Saturday, August 7, 2010

Picture Saturday - Seattle Downtown

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Posts you may have missed this week. Two installments in my work in progress Floodtide of sweet Passion and Things Fall Apart. There's also my opinion and readers comments on whether Opposites Attract Feel free to leave comments. Coming up next week, my thought on Inception and a brand new book I finished last week, see you soon.

Meanwhile, enjoy the pics below. We drove into the city and caught some sights and an African American festival. If you look closely, you'll see a little baby dancing. She had her hair in buns and it was so cute. There was also a small exhibit on the AA history in the states, their inventions, KKK, so far and so on...

I appreciate you guys and I hope you all have a great day. Mwah!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Farafina Book Reviews @ Terra

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Most of you might already know that I partner with Farafina, the magazine and marketing/brand management of Kachifo publishing. They supported the contest I held over on Naija Stories with free books and their editors eyes for the judging. Naija Stories is a website where Nigerian writers can share their stories for feedback from other writers and readers and also a social network. Farafina Books is also about telling our stories so I think it's a great partnership.

In furtherance of promoting Nigerian reading culture and literature, Farafina organizes these monthly book reviews at TerraKulture in Lagos. Check it out if you're there.

The monthly Farafina book review will be happening again on Saturday, the 7th of August, 2010 at TerraKulture, Tiamiyu Savage, VI starting promptly at 3p.m. Join us as we review the Weaverbird collection, a collection of short stories by authors such as Tolu Ogunlesi and E.C Osondu and edited by Sarah Ladipo Manyika amongst others. Stories in the Weaverbird collection are lively, compelling and more importantly, they are reflective of the Nigerian political and cultural landscape. Come express your points of view, discuss the themes of the stories, or maybe get writing tips from our accomplished moderators: Tolu Ogunlesi, Ayo Arigbabu, and Tade Ipadeola. Who knows, you might even win a free book! You can't afford to miss this!

Find out more at

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Opposites attract. Really?

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I don't think so.

I am sure you have heard this saying at one time or the other that opposites attract. Well, I am tired of hearing it. The refrain gets most on my nerves in poorly scripted or acted romantic comedies. Now, I like watching rom-coms generally, and I don’t mind that one of the clichéd themes of the genre is love between two different personalities. When done right, like in When Sally Meets Harry, The Proposal, and Return to me, the theme really tugs on the heart strings. But when the not so good ones like The Ugly Truth and Leap Year push the agenda in my face, then it gets tiring. I saw The Accidental Husband on DVD last week, which went beyond the not so good to so not good.

The comedy bit got a few laughs from me but the romance aspect got me annoyed, it was so not convincing. Uma Thurman is a controlling radio talk show host and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a free-spirited fireman and they meet after a “supposed” computer glitch gets them married. In the process of getting an annulment, sparks begin to fly. Like I do with most rom-coms, I give an estimate of how long I think the couple will stay together. I didn’t wait to finish watching this one, it was so bad that half-way through, I gave them only 2 weeks before they split. The movie producers seemed to realize that some of the audience may not be convinced of their flaky romance, so they tacked on an epilogue where the two major protagonists, now married, are still lovey-dovey. The lady is heavily pregnant and talks about how they do not sweat the small stuff. I’m still not convinced.

This brings me to the title of this article and begs the question; do opposites really attract? I’ll have to be honest here and say yes they do. This is the only reason it is even acceptable as a theme in romantic comedies and romance novels. There is research, from the psychological to the biological to the social, to bear out the theory. Women are attracted by the smell of men with a different gene pool than theirs. High-strung people want a partner who will act as a calming influence on their tempers and even the bad boy wants a nice girl to take home to mama. Analogies are given with the north and south poles of a magnet and the reason more people are heterosexual. Yeah, opposites do attract, but for how long?

Yes, opposites may attract during times of high sexual tension, like in dating, courtship and the early months of a marriage. However, opposites will certainly clash when it comes to differing personality traits, attitudes and values, especially in the long term.

To the writers and directors of romantic comedies, please allow the heroine to marry the conventional guy she has been dating happily for the five years. Forget the slacker she just met yesterday, with whom the only thing she has in common is a one night stand.

Note to self. Maybe this is an idea for my next book.

Note to you. What do you think?


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!