Category Archives: book reviews
Book Review: Patrates And The World Of Magical Creatures
- Creature: The Sorcerer’s Claws (gmoracle.com)
- Book Review: Patrates And The World Of Magical Creatures By Albert L.Z. (clara54.wordpress.com)
Book Review-Out From The Depths Of Pain
“Nearly 74% of Americans personally know someone who is, or has been a victim of Domestic Violence”-Allstate Foundation National Poll on Domestic Violence,2006, Liberman Research Inc.
Initially, Leah thought David, a kind and considerate man. He was an upstanding Senator in the community, well known & liked. All of her friends assumed they’d make the perfect couple, well, nearly all. Tamar, Leah’s best friend, had her doubts. The two married 2 years after meeting as volunteers at Habitat For Humanity.
Leah’s aunt whispers “You’ve just made the biggest mistake of your life.” On the honeymoon, Leah was beaten and made to sleep nearly naked on the floor of their glorious suite,while David Lee slept soundly underneath 500 thread Egyptian sheets…
What’s to become of Leah? How can she protect her child? How can she keep her family from finding out? Chrisean Meyer is a police officer. He’s seen it all before- his sister was a victim of domestic abuse. Will Chrisean be able to show Leah a different kind of love? Will she even allow him into her life?
Out From The Depths Of Pain is a work of fiction that deals with everyday situations, while exploring romantic and responsible Christian relationships. It’s a book well worth the read…
To learn more about Yvonne Miles Levert and to purhase a copy of Out From The Depths Of Pain,visit http://www.outfromthedepthsofpain.com and http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore.
This book was sent by the author to clara54 for review. No profit was made from this review…
Clara54 Review:Hopscotch On Bloodstained Sidewalks…
“Consider us your children for a change and even though you may not want to, Please…Don’t Shoot!”
– Hopscotch On Bloodstained Sidewalks
If you’re familiar with the great works of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, or Haki R. Madhubuti, you’ll want to read this book by Kenneth Marshall, a man with a Social Services background and a voice geared toward exposing the violence that runs rampant in our Black neighborhoods amid the truth of complacency and docility that seems so prevalent in the African-American Communities.
The book is a compact 67 pages and yet, it’s not an easy read. True to life stories are laid out in boldly written scenes of how death, poverty, drugs, violence and police brutality becomes the norm and how life returns to business as usual once the customary grief-stricken member of the neighborhood gives a brief sound bite to an unconcerned media as stalwart members of the community offer the proverbial prayer vigil. The neighborhood pastor who has seen too many deaths, prepares his sermon and tries not to get this victim’s name wrong.
Mr. Marshall reminds us, lest we forget: The one thing that you can count on in the African-American Community is A Funeral. Hopscotch On Bloodstained Sidewalks is a searing account of how we live and react to the violence in our Urban Communities. The book’s message implores a Community sensibilities to step up, commit to working together to find solutions to the cause behind our children seeking drugs and gravitating toward violence. Is it poverty? Is it Cultural? Is it because of family Dynamics? (no father figure) When will we wake up and take back our communities? Author Kenneth Marshall reminds the community people how if we’re not a part of the solution then we are, most definitely, a part of the problem. A child’s prayer: “If I should die before I wake” so often becomes, “Please God protect me when I go to school, play on the playground and stop by the neighborhood candy store.” What can we do as a people to stop the traumatizing madness?
Kenneth Marshall uses his experience in Social Services to take his readers on a voyage through an urban life of drugs, gangs, violence, apathy, police brutality and death of innocent children. Hopscotch On Bloodstained Streets reminds us of the good old days in bits of nostalgia, but it makes us acutely aware: Those days of families looking out for families in our communities are long gone….This book of compassion and activism is mindful of James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time”…
Clara Freeman is a nurse and freelance feature writer for the BULLETIN.
- FILM: “Take This Hammer” – James Baldwin in San Francisco (colinresponse.wordpress.com)
Book Review: BACKSTABBERS:The Reality of Politics…
Chicagoans have witnessed more than their share of political upheavals since the jubilant and historic election of our first African American President in 2008, President Barack Obama. Over the course of this last year there has been the very public impeachment and eventual indictment of our former Governor, Rod Blagojevich and recently the announcement from Mayor Richard Daley that he won’t be seeking re-election for a 7th term. These shakeups in a city known for its pizza, football and politics cause a lot of people to wonder about the state of affairs in the “Windy City.”
In his new book, BACKSTABBERS: The Reality Of Politics, Rickey R. Hendon, a Democratic Senator serving the West side of Chicago’s 5th district, opens a door and allows readers access to the reality of this city’s ‘politics.’ While reading the book, it becomes clear that politics is a game meant for winners. One of Senator Hendon’s people working in his campaign camp put it this way; “Learn how to play chess and then you will understand what the political game is all about.” The book breaks down the how tos of selecting a candidate, obtain valid voters, become a visible force in campaign strategy and essentially deal with the expected competitive low down tactics from an opposing camp’s volunteers, political opponents and friends.
Although Senator Hendon does state instances of backstabbing from some of his most respected allies (so he thought at the time) and name names, he explains that he’s not all about bashing his political foes, friends and co-horts because he is still a political figure and have to work with these same people; His sentiments ? “There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, just permanent interests.” He caustions people interested in running for office how political strategies change, but the science essentially stays the same.
The book offers lessons on politics from the ground up. Senator Hendon has brought his years of being in public office, running political campaigns for others and winning 14 elections to the forefront in BACKSTABBERS. Portions of this book will grab you when you least expect it. Although it seemingly exposes this dog-eat-dog aspect of the political world, it also serves to remind us of how a political campaign when run for all the right reasons and wins; Can become the most fulfilling, yet humbling experience for a candidate.
If you’re seeking advice about political aspirations; how to run a campaign, how to win, or just want to learn about Chicago politics, BACKSTABBERS; The Reality Of Politics is a good place to start . As Senator Hendon states so eloquently in his book: A politician issues a birth certificate when you’re born, a death certificate when you die and every document in between. Everybody is affected by politics, so you may as well get involved.”
Clara54’s review of this book was previously published in the Chicago Independent Bulletin Newspaper.
This review is as relevant today as it was in 2010!
Highlights From The Creative Mindset Series
Lately, I’ve been doing more reading, writing and adding important stuff to my to-do list. Some of my earliest joys in life came about when I was reading, writing and storytelling. I’ve decided to return to those joys and recapture my love for the written word & creative expression. Recently, I finished the Creative Mindset Series by Beth Ann Erickson, the Queen Bee of Filbert Publishing. I originally purchased the 3 volume book’s Advice For Freelance Writers, highlighted great stuff and listened to the 5 DVDs included as well. The entire purchase came at a fair price considering ALL the valuable information gleaned from the books & DVDs, some of which I’m going to share with you guys.
The Creative Mindset Series DVDs speak to writers about dealing with change. Awakening their muse. Dealing with negativity. Dissolving Blocks and Marketing 101. The lessons and advice are clear & beneficial to writers of all levels, creatives in every genre and touches a great deal upon copywriting. These insider tips from a seasoned “pro” in the field of freelance writing answers the question “how do you become a successful writer?” I identified with her response in that you follow your bliss (path of writing) as opposed to that of other writers. Stressing that it’s ok to read & learn from the greats, but, ultimately, you and you alone, define your success. Do not she stresses, allow someone to define your success for you. On that same note, she advises writers to follow “The Art of Allowing.” It’s a writer courtesy that in essence says while nobody is defining your success, you don’t define other’s success either. Sounds good?
What I love about this series is that Beth is both professional and personable in her delivery. She writes with authority, but, you find that she reads like the girl next door. There’s no feeling of grandiose (although she could certainly go there!) No preaching, no talking down to the newbie writer who’s still learning the ropes, or, mimic the shortcoming of the newer, less seasoned writer. No, this class “act” instructor teaches by example and reminds us that writers must be awake & aware of what’s going on in the industry.
Another tidbit of information that I’ve worked from is that writers can mainly write anything. We’re quite creative that way. When asked the question “Do you accept everything offered to you in the world of freelance writing?” Beth answer came as no suprise to clara54 “Just because a window of opportunity opens, it doesn’t mean you need to walk through it.” also ” If an opportunity doesn’t advance you toward your ultimate goal, nix it.”
I do tend to go on when I’m excited about a thing. You’ll have to purchase the Creative Mindset Series for yourself to see why it’s a good read. Also I’m listening to a weeks worth of the Successful Authors Secrets about Book Marketing (free teleconferences) with an option to upgrade for even more insights from famous authors. So far in my resolve to write more fiction, I’ve entered one of the contests mentioned on the previous post. Submitted poetry to an anthology contest and received a glowing email from a women’s magazine who will be publishing excerpts from my post “How I built a Popular Blog for Women” under their Technology page…I’m excited with the editors’ email and so excited for my wisewoman2!
It’s a great time to be a creative creature 🙂 wouldn’t you agree?
A Review Of This Is My Beloved…
One thing I like to do when I’m hanging out with the girls, is go antique shopping. One friend of mine goes in search of the understated crystal that’s hidden about in disguise except for her uncanny eye for detail…Me, I’m usually caught somewhere lost among the bookstalls, searching for that gem of a read that got away. I’ve collected quite a few keepsakes along the way too, including some authentic looking love letters of Emily Dickerson. (according to my untrained eye)
The gems I wanted to share with my readers today are portions of poems (because I’ve been thinking about writing love poems) by Walter Benton, a Russian Poet who lived most of his life in the United States. In the book “This Is My Beloved” the poems are written as Entries with the month and date as opposed to todays titled poetry entries. Here are some favorite passages that resonates with a recent re-connect & he’ll probably read this post and blush:) which leaves the reader tangled in a web of rich imagery and emotions (good? bad? indifferent?preplexed?) oh shucks, enjoy!
Entry November 12
I waited years today…one year for every hour, all day-though I knew you could not come till night, I waited… and nothing else in God’s hell meant anything.
Entry April 28
Because hate is legislated…written into the primer and testament, shot into blood and brain like vaccine or vitamins
Because our day is of time, of hours-and the clock- hand turns, closes the circle upon us: and black timeless night-sucks us in like quicksand, receives us totally- without a raincheck, or a parachute, a key to heaven or the last long look
I need love more than ever before…I need your love, I need love more than hope or money, wisdom or a drink…
Entry November 25
There are no stars tonight to get my bearing by. What time is it? What season? What year? The sky sags…bellies. The city gargles dust in the streets…AND
“I am lost on an Island somewhere between two rivers.
Blind buldings are all around me-
and the earth is covered with flat stones. And over me, the low dark roof-the harbor’s lifted morass and the belchings of many chimneys…
Although the book was written in 1943, it has been reprinted 29 times. My copy was published in 1963.
What about you guys? Have any great finds you’d like to share with clara54’s readers? Give it a go! (psst and you?) don’t go getting ideas:)
Tracy Koretsky On Poetry, Life & Possibilities…
1. Tell us about the person behind the work.
I guess what I’d most like readers of Even Before My Own Name www.TracyKoretsky.com to know is that its author is happy. Several centuries ago, while still in my very first few months of college, I happened to be watching the evening news. There had been a study; it found that most people who have unhappy childhoods turn out to have happy adult lives. This fell upon me like a ray slipping through the edges of a drawn blind. It had never occurred to me that I’d had an unhappy childhood; I would have said I had an unhappy life. But in that instant, I understood it was over. I was on my own now, an adult, and happiness was not only possible, but mine to craft. All right, I was wrong. At the age of seventeen, I still had a fair amount of childhood left to wend, and let’s face it, it never leaves us entirely, but I was on my way, most definitely on my way.
Even Before My Own Name, I think, can be read as the history of that transition, the long insistence that despite the bad luck of a mother who died when I was twelve and a father who was mentally ill, there is still so very much to laugh at and be grateful for. I have never lost my sense of wonder about that. I sometimes find myself on a sunny day singing out loud while gazing at some breathtakingly beautiful view – the San Francisco Bay Area is so abundant with them – and I just find myself taken again by the thought: what if they could see me now. I think they (whoever the heck “they” are) would say, “Hey, I like her smile!
2. Even Before My Own Name. A huge undertaking. Where did this need for expression come from?
Writing has always been my way to drop anchor long enough to hear my own thoughts, or to play the most consistently fascinating and often hilarious games. My education angled me toward fiction, but my proclivities drove me to try everything – everything literary anyway – all lengths of fiction, plays, screenplays, poetry, journalism, criticism – everything that is, except autobiography. In a lifetime of writing, I have produced only a slim file of personal essay and that mostly in response to some assignment. Instead, whenever I did broach the “I” subject, it came out as poetry. I think this may have less to do with need than permission. Writing about myself in poetry meant writing in code. Also, the likelihood that any member of my family might come across it (and be hurt by it) was lessened if it were poetry
3. How long did it take for you to complete the book ?
I’m never good at that question. I often return to projects after writing something else for a while – sometimes a long while. For example, during the years I wrote my first novel, Ropeless www.ReadRopeless.com, I got my poetry yah-yahs from writing the voice of Danny, one of its four narrators. So the poems in Even Before My Own Name were mostly written pre-Ropeless or post-the first draft of my second novel, which I returned to before revising “Even Before…” for cohesion. So you see…a pattern.
Oh, this is all about process. Forgive me. You want to know the personal stuff. Okay. Many of the poems were first composed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during the years I worked as a guidance consoler taking graduate classes in art history and fiction writing. I begged, and I mean this – abjectly begged – to be let into a stellar community group: The Squirrel Hill Poets, http://squirrelhillpoets.org/ who were all way, way more experienced that I was, and off I went. Many of the poems woven throughout this collection were first written under their tutelage and loving care.
Fast forward a great many years and find me in one never-ending-quest-for-novel-publication exhausted moment in 2005. I slump on my bed and promise to give myself poetry for 2006. Which, let’s face it, wouldn’t have been enough time even if I’d had any idea where to begin. I recognized that I was not skilled enough to read poetry much less write it, so I began there. I thought about the kinds of stuff an M.F.A. program would include: some reading classes, including criticism; some prompt-type classes; an individual mentor; peer-exchange, maybe some magazine editorial work, some critical writing – then asked myself how I could mock-up something like that for myself. Of course I couldn’t do it as well, of course not. I’m not presuming to say I gave myself an MFA. I’m saying that I looked at what the teachers thought might help one become a strong poet and either signed up or created it myself. So, by the fall of 2009, I was ready to release the resulting book.
4. Your thoughts on turning 50?
Haven’t done it quite yet, not until this coming Thanksgiving but, hey, I’m precocious, so I gave myself my gift to myself last year! One to give away, that’s what I wanted – a piece of my life-long art that I feel is complete and satisfies me. No money involved, no competitions, or publishers, the only goal: reach as many readers as possible. After all, it’s connecting with readers that makes me happy, and this is a book about letting go and choosing happiness. I should say too, that I dedicated the book to “the girl I once was.” That girl didn’t care all that much about the judges’ opinions. I wanted to honor her.
5. You’ve led an interesting life; how’d you get so lucky?
By being a weirdo kid, I guess. And also, all my life glasses, and much of my life, hearing loss in my left ear. It kinda put me in my own world. And is it ever interesting in there!
6. Tell us a bit about ROPELESS
What I think surprises readers the most about Ropeless http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0984124217
is how much fun it is to read. They hear that the main characters are a 78 year-old balebusta http://www.asinine.com/essays/yiddish.html
from Brooklyn living with her middle-aged son, a man with Down syndrome; her obese, repressed daughter; a brilliant man whose wheel chair cost him a career; and a prissy social worker, and they think ,“dour,” or “sentimental.” All I can say is, not from this author. Uh-uh. Once again – letting go and choosing happiness. Laughter and acceptance I guess I’ve got a bit of a theme going.
7. What are you working on now?
All I wanted from poetry once the poems in the collection were locked down was for it to make me laugh. The result is a chapbook of what I call “la-la poems,” pretty, pretty nature lyrics that are fun to wrap your mouth around, with a fair amount of Japanese genre influence – that’s been a keen interest. I’ve got quite a few of those out to magazines. Meanwhile, though I haven’t written more than a few short stories since Pittsburgh, I’d like to try them again. I would do it too, if I had any idea where to begin. Alas, it seems I am not skilled enough to read them much less write, so I’m beginning there. And then, of course, as you can see, I am doing my best to share Even Before My Own Name with as many readers as possible. So many more readers than if I had just cajoled friends and family and made sad eyes at acquaintances; readers from all over the country – the world in fact. Amazing places! I can’t imagine how the story of a struggling teen-ager from Chicago’s Jewish suburbs might be received by someone from Malaysia or Iceland (and yes, my e-book has gone both places.) What can they possibly make of it? Certainly it can only be encountered by them as literature, as an opportunity for an empathy. Really, what more can a writer ask for?
8.Please provide any contact info you would like for my readers to find you/r/work.
Although you can get both books many places online as well as a free download of the poetry collection from its website, there are interesting readers’ comments on their Amazon pages. People might also enjoy the audio readings I’ve posted on the my books’ homepages, which are, once again, http://www.ReadRopeless.com and http://www.TracyKoretsky.com.
There’s an interview with me about Ropeless here http://www.wordgathering.com/past_issues/march_2007/interview/koretsky2.html) and one of me all the way back in Pittsburgh, PA here: http://www.tracykoretsky.com/EBMON/html/audio_poems.html.
The Adirondack Review http://www.theadirondackreview.com/ will publish a review of Even Before My Own Name in June. Meanwhile here is another http://bayareapoetsreview.com/fall_2009_reviews_1from the Bay Area Seasonal Review.
I write a regular column http://www.winningwriters.com/resources/critiques/urc_critiques.php for the monthly WinningWriters.com online magazine in which I critique a poem or two from contributors. Check it out April 15th for a special edition on haiku. http://www.winningwriters.com/resources/critiques/2010/urc_1004haiku.php
Clara54 was pleased to bring you this awesome interview with Tracy. Keep in touch for more insights & wonderful profile creatives like Tracy-peace.
Guest Post-Essential Speaking By Doreen Hamilton,PH.D.
Remember my promise of something special? Well, dear readers, this guest post is not to be missed. Clara54 is proud & excited to introduce Doreen Hamilton,PH.D on Essential Speaking!
Essential Speaking: The 7-Step Guide to Finding Your Real Voice
We are all public speakers. Whether you are giving a presentation at work, sharing your opinion at a meeting, or talking to someone one-on-one, you are expressing yourself. The question is, do you feel comfortable and confident being who you are? These 7 steps help you focus on what really matters in any communication—your authentic self.
1. BE SILENT – always start from a place of silence. Quiet yourself. Being comfortable without any words is powerful.
2. BE PRESENT – Focus on the current moment. Let go of concerns about what has happened before or what might happen in the future.
3. BE AWARE – Use your eyes to take in the people you are with. Don’t avoid looking directly at them. Gaze softly and let them see you.
4. BE ATTUNED – Listen to those who are listening to you. Listen to yourself before, during, and after the words are spoken.
5. BE POSITIVE – Look for the best in others. See the good that is within and don’t get stuck on what they might be thinking.
6. BE CONNECTED – Be with one person at a time and be conversational. Speaking to a group at large dissipates your energy.
7. BE YOURSELF – The most powerful gift is you. Tap into who you are to allow your authentic voice to come forth.
As you can see from the seven steps listed above, my work is to guide you to be more mindful of yourself and others. Notice that each step begins with “BE” and there is no emphasis on what to say. I believe that at the core of public speaking anxiety is the fear of being yourself in front of others. This is why I work on a deeper level and help you discover who you really are rather than give you techniques that mask nervousness.
Unlike the conventional techniques aimed at improving your performance, the seven steps help you learn to connect to yourself and others in a genuine manner. Remember that within you resides a pure sense of self, and this essential self has a voice. No matter what the disconnection over time is, you can reclaim that voice.
In order to transform fear, you must move toward that which frightens you. Commit to discover your fear, be with and experience it. The seven steps will take you gently through a sequence and usher you to the end result: the natural dissolution of your fear as your authentic self grows stronger.
Finding your real voice is a process that can be equated with cultivating a garden. Within you are seeds of courage and wisdom that will take root, grow, and blossom as you move through the seven steps. In the process you will re-connect with your real self. Then the voice that arises from your center, even in the most challenging circumstances, will be steady, clear, and uniquely yours.
Doreen Hamilton, Ph.D.
Author: Essential Speaking: The 7-Step Guide to Finding Your Real Voice
Find Your Voice, Change Your Life!
The Final Results- Reflections From Women!
Finally, the day has arrived! Clara54 invites you to the official launch of When One Door Closes-Reflections From Women On Life’s Turning Points! A great & inspiring account from 53 women on their personal trials & triumphs that comes from living life experiences. Thanks to Terri S. Nelson for selecting Yours Truly as part of this massive outreach to other women on their journey into being the woman they’ve always wanted to know! (ok, that’s my bit!)
Please visit the reflectionsfromwomenblog for info on purchasing a copy of this timeless book for yourselves & the women in your life…Peace.