Samoa blogger

Are You a Sex Ninja?

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There are those who like to boast about their sex adventurous selves. They get busy on planes, trains and buses. Skyscrapers, ski lifts and roller coasters. In stadium crowds, nightclub dancefloors, and public swimming pools. (Eww) They revel in being Sex Daredevils…
We did it up against a tree while we were mountain hiking!’
‘Oh yeah? Well we did it hanging off the side of a cliff UPSIDE DOWN while we were abseiling, so there!’

Oh puh-leeeaze, you bore me.

Sure, people who get their thrills sexing it up in various exciting places simply because ‘we’ve never done it HERE before!’ …have some great death-defying (not to mention shame-defying) sex and yeah, we could all do with a few more death-defying moments in our lives… BUT you know who really deserves our awed admiration for their sexifying skills?

Sex Ninjas. People with kids. People who must overcome extreme odds and excruciating adversity (i.e the company of children) – so they can get busy.

Ask any couple with children living in their house, particularly young children – ‘So how do you manage to still have a sex life when you’ve got a crying baby that doesnt sleep…a toddler who keeps coming to sleep in your bed…teenagers who stay up half the night playing XBox…?? Sex must be impossible for you two!” Sometimes they will snap at you “What sex life?? We dont have one.” (And then you must offer to babysit their children immediately so that poor couple can go out and have sex enjoy a romantic date.)

But other times, a couple with too many children will give you a wise look and say, “Ahhh but nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough…we find ways to make it happen…” Listen and learn young grasshopper…listen to the Master…’

These people – are Sex Ninjas. They have mastered the art of quick quiet sex ( in cupboards, showers and garages)…urgently satisfying encounters when babies are sleeping or children are watching a Disney cartoon…secret sensual meetings in cars parked in the driveway (praying the neighbors dont call the police)…They can find fireworks in a laundry room and blow your mind in a kitchen amidst dirty dishes. (Daayum, dont you wish you could do that? I myself cannot ignore dirty dishes in favor of mindblowing activities.)

For Sex Ninjas, ‘anytime anywhere’ must be their mantra – the unpredictability of children dictates it. They have no time for all that Cosmopolitan stuff about #GettingInTheMood and #SettingTheSexualTone. Ha. Those things are like fluffy bunnies and pink cotton candy – cute if you can have them but not essential.

Not only that, Sex Ninjas are so dedicated to their craft that they can soldier forward and complete their mission – even after being interrupted by a puking child with a sore tummy, the smell of smoke as a teenager burns the dinner, or two feuding siblings banging on the bedroom door demanding their parents referee their battle.

When Sex Ninjas get the house alone to themselves – the most earth shattering things can happen because that time, space and privacy is so precious and strange to them. Heck, just being able to do it in your own bed is so exciting that rollercoaster sex just cant compare. The same happens when Sex Ninjas get a weekend or a holiday away from their children. That couple at the next table who cant keep their hands off each other? Probably Sex Ninjas who have successfully escaped from their prison wardens children. Cut them some slack. Buy them tickets for the nearest roller coaster.

In conclusion, Sex Daredevils are very nice to be with – if you are planning on spending a lifetime on roller coasters, planes, trains and buses…in nightclubs and stadiums…and abseiling down mountains UPSIDE DOWN.

But if you’re planning on letting some children live in your house then I recommend you find a Sex Ninja. And learn how to do the wild thing together in cupboards, showers and garages. Even better – find a Sex Daredevil and introduce him to the ways of the Ninja. It will require much training, mental and physical exhaustion, and most of all – that indescribable thing called LOVE (because let’s face it, the only reason why you would WANT to still have sex with someone when you are knee deep in diapers/poop/tears/dishes/laundry/XBoxArguments- is because you reeeally love ’em)

So yeah, the path of a Sex Ninja aint easy.

But it’s worth it.

(Or so they tell me. Im still an ASPIRING Sex Ninja-In -Training…)

Unforgettable Hot Nights. At the Beach.

I hate going to the beach. I love looking at the beach but despise sitting there…hanging out there…and most definitely, the mere thought of LIVING there.

Why? A beach is sandy. Dirty. Hot. Sweaty. Often bug-gy. And you have to lug insane amounts of stuff to be able to subsist there for a day. Or two. Especially when you have too many children like I do.

But the definition of ‘mother’ is ‘One who endures unpleasant experiences for and on behalf of one’s offspring.‘ Like childbirth, poop, vomit, bloody boob breastfeeding and sullen looks from sullen teenagers.

And camping at the beach.

Big Son came home for midterm break from Uni so the family voted to spend Easter weekend at Tafatafa Beach. We packed lots of gear, with extra Diet Coke so I could be nicer and patient’er. And set off on a grand adventure.

To my surprise, the first ten hours were glorious. We met up with awesome friends who were also camping for the weekend. There was much laughter, conversation, consuming of assorted snacks, BBQ and drink – all while relaxing in the shade under the swaying palm trees.

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The demons swam, kayaked, dug holes, built castles, played soccer and tried fishing.  It was a most enjoyable day. When night fell, we made a bonfire so the demons could toast marshmallows and then they played games and told stories in one of the fale’s. It was a most enjoyable evening watching the sun set over a silken blue-black sea.

Wow, this beach thing is actually fun! Maybe I am a camper after all.

 And then it was time to go to sleep. On a foam mattresses on the ground in an open fale, in a mosquito net, with the sound of the ocean right outside. The tide was up and so waves were washing the steps of our fale. The children were exhausted and so they went straight to sleep, dreaming happy dreams of sandcastles, fish and water fights. The Hot Man was exhausted and he went right to sleep. Everybody was tired and everybody went to sleep.

Except for me.

I couldn’t sleep because of the sand in my bed, the sly ninja mosquitos that had made it into my mosquito net and the BLASTED SOUND OF THE OCEAN right outside our fale. That ocean just wouldn’t shut up. Waves kept coming in, making swishing sounds, running out and then swishing back in again. Then a dog sleeping under the fale added to the symphony with growls and snarls at invisible things. Then it started raining and it beat down on the tin roof, making an awful racket. And I was swatting at mosquitos, sweeping away sand, muttering at the dog to GET LOST, and trying to ignore the noisy ocean.

This is why you hate the beach, remember?!

At 3am, I was still awake. Miserable. I woke up the Hot Man.  “I have an idea.”

He was not happy about being woken up. “What?”

“Why don’t we go home?” I said. Hopeful and artificially cheerful.

“Yeah, we’re going home tomorrow.”

“No, I mean – let’s pack up and all go home right now.”

That woke him up for sure. “Are you out of your mind?! It’s three in the morning. It’s raining out there. We cant pack up in the rain. And everyone’s asleep.” He tried not to hiss too loudly at me.

“But I’m not asleep,” I pointed out. Helpfully. “I cant’ sleep in these conditions. I’m miserable. I want to go home.”

The man didn’t bother replying. He went back to sleep instead. Leaving me to count waves and mosquito bites and dog growls – all by myself. Hatefully. Miserably.

The next morning was glorious. The sun came up, the rain went away and we made pancakes and bacon for breakfast. The children swam and fished and kayaked. I chatted and laughed and consumed snacks with awesome friends. The beach was bearable again.

Until the moment of dread came. The cooler of ice and Diet Coke ran out. It was time to pack up and go home – where I had a newfound appreciation for my bed (with no sand in it), my bedroom ( with no mosquitoes in it), my house (with no growly dog underneath it), and the peacefulness of our mountainside home (with no noisy ocean washing the damn steps all night).

Maybe that’s the true beauty of going camping? – It makes you more grateful for your cave, no matter how messy or small or crowded.

What did I learn from this?

1. Tafatafa Beach is glorious. Clean, safe, golden sand, great bathroom facilities, excellent water supply and nice fale’s to stay in. If you want to spend the day or night at a beach, then I highly recommend you go there. I give it FIVE stars for beach fale fabulousness.

2. If you don’t like sleeping to the luxurious lilting sounds of the ocean? Then don’t go camping at a beach fale resort. Same goes for…if you don’t like sand…and stray mosquitos… Stay home and have no adventures. (just read about other people’s crazy adventures)

3. If you’re planning a beach camp, definitely go with friends. Especially friends with children the same age as yours so they can play all day and have a blast – without your input. Leaving you free to chat, read, sleep, fish and drink. Without our fabulous friends, I would have called it quits waaaay before 3am. I would have insisted on packing up by lunchtime. Thank you Daniel and Hanah, Mark and Luisa AND fabulous children. You rock!

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The front view from our fale.

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Sometimes, Samoa Sucks.

It took fourteen days for it to happen. For me to cry/freakout/meltdown/puke and rage – and ask, myself…the universe…the three legged dog on the side of the road…the uncaring blazing sun…the hot-as-hell little car with horribly useless air conditioning:

WHY THE HELL DID I MOVE BACK HERE???!!! WHY DID I LEAVE MY NICE CAVE IN NZ FOR THIS HOT HORRID CRAZY-EXPENSIVE PLACE?

I knew it would happen at some point. The crash was always coming. I’ve always hated the weather in Samoa (i’m not a beach person and to be perfectly honest, I loathe the outdoors.) I knew it would be hard to adjust. And i was prepped to be uncomfortable and whiney and irritable at times.

But yesterday it all hit me at once. Our shipping container has arrived and we’re unloading all our junk. I had only “helped” move stuff out of it for a very little while but the suffocating heat inside a steel box was too much for me. Heatstroke aint no picnic. I was dizzy, nauseaous, and angry at myself for being so useless and weak.
On the drive home, bumping over dusty potholes, I looked at this place I willingly chose to return to, with its centipedes and assorted other minor annoyances – and I was utterly decrepitly unhappy at the realization that this is my home again. WTH were you thinking?! Why did you want to move back here you idiot! 

And then i cried. And was sick.

And even after drinking lots of ice water and sitting under a fan- i was miserable, surrounded by boxes and assorted junk that needed sorting. Yes, I know that in the grand scheme of things, we are very blessed to be able to move back home to Samoa and Im grateful. Most of the time.

But yesterday I wasnt. Yesterday was a depressing, awful day and i was hot and tired and sick. And I wished we hadnt moved here. Yesterday, for me, Samoa sucked.

Today’s going to be better though. Right?

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!

 

 

 

 

Sex-Breasts VS Milk-Making Ones

In this week’s Samoa Observer column, I get to talk about breasts. Yay fun!

“if breastfeeding is so good for everyone involved, then why is there sometimes an air of indelicate shame and discomfort about it in the ‘modern’ palagi country I currently live in?…The reaction to a woman feeding her baby in public as opposed to skulking in a dark corner (or toilet block) can sometimes range from awkward shifty eyes, to irritated muttering about indecency…”

Read the full article here: Samoa Observer

Why I don’t take my Kids ANYWHERE

There are some parents who have jam-packed activity schedules for their children. Every day. All the time.  They go to art galleries…museums…rock climbing…harp lessons…wildlife reserves…kayaking…wine and cheese tasting…flower arranging classes…skydiving…snake pit dancing… They take them everywhere and their children have lots of fantabulously exciting and intellectually stimulating experiences. I don’t actually KNOW any of these kinds of parents personally, most probably because they are far too busy taking their children everywhere to have a spare moment to talk to me. Or it could be because such parents would never deign to be friends with a loser like me because:

I don’t take my kids anywhere.  (Heck, I don’t even go anywhere myself. The cave is a scintillating place to be, why do we have to go out for?!)

But that’s because the few times that I do try to take them somewhere…really irritating things happen.

I decided to take the three daughters to the library. Sounds simple enough, right? Ha. First drama erupted when Bella decided her regular shoes were just not good enough to go the library in. ‘I want sparkly glitter shoes. Why don’t I have any pretty shoes?’  A five year old having a fashion crisis meltdown  is a horrible thing.

Then the trio couldn’t find an overdue library book. Much searching and yelling ensued. Much messing up of an already messy house was involved in this hunt for the elusive book. Bella cried because she couldn’t find it. Big Daughter snapped at Little Daughter because “its all your fault the book is missing. Why didn’t you take better care of it?” Little Daughter cried. Then Big Daughter asked, ‘Why don’t we just tell the library we lost the book and pay for it?”

“Do you have money to pay for it?” I snarled.

“No.”

“Well, then don’t make such ridiculous suggestions. Get out there and FIND THAT DAMN BOOK!”

After thirty minutes of emotional upheaval, the book was found. Hallelujah. We traipsed downstairs and got in the car. Which is when I noticed my car registration had expired. Just fabulous. The library parking lot is always riddled with parking cops, eager to hand out tickets and fines.

‘Don’t worry,’ the Hot Man said. ‘Go pay for the registration online and print out the receipt. You can put it on the dashboard when you go in the library.’

I went inside. I got online. I paid the registration. I tried to print the receipt. But I couldn’t. Because the printer had run out of ink. Just fudging fantastic!!!!

I went back outside. I slammed the door behind me. It didn’t make me feel any better. This day sucks. Who’s dumb idea was it to go to the library anyway?

For one tremulously wonderful moment, I contemplated cancelling the trip. Telling them all to ‘get out of my car, go inside and watch TV and don’t talk to me for the rest of the day. Not if you want to live…’  I thought about how crappy an ordinary thing like going to the library can be when one leads a messy, disorganized life like me. Those OTHER parents who take their kids everywhere can do that because their kids have sparkly shoes, they have a special shelf for library books so they never get lost (probably bar coded and GPS tracked for extra organizational wonderfulness points in heaven), their cars are ALWAYS registered on time, and their printers ALWAYS have ink in them (with extra cartridges stored for emergencies. Like the Zombie Apocalypse.)  This is the problem with taking my kids out of the house. It’s a reminder to me of what a loser parent I am. Why am I even bothering?!

But then I looked at three hopeful, patient, excited faces. In the car. Waiting. Anxiously. Because I never take them anywhere. Because a visit to the library is about as exciting as their lives get.

So I took them to the library and resigned myself to getting a ticket. What the heck, every other annoying thing has already happened…ticket me! Come on, do it!

And you know what? We had fun at the library. In spite of all my dark threats, there was no overdue fine to pay because little kids books don’t get fined apparently. Everybody got lots of books. All three of them found friends from school to talk to and look for books with. Bella played games and did puzzles. And I watched them all and asked myself, ‘Why don’t I do this more often? Its nice in here…’

Oh – and we finally caught a break – and didn’t get a ticket.

That night, I sat and read library books to Bella. She snuggled in beside me, listened avidly, laughed at all the funny bits and made me read the best books twice. Then she said, ‘Mama, this is so fun. I love you.’

Which of course had me all choked up on equal amounts of happiness, love and guilt.  And promising, yes I will take these children to the library more often. Possibly to the park. Maybe even rock climbing! (yeah, lets not push it. Keep it real Lani.)

And resolving to get some blasted spare ink cartridges for the printer, never be late with my car registration again, buy some sparkly shoes for Bella, and DON’T LOSE ANY LIBRARY BOOKS.

How about you? Please tell me I’m not the only one who dreads taking kids places?