Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Telesa: Guest Post and Review

Today, I'd like to welcome over Lani Wendt Young, author of Telesa, over for a guest post!

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…

Three 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 from my church 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 ‘Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi’ was launched. My story ‘The Beast that Came from the Sea’ was professionally recorded for radio and broadcast in 54 countries. I have blogged 5 days a week. Completed a collection of short fiction, Afakasi Woman which won the Fiction Award in the 2011 International USP Press Competition. Finished the first two books in my urban fantasy YA fiction series TELESA . 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…

From Goodreads:
When Leila moves to her new home, all she wants is a family, a place to belong. Instead she discovers the local ancient myths of the telesa spirit women are more than just scary stories. The more she finds out about her heritage, the more sinister her new home turns out to be. Embraced by a Covenant Sisterhood of earth's elemental guardians - what will Leila choose? Her fiery birthright as a telesa? Or will she choose the boy who offers her his heart? Daniel - stamped with the distinctive tattoo markings of a noble Pacific warrior and willing to risk everything for the chance to be with her. Can their love stand against the Covenant Keeper? 

A thriller-romance with a difference. If you enjoyed Twilight, then you will be enthralled by Telesa as it blends the richness of Pacific mythology into a contemporary young adult love story that will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.

My Review:
This was a highly enjoyable romance/mystery/thriller, set in Samoa, a unique setting, with a unique plot, and just a wonderful book! With heartbreak, challenges, and wonder beyond wonder, Telesa is a wonderful book!

Leila was a strong character, the traditions of Samoa, and respecting elders and how her aunt and uncle received her, and acted around her, and her attempts to learn who her mother was as a person,  well, it aggravated me, and while it did the same to Leila, she didn't act on that frustration and anger, she just kept it inside, making her a better person then me!

Well, except when she's talking with Daniel, who really raises her hackles, and boy, it that funny to read, especially the cutting the grass scene, and yeah that was really hilarious! All that tension, conflict, and growing passion, it was a wonderful (for the reader) start to their relationship, because it was so explosive, that debate.

Rising tensions between being a Telesa and being with David, and the heat, the passion, the rules and the beliefs, it all comes to head, and you better watch out, because it is volcano hot, and someone is going to be hurt!

This was a fantastic book, highly enjoyable, and yeah, I did, so I hope you guys check this book out!

Author: Lani Wendt Young
Read: June 5th, 2012
Source: Reading Addictions Book Tour Review Copy
Reason Why: It sounded really good!
Published: August 18th 2011
5/5 Hearts
3/5 Books
3.5/5 Stars

I write, read, blog, teach, cook, make soap, try not to yell at my five children too much, pretend I'm a runner when I'm just a shuffler, dance a lot (and embarass the five children), and then I write some more.

I spend too many sleepless nights blogging as a slightly Demented Domestic Goddess over at Sleepless in Samoa...There's a couple of books floating around out there in the universe with my name on them and hopefully, if I stop dancing and reading and blogging and soapmaking long enough - I will finish some more books and send them out into the universe.

Contact and Buy AKA Links:

Stops on the Tour:
June 4 - Bookishly Devoted - Guest Post/Giveaway/Excerpt
June 5 - Tifferz Book Review - Guest Post / Excerpt
June 6 - Words I Write Crazy - REVIEW/Guest Post
June 6 - Reader Girls - REVIEW/GIveaway/Excerpt
June 7 - A Dream Withing a Dream - REVIEW/Giveaway
June 8 -Little Library Muse - Giveaway/Excerpt
June 11 - Booklovin Mama's - Guest Post/Giveaway/Excerpt
June 12 - The Story of a Girl - REVIEW/Giveaway/Excerpt
June 12 - Alway's YA At Heart - REVIEW/Guest Post/Giveaway/Excerpt
June 13 - Gothic Angel Book Reviews - REVIEW/Interview/Giveaway/Excerpt
June 13 - Feed My Need for a Good Read - Guest Post/Excerpt/Giveaway
June 14 - Paulette's Papers - REVIEW/Giveaway/Excerpt
June 14 - Masquerade Crew - Interview/Giveaway/Excerpt
June 15 - Falling Books - REVIEW/Giveaway

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