Monday, October 4, 2010

Love Letters - Dr Wilson Orhiunu (Guest Author)

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1. First off—When did you start writing?

I used to write poems on sheets of paper destined for the bin in 1985. Started keeping what I wrote in 1998. I write songs, poems, jokes and short stories. They can all be read on my website

2. What type of book is this, is it an autobiography? 

Love Letters is a work of fiction written in pidgin English. I however use my alter ego; Babawilly as the main character. It is funny and contains Love poems and Letters. There are also some short stories with love as the central theme. It is a psychological exploration of how the Nigerian expresses love.

3. Do you intend to write more books?

Currently writing the sequel to Love Letters

4. How did you come up with the idea for the book?

I have always been interested in those instructional books on writing romantic letters. I always found them funny, so i decided to write something for a laugh. Human interaction and family dynamics is a passion of mine and being a family physician fuels that passion. I enjoy listenning to people and their family histories. The older the person the better for me. People always say things not written in books and i find that very educational.
I fill up my cerebral tank with information, turn on the ignition and the words just pour out of my exhaust (if you get what i mean)

5. How long did it take you to write?

Two years. Needed to research the topics and work out a system of writing prose in Pidgin English. Being funny on every page takes time and i am glad i achieved that

6. What project or projects are you working on now?

The sequel to Love Letters

7. Give a brief synopsis of the book?

Love Letters is a romantic comedy written in flawless Nigerian Pidgin English. It tells the story of a love affair through a series of letters written to the main character's sister in which details of a new relationship are disclosed. It follows in the tradition of Amos Tutuola's Palm Wine Drinker and Ken Saro Wiwa's Soza Boy and displays Nigerian pidgin English at its best.

8. Which of your characters do you most relate with (please give a brief explanation of why you relate to him/her)?

The main character, Babwilly, my alter ego, for obvious reasons.

9. How important is the title of a book? How did you decide on the title of yours?

Love Letters is a series of letters written to the character's sister about a romance that was newly developing. I didn't have to think much about the name.

10. How do you “get in the zone” when writing? Do you listen to music?

When you read Love Letters you would find it to be something of a musical. There is a lot of references to pieces of music. I listen to music all day and all night so music tends to feature in most things I do. I find music very mood modifying. I don't feel in the mood to write anything comical or romantic most days actually. After a busy day at work, romance is the last think on one's mind. However, one or two tracks later, I am firing on all cylinders.

11. What is your writing environment like?

Sat at a table with my laptop. My dictionary and Bible are close at hand as is my Thesaurus and music from you

12. Tell us about the journey from writing your book, the editing process, finding a publisher and seeing it in press.

I got the initial idea after a conversation I had with my sister about various matters. I thought that a conversation with a family member would serve as a good vehicle for reporting the various up and downs involved in new romantic relationship. I wrote a few letters and published them on my blog for comments. Everyone said they were funny, and so I wrote and edited the manuscript to the best of my ability. I then passed on the manuscript to a friend who did a great job on making final corrections. I contacted AuthorHouse as I decided to self publish initially and then see how things went. I am hoping to find a publisher for my books soon.

13. What’s your favorite part of being a writer?

Having people laugh and forget their problems.

14. What’s you least favorite part?

I cannot think of any.

15. Do you ever have trouble with writers-block?

No. Maybe that is because I don't write to dead lines. I keep on researching and write when the mood takes me. The characters all live in my cranium and interact just like in the Big Brother House. I view and observe what they do and say then I write it down. It is almost like having hallucinations.

16. Most people write part time. What do you do when you aren’t writing?

I am a General Practitioner in Birmingham UK. I don't seperate my writing from my day job as the people i meet everyday keep me with what is new in the human condition. People share their lives with me and that usually inspires story lines in my books.

17. What are your favorite books and authors?

The Bible by God and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

18. Want to share a favorite line from one of your books?

No. That is for the readers to do. I love all my lines.

19. Would you like to share anything else with the readers?

I wrote the first on line Pidgin English Dictionary which can be read on my website. It might be useful for those not too versed in Pidgin English.

20. Where can we buy the book?, Amazon, and other places books are sold.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Picture Weekend - Yesterday

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So the weekend is almost all done and dusted. It was lovely spending time with the ladies of the Seattle Romance Writers Association but the Independence party trumped it, I confess. I had previously not seen as many Nigerians in our area in the same place before. And loads of them were dressed in the green and white colors. Feeling all patriotic and all, I was also rocking a green dress and a white shrug, lol.

At the RWA, I met some of the authors I had read their Mills&Boon, MIRA and Harlequin titles decades ago. And a new author - Brenda Novak - I had discovered more recently allowed me to take a picture. I also got a Regency Romance Anthology for those cold nights of winter or maybe when I'm in nigeria missing Atala. A lovely lady opened the show for me and my books when she requested an autographed copy. I had a great time chatting with the author I shared a table with too. She writes paranormal romance, and her novel she said is like Waterworld meets Book of Eli. we left around six cos we had some errands and also had to get ready for the later party.

At the Nigerian event, there was fantastic music playing which was mostly a mix of Naija hip hop. I didn't even realize I knew one of the DJs, one of the best in the area, lol. I met these two lovely twins, who as it happened had also went to my old school, Queens School Enugu. We exchanged nostalgic anecdotes and of course I had to tell them about Kevwe and Ofure :). I sold almost 10 books through them and a few of our friends also turned up too. I almost didn't feel like going when we left around half 12 midnight.

Great day all told, enjoy the few pics below.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two Events Today

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Today will be a very busy day for me. I will be meeting with local fans and signing my book, A Heart to Mend, at the Greater Seattle RWA Book fair along with other local authors in the afternoon. Later in the evening, I'll be going for a book reading at the Nigerian Independence event in Seattle. I'm quite nervous and excited at the same time. Wish me luck.


Local Book Fair Offers Opportunity to Chat with Best Selling Authors

The Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America is sponsoring a Book Fair on October 2, 2010 at the Bellevue Hilton. The event runs from 4:30-6:00 pm in the Skyview Ballroom and includes signing opportunities with the more than fifty best selling and award winning authors listed below. This is a free event and open to the public. The Bellevue Hilton is located at 300 112th Avenue SE in Bellevue, Washington. Their phone number is 425-455-1300.

A portion of the proceeds from this event are donated to a local charity; this year we have selected D.A.W.N. (Domestic Abuse Women's Network).


The Nigerian community in Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond will be celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Nigeria’s independence from Britain on Saturday. The event will take place at the Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Avenue S, Seattle.

There is a significant Nigerian community on the Eastside.

At the event, Myne Whitman, Nigerian author and Bellevue resident, will sign copies of her book, A Heart to Mend.

The party will also feature a mix of Nigerian Music with several DJs in attendance and a special Conga performance by Christian Pepin. Everyone is expected to wear green and white outfits to represent the country’s flag and honor the independence anniversary.

The doors open at 10 p.m. and the fun continues until 1 a.m. Ticket to the event is $10 and there will be free Nigeria snacks and drinks before 11 p.m.
Nigeria has the largest population of any country in Africa - about 140 million.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nigeria: The Golden Age - On Blogsville through October

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Happy Independence everyone.

It has been 50 years and the road has been quite long. Several bloggers have come together to mark this golden anniversary through our blogs and write-ups. The common theme is "Nigeria at 50" written from different perspectives through the eyes of the individual bloggers. The idea is to generate an interesting discourse, sharing of ideas and opinions based on the articles that will be written. Join us as we celebrate Nigeria's Independence starting today at A piece of Simeone.


photo credits;

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Debate Tuesday - One thing to improve Nigeria

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Another Tuesday, another topic to talk about. Don't be surprised the last couple of them have been about Nigeria, it's the independence anniversary in a few days. So today I ask, what will be ONE thing that you think that if tackled will dramatically improve the standard of life in Nigeria. I know a lot of people will say #lightupNigeria but really? I know it will make life easier but have there been any measurable outcomes? These are some that have been determined to have a direct impact on lives and people. They're the MDG Goals;

GOAL 1 - Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
GOAL 2 - Achieve Universal Primary Education
GOAL 3 - Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
GOAL 4 - Reduce Child Mortality
GOAL 5 - Improve Maternal Health
GOAL 6 - Combat HIV-AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
GOAL 7 - Ensure Environmental Sustainability
GOAL 8 - Develop a Global Partnership for Development

How far are we on these I wonder. Power is not spelt out in there but of course I know it's important.

Another thing I think is crucial too is a way to checkmate corruption in all aspects of the polity. The INEC chairman was complaining of this the other day and Mrs. Anenih, the Minister of women affairs rebutted that it is the citizens (friends and relatives) that push the government officials into stealing. There is a point in both arguments.

Another big thing is quality infrastructure and a good maintenance culture. The telecoms sector is booming now but how long before our penchance to neglect stuff begins to hit and affect services?

Anyways, the floor is open. Tell me your choice and the reason for it.

Here are a couple of people doing stuff to remind us that we have aways to go before UHURU

Give me 50 Nigeria
Enough is Enough
Cool to Vote

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Picture Weekend - The Puyallup Fair

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Hi everyone, hope you're all doing fine? How's the weekend and what plans for the coming week? You may want to gover to Naija Stories to vote for your favorite writers and stories for the Independence day contest. The polls will continue unto Friday next week.

Now to today's post. The Puyallup fair is supposed to be the 8th largest fair in the world and the greatest in the North-West. After seeing so many ads on the TV, we decided to give it a try. As it's just about an hour from us, I put my freeway driving to the practice to and from the fair. The fair itself was lots of fun, and the slogan "FREE YOUR GLEE" was very apt. I got the Dizzy pass ticket for all the theme park rides and did as much as I could was crazy. There was so much going on, a trade fair, giant pumpkins, we also caught a concert by Vocal Trash. The show lasts for about a couple of weeks and I think you need to go everyday to cover it all. We crammed as much as we can into one day. Enjoy the pics below.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Machete

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The titles above are the pictures you'll see on the right hand side of this blog under What I'm reading and what I saw last.

I said I'll be reviewing these once in a while. Let me start with the book.

The girl with the dragon tattoo. From the Publishers Weekly;

Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family's remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller by muckraking Swedish journalist Larsson. At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden's dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable superhacker. Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson skillfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman. Larsson died in 2004, shortly after handing in the manuscripts for what will be his legacy. 

The book is a 600 page thriller and it took me roughly a week to read at about an hour daily for the first three days. By the second half of the book, it was more difficult to put down. Last night, I stayed up till almost 1am to finish it. It was quite gripping. I look forward to reading the other books of the trilogy and it's a big pity the author is dead. He achieved a great feat in story telling in the book.

The title character is Lisbeth Salander and has several tattoos including a dragon and a butterfly. Contradictory it seems but not so much. She is a well-rounded character. She is small (4"11) and so comes across as a victim but has a strong core that helps her withstand a society she does not understand. She has a bit of Aspergers with a photographic memory thrown in and is a gifted computer hacker. Funny, I wanted to be a hacker at one point too, but my detective skills as a teenager stopped at snooping through my siblings love letters, lol.

Anyway, I have so much in common with Lisbeth that I'll soon be getting my tattoo too. I've been talking about it for too long. Time for action.

Finally Machete. I give it a 3 stars out of five. Lots of action, blood and some gore. Guess the length of the human intestine? You'll find out in the movie. If you're a fan of Quentin Tarantino, which I am, you'll definitely love this one. It was done by Rodriguez who is a sidekick of Tarantino and usually has most of his stories set in Mexico or starring Mexican characters. Remember El Mariachi, Desperado, Once upon a time in Mexico, Spy Kids? According to Rodriguez on wikipedia,

the origins of the film go back to Desperado. He says, "When I met Danny, I said, 'This guy should be like the Mexican Jean-Claude Van Damme or Charles Bronson, putting out a movie every year and his name should be Machete.' So I decided to do that way back when, never got around to it until finally now. So now, of course, I want to keep going and do a feature."[13] In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Rodriguez said that he wrote the screenplay back in 1993 when he cast Trejo in Desperado. "So I wrote him this idea of a federale from Mexico who gets hired to do hatchet jobs in the U.S. I had heard sometimes FBI or DEA have a really tough job that they don't want to get their own agents killed on, they'll hire an agent from Mexico to come do the job for $25,000. I thought, "That's Machete.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Treachery in the Yard

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This story is set in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Detective Tamunoemi Peterside investigates a bombing at the residence of Pius Okpara, who is contesting for governor in the state primaries. No one was killed in the bombing but there is an attempt on the life of the only witness, a judge's wife, that same night. Another attempt is successful and so starts a murder investigation.

Tammy suspects Okpara’s aide who he assumes is in cahoots with their political opponent, Dr. Puene, but the state chief of police orders him to drop the case because he’s wrong. Along the line, the reason to lay off Puene is that he is part of a bigger investigation into the mafia and drugs in the city. Tammy doesn’t drop the case, and the body count quickly rises after the first witness as Puene’s associates, and even Tammy's partner are killed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Debate Tuesday - Can there ever be an end to poverty in Nigeria?

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With just five years remaining until the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today sounded the alarm that the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) continued to be mired in poverty.
Although school enrolment has improved and strides have been made in reducing child mortality and expanding access to clean water in the LDCs, they remain the group facing the most severe challenging in realizing the eight MDGs, Mr. Ban underlined today.

Scores of world leaders are gathering in New York for a three-day General Assembly gathering, which started yesterday, to assess progress made so far in reaching the Goals.

“The LDCs represent the poorest and most vulnerable segment of humanity,” the Secretary-General said at a side event this morning focusing on the MDGs in these countries.

“They remain at the epicentre of the developmental emergency,” he added.

Countries are classified as LDCs if they meet three criteria: a low income; human capital status based on education, nutrition, health and literacy indicators; and economic vulnerability.

Currently, more than half of the 800 million in the 49 LDCs live below the poverty line, while only six of them have poverty rates under 30 per cent.

The LDCs are also made less competitive by their inadequate transport infrastructure and uneven power supplies.

The above is news from the UN website.

It cannot be more obvious from the descriptions given that Nigeria is among the LDCs.

What concerns me today as the UN leaders continue their review is the progress in Nigeria towards eradicating poverty and hunger. The other day I read that a governor employed some graduates as assistants so they could be paid an allowance. I think such unstructured gimmicks are unsustainable.

This is from the UNDP in Nigeria: MDGs in Nigeria: Current Progress

Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
People living in relative poverty declined from 65.6 in 1996 to 54.4% in 204 while 35 out of 100 people live in extreme poverty and 30 out of 100 children are under-weight. Poverty incidence has been consistently higher in rural areas than urban areas while wide disparity occurs in poverty trend in the zones. The prospect of reducing poverty in Nigeria is bright in view of the macroeconomics stability and progressive economic growth in the last six years. Government polices at the third tiers should be focused on increased productivity in the agricultural sector. Investment in infrastructure, especially in rural areas, should be scaled up. This should be complemented with accountability and transparent governance.

Sounds all good written like that. Do you think it can be done?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Picture Weekend - Edinburgh Reminiscing

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So today was my sister's birthday and I woke up early so I could call and wish her the best of days. After we spoke, I couldn't go back to sleep so I went on Facebook to see what was happening about Goodluck's declaration for president. Turns out that my sister had uploaded some pictures which took me right back to Edinburgh.

She had visited me back in Edinburgh from Nigeria in 2007 and that was when these pics were taken. Just before she left, I dropped her camera and it was spoilt. She never bothered to get out the SD card until today. The ones I took with my camera all got lost with the rest of my documents when my last computer crashed just before I left the UK. I never bothered to recover them. Now I wish I had. At least I can see how much I've changed. And I have, lol.


ps; I think I have become lighter in America.