The Naijastories Christmas Nostalgia Contest

NaijaStories.com is pleased to announce another online writing contest titled “Christmas Nostalgia”. The purpose in running this particular contest is to encourage Nigerian narratives in Non-fiction even as we celebrate the season. There is just something very heartwarming about reading true to life recollections.

In Nigeria, only politicians and war generals seem to write or need (auto)biographies, but this should not be the case. In order to prevent collective amnesia, a communities memory is painted in by the personal stories of the individuals that make it up. Naijastories therefore, wants to encourage memoirs, diaries, and non-fiction of the personal variety.



Dates for Contest:

The contest opens December 12 and submissions end on January 5th 2012.

First round Polls – January 6th – 12th

Judging – January 6th – January 12th

Final Judging – January 13th to January 19th 2012

The winner will be announced by January 20th 2012.


Prizes :

There will be one (3) overall winners in this contest.

First Prize – 100,000 points ($100)

Second Prize – 70,000 points ($70)

Third Prize – 30,000 points ($30)

There will also be 7 consolation prizes of 1000 points each


Contest Guidelines:

1. You must be a registered member of Naijastories.com.

2. Submit your entry as a post with a title that defines your entry.

3. In the body of the post, provide the following;
a, the year and location in which the incident you’re recounting happened,
b, since we cannot determine your reality or fiction, the only rule is that the entry must be written in the first person, “I”,
c, stories should be set in or around the month of December or the 25th specifically,
d, we encourage happy or funny recollections but this is not mandatory .
4. Your entry should be between 500 and 1000 words.

5. Put the entry in the category of “Christmas Nostalgia” and press the button, “Submit for Review”.


Contest Procedure:

There will have 3 stages for determining the winner;

Stage 1. – All the entries that meet the contest rules will be put to the public poll.

Stage 2. – At the same time, the Naija Stories team will score all the accepted entries. This will be added to votes polled on NaijaStories.com to select the top 10 entries. These will proceed to the last round.

Stage 3. – Ikhide Ikheloa will select the winners. (Read about Ikhide HERE)


Judging Criteria:

- The initial site editor will make sure that entries stick to the criteria of non-fiction and the use of first person.

- Second round judges will be checking for clean use of the English language, so polish your grammar and keep typos to a minimum please! We will also be looking for creativity, so go on and give it your all.

- The final judge will be looking for great writing. Be genuine! Be unique! Be original! Use this as an opportunity to pay tribute to the best/worst/funniest Christmas of your life.

If you have any questions, please send a mail to info@naijastories.com.

New Year Giveaway - Win a copy of one of my books

This New Year giveaway blog hop is hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer with several blogs taking part - Check the full list of participants. My Giveaway is open to people in the US, UK, Canada and Nigeria between Dec. 30 - Jan. 3, 2012. Winner will receive a paperback copy of either of my two novels; A Heart to Mend or A Love Rekindled. You can read the books' synopsis on my Free Reads Page.

Also, to thank you for coming, my novella - Scores to Settle - is FREE on Kindle for the duration of this giveaway. Both Scores to Settle and Love Happens are also available in the Amazon Prime lending library. I hope you enjoy. :)



To enter;

1. Mandatory - You must be a follower of my blog, (the Google Friend Connect gadget is to the right) and leave a comment with the book you prefer and your email address.
2. Optional - Like my Facebook Page and leave a comment on what you plan to do for New Year's Eve.
3. Optional - Follow me on Twitter @Myne_Whitman and tweet me your New Year Resolution.

I will send the winner an email on January 4, 2012. Here's wishing you all a Happy New Year and good luck!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Today, I'm going to be featuring Nigerian musicians who have caught the Christmas fever. In the picture is Goldie Harvey, whose single, "We no be mate o", was fixed in my mind for a while. Eva Alordiah and Ese Peters in the video are lovely friends on Facebook and Twitter. They also have loads of talent and I know that much accolades await them in the coming years.

So here's wishing everyone a Fabulous Christmas and a great New Year in advance. Be safe and have fun, but don't forget, this is a season for giving. :)

I love you all. Mwah!



Chika Onyenezi - Sea Lavender (Guest Author)

Chika Onyenezi was born in the idyllic city of Owerri, December 1986. He grew up in Amakohia a little village with a cool, pure stream running through it northward into the West. His literary career began very early as a child poet. Later he tried the short stories genre and penned Whiteman’s Blood. His very first short story, Whiteman’s Blood has been anthologized and critically acclaimed. It achieved “second runners-up status” in a short story competition sponsored by Spiderthief Publishing. It was then published in an anthology, Funeral Pants and other Stories. Later, he wrote his first novel, Locust Invasion. An undertaking that encompassed six years.

During the writing, he met an American poet, John E. Cashwell and his wife Anna online. They volunteered to edit the full manuscript of Locus Invasion because of its historical significance and creative ingenuity. Kimpa Vita Press, Norway, will publish Locust Invasion with more than fifty percent of the profits supporting special projects in Africa. During his Bachelor’s degree study in Computer Science at Caritas University, Onyenezi co-founded CAULA (Caritas University Literary Association) and raised a literary spirit among many students there. He is currently in European Peace University for a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Enjoy my interview with Chika below....

When and why did you begin writing?
For me is a different story, I see writing as an obligation I have to fulfil. If I don’t, a vacuum will forever remain. When I was a child, I was fascinated about the process of creating books. I started dreaming of becoming a writer at the age thirteen. Dreams come through with action, so since then I have been writing. Always eager to improve my craft, studying the masters in the art and forever fascinated by the magic of creation which writer’s possess.

What inspires you to write?
I am inspired by nature and my surroundings. I never knew how beautiful where I grew up was till I left the place. You will see me still going back to the stream down our street even in my Biography. I don’t think I can ever stop being inspired by it and surprisingly it followed me into Sea Lavender. Earth is full of amazement, am getting a different angle here in Austria.

What was your publishing journey like, from thinking of the book idea to holding it in your hands?
Actually i bought a book from a vendor in Enugu; it was the work of Duane Schwartz titled Cobb’s Landings. At the back page I found the website of the publisher, A-Argus Books. So I wrote then about my book Sea Lavender. After two months I received a mail that my book has been accepted for publication with a traditional contract attached and an advance. I signed up with them.

What is the synopsis of Sea Lavender?
The voyage of Adrian, son of Ibem, tells the story of a wrongful coming of age. At a tender age he suffers the loss of his innocence; it marks an event that haunts his path through eternity. Lost in a mirage of “life shaped as a sea voyage upon majestic and malevolent waves,” the sailor Adrian begins to recall events that molded his existence. Beginning with young Adrian in the arms of Her; a maid that raped him at the age of four, he remembers the event darkly as the large mahogany door standing upon its hinges.

Sea Lavender bends a window that reveals the warped manifestations of cultism, violence, death, crime, and corruption at the highest levels of society. Defining one man’s life; a man that could be your neighbor, a man you might find gentle extending a hand of help, a man you might fall in love with, Sea Lavender foreshadows a highly complicated, emotional and provocative journey into the darkest night of human existence.

Do you have a major theme that runs through it?
Wrongful coming of age

What books have most influenced your writing the most?
Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
That is a difficult choice to make, but if I must choose, I will go with William Butler Yeats; his poems feed my imagination. I tried following him toThe Lake Isle Of Innisfree once, but is a difficult journey. I hope to make it up there one day.

What books are you reading now?
Am reading a book that my classmate Bradley gave to me after reading the synopsis of Sea Lavender, he thinks there is some sort of connection between my story and the book. The title is Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, a lot. I think Myne Whitman has done a lot for literature in Nigeria, Adimchinma Ibe for opening a new chapter in Nigerian Literature. I respect Kiru Taye, whom I follow her blog and lots of others worth mentioning.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, giving my writing the breath of life. Without this breath, sea Lavender would be a failure. I was challenged to put things as they are. I couldn’t hide the fact that my character joined a fraternity in the University. If Sea Lavender will survive the taste of time, it needed the truth as it is. So after thinking it over in my quiet times, I used the name of a real cult in the Nigerian university system. But that doesn’t make it the truth, is only historical and still bears the marks of fiction.

Another thing was ending it; I needed an ending that was more experimental than normal. It is a fact that a narrator in the first person point of view cannot die, magically I gave my readers the ultimate power to choose if he survived or not. I had to think it for days before coming out with a perfect solution to that. The end of Sea Lavender is debatable.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a favourite Author actually, but I have books that intrigue me, like Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, he can mine emotion from a heart of stone. Am attracted to Dubliners by James Joyce; the style makes me keep reading it over and over, the simple language and structure is something worth learning. Franz Kafka holds a spell in the art of storytelling; I respect him. Wole Soyinka’s Prison Notes is like my bible, I read it always. I will not forget For who whom the Bell tolls by Ernest Hemmingway; the simplicity captures me. It goes on and on and on.

What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
The Nigerian publishing industry is not at its best now. We have uneasy situation there. Most of the works published by the major guys in the block are works of Nigerians who have made it abroad. This situation is discouraging a lot of upcoming authors. Well, am dreaming of the day when big publishing companies like Penguin and Heinemann will move into the market and explore the local talent. But till then, upcoming authors will have to either publish abroad or self-publish. There still one other option left, win an award!

What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?
For me, Nigerians read books, but the question is: what do they read? Are they patronizing the local industries and indigenous authors? That is where we have problem. Nigerians are reading works of popular western authors. These books also are far cheaper than books published in Nigeria and readily available with super quality. You see we know the symptom’s, but how about the disease? It’s up to the local industry to cure the disease.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love feedbacks, so feel free to contact me and tell me how you feel about my book. But like my Editor puts it, Sea Lavender will break your heart.

Do you have an online presence, Facebook, Blog, Twitter or a website?
Yes, I have a fan page on facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chika-Onyenezi/169087263132048 and a twitter acount http://twitter.com/#!/ChikaOnyenezi, my website is currently under construction.


Where can we buy the book, both in stores and online?
The kindle Edition of Sea Lavender was recently released by my publisher, is available in amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005UIBW6S/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb and Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sea-lavender-chika-onyenezi/1106603938. The paperback will be out soon, but you can place an order from my publisher’s website http://a-argusbooks.com/Storelavender.htm, soon it will be available in bookstores in USA and also online bookstores like Amazon.

Mid-Winters Eve Giveaway - Gift Card Amazon US, UK, Canada

As this year winds to a close, I have been taking stock and counting my blessings. Writing-wise, it has been a marvelous year for me, with my first book, A Heart to Mend becoming an Amazon UK #1 Bestseller for Romance. I want to use this opportunity to thank all my subscribers (You can join by email or GFC), and book lovers everywhere who spread the word and made that possible for me and my books.

This Gift Card giveaway blog hop hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer and Oasis for YA. Several blogs are taking part, with lots of amazing gifts for book lovers. So if you're interested, Check the full list of participants.

In my giveaway, 3 lucky people will each win a $10 Amazon Gift Card (US, UK and Canada). To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter Form below. There are 4 entries, and you must leave a comment on this post to qualify.


Good luck and Happy Holidays!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Romance Writers of West Africa Bumper Christmas Giveaway

The RWoWA (Romance Writers of West Africa) Bumper Christmas Giveaway is still ongoing. There will be 12 books by 5 authors and 7 winners!

- His Treasure by Kiru Taye (eBook to x1 International winner)
- Love in Paradise and Love at Dawn by Lara Daniels (Paperbacks to x1 US/UK/Nigeria winner)
- A Heart to Mend by Myne Whitman (Paperback to x1 US winner)
- His Sin and Obsession by Netty Ejike (Paperbacks to x2 Nigerian winners)
- Stormy Defence and Beyond the Lady by Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku (eBooks to x2 International winners)

How to Enter:

1. *Subscribe to the RWOWA website by completing the Email Subscription form on the website.

AND

2. Follow @RWoWA on Twitter by clicking the twitter button @RWOWA OR ‘Like’ the RWOWA page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RWOWA

OR

3. Leave a comment on the Giveaway Post indicating your Facebook / Twitter name / email. Also indicate your location so we can pick you for the right book. E.g. US, Nigeria, etc.

The 7 lucky winners will be selected on December 30, 2011. The winners will be announced on December 31, 2011.

______
*Email subscription via the website is mandatory. Contestants can choose between following on Twitter or Facebook or both. Note that not all the books are available in all locations. See the book list above for details of availability.

Contestants must complete the above criteria to be eligible.

Rock your Curves - Omotola, Mercy Johnson, and Toolz

I was doing some blog rounds the other day when Atala looked at my screen and did an imitation of a whistle. He was looking at this picture of Omotola Jalade, and asked if her backside was for real. I looked at his popping eyes and laughed assuring him that it was.

So, this post is an ode to curvy women. If you've got it, flaunt it. That's what Dunni in the book I'm currently writing does, and I tell you, Babs her love interest, definitely can't keep his eyes, or his hands, away.

If like me, your figure has the makings but is not really a coke bottle or an hourglass, be proud of what you do have. I promise you, everyone will still say you look good, if you carry yourself with enough confidence. Patapata, use Victoria's Secrets and Body Magic to create some wonderful illusions. I do think the ones below are real, if just a bit photoshopped. :)

Continue reading for the pictures, and do have a great weekend...



 Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde



Mercy Johnson


Toolz



How to Raise Kids without Losing it - Pamela Evbota (Guest Author)

Pamela Evbota is passionate about helping women discover their purpose and she blogs at www.ladiesnetworking.com. Today, she shares with us some tips on purposeful parenting. Pamela is also an author, and her "Define Success on your Terms, 25 Simple Tips" is available on Amazon Kindle for $0.99. Her new book, ‘How to Raise Kids without loosing it’will be available  for online purchase this week via Creatspace as well as on Kindle. To win a free PDF copy of the book, leave a comment on this post sharing any tips on how you parent your own children, and still manage to stay sane. :) Enjoy Pamela's article...

Four Ways to Parent like a Small Business Owner

It is time to take parenting like a small business - with a strong desire to succeed and achieve desired success daily. Our modern day lives are daily bungled by various activities and we are pulled in several directions as mothers. The guilt is piling up about our inability to be at our kids’ school events as working mothers or the inability to sit and enjoy sweet nothing conversations with our kids. Parenting requires innovative ways and support to turn our feeling of being overwhelmed and inadequate to feeling strong as to what direction we want our lives to be.

Here are 4 supports pillars for the mum who desperately wants balance and support in her life.

1. A coach – To help you bring out the best in you. Your coach could be your mother, mother in law depending on your relationship with them. To me the best coach is God. He will help you through the tough times and stressful days of motherhood.
2. A mentor – Which you can emulate. The mentor could be your mum, a neighbour. It has to be someone you hold in high esteem and appreciate her parenting style.
3. An Accountability Partner – To keep you accountable on your plans and other life issues. Being a mother is not all there is to who you are. You need someone that can help to hold you accountable on other dreams that you might have. An accountability partner keeps you on track. We all need an accountability partner in our lives.
4. A Dream Circle – This is a circle of trusted friends that you dream with. Circle of friends that will cheer you on as you pursue your life purpose. They are there to help you achieve success in business or your job for being a mother is just a fraction of who you are.

You need a team in place as you go through the emergencies and unplanned situations of your life as a parent. A team experienced in various fields of emotions and advice, a team that will not let you down. Above all you need to be a strong willed person to survive the terrain of motherhood.

To Your Success,
Pamela
Synopsis - Mothers, what is your identity outside of being a mother do you know what your identity is? Being a mother or a wife is loaded enough. Just top that with having a job or a business. All these roles can be pretty demanding and we are always expected to perform each task at 100%. The first step in keeping it altogether is knowing your strenghth and when to ask for support. ‘How to Raise kids without Loosing it’ is written in an everyday story manner where every reader can relate with the various situations as the writer herself.

How to Raise Kids without Losing it! will be available for purchase in Nigeria Dec 16. If you would like to pre order the book please also say so in the comments.

On the Budget and the Removal of Fuel Subsidy - EiE Nigeria

Some days ago, I got this press statement from EiE Nigeria (Enough is Enough) on the current national debate about the planned removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government. While I ultimately believe in the restructuring if not removal of the fuel subsidy, I believe EiE makes some valid points in this release. The budget has been released now, and it is even more obvious that the economic team of President Goodluck Jonathan haven't done much work in replugging the funds from the proposed subsidy removal into relevant sectors of the economy. Read the statement and tell me what you think.


_______________


December 12, 2011. Lagos, Nigeria – Despite the concerns raised from different groups and individuals, President Jonathan will, tomorrow, present the 2012 Budget to the National Assembly excluding the provision for fuel subsidy.

In her two appearances before the Senate Joint Committees on Appropriation, Finance and Petroleum Resources (Downstream) for the public hearing on “The Operations of the Fuel Subsidy Scheme in Nigeria,” the Minister of Petroleum represented the Federal Government’s position as follows:

"The fuel subsidy structure is inefficient, costing us N600bn (~$3.75bn) in 2010 and N1.3 trillion (~$8.125bn) from Jan – October 2011. The Federal Government cannot continue to pay as it’s unsustainable. By removing the subsidy, the savings will be used to provide critical infrastructure and services. Currently, only a small percentage of Nigerians (the marketers, middle & upper-class Nigerians) benefit. When removed, more Nigerians will benefit."

In the words of a Yoruba proverb, the Federal Government has, yet again, left leprosy to treat ringworm. While we understand that the current cost structure is unsustainable, Nigerians can no longer afford to pay for government’s inefficiencies. It’s too expensive (financially; productive man hours and human lives) and it’s also NOT sustainable.

Issues to Consider

1. A lazy, thoughtless approach
The government clearly finds it easier to undertake an unwise blanket removal of subsidy than engage in the discussion of trimming the inefficiencies in fuel subsidy management and in the running cost of government. The language is also deliberately confusing – one minute it’s ‘deregulation’ and the next it’s ‘fuel subsidy removal’.

2. How much subsidy?
The Interim Report on the Process and Forensic Review of NNPC by KPMG states “Based on our analysis, subsidy over-deduction for 2007, 2008 & 2009 was estimated at N2 bn, N10.3 bn and N16.2 bn respectively. A rough estimation of subsidy payment on product losses for the period under review (2007-2009) is estimated at N11.8 billion.”

Clearly, the subsidy management regime is fraught with waste, graft and insincerity; evidence that the ‘N1.3 trillion’ does not accurately reflect the amount of petrol imported or consumed by Nigerians.

3. A matter of trust?
To counter the argument that Nigerians do not trust the government to wisely manage the ‘savings’ from the removal of the fuel subsidy, the government is planning a subsidy savings management program. The details were shared by the Vice-President in a meeting with some civil society organisations on Friday, December 9th. Why has this plan not been made public? The questions and concerns that arise are obvious ones:

a. How does the government plan to calculate ‘fuel subsidy removal savings’?
Will these savings be the theoretical cost of the subsidy – minus cost of corruption – or the current (inflated) figure? Also, how does the government intend to remit same to this proposed quasi-government agency? Will this necessitate the setting up of another special account, in the manner of the Excess Crude Account?

b. The Obasanjo regime wound down the widely acclaimed PTF because it served as a duplication of the work of the ministries.
We agree with this approach.

c. Setting up a new body means an increase in recurrent expenditure for staffing, salaries, pensions, cars, running costs etc. This is UNACCEPTABLE.

4. No Effect on the Poor
The government’s assertion that the subsidy removal would have little effect on the poor is quite simplistic. The resultant increase in the price of PMS would drastically increase the cost of food, transportation and doing business, shutting down many small enterprises which directly or indirectly depend on the price of petrol remaining low. The middle class is the engine of growth by way of consumption and the SMEs that create jobs. Any strain on them is negative for the economy.

The Way Forward

The government should take a more measured and sustainable approach that takes into consideration all stakeholders in the Nigerian project. They need to:

1. Reduce Cost of Governance
The government must drastically cut down the cost of maintaining public and civil servants – security votes, multiple advisers, fuel guzzling convoys, excessive foreign travel and estacodes etc. Expenses such as (a) the Vice-President’s residence awarded to Julius Berger at N7 bn ($43.75m) with a request for N9 bn ($56.25m) more; (b) disbursement of N250 billion per year in ‘security votes’ to the President and Governors; and (c) a N1.7 trillion wage bill (2012 Budget) are criminal and unstainable!

2. Reduce Cost of Subsidy
Why does NNPC get 445,000 barrels of crude a day that it can’t refine? In 2006, there were 3 marketers; we now have 77. According to BusinessDay, “the increase has also been linked to this year’s elections and it has been suggested that the subsidy programme became an avenue for patronage extended to those with political connections.” Significant savings can be made on the bandied N1.3 trillion if the government will prune out the “briefcase marketers”, clean up the NNPC/PPPRA to plug waste and leakages, and tackle smuggling.

3. Restore or Sell the Refineries
This is of critical concern and priority. Increasing the capacity of our refineries would reduce the amount of fuel that needs to be imported into the country. How much has been spent on repairing the refineries in the last 12 years?

4. Provide Power
According to a 2009 report by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC), Nigerians spend N797 billion yearly to buy fuel for powering generators. In 2010, President Jonathan said the cost of fuel (to power generators) was $13 billion. NERC’s estimates 32% of generator fuel is PMS. This means Nigerians spend about $4.19 billion or N646 billion on petrol, while the rest goes to diesel. Imagine how much fuel import dependence we can curb if this government fulfills the often-repeated promise of improving power supply in Nigeria!

Why has the government not presented a policy document or engaged openly and directly with Nigerians on this issue? Why the rush to remove the subsidy when other holes have not been plugged?

Enough is Enough Nigeria will continue the conversation by hosting a public Town Hall Meeting within the next 10 days to discuss the issue. In a country that provides no social services and the average citizen provides all basic utilities – water, electricity, and security; the government cannot remove the bread from our mouths while it continues to feed fat on its princely cakes.

We will engage in words and action. Enough is enough!

###

EnoughisEnough Nigeria (www.eienigeria.org) is a coalition of individuals and youth-led organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through advocacy, activism and the mobilization of the youth population as responsible citizens. The coalition includes The Future Project; Paradigm Initiative Nigeria; Education as a Vaccine (EVA); Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND); RISE Networks; LYNX Nigeria; Chocolate City Group; EME and Light Up Nigeria.

EiE Nigeria created the RSVP (Register|Select|Vote|Protect) Campaign to leverage technology, especially social media to mobilize significant participation from citizens in the 18-35 age bloc in the 2011 elections and beyond.

What do you think of Adoption - will you adopt a child?

So there was this discussion where a woman asked if she should leave her husband since they're childless. Apparently, there's nothing wrong with her fertility but the husband has low sperm count. I was surprised at the number of comments that called on the woman to consider adoption because I somehow assumed that most Nigerians do not accept or support adoption.

I've heard of some couples who secretly adopt and try to pass the child off as their own. I've heard people say they can never adopt, or advice people they know to adopt. They bring up all sorts of reasons why it's a bad idea to adopt, most of them emotional and maybe based on tradition. We don't do it in our family, they say, or what will people say? Others ask, what do you know of the child, and what if his/her parents have a shady past or background?

Personally, I've always been a supporter of adoption, and still hope to adopt a child someday, as a baby or a child. I will definitely advise any couple struggling with fertility issues to adopt, I read somewhere that it actually reduces the stress on them and may ease their own conception. It's also a way of giving back that is very non-self serving, if at the same time, very rewarding. In this instance, I kinda think nurture trumps nature. My parents brought up a lot of children, including relatives and househelps, and even if they didn't legally adopt them, it is the same difference. I don't agree it is not our tradition.

I'll quit rambling now.What about you, what do you think? Would you adopt?

The Big Love Christmas Giveaway - Nigeria

The BIG LOVE Christmas Giveaway - Making a wish come true, will run from the 1st to 31st December, 2011 providing an opportunity for Companies, Individuals, Families, Groups and Celebrities to give back, no matter how little. Their aim is to improve livelihoods by creating access to items/products/support services that some people would otherwise not have access to/ or be able to afford.

To achieve the needed reach, this initiative is driven by technology through a comprehensive website portal – ‘www.thebiglovegiveaway.org’; where the givers can register their gifts and potential receivers can also register to get specific gifts based on the stipulated criteria for each one. A mobile phone application has also been developed to serve smart phone users and get more people to participate.


Also provided is an opportunity for those who do not have access to the internet to benefit from this initiative through ‘Love Boxes’, which will be packaged with a variety of products received from Givers and relevant to the group or person receiving it. Thus far, commitments in gifts is to the tune of about N1million and more people are still registering to give.

The Big Love Giveaway is the brainchild of Abosede Alimi, a communication and development professional, She was the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Keystone Bank Limited (Formerly Bank PHB Plc) until October 2011. She began her career in Development about 8years ago at ActionAid international Nigeria, after graduating with a BSc in Political Science from Igbinedion University. Ms Alimi participated in the first Nigerian business reality TV programme, the Bank PHB Intern show in 2007 where she emerged 2nd runner up; exhibiting skills and talents that endeared her to the hearts of millions of TV audience that followed the programme on air.

Ms Alimi recently earned a distinction from the University of Reading, UK where she studied for an MSc in Communication for Innovation and Development. Back2Basics Concepts (B2BC) is conceptualized as a development organization aimed at using simple innovative solutions/ideas in media communications, design and technology to solve social, economic and environmental problems. Abosede leads the team as Innovations Director.

How It Works
Simply log in to the website @ www.thebiglovegiveaway.org; register to be a giver or receiver of a gift in one or more of the categories. You do not pay at any point. Participating as a giver or receiver is free. The process of registration has been made as simple as possible and Facebook allows you to do it in less than a minute.

How to apply for a gift?
Simply click on the category from the category list, go through the list of gifts in that category and select the field ‘apply for gifts’. Fulfill all criteria and requirement where applicable to be a receiver of the gift. You will be contacted by email if you are the recipient of a gift you applied for. The BIG LOVE Giveaway team will contact you with details of where to pick up your gift and what to bring for proper identification. Also, there will be general announcements on gifts that have been taken, so check the website from time to time.

Like the Big Love Giveaway Facebook Page

Six out of Ten women in Nigeria are Unfaithful?

I don't know what to say to this news which has been floating around recently. The Durex Sexual Well-being Global Survey conducted by the condom manufacturer, interviewed 26,000 people in 26 countries and ranked Nigerian women as the most unfaithful in the world.

Daily Times reports  that "the top two countries with cheating women are Nigeria, with 62 percent, and Thailand, 59 percent. 39 percent of Malaysian women also confessed to having betrayed their partners. Russian women came fourth at 33 percent while Singaporeans are fifth at 19 percent." From a link I got in the comments, I went to the Durex survey methodology page where I found the following information.

- The survey was conducted during August and September 2006 by a research agency called Harris Interactive.
- Random samples of participants aged 16 + or 18+ were sent an email invitation to participate in the survey.
- The sample was primarily sourced from Harris Interactive’s internet panel.
- An online approach was adopted in 25 countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands,New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, UK, USA.
- For Nigeria a face-to-face/self completion approach was adopted, due to the low use of internet and telephone.
- They used a sample size of 1,000 for the majority of countries surveyed.

Which brings me to my conclusion. A sample size of just one thousand is just too small to reference a population of at least 70million women in Nigeria. Also, a face to face interview method tells me that the sampling was not as random as the other countries. I think the location and manner this method leaves it open to more prejudice than an online sampling. For instance, it is very probable that only women in Lagos were sampled, or women found at sexual health clinics, or women who might not really understand the questionnaire. Vera Ezimora also thinks Durex left out the fine print.

With all that said, I'm not vouching women as saints. Women cheat, and where it is likely that men cheat a lot, it is also more likely that the numbers of unfaithful women will be high. Is this the case in Nigeria? You tell me.

Gift Card Giveaway - International

WINNER ANNOUNCED - Congrats to Jacqui Odell : USA

This Gift Card giveaway blog hop hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer. Several blogs are taking part, with lots of chances to win gift cards and book prizes. Check the full list of participants for more opportunities to win. My giveaway is one $10 electronic gift card from Amazon.com/ co.uk/.ca. The rules are;

1. You must be a follower of my blog - the Google Friend Connect gadget is to the right,
2. Leave a comment with your Country/Continent and your email address.

Thanks and good luck!

White Trousers no go put me for trouble!

Dat morrin as I wan baff na so I dey put ear for dis babe music, Omawunmi, dat song wey she sing say, ‘If you ask me, na who I go ask?’ My madam don comot tey tey and I know say before she go come back e go still tey, so I say before I baff make I carry my body go upstairs for her and oga room. E get one fine white trouser wey she buy and I be one go taste am because I hear say person yansh dey come out well well for white trouser especially if you no wear pant or you wear g-string. Before I go continue my tori make I talk about my madam and oga dem.

My Madam: She no too good, she no too bad. Sometimes when I go market come back late, she no go even send me. She go just talk say, “Ehen, I know you went to see your boyfriend. Thank God you didn’t stay too long. Now hurry into the kitchen, my baby would soon be back.”

And sometimes when I wash clothes and the ting still get small stain, she go talk say, “You are too dirty Mary, sometimes I wonder if your undies are even clean”; and the annoying ting be say na infront of oga she go shout the whole ting so tey my oga come dey look me one kain.


My Oga: He no too good, he no too bad. Na to dey blow grammer up and down like say im be professor, but I hear say im no even finish unifersity say as im papa die, d guy jus use im papa money push im business so tey the business come grow yakata, now my oga na big man. The man no dey eye me o, na jus jeje all of us be for house.

Myself: Eferibodi know say I be cool babe. I no dey like wahala, na only to dey wish say one day I go be like my madam. I go get housemaid full ground. One go dey wash my clothes, another one go dey iron my clothes, another one go dey cook my food and the last one go dey go market, abi wetin man pickin want again for this world?

So make I continue my tori. As I enter dem madam room, I jus go straight to the wardrobe because I no wan waste time. I rush comot my wrapper, come wear the trouser. Omo men, if you see as the ting fine for my body ehn, you go wan tief me! Na as I dey comot the trouser na im I hear person dey come the room side. Omo, see as I dive enter the wardrobe, even Jackie Chan for give me award. The door open and as I hear my oga voice dey talk with im phone, e be like say dem pour cold water for my body, wetin I go talk say I dey do for dia room?

“Yes, it’s fine. I was thinking we could go for that art exhibition taking place at the art gallery.”

I no know wetin the pesin reply am but I hear as im laff.

“No, Tunde. I am married and you know I wouldn’t stray. If you bring that lady over to the exhibition, I may persuade wifey to come with me and that could be quite unpleasant for the lady and yourself. Quit trying to make me fall man, I wouldn’t do anything to hurt my wife. Look I’m going to put you on the speaker because I want to take off my clothes”

Chei, Oga abeg no comot your cloth, abeg! God where you dey? But e be like say even God dey use me play as my oga comot im cloth finish come even mess on top.

“You are crazy men! Why would you fart like that with me on speaker?” The voice from the phone ask my oga.

“Really, that’s a ridiculous question. I can do whatever I want in my house. Moreover I am alone.”

Abeg Oga you no dey alone o, no mess again abeg. Kai! The mess smell no be small. Shey na de food wey I dey cook dey make oga mess smell like this?

“Hey man, I’ve got to go. I want to have my bath and freshen up before wifey comes home. We’ll talk later.”

My oga cut the call come enter bathroom. I manage come outside as I say make I look for my wrapper wey I throw inside wardrobe wen oga dey come, na im one big abarra land for my back.

“So this is what you and my husband do, when I am not around?!”

All my body shock and piss nearly comot as I bin hear madam voice for my back. Una don forget say I no wear pant and my yansh jus chook outside as I bin wan bend down carry my wrapper. As I turn face madam, I jus weak because I know no how I wan take talk am. Make una helep me!

________

What to do, what to do?

This is a short story by Enoquin. Read more from her on Naijastories.

Vote for Naijastories to win $1000 towards our anthology at the World of Betters website.

Help me win $1000 from the World of Betters Campaign

Some of you may know about my work with Naijastories.com. The website is now about a year and half and still going strong. We are currently working to publish an anthology of the best stories in the first year. We hope to get the best quality book we can, and also ensure that we can distribute and promote as widely as possible. We would equally like each writer whose story was selected to receive a paperback copy for their libraries. However, our budget is small and I've been thinking of a way to raise more money to ensure these goals.

I believe that by publishing and promoting this anthology, we will be making the world better for both the readers and the selected writers. We'll also be encouraging other upcoming writers, both on Naijastories.com and beyond, to keep writing. If this makes sense to you, vote for my entry at the World of Betters website.

Thank you.

How to ensure other bloggers can follow you back

Hi everyone, hope the new week has started well?

Today, I'm sharing a blogging tip. This it is something I had come across quite a number of times and never knew how to get in touch with those involved to let them know. You see, new people join my blog regularly and most times, I want to check out their own blogs and see if I want to follow back. What I usually do is to click on their profile picture in my followers box and follow their linked blog back to them. While the curious part of me wonders why some people have locked profiles, I just assume they do not have a blog most likely.

But I'm really frustrated when the follower is not linked to any blog at all. If it so happens that they've allowed to receive mail from blogger, I'll send them a welcome and thank you message. Depending on how much time I have then, I might also check out the recent blogs the person has joined to try to track them. One thing that makes it easier is when they leave a comment, either on my blog, or on one of the other ones. Unfortunately, I don't have that luxury of time, or the follower just doesn't leave any crumbs for me to follow.


So, when Nicole at One Significant Moment at a Time blogged about this, I knew I had to share. There is a way for you to make sure that the blogs you follow have an easy way of following you back by clicking on your picture on their followers gadget.

Here’s how you verify:

Go to your blog and under your About Me, click “View My Complete Profile.” Either action will bring up your Blogger Profile, as others see it. Under the heading “My Blogs", is your blog listed?

If the answer is no,

- Click “Edit Profile” on left margin, under your profile picture.
- On the page that comes up, check under the “Privacy” option to find “Show My Blogs.”
- Click “Select Blogs to Display.” (You may have other private blogs that you don’t want others to see, so remember to choose the blog you wish to display.)
- Save your changes.

It’s important to realize that Blogger doesn’t always default to linking your blog on your profile. It’s a great idea to verify that your blog is linked, so people can follow you back.

NaijaSistas Christmas Book Reading Fiesta

I was in Nigeria last Christmas and had loads of fun meeting so many lovely people. I attended a lot of book events, and this will be a one of those events that will make me rue not being able to travel this time. The 1st NSBS Book Reading held in September and everyone agreed it was great. The organizers say this one will usher all who attend into a Christmas brimming over with plenty of fresh hope for the new year.

Date - Saturday, December 17, 2011
Time - 2:00pm until 7:00pm
Venue - Radisson Blu - Lekki Room, Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos

Please visit the Facebook Event Page for more details. Some things to note;

1. NaijaSistas runs a book stop for member authors and many of them are running Christmas discounts and giveaways. You'll also find my books there, visit NSBS at 26 Festival Road, VI or call Ms. Goodness on 0806 427 5401 to order your books!

2. Are you a December baby? Great! If you plan to attend and were born in December, let the organizers know. There's a nice surprise waiting.

3. RSVP is very important so please do so on or before the 10th of December, if you will be attending.

4. Dress code: Comfortable, Decent and a touch of Christmas ( but this last bit is not by force.....Just would be nice...)

So who will be reading at this event?

Umari Ayim - Author of 'Twillight at Terra Cotta Indigo', a superb superb book!

Dupe Olorunjo - Author of 'Aireginan Dream and Tailed'.

Ekene Onu - Author of 'Can I Be Real and The Mrs. Club'.

Anita O John - Author of 'A Miracle in the Storm'.

A special NaijaSista, Bridget Elesin, will be reading from her new book on Fatherhood.

All Thing Fab - FabXchange Forum and Fabulosity Galore!

Before I introduce the two new fabulous places you should definitely check out on the web, allow me to cry a little. Yesterday, I wanted to crow that I have 1000 subscribers, now they're back to Zero. *Wiping tears* is no one reading my blog anymore? If you're still there, please come over and leave a comment, or reply to this email, I'm so sad :(

Anyways, I've previouly told you about the FabXchange swap events in London. The fab duo are now moving their success online in order to reach more people. Fashionistas can now swap and giveaway fashion items such as clothes, shoes, bags, accessories including books to other fashionistas on the FabXchange Online Swap forum from the comfort of their homes. The FabXchange Online swap forum kicked off on the 21st of November 2011 and already boasts a growing customer base. The online forum gives its members a wider base of fashionistas to swap with and can take part from anywhere and anytime. It allows swaps between members across their country of residence with swappers exchanging fashion items by mail or pick up.


Ardent swapaholics like the FabXchange duo can now conveniently and quickly declutter their wardrobes, update tired wardrobes, offload clothes that are hardly worn, save money and give back to the environment. The FabXchange team have definitely upped the feel good factor of swapping by making it so much easier and the best thing about the online swap forum is that it’s absolutely FREE.

FabXchange is the trendy way to do ‘ethical shopping’ and ladies concerned with keeping the earth green can keep their carbon footprint down by swapping/giving away fashion items while getting something back. You can contact: info@fabxchange.co.uk and also follow Fabxchange on Facebook and Twitter



Your next destination is Fabulosity Galore. This is an online book store created and run by an amazing woman and encourager, Wendy G. Ewurum, of Fabulosity Reads (a book review blog). The store is affiliated to a number of booksellers including Amazon.com and Kalahari..com. Their affiliations are increasing constantly in a quest to find the best book and accessories deals in the market. They also aim to make the best effort to prominently feature books which have been reviewed by Fabulosity Reads . This is to support writer friends in their endeavor to promote and sell their books.

Readers are more than welcome to submit their bookish requests and comments to the store. And last but not least writers they also welcome news from writers about any promotional activities concerning works/books.
They hope to build incredible and long-lasting relationships with buyers, retailers, authors and publishers and cannot wait to hear from new reders and buyers at the store.

Contact: http://fabulositygalore.blogspot.com/p/contact-us.html
Book Reviews: http://fabulositygalore.blogspot.com/p/book-reviews_24.html
Fabulosity Reads: http://fabulosityreads.blogspot.com/

Kiru Taye's His Treasure and RWoWA Bumper Giveaway

Don't you just love that cover? It gives me ideas, lol. Well, Kiru Taye's book is out now and you find out what lies between the covers.

Amazon - $2.99
Breathless Press - $1.99

FYI: rating is steamy *wink*

You also stand to win a copy of His Treasure through the RWoWA - Romance Writers of West Africa's bumper Christmas Giveaway this December. There will be 12 books by five authors and 7 winners! And you can be one of the lucky just by subscribing to our newsletter. The books on offer are:


His Treasure by Kiru Taye (eBook to x1 International winner)
Love in Paradise and Love at Dawn by Lara Daniels (Paperbacks to x1 US/UK/Nigeria winner)
A Heart to Mend by Myne Whitman (Paperback to x1 US winner)
His Sin and Obsession by Netty Ejike (Paperbacks to x2 Nigerian winners)
Stormy Defence and Beyond the Lady by Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku (eBooks to x2 International winners)

Contest Rules:

1. *Subscribe to the RWOWA website by completing the Email Subscription form on the website.

AND

2. Follow @RWoWA on Twitter by clicking the twitter button @RWOWA OR ‘Like’ the RWOWA page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RWOWA

OR

3. Leave a comment indicating your Facebook / Twitter name / email. Also indicate your location so we can pick you for the right book. E.g. US, Nigeria, etc.

The 7 lucky winners will be selected on December 30, 2011. The winners will be announced on December 31, 2011.

Not all the books are available in all locations. See the book list above for details of availability.

Contestants must complete the above criteria to be eligible. *Email subscription via this website is mandatory. Contestants can choose between following on Twitter or Facebook or both.

Book Lovers Holiday Giveaway - USA

UPDATE - CHANGE OF RULES

Welcome to December everyone, I'm so excited for Christmas. Hope you are too. To celebrate,  I'll be running giveaways in addition to regular posts throughout the month, so stay tuned.

Today's giveaway is a blog hop hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer. Several blogs are taking part, with lots of chances to win book prizes and maybe gift cards. Check the full list of participants. If you’re new to my site, welcome. You can subscribe to the right, and also check out my books.

I'm giving this giveaway a Nigerian spin and 3 lucky people will win any of the books below by Nigerian writers. Winners must live in the USA. Don't worry, I'll be having giveaways for those in the UK, Nigeria, and international before the month is out. Continue reading for entry rules for today's giveaway.


Option 1 - Leave a comment on my Facebook Page HERE stating which book you prefer.

Optin 2 - Subscribe to my blog by email (please activate)

Option 3 - Follow me on Twitter or

Option 4 - Leave a comment on this post with your email.

Entries must be completed no later than midnight PST on December 6th to be eligible to win. Winners will be chosen randomly by Atala and I'll announce the winners in the comments by 12noon PST on Wednesday, December 7th, and also send an email.

Prizes - These are books I've read and enjoyed. Click on the author's names for more info.

Book 1 - Onaedo, the Blacksmiths Daughter by Ngozi Achebe
Book 2 - The Dust Must Settle by Obinna Ozoigbo
Book 3 - The Only way is Up by Folake Taylor

 

GOOD LUCK!!

PS- If you're an author and you want to be included in one of my giveaways, contact me. :)

Humor in Nollywood - PHONE SWAP BY KUNLE AFOLAYAN


I'm not usually a big fan of what passes for humor in Nollywood movies, it sometimes gets too manic for me with people screaming or shouting. It's either pint sized Aki and Pawpaw are spoofing as children or adults, or other comedians are speaking strangely or grabbing crotches and breasts. Osuofia (Nkem Owoh) has been lucky with some good scripts but I don't know how that is going. These days, I just opt for the dramas and stay away from the so-called comedy. Even in Hollywood movies, I don't go for movies with crude toilet humor, or unwarranted slapstick, they just come off as cheap laughs.

In the trailer below, Kunle Afolayan presents Phone Swap.

Synopsis - An arrogant business executive and a warm hearted fashion designer exchange lives after accidentally swapping their mobile phones at a busy airport...


I laughed out loud in a couple of the scenes in the trailer and I look forward to seeing the movie. I consider Kunle Afolayan one of the best directors in Nigeria now, and I love the cast of the movie. It appears Zebrudaya of New Masquerade is making a comeback. Nse is cool as a timid Igbo girl, and Joke Silva's belch - incomparable. The male actor is a new face, I saw him in the free episodes of Meet The Adebanjos (a Afro-Brit comedy web series) and he is continuing the laughs here.

Kudos to the team, and looking ahead to better movies, comedy and otherwise from Nollywood.

Bringing out your inner extrovert

I used to be very introverted. Still am, sometimes. But only when I want to be. Most people who meet me in company these days would be surprised to hear Myne and introvert in one sentence. I can laugh and make conversation like the next person, even dance and get some PDA going where it is possible. Starting this blog wasn't such a big deal, and I only thought about it for a few days before I opened up my Facebook page and my Twitter account to the public. Now I tell my readers what I put in my meatpie, and chat with complete strangers on Facebook on a daily basis. On twitter, someone even caught me whispering about Atala's beard. So what happened? The following are some of the ways I have learnt to bring out my inner extrovert;


Be friendly. I know you want to say, but I'm shy! I know, I know. The truth is that being friendly is not a personality trait, it can be learned. Study people who you think are friendly and note what they do. In the first months of my stint in banking, I read a couple of books that were helpful - How to make friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie, and Seven habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey. Some tips are to find out people's names and use it, ask about them and their family, and compliment them. Most of all, listen.

Don't forget to smile. This is like Bob, my DVD trainer's favorite saying, "don't forget to breathe". You know, some of us shy guys are so burdened by our insecurities that we almost forget to breathe. We think, I'm not pretty, I'm not curvy enough, I'm too fat, I'm too short, I'm too tall, nobody likes the way I talk, and so on. Well, let it out, or let it go, and smile. You'll be surprised at how far a simple smile can get you. And even in these days of the internet and online communication, don't forget the smileys. :)

Be kind to people, in a genuine manner. Sometimes, we're so caught up with the cares and worries of life that we become lost in our own small bubble. Try to remember that it's not all about you. Reach out to others who are either less privileged, or need your help in one way or another. Give generously of your time, money and efforts. I bet you, this will win you more friends that a dozen club outings.

Try new things. Start small, in things that involve only you, and then keep experimenting. Never read a book by Myne Whitman? Try it. Never listened to music by that singer? Go on. Is a major performer having a concert in your area? Buy a ticket. Did someone just ask you out on a date? Squelch that inner doubter and say yes. Of course you have to be careful, and stay within your means. But the more you do stuff outside your comfort zone, it will be a piece of cake walking up to someone to say hi.


Don't take yourself, other people, or things, too seriously. Of course that is the mark of introverts, we over analyse everything. More over, our egos can be quite fragile, and even as we're our own harshest critics, we worry even more what others will think about our every action. I tell myself when such thoughts intrude, it's not that serious. No matter how bad it seems today, tomorrow is another day.

Finally, be yourself. I've read some bloggers lamenting their weirdness. I rejoice in mine, because that is all it is, difference. Variety is the spice of life. If we were all the same, it would be so boring. Conforming may lead to less raised eyebrows from other people but it won't lead to peace of mind. So flaunt your quirks. Then, you can be sure when people love you, they know and appreciate the real you. Only bear in mind that not everyone will. But, so what?