BLOGFEST: Design Your Book Cover

This is from Teralyn Rose Pilgrim of A Writer's Journey, she wants us to stretch our cover design skills, lol. I have to admit that I had professionals design the covers of both my books, A Heart to Mend and A Love Rekindled. I'm terrible with GIMP, Paint, Adobe and all those other arty softwares though I have the free versions on my laptop. Anyway, I did the one below on paint for my current WIP.


I know, I know, it's terrible. Bear with me. :) And this is just the tentative title.

A Fiery Love: Thirty year old Dunni returns to Nigeria on vacation and is seduced by local lothario, Babs. Can the chemistry between them translate to lasting love?

PS, the writing is going slow but it's going. I should post an excerpt next week. Cheers!

Re: Mercy Johnson - Marriage and Divorce in Nigeria

I read some of the drama that preceded Mercy Johnson's wedding on Linda Ikeji's blog, and it got me thinking about marriage, and how some Nigerian women view the institution, viz-a-viz divorce. Note the last response by the first wife.
Linda, I can give you my lawyer's number, please call him and ask him if he signed any divorce papers or if he was in court on Tuesday. I'm still legally married to Prince Odi Okojie, I have not returned any bride price and if Mercy Johnson wants to marry him, let her go ahead. She should just know that she's a second wife.

Now, I didn't read all the posts, but from when the story broke, I was interested by this lady's story. She claimed to be the wife of the man a popular actress was about to get married to (in a 3-day Jamboree)  with photo and documentary evidence that proved the man had actually married her by law and custom.

See, I believe in true love and happily ever after, when both people involved are fully invested in the relationship. If it stops working, or becomes abusive, I accept that separation and/or divorce could be the healthier way forward. The only caveat being that the man and woman ensure that the physical and mental wellbeing of any children are considered, during the split and in the future (this includes custody and child support).

Back to Mercy Johnson/Prince/Lovely and my thoughts. I think the court marriage in Italy probably does not hold water as the certificate shows a fake name. On the customary marriage, Prince tried to obtain a divorce by due process but Lovely is crowing that her lawyer and family were not in court and so the decree was not granted. I don't see her saying she still loves the man. She actually says she doesn't want him back and no where did she mention child support.

Still, it seems Mercy and Hubby did not go on with the registry wedding. Mercy, with rumors that she is pregnant, and the Prince say the white and traditional weddings will go on as planned.

My question is: Why all this palava?  Was all this noise solely to humiliate Mercy Johnson? Hmm...I started out feeling sympathetic for Lovely and her quest for justice, but now I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. You don't want to be married, you don't want to be divorced, you just want to be titular first wife? SMH. Why do some women want to hold on to a dead/dysfunctional relationship, or instead of working on it and talking with THEIR MAN, they play "the other woman" card (aka she stole my man)? #oldstory

Finally, as far as you're not breaking any laws, being a second wife is not a new thing, neither is it something to be ashamed of. Ask the millions of second wives in America. :)

Comments are very welcome, especially from those who see it differently. Thank you.

A Love Rekindled reviewed in Sleek Magazine



I think this is an old issue but pick it up if you see it, ALR is reviewed in the book section.

... the strength of the novel is the emotional journey that the author takes the reader on. She creates a sympathetic picture of both Kevwe and Efe, showing their innermost feelings as they interact with each other and with others who are not so favorably disposed towards their relationship. She deftly weaves both stories together, showing them alternately falling in love by gentle degrees, and then struggling desperately to regain that love they once had. And ultimately, in the final third of the novel, she brings the narratives to a dramatic crescendo as she shows not only the searing heartbreak that betrayal can bring, but more importantly, for hearts torn apart by such heartbreak, the power of love to heal.

The magazine is available in various countries including Angola, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, UAE and the UK.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and watch out for my post coming up soon. :)

Jacob Olisa Jones - The Septavalent Stone: Guest Author

My guest author for today is a YA aspiring author living in the Ukraine. Jacob Olisa Jones describes himself as currently studying a very weird branch of medicine where he treats spirits, ghosts, and beasts including werewolves and banshees. Of course, when I read that on his blog, I was immediately intruiged. I've downloaded his book on my Amazon Kindle (only $0.99), and can't wait to dig in. Enjoy our interview...

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
Right from when I was little I have been fascinated by weird things, you know. I liked watching X-men a lot so the idea of having powers that make you do things that others can't it an exciting feel for me. That being said, I really started writing after I read Prince Caspian of the Narnia series.

Please tell us about the Septavalent Stone
The Septavalent stone is a young adult novel set in two countries, Nigeria and Ukraine. It's about a boy called Andrew, who has a mother who is paranoid about almost everything including her brother Uncle Jeffery, and who is also not as normal as other mothers can be. Andrew gains admission into a medical school in Ukraine, but on getting there, he discovers it's not just a medical school, it's actually a school where apart from human beings, ghosts are treated, magical beasts and a couple of other paranormals stuffs. As the story unfolds, Andrew discovers new secrets about his family and himself, he also discovers a cousin he never knew existed, ad realizes that his mother is not all about cooking utensils and aprons but that in fact there is more to her paranoia and lies than meets the eyes.


Do you have any other books in the pipeline? What are your goals for future projects?
I am a sucker for magic, anything mystical (I hope my mum does not read this) Like I said before the idea that there are unexplainable powers is fascinating to me. Right now, because I'm on holiday, I am doing research on superstitions and myths of every country I can find. By the end of maybe next year, I hope to release a picture book drawn from my descriptions of all these superstitious creatures.


Have you achieved your aim of writing The Septavalent Stone?
Partially yes. I think my main accomplishment will be when someone even if it''s just one person can truthfully say my book really did something to him or her in a positive way. And of course, I would love to sell loads and loads of my book.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I have this very negative friend that almost sees nothing good in anything. He asked me he wanted to read my book. I refused, but he took it anyway and read it and kept saying it was really good. What really touched me though wasn't his comment. He actually finished it in two nights, because we had exams during the day, and we were both talking about the characters like they were real. Honestly, forget the sales, that was a golden moment for me.

How are you enjoying being in Ukraine? How has the reception been like?
It has been quite good that is if you don't count the time my initial illustrator stopped working with me when we met in a restaurant and he discovered I was black. But that was a good thing because right now, the comments I am getting for the book cover from my new illustrator is awesome.


What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
I think there is market in Nigeria if only we had our own SCHOLASTIC, PENGUIN, Simon &Schuster and stuff. Like the music industry that just exploded, the book industry can to. I don't think CHIMAMANDA would have been a hit in Nigeria if she wasn't already accepted in America. I think we are getting there though, I long for the day when I can send my manuscript to a Nigerian Literary agency who will reject it not because they can't relate with it, but because they are just not interested in it, or better still who will love it, and start discussing foreign rights and stuff.

Do you agree that Nigerians have a poor reading culture and rarely read fiction?
It's poor seriously. If the state of the reading culture was equivalent to the money in my pocket, I won't be able to afford to buy a pen. Everyone wants easy money, and how dare you tell me to read when I am hustling, or when I can sing and make ten times as more or something, do you get. I hope we'll get there someday. Before I joined all the Nigerian writing forums, let's just say I wasn't into Nigerian writing and stuff, but I have seen a lot of writing from Nigerians these days, and I'm like where the hell were all these people when I was writing my first draft, now I know I wasn't looking hard enough.

Will your book be available in Nigeria?
You know it's kind of hard ordering from Amazon in Nigeria, so for now, until I go back, I am not sure. I sent hard copies to a few Nigerians however.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be?
Not necessarily the world, but I would like to be at Hogwarts castle in the mornings and at night during breakfast and dinner.

What was your favorite book when you were younger?
Tales of the dark forest by Steve Skidmore and Steve Barlow, and The strange case of William Whippersnapper, I loved the goosebumb and fear street series by R.L Stine. I liked Icarus girl too by Helen Oyeyemi.

What's one piece of advice you would give other upcoming authors?
If you love it, continue doing it. Obviously we all want to become rich with writing but if that's your goal, even if it ever happens, you would have died of frustration before it does. Just be patient, and when you feel down or less motivated go to you tube and watch authors during their book tours and signing. And try to perfect your autograph as well, so it looks good and artistic. My friends are not too happy with what I have done with the first pages of their text books.

Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Chimaamanda Adichie, Jk Rowling and the two Steves I mentioned above. Because they have the ability to make their stories easy. They don't tell you what angle the sun sets, or how the color of a character's slippers is unnerving to another character or how many steps it takes to reach room 12, you get. They go straight to the point. I try to copy them in my writing, I am not sure if I did it successfully, but I think it's okay.

How do you react to bad reviews?
This is a bad habit but I do it anyways. I have the habit of reading only the bad reviews of books I come across on Amazon, goodreads and smashwords, and you would think I should get used to it right? Wrong. I had a bad review once, and this was a bad review with venom, my world stopped for that whole day then the next day I received a completely opposite review, and then it hit me that not everyone would like my book, so I had to stop being a baby. The truth is that bad reviews will come, and it will slap you silly. You are allowed only one to two days to cry but any more than that then, you are on your own. Pick the useful points out of the review and discard the rest. Luckily for me the reviewer happens to be an author herself with an upcoming title, so using her review method and policy I will be reviewing her work too, and maybe I can "learn" to be a better writer from it.

If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
I would like a signed copy of Half of a Yellow sun, and if I can talk a little with the author that would be nice. Because in a way I think that she's a heroine. A Nigerian author whose book not only won awards, but actually sold a lot of copies, what else can I ask for.

Where can you find you online, and also links to buy your book?
Blogger: http://theseven-piecestone.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/jacobolisajones
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/JO-Jones/185381468163807
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/THE-SEPTAVALENT-STONE-ebook/dp/B005G0MWTQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313455639&sr=1-1



Platform Building Campaign for writers

Most of you know that both of my books are self-published, but a lot of people are amazed at how well they're doing.  I've heard the question, What's the secret? a few times and I never fail to refer them to my blog. I've worked hard on this blog, but more than that, I was able to connect to other blogs and bloggers through it. I'm taking this opportunity to build it even further through a campaign pioneered by a fellow writer.

Rachael Harrie is a blogger and aspiring author of YA Horror and she started the Writers' Platform-Building Campaigns as "a way to link writers, aspiring authors, beginner bloggers, industry people, and published authors together with the aim of helping to build our online platforms. The Campaigners are all people in a similar position, who genuinely want to pay it forward, make connections and friends within the writing community, and help build each others' online platforms while at the same time building theirs."

If you're interested, you can read about what's involved in being a Campaigner, and the idea behind the Campaigns. For my followers who are writers, it would be great if you can join in the campaign, because with these things, the more the merrier. I already follow and read the blogs of some other campaigners and I can assure you that they're all very helpful in sharing posts on how to write better, and also about querying, publishing and promoting. See you there.

Blog Abandoned


When I read this article on GHOST BLOGS, I couldn't help nodding my head.
I'm talking about those strange spaces on the Internet that haven't been closed; they remain up, abandoned, their owners disappearing into the ether. There is no final post at the top announcing the cessation of the project. On the contrary, the most recent post (which is sometimes years old) usually gives no sense that the blog is coming to an end. It's like walking into a house and finding the table fully set with a warm meal but devoid of people.

I'm never sure what to do with these blogs on either the enormous blogroll I keep or in my personal blog reader. I usually leave them up on the blogroll because I figure the archives could still be helpful to someone seeking information. I also usually leave them in my Google Reader because there have been a handful of times that the person has -- years later -- popped back on (and, let's face it, I'm too lazy to prune my Reader).

Personally I have over 800 blogs in my reader, though more than half of them are ghosts. There are some that I take personal. Bloggers that I really liked, I thought we had a connection, or maybe were writing a series and just abandoned them. I'll list some of them below.

- QMoney of Discovery for women, only recently updated after 6months.
- Solomon Sydelle, finally replied my twitter message yesterday, but her blog?
- Naijadaydreamer is AWOL, she mentioned a tasking job, but still! And she owes me a story, and a book.
- Betrayed Naija Wife, I want to assume it is well with her life now
- September to Andrea on my life, hope she and family are doing well.
- Let me not even talk of the really old timers...Where is Baroque, Nolimits, Mancee, Kay9, etc...

What about you? Do you miss any blogs? Why do you think owners abandon their blogs?

The Don Jazzy/ DBanj Oliver Twist Phenomenon

Or you can call it the Nigerian takeover of Youtube. A few weeks/ months ago, all the rage was planking, and that was just for fun o. Can you imagine the foolywang that will ensue now that people will be paid for jonzing? I'm sure most of you guys have heard of the Don Jazzy and Dbanj's Talent Contest where the winner can get up to $2500 in cash?
Record a video clip of yourself or your group dancing/jonzing, upload to YouTube and email the link to oliver@mohitsrecords.com
It’s that simple.
1st Prize: $2500
2nd Prize: $2000
3rd Prize: $1500
4th Prize: $1000
5th Prize: $500
Top 10 entries will be part of the Official Oliver video
Top 50 gets a FREE Koko Mobile Handset
I've always believed it was a matter of time before the number of Nigerians on the social media platforms exploded, and the success of my books through blogs and Facebook seemed to bear me out. Recently, Nmachi Jidemma of CP-Africa called for more connected Nigerians to start blogs arguing that writing about day-to-day Nigerian life will overwhelm our reputation for internet fraud. Akin of NigeriansTalk responded that Nigerians cannot write good enough English to speak of blogging. When we discussed these posts, Atala made the very valid point that vlogging (video blogging) did not require one to know how to write English.

Fast forward to the tail end of last week and the above announcement by Dbanj and his group. Talk about vlogging raised to power 10, and you don't even have to say a word. Even simpler, you don't have to look intelligent or smart. Who knows, maybe the opposite will snag you the prize! So, while I don't know that this is what Nmachi had in mind, it is certainly going to provide a new influx of Nigerians and Nigerian content onto the interwebs; Youtube primarily with sharing via Twitter and Facebook.

OK, after all the turenchi, am I tempted to do an Oliver video? LOL...no comment, for now. What about you?


Finally, I have seen almost 20 videos thanks to Gistdotcom, and I don laugh tire. I won't post up the more stupid clips, you can go over to the Oliver entries Sisi Yemmie found and check out # 1, 2, 10, 13, and more. Below are three of the clips that I actually liked on order of preference.


I like that this guys went around several spots in Lagos and actually labelled the places.


Some thought obviously went into the video, and one of them reminds me of Atala, guess which one?


They move around LA, and choreography wasn't too bad either.

Enjoy, and have a fab week. Mwah!
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Picture Weekend - SADE Tour in Seattle

How is everyone? Hope the weekend is going well? I'm still sticking with my plan of taking it easy today, but I think in addition to reading, I'll be doing some writing as well. Atala is going for a long bus hike and street discovery in another part of town and wants my company, but naa...it's good for couples to spend some time apart, or so I hear sha. :)


Anyway, I won't talk so much. Today's blog is to share some pics from the SADE concert last week. It was amazing, awesome, and every superlative you can think of. The videos are still uploading on Youtube, and I'll bring you the links as time goes on. For now, enjoy the pics....

For more, go to Myne Whitman Writes on Facebook.




Pictures when you continue












One of those days...


Do I have to say more? Anyway, thank God it's Friday. I'll just be vegging out at home, and maybe read a few happy books. :)

Have a good weekend, people.

MWP - FabXchange Swapping Events in London

FabXchange formerly known as The Wardrobe Swap party (WASParty) is the eco-friendly swapping (exchange of clothing item between women) event created by childhood friends Ronke Odewumi and Detola Amure, who call themselves 'The SwapQueens'.

Ronke Odewumi is a fashion designer and business consultant who loves and lives fashion and everything fashion. Her dream is to build her fashion brand Enii Akinbo. She is always willing to give fashion and style advice. Ronke is married to her best friend who supports her fashion aspirations and keeps her in Jimmy Choos.

Detola Amure is an aspiring fashion savvy business analyst whose passion is to completely declutter her wardrobe and that of every woman in the UK in an environmentally friendly way. She is a goal getter, loves networking and reading. She is married to the man of her dreams and has a drop-dead gorgeous daughter.

Ronke and Detola decided to create the eco-fabulous FabXchange when they found fashion treasures in each other’s wardrobes that they didn’t seem to need and realised that between them, their friends and women in the UK was a mountain of clothes rarely worn and sitting in wardrobes all over the UK. Thus was born the exchange or swap idea.

The next swap party by the SwapQueens themed; “Starve the landfill” is holding on the;

Date: 27th of August,
Venue: The Rock Tower, Tufnell Park Road, N7 0PS
Time: 2p.m prompt.


There is a fabulous shoe give away by MifaniShoes at the event. All the details can be found on www.fabxchange.co.uk


These clothes swapping parties held by the SwapQueens takes place throughout the year in London, UK and gives attendees the opportunity to get a number of new clothes into their wardrobe in one go, without going shopping. It also provides the chance to clear out clothes that are hardly worn, and de-clutter their wardrobe in the process. Shoes, Bags and Books are also swapped at these events.

Fab swap parties are a trendy way to do ‘ethical shopping’ and now ladies concerned with keeping the earth green can keep their carbon footprint down while getting something back.

There is definitely a feel good factor about the SwapQueens; they save you shopping money, revamp and de-clutter your wardrobe, let you give back to the environment while having a fabulous time at their fun filled party.

At every swap party, there are also side attractions such as beauty and makeup giveaways, beauty makeovers, book giveaways, costume jewellery and accessories on sales, vouchers to give away and so much more.

You can follow the SwapQueens on
facebook- www.facebook.com/FabXchange
Twitter- @fabxchange
Website- www.fabxchange.co.uk

FabXchange
29 Lucas Avenue
London
E13 0QP

Tel: 07590380992;
email: info@fabxchange.co.uk

Frequently Asked Questions - Authorhouse and Book Promotion

Hi,
I'm from India. I was looking to publish my poetry book with Authorhouse(UK). Just wanted to know if I can rely on them with regards to the promotion of my book. As this is a poetry book so what are your suggestions- are there enough poetry lovers. Can I take this step ahead?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

____________________

Hello,

Thanks for your mail. I think there are enough lovers of poetry but I have to tell you that Authorhouse will not promote your book. You have to do all the marketing and publicity for your book if you go with them. However they will make sure the book is available in many places so that you can reach a much wider audience, in India, America, Europe and beyond.

Good luck with your writing.

Myne

WIP - A Mutually Pleasurable relationship, not!

So with 16 votes to 9 and 3 respectively for Wale and Hakeem, Idris has won your hearts for the face of Babs. Read on to find out what he gets up to.
____


As the group waded across a shallow stream filled with rocks in the climb to the pool, Dunni missed her footing and nice smile was suddenly beside her. Forced to take his hand to keep from falling her skin tingled when he gripped her palm firmly. After a couple of steps, she looked up into his face. There was a frown of concentration on his forehead but as if he felt her gaze, he turned an open and admiring stare on her. He wanted her and he did not mind if she knew it. In fact, he wanted her to know it. Dunni snatched her hand away. She did not want to know, she wasn’t in the mood for any vacation fling and it was obvious that was the only thing she knew his type could give. She thanked him reluctantly and moved quickly to catch up with the others.

Back at the second cascade, she did not join those that swam again, but chatted with Folarin and a couple of the others. He did not join the conversation but she could feel his presence giving off a heat that warmed her from the inside out. His muscular body was like a magnet that drew her gaze several times. On their way down, she walked off from the group in order to put some distance between them and when she found herself in a clearing near the edge of the hill, she decided to take some pictures. Under the sunny sky, the view was clear for miles around, a collage of rusted tin roofs and colored aluminum ones interspersed with power lines and trees.

“Like what you see?”

Dunni almost dropped her camera when his voice interrupted her, and glared at him. He was leaning against a tree at the edge of the clearing where she was. She still didn’t know his name and she couldn’t even call him an oaf anymore since he saved her back there on the trail..

“Are you following me?”

“So you’re still the typical Nigerian; answering a question with another one.” He smiled and she was struck again by his perfect teeth. The sun drew patterns on his clothes, throwing his cheekbones into relief and hiding his eyes in shadow. Dunni wondered if they were twinkling as usual and then internally pinched herself to stop the thought.




“Folarin says you’re visiting? How long are you visiting for?”

“It’s none of your business is it?”

“What if I want to make it so? I want you Dunni, but I think you know that already. You're a very attractive woman.”

There was no denying the inflection in his voice, and when he began to stalk toward her, her skin rippled with goose bumps while her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth.

"What do you say to a mutually pleasurable relationship?" He was standing directly in front  of her, the killer smile on full display.

Anger and alarm zigged through her previously sluggish brain. Dunni searched for something smart to say as something akin to hatred washed over her. She jumped back from the hand he was reaching out to her and remembered a phrase she’d learnt since arriving for her vacation just in time.

“You can go and hug a transformer.” Her heart was pounding as she walked away from him.

After that encounter, she stayed with the others when her cousin declared time out and they relaxed in the round-roofed and open-sided chalets that lined the ridge.  She didn’t want to go off, and give him a chance to follow her or talk to her again. It was with relief that she spied the parking lot in the distance. She was rattled by the energy between her and the mystery guy.

At the car, she dumped her knapsack into the backseat and bent over to check her face in the side mirror while Folarin was still saying his goodbyes. Just as she was about to stand, a recently familiar muscular body appeared in the mirror, and she turned to meet twinkling eyes. This time the sun was directly in his face, turning his eyes the color of melting brown sugar in which his pupils were pin-pricks of darkness.

“Did you think to leave without saying goodbye? Eh, Dunni?”

“Yeah, you know my name, now what?” She snapped, looking away. She was all riled again as her gaze seemed drawn to those wide lips, and the smile which the twitch at their side promised. This close, the scent of his aftershave or cologne tickled her nostrils under the smells of masculine sweat and dry-cleaned khakis. Dunni got into the passenger seat and slammed the door.

“Don’t you want to know my name too?” He had bent and was peering through the windows that Folarin had left partly open before they left to let out the heat.

Her gaze went to his quickly in expectation, realizing too late that he was teasing. He laughed out loud, a smooth, low sound. In the mirror, she could see Folarin approaching them, Dunni prayed her cousin will address him directly but he was quicker than her.

“Let's not play games OK? I think we both know what we want, don't make it too hard. I’ll see you again soon,” he said before walking off to meet Folarin halfway.

Her jaw hung open before she recovered and ground her back teeth. In her head she called him every single name she could think of. To hell with her earlier thoughts that she couldn’t be nasty to him since he’d helped her cross that rocky stream without falling.

“You wish,” she muttered under her breath, trying to cool down and determined to push him out of her mind. He must think himself the trek lothario, out to have as many flings as he could with tourists that joined the hike. No wonder he seemed fixated on how long she was here for. Well, he may have the whole good body thing and great smile working for him, but she wasn’t up for that kind of business. She had to device a way to prevent them from seeing again. He must be the one Folarin had said worked in Lagos, meaning she could breathe easy in Ilesha and Ilorin where she planned to do some running around when they returned. And she would certainly not be getting his details, not to send him a scathing mail, or for any other thing. In fact, she would cancel the planned trek of the New Year in case that was what he referred to. She’d had enough of an adventure for the whole trip, and from now she would stay in Ilesha and bear the mouthing off from the women who wanted to marry her off.

The Face of Babs - help me decide

It's a new week, people, do I have some goodies for you! :)

I said on the last excerpt that you guys should expect a Babs side of the story soon but when I got ready to share another snippet from my WIP, I got into a debate with myself on the picture to use for him. I want you guys to help me decide.

To be honest, my male lead in this work in progress started life as Wale, he was supposed to be one of the side characters from A Love Rekindled (Kevwe's roommate in Uni). Back then, his namesake, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje - previously of LOST, was my visual cue.






And then the name changed to Babs and Dunni started praising his smile, and it was Hakeem Kae-Kazeem that came to mind. I confess I fell in love with his smile when I saw him as the male lead in INALE, a romantic folktale from Nollywood.




But wait, I was doing my rounds one day while writing and one blogger, I think it was Lady Ngo, was listing her chocolate addictions and included Idris Elba. I decided that he did actually have a cute smile and since then, he sometimes crops up when I think of Babs.



So who should be the face of Babs?
______


PS, some of you may know that Boris Kodjoe is my number one eye candy. Unfortunately, he doesn't make this list, not because there's anything wrong with his smile, but he's not dark enough. :)

Just Some Housekeeping

I've recently been accepted into the BlogHer Publishing Network, an advertising community for women bloggers. I know some of you must have noticed the ads at the top and side of the blog, and I hope it's not too distracting. The service is not by clicking so please do not feel obliged to click, unless of course, you find something that might be useful for you. This is also a disclosure that you may be seeing some product reviews in future. Hopefully, I'll be able to pass some of the value along to my readers too.

Some Herstory: It seems fortuitous that this opportunity comes in the month of my second year anniversary of blogging. Blogging has really given me a lot of options, and becoming a Blogher member is one of them. I joined the Blogher site in March and applied to the waiting list soon after. An affiliate approval came in June and I got the full membership just this August. While I look forward to great things, you can also join in by applying through the site's program for bloggers.

Have a great week ahead, everyone. I appreciate you all.

How I broke my hand

Did anyone try to guess how I broke my hand? One person on Facebook said something that made me go, huh? Ehmmm...no, nobody beat me up. I might be an author but my life is not that exciting yet, :) So what really went down? I'm sure some of you put two and two together from the pictures I used for the Confession Time post, helmet = biking = fall?

Yeah, that was what happened. Atala and I decided to go tandem (a longer than usual bicycle for two people) riding on one of the most glorious weekends Seattle experienced this uninspiring summer. We both ride bicycles, he more than I do obviously since he rides to work most days. (Remember when I blogged about his earlier bike being stolen, we never got it back BTW)


It was a beautiful day,  the lake was the same blue as the sky, the ducks were out with their ducklings...


People were taking advantage of the sun, out in boats big and small...


We weren't just showing off though, we actually rode 18 miles that day, 18 grueling hilly miles! Honestly, there were times I was almost like, let's head back. But just like there are hills, there must be valleys, so we were able to catch our breath, and a couple of times we hopped off and rested our butts too. 


The essence of our sojourn was a lake to lake jaunt. At the second lake, we saw this amazing swimming dog. He was playing with a ball which he liked thrown into the water...


Then he'll jump in after it and fetch it back. Dude is intelligent too, he has these strategies of coming back to the owner using the path of least resistance, you needed to see it...


Oh yeah, more posing...

Anyway, back to the fall, after enjoying the day, the ride, my companion, I got too cocky and decided to ride handsfree. I was encouraged when I saw another rider doing the same. Well, I forgot we were on a tandem and one of the basics of using that is that we had to be communicating every inch of the way. I was trying to convince Atala of the joys of handsfree riding and not paying enough attention to the riding when next thing, I felt myself flying through the air. I fell off the left side of the bike so my left hand got the brunt of it while trying to play Rambo, lol. It didn't hurt that bad, so Atala dusted me off and we continued the ride.


This picture was taken after the fall, and you can see I was still flexing the hand. However, the pain escalated as we kept riding, and by the end when we dropped off the tandem, my hand was swollen. So, off to ER we went, and you know the rest of it, including my colorful cast.

Lessons: Laughing in the face of danger sometimes lands you on your broken left hand. It may also nab you a lot more breakfasts in bed than usual, LOL...Atala has really been wonderful. And I want to thank everyone who has asked after my hand and everything, I appreciate you guys.

What next? The cast has obviously curtailed my athletic activities, but I'm going to see Sade this Sunday, and John Legend is opening. Double Whammy! Don't worry, you'll get to see the pics. :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Mwah!

You can download A Love Rekindled on your iPod


For those of you who can't do without their Apple Gadgets, this is to let you know that my books are now available on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iBooks, and on your computer with iTunes.

A Love Rekindled by Myne Whitman in the UK - Download A Love Rekindled with iBooks:

For those in the US, download it HERE

Description - PRAISE FOR A LOVE REKINDLED

“…a moving love tale of first love, the challenges of tribal biases and the importance of hope, persistence and forgiveness – critical ingredients for every relationship to survive." Lara Daniels, author of Love at Dawn  
“Reading [this] is like holding up a cloth of kente: each piece rich with history and beauty. With confidence and deftness, Myne Whitman weaves a riveting brocade of friendship, heartache, and love…” Uche Umez, author of Tears in her Eyes  
“….a romance novel that affirms one’s belief in true love and that it truly does conquer all. It also proves that though external forces can cause a delay, they cannot kill love.” Folake Taylor, author of The Only Way is Up

You can also download A Heart to Mend if you haven't read it yet.

Thank you all so much for your support.

Debate Tuesday - Increasing numbers of women marry for money?

"According to a new study more women are are marrying for money than did in the 1940s.
The author of the report, Dr Catherine Hakim, tells BBC Radio 5 live 'there is this myth that women invariably choose to have a relationship of total equality'.
Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire, Dr Hakim continues: 'More and more women are choosing to marry men who are substantially better educated than them, and therefore have higher earnings capacity.'
BBC News - Are increasing numbers of women marrying men for their money?


Just last weekend, I was asking on my Facebook support page and on Twitter, (you can click on the left side bar to join both), if it is true that men marry downwards socially and financially. A lot of those that responded agreed with me, though @miafarradaily reminded me on twitter that historically, it used to be the reverse, men married upwards in order to better their own opportunities. @eightsnweights said men do still marry for money, only they prefer that it is the girl's parents and not her that has the money so they can keep their ego.

Now, someone has just drawn my attention to this study reported by the BBC that more and more women are marrying men for money. Instead of choosing men with equal education or who is on the same level career-wise, the researcher said many women prefer men who are miles ahead of them, almost to the extent of swimming in money. The researcher thinks it's because of the family values of such women, who want to stay home with the kids and so want a man who can foot the bill for the whole family.

I kind of get the sense of what she's saying. A lot of the choices we make in life are as a result of socialization. Even some of us who think we're enlightened often have to consider the views of loved ones - parents, friends, family - when it comes time to select a partner. Also, women have to consider the ability of the man to take care of their upcoming family, I would not consider such a person a gold-digger.

What are your opinions?

Do men mostly marry downwards? Why?

Do women mostly marry upwards? Why?

How would you marry or have you married? Why?

I would especially like to hear from the men as well. Thank you.

WIP - Tall, Dark and Aggravating


Dunni had to stop herself from turning and glaring at the aggravating man again. It galled her that he had managed to find out her name when she didn’t know his. What an o-a-f! She had called him that and would’ve called him more if Folarin hadn’t intervened. That man had gotten on her nerves like no stranger ever had in the past. She first noticed him as she swam, realizing the stragglers must have caught up with them and wondering after she’d swam a few laps why he hadn’t moved from the same spot. It was during another circle round the pool that it dawned that his gaze was fixed on her. And not just on her, but on a certain part of her anatomy. After that, she had hurried up to get out of the water and put on some clothes.

It wasn’t the first time she would have men staring at her backside, but usually, most were more discreet about it. Especially the older she got. Her hips had come in early, and from when she was about fifteen, her male classmates and teachers would always pay her some special attention. She’d moved from those embarrassing days when she was all bones except for her hips to filling in other places and growing into her backside. Nowadays, she took pride in it, knew when to cover it up and when to reveal it, and how to deal with men who couldn’t tear their eyes away. With her stature, the sharp edge of her tongue could always be trusted to quickly send men on their way and it baffled her that the guy had stuck around to get more of it.

As she heard Folarin urging everyone to get moving, Dunni relived his enjoyment of her annoyance and how he had stood there, toe to toe with her. He’d seen how angry she was with him, but had gone ahead to smile and laugh at her. How dare he! He was probably still staring at her, the lech! More words bubbled on her tongue as she stumped over the clumpy grasses and shrubs on the trail, and she determined to find out his details from Folarin and have her cousin send him a choice message. She hissed and adjusted the straps of her backpack higher on her back. A smile drew on the corners of her lips as she recalled what he’d said about her backside not having any rival. Thinking further on their encounter, it wasn’t such a surprise that he’d been with so many women; he was good looking in his own way and had a persuasive tongue. The women in the village would certainly be bowled over if Dunni brought him back as a suitor.

She had arrived from the States for a six weeks long stay with her parents, thinking she’ll be spending it all including Christmas and New Year with them in Ilorin. But it turned out her aunt, her father’s older sister, had planned a Boxing Day memorial service for Dunni’s grandparents in their village church in Ilesha. Her parents had decided to travel early to the village which meant that they left town a week after her arrival. That first week in Ilorin had been great, she’d rested and also spent time with her father, but after only two days in Ilesha, she felt like the walls were closing in on her. If she wasn’t being pushed to greet one relative or the other, she was expected to join her female relatives who cooked for the entire extended family. Not that she hated cooking or the communal life, but most of the women were married and kept needling her about marriage. What made her seek escape was that no matter her answer, the blame inevitably turned to her. It was always the woman’s fault, they said, complaining about everything she did.

“Dunni, you’re too proud and picky. Give more men a chance.”

“You work too hard, Dunni, and your tongue is too sharp!”

“Dunni, you’re too much of a tom-boy, you’re wasting your god-given assets.”

“I promise to find you a husband in a day, once I mention your green card.”

While she was proud of how she didn’t get into any argument and was able to laugh at their thinly veiled jokes, inside she wished she hadn’t come down to Ilesha. But it had been almost five years since her last visit, and she missed Nigeria. Not forgetting that her mother had almost ordered her home after a scare about her father’s health had sent him to hospital. So she sat stoically through the cooking sessions, biting back any sharp retorts that threatened to tumble forth, and bore the pseudo-counseling from women, some of whom were much younger than her thirty. Dunni rolled her eyes as she recalled their words and looked around her. While she had not been paying attention, the group had arrived at the second cascade.

While everyone ohhed and ahhed over the plunging water, the lech tried to catch her eye but she kept her distance even if she watched him when he wasn’t looking. His dark-skinned face was not exactly handsome, but he had a strong jaw, his sculpted lips showcased very nice teeth, and she hadn’t missed how the smile he’d teased her with had set his dark eyes twinkling. Could it be that her earlier anger had been just a camouflage for the attraction she’d felt for him, and may be that was why she’d been so annoyed. It was really off-putting when an unmannered man was otherwise such an epitome of manliness. Dunni was tempted to fan herself, but chose to go behind the cascade, allowing the splashing sprays to cool her. He was taller than her, so at least six feet, with bulky biceps and calves exposed by his shorts and T-shirt. As her mind gave her further images of how fantastic he looked, she pulled in the reins.

Irritated with herself for being so stirred up, she joined the others as they left the ledge. As they began to walk again and the warm air and sunshine dried the droplets of water on her arms and legs, she looked around at the other women and men who like her were dressed in shorts or jeans and t-shirts. She wondered at what kind of people they were, who liked the outdoors and regularly went hill climbing in the wilds of the Nigerian south-west. In her experience, urban Nigerians weren’t the keenest outdoor types but Folarin assured her some hardy ones were becoming interested. In fact, he said people from Lagos and Ilorin paid good money - enough that he was thinking of quitting his day job as a copywriter – so he could guide them through some of the more accessible trails. One of the ladies rolled up her trousers as a muted splashing sound alerted them that they were approaching the next falls. Folarin looked back and announced the third cascade was just around the corner, telling them that would be their last since the other pools were too far up.

**

There's no dialogue in this bit. After the hot and fast (I hope) chapter one, I wanted to give Dunni some back story here. Let me know if it's too much information dump. What did you like or dislike? 


If you missed Babs, he'll be making an appearance in the next installment coming in a couple of days.


Thanks
____


pic from naijatreks.com

Myne Whitman Presents - 9jamom.com


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So, I got the cast + Love is in the air


Yes I did.

But there is good news, I won't need surgery.

And my cast is so colorful and H-A-R-D. Did any of you ever hear that phrase, one blow - seven akpus? Akpus is supposed to be bruises, or swellings or something like that, lol...

The guy who put on the cast was very nice and I was happy that I have two fingers free from that hand, that means I can type more easily now, yay!

How is everyone? Hope your weeks are going well so far? I saw two blogs in my wanderings that made my mushy romantic self go aww...Love is so sweet!

Angelsbeauty is enjoying love in Edinburgh with her beau. She says; "He is so amazing (sorry) – I can’t forget the smile on his face when he saw me and the smile on my face and in my heart when I saw him too! He had a flower bag on him so I knew he got me flowers! They were beautiful and two lovely cards which he clearly said were for my eyes only *sigh* – to summarise he is truly amazing and I am soooo blessed to have a man that constantly says he is blessed to have me in his life because I am blessed to have him in my life as well."

MimiBarber invites a love struck blogger to talk about how it feels to be in love from a man’s point of view. He says; "Well, I am not sure I can actually describe the feeling. All I know is I have finally found someone who completes me, who makes every effort to understand me and is perfectly willing to take me “as is” (all major flaws included). Never mind the fact that I met her in January, 2010 and we didn’t start a relationship until May, 2011. The wait was worth it."

As one who started my love in Edinburgh just over three years ago, and who hears from Atala everyday how much the love is still shacking him, I hope everything works out for our blog lovers. And for all of you guys going through one stage or the other of love and relationships, enjoy!

Love you guys, and here's to a great week.

The third missionary journey begins - The Perfect Backside


“D-a-m-n,” Dunni said in wonder and regret when she noticed that the rudimentary ascent to the Erin- Ijesha Waterfalls was beginning to level out.

Covered in moss, the broken up blocks that made up the steps were only held in place by the tufts of grass growing around them. Assessing the remaining, she took in the profusion of foliage that surrounded them and breathed in the clear air, so different from the heat and humidity of Dallas. At the top of the steps, she took a picture destined for her desk, something from home to relax her on those frazzled days at work. From her vantage point, the crumbling steps spread out in a triangle, the sentry trees at the edges casting a shadow that framed the edges.

The low sun caressed her bare arms while a light breeze cooled them, fanning under the short sleeves of her T-shirt. A film of dew and dust coated her size 10 sneakers but she could care less. She loved the outdoors and especially this opportunity to explore a part of her previously overlooked heritage. She rolled her neck, and then each of her shoulders in turn as she hurried to keep up with the rest of the group though she would’ve preferred to take her time on the climb. But she guessed the others had made this journey a few times before, and wanted to get to the main attraction of the falls quicker.

Dunni remembered the first time she’d gone rock-climbing with colleagues from her office. Her quest for adventure had started at Dallas Rocks, an indoor climbing gym, where she’d trained for a few months until she felt ready to go with the others into the hills around Dallas. In fact, this trek reminded her of a hike some weeks before this Nigerian trip with her favorite meet-up group. They’d gone on the Knob Hill trail near Lake Grapevine, and except for the missing cacti, the the Erin-Ijesha trees provided the same patterned canopy from the sun overhead.

She exhaled, craning her neck as far as they could go to see if she could catch a glimpse of their destination. This was like a slice of paradise she didn’t want to end.

“Folarin, I hope there are more steps up there?” She called to her cousin. The other people in the group, two women and three men all looked at her as if she must be out of her mind.

“Not much, we’re almost at the top.”

Dunni exhaled again, turning to smile at Folarin as he came to stand beside her.

“What do you think?” He asked, smiling back at her.

“This is great.” Dunni couldn’t resist taking another picture of the shimmering horizon.

“Those must be my stragglers,” Folarin said, his gaze fixed at the bottom of the steps.

Dunni followed his gaze and saw three people coming towards them. She recalled that their group was supposed to be ten in all but one of the men said his companions had stopped off along the road to buy some stuff.

“Do you want us to wait for them here?” She asked Folarin.

“No, they’ll catch up with us at the first cascade.” He said, turning away. “One of them has been on this hike several times before, says the open air and the walking take away the stress of his high-flying Lagos job.”

Dunni smiled in understanding as she followed. It was also her position as human capital analyst at Deloitte Consulting that had sent her in search of a physically exerting hobby.

“Need a hand?” One of the men asked, coming alongside.

Dunni shook her head and walked faster. He’d introduced himself to her as Paul as they’d all left the parking lot and had been stealing obvious glances at her since. She knew he would be all over her if she so much as gave him an inch, but he held no attraction whatsoever for her. And what was the need of striking up a relationship when she would be leaving the country once her vacation ended? As Paul fell in step with her, she considered acting interested just to spite her aunts and her mother’s friends who felt she lacked man-snagging skills. Arriving with a man in tow after just one outing will surely show them.

And it was the same marriage-nagging coven that made her jump at the chance to go off with Folarin when he’d called her to say he was going hill-climbing that morning with a small group. He was four years younger, but they had hit it off during her last visit and kept in constant touch after she returned to Dallas. He had been in university then and she loved the pictures he shared on Facebook of treks through the wilds of the south-western Nigerian states. The initial plan for her six week vacation had been to relax for the first three weeks in Ilorin and go hiking with Folarin after the New Year. But with the trip becoming more stressful than she expected, she couldn’t pass up this drive to the waterfalls, less than half an hour’s drive from their village. She needed to clear her head and get back the peace that usually enveloped her when she was in Nigeria with her family. But with gossipy women everywhere she turned in the village, a hilltop seemed the only place to get away from all the bull.

And what an amazing and welcome getaway it was proving to be. After an hour of climbing, they came upon the waters of the first cascade which bubbled over several ledges before plunging into its pool in a shroud of white foam. All her worries of the past week, her father’s still shaky health, the nattering women, seemed to slough off her skin with the rushing stream, and she quickly shrugged off her backpack. Pulling her T-shirt over her head to reveal her halter neck sports bra, Dunni tugged off her cargo knee-pants and waded into the water. Nothing was going to stop her from enjoying this experience to the full, not even the ogling men. The bracing cool water welcomed her and stretching out her arms, she dove in. Heaven.


**

A bent-over, rounded female was the first thing he saw once he entered the clearing, as the owner arched her back, about to dive into the Olumirin pool. Babs walked closer, bounced once on his toes, and then settled into the heels of his hiking boots to fully take in the most perfect backside he had ever seen. And he knew what he was saying because he’d seen a lot. She splashed in, surfacing in a strong crawl. The tight shorts she wore barely covered her hips and clung like a second skin. Sunlight glinted off the water on her long and lean limbs as she moved effortlessly through the pool. The other people splashed around the banks of the pool, or took pictures of each other on the rocks around but they couldn’t keep his attention.

Folarin came over and they shook hands but Babs didn’t say much and soon, the other guy went to chat with the couple that had straggled in after him. Babs was standing in the same spot when the swimming lady waded out, rivulets of water of sluicing off her narrow shoulders and hourglass waist. He swallowed the lump that climbed his throat and cleared it loudly in order to get her attention. When she glanced over at him, he flashed his best smile. He’d always found it easy to get the girls he wanted and walked towards this one without thinking twice about it. Women were quickly charmed by his looks and what some of them called his confidence.

By the time he got to her, she had stepped into tan knee-length khakis that did nothing to camouflage her divine figure. “Hello, how are you?”

She eyed him then turned away to pick up the top lying on a grass-covered rock, shrugging into it without a word. Was she ignoring him? He stuck out a hand and smiled more widely. “I noticed you’re a very good swimmer.”

His smile faded a bit as he watched her eyebrows climb her forehead. After a couple of seconds, he let his hand drop. She’d half turned away as if looking for something, or someone. Had he made a mistake and she was coupled up? But she didn’t look familiar, and he could’ve sworn he knew all the people in this group. Babs looked around again, and saw Paul staring at them both with a strange expression in his eyes. Was that a smile? Had his colleague got to her before him? He looked back at the still silent woman. Why doesn’t she just say so?

“Are you deliberately being rude?” He asked finally.

“You mean rude like the lecherous look on your face as I walked out of the pool?” Her reply took him by surprise, and before he could formulate an answer, she shot another volley.

“And how long were you standing there with spit dribbling down your slack jaws?”

Babs laughed inwardly. She sure had a smart mouth on her. And he noticed her American accent. She must be visiting and what could be better than a tourist romance? Well, he wasn’t one to back down from a verbal sparring, it was all part of the fun as far as he was concerned.

“Cat got your tongue?” She taunted, following it up with a drawn out hiss. “F-o-o-l!”

“How dare you!” Babs hissed back, the smile wiped from his face.

“How dare I?”

“Yes.”

Her almond shaped eyes had gone wide and he wondered if it could go wider still. After the sting of her insult, the fun was coming back to their exchange and he wanted to see how much further he could needle her.

“You need to wash out that mouth of yours with soap. You’re acting like a spoilt child.”

“You, s-i-r-,” she rolled her eyes at him, “are the spoilt child here, acting like you’ve just seen a new toy and can’t wait to get your grubby hands on it. I won’t be surprised to find you have a couple of wives at home, and several mistresses too.”

“Sorry to disappoint you,” he laughed, “I am very much unmarried. You see, I love women too much to deny them of myself.”

Babs felt charged up, his heart chugging away in his chest like the trains his company planned to put on Lagos rails.

“So, yes, I’ve had my fair share of girlfriends and mistresses,” he continued, smiling at the memories, “I have to say though; in all my years, I’ve never seen a backside to rival yours.”

“How dare YOU!” She hissed, her eyes snapping a fire that flickered electricity over his skin. He could see her jaws tense as her fists clenched. Boy, did she have a temper. As she stepped closer to him, he saw she was almost as tall as his six feet. He wanted to reach out and touch her, and he also realized that he really wanted to know her name.

Barely managing to keep his hands by his sides, Babs sighed theatrically. “We can stand around here daring each other, or you could tell me your name?”

“Go to HELL!”

“Dunni, are you OK? What’s the problem?”

Babs allowed a smug smile to spread over his face, and watched her, Dunni, close her eyes as if in pain. She quickly opened it to glare at Folarin who had just joined them, and then at Babs. He could guess at the colorful words running through her head, and probably letter by letter, but she remained silent, only picking up her backpack and slinging it behind her.

“Dunni?” Folarin called again.

“He’s your customer, right? Tell him that I do not talk to o-a-f-s.”

Babs swallowed his laughter at being proved right and watched her straight-backed march through the grasses as she stalked away. She might have been trying to control the sway of her hips but they had a mind of their own, and he couldn’t tear his gaze away.

“She’s my cousin, you know?” Folarin’s voice called him back to where he was standing. “She’s just visiting from the US and I don’t want anything to spoil her trip.”

“Relax, Folarin. We’re all adults, and your cousin is very beautiful. Trust me, I’m not going to spoil her visit or anything else. Not unless she wants me to.”

**

So what do you say? Did the characters grab you, do they feel real and do you want to keep reading? Remember, Feedback, feedback, feedback. What did you not like, and could do without?

_ Picture from www.naijatreks.com. Folarin, the tour guide and Dunni's cousin, is also named for the owner of the Naijatreks blog, parts of which inspired some settings in this WIP.

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