telesa series

Deep, Dark Secrets.

There’s a number-tagging game happening on Facebook where you must reveal mysterious details about yourself. I got the #18 from Theresa Schubert (another superwoman mom of her own #Fab5) but because nobody cares about 18 deeply scintillating secrets about me, I’m going to do 18 #ThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutTheTelesaBooks instead.

  1. Nafanua had six children in her lifetime. One boy (Leila’s twin) and five girls. Leila has four half-sisters out there somewhere. Three of them were utter UnGifted disappointments to Nafanua and given away to be raised by others. One of them was Telesa Matagi like her mother, but something happened and she and Nafanua parted on very bad terms. (As in, Nafanua tried and failed to kill her.) One day, I’ll tell that story and maybe Leila will get to meet her older sister.
  2. There really is a secluded freshwater pool in the mountains that not a lot of people know about. It’s up at Vailima somewhere. The water is deliciously cold and it’s blanketed in lush green surroundings. A nice boy took me on a date there. (Not blindfolded.) We went swimming and I told him the story of the Little Mermaid.
  3. Daniel Tahi is a welder and steel fabricator because the Hot Man is a welder and steel fabricator and so I like to think I know a little bit about the fabrication industry. And if you’ve never seen a hot welder at work in a pair of overalls half-undone and tied low on his hips, sweat dripping off rippling muscles as he works amidst blue-green sparks and flame….then you haven’t really lived. #GoFindOneToday
  4. There’s lots of Samoan food in the books but that doesn’t mean I like all of it. I don’t like kokoSamoa or fa’ausi. And the smell of vaisalo makes me sick. I do love valu vi, pineapple pie and coconut shrimp though.
  5. I started writing Telesa after a late night conversation with my big brother Cam. We were talking about Twilight and how much cool’er it would be to have a story that drew on Pacific legends…a Samoan Young Adult romance with mythological elements. He challenged me, “It can’t be that hard to write a book like that. Go on, write one.” I made lots of doubtful sounds and excuses, to which he replied, “Fine. I’m going home to write a book. Watch, it will take me a week probably. Let’s see who can write it faster. Go! You can’t write a book faster than me, ha.” (the power of reverse psychology) I wrote 100 pages in two weeks. My brother didn’t write any. But I think that was his devious plan all along. So thank you Cam. Without you, there would have been no Telesa book.
  6. While those 100 pages flew from the overactive imagination onto the page, the rest of the book was horribly hard work. Writing the ‘fun bits’ in a romance novel is fun. But writing all the rest of it and then trying to make it fit together is a long, difficult slog. So many times, I chucked that book to the side and vowed I wouldn’t waste another minute on such #crap. Finishing a book is the toughest thing I’ve ever done. Six times over. It’s worse than running the last length of a 100km relay after you and your team have been on the freakin road for fourteen hours and you want to quit with every step. It’s about forcing yourself to keep going, keep writing  – even when you hate the story and you’re sick to bits of the characters and you wish you had a regular job.
  7.  I’ve never been to the Matavanu volcano in Savaii. Or the lava fields. Or to Falealupo, where the fabled entrance to Pulotu is. Thank goodness for imagination. And Google. And my friends fabulous photos of THEIR trips to those places.
  8. I don’t write my books in chronological order. The very first scene I wrote for TELESA – was the showdown at the end where the Sisterhood are torturing Leila and then Nafanua makes her epic choice to fight for her daughter. And give her life for her. That scene was so powerfully vivid in my mind that it played like a kickass movie… and made me cry ( and I hadn’t even figured out who all those random women were and how they all ended up trying to kill each other by the ocean.) The second scene I wrote was Leila and Daniel’s midnight pool meeting. And THAT was the very first moment that Daniel Tahi began to come to life. (I may or may not have studied some pics of SBW to assist with the writing of that scene…)
  9. My favoritest, fun-nest scene to write in TELESA – the SamCo strip.
  10. They really do put you on ‘Hard Labor’ at Samoa College. Prefects rule there and they will give you detention for things like – wearing the wrong color jandals or getting caught in the corridor during class-time. Lots of detention earns you a session of Hard Labor which is usually cutting grass or weeding vaofefe (prickle grass) with your bare hands. Have I ever been on Hard Labor? Yes. And no, no gorgeous male-model Head Boy prefect ever took off his shirt and helped me cut grass.
  11. Writing TELESA gave me six cavities. I was hooked on TicTacs at the time, eating up to six packs of them a day while I was writing. (More like six packs a night since that’s when most of the writing happened.) After the book came out, my dentist forbade me to eat TicTacs anymore. And because she was drilling me several root canals at the time – I didn’t argue with her.
  12. Daniel Tahi’s birthday is June 10th. Leila Folger’s birthday is March 9th. Simone is a Christmas Day baby. (Hence why he’s so sparkly and joyous?)
  13. When I was thirteen, I wrote a story about a girl who meets an Ocean prince and he gives her special seaweed to eat so she can breathe underwater and visit his kingdom. He was disgustingly handsome and wonderful in every way (of course), and he could turn into a silver dolphin. He was probably the prototype for Daniel Tahi.
  14. In two years, I’ve only sold about 24,000 Telesa Series books, digital and print combined.  I’ve given away more than 70,000 copies (mainly digital) and that’s not counting the thousands of illegal shares and downloads. Which is why, I just roll my eyes when people say, ‘Ohmigosh, everyone is reading TELESA! You must be so megastar rich…famous…chillin’ with the Rock, besties with that Saamowen chick on Shortland Street, talking movies with Peter Jackson, driving a Wrangler Jeep just like Leila…’  Because even if lots of people you know are reading or talking about Telesa, it doesn’t mean they bought the book.  (if anyone can hook me up with a movie meeting with Peter Jackson, I would bake you choc-chip cookies for the rest of your life!) But while I’m not rich from my writing, I am grateful I can be a full-time writer, doing what I love. It’s a blessing when your work is your passion and I am very blessed.
  15. None of my sisters have read the Telesa books. Which is probably a good thing because they might imagine I based a fury-filled Telesa woman on one of them. My big brother has read them all.
  16. Young Pasifika women tell me, “Daniel Tahi has made me raise my expectations for the man I want to date/marry. I especially like the way he treats women – the way he respects his grandmother and Leila.” I’m glad. Because every woman deserves to be treated with respect and honor, and every woman should expect that in all her relationships.
  17. I’ve never tried surfing. Which is why I very much hope no surfer expert reads TELESA and calls me out for writing a surfer character like Jason.
  18. In book two, Sarona alludes to Ryan Folger ( Leila’s Dad) coming to Samoa shortly before his death and of having a hand in his illness. She wasn’t lying. Ryan took his daughter away from her mother 18yrs before but he never stopped hoping that Nafanua might change and one day be able to have a relationship with Leila. That hope brought him to Samoa because Leila was now an adult and he was going to tell her the truth about her mother, but he wanted to see Nafanua first. Who knows how that meeting might have turned out? But Nafanua was out of the country and he met up with Sarona instead. And like the loving sister that she was, Sarona seized her opportunity to strike at the man that still appeared to love Nafanua – even after all she’d done to him and his children. Sarona caused Ryan’s illness, and his death. (And these are the days of our lives…)

There ya go. Eighteen things that maybe you didn’t know about the Telesa Series. If you’ve got a question you would like answered about anything else on the writing and publishing journey – ask me in the comments and I will gladly put together another random answer sheet blog!

 

 

 

 

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The Mata-Lulu Model

This writing thing has given me the opportunity to have some pretty awesome experiences. Like get DietCoke drunk in E.L James hotel suite  in Kansas City with a fabulous group of women writers. Ride to a book launch in Sydney, in style in  sleek low-rider cars and have specialty cakes and donuts made #TelesaStyle. Go back to my old high school Samoa College and talk dreams and books with young people that these books were written for. Meet some of my Pacific Lit idols, chat with them and learn from them. Be hugged by a twelve year old girl who’s read all four Telesa books…”eight times each. I can quote whole sections for you. Because of your books, I love reading now!” Read stories and English homework assignments from high school (and University) students who have studied my books. Receive photos of #TelesaReaders in the Armed Forces, who have taken their books with them on deployment to Afghanistan. Do the first ever in history, author book signing at Otara Market, and be overwhelmed by the alofa, Pasifika creativity and spirit at its very finest. Get handwritten letters from women in Nauru, thanking me for my books and for lighting their writing fire, sharing their poetry with me.

Okay, I could go on and on, but the purpose of this post is to scream about a fantabulous experience I had in Hawaii. ( No, not the Point. No, not late night missions in search of Diet Coke with LOTS of ice. No, not Sunday drives through epic scenery. No, not endless boxes of donuts. No, not the Polynesian Cultural Center. No, not bookChat with Tahitians.) – All that stuff was equally as fantabulous but THIS blogpost is about something else. Or SOMEONE else.

Her name is Jenn Lemalu Meredith. She’s from the same village as me in Samoa but we didn’t really know each other until our blogs collided two years ago. She’s a supermum who lives in Hawaii. And in between finishing her Masters, being the megaBankBoss at her work , raising her family and blogging – she started a photography business a while ago. You can see her work here: http://www.jennphotog.com/

http://www.facebook.com/JennLemaluPhoto

Jenn has been a vital supporter of the Telesa Series from the beginning. She was one of the first people to volunteer to read the Telesa book and put her review up on Amazon. She’s been a #DanielTahi  and #JasonWilliams advocate with her friends and networks AND she’s made me laugh along the way with her FB and Twitter conversation. (and she was NOT happy with what happened with Jason…) She was a key part of the Hawaii Organizing team for my recent trip and had me do a glamour photoshoot with her.

What did that entail? First, she brought her wickedly talented makeup/hair artist, Chantel Kiana Suaava to the house and had her do magic with my sad face and hair. (no easy task, let me tell you…) There’s a reason why my nickname at school was ‘MataLulu…Owl-Eyes, MataOmo’ and its not because my eyes are stunning ‘midnight pools of beauty’. Ha. #WhatDoesTheOwlSay?! ….Chantel was up to the task though and was able to do HarryPotter type wizardry so I basically looked nuthin like myself.

Then we dashed to two different locations for the photos. My Hawaii-Sister Janice Faitala was the very patient assistant who never once rolled her eyes or said bad words. ( ok, she may have thought them silently…or texted them to her bestie but hey, she was the epitome of diplomacy and friendly support, so for that I thank her!) Jenn makes you do all these really weird and painful poses that require a certain amount of fitness and athleticism…okay, I lie. She makes you stand still, kneel, bend, smile, angle your head a certain way, stick your butt out, squish your boobs together ( in my case, non-existent butt and boobs) and smile some more. But because we all know I am incredibly lazy and possess not the slightest bit of fitness or athleticism, I was rather out of breath and faintly dizzy and sore after all the posing. In other words, I would never cut it as a supermodel. *sigh* (Yeah, because I’m not athletic enough. That’s the ONLY reason *wink, wink, nudge nudge*) But Jenn was very professional and encouraging and patient with my whingey, whiney, unfit self because the woman is a genius photographer and can make wonderful things happen – even if her subject is whiney and unathletic. (And matalulu.)

It was a huge relief when the photoshoot was done. Yay! Jenn rushed off to be with her family. Me and Janice rushed off to eat a well-deserved lunch in some air-conditioned comfort. (Sidenote random story…we were reeeeally sweaty by that point, so the priority was the coldest air-con we could find. We walked into four different food places and then walked out again because their air wasn’t cold enough. In Taco Bell, we went so far as to allllllllmost order food but then I wasn’t convinced it was the coldest option available so we left again. Janice was rather embarrassed, “The poor service lady was waiting for our order. I felt bad walking out on her.” I waved my hand at her worries, all fia- blase, “Aagghh dont worry, we’ll never have to see her again, so its okay.” Then 4 hours later, who did we meet at the book signing that night? The lovely friendly woman from Taco Bell who asked, “Were you in Taco Bell today? I recognize your beautiful necklace!” And Janice gave me the #IToldYouSo look…#sorry!! Blame it on stunning necklaces from my mums shop Plantation House!)  Anyway, I spent the rest of the weekend wishing I didn’t ever have to brush my hair or wash my face again…wishing I could just walk around forever looking like a makeup guru worked on me everyday…. *dreamySigh*

Then Jenn showed me  the photos.

I’m a writer, so I’m supposed to know lots of words for every feeling and every occasion. But I’m just gonna shut up and let the photos speak for themselves.

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Lani (1 of 1)-4

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Lani (1 of 1)-3

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Thank you Jenn for a memorable experience. Now I have visual evidence that even a matalulu non-athletic girl can take some decent photos.

Now I’m back in New Zealand, back to reality…as I scrub two weeks worth of sludge off the shower walls, and reflect on my fun all-too-brief fling with glamour photography!

Where is this Sleepless Woman?!

Checking in from Samoa with a few quick announcement s:

1. Brisbane was a blast and you can read all about it here – ‘Bone Bearer Launched in Brisbane

2. Then I dashed home to Auckland to hug the Fab 5 before coming to Samoa for a week of book events. It kicked off with the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Gala Evening at Vailima. I was invited to speak and when I was done, they surprised me with this:

lani

 

Very honored and rather overwhelmed.

3. Oh, and Im now an official ‘columnist’ for the Samoa Observer, with a weekly column which will run every Monday.  Am forcing myself to write outside my usual box…for a different audience…AND to a deadline. (scary!)  My first piece featured last week and you can read it here:

Holding Life in Your Hands’

4. I did a few radio interviews with Radio Australia and Radio NZ and you can listen to them here:

Radio Australia Pacific Beat: Samoan Author Takes New Book Home’

Radio NZ :  and another one on Radio NZ

5. If any of my five blog readers live in Samoa, then here’s the program for the Samoa book events this coming week:

Monday

830am – Author visit to St Mary’s College

1130am – Author Talk and Book launch hosted by National University of Samoa. Free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and signing there , from SSAB store. $55.00 ST

Tuesday

11am – 4pm Book signing at Samoa Stationery and Books, Togafuafua Store. First 10 customers also get free Telesa Trilogy poster.

Wednesday IN AMERICAN SAMOA

11am – 230pm Book signing hosted by Carruthers Store, Pago Plaza. One day only. (My first Telesa visit to Pago and Im super excited, yay!)

In Samoa, you can purchase copies of the new book from: SSAB, Plantation House, Luckys Foodtown.

Thank you!

 

Reckless and Foolishly Brave.

Having an impossible writing goal – and then being crazy ( and dumb enough) to believe in it – can achieve writing impossibility. I should know.

When I wrote my first book – “Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi” – I had a boss. I was a fulltime employed writer. I got paid to research, interview, write, rewrite and write some more. I even got MCDonalds vouchers which were a huge help with conning children into supporting their mother’s writing aspirations. If you all just leave me alone locked here in my study all day, I’ll buy Combos for dinner! My boss bought me a shiny new laptop, interview recording gear, boxes of A4 paper waiting for words, ink cartridges, and put petrol in my car. He paid for my trips to American Samoa so that I could meet an amazing group of survivors. I had a research assistant, and use of fully funded transcription services. It was virtually impossible to be frozen with writer’s block during the frantic 8 months that it took to research, write and rewrite the tsunami book. Why? Because I had no excuses for it. I had only huge amounts of accountability riding on me. Not just to my employer who had commissioned the book, but also to the people who had shared their stories with me, fully entrusting that they would make their way into a book which would adequately honor their experiences. And then when the Australian government Aid Program joined the party by generously offering $120,000 ST to pay for the book printing… aaargh talk about pressure.

But it was a pressure which worked for me. The literary legend Albert Wendt spoke at the NZ Book launch and called Joe Keil’s decision to have a record written of the 29/09 disaster “a recklessly bold one”. He went on to say Joe was “even more reckless when he decided to ask Lani Young, a writer who’d never written a book before, to write that story and do so within the period of a year! I’ve been writing for almost fifty years, but I would never have accepted such an assignment! Like I was in my youthful and foolishly brave 30s, Lani accepted the challenge” (Because Albert is a very nice man and also a teensie bit related to me he then added), “and I bow to her for doing so and for succeeding so magnificently.”

The literary legend was right about one thing definitely – I agreed to write a book (that has been described as ‘a bit of a tome’) in only several months because I was an inexperienced ignorant idiot. I didnt know it was supposed to be impossible since I’d never written any kind of book before.(Not only can ignorance be bliss – it can also bring about ‘impossible’ results.)

For me as a writer, the most powerful thing that doing the Galu Afi project has done – is show me that I can write a book. Finish a book. Sounds simplistic, I know, but it was an almost moon-moving revelation. In the 8 months since the release of ‘Pacific Tsunami’, I have completed my first novel of fiction ‘Telesa – The Covenant Keeper.’, started on the second in the series, completed a collection of short stories and submitted it for publication, written more children’s stories for the school journal series and increased my blog output by 200%. There are days when discouragement digs deep. When I’m sitting all by my lonesome, staring at my latest draft and thinking – what the hell am I doing wasting my time on this crap? Nobody’s gonna like it. Nobody in their right mind is going to read it. You need to go get a real job. At Subway… And then i catch sight of the red wave of fire cover of ‘Pacifc Tsunami Galu Afi’. Or read through my acceptance email from a real live publisher who is willing to pay actual cash for my work. Or someone leaves me an awesome comment on the blog that makes me laugh. And discouragement takes a back seat and writing can flow again.

I am grateful that people believed in my writing waaaay before I did – from english teachers back in the day…to my dad who patiently waited for me to get my writing butt into gear…to my ex-students who generously promote my writing on their blogs, websites and chat groups. I am hugely grateful to Joe Keil, that he could believe a book was possible from me – even before I knew it was. Now I have no excuse for not finishing my ‘Telesa’ YA paranormal fantasy romance series and getting it out into the reading world.

Yes, I am a writer who has set myself some more impossible writing goals. I am ‘Youthful and foolishly brave’. Writing recklessly. That’s me.

Meet the ‘Telesa’. Women of fury – don’t get them angry.

Meet the Telesa. Blessed with earth’s gifts of air, fire, water – they are her self-appointed protectors. Guardians of land, ocean and all earth’s creatures. And they get very angry when man is his usual environmentally-UNfriendly self…

An Excerpt from ‘Telesa – The Covenant Keeper.

The village cowered in the storm. The wood frames of the Samoan houses swayed alarmingly in the wind and the woven blinds were no match for the sleeting rain. People ran to take shelter in the more substantial buildings – the church, a school hall. They were too busy hiding from the storm to notice the telesa emerge from the forest.

Six women, dressed only in tapa cloth with their skin smeared with the paint of the mulberry. Long hair blowing wildly in the wind, tangled nets of fury. Heedless of the rain, they walked through the battered village and down to the beach where the mutilated carcasses lay. Two beached whales. A mother and her child. The stench of rotting flesh hung heavily in the air already. There was blood caked on the sand. Chunks of white flesh that had been hacked off, lay discarded on the rocks. These whales had found no kindness here at the hands of this village.

The women stopped. Sank to their knees. A wailing, keening grief. A chanted prayer to the heavens. And then rage. The leader summoned a lightning strike. It lit up the sky with a terrible beauty and then set the remains alight. The whales burned. The smell of charred flesh was a sickening thing. The leader turned. There was cold finality in her voice.“This village must be punished.”

They say lightning never strikes in the same place twice. That’s a lie.

The storm raged on. Screams filled the night.

Terror. Agony.

Can it get any hotter in here? Meet Jason

Meet Dr Jason Williams. A California native – he’s a volcanologist who’s in Samoa with a science team studying our supposedly dead and dormant volcanoes.So it’s no surprise then that he would be particularly interested in a girl who can speak to them, summon them and control them. But Jason is no boring, dusty old Professor…As Leila finds out, one evening when the power goes off in a typical Samoan style EPC blackout:

An excerpt from Telesa: The Covenant Keeper.
“Hey Leila, maybe you could make us a light? So we can figure out where the lanterns are in this house.”

“Sure.” I stepped away from him and cupped my hands in front of me, focusing my energy, my thoughts. It was a simple thing and the flame that lit in my hands was a beautiful shimmering warmth. I smiled as I looked up at Jason, “See? Let there be fire!” the words caught in my throat as the light danced on the man standing in front of me. “Oh.”

It had been too dark to notice that Jason was barefoot and shirtless. The red and black lavalava I had given him clung to his hips, the t-shirt was flung over his shoulder. Lightning ripped through the outdoors again, and the white flash highlighted every cut of his chest and tapering stomach with its faint blush of blonde hair. I had never thought of him as being beautiful before – that was a word I had reserved for Daniel. But standing there in a shadowy kitchen with only a piece of cloth wrapped around his waist, Jason was all gold tanned skin, muscle and sinew. Words fled as I realized that only a moment ago, I had been encircled in those arms, pressed against that skin. I flushed and the air suddenly seemed a constricting hot thing. It seemed I couldn’t take my eyes away from the sight of him and I was struggling for composure. Jason had been distracted by my lit hands but now he turned his excited eyes to mine “Wow – this fire thing, it’s amazingly useful…” His words trailed away as our gaze locked.

For what seemed an eternity, we just stood there, our bodies separated by cupped hands of flame while a storm raged and thundered outside. I couldn’t read the look in his eyes. I was used to the mischief, the teasing glint, the concern, even the serious intensity – but here, now, in his eyes, there was something different. He leaned closer toward me and reached with one hand to lightly brush my cheek, whispering softly in the electric night. “You’re so beautiful.” And now his eyes spoke what I could understand – he wanted to kiss me. And before I could stop it, the mere thought of his lips on mine provoked a surge of heat that rushed through me like a blast from a furnace, a blast that fired the flames in my hands, sending them shooting upwards to light up the whole room, sending Jason jumping backwards in alarm.

“Whoa! Watch it!”

Meet Simone – the SAMCO Best Friend

Picture of SAMCO gates courtesy of Samoa Live.
On Leila’s first day at Samoa College she’s given the grand tour by a boy called Simon…Or as he corrects her – Simone.

I quickly realized that my tourguide was what my uncle termed a ‘fa’afafine’. On our shopping trip to town for my school uniforms in the weekend, we had stopped to buy bread and the cashier had been a man…in a tight red tank top and floral mini skirt. Pink fingernails and expertly applied makeup had completed the ensemble. I guess I hadn’t expected full drag queen attire in a Samoan dairy on a Saturday morning. Reading my mind, Uncle Tuala waited until we were back in the car and then gave me a one word explanation.“Fa’afafine.”

“A fa’a – what?” I had asked completely befuddled.

“You know – a man who’s like a woman? A boy who acts like a girl? Fa’afafine translated loosely means…umm…like a girl…in the ways of a girl.”

Aunty Matile put a stop to the conversation in her usual abrupt no-nonsense manner.“Leila – in Samoa we have three different genders if you will – men and women and fa’afafine. It’s tradition. Don’t stare. Don’t be rude. They don’t like it.”

Fa’afafine – another new concept to put on my list of things to understand! Very conscious of aunty Matile’s directive about not staring and not being rude, I walked beside my tour guide with my head down, hesitant about what to say. However, Simone didn’t seem too fussed about Mrs Satu’s abhorrence for late comers as he strutted along the corridor with all the studied ease of a runway model, stopping often to greet passersby.

“Daahling – how was your weekend? …No way! Was he there? Ohmigosh you’re kidding…I hate you! Tell me all about it at lunch… Oh girlfriend wait up – how was Friday night? I heard about the V-Bar …hmm you wicked girl! I know – I was busy at home with our fa’alavelave…going crazy I couldn’t get out…See you later!….Yoohoo daaahling….”

Like the Queen of England acknowledging her humble courtiers I thought ungenerously with a mental groan as I realized there was no way I would avoid a horribly late entrance to class on my first day. Indeed I had a sneaking suspicion that Simone welcomed a late entrance – the more dramatic the better. I studied him out of the corner of my eye as he preened next to me. Almost as tall as me, skinny, beautiful liquid black eyes (was that a hint of forbidden eye liner?), glossy coal black hair combed in an Elvis style bouffant and carrying a shiny red handbag on one perfectly bent arm. (Don’t ask me how he fit any text books in that tiny thing…) Noticing my scrutiny, he stopped mid wave to look me up and down, one hand on his hip Kate Moss style.“So where you from?”

“Umm..D.C – I mean the States. My mum was Samoan but this is my first time here.”

“Oh I see. What did you do?”

“Huh? What do you mean…what did I do? What did I do where?” I was confused.

“You know – how did you screw up? You U.S Samoan kids get sent here all the time when your family can’t handle you over there. We get lots of juvenile delinquents here. So what did you do? Drugs, alcohol, gangs, a wicked boyfriend?” Simone seemed irritated with my inability to answer his question.

“Umm…I didn’t do anything. I mean, I’m just here for three months, summer vacation visiting my mom’s family and they thought I would enjoy a Samoan school.”

Simone raised an eyebrow disbelievingly and pursed his perfect lips (I’m sure that was lip liner – no boy could have such a perfectly defined cupids bow!) He sniffed and waved his hand airily.“Fine. Don’t tell me the truth. I can handle it. Now, come on! We’re late.”

I stumbled along after him with a pained half smile, hoping I hadn’t just made enemy number one at my new school. Great – maybe I should have invented a litany of felonies and misdemeanors just to make him happy?!.

The Telesa Series – Meet Daniel.

Book one in the Telesa Series is complete and in the final stages of editing prep before it takes flight into the world.(Thank goodness!) It’s called – ‘The Covenant-Keeper’. And Im already obsessing over the second book. I want you to meet some of the people I’ve been spending a lot of time with over the last few months in the TELESA world. They live in Samoa, they’re young and restless, they go to Samoa College high school, some of them have elemental powers that they are only just beginning to discover, and two of them in particular – will endure storm’s wrath and ocean’s might to be together.

Meet Daniel: He’s nineteen, Headboy of the school, Captain of the First XV rugby team, lives with his grandmother and in his spare time he manages the family welding/fabricating business since the death of his grandfather. (Obviously has excellent time management skills!) But of course the best thing about Daniel, is his ‘inner beauty’…

– Ms Sivan spoke in her short clipped tones over the chatter of the class. “Today we will combine with 6M for an impromptu debate…” a collective groan from the class “and there will be no sounds of angst thank you very much!”

The class moved quickly in spite of their complaining to make room for the others and there was an undercurrent of excitement as everyone seemed to relish the idea of a change to the usual routine. We had to cram even closer in the already crowded classroom and I was busy trying to squeeze myself into a gap between Simone and a girl called Sinalei when he walked in.

The boy from the assembly yesterday. He paused in the doorway for a moment as he surveyed the room searching for an empty seat. Against my will his beauty took my breath away. He was tall enough that I was sure even my 5’11 height would have to crane to look up in his startling emerald eyes. He was red and gold in the morning sunlight with thick raven brows, one of them flecked with a slight scar, his tousled burnished red-brown hair another startling contrast in a school full of brunettes. Broad but lean, like a rippling basketball player. But it was the tattoo adorning the length of his left arm which caught and held my gaze captive. I had never seen anything like it before – it curved down his shoulder, peering from where his sleeve ended. Intricate patterns of black stamped down to his forearm. I was so intent on studying his tattoo that I failed to realize he was staring straight at me, a crooked smile on his face as if he found my fascination amusing. Our eyes met and in that fleeting moment, it was as if all the air had fled the room and the madness of fifty students crammed into a room meant for twenty faded to a distant blur. Try as I might, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from his, even as my radar screamed a warning…Leila stop it! This meathead is way used to girls staring at him gaga eyed – stop it!

Excerpt from the first book in the Telesa series: “The Covenant Keeper