Author Archive

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.

My Purpose For Writing-Blog Tour

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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

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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.

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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.

Writing Outside of Your Niche

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Happy Friday readers and creatives. What a glorious morning to be doing something productive!

What do you do when your muse calls you to write outside of your niche? Are you fearful that by tackling another genre that you might forget to focus upon your calling? I used to struggle with this creative dilemma in the beginning of my writing career, until I realized that what God gave to me shouldn’t be kept boxed in fear, but opened to explore in every aspect of my creativity.

Life writing is my purpose and my brand. Becoming a voice that empowers women to passion, purpose and living their truths became my mission. In this instance, I make a life with my writing, rather than a living. Writing is looked upon these days as a trade rather than a calling. I can see how simple economics adds to this popular train of thought.

As a freelance writer and creative entrepreneur, I use my talents, skills and gifts in other areas where my creativity continues to educate, inform, and entertain, while paying penance to my economic sustainability.
Genres that I’ve written for and found a bit of success in, includes:
Short stories of fiction and nonfiction
Book Reviews
Song lyrics
One Act Plays
Celebrity News and Entertainment Features
Poetry
Slogans
Magazines
Blogs
And Content Writing.

I believe writing is a calling whose logistics can be improved upon as one sees fit to garner acceptance and or publication and validation. Your purpose is defined as that thing that nags at you to do what you must to make a difference in the lives of others and becomes your brand or niche.
Do not fear your gifts and abilities beyond your passion and purpose. How will we grow if we never expand our creative horizons?

How do you feel about writing beyond your comfort/niche? Share other genres you enjoy.

“Ten Lessons My Mother Taught Me Before She Died” By Faith L. Walls

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It takes courage and a spirit filled life to continue to live joyous and productive in this great big world without your mother. Faith L Walls wrote a moving tribute to her dear mother who passed away in 2007. Her book serves as an inspiration to all “girls” without mothers.

I am one of those ‘girls’ and I’m reading “Ten Lessons My Mother Taught Me Before She Died” by the author and educator, Faith L. Walls. You can go to http://amzn.to/18Wo3AE to pick up a copy for yourself or for a “girl” you know who is out here living life without her mother.

Peace & blessings

Sharing an Excerpt from “Technicolor Love”

Happy Friday and I hope you all have a glorious and joyful Easter weekend! You all know I’m always promoting and sharing the works of creatives at the writers blog and it’s a blast. What I haven’t been doing on the regular is sharing my own works. We can sometimes be our own worst critic, right? Currently, I have 2 works in progress; a return to my long overdue memoir and a new romance/thriller. I call my babies “My process in progress” in hopes of completing them sometime in 2014 :)

This is an excerpt from an already published Indie work that’s a part of the Independent Author Index IAI Short Story Compilation, authored by Faydra Fields and available for purchase at Amazon.com. This material is not for under 13.

Technicolor Love Excerpt:

Hmm…
looking at her backside with critical brown eyes, Rhea was standing near
the foot of the same bed where she’d consummated her marriage to Gerald over
fifteen years ago. Sometimes, she regretted never having a honeymoon, but there
was no money back then and Gerald had been left this beautiful home after his
parent’s untimely death in a car accident.

Rhea repositioned the floor length mirror covering the door to their bedroom. Stepping back for a better view of
herself from every angle, she sucked in her stomach, held her shoulders erect and stuck her chest out, all the while listening for Gerald to stop singing in the bathroom shower where he was taking one of his “readiness” baths.
At 5’9” and one hundred thirty-two pounds, 36-year-old Rhea Perry decided she still looked like a rock star…a tad more junk in her trunk than norm, but still hot…
She blew a kiss at her reflection and turned away from the mirror to bend down and remove the designer ‘intimates’ box from its hiding place underneath the bed. She didn’t really want or feel the need to hide things from her husband, but this was a secret. When the singing ended in the bathroom, Rhea Perry climbed upon their king-sized bed, moistened her lips, crossed her legs in a sultry pose and waited for her husband’s reaction.

Gerald dropped the towel, mouth agape at the boldness of this sexy woman, nearly naked in skimpy red lingerie and matching panties. He was staring at Rhea with water dripping from his hair, his private parts saluting to its own instrumental love song.

They hardly had time for each other, now that Gerald had made head salesman at the car dealership over on Lyndhurst, about 30 miles from their home in Cleveland Heights. Rhea loved living in the suburbs, quiet, but not so far away from the 490 leading into Ohio’s bustling city limits. She embraced becoming a homemaker and was still trying to get used to the idea, since she’d worked most of her life, but since the promotion, Gerald had wanted her to quit her job as a rehabilitation tech in the township of Blacklick, citing the dangers of a
working woman out alone in the lower parts of Ohio.

Even though Rhea was raised up in similar townships and was no stranger to the culture, she knew not to argue with her man when he set his mind to something. He’d insisted he could handle their finances and anything else they might need to live a comfortable life and well he could.

It was a bit disconcerting when she heard tidbits of gossip floating around about her husband, but folks
gossiping tended to cause dissension in a happy home and Rhea wasn’t giving in to the hype.
She believed Gerald was a faithful husband and quite frankly, she had no concrete reason not to…They’d just made good love and… smiling, she concluded that there were no worries in that department!

Gerald was a good-looking man and that was just a fact. He had the Carmel colored skin that women swoon over. A six-pack she never tired of placing hands on and a pair of the sexiest green eyes she’d ever seen. At 6’ 2, Gerald
Perry was a bronze God “look out Denzel!”

Rhea loved Gerald and in her eyes, he could do no wrong. He was a hard-working man who loved her right back. When she lost their only child in stillbirth,Gerald didn’t place blame, only scooped up her sobbing and broken body from the hospital bed where they’d gotten the news and held her in his strong arms,vowing to always love her, no matter what. Their little girl would have been ten…

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To purchase the compilation and read my story, visit http://www.amazon.com/Independent-Author-Index-Compilation-Volume-ebook/dp/B008Y0J8KQ.

Are you hesitant to share more of your creative works and why?

Clara54 “Whatcha Doing” in Books for 2014!

Hello readers, writers and published authors! Well, stuff is happening in my world- some good, some not so good, but my creative juices will not be deterred:) Today, I’m reflecting upon some of the many books/authors I’ve read for my reviews here at Clara54, Goodreads.com and Amazon.com and I wanted to share and recommend some “Whatcha doing” in books to my wonderful readers.

You guys are so deserving and this is my way of saying ‘thanks’ for all you do and to remind you that great books and authors are rising up, many of whom I get to spotlight at clara54 writers blog. Today at clara54’s “Whatcha doing” book series:

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“Through The Lens” by Kwana Jackson, is an enjoyable and romantic book. The protagonists discover their love for each other through the lens of a beautiful Island backdrop.

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“Murder At Castle Rock” is a wonderful whodunit that takes the reader on a joyful and suspenseful journey through the love for rock & roll music and mysterious murders. This book was written for diehard music lovers and wannabe mystery solvers with a in a rock &amp ambiance. The author is Anne Marie Stoddard.

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Want to read about women trailblazers in Basketball? Remember when women weren’t even allowed to play the sport? This memoir “Home Sweet Hardwood” was written by one of those women! I learned a lot about the tenacity and strengths that women had to muster in order to become ‘one of the boys’ in this male dominated sport. I’m also glad to report that Pat Mckinzie and I are great cyber ‘sistah’ friends. Keep going warrior woman!

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“When One Door Closes” is one of my favorite women anthologies and not because I’m one of the contributors, but because of its author. Terri Spahr Nelson took the voices of many women and formed a community of a woman support system of shared truths and the voices of women in conversation on a global scale. I was thrilled to read and be a part of this book that reflects on Life’s turning points in the lives of women.

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I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own little contribution to sharing the authentic woman voice. With “A Life Toward Authenticity”, I’m not even trying to go to the place of published author (wip) with this short eBook of my personal journey to truths seeking, but I tell you it packs a great big wallop in an honest attempt to help other women on the path to living an authentic lifestyle. From my heart to yours, I ask that you receive the message in which it was given.

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‘Eating Smoke” by Chris Thrall stayed in my mind long after I’d finished reading it. It’s a true to life story of addiction, psychosis and a man alone in Hong Kong, whose life force is quickly spiraling out of control as his addiction to drugs worsens and his sanity wan. I’m still waiting for an interview with this author, but he’s presently in talks and preparing this masterpiece for the big screen!

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Wow, you talk about a master at work, “AS The Heart Bones Break” by Audrey Chin is so descriptive and detailed in its craftsmanship. The story unfolds via a mysterious voice painting tales of espionage and secrets that extends from Singapore to the shores of the USA. The protagonist is determined to stay true to his people; his heritage and considers it an honor to spy for his country from where he lives and works abroad. The secrets within his own heritage and insidious family dramas colors the story and lures the reader, making it impossible to put the book aside. I was pleased to hear of the author’s success with her book, only one of several. I predicted Heart Bones would become a bestseller and box office draw :)

These are some of the books I’ve enjoyed reviewing for my blog or at Amazon.com and there are others that I want to recommend, but those will come at another posting. I hope those of you reading this post will pick up one or more of these author’s books. Clara54 was selected as book blogger site in 2010 for a reason, people, so go on and get your read on.

Have you read any of my recommendations? Feel free to share.

All Beautiful Things: Amazon Book Review

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Wow, overcast skies and a slight misty rain, makes for one of those awe-struck beautiful mornings. Happy Spring to my readers, writers, movers and shakers! Since my last visit, I’ve been putting in hours as a great grandma, working on writing projects, scouring for gigs, attending seminars, teleconferences, and reading an assortment of books:) which brings me to today’s Friday post.

If you haven’t read “All Beautiful Things”, a plot centered around the Beauty and the Beast fan tale by Nicki Salcedo, I don’t think your book collection is complete. Here’s the review that I posted on Amazon.com:

When I read a book for review, I’m usually conscious of my personal taste for story telling. The ability to keep the reader turning the page and the overall feeling of satisfying a hunger that burns in the belly of the reader is a plus. Redundancy, predictability and failure to persuade the reader can detract from a book’s praises.

In All Beautiful Things, the author writes a horrific attack scene that immediately horrifies and draws the reader in and sets the tone for a roller coaster ride of expectancy. The wonderful pace of Imagery moves the story from beginning to end.

There are a few predictions that played itself out that was not a surprise to this reviewer, but still so few that it didn’t detract from the overall expertly written and nicely applied attention to detail the author conveys.

The protagonist is Ava Camden, a rich African-American socialite in Atlanta who is brutally attacked and left for dead. Only she lives and her life is a constant reminder of her ordeal because of the deep scars in her face sustained from the knife the perpetrator welded in the attack.
Ashamed, angry and embarrassed by her disfigurement, Ava refuses to ever have her picture taken. She becomes withdrawn and spends her time working in a shelter amongst people who she feels doesn’t judge her.
When Ava’s white attacker who is serving ten years for the crime against her is released after only seven years and promptly disappears, the brother of the accused attacker sets out to find him, along with the answers to the mystery surrounding Ava Camden’s attack.

All Beautiful Things is a well crafted story that will keep readers intrigued until the end. I enjoyed reading it.

You can see the review here- http://www.amazon.com/review/R2LJ1FGQQTUQPN.

Nicki on Goodreads- url
https://www.goodreads.com/nickisalcedo

Have you read All Beautiful Things yet? Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

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