creation offers the opportunity to take from the table all that we ever need so we can acheive the best we ever dreamed. Thanks for visiting here.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011





Paula Boer is a writer with an interest in nature and travel. She lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and a variety of animals. When she is not writing, she loves exploring the countryside, reading and playing the piano.
It is my pleasure to welcome Paula Boer on Center Stage.
I ‘met’ via the internet and through her debut novel THE OKPAI PROMISE. I was intrigued about the novel. Well, what did I think? Paula knows how to spin a story. I am African and shook my head at all that happened in the forests. I am not so sure I agree with the doctor in withholding the promise of the Okapi to humanity. I took with a dim view his pretensions that he would like us to remain savages for long. He played the classic Zeus complex. I was hurt at the unnecessary murder of Derik and felt Paula did not show us the proper justice that was coming to Cheryl. Okapi promise had my full attention from being a simple and interesting travelogue to a chilling murder thriller. Like the African weather Paula was unpredictable and took me through a variety of emotions but I was held by her expertise. Loved the story and felt sad about tragedy- prone Derik. Then I heard through our joint publisher IFWG Publishing that Paula has done it again, she is about to launch her second novel BRUMBIES so felt it appropriate to invite her to Center Stage for a chat. Please enjoy the interview.
1.    Congratulations Paula on your up- coming book, please share your thoughts on it.
Thanks, Biola. 
2.    Who is Paula really?
I've had a number of careers, starting with farming in England when I left school at age 15. After a while I decided I would like to own my own farm, so went into computing to earn better money. After twenty years (a lot longer than I thought), I did end up with a hobby farm, where my husband Pete and I had up to thirteen horses at one stage. Then we retired early as we decided to simplify our lives and sold everything up to travel around Australia. During that time I started writing; now I consider that my third career.
3.    Would it be right to make the outrageous submission that you love animals a little teeny bit more than humans?
No. I think you should say A LOT more! Animals and wilderness are my passions. I love my close friends, but can happily live without people en masse.
4.    In the Okapi promise, one could surmise that you have misgivings about the effect of civilization on the human mind and behavior, is that true?
I don't have misgivings about the effect on humans per se, more the impact of so called civilisation on the planet. Personally, I think living in balance with nature is preferable to exploiting the earth's resources.
5.    Okapi promise was a travelogue/suspense/crime thriller, Brumbies promises to be different, it is a shift from the previous genre? Why?
I was taught 'write about what you know'. The Okapi Promise was based on my own travels in Africa and my concern about the widespread nature of rabies across the world. The Brumbies series expresses my years of experience working with and enjoying horses. I loved The Silver Brumby series as a child, and have heard many young people wish for more horsey books, so I targeted that age group, but the series can be (and has been) enjoyed by adults too.
6.    You wrote Okapi promise from the view point of a benevolent person that seemed to respect the norms of the Okapi people, but one came away from the book that there was something primitive and naive about their acceptance of the tourists which would thus indicate they already had contact with the symbols of civilization, wasn’t the doctor playing god in refusing the rest of humanity the opportunity for healing?
Each reader is likely to have a different take on that (and there were four points of view used in the narration). I try to put forward all sides of a story and let others decide what is right or wrong. I can only present the information as I understand it. I try very hard not to preach through my writing.
7.    What genre of writing has had the most impact on you and thus influenced your writing?
I think the biggest influence has to be that I don't stick to a single genre in my reading. I read both fiction - science fantasy, historical drama, thrillers and so on) and non-fiction - coffee table books, 'how-to' books, essays, even dictionaries!
8.    There is a growing sense that the written word is going out of fashion, yet it had shaped millions of people in the past, what do you think as an author of e-books, electronic libraries as against the traditional library of the printed word.
I believe there is room for both. Personally, I only read paper books. However, I recognise that other people prefer an electronic medium. It's good to have a choice.
9.    As we await the imminent launch of Brumbies, what do you hope it will achieve for you as well as the readers you intend it will benefit.
I hope the Brumbies series will be successful in numbers of sales, both for my personal gratification but also to promote IFWG Publishing. As a small independent publisher that looks after their authors, I would like to see IFWG do well and rise up to be respected and recognised by the industry.
For the readers, I hope they will enjoy the same thrills that I have in sharing the outdoors with horses, whether that be only in their minds or results in them experiencing Australia's high country and wild horses first hand.
10. The developing world has a lot to catch up with particularly in the widening of their horizons through reading, yet the reading culture is dead on arrival in my neck of the woods, books are expensive and publishers are worried about making returns on their investment, do you have any suggestions for us on how we can access your books fairly moderately?
I have only visited Nigeria briefly, so can't claim to be able to solve local problems in Africa. However, I do believe that schools and libraries (state based and charitable as well as private) should play a significant role in making books accessible to a wide as audience as possible, both young and old. I believe education is the key to understanding the problems facing the world and hope that through an informed populace we can fix the damage done by previous generations.
11. Are there plans to market Brumbies to reach the African market?
As for all IFWG publications, Brumbies will be available online, so should be available wherever there is access to the Internet (subject to countries' import conditions). If I make another journey to Africa, I will be happy to do book signings wherever I am invited!
12. You are an established author, please give advice on how one can maintain a sustainable writing career.
Write, write, write. Listen to advice (but only act on it if either three or more people tell you or you wholeheartedly agree with it). Don't give up – be self-motivated and determined. And, despite writing at times being work, enjoy the process! We (should) write by choice, or because we feel compelled to do so, not because of any desire to achieve fame or fortune, sell a message or because we feel obliged to share our story.
13. Do you worry about how your next book will be received?
Of course! The process of writing from experience is very personal. But I hope that I can take any criticism constructively and use it to improve future writing.
14. Most authors look forward to seeing their books become a success even being adapted into a film, which of your books will you like to see as a film one day?
All of them. Seriously, I believe either The Okapi Promise or the Brumbies Series would make fabulous films – great scenery, lots of action, and hopefully characters that viewers can relate to. Bring it on!

You can buy THE OKAPI PROMISE online at amazon.com. Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and most online stores anywhere. BRUMBIES is scheduled for release in a matter of days WATCH OUT!!
Thank you Paula for coming on Center Stage.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Center Stage with Jeannette Katzir

Today I have the pleasure to introduce on Center Stage Jeannette Katzir
Jeannette Katzir

She is someone who made me emotional after reading her book. I remember not immediately being able to say anything. I had taken a cursory look at the first page intending to read it later as I was just finishing a screen play and felt I should rest for a few hours at least. It was a mistake opening that first page. I was tired, needed to make dinner and I had Jeannette to thank for sleeping hungry and exhausted at the end of the read some eighteen hours later. My neck was stiff and I had lived through a thousand agonies of pain, fear, hurt and exasperation. In fact at the end of my reading I had to send Jeannette this short instant poem:

Just one bird,
it flew the skies
on one broken wing
as her dream died at dawn
unable to feel the heat of the sun
the caress of the winds
the soft murmur of a fresh spring
for as a broken bird she flew the skies
pain and fear through her soul
Channa oh Channa.

I am sure when I sent it to Jeannette she must have blinked and wondered what kind of person I am. I was that affected and immersed. Before I bring on my guest I would most earnestly recommend her book,”Broken Birds”. To anyone who has been at the receiving end of injustice through racism. Let me share a few of the comments that this book has elicited, so you will know why you ought to get a copy soonest

“ . . . The final hundred pages of "Broken Birds" are thrust and parry, insult and body blow. It's nasty, nasty stuff, and yet I didn't turn away. And not because I'm a voyeur; in that game, I'm an amateur. But stories are life, distilled; as a collector of stories, I'm All Pro, and so, I'd bet, are most of you. And when the storyteller is gifted, our capacity to hear them expands.”
-Jesse Kornbluth,
The Huffington Post & HeadButler.com

“ . . . Katzir’s pacing was impeccable . . . I could not put it down from the first day I began reading it . . . I truly felt as if I, too was hiding from the Nazis and running for my life . . . [The] realistic portrayal of her beloved parents really added depth and complexity to this memoir. . . ”
 Let us now return to Jeannette, please enjoy the interview.

 Please tell us a bit about yourself 
I'm a fifty-  plus year old wife, mother, grandma-ma, author, equestrian, photographer and travel-aholic.  I started seriously writing after my mother's death and haven't been able to stop. I'm putting the finishing touches on book #2 and am co-writing a children series with two of my riding buddies.
2.    Broken Bird is a very powerful story but it is a family story, is it personal? Your name is Jeannette and not the name of the author.
 It is a non-fcition memoir about myself and my family.  It can't come any more personal than that.

3.    You have explored several themes in the story, particularly about racism, and parenting, which one of the themes has impacted on you most? 
Being jewish in a predominately non-jewish world and suffering from the racism it invokes has instilled a wariness in me.    Parenting is something i have dealt with since i was old enough to care for my younger siblings.  It is something i enjoy, but not nearly as much as grand-parenting.  It has all the best parts of parenting  - with  none of the worry.
4.    Channa’s story has made a very powerful impression, what would you say was the Achille’s heel that finally defeated her?
 I don't feel Channa was ever defeated, if anything the history of her youth and she herself were her worst enemies.  
5.    Parenting and family values also seem to have been given a lot of consideration in Broken Birds, both Nathan and Channa missed the point, didn’t they and why do you think so?
 I think their time in the war jaded them, and although they both tried very hard, parenting didn't come easy to them.  
6.    Please why did you opt for Broken Birds as an Ebook? Is Ebook now gaining the upper hand over traditional publishing? 
Broken birds is available in both ebook format and as a paperback, but i think traditional publishing will go the way of the 8track.
7.    Who are your favorite Authors?
8.    You mentioned in your book that there grew a systemic denial of the holocaust, what is the situation now?
 I was in germany in 2005 and sadly found holocaust denial and anti-semitism  flourishing.

9.    Distrust, has had a devastating effect on Channa’s marriage and ultimately destroyed a close knit family, do you think the story would have been different if Channa had received some counseling?
 I don't know if counseling could have fixed her.  The demons that surrounded her were profound and ever present. When she died she carried those fears with her.
10.  Why do you call her Momila? What does it mean and signify?
 Momila is a Yiddish word for mother, it is a term of endearment and my mother was very dear to me. 
11. What were the lessons you learned from the story of Channa?
 I learned that if you have children, and you do have a favorite try with everything you have not to show it.  And if you are going to be anything but fair in the handling of issues such as money, property, etc., don't be secretive, or leave the discoveries for a time after you're gone.  The children deserve to be told while you are alive so issues can be discussed.  If fairness is something you feel is unwarranted, at least tell the children to their face, because once you're gone they are left with an open wound and no way to heal it. (i am not saying you have to be fair, it is after all your right to do as you wish, but have the backbone to tell the child to his/her face).

12. What genre of writing do you prefer?
Writing broken birds, the story of my momila, a memoir, was cathartic and i'm glad i wrote it.  My  second book is a fiction - and i have enjoyed writing it very much.  The children's book is also fictional and writing this one as a group effort is a lot of fun. If i had to select a genre, i think i only had one non-fiction in me, so i'd pick fiction as my favorite.

13. Who would you recommend this book to? What has been the response to this wonderful book?

I would recommend this book to parents, so they'll understand the harm in favoritism. To grandparents, so they will know that if they leave money, property, belongings, remembrances  unevenly those left behind are left with a question in their hearts that will never be answered.  I also think anyone who wants to know what it was like to be the child of someone who suffered through such an atrocity would gain great insight after reading this book. Brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles or/and world war ii adicts would find it a fascinating read.
14. Share your writing day with this blog

 Unfortunately i wish i was able to write all day, but i can not, so i write whenever i have a couple of peaceful moments, sometimes very early in the morning and sometimes very late at night.
15.Please give links to anyone interested in buying Broken Birds.
 It is available on my websitewww.brokenbirds.com, on amazon.comBarnesandnoble.com andsmashwords.com,.  A number of small bookstores also carry them on their shelves.  

Thank you for coming on Center Stage.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


It was an assignment he had set himself. Babatunde came back to the village determined to find out as much as he can about the herbs and barks of his village. He also wanted to know about a strange esoteric attack that was simply called ‘ATA”, which translated simply meant ‘pepper’. He had trained as a pharmacist because he had an almost instinctive knowledge of herbs and that always unsettled him. His father would stare at him for long moments but very rarely said a word.
Tope had doubled over in mirth when he said he was going to the forest alone. Tope gave him amused glances, shook his head and grinned, “You don’t even know the proper names of the plants and would not know a ‘dogonyaro’ plant from the other.”
“Well, I know the proper name as the Neem tree, besides everyone knows the ‘dogonyaro tree’ and what it is used for. In fact we are actively studying the plant and why it does not have the same side effect as the more common drugs we use for patients.”
“That is my point, you are westernizing everything. We do not do that, we talk to the plants and ask their permission before we cut them, so we have no need to go looking for side effects because you fellows have extracted everything.”
Babatunde was curious, “Why do you that? I mean why do you feel you need to talk to plants, they can’t hear you can they?”
“Silly, we want to inform the beings in the plant that we need their help and want them to change location before we use the plants.”
“The way I see it, this particular kind of ailment if you want to call it that, is not done physically.”
“ATA” as we all know it is a kind of attack done through radiation, all you need is the shadow of the offender or even call the person’s name, then you call the precise name of that part of the anatomy that has offended you. You see there are different types of the attack, but the anatomy that manifests the affliction indicates what the offence was, like someone who runs off too often at the mouth will have the affliction on the mouth and face. If you were interested in a lady and she said no with too much disdain or contempt for your person, you afflicted that part of her anatomy that indicated her feminity, which could be her face or her privates.”
“So why do you call it ‘ata’? As that means pepper, does it mean pepper is used in preparing the concoction for the attack?”
Tope shrugged, “I did not call it by that name, it is the name everyone, in every part of the Yoruba kingdom calls it. So if you went to any village, you will find that as the general name. I do not know if pepper is used either. I never had a need for it.”
“Why?” Babatunde asked then amended when Tope stared at him angrily, “I meant why people do that?”
“You really have gone soft in the head with this education of yours. It is a general fighting weapon. Remember when you came home from the holidays and Papa insisted that you were to be given the same antidote incision from anyone who might inflict that on you?”
Babatunde frowned as he remembered, “Don’t change the subject, why do people call it by that name?”
Tope sighed in patient frustration, “It is because, using pepper is the only way you know whether the thrush, rash or skin cancer you think you have is local attack or garden disease, if you apply it to the spot you suspect and you feel no pain, it means you have been afflicted with ‘ata’ and you must get a herbalist to divine who did it and have it washed out.”
“Washed out?” Babatunde leaned closer to his half brother really interested, “How is the washing done? With soap?”
Tope roared with laughter almost doubling over, “Of course not, soap indeed. It is a collection of herbs picked at first dawn to ensure it has potency and with a few words chanted over it, it is used to wash the ailment.”
Babatunde wrinkled his brows, “Chants?”
Tope was firm, “Yes chants. You need to tell the beings in the plants that you need the properties in the plants for healing.”
Babatunde shook his head,” you fellows do have confusing styles, beings in leaves..” then he stopped as he abruptly saw the picture of the old man on the farm path and what he had gone through after that. It was an experience he rarely wanted to relive. It had brought the question of reincarnation sharply into focus for him. Not that I need a reminder with a name like mine.
There was a lot he still needed to learn and he had found himself moving closer to his half brother and trying to learn as much as he can from his more traditionally grounded brother.
Babatunde gave his half brother a keen look. Tope had become a really successful farmer but had yet to pick a wife saying he would wait for the next virgin dance and see what the village had to offer. He still lived at home but had made a small hut for himself behind the main building and it had become a meeting point for all the boys. Babatunde tended to spend most of his time there now.
Tope still made early dawn trips to the farm and there had been times when he spent the night on the farm. Papa had given him a small portion of the family cocoa plantation to manage for himself. Babatunde was impressed with the way Tope had expanded and built on his small holding. He frowned as he thought over what Tope just said, “what do you mean you inform the beings?”
Tope gave is half brother a smile before he replied, “You are losing more and more of your local touch. Don’t become too much of an educated ass. Everything has a name and Olodumare gave everything a name. If you want a plant to work for you, you call it by its name. Isn’t that why Ekun Agba became so famous?”
He was silent after that comment knowing there was some truth in what his brother said. He had become more inclined to acting the civilized jerk he told himself. Babatunde wondered if he was really interested in drugs and their uses or that he was just searching for himself and the meaning of his life. There were so many confusing things in his life and sometimes he just wished to be left alone.
He went still as a voice jumped in his mind and spoke distinctly, “if you ever want to qualify as a man you must know why you are here.” Babatunde went still and stared at Tope, he wondered if his half brother heard the same thing, “Do you hear strange voices sometimes?”
Tope laughed and replied flippantly, “Yes Amoke’s voice but then after I have had a bottle of palm wine at ‘Apata gangan’ the palm wine shed. Oh, you have seen your Imole Ife, your friend again? I had the strangest feeling when she walked past me the other day”.
“That friend of yours, the strange one. Imole Ife, I just mentioned her name, have you gone deaf?”
“You know her name and you call her a strange friend?” Babatunde asked mystified.
“I used to think you had fallen for her hence you rarely want to go girl chasing again”. Tope said with a shrug.
Babatunde laughed but felt funny inside. He did not want to make a joke about her. He knew who Tope was talking about but did not want to acknowledge that even to himself. He felt the enquiring looks of his half brother and tried to shrug it off.
He had never been able to identify his true feelings about Imole Ife. After that fantastic experience in which she had experienced his past with him, he had been unnerved.
Tope gave him a curious look, “Something happened to you about that girl didn’t you?”
“Nothing happened.”
“What do you mean exactly?”
“Okay, act like a fox and see if I am going to ask you further questions”.
“You do not need to ask me further questions, I see the fear, longing and desperate hunger in your eyes. You cannot approach her, you are not allowed to, and if you attempt to fall for that girl you will be hungry for her all your life. I think a simple girl like Amoke will be a good choice, she is warm in the right places, you do not need to think before you talk to her and all she wants is to have your children. Her mother had seven sons so you will not have to worry.”
Babatunde snorted disgusted, “What are you jabbering about? Me and Amoke?”
“Papa thinks I should sound you out about your intended bride now that you have finished the almighty western education, even though you still do not know much about our plants and barks. I am not seeing any sign of quick money in this venture of yours. I sold almost five tons of cocoa last season, and got good money. Papa says he can let you have the farm portion on the western side of mine whenever you are ready.”
Babatunde stared in anger at Tope, “You fellows are not serious are you? My intended bride? That is some joke I take it”, then he sighed and tried to make his tone conciliatory knowing that Tope meant well, “I will have a farm and job when the time is right.”
“Well I told Papa that I never heard you discuss any women with me and we both know there is no road in your longing for that strange girl, Imole Ife.”
Babatunde gave him a look of disgust, “Just keep your nose out of my business.”
“I should tell Papa that?”
“Are you mad or something?” Babatunde fumed. “Papa did not send you on such an errand and we both know it. How come you are not married yourself?”
“We are not discussing my marriage”
“Neither are we talking about me, how did I ever think you were smart?”
Tope was not finished and Babatunde saw the amused glint as he looked at him, “Fancy yourself as Joseph right?”
“You know, I used to hear these Christians talk about the Virgin Mary and well you seem to be the male counterpart, after all her husband was called Joseph, and he always dreamed right?”
Babatunde stared then threw a punch, but Tope ducked and made pretence of cowering in abject fear, Babatunde chuckled, “You horrible pagan. You have mixed them up and as usual did not bother to check. Men are not virgins. There are two Josephs alright but I don’t how I fit into any one of them you heathen.”
Tope slapped at his face and laughed, “That is what I told Papa but he said you are the gentleman. He was worried that you might bring a strange girl from another town home as a wife so he asked me to quietly check the girls for him and felt I would know your taste.”
Babatunde shook his head in real bewilderment, “You must have taken a whole keg of palm wine to have been stupefied into thinking you had an idea at all. You, of all people, besides, how could I want to have your left over?”
Tope went cold suddenly and snarled, “My taste is better than yours brother Alakowe.”
“Yeah? I am not interested in village idiots as you.”
Tope stood and walked out slamming the door.
The voice laughed softly, “That was not very clever.”
Babatunde snapped, “He is not very clever.”
“Not clever maybe but very lethal, you had better see your friend, the one you call Fancy pants”
He looked round him wondering why he was talking to himself and sighed. He was tired and really should sleep. He closed his eyes as he remembered fancy pants. He smiled.
Would have been nice if he could just see Fancy pants right now. He sighed and closed his eyes as he tried to relive the memory of fancy pants.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I almost Did

My son just called
 and said the militants
 dropped their guns
 and crossed their arms.

The noise of the celebrations
makes the creek red
like those who fought
for a tomorrow
that died yesterday

 habit or beloved
 he said it once
I love you
and will take
 care of you
he even signed
the piece of legal nonsense
that made me his.

Twenty years on
we still sleep two spoon
in the middle of the bed holding hands,
but sometimes I wonder,
am I his habit or beloved?

went to my uncle
for the traditional pounded yam
he had just married a woman
from across the seas
we came for the ceremony
to wash her legs into the family

 She could not cook
 Our breakfast
But gave us two tiny slices of bread, eggs and tea
no moonlit tales
had never heard of tortoise
We felt sorry for uncle
 There was no pounded yam
nor fresh palmwine for grandpa
the saddest thing however,
she did not allow us to wash her legs too.