Looters and Grabbers, 54 Years of Corruption and Plunder by the Elite is a detailed account of the many corruption cases throughout Kenya. Why was this an important book for you to write?
It was important for me to write this book to show Kenyans and non-Kenyans how corruption evolved from the day Kenya attained independence in 1963 to 2017, a period of 54 years stretching through four regimes. What this book shows is that corruption and bribery have a long history that goes back well before independence when the country was under British rule. The African rulers, beginning with Jomo Kenyatta, institutionalized it by engaging directly in criminal acts. They grabbed land left behind by the British instead of distributing it to the landless, encouraged relatives and cronies to engage in outright theft of other resources, and created cartels that were immune to prosecution due to their close association with the elite and the ruling class.
What do you think is a common misconception people have about corruption in Kenya?
The common misconception people have is that corruption is a state-sponsored malfeasance that ensures impunity for those in power. There is a saying that a common chicken thief is punished more severely than a person in power who commits a more heinous crime involving billions of dollars. And because corruption and bribery are rampant among the elite, the ordinary folk see no evil in participating in similar criminal acts. Thus, a policeman would do everything to extract bribes from passing motorists, and government clerks will hide files to entice payment, commonly known as “chai” or tea. One recent headline in Kenya said it all that everyone in Kenya is corrupt including grandmothers. And I agree.
The book details contemporary corruption as well and doesn’t leave one feeling as if things will get better. Do you see positive change happening for Kenya with it’s current government or is there many changes that still need to happen?
Like all previous governments, the present regime of Uhuru Kenyatta has made a myriad promises about nailing corruption. In his first 5-year term in office, not more than five government officials were jailed and those were junior officers in the civil service. The big “fish” including those in Uhuru’s own Cabinet and executive office are free despite involvement in mega corruption scandals. In recent weeks, and immediately after the release of my book, Uhuru announced some sweeping measures intended to tackle corruption including what has come to be known as “lifestyle audits” on officers – starting with himself – and changes in the way government tenders are advertised and awarded. It is too early to judge whether these measures would indeed be implemented and those found to have obtained properties illegally jailed. My own view is that that was just a PR stunt to silence corruption critics.
What do you hope readers take away from your book?
So far, the book has been positively welcomed by the majority of Kenyans who have read it. They say it was timely and informative on the genesis of corruption and on contemporary events. The irony, however, is that some “corrupt” individuals “looted” the book pdf file and began selling the file to a huge group of Whatsapp members in what was a clear violation of copyright. The action was severely criticized by writers who demanded that the looters compensate the author. A few did but that is as far as corruption has reached in Kenya.
This book is about unbridled corruption, bribery and scandalous financial skullduggery in one of Africa’s most promising countries, Kenya. It is a narrative of money-laundering, mega scandals, and international wheeler-dealing, and describes how Mafia-like lobbyists have been devouring the country’s resources with blatant impunity over four regimes since independence in 1963. It is an important resource for historians, students, researchers, social and political scientists, non-governmental organizations, development and anti-corruption agencies.
Dare to Be the Change tells the story of your life and how you overcame adversities to be the change you wanted to see in the world. Why was this an important book for you to write?
It was important for me to write this book to give the readers a glimpse into some of the adversities that women and people of color face in corporate America. More importantly, how to embrace adversity and make it your advantage by becoming the voice for others.
You grew up in a small town in Louisiana, in a time where racism was prevalent in the community. How has your perception changed of that time and place now that you’re an adult?
I do not feel my perception has changed now that I am an adult. However, as an adult, I do understand the WHY behind why some things happened.
I found this book to be inspirational and motivate me to help others seek change. What do you hope readers take away from your book?
Since the book published, I have received countless emails, phone calls, text messages from all cultures. The book is doing exactly what I hoped it would do. First, giving individuals a platform to talk to each other about a sensitive subject versus talking at each other. Secondly, it’s an opportunity for each person to tell their own story. And finally, its reenergized individuals to stand up and be the voice in the room.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
My next book Stronger than Fear is a children’s book scheduled to be published late summer 2018. It’s about a boy named Christopher and his dog Loki experiencing bullying by members of their species.
In Dare to be the Change, Annella Metoyer courageously shares the details of her life’s challenges, her family’s dedication to positive change as well as offers hope for readers through her struggles and accomplishments. Starting with the integration of her small town public school, she encounters a life-changing experience that sets her on a path of “being the change.”
Not only did she face the challenges when women were not the voice in the room, but she also did so as a person of color. From coworkers to disgruntled customers’ discrimination, she lived the evolution of attitudes. With each adversity, she became more determined to take the challenge and turn it into an advantage.
Annella Metoyer was blessed to experience many firsts. She was the first person of color employed by a local bank and ultimately became the City President for a large corporate bank. Her journey later took an unexpected turn when she transitioned from employee to entrepreneur.
Dare to be the Change will resonate with anyone that has ever faced adversities. As you read the story, you will rejoice in the strength that Annella finds within to help others and to make this world a better place.
Cross of a Different Kind dives into the relationship between cancer and Christianity. Why was this an important ‘field guide’ for you to write?
“I’ve felt my own sort of ‘calling’ to research, teach, and write about matters of the heart and soul, particularly through the lenses of Judeo-Christian theology for more than 14 years now. For 21 years, I have been a cancer-survivor. Without a doubt, I believe my own cancer-experiences have shaped my faith and personal investment in the academic areas I study and write about. That said, Cross of a Different Kind is not a purely academic text in theology and spirituality – I mean, yes, it is these things, but it’s also a self-help guide. I’ve personally experienced all three possible ways that a person can experience cancer. I’ve lost loved-ones to it; I’ve personally fought my own battle against it; and now, I live as a survivor. Those three means of experiencing cancer form the three parts or sections into which the book is divided. In my years of academic study and personal application, especially as both a chaplain and cancer-coach, I’ve seen and experienced firsthand how great the spiritual and existential struggles can be for persons facing cancer in any of these ways. I know their struggles and empathize wholly because I have lived them myself. Faith for me is much more than just a provision of comfort or hope based in naively following a mythic figure. Faith, for me, is the reason I live and love. I believe that, if in the midst of the gargantuan trials and calamities of cancer, persons can cling to their faith, and somehow derive strength from it, that they will find peace in their struggles so that no matter how it turns out – and of course, we pray for survival in all cases – they will know and feel the certainty of love’s triumphant power. This book is about assurance… and not necessarily the assurance of faith alone, but that others have gone through, are going through, and will go through the same things. It’s a reminder that we need not face our journey alone.”
Each year 12.7 million people discover they have cancer. What is a common misconception you find people have about cancer and faith?
“Perhaps one of the wisest persons I know is my theological mentor and former professor (now friend) from both undergrad and grad school. This man is a brilliant theologian and I aspire to be like him as a theologian myself. He once told me, when I was going through a very tough time, something that I believe applies directly to this question. He said, “Anthony, I know that you know there is a difference in knowing something and believing it. You have to ask yourself if what you know is also what you believe.” For so many persons of faith who discover that they have cancer, the enormity of doubt, fear, despair, and hopelessness sets in like a rock tied around someone’s waist in a storm-ravaged sea. It quickly takes persons under. If not instantly, over the course of one’s treatment or the witness of such should they be accompanying a loved-one through cancer, that once indomitable faith in which they were certain begins to be tested, tried, and, in some ways even weakened. When this occurs, I have spoken with many who believe, this is a sign of God’s anger with them, absence from their life, or denial of their devotion to the Divine. This is perhaps the most common misconception I’ve ever encountered. As a Christian theologian, I often study the writings, philosophy, teachings, and associated commentaries surrounding the exemplar of Christianity, Jesus. Even Jesus Himself experienced doubt, isolation, despair, physical and emotional struggle. From the Cross, He cried out, “God, why have you abandoned me?” How often we feel in our own weaknesses that we are so far from God and God’s mercy, comfort, and love when we are struggling! Jesus struggled and had the same sort of experiences. We are in good company. But, here’s the kicker in both a spiritual and theological sense (in fact, this idea is the basis and is further expanded upon in Chapter 10 of this newest book): At the moment when Jesus was at His weakest point and questioned the Father, “Why have you abandoned me?,” God the Father could not have been any closer to Jesus. At that moment when in pain and agony, Jesus asks such a question, His Father had vacated the Heavenly Throne and was, in fact, fully One with Jesus Himself. Very God of Very God had not abandoned His Son to suffering, but was suffering with, in, and through Him. And the same is true for each of us! When we suffer and doubt and feel weak in our faith, it is in those moments that God is not passive, removed, or distant from us. He could not be closer to us.”
National Cancer Survivor’s Day is the first Sunday in June. Do you have any events planned?
“An excellent question. Thank you for that. Many people don’t know that there is a day to honor all persons considered cancer survivors. I should note that in cancer survivorship, a cancer survivor is a person, yes, who has attained remission or cure from their illness, but it extends also to current fighters who survive day-to-day; as well as to family members whose loved-ones have passed, but, for the love, memorial, and honor of their loved one, live on in spirit, metaphysical reality, and memory. Cancer survivor’s day, then, is for all of us who are cancer-touched persons. And indeed, I do have an event planned. I will be offering my 2nd book-signing event and presentation in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday, June 3rd from 1030AM to noon at St. Jude Hall (next to The International Shrine of St. Jude) on North Rampart Street. All are welcome to attend. 100% of all proceeds from the sales of my book (not only at this event, but always, including online purchases) directly benefit the institution responsible for saving my life from cancer, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN). It is truly an honor for me to sign this book and present it again on National Cancer Survivor’s Day. I don’t believe in coincidences, but instead in divine providence so I know it must be for that reason that when I was planning this signing with the person who will host me, we set this date before we even realized it was Cancer Survivor’s Day for 2018. Totally amazing!”
In this book you describe your childhood battle with cancer and the feelings surrounding your family. Was there anything that was difficult for you to write about?
“Absolutely; but, of course there would be given the content and nature of the book. I’ve written 4 other works aside from this one as my 5th, but I whole-heartedly believe this one to be, and so refer to it as, my “labor-of-love.” The content dredged up a lot of tough memories from my own cancer-experiences from childhood as well as some of the emotional and traumatic after-effects that I deal with even now. Plus, I would think upon persons I have personally loved and lost to cancer and in other situations. During the time of this book’s composition and editing, I lost two persons I very much loved in the span of 5 months while also needing to complete grad school. I lost a best friend to a much unexpected passing and the woman I thought at the time I would have married to an emotional distance. These things were very difficult to power-through when writing contents that are already so emotionally weighty. However, these experiences actually helped me personally relate to the depth of loss and suffering from loss that so many in the cancer-affected community often feel. I think that really shines through in the pages of this book. My ex and I continue to have a cordial and positive relationship now, which is itself a blessing, because we truly recognize a significant goodness in one another. I mention this because I even dedicated this newest book to both of these persons I lost. In that way, I am reminded that incredible good (this book and those it will help) can come out of the deepest possible pain, sorrow, and shame.”
CANCER: with often abrupt and unwelcome entry into human lives as well as profound multi-dimensional impact, such an illness is, for many, considered to be a ruthless thief, intent on stealing not only joy, but life itself. Of course, even as cancer attempts to steal life and captivate those under its hold, lest we forget that as powerful an adversary as it may seem, it is no contestant against the power of the One who “has come to set the captives free” (Luke 4:18) and who is Life itself (John 14:6) and its Source.
Cross of a Different Kind: Cancer & Christian Spirituality draws upon the richness of Christian spiritual theology with the aim of rejuvenating hope within and imparting eternal Truth to all persons who have been “touched” by cancer in any of its wicked forms. Divided into three parts addressing those who have lost loved ones to cancer; those currently confronting their diagnoses; and survivors, this book serves as both a “spiritual field-guide” as well as an informative, yet practical helpmate to ensure all facing such adversities that they are never alone in their journey.
Neutral Space is set in the year 3006 in a galaxy where intergalactic races have intermingled with humans. How did you set about creating the world in this novel?
I love Star Wars and Star Trek. I grew up watching them. As I got older other sci-fi films like Total Recall (the original) and The Fifth Element became personal favorites. When I started writing Neutral Space I envisioned pieces of these different worlds from sci-fi flicks. I wanted something that felt familiar and inviting but still plausible in 3006.
Alliances are broken which causes a war between Kelsairans and humans. I felt the Kelsairans were well developed and thought out. What was your inspiration for this race and how did it change while writing?
The Kelsairan society is based on the Spartans. While they don’t have a whole population of slaves supporting their militaristic lifestyle they are forced to send one child to serve the army. Originally, I intended the Kelsairans to be much more hostile and harder to understand, something closer to true Spartans or even Klingons. As the story evolved and Kheda’s character took shape she had too many human characteristics to do so. She couldn’t veer so far from her people. Her love for a human wouldn’t have been convincing. Government lies of horrible heartless aliens was a more plausible reason for human’s to hate them than for Kelsairans to actually be so horrible.
I felt that there were parallels to today’s society regarding war and political agendas. Were there any events that influenced you while writing?
This story wasn’t meant to be an action adventure, or a military book. It was intended to be a modern Romeo & Juliet. A futuristic war between two alien races seemed like a great way to update it. Somehow during the writing process it took on a life of its own and morphed into the book it is today. When I decided I wanted them to have a happy ending Jackson and Kheda needed a way to end the war that was manageable for two soldiers. Solving a government conspiracy seemed like the only plausible answer at the time. I don’t know if I was influenced by actual events or a general mistrust of large government. What I can say is this story was actually written in 2006-2007 and later revised and edited for publishing. At the time we were in the middle of the Iraq war, Afghanistan War, and it had been five years since September 11. There was a lot going on in the world and it probably influenced the original choice to create a war between two races to begin with.
Will this be the first book in a series? If so, where do you see the story going in the next book?
This was not the first book in a series. I doubt I will ever write another sci-fi novel again. I honestly feel like a fraud. I love watching the genre and even reading some of the less technical novels, more along the line of space operas. When it comes to writing it though, I don’t feel like I do the genre justice. It’s why I hesitated publishing Neutral Space in the first place. For the most part I think I got lucky with Neutral Space. I tried something new and it worked. I won’t tempt fate again.
Lieutenant Jackson Peterson thought he knew who the enemy was. A bitter war with the Kelsairans made it abundantly clear. When Jackson saves a Kelsairan woman from a wrecked ship, the line is suddenly blurred. The enemy isn’t what the government said they were and he can no longer blindly follow orders. A shocking discovery leads Jackson down a sinister path of intrigue that could change the fate of two races. But, both the Kelsairan and the Human governments will kill him to keep their secrets. Jackson will risk everything to stop them. Will it be enough? Or will he die in the process?
If American learned something from the Trump Campaign, the power of Social Media won an election. Why not capitalize on the lesson learned and begin a campaign geared toward Authors. Smashwords.com says “The first few days after Christmas mark the biggest ebook selling days of the year as millions of readers around the world unwrap their new e-reading devices and smart phones start loading them with new ebooks to read. Let’s help these readers read!” And what about all those gift cards for Amazon, Barnesandnoble, Apple iTunes and more?
As Authors, we can make the week between Christmas an New Years dedicated to Authors around the globe. Thic can become an annual Campaign for Authors. Here’s what I propose we do. First, I will jumpstart this campaign with this blog by posting it all over facebook via my Author page, on Goodreads , my webpage www.johnegreek.com and tweet on Twitter.
What we can do as authors/editors/writers/publishers, etc., beginning at 12:01 A.M. 12/26/17 through 12:01 A.M. January 1st is as follows:
Tweet or Retweet an Authors tweet with his/her book link to Amazon, B&N, Apple, Smashwords, Goodreads, or others. Every tweet should start with: Author Helping Author –
When that Author is notified that his book has been tweeted or retweet, he should identify the Author/person by name, go to one of the carriers listed, copy the link to their book and tweet or retweet their book. If the person tweeting is not an author, remember to identify and thank them by following them on twitter.
Make sure twitter links are tied to Facebook, Instagram or Google+, only to name a few.
Do not discriminate by genre or author. Retweet or tweet anyone’s book.
If an author retweets or tweets your book, make sure you follow them. This is also a terrific way to build your twitter following. Do the same on Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram. Build your following.
Make sure your tweets contain the following: The link to the Author’s book, your Twitter account name and your website/email address.
This can become an Annual campaign. Better yet, it can also become a Spring, Summer, Fall, Thanksgiving and Christmas Campaign. We can use the power of Social Media to build our Author following, increase our sales and increase our exposure.
Are you ready to begin… Authors Helping Authors end of Year 2017
it’s just about Mid-night 12/26/17 is around the corner.
Quoting was something I didn’t even think about until I read Why Do We Quote. What made you realize quoting would be such a rich topic for a book?
Nor did most people!
Not sure. It just crept up on me and once I’d got started colleagues were very very puzzled -well in a way I was too – about what on earth there was to say about quoting. Onced it was published it was published everyoed said they’d been interested in quoting it all along!,
To elaborate, and as I explain in the Preface, until this book somehow crept under my guard I hadn’t thought I was much interested in quoting or quotation: something to be deployed with care in some settings, no doubt, but not a thing to be investigated. Certainly I had learned to use quote marks at school and later to wield quotations in academic writing, and had become aware of copyright obligations and the current concerns about plagiarism and about unauthorised words floating free on the web. I was also vaguely aware that words and voices from elsewhere ran through what I said, I read them in books, recognised them in formal speeches, heard them in conversation. But I had just come to accept this as part of common practice, not anything to be really noticed, far less to arouse particular curiosity.
As I thought about it, I realised how little I knew about quoting and quotation. What does it mean, this strange human propensity to repeat chunks of text from elsewhere and to echo others’ voices? How does it work and where did it come from? Does it matter? Why, anyway, do we quote?
I started by reflecting more carefully on my own experience and was startled by how quoting permeated my world. And then I wondered how others were using, or not using, quotation both nearby and in far away times and places. On some aspects I found a vast and fascinating literature. But there seemed no single account that directly tackled my questions about just what ‘quotation’ and ‘quoting’ were, how we had got to where we now are, and how in practice these had been used and conceptualised. This led me to considering how people here and now actually use quotation (in practice, that is, not just according to the grammar books) and also, going on from that, whether we might understand these present practices better by exploring something of their background and whether the problems currently causing concern belong just to the 20th and 21st centuries, or perhaps have longer roots.
And then? Well, I just couldn’t help writing It! Took longer than I expected, with part of the fun being finding illustrations (yes IMAGES are part of the story). I’d say it is my best academic book, perhaps alog with Communicating to which is it in a way linked (I leave out my novels like Black Inked Pearl).
Did you learn anything that surprised you about quoting while you prepared this book?
YES, and was amazed: about (many) people’s ACTUAL perspectives be on quoting -regarding it as a way of ‘showing’ off: showing off the quoter’s supposedly superior learning or status, putting you down. I was stunned. As an academic had always assumed that (properly attributed) quotation was unquestionably a Good Thing. It would never never have occurred to me without the extensive comments from the wonderful ‘Mass-Observation’ writers (results of this and other enquiries conducted and housed under the auspices of the University of Sussex (www.massobs.org.uk/).
With this book you shed new light on ideas such as ‘imitation’, ‘allusion’, ‘authorship’, ‘originality’ and ‘plagiarism’. How has quoting changed those ideas?
Mainly I think that I now realise how these concepts shade into each other and overlap (there is a stunning diagram at the start by Mark Cain showing this – and more) . Also how they are ALL socially managed and controlled in some way, and how the telling-off for ‘plagiarism’ of students and other ‘subordinate’ individuals is partly an exercise of power. We all in a way plagiarise (ourselves among others) when – almost all of the time – we in some way allude or quote. This was a real revelation to me. Also how invisibly pervasive all these practices, and similar ones, are in our speaking and writing.
There is a lot drawn from anthropology and cultural history. Is there any one event in history that affected quoting dramatically? Or did it all happen slowly over time?
Slowly and over time I think. Quoting and quotations have been there from the very very beginning – though it’s true that some individuals and sources get quoted more than others ( or have attributed to them things they DIDN’T actually say) , like George Washington, Goethe, Disraeli, the Bible. People quote Shakespeare all the time, often without realising that it IS a quote, the words just a special ring to them – isn’t that one of the points of quoting.
And did you know that the first piece of sustained writing, four thousand or ore years ago, was a cuneiform collection of – yes – of quotations (there’s a picture of it in the book)
Quoting is all around us. But do we really know what it means? How do people actually quote today, and how did our present systems come about? This book brings together a down-to-earth account of contemporary quoting with an examination of the comparative and historical background that lies behind it and the characteristic way that quoting links past and present, the far and the near. Drawing from anthropology, cultural history, folklore, cultural studies, sociolinguistics, literary studies and the ethnography of speaking, Ruth Finnegan’s fascinating study sets our present conventions into cross cultural and historical perspective. She traces the curious history of quotation marks, examines the long tradition of quotation collections with their remarkable cycling across the centuries, and explores the uses of quotation in literary, visual and oral traditions. The book tracks the changing defi nitions and control of quoting over the millennia and in doing so throws new light on ideas such as ‘imitation’, ‘allusion’, ‘authorship’, ‘originality’ and ‘plagiarism’.