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Pedal…Louis Lowy

I call him my pirate, for he has the look , the charm and oh yes the ability to keep me riveted on a story. When I read Die Laughing, it seemed incongruous that such a warm person could write a humorous sci-fi that had me angry, horrified and impatient with the characters in the that particular book. Then I had a surprise when his second book came out. It was completely different from the first but just as compelling. Remember it is said that you are only as good as your last Louis however raised the bar with his second novel even though it was in another genre altogether.

That is what I love about writing and good authors, the ability to write in almost any genre and not be stuck in stereotyping that will ultimately stifle you.
Let’s share some comments about Louis’s book PEDAL
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Pedal tells the story of Joanne Brick, a single, 49-year-old elementary school music teacher who loses her job and struggles to reclaim her life back through bicycle racing. Pedal explores how Joanne — who lives with her bossy, older sister, and their ailing mother – deals with unemployment, loneliness and loss of self-worth.
Pedal
Pedal is part sports book, part family drama and part romance, but mostly it’s a journey of self-discovery and reawakening. It is based around the theme of daring to change and how ordinary people handle life’s turning points.

Pedal runs 88,000 words (301 pages) and was released in December by Assent Publishing.

I had a chance to have what you might call a small chat with Louis, please let’s read together his answers to my questions.
These are the questions I asked him.

Congratulations on your second outing albeit with another publishing house.

1. Why did you write Pedal? It is not the same as your first Die Laughing.
Because Pedal isn’t the same as Die Laughing is precisely the reason that I wrote it. I wanted to tell a polar opposite story. Die Laughing, which I love, was a big novel. What I mean, is that it had lots of dire exterior forces going on: shape-shifting aliens plundering the earth’s oil, refinery explosions, falling airplanes and live television broadcasts, all leading to the possible extinction of mankind.
With Pedal I wanted to write a quiet story, yet one where the protagonist had as much at stake in her world as there was in Die Laughing. The disrupting forces in Pedal are more personal, though as I said, just as dire for her. My protagonist has to overcome her own self to save her world, which she lost when the one thing that defined her—her career as an elementary school music teacher—was taken away. I also chose a female protagonist because Die Laughing had had a male protagonist. Whew! That turned out to be quite a challenge.

2. Share with us your experience at the last book reading of Pedal.
In one word: incredible. I was fortunate enough to have the wonderful author, John Dufresne introduce me. The audience was larger than I expected, attentive. They reacted to the passages I read in the way that I hoped they would, and then later asked thoughtful questions. For this author, it doesn’t get any better than that. And oh, yeah, they purchased lots of books.
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3. Will you say you are a romantic person?
I would like to think I am, but my wife may dispute that point. I’m not one who wears their heart on their sleeve, that’s for sure, but I do tend to be a bit nostalgic and reflective. As that pertains to my protagonists, though each are different, I do like to embed in them the potential to be romantic. They may or may not reach that state, but the opportunity is there.

4. You seem to have moved away almost completely from sci-fi or am I mistaken?
Though I can see why you think that, the answer is no. My next novel To Dream, is the first of a two book series titled the Anatomy of a Humachine (IFWG Publishing). It’s an epic science fiction drama scheduled for release in mid-2016. I’m very excited about it.

5. From the pictures, Pedal seems to have been a roaring success yes?
The reading was held at the wonderful Books & Books in my home town of South Florida, so I was anticipating a good crowd, but when that greatly exceeded my expectations, I was humbled.

6. I love your theme of loneliness, unemployment and the terrible effects of that on one’s self confidence, Johanne seems to be an archetypal old Miss. Why did you pick such a person?
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picked someone like that because I wanted Joanne to be the type of person who had the most to lose when her life-defining career was taken from her. This may sound cruel, but I wanted her to suffer. To have to struggle like she’s never struggled before. To fight for her life, so to speak. That’s what defines a person. She may or may not succeed, but whatever happens I want her to have given it her best shot. I see her as a wilted flower who—if she can overcome her obstacles—will blossom into the woman she wants to be, but never was.

7. What wins over on a cold winter night, a thrilling sci-fi or a teary sob romantic novel?
A thrilling sci-fi with a touch of teary romance.

8. What has been the response to your second book?
I’m very grateful that people enjoy Pedal and that the Kindle edition is an Amazon Bestseller in Religious & Inspirational Fiction: Women’s Fiction and Inspirational. I worked hard on the story and for it to finally get in the reader’s hands and have them tell you how much they like it is a wonderful feeling.

9. Any work in progress now?
Oh, yes. I’m always working ahead. I’m polishing up a fantasy story about a dying gambler who is given an opportunity to redeem himself, and a turn of the 19th century horror novel. Though I have an outline, I also have to write Book II of Anatomy of a Humachine. Next, I’ll try my hand at a detective novel – of course that’s a ways down the road.

10. Please share with us the links to your books.
Louis K Lowy books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=louis+k.+lowy
Pedal/Assent Publishing: http://assentpublishing.com/Books.aspx#1052
Die Laughing/IFWG Publishing: http://ifwgpublishing.com/store-item-die-laughing/
In general, check out my website: http://www.louisklowy.com/
Twitter: @louisklowy
Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/Louis-on-Facebook
Feel free to contact me. I love to speak with fans.

Thank you for sharing time with us.

Thank you, Biola, for the opportunity to speak with you about my work. It’s been a pleasure.

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Blood Contract

Hey, I am feeling pink, because Bobby took me back to my very first novel internationally. He read my very first novel with IFWG publishing. BLOOD CONTRACT.
Couple of my religious friends were scared off by the title imagining I was going to write about some voodoo stuff. Those were very puzzling days, confusing to me as well. It was an ey-opener learning that my side of the pond had yet to get over the bogey thrown into them by our white masters about our local brewed religion. I think that was why I wrote the Numen Yeye series. I must have told you how Numen Yeye started and so much has passed since the days of BLOOD CONTRACT.Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00061]
However as I learned and hopefully grew in the novel writing business, I got into the habit of reviewing books for authors like me. Some of the authors paid me back by offering to read my own books. That natural law of give and take happened recently with Bobby and I.
So he first bought Rose of Numen and then gave me the extra gift of reading my very first book. This is what he put in amazon.com and goodreads.
“I really enjoyed Biola’s book Blood Contract and recommend others read it. It kept me intrigued and wanting to read more. As someone who knows nothing about the Niger Delta, I found this book to be very informative of the land, culture, and societal problems. Blood Contract deals with issues of corruption, greed, evil, rape, oil bunkering, family, societal norms, God and poverty, just to name a few. I am now more informed of the Niger Delta, the damage of oil bunkering, the corruption of young boys and men, and the suffering that exists in that part of the world. I also found Biola’s writing to be inspiring and I look forward to reading her other books as well”.
A river has passed under the bridge since that book was written. I had an offer to have the book made into a film script. I even had the script written and my excitement rode the skies, but then this was my country and for all the dreams of mice and men. Sigh…. Who knows you just might read this and decide to send me a query about the book. So I will be waiting okay?
What makes us write? What do we want to achieve? For every million unknown writers out there in the great world, there are the tiny few that attract attention and somehow hold that attention.
When I started to write some 42 years ago, I had very small illusions about making the millions or even smile to the bank. But I had stars in my eyes about the written word and that excitement has outlived all other feeling till date.
I am crazy about writing. I have written television plays to educate adolescents, parents, and written just about every topic including horror!
I hope I have matured over the years, 42 years ought to count for something right? But I am still interested in human beings, our dreaming, and the painful thud when we have to face the hard grind of reality.
An elder in my community who had written for longer than I have, answered my naïve question about living on writing with a gentle laugh, said I might be hungry for a long time. He was right. But I feel like a child in a candy store when I am asked to write a story and I can deliver that story within days. Television scripts I might add. Writing a full length novel was a different kettle of fish.
So what do you think? Did you ever read that my first love affair with the virtual world when I clicked on a name and he became a much loved publisher… Gerry Huntman.
I have been blurbing right? I don’t know really but I feel like just sharing with you this time. You know like some friend you are used to warbling with. Lol.
Chat soon

Resolutions and the New year

Hey there, happy new year from my blog to you . There is something scary about new year resolutions. You make them in the heat of the moment and you make every attempt to keep them. But the problem is , you rarely keep them because the resolution was never really intended to be kept. I am wary of new year resolutions and avoid them as much as I can. This year though, I have plans to post daily as much as I can and share with you as much as I can my thoughts, my books, my authors and my friends. I hope to review books for friends and authors I admire. Some of these authors have impinged on my mind and I find I can’t get them off, I keep thinking of what they have written.The most telling for last year has been Bobby Uttaro. He wrote the book, “To The Survivors”Book Cover a book on rape survivors.pic
It is like an obsession these days. I guess it is because he touches me in a part of my soul that I have kept locked up for years. It seems every time I turn on the television or radio, there is something about rape or sexual assault. I find myself talking about it, asking friends and wondering what I could do about it. In the beginning of the year the police were giving an update of crimes they had covered in two states and the Federal capital territory, I was chilled when they mentioned a hundred and thirteen (113) rape cases in just two states! Crikey!
I never could understand violence in any form and I stand uncomprehending before violence against women particularly sexual assault for the scars of a simple slap tend to go deeper with a real woman. Why did I use the word real woman? Simple, I have read, seen and heard of women who enjoy being slapped around. I do not understand nor do I want to say negative things about them, I just do not have an understanding of it. That was why Fifty Shades left me wondering.
I will be doing more exploration of my inner understanding of the world around me. I will have chats, light hearted ones, deep ones, dark ones, the odd spiritual ones, no, there will be no religiosity. Can’t stand that myself. The Truth when you find it, is not wrapped in religious clothes. I admire Pope Francis a lot, but I will not do confessions and I listen to the Dalai Lama and my village diviner when they make sense. Spirituality is the evolution of the inner man to see beyond the stars and universe and attempt to fix himself somewhere in the cosmos. A thousand years is nothing in eternity right? So I am wary of getting into that as well or at best would like to tread carefully.
I will post stories, poems, and just about anything that flits across my mind. When I reach out to you, I hope you will respond too. So for today as a starter let’s roll with some of the poems I wrote last year. Not all of them but just a few.
Chants from the Rose

The day drapes herself with purple hues
as she wakes.
makes ready for creation
all that is needed to weave
from the golden sun,
experiences of Light.
As you open your eyes
to the greeting of a shimmering morning,
may the Light rays
find you happy and well.

Persuasion

The sun can be persuaded
to have roses in the desert.
The dew at dawn is as
soft as the outer reaches of the sun.
the hand that holds the Sword is loving and firm.

The scalpel of the surgeon is sharp
to remove the errant tissue.
It is mercy.
The eagle lives on the crag
as the dove descends
and the sea breaks out on victory song.
The unicorn sniffs the golden air
for the sun is up again.

PEACE

He who cannot walk away
from his anger,
cannot in trust,
approach the peace of Love.

Those who betray us,
those who revile us,
who hate us,
show through their ugliness,
the awesome beauty,
of God’s compassion,
as they mirror to us,
what we must never be.

The Trail…..Conversations

There is something I always find a bit exciting. That is peeping into the inner writer through reading his works. It took a while before I got that, but soon enough I noticed that you could sense the nature of the writer from what he puts out for the world to read. No, it does not mean horror writers are horrible or man size horrors. I do know one or two horror fans that are very gentle and sensitive but try to write out the horror of what life has given them. It is a concept of their frustration. I remember reading the novel of some of my favorite authors and learning a bit of their inner thoughts about the society they observe.

I use writing as a healing process, sometimes as a control measure. I asked my youngest daughter going through the agony of broken romance to write it out of her system. It took a while before she agreed I was making sense but when she finally wrote a small piece, she was alarmed at how murderous she felt. I advised that she should accept she was  never going to push such thoughts into the public domain but she could see how badly she had been affected by the wretch.

Pushing such thoughts into the public domain? What do I mean really? It is like this. I think we affect others with what we put out and at a higher level we are bound to the effects of what we write. The human word is a grace from the creator and sets in motion thoughts, words and deeds that we are linked to by the laws of nature. I am not writing a religious piece.

Let me share an experience, I have been writing since the mid 1970s and I remember one piece I wrote for a radio drama series as a radio producer. I had written about vengeance and had some radio actors going through the scripts. It had to do with the anger of a young man whose father was left to die in the rain by a hit and run driver. Fair I felt in the understanding I had that the young man was entitled to exact his own vengeance knowing that justice was a matter of money in my country.

I stopped the production the next day when I actually drove to the next town and came across a hit and run old man who had been left in the rain to die. I was stunned, shocked and miserable for days. Did I sense the story in advance? My skin was goose bumped for days and I shivered remembering I had described in detail how that had happened. I stopped the production because in my writing the grieving son had embarked on a vengeance trip of the drivers at the garage in a desperate search for the hit and run driver who had killed his father.

I didn’t know the son of the real old man I found later, but I did not want to be held for such murderous thoughts I had written. I learned that day, the power of the word, what it creates, hey, we call it creative writing. So I guess I just didn’t want to create such in the minds of people. Later on in life I did write about murders, the pain of the victim’s close ones and the attempt to find closure. I always worried about the job. You could not start saying writing has a job hazard do you?

The point of this conversation is this? Writers do leave a trail of their inner self behind in the stories they write. I know one author who wrote Guardians of the sky realms, Gerry Huntman. He wrote a very sensitive sci-fi fantasy about young adults and the concepts of building the right emotions in these young minds.  Chivalry,  loyalty, courage and dignity. Standing up against evil, I suspected from his writings the type of parent he was likely to be and learnt over time his sense of fierce loyalty to people he calls his friends. It was a peep into the inner man.

There is Merle Burbaugh, very young man in his late sixties or thereabouts and his books tease you to be up and upright, but he writes as if he is self- conscious about being nice.  What am I trying to say today? That consciously or otherwise, writers leave bits of their inner world view in what they write. How they see things, I am not even thinking of psychoanalyzing writers. I am as crazy as the next writer I think and would take umbrage at such a suggestion.

We do have egos you know, some pea sized, while some could be gozzilla sized. I tend to use people I know as characters in my stories. It is easier to build a character when you have a definite picture of the person in your head. Some characters do approach you. Like the old woman who simply popped in my head one afternoon as I was trying to reconstruct a poem. I was too surprised and listened in to what she was telling me.

When you write, do you immediately think you have a best seller? I am kind of curious like I can go into the mind of J.K. Rowling and ask her that. Do writers write because they want to be best sellers? Hey, would you call Shakespeare a best- selling author now? Was that what he was thinking when he wrote or what was the name of that fellow who told the story of that sleepy man? I mean the one who slept and slept and woke up to see the world has changed. Yes Rip Van Winkle.

I am sometimes scared by the rate at which I can’t remember names, for right now some names just teases the edge of my memory and slips away into the edge of the forest. I find it a bit exciting just chatting with you. Not much harm in that is there? The worst that could possibly happen is a yawn and you might flip the page, but you got as far as here waiting for me to make some sense.

I won, for you see, this is my own version of our conversation.

Where am I headed?

Where am I headed?
You know sometimes, that question becomes so intense for me that I practically feel ill. I dread asking myself that question. I came across a writer recently at our monthly literary gatherings and what might pass for open mic sessions. I am usually the moderator for this literary stampede and it is an experience I enjoy very much. I still do. I always feel a sense of awe meeting these authors and poets. Over time I had observed a pattern. Most of the guest authors also like me write poetry. It is not a general thing but in recent weeks, I had come across such . Our very recent gathering gave me nightmares. No.. don’t get me wrong, the experience was exciting, felt humble to meet such quiet great authors and poets, but it left me with the urgent question I asked as the title of the piece.
It is an irony of authors to think they possess the original thought. You know assumed that idea came to them first. Is there an original thought? Can an Author claim originality? These questions tend to keep me tossing and it generally ends up in some really artistic nightmares I can tell you. I remember asking my chief editor if he wants to have second thoughts when I learned from the site that they were into sci-fi, and such stuff that had no relation to my everyday experience. I am very indifferent to technology and am intrigued by science. I never really grasped it . I could therefore never think of writing in the past about osmosis not to even think of present day atomic/nuclear science and my friends write about esoteric science.
Okay, I heard you groan asking yourself what you were doing here reading this. But I am not apologizing you know, you wandered in here and now I have you by the throat, I am going to moan all I want. So there!. Hey!, where are you headed? I have not finished moaning. So where am I headed? Everybody writes beautifully about sci-fi, and I can at best talk about my tradition and culture. I feel frustrated that I can’t talk about African Sci-fi.
I don’t feel like writing about magic, because we really do not call it magic but asimple way of existence that even our professors are sometimes hard pressed explaining. See?
A friend of mine from the other side of the pond yawned , gave a supercilious smile and in his most condescending manner, said I was quite exotic. Very interesting I thought, and wondered which part of his anatomy will bear the brunt of my anger. Exotic eh? Which part of sci-fi will explain the brand of technology that helps you call back a son from the farm by simply holding your palm to the air and ask the son to fetch an item from the farm to bring it home because you had forgotten it at the farm? Magic? No.
Those were the things I had fun talking about in my book Numen Yeye. The things we do with the ease of a yawn and is translated as some ritual. But where am I headed was the question right? So okay at the monthly open Mic, I listened enraptured to pieces of poetry in my local language that defended womanhood. The lesitners were quiet after one reading and a young man asked a timid question, asking the lady poet why she wrote the poems in own language.
Her answers were poetry in motion. She asked nay challenged us to render our thoughts in our native tongue and show pride in who we are. I groaned inwardly as the words came to me..”Another one comes to the surface again”. Blast, I complained inwardly, “I am as black as I can be and happy to be one, I make no apology for who and what I am but I am darned if I am going to allow someone tell me the colour of my hopes”. My face must have been expressive of my inner turmoil, because my chairman asked me if I wanted to make a comment. It was like walking on eggshells as I cleared my voice, told an angry Numen to let me speak. She was angrier than me by the way. I never told you that she has developed this irritating habit of going everywhere with me, since her story came out in Numen Yeye. Anyway…. ahem .. I gave a slow look and in what I hoped was a calm voice opened my mouth.
“what you have said ma’am is very beautiful sentiment, we all should speak only in our language. I have followed the experiment that we should teach our children all the subjects in our language but let us remember a few things while we are about it, we asked for independence from our Masters in the political sense and must earn the independence in other aspects from the rest of the world. It is not going to be easy but do take a look around, our children no longer even speak English but a language that is not recognizable by any country because the English do not speak it either. At best they may call it Nigerian English, (my editor had problem with my English for heaven’s sake I groaned inwardly) but is best understood as the “now Englis” (no it is not a typo).”
I still had an audience and took courage by stating that, the average Nigerian wants an identity of being part of civilization and it is thus difficult for him to resist the need to be more American than the the American or British. We have lost an understanding of our roots, our culture, our tradition and are trying to put a shamed distance from where we came from but do not really know where we are headed. I think that was when those awful nightmares started. I have been asking myself plaintively since…Where am I headed?

PREDETERMINATION AND MAN’S EARTHLY MISSION…Numen Yeye review

BOOK: NUMEN YEYE
AUTHOR: BIOLA OLATUNDE
PUBLISHER: IFWG PUBLISHING, INC
REVIEWER: SUNMOLA OLOWOOKERE

This work of fiction by this seasoned writer, Biola Olatunde is not a novel for the ordinary man, it is for deep thinkers who are striving for higher and ennobling recognitions and the human link with the spiritual world.
The book opens with a scene from a level that is much different from ours, Terra firma, to use Olatunde’s words. Princess Numen in the place of light is getting ready to go on an earthly journey. The author’s display of emotions is explosive as the reader struggles to understand the identity of the narrator in the story.
With infinite care, she established a link between the spiritual world and ours in the characters of Jasmine and Fehintola, Lije and Ayo, Numen and Imole Ife. Hence the first lesson; our journey on earth is predetermined and nothing by chance.
Fehintola was an unlucky woman who was plagued by “Abiku”. In the Yoruba Mythology, Abiku simply means evil child that dies only to be born again by the same mother, and keeping on the evil and vicious cycle until it stops. She was desolate with the turn her marriage took as her husband took another wife.
An end is to come to her troubles as she was visited and favoured by the priestess of Numen. Her life took on a new glow and demeanor of quiet confidence was surprising to her detractors.
Fehintola’s journey in life and understanding of the mystical world around her evolves quietly as she became acquainted with the spiritual beings that were deteremined to help her once she found her own link with the spiritual.
Lesson Two, each human being has a link to a divine connection which once detected helps individuals in tackling life challenges.
Amidst guidance and extraordinary tranquility, Fehintola had her baby and the child grew and began school with her knowledge of her extra-terrestial link still intact.
In the society however, she was seen as “strange” Even her friends could not understand her strange gifts. However, the people around her were glad of the divine intervention they got in the time of distress through her special gifts.
Her father and maternal grand-mother understood her being partially while her mother who ought to understand her more due to the other-worldly experiences she had before giving birth to her was surprisingly uncomprehending.
Due to the divine powers she possessed, she has a running battle with her paternal grandmother who could not subdue her. In several scenes, the reader is shown the woman’s dark powers and how she attacks her victims mercilessly, even those with whom she had familiarities.
The novel “Numen Yeye” portrays two main forces, one of the light and the other of the darkness. The duo are tackling at loggerheads as their missions are as different as day Is from night.
I am mostly intrigues by the regal figure of Numen, the Priestess of the Rose. Her humanness and empathy with people she came into contact with shows when she observes them through her spiritual visor.
She came to the world to help some important figures that she perceived to be in distress. The novel’s setting is based on two plains; one, earthly and the other, esoteric.
On the esoteric, we have Princess Numen, Lije and Jasmine amidst other creatures. And on earth, we have Lije and Jasmine as couple with earthly names Ayo and Fehintola respectively.
Princess Numen came to the planet earth with a mapped out mission of how to help mankind especially those around her to fight forces of darkness that might want to destroy them.
However, once she was born, she had trouble linking to her spiritual world from where she came. She could not understand the sudden insight about happening around her that comes to her inner being at intervals.
She had difficulty in identifying her inner self and this made her uncomfortable as she wondered at the source of her sudden but steady insights. In her household, the family regarded her with a mixture of fear and respect.
However, her grandmother had no liking of her because of her wicked plan which were thwarted by the goddess that she sees as mere slip of a girl. Her several attempts to destroy Numen whose earthly name is “Imole Ife” failed and her hatred for her young granddaughter grew. However, she could not make mincemeat of her as she did with the other family members.
With her witchcraft, she had upended the destinies of her children and those who refused to bow to her whims had been destroyed in her anger. In short, Imole Ife’s grandmother had met her match in the mere slip of a girl who was her granddaughter.
Imole Ife who was known to her mother before birth became estranged from her when she was growing up because the woman could not understand the strange daughter that fate had bestowed on her.
She was called several names “Emere, with witch, Ogbanje” etc and she was disturbed by the beliefs until she found her true self.
On the earth plane, three people had been her mainstay, her maternal grand-mother, Yeye at the shrine and her father. Her rapport with these people had helped her stabilize until she found her true self by discovering her link to ther eternal roots.
It was only then that she found peace and she could easily tap into the power that she could use whenever she needed to help anyone in distress. Her understanding and insight was so awesome that people began to respect her and see her as the high priestess that she was.
She had come to terms with her mission in life; to be of help to humanity. Despite the knowledge of this mission, she studies to be a doctor with her father’s help and support.
The novel was set in an era when females were not encouraged to go to school. However, her father supported her in her desire for western education.
At long last, she discovered herself and accepted to lead the virgin dance that she had dreaded and scoffed at. Ultimately, she found a worthy companion to mate with for life in Babatunde, her friend.
The novel, Numen Yeye, is about intertwining worlds and it teaches about predestination. The novel also her satiric properties as the readers become aware of the ills of polygamy and extended families. It also gently scoffs at Nigerian’s show of religiousity which had not helped in solving our problems. It also encourages female education.
It is a work rich with cultural practices of the Yoruba people. While the author does not bore the reader with traditional numbo-jumbo, it has brought home to us that we cannot forget our roots and our links to what has been before our existence.
The author, in this work, has outdone herself. Her understanding of man’s existence and the importance of understanding his purpose in life is portrayed in Imole Ife and her desire to understand her mission in life.
Really, I want to say the readers who know Biola Olatunde and the richness of her prose could not have expected anything less that the dexterity she exhibited in “Numen Yeye”.

ROSES….or THORNS? Conversation from the workshop.

How long have I been out? I have been attending a workshop for writers in my neck of the woods and it was really an eye opener for me. I had a better understanding for Gerry, my chief editor who doubles and the face of my publisher as he is the one I really always relate with.

I was the only one who gave a paper on creative writing but I would share that in a moment. What I found really interesting were the comments of the writers who had gathered to listen to the presentations of the speakers who were a collectivity of learned persons, a prof and some intellectual doctors.

I came away with a better understanding of the agonies that Gerry must have gone through with me and maybe a few other authors. I never could understand for a long time why I had to wait forever to get a book out in print and I had a better understanding at this workshop.

Apparently the traditional publisher has a lot to contend with, from the minute he agrees to publish a book. An indigenous publisher who is acclaimed by all as being very successful agreed with the general outrage that enhancing our reading culture is an uphill task as it costs the earth to get all the materials needed for printing a good quality book.

He gave a list of that they had to pay for. The high taxes, the high level of corruption, and the intransigence of electricity, salespersons not remitting in record time . By the time he had finished his catalogue, the hall was silent. I sent a silent thanks to Gerry.

Before the publisher took the mic, I had gone round some of the stands of authors to see what the competition was, some had self -published their works. I was interested in that since I have been toying with that idea for a while. I need to keep my body and soul together. I write solely and have very little outside income so I have been hungry for a long time.

The idea of self- publishing became very attractive as I have quite a lot of books, (some in series) that I want to publish. I use to feel I do not have that much time left and should really do something to put out as much as I have written over the years.

However the lot I saw at the workshop dismayed me. Badly collated prints, badly stapled, and I just sighed and walked off feeling depressed. The other side of the coin did not look attractive either. Publishers want to wait months, some years to publish your book, cannot promise to help you promote and the very small matter of royalty is a strange word to them.

I mentioned that to my new friend, publisher chairman at the workshop as we got talking, he seemed to have liked my paper and he asked me questions about my new book Numen Yeye. He explained with a twinkle in his eye that publishers need to deduct their initial cost outlay before they can pay royalty and added that self publishers had the problem of marketing as well as the logistics of placing their books at location where it can sell.

However, he consoled that he has a large staff, and works along the coast of West Africa. I gave him a suspicious look and smiled, wondering if the same treatment of low royalty applied to his titles. He laughed and called over an author. He invited the author to be honest and confirm what he got last month as royalty payment. I stared as the man smiled and simply brought out a photocopied check for one million naira. I almost fainted. The author explained that he fainted too, but believed it when the bank confirmed payment. So he had the cheque photocopied as he was going to frame it.

I was quiet for long moment after that, but felt a deep sense of gratitude to Gerry Huntman. I wondered if he had ever thought of being a manager of talents. I recollected all my fears, tears and sometimes fury and each time Gerry had been rock solid and calm. Phew! I could never have understood the publishing mess but for him. But I still have questions. Why do publishers take forever to reply to queries?

I am still in a quandary about self publishing. I like to have somebody else make sense of what I am trying to say and not kill me in the process. I love to know that someone is there in my corner so I would love to have my book published for me. I really am not sure I want the ego trap of wanting to do it myself. Above all, I can’t stand publishers who think they are doing me a favour, for they make me want to shove my gray head down their throat.

Finally, I had a very beautiful time at the workshop as ah yes, my book was well received and I got quite a lot of enquiries. More than half of my friends cannot buy books online so I am going to be the book seller of my book from the look of it.
Oh yes, my reviewer took my book with him on the flight to Britain as he told me that he did not want to miss a page.

Wow, you could say it looks like it might turn up roses for this old lady who simply can’t stop dreaming.

 

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