Author Spotlight: Jola Naibi

 

Terra banner

I’m so happy to welcome author Jola Naibi to our fabulous community! Y’all we’ve officically gone international up in this piece. Jola grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and she’s here to tell us all about her her collection of short stories entitled Terra Cotta Beauty. Read on to learn more about this book full of intrigue and national division. 

What are your genres?

Mostly fiction but a little bit of non-fiction here and there.

What have you written?

I have been writing on my blog – http://www.jolanaibi.com since 2006 and recently published a book of short stories called Terra Cotta Beauty.

When did you begin your writing career?

1997

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How do you make time to write?

I consider myself a full-time writer, even though I write fiction as a hobby

What’s your writing process?

I write whenever I am free. I usually have a journal so I jot down ideas in that. I also love having music on when I am writing. I have very eclectic taste in music but there are certain artistes that inspire me when I am writing: Sting, Asa, Seal, Adele, Ryan Cabrera, Najee and Corneille. I am fortunate in that, writing comes naturally to me so I do not feel I have to be in a zone or go through any special processes to start writing.

Do you keep a journal? If so, for how long? Do you find it helpful for your professional writing?

Yes, I have always kept journal.  It is something that I have done for years.  I use the journal for a number of things as part of the writing process – to develop a story a plot line or to jot down idea to piece a story together. I find that the journal is most useful for me when I am contemplating a story or a character. I find starting out the writing process in a journal makes it more real for me. It is just something about seeing my own writing that makes me realize that this is actually my creation and it inspires me to build on it some more.

What’s your inspiration?

Life stories inspire me. I have always been curious about people and their backgrounds and the stories that shape them. I am largely inspired by stories from growing up in Lagos and the resilience of spirit of the people who surrounded me – their ability to make things happen in the face of the greatest adversity imaginable continues to inspire me and make me want to write about it

What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?

Muriel Rukeyser said “The universe is made up of stories and not atoms”. I would like to leave behind a legacy of having been one of the many storytellers who gave voice to the people who ordinarily would not be able to tell their own stories

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Never lose your sense of wonder.

What’s on your bookshelf or in your e-reader library?

Here are some of the books that I have on my Kindle:

  • The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
  • Dust – Yvonne AdhiamboOwuor
  • Ghana Must Go – Taiye Selassie
  • On Black Sister’s Street – Chika Unigwe
  • The ShoeMaker’s Wife – Adriana Trigiani
  • The Hired Man – AminattaForna
  • The Hairdresser of Harare – TendaiHucbu
  • The Fever Tree – Jennifer McVeigh
  • The Valley of Amazement – Amy Tan
  • Daughters Who Walk This Path – YejideKilanko
  • The Spider King’s Daughter – ChibundoOnuzo
  • The Blood-Stained Pavement – Agatha Christie
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • A Quiver Full of Arrows –Jeffrey Archer

What are you currently working on?

I am working on my next book, my first full length novel which will be a coming of age story that I plan to publish in 2016. Then, there is the promotion of my current book – Terra Cotta Beauty which as a first time published author, I am discovering takes as much creative energy as actually writing the book. But I am having oodles of fun so I can’t complain.

Terra coverLatest release and book blurb?

Terra Cotta Beauty is a collection of short stories which examines life in Lagos, Nigeria during the era of military rule. It reveals the struggles, loves, and hopes of a disparate group of people whose lives always manage to intersect – sometimes in the most devastating ways. With each brief conversation and split second decision containing consequences that reach further than anyone could ever imagine, each of the book’s seven tales is a delicate thread that helps form the social fabric of a nation divided. From a woman whose journalist husband is jailed for criticizing the government to a young man’s reluctant descent into crime, Terra Cotta Beauty acts as a carefully crafted ode to the essence of Lagos itself: its people.

Tell us about your main character? What actress or actor would you cast to play him or her in a movie about your book?

The main character of the title story is Mabel Erhabor. She is a matriarch with a large heart and an ability to bind people together. She has had to endure a number of challenges including enduring betrayal of her husband but in all she does not lose her calmness of spirit and her dignity. If the story was made into a movie, I would like Onyeka Onwenu who is a Nigerian singer/actress and recently appeared in the cinematic adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun to play Mabel Erhabor.

How can we purchase your work?

If you are in the United States and would like a signed copy of the book it available from my website: http://www.jolanaibi.com/p/books.html.

The book is also available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Terra-Cotta-Beauty-Jola-Naibi/dp/1491271671/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411959479&sr=8-1&keywords=jola+naibi

How can we stay in touch with you?

My blog/website is http://www.jolanaibi.com

You can join the Terra Cotta Beauty community on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TerraCottaBeauty

On Twitter: @jolanaibi

On Instagram: @jolanaibi

On Pinterest: pinterest.com/jolanaibi

Email: creative@jolanaibi.com or jolanaibi@gmail.com

Author Bio

jola_naibiJola Naibi was raised in Lagos, Nigeria and studied in the United Kingdom. She enjoys writing and blogging as a way to satisfy an extremely eager imagination.

 

 

Faith Simone says:  I love any author who’s as eclectic a reader as me, and I can’t help but to be inspired when I listen to Adele’s passionate lyrics as well. The answer for the writing legacy question was beautiful. Jola girl, you’re alright with me!

Check out the rest of Jola’s tour stops (hosted by Write Now Literary Tour) by clicking here!

Somebody Pass the Zzzquil!

insomnia

Last week I was an unproductive zombie. For the first time in my life I suffered from a persistent bout of insomnia. It sucked. I’m a gal who needs her z’s. Like, REALLY needs them. Without some good old mouth-hanging-open-calling-hogs sleep I become cranky and paranoid, not mention overly emotional.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there’s a name for what I was experiencing. It’s called an energy crisis. I stumbled across a quiz in the chapel at my job outlining all of the different areas people tend to overlook and/or neglect in an effort to save time. The irony is that in our attempts to save time, we often end up losing energy. I’m sharing the quiz in the hopes that it will help some of y’all if you’re also seeking to balance your energy and time more effectively.

Click here for a link to the online version of the quiz provided by Harvard. (Yes, Harvard darling). For my old school readers, I’ve provided a printable version below. Just put a check next to each statement that rings true for you and tally up your score when you’re done!

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time (Schwartz and McCarthy)

BODY

___I don’t regularly get at least seven to eight hours of sleep, and I often wake up feeling tired.

___ I frequently skip breakfast, or I settle for something that isn’t nutritious.

___ I don’t work out enough (meaning cardiovascular training at least three times a week and strength training at least once a week.)

___ I don’t take regular breaks during the day to truly renew and recharge, or I often eat lunch on the go, if I eat at all.

EMOTIONS

___I frequently find myself feeling irritable, impatient, or anxious, especially when I have a lot of things to do.

___ I don’t have enough time with my family and loved ones, and when I’m with them, I’m not always really with them.

___ I have too little time for activities that I most deeply enjoy.

___ I don’t stop frequently enough to express my appreciation to others or to savor my accomplishments and blessings.

MIND

___ I have difficulty focusing on one thing at a time, and I am easily distracted during the day,

___ I spend much of my day reacting to immediate crises and demands rather than focusing on activities with longer-term value.

___ I don’t take enough time for reflection, strategizing, and creative thinking.

___ I am busy in the evenings and on weekends.

SPIRIT

___ I don’t spend enough time doing what I do best and enjoy the most.

___ There are significant gaps between what I say is most important to me in my life and how I actually allocate my time and energy.

___ My decisions are more influenced by external demands than by a strong, clear sense of my own purpose.

___ I don’t invest enough time and energy in making a positive difference to others or to the world.

Number of checks in each category?

Body___               Mind____

Emotions___        Spirit____

Guide to category scores:

0: Excellent energy management skills

1: Strong energy management skills

2: Significant deficits

3: Poor energy management skills

4: A full-fledged energy crisis

How is Your Overall Energy?

Total number of statements checked:____

Guide to overall scores

0-3: Excellent energy management skills

4-6: Reasonable energy management skills

7-10: Significant energy management deficits

11-16: A full-fledged energy management crisis

Thankfully, I was able to catch up on my sleep over the weekend. Hopefully, the quiz will serve to help you pin point which areas of your life you can work on improving for optimal energy and time management. So what’s the next step? Click here to explore The Energy Management Project in greater detail.

Have you ever struggled with insomnia? How do you re-center yourself when you have a stressful week? Do you think there’s something to this energy management theory?

Photo credit: f1uffster (Jeanie) / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

I Know A Girl…

 

I know a girl who’s always saying

She doesn’t know what to do

She’s fifteen and her son is two

 

They live in the projects just south of 7th street

I sometimes see her walking home from school

She stands out from the other kids

There is no voracious curiosity beaming from her eyes

No barely contained desire to push the envelope and test boundaries radiating from her being

She has the closed off look of someone who has learned that curiosity did indeed kill the cat

She looks like she knows that some steps taken and lines crossed are impossible to retrace

 

I know a girl who’s always saying

She doesn’t know what to do

She’s fifteen and her son is two

 

One part of me wants to write her off as another statistic

To look past her to another teen with less drama and more potential

Another part of me, the part that longs to break down generational brick walls

Wants to sternly tell her

Number one: Take care of you and your son.

Number two: Get an education.

Number three: Strive for a career, not just a job.

Number Four: Choose what you’re naturally good at, then study it to make yourself better.

Number Five: Leave the boys alone for now. Wait until you’re older and know who you are. Then you’ll know who you want.

Number six: There will always be people who will judge you based upon your past. They’ll call themselves realists, but they’re cynics. Ignore them.

Number seven: Dreams are good. Call them goals and have a plan.

Number eight: Always remember that—are you listening to me?

Yes ma’am but…

But WHAT?

 

I know a girl who’s always saying

She doesn’t know what to do

She’s fifteen and her son is two

 

My frustration spills over

Why won’t she walk into the bullet pointed life I’ve outlined for her?

And now this woman/child is looking at me

With those eyes that have seen too much and not nearly enough

So I soften my voice and ask again

But what, sweetie?

A slight hesitation with bowed head and gaze glued to the floor

I’m still stuck on number one

I can barely take care of myself

Let alone my son

 

I know a girl who’s always saying

She doesn’t know what to do

She’s fifteen and her son is two

Author Spotlight: Karen Adams

Adams Tour

I had the pleasure of ‘interviewing’ debut author Karen Adams. She’s written a non-fiction autobiographical book entitled “Trying to Outrun the Love of God” that speaks on some heavy hitting topics such as drug addiction, mental health problems, and child abuse. Read on to learn more about this phenomenal overcomer and the book she wrote to help set others free.

When did you begin your writing career?

2 years ago.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How do you make time to write?

Part-time,  I just make time after work, weekends and vacations.

What’s your writing process?

I write probably 2 days per week.  Praise and worship music playing in background.

Do you keep a journal? If so, for how long? Do you find it helpful for your professional writing?

I have been keeping a journal since 1992. I can’t really say it helped my writing though.

What’s your inspiration?

The need for others to receive hope.

What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?

I hope my writing helps someone realize all is not lost regardless of what they have gone through.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Just do it. Get rid of all the negative thoughts and proceed.

What’s on your bookshelf or in your e-reader library? 

I have several Christian fiction books on my e-reader.

What are you currently working on? 

Nothing at this time, I am trying to decide if I will write another book.

book coverLatest release and book blurb? 

In her debut book, author Karen Adams struggles to understand how a loving God would allow life to be so unbearable. Facing childhood molestation, years of crack addiction, nervous breakdowns, and admissions to mental wards, she learned that no matter how difficult life was, God continued to extend His love. “Trying to Outrun the Love of God” is a deeply moving story of one woman’s journey filled with suffering and pain, but one that ultimately finds wholeness and deliverance in the arms of a loving Savior. A must read for all those who think they are alone.

Tell us about your main character? What actress or actor would you cast to play him or her in a movie about your book?

The main character is myself.  I have gone through a long healing process dating back to when I was 3 years old, due to childhood molestation.  My goal is to allow the readers to understand the pain of it all while also letting them know that by God’s grace I have been redeemed from the pain of it all.  I take them step by step on my transformation journey.

How can we purchase your work?

CSNBooks.net or you can reach me at joyfulkministries@yahoo.com

How can we stay in touch with you?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karen.adams.7399786?fref=ts

My email joyfulkministries@yahoo.com

Author Bio

head shotKaren Adams survived childhood molestation, 7 years of crack addiction, 4 nervous breakdowns,  and two admissions to mental wards of hospitals against her will. She is now an Evangelist who teaches and preaches on the transforming love of God. She has a burden for emotionally wounded and hurting people. She attended college at all of the Alameda County Jr. Colleges. In her free time she enjoys traveling, movies, reading and spending time with her cat Noches and her Cockatiel bird.

Whoa! Take a deep breath everyone. That was some heavy stuff! Do your personal experiences shape your writing? Do you find it therapeutic to help others that have gone through the same experiences as you have? Tell us about it in the comments below. 

Check out the rest of Karen’s tour stops (hosted by Write Now Literary Book Tours) by clicking here!

 

“The New Mrs. Collins” Blog Tour with Author Quanie Miller

The New Mrs. Collins - Blog Tour Banner

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised, nay, hooked by a book in a genre you never thought you’d enjoy?  I never read paranormal fiction…like NEVER, but this book made a fan outta me. I’m pretty sure I won’t be alone once you get a peak at author Quanie Miller’s latest release ‘The New Mrs. Collins’. Check out the deets below!

Title: The New Mrs. Collins
Author: Quanie Miller
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: October 13, 2014

Book Blurb

In the small town of Carolville, Louisiana, no one knows that Adira Collins inherited mystic powers from her great grandmother. All they know is that she’s beautiful, poised, graceful, and ruthless—especially when it comes to love. And no one knows that more than Leena Williams, who was all set to marry the man of her dreams until Adira swooped into town and stole the man’s heart.

Being left at the altar is bad enough, but Leena and her ex share custody of their son, so she has to see the new Mrs. Collins on a regular basis.

And it burns every time she does.

But soon, Leena starts to suspect that there is more to Adira Collins than meets the eye. And it’s not because she owns some kinky lingerie shop or allegedly insulted the pastor’s wife—it’s the strange way she can make a door close without touching it, or take one look at something and make it drop dead at her feet.

Leena starts digging for answers and soon discovers that, unlike her public persona, Adira’s true nature is somewhere on the other side of grace. She also learns, a little too late, that some secrets are better left buried.

collins_promo (1) (1)

Excerpt

Even though Johnny’s house was a good ten miles away, it did not occur to Leena to put on a pair of shoes, or to comb her hair, or wash her face. She walked along Elmer Drive until she got to Stoney Way. She ambled along, not paying attention to anything in particular, when she looked up and saw a woman in a white nightgown walking towards her. There was nothing really remarkable about her except for the fact that her face was on fire. Leena stopped and pointed at the woman. She was going to ask her if she knew her face was on fire when the woman smiled at her. To Leena’s horror, the woman’s face transformed into her face. The woman was her. She looked at her reflection in a store window and saw that it was true: her face was ablaze.

Leena looked down at her fingertips and noticed that they were on fire as well. She wondered — if she touched something, would it burn? She turned her attention to a mailbox on the corner and winced when it blurred, went back into focus, disappeared, and then returned. She walked towards it, stuck her burning finger out, and was shocked to discover that the mailbox wasn’t real. Her finger went right through it as if the mailbox were made of clouds. She was stumped. She looked at her hand again when it dawned on her what she had gone to the kitchen for that morning — to cut the tips from her fingers.

She turned around, headed back to her house and wondered who left her front door wide open. When she got to the kitchen, she laid her hand on the cutting board and took the biggest knife from the cutlery set. She would start with the pinky first. She laid the little finger there, raised the knife high in the air, and just as she was coming down to slice, heard the whisper once more, and this time, it was as clear as a blue diamond sitting in a shallow pool of water: Go to McCullens Bridge.

McCullens Bridge! Well, that made sense. Her face was on fire so it was logical that she should go to McCullens Bridge and stick her head in to put the fire out. Why hadn’t she thought of it before? She walked outside and noticed that the sun was hanging lower than usual, almost on top of her neighbor’s house. She wagged her finger as she walked past it, thinking that if it fell on her head, she’d be in a world of trouble. She looked at it one more time to make sure it would stay put, then she continued walking.

QUANIE MILLER - PHOTOAuthor Bio

Quanie Miller grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana. She fell in love with reading at an early age and spent most of her time at the Iberia Parish Library discovering authors like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike (she was often found walking back home from the library with a stack of books that went up to her chin). She holds degrees from Louisiana State University and San Jose State University. She has been the recipient of the James Phelan Literary Award, the Louis King Thore Scholarship, the BEA Student Scriptwriting Award, and the Vicki Hudson Emerging Writing Prize. She is the author of The New Mrs. Collins, a southern paranormal novel, and It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy, a romantic comedy. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and is currently, as always, working on another novel. To find out more about Quanie and her works in progress visit quanietalkswriting.com.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @quaniemiller
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QuanieMillerAuthor
Blog: http://quanietalkswriting.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/QuanieMiller
Website: quaniemiller.com
Email: quanie@quanietalkswriting.com

What’d I tell you? That cover! That excerpt! By this point you have to be delightfully intrigued. That’s a nice way of saying you’re dying to know what in the entire H. E. double hockey sticks is going on? Luckily for you (and me!) ‘The New Mrs. Collins’ is available for purchase at any of the following links: 

Did you enjoy the sneak peak? Are you planning to read ‘The New Mrs. Collins’? To see where else Quanie will be on her tour click here. To read about how a bad weave helped Quanie finish this novel click here. Yep, you read that correctly.

It’s My Blog-a-versary!!!

confetti-13

Woo-hoo! I can’t believe its been one year since I decided that my thoughts and opinions were worthy of needing a public outlet. The time has flown by. My only regret is that I didn’t start blogging sooner. I’m extremely grateful for all of my delightful followers (yes, I’m talking about YOU). I’ve ‘met’ so many wonderful people in the blogging community and I’m looking forward to meeting many more over the next year.

Being that this is a milestone, I took the time to really think about the direction I want this blog to take. I’ve enjoyed posting about writing tips and publishing, as well as books and authors. I’ve been overwhelmed at the positive feedback for my poetry and fiction. I’ll continue to post on those subjects, but if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that it’s gotten a lot more personal over the last couple of months. I’ve been experimenting with blogging in the style of its original intention, which is as a sort of public diary. Hence, my Confessions of Faith category was born. Over the next year, you can expect lots more of my personal shenanigans. I look forward to letting y’all all up in my business. Close family, friends and random co-workers, you’ve been warned!

I was blessed to officially become a published author this year! Please wait a second while I literally pat myself on the back…ok, I’m done. I’m so proud of my contributions to the BEST ANTHOLOGY EVER! I’m also looking forward to dropping my first solo project this December. Yeah, I kind of like to randomly speak in the rhetoric of an independent music producer. If you’ve read this post, then you totally understand. Anyway, my book, When the Real Thing Comes Along is my debut novel, and since a writer is only as good as their last published book, I’ve got to get started on novel number two asap.

All that means for you is that a) you’ve got an awesome book to look forward to reading and b) I plan to pretty much limit my posts this year to once per week. There’s only so much time in a day and a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

Thank you for devoting a few minutes of your time each week to reading my random thoughts and mostly unsolicited advice. I hope you’ve found some inspiration and encouragement here along the way.

XOXO,

Faith

BTW, what do you think of my new theme? What would you like to read more about here? Holla at your girl!

This is what I’m singing all day in celebration of one full year of blogging. Giving myself a round of applause!!!

Bravo-Ledisi

 

Photo credit: ADoseofShipBoy / Foter / CC BY

 

Book Review: “What Nora Knew” by Linda Yellin

What Nora KnewTitle: What Nora Knew

Author: Linda Yellin

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)/Women’s Fiction

Book Description:

Molly is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business. For the past four years Molly’s been on staff at Eye Spy, covering all the wacky assignments. She’s snuck vibrators through security scanners, speed-dated undercover, danced with Rockettes, and posed nude for a Soho art studio.

Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-year-old chiropractor. He’s comfortable, but safe. When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance “in the style of Nora Ephron,” she flunks out big time. Clearly she can’t recognize romance. And in her own life, she can’t recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man who getsher. Mainly because he’s a well-known player.

But, with help from Nora Ephron’s movies, Molly learns to open her heart, suppress her cynicism, and find her very own fairytale ending. Linda Yellin’s WHAT NORA KNEW will captivate readers with its charm and humor.

My Review:

I have to start off by sheepishly admitting that I had no idea who Nora Ephron was. Not. A. Single. Clue. Amazingly enough, I (the self-proclaimed google queen) didn’t google her prior to reading this book. *gasp* I figured that if the author did her job right, I wouldn’t NEED to google Nora Ephron to ‘get’ this book. I figured correctly. There were many, many references to Epron’s movies. Thankfully, I’ve seen ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ and ‘You’ve Got Mail’. I just had no idea who the genius behind them was. Yellin expertly captures Nora Ephron’s signature style of witty understated comedy while developing a quirky romance.

What Nora Knew reads exactly like a Nora Ephron movie. The story is predictable, but that’s part of its charm. Everyone knows that in romantic comedies the two love interests eventually end up together. It’s the way and the how they accomplish their union that keeps us watching. The same is true of What Nora Knew. Reading this book was like curling up on the couch to watch a classic romantic movie. It was comforting and funny and sentimental. I finished it with warm fuzzy feelings and a wistful smile.

You can get your copy of What Nora Knew via Amazon here

What’s your favorite romantic comedy movie? Why do you love it?

I was provided an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have freely given.