Monthly Archives: March 2016

Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

Lo-Bamijoko1-373x330-300x265As this Pay It Forward week comes it an end, it is a distinct pleasure for me to introduce you to Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko.

I am currently reading her novel, Legend of the Walking Dead. What I find most intriguing are the cultural differences between her Nigerian roots and my American ones. And yet, through the lens of her work, the same basic truths shine through, reminding all of us how small this planet really is.That is one of the great things about the Rave Reviews Book Club. You never know what unexpected talent you will run into.

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.
Joy, 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 on national and international scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Legend of the Walking Dead

The worlLegend image001d of the traditional Igbo society of Nigeria is a world in which the dead visit and interact easily with the living. It is also a world in which most of the time the living are at the mercy of the gods.

When 15-year-old Osondu goes missing, his mother searches for her son and faces the same fate. Now they are both missing. There is a thin line dividing the land of the living and the land of the dead, so thin that spirits from both lands coexist. And sometimes in the story, it is difficult to differentiate between the living and the dead. Both have bodies, with the living existing in their bodies, while the dead use borrowed bodies.

Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies is a fascinating journey into the mysteries of life and death of the Igbos. The book draws readers into the Igbo people’s ancient and traditional beliefs of life and death. You will be enthralled.

Mirror of Our Lives

indexIn Mirror of Our Lives, four Nigerian women share the compelling tales of their troubled lives and failed marriages, revealing how each managed to not only survive, but triumph under difficult and repressive circumstances.

Njide, Nneka, Miss Nelly, and Oby relive their stories of passion, deceit, heartaches, and strength as they push through life—each on a unique journey to attain happiness, self-respect, and inner peace. But none of the women’s journeys is without misjudgments and missteps.

Jason Zandri

61jkEf1yI5L._UX250_As part of Pay It Forward week, I’d now like to focus on a prolific author of fantasy and superhero novels, Jason Zandri. Jason is the best-selling author of the I, Hero Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Superhero series of books.

His second series of books, the As Life Goes series are winning him additional acclaim, marking him one the only male author showcased in the “10 Indie Chick-Lit Authors You Should Be Reading in 2016” review.

Jason lives in Wallingford, Connecticut, with his wife Renata. He is the father to four children.

Here are just a few of his works:

51+aiFWZ-ZL._AA160_I, Hero- The Beginning: An everyday man, living less than ordinary life in New York City, simply makes his way about his work life and one at home. A kind heart and an empathetic soul, who tended to think of others before he thought of himself.

With his childhood totally left behind and gone with the final resting of his father, Nathan has come to terms with his past as he forges his life in the present, unaware of what lies ahead.

And the sequel:

515C8lMGVHL._AA160_I, Hero- Nathan Returns: Nathan is back in New York City; the place where it all started, nearly one year later. While he has been away, he has been establishing a base of operations and trying to follow the direction his life has taken – making a difference and answering the call for help where and when he is needed.

He has returned to this birthplace of his powers with more questions of why he is on the path he is on and what is expected of him.

51cIFmYT+XL._AA160_Before Another Sunset: Westville, Texas. A small town with friendly people; families that have stayed and endured life’s ups and downs. Many have left as the town no longer can fully support its own. An old woman maintains one of the remaining small businesses at the center of town, helped by Maria, her second floor tenant. Maria’s daughter Caroline starts to question her father’s absence. She also dreams up an idea to help the local library. Friends uncover true feelings and a kind drifter’s travels bring him closer to the town.

512au8JM2cL._AA160_Another Sunset: David Stephenson is a kind drifter who comes to settle in the small Texas town of Westville. His sense, empathy, and awareness are well received by the residents of the failing town as they welcome and befriend him. During his stay he helps a small local girl try to realize her dream and while doing so excites and energizes the whole town to help out. Lives change as fate takes a critical turn. The local would-be reporter, tasked by David’s longtime friend, takes off on a mission to unravel the mystery of his travels, where he came from, and discovers why he is on his journey.

Check out Jason’s other books on Amazon at this link. And by all means, like him on Facebook here.

And follow other great Indie authors by joining the wonderfully supportive Rave Reviews Book Club. #RRBC #PIF

Marc Estes

marc EstesIn order to write good fantasy, you have to read good fantasy. Who said that? Oh, I think it was me. I’m just discovering Marc Estes, the author of two great fantasies as part of his Vendicatori series. Do yourself a favor and get these books now!



4piecesWhen mysterious strangers arrive at the home of Andrew Correo, they provide him with life changing news. He learns of the Vedicatori, a secret organization established by his ancestors, an organization he now has the chance to inherit control over. In order to gain this control, he needs to compete with Robert Stavero in a global scavenger hunt. They must search for four illusive crystals that, when brought together, will tell them their final destination. Also in Edson, Monica Correo is planning a wedding to her love, John Weaver. With the wedding so close to Halloween, the pair decide to have a masquerade ball for the wedding reception. It will be an event no one in Edson will ever forget. With just a clue and limited guidance, both Andrew and Robert set out on their secretive journey. For both, the path leads to mystery, suspense, and self-discovery. As Andrew looks forward to his future, while putting parts of his past behind him, Robert grows greedy and develops a love for deception and hate. The hunt brings them through the ruins of Teotihuacan to the Eternal City and its history, but who will have the cunning to come out on top?

rekindleAs Andrew continues to delve deeper into the world of the Vendicatori, more secrets from his past shake his present. A mysterious woman has somehow escaped the Vendicatori compound. But were they holding her as a prisoner, or for her own safety?

     The Stavero family is now even more focused on revenge and the downfall of the Correos. Magda Stavero takes the reigns and is ready to be more evil than Robert ever dreamed of being. With her granddaughter, Kayla, at her side, she is given the chance to infiltrate Edson from afar and begins to unravel her plan for vengeance.

     Now John, a newly added member to the Correo family, is starting to ask questions as Andrew becomes more elusive.  A recent clue leads him down a path he cannot return from. A path that may provide more questions than answers.

     As Dominic and Ramos scramble to find their missing guest, she is about to arrive in Edson, and become a revelation that no one saw coming. Is she a friend or a foe? Will Dominic and Ramos find her before she reveals herself? Are the Staveros behind her “escape”, or are they merely using it to their advantage?


Blue Chip Bullies

Pardon me if I talk about business for a moment, but I am a professional accountant too:

Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but it bothers me that more and more large corporations have turned from efficient and dynamic competitors into mean-spirited bullies. It first struck me when a former employer was acquired by one of the largest companies in America. I was not too surprised when I discovered that their employee relations were horrible. I was reminded of an old DILBERT comic where the boss comes in and says “Yo headcount!” to the workers.

What did surprise me was their relationship with suppliers. I was trained to see the supplier, company, and customer were all part of a supply chain, and as in any chain, each link must do its part. Each link treats the others fairly, knowing that the success of the chain relies on all of our successes. If a company wants to exceed their expectations, they focus on what is inside their organization to optimize performance. I read an excellent story about DELL Computer a few years ago. While they maintained normal supplier payment terms (let’s say Net 30), they restructured their own organization so that they could deliver systems in much less than that, thereby helping to fund their business with the suppliers’ money. It was okay with the suppliers though since they were still getting paid within their normal terms.

It would seem many of our largest corporate titans have decided that is not enough. Given their size and volume, they could go back to their suppliers (the smaller ones) and demand extended terms (Net 60 up to Net 180). Perhaps a new supplier could walk away from such a deal, since it was new business, but think about a small supplier who relied on that business for years to make a profit. Suddenly, a major corporation (potentially with billions in the bank) is demanding concessions to keep the business. In essence, we have a big corporation demanding money from a smaller one, or else. That sounds like a bully to me.

An interesting question is “why?” The worst answer is, “We’re big and we can do whatever we want to!” While it is true that corporate executives have big egos, I doubt that is the entire reason. From being inside the belly of the beast more than once, I know it is often because they are the opposite of the DELL example above. It could be more related to: swollen bureaucracies, massive and varied product portfolios, and mid-level managers who are not as smart as they think they are. The thrill of the acquisition game has left them bloated and too unwieldy to manage. Layers of management are sliced out, but the cumbersome bloat will not go away. Eventually, the previous managers are replaced by even worse neophytes.

Unfortunately, the market is a cruel mistress. The next 10-Q is due soon, and something has to be done to make the numbers look better. And then those fateful words are spoken, “Let the suppliers pay for it! The ratios will look better in a few weeks!”

Are you invested in Blue Chip Bullies? Do you care? If you own a small business or know someone who does, you probably do. Finding out if your portfolio darling is a bully is not simple, unless you are an insider. You could e-mail their CFO or Shareholder Relations group and ask what their supplier payment terms are. If you choose to look at their ratios on their financial statements, please be careful. If a company is B2C, the ratios probably will not help. Unless they finance their customers, they likely turnover their receivables very fast, while supplier payments are generally on terms. In a predominantly B2B scenario, the numbers are more meaningful since both receivables and payables are on terms. The dead-ringer for me was my former company having higher payables than receivables in a B2B business. Payables excludes payroll, and they had a ton of employees. The total value of their sales went into receivables.

The final question is again, “Do you care?”

If you believe a company should do whatever it can, without regard to their supply chain, you should care. In that case, the question is, “Are they taking enough advantage of their suppliers?”

If you relish the days when business was tough but fair, you definitely care. The bullies should not rule our schools or our marketplace. Look at the companies in your portfolio. If it looks bad, ask them first. Maybe they have a special situation or a significant B2C segment. If you do not like their answer, you get to decide where you put your money.