EA Friday Feature – Prompt Week #2

Friday Feature1

The EA Friday Feature:

Write a story of only 1,000 words using the prompt given.  Post it on your blog on Fridays and share the posts of fellow bloggers participating in the feature.

Participating Bloggers:

  1. Nilichoandika
  2. Flashes of Vice
  3. Children of Destiny Books
  4. Love in Nairobi

Week #2- Prompt is:

Places:

Beaches, Mountains, Forests or somewhere else you like…Write a story inspired by the place you like most.

The story is due on Friday, 14th August, 2015. 

This is an open entry Feature.  If you’d like to participate, simply write the 1,000 word story using the prompt, and leave a comment on this post to let us know to share your story.

Last week’s prompts responses:

  1. It Started with a Bump at the Busstop
  2. Holy Desire
  3. A Tail of Tissue Paper

Between Death and Heaven – Book Review

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Exciting!

This blog now has 100 posts!

I have had a hundred things to say apparently.  I can’t wait to reach 200 posts, but for today, I celebrate the small victories.

And the Hundredth Post is…..

A book Review!

Between Death and Heaven cc17c55e97afe22d62da713a34496872607b649f

by Annemarie Musawale

What happens after we die? A vindictive ex-girlfriend (maybe, who knows?) is responsible for the death of happy lovers; Phil and Lillian. One minute they’re celebrating the possibility of a long life together, the next they’re contemplating eternity in the hospital where they die. Shenanigans ensue as they try to fit in with post-death society. What are the norms, who makes the rules and who can they ask about being taken to the leader. Can they still love each other and remain lovers in this brave new non-world? These are just some of the questions that Phil and Lillian are confronted with. Oh if only they’d appreciated contemplating their navels more when they were alive! Now there’s no choice, danger approaches and they must be in with the right people before it comes…or else.

Book Review

Between Death and Heaven/ In The Shadow of the Styx is a paranormal novel tackling the afterlife.  Phil and Lillian find themselves in a new world when they end up in the hospital after having severe food poisoning. In this new world, they are ghosts without a clear path as to where they should go, who they should be, certainly what they were doesn’t matter so much anymore. 

Lillian is eager to break through the barriers she and Phil face, and her courage sends them on a wild adventure to deliver an important message.  Well, it’s certainly a challenge, consider these two are dead, and therefore they are ghosts.  The use of cell phones, email, all manner of technology becomes obsolete. But not to worry, Musawale writes a great solution.  Plunging the reader into dramatic plots to obtain ingredients for spells, and witches who know it all.

Between Death and Heaven has an innocent charm to it, even while tackling heavy issues like revenge and murder. The fact that the afterlife is unknown allows Musawale to take advantage of imagination and create a world that manages to captivate.

The novel does introduce an array of characters, each one playing a role in Lillian and Phil’s adventure.  Each one with a mysterious background, or a legacy they can’t control or escape.  One thing’s for sure, the afterlife in Between Death and Heaven is not what you expect when you imagine death.

My only complaint was that it took a bit of getting used to Lillian’s lingo.  I understand Musawale was staying true to Lillian’s roots, and after a while, reading got easier, and I expected it from Lillian.  This is an interesting complaint, as it really depends on the reader’s preference.  Lillian does turn out to be a strong, young woman who loved a man enough to make a dramatic change in her life.  I liked her for that, and her amusing perspective on people and life in general.

Buy it here: Between Death and Heaven

4.0 Stars

About Annemarie Musawale:

Her Blog

A Tail of Tissue Paper

A Tail of Tissue Paper

Helena adjusted her ponytail, tugging on a wayward braid to set it right. She’d slathered on lipstick today, staring into the mirror, Helena wished she’d chosen the pink instead of the cherry red.

Oh well, she shrugged her shoulders and washed her hands in the sink. Drying her hands off, she adjusted her handbag and left the bathroom, adding an extra swing to her hips, now that she felt fresh.

The Nakumatt Junction was buzzing with activity. Saturdays, Helena thought. 83898869_d385d56d18_oEvery woman, her children and man were out shopping for the week. Helena sighed and walked into the supermarket with a wide smile for the luggage carrier dudes. They smiled back, their gazes sweeping over her figure with appreciation. She grinned, and ran a hand down her hips.
She’d bought the skinny Levis at a whopping two thousand five hundred shillings. She loved them. They hugged her butt to perfection. She’d refused to mourn the use of the money. Not that she’d ever tell her friends the price. They’d call her a vanity whore, so she kept it to herself. 

Helena smiled as she got a shopping cart, rolling it down the aisle. She’d told her friends she’d gotten the jeans at a sale in the market. Yeah right, as though faded jeans would give the definition her Levis afforded her.  Shaking her head, she paused in the coffee aisle to get her stash of dark roast. Nothing could beat a good cup of dark roast coffee in the morning.

Putting the package in her cart, she continued down the aisle to the milk aisle. Her mother was coming over later. The woman lived and breathed tea with milk. If Helena didn’t have milk in the house, her mother would think it a sacrilege. Helena rolled her eyes as she grabbed two packets of milk and dumped them into the cart. She loved her mother, lord knew she did, but they differed in so many things…Helena sighed.

“She’s your mother,” Helena said under her breath, walking past a mother struggling to control three rowdy children. All of them held their own packages; they wanted their mother to add them into an already overfilled cart.

Helena shuddered at the disruption they were making. She quickly walked down the aisle to the pasta aisle, promising herself to get one kid. She’d get only one, not because she hated kids, but because one was ideal in this crazy modern world. The cost of living was too high to even contemplate three.

Her mother was eager to hold a grandchild in her arms. She’d probably mention it later when she came to visit.
Helena studied her choices, noodles, shells, elbows…suddenly she felt lost. She wasn’t sure what she wanted. Noodles bored her, the shells were okay, but the elbows, well the elbows were bland sometimes.

“This is why you’ll never get that kid,” she murmured staring at her pasta choices. “Can’t choose pasta, can’t choose a man.”

Helena sighed and decided on closing her eyes and choosing what her hand touched first. She came up with shells. She put the package into the cart with a shrug. She could always find a good recipe online for them. Mmm…she’d liked the one she’d made for that guy she’d met at the gym a month ago. The relationship had died after two dates, but the Zucchini Pasta, that had tasted good. She was suddenly hungry for it, so she made a beeline for the vegetable aisle. She didn’t want to detour to the market to get the zucchini might as well buy them here.

She got the zucchini, and got sidetracked by the sight of huge strawberries in their packages. Well, the strawberries were good looking, but the tall handsome man checking out the carrots was distracting too.

Helena picked up the strawberry package and feigned rapt interest.

Damn it what was a good line.

It would need to be perfect; he looked too refined for a comment on the weather. Her mind was blank. Her gaze followed him as he shifted to the herbs, studying cilantro as though he knew what he was doing. He had to be a keeper. A man who could cook, her insides trembled, just itching to go over and talk to him.

She couldn’t help the scowl when a pretty blonde-haired lady came up to him with a wide smile. Jealousy flooded her as returned the smile and leaned to brush her cheek with a kiss. Dumping the strawberries into the cart, Helena quickly moved on from the vegetable aisle.

She needed Parmesan cheese and chicken for the zucchini pasta recipe. This time, she kept her gaze on the chicken when a great smelling guy stopped beside her to get beef patties.

Helena wondered why it was so hard for her to approach men. The ones she did approach turned out to be married, in relationships or had commitment phobia. She chose her chicken, and decided to tell her mother that she was going to die a spinster.  A chuckle escaped as she got the Parmesan cheese, and a lady walking by gave her a confused look.

Yeah, keep wondering, sister, Helena thought. I might look great, but my heart is in a dozen pieces.

Recipe accounted for, Helena headed to the lotion section. She was running out of her favorite coconut lotion. As always the many varieties on the aisle had her salivating.  She knew the one she wanted already, but damn if she could afford one of each on the aisle, she’d buy them all.

Helena curbed her impulse buying gene and reached for the bottle she used daily in a faithful regime. Coconut butter did wonders for her skin. Putting it in her cart, she glanced up in time to see another guy standing a few feet from her. What was it today with all the handsome men?

This one though was smiling at her with interest. She blushed when he moved closer.  His smile was captivating.

Her heartbeat raced.

“Hi,” he said.

Helena smiled. “Hey.”

“I just wanted to tell you that you have a tissue stuck on the back of your jeans.”

“What?” Helena stared at him in horror.

“A piece of tissue,” the man said, pointing to her back.

Helena reached back fast, her cheeks flaming, when her fingers touched a soft paper. She tugged at it, as it was lodged in her waistband and it came off easily. Good lord, had she swaggered through this whole supermarket with a tissue for a tail?

“Lord, sink me now,” she said.

The handsome man chuckled and walked away.

****

Please check out these entries from bloggers in the EA Friday Feature:

It Started with a Bump – Nilichoandika

Holy Desire – Flash of Vice

The Bachelorette Diaries : 2012 – Book Review

The Bachelorette Diaries : 2012 frontcover

Shiri Golan has found the perfect man at last, but one day skeletons start crawling out of his closet hauling with them betrayal, a dark past and deadly secrets.

Hurt, betrayed and seeking vengeance, Shiri finds herself caught between forgiveness and justice. As she lives on, she discovers that, oblivious to her, she is a commander of some secret movement whose ultimate aim is to control the whole world.

From the sensational love poet and author of Holy Innocence and Holy Crimes, Elove Poetry, comes the story of love, hate, betrayal and secrets.

Book Review
“I’m a bachelorette, happy and enjoying it,” Shiri says at the start.

These words bring out the picture of a confident woman living in the city of Nairobi. She’s comfortable in her own skin, and knows what she wants in life. The Bachelorette Diaries: 2012 starts out as a personal recount of a woman who has it all, except for one thing. She wants to find herself a good man to love and who’ll love her. That right there brought Shiri upfront and center.

There begins the search for the ‘one’. The chapters where Shiri is combing through her social media account for that male friend that could turn into the one, were revealing…I wondered if Elove Poetry had CCTV at my area code. How many times do self-declared bachelorettes spend their nights stalking their male friends on social media, during that lonely period that strikes at low times?

Valentine’s Day draws near, and Shiri’s desperation goes in to high gear. I couldn’t help laughing when she contemplates that TV Ad….”Are you lonely? Do you want someone to talk to? SMS the word “Love” to 5454…” I know you wonder if that would work out if you tried it. So does Shiri…you know things are getting desperate if it’s come to thinking about that Ad.
Coming from that thought, Shiri jumps on to the first lifeboat that appears in the Village Market Mall. Smooth sailing ahead…not….when desperation blinds you to all but what you want, things are bound to get dicey. This moment starts a journey of a betrayal of her heart.

The adventure in The Bachelorette Diaries: 2012 came from the mysteries that crop up after months of bliss in one man’s arms. Suddenly, Shiri is confronted by questions that so often find us in real life. Do we really know the people we claim to love? How can we trust what they say about themselves? Perhaps it has become mandatory to get a friend like Gwen, as Shiri has, who is good at digging out those dirty little secrets hidden behind pretty words and intoxicating love.

Shiri finds herself in a mystery that includes murder, a secret ‘let’s take over the world’ club, and a disease she inherits from a distant relative that might shock you. She gets her heart broken, over and over, from the people she loves. In the end, I think the best relationship she had in this novel was the one she had with her three friends.

Reading through this novel, you get a glimpse into the life of an independent woman living in sunny Nairobi. The highs and the lows she goes through to carve out her position in the work environment, in business, as well as finding that partner she can accept and lean on. There are unexpected moments of impulsive behavior that lead to pleasant surprises, or rather nasty ones. And I find myself agreeing with Shiri when she seeks out an outlet for her many lows through her writing hobby.

The final chapters are filled with rapid action that at times is quite distracting as Shiri works to explain the mystery. For the most part it’s interesting trying to unwind the web, but I confess to getting bogged down just a little bit to the many twists and turns. However, I applaud Elove Poetry for having me glued to my reader for a solid three hours. The Bachelorette Diaries: 2012 is definitely a fascinating read.

Purchase it Here: The Bachelorette Diaries: 2012

4.5 Stars

For more on the author of this book: Elove Poetry books

Elove Poetry

website: https://elovepoetry.wordpress.com

E. A. Friday Feature

Friday Feature1What is the E.A. Friday Feature?

–          Write a story in response to the weekly prompt given of only 1,000 words.  The story can be a stand alone story.  It can also be an ongoing story to which you’ll write chapters every Friday for the feature. You post the story or chapter on your blog on Fridays, and at the bottom, you link your post to the other blogs participating in the E. A. Friday Feature.  There is no restriction on the type of story you create.  The story is all up to you.  The only restriction is the limit on words. (1,000 words).

Who can Enter?

– Anyone willing to show the commitment.  The first Feature Starts on August 7th, 2015.

What you get out of it:

Free readers, for example, if we’re three, you’ll get three new readers to read your story.  Two, your links on the other participants’ blogs could get you new readers.  It’s a win-win for all of us. Every month, the stories are compiled in a free ebook called the East Africa’s Friday Feature, and we’ll publish it on Smashwords for free.  You can use this as a platform to advertise your other work if you have it published.  Share the Free ebook with anyone you please.

(Kindly note, the EA Friday Feature ebook is free, I’ll compile it on my own time, with no charges to you, so don’t ask for payment for your stories.  I’m not going to sell it in hardcover, it’s all going on Smashwords for free download.  Hope you’re familiar with this publishing platform.)

Not Accepted:

– Kindly don’t be late with your post.  Try to be punctual so that everyone can have their links to your post on time. Please show commitment.

– Don’t use an already published story.  This is a creative writing exercise.  Make your feature story original. Don’t plagiarize.

– Remember to follow all the other participating bloggers, if you want to get some love back too. ^_^

If you have any questions, just leave them on this post, I’ll help out however I can.

Have loads of fun with this guys!

 First EA Friday Feature Prompt:

Due: August 7th, 2015

Prompt Is: Caught Red-Handed: Write about being caught doing something embarrassing

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

The Man named Bobby

A Man Named Bobby

There was a man who lived in a not so distant past. I will call him Bobby. Bobby was born into a poor family, the firstimages32 of seven siblings. The one his parents put their faith on, that he would bring good fortune to the family.
Bobby lived as a good son should. He helped his father, and worried for his mother. He worked hard in school. Was smarter than others, and made a life, one that was irrevocably different from his family. Opportunities found Bobby, he traveled the world, enjoyed the pleasures of life as any other would. But this story is not about Bobby’s happy moments, but those profound moments in life that led to a startling future.

Bobby loved three distinct women in his lifetime. I call them distinct because there were other women in Bobby’s life, but these three changed his life in different ways.

The first woman Bobby loved was a hometown girl. Her family knew his family, his family knew her family, and everyone wanted them to end up together. It was expected. This woman, whom I will call Shiku, was wild, and vibrant. She loved life. Loved to dance, sing, drink and have a merry time. Shiku was the life of the party. She and Bobby were good together for a time. Problem was, Shiku loved too much happy, and she had three children, none of whom belonged to Bobby. He loved her enough to take care of them without complaint. Bobby had a great big heart, and when he jumped in, he did so with his all. But things weren’t easy with Shiku. She was compulsive, disruptive, and cared only for the high moment. They fought bitterly, Bobby wanted her to quit drinking and get more serious with life, but Shiku….Shiku wanted more of the highs.

One day, when things were at their most critical, Shiku’s father died. Bobby went with her for the funeral in their hometown. On the night Shiku’s father was to be buried, her brother found Bobby, and warned him to leave town before midnight. Bobby asked why.

“Shiku wants you dead,” her brother said. “She has found ten men. They’ll find you in your bed tonight. You’ll be dead by morning.”

The threat was real. Shiku wanted him dead because she was afraid he was going to leave her. If he left her, she’d decided that no one else could have him.

Shocked and betrayed, Bobby thanked her brother for his kindness, packed a bag, and left in the dark of night. He traveled back to the home they shared alone, and spent the next three days thinking about their life together. When Shiku returned after three days, Bobby asked her to take her children, and anything she wanted in the house, and just like that, their relationship was over.

new life2The second woman Bobby loved was an international girl. She lived in Ottawa. Bobby loved that they shared ideas, she loved that he was so outgoing. And though he’d been burned by love before, Bobby and Carol were happy. Problem was, Carol was from Ottawa, Bobby was from Kenya. Bobby was in Ottawa on a student visa, while they could have married, many at Bobby’s home wanted him to come back to Kenya and live like a Kenyan man. He fought it for a while, but eventually, Bobby returned to Kenya after many intrigues. His love for Carol did not wane. He missed her dearly and when she came to see him in Kenya, they spent weeks holed away together.

With Carol, Bobby got one child, a boy. Bobby did all he could for Carol, even contemplated returning to Ottawa, but he’d found a very good job in the government. Leaving would mean giving up so much, so Carol endured. Bobby and Carol met once in a while, but the visits to Kenya dwindled and Bobby worried. The truth was Carol kept a painful secret. She was sick, you see, with cancer. She died young, leaving her son with her older brother. When Bobby wanted to see his son, take care of him now that the mother was gone, Carol’s brother made a special trip to Kenya. He warned Bobby to stay away. He accused Bobby of having led his sister to an early grave. You see to Carol’s brother, she’d died of a broken heart, more than the cancer that had ravaged her body. Devastated, Bobby agreed to keep his distance from his son. It was a painful decision, and for a while, Bobby was once again hurting because of love.

The third woman Bobby loved was an urbane girl. Lily was a woman who’d worked to build her career. She was a filial daughter and a faithful sister to her siblings. He liked that she listened to him. He loved that she encouraged him, and supported his decisions. He saw a life partner in her, so she was the one he married. Their life wasn’t easy. His side of the family wasn’t so accepting of her, her side of the family loved him  a bit too much. He drank too much; they fought about that a lot. They had three kids, and he was dedicated to them. Did all he could to give them a comfortable life.  When money started coming in, Bobby got restless, with his homey life.  He strayed, numerously.  It hurt his family, numerously.

And so, Bobby died, eleven years after his marriage to Lily. A vicious car accident, in the dead of night, he was drunk, and with another woman in his car.

Bobby left a deep hole in the lives of his family, both extended and immediate. He’d worked all his life to put them together. It was the one thing he’d done with all his heart despite his many pitfalls with love.  The day before his funeral, his siblings, (the people he’d fought to keep together) sat in his living room, and in front of Bobby’s children and wife, they said,

“Bobby is dead. We won’t need to return here after the funeral tomorrow. There’s nothing for us here.”

To a new widow, these words were a stab in the back. To three young children, the words were like a betrayal…as though they weren’t good enough for the extended family.

For sure, none of Bobby’s family crossed the gate to his home after that day, none of them.

Bobby’s life, gone in a blink of an eye, his legacy was left in three children and a woman with a broken heart. You might add on Carol’s son to this list. Perhaps I can add Shiku, who might have truly loved Bobby despite her crazy antics.  The many others remember him fondly, but they were the people he let down at the end.

Why tell this story about this man named Bobby?

He was on my mind today, heavily weighing on my thoughts. Bobby is remembered by many, but I think the people who profoundly miss his presence are the children he never got to know.