Category Archives: books

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 www.musewrite.com or by emailing Michelle Duster at musewritecommunity@yahoo.com.

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 http://www.dreamquestone.com…

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.  http://www.everywritersresource.com/literarymagazines/epiphany-a-literary-journal/

I’m thinking about subscribing. Thanks Evelyn!

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Here are more sites that are open for May submissions.

www.dreamquestone.com

writersrelief.com/watersedge-poetry-chapbook-contest/

Short Story award for new writers@ https://mastersreview.com/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

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To learn more about the women who are already cast for the show, formerly called Chicago Girlfriends, go to https://wwwclara54.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/the-ladies-of-chicago-girlfriendschicagos-first-reality-television-show/

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

 

Five Profit Making Techniques For Your First Book


thbookssHappy Easter, Authors!  It’s so exciting for a writer to finally finish a first book and put it out there for readership, rave reviews and purchase. I mean, I would love to see Unleash Your Pearls in the hands of women and men alike, getting all inspired and feeling the “ish” of just how deserving of God’s blessings they are.  Wouldn’t that be something?! Well, rest easy for now, my lucky readers, we’re still at the publishers, but  once we launch, you will get the memo:)

First time authors put in their dues, with the nail-biting that’s a nimble away from becoming a habit, the nighttime nightmares, sweating tears and negative fears, non-withstanding; it is the desire of first time authors to give readers the best extension of themselves through their art. Oftentimes, these authors find themselves in a quandary because at the end of the day, they know their validation and financial sustainability as authors come from their book sales.

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Nowadays, more books are being published by first time authors than ever before and most authors realize that unless you are a celebrity or a bestselling Terry McMillan, the first  months of your book being out there, more than likely will result in few sales. This can be a daunting experience. As writers we have to get pro-creative to cultivate a satisfying book profit outcome. I don’t know about other authors on the scene with their first books, but I’m looking to land the bestseller list for my pearl and so can you.

Here are five profit-making techniques for your first book~

  1. Book Blurb… If you know you have a great book to offer readers. You have to start grinding and get your book into the hands of the people. Use your blog to promote your book by offering brief excerpts from time to time. This technique is one used by many authors to bring awareness to their upcoming book launch. It stimulates the reader’s interest in your book, without making them feel pressured to buy and if your book just happens to be bestseller worthy, like my (Unleash your pearls), for example, then, all the better:)
  2. Offer a free copy of your book to another blogger in exchange for an honest review on Amazon.com or on their blog…I’ve done this for many  bloggers turned authors. As an Amazon book reviewer, I know this works! Not only have authors benefited from my reviews, they have seen an increase in book readership, as a result.  Of the many reviews I’ve done over the years, only one author asked that I change the ratings authors depend on  4 or5 star ratings for their books to make a profit and I do understand this, but, I am honest in my reviews and therefore, my review are not coerced. I do book review at my writer’s blog still, when time permits.
  3.  Use your social media to announce your book’s launch, links of purchase and any other information complimentary to purchase, for example, where reader can pre-order a copy before it launches.
  4. Connect with colleagues on Linkedin… Of course, use all of your social media resources to talk about your book, but I love the connections I’ve made with like-minded professionals on Linkedin because I’ve gotten asked to participate in business ventures, joined esteemed group in my genres, appeared on blog-talk radio to promote my work and had work accepted that will bring awareness to my business brand from which my book is based. The stellar folks you meet on Linkedin can be your book’s game-changer!  You can’t always receive and not be willing to give in return and that’s why I  appreciate LinkedIn connections~ Good business practice.
  5. Finally, as a new author, you just have to make your name known, by any lawful means necessary. Get out there and tell people who you are and what your book can do for them before it launches. Be pro-creatively active, y’all and take your book to colleagues, connections, readers, reviewers and critics alike. Bring the food to the influence table! Get to know your local librarian or bookstore owner, talk about your book and set up a reading.Be that ‘expert’ panelist or guest blogger on popular brand websites or blog talk radio spots. Join a twitter chat or host a webinar.

Whether your brand teaches, entertains, motivates , inspires or encourages another to aspire to be the best person s/he can be, in order to make your book a success, you can do what needs to be done to get your book in the hands of readers. There are many creative avenues from which to sell your great book and introduce your expertise and brand to the world. Get on the good foot, new authors, time’s-a-wasting because people all over the world are waiting to read your awesome book!

Did you find this post helpful?  Do you know of other savvy ways new authors can ensure their book sale? Please share in the comments. We’d appreciate your resourceful tips.

I want to give a special thanks to all of my new and seasoned followers for being a part of Clara54 Writers Blog. Y’all bring the Sunshine! I’m taking a brief spring break and will see all of you in a few weeks. In the meantime, keep on grinding and make those book sales, people. 🙂

Women Artists Who Dared to Create From A Room Of Their Own


I want to  dedicate this post to all women, irregardless of whether they’ve been written up in the pages of history books. Women, by their mere existence, create history that is unforeseen and untold every single day that they live and breathe~ so for all women, let me say, Happy Women’s History Month!

The novelist,George_Charles_Beresford_-_Virginia_Woolf_in_1902 Virginia Woolf wrote in her famous essay, A Room  of One’s Own, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Viewed in a broader sense, the essay could reference any author’s need for poetic license and the personal liberty to create their art.

The artists I’ve chosen to honor for Women’s History Month, in essence, created from a room of their own. The “room” for the most part were of their own choosing, but sadly, one  young girl had no say in the literal sense.  Nonetheless, these women (and many more) craved out an impressive body of creative works that became a historical legacy.

1f30f05d-b3d0-4f97-a720-e238d5d018f7-originalMaya Angelou had me at I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. She was brutally raped as a little girl and only shared this secret with her brother, Bailey. When her uncles found out, the molester was killed. Maya did not speak for 5 years, blaming herself for the molester’s murder.

7f3df4e8-d3f7-31df-921d-cc3810d0eed7ANNA 13-year-old Jewish victim of the Holocaust… Anne Frank went into hiding from the Germans with her family and another family for two years in a small annex above the office where her father once worked. It’s reported that Anne, her mom and sister died in the concentration camps and only her father would survive to publish her diary, written while in hiding. 

Anne wrote in her diary that she wished her writings to live on in life. How prophetic her words were.

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thnikkiNikki Giovanni has often been called a “Revolutionary” poet. All I know is her writing are often based on fact and it is those poems that touches the sensibilities of a nation of readers, including myself. A prolific writer, activist and highly guarded educator, Ms. Giovanni is currently a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech.

My very favorite of her many works includes: Those Who Ride The Night Winds, poems about the mass murders of young black boys in Atlanta totaling more than 29 young children killed. Ms. Giovanni poems, in my opinion, are a loving eulogy to the memory of those children.  thIf you haven’t read any of Nikki Giovanni’s work, you are missing out on one of our greatest literary contributors.

220px-Pearl_Buck I read Pearl S. Buck’s, The Good Earth in High School. The book introduced me to another culture and people with a different way of living. Although American, Ms. Buck lived in China for a while and associated with Chinese culture and tradition. I was impressed by the humanity of The Good Earth as it relates to a country’s change affecting regular people.

51zRzieodBL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Ms. Buck died in 1973, but her Pulitzer prize novel lives on. 

In another life, I opt to come back as Lorraine Hansberry! Not only was she the first African-American woman playwright, she was the first woman of color to have a play produced on Broadway! A Raisin in the Sun was inspired by Poet Langston Hughes poem, Harlem that asks, ” What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the Sun?”

Ms. Hansberry’s play would later inspire Nina Simone’s song, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black!” You know what they say, “The Play’s The Thing.” Lorraine Hansberry was the “ish” and sadly, gone too soon… The playwright died of pancreatic cancer in 1965. Sheer Brilliance!

Here’s a special clip for y’all 🙂

And:

thtoni Toni Morrison’s-The Bluest Eye,Tar Baby, Song of Solomon, Beloved and Sula.

thzora Zora Neale Hurston’s  “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Their_Eyes_Were_Watching_God_us

thalice When Alice Walker was a little girl, she was playing in the backyard with her brothers, one of whom accidentally hit her in the eye with one of the pellets from his BB gun ( I remember those. My brothers got them for Christmas) . That accident never stopped Alice from living her dreams. One of the biggest dream in history was:

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I’ve had several books from these historical women on my bookshelf,  in what I can only describe as a stationary library for many years and felt that I could never part with any of these great works, but, alas, I have and I don’t regret passing them along (donations) to new readers and creatives and curious children who just might dare to dream 🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I know that the works of these and other women history making artists are sitting on your bookshelf, vying for a little Women History Month love shout… Please share a few of your fave with us.

Writer’s quote for today:

“Only I hold the pen that will write the story of my life.” Tia Kelly

Joel Christian Gill’s Blog Tour


1938486293.01._SX450_SY635_SCLZZZZZZZ_ Happy Friday Creatives!

Today I get to host author and artist Joel Christian Gill’s Blog Tour for Black History Month. You guys get to read an excerpt from Strange Fruit, Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History right here and right now.  YAY!

When I saw the cartoon characters depicted in Joel’s books, I immediately thought of my son (comic book collector) and my nephew (actually a very good cartoonist)  and I thought what a genius way to celebrate African-American Culture! Here’s an excerpt from Strange Fruit.

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Here’s where you can find out more about the author, his work and his beautiful stories:  https://joelchristiangill.wordpress.com/

Links to purchase books & follow Joel :

https://fulcrum.bookstore.ipgbook.com/strange-fruit-products-9781938486296.php?page_id=32&pid=FUL

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781938486296

Twitter @ https://twitter.com/jcg007

7280228 JOEL

Joel Christian Gill™ is the chairman,CEO, president, director of development, majority and minority stock holder, manager , co-manager, regional manager, assistant to the regional manager, receptionist, senior black correspondent and janitor of Strange Fruit Comics. He is the author/illustrator of 2 forth coming books from Fulcrum Publishing Strange Fruit vol I Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History May 2014 and Tales of the Talented Tenth Fall 2014. In his spare time he is the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and member of The Boston Comics Round table. He received his MFA from Boston University and a BA from Roanoke College. His secret lair is behind a secret panel in the kitchen of his house (sold separately) in New Boston, New Hampshire where he lives with his wife, four children a 2 talking dog and 2 psychic cats.

Hope you guys enjoy and learn more about African-American History from Joel’s comics. I love the beautiful images in the book, the feel and texture of the book and the stories… Loved the experience! Say what?! You want a free copy?  Hit me up with a comment telling me why you’d love to own a copy of Gill’s Historical comics before March 5th and you might be the winner of this generous gift!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colleagues Who Are Expanding Their Horizons


Happiness Friday to all Creative Thinkers and Doers! In the mid 90s , I would take the train to downtown Chicago after work some evenings to attend creative writing classes at Harold Washington College, while hubby stayed home on daddy duties. I have to admit, I loved this bit of “me” time, I’d carved out for myself.  Attending evening writing classes with other like-minded adults centered me and motivated my creative juices at the same time.

The instructor was a young 30 something, who wore a cropped Afro and admitted that she drove a Jag! Wow, I wanted to chuck family obligations, right then and there and be her:) Well, being a trendsetter wasn’t all she was about. The woman was actually a great teacher, who advised us to “expand” our creative horizons and throw our whole being into becoming the “writers” she knew us to be.

I suppose creatives learn the same things, only in different ways. Here are some of my colleagues who are Expanding Their Horizons :

Books Ink interview with Karen Ford

Featured Artist: Henry L. Jones

Men of Winter Group Art Exhibit at Monthaven Mansion

Men of Winter Entertainment Flyer revised

Chicago Author, Evelyn Cogdell makes a personal appearance tonight on RARE Woman for Valentine’s Day, to discuss her new relationship book, Essence of Romance (co-authored by yours truly)

RareWoman uprightPublicity Photo - 2006&2007-1Check out Evelyn in conversation with two rare women tonight:

http://www.ubnradio.com/ channel 2 RareWoman 4PM PST
Congrats to all of you creative folk. Keep expanding your horizons.
If you have great news to share on the blog, just hit me up and do the thing! 🙂
How are you expanding your creative gifts?

Giving Props To A New Tribe of Memoirists


Hello Authors and Happy Friday! So, I popped over to visit my good friend, RODEO CARLSON’s murder & mayhem mystery books site, only to find out she has a new book on the horizon, amid everything else going on over there. There are personal blog insights, pic of mouth-watering culinary eats, online classes forming and free stuff to boot. I downloaded an editorial calendar for authors and plan on putting it to good use 🙂 Rodeo, you rock! Just sayin’

Go here to see what I’m talking about~http://rodeocarlson.com/

Today I’m giving props to a new tribe of memoir writers by celebrating their author status , with a focus being on the memoir. I feel like it takes courage, true grit and a passion for other people to turn your life story or particular slice of your life into a memoir.

Without further ado, here are a few of the authors I’ve come to know through their voice, blogs and personal stories. Remember I’ve been doing this book/writers blog for a minute and couldn’t shout out everyone I’ve connected with, but just know you’re doing the thang!

Congratulations going out to:

Lynette Davis at reflectionsbook.org for Even Rain Is Just Water: A Memoir. Coming: Summer 2016

Mary Perez at Reflections From The Heart, maryaperez.com Running In Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace

Darlene Greene at www.inamaegreene.org for Blood Relatives: Breaking the Cycle; Breaking the Silence

Nine Rubies by Mahru Ghashghaei

Kathleen Pooler at Memoir Writers Journey –krpooler.com for Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse

Mandy Smith at healingbeyondsurvival.com for Secrets in Big Sky Country: A Memoir

Pat Mckinzie at pattymackz.com/wordpress/ for Home Sweet Hardwood: A Title IX Trailblazer Break Barriers Through Basketball

Chris Thrall at christhrall.com/blog for Eating Smoke

 Linda Diane Wattley at http://www.lindadianewattley.com/  for Soldier With A Backpack: Living And Dying Simultaneously.

Ms. Faith Elle Walls at http://www.msfaithelle.com/ for Ten Lessons My Mother Taught Me Before she Died

Karen Tyrrell at www.karentyrrell.com
for Me & Her: A Memoir Of Madness

Thanks for sharing your memoir with me via interviews, book reviews and PR requests. Either by hook or crook, we connected and I appreciate the experience. I’m sharing the cover of your books below.

 

517WBaELb9L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_            THUMBNAIL_IMAGE (1)          final-sbsc-front-cover-44-17-15jpgRunning-in-Heels.round2_.Mary-Ann.v4-642x1024chrisninerubies      HERPooler-Final-Cover1-199x300thblood relatives1392819_10100344198894540_1980290765_n

Two New Book Releases To Kick Off Your New Year


thdog readingHappy Friday, Creatives!

So, we’re in the middle of those dog days of winter and by the way, Happy New Year 2016! I hope you’re not letting the cold melancholy and sluggish weather keep you from your creative juices! If you can’t write at the moment, at least do a good deed for someone and read a book or two.

Dontcha know, some of my best friends are  readers. “Ruff”

Speaking of the latter, I have two new books by two different authors  that landed on my desk recently, that I think y’all might like.  Although, I’m not in the zone to do book reviews, right now, I keep receiving these amazing books. Never look a gift horse in the mouth!

indext the vicious cycle I read The Vicious Cycle over the holidays and it is an awesome true life account of one woman’s mission to re-educate and prepare inmates about the reality of the real world, once they’re released from prison. This book is based upon the author’s real experiences coming from living that life.

For more information about the author, feel free to visit her social media sites:

TargetEvolution.org

The second book is one I hope to read when time allows because the subject matter seems more aligned to my purpose brand. Here’s a snippet from A Monk’s Way:

n9q5_bookcoverart_1“Insightful and at times enlightening, “A Monk’s Way,” posits an alternative to blindly following the conventional dogma of organized religion and presents readers with the tools to ultimately cultivate a more meaningful relationship with a higher power.”

For more on this author visit www.clarkeide.com and follow him on Twitter @clark_eide.

I receive many books from public relations people, on behalf of their clients, either looking for a review or offering an author interview. In most cases, I will offer the author space on Clara’ writer’s blog to promote their work and also give y’all an opportunity to read these books. I know, sowing those seeds girl, sowing those seeds!

Are you a relative new author, having difficulty selling your books with folk in your inner circle? If you are, I invite you to join the conversation happening on Friday the 15th, where the topic asks the question:

“Are authors being supported by their friends and colleagues in their book sales? If not, why not? ” Seasoned authors we value your input and want to hear your take on the subject as well.

Send your responses to clarawriter@att.net to be included in the conversation.

Today’s writer quote:

“My urge to write is an urge not to self-expressionism but to self-transcendence. My work is both bigger and smaller than I am.” — Susan Sontag