Sunday, December 31, 2017

AuthorSuite Foto-Synthesis

 Memories of the Year in Review

2017: A year of palpable madness & a few little idiosyncrasies... 


About this time last year, people were asking if it was the worst year ever, and for good reason: the world was facing increasing uncertainties. Brexit - Britain's guilt-ridden vote to leave the European Union - was followed by the election of a rabble-rouser, Donald Trump, as U.S. president. In the Old Continent, two frightening phenomena - terrorism and populism - were on the rise. But 2016, as it turned out, wasn't the worst year ever, perhaps neither was 2017. 

António Guterres 
Trump's inauguration
The year began with the arrival on the world stage of António Guterres, a former Portuguese Prime Minister as the 9th Secretary-General of the United Nations. On 20th January, a Friday, Donald Trump took the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States. 

Trump with Flynn & Bannon
Twenty-three days later, his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, the first in a series of high-profile departures from the White House, resigned when it emerged he had lied about his contacts with Russian elements during the transition period. 

WH Counselor Kellyanne Conway
Other top figures ousted amid stormy days in the White House include Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, Communications Director, Antonio Scaramucci, Press Secretary, Sean Spicer,  and Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon. 

FBI Director, James Comey
These departures failed to calm things down in what appeared to be a dysfunctional White House, especially as the specter of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election continued to hang over Trump and his team. What was worse, FBI's unrelenting probe into the affair led to the sacking of FBI director, James Comey. 
Special Counsel, Robert Mueller

But the ouster, far from resolving the problem for Trump, resulted in the appointment of a special counsel, Robert Mueller whose investigation seem poised to continue well into 2018. 

Theresa May

Meanwhile, in a Europe beset with an unwieldy immigration crisis and uncertainties over Brexit, two political leaders, Theresa May of Britain and Angela Merkel of Germany, were weakened by electoral misfortunes

Angela Merkel

But in France, there was a very different political reckoning. The emergence of Emmanuel Macron, a 40-year-old political neophyte with a new, untested political movement, annihilated France's scandal-tainted two-party establishment. In a year of rising populism, tensions were high and fear was rife. It was
Macron in a military vehicle up the Champs Élysées
a presidential campaign like none other in French history, and in a nail-biting finish, Macron defeated the populist candidate, Marine Le Pen to claim the presidency. 


2017 also brought the world closer to a nuclear conflict with North Korea's provocative test of ballistic missiles and the "war of words" between its leader, Kim Jong-Un and the U.S.
Kim Jong-Un of  North Korea
President, Donald Trump who nicknamed each other respectively, "Rocket Man" & "Dotard Trump." 


There were a number of heartbreaking celebrity deaths too, from Mary Tyler Moore who became a torchbearer for women with "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," to Hugh Hefner of Playboy fame, to Ralphie May, Bill Paxton, Chuck Berry, Don Rickles, John Heard, and Roger
Moore, British secret agent James Bond in seven feature films, among others.

Celebrity deaths in 2017
Devastating hurricanes also struck, from Texas to  Florida, to Puerto Rico, causing upward of $290 billion in damage. Despite an outcry by scientists over the effects of human activity on the climate, the governing Republican Party in the United States continued to regard Climate Change as a hoax. And Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. 


San Francisco 49ers players 
Two hashtags - #TakeAKnee & #MeToo - which became powerful social movements against unjust killings of black men by the police and the sexual harassment of women,   made an impact, though, so far, only the latter has engineered a shift in social consciousness and caused the resignation of many influential politicians and public figures. 

In Africa, a former soccer
George Weah
superstar and the only African to have won the coveted FIFA Player of the Year, 
George Weah, was elected the 25th president of Liberia. And in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe who'd ruled the country for 37 years was ousted in the continent's most peaceful and camouflaged coup d'ètats. 

Another unexpected fall from grace, at least in the collective imagination of many around the world, was the Nobel Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi
Rohingya Moslems 
who, as leader of Myanmar presided over what the U.N. called a textbook case of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Moslems. 


2017 also saw the fall of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city captured by ISIS in 2014 where it declared a new Caliphate. The cost of liberation was high, nearly 40,000 civilians were said to have died in the fighting and about a million more displaced. In the Catalonia region of Spain, an unauthorized independence referendum
 Xi Jingpin
triggered a major political crisis that might haunt the country in the year to come. 


In the midst of all these, Chinese leader, Xi Jingpin, was named a "core leader" at the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress which wrote "Xi Jingpin Thought" into the party's constitution, an honor previously bestowed only on Mao Zedong.

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle
On a lighter note, the year saw British singer, Adele, triumph at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards with an impressive five Grammy win. The royal family in Britain ended the year with a joyful piece of news when Prince Harry announced his engagement to American actress Meghan Markle. 



And...oh yes, 2017 was also the year of "The Great American Eclipse." 



   GOODBYE 2017!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Anatomy of a Plot - Black Gold

Femi & Jessica!  

-------------------

A young, unassuming couple gets swept into international       intrigue by an           unscrupulous conglomerate

Lecture hall - Cà Foscari University,
Venice, where the couple met.

Black Gold was an interesting read. Cerebral at times, emotional too, but an accurate portrayal of life at all times! Themes that held me throughout the novel were:


Jessica Rhodes & Femi Adeola

    The interracial marriage—the joy of being free to choose, the pain of the disruption of relationships, of outgrowing one’s family, and of missing loved ones who no longer understand who you have become. The pain of knowing you cannot go back, that “Home” is no longer your home.


    The unsettling environment of “the first ‘real job,’” of being easy prey for the pawn movers, and knowing there is little you can do to protect or defend yourself.

The plot centers around how two brilliant but impulsive university students find each other from opposite sides of the globe, and how these naive “babes in the woods” navigate the treacherous waters of the corporate world while keeping their relationship intact. The pacing of the storyline fits with the topic—no slow slogging parts! 

A waterfront view of Lagos
where the blackmail scene is set
The characters—Kudos to the author, the characters walk off the page, from Femi and Jessica to the cigar-puffing corporate CEO, and the confused parents who grieved, watching their son walk away with his foreign bride.

The writing—I find the writing excellent. Sam is able to draw word pictures that make a reader “see” the image the author has in his mind. Although the reader might sometimes feel distanced from the action on the page, almost as if he were in the narrator’s head, now and then the author drops the reader right in the center of the emotion of the characters. For example, the scene depicting Femi’s shock when he realized the job he had was not the one he had signed up for—the moment he became aware of his precarious situation, the sudden realization of how unscrupulous his boss was, and how he could do nothing to stop the train he was on. That scene was palpable! The editing was also excellent—no typo distractions or grammar confusions. I appreciate a clean read.

Reviewed by
Carol A. Brown
Retired Educator | Midwest USA

                                             Movie Book Trailer - Black Gold

               


Rosie Amber  
Roses are Amber Book Club
“I like the trouble this interracial marriage caused when the couple met Femi’s parents and I enjoy the scenes set in Italy; the author’s knowledge of the country make them believable. He also puts his poetic ability to good use and there are lots of examples of this in the descriptive sections.” 


Venice - Home of Cà Foscari University
Black Gold is chock-full of lyrical imagery and metaphors. Frequently, the result is beautiful.” 
- J.W. George | Author

The language is flowery and evocative. Every scene, every setting, every action, every emotion, is described in luxurious detail, with perhaps more similes than I’ve ever encountered in a single novel.” 
Dave Saari | Retired Aerospace Engineer



Augustine Sam - Journalist | Author | Poet
“Literature must be relevant to its times. It must be both timely and timeless. It must resonate with the people and the period in which it is set, and contribute to the discourse, political or otherwise, as well as put events in their proper historical and social contexts. It is my belief that fiction, used properly, can be a very effective vehicle for expounding on real-life issues. And they don't necessarily have to be politically correct.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Quotes To Live By

“If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.” 
         - John Irving


  

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

- Oscar Wilde
“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.”

- E. Joseph Cossman


“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.” 

 - Emile Zola


“The future is like heaven, everyone exalts it, but no one wants to go there now.”  
    
- James Baldwin

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

- Maya Angelou



“It’s easy to sit up & take notice. What’s difficult is getting up & taking action.”


- Honore de Balzac


“A great artist is always before his time or behind it.”
   - George Edward Moore 

IF YOU JUDGE A BOOK BY THE COVER YOU MIGHT MISS AN AMAZING STORY


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Authors Byte


By Alicia Dean

Today’s Author Byte comes from Augustine Sam, author of Mystery/thriller, THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE 



Fun Fact about The Conspiracy of Silence: It was inspired by a radio play Augustine wrote and starred in many years ago.

1) What’s your favorite childhood book? Your favorite grown-up book?
Augustine: My favorite childhood book was a novel titled “One-Eyed Sunday” (now out-of-print).
My favorite grown-up book is “The Collected Oscar Wilde.”

2) What’s your favorite line from a TV show, movie, song, or book? (Other than your own)
Augustine: My favorite line from a TV show is a declaration by Walter White in Breaking Bad: “I am not in danger, Skyler, I am the danger.”

3) What is your favorite quote?
AugustineMy favorite quote is Bertrand Russell’s: “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”

4) If you could be a character in any of your books, who would you be and why?
Augustine: If I could, I’d be Bill in my debut novel, Take Back the Memory, because he had the unique chance of reuniting with his childhood crush, Paige who loved him in ways she couldn’t explain even to herself, since “love is a mystery, an indecipherable mystery.”

5) If you were going to be executed, what would you choose as your last meal?
Augustine: I’d forgo the last meal for a soothing, final smoke of my aromatic pipe.

Question: How far can you go to save your lover from a murder rap if your life/career is at stake?

About the book:

Sex scandals in high places… a depiction of the life-and-death struggle of a young female lawyer who goes to great lengths to outwit a diabolical trio with a very dark secret in order to save her lover from a murder rap.

Excerpt: 

On this particular night, there were no lovers necking by the fountain, but there was something else. A black diamond Cadillac was parked beside the fountain. The curiously unusual sight caused the dim figure’s hands to shake with excitement. Cars were not allowed that far into the park, so whatever fantasies within the limits of human accomplishment the Cadillac’s driver had conceived, this was the wrong night for it, he mused. This’ll be my last murder, he decided, the climax of a long, enterprising career as the greatest hitman of all time. He was a killer so efficient and so elusive that even the FBI nicknamed him Shadow of Death for his uncanny ability to dissolve into a penumbra after every hit.

He immediately recognized the wonderful head of hair and the slender, sensual neck as the lone occupant of the Cadillac appeared in silhouette against the fountain. Suddenly his pulse quickened. He mopped his brow with a handkerchief and contemplated the lady’s mesmerizing beauty. It seemed odd to him now to think of her as a victim. He had loved her once; in fact, he still loved her. And therein lay the quandary—a lethal clash between his obsession and his survival instinct. The survival instinct, of course, must win, he told himself, for between them now stood the only thing that love could not subdue—a very dark secret.

Bio:

Augustine Sam is a journalist by profession, a novelist by choice, and a poet by chance. A bilingual writer and an award-winning poet, he writes not only hard news but literary works as well.
While pursuing hard news, he fell in love with poetry the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once. He was the winner of the Editors’ Choice Award in the North America Open Poetry Contest & a Finalist in the International Book Award Gala. His poems have been published in international anthologies, including “Measures of the Heart” & “Sounds of Silence.”