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When writing is both fun and frustrating

OpenClipart-Vectors / Pixabay

Will you please close your eyes for a few seconds, imagine yourself in a jungle somewhere in Africa. Don’t start sweating now, but .. okay, I don’t want to run away or amok with the picture. I am not crazy you know and this is not from some crank.
My name is Biola Olatunde, you have to know that first off because you might be too interested to remember it after you have finished reading. It is okay to laugh now but do go on reading. I write like this on my blog, you guessed right, I am a blogger, an author, a poet and producer. Before you get bored altogether with my crazy introductions let me get to the story.
What does it feel like being an author in my country?

Good question, authors in Nigeria get the shortest end of the stick. You cannot make it a calling, or a profession and definitely cannot live by your earnings from books you publish. One big drawback is the populace. Simply put, we don’t read. Hold it, we are educated, because we read a whole lot so we can pass exams, get a certificate, get a job or start a business. Read for pleasure? You get a blank stare and a change of subject. ..if you are under 40, people within my age bracket remember with nostalgia books they had read, the comics, novels and the poetry.
But those books were written by western authors and gave some of us dreams that we might be able to write. They were not specified literature, but we devoured them, romantic novels, detectives, thrillers, mysteries, even biographies
In the sixties and seventies, being an author might have fetched you the odd change enough to buy you new socks or a few shirts. You learn that even then remuneration from publishers was practically zilch, you wrote then because there was a chance, that some fellow from the education ministry might read your book, and show it to the curriculum fellows at the ministry and if you have been a very good boy, they recommend your book to secondary school or even primary school. You are made then, as your publisher will give you a smile and promptly offer you 10% of the sales. The author never gets the cream off his hard work. Your creativity is something most Nigerians hardly ever think you deserve good recompense. Publishers are generally not keen on your manuscript unless you can assure him that the book will get a government nod. Authors, therefore take the route of self-publishing these days.

Self- publishing for Nigerians who do not have the English language as their first language is fraught with a lot of confusion, more so when in these days, you are wondering if you should opt for American English or British. We can’t tell the difference most times.

What genre of writing should you write that will hold the interest of the public? These days of sci-fi films, noir, erotica and so forth, we do not know one genre from the other. I like to think, the best way forward in that particular territory is to write about what you know best, Those days of my youth when I read a lot of Somerset Maugham, I learned that he would research his story, get a feel of the kind of characters he wanted to portray so he got to know his protagonist pretty well. I used that method always in my writings either as radio plays, or novels. I visited the Niger Delta, stayed in one of the towns, and interviewed a lot of the average Niger Deltan to get a feel of the place before I wrote my first published novel, BLOOD CONTRACT. I was very gratified to receive comments from people in that area thinking I was a native of the place. You need to be able to put such feelings and empathy in your writing. For us, concentrate on writing well.
You should be believable and honest I remember my cousin one day read my television plays and raised puzzled eyes as she asked me if these things I have written were actual events. I replied that they were based on real events. She shook her head and wondered why I want to live by imagining things. She asked me why I did not want to start a trade and earn really good money. For an author in Nigeria like I mentioned earlier, it will take awhile before authors can earn real good money. They are constrained now to do other things and even our Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka had to earn his living through being a lecturer.

Young people are now writing, trends are evolving, and some publishers are also emerging but the essence of writing still remains the same. If you enjoyed writing it, the reader would probably agree with you and pay for that pleasure.
In the next couple of weeks, I hope to make available to anyone interested, the fine points about writing and we will share together.
Once in while I get a writing binge and I like to think might be experiencing a binge for the moment. Let’s share together while the itch is one shall we

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Books, Books and much more

Hello,
I am going to be talking books in thenext few weeks.
Naturally in agreement with the saying that charity begins at home, I will talk about my own books and where you can buy them.
I gave you that information before right? Okay, I have the pleasure to let you know that the last of the Numen trilogy can be bought in Nigeria, starting from this website.So let’s go over them again
BLOOD CONTRACT

For Ken,going home to The Niger delta after 15 years was not exactly what he asked for when he joined the security firm he worked for as a negotiator. The past he thought he had left behind had to be negotiated if he wants a future.
‘If I can’t mend my father’s house , I should not bring sh.t to his doorstep’he told Ganfo, but his security company would like to know what $30,000 was doing in his account especially when a whole ship was being held hostage

Numen Yeye

Book one of the Numen trilogy that starts from the incarnation of a light spirit, confused about her origin, and living amongst a tribe that thrived on witches, emeres and abiku. Imole Ife’s mum had qucikly forgotten what led to her being given permission to have a healthy baby after suffering the attention of the Dark one that tormented her with repeated childbirths that never made it to their second year. Her daughter did not follow the habits of an emere or abiku, she was just darn strange! Ife learns that she is the goddess of the town, and was not impressed at all! Read the story of her spiritual awakening and accepting her life mission and responsibilities in the trilogy of Numen Yeye
Rose of Numen

and the final Numen!

You can buy these books from our website biolaephesus.com

Sunshine booksellers at sunshinebooksellers.com
Mosuro Booksellers Ibadan
Toyin Bookshops in Akure

Visit our website today

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Prodigal son? Blood Contract

Ken stood silhouetted against the setting sun. He was alone in the boat as the lagoon took on the color of the red sun, making the waters look almost metallic. He was contemplating paying his father a visit and suddenly he had become unsure. Questions needed to be answered. He could not hold back anymore and the one person who could give him some of the answers was a few meters away. His hands shook as he tried to calm his nerves.
There was a small sardonic smile playing across his lips. It was time to take a look at the wounds, time to come face to face with his ghosts and why he had left. Why he had promised himself he was never coming back. He needed to make peace with his father if not with himself. He remembered the bitter arguments, his sense of not being good enough for his father. He remembered Douglas and he felt some pain that no one had ever made any attempt to reach out to him.

It was a tough place to have dreams. He had wanted to further his education and he knew his father was not going to be able to cope with the payments. He had been grateful for the secondary education he got. He was not about to just sit down in the place, getting married, have babies, and be a fisherman. His whole soul had rebelled against such a future.
It was not therefore too surprising when he followed the boys to do some small oil bunkering. The first time he got paid he was stunned at making such easy money. He had instinctively kept that business from his father. But being a young man he could not resist buying a few things that was more than his income as a fisherman could fetch him.
His father had asked probing questions and he thought he had succeeded in deceiving him until one evening he came home to find his father in his room, a cold implacable look on his face, and his wad of currency in his hand. There was nothing left to do than to confess what he had been doing. He expected anger but not the blistering rage of the old man.

He still felt disbelief at the blazing words, stating that no son of his was going to be a coward and refuse to stand and fight.
“I can’t see much of any fight with you Papa,” he had taunted back. “No money, no food and I try to do business and you call me a thief.”
There had been the silence.
“Bravery has nothing to do with stealing oil from the creeks. A thief is a thief no matter in what clothes you dress it.”
He had yelled back in his own pain, “I have not stolen anything, just taken what belongs to me.”
“Who allocated stealing to you, Kenawari?”
“Papa!”
“Get out; you have a smell I don’t want around here.”
He had yelled back that he was getting out and was never coming back, that he would make good and his father was going to regret calling him a thief. That was when he made contact with Elias and left the village a few days later. Papa never spoke to him from that night. He never went back to the business, for it had served the purpose he wanted. He never called home.

Ken had not seen Ebijor either or connected with her until the night of his return. He had kept her in his mind for years, knowing he needed to explain his abrupt departure. Knowing the culture of his people, he knew she would have been married off after a time. He wondered if she had resisted or simply accepted his apparent desertion and shrugged her shoulders and settled down to married bliss. He had wondered if she understood about love. He could not sleep at nights as he imagined her in someone’s arms and he was racked by jealousy. A dangerous jealousy he knew, for she belonged to another man. Someone the rest of the community would defend if he tried anything funny. He had also not known about Douglas. He had assumed the silence had been in obedience to their father. He needed time to take a look at that piece of information.

Ken had stalked the markets hoping to catch a glimpse of Ebijor, but she seemed to have suddenly voluntarily imprisoned herself. He was not about to ask anyone questions. Tonbra too had become invisible. He understood, believing she was remorseful about her big mouth and was keeping out of his way with respect. He sighed and started walking along the single plank walkway.

Ken walked past his father’s home deliberately and chose to stop at a point two houses away, because he had not being prepared to find his father sitting outside on an easy rocking chair. He was sure his father had seen him. Ken suddenly lost his nerve. He felt lonely too. That is my father, damn it! You don’t just walk back to fifteen years at the drop of a hat do you? You don’t just wipe out fifteen years of longing, pain, anger and confused thoughts do you? The fact that his father had never enquired after him still hurt, he acknowledged to himself.

Interested readers in Nigeria can now buy copies of BLOOD CONTRACT from thefollowing book retailers:
1.Sunshine booksellers
University of Ibadan
2. The Booksellers(Mosuro Books)
Ring road, Ibadan
3.The Kids Centre
Akure Mall, Akure
4.Toyin Bookshop
Akure
5.Arowolo Bookshop
Akure
6,Seyem Bookshop
Akure
We will update youas more book retailers are added on

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Blood Contract


This book is now printed and available in Nigeria, a gesture of faith and trust.
Excerpt from the book
“My name is Tonbra; Papa thinks you may not have had
dinner, so he sent me to make one for you. The fish is okay,” she
said with a laugh.
“Hmm…Who is Papa?”
“Your father and mine, I am your half sister!”
Ken stared at her in shock, and then he looked at the food.
“No, it is not poisoned,” she said, amused.
Ken smiled, sat down and opened the bowls. “How old are
you?”
“As old as the time you left.”
“Had to leave!” he snapped, angry with her for bringing up a
past he would rather forget. Besides, he didn’t owe her any
explanation. Damn it, he thought, she is just a girl. You don’t explain
your actions to a girl.
“Yeah, I heard the entire story.”
“Are you still in school?” he curiously asked.
“Which school?”
He looked at her again. “You did not go to school?”
“I did, your school.”
“Sphinx! Tell me.” He liked her style of speech and the fact
that she was not awed by a big brother.
They tried to bridge a gap of fifteen years as they chatted
while he ate. It was later that he became conscious of the time and
insisted on escorting her to the house. He walked quietly back to
the longhouse and was asleep in minutes, something he had not
been able to do that easily in years.

The next morning he was standing by the beach watching the
sea waves. He walked to his boat and got it ready to put out to
sea. There had been a message from the elders that they wished
him to wait until the next day before the meeting could continue.
When the directive came, he had shrugged; it was all part of the
business. One step forward two steps back. He now had a day
stretched out with nothing particular he wanted to do.
He decided he might as well go around the other islands and
see a bit of the place. Maybe he might pick up some local news on
the grapevine about the kidnapping. His people were normally
close mouthed about things like that, but since he was a son of the
soil, he felt his people might relax enough to tell him a few things.
It also gave him the opportunity to see a bit of neglect. It was
usual to have a representative of the community in an institution
the Federal Government had set up which they called
‘Development Unions’. The elders had always tried to get
effective representation. However, it was always just a shallow,
toothless representation; the government had learned the art of
divide and rule so well, that you never really knew who was
taking the cream off the community. It was the reason the people
were so angry.
A boat moving very fast was coming ashore. Ken was angry
that the idiot was going to splash him with sea water, then saw it
was his half-­‐‑sister stepping out from the boat. He was impressed
by her dexterity. “I see you are a show off as well. You took your
time this morning.”
Tonbra laughed as she got out of the boat and walked up to
him. “I had things to do; you feel better?”
“Really? What could you be doing in this filth?”

Book for your copy and pay in our local currency. Check with the website biolaephesus.com

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She Looked in the mirror…Short Stories


Early dawn, just the mournful call to prayer, and her heart responded in tears. Her face feltstiff and she touched it gingerly. Quietly she removed all her clothes and walked naked to the courtyard looking at the sky. She went to the kitchen and poured water in the calabash. She set it up on three stones and stood in front of it motionless. She remained like that for a while consciously emptying her thoughts of all thoughts. When she felt reasonably calm and her heart had stopped weeping, she took the bowl of water and poured it over her person. The icy cold water brought her sharply awake. She suppressed her instinctive gasp.

With measured footsteps she returned to the bedroom and stared blankly at his drunken huddled form as it snored. She went to the corner of the bedroom and silently picked her clothes , stuffing them in the bag. Her son stirred in the corner and she carried him putting himon her back as she strapped him securely.
She checked her bag, to be sure her ATM was in her purse. She had gone over lateat night and from swollen bloody lips had asked for her ATM which she had kept with Madam Stella her neighbour. She took a long look at Kunle and the screams threatened to escape her lips. She turned him over and tied his hands to the bed post. The she slapped him awake.

He opened his eyes slowly and stared in shock at his wife who gave him a wolfish grin. His moth was taped with her bloodied underwear .
Are you awake now my darling?
He tried to talk but was too tightly gagged, his eyes bulged in wild terror when he saw the knife?
His wife sighed and his eyes pleaded for mercy. She seemed to be contemplating. In a soft voice she read the poem to him as if from a long ago memory.

Do you remember this poem? I wrote it the first time you raped me and you begged me that you did not know what came over you? I warned you that if you drive the sheep to the wall it might turn on you. I am going away. I hope they find you in time. Then she brought the knife, she hummed softly as she worked on him

Five hours later, the police found him. No one knew her name and Madam Stella could only weep for the sweet faced girl who brought her the ATM to keep.
Sweet revenge
She splayed him out
sang lullaby to his screams
as she tested the knife
against his scrotum
one peel after the other
she carved
in bloody art
all the names
he called her
in drunken stupor
through the red mist
as he raped her
and maimed her
for any man.

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Numen!


“Madam, it is your right to take the money. These idiots think of the state as their personal treasury. Make hay while the sun shines is my motto, Madam,” he counseled.

Ife bit her lip seeing the difficulty of her position. She gave the secretary a smile. “Let me tell you a small story. There was a woman who was invited by accident into a coven of witches. The first time she was dragged to the coven, she feared for her life and was told to play along so she could learn how to escape, but she witnessed the child of the leader being contributed as a meal for them to devour.
She kept her portion and hid it inside her leg. So her leg got fatter than the rest of her body for she kept hiding her portion of the human beings killed at the coven. They made her rich, believing she was part of them and she held her peace blaming Olodumare for not striking the witches dead. However one day, it was announced to her that she was to contribute her only child for a particular festival of the witches. Her child had just graduated from the University, done his NYSC successfully and against all expectations gotten a job. This woman was happily looking forward to reap the fruits of her labor so definitely she had no intention to accede to the request of the witches.

She appealed to them that sacrificing her child was just not on the cards. The witches laughed and said since she had accepted every potion she had been given, they requested she should return it, she smiled relieved and offered them her leg, stating that her portion of each meal was embedded in her leg. The leader of the witches gave a long chilling laugh and told her that what they had given her was not just a leg, but at different times other parts of the body. They told
her to make things fair, while the leg had been fattened by her, they would need all the other body parts.

“You see, she was guilty by association under the laws of creation; birds of the same feathers flock together. She was always free to refuse to come to the coven. She was always free not to accept the portions she had received. She was bound by the judgment that what you sow is what you reap. So the witches ate her alive while she remained conscious of what was happening to her body. An association is free but the consequences of the association is not free.
There is no way I am going to be able to afford the consequence of this gift. It might become too expensive for me. Please thank Her Excellency and let her know I am deeply grateful but I possibly cannot accept the gift.”
Ife felt close to tears as she finished her long reply. The personal secretary hesitatingly asked if he was expected to tell the story of the witch when he returned the money.
Ife saw greed come into his eyes and knew immediately that he had no intention of returning the money, in fact she read his thoughts and learned what he had planning on saying so she laughed and took the envelope saying she might as well bell the cat herself.

Get your copy from Ifwgpublishing.com or at amazon.com

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Our Bookshop list

Hello, would like to share with you our current bookshop list. Come over and see our books and then make your choices.
1. Lola Babalola takes you through marriage in her book Helpmeet

You would be inspired by her insights

2. Blood Contract by Biola Olatunde is an adventure into the hostage business in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, it is an interesting adventure that will tell you about those things you hardly hear about

You can buy online or check our shop

3.Pedal by Louis Lowy is a book you will not want to drop. It is touching story ofa woman who still beleives enough in herself to give herself a second chance at dreams and fulfillment

The book is available online

4. Numen Yeye by Biola Olatunde is book one of a trilogy. A Nigerian fantasy around the myths, tradition culture and politics that defines us and the challenges we face in a rapidly changing and evolving world


It is available at ifwgpublishing.com as well at all good online shops. For our Nigerian readers efforts are in being put in place to make it available in Nigeria at affordable prices.

We will update you regularly. Visit our bookshop or go to the shop to make your purchases.