writing

A New TELESA Novel.

“You know this isn’t healthy right?” Jake asked the question without recrimination. Simply stating an indisputable fact. “The anonymous financial support of her education, the long-distance stalking of her career – these are not signs of a balanced individual, a man who’s made incredible progress in therapy. You’ve come so far. But this? Is the last chain holding you back.”

” She’s not the only one that my Fire Foundation supports. So what, it’s a crime now to do charity work?” argued Keahi.

“It is when it’s accompanied by 24 hour surveillance. When are you going to let her go? What are you afraid of?”

Keahi’s only response to that was to start attacking the kick bag. Jake raised his voice over the jarring sound of blows.

“How do you feel when you think about letting her go? Stopping all the security?”

Keahi halted his assault, battling for control of his raging emotions as Jake’s question got him thinking – against his will – of letting her go.

No more cameras. No more bodyguards. No more weekly reports. No more knowing where she was, what she was doing, if she were alright…

He swore. Loudly. Turned and kicked a chair, sent it hurtling across the room. Jake sipped at his green tea and adjusted his glasses. And waited. He was used to this.

“You didnt see the footage,” Keahi argued. “If my guy hadn’t been there she would have been mugged that first year of art school. And then that apartment she was in? A pit. A health hazard. The landlord was in violation of twelve different building codes. She couldnt stay there in those conditions. All the stuff I do?  Im just looking out for an old friend.”

Jake raised a questioning eyebrow. “Is that what you call it? Buying the whole building so you could get her apartment renovated? Oh, and installing a gym and planting a martial arts instructor in the apartment block in the hopes she would take up classes? All that comes under ‘looking out for an old friend’?!

“You make it sound like I’m a psycho.” Keahi’s shoulders slumped. “I’m not hurting her. I would never hurt her.”

“She’s not the one I’m worried about,” replied Jake. “This obsession hurts you. Your fixation prevents you from moving forward. She’s not your sister. Nothing you do can bring Mailani back or make up for what happened twenty years ago. You need to let go of the guilt or you’ll never find peace.”

“Peace is overrated,” snapped Keahi. He resumed his attack on the bag.

Sometimes Jake – with all his degrees and experience – could get it wrong. Because Keahi knew without a shadow of a doubt that Teuila was not Mailani. And nothing about her made him think of a sister.

“She’s not a chain holding me back Jake,” he said quietly. “She’s the reason I’m not dead in a ditch somewhere. Or still picking fights in seedy clubs.” He motioned with outspread arms to the opulence around them, the stunning penthouse view of the cityscape. “She’s the reason I sorted myself out and  fought for all this.” A sly grin. “She’s why I got a therapist in the first place. You owe her your exorbitant fee.”

“Touche,” laughed Jake.

*****************

Keahi thought about that last session with Jake as he wandered through Teuila’s latest exhibition, coming to a halt in front of a piece fashioned of black river rock – a woman with her arms crossed around her legs, drawing them up close to her torso. Her face looked up to the heavens in supplication. Reverence. Flowing curves and contours, supple and liquid like midnight water. It was entitled;

For thou art fearfully and wonderfully made.

Critics the world over were alternately baffled and awed by Teuila’s style. She delighted in taking the toughest, most immovable of materials and fashioning sculptural and design pieces that spoke of fragility and lightness. Many had an ethereal quality about them but one that rested firmly on a foundation of strength and endurance.

One reviewer wrote: ‘In her hands, rock becomes silk, poumuli wood is butter and ore is water. One cannot detect even the hint of a chisel or the cut of a blade in them. The strength required to hew such materials, particularly in the mammoth-sized works, boggles the mind. How does she do it?

Because he had experienced Teuila’s unique gift for himself – with electrifying results – Keahi knew the answer to that question.

Teuila came up beside him and he turned to her with a cautious smile.

“What do you think?” she asked.

“Psalms 139, verse 14.”

Her face lit up. “You know it! That’s my favorite scripture and the inspiration for my key piece…”

Keahi interrupted, “In your Ragged Soul exhibition at the end of your final year at the Academy. I know.”

Confusion. “But how?”

“I went to see it on one of my trips to New York.” He shrugged at her look of incredulity. “I was there doing media stuff and I stopped by.” He could see she still didnt believe him. “Fine. I have a friend who’s an art freak, goes to all the latest shows. He knew about my connection to Samoa so he told me about this brilliant new artist from a tiny island in the South Pacific that everybody was raving about.”

It was the truth, just not the whole truth. He left out the part about Jake recognizing Teuila’s name because he’d already heard about her in his sessions with Keahi.

“You didnt want to say hi?” asked Teuila.

“I didnt want to get in the way. You had all that press around you and a bunch of stuck-up art crowd, so no, I just hung back and watched you do your thing.” A grin. “You handled that asshole critic really well, the one who was talking smack about your work while trying to look down your dress at the same time. Pretentious prick.”

She gaped. “You were there that day?!”

“Yeah. I looked at all your pieces and gotta admit I didnt understand it all.” A sheepish laugh. “But the bits I did get? Blew me away.”

She was suddenly shy. “Really?”

“Some of it scares me.”

“Why?”

“It’s so honest. That takes courage I dont have.” He wanted to tell her that he’d bought ten of her pieces. They were everywhere in his office and in his house. He wanted to say that he’d read every critic’s review of her work, every write-up about her in every magazine. He’d watched every interview she’d given over the last two years and even taken an online Art Appreciation class because he wanted to understand her work that continued to intrigue and challenge people everywhere.

But he didnt. He couldnt.

Because how could he explain the power she had over him – when he couldnt explain it to himself?

**************

Its been ten years since the concluding events of The Bone Bearer. New paths have been forged, gifts unleashed in unexpected ways, everyone has made new lives for themselves. But some things are stronger than time and distance.  Keahi’s tie to Teuila is one forged by shared childhood pain but is it an addiction that can be transformed into an enduring love? Or will it destroy them both? Especially when an ancient force is awakened- the Heart of Vaea – and they must subdue it before it consumes them all.

The next book in the TELESA Series is a stand-alone contemporary novel written for a mature audience. Coming July 2014.

 

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How to Become a Writer.

As a writer who writes too many different things all the time – I am often asked: “Where do you find the time and the drive to write? How do you overcome writer’s ‘block’?” Such questions are a puzzle to me and so my answer is 105km and 14 hrs long…

A few years ago, I had a crazy idea. I wanted to put together a women’s team and run in a 105km relay that went around the main island of Samoa. It was crazy because at the time I couldn’t even run around the parking lot without stopping to gasp for breath. But I was determined. I convinced some other moms to be crazy with me and we started training.

For 5 days a week over three months, we would meet at the crack of dawn to go for a 5k run. I use the term ‘run’ very loosely since, at first, we did more of a shuffle, which then accelerated to become a waddle, which then after a few weeks, became a jiggly, joggly sort of jog. Did I enjoy it? Hell no. I hated every minute of it. Many times, I only went because it was my turn to drive and pick the team up. Other times, I only went because the rest of the team was honking their car horn outside, waiting to pick me up.

But after 6 weeks, something strange happened. (No, I didn’t transform into a stunning athletic muscle machine. I wish.) I found myself waking up early on Saturday mornings…wanting to go for a run, itching and edgy for a run. Huh? By Wk 9, I was going for a run TWICE A DAY. And when I got the flu and couldn’t train for a week? I was raving mad. As if someone had bought all the Diet Coke on the island, leaving me with nothing but coconuts to drink. By the time the Perimeter Relay came around, I was running twice a day, sometimes 6 days a week. But more significantly, the running had become as essential to me as eating. Sleeping. Brushing my teeth. I wouldn’t dream of going a work-day without it. It took our team 14 hours to complete the relay, running from 2am to 5pm the next afternoon. Many times during that relay, I wanted to puke and die. But many times, I was also running on an exhilarating high as I gloried in feeling like – I could run forever and never stop.

Writing is just like that. If you want to BE a writer, you don’t ‘find time’ in your busy schedule to write. You make time. You start with a goal. A crazy dream. ‘I want to write a romance. A best-selling thriller. A children’s book. A memoir about my grandmother…’ You set aside a time and a place every day that you are going to write. You start off small. Shuffling, waddling baby steps to get you building the consistent writing habit. You write anything and everything. Start a journal. A family newsletter. Write down those bedtime stories you tell your kids. Record your family history. Write long, chatty letters to friends. Start a blog AND THEN STICK TO IT. The best thing I ever did for my writing career was to start a blog – it forced me to assert and accept responsibility for my writing. Your blog readers can be like that relay team of runners who force you to stick to your crazy dream by bugging you every day for your latest piece of writing. At first, it will be hard. You will probably hate it. Complain. Whinge and whine looking for excuses NOT to write. But if you keep at it, doggedly, persistently – you will hit that point where you can’t imagine a day, a moment, without writing. When you’re not writing, you will be thinking about it. If you have an unruly mob of children like me, you will dread the weekends because it means less writing time. ( And don’t even get me started on the horror of school holidays…aaargh!) You will write because you feel like you will die if you don’t. You will write because you are a writer. And that’s what writers do.

My 105km relay showed me that crazy, impossible dreams are possible.

A Very Sad Footnote to this Writing Story: Since the relay, my first book of narrative non-fiction, funded by the Australian government, ‘Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi’ was launched in 2010. I published four books in my Young Adult series, Telesa.  My collection of short fiction won the USP Press Fiction Prize. My story ‘The Beast that Came from the Sea’ was professionally recorded for radio by the Commonwealth Foundation and broadcast in 54 countries. I have written numerous children’s stories that are published in the NZ School Reading Curriculum. All while being the slave mother to five fabulous children. However, I have not been running anywhere. Not even in the parking lot. And it shows…

 

‘My Own Brand of Heroine’

BrandHeroineWhat happens when eight friends – who just happen to all be authors – want to do something in support of raising awareness of abuse and aid in the work to eliminate sexual violence?

An anthology of eight of our complete novels happens, with ALL the proceeds going to RAINN, the largest non-profit organization devoted to eliminating sexual violence in America and ranked by Worth magazine as “One of the 100 Best Charities”.

I’m honoured to have my book Telesa included in this collection and grateful that I can participate in such a worthy cause, which has great personal meaning for me as a survivor.

Over the past two years, I’ve come to treasure the friendship I have with this awesome author sisterhood (of eight and several more) and I have so much respect for them as writers, publishers (and superwomen!) They’ve been so generous with their advice and support. Virtual hugs and love for: Laura Bradley Rede, Elizabeth Hunter, Abbi Glines, Jamie McGuire, Killian McRae, Nichole Chase and Michele Scott.

Usually, our conversations are about writing (and the challenges of writing in between raising kids and still being nice to one’s partner!), our children, food, books, adorable pics of our pets (I have none, so I must gaze longingly at the poodles and Great Danes of others *sigh*), unicorns, debating Diet Coke vs Pepsi, and plans for the next time we’re all in the same city on the same continent. Such conversations usually involve way too much laughing.

But we got very serious, very quick, when we talked about compiling this paranormal anthology and our reasons for choosing to donate all the sales to RAINN.  Each of the books has a strong female lead character. They are stories of fantasy, mystery, friendship, and love. Every woman has an enemy to fight and a story to tell. This is ‘Our Brand of Heroine.’  With this collection we pay tribute to the courage, resilience, strength, vulnerability and diversity of survivors.

Even if you have already read Telesa, I encourage you to still purchase this collection for only $3.99 – so you can be captivated by the epic storytelling of New York Times Bestselling authors (them, not me!). And so that you can support a vital cause at the same time.

Buy:

* From Amazon

* From Barnes and Noble  

* From Smashwords

Covergirl – Faith Wulf. Photography – Jordan Kwan

Myownbrand_Lani1

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!

 

 

 

 

I helped write a MOOC in Philadelphia. (WTH??)

I’ve been travelling and book touring (and eating lots of delicious new foods while I’m at it…) so my poor blog has been rather neglected! I’m all done though with book launch stuff and back to full-time parent duty because the Hot Man has moved to Samoa for work. So I’m ready to get into my favourite first writing love: blogging. Prepare for lots of ranting, raving, meandering blogposts to come.

But first, some of the highlights of my travelling. Which may not be that super-fascinating for those of you who are accustomed to a jet-setting, high society lifestyle because of course, it doesn’t take much to excite me or impress me because I never go anywhere or do anything…

1. I went to Philadelphia because I was invited by the Commonwealth Education Trust to take part in a planning committee that’s putting together a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on teaching how to write for young readers. The 12 week free course will be hosted on the Coursera platform to a global audience. I got to meet and work with a fascinating group of people who are all involved somehow with writing and are experts in their particular area. We wanted to design a course that would provide some basic skills and tools for those with a writing dream, as well as encourage them to draw on their unique cultural settings to enrich their stories. The Bio list of the other participants was rather daunting for me to read because they are such a talented and accomplished group of experts (and so my teenagers were asking, ‘Umm so why did they ask YOU to be on the committee Mum?!’ Thanks a lot for the confidence boost kids…) I learned heaps. You can read more about it from two of the other participants, Uma Krishnaswami (India/USA author and Creative Writing Professor) : http://umakrishnaswami.blogspot.co.nz/2013/10/the-commonwealth-education-trust-moocs.html

And Summer Edward (Trinidad/USA Writer, Consultant and Editor of Anansesem, The Caribbean Children’s Literature Magazine): http://www.summeredward.com/

While I was in Philly, I tried Taco Bell for the first time. #LikedIt

aTaco

Was very impressed with the hotel conference room we were meeting in for 8hrs every day because it was always fully stocked with LOTS of Diet Coke and buckets of ice.

aDiet

How cool is that?! Was intrigued by rocking chairs everywhere at Philly airport.

airport

And enjoyed writing and book chat with this insightful group.

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I didn’t get to see much of Philly because I was in a workshop all day but what I did see was beautiful. If I ever am forced to go back to University, I would like it to be Univ of Pennsylvania because its a breathtaking campus.

It was an exciting opportunity to be a part of the CET course planning. It has so much potential to light writing fires in countries all over the world and help get more stories written and published that provide unique insight into all of our different cultures. I’m particularly buzzed about its application to Pasifika. Because the course is free and all one needs is internet access – I am hopeful that it will be instrumental in getting more stories written about us…for us…and by us. I know lots of you blog readers have stories to tell, so I will keep you posted on the course development so you can all sign up once it goes live!

(Hawaii was so jam-packed with fabulousness that its going to require several blog posts…)

Parents who Believe in You

myDad

The Hot Man went to Samoa last night – for the Half Ironman which is next week. Along with his bike and all his special race foods, he also took with him TWO copies of my book. One for my big brother and one for my parents. (the other boxes of books are chugging their slow steady way across the Pacific Ocean on a boat somewhere.)
This is a pic of my dad Dr Tuaopepe Felix Wendt with HIS copy.
      A long time ago, an English teacher accused 14yr old me of plagiarism because she said, ‘theres no way you could have written a story like this! You must have copied it from a book somewhere.’ That story was called THE SILVER DOLPHIN and it was about a girl who falls in love with a boy from the ocean…who turns into a silver dolphin and takes her to his undersea kingdom. (See? I was starting to create Daniel Tahi waaaay back then, LOL)
      My Dad was not happy. He came to school to defend me and my writing, to set that teacher straight. Among other things, he told her I was a ‘brilliant writer with a great imagination” and “my daughter’s going to write books one day.” He had to wait a long time for me to get my act together and write those books – but my father has always believed in my writing, long before I did. I don’t think young Adult romance with lots of angst-ridden teenagers, rippling tattooed muscles and women who summon lightning and set the world on the fire, is really HIS kind of reading material, but it doesn’t stop him from being rather buzzed every time I release a new book.
      Parents who believe in us and see things in us – that we can’t, parents who fight for us – are a blessing and a gift beyond measure.
      Thank you Dad.

Hot Chiselled Bodies vs Babies that pop out like Blackheads

The thing about releasing a book is then people want to know – ‘when’s your next book coming out?’ Never mind that you just gained twenty pounds sitting on your butt (eating and) writing this book and your children have forgotten what you look like…more importantly, they have forgotten the high standards you have for things like general hygiene and they can’t understand why you have emerged from the hermit cryogenic chamber really irritated with the mess and general sloppiness of their lives, bedrooms and appearance. ‘But mum, we’ve been living like this for months now and we’re fine…we like it…we’re happy!’ So then they tell you nicely, ‘Why don’t you go write another book?’ (And leave us alone…)

Anyway, I digress…So here I am, with four books done in the Telesa Series and waiting for the printer to churn out a few thousand copies of ‘The Bone Bearer’ so I can start my book tour where I get to meet with fabulous readers in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Brisbane, Samoa and Hawaii. There are visits to schools and book launch events planned that also celebrate Pasifika dance, music and art. The launch events always make me feel vaguely ill because of the speeches involved but I like doing the school visits – talking to teenagers about writing and career dreams and working hard to make aforementioned dreams happen is always fun. Usually because these teenagers actually pretend to listen to me and be interested in what I have to say. (Unlike the two teenagers that live in my house…) Which brings me to the first point of this blogpost – if you’re interested in having a Telesa author visit your school then please do email me about it and we’ll see if we can make it happen. I would like to go to American Samoa on this book tour because I have such awesome memories of how beautiful it is there, but haven’t figured out how to make it happen yet. (So if you have some ideas, let me know.)

Now to answer that question of: What book are you writing next? I’ve got three books in the works at the moment. First one is a TELESA novella that tells the story of one (or two) of the key characters from the series. If you want to find out WHO and read a piece of this novella, then please sign up for my newsletter because once we get 500 subscribers, I’ll be sending that out to them. Use this link to sign up –

Telesa Series  Updates

I’ll be choosing 3 winners from the subscribers to gift print copies of The Bone Bearer to with the next newsletter. I’ve got lots of short stories, deleted scenes, unreleased excerpts from the Telesa world which I will be including in the newsletters as well and I don’t want to drive blog readers nuts by posting them on here. So IF you’re a Telesa fan then sign up. If my universe doesn’t get too crazy this Telesa novella will be out in November.

The second book in the works is my romantic comedy novel. Chick-lit is my favourite genre to read and I’ve always wanted to write one, Pasifika style. I’m having heaps of fun with it and the main character may or may not have nicknamed the male lead with the nickname hashtag #Wolfman. As in, he reminds her a teensie little bit of…

joe-manganiello-for-muscle-and-fitness-21

 

Third book coming out soon is one I’ve been playing around with for awhile. Inspired by my blogging and tentatively titled:

*The Demented Domestic Goddess: A Survival Guide

Here’s a piece of it for your reading pleasure. Let me know your thoughts on it…does it sound like a book you’re going to want to read? Yes, no, maybe so? So there you have it folks, now you know the answers to: What are you writing next?

An Excerpt from: The Demented Domestic Goddess

There are women who pop out babies like blackheads. Just a little squeeze and there it is. Messy, bloody, and raw but a quick clean with an antiseptic wipe and it’s all good. Such women can then dab on a bit of makeup, slip on that little black dress and they are all ready to face the world like  supermodel Elle Mcpherson. Looking like they never ever had a zit before. See that perfectly co-ordinated, perky child that just skipped past us? That’s their little zit. Always clean. Sparkling. Polite. Never screams. Never poops in public. Never eats their own goobies or gives other children black eyes.

I am not one of those women. And I don’t have mess-free zits that appear and then magically go away. (I have gigantic rupturing abcesses that fester and ooze.)  So if YOU are one of those women, then you shouldn’t be reading my book. I hate you.

This book is for women who don’t ‘glow’ when they’re eight months pregnant. Who don’t post half naked pictures of their ‘BUMP’  on Facebook because you can’t tell their ‘bump’ from the rest of their bumpy, blobby self. This book is for women who know what God was talking about when He said, “In pain thy shalt bring forth children…” And totally agree with Shakespeare when he said, “Woman thy name is misery.”

This book is for women who have too many children. Either because they were wildly irresponsible or crazy. (Or both.) Or because they had a hugely generous heart and adopted lots of random offspring from other crazy, irresponsible people and now they are surrounded by buckets of little people and wondering, ‘How the hell did I end up here?’

This book is for women who love their kids but also fantasize about ways to get rid of them so they can breathe air without anyone else’s name on it. Women who hide in the bathroom for a quiet moment and yet still those determined demons hunt her down, bang on the door, whine, squabble and argue for her weary attention.

This book is also for women who are contemplating motherhood in one form or another. Consider it my gift to you – a reality check of what to expect so you don’t actually have to try it. Unless you’re feeling a little dangerous and foolish…

If you can tick any of these things on the checklist, then you should read this book.  And give it to all your friends and family who have no clue what kind of hell you endure on a daily basis. So they can laugh and feel better about their own crappy lives…

This book begins with a disclaimer : I never planned on being a mother. Especially not to five children.  I’m not sure I ever even planned on being a wife. A girlfriend/lustful object of affection/goddess of adoration – yes. But a wife? No. Never planned on that either. But twenty years ago, someone asked me to marry him. And since I couldn’t think of any other way to be with him forever, (or how to have sex with him without feeling evil) – I said yes. Since then, five other complete people have entered my life, my personal space, my home, my hermit cave. My heart. Some grew in my uterus like little aliens. Another grew in somebody else’s uterus and then alien invaded my life anyway. Each of them has wriggled into spaces that didn’t exist before. Making room for themselves. Like parasitic leeches that just won’t let go, no matter how hard you try to shake them off.

No, I never planned on having a family. But now, here I am – the creator of a clan, the maker of a mob, the lead player of a posse.  A family. With a father, a mother, children, grandparents and buckets of cousins. Some days, I’m not quite sure how I got here. I look at all these people who want things from me, who hug me and tell me they love me – and I am bemused. Who are you people? How did we all end up here stuck in the same house?  Some days, I’m not quite sure that I want to stay.  I don’t want to be somebody’s wife. Somebody’s mother. Some days there isn’t enough air left for me to breathe after all this lot have had their fill and I am smothered. Suffocated by them all and I wish they would all disappear.

But then other days, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Being with anyone else.  Because I am not the same ME. Because each of them has changed me, marked me, challenged me in a myriad of different ways.

This, this is a story about me, the Fabulous Five and how they taught me everything I know about fear and faith. And continue to teach me – because I am a very slow learner. This is a story about how the Hot Man and I contributed to the population of the planet at great financial expense, mental distress and extreme physical suffering. And survived. And still survive. And we are still together. And the Fabulous Five have all turned out to be rather amazing and continue to amaze us. And how we try to love them all ( most of the time) and manage not give in to the desire to run away. By default, this is also a story about the people who gave me life and then refined me in a furnace of familial fury and fun – MY mother. My father. My five siblings. It is highly possible that none of them will want to talk to me after this book is done…

Telesa 3 is Out Now

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News Update folks, all the stars have aligned and the ebook version of ‘The Bone Bearer’ is available right now from Amazon. Remember, you don’t need to own a Kindle to get your copy. You can download the free Kindle App to your phone or computer and then purchase your book. Its available for the next 48 hrs for the launch celebration price of $5.99. Get it here:

The Bone Bearer: Book Three in the Telesa Series

Gotta say, I felt a bit like crying when I finally saw it go live on Amazon. Its been a two year journey writing Leila and Daniel’s story and there were moments when I doubted I would ever see three complete books written and published! These books have taken me to many places and given me the opportunity to laugh with and learn from a myriad of amazing women who I am honored to call my friends. I’m still a social freakazoid hermit, but now, I’m a hermit with a kick-butt awesome global sisterhood!

Each book in the series has been dedicated to special people I am blessed to have in my life. The first book was (of course) written to and for, the Hot Man –

‘Who teaches me daily how to love with fun, faith and fire.’

The second book was dedicated to the Fabulous Five –

‘Who allow me space to breathe, room to dance and dream. You give me courage to write books and then actually let others read them.’

This final book in the Trilogy is dedicated to –

My friend, my sister – and a true example of beautiful, fierce, fiery and fabulous womanhood,

  Elena  Peteru

Without you, this book would never have been written. Time and again, you help me find my way. Better than a happy pill, your insight, love and support keeps me from falling away from the straight and narrow (or at least not too far away!)

I first met Elena when I was young and restless, single, skinny and self-obsessed. I was a first year student at Victoria University and she was the super-cool upstairs neighbour who was always willing to chat, listen and counsel. We virtuously went power walking every morning (downhill) where we would buy pastries from the bakery and then take the cable car (uphill) to have breakfast in the Botanical Gardens… She was there when my mum threatened to disown me for being a skank. She was there when I was a wild child and got married at the (clueless) young age of 20 (she MC’d our wedding.) She was there for me through long-ago domestic dramas…when I chucked rocks at the Hot Man’s V8 car and tried to set fire to all his belongings…*innocent face* who me?!  Even when we are on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean ( or opposite sides of Auckland and neither of us can drive outside our comfort zones…), Elena is my rock. Thank goodness for Vodafone BestMate which makes it possible for us to talk for far too long about far too many things.  The Telesa Series is about women and their often complex relationships as sisters, friends, mothers and daughters, which is why it makes total sense to dedicate the third and final book to a woman who at different times in my life – has been all of those things to me.

Finally, to all those who have kept me company on the writing journey, all those supportive generous readers worldwide – my forever gratitude. Diet Coke and donuts, for each and every one of you!

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?

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

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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?