Latest news from Koa Books

Longtime Hawaiʻi publisher Bess Press acquires Daughters of Fire from Koa Books

Longtime Honolulu-based publisher Bess Press ( has acquired the publishing rights to Daughters of Fire from Koa Books, which recently sold its imprint and all of its titles to other publishers (more on that below). For almost forty years, Bess Press, a family-run house founded by former New Yorker Benjamin "Buddy" Bess, has issued numerous books about Hawaiʻi and the Pacific, making it one of the biggest and most successful publishers in Hawaiʻi.

New Year’s resolution: start writing on the WILD SIDE!

What are your plans for the New Year? How about kicking it off with some wild writing—something raw, deep, startling, zany, eccentric . . . powerful? You can jump-start that process in Tom’s latest writing workshop—Writing on the Wild Side!—Saturday, January 23, 2016 at the Volcano Art Center. The workshop takes place at VAC’s beautiful Niaulani Campus, just a stone’s throw from the erupting summit of Kilauea volcano. What better place to explore our deeper subterranean minds?

Public Radio podcast features Tom on blogging and finding one’s true voice

On the morning of Christmas Eve veteran talk show host Chris Vandercook interviewed Tom on Hawaiʻi Public Radio. The two men, both long involved with words, chatted about writing, blogging, revision, and finding one’s true literary voice. The podcast of their conversation is available at You can listen to the whole program or scroll down to hear just the segment on writing.

Mystery/Suspense Authors Read for Halloween

Basically Books—the literary hub of Hilo—hosted four Big Island writers for its “A Touch of Mystery” event on Halloween. The well attended reading featured a portentous dream, an armed kidnapping, the search for a missing musubi mogul, and a murder on the active lava flows of Kilauea.

Authors Tom Peek, Justina Taft, Al McDermid, and Frankie Bow.

For more information about the authors and their novels, please visit:

Daughters of Fire provides cross-cultural orientation for Minnesota students

Tom recently met with University of Minnesota undergraduates who were asked to read Daughters of Fire before immersing themselves in the rich cultural milieu of Hawaiʻi. Their professor invited Tom to surprise them with an impromptu author visit at a paʻina (Hawaiian party) in the Big Island town of Pahala during their three-week cross-cultural exploration to the islands in May 2015. (Photos by Dr. Ryan Goei, students, and Tom Peek.)

Academy Award winning producer of indigenous-themed films praises Daughters of Fire

Victoria Mudd, Academy Award winning producer of “Broken Rainbow” and “Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion,” recently endorsed Daughters of Fire, calling the novel “an enthralling ride that introduces the reader to virtually all of the forces at work in Hawaiʻi today:”

“From the historical to the scientific, the spiritual to the political, to corruption and eruptions, this carefully researched thriller MUST be made into a film! I can think of no more effective way to inform the public of what is really going on in Hawaiʻi.”

University of Minnesota uses Daughters of Fire for cross-cultural practicum

University of Minnesota undergraduates were asked to read Daughters of Fire before immersing themselves in the complex cultural milieu of Hawaiʻi during their three-week cross-cultural exploration to the islands in January 2015. Tom, who grew up in Minnesota, attended their Big Island welcoming paʻina (traditional Hawaiian feast) on the slopes of Mauna Loa in Pahala.

Michigan college students study Daughters of Fire before visiting Hawaiʻi

Nineteen first year students visiting Hawaiʻi from Albion College ( in Albion, Michigan were asked by their professors to read Daughters of Fire as part of their pre-trip cultural and geological orientation to the islands. On the first day of their week-long exploration, Tom fielded questions and comments from the students over breakfast following their dawn trek to the rim of Kilauea caldera. (Photos by Dr. Suellyn Henke)

Tom shares how to become “Empowered by the Pen!”

Writers with tales to tell, poems to create, or essays to share can obtain seasoned guidance from Tom in his popular and insightful workshop Empowered by the Pen! It's a Saturday of liberating exercises that stir creative juices and stimulate the wild regions of the mind. The Big Island's renowned Volcano Art Center will host Tom's workshop on January 21, 2015 at its lovely Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village.

Tom helps celebrate Indie bookstores on Small Business Day

Tom helped one of Hawaiʻi’s renowned independent bookstores, Kona Stories (, celebrate their 8th birthday on Small Business Saturday, November 29, 2014. Brenda McConnell and Joy Vogelgesand opened their Kona bookstore back when Borders was the Big Island’s giant competitor—and outlasted that mainland corporate seller through courage, creativity, and love for the West Hawaiʻi community.


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