A Congratulatory Post On Poetry And Books

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope your week was productive and that you have a safe and memorable weekend of rest, reconnection and gratitude. I, like you, was saddened to hear of Robin Williams death. I was remembering all of his great performances and his upbeat, perfectly timed improvise & jokes that made us laugh until we hurt. What baby boomer doesn’t remember Mork & Mindy? His passing is unfortunate and very sad. There are never enough words.

This is a congratulatory post of sorts that I’ve been meaning to share with readers about what’s been brewing on my creative stove, give a well-deserved shout-out to an author’s milestone accomplishment and share information about clara54’s upcoming guest author appearances.

mary-ballard-prize-seal-2015

I admit it. I didn’t spend time working on my memoir during my hiatus. I couldn’t bring myself to create in that cathartic space and so I went back to writing poems; a genre I’d found a bit of success in, in the beginning of my freelance writing career.

I wrote a few new poems and gathered some of my languishing poetry to enter them in The Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize Competition.http://caseyshaypress.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-mary-ballard-poetry-chapbook-prize.html where they placed in the competition’s quarter finalists. The finalists vote comes at the end of August. Fingers crossed:)

I received edits to a poem selected for inclusion in the Michelle Obama Anthology (the authors changed the title) which is set for publication in the historical academia’s “The Black Scholar” sometime in September.

My poem “When Morning Comes” was selected to appear on the website Best New Poems for 7 days where readers and poetry lovers get to vote on the poem they like best and that poet wins the contest. My poem is scheduled to appear on the site August 29th. I need your votes, people! so go here to vote for When Morning Comes www.BestNewPoems.com.

I’m collaborated with,and will be the featured author on a new upcoming Christian Romance Guide, penned by my colleague and friend, Evelyn Cogdell. At our last correspondence, Evelyn was held up and anticipating returning to the project in September. More on that as it unfolds.

Kathy Pooler, who blogs at Memoir Writer’s Journey http://www.krpooler.com/blog is presently on a blog tour for her just released memoir and will be stopping in at clara54 the first week of September to talk about her new book (which has received great reviews) and her journey away from emotional abuse.

The same week, Kathy will guest post at my Authentic Woman site to encourage, inspire and empower other women to live a life of wholeness, away from abuse.

Pooler-Final-Cover1-199x300

I was stuck writing my memoir and turned to penning poems on my time away. I also connected with Joy Devok, a prolific cross genre author who blogs at “My Life a Legacy” and who just happens to have recently published her e-book of poetry, called

51klYX8WgNL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Look for Joy’s appearance very soon as she joins the writers blog to talk about her enormous body of work and the joy of writing poetry. I’m excited to have these authors visit and share with us their writing process and talk about their books.Congratulations authors!

Whew, this post was supposed to be short and sweet. What happened!? If you have great news to share with my readers, please feel free to inquire about joining the fray:)

The Writing Life aka My Crazy World by Patti J. Smith

Happy Friday to my fellow readers, writer, authors and creatives! I was outside taking in the stillness of the morning with a cup of java. My only companions were chirping robins and a mulberry tree that was weighted down by its lush green leaves. My brother, who was a poet, once wrote how the simple things in life were the only things he truly enjoyed and I have to agree. The simple pleasures of Mother Nature are ever humbling:)

I’m excited to share a glimpse into the writing life of Patti J. Smith. In May, Patti invited me to take a seat “In The Authors Chair”segment on her blog where she hosts other writers and authors who want to share with readers about their work. Please join me in welcoming this accomplished writer and author to clara54.

10174797_10202727772810116_6877448539153276041_n(2)

A writer sits at wooden desk pushed up against a large picture window that opens to fields of flowers. The room, located in a secluded area of the house, is quiet except for the chirping of birds and whispering breeze.

Ahh, the life of a writer … maybe in a perfect world!

For this writer, it’s a recliner with a laptop, in the living room with two dogs, a very loud parrot and bell-ringing cockatiel. I’m a caregiver for my 86 year-old father and 82 year-old uncle and they wander in to remind me of days gone by, provide commentary on recent world events or ask for a ride. When my husband comes home from work he joins the party. Such a glamorous life.

What do I do?

I’ve become a creature of the night. During the day I care-give and delve into the world of domesticity. In my mind I ponder how I want to proceed on a recent project, sit down and do a little editing, work on social media promotions and take a mid-day nap. Once everyone is tucked tightly in their beds, the dogs asleep and the birds covered, my laptop screen comes alive and my fingers fly across the keyboard. My husband rises at 4:30 a.m. and finds me tap, tap, tapping away.

What do I write?

I am a cross-genre writer. I began with Christian devotionals and thanks to my ever-persistent and confident publisher, I’ve expanded to light romance and suspense/thrillers. Switching between genres (sometimes in the same night), keeps me from over-focusing which, for me, is the cause of an author’s worse nightmare – writers block.

Inspiration

Inspiration can come from anywhere; however, my devotional topics usually filter into my mind during prayer or Mass. Romance inspiration comes from daydreaming or traveling back in time … reliving romantic moments of my own. Suspense/thrillers are roused by nightmares and plunging my mind into my deepest darkest fears.

The Topic of Time

I feel the Holy Spirit guiding me and I have been known to finish one in a week. Yes! A week. Sometimes the Holy Spirit wants the word out immediately, and who am I to argue? The light romances and suspense/thrillers are a different story. In stark contrast to devotionals, my short-story fiction usually take three to four weeks. My pace slows as my mind wanders to, “How can I describe something that will result in the reader turning into a hopeless romantic or someone feeling the need to check the closets and under the bed?”
Faith in Genres

Some of my author friends have called me “Dr. Jekyll and Patti J. Smith”, or the “Sybil” of the writing world. Regardless of genre, I strive to bring faith into each one because faith belongs everywhere, and it’s the guiding force of my life. No one knows what word, sentence or paragraph within a genre will reach out and pull a reader towards Him so I plant seeds everywhere.

The Results
Devotionals:

~~A Mended Heart – Rosary Meditations on Forgiveness
~~Journey to Sunset – Rosary Meditations for Caregivers
~~Redeemed – Rosary Meditations for Post-Abortive Women
~~Embrace the Morning – Rosary Meditations to Calm the Storm
~~And God Still Loves Me – A Journey from the Dark Abyss of Sin to God’s Mercy – my personal testimony.
~~Moments with God – The complete collection of the above

~~Behind the Smile – Overcoming Depression through Scripture and Prayer

Light Romance:

The San Francisco Wedding Planner series. The trials and tribulations of a wedding planner – A cooperative effort with four other authors.

Suspense/Thriller:

Grave Obsessions Series
~~Chiseled Heart
~~Savage Sojourner
~~Shackled Souls (Work in Progress)

All available at http://www.amazon.com/author/pattijsmith.

BIO

Patti J. Smith was born in Wimpole Park, England. She lived in England and Morocco as well as several state-side Air Force Bases and considers her father’s last assignment, Moses Lake, Washington, her hometown. She audited for the Dept. of Labor and Veteran’s Administration Offices of Inspector General, served in the U.S. Army Reserve (Transit Control Unit and Criminal Investigation Division) and recently retired as a background investigator.
Patti lives in Vista, CA with her husband and has two (almost three) granddaughters. She serves as a Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, Co-leads Rachel’s Hope After-Abortion Healing Retreats and sings in her parish choir.
She is a prolific blogger and reader, and proudly admits to being a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan and Fantasy Football fanatic. Her travel adventures include Spain, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Fiji, South Korea and almost all states – including Hawaii and Alaska.
Follow her blog: http://www.gridirongrannyfootballfanatic.blogspot.com/
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/PattiJSmithAuthorPage

On Hiatus

th country rainbow

Happy Friday to all of my readers, writers and creatives. I hope you have a safe and lovely, memorable Fourth of July! I will be extending my hiatus as I am off somewhere chasing rainbows of passion and purpose:)

See you in August.

Peace and blessings.

A Spartan Up! Review

th spartan cover

Hello All! I trust everyone is enjoying the weather? Here’s my Amazon review of Spartan Up! By now you know what the cover looks like:) I hope you are encouraged to make fitness a part of your daily routine maybe not under such extremes? Your choice.

Spartan Up! A business brand that, according to its founder, offers challenging twists to running marathons and triathlon that are more beneficial than the ‘norm’. Before you can even participate in a Spartan Race, you have to sign a waiver indicating that you are knowingly and freely putting your life at risk in order to push yourself beyond your limitations and ultimately bask in the aftermath of accomplishing your goals, and get physically and mentally strong in the process.
These races are based for the most part on the Military modules of training and follows treacherous and calculating obstacle courses in order to test a participant’s endurance under pressure. The Spartan races are not just for men. Women and children participate in these events as well, only they are less challenging for children.
Joe De Sena is the author and founder of Spartan Up! He states he’s probably been called everything from maniac to sadistic to suicidal. I didn’t read anything about his being called slightly egotistical, but that was probably an oversight.
The benefits to becoming a Spartan are detailed in the book. The objective of the race is to get people off their butts and away from their comfortable and sedentary lives of `normal’ everything, including food and technology.
And, to push them to experience the real world through becoming a Spartan and obtaining fitness and optimum health through the wilds of Mother Nature and treacherous obstacles courses you never see coming.
The book is informative, encouraging, motivates the under-motivated and it has a great section on the benefits of consuming organic and nutritional foods.

Recently, I was in the Author’s Chair at Patti Smith’s blog. You can see it here: http://gridirongrannyfootballfanatic.blogspot.com/2014/05/have-seat-clara-freeman.html#comment-form

I will be on hiatus for the month of June. Thanks for visiting:)

Upcoming Review of Spartan Up!

th spartan cover

Alright, I have to be honest. I’m in the process of reading Spartan Up! for clara54’s next book review and I’m hearing a little birdie going , “Is this crazy or what?!” According to the author and founder of this obstacle race, people have undoubtedly called him sadistic, crazy and even suicidal but every weekend thousands of people participate in this race.

This is the book of Joe De Sena, founder of The Spartan Race and I hope to finish it for review (fair and impartial one) for my readers. In the meantime, I leave you with this bit of digestion; all participants in the race must sign a waiver acknowledging fully, knowingly and freely that they accept all risks, both known and unknown before they’re allowed to join the race. Hmm- is there a method to this madness?

Have a safe and memorable Memorial Day weekend. I hope to see everyone on next Friday for my review of Spartan Up!
Feel free to stop by and share your comments about the author, the race and the book.

My Purpose For Writing-Blog Tour

thwrit

When I was growing up I read everything I could lay my hands on, including true story magazines (kept hidden underneath my mattress, along with a copy of Valley of The Dolls)) harlequin paperback romances and literary school assignments from books such as David Copperfield, How Green Was My Valley, Wuthering Heights and The Good Earth.

I was nominated by Audrey Chin to participate in the #My Writing Process Blog Tour, a global blog tour where writers and authors talk and answer questions about their writing process. I’m honored and humbled by her recommendation. When I told Audrey I was feeling a bit intimidated at the awesome company she keeps, she simply reminded me that I am also a part of that company:)
I reviewed two of Audrey’s magnificent books, Learning to Fly and As the Heart Bones Break at the site and for Amazon .com. Visit Audrey Chin’s blog, Sometimes Words Help at http://www.audreychin.com.

What am I working on?

I have two untitled WIP that I am absolutely comfortable talking about. I quietly revisited my memoir in December of last year, after numerous failed attempts, due to an admitted lack of discipline, focus and motivation. I have been a creature of habit in the past that is reluctant to sit down and actually write what’s brewing in my head but I’ve learned to shift my mindset to stay productive.

My story is basically a coming of age memoir where a young girl of color searches for hope and beauty, in a dark place during even darker times of racial divide, hatred, and killings, in the underbelly of a segregated south. It is a recollection of how people came into my life at pivotal points in my life and made an indelible impression that either touched my heart, changed my thoughts or allowed me reason to hope. I suppose it’s one of those coming of age true stories where life, love and loss mesh into a memorable work that’s written with a southern flair.

The characters in my romance /mystery novel serves as a distraction from the seriousness of the memoir and something I’ve always envisioned doing because I’m a romantic at heart. It’s interesting to note how the protagonists in the story have decided to take the lead in the telling of it and I’m not pig-headed enough to insert my objections. I understand that when the characters want to have their say, then the writer might want to listen.

The book follows a forty something year old journalist who have seen her share of heartbreak and troubles. When she is assigned to do a story on the upsurge of fraud and embezzlement in the gambling Mecca of Las Vegas casinos, she meets the son of a casino mogul and becomes smitten. Of course, at some point, the woman finds herself in a world of trouble when she is entrusted with a secret that leads to death.
I refer to both books as “a process to progress” and I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far.

Why do I write what I do?

Writing for me is a prescription the doctor hands you and says, “Here take this and you’ll feel better in the morning.” I am healed when I write. It’s the essence of all that I want to be or become, no matter the genre, and I have dabbled in many. There have been so many theories on how writers come to call themselves “writer.” Are we born or taught this innate gift of expression?

As one who loves to write and have always written something for as long as memory serves me, I don’t ponder how it came to be. I just know I’m doing what I love and if my writing touches another, however big or small, it’s thrilling and humbling at the same time. Writing is as important to me as breathing and I will continue to breathe life with my writing in every aspect of my creative ability.

How does your writing process work?

I look forward to writing in the early mornings before a world awakes, where I’m alone at the keyboards with my delicious cup of Boston java (half cream half coffee) amid the silence of the universe peering over my shoulder.
I once wrote a poem about my love of waking up to greet the ambiance of the mornings, called “Before a World Arises.” It placed in the Illinois Vanderpool Poetry Competition back when I only dabbled at my craft.
I could go on and on about this wonder of expression, but there are so many writers and authors I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and whose works always add value to my writing life. Here are three of them:

Kathleen Pooler- Kathy is a retired family nurse practitioner whose work references the power of hope through faith in God. Her words are gifts of cathartic healing to everyone who reads her blog. Kathy also invites guest posts from other writers and authors who want to share their writing insights and recently published her memoir, Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse.

Kathy blogs at http://www.krpooler.com/blog

Pauline Haynes- Pauline is a life coach and when shift happens on your journey of living and learning from life experiences, you’ll want to know Pauline Haynes. Her positive, upbeat message takes folk from where they are to where they want to be in every aspect of life.
I often visit and email Pauline when I need an extra dose of courage and inspiration. She is personable, gifted and authentic in her mission to make a difference in the lives of others.

Pauline blogs at http://www.paulinehaynes.com

Sue Mitchell- I met Sue through an interview I was conducting at my blog on the how-tos of memoir writing. She had kindly left an encouraging comment on the lessons of memoir writing and who better to offer advice? Sue is a memoir writing teacher and creative writing coach. She recently returned from a blog hiatus and was happy to participate in the blog tour.

Visit Sue Mitchell’s blog at http://www.anuntoldstory.com/blog.

Author Spotlight: Chris Thrall

chris

Good Morning everyone! I hope your day begins on a high note of joy, awesome opportunity and the sheer possibility of a thing. In October 2013, I wrote a review of ‘Eating Smoke,’ the breakout memoir by author Chris Thralls and found it to be a fascinating read. (apparently the big boys in movie-land do as well) This morning I want you to join me in welcoming Chris Thrall to the author’s spotlight.

th now Chriss

Happy 2014, Chris! I did a review of Eating Smoke for Amazon. Com and Good reads. com back in October 2013. I always wanted to interview you about your book, because it made quite an impression. Before we discuss the book, please share a little about yourself, as you clearly didn’t start out a writer. What made you want to pen stories? And what were some of your earlier works before Eating Smoke?

They say everyone has their fifteen minutes of fame. At 38, I knew I wasn’t going to top the charts in a rock band or walk the red carpet in Hollywood, so I decided to write a book, figuring ‘Eating Smoke’, my Hong Kong experience, would make a good one. With the exception of university essays, it was the first thing I ever wrote, so there were no earlier stories.

Secondly, having traveled the world ticking items off my bucket list – volunteering in children’s school Mozambique in Africa, skydiving, and earning my pilot license, for example – I saw having a book published as a final goal, something I could feel pleased about and everything else in life a bonus from that point forward.

Reading about your drug addition and your eventual ‘psychoses’ really rattled me (former nurse) and almost had me believing your experiences in Hong Kong were the reality. Were there moments of clarity where you were told by concerned parties or became aware that, “hey, it’s the drugs?” and did you even consider trying to quit or seek help?

My experiences in Hong Kong were more real than you might think. They were just pretty surreal so many readers put them down to the drugs. As for psychosis and addiction, you don’t realize you’re in either at the time. Addiction is a psychological condition where your mind tells you if you keep taking the drugs, which fool the brain’s reward mechanism, then everything will work out alright. It’s only by hitting rock bottom and wallowing in deprivation for a time that you’re forced to face the fact the drugs aren’t working anymore and your life has spiraled out of control. I never sought any help. When you’ve lost almost everything it becomes increasingly obvious you have to make some changes, and you know only you can make them.

Is there a message you want readers to take away from Eating Smoke or did you write it primarily as a personal release of sorts?

The reason I chose to write Eating Smoke was because I thought readers would be fascinated to hear about the Foreign Triad – the secretive group of expats that worked hand in hand with the Chinese gangs. There’s no intended message in the book. If there was it would be to live your life to the full, take what’s thrown at you on the chin and try not to feel sorry for yourself!

Your dad was my hero and I’m sure other readers would agree. Share your feelings on how he handled such a precarious situation with you needing him from so far away.

I made a couple of what must have seemed bizarre and rambling phone calls to my dad while in Hong Kong, telling him I worked in a nightclub run by the triads and that things weren’t as they seemed. He was obviously shocked, frightened and confused, and made contact with the Hong Kong Police, who said they were ‘well aware’ of me … which didn’t do anything to calm his fears. But, without ruining the ending of the book for people, he did what a father should and continues to do so to this day.

Where can readers find all of your works and what are you working on now?
Eating Smoke is available through all the usual channels, Amazon, etc. I’ve recently signed a new publishing deal which will hopefully get the book the worldwide exposure it deserves. I’ve been approached by Hollywood several times for the film and TV rights and am co-writing the screenplay with Dean Mitchell, who is producing on Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film, ‘Tomorrow’. I’m now writing the second novel in a unique fictional thriller series, really good fun, and am currently seeking an agent to represent the work.

For more information on the author and his work you can also go to his social media sites:

https://www.facebook.com/christhrallauthor
http://www.christhrall.com
http://www.facebook.com/eatingsmoke
http://www.twitter.com/chris_thrall

Doesn’t this interview make you want to purchase a copy of Eating Smoke?
Read it already? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 616 other followers