Tag Archives: Shirley Slaughter

#RRBC Book & Blog Block Party – Quizzing The President

Blog Party 1

Location:  ALL OVER THE WORLD!

# of Giveaways today:  2

(1) FREE Membership or Membership Renewal

(1) $5 Amazon Gift Card

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Good Morning!  My name is Natasha Know-It-All and I’m a reporter with the Raving Reviews News.  Today, we have tracked down the extremely busy President & Founder of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, Nonnie Jules.  We asked if she could spare a few moments for a quick Q&A and surprisingly, to our delight, she said “YES!” Although she has limited this to only a 6 Q&A session, we’re happy to have that!  Any little bone she’s willing to throw at us, we’re willing to run after it!  Ms. Jules rarely gives interviews so sit back, relax and take it all in!  Here is her take on quality vs quantity.  #Winning

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Natasha:  Hello, Ms. Jules!  Sharing that I’m so excited to be sitting down with you today would be a great understatement!  I am ecstatic, so thank you, thank you, thank you for this!

Nonnie:  Oh, you’re very welcome.  ‘Tis my pleasure to chat with you, as well.

Natasha:  OK, I know how busy you are, so let’s get right down to business;  just a few questions that came to me last night while doing my research for this sit-down.  I have followed your organization since its inception and if I can remember correctly, at one point, your membership was well over 600.  Can you tell us why you’re around the 400 mark today?

Nonnie:  I’d love to share that with you, Ms. Know-It-All…or, would you prefer that I call you Natasha?

Natasha:  Natasha would be fine, thank you (as she rolls her eyes).

angry dog

Nonnie:  Great!  When I started RRBC, our membership was FREE.  At that time, we were pushing heavily the fact that when you added your name to our roster, every other member on the roster was strongly encouraged to #follow you on social media.  It got to the point that folks were joining us simply to grow their followers list.  It was disheartening to know that there were unscrupulous people out there who would go to such lengths just to grow their followers.  Well, they’d come on board, do absolutely nothing for the club or within the club, show no support for their fellow members and then they’d leave.  When I was completely fed up with these characters, we decided that we would begin charging a fee for membership, a small one, but one nonetheless.  I knew that this would weed out the riff-raff from the serious authors and readers who wanted to truly belong to a community of support, so our fee of $25/annually was instated.  We had much email from members (new and old) who said they would gladly spend more for all that they received, or was offered here. We still have those today who choose not to renew their membership, and for a great majority of those, they joined, put their name on our roster, did absolutely nothing within the club, then looked around one day and said “Hmmm, what is this club doing for me? No one is reading and reviewing my book.”  Well, if you put absolutely nothing in, you probably weren’t getting much out.

Natasha:  OK.  Were you disappointed to see your numbers fall?

Nonnie:  (Laughing) Not at all, Natasha!  Actually, I was excited!  I’m all about quality and not quantity.  I’m not the author who wants to be known for writing MANY books, I’m the author who wants to be known for writing GREAT books, and if that is only ONE great book, I’m happy with that!  All organizations go thru change in membership and if you’ve ever belonged to any, you would know that this kind of change is typical.  I want only the best in my organization and if that means I have only 10 great members as opposed to 100 bits of riff-raff, I’d feel blessed that I had the 10!

Natasha:  It’s pretty evident that you have some folks who have been with you for quite some time.  Why do you think they stick around?

Nonnie:  I have a great many board members, ex-board members, and members who have been here for a very long time, some since day one.  These authors (for the most part) realize the importance of community, and they’ve never found anything like RRBC before.  Authors supporting one another instead of competing against each other?  That’s unheard of!  But, it’s what we do and it is why our core of supportive members remain.  AND, they also see the great benefits to membership here…and those benefits are numerous and all GRAND!

Natasha:  Would you mind sharing the names of some of those awesome members you speak of above?  We’d like to get to know them ourselves!

Nonnie:  Of course!  Bruce A. Borders, Shirley Harris-Slaughter, Beem Weeks and Marlena Hand have been with me practically since the very beginning and you could count them among the founding members group.  Bruce and Shirley are now retired, LIFETIME Board Members, but they are always willing and ready to jump in whenever they are called upon.  I can’t leave without mentioning some of our other awesome-tastic members, as well:  Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, Peggy Hattendorf, Bette A. Stevens, Nicholas Rossis, Michelle Abbott, Rhani D’Chae, Linda Mims, Jennifer Hinsman, Jan Sikes, Gordon Bickerstaff, Karen Ingalls, and so many more, and a great big shout-out to those especially supportive newer members, that I’m sure I’ve failed to mention (but you know who you are, and I want you to say so down below!)

Natasha:  Well, OK! That’s quite a list!  What makes these members stand out from some of your past members who you would tag as riff-raff?

Nonnie:  Natasha, these members stand out in my mind because they are so supportive of everyone else.  Their timelines are filled with support of others.  If you’re on a blog tour, you can find them at the door waiting, even before your tour begins (and you don’t have to even offer a giveaway for most of them to follow along), and they make themselves known in the RRBC community…they engage with their fellow members.  That engagement is one of the most important factors to having a successful membership within RRBC.  Our supportive members have to really know you to throw the full weight of their support behind you, so don’t just slap your name on our roster, put your books in our catalog and then expect to be supported in grand fashion.  It doesn’t work that way here.  When you give a little, you get so much more in return!

Natasha:  Everyone knows you’re a no-holds-barred kind of person.  Does it bother you that you are perceived as such, or do you not mind that label at all?

Nonnie:  I’m not a label-person, Natasha, and sticks and stones…right? I learned long ago that I cannot control the actions and thoughts of other people, so I don’t try.  Anyone who follows me anywhere, knows that I don’t live my life based on how I am perceived by others, or what others might think of me.  If you like me, great!  If you don’t, well, that’s your problem…I love me!  And me loving me, is all that matters.  There are too many people who live their lives based on the feelings of others, and when you live that way, you can’t truly be happy.  I mean, if someone is angry with you, you can’t sleep, if someone doesn’t like you, you can’t eat, if someone isn’t your friend, you have a bad day…let me make this crystal clear:  I sleep, eat and have great days so I guess it’s safe to say I’m not one of these people.  I have said, and will go to my grave with this, I will never give ANYONE that kind of power over my life.  For those of you who have relinquished your power to others, take it back.  It’s not at all worth it in the end.

Natasha:  Well, that wraps up this interview!  I wish we had more time with you, Ms. Jules, but we do understand that any moment away from the RRBC Corporate Offices, is a moment lost on supporting your membership, and we wouldn’t want that.  Any final words?

Nonnie:  Natasha, thanks for the interview, I really enjoyed it!   I’d like to thank everyone who is following along and partying with us on our block party this month!  Be sure to leave a comment below to get entered into our daily drawing and there are also two other stops today, so don’t forget to visit the lineup to find out where they are.

If you haven’t joined RRBC, ask yourself “What am I waiting for? Am I being truly supported out here alone or with these other clubs who offer more lip service than actual service?”  I assure you, the sooner you take the leap, the better off you’ll be with the power of RRBC standing behind you!

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HAVE YOU REGISTERED FOR THE WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO YET?

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Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF WITH NONNIE JULES?”

Hello and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules!  Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a book shelf.  A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories.  Here on this “SHELF,”  we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask.  We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but no one has dared to cover them.  WE get personal!  Because when you sit on the RRBC “SHELF,” YOU are an open book!

Today we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us.  Joy is one of our VIP members, that means she’s UBER-SUPPORTIVE, and if you’re a VIP, you get invited to our exclusive VIP Lounge.  Once a month, a random VIP member receives a special gift from the club, and since Joy sent me a letter explaining why she should be a guest on THE SHELF, what better gift to give her! (If you’d like to be a guest on THE SHELF, email me at RaveReviewsPresident@gmail.com and tell me why you should be).

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NJ:  Before we get started, how does the “shelf” feel to you?  Is it comfy?

Joy:  Very comfy. Thank you Nonnie. I had to move to the hard seat, best for my back.

NJ:  That’s fine.  I want you to be comfortable.  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Joy:  My author name is a combination of my maiden name and my married name. That is why it is that long. It could be longer, but I have omitted a couple more names. The full name would be Joy Ifeoma Nroli Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko.

NJ:  Well, Joy, let me be the first to thank you for shortening that looooooooooooooong name!  Tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Joy:  I was born, and grew up in Enugu, Nigeria, a beautiful town on the foot of the hill, even though the name implies that the town is on top of the hill.  At 18, I left Enugu for Rome, Italy, and spent ten years in Rome, studying and waiting out the end of the then civil war in Nigeria. I returned to Lagos, Nigeria, in 1972, and spent three years working as a Radio producer, and twenty-three years as a university teacher. I migrated to New Jersey, USA  in 1996, and taught K-12 for ten years. I retired in 2008 and since then have  lived between Lagos, New Jersey and Los Angeles, USA.

NJ:  WOW!  You’ve lived all over the world, literally….and you know what, you look like a school teacher!  So, tell us, are you married or single?

Joy:  Fortunately separated for over twenty years. My husband, a Moslem refused to divorce me, and I, a Catholic, refused to take the initiative. So we have an impasse.

NJ:  You said Moslem, I do know that you guys use that version in Nigeria as opposed to Muslim.  Hmmmm…interesting fact.  Now back to this husband situation, so you’re still married then?  Now, Joy…I don’t want to see you on any internet dating sites, OK? You look mighty comfy and happy behind that Apple keyboard up there.  Kids or no?  If yes, how many?  Sons or Daughters?

Joy:  I always tell people that I have three kids, and I do. One, my daughter, is biological, and the others, a boy and a girl were inherited. In my culture, we can inherit orphaned kids from within the family. This is how I came to inherit my late brother’s son, and my late sister’s daughter.

NJ:  Now, I like that about your culture.  That is wonderful.  Do you have a favorite child?  And be honest…I’m sure they’re not reading this interview…

Joy:  I will not lie. I love them all, but I have a special spot for my biological daughter.

NJ:  FINALLY!  Somebody up on this darned shelf, speaks the truth!!!!!!  Thanks for that, Joy…but even though I loved you speaking the truth, you are not supposed to have any favorites being a mommy, but since the others are really your niece and nephew, you’re OK with that truth.

NJ:  Pets?  What kind?

Joy:  I am a cat lover, being a Leo. The last time I can remember, I had three of them named, Calico, Frisky, and Wolverine respectively. I don’t keep pets anymore, because of my moving around so often.

NJ:  Why do you move around so often, Joy.

Joy:  I am just a restless soul, Nonnie.  I started travelling when I was quite young and I’m still travelling.

NJ:  Well, I guess the good thing about that is, it lets everyone know you’re not dead, right?  When you get older and you sit still for so long, that’s how people tend to think of you…as a breathing corpse.  Good for you!  We want to know all about you so now we’re getting really (randomly) personal.  You can learn a lot about someone just knowing their favorite food, so what’s yours?

Joy:  When I want to give myself a treat, I go for Fufu. Fufu is made from all kinds of flour paste: rice, semolina, wheat, corn, or oats, and eaten with a variety of soups. I like oat fufu with egusi or okra soup best.

NJ:  OK, you’re throwing out some words and names of stuff that I’m not going to even BEGIN to ask what they are.  We know you have a favorite color and judging from the pics on the wall behind you, and the darling babies in those pics, all in red and black, I’m going to shoot for the combo of red and black.  Am I right?

Joy: Nope.  It’s Blue. It is so calming

NJ:  {Clearly uncomfortable because Joy proved her wrong PUBLICLY}.  Uh, Joy…the next time I’m wrong about something, i’m gonna need you to pretend as if I’m right.  Just in public, you know…I have a reputation for NEVER being wrong and for being one of the smartest folks around. I guess my people didn’t send you THAT memo before you made it to the shelf.  Heads will roll when this interview is over.   Joy, if you’re done correcting me, would you like to share your favorite sport with us?

Joy:  I love taking long walks very early in the mornings. I like inhaling that early morning breeze, and feeling it on my face. Very refreshing.

NJ:  {Here we go again.  Another guest who isn’t listening to me.  Well, she seems to be in her own world with that response, so I’m going to let it go.  Maybe I’ll get down from this shelf early today}.  What’s your favorite TV Show?

Joy:  Downton Abbey for sure.  I am waiting for the new season of the Downton Abbey to begin in January. I love other shows too, which I will not mention because you asked for one, but my favorites are usually English dramas.

NJ:  Thanks for following THAT one question rule, Joy, and for the record, I like English reality.  I can’t have it in my real world, all the catty-ness and fighting and backstabbing, so I have to get it somewhere.  Actually, I’m trying to hurry through this interview so I can watch a replay of one of my Housewives shows AND catch SCANDAL right after.  Do you have a favorite Actress/Actor?

Joy:  George Clooney was my favorite, but he is now taken.  Still, I like the man, his suaveness, and kind heart.

NJ:  I loved him, too!  I was highly disappointed to find out that he would no longer be able to serve as the lover in my dreams, and honey, I loved that man in my dreams!  His new wife better watch her back!  Couch potato or workout nut? Be honest ☺

Joy:  I would say couch potato. After my walks in the mornings, I sit a lot working on my lap top. My doctor tells me that I must sit less, as if I don’t know that.

NJ:  Joy, listen to the doctor, please.  When we are writers, sitting is the worst part of the job, so we must make it a priority to get up off our tushes and exercise more.  It keeps us healthy.  That, and the fact that it keeps our butts from spreading, too. Share with us your biggest pet peeve that makes you want to stomach-punch somebody?: (For the record, NJ does not condone violence but she does believe in being honest so she has to admit that there are times when she feels like some friendly stomach-punching is a little necessary).

Joy:  I cannot stand discrimination of any type. I come from a culture where women are relegated to the background, and I have spent my life fighting it.

NJ:   I’m with you there.  Joy, I must admit, I wouldn’t last one day in your culture.  My hubby always says that if we’re ever on a plane and it’s hi-jacked, I’m gonna be the first one to get hit in the mouth with the barrel of the hi-jacker’s gun.  I don’t know when to be quiet but I surely won’t have a man telling me when I should be.  It’s that confrontational bone I inherited from my grandmother, I suppose.  Don’t like anyone bossing me around.  So, are you neat or messy?

Joy:  I am neat. I do not like clutter.

NJ:  Joy, I knew there was some reason I liked you!  Me, too!  I think that all messy folks (including my hubby and oldest daughter) should be relegated to their own island with no way to get off!  Facebook or Twitter?

Joy:  I prefer Twitter, it is easier to use. I find FaceBook very invasive.

NJ:  I find Facebook to be “something.”  And I have another name for it, but I’m not gonna say it here, because all my church-going friends read my interviews sometimes.  Name two of the most supportive people you’ve met on either Facebook or Twitter? Hurry and tell us so we can become their friend.

Joy:  I have two friends on FB. Enitan Doherty-Mason follows my blogs and reacts to them regularly. Pete Vanlaw and I read and comment on one another’s FB posts.

NJ:  Oh, OK.  They are names I’m not familiar with so you must invite them to join us here.  Nonnie Jules or Wonderwoman? Be honest ☺

Joy:  You really want to know?!  You of course, Nonnie. You were right, you are Wonderwoman.

NJ:  Well, Joy, in all honesty, I’m not the one who refers to me as Wonderwoman, it’s that Team of mine, but thank you so much for being so kind. My Team is the  WonderTeam!  Let’s move on.  Joy, everyone knows the names Mark Twain and Stephen King, but how about you give us two names of some INDIE authors that you favor

Joy:  The Indie authors I know are the ones I met through our great #RRBC.  I have met quite a few, but you said to name only two, so here goes. For now, Rhani D’Chae, and Tamie Dearan.

NJ:  Oh, I’m so glad they’re from the club!  We do have awesome members, don’t we?  And I must say, that I am in love with SHADOW OF THE DRILL!  That Rhani D’Chae is a phenomenal storyteller!  Why don’t you tell us what it is about them that you’ve come to like…

Joy:  Rhani blew my mind with her “Shadow of the Drill” story, and the beauty of the story telling, and Tamie wrote a very entertaining romance. I love romances, and that was the best I have read so far.

NJ:  OK, I’m glad you got to experience what I did with the SHADOW!  Now, name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read and enjoyed.

Joy:  Apart from the two I have already mentioned, I will not forget the deliciously good story of “Jazz Baby” by Beem Weeks, and the wickedly horrifying story of “Daydreams Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend” by Nonnie Jules.

NJ:  I speak for myself and Beem in thanking you for saying to the world that you took the time to read and also enjoyed our books.  THANK YOU!  Joy, you’re doing pretty good in sticking to just my questions, so name one good INDIE book you read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it.

Joy:  Of all the ones I have already mentioned, I will root for “Shadow of the Drill.”

NJ:  {You know that uncomfortable moment when you are nominated for an award but your best friend gets it instead?  I’m feeling that right now since she had the nerve to not name MY book, right here in my face!  She’s about to get “accidentally”  bumped a little closer to the edge of this shelf}.  What was so great about THAT book?

Joy:  It was just so well written,  and the story gave an insight into the dark side of our world, which we hear about, but which we know very little about.

NJ:  You know, Joy…even though you didn’t name MY book, I’m going to have to agree with you about SHADOW OF THE DRILL and that’s because, you are so on the mark about that book. IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST WELL-WRITTEN BOOKS I’VE EVER READ!  After you read books, do you post reviews?

Joy:  I do now, since I started publishing my own books. I have since gone back and started reviewing books I read before which I did not review.

NJ:  That is very kind of you.  I think there are quite a few of us who had never written a review before we became authors and once we realized the importance of them, we changed our habits.  I’m hoping now that you’ve shared what you’ve done, others will follow your lead and go back and post reviews on past books they’ve read.  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Joy:  I like a good and entertaining story, told well. My limits for typos or errors in a story is usually three, beyond that, I will still enjoy a good story, but will penalize it in my rating for the many typos or errors.

NJ:  Oh my, I thought I was a harsh critic!  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

Joy:  Not at all. I will always give a hint in my reviews if I find something wrong with the read. Those hints usually determine the way I rate the books. I always try to find something good to say about any book I read whether I rate them high or not.

NJ:  Have you read any poorly written books lately?

Joy:  Unfortunately yes. One in particular was so full of errors, I nearly did not finish it.

NJ:   Where’s your review so I can go and check it out?  LOL.  No, seriously.

Joy:      Like I said, I still tried to find something good to say about the book after my grouse with the errors I found. I would rather give you a link to one of my good reviews. 

NJ:  {NJ:  When I saw that link, for a minute there I thought Joy had REALLY given me a link to a bad review!  LOL}  How long have you been writing?

Joy:  I wrote and published my first two books in the Italian language when I was in Italy. That was over forty years ago. Back in Nigeria, I wrote regularly for newspapers and magazines. I started writing again in earnest, with my first book in English in 2008. I have not stopped writing since then.

NJ:  What books have you written?

Joy:  My Italian books are not available here, and they are actually out of print, but one of them is now being re-printed. Apart from those two, I have two more books; “Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies,” and “Mirror of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women.”

Legend of the Walking Dead by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

Mirror of Our Lives by Joy Lo-Bamijoko

NJ:  I love those titles.  Which one do you think is the best?

Joy:  The two books are in two different genres, and I like them both.

NJ:  Well, it seems the books fared better than your “favorite” kid question.  HaHaHa!  Do you have a blog or website?

Joy:  Yes, I always invite guests to visit my blog at: jinlobify.com, and my websites are:

http://sbprabooks.com/JoyNwosuLoBamijoko/

http://sbpra.com/joylobamijoko/

NJ:  We will have to go check those out and Follow your blogs and sites.  Name three great online resources or organizations that every author should belong to

Joy:  Rave Reviews Book Club of course. I am also a member of the GR, (I better abbreviate it), but I haven’t seen the benefits yet.

NJ:  I’m glad you only used the initials.  Someone obviously sent you that memo on how I feel about that site.  You say you haven’t seen the benefits yet?  Well, have you noticed any profanity, book/author bashing, incredible vileness over there?  Well, you’ve seen the benefits.  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Joy:  Again, Rave Review Book Club, no other

NJ:  So happy to hear you say that.  I’m sure my Team appreciates it.  How is RRBC helping you?

Joy:  To begin with, since I joined #RRBC, my followers have increased on Twitter, as well as on all other online social sites. And here I am sitting on the shelf!   My blog has also been visited several times even by non members of our club. The support I receive has been awesome! Do I continue?

NJ:  No, I think we get the gist of what you’re trying to say.  You absolutely LOVE Rave Reviews Book Club!  Now tell us in one word what you really think of the club…

Joy:  Fantastico!

NJ:  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

Joy:  Nada!

NJ:  Would you recommend RRBC to your friends and family?

Joy:  Yes. I don’t have friends or family members who are authors, but when I do, I will enlist them into our #RRBC.

NJ:  Oh, Joy…they don’t have to be Authors to belong to this club.  Our membership is open to anyone willing to adhere to the Policies and Procedures of the club.  So, keep that in mind and refer your friends who are readers!  This shelf is getting hard on my hiney now, so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words?

Joy:  Just a few words. This experience, of sitting on the shelf, has been extraordinary for me.  #RRBC has a way of making members feel real good. Moreover, the way it allows members to participate in every activity, gives one a sense of belonging, and the shelf is a wonderful avenue for getting to know ourselves better. Thank you, Nonnie for giving me this opportunity, and thank you great members of our great #RRBC for allowing me to share more of me with you today. May more of us have a chance to sit on it, too, so that we can get to know more of us better. Thank you.

NJ:  Thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, Joy!  You are truly a joy to know.  You have made our interview on the SHELF today pretty interesting…I’m glad you didn’t, you know, accidentally fall off or bump your head against the tree branch or anything like that.  To my guests, please pick up a copy of one of Joy’s books to show her how happy we are that she took the time to share with us today {even though she liked Rhani D’Chae’s book better than mine!…but that’s OK…..*Smiles*}

Have you joined Rave Reviews Book Club yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And since Joy was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.  Make it a great day, my friends, or not.  The choice is yours!   We’ll see you next week, right here on the SHELF” with a ANOTHER INTERESTING GUEST!!

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