All posts by clara54

Former professional nurse... Author, Lifestyle Strategist,columnist and women's' advocate who mentors those on a journey of self discovery, self love; passion and purpose.

How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women

Happy  October everyone!  I love to watch the seasons change and fall is one of my favorite times of the year, just because Mother Nature brings vibrant colors that are so darn awesome :)  This is also the time for freelancers to take stock and do inventory on their accomplishments and yes, failures, in order to make strategic plans to learn more, grow more and implement better. Knowledge is power and I love learning.

On that note, I’m happy to share information on another upcoming Iowa University’s free fiction writing class. This class, although opened to everyone, is geared specifically toward women stories! Take a look-see 🙂

Registration begins on Oct 11th for Iowa University’s~How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women. I think these 6-8 week classes are valuable because seasoned writers and newbies get to interact on  the class forums, with these alumni professors of writing and teachers who critique your work and offer valuable nuggets to drive your stories to publication. And did I mention that the classes are free?!

Participating writers who take the class are provided class discussions before assignments are handed out and get to share with other writers who become this family of creatives from different areas and stages in their careers. I love this class and recommend it to all who want to up their game. Certifications are available to those wanting to showcase their achievements.

I look forward to seeing you all there.…

As you all know, I will be posting at my sites monthly, preferably on Mondays, but I wanted to get this info out because the time to register is fast approaching and for all of you  Johnnie-come-latelys, you can opt to register later, but who wants to be late for an exciting writing class!


freelancers feel more empowered, respected and motivated than ever before. Let’s use that energy to come together and make freelancing better for all.

Yours in solidarity,

Sara Horowitz
Founder & Executive Director
Freelancers Union



A Heartfelt Reminder,Writing Updates and Contests!

Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction….
The chain reaction of evil —
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars —
must be broken,
or we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Strength To Love, 1963 

Hello Creatives ,

I’m back to continue in the spirit of creating and promoting meaningful works to help you learn and live by. I hope that we continue to have compassion and empathy for one another and that Dr. King and other fighters of wrongdoers did not die in vain. Let’s stay prayerfully awake, aware and continue to speak on the need for accountability.

I’ve been writing tirelessly during my blog sabbatical and have received many emails seeking help on meaningful projects from other creatives in their work to combat bullying, hatred and violence.

You can view links to some of these concerns here:

I’m not overly concerned about winning a popularity contest with my blogs by way of comments or followers. I’m more interested in making a positive impact that leads to change in the world, and so I sent an email to Arianna Huffington, (former founder & editor-in- chief) of Huffington Post, where I shared some of what I, as a woman of color could bring to the conversation on violence and race in America, as a Huffing-ton Post contributor. I will share bits of her response at a later date, but you can read my latest article here:

I’m also writing, editing and submitting old and newer works to various publications, and recently, among some poetry and short story rejections there have been positive results and I’m grateful and thankful for my gifts:

I contributed to this anthology on true life lessons learned from failed relationships. The author will compile a series of books on the subject. Check her out here:


I always write to maintain balance in my life and I’m blessed to be well versed in several genres. I’m sure you all would agree that writing is therapeutic. My writings keep me grounded and humbled and feeling blessed (I’m too blessed to be stressed, y’all!) Anyhow, I haven’t gotten any new  updates on the release of Unleash Your Pearls Empowering Women’s Voices from my publisher, which is a bummer, but patience is a virtue:)

Here are some great upcoming contests for y’all to check out and hopefully find something  of interest in your genre. Some contests are fee based and some are not.

Oftentimes, we writers think we’re not making a living with our work, unless we are seeing dollar bills. Ms. Robbie of Welcome To Sweetie Pies, coined the phrase “if it don’t make  money it don’t make sense.” That’s all good when you’re business minded and only centered on making money, but those of us who use our writings to make a difference are not solely centered on the grind for the sake of the almighty dollar.We are successful at sharing our work,  knowing that somewhere and with someone, we have aided in making a life better.
September kicks off my monthly blog postings, unless more exciting news find me. I’ve decided to pursue new projects that will expand under my brand leadership that includes influence-rs, motivators and thought leaders, armed with a common goal . I will always appreciate every voice who stops by Clara’s Writer’s Blog to share in this awe-inspiring world of literary creativity.  Writers, innovators and critical thinkers, I heart you all.
Be blessed and be a blessing!
“Where love is God is”~ CF















I’m Back At The Blog With Exciting Updates!

Happy Friday, writers and authors! I hope your summer is going well. I’m back from a brief rest period to reconnect with y’all and bring you up to date on what’s been happening in my writing world of late.

Authentic Woman, my business brand that champions women voices, celebrated its 8th year in the blogosphere last month!  I’m excited to report that my purpose mission to empower the authentic voice in women has become a recognizable, trusted and respected name in the world of self-development and women’s empowerment. At this posting, we have well over 2000 followers, and with your voices adding to the mix, it just keeps getting better.

I’ve been invited to join several prestigious groups consisting of consultants, mentors, coaches, lifestyle strategists, etc, to share experiences in the environment of our brand expertise in making a difference in the lives of others. I’m always happy and downright humbled and blessed to be in the inspiring and aspiring presence of like-minded folk. That’s just God, people!

At Authentic Woman on Monday, I shared the cover to Unleash Your Pearls~ Empowering Women’ s Voices, with my followers. Today, I’m revealing it to you. Yay! Trust and believe, the cover is awesome, but what you’re going to get when you open the book will be explosive (in a  good champion the woman voice way) Keep checking in for the book’s release.

WzW-Unlease Your Pearls CoverNow here are links to stuff I’ve accomplished with my writings while on break:

Short Story.
“We have received it, and it will be considered for our next issue.
Thank you”
The Six Hens submissions team
My Natural Hair Essay.
Recently sold a nonfiction piece to the “Lessons from Losers in Love” Anthology.

I think all of those online classes( free & fee based) are finally kicking in. I actually look forward to editing short stories and previously rejected submissions, which is a far cry from my earlier editing process (hated it!)  I feel like I’m Stella, the writer, getting her groove back.🙂


“Success comes when the work you do helps other people recognize who they are. It is when you see your work make a difference in another person, who in finding themselves, will sow seeds by using their gifts to help another.” 

Clara Freeman


Graduation,Celebrations & A Time Out!


20160521_104243Hello everyone. It’s been quite a busy time in my neck of the woods. Therefore, I’m taking a time out for family obligations, vacations and celebrations. I hope to see all of you back here in late June, unless blessings so exciting occurs that I have no choice but to share with my most favorite folks! Thanks for following and sharing your creative work at Clara’s Writers Blog, where you’re always welcomed.

Enjoy your Summer.

Psst. Don’t tell my daughter I put her picture up, she wouldn’t like it:)


Congrats, Contests and Casting Call

TS and MD at IndieHappy Friday Wordsmiths! I hope everyone have a great weekend ahead. I’m a bit under the weather of aches and pains that accompanies a visit from Arthur, but that won’t deter me from going out to support my granddaughters dance performance this weekend.

We have a lot of ground to cover today, starting with a hearty congrats to authors Michelle Duster and Trina Sotira of the musewrite community for being honored with a 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Finalist Award.

Their anthology, SHIFTS,  won in the women’s issue category.  Congrats ladies. Enjoy your medals and bask in your achievements.  Readers can find more info about their great achievement and how to grab a copy of their book at or by emailing Michelle Duster at

The women’s next anthology is due out March 2017. It will center on thoughts about the first lady, Michelle Obama. My poem, Brown Girl Challenge, also makes a cameo.

Changing gears

It  was such a pleasure and an honor these last weeks to bring you Andre West for my special guest interview. The owner of DreamQuestOne really did the thing! If you haven’t read his informative and inspiring writing insights, please do go back to read part one and part two. And be sure to visit Andre’s website at…

Contests accepting May submissions

My colleague and friend, Evelyn Cogdell sent me this competition. Epiphany, a literary Journal, is calling for poems and short stories. They have a June deadline.They also have a chapbook contest in the works. Check out their website and you’ll find other publications open for submissions.

I’m thinking about subscribing. Thanks Evelyn!


Here are more sites that are open for May submissions.

Short Story award for new writers@

Chicago Casting Call!

Usually, I post about celebrity news, reality television and Chicago happenings over at my celebrity news and views blog, but this is an exception because I’m only posting monthly over there, but that might change in the coming months:)

Here’s the info for all of you wanting to get a chance at being cast for   Reality TV Chicago Ladies


To learn more about the women who are already cast for the show, formerly called Chicago Girlfriends, go to

Quote for today~

When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.
—Ellen DeGeneres


Special Guest Interview With Andre West~Part Two


Happy Friday Creatives! I hope you all have a great weekend and a happy Mother’s Day.  Thanks to each and every one of my  followers for your continued support at the blogs. Let me state for the record~ “y’all totally rock!” So, let’s not waste any more time chit-chatting.

Welcome to Part II of my two-part interview series with Publisher and CEO, Andre West.

Andre, Please share your vision for Dreamquestone from its inception to now.

First of all, I’ve always dreamt of doing great things in life, Clara. I created, founded and established the Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest. This unique dual poetry and writing competition went ‘live’ online, on March 17, 2005. There were several ideas that went into play upon my choosing the name Dream Quest One. Upon checking for internet domains, I found that I couldn’t use Dream Quest, for it was already taken. Therefore, I choose the next best domain for me, . My mission is to inspire, motivate and encourage anyone having the desire or love for poetry and writing, to continue doing so without fear of failure or success. The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is semi-annual. It has closing deadlines in the summer and winter, each year. We are now in our 11th year of this successful mission. Visit the website for details on how to enter at . In the near future, I want to offer more valuable content, which is helpful to the constantly changing world of writing and publishing. I have the foresight to see additional contest categories, increasing monetary awards, and no entry fees. Also, I am looking forward to seeing Dare to Dream being published in hard copy print magazine, someday.  In addition to writing, I want to do my part in fighting against social problems such as neglect, child/spousal abuse, poverty, addictions, and education. This is my dream. I want to write a novel or two, which the world will enjoy reading until the end of time. That is also my dream. I want to reach out to millions of people in the process of reaching for my star. To fulfill these dreams is my quest. I remember a song titled, “The Impossible Dream,” lyrics by Joe Darian, from the 1972 musical film, Man of LaMancha. Ms. Crotty, my eighth-grade teacher, had our class learn and sing that song for graduation day. It is a beautiful piece of lyrical art, which will forever be one of my favorites.

I submitted a short story for competition many years ago, but I didn’t win. You did something in the rejection form letter that can be a motivating factor for many new creative’s trying to share their works, in hope of making a name for themselves or building a life through their writing. You told me that I was an “excellent” writer and although I didn’t win the contest, you wrote; “Don’t let the sun go down on your dream unless you choose to be a star.”  That quote kept me from throwing myself a ‘pity party’ and kept me determined and persistent in my writing goals. So, thank you Andre West🙂

How do you manage to take that “woe is me” attitude from people who might lose a writing or poetry competition and turn it into a positive?   And since we’re on the topic, what‘s the best advice you can give to writers entering writing and poetry contests?

You’re welcome, Clara. I know there are many others like me. Having allowed negative thinking, criticism and fear of rejection to hold them back from becoming the poets & writers they truly are. There are writers and writers who need to know that dreams are not just for other people. Dreams are not just for people who have already “made it,” so to speak. Dreams are for you and me! The little people, having the courage to dream out loud, without fear of failure or success. I remember going on job interviews and not getting hired or called back for one reason or another. Sometimes I was told, they will keep my resume or application on file. Every time I didn’t get the interview or job, I became more confident to get even better at my presentation during interviews, and to appreciate my value as a person. I remember my mother telling me that, “Someone needs you in their workforce right now. You have to be persistent and keep striving for excellent until you get hired. Someone will be leaving a job today, someone will be quitting, someone will get fired, someone will expire, someone will be getting a promotion, and someone will retire. I know this isn’t about entering contests. It’s like a parable. I am trying to explain the dynamics of taking a “woe is me” attitude and turning it into a positive. Just always be true to yourself, let your hair down and never give up! Also, as Sinclair Lewis profoundly stated, “It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.”

The best advice I could give writers entering writing and poetry contests is to always be true to yourself. Put your heart, mind, and spirit into the body of your works. It gives life to it and creates an inner voice that may be heard and felt by the reader or audience. Your unique voice is powerful and sets you apart from all others. Many folks might believe that submitting their poems and stories near the contest deadline, will give them a better chance of winning. I suppose that one may think that judges do not read entries until after the deadline. On the contrary, the earlier you submit your poems or stories, the better chance it has to be read and thoroughly digested by the judges. The early entries may be given more benefit of doubt in how poems are interpreted and stories are perceived. Also, simultaneously, you might choose to send the same poems and stories to other competitions. If your entries are short listed or in case you win elsewhere, you may have time to withdraw it from another contest, and receive an entry fee refund. As more entries come in closer to the deadline, stories and poems are read more quickly. This is because most entries are received on the last day. Your story or poem may be hurriedly read, and more harshly criticized for any reason to be rejected.

Making mistakes in formatting your poems and stories according to the contest guidelines can cost you some points. If you are required to leave your name off your entries, use a certain font type, and font size, please do. Center your title, which should not be put in quotation marks, italicized or underlined. Make sure you use line spacing in compliance with contest rules. Don’t forget to use good grammar, spelling and punctuation. When a poem a story is presented in a professional looking manner, it can’t help being noticed and standing out from all others. Although there are more things you can do to improve your chances of winning a writing or poetry contest, those a just a few which may help, dramatically. Clara, you have my utmost gratitude for hosting me on your award-winning blog during National Poetry Month. I thank you for the opportunity to show my love, strengths, vision, and hope through your platform for writers, poets and dreamers like me.

My pleasure, Andre. Thanks for your time. I appreciate it!

Thank you for having me, Clara! You are a beautiful soul.

Here’s the current Summer 2016 competition information.

THE DREAM QUEST ONE POETRY & WRITING CONTEST is open to anyone who loves expressing innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful literary art of poetry and/or writing a story that is worth telling everyone! Guidelines: (1) Write a poem, thirty lines or fewer on any subject, form or style. And/or (2) Write short story, five pages maximum length, single or double line spacing, on any subject or theme, fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction. Multiple and simultaneous entries are accepted. (

Postmark deadline: August 17, 2016.

Prizes: Writing First Prize is $500; Second: $250; Third: $100. Poetry First Prize: $250; Second: $125; Third: $50. All contest winners works will be published online in the Dare to Dream pages, on October 9, 2016. Entry fees: $10 per story, $5 per poem. To send entries by mail: Include title of poem(s) or story(ies), name, address, phone#, email, brief biographical info. (Tell us a little about yourself) on the coversheet; add a self-addressed stamped envelope for entry confirmation. Fees payable to: “DREAMQUESTONE.COM”- Mail to: Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest, P.O. Box 3141, Chicago, IL 60654. Visit for details on how to enter!


Brief bio: Andre L. West is creator, founder, and editor at the Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest. He is a poet, a writer, and a dreamer from Chicago, IL. Andre’s mission through Dream Quest One, is to inspire, motivate, and encourage anyone having the desire or love for poetry and writing, to continue doing so without fear of failure or success.