Welcome Spotlight Author Joy Lo-Bamijoko

Author PicA very warm welcome to “Spotlight” author Joy Lo-Bamijoko. Joy is a member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

Joy Nwosu was born in Enugu, Anambra State of south-eastern Nigeria. Her parents were Charles Belonwu and Deborah Nwosu. She is the fifth in rank of the seven children of her parents. Joy was born into a music family.

book-coverJoy, now retired, was a music teacher, trained in Santa Cecilia, Rome, and obtained her Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Michigan, USA.

She has written and published extensively in national and international scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Her short story I Come from Utopia was published in African Voices, Spring/Summer, 2007, pg. 18, and her first English novel; Mirror of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women was published in 2011, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Contest in 2012. She has also two books published in Italian.

Joy is a trained musician, and taught music for 35 years.  She writes, performs, and records folk songs.

The Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies

Nigerian Death Legends Come Alive in ‘the Walking Dead

(An Excerpt): A Place Called Akajiana

cover2The next morning, Gloria and her son woke up in this hollow of a home to the smell of food. Here they could be themselves again, unseen by the natives, but visible to their own likes. They sat around a solid wooden table and ate a hearty breakfast of agidi, a light corn paste, and moi moi, fried bean balls, a meal heavy enough to carry them through the day. They washed everything down with fura di nunu, a drink made from guinea corn, goat milk, and brown sugar.

In answer to Gloria’s questions, Sister Aug explained that when a new person arrived, the person was automatically assigned to the one who’d found him or her. That was why Aug had taken charge of Gloria and her son.

“I have exceeded my time here and cannot escape,” she added. “When I came here, we weren’t organized. Everyone was afraid. Each person looked for a way out by themselves. Returning was practically impossible. Today, things have changed. We have people who go and come with ease. Some people like it here; I do. For many years, I tried to get out and failed. Eventually, I resigned myself to my fate and started to make the best of my life here. More fura?”

Gloria and her son declined more of the drink. “Fura is a meal by itself and can fill the belly too much when eaten with other foods,” Gloria said. “But what do you mean by exceeding your time here?” She turned her seat around to face Sister Aug with her full attention.

“My arrival here is still a mystery to me. I suppose that everybody’s arrival here can be quite mystifying, but that doesn’t make it less mysterious. I have heard people say that they came through a stream.”

“We did,” Osondu said. For a moment, he stopped doodling on the table and paid attention to the ladies’ conversation.

“You must tell me all about it someday, Little Brother O.” Sister Aug flashed him a big smile. “I simply lost my way. One minute, I was with my friends searching for wood, and the next, I stepped into a vortex. When it was over, I found myself here. I lost my friends and my friends lost me.”

“A vortex, eh? That’s probably why you can’t get out,” Gloria said.

“Not at all. When I found out that I could leave, I tried several times. But I failed. After seven years in this place, it was too late. I resigned myself to my fate and started liking it here.”

“What’s there to like about this place?” Gloria shuddered at the thought of having to stay. “Seven years … that’s an awfully long time.” Her face creased, and she stood up and walked to the entrance of Sister Aug’s home. She took a deep breath to quell her agitation, walked back again, and turned to Sister. “I want to leave here now, not in the next seven years,” she said in a strained voice while she clasped and unclasped her hands. “How did you survive this?”

“Wait until you know the place better and hear the whole story,” Sister Aug replied.

After they had cleared the dishes from the table and washed up, Sister Aug said she wanted to show them a place on a hill at the other side of the town. They followed her out of the forbidden forest, through a hidden passage, and a path overlapped, at the top, by tall bamboo trees with thick undergrowth. Only the dwellers knew and could travel this path. They stopped in front of a large wooden door. Sister Aug snapped her fingers three times. The door opened without a sound, they stepped outside into a well-lit area, and the door closed again.

Her New Book

The Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies, which has just been released, is a journey into the mysteries of life and death of the Igbos of Nigeria.  She loves reading romances and mystery stories.

Buy the B&N e-Pub version

Buy the B&N e-Pub version

To learn more about Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, visit her website at: sbprabooks.com/joynwosulobamijoko or read her blog at: http://goo.gl/L967yq

Becoming a Writer – Overcoming Naysayers

writerIf you have a family and friends who love and support your quest to become a writer, that is a rare gift and you should treasure us. However, if you’re like many of us, you probably got some looks and whispered comments about “she’s finally gone off the deep end” or “here she goes again.”

The Twists and Turns of the Path to Writing

Like most writers, I took many twists and turns on the path to become a writer. It never occurred to me that I could make money at my writing. Writing was just something I always did. I kept journals, wrote short stories, shared fantastical tales with my friends, cried when we played make believe because my version of our play acting was always telenovela worthy.

I can still remember being with two of my friends when we were about 11 or so. We were playing house in the little back of the pickup truck trailer we had at the time. Great fun. We had a nice little story line going when I burst into tears and began screaming about how my boyfriend had been murdered and neither of them would ever understand how that felt.

My friends stared at me for a few quiet minutes, blinking with that dazed look so many people have given me over the years. One of them said, “Geez, Lori. You should just be an actress.”

Actually, no, I should just be a writer, because writers and creative people do always have to get into the story and take things to that level.

If there is a broken light over the lamp post on my street, it had to be broken by a serial killer or a vampire who is stalking me, right?

If I haven’t heard from my husband at the appointed hour, there is a horrendous attack on his work place and he is cowering in terror somewhere.

If my keys aren’t where I put them, there is an entity in the house moving them around.

If the normal person could live inside my mind and see where it goes sometimes, they would be truly frightened for my sanity.

I suspect if you are reading this, you have similar experiences in your daily life and you already know you’re a writer. However, you may have family members telling you that you shouldn’t try to be a writer.

It’s too risky, they say. There is no stability. It is hard to make it in the writing world.

They’re Right, But They’re Wrong

It’s too risky. There is no stability. It is hard to make it in the writing world.

The thing is that they are right. It is risky to be a writer. You may never sell a thing you write. You may be broke. There isn’t much stability. Even if you start making a living, your income will be sporadic at best. There will be times of feast and times of famine. It’s hard to make it. There is a lot of competition.

Yet, if you have that little voice that whispers to you that you simply must write anyway, none of that will matter.

If you told them you were going to get a nice sensible business degree and a job at the local hotel chain with good benefits, they would support your choice, so why not this one? Why not the choice that is the air you breathe? The choice that makes you who you are in all your glorious overreactions to everyday events and your slight insanity?

I’m sorry, but while they are right in what they are saying, they are wrong because they should support you.

YOU Must Make the Decision and Change

Unfortunately, arguing with people who are “reasonable” will not change their minds. Your reason is not theirs. Instead, you must respectfully insist on your own choices.

  • Tell them you appreciate their concern, but are moving forward with your plans.
  • Set a specific time to work and refuse to be interrupted. If you are writing for an hour every day after work, tell them and then refuse to answer the door or phone during that time.
  • Change the topic if they continue to try to push their views on you.

Know that while they may truly be concerned and have your best interest at heart, this is your life and you must make the final decision on what you spend your time on.

Find Support Elsewhere

No one understands a writer like a writer or fellow creative type. Join a critique group, a local organization of writers, or an online group and gain your strength from them. As someone who faced this type of “concern” over the years, I have to tell you that you simply have to make up your mind and ignore all the naysayers. They truly do mean well (most of them anyway), but they don’t understand that clawing desire to put your stories down for others to read.


“Do What You Love,” They Said

do what you loveYou’ve probably heard the age-old advice. Do what you love and the money will come to you. This is a saying that has been around for a long time.

Adults often advice kids going into college to do what they love.

While it is true that life is short and that you don’t want a job you hate, it isn’t always true that the money comes pouring in because you’re doing what you love.

Do What You Love, But Have a Backup Plan

I am so thankful for my dad and his wise advice over the years. He always told me to have a backup plan. When I told him I wanted to get a teaching degree, he asked what my backup plan was. Essentially, what would I do if I couldn’t find a teaching job. As a matter of fact, the year I graduated with the hardest degree to find a teaching job in (secondary English), there were few jobs to be had.

Today, I live in a community that has a school of education right up the road and tends to hire people they know (you know, the art teacher’s niece who grew up in this town but maybe didn’t even major in English in school). That means that unless I want to either sub until I’m 80 (I don’t), or take a job in the inner city (too far to drive), then I am not getting a teaching job ever. Not unless I want to move away.

So, his backup plan advice was actually excellent and caused me to develop some skills with computers and office skills that I might not otherwise have developed.

Make Time for What You Love

Instead of advising you, dear readers, to do what you love, I am going to advise you to make time for what you love. More than likely, you are not going to make much money when you first start writing. It takes a long time to build up a livable income and even then it can be sporadic. You may be forced to work a 9 to 5 job.

However, don’t give up on what you love. Nearly anyone can carve out 15 minutes a day. Take that 15 minutes and work on a book. In a year, you’ll a novel completed if you write just one page a day.

Never quit. Never give up. That is the true key to success and to one day doing what you love and making a living at it.