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

fairy

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.

Image 1 source

#FarafinaReads with A. Igoni Barrett and Efe Paul Azino

Book Reading Flyer_3

Join us on Sunday, 31 July as #FarafinaReads with award-winning writers A. Igoni Barrett and Efe Paul Azino. The authors will be reading from and discussing their work, including their latest books, Blackass (by A. Igoni Barrett) and For Broken Men Who Cross Often (by Efe Paul Azino). There will be conversations, question-and-answer and spoken word performances.

Date: Sunday, 31 July 2016
Time: 3.00 PM
Venue: Bar Enclave, 1 Adeola Adeleye Street, off Coker Road, Ilupeju, Lagos

Entry is free, so bring a friend.

See you there!

 

To buy copies of Blackass or For Broken Men Who Cross Often, please visit our Konga page or call 0807 736 4217.

 

Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop Alum Onyinye Ihezukwu (Class of 2009) Wins Heinfield Prize

Onyinye Ihezukwu, an alumnus of the Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop has been announced the 2014 winner of the Heinfield Prize, University of Virginia. The $10,000 Heinfield Prize is an endowment of the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation and is offered by several universities, The University of Virginia is one of these, to one of its graduate students in creative writing.

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Onyinye was one of the stand-out participants in the 2009 edition of our workshop and we are very glad that she has won this keenly contested prize. She is in great company; well-known recipients include Jonathan Ames, Ethan Canin, Jennifer Coke, Harriet Doerr, Sue Miller, A.M. Homes, Walter Mosley, Ann Patchett and Mona Simpson.

Entries for the 2014 Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop are still being accepted. Send in your applications to udonandu2014@gmail.com. See previous posts on this blog for application guidelines.

Igoni reads in Abuja this weekend at Salamander Cafe: Saturday 2nd November at 2pm

Igoni reads in Abuja this weekend at Salamander Cafe: Saturday 2nd November at 2pm

The Nigerian edition of Igoni Barrett’s collection of short stories will be released in Abuja on the 2nd of November 2013 at the Salamander Café on Bujumbura Close off Libreville Street, Amino Kano Crescent, Wuse 2 Abuja. It promises to be a great event. Farafina is coming to Abuja.

Binyavanga and Igoni’s Reading at Quintessence, Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, this Past Saturday: Photos from the Event

Binyavanga reading

Igoni Barrett, Amatesiro Dore, Binyavanga Wainaina

Toni Kan and Kaina Agary

Toni Kan and Kaine Agary

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke and Toni Kan mugging it for the camera

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke and Toni Kan mugging it for the camera

Lola Shoneyin was there.

Lola Shoneyin was there.

(R-L) Adebola Rayo and Aye-ola Mabiauku read along with Igoni

(R-L) Adebola Rayo and Aye-ola Mabiauku read along with Igoni

Saraba founder and author, Dr. Damilola Ajayi

Saraba founder and author, Dr. Damilola AjayiAmatesiro led Igoni and Binyavanga in conversation after they readAmatesiro led Igoni and Binyavanga in conversation after they read

Poet Aye-Ola performs her work and get the audience in the mood

Poet Aye-Ola performs her work and get the audience in the mood

Wana Udobang, writer, poet and OAP with Inspiration FM performs her poems, Love is/Not for Sale

Middle: Ms. Eretoru Oruwari, Igoni's mother, was in the audience

Middle: Ms. Eretoru Oruwari, Igoni’s mother, was in the audience

Wana Udobang, writer, poet and OAP with Inspiration FM performs her poems, Love is/Not for Sale

Igoni Barrett reads from his collection of short stories, Love is Power or Something Like ThatIgoni Barrett reads from his collection of short stories, Love is Power or Something Like That

Audience lines up for autographs

Audience lines up for autographs

Selected Writers for 2013 Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop

Chimamanda Adichie

In April, Farafina Trust called for entries for the 2013 Farafina Trust creative writing workshop, inviting writers from all over the world to submit their short pieces. From the numerous applicants, twenty-five outstanding writers have been selected to participate in the workshop this year, which will be taught by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Eghosa Imasuen, Binyavanga Wainaina and other writers of note.

The selected writers this year are:

1. Zenique Gardner (USA)
2. Maryam  Shuaib (Minna)
3. Tolu Agunbiade (Ketu)
4. Timendu Aghahowa (Ikeja)
5. Abdulrashid Muhammad (Abuja)
6. Uchenna Ude (Lagos)
7. Udoh Charles Rapulu (Onitsha)
8. Gbolahan Adeola (USA)
9. Lilian Izuorah (Minna)
10. Suleiman Agbonkhianmen ( Lagos)
11. Nicholas Ochiel (Kenya)
12. Yakubu Damilola Daniel (Kwara)
13. Kelechi Njoku (Abuja)
14. Lesley Nneka Arimah (USA)
15. Tajudeen Sagaya (Lagos)
16. Adaora Nwankwo (Onitsha)
17. Chidinma Nnamani (Enugu)
18. Arinze Daniel Ifeakandu (Kano)
19. Okpanachi Eyo Michael (Zaria)
20. Okechukwu Otukwu (Delta)
21. Dami Adeleke (Lagos)
22. Faith Tissa (Anambra)
23. Sifa Asani Gowon (Jos)
24. Efe Paul Azino (Lagos)
25. Aima Ojehomor (PH)