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.

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.

pexels.com

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.

pexels.com

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.”

pexels.com

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.

Checking out of October

This month has breezed right past me and one thing I haven’t done as much as I had hoped to is to write consistently. However, I know NanoWrimo is two days away and I have already signed up and started drafting the novel I will be writing.

On reading: I am discovering new writers, reading more books as I hope to see to meeting this year’s Goodreads challenge, so far I have read 161 books and there are some titles I read on Netgalley that haven’t reflected yet, so it means I have a lot more worlds to explore.

I am currently reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova which is giving me quite some history on Dracula and I can’t help but wonder how this will end.

I love love and cannot resist romance, which led me to this Italian series on Netflix and with just six episodes, I am already rooting for Alice, wishing her the very best in what she does and waiting to see her gain more confidence in herself. What this series did for me was give me a couple of hours to laugh, immerse myself in astrology (the Pisces that I am) and improve my eye coordination-keeping up with subtitles!

On work: It’s more of a balance that I definitely need because this month has been involving because of work and classes- and like my friend June keeps telling me, if you can study or work or travel now- do it before you take on lots of responsibilities- the only thing she forgot to tell me was that I would need more sleep.

I also learned a phrase that now I associate with “no, we are not doing that,” when I took part in some collaboration and in one of the briefs mentioned some key areas of improvement and was told “we’ll take that under advisement,” and let’s just say that 3 weeks and 3 days later- no improvement has been acted upon.

On fashion: I love kitenge. There is something about buying that 6-yard fabric, taking in the colorful prints and discussing designs with the tailor to finally get something I enjoy wearing. The downside to kitenge of course is that you have to iron it after you’ve washed it and I for one, do not find that act enjoyable. So here’s a jumpsuit I got and can’t wait to wear.

On music: I have been residing in the K-Pop world for a while and the one album that I highly recommend as a mood/energy booster would have to be No Easy by StrayKids.

And that’s it for October, 2021 is almost coming to an end and the curfew was lifted in Kenya, and a huge part of me hopes that we stop acting like we are out of the woods when it comes to the pandemic.

Have an awesome weekend, this girl has got an assignment on Strategic Management to submit before her class tomorrow.