Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Author displays and promotions...

As well as launching our 4th book last Friday with family and friends, I'm also now given opportunities to promote the books and am thankful for Pacific Business Trust in giving Pacific Businesses the opportunity to have a static display at their Otahuhu offices last Saturday as a part of their 30th Anniversary celebrations. It also gave me the chance to speak with various business owners in sharing ideas about different ways of promoting our goods or services.

This is a pic of me standing with Sita Selupe who is both founder, CEO and Principal of Rise Up Trust/Academy where one of my children attends school. Like me they started with hopes and dreams and Pacific Business Trust played a big part when they were initially starting off and they are now a fully fledged charter school i.e. Rise Up Academy who are helping to realise the aspirations of many families and I am in a privileged space in being able to support the vision.

It also gave me a chance to consider my display for this weekend's NZ Independent Book Festival on the North Shore this Saturday and Sunday which, I think, will be mainly by and for a mainstream audience. I'm not sure if there will be any other Pasifika writers or publishers and I am definitely a newcomer when it comes to promoting myself as an author of both picture books and plays (so far) but I do want to represent Pacific people in an authentic but approachable down to earth way so might go with the jandals, Island print display materials (ie lavalava) and some Pacific jewellery - ha ha. Bring it on...

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A blessed book launch with Tagaloalagi ...

Had a blessed and intimate book launch last week with my parents flying over from Samoa and blessed by Rev Ropati one of my birth church's ministers from PIC Mangere (Presbyterian.)

It was also a privilege to have friends attend from Pacific Business Trust through Maria and Te Wananga o Aotearoa colleagues Penny and Mele and hosted by Mangere East Library through Amelia the library manager. And a big thanks to Mary (Coconut Wireless) for photo taking.

For me, this launch was very emotional than the first three as I paid tribute to the late Aeau Taulupoo Lafaialii who had passed away only a couple of weeks earlier. He had been a principle storyteller (as discussed in an earlier September 2015 blog) in my research of 1989 of collecting tala o le vavau (ancient stories) in Savaii, Samoa.
It had been my hope to visit with him in November when my family is planning to visit Samoa but God had other plans so am hoping to visit local primary schools and share in book readings and telling stories.

I must say that I feel very humbled and privileged to be in this space and I don't take it lightly in being an author and the opportunities that are starting to unfold in hopes of continuing to share stories and preserve cultural artefacts through our ancient tala that tell moral tales.

I'm now starting on the final two books that am planning to launch before the end of the year with one planned for Samoa and another for Auckland. This launch left my feeling very blessed and am hoping that I can bless others just as much. Thank you God! ...

Thursday, 24 September 2015

4th book launch of "Tagaloalagi" tomorrow ...

I have been so blessed this year that when I look back on my journey from the beginning of the year to where I stand today I can only thank God for the miracles that have happened so far.

I also have a lot of people to thank too so at tomorrow's book launch it will be about acknowledging some of the most caring people I know who have been a part of this journey like my parents from the beginning, my husband and children, my family, friends and work colleagues and have made some new friends along the way too.

It's also about celebrating from humble beginnings with lots of hopes and dreams to seeing it to fruition and about realising a dream that has spanned over two decades and even more so if I count from my high school days.

So with 4 self published books under my belt and with many more on the production line, I feel indeed honoured and privileged to be in this space.

And for the story of Tagaloalagi, I thank the many who have contributed in some way i.e. way back when I first started writing for fun in church plays, to writing high school productions to now being able to share it in print form and for ebook conversions during the Christmas break.

In fact, to date I've received a contract to be represented for the first play "Maui and Sina" and have signed and will be sending back, with interest from libraries (book suppliers) to buy the play collections as they are released and to think that I had given up on these plays ever seeing the light of day.

Now, I marvel at the time that they have been out of sight but not quite out of mind and now there is a real interest in them as they were written as moral plays much like the early English plays that I studied at Uni but with a more Pasifika and contemporary feel...

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Rugby world cup 2015...

Image result for all blacks rugby world cup 2015

Image result for manu samoa rugby world cup 2015
How can I not mention the Rugby world cup for 2015 currently playing in England, especially when I have my dad (recently flown in from Samoa) and my husband who are avid fans of the All Blacks and Manu Samoa teams.

In fact in South Auckland, you'll see lots of flags flying on cars representing the teams that they support and have mostly seen All Black: black and white with the fern; The Tongan team with the red and white flag flapping predominantly and not to mention the Manu Samoa flag with it's blue and white insignia.

Most people here are picking that the All Blacks will win in believing that they have the best team in the world at this time (I think maybe the most well known) with players such as Richie Macccaw, Keven Mealamu and Ma'a Nonu in their 4th Rugby world cups (those stats from a conversation with my husband this morning).

As for me, I wish them all the teams the best, even if I'm not an avid Rugby fan. And I love it when underdogs like Japan's win over South Africa's team last week with tears of relief and overwhelmed in showing that sometimes dreams can come true ...

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Early writing influences... CS Lewis, JR Tolkien etc.

On TV last night I watched one of CS Lewis' books on film and it made me reflect on what were the early influences upon my writing was because as a child, I was an avid reader and if you couldn't find me outside playing on my bike in the sun or on a swing, you'd often find me curled up with a book which sometimes got me into trouble.

So the school library was one of my favourite places to go before our local public library was open. I'd go to the library not only for art books on how to make things (yes, I was 'crafty' from a young age as is one of my children) but I loved reading books in series like Enid Blyton's 'Secret Seven' series, her 'Wishing chair' series, CS Lewis' 'Narnia' series, Beverley Cleary's 'Beezus and Ramona' series and into High school it was JR Tolkien's 'Hobbit' series, SE Hinton's 'Tex' series etc,

And now in my writings, I'm writing different series with different genre: firstly with bilingual picture book series on ancient Samoan stories for preservation; lately with a play series that I wrote for South Auckland high schools - 6 in total with a 7th play that hasn't yet been performed; I have couple of poetry collections; a short story collection; and a novel series that I hope to Indie publish over the next two years and that's before I can publish some new material.

Yes, there is a method to this madness but like many writers, it is about sharing the writing journey with readers and I have such a long way to go but in a few shorts months I feel like I've developed in leaps and bounds with now the Indie publishing underway I'm looking forward to what the future holds....

Friday, 18 September 2015

Playmarket Represents... "Maui & Sina"!

Things have been really shifting over the past few months and I must say that I'm receiving a lot of interest in my writing that would have otherwise been lost in time thanks to people such as Maria Fastnedge, my family members and friends who've believed in my writing since the school productions, the church pageants and even the work related reports I write along the way - ha ha.

Today, I received an email that Playmarket (company based in Wellington - the Arts capital) are happy to promote the play "Maui and Sina", the published playscript and to represent me for any licensing (royalties I guess?) should schools wish to produce the plays for school productions.

Wow! I had to take a step back and let it sink in that those many years ago when I wanted the plays to be published back in my 20s, there was no interest and I certainly didn't have the time or the inclination to promote as I was busy with my growing career in the field of education and didn't think it would go anywhere. Now, there's been a massive change in the literary landscape and things will never be the same.

There's also some initial interest for me in being a peer assessor for Creative NZ, another door which may be slowing opening, although I haven't yet applied for any of Creative NZ's funding in wanting to be quite independent of funding sources, rejected applications and other people's opinions etc.

I say, if there is enough support from those around you and belief in yourself then just go for it and you never know, cos if you aim for the stars and miss you might land into a cloud with a silver lining...

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Pacific Market week and NZ Independent Book Festival upcoming...

It's looking to be a very busy two weeks from next week with end of the term school holidays just around the corner, looking forward to a daughter's birthday, my parents flying in from Samoa for White Sunday and am promoting at two venues: the first at Pacific Business Trust in Otahuhu as a static display (meaning just products on display) from Mon - Fri on the week of 22 - 25 September with the Saturday being the market day and then the following week at the NZ Independent Book Festival which will be held this year at the North Shore Events Centre on the first weekend of Oct on Sat and Sun.

This will be my first time advertising/promoting at both venues and I guess it's for the experience and exposure in finding out what other Indie/self-publishing authors do, networking and finding out what is currently trending in NZ Indie literature with ideas that I might learn from.

In fact, I was quite surprised to receive a phone call from New York yesterday from a "Worldwide  Who's Who" networking company based in the States. I was told that I would have a 15 min interview which actually turned out to be a 50 min discussion and was congratulated in being accepted into their illustrious company with a subscription. Although I didn't go for the sub, I was quite "stoked" that I had been 'approved' through an international company.

For me, the lesson that I've learned is to never give up on dreams especially if there is a passion and a prodding in that if you believe that there is something that you can do - you probably can do it!...

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A life changing conversation with Maria Fastnedge...

 Have you ever had that life changing conversation that you know changed the direction of your life? For some people it's the alter call at a Christian convention, or it's a spouse who walks out and doesn't want to come back or it's making the best decision between changing jobs or two difficult things in life etc.

For me, it was a conversation with Maria Fastnedge at Pacific Business Trust on the 23rd of January at the beginning of the year and when I least expected it as being a writer/author/self-publisher were unspoken dreams that I only thought about for over 20 years but never really expected that it could happen to me. That was until I met Maria...

Initially, I considered cancelling the meeting because I'd already planned to take out the girls to the beach to celebrate my youngest sister's birthday (whose name also happens to be Maria) but then in remembering that I had a meeting scheduled I thought it would only be an hour so I'd be back in a jiff. I wasn't expecting much but boy was I so wrong...

Around two hours later, I returned home with my spirits lifted, I packed our beach gear into the car, the surprised girls into the car and drove to the beach (a little late) but with a new song in my heart and a new direction for the rest of my life.

Our conversation was significant because up until that time I had only entertained the thought of self-publishing and had been considering it but it seemed so hard and there were so many uncertainties but after our conversation I knew it was possible and with her positive attitude and ideas, it gave me the kick start that I needed "for such a time as this".

Immediately upon returning from the beach, I started painting using the canvases that had been waiting for me. I reworked through the text that I'd started writing the year before for "Sina and the Tuna" and began working through the steps of contacting a printer, considering the fonts, working on a cover design and letting go of the self-doubt (one of the biggest hurdles that I overcame).

And now, 8 months later with 3 books in two genre self-published with another book launch next week and with 3 more launches planned before the end of the year and with book readings started in schools with two more author readings in schools in Samoa and Hawaii (Oahu) planned before Christmas - I thank God for a special woman who took the time to talk with me and gave me that 'permission' to think outside my square to step out in faith and act and to her I will be forever grateful.

I wish special blessings to her and her family and I think women such as her need to be honoured as they go about their daily lives, sharing and giving so much that sometimes we need to honour such special women and say 'thank you' and may God bless you that as you pour out to others may you be blessed abundantly too :)

Monday, 14 September 2015

Sista's conference Night sessions

This weekend I attended the Sista's night sessions with the theme of "Grace" with my girls and enjoyed the teachings, the atmosphere and being out with other women to learn more about heightening our Christian life.

The pic shows the front stage as we were up in the tiered seats with a capacity of well over 1000 people seated.

On the last evening, the speaker was Ps Bobby Houston wife of Ps Brian Houston senior pastors of "Hillsongs" church in Sydney with churches scattered all over Australia, English and in Asia.

Over the years, I've watched this church flourish in the 1990s with beautiful Christian music, have listened to Ps Brian at different venues in Auckland when I've been able to catch him or on TV and am encouraged that as one of the first megachurches in Australasia that they haven't lost their vision and are still gunning for God.

Ps Bobby's message was encouraging as it reminded me of what I've been through and where I am now in my life's journey. She talked about sayings or "Memes" that have encouraged her on "Pinterest" and one of them was:
1. Dream
2. Make a start
3. Work hard
4. Repeat

And this would have to be one that I work on these days with each book. She also spoke about praying with the line "Grace, grace" in prayer in that it activates a power higher than when we are able to speak at times, especially when people are going through insurmountable issues or problems that leave us speechless. It was such an encouragement and a motivation to keep running the race towards the goal, no matter what...

Saturday, 12 September 2015

A tribute to Aeau Taulupoo Lafaialii... Ia manuia lou malaga

Today I'd like to pay tribute to Aeau Taulupoo Lafaialii from Falealupo, Savaii whom I met in his beloved village back in 1989 whilst on my Masters fieldtrip to Samoa. I heard yesterday from his grand niece that he had passed away a couple of days ago in Samoa in his 80s. He was the principle storyteller of my second book "Mount Vaea and the tears of Apa'ula" and I was looking forward to seeing if I could visit with him, share the gift of the book with him and for him to meet my children upon our November planned trip. I guess God had another plan.
The last time I saw him saw was in 2012 (but not in person) when my family travelled to Samoa to celebrate my father's birthday and to observe the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Samoa. On the particular day that we were scheduled to go to Mulinuu to view the celebrations, my baby was sick and so I had to stay behind with her whilst my husband and daughters went together. I watched the proceedings on TV and that was when I saw that Aeau was the chosen person to raise the flag in commemorations of the celebrations. We flew out of Samoa a couple of days later.
In 1962, he had been the youngest member of the Constitutional convention whom had drafted the Constitution of Samoa for Independence and in 2012, he was the last surviving member of that committee. Last year, I read he was honoured with a Head of State services medal with many honoured dignitaries as a special dinner at Robert Louis Stevenson Museum grounds. How fitting!
I remember him, in my early 20s when he was probably in his early 60s, as a very humble man who shared these ancient stories of his father's legacy with me. I remember he discussed that his father had been a high court judge and had left many writings for him to reflect on and some of those stories he shared with me. We both, at the time, saw the value in this ancient knowledge, he as the holder of this knowledge and me as a learner and being mindful that many of our older generation were passing on and taking that knowledge with them.
I will never forget you Aeau, the last words you shared with me upon departing from your shores, for now you will be immortalized in the books that I will continue to write that will share our heritage stories with our next generations and those who want to know. Lest we forget - Ia manuia lou malaga...

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Speech finals at the Villa schools speech contest...

I was so proud of my daughter today as she placed 3rd equal in her interschool's speech contest that enabled her to proceed to the finals where the three Villa Middle schools put up their best 3 placings to compete together.

The schools were from West Auckland Middle school in Glendene, Mt Hobson Middle school (in Remuera - Central Auckland) and South Auckland Middle school in Manurewa.

I'm pleased to announce that she again came 3rd equal in the finals with the winner speaking Te Reo Maori and ending with a resounding Haka! Wow!

I must admit that I definitely wouldn't have had the confidence that she has at her age and even more so to take on such a controversial subject such as abortion which is so emotional for many at the best of times. But I think she handled it maturely and looked at from different perspectives without sounding judgemental.

And she didn't even need or want any extra assistance which may difficult for some to understand but immediately after she was born I was given the strong impression (Holy spirit?) that she would be independent and she has been ever since. She's also strong on social justice as a child and very outspoken about inequalities that she sees in society - the very stance she took on abortion.

So how do we nurture and reward a future leader, possible lawyer/judge, maybe politician (hope not!) but try to reassure when we need to, remind about humility, give constructive criticism even when not heeded and just to love her as she is with a pork and duck plate, on the side, at the new takeout if she wants...

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Around the world celebration at Te Wananga o Aotearoa...

 Yesterday, our campus had a celebration called "Around the world" which alludes to a Cook Islands dance usually left to the end when the dance troupe invites guests to the stage/floor to dance a final dance and which all is revealed i.e. if you can or can't dance the Cook Islands male/female dance. Always a laugh and a big hit at the end!

The difference this year was that each of our departments was given a country to represent, our department was for China and to have the following items:

  • A canvas artistic piece of art that represented the country (my contribution featured in the pic on the left) i.e. vivid on boxed canvas
  • A mascot of the country
  • An item/dance of the country
  • Each person dressed in the countries national clothing or national colour
  • Food to share at a shared lunch with all the other groups
It was quite enjoyable viewing all the different countries and students/tutors coming in national dress such as: France, India, Sweden, Argentina etc. and our very own mascot and dragon dance for China won the mascot prize as in the pic above with our team wearing red.

It's really neat because we have two Chinese Nationals who actually immigrated from China who both work in the library with one at the head of our dragon and one at the tail. We were sure winners!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Hawaii Fundraising on the weekend...

Last weekend we set up a stall at a Christian schools Kapahaka Festival (Maori dance) which was a real hit. The pic shows our initial set up with a Candy Floss machine, Chocolates and Sweets Kebab sale.

The Candy Floss was definitely a big hit with over 400 units sold and our chocs and sweets Kebabs weren't too bad either but one thing I did notice was that parents were very aware of the sugar content and because we only made them small they were quite happy to part with their $ in order to assist us with our fundraising to Hawaii.

When two other families joined and added another table, we were also able to offer homemade chocolate chip cookies and chocolate crunch in packets as well as a small combo package with a truffle, rice bubble crunch etc. A very neat time for all.

I think it's most important to teach our young ones about working for something that they would love (delayed gratification) and to teach a good work ethic but also about setting up a business or businesses to allow our children to think outside the square in order to consider different options for the future.

This is far different thinking from when I was at school and we were expected to look for a job and be a good employee. I encourage children whenever I'm out and about to think outside the box about a business that they would like to set up be a (self) published writer, a profession and start with something that they like to do.

I must say that at the end of the day, I was totally knackered (tired out) and happy to see it through. If definitely went a long way to assisting with fundraising for Hawaii but also in setting up our children for a future in business....

Monday, 7 September 2015

Father's day with spring in the air...

Although my own Dad is in Samoa for our fathers day, had a neat day yesterday with my daughter's father, my beloved, and the day turned out pretty neat with the weather calming down to mild rain with a bit of sunshine.

Our girls made a lovely cooked breakfast which their dad loved and he was pampered in not having to do any chores, so that he was able to chill, watch his sports and just generally take it easy for the day.

Then for lunch we had ice-cream dessert (cos we were still full from breakfast!) and then I made a minced layered dish with rice which went down really well. (Gave the Samoan heavy food a rest for the day.)

So have been quiet on the writing side as our youngest has been sick with the flu with me looking after her and now I am with the wet and windy weather we've been having lately, in that it's been cold and unmotivating for me to write when all I want to do is cuddle up in bed and snooze.

But the lovely spring weather peaks out through the clouds with rays of sunshine and these lovely pink magnolia flowers that I have outside my house but this particular pic was taken recently at a park that our youngest loves to play at.

Spring also happens to be my favourite month as its mild weather wise but also during my birth month so it's pretty special to me. All this whilst in the Northern hemisphere I see the autumn/fall weather closing in ready for winter. But for me - roll on spring!...