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Survived the Journey… Memuna Barnes

You all know me by now. I will do a review only after I have read the book. When the author of this book invited me to review her book, I blithely wrote back my usual style. I need to know what I am reviewing. Right? I got the book , then saw the number of pages and I desperately wondered I didn’t just allow myself to be guided by the first offer and stay close to what amazon.com had to say. But I knew one review can be different from the other and I had no choice. When I started reading however, I became very alarmed and uncomfortable. I was worried, angry at different times and unfortunately I took the story into my dreams as I became a captive of Memuna Barnes.
I was saddened at the waste of adolescent dreams, the eagerness of young souls trampled underneath by our base emotions. The innocence of Memuna and her fellow victims, hope killed by the bullet into the brains of Fuck-care. Those names , how-are-you, Pustine, C.O Base and a host of others. It was painful to read how Memuna overcame her first horror at brutality to her resigned acceptance of it. She never came to terms with it and she mirrored to us how the older generation had failed them.IMG_1708
Survived the Journey is the journey of an innocent, fresh- faced, pert and saucy teenage girl, forced to grow up fast and eventually traumatized by the sheer cussedness of humanity where dreams die first.. She could easily have used that as the title of her book except for this detail, Memuna Barnes is a first rate survivor, who had the grace to be stubborn, a determination to hang on to her virginity, that determined her dreams.
Memuna survived the darkened dawn so she could take her place in the sun. Read her story and be inspired. I read and then I had these questions.
Congratulations on your book but we will love you to answer a few questions IMG_2461
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself
A) I am Memuna Barnes in my 30s, one of nine children. I was born in Liberia to a Sierra Leonean father and a Liberian mother. I came to New Zealand in 2000 as part of the United Nations Refugee Resettlement Program with my father and younger sister Mamawa.
2. You started your story straight away about the capture and your family remained most times in the shadows. Tell us a bit more about your parents.
A) Growing up both of my parents were in the workforce. My mother was a secretary at a printing company and my father a manager at Telema Fishing Company – Liberia’s second largest fishing company. At the time my sister We’re the two kids who lived with them in Liberia. We were well provided for and if
there ever were hard times before the war…..my mother made sure my sister and I didn’t know about it. Mama was a mother who lived for her children. Very hands – On. She never missed our school programs although Mamawa and I didn’t attend the same school. Mama would pick up the child who did not have a program
first and rush off to the school of the other child and make sure that child knew she was in the crowd watching. I was always involved in plays or speeches at mine and She would run to get Mamawa after work and rush to my school. She was always there in time to give me that last minute cheer, kiss and hug to assure me she was watching and enjoying every second. Which for me, was all that mattered. I was a well catered for child as far as I know. Our father worked most of the time and we only really got to see him at weekends. My parents paid for everything we wanted.
3. What led to the RUF over running your part of the country?
A) The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) walked into Sierra Leone from Liberia via the border and started what they dubbed “First Battalion” in Pujehun District by capturing and recruiting young boys and girls into their rebel force. Soon after they took Kailahun District which was dubbed “Second Battalion” giving them access to diamond mines which were used as currency for ammunition. So those two southern districts became rebels stronghold.
4.At the end of your journey, did you meet up with Hassan ?
A) I could have met up with Hassan as I mentioned towards the end of the book when I bumped into How-are-you in the market. However, I was afraid he would find me and take me again. So no I didn’t.
5.Did you discover any further news about Base and Pustine?
A) I know nothing more about Base. I could find out about Pustine if I asked a few people but I have not tried to.

6.You had quite a violent eighteen months as a captive, has it anyway affected your perception of war, politics and your old country.
A) My experience has indeed affected me a great deal. First, before this I had no reason to think about war and I would forget really quickly soon after watching a war movie as a child. I remember owning a toy pistol myself once. However, after
experiencing two civil wars in a space of a decade, I think it is a pointless waste of lives, resources, infrastructure and a heinous offence to humanity. Why not just sit and talk about issue? Why not negotiate and bargain ( this is what would have to happen in the end anyway) and think about the citizens and the generations to
come? I think our leaders should picture themselves as parents when they are voted into power. They are voted out of trust and respect should always consider the people who give them power and use that power for the people rather than against them. Create opportunities in form of jobs, utilize national resources and subsidize the healthcare and education system of their respective countries.
Liberia and Sierra Leone need to stand up and value their people especially when there are so many emotionally destroyed individuals running around aimlessly. You cannot love your country if you have no respect for human rights. The aftermath of war, I think is almost as bad as the war itself. The country is left with traumatized individuals who are so confused and still scared: for those who participated in the massacre – they live with the guilt (if capable of remorse) over the lives they took, unable to fit in a functional society ( for people like Hassan, Base, CO. Gbembo) where instead of people answering to them they now have to learn
how to have bosses and a job, some live in fear of retribution.
For those of us who witnessed the horror we live with recurring nightmares and sorrow over our loss and we want answers but no one can offer them. For me carrying on is something that just happens because I am alive but still sometimes feel stuck. These memories can be triggered by the simplest event. I think about the day we left Monrovia almost everyday as I go past the dock and see cruise ships. Watching contemporary war movies or the sound of a car backfire gives me nightmares of the war.
Then all the dead bodies that are left in the forests where bombs have been thrown at people… get washed off into waterways and pollute the environment and lead to the spread of diseases.
7.In the book, there seemed to have been a breakdown of all forms of morality and ethics, what would be your understanding of this on the younger generation particularly the child soldiers
A) Living in war where there is no one to judge or guide one apart from God in Heaven (and that is if you grew up being taught of a higher power) shows you what humans are capable of given the opportunity.
Younger children, first of all in a normal situation must always be watched and led on the right path in life as we all come into this world knowing nothing more than our basic motor skills. Then a young child who is already confused by adolescence is taken from his or her family and forced to shed blood and is conditioned to think that these atrocities are the way of life can only lead to a generation of damaged men and women who will then go on to raise another angry and confused generation if care is not taken and something is done to rehabilitate and integrate those were involved into a functional society.
8.Hassan seemed to have been portrayed as a villain but as I read further I find you trusted him more and I wonder if you hoped he would get some type of counseling too.
A) I hope Hassan would receive counselling and rehabilitation. So many innocent youths were forced into those wars. Of course there were some who were just downright terrible human beings like those hard core criminals who were released from prisons in every town the rebels took over. Now that these men and women have been disarmed….what now?
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9.With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done differently?

A) After asking myself this question so many times over the years I cannot think of much I could have done. Apart from pleading with my mother not to travel that day, that was the last time my sister Mamawa and I saw her alive.
10.Is your book going to be available in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and would it be effective in helping to heal and reconcile the victims of this war?
A) This is my prayer that this book does great things for my countries, continent and
the world. I hope I can get SURVIVED:The Journey into both Liberia and Sierra Leone and that it is perceived and accepted it as a healing tool, that my story encourages talk about theirs and that the government in these countries do something to properly integrate these former rebels into society and heal the countries, I hope it is perceived as a history lesson, as well as a possible guide to how matters could be handled for the sake of the innocent civilians.
11. Please let us know, in what ways this recollections has affected you and what advice you might give young persons who may have been affected by the book
A) Reliving my experience in order for me to write my book has helped me accept that sometimes in life things beyond our control happen to us and we can never get answers to the question we need answered in order for us to move on. And that
sometimes being alive and healthy is all you need to ask God to give you courage to summon the strength to see his grace in your life. My questions were: Why? Who gave these people the right to invade my life, disrupt my home, and tear me away from my mother? Who said it was ok to snatch my innocence away? What makes them so worthy? God where were you, Why were you so angry to let it happen?
To every young boy or girl who reads my book, be courageous, stand for your truth and be yourself. No bad situation lasts forever. Have a lot of compassion for yourself and your peers.
Every new day is a promise.

12.What group of people will you recommend to read your book?
I believe that this is a good read for people of ages 15 and up. There is a lesson in it for everyone. Our politicians too could learn a thing or two.
13.Please give us links to anyone interested in buying the book.
SURVIVED: The Journey can be purchased at http://www.survivedthejourney.com or amazon.com or http://amzn.com/0473246244
For comments and discussions after you have read please find me at amazon.com/author/survivedthejourney.com Also at https://www.goodreads.com/httpwwwsurvivedthejourneycom

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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

To the Survivors…Revisit

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As the year closes, I thought, I should share some of those things that have left an impact on me. One of the things I have learnt over time is books I review tend to stay with me and some of the authors tend to become my friends. One of such authors is Bobby Uttaro.
It could be in the style of writing or the contents, Bobby’s book, “To the Survivors” has stayed with me and in a way has become a kind of comfort book for me. I live in a country where rape and rape victims are on the peripheral vision of the country. I am sure there had been reports of rape before I read the book, but my senses became real sharpened enough to take particular notice and that became depressing.
How do I mean? I came across cases of rape, from infants to elderly women for different reasons. It appears women have been under siege in my country for longer that I imagined and we don’t seem to be doing anything concrete. I am not about to start another article on this but I want to thank Bobby for at least making me know about one of the dirty secrets of humanity. To the Survivors
Rape is not exclusive to a particular nation nor is it alien to any society, I guess rape has existed amongst us from the time of the cave men, but it is the oldest shame that man has on its collective soul.
I am thus repeating my interview with Bobby today, with the hope that somehow, we will be reminded of the road we still need to follow to achieve that which we are seeking. For as long as we deny the woman the right to refuse a sexual advance, I think we are diminished by that violence.
How do I mean? I came across cases of rape, from infants to elderly women for different reasons. It appears women have been under siege in my country for longer that I imagined and we don’t seem to be doing anything concrete. I am not about to start another article on this but I want to thank Bobby for at least making me know about one of the dirty secrets of humanity.
Rape is not exclusive to a particular nation nor is it alien to any society, I guess rape has existed amongst us from the time of the cave men, but it is the oldest shame that man has on its collective soul.
I am thus repeating my interview with Bobby today, with the hope that somehow, we will be reminded of the road we still need to follow to achieve that which we are seeking. For as long as we deny the woman the right to refuse a sexual advance, I think we are diminished by that violence.
Please enjoy
To the Survivors…..Book Cover
I opened page one and was sucked in.I raged, cried, was angry and kicked but Bobby had me by the short hairs and dragged me through me, through the minds of every breathing human being making me look at a crime, issue that for us in my corner of the world we have been unable to define properly let alone classify and give it a name.
The innocent girl on her first wedding night to a man old enough to be her father as she is dragged to matrimonial bed and raped by her elderly husband . Her terrified screams and flailing arms applauded by all. She is welcomed into matrimony through the red mist of her violent entry. That was the story. In my corner of the universe, that is how you marry. In my time and age.,I learnt about this during my first visit to my hometown in the south west when I came to my family for the first time. I stood in shock as I heard the wild screams. Rape.. a word that young bride never heard of but has been made to experience as a received standard response to sexual activity. The women watched the men, resentment in their heart, hate to the mate who is brought in and polygamy grows hand in hand with hate and resentment. People of my mother’s age and some of mine. This is a hard book for me and anyone who has ever empathized with rape, assault, and even molestation and I passionately ask you to pick up a copy for yourself. It is a must in libraries and schools. In fact any public place.
I am not telling you my story, but the subject of Bobby’s book and the very painful reactions he has made me go through. I want you to meet Bobby and I hope his answers will help us.
1. Welcome Bobby to Ephesus.

Thank you for having me. It’s a blessing and honor to speak with you.

2. Can you define rape in all its ramifications as you understand it?
In my opinion, rape, especially child rape, is the worst crime human beings commit against each other as it causes the most damage to a person’s mind, heart, and soul over significant periods of time. People who are raped have their power and control taken from them. Some believe they will die during a rape and others want to die after. Think about how terrifying and sad this is. The pain and suffering that rape survivors experience can often last many years to a lifetime. But the damage caused does not just hurt the survivor; it hurts that person’s family and friends as well. Significant others are often devastated, sometimes more so than the survivor. I know of a man who was so broken after he learned that his girlfriend was raped years before. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to process it. It was as if nothing in life made sense anymore.
There are so many ramifications of rape, probably too many to list now. In my experiences, I have yet to see a crime that causes so much shame. If one feels shame, one will inevitably have serious health problems. Many, if not all rape survivors at one point in their lifetime, possibly even for years, have suffered deep shame. This is so incredibly sad because on top of being raped, a person most likely lives with shame for years. Shame is crippling and paralyzing. Think of the suffering people who have this undeserved shame live with and how it affects their lives and the lives of those around them.

The ramifications of rape are vast, but I will mention a few. Rape is linked to shame, anger/rage, depression, insecurity, anxiety, fear, suicidal thoughts and suicide, eating disorders, and other health issues. It causes low to no self-esteem. It can alter people’s perceptions of themselves and the world around them. Many rape survivors live in fear. Many rape survivors are physically and spiritually shackled. Rape can shatter the soul. And on top of all of these horrific effects and sufferings, many rape survivors blame themselves. But I want everyone to know that it is not their fault and that they can regain control back. Their lives can be happier and healthier if they are unhappy and suffering. The soul can be strengthened and healed.
Lastly, there are many societal and financial ramifications from rape. Rape can be linked to drug addiction, prostitution, organized crime, and our prison populations, to name a few. For example, I had a meeting at a women’s prison in hopes of getting the book To the Survivors to the inmates. At the time of my meeting there were approximately 100 women incarcerated inside. The Director of Women’s Programming told me roughly 75% of the women had been raped. Also, the Director of Mental Health Services told me 99% of the women had been raped. Why were they incarcerated? The majority were incarcerated due to drugs and prostitution. There is a clear correlation between our female prison population, prostitution, drug addiction and rape. This is also true for some of our male inmates as well.
Ultimately, rape causes more damaging ramifications than I can answer in your question, but hopefully this is a good starting point and answers some of it.

3. Is Sexual assault, rape or sexual violence graded?

Some people grade different levels, but I don’t think that it is necessary to do. I don’t think we should. Every sexual assault, molestation, or rape, is a crime that causes suffering. We should help anyone affected and not grade their experiences.

4. Rape is not gender sensitive and is prevalent in every society on the earth, what can be done to stop it?

The prevalence of rape can decrease if more people make changes within their own hearts. I believe that we can stop and prevent some acts of rape, but I do not believe we will stop rape entirely. I believe rape will exist as long as human beings live on this earth. This is not meant to sound hopeless. I am very hopeful of what can be done and I know more people can heal. I would not keep doing this work and be speaking with you if I did not see real human and spiritual growth within people. But I do believe it is important to be realistic about the world we live in and the evil atrocities that will continue to exist.

Rape is the most prevalent and least reported violent crime throughout the world. The majority of people do not even speak about it, let alone get active and help people affected. Minimal rape crisis centers exist worldwide and too many people don’t want to deal with the realities.

It is believed by some that the second most lucrative illegal business in the world is human trafficking. Billions of dollars are made every year off the sale of human beings who are forced into sexual slavery. In addition, little boys and girls are raped in homes by relatives. People are raped by their spouses. And we know that even some individuals who work in the most trusted public service positions – from law enforcement to religious clergy – rape. How will this stop? I don’t believe it will ever stop, but we can help people in their healing process and we can raise awareness through education.

Education and people intervening if they see something inappropriate is necessary for the prevention of sexual violence. Sadly, many people don’t see the signs of a rape or sexual assault before they occur. If we educate people on some of the signs, we may be able to prevent some crimes. For example, there were many signs of early troubling or inappropriate conduct in the lives of Jim and Chris, who are speakers with individual chapters in To the Survivors. If people around them were educated on the signs and empowered through that education to act, those innocent boys may not have been sexually abused. However, no one noticed, or some noticed but did not intervene, and these boys suffered.
I don’t believe we will ever eradicate rape on this earth, but I believe that we can help people in their healing process and live healthy and productive lives. We can listen to each other, show each other compassion, and empower each other. Too many survivors suffer in silence alone. But I want to tell people that they do not have to suffer in silence. They can heal and they can also help others if they choose to. Our voices are incredibly important and valuable. We can make a real difference in the lives of those who are struggling and suffering. I hope and pray for more of us do that.
Ultimately, rape can stop if human beings stop raping. It is a choice. Sadly, it is a choice that people will continue to commit and many others will continue to not speak of.
5. Would it be right to say that as much as the assaulted is counseled, the aggressor also needs assessment and managing?

So many acts of sexual violence are hidden from others. This, of course, makes assessing and managing a perpetrator exceptionally difficult. How do you assess and manage a person abusing another person when no one knows or speaks about it? This happens too often. The majority of rapists are not arrested, let alone convicted and then sent to prison. And even those who are sent to prison, how long is their prison term? The majority of those convicted come back into our society. Should more be done to manage them? Yes. But the majority of rapists freely walk this earth and commit vile crimes.

I do believe the aggressor needs counseling, but only if the aggressor wants counseling. Sadly, some people commit these crimes with no remorse. I believe remorse and redemption exist for those who want it, but not everyone wants it. If you read all of To the Survivors, you will see that none of the perpetrators showed any true remorse for their crimes.

In order for people to change, they must first make a change in their own heart.

6. Is the rapist mentally deficient and may be classified as disabled?

No. I do not believe we should call rapists disabled. People in wheelchairs are disabled. People with autism who can’t adequately communicate to others are disabled. Rapists choose to commit a crime. Some doctors, teachers, lawyers, police officers, politicians and religious leaders, to name a few, commit rape. Do we look at those professions as disabled?

7. In your book you are neither a rapist nor a victim so why did you write about it?

God. I did not consider myself a writer and never once tried to write a book until the experience of an intensely vivid dream one morning changed my life. I woke up from this dream and said, “I have to write a book.” I interpreted this dream as a vision from God. I prayed to God, moved from the bed to the computer, opened up Microsoft Word, and continued to pray. That is how To the Survivors began. To the Survivors would not be helping the amount of people it has helped if it weren’t for God. I would not be speaking with you now if it weren’t for God. There are too many people suffering, and I know this book can help with that suffering.

8. Some cultures really do not believe in marital rape as rape as they argue it is a male right to enforce their conjugal rights, what do you think?

I think this is horrible. Words cannot fully describe how awful this belief is. This absurd belief and reasoning allows for women to get raped. This kind of thinking accepts rape and too many people suffer as a result. Where does this ludicrous belief come from? Rape is rape. It is an evil crime. I believe it is a demonic and satanic crime. It does not matter if you are married or not; no spouse should rape or endure being raped. No one should be raped. What makes men inherently superior to women? Nothing. Why should a man have the right to rape his wife? He shouldn’t. There is no logical or rational explanation for this and it should not be condoned. Unfortunately, it is.

You say that some cultures do not believe in marital rape as they argue it is a male’s right to enforce his conjugal rights. I know it is hard to believe, but some women do rape men. Should women rape their husbands? Of course not. So why should a man be allowed to commit an evil crime against his wife? Why would he even want to? The belief that men can rape their wives due to their “conjugal rights” is wrong and it sanctions rape. Marriage is supposed to be about love, not rape, and complete dominance of one over another.

9. The first thing that happens to a person that has been sexually assaulted, molested or harassed is to hide, keep quiet or feel shame and they go into hiding the event, how do you identify that to help?
It is not for me to tell people how to act. It is solely up to the survivor to do what he or she wants to do. Personally, I would like more and more people to open up to a trusted individual in their lives, but I cannot make a survivor do that. Rape and sexual assault are so incredibly hard to talk about. But I believe we have to be there for each other and let others know that we will sit and listen to them if they ever need anything. I pray that more people create loving and safe environments in which people can disclose their stories and pain if they choose to. More people will come forward as more people come forward.
10. Your THP sounds wonderful, have they thought of extending their great work to other countries? Through affiliations, overseas training to create awareness to communities?

No, but I will. I try my best to get this book and these messages to countries throughout the world and will continue to do so. You are a big part of that Abiola. God bless you. Thank you for this connection and opportunity.

11. Do you have any plans to make your book available to Africa and Nigeria?

Absolutely. One way to make the book available in Nigeria and Africa is by talking to other people, posting on social media sites and through this great interview. This interview will raise awareness of the book’s existence to people in Nigeria, and I thank you for that. To the Survivors can be found online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, kobo.com, smashwords.com, goodreads.com, and other online retailers. The e-book can also be found on my website for free at http://www.robertuttaro.com if people cannot afford the book. I want anyone to be able to get a copy of To the Survivors should they have an interest. People can contact me directly through my website if for some reason they cannot obtain a copy. Lastly, I would love to travel to Nigeria or anywhere else if anyone ever wants me to speak about these issues.

12. Share your thoughts on what you hope your book might achieve?

I have many hopes for what the book might achieve in the lives of others, probably too many to list here. I will try to answer as best as I can:

I hope people keep breathing and do not choose to kill him or herself.
I hope people will not feel shame for being raped or sexually assaulted.
I hope people will not blame themselves for being raped or sexually assaulted.
I hope people understand that they are not alone.
I hope people connect on some level with at least one person in To the Survivors.
I hope people understand that they can grow and heal from any pain they experience.
I hope people who have not been raped or sexually assaulted become more educated on how to respond to incidences of sexual violence and the suffering of survivors.
I hope people stop raping and assaulting.
I hope people understand that God loves them more than they can even fathom, even if they do not believe in God.
I hope people talk to God and listen to God.

These are some of my many hopes.

Will you be willing to answer questions on your book after this time, if you will please tell us how we may do that.
Yes. People can email me at info@robertuttaro.com if they want to ask me anything.
Thank you being on Ephesus.
Thank you for having me. It’s been a true blessing. God bless you, Abiola.
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Rose of Numen…official review

I am continuing today with Rose of Numen but actually want to share the official review of the book as rendered by the chairman Association of Nigerian Authors.

A REVIEW OF BIOLA OLATUNDE’S ROSE OF NUMEN
Rose of Numen is a 188 page fascinating novel published by IFNG Publishing Inc. Melbourne, Australia, 2015 by Biola Olatunde.

Rose of Numen is a sequel to Numen Yeye. It therefore continues Ife’s tale. Ife channels still the spirit of Numen Yeye, a princess from the kingdom of Light. Her mission, her purpose in life is now crystal clear and the extra-ordinary in her is still intact.
Rose of Numen begins in the prologue. The reader is afforded a glimpse into the past and into the metaphysical world of Rose of Numen, Ife herself. Princess Numen is prepared to embark once again on a journey to another world, the earth, which, however, is inextricably linked to hers. Her purpose, her mission is enunciated, and then the reader is jolted into the present.
Ife gets a scholarship from her old principal to study medicine at the University teaching hospital in a Nigerian city, Ibadan, and her life becomes “professionally fulfilling” afterwards, to borrow a phrase from the blurb, but that is not the end point. She must act out her predestined role on the planet earth.
Ife plunges headlong into her purpose, her mission, releasing the extra-ordinary locked up in her and effectively using the knowledge of her extra-terrestrial connection in the process. She begins with a gathering of a mini festival held at certain periods of the year for women of childbearing age by Yeye, the priestess. She focuses her lens on the culture and tradition of her people, wounding and healing at the same time. But she is not the only one in Rose of Numen whose fate has been predetermined. Babatunde her soul mate, has also been saddled with the responsibility of ruling and protecting his people, not as the chief medicine man nor as part of the inner circle of Ifa, but as a king. Not until towards the end, both the reader and Babatunde remain obvious of this truth. Just as Rose of Numen, Ife, immerses herself in her mission to humanity, stripping people of superstitious beliefs, pointing iconoclastic finger at the practice of human sacrifice, reuniting broken homes and restoring to them the cocoon of family love and care, opening the key to the riddle that dribbles many, with regards to whether reincarnation is a myth or fact, exhorting the woman to see themselves as carrying “a secret flame the man needs to grope his way through life, so also does Babatunde, the young lion preoccupies himself with the kinship issue.
Babatunde is a necessary part of the inner circle of Ifa priests. Based on this knowledge, Adewumi, one of the princes, and whose status is in doubt, approaches Babatunde, with the intent of bribing his way onto the throne, but he is disappointed. Following the latest in a spate of prince Adewumi’s futile efforts to bribe his way through; Ifa’s declaration of a missing prince and Babatunde’s firm refusal to be dissuaded, Babatunde is framed, accused of fraud and thereby suspended. A lawyer and close friend of Ife, Yomi, however shows up like a knight in shining armor and consequently, Babatunde is rescued.

Ifa, in the first attempt at selecting a king, declares that a prince is missing. The tale of the missing prince and potential king resounds around the village, even rending its air. Consequent upon this, prince Adejare, on the one hand, who had shown sign of promise decides and backs out of the kinship tussle. Prince Adewumi, on the other hand, seeks redress in a law court. The selection procedure is called to question. Babatunde, the young lion and an upholder of tradition however becomes victorious in the long run, but that is also not the end. The State Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs requests for a fresh nomination and instructs that a representative of the ministry shall be asked to witness the selection process in order to give fairness a chance. At this point, the reader sees tradition and sacred secrecy coming face to face, clashing with civilization and openness. While still puzzled by the mystery of the missing prince, Babatunde dramatically encounters an old man through which he gains a fascinating insight into the tale of the first king and his missing son, and the two women who, before they could do anything were warded off by the roar of a lion. The day comes. The ceremony begins for the selection of the king. The procedure is simple: each prince is to step forward, mention his lineage and the spirit of the king his forbear will be called forth. Adewumi is the first to be called forth. He is asked probing questions. Answers fail him. The mask falls and it becomes patently obvious that his claim is false. He turns out to be a product of his mother’s shameless and senseless escapade with a farmer.
However, to the utter dismay of everyone, Babatunde turns out to be the missing prince during his first earthly journey. He has reincarnated as Babatunde. He has the symbol of kingship, a pointer to the identity of the sought-after prince and king.

While dissociating herself from the crops of feminists, who believe that the woman has been long conditioned in the environment of masculine dominance, hence the need to liberate her from the shackles and pands of male dominance, Olatune in Rose of Numen gives the woman a new focus. The woman carries a secret flame that she must light in man. Among others, she revisits culture contact, bribery and corruption, predestination, the link between the spiritual and the physical world (a theme which the farmland of African writers have ploughed appreciably), and dwell more on incarnation and reincarnation. She presents us in this work of fiction, with two interconnected and interrelated world, and with the characters we go many a time on foray from this earthly plain into the world beyond. 
Numen Yeye is an intriguing and captivating novel that is laced in flowery language, garnished with local idioms. Biola Olatunde indeed rises to the challenges of originality and creativity.
Like a meandering gentle rivulet, the well-etched words flow smoothly as it takes on issues of global concern that borders on emotions: pains, loss, joy and love, with a force. Also, we hear the resonance of love as it permeates through the thickest of hearts to produce a relationship that cannot be forgotten in time.

Book Reviewer:
Sola Owonibi, PhD: Chair, Department of English Studies, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Nigeria. An award-winning poet and play-wright, he is the Chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Ondo State Branch.

I am really grateful for that review because for me , writing at the international level has been a learning process and I am sure I have not scratched the surface yet. I look forward to your comments and suggestions.
You can always get a copy of any of my books from ifwgpublishing.com as well as on amazon.com
Chat soon.

50 shades of Grey.. the confusion and Grammar

I had heard about the book in 2013 when my friends discussed it in one of our internet discussions. My friend Lisa was not impressed and could not understand the hysteria about it. That made me curious and I asked her how I could get a copy of the book.
When the first in the triology came, I read the first chapter and disgust, confusion rose in me. I kept it away from my children instinctively. Then we moved house and I started reading about the fact that it was going to be made into a film so I felt I needed to read it . I had a few reasons that impelled me to want to finish the book. If it came into a film I could not be sure how my children were going to come across it and I wanted to be ready. I went back to 50 Shades again, and it was like walking through a strange land.
I am Nigerian with a definite cultural background and thus was prepared to be tolerant of quite a lot of things about the Western culture. I always had to do double duty picking through aspects of the Western culture that best complimented my Nigerian youths.
The concept of pain as a sexual thing is very strange and frankly I had never read about BDSM, nor a submissive or a Dominant. I was bewildered like Anastasia for most of the time. I was horrified that they were humans who only had that way of sexual fulfillment. In my mother’s day, she could not even dare discuss the simple act of procreation with me and we had quaint names we gave the female monthly cycle and now I just dropped myself into something way beyond my concept. It was an education. I resolutely turned each page determined to read it to the very end and when Anastasia finally fled I wanted to box her ears for crying.
I have my reservations, I agree that everyone to his own poison as long as he recognized it was his own decision and he was very much aware of the consequences of his actions, his thoughts and what he puts out in creation for others to read.
I have always been very conscious of the written word, its effects that outlives the writer and I try to pass that on to my friends. What you write is like sowing seeds into minds you may never meet and you will have to answer for them.
That however was not my only problem, there was the style of writing which was very poor and then the grammar. It was quite interesting to learn that Grammarly also had their own take on 50 shades. Let me share with you. They called it 50 shades of grammar
Although it topped bestseller lists around the world, E. L. James’ erotic romance novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, was widely panned by critics for its poor use of language.
The Grammarly team reviewed the book for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and learned that — although there were some mistakes — the errors were in alignment with similar gaffes in celebrated romances.
Below, check out some of the most frequent grammar mistakes from Fifty Shades of Grey, as well as some quotes from classic romances that also make these mistakes. The language of love really is a language of its own!
You may want to check this link to know all about the 50shades of Grammar.
I hope to chat pretty soon.
<a href="http://Grammarly: Fifty Shades of Grammar“>

Priestess

Hunger is not a bed fellow you want to write love letters to or heavens forbid pray for, so he knew he had to do something. He had gone for the necessary bath and that is one thing he didn’t want to remember either. His skin still hung indifferently on his bones but his cheeks were beginning to fill out. He took a critical look at his rump and wondered when the eczema would fade off. He wondered if she had noticed the ugly patches when she had washed him and his face burned remembering with some shame that he had involuntarily been aroused.
For goodness sake she was the frigging priestess. He wanted to know if she felt anything or was disgusted by his skeletal frame. His mother had given him one keen look and said nothing. He was not going to tell her anything. But what would he tell her if she had asked? I had the bath and yes mother I was aroused by the frigging priestess and yes she acted like she didn’t know if I was human. He sighed and pulled on his shirt.
His new job was very tiring. He had to check on his junior staff who tended to take his instructions with a nonchalance that irritated him. He walked to the factory floor and met Modupe his secretary, who considered him with amusement.
“The machines are down this morning and the computer boys don’t seem to know what the problem is with the image transfer computer” she carried a flip chart close to her voluptuous breasts. He dragged his eyes away from those breasts, frowned as he concentrated on the problem.
“Where is Francis?” he asked looking around for the fellow.
Modupe shrugged and pointed in the general direction of the computer room and stated mildly that she was sure Francis would be somewhere in the inner room, moved close and thrust her flimsily covered breasts at him, she was chewing gum as usual.
Bode frowned at the breasts turned on his heel and headed back to his voice. He felt the sweat trickle down his anus and made for the toilet next to his office alarmed.
His picture of the priestess came again and he sighed in some despair, gradually wondering if she had placed a spell on him. He entered his office and opened a drawer taking a generous swig of brandy to calm his jumping nerves. Modupe stood by the door watching him.
“Now what”? He snarled at her
“You are in some temper this morning so what is the problem”? Modupe complained.
Bode imagined himself burying his head in those breasts and mumbling the truth and then swore violently asking his secretary to get the hell out of his office that instant.
His secretary fled.
He sat at his desk and held his head in his hands, rocking himself in some unnamed and unrecognized pain.
The office was silent and his thoughts were loud in his heart. He did not even dream, so when had the fascination with the body of the priestess taken over his thoughts he asked himself.
Last market day, he had visited his mother and watched the pleasure in her eyes when he gave her money and announced with pride that he would ensure she could expect that on a monthly basis.
He was happy until she gently asked him if he was going to be thinking of settling down now. He told her, he would do that when the time was right. The anxious look his mother wore came into her eyes and he knew in that instant ,the secret she had been hiding. Man, she thinks I can’t get it up. She thinks maybe that is why I have avoided girls and not mentioned a coming bride and shown interest in any of the village girls. He was horrified. He looked at his mother and their eyes met and Bode saw the fear, the anxiety and he was chagrined. They stared at the each other the knowledge like a naked bride stood silent between them untouched. Bode swallowed, muttered a goodbye and hurried away.
Two days later, the picture of the priestess when she washed him flashed into his mind, he had been aroused and had stayed that way ever since.
There was a knock on his door and he growled a permission for the person to enter. Seconds later he was gasping in shock, desperately trying to draw in breath to a constricted throat, because in resplendent white with white gloves stood the priestess.
She smiled and walked further into the office.

GROWLING JANUARY

GROWLING JANUARY
The year woke up bleary eyed and growled at a few of my friends. First hint I had of its bad temper was when I was informed a great friend of mine had bit the dirt. A heart attack had taken him to the great beyond. I blinked and desperately held on to my pain as I tried to accept that I was never going to see his green light blinking any time I came online. Skip Slocum was one that was not going to make suggestions, critique, and suggest to me on storylines anymore. I felt cold and stared accusingly at the computer daring it to tell me it had no hand in what had happened to Skip. When Lisa sent me email asking if I was aware that Skip had passed, my heart felt the blows again. It was the silliest reason to be angry and I glared at the computer.
It did not help that I had told myself I was going to be more at the darn computer this year. I had just taken on a job to teach a couple of young persons about the dangerously addictive job of being a scriptwriter. I had even shared that excitement with Skip and now the joke was on me. It was going to be lonelier, typing and sharing with just me I thought and mercifully remembered that there was Lisa the third leg of the triangle that made up what we fondly called the chord.
We were officially supposed to critique each other’s writings, share our dreams and sometimes we became impossible and teased each other endlessly. The very special moments we shared online became almost real to me. Skip and Lisa became real people to me. I had dreams of flying the pair and their spouses over to Africa to enjoy the sun and coconuts. For some reason, we seemed to think Skip would love coconuts, we promised to dress Skip and Bunny (that is what he called his wife) in proper African gear. I said I was going to feed them on my local cuisine and …bleh.. we were going to beat drums… the dream was a dream we knew it but we had fun. The agony now is knowing Skip was not going to be around , not even online. Erg.
I sighed and tried to see from swollen eyes if I could stick my tongue at the year and get on with my life, but then the news came that a colleague of mine in the broadcasting world had decided to pick up a celestial microphone. Apparently he had a more lucrative offer to do celestial programmes so he left. I scratched my head wondering what he thought he was thinking leaving me behind. Darn he was in his early fifties. I am exactly a decade older. Suddenly I watched each sunset with dread, wondering what the darkness had on its wings and felt a shamed relief each time the tiny fingers of the sun prodded my eyelids to a new day. My mouth formed a grateful thanks and I feverishly longed that by some miracle the day might just be made into thirty six hours. There was so much I still wanted to do.
Was I too late? Had the dream tarried? Would I make the miles of dreams I had drawn before I meet up with the old man with his scythe? I did not like the questions, couldn’t one just know what time was left? When should I retire? Was I being morbid? I squirmed at the realization that I loved being alive. Phew!. Did I just use the word love in the past tense? What if the gods are listening? They don’t like being taunted and wel, I breathed a sigh of relief, the gods don’t speak English anyway I said and turned the computer on. Darn, I was going to write I told myself firmly, then I decided to visit MWC, short for My Writers Circle, did some tentative posting and smiled, the day promised sunshine and I relaxed. Sango who was stretched out on the mat with his axe was kicked awake by the growl of the skies. He looked up and gave me a wink, I frowned and my phone indicated I had a text message. I lazily reached out for it and sat bolt upright.
Yeah, you guessed it, another friend had just departed. Much younger, my television producer with whom I had produced quite a lot of television enter-educate dramas. He was of the rare breed of producer/actor with loads of talent that seemed to hold him suspended between bliss and agony. He had opted out of earthly productions too.
We are still in January and suddenly I am wondering why January seemed to be growling so badly. The rains came early and sniffed at the sun too. The leaking roof is not helping my temper either. What do you think I should do?

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