Monday, October 11, 2010

Out of Curiosity - Nwabundo Onyeabo (Guest Author)

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Tell us about yourself, a brief autobiography.
My name is Nwabundo Nneka Onyeabo aka Oluwapamilerinayo. I hold a BSc in Public Relations and an MBA in Marketing & Finance from Morgan State University. Some of my poems have appeared in the Sable Quill Magazine and a number of websites.

When and why did you begin writing?
I've been writing since I could hold a pen; perhaps around five years old. I started writing at first just because it was an awesome avenue to express myself and relieve my active mind from all its imaginations - it was not intentional like "today i want to express myself therefore i will write" it was more "ooh here's a paper and a pen! scribble time!" I would write stories, and draw all over my notebooks and with time I realized that there's so much power in the ability to express yourself with written words...

What inspires you to write?
I like to say - everything. I can start a poem or story because of something someone said, something I read, something that resonates with the things I am passionate about. Some of those things are love, nigeria, education, chocolate, family, friendships and food.

What was your publishing journey like, from thinking of the book idea to holding it in your hands.
It was very interesting. I decided to publish a collection of poems three years ago as a 21st birthday / graduation present to myself... i didn't quite get to it that year. My manuscript was accepted by an American publishing company in Summer 2008, but i decided to self publish in 2010 to get a feel of the publishing processes in Nigeria. I'm blessed with the favor and open doors i experienced and also extremely grateful for the bottlenecks because these experiences teach you valuable lessons... lets just say i can now give very good publishing advice :)

Why poems? Do you plan to write prose too?
Poetry is almost like second nature... I write prose also but poems flow through me when i'm inspired. I literally have to find somewhere to put it down, its like being pressed to pee. Once those words are written, typed, or recorded immediately my mind produced them; i can commence tweaking... Prose comes with a hard pressed mind boggling issue with the same urgency but a reduced flow.

Do you have a major theme that runs through Out of Curiosity?
- There are a couple of themes that run through. There's love, issues of life, soujourns (that is places and journeys), and lessons i have learned.

What books have most influenced your life?
- Hmmmmm.... All Enid Blyton books i ever read (Famous Five, and etc), Alex Haley's "Roots", Ben Okri's "Famished Road", Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart", Longer at Ease" and "Arrow of God", Ted Dekker's "Three", and "Obsessed", Frank Peretti's "This Present Darkness"... there's quite a lot o

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
- Prose: Dr. Chinua Achebe; Plays: Barr. Wole Oguntokun; Poetry: Prof. Wole Soyinka, Victor Okigbo

What books are you reading now?
C.S Lewis "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
- Right now its Chris Abani, Biyi Bandele, Chika Unigwe, Chimamanda Adichie and Sefi Atta

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
- Writing to convey in the most surreptitious yet descriptive way what i'm feeling. I only experience this with poems though.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
- I would have to say Frank Peretti. His writing is totally awesome! Its deep yet understandable and very very spiritual, uplifting and educative. I love love love his work! I'm a huge fan of Ted Dekker as well.... I also love all things by Flora Nwapa, Elechi Amadi and Ngugi Wa thiongo.

What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
- Its thriving! I'm really glad how much we're coming up; from the days of Flora Nwapa's Tana Press till now, I must say we're not doing too badly - we must keep it up!

What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?
- Ah, it definitely needs to improve. I cannot stress enough how important reading is to human survival. If you think about it critically, its at the root of receiving information. If we don't read, we CANNOT know and that's a fact. I don't think Nigerian youth and children espeacially are reading enough, this needs to change.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
- Firstly, Happy Independence Day Nigeria! Stay Reading! Love your neighbour as yourself and if you haven't bought "Out of Curiosity" hmmmm, lets just say you're NOT my reader! **folds arms and turns nose up in the air** so go buy "Out of Curiosity" :)

Do you have an online presence, Facebook, Blog, Twitter or a website?
- I am on facebook as Nwabundo Onyeabo, there's also a twitter page for my book ~ outofcuriozity

Where can we buy the book, both in stores and online?
- "Out of Curiosity" is available at the Hub Media Stores, Palms Lekki in Lagos Nigeria; it is also available on ~

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Picture Weekend - Vancouver on my mind

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Will I ever forget vancouver? We had such a great time there last month that I don't think so. It's a lovely city, not too big and not too small, perfect for a small-town girl like me. In a way, it actually reminded me a Seattle, both on the West Coast, similar weather and they love their coffee too. Except Vancouver had a marvelous vista of mountains surrounding it almost on all sides, and is more diverse too. The native Indian population is more visible and there are also loads of Asians, I hear Richmond is almost 75% Chinese.

There was also a vibrant social life, with a thriving fashion high street that reminded me of the UK. I don't think we have that in Seattle. We visited several landmarks in Vancouver including Chinatown, Stanley Park, MetroTown, Granville Island, and the Top of Vancouver revolving restaurant. The last felt a lot like the restaurant at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle where we went for my birthday dinner last year. We had a great experience this time as well. I'll stop running my mouth now and allow you to enjoy the pics.

Welcome to Vancouver BC, Canada. It was raining cats and dogs as you can see. 

Passing through the border control, it was quick and easy.

A random bull on the street near our hotel. Vancouver's answer to the Wall Street Bull? You decide.

Walking around downtown, the top of Vancouver restaurant building in the distance.

Holy Rosary cathedral

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday Talk - What makes a successful relationship?

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Maybe this topic is not a debate cos there are no two sides. I have written a short piece on how we can have success in our romantic relationships and I want to know what others think.

The truth is that having a successful relationship will take a lot of work from both partners. Like someone once mentioned in a group discussion, “success takes patience, perseverance and flexibility”. A fantastic relationship will not happen just because you want it. You have to apply yourself. It takes a lot of effort to oil the wheels of a relationship. I usually liken it to a bank account and how if one is not careful, they can land in the red. Yeah, sometimes love, especially by itself, isn't enough.

Some will say, you only need to be with the right person and you’re home free, but that’s not completely true. Sometimes, I even begin to wonder if there is a so-called “right person” because, if you lay back after getting with THE ONE, you might end up not lasting for any significant amount of time together. This is because no matter how long you’ve been with your partner, you have to always keep working on your relationship and try to find ways you can improve it.

Some things that come easily to mind are the essences of any good relationship, romantic or not. They include good communication, trust, openness, honesty, mutual respect and so on. I have to say that for me personally, mutual respect and good communication are very high on the scale.

So what about you?

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.