My mother is a powerhouse of creativity and I owe much of who I am – to her. It’s no accident that my Telesa series centers around beautiful, strong, vibrant and powerful women because that’s the kind of mother I’ve been blessed with. Both my parents are incredibly supportive of my writing efforts… in their own ways. My Dad tells me everything I do and everything I write – is wonderful. My Mum tells me what’s wrong with everything I do and everything I write and then works hard out to help me “fix” things. (I’m always glad when she tries to ‘fix’ me because that usually involves her giving me something stunning to wear so I won’t look so bedraggled.)
So yes, in their own unique ways, my parents are a great support for my writing. Even if the technological mysteries of the electronic book world make no sense to them. My mum only recently discovered how to use Facebook and I still get trans-Pacific-Ocean phonecalls from her, asking me how to upload a photo to her Facebook page…E-books are an enigma to my mother. “They are not ‘really real’ books, are they?” Case in point:
When I launched my first book, “Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi”, my mum gave me a stunning set of silver jewelery that she had designed herself for her Pacific design store, Plantation House.
See here, the bracelet and ring? at the Auckland launch hosted by Auck University. (and ohmigosh, check out the perfectly manicured fingernails – that is a cataclysmic, universe-imploding thing. Rare…so rare.)
And the necklace! (and my beautiful cousin Sina Wendt Moore, President of Auckland PACIFICA.)
I love my silver accessories and wear them to death everywhere. Which is really saying a lot because I hate wearing jewelry of any kind. They are a sparkly reminder of my parent’s encouragement and support.
When I launched my second book “Telesa: The Covenant Keeper”, my mum gave me a pearl shell neckpiece. Also from Plantation House.
You can kinda see it here with some lovely Telesa readers, at the Wellington launch hosted by the Pacific Studies Dept at Victoria Univ.
I released my third book last week as an electronic book on Amazon: ‘Afakasi Woman’, a collection of 24 short stories. I don’t think my mother was counting on books getting released so quickly. She would probably prefer the more traditional approach where writing a book takes seven years and getting it published takes another seven…That would certainly save money where gifts of expensive Pacific jewelry are concerned.
My mum’s response to my book launch news?””Well I’m not giving you any new jewelry for this one because it’s not a REAL book, is it?”
Me – “Yes it is. It’s got 120 pages and a cover and everything. I’ll send you a link and a picture of it.”
Her response, “Fine. And then I’ll send you an e-picture of a new necklace from Plantation House.”
E-pictures of “virtual jewelry gifts.” My mum may be new to the world of internet technology – but she’s catching on pretty fast.
Sleepless in Samoa hit a record 30,000 visits this month. Thanks for keeping me company! If you’re looking for a Fantasy Romance read about strong, fierce and proud Pacific women – check out the free sample of TELESA:The Covenant Keeper available on Amazon.
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
I’m really excited to present…
The Official Book Trailer for – TELESA:The Covenant Keeper. Produced by Jordan Kwan, featuring models Ezra Taylor, Faith Wulf and Flora Rivers with photography from Jordan and also Tim Rasmussen in Samoa.
Book Trailer for TELESA:The Covenant Keeper
Please feel free to share it with everyone who might be interested in a fiery Young Adult urban fantasy/romance set in contemporary Samoa.
Let’s Join Forces.
Who am I? I’m confused. I’m a…
Commissioned Author. A year ago, my first book was published. “Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi” was written on commission – which means that I was paid a weekly salary plus all expenses to research and write a book that would then belong to my employer. The Australian Govt Aid Program then paid $120,000 ST (approx $45,000USD) to publish the book.
Self-Published Author. A few weeks ago, I self-published my first fiction novel “Telesa:The Covenant-Keeper” as an e-book and a print book. I have spent the last eight months writing, editing, proofing and formatting my own manuscript. At the same time, I also put five short fiction pieces on Amazon and Smashwords. I wrote in and around moving to NZ, settling into a new life, being a full-time mother to the Fab5 and managing a home. I worked with copy editors, proof readers, photographers, super-awesome cover models like Ezra Taylor and more, cover artists and graphic designers, to prepare the book for print. Me and the Hot Man invested a sizeable chunk of money (that we didnt have) into getting books printed. In 2 weeks I will go to Samoa for a book launch. AUT University will host an Auckland launch at the end of November. I am now racing to finish the second book in the series and get it published while keeping up with ongoing promotion of the Telesa series. It’s exhausting but exhilarating work. I’m loving it.
Contracted Published Author. Last month, a collection of my short fiction (submitted back in January) won the USP Press Fiction Award. The prize money also came with an offer to publish the collection. Once the news was announced, I was contacted by an award winning (Super Rockstar) NZ publishing company about the collection. They have since offered me a publishing contract as well. I’ve sold children’s stories in the past to Learning Media Publ, but this will be my first time working with editors on an entire fiction book. I’m sure that I will learn a great deal. I’m excited but nervous.
It occurred to me that I can now reflect with some small measure of (sweat and curse-laden) experience on three completely different paths to being a published writer. And that maybe, there’s some other writers busily writing away in a corner that might like to know a bit more about this stuff – so they don’t make the same STEWPID mistakes I did. And maybe, in particular, there’s some Pacific writers out there who have a hankering for getting their work published the non-traditional way and might want to chat some more about this. SO….every Wednesday I will do a Writer post about something writer-ish. Hopefully we can get enough Pacific writing chat going that I can put together a regular newsletter (with writing stuff from all of us) that gets emailed out to anyone and everyone who’s interested in subscribing. The name of this splendiferous newsletter is: TUSITALA FIAPOTO. (Yaaay!)
(Oh, and in spite of its name, this writer group thing is serious, I’m not kidding.) To get it started, I would love to hear from you. Pacific writers of all kinds ( even if all you write right now are shopping lists…but you’ve got stories dying to get out, yes, even you) – What writing topics do you want to discuss? What are your questions about getting your writing published? Even if I cant answer your question, I bet somebody else on here can share their writing experience and shed some light on it. If you’re an anonymous blog stalker and you would like to get the Tusitala Fiapoko newsletter, be brave and speak up now. Or stay in the shadows and email me directly at LaniWendtYoung@hotmail.com. Looking forward to your thoughts on this people…
WIN a free signed copy of TELESA:The Covenant Keeper.
Print books are now available in the US (and the universe) via Amazon. Available in NZ/Australia via these links:
* $24.95 NZD, plus $5.00 postage anywhere in NZ. Click HERE to order.
* $22.95 AUD, plus $10.00 postage. Click HERE to order.
* $14.95 USD, plus postage. Click HERE to order.
NZ/Aust customers can also purchase from Wheelers Books. More retailers to come.
Thank you for your encouragement as my first fiction novel was released as an electronic book three weeks ago. TELESA:The Covenant Keeper marks an exciting new development for Pacific fiction as the first Young Adult Urban Fantasy Thriller set in contemporary Samoa. The reviews and overall feedback have been great (and such a relief…whew. Click on the title link to check out reviews.) If you were able to share the book links with others, purchase an e-copy or upload a review – I appreciate your support! It makes this writing journey much less scary. In the past few weeks, TELESA book news has featured in various newspapers and online media in Samoa, American Samoa, Hawaii, NZ,Australia and the US. Radio Australia has been very helpful with spreading the word as well – media generosity has been overwhelming, thank you so much. I’m looking forward to the Apia launch in a few weeks. The online book ‘tour’ continues with featured interviews and spots on various websites worldwide and I invite you to check them out.
To celebrate the print book release, I’m giving away one signed copy of TELESA:The Covenant Keeper. Just leave your comment below. All comments made before Sat 12th Oct, enter draw for book giveaway. (And this giveaway is international)
It’s taken me a long time but I’m excited and very grateful to finally be living my writer dream and doing what I love. What’s YOUR passion? Are you living your dream? If not yet, what are you doing to get there? Any advice or encouragement for the rest of us?
I am a daughter of the cleverest woman in the world. The most capable, most multi-talented woman in the world. My mother can sew, cook, pickle, bake, preserve, paint, knit, embroider, crochet, write stories worth reading, give speeches that move you, weave, fashion design, sculpt, screenprint, dance ballet and tap, sing, ice skate, re-upholster a chair and make a three course meal worthy of serving to the Queen – using only a lettuce leaf, a can of herrings and a sniff of mint. (just to name a few of her skills). There is nothing my mother cannot create. Indeed, whenever I see something beautiful in a shop/art gallery/museum/a Vogue magazine – I know that my mum can make the same thing. With her eyes shut. And using only her left foot.
Yes, if I rewrote the dictionary, you would see my mum’s name under the definition of “Creative”. But you would also see it sidenoted under: impatient, exacting, and downright mean. Because – it is not easy to be a daughter of the cleverest woman in the world. (As at least three other women would tell you.) Nothing you do can ever be wonderful enough – because your mother has always done it all before. Waaaaay more wonderfully than you ever could. She is impossible to buy presents for because of course she’s made everything under the sun – so how could you hope to find her something she hasn’t already imagined? You’re trying to raise five children on a tight budget? HA – she ransomed her soul to bring up SIX ungrateful little beggars AND provided for everyone while her husband studied his way to a doctorate degree at Cornell University. ( See my dad’s certificate hanging up there on the wall? It should have my mum’s name printed on it. First. In bold type.) My mum holds each of her daughters up to a very high measuring rod because thats her name right up there at the top of the rod.
Which is why I have to put on my armor of self-confidence when I talk to her about my writing ‘career’. Because…
*When I get invited to speak at a Writer’s Conference, she says “why did they ask you for? Couldn’t they find any real writers?”
* She asks me how many hits Sleepless gets and then replies, “You got 700 visitors to your blog today? Well, that’s not very many is it? I mean how many people are there in the world and THATS ALL that want to read your blog?”
* She complains about having to sell my tsunami book in her store, “I only make a few dollars on each book you know. My stocking ‘Pacific Tsunami’ is not a very lucrative investment because its not as if its going to sell as fast as a real book.”
*I tell her TELESA is the first YA urban fantasy fiction book by a Samoan writer ( or any Pacific writer for that matter) and she says, “Ha, well that’s not necessarily something to be proud of is it?”
*She wants to know how many e-books have sold since release date and scoffs, “Oh that’s probably all your family and friends buying it.”(Never mind that I only have like two friends in the universe or that NO my family isnt buying it, because news flash…’Mum have you bought one?!’ No, I didnt think so…)
*She reads the glowing Amazon reviews and rolls her eyes, “What do they know about good books?”
My mum believes that it’s her job to keep us kids humble. Make sure our feet are firmly planted on the ground. “I dont want you children to get all ‘up-yourselves’. And besides, Im just pointing the facts for you in case you missed them.”
No, I am not worried that I will ever become one of those ‘puffed up’ prideful, gloating, self-loving overachievers that strut about, Yes, Im wonderful, thank you very much. Because I have my mum. And she’s keepin it real.
I would like to accept this award by first thanking my mother for always encouraging me to do better by using reverse psychology. And I want to assure her that none of my friends or family members were voters in the Academy Awards. Honest.
ML2ENAY. Thank you to everyone who uploaded a review of TELESA:The Covenant Keeper on either Amazon or Smashwords by the Monday deadline. You rock! I appreciate your ongoing support and encouragement. Today we put all your names into this very special magic box. ( Otherwise known as Bella’s Toy Blocks Box)
If you posted a review on BOTH Amazon and Smashwords, then your name was entered twice. Then we shook it all up and asked the Princess Bella Beast Fairy to please take a break from her ballet dancing…Pretty Please!
Bella picked out a name and the winner of the Pacific Design bed set from Plantation House ( you choose the color) is….
Amazon Reviewer: ML2ENAY ! Yaaay! Please email me at LaniWendtYoung@hotmail.com within 48 hrs or else I will ask Bella to choose another name from the magic toy box.
Book reviews are the life’s blood for an author – and they dont have to be five star ones either! The more reviews a book gets on Amazon etc, then the more other browsing readers are encouraged to try it. As a first time fiction novelist, I know that buying my book is like taking a leap of faith on your part – I mean, heck what if it totally sucks right?! Every time someone takes that leap and purchases my book, I am humbled by your willingness to give my fiction writing a chance. Thank you. And then when you make the time to write a review? I am thrilled with your support. Thank you again. I hope you will continue to spread the word about the TELESA series and we will be hosting another reviewer giveaway very soon…
This is what I have to see every 10 pages. Reminding me that this is chick-lit, why am I still reading this for?!
Do men read YA romantic urban fantasy fiction? A few weeks ago, I would have said – hell no. But since the release of my book TELESA, I have been pleasantly surprised and proven wrong. Not only are men reading it, but they are actually (against their will), finishing it, enjoying it and then sharing their views on it. Now admittedly, a common theme in their feedback is “I’m really enjoying the book! I could do without all the in-depth Daniel descriptions tho…lol”
Unless of course they are Man-Lover-Appreciator readers, in which case they’re saying, “TELESA is sooooo much better than Twilight. Daniel is such a babe, I fell asleep imagining his half-nakedness at the midnight pool – I am in love!” So yeah, the TELESA love story has been able to cross the gender gap…(in more ways than one.) Because I wrote the book for me and thus for a female audience, I’m always intrigued to read a Man-Reader’s Review. And this one from a Man-Reader who knows me personally, had me laughing. And laughing. And wishing that he was in the same country as me so I could punch him. Warning, there are spoilers in here so if you havent read TELESA and dont want to know too much about the plot, I suggest you give this one a miss.
This is Chick Lit – Why am I still Reading This For?!
So I just finished reading the first book in the TELESA series – The Covenant Keeper by Lani Wendt Young. A story about a young woman named Leila and her return to her homeland Samoa. To her everything is so foreign and yet familiar. She (Leila) is gifted naturally with the art of sarcasm and also has the supernatural ability of turning up the heat when things get ‘hot and heavy’ or when she gets pissed off. Like most teenagers she is discovering many firsts: experiences, emotions and abilities – but tries hard to hide her vulnerabilities with a snooty intellectual East Coast attitude .
She discovers that in this new country Samoa, the primal ‘urge to merge’ is difficult to abstain from due to vivid descriptions of half-naked rugby guys running around in the glistening sun that the author often reminds us of every 10 pages. Reminding me this is definitely chick lit and I dont know why I’m still reading this for…… (I can see the author’s discomfort now..LOL) Back to my critique, like any drama -Leila falls for a jock and lead character Daniel, and the nice guy, (a scientist fellow blonde dude oh whatever his name is oh Jason, who doesnt realize nice guys finish last) both whom devote themselves in adoring and wooing her for her affections. All the while not knowing they are in love with one of the most powerful Pacific demi-goddess of fire, one of a sisterhood who could destroy everyone on the island. One of these sisterhood furies is Leila’s mom Nafanua who is a lady you don’t want to mess with. Just ask a couple of villagers that were fried by random lightning and Mr. Nice Guy Jason who gets poisoned by this brood, destroying any chance of love for this poor guy…(I guess I can identify with this poor nice guy.)
Back to the story, the author provides lots of imagery and intense passion that her female audience will adore. Leila finds she is twin, her boyfriend is a water bender like her supposed deceased twin (wait a minute…hmm is it possible he could be her twin bro …eew)” Luke …Leah is your sister….my sister how can that be Obi Wan….use the force… Luke …use the force” Jason may still have a chance yeeeessssssssssss! (I was surprised by how much I was getting into this storyline, cheering for Mr Nice Guy.) Knowing the author, right now she is probably pissed or deleting this book review. But wait – I have more – just like how Ms Wendt Young leaves the audience hanging for the next book – which is very cleverly done by the way. Even I find myself counting how many sleeps until March 2012?
As a Man-Reader, I want to ask the author: How come you don’t introduce a sexy cougar for your guy audience….hmmmm… maybe with supernatural abilities. Older guys like me are feeling ignored here!
Overall, have to say, the book brought back many memories and emotions from my own youth. Well done to a beautiful and passionate Tusitala, LOL.
Thank you Man Reader and I will definitely take your suggestion about a ‘sexy cougar’ in Bk 2 under consideration. Now go eat some pineapple and coconuts because I hear that they work wonders for men everywhere. (And not just in Young Adult romantic fiction.)