Who would you invite to dinner?

Have you ever been asked such a question?

We started a course on 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey today and this was a question that I had to answer.

Imagine you could invite to dinner four or five people who have influenced you the most-past and present- and all are sitting at the table with you. Whom would you invite and what attributes or qualities do you admire in them.

From the top of my head I immediately envisioned having the following people.

  • My Mom: She raised two daughters on her own, raised four more daughters, a son and she doesn’t believe in running out options. There’s always a way and there’s nothing like not enough love to go around.
  • Chinua Achebe: He’s the first Writer from West Africa whose writing challenged me to write authentic characters because his characters did not shy away from speaking Pidgin. I do wish I met him in this life. I’d definitely have him sit on my dinner table and treat him to some ugali, osuga and fish!
  • Mrs. Benta Owino: She was the teacher who taught me how to read. I was in class three. Every morning, she would hand me a newspaper and tell me to read her an article and I looked forward to sitting beside daily and doing this. She passed away when I was in class Seven. I admire her resolve that “a good vocabulary will stop you from shouting in the village market.”
  • Michelle Obama: She doesn’t shy away from talking about the things that weigh women and young girls down and she’s for girls getting an education and pushing limits, exceeding limits and inspiring others.

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  • Prof.Wangari Maathai : I admire her strength, conviction in the importance of taking care of our environment and her unwavering determination in doing something about it. She passed away but I am glad I met her once when I was still on campus and she did not mince her words when it came to protecting our forests and vegetation. I was impressed by her extensive knowledge on the marine life too.

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If you were asked the same question, whom would you invite to dinner and what qualities do they possess that’d you would love to explore?

 

 

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2018 Writing Update

It’s the thirteenth day of this year and I am in awe of all that’s happened to me these past days. I am also taking a keen look at how our interactions on social media would be and watching out for the words and hashtags that would spring up.

I haven’t done any intensive writing so far and I know it is not a great trend for me given the fact that two of my manuscripts are being reviewed by my mentor.

I have been focusing on my leadership transformation at YALI and today I got a chance to make a trip into town to get some books to read and a few bookmarks too.

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I got these from an Inama Bookshop and can’t wait to read them!
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I only remained with 1 of the 7 bookmarks 😦
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A friend bought me this collection 🙂

I have always been a planner and with my attention focused on one thing this month, I am slowly learning how to work around a schedule, often taking notes using an app, scribbling a few pointers while in sessions or simply tweeting thoughts that would come to inspire my writing at some point.

It feels good to share this update and I cannot wait to hear the feedback from my mentor because that would help me in knowing which steps to take and how to go about them before publishing another ebook.

How’s your writing coming along? What about your reading? Which books are you looking forward to reading this year?

 

Reader Problems…We all have them

I came across this tag from Jade’s blog  Book Muffin and I had to give it a shot. The original creator of the tag posted this on YouTube.

How do you decide what book to read next?

It depends on what’s on my TBR list, but honestly:

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If you’re not enjoying a book, do you DNF it, or do continue to the very end?

I continue to the very end. I have written a few books and I know the process of writing, so, if I am not enjoying the book sometimes I set it aside and return to it when I can, but I always finish books because someone went through a lot to get it done. I’ll admit that some BDSM novels always seem too much for me to handle and with such, I steer clear.

You’re behind on your Goodreads Reading Challenge, and the end of the year is near! Do you accept your fate or try your best to catch up?

I’ve never fallen behind on my Goodreads Challenge. I’ve however gone beyond the limit by 20 or 30 books. 🙂 No kidding- see for yourself here

2017 Reading Challenge2016 Reading Challenge2015 Reading Challenge2014 Reading Challenge2013 Reading Challenge2012 Reading Challenge

The covers of a series on your bookshelf don’t match, what do you do?

It’s okay, this does not bother me.

It’s their sizes that get to me and sometimes I want to slap the book publishers to get them to stick to one book size so they can align perfectly on a bookshelf!

Who do you turn to when you need to complain about a bad book that everyone else seems to like?

Peaches. He’s not an avid reader but when I rant, he seems know where I’m coming from always finishing by saying “so that means that I should not talk about that book or suggest it to anyone as a gift, okay.”

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You’re in public and you’re about to start crying over a book, what do you do?

I cry.

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I have cried in matatus and buses and with public transport I’m always seated at the back by the window looking out and crying my heart out.

The next book in a series has just been released, but you can’t remember a thing about the last book! Do you re-read the first book, look up the synopsis or just pretend you remember and read the sequel?

I re-read the first book, of course!

No one is allowed to borrow your books! How do you let them down gently?

No one is allowed to borrow my books or torture them with soup stains, coffee stains, tear stains and unacceptable bookmarks!

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How do you get over a reading slump?

I read a romance novel!

Here’s the thing about the romance genre: you’ll always find a free book to read on Kindle! Wherever you are, if you have an eReader and internet connection, you can download a romance novel, read it in one sitting and you’re out of that slump!

All of your highly anticipated books are being released at the same time! Do you buy them all, or prioritize some over others?

I’ve read so many ebooks this year. If you’d have asked me this last year, I’d have said ‘buy them all.’ However this year, I downloaded samples on Kindle and chose the books I’d read based on the first sample chapter I’d read.

Once you’ve bought those highly anticipated books, do you pick them up straight away, or surrender them to your shelves for a year?

I pick them up straight away.

So, there you have it! I’d love to know your answers to the Reader problems, so share widely.

 

The Cake Book Tag

I’m loving these book tags! It’s been a crazy two months writing Ushanga and after posting the final chapter, I thought why not indulge in something light and delicious like a Cake Book Tag to get my mind off things? So, here we go:

Chocolate cake (A dark book you absolutely love)

A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin because Yeine is just a normal girl. She knows she is a mortal and then she’s taken from the North and finds herself in the land of the gods with cousins whom she has to battle in order to inherit a throne she never knew she had a right to.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy Book 1) by [Jemisin, N.K.]

Red Velvet (A book that gave you mixed emotions)

Atlas Shrugged by [Rand, Ayn]

Cheese Cake (A book you’d recommend to anyone)

Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe because it’s one of my favorite reads!

Arrow of God (The African Trilogy #3)

Coffee Cake (A book you started but never finished)

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. I need an intervention people, I started reading this book in early 2016 and I am nowhere near the halfway mark!

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by [Tressell, Robert]

Carrot Cake (A book with great writing)

Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie. My sister got me this book for my birthday and it was such a delightful read that I couldn’t tear myself away from it.

Americanah by [Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi]

Tiramisu (A book that left you wanting more)

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, do I have to explain why?

The Shadow Of The Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Series Book 1) by [Zafon, Carlos Ruiz]

There you have it! Feel free to take up the challenge and share your views on the books you’ve read.

Have a lovely week!

T.M.I

On NanoWrimo: 6,870 words so far.

Reading: A couple of books I’d gotten off NetGalley

Listening to: Raised Under Grey Skies by JP Cooper

Fitness Challenge: I still can’t do a 60 second plank without collapsing on the floor.

What six years of publishing on Smashwords mean to me.

Yes! Six years…

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It’s been six years since I started publishing on Smashwords. I am taking part in NanoWrimo this year and could not stop but look back at my writing and self-publishing journey over the years.

Here’s a break down of the titles published in each year and the number of copies that have been downloaded:

Year Titles published Downloads
2011 Dear Yellow

Dear May

1045

752

2012 Say You Love Me

If time is all I have

Ethan & Richard

The Absolutely Boring Life of Mya

Made for You

Last Heart Standing

From the Heart

The book of Abel

Dear Brian

I love you this much

Never forget me Leila

December

2652

185

648

2105

3435

1137

693

590

601

13511

710

1170

2013 Pieces

I wanted to tell you

Only time will tell

The Single Diaries

Anna

Memories

1009

619

594

995

899

542

2014 Choose me

21 Days

What happened to us?

The perfect love story

Confessions of time spent with humans

1348

779

1732

1112

490

2015 Silence & Shadows

Mist

325

604

2016 Roses and Lies

The place you call home

284

87

If you are into numbers, my basic math tells me that it’s 40,653 downloads in a span of six years and if you’d have told me that it’s the number I’d be seeing years later, I would have not believed you. 2012 was a good year for it seems I wrote and published the most!  After 2013, my ebook titles took an abstract turn and I ventured forth into other genres, taking a break from romance.

Since then I have ventured forth to Createspace, Pronoun and Amazon Kindle. 

However, forget the numbers or the numerous platforms that have since then come to the reach of authors across the globe. This is a personal milestone for me. I am nowhere near where I envision myself and I struggle with getting there.

I struggle with Grammar, punctuation and hanging clauses…and in the blogging world, I struggle with getting the right headline and traffic. I post and let it be. It is something I started doing way back in 2011 and still haven’t grasped the subtle art of marketing.

Whenever someone tells me they love reading my blog or that they enjoyed reading a book I wrote, I simply nod and smile. I leave it at that. Honestly, it’s uncomfortable being praised and one percent (1%) of me feels great when I receive a compliment but the other ninety-nine percent (99%) wants to run and hide.

Have you been publishing on Smashwords?

Do you have an online platform that you can say was your first step into self-publishing?

I mean like seriously, I went from designing my ebook covers using picmonkey to canva and adobe creative suite!

One of the greatest challenge for me has been the distribution of my books especially those that I set out to be in both print and soft copy. Most of the readers, friends, or enthusiasts here in Kenya insist on getting the print copy. Since publishing in 2015 on Amazon, 5 people have bought the paperback copies via the amazon site. The rest are hesitant to go online and get the books shipped. I do ship copies but they are booked and paid for even before they arrive, mostly by strangers. Yes, it is true, family and friends are great support, but when a stranger invests in your work and loves it, you get even more people investing in your work.

I have a long way to go and maybe come the end of this month, my next book shall be available in both print and ebook versions.

Here are six things I’ve learned about self-publishing:

  1. You’ve got to write before you publish. This is the most important thing that has kept me going. Writers write there’s no shortcut.
  2. Self-publishing is not an automatic key to millions. It may take a while o be noticed especially on smashwords because a lot of people write and publish every second.
  3. Do not give up. Cliche right? Well, it’s as old and sound as gold, you keep pressing on.
  4. There are so many options when it comes to platforms for self-publishing and you’ve got to figure out which one to take. Do your research. Read through the comments, reviews and FAQs before you pick on one.
  5. If you are on facebook, twitter, instagram, or google plus be sure to share links to your work. There is a lot of information on the internet, so save your audience the time, and make it easier for them to get access to your work. Sharing is caring.
  6. Free is not always the best option.

Today marks six years and I have no clue as to what tomorrow holds for me, all I know is that I am glad that I went beyond the class compositions and project papers and actually created worlds using words.

Happy anniversary to me and a big thank you to Smashwords and Mark Coker for taking the initiative to create such a platform. You helped a Writer out and you continue to do so!

Reading The Name of the Wind

Have you ever read a 722 page novel in one sitting? Allow me to gush over a book I just finished reading called The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Ever heard of him or read his books? This was my first of many and here’s why:

My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to gods, loved women, and written songs that make minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

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Most of the times when we hear accounts of heroic acts, it’s always passed down from witnesses or people who overheard the stories and so forth. A man happens upon an inn. He arrives at night and almost loses his life in an attempt to get shelter. It turns out that he is a scribe or what people would call a Chronicler. He is the guy who brings legends to life by telling their stories. He takes one look at the innkeeper and knows it’s Kvothe or Quothe, the red-sandy hair, and the eyes give him away and he wants to tell Kvothe’s story. So, Kvothe reminisces his early life, his adventures and all the Chronicler does is note everything down. This is fantasy like I never expected and before I go, I’ll leave you with a few snippets of it.

It is a word. Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.

Kvothe recalls his time at the University and there’s this statement he made about the administration that had me thinking what would happen if that were to be incorporated in Kenya?

Your next term’s tuition was based on your performance.

After his parents and their troupe were slain, he wandered the streets for years and when the Chronicler asks him how he dealt with the loss, he spoke of Four doors of the mind; sleep, forgetting, madness and death.

One thing did ring true of Kvothe, he was restless and his impatience and smart mouth got him into more trouble than he ever asked for. I know temper and fury. I’ve been caller a Simmer more often than I could drink coffee and if there’s a statement that lit up the Simmer in me, then it is:

Besides, anger can keep you warm at night, and wounded pride can spur a man to wondrous things.

I’m moving on to another book today. What are you reading this week and are there any epic fantasies you’d recommend?

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Rapid Fire Book Tag

Hello, it’s Friday the Thirteenth and it is a wet morning here in Kisumu. I’m on my third cup of instant black coffee and I fear I’ve run out of Nescafe. I came across this book tag on Abigail’s Books blog and it was created by Kate at Girl Reading. It’s the second book tag that fascinates me and so I thought, eh, why not? Let’s do this:

E-book or physical book?

Physical books any time or day, but I do prefer e-books when I am traveling.

Paperback or hardback?

Paperback🙂.

Online or in-store book shopping?

I ❤ online book shopping because of the many recommendations that pop up which always introduces me to a new writer. I am also known to wander off in book stores.

Trilogies or series?

Can we stick to two books? I’ve written a series so here’s the pot calling the kettle black!

Heroes or villains?

Villains (psst! Don’t tell Peaches, he reckons I’m a good girl).

A book I want everyone to read.

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Recommend an underrated book

In the Kitchen by Monica Ali🙂

The last book I finished.

The Platinum Dragon by Vance Pumphrey

The Last book I bought.

The Kitchen God’s Wife  by Amy Tan

Weirdest thing I’ve used as a bookmark

Lollipop wrapper.

Used books- yes or no?

Yes, well, as long as all the pages are there.

Top three favorite genres

Literary fiction

Women’s fiction

Romance

Borrow or buy?

Buy.

Characters or plot?

Characters.

Long or short books?

Both? 🙂

Long or short chapters?

Surprise me!

The first three books I can think of

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K.Rowling

Books that made you laugh or cry?

Rain Falls on Everyone by Clar Ni Chonghaile

Land Without Thunder by Grace Ogot

Arrows of Rain by Okey Ndibe

The Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Issegawa

Our world or fictional worlds?

Fictional!

Audiobooks- yes or no?

No, thanks.

Ever judge a book by it’s cover?

Yes…like seriously who hasn’t?

Book to movie or book to TV adaptations?

No, what’s in print should stay there…but Marvel has me thinking differently.

A movie or TV show I preferred to its book

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Let’s just say that I never finished reading the book 😦

Series or standalones?

Standalones.