The Orchid Protocol – exclusive excerpt

DCT agent Patrick Emenalo returns to work on the same day there is a bombing at a popular fast food joint in Lagos. Dark Cell, a terrorist group, claims responsibility and demands the release of Red Baron, arms smuggler and crime boss. 

Patrick, caught in a game whose rules are set by shadowy crime syndicate, The Orchid, must race against time to stop the terrorists before they strike again. 

Face-paced and seamlessly written, Onyekwena’s debut takes bold steps into the widely uncharted world of organised crime in Lagos.

Here is an excerpt from The Orchid Protocol by Onochie Onyekwena.

Enjoy.

 

IDOWU MARTINS STREET, VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS

Hasta La Vista, a once-popular fast-food joint, was in chaos. Most of the damage was on the left side of the building. The bomb unit had discovered that the explosive device was detonated in one of the toilet stalls. There were bricks and red and yellow nylon strips all over the section where a bouncing castle used to be. The roof of the restrooms and the adjoining part of the food court had been ripped open by the blast. It was also flooded due to all the burst pipes. 

The police had sealed the entrance to the parking lot to keep reporters and concerned citizens away from the crime scene. Several reporters were yelling questions at every law enforcement officer they saw. Meanwhile, on the other side of the police seal, paramedics were attending to victims with lighter injuries. Some police officers were helping the response unit retrieve bodies from the building, the mix of their black and yellow uniforms lending more disarray to the sight. Another police officer tried to usher two kids away from the stretcher that carried their father. Though the fire service had put out the flames from the blast, the building was covered in smoke and dust.

It wasn’t the first attempt at a terror attack of this magnitude in Lagos, but it was the first that had succeeded. Detective Tega Isong, his partner Peter Chiaba and a member of the bomb unit were also on the scene, scraping through debris for any remains of the suspected explosive device. 

After ten minutes of sifting through dust and shattered bricks in what used to be toilets, Detective Chiaba found a half-melted mobile phone battery and some charred metal rods, the type which the bomb unit guy had described as detonators used to arm C-4 explosives. The bomb squad was already taking swabs for traces of C-4 components. Judging from the degree of the damage caused by the explosion, they estimated that about three kilogrammes of C-4 was used in the attack.

Chiaba picked out his pad. “About thirty people still in there, plus staff.” He paused. “They’ve recovered ten dead bodies so far.”

“Shit. Have the DCT guys gotten here yet? I think this is their stuff.”

“Yeah,” Chiaba said and pointed, “over there.”

“Alright, go and see if the bomb squad has got anything. I’ll talk to the DCT.”

Tega walked over to the other side of the car park, past all the debris, until he spotted a crouched DCT agent holding a tattered face cap in his hands.

“Patrick?” he called out.

Patrick turned to look at Isong and then returned his eyes to the face cap. “Hello Tega, it’s been a while.”

Patrick’s jaw was twitching as he fiddled with the face cap.

“I just got the latest count. It’s ten dead with fifteen injured. This is serious,” Tega said.

Patrick looked around. Traffic was building up as the police tried to keep the growing crowd off the road and away from the crime scene. He gazed left and right, scanning both sides of the road carefully. He pointed at the CCTV cameras he saw attached to a tall street light behind the crowd of reporters and civilians across the left side of Hasta La Vista. “Can you get me feeds from those cameras?” he said to Tega.

“Sure thing.”

Just then, Detective Chiaba, Jessica Etche of the DCT and Nsikan Akpan, the leader of the police bomb unit, approached them. Jessica had been with the DCT since its inception. She joined a year after completing her studies in forensic medicine at Florida International University. Detective Chiaba first met her at a security symposium a year ago; everyone noticed the girl that barraged the keynote speaker with complicated questions.

Chiaba spoke up. “I think we found something,” he said and nodded at Jessica.

“What is it, Jess?” Patrick said.

“Sergeant Akpan said the place was bombed with a few kilogrammes of C-4,” Jessica said, passing the remains of the burnt phone battery to Patrick. He observed it for a few seconds and turned to Akpan. “Remotely detonated.”

“It appears so,” he said. “Whoever it was could have been anywhere between two to two hundred miles from here and still be able to detonate it.”

“How is that possible?” Jessica said.

“It’s a mobile device. Whoever rigged it, wired it in such a way that it would detonate if any call came in. I strongly believe that’s what happened.”

“Alright, Jessica, take the samples you’ve found to the lab quickly.” Patrick turned to Tega. “Can we get a list of the victims as soon as they’re identified?”

“Right,” Tega said. “Chiaba will get that started.”

As Chiaba, Jessica and Akpan walked away from him, Patrick couldn’t take his eyes off the destruction.

“We couldn’t have seen this one coming,” Tega said.

“But we should have. That’s why we’re here.”

“Don’t beat yourself up. We’re not superheroes.”

Patrick sighed. “The person—the people that did this, what could they possibly want so badly that they would attack and kill innocent civilians?”

Tega shrugged. “Beats me. Whatever it is though, my guess is that we’ll be hearing from someone pretty soon.”

Just then Patrick’s phone rang. “Sorry, I have to take this,” he said to Tega.

“No p,” the detective said, watching Patrick as he stepped away with his phone glued to his ear. He came back two minutes later.

“That was the chief. I have to get back to the station.”

“Alright, we’ll finish up here,” Tega said.

Orchid Protocol cover

The Orchid Protocol is now available in bookstores MedPlus outlets nationwide. You can also order a copy HERE.

Find the author on Instagram: @officialonochie.

Before You Send Out Your Manuscript

Dear Writer,

Writing is an act of self-exploration and submitting your work to a publisher can be the scariest act of your life. As publishers, we are aware of this and sympathetic. If we select your work for publication, we would do our very best to make the process pleasant for the writer.

However, to increase the chances of your manuscript being picked up by a publisher, we advise that you adhere to the rules of grammar, punctuation and submission.

Black African American Ethnicity Frustrated Woman Working In Str

Some mornings, we log into the submissions account and there are hundreds of emails waiting to be read, most of them with manuscript excerpts. Unfortunately, our request for more hours in a day hasn’t been granted (yet), so we can’t afford to waste any of the twenty-four we get. If you are a writer submitting your work to a publishing house, here’s how you can make our lives (and the lives of other editors and editorial assistants) easier.

Do Not Show Off

Contrary to what your friends and family members might have told you, you’re not the best writer since Okri or Arimah. But even if you are extremely talented, we won’t read your manuscript unless your email contains a synopsis of your novel and an excerpt of reasonable length (we suggest three chapters). We do not want to read a list of every award you’ve won since Primary School. We know every book we’ve published; don’t list them in your email or tell us that your work is better than those of seasoned authors. Allow us to judge that.

 

The moment we see emails like the one below, we know we won’t download or read the submission.

“If kachifo would like peharps, a demonstration, i would e-mail them my worst poem and they will be bewildered by beauty and admiration my stock of quality can give. I do not beg because i know writers like me would catapault the industry. My goal: to exceed Ngozi Adichi, ECHEBE, WOLE SOYINKA and to messure above SHAKESPARE and MILTON. Please e-mail me! (Sic)”

Do Not Send Your First Draft

Do as much work as you can in cleaning up your manuscript before sending it in. Does your story flow? If we can’t make sense of it, we won’t read past the first paragraph or chapter. Spell check! It doesn’t say much about your commitment to the written word if your manuscript is riddled with grammatical errors.

Send a Synopsis

Besides doing all the work you can on your manuscript, do even more on your synopsis – it often determines if your manuscript will be read or not. We rarely spend more than five minutes on each email. In that time, we read the synopsis and decide if we should download the manuscript excerpt or not. Do not send your manuscript without a synopsis, and do not send your synopsis without a manuscript. Both are important. And please, do not send a link to your blog, your Facebook or Instagram accounts, telling us to read your works there. We can, but we will not.

Obey Instructions

Often, submission guidelines request that you send in a synopsis, and attach an excerpt from your work to the email. Your synopsis can be sent in the body of the email (we prefer this), but do not send your sample chapters in the body of the email. Save your excerpt as a Microsoft Word document and send it as an attachment to the mail. However, do not assume this is all a publisher will ask for. Every publisher is different. Find out the guidelines of the publisher you want to send your manuscript to and follow the guide to the letter! If you will not dedicate time to reading and following the guidelines, the editor will not dedicate time to reading your work.

Editor vs. Fairy God Editor

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We are editors, not fairy godeditors. No fairy god editors are waiting in the wings, dedicated to turning ALL writers’ rags into fine cloth. We won’t edit your story and send it back to you “even if it won’t be published”. Also, it’s very unlikely that we’ll to send you an email when we are done reading your excerpt just to tell you what we didn’t like about it. There are simply too many submissions and like we said, there aren’t enough hours in the day.

So while we try to send a response, if you don’t one within eight weeks, it means Kachifo will not be publishing your work under our Farafina imprint but we wish you all the best.

Here are our submissions guidelines:

To have your work considered for publication by Kachifo Limited, please send an email to submissions@kachifo.com, including a strong excerpt of about three chapters or 10,000 words saved in Microsoft Word, a one-page synopsis of the work, and a short author bio. (Note that a synopsis is not the same as a blurb or a teaser. A synopsis should contain “spoilers”, and should give a summary of the entire story, including and especially how it ends.)

The sample of the manuscript should be properly formatted (double-spaced, left-justified only, 12pt Serif font). Our preferred font is Courier New.

Introduce yourself and your work in the query letter in the body of the email. The subject of your email should be the title of your manuscript followed by the word “Submission”. Your submission will be acknowledged and assessed by our editors. We will respond within eight weeks if we are provisionally interested in publishing your work.

At this time, Kachifo Limited is not accepting unsolicited poetry or short story collections submissions.

Please note that we only accept submissions via email to submissions@kachifo.com. We do not accept hard copy submissions.

Unsolicited submissions sent to other Kachifo email addresses may be overlooked. Hard copy submissions will not be acknowledged or returned.

Please see the FAQs or email submissions@kachifo.com for further information on how to publish with us.

If you would like to know more about Prestige, our publishing services imprint, visit www.prestige.ng.

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Our Farafina E-book Store is Live!

On the 20th of October 2018, Kachifo Limited launched its new e-bookstore, farafinabooks.com.

Now, you can buy and read, on your devices, your best-loved titles from any of our imprints: Farafina, Tuuti, Breeze and Kamsi.

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To Start Reading on Farafinabooks Continue reading

Read ‘And After Many Days’ and Win a Trip to Sharjah

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In November 2018, Channels Book Club  will be taking the three best participants of its book review essay competition on an exciting sponsored trip to the world’s third biggest book fair, the Sharjah International Book Fair in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The competition is open to secondary school students all over Nigeria.

Sharjah International Book Fair is the most exciting book fair in the world with over 1,500 exhibitors from over 60 countries, Continue reading

Farafina To Publish Bisi Adjapon’s ‘Of Women And Frogs’

Farafina is set to publish debut novel, Of Women and Frogs, by Bisi Adjapon, in December 2018.

Of Women and Frogs is the coming-of-age story of Esi, a feisty half-Nigerian girl growing up in post-colonial Ghana, with occasional visits to her maternal family in Lagos. When her curiosity about her body leads to a ginger-in-the-vagina punishment from her stepmother, Esi begins to question the hypocrisy of the adults around her who place restrictions on her just because she is a girl.

“The subject of sex and gender disparity has always fascinated me,” Adjapon says. Continue reading

Farafina to Publish New Children’s Book By Yejide Kilanko

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Kachifo Limited will publish Yejide Kilanko’s new book, There is an Elephant
in my Wardrobe, in November 2018 under its Tuuti imprint.

There is an Elephant in my Wardrobe, illustrated by Kayode Onimole, tells the
story of young Adun who is bullied by an elephant who is supposed to be her friend
and has made its home in her wardrobe.

There is an Elephant in my Wardrobe is a heartwarming tale of courage, true
friendship and self-worth. “I decided to write There is An Elephant In My Wardrobe,”
Kilanko stated, “because I think it’s crucial for us to talk to the children in our lives
about their mental health. We’re living in frightening times and children are not
exempt from the fear and anxiety many adults experience on a daily basis. I also
chose to write this story because I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can
remember. As a child, it would have made a world of difference if I had read about a
little girl who was just like me.”

“Yejide is a beautiful storyteller and it shows in how she takes such a delicate
subject matter and weaves it into a tale that will affect the lives of children everywhere,” Enajite Efemuaye, managing editor at Farafina, said of the forthcoming
release.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yejide Kilanko is the author of Daughters Who Walk This Path (Farafina
2012). There is an Elephant in my Wardrobe will be available for pre-order in
October 2018.

Born in Ibadan, Nigeria, Yejide Kilanko is a writer of poetry and fiction, and a
therapist in children’s mental health. She currently lives with her family in Ontario,
Canada. Yejide’s debut novel, Daughters Who Walk This Path, a national bestseller,
was published by Penguin Canada, April 2012 and Pintail Books (Penguin USA)
January 2013. The novel has been translated into German and Thai. In 2012, Yejide
was named one of the top five hottest up-and- comers on the Canadian writing
scene by the Globe and Mail.

The Stress Test – excerpt

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Here is an excerpt from The Stress Test by Mojisola Aboyade-Cole.

Enjoy.

**************

He took a seat beside Taramade and their thighs made contact. He noticed how swiftly Taramade moved hers away. Felix glanced at her and, for a brief moment, fought to control the uncomfortable tightness in his groin.

“You will sign my stuff, Oyinbo, before you take off,” he said.

Taramade sighed. “What do you want me to sign now, Felix?”

“Do you know what happened to your sister-in-law?” Dr. Johnson asked.

Felix listened half-heartedly as Dr. Johnson gleefully repeated the fiasco with the market women, making Taramade feel like a fool. Uninterested, Felix cut in at the first chance.

“Mummie, see what your only son has done for the bank,” he said. “This deal is from Yinusa Ahmed.” He signalled to one of the young interns who had taken a position by the door. She approached with a file and handed it over to Dr. Johnson. She went through it, clapping her hands in delight.

“Oh my son, this is a very good one. We are finally sponsoring a polo tournament. No bank has done this!” she said, signing her approval.

“Yes we are, Mummie,” he said, beaming. “Your son Felix snatched the deal away from that telecoms company. They call themselves giants, when we,the Johnsons, are colossal. I need the draft today. Yinusa will not wait.”

Felix passed the file to Taramade and collected another from his intern.

“How much are we throwing to the wind, Felix?” Taramade asked him with caution.

Felix let out a loud yawn. Taramade had become Miss Righteous. He wanted them both to work together to wrest the bank from Dr. Johnson; it was time for her to hand over the baton.

One of his own contemporaries had just been appointed MD of a bank. That guy was set for a financial transformation! And yet here he was, being queried by his brother’s wife and playing the gigolo to his stepmother for mere handouts from a bank that was rightfully his.

“Oyinbo,” he said to Taramade, “it is not about what we are giving, but what we are getting in return. When will you ever get what banking is all about?”

He had told her many times that her extreme loyalty to Dr. Johnson would backfire. Did she not know that Dr. Johnson had just purchased a private jet for her prophet, and yet he, Felix, did not have one? Dr. Johnson had enough money to create a royal kingdom. Meanwhile, he had to seek her approval to settle his hotel bills.

Felix was loyal only to himself. In his twenties, absorbed in a decadent lifestyle financed by his mother, he’d shuttled from one foreign country to another. He’d never visited Nigeria, not even for his father’s funeral. Guilt and regret were unfamiliar emotions for Felix, but they surfaced when his brother, Frank, became incapacitated.

Only then had he returned to Nigeria. It still hurt to see his brother in his current condition.

Felix had never had that much time for his mother. At first he had ignored his stepmother, not understanding her strong desire for his approval.

When he mismanaged what was left of his father’s estate, he succumbed to her entreaties for a closer relationship and she was eager to pay for it. Only later did he learn that whatever she gave him she took back a hundred times more.

But things were about to change now, leveraging on the current financial crisis was his key. Dr. Johnson had to be removed, and with Yinusa’s help and direct link to Aso Rock it was going to happen soon.

It would not be easy getting rid of his stepmother, but Felix prided himself on being a risk-taker – the bigger the transaction, the more desperate he was to corner it at any cost. Taking ownership of the bank was a transaction that would definitely turn out to be a thrilling ride.

“If only I had more EDs like Felix,” Dr. Johnson said with a proud smile. “He chases whoever money chases.”

Typical, Taramade thought. She was always on his side.

“Yes, Mummie, I do,” Felix said, his tone smug. “Now we have to sign two of these offer letters. I promised Yinusa; one is personal, one is for the company.”

“This man, Yinusa,is owing us so much, it’s as if he owns this bank,” Taramade said. “With the outstanding principal and interest, we are already looking at fifty-nine million dollars from his company. Why are we talking about more money? He should pay what he owes us.”

“What is this about, Felix?” Dr. Johnson asked, now suspicious. She recalled the meeting with the TBN governor accusing her of lacking financial discipline and integrity. All of Felix’s society friends had taken one form of loan or the other, and they were not repaying. It was always billions for gambling on shares, property or for oil and gas transactions with worthless and overvalued assets as collateral.

She had to stop trying to please him all the time.

The obsessive behaviour had to end.

*********************

 The author of The Stress Test will be at the FarafinaReads event this March.