Saturday, August 25, 2007

365 Days of Telenovela Love

Exactly one year ago, I was inspired by my husband to ignite my telenovela passion with blogging telenovela stories. Hitherto, I was a niche blogger in many diversified areas, and was yet to find my feet then. So, entered The Gardener's Daughter (La Hija del Jardinero)!

The explosion which later spiraled my passion, converting it into a successful blogging career, was unimaginable! Having 3,000 visitors (Telenovela Lovers) per day, with a page views of 15,000-27,000 daily, is definitely not the norm in the wild, wild, web or blogosphere. What set out as a passionate hobby later began to generate a modest income as the blog was gradually monetized, all these on Blogger's free blogspot hosting. Incidentally, Blogger too marked her 8th year anniversary two days ago.

With over a quarter of a million unique visitors so far, and over 1.5 million page views in 365 days of blogging, posting about 450 stories, the Telenovela Love Garden has come of age.

This hobby has turned-in, an average blog income of five hundred U.S Dollars ($500), consistently for me since February 2007, cumulating in almost $5,000 in 12 months! For a work-at-home mom, in poverty-stricken Africa, on a free blogspot, with all its inherent limitation, this was by no means a superlative success.

That is what I called turning passion to profits. With 893 comments by telenovela lovers on the 450 posts, 272 comments on the 26 post our partner site, novelahitz, and over 2,000 comments from the C-Box, it is a proof a high interactivity by members, almost turning the blog to a social media, a community of telenovela lovers! Subscriber base by FeedBurner who accessed the love garden daily by feeds are over 2,450!

Also, we are the only growing telenovela community on MyBlogLog. We maintained our number one spot as the foremost telenovela blog in the world, published in English language. We are number three position on Google for the keyword and search term "TELENOVELA" out of 5.21 million search results! We have so much to achieve, despite these progress of the last one year.

These efforts have naturally graduated or translated to my moving up to pro blogging, by paid hosting on a new blog on Telenovela Thrillers and Love Stories. I would maintain greater presence there, with my transition to broadband internet connection in my new location in Ikeja, the hub of Lagos megacity.

I am greatly indebted to many of you fellow lovers of telenovelas for these successes recorded over the last 365 days of love encounter in this 'love garden'. Bola, Seun, Bibi, Ayo, Amina, 'Desola, Professors Olofin and Acosta-Alzuru, MamaJ, Philip, Aisha Bt, and, others too awesome to mention here in this small space. This is also your success as you were all part of sowing to make this love garden green and romantic. The sweet fragrance you have poured out here would not fade away, even as I prepare to launch with my Story-Story blog soon. Once again thank you.

My debt of appreciation also goes to my web mentors and friends, whom I have picked so many tips from, to climb to this level of modest growth. From the three "J's"- Joel Comm, John Chow and Jeremy Schoemaker. Big thanks to my sister blogger- Jane May whose depth and profoundity helped me a lot, same for my 'former blogging class-mate' in John Chow's "lecture theater", Kumiko Suzuki, who had since moved ahead of me from free Blogspot to WordPress paid hosting, earlier this year. Hope to catch up with you soon friend.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Parable of the Foolish Virgin

We are in the season of telenovela provocations. El Cuerpo del Deseo (Second Chance), has slipped into a dangerous embryonic death for the past two weeks, as the GOTEL T.V and GALAXY T.V, starved of commercial adverts, have begun passing the buck of repetitive boredom called episodes 4, 5 and 6.

Catalina y Sebastian was not spared of the parade of mediocrity, as the two main actor and actress played out roles that are nothing but abominable ignorance. La Mujer de Lorenzo (Lorenzo's Wife) seemed to have permanently resigned to a still-birth fate.

I told you friends that for the past two weeks, I have been mostly offline, due to what I called personal commitments, but which in reality, was a dream come true testimony. I have been 'combing' with Estate agents to get a choice apartment in Ikeja, the heart of Lagos megacity. The good news is: at last, I have gotten one now, and I would be relocating any moment from now.

That was a 7-year dream come true for me. Thanks to the trio of Google, the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju, and his amiable successor, Babatunde Fashola (BRF). I had longed to move out of the suburb and live in the Capital, since my relocation with hubby from Benin, some 8 years ago. It also meant saving 156,000 Naira (U$D 1,230) from switching my internet connections (dial-up to broadband). That is the miracle of this relocation. Bye bye to dial-up starcomms, as I have been coughing out 15,000, later, 10,000 Naira monthly to be connected to the web for the past two years.

I was saddened by the groanings of telenovela fans on this 'Love Garden' occasioned by the miserable episodes been churned out by AIT's Catalina y Sebastian. My son calls it "Catalina WHY Sebastian". Isn't it ridiculous for Catalina to surrender her hard-won love for Sebastine to the foul blackmail of Emilia?

How on earth could Catalina, Alicia and Luis gullibly accept the false reasoning of Emilia that she could reverse the release of Sebastian (which was made possible by the withdrawal of charges by Eduardo and Silvia declaring Sebastian innocent),if Catalina did not comply with her arm-twisting blackmail? This is nothing but exalted folly!

Who on earth do the script writers of this telenovela think we are? A community of dummies? The impulsive folly of Sebastian baffles me, why would he just turned back after that weak chat with Catalina in Eduardo's apartment? Why didn't he probe further to know the whereabouts of Silvia? The impulsive Sebastian that I knew would have burst into that house and stir up trouble, a trouble that would have brought Silvia out of her hiding place, and would have shown him that it was an 'arrangee' encounter!

I suppose that the old-age of this telenovela (8-years), may have been responsible for that parody. In the last 9 years, telenovela scripting has tremendously improved. La Usurpadora and la Mujer de Mi Vida (Woman of my life), are quite an improvement, so also was Ugly Betty (La fea mas Betty) and El Cuerpo del Deseo. Consolidated Media Associates CMA, should spare us the jaded old telenovelas clothed as 'new', and embrace new advancements and improvements in television soap opera production.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

You Are A Bamboo!

Nneka Obi, my telenovela friend is at it again! She sent me this message about not giving up and I find it ministering powerfully to me. I am sure it would would minister to many too. Many times, I was tempted to give up telenovela blogging, but I find God re-directing me back to this genre.

This parable of the bamboo becomes significant because of this 7th Year of this millennium. Having sunk roots these past six years, expect God to do the unimaginable in your life before this blessed year runs to a close in the next 136 days! May it be 136 days of Bamboo-dizzying, explosive testimonies for your life. Happy Novela-tainment. Let's go now:

"One day I decided to quit...
I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality... I wanted to quit my life.
I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.

"God", I asked, "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"
His answer surprised me...
"Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"

"Yes", I replied.
"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them.

I gave them light.

I gave them water.

The fern quickly grew from the earth.

Its brilliant green covered the floor.

Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.

In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful.
And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. He said.

"In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed.
But I would not quit.

In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would
not quit." He said.

"Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared
to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant...But just 6
months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall.

It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive.

I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle."
He asked me. "Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots".

"I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you."
"Don't compare yourself to others."

He said.

"The bamboo had adifferent Purpose than the fern.

Yet they both make the forest beautiful."
"Your time will come", God said to me.

"You will rise high"

"How high should I rise?" I asked.

"How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return.

"As high as it can?" I questioned.

"Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can."

I left the forest and brought back this story.

I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on you.

Never, Never, Never Give up.

For the Christian Prayer is not an option but an opportunity. Don't tell the Lord how big the problem is, tell the problem how Great the Lord is!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Prelude (2) to Grand Filnale

The last few days have taken me offline due to some personal obligations. Pardon my absence, please. The phony wedding of Carmelo to Catalina did not go without its accompanying drama. Gustavo attempted to stop the wedding at the registry but Sebastian advised him to let them be. After the wedding, Carmelo eventually released the documents of ownership of the Hacienda Ranch to Sebastian, as a ransom for 'buying' Catalina from him.

The truth of how Lupe was betrayed began to seep out. It was that desperate and calculating b*tch called Jessica, who stole the Will of Lupe from her father, Don Chuco's law chamber, and conspired with Carmelo to alter the Will, so as to dispossess Sebastian, in the hope that Catalina would leave Sebastian, once he became poor. She had hoped that with the new 'inherited' wealth of Carmelo, he would buy Catalina's love.

Carmelo's elaborate honeymoon plan to go on a yacht cruise with Catalina and Adela was canceled because, Marcelo called Carmelo to warn him that Lupe was proving too tough to handle. Carmelo gave a load of money to his disappointed mother-in-law, Adela, to go on a shopping spree in order to compensate her for the mysterious cancellation of the cruise. On the first wedding night, Catalina bluntly declared that she would NEVER allow Carmelo to make love to her because she would never stop loving Sebastian (and that was exactly how it went till the end) .

She said she would rather commit suicide than allow him to make love to her. She said that, why she agreed to marry him was because she wanted Sebastian and Martina to partake of their father's inheritance which Carmelo 'legally' hijacked (Oops! what a lame and foolish excuse).

Sebastian, with the help of Don Chuco, Alvaro, his lawyer and Romero, were getting very close to unraveling the kidnappers of Lupe. Carmelo got jittery and transferred Lupe for the umpteenth time, this time, to Catalina's penthouse. (part of the divorce settlement from Sebastian). Carmelo employed two snarling and mean-looking thugs as guards to keep watch over the Penthouse's storeroom to keep watch and prevent any busybody from gaining access to Lupe. He lied to Catalina and her family that the guards were keeping watch over his 'money', kept in the storeroom for him.

Emilia was surprised to see to see her lover-boy, Marcelo, driving a new Porsche car. He told her that Carmelo just bought it for him. She began to suspect that Carmelo and Marcelo may have been the kidnappers of Lupe. Marcelo later confessed to her, (as a proof of his blind love for her), that her suspicion was correct. However, Carmelo overheard him when he (Marcelo), revealed their deep secrets to his lover-girl (Emilia). Carmelo decided he would have to get rid of both Marcelo and Emilia before they reveal his secret crime to all.

Gustavo went foul of Carmelo, and his hired thugs beat him (Gustavo) up into a pulp, a beating that made him hospitalized. Catalina was afraid and called Sebastian to tell him the trouble she was going through in the hands of a potential murderer called husband. Sebastian told her that was the price she would have to pay for marrying for money.

She hotly denied it, and declared he was the only one she truly loved, and she decided to prove it by 'giving herself' to Sebastian and showing him that she was still a virgin, even after marrying Carmelo. She agreed with him that he would be her only lover, while she was still married to Carmelo. That one-time love-making eventually led to Catalina being pregnant with the child of Sebastian. A pregnancy that later stirred up the hornets nest with controversy.

One day, Catalina discovered to her shock that Lupe was hidden in the attic of the Penthouse's storeroom, kidnapped by Carmelo. He told her all what had befallen him in the hands of Carmelo and Marcelo. Catalina took a dare-devil risk by releasing him through opening the door. She later pretended that she did not know that Lupe was kidnapped, hidden or has escaped. (since nobody confided in her, in the first place). She later made a desperate call to Sebastian to tell him that Lupe has been found and was kidnapped by Carmelo.

The inevitable death of Emilia was tragic. She was caught in the crossfires between former allies- Carmelo and Marcelo. After the escape of Lupe, the two traded blames for their respective carelessness. Carmelo made up his mind to kill Marcelo to erase every living witness of his heinous crimes against Lupe and family. Emilia and Marcelo planned to run away from Mexico.

Marcelo also planned to kill his business partner, Carmelo. He planted a bomb in the ignition of Carmelo's car. Unfortunately for him, it was his lover, Emilia who snatched the car for her own escapade. But Escape she did, but to hell. As she turned the ignition, she exploded with the car into smithereens. Carmelo knew that Emilia took his place in the death that Marcelo planned for him. A perilous war broke out between Carmelo and Marcelo, something, or somebody must go for the other, but who? What became of Lupe, Sebastian, Catalina? The next prelude would determine that.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Catalina y Sebastian- Prelude (1) to Grand Finale

Maria RebecaFriends, Let's play god a little this morning. Thanks to my articulate researcher friend, Omodesola. I will post the basic snippets of Grand Finale of Catalina y Sebastian. It is a natural element in man to want to know the end from the beginning thereof. For many of us, knowing the final chapter of this telenovela is a good sedative that kills anxiety and make us to follow the soap with peace of mind.

Every telenovela is by principle, shrouded in mystery and mischief. Unraveling those mysteries and unbundling the mischiefs are what we all call episodes. At times those episodes could be repetitive, long-winding and merry-go-round, like this case of Catalina y Sebastian. There is no doubt that El Cuerpo del Deseo is an 8-year sparkling improvement over the boring repetitions of Catalina y Sebastian.

My attempt, beginning with this morning, is to break the suspense by furnishing us with a series of that final episode of Catalina y Sebastine, which I would call Preludes 1, 2, 3, ... Here we go; This is prelude 1:

The worst villain in this tele-la-suspense, Carmelo, died an ugly death. Why? His obsession pushed him to commit heinous crimes and consequently therefore pushed him to his death, in the hands of the police chief, who shot him at point blank range to hell. But not before Petra, the custodian of secrets, revealed to all present and a dying Carmelo that Antoniete was his true biological mother. A dying Carmelo rejected Antoniete as his mother, and Antoniete broke down and wept profusely for her dead son, Carmelo.

Carmelo with the evil assistance of his best friend, Marcelo, abused the foolish trust of Lupe, and kidnapped the old man in Mexico city. With the help of daily overdose of injected drugs that wiped out Lupe's memory, they made him to sign a new Will that entrust all his estate and wealth to Carmelo as his "Only Heir". Marcelo was charged with the responsibility of monitoring the captive Lupe. Carmelo went ahead with the new Will that legally empowered him to execute the Will and dispossessed Martina and Sebastian of their rightful inheritance.

Lupe's disappearance was a mystery to all the people, but Carmelo was the chief suspect. however there was no proof that connects him with Lupe's disappearance. He too pretended to hire private detective to help him find "his" 'missing father!'

The noose is tightening around Carmelo's neck, investigations are getting closer to the whereabouts of Lupe, so he asked Marcelo to take Lupe to his house in the city. He told Marcelo that he may be forced to take drastic decision to choose between being discovered as a kidnapper of Lupe, and therefore thrown into prison, or he should get rid of Lupe and keep his wealth as his new 'heir'.

Antoniete and Emilia had to burst into Carmelo's apartment in Mexico city, and searched the room (the same room where he had held Lupe captive, before asking Marcelo to smuggle Lupe out to his (Marcelo's) own apartment in another location in the city), but met it empty.

Later when Lupe came to his senses after the effect of the drugs wore off on him, in Marcelo's apartment, he asked after Sebastian and Martina. Carmelo lied to him that his two beloved children had died in a ghastly motor accident. He did this to give him the consolation and justified the evil of making him to sign a new Will that empowers him (Carmelo) as the new and only heir.

Carmelo went ahead and blackmailed Catalina that she must marry him, if she wanted to fulfill the wishes of Sebastian that he (Carmelo), should cede the ranch, which was only a small portion of Lupe's wealth to Martina. Unfortunately, foolish Catalina agreed and compromised, partly because she was jealous that Sebastian had fallen in love with Jessica. She had seen Jessica always around, and going out with Sebastian, and she painfully and wrongfully concluded that she has lost Sebastian for ever.

Emilia and Marcelo have fallen in love, they have even started sleeping with each other, but Emilia would not let go off Sebastian and still hated Catalina, because she knew that Sebastian and Catalina were still deeply in love with each other, despite Catalina having married Carmelo in a phony marriage. She wanted Marcelo, "Mr. Fix it" to help her kill Antoniete and Catalina.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Shout Out to the 'Girls'!

This morning I have to pay some of my friendship debts to some of my great new telenovela friends on the web. First on the queue is dearly esteemed Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, Telenovela lecturer and Associate Professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, U.S.A. She is a Venezuelan by birth, and runs two blogs Telenovelas- Carolina (English version), and Telenovela-Carolina (Spanish version).

She is one generous woman who gives without expecting a pay back.Why did I say that? She generously gave a link to our Telenovela Love Garden here over two weeks ago, and has never asked for a reciprocal action from me. That is noble!

In a recent post by her she told us how she took telenovela to the classroom in form of a course unit taught to her students, in the University. She also highlighted some other changes in the telenovela world as telenovela actors and actresses were crossing over, from Latin America to Hollywood.

Next on my overdue list is Ayo Ajiboye I call her "Lady of wits and wisdom" after her Wits & Wisdom Blog. She is a wife and home-maker, with great flair for music, singing, reading, traveling.

In her recent posts, she dwells more on inspirational quotations. The theme of her blog is: "So Little, Yet Big Enough To Inspire" I love her cool and neat blog. She also gave us some Wikipedia tips of the significance of this month- AUGUST. Ayo is a reputed health Educator.

Last but not the least on my list is my best online friend, you all know her, she is Omodesola (Izekor) Ilechukwu (Mrs.)

Why did I call her my best online friend? It is rare to always meet online friends in real life. Except it is leading to dating and marriage. But 'Desola is different, she is a happily married lady and mother of wonderful children like me.

She strenuously strove to meet me in real life and having met, we have become so close. Yesterday she did a marvelous job by fishing out the remaining episode of Catalina and Sebastian. Remember it was my lady engineer online friend, Bola Oluyemi, of Life Blog Magazine and Mums-Dads-Children Blog who gave me Episode 1-52 of Catalina y Sebastian? I have faithfully delivered most of these in the Sitemap of the full story of Catalina y Sebastian.

Hurrah 'Desola has gotten the balance for me, and I would sincerely pursue the race as soon as I finish this post. So, let me run along and post some more today, as I shout out loud to all the 'Girls' (giggle) and telenovela fans.