Author Archive

A Poet on Publishing by Joy Dekok

Happy Friday to all readers,writers, authors and critics! I know you’re out there and gosh, where would creatives be if we didn’t have you to make us better, instead of bitter, when it comes to honing our craft?

Today, guest author and poet Joy Dekok, will share insights on the ins and outs of writing poetry, including how poets feel about sending their gems out into a critical/opinionated world. Plus, Joy shares a poem with us!

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We write poetry and hide it – because it’s too personal or too political or too religious and we just don’t talk about those things. Which is peculiar since I was raised in the sixties and seventies and everyone, including the adults in my life, were talking about everything that was once taboo. And today, almost anything is acceptable.
Maybe with the exception of our poetry. The words that form in our souls.
Sometimes we hide the poetry so deep we forget it’s there – in our souls longing for release. Others of us might say we like to read poetry, or we might whisper to someone that we even write a little bit of it, but call ourselves poets? No way. And share it? Never. Publish it? Are you kidding me? We feel an anger driven fear when anyone mentions it certain they just do not get it.

But I do.
Sharing our poetry in pubic is like holding out our heart in one hand and our soul in the other. To the world. Where we might be rejected, ridiculed, or reviled.
I get that.
But still.

In the cacophony of this world, so full of war, hate, and chaos, what if your words have the power to help or heal even one heart? What if your words not only matter, what if they were given to you to make a difference?
Idealistic? Yes. Because sometimes people need us to reach beyond the practical to the passionate. That’s what poets do. It’s part of our calling.
Like many poets, I struggle with sharing my poetry. So much so, that I did what we do – I wrote a poem about it. As I wrote it I was sure I wouldn’t share it. Then I did. Because even though is long and different, it matters. So do yours.

I wish I could but I just can’t.
Or maybe it’s more like I just shant!

Publish my poetry – are you kidding me?
Putting it out there for others to read?

Give the world a glimpse into my heart?
Let them criticize my soul’s art?

Besides, nobody’s publishing poetry these days
It’s an endless, relentless rejection maze.

Why should I put myself out there?
Do you really think anyone else will care?

What would my words look like on the printed page,
My faith, my dreams and even my rage?

Although I live and walk in the Light,
My poems reveal my heart’s darkest nights.

Would anyone read something written by me?
I think that I’ll just let it be.

Unpublished is the way to go,
I’ll avoid this public talent show.

Tucked in a file drawer where no one can see
Is the best place my poem can be.

Help someone else I heard you say,
So why don’t you blaze the way?

You burned up your words a long time ago,
And left a pile of ashes and a bit of after-glow.

Oh – you’ve written more since then?
Have you shared them? Where and When?

This sounds so easy for you.
So what do you think I should do?

It’s not up to you to decide?
Then I think I prefer to stay and hide.

Do you believe my poems really matter?
Unkindness might cause my heart to shatter.

I’m not sure that I can take the chance,
My words might sing but can they dance?

I know I won’t know until I try,
But the effort might cause the words to die.

Again I hear you say the choice is mine,
And that either way I’ll be just fine.

You want me to listen to my inner voice –
I’m a poet Joy – I have no other choice.

That voice speaks to me day and night,
Delivering words I’m compelled to write.

But publish them might be too much,
I might not even have the real touch.

I’m not sure I can afford the cost -
I’m not ready to let my words get tossed,

You know the ways of publication,
I won’t be able to stand the humiliation,

I know rejection waits for me
I cannot do that – don’t you see?

These words are the breath of my soul,
Publishing has never been the goal.

And yet I have to agree with you -
I want to write and be read too.

How will I balance these opposing thoughts?
And what will be the final cost?

I feel a transition moving in,
And don’t know exactly how to begin.

Are you ever so scared your soul seems to shake?
This is a risk I’m not sure I can take. . .

The risk I mean is the one where
I hide my poems and refuse to share.

Where I keep the words in a hidden place
and refuse to give them a public space.

There’s one more thing I have to know
Before I release my words for show. . .

Will you share this poem with anyone?
Writing like you’re me must have been fun.

Sharing your poetry is setting beauty free to invade the hearts and minds of those who read it. What will you do with yours?

Bio:
Joy started writing as a little girl. She carries a large purse so she can take her journal and an assortment of pens with her in case a moment to jot comes along.
Joy and her husband live on thirty-five acres of woods and field in Minnesota between Rochester and Pine Island. She’s been married to Jon for thirty-plus years. They enjoy their many nieces and nephews. Their dogs, Sophie and Tucker, keep them company when they explore the land riding their John Deere Gator or while watching the many birds that visit their feeders. Joy enjoys time with her family, holding hands with her husband, lunch with friends, hot coffee, reading, bird watching, personal Bible study, and amateur photography.
She has nine books in print and including her first general audience (suspense) novel (the first in The Northern Lights Series) featuring main character, Olivia Morgan.
Faith is a vital part of Joy’s life. When she was sixteen, Joy asked God to find her and He did. Although most of her books fit the Christian market, Between the Lies is where Joy proves she is a Christian who writes rather than a Christian writer.

www.joydekok.com
http://facebook.com/joy.dekok
https://twitter.com/JoyEDeKok

What a treat:) Did you guys enjoy this post and extra something for poetry lovers? Please share your thoughts.

September Writing Contests

Happy Friday, all! Let’s face it, writers cannot get enough of sharpening their skills by competing in writing competition. This is another arena for the creative to pit their abilities against fierce competitors for the big prize. Sometimes we do hit a home run and take home the trophy!

Writing competitions in any genre are beneficial to the creative because we can gauge our writing ability against the best of the best and still lose gracefully in the agony of defeat. We know that writing for us is a win/win, no matter if we place in the competition or not.

For those of you who want to compete for the prize or see how far your writing skills take you, here are three great writing contests you might enjoy entering in September:

novel14WOMEN'S MEMOIR

Mslexia is holding a women’s memoir contest for women with a story to tell and who want to compete in the competition for their share of the monies. Go here for details- https://mslexia.co.uk/shop/ncomp_enter.php

Still working on your memoir and don’t really want to share your first draft for competition? How about sharing your dynamite opening paragraph instead? Go here to find out about your first memoir paragraph competition:
http://womensmemoirs.com/memoir-writing/pamela-jane-bell-announces-womens-memoirs-opening-paragraph-contest/

Creative Non Fiction Magazine is holding an essay contest in September called “Waiting.” Go here for guidelines on submitting to their essay contest-https://www.creativenonfiction.org/submissions/waiting

Entered a writing contest lately? Which do you prefer,those with or without fees? Share your experiences with us here on the writers blog and chime in on an upcoming writer’s debate where we discuss paying vs. non paying contest markets.

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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