Hi everyone, its been a long while!
The bad news is that I lost my blog/website with all the latest info and writing on it. (Don’t ask what I did/didn’t do for that to happen. Just know that I am a pitiful procrastinator of all things related to tech and domains and deadlines and reminders to renew subscriptions, and lets leave it at that.) So its all gone. Many years of meandering thoughts and random whinging about life, my kids and all the people who have annoyed me and that I want to run over with a truck. All my fiapoto columns where I annoyed lots of people. Gone.
The good news is, I found my old blog. The one I had before I migrated to the new fab site. And wonder of wonders, I remembered my password! So here I am, rebooting from the old neighborhood where I used to hang out.
Now, what to say!? It feels like YEARS since I blogged! (Because it has been. Six years in fact since I posted anything over here. And to be honest, I had stopped blogging over on my other site as well.) Here’s the catchup on everything important and noteworthy from the last six years. In no particular order and certainly not in order of importance. Only order as of how they occur to me!
1.My kids grew up and I cant write about them anymore because for some strange reason, they hate their mother talking about them on the internet? (Like, why?! I dunno.) Its rather frustrating to be honest. Being their mother is such a gigantic integral part of my life and if I cant write about them, then all I have left is an existential rift of nothingness. Aaaaaargh! So to overcome this problem, I’m going to write about them using new generic code names. From henceforth, they will all be known as DEMONS. Surely they cant sue me now?
2.I started an online newspaper that consumed my every waking and non-sleeping minute. I loved the work and learned heaps. We even won some media awards. And made some people angry. (A key indicator of journalistic success I’ve been told. When people send you hate mail and threaten to sue you. Or chop you in pieces.) But then my business partner and I didnt work out so we had to shut down. Which was sad at the time. Perhaps thats a good thing though. Nobody says anymore that they want to drag my carcass through the streets, or drown my children in the sea. So yay for sad endings?
3.I wrote some more books. Five of them in fact. Hopefully if you’re reading this, you already know that because you already read them. If not, please exit this blog immediately, go to Amazon and buy all my books. Don’t waste a minute more on this rubbish blog when you could be laughing your way through Scarlet Lies and sighing over the incredibly delicious Jackson. I may have outdone myself with just how delightful that man is. Or just how messy funny teary joyous Scarlet and her family dramas are. And if you haven’t already, you NEED to read ‘Ocean’s Kiss’ which is the story right after the end of Bone Bearer, and gives you the heartwrenching story of Daniel’s parents, AND lots of Leila and Daniel action.
4.I got a tattoo. A traditional women’s tualima, hand tattoo. It hurt. But it was worth it. It was my birthday present to myself, recognising how I had made it through some tough awful things and was even stronger and more determined to keep going through whatever else life decided to chuck at me.
5. I learnt how to swim. A huge deal for me. Researching and writing the book on the tsunami was a transformative experience and a journey that left me with PTSD. Including a terror of the ocean. After a year of learning and trying and practising, I wish I could tell you that I am a dolphin in the water, but no. Im a sloth in the water. Swimming brings me a lot of fear. When I am in the ocean, she tells me that she can kill me at any moment. She is not my friend. We have an uneasy truce now. I consider it a kickass achievement that I still swim even though it freaks me out the entire time.
6.One of the Demons ran away from home. He went to his birth parents, then to live with friends, then to live with aiga. Lots of hurt and heartache for all of us including for the runaway Demon and the remaining Demons who didn’t run away. It’s been nearly two years now and he seems to be happy and settled where he is. I still get sad that he isn’t with us anymore, that I couldn’t be the mother he needed. But I remind myself that all children leave. Just in different ways and at different times. And you can’t force them to stay. What matters is he seems to be better where he is now. Some people have taken great delight in telling us it makes us awful parents that one of the Demons ran away and doesn’t live with us anymore. Those people could be right. Or they could use a reminder from Socrates – “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.” So shut the fk up?
7.I tried a new sport. And am still trying. I have the dubious honor of being the fastest Samoan woman triathlete (over 16) in Samoa! (Trumpets please!) Isnt that shamahzing? To clarify, I’m one of only two Samoan women doing triathlon on island. The other is a fantabulous sixteen year old and when I grow up I want to be as fast and fit as her. I am very consistent, ie I come last in every triathlon we have. Even small children beat me. But I’m still rather pleased with myself for even getting out there. Doing triathlons means I actually go outside the hermit cave now so I can swim and bike and run.
8. About two years ago I started making some serious changes to what I eat and how I eat (ie that means Im not writing books with donuts and doritos anymore. Nooooo!) I made the decision to change my wonky lifestyle because I was pre-diabetic, with high cholestorol, my asthma was bugging me a lot, I had lots of skin infections that made life sorta miserable, and I was out of breath just walking up the stairs. It’s been a long steady process of change and so worth it. I now have perfect blood sugar numbers, havent needed my inhaler all year, my skin is happy, I can swim/bike/run (slowly but hey I can do it!) I lift weights and love getting stronger. It feels good to be more active and eating in a way that better fuels my stronger, fitter body. And I fit all the Demons clothes so I have so many more wardrobe options now! (No, they don’t like that at all.)
9.I got a NZ publisher for my Telesa Series and now you can find my books in lots of shops throughout the country, at Warehouse and at the airport (which was always a dream of mine). Not bad for a book that started out with buckets of rejections and so we published it ourselves.
10.I won some awards for my writing. Named the ACP Pacific Laureate in 2018 (by the African Caribbean Pacific Secretariat). The 2019 NZ Society of Authors Waitangi Day Honor. And in 2020 my short fiction collection ‘Afakasi Woman’ won a Storylines Notable Books Award and was shortlisted for the Young Adult Fiction Award in the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Awards are nice to get, especially when you’re self-published, because it gives your books more visibility and helps break through the still lingering stigma around indie books. More schools, libraries and bookstores are willing to order your books because of awards. And to all those who still bought/read/promoted my books BEFORE any awards shouted about my writing – you are the true legend MVR’s (Most Valuable Readers), thank you!
So that’s a brief catchup on some of the stuff that’s been happening in the last six years. What about now?
We are of course, living in a pandemic like everybody else on the planet. For us it means no travelling outside of Samoa’s closed borders. We feel blessed to be here in Samoa which is working hard to prevent Covid19 from getting in.
The Hot Man is still running the construction company and we are very grateful to still have work in these unsettling times. The oldest Demon lives in NZ where he’s working at a job he enjoys. I miss him heaps but he’s doing well and is happy. We have three Demons home with us. Two of them are working in the company office. Covid19 brought them home so until its safe out there in the world, they’re doing awesome things for the business and basically making it look and run ten times better and more efficiently than it did before. The baby Demon is not a baby any longer. She’s the only one left who still needs driving to school and who has homework and projects for me to check on.
Im in the company office very infrequently now that the Demons are running it so well. Instead Im in the writer cave at home, getting books finished. I just completed a new book in the Telesa World series, ‘Fire’s Caress’. It comes out very soon. And I’m polishing off a novella in the same series, ‘Earth’s Embrace’ which is a Leila and Daniel continuation story. I worry a lot about the apocalypse and all the uncertainty and struggle of these times. I’m so grateful our children are safe and well, as are our elderly parents, that most of our aiga are sheltered from Covid19. I’m also mindful of our privilege – we both work in industries that are still functioning, unlike tourism which has been hit so hard. People still need steel fabricated and welded, warehouses built. People still need books to read, fantasy and romance to give them an escape for just a little while, to raise them up.
I’m going to be blogging regularly again, right here. About everything from pandemics to the pie I make every week using the wild tangle of pumpkins growing in the back yard. About the Fab Four Demons. The Hot Man. Writing. Complaining about people I want to run over with a truck. Training for triathlons where Im certain a shark will one day finally get me. Peri-menopause (omg where my sister sufferers at?! we need to talk!) Enduring life with teenagers. Walks and convos with my Dad. Living with boundaries. So many things to blog about!
I hope you can join me.