Category Archives: publishers

On Being A Woman Poet…


Happy Poetry Month, creatives. I Hope you are enjoying the Me time of spring! My poems placed as a semi finalist in The Mary Shay Ballard’s Chapbook Poetry Prize in 2015 and 2016. Although I didn’t win the coveted prize, I felt and still feel strongly that poetry is cathartic, much like the healing hands of a nurse’s compassionate touch. So, as a special treat for my readers & critics alike, I’d like to share some of my work that forms the heart of me. And no, this work was not included in the competition.

I Am Sometimes Left to Wonder:

The more things change the more things stay the same-
The more she tries to leave something behind that’s hiding in the cornerstone of her being- the more that un-named thing seems to languish on the plateau of her subconscious mind.
The more we try to keep that something in the past; in the layers of our deepest dreams, the more it tends to pick at the center of our being-
I have this ethereal relationship with what some suppose is ‘art’. It’s this worldview I have that’s most perplexing and oftentimes fails to reach past my fingertips to where it’s centered itself, inside of myself, and so through the frustrations of trying to come to an agreement with my art, I decided long ago to shun its audacity to play with my human emotions and not welcome it into my personal space. But, it calls me.
I do love the ambiance of sitting alone in the presence of an almighty entity that becomes a shadowy figure of who I perceive to be the highest and for whom I feel the need to believe in and give reverence to in the center of my writing angst-
Deliver me Oh Lord! For I am blinded and cannot see the gifts that you have given a mere creature like myself and I am annoyingly frustrated. I am a hopeless wonder who fails to see the wonderment. And so why do I continue? Why should I not seek my passions and purpose some place more accepting of who I am and what I offer in contributions to other human beings?
The time came for me to put away the thought of opportunities and possibility in the realm of poetry. But, as I stand in the stillness of nature’s beginnings where birds chirp, bees swarm and the sun is shining down on the green grass growing beneath my feet- I wonder and my fingers itch to create something of similar beauty to share with the masses.
Something feels sorely lacking and I walk away from what could be, to concentrate on the here and now and use my gifts and the skills and talents I have honed to set my eyes on the prize.

I heard it said once that women poets make for great pastimes. Are we, who are of the feminine mystique only passing time? For those women penning poems who should doubt their gifts have only to look to the works of Nikki, Maya, Sylvia, Gwendolyn and so many creations from women warriors who pen their truths onto a mocking blankness of a page that lay untouched before them. I don’t know about the deepest connection other women poets have within their beings in answer to the why of their desires to pen poems but to me-
Poetry should feed the soul. Flow like the swiftness of a soaring eagle’s wing upon the blank page and keep your nimble fingers moving in synch with the rhythmic flow of the unconscious mind where the need to create something worthy in the eyes of your colleagues and readers and others who call themselves “poet” and “poetess” and creators of expressed expressions-awaits to delight in and even judge its merit.
But, I’m not Gwendolyn or Maya or Nikki or anyone but myself and so I must rely on my own merits and pray that my work could even stand alone, let alone see favor in the eyes of the true effortless artists who reign from poet laureate and champions the woman voice in defining what it means to be “Artist.”

On My Work:

I don’t have a name for it. It has been called “expressive” and “Intuitive”.
It has been widely accepted by others with their own labels and I have swallowed the response I wish to utter, but I let it go and wish to stop the torture that calls to me, sometimes at the most inopportune times.
I will try to keep this need for this thing in check because there’s no time to play when my mind is focused on doing the work that will keep food on my table, a roof over my head, my bills paid and clothes on my back. I wonder about the starving artist syndrome and I fear its power over me and so I swallow the need to pen words that people might not even see or comprehend at all.
I am left sometimes to wonder… xoxo

I Want To Feel His Presence

In the presence of God’s work
the world is alive
Mother Nature’s green
grass
Trees, ponds, birds, wasps and bees
Sounds that whispers
I’m here
alive, watching, hovering about
in the presence of God’s
work
your spirit sings
Truths
of who you are and whose you are-
Sitting and watching and listening to the
sounds in
whispers
in colors and in movement,
gentle winds rustle fallen leaves from
bountiful ushering of Mulberry trees
Offerings that shade from the sun
while you become one who sits in awareness
And
in
Understanding of the benevolence where
you are chosen to witness
the beauty and significance that is God’s work…CF

2016 Holiday Roundup For Fiction & Poetry Submissions


two-hot-toddy-cocktail-drinks-cinnamon-lemmon-whisky-rum-apple-brandy-set-rustic-wood-35766231 Happy Holidays Creatives!

Now that I’ve completed my six week free fiction writing course, How Writers Write Fiction 2016 For Storied Women,  which I enjoyed immensely and obtained a writing buddy to boot, by the way, I’ve decided to take a well deserved holiday time out!

But, I’m not leaving y’all high and dry here either. Here are a few 2016 Holiday roundups that are accepting fiction and poetry writing submissions in December. This is a last shout out for folks to submit something wonderful in 2016, before ringing in a brand new year.

So, come on people, let’s do the dang thing!

http://www.boulevardmagazine.org/short-fiction-contest

http://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/awards/annual,

http://www.lascauxreview.com  lascaux prize in short fiction

I hope there’s something here you might want to tackle and if you have a link to last-minute submissions for 2016, feel free to share. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a productive and Happy New Year!
Good luck in all of your writing endeavors and I hope to see y’all back here, sharing great news in 2017!

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:

https://wwwclara54.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/back-stabber-tv-show-on-amazon-com/

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:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/social-media-trolls_us_57cafbfde4b0b9c5b738cb47?

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: https://thebluenib.com/tag/Clara-Freeman/

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:  www.BloggingDrAlonda.com

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https://www.amazon.com/Lessons-Losers-Love-Relationships-Valuable/dp/0578184141/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474035618&sr=1-1&keywords=lessons+from+losers+in+love

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

 

 

 

 

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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
Article.
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. 🙂

Quote:

“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 of their gifts and pay it forward by helping others.” 

Clara Freeman
 

 

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!

epiphany-cover-final-540pxWide-199x300

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

 

Special Guest Interview With Andre West~Part Two


DreamQuestOne120x120

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, http://www.dreamquestone.com . 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 http://www.dreamquestone.com/rules.html . 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. (www.dreamquestone.com)

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 http://www.dreamquestone.com for details on how to enter!

Andre_West-DreamQuestOne

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.