The Stables of Knowledge

Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary – Jim Rohn

I have always found a recurrent opinion about people I work and interact with, and it is the fact that they get impressed by the level of knowledge I possess and the words I use when I talk or tell stories.

I could always be found to use unpopular words and sometimes even I get impressed by the type of words I use. By the nature of my work, I deal in words and because of that, I need to constantly deposit into my bank of words. Consequently, I read a lot.

One of the things you’re most likely to see me doing is either writing or reading. From the point when I knew me, I had always had a love affair with books. I started with reading the Pacesetters Series to James Hadley Chase to Harlequin, and now there is a lot more diversity in the content I consume.

Reference Points

What all these do for me is give me a lot of reference points to telling stories for my clients. It gives me the ability to talk about anything without having to first do endless research. If I need to do any research at all, it is to expand the knowledge I already have. This has constantly played out in my work, ergo, clients are impressed by my capabilities.

I meet a lot of writers who say they don’t read and I wonder what they write about if they don’t. You cannot write in a superior way if you’ve not honed your reading skills. There is a lot of competition out there and you need every arsenal in your power to win the battle. How are you different?

Again, if you want to be paid superior fees for your services, you have to be prepared to do something extra, go the extra mile and be better than everyone. That is the standard.

Your fight is different – John Obidi

I urge you today to fight in a way which will guarantee your victory.

The price of ignorance is too high to pay.

Our Services

After my post yesterday, I got some questions regarding the services my company offer. Some folks reached out to me and asked me to explain what these services entail. To this end, I decided to give a brief explanation of each.

Business Storytelling

It is not a secret that the ability to create relevant content is integral to a business’s success today. Again, it is not enough to just create content, but the ability to tell captivating stories about what you do and how you help the world will go a long way in helping your customers make informed buying decisions and go for your products and services. 

At Maggie Smart Media Company, our aim is to ensure that you are able to tell these stories around your brands, products, and services in a way which will connect with the hearts of your intending and existing customers.

Ghostwriting

We know how difficult writing can be for some people and because of that we came up with a package that would make writing a breeze for anyone. Just tell us your book idea and we would take it from there, be it fiction or non-fiction. This is what our team of professionals is trained to do – to handle any topic and do justice to it. 

Transcription

This package will be especially useful for our career speakers and pastors who have a lot of recorded speeches. Do you know how easy it would be to convert all those speeches and messages into a book? Sure, you can sell a bunch of messages but how much more prestigious would it be if those can be packaged into a book and disseminated as a whole? We are just a call away.  

Editing

This one is very dear to my heart because I know the value of a book that is properly edited. A lot of what we see out there is less editing and more proofreading and the thing is that more books need more editing than proofreading.

A good editor has the ability to turn nonsense into something that makes absolute sense while still keeping the integrity of the message and the author’s voice. We are in dire need of good editors and this is what I am offering here.

Other book deliverables (book review, description, and blurb)

Recently, it came to my knowledge that many people find it difficult to write their book descriptions, summaries and blurb by themselves. I have found it difficult to do this for my own books too.

A book’s description or blurb can help a wavering customer make a positive buying decision, so, this cannot be overlooked in any way. Very good copywriting skills are needed here and that is what we bring to the table at Maggie Smart media Company.

All these deliverables are what we offer as a premium package. Just choose your preference and let’s get to work.

Va va voom

Va va voom!

As you aspire to be an author, you should view life itself as a writer would.

All experiences, both your own and other people’s, whether happy, sad, frustrating or tragic should be seen and examined as potential material for you to use. I am not saying you should exploit people’s pain, but your pain and the pain of others could be a good fodder for your books.

I am such a follower of this rule that most times when friends and family are discussing around me, if they don’t want to see their story in my next book, they warn me not to share or write about it (Yes, I’m baddoo like that…lol).

This is especially important for anyone who plans to be a novelist or a fiction writer. Everything around you should be seen as a potential subject for a new story.

In order to make the most of what is happening around you, you should try to use all your senses all the time. Nothing should escape your observation. You should become an inquiring person. Ask yourself questions about why things are being done, the background to
events, the circumstances that surround them and the reaction of both those involved and those merely observing.

There are ideas for stories, if only you can recognize them.

The truth is that even if you write fiction, your story must be believable enough for your readers to relate to. Except you want to go all out and become a fantasy writer, then your stories must have the believability
factor. That way, your readers can relate and bond with your characters.

A reader had this to say about my bestselling book, Beyond Now



“I find it classy and very warming, its more like you are speaking to lives!! Not disgusting, the choice of words are gud and you were diplomatic in choosing places not some random people that will write places that never exited in a City

This is a typical Nigerian life but highly classic
Loads of love, am not just a mentee( not sure if this word exists) but am now a fan🤟🏼😇😇”

You want to get to the level where readers can gush about your books and become instant fans! Create that va va voom effect always. That is the height. That is when you’ve done your job.

In my book, The Smart Writer’s Handbook, I asked some questions which will help you gain clarity in writing your books and turn readers into instant fans.

I leave you with this; “your readers are the tank in your writing vehicle. You want to constantly fill that tank up with quality fuel.”

I have been conditioned

I have been conditioned….

I would have beaten my son black and blue this afternoon, but…

This afternoon, when I got back from church, I decided to have a cup of beverage before food got ready. When I was done, I asked my 4 year old to take the breakable cup to the kitchen. He did so.

A few minutes later, I asked him to take something else to the kitchen and the next thing I heard was the sound of something breaking. I quickly ran in and saw the cup I just used on the floor, in broken shards.

After he explained what happened, I realised it was a mistake. I quickly swept up the broken shards.

While sweeping, a thought occurred to me. In the days of our parents, the child would have been beaten black and blue for breaking that cup, and that is what we have been conditioned with as adults.

Even now, as grown as I am, I still feel extremely guilty when I break things. Why? I’ve been conditioned to feel that way.

That particularly is not where I am going with this. I want to tie this in with failure.

Most of us have been conditioned to feel extremely bad and disappointed in ourselves when we fail. We have been conditioned to see failure as the enemy rather than a helping hand.

Failure, for some of us usually means giving up. When we fail at something, we refused to try again. We see it as the end of the road.

Today, I want to challenge us to a different thought process. What if we see failure as feedback? Failure is just trying to let you know that you can try to do things in another way. You can think outside the box, change your methods, your approach, and then experience a different reality.

Failure is our friend.

Let’s begin to view it that way and it will make all the difference in our approach to our works and how we view life.

Of course, I’m not advocating mediocrity, but sometimes after trying all we could, we could still experience failure. What then do we do? We should see it as feedback and act accordingly.

Does this make any kind of sense? Let me know your thoughts.

Daily Lines 3

Prologue

The shadow moved restlessly where it stood. It watched the door across the street like a hawk watching for a lost and abandoned chick. The door still opened and closed too much for its liking. The shadow needed relative quiet and scarcity of movement to carry out its mission.

Photo by Barbara Alçada on Unsplash

The door opened yet again and voices carried over the wind. “Good night, Mama D. I hope your shift won’t be as difficult as mine. Watch out for the patient on bed 6 though. That one is touch and go.”

“No problem.” The one referred to as Mama D replied. “I’ll go read her case files now. She will be fine, eventually.”

“I really hope so. She’s been through so much. Her husband is a rock for standing by her despite it all.”

“That is what marriage should be. For better or for worse. We only pray it’s more of better and less of worse.”

“Yes, you are right. Speaking of marriage, how is your daughter? Hope marriage is treating her well?”

“Yes, my dear. She’s expecting her baby very soon. I am planning to go to her place when she delivers. That’ll be the first time I’ll be seeing her since she got married.”

“Yes, I believe you said she lives in the East with her husband? That must be tough. I hope her pregnancy wasn’t a difficult one?”

“Not as difficult as that. I only regret that I couldn’t see her more often to help. It is well.” Mama D sighed deeply.

“It is all for the best. As long as she’s happy in her marriage, then you have a lot to be thankful for.”

“Yes o, my sister. You are very right. I must go in now.”

“Okay. Good night. I pray you have a lovely shift.”

“Thank you, my dear.”

The door opened and closed once again and Mama D went back in. The other party she was speaking to cross the road and came within striking distance of the shadow. The shadow shrank back into the corner and prayed the bundle it carried not stir. The shadow relaxed fractionally as the woman moved away, entered her car and drove off.

The shadow’s eyes once more trained on the door across the street. The movements had reduced drastically and it watched for a few minutes more to be absolutely sure. After five minutes of watching and nothing happened, the shadow moved cautiously out of the darkness and approached the light.

Anyone observing would see it was a young woman carrying a bundle in her arms. She approached the door carefully, ready to bolt at any sign of life. Nothing moved or stirred.  She got to the door, opened it and carefully laid the bundle in her arms just inside the door. She closed the door, banged on it loudly, and ran back to the safety of the darkness. She merged with the shadows once more, became one of them, and watched as events unfolded.

 

This is a new story I am working on which will be released in December. I am excited about this because it is a matter close to my heart.

Can you guess what’s going on? What do you think is this woman’s story? What do you think the next scene will depict?

Take a guess and if you guess right, you’ll have a chance to win my bestselling book, Beyond Now. Take a wild guess people!!!

Daily Lines 2

Daily Lines

This is the second edition of Daily Lines. To read the first one, please go HERE

I’ll be sharing excerpts of some of my novels from time to time using the hashtag #DailyLines. This is in a bid to share my works with my readers and intimate you with some of my best books.

I will also share excepts from some of my favorite books, scenes that resonate with me and inspire me. I hope you’ll follow me on this journey and also share it with your friends.
I’ll also love to read your thoughts. Feel free to holla.

This is one of my favorite scenes from my bestselling book, Beyond Now.

++++++++

I followed him through the restaurant to the table reserved for us. Chris was seated there already, looking like a fine, tall glass of wine. He was dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt. He looked good enough to eat. I sighed. I hope this will not be too difficult. My emotions are raw enough as it is.

He stood up and smiled as soon as he saw me. He had always been the perfect gentleman and that was one of the things that adhered him to me all those years ago. I steeled myself for the onslaught on my emotions. You couldn’t read what I was feeling on my face though, I was very calm on the outside.

“Hello, Chris.” I smiled.

“Bella. Wow, you look absolutely stunning.” He stared.

Exactly the kind of reaction I was looking for. I smiled again, cool as you please and sat down. He sat too, still staring.

“Thank you, Chris. You don’t look too bad yourself. How have you been?”

“Thanks. Not so great.”

I was not about to ask why. I think I have an idea though. “Hmm hmm.”

The waiter came to take our orders.

I ordered for a plate of Gizdodo and a bottle of water. Chris ordered same. I raised my eyebrows but said nothing. I was not in the mood for chit-chat.

“So…” I began, looking at him.

He sighed deeply. “Bella, I have so much to tell you. I don’t know where to start from.”

“Why don’t you start at the point where you said to my face that you were not the father of my baby? That would be a very good place to start.”

He sighed again and closed his eyes briefly. “Bella, I need you to be of an open mind and hear me out.”

I looked at him closely. I had never seen him this way. He looked genuinely worried and subdued. I decided to hear him out.

“I’m listening.”

Our water came and we paused as the waiter set everything up. He left and Chris started talking. I took a sip of water and sat back to listen and watch every of his facial expression closely.

“You must understand, Bella. That day you came to the house, I went completely out of my mind. Keep in mind that I was a teenager, barely out of high school, and you came to tell me I was to become a father? I didn’t even know who I was as a man, I was so not ready to be a father.

“All I could feel was panic, and all I thought to do was deny you and deny the existence of any pregnancy. I took the coward’s way out, I admit that. The fact is, if the situation is to repeat itself today, and the circumstances were exactly the same, I probably will do the exact same thing. I can’t sit here and lie to you and tell you I would have taken a different action. The truth is we were children and we were in over our heads.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better? You sit here and you talk about us being children blah blah blah… I ceased being a child the moment I walked out of your room that day. I had to give birth to a baby when I was little more than a child myself and I had to do it all on my own. Don’t sit there and talk to me about you being out of your mind. Please.”

“I know, Bella. I’m not trying to justify my actions. I am trying to explain why I took those actions. I was not ready to shoulder that kind of responsibility.”

“And you think I was? I was seventeen years old Chris. Seventeen! How do you imagine I handled that? Unlike you, I didn’t have a choice. I couldn’t run away and pretend it didn’t happen. The baby was growing inside me.”

“I know. I’m very sorry.” He hung his head.

“Look at me, Chris. You’re sorry? Sorry? What do you imagine being sorry can solve? I’m sick of men making mistakes, then coming back saying they are sorry, and thinking that would make everything better. Your sorry isn’t worth shit.”

 

To get the full story, go HERE

The Attack of the Chicken

The attack of the Chicken

I was home yesterday morning being Saturday doing some house chores when I got a house call from a neighbor of mine, a wanna-be boyfriend.

Sidi, my flatmate, had gone to the market and I decided to stay home and clean the house a bit, just a way for us to share our chores.

So, I was cleaning the toilet of the self-contain apartment I share with Sidi when I heard the knock. I quickly removed the rubber gloves I was putting on (yeah, I’m an oyinbo like that) and dashed to the door to open it. There Peter stood, with a black poly bag in his hand, and his heart in his eyes. I ignored his eyes and went for his hands (yes, I’m a typical Nigerian woman; it’s all about the goods).

“Hi Peter. What do we have here?” I indicated the polythene bag he was clutching so hard

“Hi T.Y. How are you today?”

“Oh I’m great. Anything for me?” I asked, still staring at the bag.

He smiled nervously. “Oh this? Just a chicken.”

“Say what?”

“A live chicken.” He replied. “I just got it for you this morning.”

“Oh?” Awkward much?

“I thought you’ll love to eat some fresh meat.”

What a gift. By the way, I am terrified of chickens. Oh, the fried and peppered ones I can manage, it’s the live ones that always gets me. I don’t plan on touching it until Sidi gets back; badoo that she is, she won’t hesitate to wring its neck.

“Oh thank you.” I replied him

“You are welcome.” He stretched the bag towards me.

Oh you’ve got to be kidding me. “You can just drop it there.” I indicated a spot just inside the kitchen. He looked at me strangely but did as I asked.

“Thank you so much.” I said once more as he left

I eyed the chicken with its head popping out of a hole by the side of the polythene bag and it eyed me back. “Behave yourself.” I warned it and went back to my chores.

The next thing I heard was some ruffling from the kitchen direction. Who could it be? After all, it’s just me and the chicken in the house. By the time I removed my rubber gloves (still repping my oyinbo brethren), and got out of the toilet, I found the chicken headed straight towards me, running on its spindly legs as it clucked wickedly. My heart jumped to my throat, and before I knew it I started running too.

“Ori iya mi egba mi o! Sidi, Sidi, where are you when I need you?! In fact, Peter you are dead today for this ‘winch gift’ you give me.” I shouted as I ran as fast as my legs could carry me out of the house.

I collided with Sidi by the door.

“What is the problem T.Y? Why are you running like a bat out of hell?” she questioned

“It’s the chic…chi…chicken chasing me o.” I stammered

“Chicken? What chicken?”

Sidi led the way back into the house and I looked around for the crazy chicken. To my utmost disbelief, it was back in the polythene bag, looking as docile as it looked before it started its crazy marathon.

“That chicken?” Sidi pointed, looking at me bizarrely.

I opened my mouth to speak and no words came. I just kept staring at the chicken wondering if I was mad. Oh, I’m so gonna love you in the pot of soup. I thought gleefully. That will be my revenge.

I swear, the chicken winked at me.

#FlashFiction

Nigeria will Work Again

Nigeria

Nigeria will work again…

As I walked down the road that day on my way to the office, I noticed some homeless people by the road. Suddenly, I remembered the homeless center I had come across last week Tuesday while I was canvasing a new site for possible prospects. The homeless center had everything anybody could need for a convenient stay while they got their lives back together. I approached the man and woman who were by the roadside.

“Good morning, sir, ma.”

The woman squinted her eyes at me. “Good morning.”

“I’ll like to help. I saw a home just two blocks from here where you are assured of a convenient stay. The name is called ‘come one, come all’. You can’t miss it, it’s just by the road on Ekwe Street.

The woman looked at the man and they exchanged a look. She finally smiled and nodded. “Thank you miss. You do well.”

I dug my hands in my purse and brought out some money. I handed it over to the woman and her smile broadened. “Eh, thank you madam o. God bless you.”

“Thank you.” The man said and nodded in my direction.

I continued on my way with a lightened heart. Soon, my thoughts moved to something else. The current project I was working on is putting up a low cost apartment building for the lower middle class in a semi-respectable part of town. My company was awarded the contract by the Federal Government. The project is progressing nicely but we’ve hit a few snags along the way.

The commodes that were needed have not been supplied by the company that was supposed to here in Nigeria. They contacted me yesterday informing me that they hit a production snag because of the recent power outage due to the storm which happened just last week and that delayed their production process so much so they couldn’t meet up with timelines for delivery. This will in turn delay my work and I will have to work that into the modalities.

I thought back to the power outage that happened last week. I was home when the power suddenly went off. I was confused and thought I had been cut off by some mistake since my bills were paid up. Such had not happened in 20 years and I was ill prepared for it. I had no candles, no lamp and I had to settle for my phone torch. I had to go to bed early that night.

While still thinking of the possible ways to deal with the situation at work, I got to the last corner to my office and waited for the traffic light to hit the stop sign before crossing. As soon as the pedestrian sign came on, I joined the people waiting to cross the road and landed across the street, directly in front of my office.

Linda, my personal assistant was in the office already. She was at the front desk speaking with the receptionist when I walked in. They both looked up and smiled when they saw me.

“Good morning, ma’am.”

“Good morning. How are you this morning?”

“Fine, ma’am.” Linda said and crossed to me to help with my leather satchel.

“Come along to my office, will you?”

We walked the short distance to my office together and sat down as I gave her the bad news from the commode producing company.

“That is only going to delay us for a few days. We can still meet up with delivery.”

“You think so? I wouldn’t want a repeat of the last time.”

“I’m positive.”

“That’s good then.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“I also wanted to ask about your sister. Has the issues with her husband been resolved?”

Linda’s sister was being physically abused by her husband. She had reached the breaking point and had finally called 611, the police hotline. Few minutes later, the police showed up and she was removed from the situation and moved to one of the centers for abused women in the city of Lagos. What was heartbreaking about the story was that she had been 3 months pregnant. She had lost the baby.

“As soon as the police got to her house and took her away, I felt a lot better. We never knew she was going through such until this happened.”

“That is usually the case. Abuse victims never speak up.”

Linda sighed. “Thank God we finally got to know.”

“Yeah, that’s the thing. Anyway, we need to go out in about an hour’s time to keep the appointment we made with the paint company yesterday. Is there fuel in the company car?”

“Yes, Ibrahim got some when he dropped you off at home yesterday.”

“At what price? It’s been fluctuating recently.”

“He said he got it for #14 per liter.”

“That’s good. A lot better than the #15 he got it for yesterday.”

“True….”

 

“Ibidun! Ibidun!! Wake up, it’s time for morning prayers. Get up, unless you want to be late for work today. You know how bad traffic is because of the fuel situation in the country.”

“Um…”

Suddenly, I opened my eyes and found myself on my sitting room sofa. I had slept off last night while reading. I was sad it was only a dream.

I have a dream, that one day, Nigeria will work again.

 

Thanks for reading! Please, hit the share button if you love the story. Cheers…