“Don’t be limited by painful experiences. There is treasure to be found in darkness.” Amaka Chika-Mbonu

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We had our first Insagram live chat with Amaka Chika Mbonu on Tuesday and if you missed it, we can tell you for free that you missed a lot. Aside from the fact that we thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with Amaka, those who joined the live chat had the opportunity to ask her loads of questions which she responded to in detail. 

For those who missed the chat, and even for those who caught it, we decided to do a recap and also highlight the salient lessons learnt from that interview. 

What the chat was about? 

If you remember we featured Amaka Chika-Mbonu on our #WriterSpotlight series last year, when she released her book, ‘How To Get Your Wife To Swing From The Chandelier In A Red Negligée’. Amaka recently celebrated the first year anniversary of her book and we wanted her to share her journey with us.

During the chat, she mentioned that it took her 18 months to write the book. Can you believe that?

Here are highlights from the lessons we learnt from our live interview with Amaka Chika-Mbonu;

On relationships.

  • Follow your heart and take your brain with you.
  • If he doesn’t have integrity, core values and skills that align with you, then it won’t work.
  • Take the bull by the horn, and don’t be hindered by the culture of silence that tries to shame a woman.
  • Look well before you leap.
  • When two entities (people) come together, there must be rules of engagement.

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On writing.

  • Go for your dreams, get yourself together and go for it.
  • Keep on doing what you’re doing and keep going not matter how challenging the journey may be. 
  • Use social media – Social media is a friend to someone with a low budget. Also find a team who can help you in marketing, so you can make money off your intellectual property.
  • Be passionate about what you do. Passion counts better than expertise.

On life in general.

  • You have to be convinced in your heart about things you do.
  • You should get to the stage where you can just go for it.
  • There is a purpose behind every pain and there is treasure to be found in darkness.

We hope you enjoyed this. Don’t miss the next chat and if you have not registered for our writing class, what are you waiting for? We have just a few slots left. So register as soon as possible! 

 

 

 

 

 

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#WriterSpotlight – “I hope and pray for a moment where individuals will see me and say Ifeoma, your book changed my life.” Ifeoma Ugboma

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Hey Sparkle Writers! Are your ready to be inspired by another writer? Our guest on today’s Writer Spotlight published her first book after being inspired by a story she wrote when she was eleven years old!  Enjoy our interview with Ifeoma Ugboma.

Hello Ifeoma, please introduce yourself

Hello, I am Ifeoma Irene Ugboma, a beautiful (smirks) young woman from Bende L.G.A of Abia state. I am a Christian but of course I am open to any other religion around the globe. Ifeoma is a young writer, a student studying Radiography and Environmental Science & Resource Management at University of Uyo and National Open University respectively, certified health and safety supervisor, oil and gas document controller and first aid administrator although I am not yet practicing in these fields. My aim is to gather up these skills so that I can be eligible for any job in the labour market whenever I am ready.

I am a voracious reader but a reserved and lazy writer (laughs); literally lazy because most times when I want to write, something will just surface and I will postpone it. You know that kind of stuff but nonetheless writing is one of my hobbies. I love tourism and to top it all, Ifeoma loves singing.

You are a writer, girl child advocate, educator and peace advocate. How do you combine all these roles effortlessly?

Yes I am and I think I am doing well by God’s grace. I always tell friends and family members that there is no greater force that can drive one towards the path of success and accomplishment except passion.

I am passionate about the wellbeing of the girl child, writing, and peace advocacy and it’s something I see myself doing effortlessly because I love it and when you love something, doing it wouldn’t be a problem at all. I try to adjust my academic schedules so that my extra curricular activities can fit in and I thank God who has been giving me the strength and the support I need.

What do you love most about writing?

Writing makes me a psychologist and a creator. It is quite awesome for someone to create. So writing gives me the platform to be a psychologist and a creator. And the part I love most is how the characters you create in abstract exist in reality. This is the part where you read reviews from readers telling you, “This is/was my life story ” and sometimes, your readers merge their lives with that of your character and they live your book.

I love that writing gives you the ability to change something or someone with the writer’s abstract ideas

You published a book, ‘Echoes of Mercy.’ What inspired this story?

Echoes of Mercy is a story I wrote when I was 11 years old, being a lover of books and someone who loves to scribble stuff from a young age. There was this woman I knew back then, she came to the children department of Christ Ascension Church and cried to our head teacher to let the children pray for her because her marriage was at the verge of being destroyed. Our Sunday school teacher took some of us, the prayer warriors then to her house to pray for her. Even though I couldn’t understand every detail of her story, I knew that the husband wanted to leave her because she was too ‘churchy’. Her story struck my imagination. I wrote down moments with her in my diary then I grew with it. Even though I didn’t know what later happened in her life, that particular incident and my desire to let people out there know that God can still do wonders if you stick to Him was what inspired me and I tried to imagine how it all began in the life of that woman, the kind of man she was married to and how to deal with the husband if I was God and that was Echoes of Mercy.

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How long did it take to finish writing, editing and publishing and what setbacks did you encounter while working on your book?

Eleven years old back then and now I am 22, so you can imagine. I decided to make that story into a book last year September. I wake up every morning to write down ideas and the best way to develop the story and when I was done, my publisher recommended an editor who did a great job and the book was out on December 30th 2017. So, it took me four months to develop the story and get it out there for people to read. Setbacks?  Of course I had setbacks, from writing and trying to meet up with the deadline I had set for myself. There were times I had blocks. I ran out of words, the right words to express the emotions I needed the readers to feel. Then editing, I had to pay for that and he charged professionally regardless of the fact that this Ifeoma is a student. Then time was another setback. I wanted Echoes of Mercy to be out before December but fate is always a double edged sword. I thank God who made it a success

What three lessons did you learn about publishing in Nigeria while working on this project?

Honestly, I am super impressed. My publisher and the entire Words Rhymes and Rhythm team were awesome.

First is professionalism. He didn’t do any hasty work. He gave his professional advice on the cover page, on the about page and the rest. This will make every of their published work top-notch and that is absolutely fantastic. 

Then transparency, they are transparent enough to make sure you get the value of whatever amount you are investing in your publishing work.

Lastly, they are united. They are in the quest to help young and aspiring writers to achieve their goals. That is to say they have been motivating people like us and that is fabulous

Echoes of Mercy is free on the OkadaBooks platform, why is it so?

It is free on Okada books because I wanted it to be in every heart. And with the testimonies lately, I think I have achieved that and I am hoping to get the message across to as many people as possible.

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Who is your all-time favourite writer in Africa and why?

I love Chimamanda Adichie. That woman is an icon. I love her writing and lifestyle. I mean it is absolutely beautiful for one to remain true to her roots no matter the heights attained.

Since you have other roles, how do you fit writing into your schedule?

It is not always easy, especially when one has to manage two courses and other activities but writing is what I find myself doing even during lectures. I plan my days. When I know I am going to have a busy day, I write in the morning but other days with less activities, I write anytime of the day

Where can readers get a copy of your book?

It is available on Amazon and OkadaBooks. We are still working on getting the paperback available in book stores nationwide.

What’s your ultimate goal as a writer

My goal is to be able to solve real life problems with written words. I hope and pray for a moment where individuals out there see me and say “Ifeoma, your book changed my life,” “Ifeoma, your book made me who I am today” and so many other heart warming compliments. That will make me fulfilled as a writer

 

 

 

#WritingQuote – “Write like it matters and it will.” Libba Bray

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”Write like it matters and it will ” – Libba Bray, Author of Going Bovine

Do you know that readers can sense pretense, lack of depth and laziness from your work? When you write like you don’t care or you do a lazy work, it shows and gives you a bad reputation.

Our question for you today is this, “How do you write?” This is a question that you need to reflect on. It is very important because the way you write matters a lot. If you write with the mentality that your writing does not possess the capacity to transform minds, then your writing would not go so far. Why? It would reflect. Something about that work would be off. 

You have to write like your writing matters. You have to write like you have an important message to pass across (which you really do by the way). Put some work into your research, get your facts right, don’t do a careless job because you never know where your work could get to.

You have to write like you know your writing is going to do amazing things to the minds of the people who would eventually read it. In summary, write like it matters and it will.

#WordOfTheDay – Olid may be an old word but it is still relevant

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Sour, foul, decomposing, offensive. What do they have in common? They are synonyms for our #WordOfTheDay. 

Can you guess what it is? Let’s give you another hint. It is an old word and is hardly used. 

Our Word of The Day is Olid

Ever heard the of word before? It is pronounced as [O-lid].

Olid is an adjective that means foul-smelling or evil-smelling.

Here are a few examples;

The damp rug gave off an olid smell.

The public toilet in my area is naturally olid.

#PickOfTheWeek – The lies we tell ourselves

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Hey Sparkle Writers! Our #PickOfTheWeek is back! We’re excited about the writers we are featuring today. We hope you learn a thing or two from this week’s pick.

Temi is speaking the absolute truth and everyone needs to read it.  There is no point living in regret. We have to move on. 

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 Those ‘I am not enough’ ‘ I would do it tomorrow’ kinda lies. Be conscious of them, they are slow and silent killers. Gbolahan is one of our steady writers, there’s something about the way he writers.  farmto table (3)Oh if everyone could see the next post. Tomiwa hit the nail on the head Whether as writers or in our individual lives it is important that we remember this all the time. No forming, no pretense just be you. farmto table Desolape is one real writer! There are honestly some memories not worth remembering, the question is how do we erase them? Anyone with answers? farmto table (1)

#GrammarSeries – There is no such thing as ‘comprises of’

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Hi there! It’s time to learn improve on your grammar!

So many people keep saying ‘comprises of’ and we need you to know this isn’t totally correct. We are going to show you how the word ‘comprise’ should be used in sentences.

Most times, we hear people use the phrase ‘comprises of.’ That phrase just doesn’t exist in English. The word ‘comprise’ in itself means ‘composed of’ or ‘consists of.’ Therefore, it is redundant to say ‘comprises of’ in constructing your sentences. Below is an example of what we are trying to illustrate.

Nigeria comprises of 36 states (wrong).

Nigeria comprises 36 states (correct).

Yeah, we understand that it is tempting to think that the first one is correct because it sounds correct. Do not fall for the trap next time. Always remember that ‘comprise’ in itself has one ‘of’ already and that there is no need for the second ‘of’ in structuring your sentences.

 

 

This is how to infuse humour into your articles

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Would you not love to read a book that makes you laugh almost all of the time and still dishes out wisdom? Who wouldn’t want that?

A book with a lot of humour in it makes an interesting read. We all love to laugh. It is important as a writer to understand that mixing humour with your writing would do you a lot of good. WHY? Simply because your readers would relate better with your work.

You do not necessarily have to be a comedian to write funny stuff. All you have to do is to creatively use your words  to tell stories. Here is how to go about it.

Paint pictures with your writing that relate to the reader’s sense of smell, taste, sight, sound, texture. For example, you could describe how a particular character of yours unintentionally unveils his infidelity to his wife during one of his sleep-talking bouts and the expression of shock on his face when his wife wakes him up at midnight with a queer smile on her face and a wooden pestle in her hand.

Ensure you have moving characters and not static characters. This speaks volumes and can spice up your sense of humour in writing. It is easier to make your readers laugh when your character is moving. Consider the scenario where a moving character in his or her angry bout begins to pour so much sugar into the food he or she prepares mindlessly thinking it was salt instead and the reaction of his or her guest at the end of the day.

Use similes to strike up funny images in your writings. Similes are figures of speech that have ‘as’ or ‘like’ in them. For example, in describing one character from the perspective of another character, you could say, “He is as scary as a mouse.” The ironic nature of this simile could elicit smiles in your readers as well.

We do hope these tips helped you!

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting facts about Blogger you never knew!

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Most bloggers are either hosting their blogs on WordPress or Blogger. How much do you know about these sites?  Today’s post is dedicated to interesting facts about blogger.com. It’s always good to know what you can or cannot do on these platforms. Do you agree? Here we go.

Do you know that blogger.com cannot create unlimited blogs using a single account.? You can only create a 100 different blogs. Crossing this limit would mean that Google will restrict your access and can delete your blogger account as well. We don’t think anyone would really want to create 100 blogs though. 

You can publish 50 posts per day. However, after crossing the 50 mark post per day you would have to enter captcha which is a verification process of Google used to check if it is a human being doing the post or a machine. Even Google doesn’t trust you to be that efficient! 

Google never deletes your post. You can create as many posts as you want.

Your blog can contain an unlimited amount of comments.

Using custom domains like .com, .org, gives room for flexibility. It also enables movement of your blog from Blogger to WordPress if Google deletes your blog without any reason.

Google can suspend your account if there is any violation of the terms and conditions of their services. If Google suspends your blog, the chances of recovering the blog are almost non-existent. Be warned! 

Culled from www.geteverything.org

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#WriterSpotlight – When it comes to writing, Eketi Ette is on a roll!

Hey Sparkle Writers, you are not ready for the amazingness our interview with Eketi Edima Etti contains! Our first #WriterSpotlight for the year is loaded with wisdom and wit. If you have multiple passions you certainly would learn a thing or two from Eketi. 

Enjoy her interview with us.

Hello, Eketi. Kindly tell us about yourself.  Where do I begin?

I am your average girl next door. The first child of the family, Christian, vivacious, lover of life and people. I am a multi-passionate person. I have several passions and I’ve tried my hands at acquiring the skills to go with them. So, I’m a lawyer, author, editor, content creator, farmer, entrepreneur, MC, actor and social media manager. It’s a lot, I know.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was four years old. Blame my mother. She started me on the path by making me write letters to her and my father at least once a week. However, I didn’t take my writing seriously until 2011. That’s when I decided what I did was worth giving more time and attention to.

How has it paid off for you?

It has, in ways I never imagined when I started out. The most important part of it all has been the journey of self-discovery it’s taken me on.

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You are well known for your funny and highly engaging stories on Twitter, what’s your source of inspiration?

Life and people. The one recurrent comment I hear when people read my stories is that they can relate to them. Our world is filled with very interesting people and their lives are interwoven tapestries of compelling stories.

What genre of writing do you focus on and why?

Fiction is my major genre. My head is an interesting place and my imagination constantly demands that I give it a chance to express itself in words.

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Your book ‘Chinda Ella’s is making waves online. Tell us about it.

It’s a humorous Nigerian parody of the popular fairytale, Cinderella.

What inspired you to write the book?

I love fairytales and folklore. So, one day, I was watching the latest Cinderella movie. When I got to the scene where she fled the palace leaving her shoe behind, I was struck by something I’d never noticed before.

According to her Fairy Godmother, everything was supposed to change back to what they were before, at midnight. But the shoes didn’t change. Why?

I was like, “Lai lai! Dis tin na scam!” And then it hit me—why don’t you write a Nigerian parody of this story, using this scene as the cornerstone? Make it as outrageous as possible.

And so, Chinda Ella was born.

 

Last year, you were named one of 100 most influential Nigerian writers under 40, how did you get to that point?

Honest answer? I don’t know. I didn’t set out to be influential and I wasn’t expecting the nomination either. I guess, when you’ve been at something for long enough, people notice. It does feel good though, being noticed.

What do you love most about being a writer?

The fact that I utterly enjoy doing it. Every time I write, I do so for the love of words and the ease with which they come to me.

What’s your advice to an upcoming writer?

First, write. You get better at your craft when you keep practicing. It is in doing this that you find your unique writing voice and style. Secondly, don’t write for praise, especially the kind on social media. Write first for you, with your audience being the secondary consideration.

Lastly, don’t you dare compare yourself to another writer. Do you.

 

 

Books, Fun and Food At The Book Banters With Nkiru Olumide-Ojo

We were excited when we received an invitation from Roving Heights to attend The Book Banters with Nkiru Olumide-ojo. What’s better than hanging out with other book lovers at a bookshop? Maybe reading the books perhaps.

The event took place yesterday on Sunday 28th of January at Patabah Bookshop in Surulere. For those who attended, you’ll agree with us that the book reading was one of a kind. The event was not only highly educative and enlightening, it was also filled with fun conversations and loads of refreshments. You know what they say, when books, fun and food come together, they make history!

For those who didn’t attend, really where were you? To be honest, you did miss a lot. The author of the book, Nkiru Olumide-Ojo read portions of the book as shared the inspiration behind the book. She also gave some useful tips to the women present, admonishing them to be strong and be courageous enough to go for what they want.

On mentoring, she said, “Look at the person’s journey and what you can glean from it.”

When asked why she chose the title, ‘The Pressure Cooker’ for her book, Mrs Olumide-Ojo’s answer was simple – she felt she was under so much pressure, like she was boiling in a cooker, and it inspired her to write the book, to encourage other women out there who are also under pressure, and to teach women how to juggle it all together.

The host of the event, Olive Emodi really did a great job in steering the conversation to the right direction causing the author to share deep insights from her book.

The beautiful event ended with photographs and a book signing. Well done to the Roving Heights team. You rock!

 

If you would like us to attend your book reading or book club event, please send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com.