Posts Tagged With: African romance-suspense

The Officer’s Bride: The making of a cover

On the evening of the first friday of October, I decided to go ahead and publish The Officer’s Bride, but then, the question was: How would the cover of the book look like? I knew what I wanted: a woman who looked mysterious, but had pretty eyes…just like my protagonist, Nafisah. That same night,  I sat in front of my computer and began to play with microsoft power point for a nursing-related project/presentation I was working on. Once done with that project, it  suddenly occured to me that I could just go ahead and design the cover of my book instead of contracting it out to some pricey book cover artist. But how to do it? Anyway, before I knew it, I was on to something…something I could ( and I am ) proud of.

The first palatable  creation, courtesy of my needs-a-replacement laptop was …

I was so proud of my work until hubby came home, gave it a doubtful look and mumbled “It’s okay.”

It’s okay?! I didn’t want okay. I wanted “Ah Lara D, you did a good job. Great cover! You’ll get book cover artist of the year!”

So that night, I said nite-nite to my ego and went on the I-need-to-get-this-right campaign, working harder until finally,(after several attempts)  laptop and  I got this:

I felt tres cool the next morning (never mind that by this time I was already sleepless in Seattle..ehrm Dallas) especially when hubby went, “Fantastic!” He still didn’t say I’ll get cover artist of the year, but that was actually  okay with me. Unfortunately, my accomplished air took a slight downward dive when both my  baby sis  and my sis-in-law saw the cover and went, “It’s nice…but it lacks something.”

Lacks something? What the heck are they talking about? I’m a nurse people! For goodness sake give moi some credit! But then, the more I thought about it, the more I realized they were both right. And after some more tweaks, my groaning computer coughed out “A novella” as seen in the image below and also said, “No more designs, wanna-be-artist Lara Daniels.” 

And there you have it: The cover of The Officer’s Bride. This cover, I was really really proud of, and it felt good to hear baby sis,  sis-in-law, hubby and every random stranger I chanced to ask on my way to the grocery store say that they liked it too. Okay, so maybe I still don’t get the award, but hey, I’m proud of this cover. The back cover was a bit tricky, but some days later, laptop and I finally got there.

P.S: The Officer’s Bride comes out November 1, 2012.  7 more days to go. One more week! Save the date. Tell your loved ones. But most importantly, make sure you get your copy!  Maybe two…you know, for another loved one. It could be considered criminal if you didn’t…especially because I do know it’s a good book (even though I did write it :D) and also because I really do need another laptop so I can keep churning out the stories :), and if you really like my stories, then you really should get a copy!

Categories: Blog, Reflections | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

Lara Daniels’ Forever and a Day

The death of a child is the most traumatic experience any parent can ever have, and I watched Dad and Mom shrivel when Daniel, my 4-year-old baby brother and the joy of our lives died. The laughter that was all so commonplace in the mansion we called home died along with him, and Kemi, my quiet fraternal twin and I walked around the house like ghosts, afraid to breath in air; afraid to exhale the air we took in.

Our family never spoke of Daniel after he passed; at least, Mom never did. Yet, I could tell there was so much bitterness in her heart because it also lingered in mine. I was 13, grown enough to blame God, as the rest of my family surreptitiously did, for the death of my brother. Thoughts such as “God, as a lover of children should have prevented my baby brother from drowning in Lagos Country club” plagued me. Why didn’t He, if He was truly a good God, script the story of our lives such that Dad didn’t get that much coveted job in Lagos? If Dad hadn’t taken the job, then we would all still be in London where expert paramedics would have saved my brother when he jumped into the pool. Besides, if we hadn’t moved to Nigeria, we wouldn’t have become privileged members of that cursed country club where my Nigerian friends from school envied me for visiting every weekend. And if we hadn’t visited the country club quite often, then, perhaps, my brother wouldn’t have jumped into the glassy looking pool that carried no Caution signs to warn off kids, especially when we all knew he didn’t yet know how to swim.

So everyone in my family internalized their pain, refusing to share.  And deep down, my Ghanaian Mom blamed my Nigerian father for indirectly causing Daniel’s death while Dad, equally angry at God and at life was terrified of loving anyone for fear that he lost them as he had lost his precious Daniel.

Our parents divorced a year later from the pain caused by the inability to deal with Daniel’s death.  Dad found comfort in the arms of a young woman chosen by his parents to birth him another son. Before I could wrap my head around what had happened, our family, as I knew it, ended.

Mom took bewildered Kemi and I to Ghana to take up a teaching job at a private school. New country. New life. A whole new culture to adapt to and I found myself dealing with severe depression in my teenage years. Kemi, always the introvert, was very private in the way she dealt with Daniel’s death, but for me, the life-of-the- party twin, the experience of losing a brother and losing my parents to divorce did some crazy things to my psyche. In desperation, I began to seek for love and attention outside our home as Mom was still quite absorbed in her own grief.

At 16, I got the attention I craved from an older married man, a neighbor Mom and I trusted. Mr. Kwesi Gray with his flattering tongue got me pregnant and my world spiraled even more out of control.

The day I announced my news to Mom, I remember staring at Mom’s shocked expression. Mom never uttered a word. She simply got up from where she had been sitting – the sofa closest to the TV – and walked into her room. No comments. No hollering. Not even a single tear.

Later that evening, numb from everything that life had unloaded on me, I dumped a whole bottle of paracetamol in my mouth. I didn’t think much of my strange action until I began foaming in the mouth and reeling on the rugged floor. Before I passed out, I remember Kemi screaming; remember mom’s tormented scream as she darted out of her room to find her child on the floor with an empty bottle  of medicine by her side.

They carted me to the hospital. Later, Kemi would tell me that she and Mom sat in one corner of the room, terrified, as Doctors and nurses battled to save my life. Every time Kemi recounts the story, she says that she saw a strange look in Mom’s eyes as they sat there – one she’d never seen even when we laid Daniel to rest.  Years later, Mom would confess to me that as she sat in the hospital room, she had an epiphany: It was time for her to stop mourning Daniel and cling to life for the sake of her remaining children.

I survived my suicide attempt but when I saw the very relieved look on Mom’s face some days later, I started bawling for I knew in that moment that I’d lost the baby. True, I didn’t love Mr. Kwesi Gray, neither was I stupid enough to think that he loved me, but losing that baby, it made me feel like I’d lost Daniel all over again.

Mom and Kemi took me back to our cottage-like home in Accra to start a new life, but in my heart, the harm was already done. Distraught over the loss of the child that I’d secretly day dreamed would replace the fun brother I’d lost, I vowed never ever ever to open my heart to loving again.

And that was how I pretty much lived my life: Bitchy, cold and unloving, until I clocked 33 and had an experience that would change my life beyond ways I could have ever imagined.

Get the book FREE now by clicking here

Categories: My Stories | Tags: , , , , , , | 32 Comments

The Officer’s Bride- an Excerpt

After receiving lots of positive feedback from several reviewers on the Youwriteon site and also from the remarkable ladies of Romance Writers of West Africa, I thought I’d share with you the opening chapter of my latest completed work, The Officer’s bride. Happy reading.

 (My muse for Zainab)

Rubukka Barracks. June 7, 1998

He believed he had died and gone to heaven.

The honeyed scent she wore was enough to cause such blissful imagination. He asked her about it. She shrugged and smiled mysteriously, causing his curiosity to swell even more.

“I can’t tell you,” she said in her native Hausa.

A knowing smile curled his usually grim lips. “You can’t or you won’t?”

She ignored his question and turned to lay on her side.

Eddy shrugged off his robe and proceeded to hold her lithe frame in his arms. She playfully leapt off the bed, and he pursued. She was nimble, too fast for his powerful body; her agility reminding him of the Sultan of Sokoto’s well bred horses.

“Come back here,” he called after her.

If she heard him, she didn’t show it. She closed the bathroom door swiftly and he could hear her giggles floating through the wooden door to where he stood.

His ache for her only intensified when he heard her laugh -tender, feminine laughter that made him wish for the brackish air of Lagos beaches, with the wind blowing over his smooth hairless scalp as he laid her on the sandy shore and possessed her for himself till day break.

“Come out,” he ordered. He was in no state of decency. He was hard all over, and the urge to mate with the woman who had started his current lunacy burned in him.

Just when he’d begun thinking of pummeling down the door, she opened it. Sturdy man that he was, he dropped to his knees in adoration. There were some things that all of his wealth couldn’t buy, and one of them was the natural beauty of this child-woman, polished in both her walk and talk. He was still on his knees when she bent her head to kiss him on the forehead.

“We don’t have much time,” she whispered to him, her throaty laugh doing strange things to his heartbeat.

He looked at the time and mentally agreed with her. Soon the bloodthirsty soldiers serving him would arrive, reminding him that a higher calling, much stronger than the love for a woman called.

They made love on the matrimonial bed that had been theirs for a day…he and his Zainab. Theirs was a lovemaking that was volatile, that understood the urgency of time. He plowed her, determined to sow his seed, just in case he had no more nights like this to spend with her. As the thought went through his mind, he sensed the beginning of his heart breaking, but he held off the dark emotions, determined to enjoy the woman beside him. Right here, right now, all that mattered was his Zainab…sweet, beautiful Zainab who had once experienced the effects of Abacha’s callousness.

When the antique grandfather clock gifted to him by the Sultan of Sokoto chimed, he got off the large bed to put on his uniform. He didn’t leave the bedroom until he had kissed his sleeping wife on the lips.

Stepping into the chilly air of mountainous Jos, a dark frown marred his determined face. His thoughts riveted back to Zainab and he swore softly. By God’s grace, he would come back for her tomorrow and he would love her until the cold hands of death seized him. For now, duty to country called. And Abacha’s head would be rolling down by morning!

Insha Allah!

Categories: My Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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