Christmas in Oahu and TWO Giveaways~ Tanya Hanson

MarryingMinda Crop to Use

Two giveaways today! E-copies of The Christmas Room and my shorter novella, Covenant!

Last spring, The Wild Rose Press asked me to participate in a multi-author Christmas series based on The Twelve Days of Christmas. I got Four Calling Birds. Happens I was in Oahu relaxing at my sis’s when I got The Inspiration.

I’d set my western historical holiday romance right there! In Honolulu. I picked the Hawaiian songbird, the puaiohi.

And decided on an American cowboy from Lake Tahoe who crosses the Pacific to fulfill a deathbed promise to his cousin. Of course, in so doing, Rooney Lind finds the love of his life in Martita Akala.

Visiting the Iolani Palace helped me decide to set my story in December 1890. Now a historic landmark and museum, the Iolani is the only royal palace on American soil. Its name means Royal Hawk.

Palace 1885

The palace was built by King David Kalakaua in 1883, replacing an earlier wooden structure from 1844, and cost an astonishing $340,000. This highly-educated, courtly monarch had met many heads of state on an 1881 world tour, and European architecture influenced the design of his palace. Interestingly, the unique style today is called “American Florentine.”


Departing from royal practice, both the royal family and the staff used the grand staircase of koa wood.

Iolani grand staircase


Iolani newel

Beautiful etched glass was imported from the mainland.

Iolani etched windows

Although King Kalakaua had returned to his people many of the cultural practices forcibly quashed by American missionaries, such as hula, the Hawaiian language, and luau, this modern-thinking ruler installed flush plumbing, a telephone, and electric lighting in his palace three years before the White House!

Iolani commode

Sadly, Kalakaua died  just a month after my story, hoping to revive his health and spirit in San Francisco. By now a mere figurehead, he had three years earlier been forced from power by British and American business interests who wanted more control of the thriving sugar business. Feted today as the Merrie Monarch, King David Kalakaua is the last reigning king of Hawaii, and the first reigning monarch ever to visit the United States.

So…have you seen the Iolani Palace? How about another royal residence…when and where? 


Here’s a bit about The Christmas Room:

Running from her past and healing from unspeakable grief, Martita Akala has built a new life on the island of Oahu…until a handsome cowboy disrupts her well-ordered peace. 

American cowboy Rooney Lind travels the ocean to fulfill a death-bed promise to find a lost love. But spending time in Martita’s “Christmas Room” makes him realize he’s found what he’s been looking for his whole life.

As for Covenant…can a Christmas blizzard ignite a love gone cold? After unspeakable grief, mail order bride Ella finds herself abandoned yet aching for the bridegoom who left.  Carsten, feeling she’d leave him, left her first…



Ps. Covenant includes a recipe for Germany’s traditional springele “picture” cookies, used with permission.



+ posts

29 thoughts on “Christmas in Oahu and TWO Giveaways~ Tanya Hanson”

  1. I loved my trip to Hawaii and seeing all the historical places in Honolulu. Unfortunately because our time for being tourists was very short (we were there for a wedding) I did not get to see the inside of many places and would love to go back one day.

    • Hi Connie, what a lovely place for a wedding! Actually, we have been to Oahu and Honolulu quite a few times and only made it to the Iolani last April. It’s so interesting, really not all that giant. Pretty homey, actually. Hope you get to tour more on the islands some day! I so appreciate you stopping by.

  2. I never realized there was such a lovely palace in Hawaii. I have not visited the islands, just stopped at the airport a couple of times. It is just the type of place we would visit and we will if we get a chance to travel there.
    Although not a true royal residence, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC is about as close as it gets here in the US. It is a lovely and interesting place to visit. We have gone several times (we live 65 miles away) and there is something new every time. It is a treat to visit this time of the year when it is decorated for the holidays. The candle light tours at night are memorable.
    We have also toured the White House a couple of times.
    We hope to travel to Scotland, Ireland, and England in the next few years. Visiting castles is at the top of my list while over there.

    Thank you for the mini-tour of Iolani Palace.

    Best of luck with the release of both of your books. They both sound good.

    • Hi Patricia, thanks as always for your kind words and good wishes. Oh, I’d love to see the Biltmore! It was on the list of a southern tour we planned to take last fall but the tour had to be switched over to another group and didn’t include NC. I was so sad because. Oh well, some other time! Have fun on your European jaunt…you’ll love the Tower of London. It’s always good to see you here.

  3. Out of all of the trips to Hawaii I made, I have never visited Iolani Palace. I’ve seen it from the outside and that’s it. What’s funny about this post is yesterday we talked about Texas history and I said I didn’t know much about it because I didn’t pay attention in school. I know more about Hawaiian history because of my trips and all of the books I have read. I would love to read this book and discover the story you have written.

  4. Hi Janine, I never learned much Texas history other than the Alamo, either. I super enjoy the posts some of the authors do about the place….did visit San Antonio a few years ago, and that was awesome. I have the extreme luck of having relative in Oahu now so we go there often. In the airport on one visit, I picked up a super informative, very readable book on Hawaiian history, which helped so much. Like the Native Americans on the mainland, they were treated so wretchedly by the “whites” whom they call haoule. King David’s sister’s story is both tragic and brave. I hope to talk about her some time. Thanks so much for posting today.

    • You definitely are lucky to have relatives there. My ex moved there after we divorced. For my 40th birthday he bought a ticket and hotel room for me. That was probably the best trip that I ever had. It’s sad how the Hawaiian people were treated and how some still express their feelings about it. I haven’t been to San Antonio in a long time, but do love going there as well.

  5. I have never been to a royal place but this staircase is beautiful. Would love to see it. Thanks for the great giveaway! YOur books sound awesome.

    • Hi Quilt Lady, always so good to see you here! The staircase was just gorgeous. And King David was so down to earth, despite being courtly and royal, that even the servants used it. There was no upstairs/downstairs for him. THanks for the post. I appreciate you!

    • Hi Nancy, so good to see you here. Yes, Michener’s book is a classic. Hard to read, though, when the missionaries get there. But don’t wanna get on my soapbox today LOL. I’ll have to lend you the book I got at the airport; it is a very interesting read. Hugs…

  6. I have always wanted to see inside of a palace or castle… have not yet… one day I hope to also visit Hawaii.

    • Hi Colleen, you’ll get there some day for sure! The world seems to get smaller and smaller, and we can always see cool stuff on the internet. I think we west coasters have a little easier time getting to the Hawaiian islands. But they sure are beautiful with such a great culture. Thanks so much for stopping by today.

    • Hi Charlene, I have gotten some great covers lately LOL. For The Christmas Room, it was the first time I actually got to work with the designer, add my ideas etc. That was way cool. I don’t mean just with the art facts sheet, but along the process. She’d send me prototypes and ask if I liked it, what I’d suggest etc. So yay! It was fun researching ways to get a “Western” set in Hawaii, that’s for sure. Thanks so much for commenting today! xoxo

  7. Hi Tanya,

    This post makes me want to go to Hawaii…NOW! 😉 Have I been to a royal home? Hmm. Yes! I’ve been to Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, the Doge’s Palace in Venice, and I’ve stood outside Buchingham Palace, (if standing outside counts).

    I love the cowboy-in-Hawaii concept of The Christmas Room. Can’t wait to read the story!

    • Hi Sam, thanks so much for stopping by today! I too have only just peeked at Buckingham palace from the outside. Maybe some day LOL. Venice? Wow, that definitely is on my bucket list. Some day I want hubs to get to St. Andrews to golf so I can explore medieval Edinburgh while he hits the links. I’ll hit ya up for hints and helps if we go. xo

    • Hi Deanna, thanks so much for posting! The glass was lovely. I had to think how well they must have packed it up for a voyage across the Pacific! No plastic bubble wrap in those days LOL. It’s a lovely palace, not massively huge, and well preserved today. It had become a government building after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 but experienced some neglect.

  8. Wow, Tanya, what an interesting blog. I just never would have imagined a cowboy going to Hawaii. It’s a place I have never been. Loved the pictures. What an extraordinary place–and so elegant. Your book covers are fantastic. Loved The Covenant story.

    • Hi Sarah, thanks for your kind words! Both were fun stories to write and because I like gut-wrencher Christmas movies, both of them do contain some sadnes. BUT happy endings of course. Hawaii does have a pretty amazing “paniolo” (cowboy) culture all its own, which hmmmm, possibly will end up in a blog some day LOL. So glad you could stop by, my friend.

  9. Tanya, I am so sorry I didn’t make it by yesterday. Busy day!

    Thanks for this look inside that enchanting palace, and for a brief glimpse at the life of King Kalakaua. What a fascinating man he must have been. Do you ever wish you had met some of these inspiring historical figures?

    Congratulations on the new release! 🙂

  10. Hawaii a interesting choice for a setting in the late 1800’s will need to get the books. Sounds like a really good story. Thanks for an inside look into the islands history.

Comments are closed.