I Found Love Online!

We all know I’m a hermit with meagre social skills – which is why the internet is such a gift. I can be as isolated as I like, revel in all the unassigned air in my extended personal space AND still chat, laugh, commiserate, rant, rave and rejoice with people. But what happens when you meet these friends in person?  What if they turn out to be complete weirdos? Nutty nitwits? Worse yet, what if they meet YOU and figure out you’re not witty, engaging and insightful? That you’ve been misleading them all along? Aaaaaaargh!

These were the worries/questions/concerns that plagued me as I came to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.  What if the online awesomeness of my online friendships did not match with the reality?

Abbi Glines, hot NA author, was the first to arrive in  KC and right away, she ‘had me at hello’ with her Alabama accent. I could listen to Abbi talk all day, and not just because she’s hilarious. She’s hilarious in Alabama-speak as well. But it wasn’t until I heard her tell of the time some random woman made the mistake of sitting on her husband’s lap that I knew – blonde hair and blue eyes or not, this woman would fit right in with my feisty, fierce Samoan sisterhood! “This woman just sat down in his lap and said to me, ‘What’s the matter, aahm only playin.’ And ahh said, that’s not how we play in Alabama. Hell, no. We know better. Aint nobody better be dumb enough to sit in mah husband’s lap!’

Over the next few days, I met up with more of my online author friends. One of them zipped to RT on their own plane piloted by their super clever pilot husband. (so envious of Jamie McGuire because it took me over 24 hours of flying and waiting in airports to get to RT.  Some of them overcame drama to make it to RT… Steph Campbell was at an airport where a man with a gun took on police and ended up shooting himself. And there were prisoners being transported on her plane, shuffling by in the aisle with their cuffs. Elizabeth Reyes wasn’t supposed to come to RT but then her super husband encouraged her to go at the very last minute so she dashed through traffic, security and ticketing craziness. Erika (aka E. L James) initially checked in under a ‘different’ name and had to skulk through the crowds so she wouldn’t get mobbed. Angie Stanton and Tracey Garvis-Graves drove alllllll day to get to RT. So did Jillian Dodd. Then unexpected snow made some of them stay a bit longer than they’d planned to. Tammara Webber even came to RT and wrote through most of it because she had a publisher deadline to keep.

I spent five days going to workshops, writing classes, author panels and industry seminars. I also spent five days and nights laughing too much, Eating too much. Drinking too much Diet Coke. Talking way too much. – With women who all know the challenges associated with trying to balance writing, publishing, raising a family and negotiating a marriage/partnership. Elizabeth Hunter made sure I tried ‘biscuits’ gravy’ for breakfast. (I am now a convert and seeking recipes to make it myself.) Killian McRae was the nicest roommate a Samoan girl on her first trip to Missouri could ever have. Nicole Williams and her gorgeous little girl had me missing Bella heaps and wishing I could have afforded to drag my Fab5 halfway round the world with me. Tina Reber was the efficient organizer who ensured we all went to nice restaurants for dinner and they all had enough wine for the late night chat-fests.

It was a week of not much sleep where we hijacked Erika’s stunning and spacious suite  – and then made way too much noise so there were complaints made to hotel management. (Yeah, that’s right, I drank too much Diet Coke and partied too loud in E.L James hotel room so we all had to leave and skulk down to hang out in the lobby instead… how many girls from Lefaga can say that?…okay, it sounds waaay more badass then it was…we talked about children, spouses and stalkers. And we made a video for Colleen Hoover.  Then on the way downstairs at 11pm, we bumped into the CEO for Amazon Publishing, Larry Kirshbaum who wanted to talk to the superstar authors about very important stuff, so the rest of us couldn’t be loud and obnoxious anymore.)

Overall, I can confirm that yes, it is possible to fall in love online – and then meet them in person and still think they are cool, funny and fabulous. A lot of this author thing is sitting in a cave making stuff up. I like it that way. But once in awhile it is very cool to get out and about and connect with OTHER hermits who have ventured forth from their caves too. And anybody who ever thought all writers are very shy, reserved and/or boring people – really needs to go to a Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. Some of those people are eyebrow-raisers.

And now, I have twelve months to save my pennies so I can go to next year’s RT Convention. OR maybe I can turn forty AGAIN and the Hot Man will give me another America trip for my birthday! (one can live in hope)

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Authors don’t sleep much, right Angie Stanton?


Erika has this habit of cracking a joke RIGHT at photo-time.


Confessions: I was worried about meeting Jamie McGuire cos she’s such a bada** online. And I was right. She is a bada** – a really funny, laid-back bada**.

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Our passport to RT adventure.

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I wasn’t impressed with the Los Angeles Airport. Or how long I had to sit around in it waiting for delayed flights.

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You get lots of free stuff at RT. I gave all mine away cos I couldn’t fly it all home.

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Missouri is famous for its BBQ. I can vouch for its deliciousness.

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You know you’re at a Romance Book Convention when THIS is your hotel room key

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A fiery little piece of Samoa displayed at the convention.

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My fangirl moment – meeting the husband n wife writing team, Ilona Andrews. Can I just fall down on the ground in awe! I went to their workshop on Writing Fight Scenes. They’re funny and you can totally ‘hear’ where Curran’s character comes from when you listen to them. Love their work.

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Many people attended the Convention in costume. Fun stuff. I totally need to take some Samoan taupou gear for the next one…

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I gave everyone lavalava’s as gifts from Samoa. Abbi Glines models her with style.

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With Steph Campbell and Elizabeth Reyes – How could such elegant women possibly be the ruckus-makers who hotel guests complain about an hour later?! …

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I was very impressed with the chocolate fountain for dipping bacon (huh?!), marshmallows, potato chips (say what?!) and fruit into. – but then we all know I am always easily impressed by food.

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I did mention the food, right? Seafood on Italian restaurant night.

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Yay, I finally get to meet Jillian Dodd in person! And the famous Fred from Bookaholics Anonymous and author Bonnie Burgess.

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With Elizabeth Hunter and Killian McRae, waitin for the BBQ.

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The Sheraton. Scene of the RT crime.

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I even got to visit with some of the Samoan community in Independence, Missouri – a pleasure to spend time with the Malaeulu family and friends. Thank you for all your book support.

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I went to the massive Book Expo and stalked my fave authors.

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I stood in line to meet one of Big Daughter’s favourite authors, Veronica Roth.

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And got books signed for Big Daughter.

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I appreciated the lovely weather in Kansas City when I arrived.

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But got super excited about the snow on day four. I mean, where else can you wear shorts one day and then make snowballs the next?


NZ Telesa Readers Only – Get in Quick

NZ readers can pre-order a limited number of SIGNED copies of Daniel’s Novella here. They will be available in New Zealand on January 30th and posted out to you. The novella is in paperback format and 146 pages. Please indicate on the order form what name you would like your book signed to.

Cost – $20.00 NZD  (This includes postage within New Zealand.)

Skinny (NaNoWriMo) is for Fools

So Im doing this NaNoWriMo thing where hundreds of thousands of people the world over sign up to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It’s so massively huge that probably even Martians are doing NaNo. It’s my first time doing it. In theory, its a fabulous concept. You commit to sitting down and just WRITING every day to meet a set word count. You commit to NOT editing along the way. NOT judging the quality of your words. NOT allowing yourself to get bogged down by the lust for perfection that usually slows your words down. No, you are just going to write until you have an entire first draft of a fascinating novel by the end of November. I’m thirteen days into NaNo and I have come to the conclusion that doing NaNo is JUST LIKE going on a diet.

1. You tell everyone you’re doing it so that you can be held accountable. You tell your kids. Your partner. Your dog. Your sister. Your mother. Your dentist. Your next door neighbor. Everybody on Facebook and Twitter. “Im going to write my next book in only 30 days. How amazing is that!” And it IS amazing. And you’re amazing. And everything in the world is aglow with amazingness.

2. Then you make lists. Schedules. Plans. Of everything you’re going to eat  – I mean everything you’re going to do to make writing happen.

3. For a diet, you get a scale. You weigh yourself. You measure your blubbery bits. Shock, horror at how blubbery they really are with the lights on. You note it all down, ‘This is where I started!’ Heck, maybe you even take a photo. Holding a newspaper with the day’s date so you can be like those skinny gym freaks with their BEFORE and AFTER photos. (dont you just hate those people? Get away from me.) Same thing with NaNo. You have to measure your progress. Count your words everyday . There are charts and stat measurements so you can track how wonderful you are compared to everyone else who’s doing NaNo. Or how suck you are compared to everyone else who’s doing NaNo.

4. And just like a brand new diet, everything feels great the first few days. Maybe even the first week. You’re eating those salads and lean cuts of chicken, delighting in those steamed vegetables and turning your nose up at those disgusting cinnamon rolls dripping with cream cheese icing. You’re even repulsed by the sight of OTHER people eating THEIR fried chicken and fries. ‘Ewww. So gross. Don’t they know how many fat grams are in that?’ You are on a stairmaster straight to skinnified heaven baby and there aint nuthin gonna get in your way. That’s how I was feeling about my NaNo journey. Churning out those words like they were on an assembly line of awesomeness. Ideas just exploding everywhere with creative sweetness like a mouthful of MnM’s. Paragraphs that went on forever with effortless ease, in delicious loops and swirls of creamy goodness. I was the Kick-Ass Writer of a Kick-Ass novel. Sing it loud. Sing it proud.

5. And then, that diet skids, crashes and burns. You are so sick of being on it that you want to rent out Burger King and have a foodfest party. All by yourself. Just you and burgers and fries and unlimited Coke refills and donuts and pie. You are so sick of your exercise goals that you dont even want to walk to the mailbox. You just want to sit on that sofa and chuck cabbages at it. You dont care how fat you are. You dont care how skinny you wanted to be. Skinny is for fools who have nuthin better to do with their time than count calories. Trim and toned is for losers who cannot comprehend the inexpicable joys to be found in doing NOTHING. And eating EVERYTHING….

Yeah, well thats exactly how Im feeling about my NaNo comittment right now.

Because I’ve written 26,000 words to date. Just past the halfway point. And I’m sick to death of being a writer. I dont want to be a writer anymore. I changed my mind. I hate it. I hate storytelling. I hate Daniel and Leila and Simone and all the rest of those horrible young adults in my book. What do they really know about love and life anyway?  

And just like a diet, you get mad at people who care about you and are trying to help encourage you to stay committed to your goals. The Hot Man used to gently remind me, ‘are you supposed to be having cereal?’ Yes, it’s healthy, isnt it? I snarl. He perseveres, “Yes but not when you’re having three bowls of it at ten o’clock at night. With heaps of sugar.”  And then of course I hate him for saying it. And am convinced its because he thinks I’m fat and hideous. Because I conveniently forget that it was my idea to start a diet-exercise program in the first place.

I wish I never told anybody I was doing NaNo. Because I walk into my house after a day in my office and those children that I gave life to harass me, “So how many words did you write today?” And when I tell them, they shake their heads in disapproval, “But didnt you write more yesterday?” Yeah, so. “So what happened? Why didnt you write twice a many words today? What are you doing in your office all day mum?” And then I hate them all for asking. And of course its all their fault I’m doing this stupid NaNo thing anyway…

And then you’re so depressed about your journey and your stupid goals that you simply must drown your sorrows in chocolate lamingtons. With cream. Or in the case of NaNoWriMo – you simply must go to your blog and write a thousand words.

About how much you hate writing.

How’s everybody else’s NaNo Journey going? Shall we meet up and exchange word counts over Donuts?

I Vlogged! (Can I get anymore CLEVER!?)

Ok, so I tried this vlogging thing. You dont even want to know HOW LONG it took me to figure out the blasted video tech stuff. Ugh. Anyway, here it is. The first in the “Fiapoko Woman” series where I talk about writing stuff, answer your TELESA questions and generally ramble about random things (when I should probably just keep my mouth shut.) In this one, I take on a reader question: ‘Where did you get the inspiration to write about telesa?’
If you watch it – be nice okay? Its my first time on this thing!

You are Not Famous. You are not Cool.

I was answering some questions for an interview with a new Pacific women’s magazine that’s coming out soon and got stuck on one of them.
                                            “How does it feel to be successful?”
Umm…I don’t know. Because I’m not successful yet. Especially not as an author. I’m very successful at making cookies. And teaching lessons. And bribing my children to listen to me. But when it comes to being an author, no. Not successful yet. Take the following as evidence…

Some of you may know that I’m related to a very famous person – and NO Pele/Peta/Josh I’m not talking about either of you. ( Even tho you are each very wonderful siblings and have wonderfulness and university degrees coming out of your ears, you are most certainly not famous.) I’m referring here to my Dad’s younger brother, Prof. Albert Wendt – award-winning novelist, poet, artist, academic. His books have been read all over the world, made into movies and are studied by anyone and everyone even vaguely interested in Pacific literature. Now, I don’t often mention that I’m related to a famous person. Because I don’t want to be jumping on that ‘famous relative train’…you know that one where every Samoan tells you that the Rock is their cousin? And their sister is Troy Polamalu’s hairdresser? And David Tua is from their village? And that piece of Sonny Bill Williams that’s Samoan (most probably his left ab) – is related to their uncle…Yeah, that train…I’m not riding on it. Truly. Because I promise you that I am not related in any way to Troy, David or Sonny. (Especially not Sonny. Alice Burgess knows why.)  No, I’m just related to Uncle Albert,  a man who looks a lot like my Dad…and has family toonai with our fifty cousins every once in a while…and is super cool enough to wear really funky kicks (purple running shoes) when he goes to literary events and can surprise a Twilight addict (me) because he’s actually read the Twilight books…

Anyway, last night I went to an awesome event organized by the Auck women of PACIFICA. It was a ‘Women of Influence’ evening with the theme, Dare to Dream. I was excited about listening to powerhouse Pacific women share their success stories.  But I also wanted to be comfortable while I was listening to them. So I  put on my old denim jeans, a gangster black jacket that the Hot Man got from the nightclub he used to work security for, and my new black Nike shoes. (Which are like…the coolest shoes I’ve owned since my little sister gave me her old leather boots and I would wear them and pretend I was the chick in Matrix.) 
But Big Son said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous. Don’t you want people to take you seriously? You have to dress up, you’re trying to be an author. And you’ve got a new book coming out next week.” Methinks that Big Son was channeling my mother…

 I whined, “But Uncle Albert wears really cool purple kicks when he goes places.”  And I thought about Seal’s gorgeous red suede shoes that he wears on that Aussie show, ‘The Voice.’ With black jeans and yellow fingernail polish…

 And Big Son replied, “Yes, but you’re not Uncle Albert. He’s famous and you’re not. He’s cool and you’re not.”  Seal is famous and cool too. And I’m not. 
Ouch. Must teenagers always be so direct? And brutal? Have they no compassion? Apparently not.
I got changed. I put on sensible clothes that I wear to church. I didn’t wear the new Nikes. I went to the event with my beautiful cousin Fiona Wendt. It was a fabulous evening, co-ordinated by another beautiful cousin of mine, Sina Wendt Moore.  I had a great time. I met my Twitter friend Moana Leilua and was very jealous of her shoes – zebra print Docs. And at all times, my quiet, restrained, boring shoes reminded me that…’You are not famous. You are not cool.’

What do we learn from this? (because we always have to put this moralizing bit in to justify writing and then reading an inane, fluff-filled piece of babbling) 
1. Lani Wendt Young is related to a very famous person. And  has some very beautiful and talented cousins too. 
2. According to Big Son, Lani Wendt Young is not famous. Or cool.
3. If Lani Wendt Young EVER becomes famous and cool? She will not share her famousness with Big Son. She will most definitely not buy him any super cool shoes with her rich famousness either. 
4. I think I now know the answer to that interview question. I may be wrong, but I think that success feels like red suede shoes. Purple kicks. Zebra print Docs. Black Nikes and second hand gangster jackets. So if you ever see me wearing any? With faded jeans and a gangster jacket? Then you will know that I’ve done it. I would have achieved the pinnacle of success. That epic moment in history when my children give me permission to dress like that in public. Because they think I’m famous and cool.
                I shall live in hope for that cataclysmic day.

Taking it All Off…

The thing about being a full-time writer and domestic slave to too many children, is that it means the only work clothes you own are sweats and pyjamas. Which can be a problem when you get invited to fly to another city to do a book thing at your old university. Somehow, I didn’t think that a 20yr old high school sweatshirt and the Hot Man’s very comfy trackpants were going to go down very well at Victoria University. So what’s a fashion clueless and kinda overly luscious fat woman to do?

Consult with the fashionista maestro for larger sized woman everywhere – Oprah.

According to the experts at the Oprah website, there are a few essentials when trying to look your bestest. The first is something like this.

 (Why is it that the women who model these things are always skinny already anyway?)
1. A “body shaper.” Otherwise known as a fat-squeezing, stomach-sucking, air-defying, pain-inducing, hallucination-causing instrument of torture. If the experts are to be  believed, then every skinny woman you’ve ever seen in Hollywood, is secretly wearing stuff like this underneath her skimpy, skin-revealing dress. (And all the loopy smiling and plastic waving they do must be caused by the shortage of blood flow to the brain.) Oh, and you must make sure that the body shaper helps your assets to defy gravity and raises them up to hi heaven. I quote from one pair of experts on YouTube, “It’s very important that a larger woman wear a well-fitted bra that really lifts ‘the girls’ up. The skinniest part of your body is directly underneath ‘the girls’ and so you need to accentuate it with a great boosty bra.” (My fashion research is teaching me new biological terminology. Who knew one’s assets were referred to in fashionable New York circles, as ‘the girls’? Not I.)

2. A very sleek black pencil skirt. Black of course. Because anyone with half a brain knows that black is a slimming colour. Indeed, for maximum slenderizing effect, one should wear all-black. Like Goths. Bats. And ravens. Vampires. (Real ones, not the sparkly variety.) And sky-scrapers.

3. High heels and sheer stockings. If you want to look sleeker and have a kind of vertical optical illusionary impact, then stunning heels are the way to go. You know, it makes people look up and down. As opposed to side ways…blobby blubbery tire sideways.

My exhaustive research dictated that I should combine all these things with a killer confident attitude and then I would be guaranteed to look NOTHING like myself at all. I would be transformed into this Goddess Author of Chic Elegance. And NOBODY would know that I was nervous. Freakin out. Or that I ate Doritos in between writing every paragraph of my book. And celebrated every new page with donuts.

So how did it go then? When I left my house that morning, I was stupidly convinced sure that I looked like “The Shizz.” I strode thru Auckland Airport slaying people left and right with my glamourous shizz-ness. Our departure gate was really really really far away. By the time I got to my seat on the plane, my new shoes were a little uncomfortable. Sitting scrunched on those silly airplane seats that only Barbie dolls could be comfortable in was making my body shaper a little bit uncomfortable too. But I was a Goddess Author of Chic Elegance so it didn’t matter.

My Dad had come all the way from Samoa to go with me. ( And to make sure that I didn’t embarass the family by crying, fainting, vomiting or getting mad at anyone who dared to say bad things about my book.) We flew to Wellington. We walked a really really long way outside the airport to the taxi stand. We got to Victoria Univ three hours before the book party was supposed to begin. I had to carry bags. And a box of books. We sat in a cafe to relax over hot chocolate for a while. Which is when I began to realize that “body shapers” and “relaxing” don’t go together. I couldn’t breathe properly. I couldnt sit properly. I couldnt even eat a muffin properly dammnit, because my salubrious stomach was so squished. I started to get very anxious. Not about my book speech. But about whether or not pieces of my innards were going to start seeping out my ears.

It was time to walk up the hill and up loads and loads and loads of stairs to the Univ library. I realized that buying a new pair of black high heeled ankle boots THE DAY BEFORE I had to wear them for seven hours straight – was a really dumb thing to do. Every step felt like I was shoving my feet into jagged rusty herring cans. And in spite of the rain and the fog and the Wellington wind, I was getting really sweaty. And out of breath. And I remembered why I was a skinny lissome thing when I was a student at Victoria Univ. Because of all those *@^#&$% hills and stairs everywhere. By the time we got the library, I was gasping for air. Which is very difficult to do when one is squeezed into a steamroller squish-shaper garment. There was imaginary blood seeping out of my stupid shoes.

Which is when I decided to accept the facts. I’m NOT a Goddess Author of Chic Elegance. I’m just me. The fat chick who wears sweats and pyjamas all day. So what did I do?

I went to the ladies’ room and stripped off the body shaper. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh. The sweet relief as air reacquainted itself with my lungs. As fat molecules dispersed and did a happy dance.

Back in the lobby, I took off the shoes. Aaaaaaaahhhhhh. Feet rejoiced. Crushed toes uncurled and realigned.

My Dad frowned. “I don’t think you should take your shoes off. Your mother wouldn’t like it.”

But I was beyond caring. Even the threat of my Vogue magazine mother’s disapproval did not faze me. By the time Telesa readers had arrived and the panel discussion had well and truly begun – I was barefoot, shapeless,  sloppity and slouchy.

And comfortable.

I had a blast. Even though I wasn’t a Goddess Author of Chic Elegance.The Telesa book panellists were witty, funny, incisive and insightful. The discussion and questions from the audience were interesting and enjoyable. Meeting with readers afterwards was the highlight. The Pacific Studies organizing team did an amazing job.  Thank you all so much!

My next book trip is to Brisbane at the end of April. There’s a very real possibility that I will wear sweats. Or pyjamas.

Strategical cropping of the photo so you can’t see the shoe-less evidence…

Fantasy Realization

Everybody has those daydream fantasies when you’re a kid growing up. No, not the ones where Han Solo knocks on your door and says, ‘I’ve been searching the galaxy for you, come let us fly away into hyperspace together…’ NO. I mean the fantasies where you think about what you want to be ‘when you grow up’ and then imagine the moments, the specific milestones that will indicate that yes, you’ve made it. Your dream really is coming true…

As a fanciful kid/teenager,  I used to daydream about being a real author and there were several different milestones that were included in those hazy fantasies. Like, Steven Spielberg calling to ask me if he could make a movie of my book and would I please allow his good friend Han Solo to whisk me away on a spaceship at hyperspeed? Another author daydream- walking into a bookstore and seeing my book on the shelf. (Harrison Ford’s glorious presence was optional for full fantasy realization.)  Or having real, live human beings wanting my signature on a book. ( I couldn’t decide then whether to sign Mrs Harrison Ford or to be Ms Wendt Ford…)

Another favorite daydream, would be when sitting in a (boring) English class or University lecture listening to a (boring) Professor drone on about some (boring) classic book…and thinking, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if one day students in a University somewhere, sat in a lecture about MY book? And hopefully it wouldnt be boring…’  Yes, that would definitely be a sign to me that I had MADE it as an author. Because even if the entire lecture theater hated the book to bits, the fact that my book would be considered decent enough to force literature students to read it…well that would almost be as cool as a hyperspace holiday with Han Solo.

Hyper-jump forward twenty years and one of my author daydreams has come true. Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh has included TELESA in a second stage Pacific Literature paper at Auckland University. In a few months, lit students will be forced to read my book. Forced to critically analyze and discuss Leila’s story (and Daniel’s glistening abs.) I am thrilled to bits with this news. Thank you so much Dr Selina. I am celebrating with Diet Coke and Doritos.

Now, just hanging out for that phone call from Steven….or Harrison Ford.

Telesa – Auckland Launch Night

Last night my book Telesa was launched here in Auckland, NZ at an event jointly hosted by Auck. Univ of Technology and Auckland University. It was an evening of poetry, dance, music and Pasifika-style celebration with Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh giving the keynote address, a Telesa siva performance by AU graduate Filoi Vaila’au, music from Natasha Urale-Baker, and a (surprise) taualuga dance at the closing. Many leaders from the NZ academic, government, business and Pasifika community were present. As were many Sleepless in Samoa readers and awesome sister bloggers. Books were sold and signed. Refreshments were served. My mother (the most creative woman in the world) had flown in from Samoa to be there. The Hot Man was chasing the naughty Bella Beast all over the building. The rest of the Fab5 were helping to sell books. My big sister gave a Telesa reading. (But her most valuable contribution to the launch was allowing me to borrow her MENA puletasi. Thank you sis!) My little brother was there with his family. Uncles, cousins, friends, tweeters and FB  – all came out to support a hermit as she stepped out of her cave. Thank you everyone for making it a much less scary adventure to launch my first fiction novel in Auckland.

Ana Faatoia was the photographer documenting the event and I invite you to look through her pictures and experience the Auckland Launch of Telesa for yourself. Click on the link –
Faatoia Fotos: Auckland Launch of Telesa

Why I will Never be a World Famous Best-Selling Author.

See? JK Rowling oozes with calm, elegant, best -selling author sophistication.

I have had an epiphany. A revelation of earth-shaking proportions. I will never be a world-famous, internationally best-selling author. Why? Because I am just way too un-cool. I have no calm ,elegant, nonchalant, best-selling sophistication at all. None.

I would never be able to catch sight of my book pictured on a poster somewhere without hyper-ventilating. Or see it in a bookstore without embracing it. (even if it was in the bargain bin. Embrace, embrace.) I wouldn’t be able to handle knowing that kazillions of people are reading my book. Or comprehend a movie being made of it. Fall down and die right there. A telesa doll at KMart? Hanging out with BARBIE?! Oh miraculous blessed day…to be on a shelf with that epitome of plastic perfection? All my childhood dreams are now realized. Nope. Just the thought of Telesa world domination is making me ill. I will never make it.

How do I know this? Take the following as disturbing evidence:

*I see someone’s profile name on Twitter is “TeamDaniel” or “TeamTelesa” and I shriek for the Fab5 to come check it out! (and they’re like, yeah, yeah, so?)
*I jump up and down and do a delighted touchdown dance when readers say stuff like, “My little sister has a wave shaped birthmark. I want to take her to the beach, throw her in the ocean and see if she has any telesa powers.” and “It’s raining in Melbourne today. Telesa matagi weather.” and “I hate my boss. She’s a real telesa Sarona type.” and “Reading Telesa on the bus, missed my stop.” and “I can’t concentrate at work. Keep thinking about Telesa.” Or “Dreaming about me and Daniel. I love U Telesa.” Or I stumble across a Twitter conversation where people are discussing which telesa woman they most wish they could be and I want to be an anonymous Tweeter and join in with my opinion. (what did I tell you? Sooo uncool. Capital L on my forehead.)
*I see someone’s profile pic on Facebook is the Telesa bookcover and I want to be best friends with them right away. Maybe bake them cookies. They share their fave quotes and scenes and I want to host a massive Telesa party with fireworks (and Ryan Reynolds aka Jason) – where they’re the guests of honor.
*When I get beautiful emails from readers sharing their experience reading the book – I want to cry. (ok, ok so I did cry. Just once or twice dammnit. Hayfever. )

No, I definitely don’t have what it takes. I am that annoying, pesky author who will stalk you if she sees you reading her book in a library, on a bus, at a mall. Or shower you with shrieking hugs if I hear you discussing the symbolism contained in chapter 5. Or butt in when you’re complaining to a friend about how annoying Leila can be – so I can add my agreeing two cents worth AND my detailed explanation of why she’s the way she is. (To that reader at the bookshop in Samoa…I’m sorry! I promise I’m not usually that jittery and uncool. Truly.)

Lots of people everywhere seem to really be enjoying Telesa. And I still can’t believe it. Other people actually are as obsessed as I am with Daniel and Leila’s story! How cool is that?  Gleeful skittery skipping all over the place. The beautiful Jillian Dodd ( author of That Boy) has compared an author’s books to her children. I agree. You spend so much time writing them and preparing them to go out into the big bad world and you worry whether everyone will ‘be nice’ to them. And when, ohmiflamingTelesaFireHeck your book finds people who actually love it, stay up all night to read it, read it 3,4,5 times, watch the book trailer every morning….well, you get kinda ridiculously buzzed. Wow.

I want to tell you that I am so grateful to all of you that have taken the time to read Telesa. Maybe you’ve reviewed it, tweeted about it, shared it on Facebook, or encouraged a friend to read it. Maybe you have sent me an email or left me an online message about the book. I read them all. And yes, I squeeeee and tell the Fab5 to come quick and check it out. (and yeah, they roll their eyes and tell me to try to at least pretend to be cool.)  And yes, I’ve probably cyber-stalked your Telesa conversations (because that’s what Loser Uncool Authors do.) I am so grateful for your encouragement and support. I’m new to this. I have so much to learn and a long way to go – but it’s exciting to be taking this journey with all of you!

I can’t promise that I will ever be blase, nonchalant, reserved and cool if you try to Telesa chat with me. (Because my L for Loser is stamped pretty strong on my forehead.) But I can guarantee that I will always be appreciative. And yeah, I’ll probably invite you over for cookies and Diet Coke.