Late yesterday, I received an email stating that I’d just won the March edition of Isuu’s online short-story contest ( Man! I couldn’t believe my eyes! I shouted for joy only to realize shortly afterwards that I was still at work. Trust my colleagues, they  gathered round immediately, read and said: “Congrats! Uzo, we told you it would happen some day!”

And finally, it has arrived! I’m in cloud nine! This must be a glimpse of Heaven.

Turning The Pages Newsletter (March Edition)


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Dear friends, allow me to show you the first paragraph from my very first published work (When Your Killer Could Have Been A Child Soldier):

Although the Liberian war is now over, I cannot wish away the memories. There are nights in my sleep when I still find myself dressed in army uniform, AK-47 ready. On these nights I hear the voices of parents calling their children; others joking, shouting: “Where’s your bunker?” The air cracks and I hear the sounds of diving jets and stuttering LMGs. Fire, blood, bullets and bodies everywhere. Things soon simmer to normal as danger passes. People fill the streets, young boys and girls going on various errands. Then he appears in a blood-stained enemy uniform. His oily dark face is teased with abandon. He’s about to aim his rifle at me. In my dreams, he dies in different ways. I’m his killer. Something tells me that he is my son. But I’m too afraid to believe it.

For the rest of the story, please follow the link below:

You can find it from page 10-13.

I want to thank you all for your comments and continual support, especially those of you who have been very vocal about your desire to see me in print. Only Heaven knows how much you all mean to me. This is a dream come true. Hopefully, not the last of the good things to come!

In fact, I almost feel like crying.


Taste of Your Love

C’mon in tonight
I’ve been lonesome
I’ve been empty like
a well in long drought
Sitting here, still listening
to many a love song,
the dreamer’s road
where all I can see is you –
finer than rainbow rings,
lovelier than the scent
of a thousand blooming roses.
as couples unite
and find love in the middle
of their warm embrace
all I want is you…
to come over without
the look of a stranger in your eyes
And without delay, your fingers
fitting perfectly between mine
as you love the all of me.
Maybe I’m too poor
to drive you around in fancy cars
or send you a basket of roses
or bathe you in a shower of diamonds
But it’s the thought of you
that gives my heart no rest
So I ask that you be with me
even if it were just this once.

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Illimitable Beauty by Skywalker Payne


It could have been dismissed as forgetfulness or wasteful thinking but Jewel, a science teacher, is not taking this particular feeling lightly. Not even the sceptical remark of her close girlfriend, Diane, is able to dissuade her from paying attention to this ‘out-of-body’ experience. The more her mind seesaws from her conscious state to realms on Earth and beyond, the more she gets to see, admire, and embrace life from a wider perspective. This divine alteration alongside physical observations finally point her to a sad truth about John, the man she’d loved for more than twenty years; the one who is the father of her children.

My Review:

This novella is delivered with well-structured lines (some of which I find quite poetic). Told from the first person point of view, Payne tactfully reveals the emotions of her main character, Jewel, and how she’s able to relate with other characters as the story unfolds. This is a very important step in character development from the first person’s as it helps the reader decide who the protagonist really is and why there should be a special attachment to him/her. The environment and places mentioned in the book point to a story that takes its roots in our contemporary world. Because of length and intent, Payne has cut down on the description of the weather and terrestrial activities/existence. This would have come across as superfluous if stretched beyond what is already written. What you don’t find by way of storytelling, you find in the dialogue. For me, this is an intelligent move. It gets the reader more involved than distanced from the narrative. I’m a sucker for well-knit endings. Jewel’s note of goodbye took me by surprise. It’s filled with a strong emotion. That’s thumbs up. And I mean it. In Illimitable Beauty, Payne depicts a picture of freedom and subtle happiness beyond pain and disappointment. She puts poetic justice in its proper perspective and covertly warns that truth that cannot be kept away forever…not even in solitary confinement. I will be recommending it to my friends.


Skywalker Payne Interview:

Thanks, Uzoma Okoroafor,  for reviewing my book and giving me a chance to answer a few questions about it.

What’s your first major writing experience? I wrote my first, very crude, book when I was in third grade. It was written on construction paper with illustration. On the back, I had a short questionnaire addressed to my family members asking them what they thought of my book. I’ve been writing ever since, I began a diary in fifth grade after reading Ann Frank’s Diary. It’s taken me so long to get published because I did not handle rejection well.

How did you come up with the idea of Illimitable BeautyThe idea of a woman leaving her body came to me over 15 years ago – I put the slow in slow writer.  I wrote several versions of the story, and at one point even saw it becoming a novel. Then I put it aside,  got married, got a degree in storytelling, we moved around, the next thing I knew, I was in nursing school. My first nursing job was with the Indian Health Service and after a year or so, I began writing again, over a year writing a screenplay.  I cannot remember what prompted me to return to Jewel’s story, but I did so in the past couple of years. The story went through many rewrites, submitted to magazines, rejected, more rewrites until I submitted it to Amazon. They rejected it but provided a link to their Direct Publishing. The choice was spending more money submitting to magazines – and getting rejected – or publishing my e-book, with no up-front costs. My husband read the story and chose the title and designed the cover.

In your book, you mentioned an “out-of-body” experience. Do you believe that there is a connection between the physical and spiritual realms? I’m a practicing Buddhist so the question quite simply is yes. But, I’ve not had experiences like Jewel’s.

What type of books do you like to read? I primarily like to read books about Buddhism now. As a teen I read a lot of the great classic writers, I read Crime and Punishment before I was 16. Now, I read a variety of fiction they comes across my eye, from Chekov, to the interesting stories and poetry of WordPress bloggers.

You self-published Illimitable Beauty. With your next book on the way, would you like to be represented by an agency/publisher? I’m already submitting my book The Ultimate Wonder to agents. I think it’s really marketable and have just started submitting queries to agents. The book is a collection of rewritten world folklore, original stories, and commentary on the theme of death.

Aside from writing and trying to get your book published, do you have any other major project for the year? Well, that’s a lot. I wrote over forty poems and forty haikus last year which I want to refine. I’m researching for another story, and yes do want to find a publisher. I have a day job as a school nurse and a loving husband, so no other major projects.



Where Your Heart Lies (Theme III: Love)







Teasing, turning,
I can feel you, my love
in the gentle winds
arriving with your scent,
the sweet smell on the
of your skin
so soft I can feel you near;
your hands tracing lines
of desire on my chest.

I hear your call
I hear it in the music
of the pines,
the ethereal melodies
that bring me to the west –
the place we’ve made a home.

Today, the sun is at full gold;
it’s the vision of your
warm smile that appears
in my dreams and makes
me call out your name.

No more will I endure the distance
for without you, my love,
I’m a lone tree on barren land,
a castle without an army,
a knight without honor.

So I’ll return to you, my love,
for home is where your heart lies,
where mine will beat forever safe.

Review: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin


When Oscar Wilde is sentenced for “gross indecency,” the news spreads like a wild fire across the globe. Upon reaching Red River Pass, it throws the small Nevada town into pandemonium and restlessness. Hateful prejudice and abuse is the common response for this recently criminalized act, and sets the tone for activities in the coming week.

In Mahurin’s debut novel, we are introduced to several intriguing characters and how their lives are affected by the news of this same sex relationship. As if this seemingly forbidden act wasn’t present in the town, we find in Mildred and her cousin Edra, a lesbian couple who tries their best to keep their relationship a secret. But then in Red River Pass, gossip sells.

Admitting that they are not immune from suspicion, Mildred comes up with a plan. She tries to court Charley, a widower, with the hope of turning away public eye from her and her partner. At first this seems like a perfect plan but it soon creates a chain of mind-gripping events that sets up a very realistic ending.

As an aspiring writer, I am attracted to Mahurin’s style of writing. She writes sensibly and sensitively…strong on description, mood and setting. Her intelligent use of time (as this pertains to historical fiction) is worthy of emulation. During this period of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment, she incorporates other historical issues like sovereignty and racism into her story. This helps to create an atmosphere that really dates back in time and doesn’t bore the reader in any way. The quotes of Oscar Wilde at the start of each chapter are well chosen. In fact, I consider them to be sweet preludes. One can’t go through the book without taking note of the emotions (greed, anger, malice, jealousy, and love) and behavior of the characters in her book. They are all believable and memorable. Also, the dialogues throughout the book are in no way disappointing.

Even if you are not into historical fiction, I bet you’ll still find this book worth the while. Within the story is an important lesson about cultivating good friendship, tolerance, and love.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*I have received a free copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review*