Saturday, 17 October 2015

Here at last

The book is finally available online, here.

As you may know by now, my younger sister (let me call her Sister 3) is my publisher. I’m at Sister 2’s place this weekend, so Sister 3 sent me a proof copy of the book to look at (via Sister 2's address) and give my approval. I spent yesterday reviewing it and was happy with it, so she has made it available on the internet.

I realize that this might be a barrier for those of us based in African countries, so I also plan to print copies in Kenya. I understand that the use of Kindle is pretty popular in Nigeria, so we'll experiment with that as well, in addition to trying to make a few hard copies available. 

It has been quite a journey. Many of you will remember that I really expected this book to be out by around January 2013. January 2013 turned to September 2013, then to December 2013, then to the first quarter of 2014 … You get the picture.

When a lightbulb finally went off for me and I asked Sister 3 if her company (Story She Wrote Media) would be interested in publishing the book for me, we were already in 2015.   

The process of working with my sister to get this book out has been really interesting. We have quarreled, laughed half to death, ‘kept malice’ temporarily, made up, bickered, and made up again. It’s been absolutely hilarious! You think you know your sister, and you do – but if you’ve never actually worked with your sister professionally, then there’s a side of your sister that you do not know at all. I’m sure I’m describing not just my experience here, but hers as well. I don’t think Sister 3 was prepared for the fact that I’m so detail-oriented when it comes to certain things. I can understand her unpreparedness because, when it comes to most things in life, I’m one of the most laid-back people you’ll ever meet. I’m not big on formalities or even too much structure. But with certain things (with my work, specifically), I can be pretty anal. That’s one area in which the Melancholic, perfectionist side of my Phlegmatic-Melancholic self emerges – and it’s not pretty.

I obsessed over the font style and size, over the chapter embellishments (which Sister 3 said no one would notice, anyway – and she’s probably right), over the formatting, over the BOOK COVER. I remember reading a blog post (?) by Abidemi Sanusi in which she mentioned that no author is ever really satisfied with their final book cover (or something like that). I now fully understand what she meant. I had the ‘perfect’ book cover in mind, and despite detailed descriptions and several iterations, I never quite felt like the book cover designer really ‘got’ it. I stopped obsessing when Sister 3 mentioned that I could either have a book cover that makes potential book-buyers think it’s a ‘Mountain of Fire’ prayer book (not quite what I was going for, though prayer is important!), or I could have a book cover that a wider variety of potential book-buyers will actually look at a second time, pick up, and hopefully buy. My initial thought was that the final version of the book cover didn’t look ‘serious’ enough, and was therefore sort of misleading and didn’t really represent the ‘essence’ of what the book is about (bla-bla-bla). Sister 3 couldn’t disagree more. (Now you see why she published one book a year ago, and has another one pretty much done, while it’s taken me years to churn one out). Over time, I made my peace with it. I was mentally exhausted and just wanted to get things over with at first. Eventually, the cover sort of grew on me and I was able to accept it without judgement. Let me know what you think – seriously.

As I keep saying, sometimes things don’t go as planned. But, so what? I’m learning (not just through this book journey, but through so many other events that have occurred in my life) not to get caught up in the perfect ‘plan.’ The bottom line is that there is always a usually unseen ‘Plan’ that remains consistent, just as the Planner intended. So, when the perfect ‘plan’ doesn’t quite pan out, I’m getting much better at not being discouraged. But rather, doing all that I can do with what I’ve got.

This train of thought has led me to go back and read several different versions of Ecclesiastes 11:1-6. I’ll only share The Living Bible version with you, though. Here it is:

Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later. Divide your gifts among many, for in the days ahead you yourself may need much help. When the clouds are heavy, the rains come down; when a tree falls, whether south or north, the die is cast, for there it lies. If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. God’s ways are as mysterious as the pathway of the wind and as the manner in which a human spirit is infused into the little body of a baby while it is yet in its mother’s womb. Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow – perhaps it all will.


As for the contents of the book, I’ve mentioned before that the book is simply made up of most of the blogposts from 2012 and a few from 2013, most of which are no longer available on the blog. Quite a number of the posts/essays have been enhanced a bit, based on advice from the structural editor.

Thank you to all the rmj blog readers for reading all this while, and for putting up with my lengthy periods of silence. Do spread the word however you can. You probably know of a few women who would find Strange Women useful – a few men, too! Please point them to it.

Thank you, C. C. Adetula of Story She Wrote Media. I’m proud of you and blessed to have been able to work with you.



Sunday, 9 August 2015

Across continents

This took much longer than anticipated – apologies. Technical difficulties. In the process of editing the original video and dividing it up into several parts, we lost Part IV – the final session. Not to be deterred, we did it all over again – this time, across continents and via Skype. It’s not flawless, but we have our Part IV! [Watch here.]

Trying to figure out how to record a Skype video call was too much wahala for both of us, so we had my son figure it out and then do the editing. The image is blurry on my sister’s end for the first few minutes, but it eventually clears up.

In this final part of the YouTube series, I ask my sister a few more questions. AND, I end with a surprise for Nairobi-based viewers: If you live in Nairobi and would like to receive a free copy of C.C. Adetula’s book, The Perfect Girl, The Prostitute, and Other Stories, send me an email at I only have two copies left, so the first two people to email me will get them as soon as possible.

Have a good evening!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Almost done

I promise not to turn the blog into a video blog! The YouTube series based on The Perfect Girl and Strange Women is almost over. We have one more clip to go. I hope you can take the time to watch Part Three in the meantime.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Questions I asked my sister

So, here are a few questions that I had for C.C. Adetula, the author of The Perfect Girl, The Prostitute, and Other Stories. It's Part II of a 3 or 4 part YouTube series. I hope I asked good questions!

As I mentioned in the previous post, there were several funny interruptions which I can now see that my sister managed to edit out. A huge bee flew into the room and we started screaming and running all over the place. Then, my brother-in-law (who was having a catnap right outside the room) suddenly woke up and wandered in. We finished the rest of the interview with him continuing his nap in the same room. I hope it's not too obvious. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Questions my sister asked me

My sister published a really interesting collection of short stories not too long ago, and has done a number of YouTube videos that involve her responding to questions that readers had for her about her book.

Her videos inspired me to ask her a question one day while we were talking about Strange Women: 'Hey, wouldn't it be interesting if you interviewed me?'

'Let's interview each other,' she said, without missing a beat.

I thought this was an even better idea. We agreed that we'd independently come up with 10 questions for each other and then do a YouTube interview. I came up with mine over several hours on a weekend, in between cooking and packing for a trip. She came up with hers in literally two minutes. It's amazing how God created us all so differently. (She writes fiction, by the way, and I've never really had the guts to try that genre).

We started out interviewing each other, and then realized the recorder wasn't even on (lol)! So, we started again. There were some interruptions, and then we realized we had no idea how to edit the recording. When we were done, we couldn't figure out how to get it to upload properly. It took about 3 days to finish doing so! Somehow, she managed to make something out of it.

I wondered if the questions we had for each other were along the lines of what others might want to ask - or if we'd totally missed the mark. You be the judge. There will eventually be a Google hang-out (or perhaps even more YouTube videos) which will involve responding to questions from actual readers.

In the meantime, here's Part I of the 'sister interview.'

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Twists and turns

Somehow or another, this book will appear this year. We're getting closer, and this video is proof (sort of). Hope you enjoy it. If you do, let me know (so I can let my sister know - she did all the work!).

To give a teeny bit of background, my little sister's company is publishing the book. We haven't collaborated on a project in forever, so this is a fun learning experience for both of us. This video is sort of like Step One along this path. Join us on this journey!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Movin’ on

I said this to myself (in a blog post) almost exactly a year ago. Today, I had to go back and read that blog post to find out if these words of wisdom are still applicable. I find that they are, even though I’m now applying them to a very different situation.

It’s been so long that I had to rummage through the blog to verify the dates, but as far back as February 8, 2014, I talked about how Strange Women (a book based on the rmj blog) was going to be released that same year. This came so close to happening (or, so I thought) that I could taste it. But as time went by and 2014 turned into 2015, I realized that, for a variety of complex reasons, it simply wasn’t going to happen – or, at least not in the way that I had originally envisioned it.

Despite the two different situations to which I’ve had to apply this nugget of wisdom (‘Sometimes things don’t go as planned …’), as I write this, it has occurred to me that the initial feelings are often the same when your plans don’t work out exactly how you thought they should/would. Whether it’s about the end of a marriage or of some other closely-held dream, the initial incomprehension, shock, and befuddlement are quite similar in character, if not in degree.

But, here’s what I’ve learned:

That’s life.

Deal with it.

Get over it.

Move on.

Despite the twists and turns, and although this new decision was brought about by an unanticipated turn of events, I’m brimming with excitement about the new direction I’m taking with publishing the book. There’s no way this new direction could’ve been paved without my deciding to simply ‘move on.’ Once I did, I began to see all sorts of possibilities. Actual details will be emerging in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, as painful as it is for me, I’ve finally started taking down a certain proportion of the blog content as it will be made available in the book.

Stay tuned.