On

I speak of the dawn more than dusk,

It’s the dusk I love, it’s the dawn I ask for.

So when the world settles on my shoulder, before my knees sink on the ground I place my hand on my chest, look for my heart, await the slight beating of it,

And I tell myself that I made it to this moment,

The journey is still on.

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Last week of December 2021: Life updates and stuff

It’s a joy to be writing this.

I’ve had a flu this past week that came with joint pain, exhaustion, headaches and a never ending fever and when I thought the worst was behind me, I get to deal with a never ending cough. For three days I lacked the sense of taste.

So, let me start over: happy holidays! How are you spending the holiday season? We have two days to the end of 2021 and at the back of my mind there is the feeling to strive for more, better, for adventures, for a happier me and all that. I am also looking forward to achieving the goals that I never did this year.

As I write this, it’s 9:33pm and it’s raining in Kisumu. I haven’t had a cup of tea tonight. I just finished watching, The Silent Sea, on Netflix. If you’re looking for a dystopian or sci-fi series to watch- give it a go, it’s worth the time and it’s Gong Yoo on this!

On reading: I have bought more books this month which I hope to include in the books I get to read in the coming days.

This year, I did get to read 202 of the 200 books I had set as my Goodreads Reading Challenge and I would love to read more books next year.

On writing: I would love to do four key things:

  • Write daily by adhering to a writing schedule
  • Join and commit to a Writers Group
  • Publish my #WIP
  • Talk more about my writing either on talk shows, podcasts, book clubs.

I look forward to reflecting more on the things I do and have done this year in the next two days.

Until the next post, do have a wonderful time.

Make memories, cherish the good, challenge yourself to learn from the moments that wound you. Give love. Laugh loud. Dance like you’re the wind.

10 Japanese Proverbs that I love

What would the world be without pearls of wisdom? I’ve shared some of my favorite African proverbs and sayings here and this time around, I’d like to share 10 gems that I find intriguing from Japan.

Love without friendship is like the shadow without the sun.

The deepest river flows slowly.

If you believe everything you read, you shouldn’t read.

Nothing is more expensive than what is free.

The tongue is but three inches long yet it can kill a man six feet high.

In wealth, many friends, in poverty, not even relatives.

It is because of fools that wise men can stand out.

You don’t have to die. Heaven and Hell are in this world too.

When you have completed 95% of your journey, you are halfway there.

Experience is an expensive school, but a fool will learn from no other.

Self Publishing: Lessons I’m learning and things I hope to achieve

I have been writing for two decades now.

My first attempt at self-publishing led to the production of a short story, Dear Yellow, on Smashwords in November 2011. I have published 30 ebooks on Smashwords since then. Of the titles published on Smashwords, the most reviewed are: 21 Days, Pieces, Made for You, and Say You Love Me.

In 2014 and early 2015, I got onto Amazon and by then it was CreateSpace that called out to me and I tried my hand at it and went for publishing books for sale on Amazon. My author page now looks pretty much like this:

One of the greatest challenges working and writing then publishing on Amazon was that I could not reach out to more Kenyans and persuade them to buy the books online, because first it meant using a debit or credit card and second, if they wanted paperback copies the cost of shipping was ten times more than the book. As a Writer, though Amazon offered me the books at an author’s price, I also had to factor in shipping costs and this had me ship books only in the fall- so readers here could only get copies once a year! It was exhausting!

Sometime in 2018, a Writer friend, Elly shared her experience self-publishing in Kenya, and I reached out to a couple of publishers and finally got feedback from Publish 4 All here in Kenya.

So, in 2019 I worked with them and published Sifuna, then followed it with Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi and In the Quiet.

  • From 2011, to date, I am learning that it takes a lot of work to write, and not just jot down words but to align them into a story and a memorable one as such.
  • I am also learning that self-publishing means you put in the work, if you do not work on a quality cover, or format your book into the right size and ensure all contents fit the frame, then it’s nerve wrecking and means you go back and forth with the printers until you get it right and all this comes at a cost because in Kenya we import paper, so any paper waster is money wasted.
  • Today, I appreciate the efforts put in by the Kenya Copyright Board to ensure provision of copyright certification for content produced. Elly gives a step by step account of how to copyright your work in Kenya-> here
  • It’s also easier and faster buying an ISBN from the Kenya National Library Services at www.isbn.ac.ke

I hope to keep writing and publish more books for as long as I’ve got breath in me and for this year, it’s been a daunting task to complete a book I had wanted to publish in August.

  • I would love to be vastly read and to also see more young girls and women writing books, both fiction and non-fiction in Kenya.
  • One more thing I hope to achieve is designing good book covers. I am currently taking lessons on basic graphic design and learning how expensive good software is! So, I hope I can learn how to create book covers and in the future buy the software and use it.

Until then, if you’re interested in print on demand services, email Publish 4 All at p4akenya@gmail.com and they’ll give you a breakdown of the services they offer.

Embrace

I look for you when the world is quiet,

When you aren’t waiting for their likes,

retweets, comments, reposts…

I look for you when the world is loud,

When their judgment condemns you,

When you want to travel to the end of the world and stay there.

I look for you because I find you in extremes,

So when you stop to catch your breath,

I hope then you will choose me,

You’ll love me not by their ratings or your desire to meet their expectations.

I await your embrace.

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Come

Come to me.

No, run to me.

Come like thunder, blazing like lightning,

Set me ablaze, let’s burn.

I want you to keep coming,

At dawn, at dusk

In January, in November

With a pen in hand or a keyboard before me.

Come my way, won’t you?

Flow through me, come so I may write you down.

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To be Loved to the Bone by Beverly Maier

The Publisher’s take on this book: This collection explores love in all of its forms, from the darkest love to the love that makes you feel like you’re flying, love that holds you, and love that breaks you. To Love You To The Bone will chew you up and spit you out in all the right ways, but by the end of it, you will leave knowing that love is attainable and have your heart opened to all of the possibilities that love has for you.

He was the pen; she was the lighter.

He wrote his story. She set it on fire.

To be loved to the Bone by Beverly Maier

I love it when I am consumed by words, and this collection by Beverly is written in both long prose and short sentences and comes with simple artwork. She draws you in and releases you, more like giving you a moment to catch your breath before she drowns you in her hurt, elation, and sometimes anger- so you get it all in less than 200pages.

Verdict: 4 stars

I got to read this off Netgalley and I am glad I did.

Be gentle with the hearts that make their way into your hands.

Love doesn’t look the same on everyone and it is much easier to break things than it is to fix them.

To Be Loved to The Bone by Beverly Maier

About the Author: Beverly is a twenty-eight-year-old author based out of Central Florida. She is the author of two poetry collections, Detaching Roots and To Be Loved To The Bone. Read more about her here and buy her books: here

Laana: An Excerpt

Lahaula visited me during the King’s mourning ceremony following an invitation from Prince Jabali to their kingdom with news. She smiled with renewed life and talked to me about the things she had seen at the palace and all the while I kept my thoughts hidden from her. It was something I had been learning while spending time in the singing forest.

“Laana, tell me why is it that your light and the Prince’s light are lost?”

“He blames me for the death of his father.”

“What else are you keeping from me Sister? I feel you slipping away into darkness, is there anything I can do to draw you back?”

“Do not worry about me Lahaula. Prince Jabali will come to ask for my hand in marriage after the King’s burial and I will accept. What I do not know is how I will cope with his anger.”

“Ei, I see, however, I want you to accept a gift. She comes from our kingdom and she will attend to you. Her name is Amina. Her tongue never stays still but when it comes to you, she will always do what’s right. I ask you to care for her, train her because I have a feeling that she knows more about the earth, what grows where and what it can be used for.”

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I looked at the young girl standing behind Lahaula for the first time. Her eyes were the color of darkness, a quiet reminder of how far the dawn was. She looked at me then looked away. I smiled and asked her to sit beside me. She nodded and did so and I could see her beautiful toes, feet meant for a princess, but feet that told the story of wars unrivaled by any I had encountered. She lowered her eyes and folded her legs beneath her. Lahaula released the breath she was holding, but I had already seen the girl’s past and her future was only what she could make it to be.

Lahaula stayed with me as her father and his envoys stayed at the palace.