Saturday, July 31, 2010

Picture Saturday - An Art Fair

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One of those pictures is not mine so it will be going down in 2...3...4...

Have you entered my blog anniversary giveaway? GO HERE TO LEAVE A COMMENT...

Enjoy your weekend peeps and take out time to have fun.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Adimchinma Ibe - Treachery in the Yard (Guest Author)

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It is not everyday you find a Nigerian writer featured in the Wall Street Journal but that was what happened earlier this month. I was perusing the WSJ a couple of weeks ago and came across an excerpt of Adimchinma's first novel, Treachery in the Yard, HERE. I was very excited and contacted him the next day through Facebook. It turns out that he lives in Nigeria, Enugu to be exact, and had gotten a contract with St Martin's Press, an imprint of Macmillian, by dint of hardwork. I was really impressed with his perseverance and decided to showcase him here. His book can be pre-ordered from Amazon and will be available in bookstores from the release date of August 3, 2010.

Treachery In The Yard tells about the experiences of Tammy, a homicide detective attached to Port Harcourt State Police headquarters, as the detective struggles against Police corruption, in the political and social atmosphere of the modern day Nigeria. So if you're a fan of detective mysteries like me, and you want to see it happen in Naija, you have your man. Read his interview below and then go over to his blog which he is launching today (29 July) to find out more about him. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.

The Writing Life
- What inspires you to write?
Passion. But I have also discovered that the ideas come in my moments of reflection. I’m inspired to write from what I see around me, the people and happenings. For instance, the events following the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999. That was how Treachery In The Yard was born. Sometimes too I get ideas watching movies and reading novels of other writers in my genre.

- Do you have a specific writing style?
I try not to limit my writing to writing rules. I don’t need to tailor my writing to conform to any of the established writing styles. I’m a free roller when it comes to my writing style. I don’t want to get stuck in the attic of observing strict writing rules. I choose to express my thoughts in a way and manner I’m comfortable with, bearing in mind my readers’ expectations. I just write!

- What are your current projects?
I recently finished The Patron of Terror, the second in the Tammy Peterside series, and there are at least two other novels in the works for Tammy. I am also looking at a second series of novels, which would feature Father Lewis, a Priest turned detective. He found it difficult to keep the vow he made after discovering that his mentor had a mistress, who turns up pregnant and dead. The working title of that first novel is ‘Mind Of A Saint. The series was inspired by my friend, Victor Schwartzman, a writer from Winnipeg who in the course of our correspondence spanning over four years offered to edit my novels purely on voluntary basis, and I took up the challenge. For me it was an area that crime fiction writers have largely avoided but holds enormous potential for fiction. It will be both challenging and fulfilling writing about a different kind of detective.

- Do you write full-time or do you see writing as an alternate career and will keep it part-time?
I write full-time at this point simply because I don’t have a day job. Probably I couldn’t get one if I wanted to because I don’t have the paper qualifications for I hope to go back to school to get a degree but for me, writing remains my first love. Hope to remain a full time writer, and be employed as such!

- Can you share a little about your writing routine?
I try to go to bed as early as 8:00pm after an early dinner. I get up at 11:30pm and write till three in the morning. At night, it’s quiet and I can concentrate. Then I go back to bed and sleep till 8:00AM. I try to write every night till I finish a novel but sometimes I slack off and skip days. Sometimes too, I write at other times of the day. In the morning, after a late breakfast I go out and take some fresh air, run errands and do the non-writing matters of my life.
After an afternoon rest, I chat with friends and family, maybe watch tv or movies, read. I get a little saturated and take evening strolls. Sometimes, I carry around a little notebook. This helps when an idea hits me. I write it down and flesh it out later.
I am a disciplined writer but sometimes I just can't get my lazy bones out of bed at night to write and I sleep through till morning.
And I must add that my writing routine can be disrupted by my environment. Specifically, some days there is no electrical power at all where I live, so my laptop does not last long! On those days, I seriously consider taking up handwriting again!

- Treachery in the Yard is your first novel. Do you intend detective mystery to be a major theme that runs through most of your work?
Treachery In The Yard is my first novel to be published. I had written a couple others before it, and yes mystery will likely be a major theme in most of my novels but it’s early to say. I might try my hand in other genres.

- What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I would say murder mysteries. But about nine years ago, when I started to write the Tammy Peterside series, I had wanted to write pure murder mysteries, modeled after James Hadley Chase. But after the experiences of the aftermath of the 1999 general elections, I could not ignore our politics. And I felt what better protagonist to relate these concerns through than a homicide lieutenant who had first hand experience with the unholy relationship between the law, criminals and corrupt politicians.

- Does your writing involve a significant amount of research?
Treachery In The Yard is 10% research and 90% firsthand experience. I research by living in and observing my environment. The second novel, about the violence in the Niger Delta, is based on what is happening there now.

- Do you convey a message in your book(s) and would you share them with your audience?
I started writing the novel to tell people about the impact of oil mining and refining in Nigeria, of the pollution and corruption. When someone asks me why I wrote the novel, I say I had to. I had no option but write it. There have been a lot of great novels written by Nigerians about the Pre-colonial era and a score of good novels too talking about the Nigerian civil war. No one writes about modern Nigeria, perhaps because it can be dangerous.
The institutional corruption the novel lays out is a good fit with the mystery genre. The uniquely Nigerian plot elements and characters work nicely within the Western detective fiction genre.

- Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing is one thing I have discovered that I don’t have to struggle with. It comes naturally to me, effortlessly too. Mostly ideas just spring from nowhere. It’s a gift. And at that moment what I need most is a paper and pen to put the ideas down. Then I begin to write like one possessed. You will never believe I wrote the first draft of what is going to be the second novel in the Tammy Peterside Series in just ten daring days. The original draft of Treachery In The Yard took only longer, because I kept putting it aside to fend for myself and then come back to it later.

The Journey so Far
- When and why did you begin writing?
It had only been a year since I dropped out the university in my second year in February of 2000. I had started rewriting The Deserved Fate, my first novel. I had written it during my senior year in secondary school.
Then I woke up one morning in the Fall of 2001 and saw a sudden change in the national focus. Five years earlier, internationally people talked about Nigerian internet scams, while on the home front there was fuel scarcity and untold hardship.
Since then our problems broadened to include political assassination, revolution and a well developed network of kidnapping. They all share a common element: corruption. I became preoccupied with these issues, the novel evolving into a mystery which also spoke to recent political, social and environmental issues. I was no longer interested in writing “just” a police procedural.

- When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have no fanciful or unusual stories to tell you like that somehow I knew I was going to be a writer, predestined to be a writer or that I started showing signs of being extraordinary at the age of two. But I guess I was born a writer because when I was of school age I already was consuming books, magazines, newspapers and read fiction like one possessed.
In my Junior Secondary School, I played truant and went down to the city library to read murder mystery novels. James Hadley Chase was my favorite. Sounds silly, right? At the time James Hadley Chase novels were popular among teenagers. In later years I came to learn that the guy who wrote those novels was actually named Rene Brabazon Raymond. He also wrote under the names James L. Docherty, Ambrose Grant, and Raymond Marshall.
By my third year of Junior Secondary in 1991 at the young age of fourteen, I started writing my first novel, 'The Deserved Fate', with my English teacher, Mr. Brown, editing. It was about a jealous step mother who ended up killing her own.
I finished the first draft at the beginning of my senior year but trouble struck. I could not keep my mind on my studies and my grades took a nose dive. I was spending more time writing than studying. I wanted to be a writer but my folks wanted me to study medicine. I tried that, but after my father passed away, I had to quit school to help support our family.

- Which authors have most influenced your writing most?
Books by these authors: Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacci, Stephen White, Elmore Leonard, Stephen King, Robert Palmer, And on the home front: ChimAmanda Adichie

- Who are your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have several ‘favourites’. David Baldacci is one, so is Patricia Cornwell. I love their books and I can’t pick one over the other as my favorite author. They both hold my interest any day. For Baldacci, because of the savvy way he writes. For Cornwell, how she describes characters and events. I like Stephen’s White novels too. On the home front, I love Chimamanda’s novels. She’s a good writer and I respect her talent. But I would still consider Chase as my mentor. His novels honed the writer’s instinct in me and started me on the road to becoming a writer myself. I wanted to write like him.

- Are there other people that have inspired or supported your writing outside of family members?
Victor Schwartzman for one, who become my acquaintance in November 2005 and offered to edit my manuscripts purely on voluntary basis. And ever since he has been very supportive of my writing career, offering encouraging words along the way, advice and help when needed. I owe him a lot. He is a writer from Winnipeg who recently relocated to Vancouver.
Victor Schwartzman is a wonderful writer who I think has a lot to offer but he is also what you can call a bookshelf author. He hardly sends out his manuscripts which I’m encouraging him to do now. Currently he’s writing a play, which he says is drawn in part from his experiences as a human rights officer when he himself developed a disability and needed accommodation at work. He is almost done with the play, with so far is part musical, as it has seven songs. He is also writing a novel about a community newspaper, where each chapter is one issue of the newspaper (he’s been working on that one since 1995).

- What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
The bane of the Nigerian Publishing Industry is the Publishing Industry itself. It does not encourage new authors, but prefers to reprint education books or the works of past writers. So how do you expect the readership to be enthusiastic about reading novels that are not forthcoming? The Nigerian Publishing Industry should wake to the reality that the Nigerian book market is largely untapped. Although various reasons are the cause of a poor reading culture, publishers need to play their own part in changing situations by publishing books that readers can read and make sure that readers want to read them, and then put them within readers’ reach. In short, they need to encourage new authors and to promote them.

- What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?
In the era of the African Writers’ Series by Heinemann Press, the reading culture in the country was better than what we have now. Of course, we read some of those titles for our Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations, and still some of them are still being read in schools. In the late eighties and early nineties the reading culture was okay. But with the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) by the Government of the day, many people gave up their after work pleasures to concern themselves more with surviving the biting economy and making ends meet. The reading culture dwindled with the dwindling economy. Our reading culture is therefore tied with the state of the nation’s economy and people having more time to indulge in what really looks like a waste of time in the face of the economy. Reading, of course, is never a waste of time, but can be a luxury when you are struggling to survive. If the people's basic needs are met by the Government, they might find time to relax. And one way to relax is picking up a novel to read.

- Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Being a writer isn't easy, but it is a wonderful life for me. There are few professions that provide more personal satisfaction as being a writer. I hope to enjoy a lot of readership!
I've also included some links below that readers can check out.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Stephen King and the Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Starting from last week, I put up on my left sidebar, under the follower and Facebook Widgets, some new features of my blog. One is What I am Reading and the other is What I last saw. What I am reading is self explanatory, I will put the covers of the books I am currently adding to my brain library. What I last saw will include, movies (cinema, or DVD), theater plays and the Opera. The book widget will likely be changing every week depending on my speed but the latter will change more often cos I watch more movies. So each Monday I will give brief reviews on the one's of last week.


Last week, I finished Under the Dome by Stephen King and I also had up The Sorcerer's Apprentice and will be giving a brief write-up on both. I am currently reading The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives, watch out for my review next week in addition to whatever movie I see on DVD. Coming up this week will be my thoughts on Inception, I can't wait for next Monday. Go and see it soon so we can discuss.

To todays stars;

Stephen King's Under the Dome is a killer of a book at 1074 pages. When I started it, I thought it was one for about two weeks or so and that I might have to read it alongside another book. That did not happen. I read it like I used to read in my secondary school days when I could finish an M&B novel in 2 hours. I finished it in four days. The suspense is unyielding and will have you flipping the pages anxiously for the next event.

The town of Chester's Mill, Maine, is a pretty typical-seeming small American town with a popular song that says "Everyone supports the team". This means that its 2,000 or so residents are good, honest people who genuinely care for each other and for their town. However, when a mysterious and invisible force field materializes out of nowhere, and cuts the town completely off from the rest of the world, things deteriorate quickly. If you've read Stephen King you'll know a little of what to expect. You'll still be surprised though at the depth of human wickedness.

There is a message for everyone. This may be a novel, you know, fiction, but at its core is an allegory of what is happening today in the world. Who or where you are determines the meaning you'll read into it. In the villain, a confused character with a god-complex, we see how power corrupts and what the end of absolute corrupted power could be. There is also that aphorism from our great Wole Soyinka; "The man dies who keeps quiet in the face of tyranny" in those few citizens who stand against him. Other themes in the book include climate change, the moral standing of the police and military to maintain order and wage wars, among others. No matter the themes and messages you take from this book, what you'll certainly get is a rollicking if fearful(the death count is atrocious) read.


The Sorcerer's Apprentice was a lovely movie that mixes alchemy with science. It starts from the time of Merlin (for those who have read the Arthrian legends) and comes to the present day. There is a descendant of Merlin in the present day (it turns out to be a small nerdy boy who grows into a geeky physics student) who will help one of Merlin's apprentices to defeat Morgana, a bad witch challenger to Merlin. In an earlier battle, she had been imprisoned but she intends to raise a cohort when or if she is released from the Grimhold - a prison made of concentric dolls.

What captured me about the movie was the great special effects - yea, I am a sucker for CGI - and the love stories included in the plot. The central plot of course is based on the age old fight of good against evil. In The Sorcerer's Apprentice, good triumphs in the end with the help of a little science, but it seems evill lives to fight another day. And of course, the geek gets the beautiful girl. These in addition to a twist give the end a sweet turn.

I will certainly watch the sequel. You should see the movie too. I score it 3.5 stars.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Picture Saturday - The Sun and the Beach

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Some may ask if this also a wordless post but don't forget that one picture is worth a thousand words.

Have a great weekend peeps!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cupid's Risk Series - Free eBook

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So the free eBook compilation of the collaborative and interactive story is now ready.

The Cupid' Risk series was borne out of an idea I came up with in a discussion with my SO. I had read some serial stories on blogville and sometimes wished they could have gone a different way. We wanted to produce a Blogsville Interactive story where the readers were involved and had a say in the direction of the plot. We are all writers, that is why we blog, and many of us can spin a decent tale.

Starting out here on this blog, the interactive story followed the adventures of a 25 year old Iphey who is only 6months gone in her bank job. Her love interest is Chinedu, an engineer with a shady past.

As if the love wahala is not enough, her manager wants to date her and her immediate boss, Funmi is jealous. Meanwhile Iphey's mother is on her neck to get married as the health of her sister's son deteriorates. It turns out that Iphey's missing brother in-law had abandoned his family in dire straits.

A bit of romance and a dash of mystery, with a sprinkling of thriller and action, the readers determined what goes on!

DOWNLOAD THE FREE EBOOK by clicking the link below,

Monday, July 19, 2010

What I last saw, What I am reading.

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So if you check out my left sidebar under the follower and Facebook Widgets, you'll see some new features of my blog. One is What I am Reading and the other is What I last saw. What I am reading is self explanatory, I will put the covers of the books I am currently adding to my brain library. What I last saw will include, movies (cinema, or DVD), theater plays and the Opera. The book widget will likely be changing every week depending on my speed but the latter will change more often cos I watch more movies. Right now, I am reading the Dome by Stephen King and just saw The Sorcerer's Apprentice at the cinema. Watch out for my thoughts and reviews next week.


So for last week, I had up The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okoroafor (Book)  and Ruined (a play) by Lynn Nottage. I finished and enjoyed The Shadow Speaker but I felt that it fell short of being truly remarkable. The scenery and imagination of course were fantastic, but the use of names from different African cultures was a bit jumbled and Ejii as the main character failed to pull me in.

Ruined on the other hand made me cry and made me think. Theater doesn't get better than Ruined I tell you. The story dealt with Rape as a weapon of war but the underlying message apart from the politics is that many of us are ruined in one way or the other. How do we allow this to shape our present and our future? Below are reviews that best capture what I thought about both.


THE SHADOW SPEAKER (Review by Donna Freitas)
Click to read the full review on the New York Times.

Despite a story that begins with tragedy and drama, that has a fresh and interesting setting and follows two main characters, a girl and boy, on the cusp of events that will change their lives forever, “The Shadow Speaker” can be difficult to enjoy and even more so to finish. The writing is polished till it gleams, but unfortunately, no amount of good writing can hide the fact that something essential is missing. The story and its characters lack emotional pull; they feel flat on the page. Even when it looks as though Ejii has died — her new powers overwhelm her, and she succumbs to the shadows — it seems like just another event among many.
Still, there are creative touches here that fans of fantasy will not want to miss, like the book’s unforgettable scenery. Following Ejii and Dikéogu’s journey through the parched Sahara, they cross into Ginen’s Kingdom of Ooni, where plants grow into houses and where a room might smell like lilacs and have “bright blue spiders, transparent-skinned geckos, lizards with long metallic-looking nails and all sorts of beetles,” even “a tiny red-orange monkey clinging to the ceiling.” And there is magic too in the character of Queen Jaa: when she speaks, “a red flower with glasslike petals” falls from the sky to accompany her prophetic words and war-mongering tactics.
This novel — like the author’s first, “Zahrah the Windseeker” (2005) — leaves little doubt that Okorafor-Mbachu’s imagination is stunning and that she can lay the groundwork for a successful fantasy. But ultimately a novel must captivate, wrenching us from our world into its own. On this level, at least, “The Shadow Speaker” falls short.


RUINED (review by Belinda Otas)
Click to read the full review on Belinda's Website.

...Written with great sensitivity, Nottage truly brings the plight of the Congolese women to the forefront of her play. Sophie’s account of what was done to her is so moving, you wonder how we as human beings can inflict such pain on each other, forgetting the victims carry the scars for the rest of their lives, no matter how much they want to forget. Salima’s monologue, as she narrates the five months she spent in the forest with the militias who tied her to a tree like a goat, passed her from one man to the other and turned her into a sex toy is so enthralling, you have no choice but to imagine what the women who live their lives in fear, day in and day out, knowing such evil is lurking in their land feel.  She informs us that she was torn to pieces and left raw and then she asked, ‘how can men be this way?’ It is one of the most thought-provoking moments I have seen on the stage this year.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Picture Saturday - Pacific Science Museum, Seattle

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My infrequent memes again, lol.

So it's summer, that time of the year here when the sun gets to shine. Well, we do too. Below are some of the things I've got up to recently. I was recently re-introduced to the Library and I've been reading more often. Saves me some money and also benefits the authors too. The boy next door was not bad at all. I saw a bit of Zimbabwean history from independence to the early naughties. It ended well for the characters but it won't fill you with joy, as we all know what's still going on there with BOB and Co.

We've also had some trips to the Seattle Centre, the Pacific Science Museum (I am so geeky right? :):)) We got to see the animatronic dinosaurs, the planetarium and the butterfly house. The butterflies were cute and all but I have to say that watching them eat was a bit gross. We saw Toy Story 3 at the IMAX theater and it was so cool. I've been to some other IMAX showings but the one at the Center was massive. Quite an experience. On our way back (me, rookie driver, putting some freeway miles under my belt) Atala took some pictures of Mount Rainer. I love that view, I wish we lived somewhere I could see it everyday. Oh well, enjoy...

Have a lovely weekend people. Mwah!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ifelanwa Osundolire - On a lot of Things. (Guest Author)

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Ifelanwa is a blogger I had come across last year doing my blog rounds. He also featured fiction on his blog and I was impressed with his writing talent. I did my best to encourage and so it was with joy and excitement I heard that his collection of short stories has been published. It is titled On a lot of Things and samples his work over the past few years. I approached him for an interview and you can read more from him below. The book website is HERE and you can read some of his old and new work there too.

· Brief bio
Osundolire Ifelanwa was raised in Ondo town and spent a huge chunk of his childhood there with his parents and two brothers ‘Kanmi and Ayo. Secondary ‘schooled’ at F.G.C Idoani and trained as an architect in Yabatech and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Ifelanwa did a stint as a bank staff in 2007 and later went on to become a development officer for a Real Estate company FWC, in Lagos. An adventure seeker by default, he joined the bandwagon of explorers to accompany the famed Dr. Newton Jibunoh to the Sahara desert, travelling from Lagos to London via road. He is currently a recipient of the British Council Innovation 360 awards and looks forward to a successful year at Birmingham City University both as a real estate professional and a writer.
· When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in architecture school when I noticed that words had a way of capturing events that would make it seem pictorial in the mind of the reader as much as drawings did. For instance to understand some certain courses, I need to re-write them in poems or stories.
· When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I started to write short stories on Facebook and the positive comments from readers convinced me that I could excite, inspire and whip up emotions in my readers.
· What inspired you to write your book?
Many things, circumscribed by a desire to create. However, I will like to trace the inspiration for “On a lot of things” to a loose sheet of paper I found in dump-bound junk in my home. I had written a note to myself in the future after I attended my first book launch in 2003, saying I would write a book before I was twenty five. When I saw the worn pages seven years later, I made up my mind that I would make it happen
· Do you have a specific writing style?
I wish I knew but honestly I don’t. I just write the way it comes to me. Though thinking it over now, I would say I love to write in the first person as if I am in the stories. That way I feel it more. I guess that answer counts for something.
· How did you come up with the title?
“On a lot of things”? I had posted hundreds of stories, poems, inspirational articles, notes on Facebook and when the material for the book came into question those notes seemed the best resource pool. The first manuscript was so confusing, you would not be able to place your hand on what it really was. Really, from the start, it had been on a lot of things.

· Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes! In fact, many. Underlying each story is a message deeper than just the face value of the stories. I desire that readers find it in their own way, interpreting the stories to meet their specific intellectual needs.
· What books have most influenced your life most?
Enid Blyton and Tintin were my first books so they qualify automatically. Growing up, Chinua Achebe’s “Things fall apart”, Wole Soyinka’s “Ake”, Alvin Toffler’s “Future shock”, Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad series, Ngugi’s “Weep not Child and The river between”, George Orwell’s “1984” … I ought to stop here because there are lots more.
· If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Sydney Sheldon – because he is a fantastic storyteller.
· What book are you reading now?
Robert Kiyosaki’s “Before you quit your job”.
· Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Oh! Yes. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Seffi Attah (my favourite) and my younger brother Ayokunle Osundolire (still unpublished)
· What are your current projects?
Working on an interactive book that gives readers the options of choice and they can write the story themselves as they read on. It should give as many as 300 different experiences in a 500 page book.
· Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
If my circle of friends can be referred to as an entity- their support was overwhelming. If entity refers to orgnaistions, No, not yet.
· Do you see writing as a career?
Yes! But as one path of many.

· Can you share a little of your book with us?
It will be my pleasure. “On a lot of things” is a collection of stories that have underlying messages for each subject it addresses. Authority the first story – is the favourite of a lot of people because of its simple yet powerful message. It tells the story of a village whose healthy inhabitants, had come to rely on crutches to walk, and over time, forgotten how to use their legs. The focus is on a young man who sets out to prove everyone wrong.
· Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Dialogue! I write narratives most of the time and it almost feels like I do so because I shy away from heavy dialogues. Writing lengthy dialogues are still a challenge but with time I will write it away.
· Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I do not have a favourite author but I have observed that a common thread that runs through the works of my favourite authors is “Simplicity”. Nothing excites me like a story so simple, it makes a child laugh, makes an adult think and makes the aged remember.
· Who designed the covers?
Ayodele Enitan Alabi, my editor and publisher
· What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing. It would surely be editing. I almost got frustrated with the little details.
· Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
For all it is worth, I learnt a lot of patience. I also learnt not to underestimate readers and thoroughly researching your subject matter and your choice of every word. An author must have an immense reservoir of patience to write a book. Like someone once said, (I paraphrase) “Writing a story first starts with a spark of excitement, then it becomes a long drawn vocation that completely takes you over”. Unfortunately most people never make it past the excitement stage.
· Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice is to ‘Write’! Just write! I met a well known Nigerian writer recently who told me he had written over two thousand stories. Then I realized this art is an art of consistency not just talent. You must write so much as to defy the bounds of probability in coming up with brilliant pieces every time.
· Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Please read more. Not just my book, but everything you can. A dearth of applicable knowledge is the only thing keeping the continent of Africa dark and unseen from space – let’s light it up!
· Where and how can readers buy the book?
You can buy the book online by placing orders on the site  or visit the bookstore at Terrakulture, plot 1376 tiamiyu savage st. off Ahmadu Bello way, Victoria Island. Other outlets will be made available on the website shortly.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Blogsville Wedding

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The picture above is from my first wedding anniversary.

So I had a few minutes of Deja Vu yesterday while doing my blog rounds. Two posts were one after the other in my blog reader.

1. Freaksho - Siriusly Speaking

2. Sirius - Getting Freaky

The second post had just one word, "Literally", which was linked to the first post. A light bulb went out in my head and I began to smile and then laugh as it clicked. Of course I had to go over to both and offer my congratulations to the newest couple in Blogsville.

Reading their post brought so many memories back to my mind. Atala is also a blogger though we did not meet on blogspot, I was just a reader back then. We met on another Nigerian messageboard as two handles and from friends we got serious and hitched up. Then there was the discussion, should we let the rest of the board know? We both agreed it was only proper and hospitable, as we were both well known handles.

One online friend, a female, almost sussed it out before we were ready to go public and I had to put her off track, lol. I remember some of the comments that followed the announcement. A lot of people thought it was a massive practical joke and it didn't help that our wedding was set for Valentine's day. We invited those who could make it to the events in Nigeria. It was only when we started communicating with those ones off line and sharing details that they accepted it was real. And then they reported back to the others after the wedding which several of them attended at the different venues.

 The first time I spoke with our Verastic here (she also belongs to the messageboard), she still wanted to confirm the news, hahaha. It was fun times for me being the mischief maker that I am. I loved meeting all the faceless commenters, the whole online to offline thing is always interesting to me.

Anyway, congrats again to Sirius and Freaksho and I wish you guys all that a good marriage is.

@CaramelD - You were there! Oya lay down the full gist abeg.

Finally, have you voted for my friends at the Nigerian Blog awards? See my previous post for more details.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Have you started voting?

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I mean at the Nigerian Blog Awards? Please say noo...abeg. LOL...are you wondering why?

The thing is this; I'm not asking you guys to vote for me, yes you heard me right. I want us to share the wealth so I prefer you to vote for my people. Now don't get the wrong idea, they did not pay me o, heh! I even asked them to campaign for my vote and they were doing nyanga, shakara, whatever. Only EDJ asked so she is getting 2 votes, hehehehe.... As for sister from another mama (we even share an initial), if I start counting the categories she is perfect for, we no go comot for here.

Anyway, if you're reading this post and you are nominated, it is not too late for you to ask for a chance. Me I have voted sha, but you don't know who is reading this, put your campaign in the comments and maybe you can convince some loyal feedbackers to dash you their votes. If they ask you shell out something, you're on your own o, I am just the middleman.

Before I go on, let me thank all those who nominated me in seven, yes that is 7, categories even after I won the Group A top award for Nigerian Blog of the Year. I am very very grateful. You know the one that touched me the most? I am up for Friendliest Blogger. How cool is that? And then The Next Big Thing...For A Heart to Mend I say, Amen Amen Amen! *Grinning like a foolish Cheshire cat*. Thank you all so much, permit me to repeat how grateful I am. Thanks, Daalu, Ese, Nagode,unu emeela.

Now to the votes. I know some of you voted for just a few categories and left others blank. Shey you know you can go back and do the remaining? OK...everybody now. Get your pens and pencils and copy down the names in bold. When you get to the Voting Center, tick the holes beside these names and click vote for each category.

Ehmm...I voted for one person each category, but in a few here I will highlight 2 people. Those were tough choices for me and I'd rather you make up your own mind. Also, some names appear in several places, even if you've voted other people in the categories I bold them in, you can go ahead and vote them in their other nominations.

FULL DISCLOSURE! Some of the people I have highlighted below are Feedbackers. People who follow my blogs, leave comments, and critique my writing when necessary. Some also have links through their blogroll/list, through buttons or pictures of my book in their sidebar.

OK...let's do this!

Harry Itie (The Talkaholic, Anani Speaks...)
Myne Whitman (Myne Whitman Writes, Naija Stories)
Solomon Sydelle (It Was So Much Easier When I Only Had One, Nigerian Curiosity)
Sting (Blog(s)ville Gist, The Smile of a Nigerian Scorpio)
Suzanne Brume (Eights and Weights...)

Azazel (Truth Don Die)
Ego Du Jour
Mizchif (An Idle Mind)
Suzanne Brume (Eights and Weights)

Blog(s)ville Gist
Linda Ikeji
Nawa 4You Oh!!!
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Harry Itie (The Talkaholic)
Jaycee (Light Her Lamp)
Solomon Sydelle
Suzanne Brume (Eights and Weights)
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

2Cute4U (Free Answers To Your Questions)
Jaycee (Light Her Lamp)
Solomon Sydelle
Standtall (The Activist)
Suzanne Brume (Eights and Weights)

Funms (Funms-The Rebirth)
Harry Itie (The Talkaholic)
Linda Ikeji
Myne Whitman
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Brown Skin Naija Chic
Sting (The Smile of a Nigerian Scorpio)
Sugabelly (Sugabelly 2.0)
Sugarking (The Adventures of Sugarking)
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Gee (In my plain words)
Jaycee (Light Her Lamp)
Myne Whitman
Naked Sha (Burnt Bottom Pot)

Ego Du Jour
Fashion Eye Naija
In The Know (ITK) West Africa
Osagz (Rhymesville Entertainment)
Suzanne Brume (Eights and Weights)

Hanna-Kaisa (HmusicK)
Jabez (Venus Speaks)
Jeremy Weate (Naijablog)
Ms Kookie
Shona (On the couch with Shona)

Good Naija Girl
Harry Itie (The Talkaholic)
Miss LNQ (My World of Acting)
Myne Whitman
Suzanne Brume (Eights and Weights)

Brown Skin Naija Chic
Nice Anon (As You See Me So)
Sir Scribbles II (The Royal Scribbles)
Sugarking (The Adventures of Sugarking)
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Bagucci (In Retrospect..)
Le Dynamique Professeur
Mayowa Idowu (Mirrors…Reflections From My Lenses)
Seye Kuyinu (::Seye Blogs::)
Sir Scribbles II (The Royal Scribbles)

Harry Itie (The Talkaholic)
Jaycee (Light Her Lamp)
Jeremy Weate (Naijablog)
Solomon Sydelle
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

36 inches of brown legs
Miss Fab (Fabulosity Unwritten)
Suzanne Brume (Eights and Weights)

Afrobabe (Afrobabe: The Story of an African Girl)
Brown Skin Naija Chic
Doug (The Art of Musing)
Tigeress (Tigeress: A Silent Ninja)

Doug (The Art of Musing)
Gee (In my plain words)
Jide Salu (JideSaluDiary)
Laide Olabode (Exschoolnerd)
Mayowa Idowu (Mirrors…Reflections From My Lenses)

MEME BLOGGER (only 4 qualifying nominees)
Myne Whitman
Repressed One
Santiago (Santiago’s Pad)

Brown Skin Naija Chic
Miss Enigma/Undercover07 
Solomon Sydelle
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Fabulo-la (Me. And then Some.)
Rethots (Musings…expressions of ‘deep’ thots)
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Harry Itie (The Talkaholic)
Mayowa Idowu (Mirrors…Reflections From My Lenses)
Solomon Sydelle
Suzanne Brume (Eights and Weights)
YNC (Welcome to YNC Lounge)

Harry Itie (The Talkaholic)
Linda Ikeji
Myne Whitman
Solomon Sydelle
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Harry Itie (The Talkaholic)
Jaycee (Light Her Lamp)
Le Dynamique Professeur
Solomon Sydelle
Suzanne Brume (Eights and Weights)

Laide Olabode (Exschoolnerd)
Rethots (Musings…expressions of ‘deep’ thots)
Seye Kuyinu (::Seye Blogs::)
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Afrobabe (Afrobabe: The Story of an African Girl)
Azazel (Truth Don Die)
Kareem Ibhade (Nitty Gritty Tales of a Housewife)
Sugabelly (Sugabelly 2.0)

Bumight (This is why I write)
Gee (In my plain words)
Seye Kuyinu (::Seye Blogs::)
Suzanne Brume (Eights and Weights)
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Harry Itie (The Talkaholic)
Linda Ikeji
Nice Anon (As You See Me So)
Solomon Sydelle
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Gee (In my plain words)
Harry Itie (The Talkaholic)
Mayowa Idowu (Mirrors…Reflections From My Lenses)
Sugabelly (Sugabelly 2.0)
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Mayowa Idowu (Mirrors…Reflections From My Lenses)
Myne Whitman
Sugabelly (Sugabelly 2.0)
Suzanne Brume (Eights and Weights)
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

Good Naija Girl
Harry Itie (The Talkaholic)
Mizchif (An Idle Mind)
Sugabelly (Sugabelly 2.0)
Vera Ezimora (Verastic)

That's it folks, see you over at the Nigerian Blog Awards polling booth...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Read Nigerian and win prizes -

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Since my book, A Heart to Mend was published, I have had several interviews and articles done. In most of them, I am usually asked who my best/favorite writer or book is. I have read a lot of books and so this is a difficult question. The topic also came up in some other forums and I thought of how I could make it worth my while to find out the answer from a large group of people.

Now seeing that my book is set in Lagos, Nigeria and seeing that I manage a website for Nigerian writers, I decided to make it Nigerian themed event. After brainstorming with Atala, we decided to open it up to sponsors and what do you know? Three of the major publishing houses in Nigeria were very interested in the idea and agreed to support us with lots of free books.

My purpose in running this particular contest is to encourage and inspire everyone to read more Nigerian books. The partners (Farafina Books, Cassava Republic and Dada Books) are publishers in the business of making available and promoting books written by Nigerians, and about Nigeria or Nigerians, all around the world. Naija Stories is about reading and writing Nigerian stories and encouraging aspiring writers.

We all want you to, whatever your choice of books, read Nigerian and read a lot.

Read the classics - Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe), The PalmWine Drinkard (Amos Tutuola), Jagua Nana (Cyprian Ekwensi), The Bride Price (Buchi Emecheta).

Read history - Ovonramwen Nogbaisi (Ola Rotimi), memoirs and biographies, Ake (Wole Soyinka), On a Darkling Plain (Ken Saro Wiwa).

Read contemporary fiction - Purple Hibiscus (Chimamanda Adichie), Unbridled (Jude Dibia), Zahrah the Windseeker (Nnedi Okoroafor), In Dependence (Sarah Manyika), Abyssinian Boy (Onyeka Nwelue).

Read popular books - To Saint Patrick (Eghosa Imaseun), A Heart to Mend (Myne Whitman), I do not come to you by Chance (Adaobi Nwaubani) Eko Dialogue (Joy Bewaji), Fuelling the Delta Fires (Ayo Akinfe).

Dates for Contest: The contest opens July 5th and submissions end on July 16th. The winner will be announced by August 1st.

Prizes : The main prize is $50 cash OR Two (2) Nigerian books* of their choice shipped to them wherever they are. (*Costs including postage must not exceed $50). In addition, for contestants resident in Nigeria there will be 30 consolation prizes of free books.

To take part go to Naija Stories. For updates and other writing or book review announcements, join Naija Stories and our partners on Facebook;

A new feature of the Naija Stories website is the Naija Stories Store. Naija Stories is an Amazon Associate and will receive a small percentage of the purchase price. This will be used to support the site and contributing writers. The titles we have listed will remind you of the books you have forgotten or those you are yet to read. We encourage you to browse through the 40 selected books and click on the similar books links for so much more. Nigeria has talented writers and great books. Please support and encourage them by buying their books.

To circulate this information, you can copy the flyer and circulate through your channels.

Thank you.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Honesty Meme

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Thanks to Sting, the Nigerian Scorpio, for tagging me in this free therapy. I have to say that this made me think and self-examination is never a bad thing. Let me share my thoughts.

Right now I'm feeling....very thankful to God. I am so grateful for having all my family, for life, protection and love.

When I'm alone I complete peace. I enjoy quiet times with myself, reading, writing, listening to music or just pottering around.

When I'm surrounded by people I feel.....lonely, especially if they are people I do not know well. So I do not like attending large parties where I do not know a few people. With people I know and already like, I shine. I sometimes surprise even myself how I can be the life of a small group.

One thing I hate is....wickedness and evil. Next is lying or beating around the bush unnecessarily. Please just come out with it.

One thing I really like about myself is I can usually adapt to almost any situation. I am strong and that is part of my strength. I can be open-minded and also be so flexible to withstand some major stuffs.

When I'm feeling sad I......cry. Yes o, I use to be cry cry but it has stopped a bit now especially as I came to a place of self knowledge and peace. I was more temperamental growing up with some major mood swings.

When I daydream it's usually and happily ever after, lol. That is why I write what I do and enjoy it so much. Next is to imagine and make out whole lives for everyone on blogville, hehehe.

I'm afraid of.....losing a loved one. This week has been hard based on this, but thank God for His word, "though you pass through the valley of the shadow of death..."

I'm happiest when......I am with the people I love. They know and understand me most and I can be my most vulnerable, hardest and most playful too. I can be mischievous and love making them laugh.

One thing that really worries me is ....what if I do not achieve everything I see, and believe me I see a lot in my future. I want to do so much, make a mark, create things that will outlive me.

If I could change one thing about myself it would ESP. Knowing things and reading minds is not an easy or simple superpower. Believe that and you will believe everything. Doubt it at your own peril. :):)

If I could be with anyone right now I would be family in Nigeria. I love and miss them a lot and much more at this time.

The family member I am closest to older sister.

If I was really honest with my father I would tell him....there could never be any father like him and I want to read his autobiography.

One thing I regret about my life is ......nothing.

If I only had one more day to live I all my usual stuff. Here I come Lord, take me.

If I was really honest with my mother i would tell don't know how much you mean to me, you taught me so much.

One thing about me that nobody knows is......the depths of me, and my future. I still haven't plumbed them completely myself.

I hope that someday in the future.....very soon, things become better in Nigeria. The education and health indicators are most important.

When I think about my family I feel.....happy, thankful, loved, cared for, safe.

Something I'm really embarrassed about is......staining during a period.

One thing about me I never want to change is.....myself. The me at the core.

One thing I feel really proud of far I have come as a person. God saved me and made me anew.

Blogsville has helped me up and spread the joy.

One thing I like about blogsville is......the plenty of stories. Thank you all for sharing.


I tag all those who care to reflect and share. Enjoy the rest of your weekend people, mwah!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Can Online Love become Lasting Love?

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"You may say, “What is this party? No party goes on for a year.” And you’d be right. I’m talking about an online message board. It took me two weeks after that first message to decide to give my witty admirer a chance but the rest as they say is history. I soon called him to the top of the line and we began to exchange personal information. Today he is my husband."

The above was first published on Afrikan Goddess, where I contribute to the LOVE AND RELATIONSHIP column.

In an article on, their readers debated at the chances of black women in America finding love online especially through internet dating agencies. The chances weren't good compared to other races, but the writer encouraged them to work it out saying, "We're smart, beautiful, fun-loving, resourceful women." I agree.

I have written an article of my own experience of online romance below.

I walked into the large hall quietly. It was a party and there were several rooms. I had been watching the people in the front hall through the glass doors for a while before making up my mind to join them. Some people glanced my way when I called out a greeting. Two older women walked over and said hi; they were smiling and I quickly warmed up to them. Soon a few more, including a couple of men, wandered over and we sat together, laughing and talking. Most of the people in the hall were glad to see a young cheerful person join the party. Somehow, I was able to shed my shyness with this group more quickly than I usually did.

There were halls to discuss politics, one to attend literary events and another to participate in debates. There was even a lounge especially for women and a place to talk about relationships and their palavas. I began to make friends, calling out to people across the hall, putting at ease the ones who had just joined and just generally having a good time. Sometimes, while the party went on, I went to one corner with a few friends and we chatted about our lives and things outside of the group. At other times, I left the party with some friends and we continued the discussion elsewhere. I gave some my number or email and told them to call me anytime.

As the months rolled past, it became clear that the party was a lot different from my usual life; I could talk on any range of issues I wanted at any time with any number of people. It was such a relief not to have to pretend, to conform to prejudged notions of how to be a woman. My writing was appreciated and my intellect respected. I could kick back and talk fluff today, yet when I quoted Rand the next day, no one raised an eyebrow. I relaxed and let the real me begin to enjoy herself. I learnt so much from so many different people. A lot of the ladies became good friends and soon, I also began to attract some attention from the guys.

One day, about a year after I joined the group, I got a message from an acquaintance. We had chatted a few times before, spent time together with other people, but never anything personal. I thought he was joking with his, “Hello, I know you’re so hot, can I join the queue?” I sent my own reply tongue in cheek as well. “Well, the line is long but you can take a ticket.” My heart beat fast as I did this because the sender of this mail was someone I had admired for some time. But a few months before, I had sent him Christmas greetings and it turned out he had moved away. Now he sent another mail. “I understand, let me know when it is my turn.”

You may say, “What is this party? No party goes on for a year.” And you’d be right. I’m talking about an online message board. It took me two weeks after that first message to decide to give my witty admirer a chance but the rest as they say is history. I soon called him to the top of the line and we began to exchange personal information. Today he is my husband.


I’m not saying every online romance becomes lasting love because mine worked out for me. I also know of a lot that never matured. However, neither does meeting in real life guarantee a serious relationship or marriage. What I am saying is that online romance is a valid means, another ONE way through which you can meet someone, just like meeting them at work, in the club, at church, etc. Some argue that you cannot love someone you have not seen. I do not agree. We are more than our bodies. Our writings or how we talk about life can give a window into our mind and soul. These are also great for getting to know another human being.

So of the several avenues online to meet someone - chat-rooms, dating agencies, social networking and message boards/forums - I favor the last because it removes the greatest disadvantages of meeting online. On message boards there are several other people involved so you get to see a more rounded character of the person you admire just like in real life. If you have the time and you’re interested, you can actually go through the person’s previous posts in the archives to check for character and consistency. It is no more just what he or she is telling you at that point in time but also what they said to other people, some months ago, a year ago and so on. I tell you, this is better than a credit card background check.

The next important part of online romance is communication. What do you guys discuss? Don’t burn phone cards talking about Kim Kardashian or the World Cup. OK, you can do that too. But more important, give each other time to talk about your lives. Ask questions and be as honest as you can. I’m not saying you should interview each other, but a relationship requires true and deep communication. You can talk about your dreams, your achievements and goals, talk about your families, people you admire in your life, your most prized possessions, your strengths and weaknesses, and maybe most importantly, talk about the kind of relationship both of you are looking for. This last will determine what direction your romance goes.

Finally, it boils down to the nitty-gritty. After starting a romance online, there is the temptation to just let it roll along on sweet talk via the phone, chat or email. You cannot live life online and in the same way, any romance that starts and remains solely online for say, one year, is a bit suspicious. The next thing a couple that met online should discuss when they realize that the admiration is mutual is how to meet up. Some say love is spiritual, that is true, but it is also physical. People in an online romance must find ways to balance both sides of the attraction. Apart from the physicality of attraction, meeting face to face also helps determine honesty. Is that really him? Is he really interested in me enough to make the effort?

Once you have met for the first time, you are no different from the next couple who first met in real life. Keep your head up and enjoy your love. I am proud to look at my sweetie and say, thank God for the internet!

You can go to AFRIKAN GODDESS to see what others are saying and take part in the conversation.