Thursday, April 28, 2016

Facade by Emem Uko is FREE on Kindle for a Limited Time




Hello book lovers,

We all like freebies, right? Facade by Emem Uko is free on Kindle from Thursday, April 28 through Saturday, April 30. Let your friends know. Let book clubs know. You don't have to own a Kindle reader to be able to get it. You can go ahead and download the free Kindle App and then search for "Facade by Emem Uko."

If you're in young adult books or romance, then you'll enjoy this book so much. Have a wonderful time reading about Emma and her life after high school.

http://www.amazon.com/Facade-Emem-Uko-ebook/dp/B013M2N0IG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461856595&sr=8-1&keywords=facade+by+emem+uko

Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Out and About - Appreciating Scenery



It was a beautiful Sunday that started out like most Sundays, but went on to be an amazing day. I caught the bus that would take me to the train station. My fellow passengers were either still sleepy or solemn-looking but I, on the other hand, was wide awake with my cup of hot decaf coffee in my favorite Starbucks cup.



As I walked into the train station, I was happy to see that the train was only two stops away. I looked around me and the train station was packed with people, unlike how early Sunday mornings usually are. I soon recalled that the Boston Marathon runners were in town and I admired all their colorful running shoes. The train came and I sat comfortably, putting on my earphones and listening to The Martian on Audible.



Church was wonderful and afterwards, I met up with my friend, who had told me earlier in the week that she was going to give me a tour of the wharf in the city. I was equipped with my running shoes and ready to enjoy a long walk after church.



I can't begin to tell you how great the city looked. The weather still held a slight chill, but it was sunny and clear. There were so many people around doing one thing or another and I admired the structures and waters around me. It's true what they say about being in a place and not really knowing the place. Most of us stick to a daily routine that doesn't give us time for exploration. It's always good to take time out of our busy schedules to walk around or drive around, depending on our locations and explore.



Go farther than you usually do. Eat in places that you're not familiar with. Attend shows that you think aren't your taste. You don't have to spend so much travelling when you have gems hiding within your city. All you have to do is to go looking for them. My walk, which was long by the way, was a sweet experience; one that I hope to do more often.



(ukoemem - Author; Ola Y - Editor)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Piece by Piece is Making Me Feel Some Type of Way




Has someone said something that made you think afterwards, "wow, I'm lucky," but then you feel guilty later because you realize that you don't express enough gratitude towards the people that are kind to you? Weeks ago, I heard the buzz about Kelly Clarkson's performance on American Idol and I had to watch it. I have been and still am one of her biggest fans and to me, she is one of the contestants that deserved her win fair and square. 

So, I went on YouTube and watched the performance. It takes a lot for me to get emotional about things, but this performance, the words, the music, my goodness! I listened to her sing, and I wondered how I would have turned out without having people who cared about my well-being. Imagine having a parent that you know exists, that you wanted in your life, that you found, but he or she cared less if you existed. That would be shattering to anyone, much more a young child. Kelly expressed the pain of that experience in her performance, which showed how long she had harbored the heartbreak since childhood until adulthood. I cannot imagine what she has been through, but I'm happy that she has persevered and now is a strong woman. The performance showed that she had learned a lesson to love and would never let her child go through what she went through.

Be thankful for those that care about you. Appreciate your parents, and parents, please be involved in your kids' lives no matter the circumstance.


(ukoemem - Author; Ola Y - Editor)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Fish Days From Tuesdays Through Thursdays




I've never been one to willfully change the channel to a cooking show and just casually watch it for fun. My encounters with cooking shows have just been in passing or situations where the TV is on and that's what is already showing with people watching. On few occasions, I got to watch snippets of a food show that starred Anthony Bourdain. From my understanding, he traveled the world and ate delicacies from those parts. Some of the foods featured are so bizarre that am always amazed when he chowed them down without flinching. I still wonder how his bowels survive after everything he eats; a testament that our digestive system is very powerful.

Anyway, as I scrolled through my daily news feed, I saw a lifestyle article that the title basically said Anthony Bourdain, who is a world-famous chef by the way, won't eat restaurant fish on Monday. I got the ding, ding, ding, and quickly opened up the article to find out why even though I suspected that it would have to do with the quality of the fish. I was right about a fraction of the reason. Yes, it's the quality, but this quality issue is for restaurants that aren't situated on the coast. Apparently, fresh fish only lasts about three days if properly refrigerated, and buyers of seafood who purchase in bulk of millions of pounds may not be equipped with the proper method of storage for their seafood.

Then imagine the fishes you get on Monday. Yes, they were probably purchased on Thursday because chefs typically order them on that day in preparation for the weekend since the market closes on weekends. Mr. Bourdain advises that you should order your fish from Tuesdays through Thursdays since the old fishes are likely to be thrown out after Monday. I never pay attention to these things but advice that steer you towards fresh foods doesn't hurt one bit.


(ukoemem - Author; Ola Y - Editor; Work Cited: Yahoo Lifestyle)

Monday, February 29, 2016

Oscars 2016 Fave Looks

I'm going to skip my least favorite looks of this year's Oscars and post only my favorites. In the past, I haven't posted a lot of men's looks and as Chris Rock said, "men wear the same thing." The only men that made my list were those that wore outfits that made them stand out or those that complimented their ladies' looks. 

(Outfits are not ranked)

1) 

Olivia Munn


2)
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend


3) 
Rooney Mara
4) 
Jennifer Lawrence


5)
Robin Roberts


6)
Priyanka Chopra


7)
Kate Winslet


8)
Eniko Parrish and Kevin Hart


9)
Jacob Tremblay


10)
Margot Robbie


11)
Michael Strahan


12)
Charlotte Rampling


13)
Zuri Hall


14)
Cate Blanchett
15)

Charlotte Riley and Tom Hardy
16)
Rachel McAdams



Thursday, February 25, 2016

Now She's 'Monster Mom,' Really?




I want to believe that the person who wrote the article calling Charlize Theron a 'monster mom' is a PHD holder in Super Nanny. Her kid threw a tantrum in public and she grabbed him instead of letting him roll around and that is now grounds for being a monster. This unhealthy fascination with celebrities plus the shock when it finally dawns on us that they're humans just like us feeds a part of us that makes us judgmental. We have to be careful about that behavior. We sit on our moral thrones because our lives aren't as advertised. We see pictures and are quick to speculate and make conclusions.

I was so annoyed because I'm usually around kids and kids will always be kids. They don't care if you're the paparazzi or the President. They will act the way they feel in that moment. It's the constraint and the understanding of the adult that will help the situation. Maybe we expected Charlize Theron to just laugh at the situation or ignore it completely. Well boohoo, she is a mother and your own parental decision doesn't apply to her. Are you aware of what set off the tantrum? Do you know if one of those annoying camera-wielding individuals did something to create panic? 

If there's a real problem, let the right people take action, not trolls that think they have a right to write nonsense on their blogs because they think they know what's best. Yes, Ok Magazine published photos and behold, the mom-shaming of Charlize Theron began. Guess what? a psychotherapist was asked about the situation and here is what she said, "She's got to find out what's on his mind by asking him and letting him talk about his feelings, not dragging him around." After reading this, I was left wondering if this Dr. Gilda has met a four year old throwing a tantrum who will settle down and talk about his feelings. Wonderful advice, doctor, because that four year old is clearly thinking logically. 


(ukoemem - Author; Ola Y - Editor)

Friday, January 15, 2016

On a Budget Doesn't Mean Neglect Health





This is just a recent observation on my part. We all know of the 'low income equals obesity issue.' The cheap foods are supposedly the bad ones. Therefore, if I have little money then I will buy what I can afford like fast foods and cheap snacks. What about people who are well to do but still make poor health choices because they can eat whatever they want? They may not eat from most fast food restaurants but they can still get their hands on the same foods, only in expensive restaurants. I guess the point I'm trying to make is having little or so much money should not influence your choice to making healthy decisions.




Okay now, back to someone who is on a tight budget. Can they survive without going the "cheap equals bad food route"? Yes, they can. It takes a little more planning on their part. Do you know that for the same budget as someone who doesn't have a lot, you could actually buy better food choices? You just have to pay attention to the products and then you can look for their closest affordable substitutes. Trust me when I say that there are always cheaper versions of the good stuff. The business world knows how to sell the wrong things with catchy slogans. They make you believe what they want you to believe. Why not start thinking for yourself and believing that you can make things works with whatever meager amount of money you have? Why not focus on trying to look for ways of not compromising your health for the sake of "eating cheap?" 




Personally, I have a tight budget and have realized that it is possible to stick to it with smart planning. All it takes is paying more attention. I don't have to start eating at McDonalds just because I want cheap lunches. I won't lie that I have reduced my Starbucks treats which turns out to be a wonderful step in the right direction. The point I'm trying to make here is there are good and bad compromises. Stick to the one that is good and make it work. Take a turn from big brand names and try out store brands. Some of them are actually better than the popular brands. Pay attention to promotions and don't fail to ask the workers because they know all the hidden deals and the upcoming ones. Yes, I'm telling you to live frugally but not to the point where you cease to enjoy things. Practice simple things like cooking more and eating out less; choosing to drink more water as opposed to spending on beverages all the time. Take a walk and reduce your TV and online binge time, which happens to be times that some of us eat aka snack the most. Changes like I've mentioned can add to your bank account instead of your waistline. Anyway, I'm becoming wiser, thanks to my goal to eliminate debts and save more. Happy Reading!


(ukoemem - Author; Ola Y - Editor)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Unfit


Just out of curiosity, did anyone stick to their resolutions for 2015? I didn't have one this year, but I was on a mission to discover something about myself. In the past couple of years, I have embraced exercising because of my unwillingness to stop consuming sweets. This was my way of balancing things out and I've been content with my shape and size. Last year in particular, the "you're too thin" comment got out of hand. This was weird to me because the only change I had made was exercising more frequently. Then, I decided to slow down and when that did not seem to change the comments, my genius plan at the beginning of this year was to wean myself off exercise and then stop completely for a year. The weaning started out with three days of exercise a week, then two, then one, and then never. I stopped exercising in May 2015.

After today's workout, the first in seven months, I can truthful say that not exercising was the worst plan ever. Yes, it's not one year yet. The no exercise plan lasted for seven months and couldn't take it any longer. I didn't plan to begin exercising for the first reason that would come to anybody's head. In fact, I weigh less, which means, I lost muscle mass. Oh by the way, I did not reduce my calorie intake, so it has nothing to do with dieting. I refrained from posting the before and after photo because it would have sent the wrong message. I looked stronger, defined, and toned when I exercised as opposed to my just slim look without exercise. 


You know what's funny, I didn't disclose this plan to anyone. Guess what? I still got the "you're thin" comments during my no-exercise hiatus. There was also, "you look stressed and tired," "are you okay?," "maybe you should get more sleep." The funniest and most thought provoking statement for me was from a friend who said, "wearing big clothes won't hide your thin neck." That made me laugh but made me think. I'm way past the years when body image issues was a thing for me. What I didn't realize was that I was purchasing larger size clothes. I'm a big fan of oversize clothing but when it becomes more than a trend, then it's a problem. That opened my eyes. I'm not actually buying this larger sizes in the hopes of filling them up. I do like my size. 


This past year has thought me that I know myself more than anyone else, and I should always treat myself (my body) with love and care. I used to climb three flight of stairs like it was nothing, but now I huff and puff when I do it. I used to be faster and stronger. Now I feel a bit slower and less lively. I'm still fun though, thank goodness! My workout today showed me how unfit I had become. I couldn't even hold a plank exercise for two minutes. I'm so happy I'm back because I missed it badly. Happy New Year to you all in advance and please don't make stupid resolutions. Cheers!


(ukoemem - Author; Ola Y - Editor)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Spread the Good




In a time like this when most of what we are seeing and hearing are the horrible actions of humans, it is good to share news of good works by our peers and other people in the world. The goal of social media isn't only to spread the news of strife, suffering, violence, and terrorism but to also share news of love, kindness, goodness, and hope. I want to share with you an act of kindness by Blessing Bassey, the founder of Authentic B Foundation and her team because I think they are inspirational and motivational. On Friday, November 13, 2015 - World Kindness Day, Blessing and her team visited schools, a home for aging people, and a police station to spread love, speak and help people with needs, hand out gifts, and pray for them. You have no clue what a tiny act of kindness can do to a person. Sometimes, just a smile can change a person's perspective of life and give an individual a ray of hope.




Blessing Bassey is from Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria. She resides and works as a lawyer in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. She is described by her friends and colleagues as a kind, God fearing, and fun loving person.

She wrote a piece in commemoration of the 2015 World Kindness Day. Here it is below.






KINDNESS
by Blessing Bassey



Kindness can be defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.” Our world today is full of evils like mischief, anger, selfishness and cruelty. These mannerisms are seeds that take root when sown by one person, and quickly propagates to the next, making the world a toxic forest of negativity. Kindness is the forest fire the world needs to burn away these undesirable trees.
It is sad to see that many people neglect this modest, yet effective fire of kindness. We must receive with gratitude every opportunity to show kindness, as it is the much-needed warmth in this cold world. Simple acts like a helping hand here and there, a show of compassion, encouraging words and a friendly smile are enough to turn around an already ruined day for someone. These acts remind people that they are loved and needed, which in turn repairs their bruised confidence and self-worth.
Now and again, people experience difficulties in their lives, stemming from their career, education, relationships, family, faith etc. These difficulties make them forget other people and get engrossed in their problems, leading to a negative reaction of selfishness. A selfish generation is the last thing the world needs today. Everyone, regardless of his or her situation must embrace kindness, as acts of kindness never go futile. Kindness reflects positively on the lives of both the doer and recipient. On one hand, the recipient is overwhelmed with feelings of joy and delight, while the doer is satiated with feelings of warmth and compassion. These positive reflections contribute immensely to making a world a better place to live in.
It would be very selfish to limit kindness to only humans. As a matter of fact, kindness is the driving force of the universe. All living beings that exist in nature respond to this language of kindness. Mute animals wag their tails in appreciation of kindness shown to them by their owners; plants grow, flourish and bear fruits also in appreciation of the kindness of their caretaker. Nature itself shows kindness by giving the sun, rains, seasons, etc. thereby sustaining the life of all its inhabitants.
Synonyms of kindness include altruism, benevolence, care, compassion, consideration, hospitality, magnanimity, and warmth. In all its variations, kindness is undisputedly considered a virtue by all religions. It is a variant of love, which is deemed the ‘greatest virtue’ in the Christian faith. It shouldn’t be regarded as a mere religious obligation, but should rather be imbibed in all spheres of life, be it in the family, neighbourhood, work, and even in business, because selfless deeds usually yield favourable rewards.
Popular American author Mark Twain once defined kindness as “the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” He couldn’t be further from the truth as this language transcends boundaries and is comprehended by all. We must embrace kindness as a way of life, a habit, a common attribute rather than a rare trait. When this is done, we would have re-kindled the dying fire in our world today. No matter how small the act, always make a point of showing kindness to others and yourself.
Written in Commemoration of 2015 World Kindness Day (Friday, November 13th)
By
AUTHENTIC B FOUNDATION
Inspiring the U in You











Like Blessing, I urge each and every one of us to be kind and spread love. Find Blessing Bassey on instagram as @authenticb900

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Writing Playlist



It is funny that I can't read when music is playing because I end up singing the song and getting distracted. But I have realized that it is different when I'm writing. Music actually helps in setting the tone of whatever scenario I'm concocting. With that said, here are some songs that do the trick.

See website for book updates 

Scenarios

Sad-tragic scenes
  • Tears of an angel by Ryan Dan
  • See you again by Wiz Khalifa ft Charlie Puth
  • Down by Jason Walker
  • Rust or gold by Jill Andrews
  • A team by Ed Sheeran
  • Need by Hana Pestle
 
Missing you-breakup-reconciliation
  • Find my way back by Cody Fry
  • Come back for me by Jaymes Young
  • Waiting game by Banks
  • Salvation by Gabrielle Aplin
  • Incomplete by Backstreet Boys
  • I can't make you love me by Adele

Happy-bubbly scenes
  • Happy by Pharrell Williams
  • Uptown funk by Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars
  • I just haven't met you yet by Michael Buble
  • Tonight we are young by Glee
  • I wanna dance with somebody by Whitney Houston
  • Party rock anthem by LMFAO

Love-attraction-shy scenes
  • Falling in love in a coffee shop by Landon Pigg
  • Un giorno per noi by Josh Groban
  • god damn you're beautiful by Chester See
  • Little things by One Direction
  • Impossible by James Arthur
  • If you're not the one by Daniel Bedingfield

Kinky-sexy scenes
  • We don't have to take our clothes off by Ella Eyre
  • Love and light by ATB ft Amurai
  • Insatiable by  Darren Hayes
  • Avalanche by David Cook
  • Never let me go by Florence + The Machine
  • The first time ever I saw your face by Celine Dion

Uneasy-spooky scenes
  • The howling by Within Temptation  
  • Mad world by  Adam Lambert
  • O' death by Jen Titus
  • Echo by Jason Walker
  • Losing your memory by Ryan Star
  • Everybody wants to rule the world by Lorde

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why Janus?

Not the book cover


The sequel of Facade is titled, Janus. The name came about the same way I chose the title of the first book. If you have read Facade, you'll find out that the name was as a result of an occurrence that took place near the ending of the book. Janus is a wilder book that tells of how Emma embarks onward from the journey that started in book one. She'll meet new people, and try to stand firm in a world that enjoys tripping people, and laughing at them when they fall.

I won't give away too much, but I'll share lines from book two as it progresses. The publishing goal for Janus is 2016. Meanwhile, you can order Facade on:

Amazon (available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle);

http://www.amazon.com/Facade-Emem-Uko/dp/1680970038/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442952407&sr=1-1&keywords=facade+by+emem+uko

Barnes and Noble;

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/facade-emem-uko/1121607395?ean=9781680970036

Books A Million etc.

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Facade/Emem-Uko/9781680970036?id=6354209531438

Happy Reading and look out for lines that I'll post from my exciting writing projects on Facebook, Twitter, my blog, Z & S www.ukoemem.com, and my website, www.ememuko.com

(ukoemem - Author; Ola Y - Editor)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Elba in Action


Idris Elba is a wonderful actor, no doubt about it. He has proven himself with several movie roles and satisfactory acting results time and time again. On the James Bond issue that has gotten many people riled up, Anthony Horowitz's comment was plain and simple, yet silly. It seems to me that Mr. Horowitz has forgotten that James Bond is a fictional character and Idris Elba can act like him if he knows how to embody the character. Idris Elba doesn't have to be a suave womanizer/ cool secret service agent in real life and I haven't heard anything concerning a James Bond audition that he did badly.

I understand that it might be odd to picture a black man doing that role. It's just like picturing a white man acting as Madea. But I don't doubt one bit that Idris Elba will be a great British Secret Service agent in a movie. Although, I don't see why it has to be James Bond. My reason is that when there is an iconic role that has featured actors with similar resemblance, it is difficult for change to be accepted. Let's not forget that when a writer describes a character, he or she paints a certain look. It's like writing a character and saying he's from Ghana and then a Hollywood casting department chooses a well-known light skinned American to play the role. It wouldn't make sense.

If you ask me about casting, I'll say that the original description for characters in the books or movies should be stuck with unless they are far-fetched and a better actor is found for the role. If there are complaints that there aren't enough roles for other races, well, this is an opportunity for writers to pick up their pens and deliver the service. Movie-making shouldn't be a political issue; movie-making should be a cinematic craft that should continue to grow and make us movie lovers scream in excitement. 


(ukoemem - Author; Ola Y - Editor)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Experience in a Gathering of Book Lovers






I was fortunate to be a part of this past New England Authors Expo that took place in Danvers, MA. I'm thankful for Leo Maloney, the author of the Dan Morgan thriller series, for extending the invitation to me and making sure that I came prepared for what was in store.



The venue was picturesque. In fact, I would have been satisfied if I had gone there just to take photos. There was a beautiful lake with boats that were cleverly named. One of the authors even joked about naming her next book after a boat's name that was in the lake. 




I watched as authors chatted excitedly about their books to readers who bought and wanted their books autographed. I left my own table after some book sales and signing to gain the reader experience for a few minutes, asking authors questions about their books and publishing experiences. 



I noticed that at a point there were interestingly clad individuals and later found out that a Comic-Con was taking place in the same building.







I signed email lists, bought some books, took part in raffle draws, ate cheese and crackers, and later took more pictures when my friends arrived. All in all, this past NEAE was a day to remember and I extend my profound thanks to the organizers. See website for more information