to the woman. Was she the sign he'd been seeking?
He reached in through the bars to touch the boulders. It wasn't easy. The gate kept a distance between the stones and prying human hands. He glanced at the white pigeons sitting vigil on the rocks. The tiny bird heads turned in his direction. These miniature keepers of the fire looked as exhausted as he felt. They were dirty, unkempt, very sick birds. Konu read their energies. His mind flashed on mass, migratory deaths. These were the survivors. They had flocked to the stones as creatures in trouble always had. They needed his help.
The gate had a small lock that in his normal strength, he could have removed, but he was weakened by the journey. He was relieved that the four wizard stones seemed intact. His heart almost broke at the sight of one very scrawny bird that looked near death as it lay on his grandfather's rock. The bird kept pecking at itself, biting at a raw wound in its wing. Konu held his hand near the bird, unable to reach it. The bird scuttled a little closer. It tucked its head under its wing and Konu worked his magic. He tried to sense if the bird wanted to live or die, but people were jostling him now, and he had to work fast.
He gave the creature life and with a flap of his hand, produced a few worms on top of the rock face. The bird gobbled quickly. The stone's supernatural power would restore the bird's fire-core. Konu grappled to touch the rock. He saw now that people had brought offerings. Purple orchid leis dangled along the gateposts. Somebody had left a shell lei, too. He gingerly stroked it. A recent addition.
Two bronze plaques stood before them. He scanned the writing. He recognized it as English. He had to retrain his mind to read the words.
The voices around him grew loud again as his hand crackled like lightning against the sensing power of the stones. Ah, magic still dwells here. He felt the separate, yet unified, energies of each wizard infused inside the stones. He took a deep breath as his hand came to the last stone, which represented his grandfather. Konu, long exiled from his family, yearned for this sincere connection with Kinohi. His hand neared the stone, but fell on a yellow lei. Ilima, flower of the gods.
He bent his head and wept.
They haven't forgotten us.
So long he'd waited and now he was here, his emotions had gotten the better of him. He gripped the iron bars for a moment, blinking away the hot tears on his face. He reached out once again, this time touching his grandfather's stone. A dim stirring from within. The mana was still there. Polluted, but it was there. Sleeping. The stone had sought to protect itself. He understood now why his family had sent him here.
The bird he'd healed stood on wobbly legs. Konu saw that one of them was broken. With another flick of his wrist, he restored the injured foot. The bird glanced at him with one beady eye, hopped to the tallest rock, and settled down to watch him.
“Fly,” Konu said, but the bird remained with its companions.
“He threw my towel down!” the woman beside him shouted. “Somebody get the police. This guy is lolo…he's crazy!”
I am so excited to be here today to talk about my book, A Wizard in Waikiki, being reissued by Ai Press. The idea for the story came to me a few years ago when I visited Honolulu and came across the stones. I was surprised to learn of their history – that they had been left by four ancient Tahitian wizards after they visited the islands three hundred years ago. They had come as healers and begged the locals not to forget them.
They left the stones infused with their power, but somehow as the years went by, the stones were rolled by hand away from their original location and left on the grounds of an old estate, which was about to be demolished. A kahuna knew the story of the stones and insisted they be given a new location and he blessed them in a ceremony.
They are on display on the beach at Waikiki but it’s astonishing to me that people still walk by them. Most don’t even notice them and it still surprises me that a lot of people in Hawaii don’t know anything about them. I’ve had some pretty unusual experiences with the stones myself and the idea came to me when I went to visit them one day…
What if one of the wizards comes back?
I did a lot of research on the four wizards and decided to create Konu, a nephew of one of the wizards who was banished to the spirit world by the ancients for being gay. When he was in the islands in the past, he had a lover, a warrior named Loho, and in the present, he is in love with a wonderful man named Jason Gamble.
Jason likes to say he got the perfect last name because he feels everything in his life is a gamble, including loving Konu.
As for Konu, he has to juggle the ancient world with the modern one. Things we take for granted are deeply confusing to him. As the series progresses, he learns he’s been sent back from the past to help people who are sick, or troubled, and to find love and accept it. He’s haunted by memories of Loho and what happened to him after Konu left, but he is determined to honor Jason, the beautiful man he now loves.
He might have special powers, but he is as human as the rest of us. Can he find the love, and the life he wants, or will he wreck it all and be banished once again?
A.J.’s obsession with myth, magic, love, and romance might have led to serious stalking charges had it not been for the ability to write. Thanks to the existence of some very patient publishers, A.J.’s days are spent writing, reading and dreaming up new worlds. A.J. has definitely stopped Google-searching former boyfriends and given up all ambition to taste test every cupcake in the universe to produce over 200 published gay erotic romance novels.
A.J. wants you to read them all.
A.J. can be found lurking on Facebook and Twitter—part-time class clown being another occupation. When not writing or reading, A.J.’s other passions include juggling, kite-boarding, and spending a fortune buying upgrade apps for Pearl’s Peril and Farm Heroes Saga.
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A.J. Llewellyn lives in California, but dreams of living in Hawaii. Frequent trips to all the islands, bags of Kona coffee in the fridge and a healthy collection of Hawaiian records keep this writer refueled.
A.J’s passion for the islands led to writing a play about the last ruling monarch of Hawaii, Queen Lili’uokalani as well as a non-erotic novel about the overthrow of her kingdom written in diary form from her maid’s point of view.
A.J. never lacks inspiritation for male/male erotic romances and on the rare occasion this happens, pursues other passions such as collecting books on Hawaiiana, surfing and spending time with friends and animal companions.
A.J. Llewellyn believes that love is a song best sung out loud.
Winner’s Prize: 5 E-copies of A Wizard in Waikiki
April 25: Diverse Reader
April 26: My Fiction Nook
April 27: Rainbow Book Reviews
April 29: The Novel Approach
May 2: Rick R. Reed
May 3: Love Bytes Reviews
May 5: Prism Book Alliance
May 6: Loving Without Limits
May 9: Queer Sci-Fi
May 11: Divine Magazine
May 12: Drops of Ink