Tag Archives: author spotlight

Book And Music News

 Hello and welcome back to Clara54 Writers Blog!

When you’ve been in this writing business for a long time, you tend to get perks from folks who can appreciate your expertise, talents, connections (whether perceived or real) and most of all, your integrity. Folks will want to know you for your authenticity, moral and ethical compass.

I’m always grateful and oftentimes humbled when stellar companies send free books/stuff for me to review and oftentimes, direct contact info to authors, musicians, medical experts and others for personal interviews.

I’ve shared how my time management skills aren’t the best and so I pick and choose which projects I endorse or promote in my professional space. Doing book reviews are time consuming, so I’ve taken a hiatus from doing them.

This came from Chris over at Miles High Production:

Hi Clara!
Clara, Thanks for checking out our newsletter. Would you be interested in reviewing ‘Up From Where We’ve Come’? Currently we have a digital edition available as a .pdf or an .pub. Limited physical copies of the book will also be available soon. Let me know if you would prefer a physical copy to review. I understand that you probably receive a great many review requests and you aren’t able to get to every book, so if you can’t get to ‘Up From Where We’ve Come’ I understand. However, if you’d be interested in posting the following press release, please let me know!
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts if you’d be interested in spreading the word on this special story!

I declined the book review, although I do plan to read it and perhaps review at a later date. Here’s a book blurb and a bit about the author/musician, Mr. Charles Wright, along with an added video of “Looking For An Ugly Woman.” Enjoy!

Do you remember the 70s hit song “Express Yourself” by Charles Wright? I want to let you know that the legendary soul singer is releasing an autobiography ‘Up From Where We’ve Come’ out October 26th!


Writer of hit song “Express Yourself” and band leader of the Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band, soul music great Charles Wright is set to release his highly anticipated autobiography which chronicles his tumultuous, life changing upbringing in 1940’s southern Mississippi.
Charles Wright is a world-renowned musician and songwriter best known as the leader of the ’60s-founded Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band and for recording the enduring 1971 classic “Express Yourself” (#3 R&B, #12 Pop – Billboard). The ensemble also recorded the classics “Loveland ” (sung by drummer James Gadson who became an ace session musician in Los Angeles), “Do Your Thing ” (featuring lead guitarist Al McKay who went on to become a star member of Earth Wind & Fire) and the racial equality anthem “Comment” (also recorded by jazz legend Les McCann, alternative rockers Wilco and others).


‘Up From Where We’ve Come’ touches on first hand accounts of racism is an honest depiction of how the now world-renowned musician went from poverty to prosperity. Written in the raw dialects and rhythms of how Blacks and Whites communicated with each other in the era, it is a riveting insider’s glimpse into the realities of the times.
“Some may consider these chapters a vital part of American history which has yet to be told in this particular fashion. “
I wanted to reveal just how thin the line between sharecropping and slavery really was. It’s important to me because I spent a significant part of my life under that regime. I started writing this book 40 years ago. It’s something – given the right circumstance – I wish I could have shared long ago…But now is the optimal time because discrimination never went away. Racism simply vaulted to a whole ’nother level. Honestly, in some cases, I’d take the way it used to be over what it is today. The process of systematic racial elimination is extremely ugly to me. I can see it so clearly. I need others to see it, too. So I’m expressing myself.”
– Charles Wright

I loved Express Yourself and Mr. Wright’s other songs! Now I can put a Face to those ‘oldies’…Y’all got memories too? This book appears to be a great source on race/racism in the South, as one famous musician lived it.

“Running In Heels” A New Memoir by Mary Ann Perez

Hello readers, writers, authors and creatives! I’m always overjoyed to receive an email from writers I’ve connected with, informing me they have finished their manuscript or found a publisher for their masterpiece. You know the icing on the cake comes when I’m told that their book is ready for purchase and would I please aid them in promoting their baby?

Running In Heels, is a heart wrenching memoir, written by Mary Ann Perez and it’s available for purchase. For those of you who follow my blog, you know I don’t recommend a book I wouldn’t read or haven’t read myself. At this point, and after reading the synopsis to Mary’s new memoir, I’m looking forward to reading it in its entirety.


Pre-orders are available and can be ordered in soft, hard, or e-book. All printed pre-orders will be signed.

Go here to read an excerpt of “Running In Heels” and purchase your copy today. http://charthousepress.com/books/running-in-heels-a-memoir-of-grit-and-grace/

Everyone have a blessed (count your blessings) week-end and always treat yourself special…

A Conversation With Chicago Author Evelyn Cogdell

Happy Friday, all!  Please join me in welcoming Evelyn Cogdell to Clara54’s writers blog.

I’ve known you for a while now, Evelyn, but please  share a bit about yourself for our readers.

Publicity Photo - 2006&2007-1

E:  I am Evelyn (aka Eve) Cogdell, a Freelance Writer/Poet, and the self-published Author of 5 books: a Poetry Chapbook (5th Story Reflections); a Short Story collection (Matters of the Heart); a Cookbook (Auntie Eve’s Favorite Dishes); and 2 Novels (Cashmere & Silk, A Love Story and Cashmere & Silk–Two, A Tapestry). Additionally, I have contributed to 2 Anthologies: This Mother’s Daughter and Wisdom of Our Mothers.”

My articles have covered such diverse topics as: religion; politics; health; science; sports; fashion; beauty; recipes; art; music; celebrities; and relationships. I have been featured in newspapers, magazines and e zines. Various venues where I have appeared include: The Black Expo; The Black Women’s Expo; African-American Images; Woodson Regional Library; Avalon Branch Library; Whitney M. Young, Jr. Library; Books Ink; Barnes & Noble and Trinity United Church of Christ.”

C: Interesting! You write in several genres: poetry, romance, food and interviews. Is there something I’m missing, and which genre is your favorite and why?

E: Good question! I don’t really have a favorite, but if I must pick one, I believe I would have to say ‘the interview’ gives me the most satisfaction. Finding out about other people and discovering what makes them tick is a real ‘turn-on’ for me. Basically, I like to write about whatever will uplift and entertain people, as well as enlighten them about the facts of life. In addition to the genres you mentioned, I also write short skits.

C: Do you have a specific writing routine?

E: Actually, I don’t, except for the fact that sometimes on a sleepless night, I might create a ‘new’ poem in my head and get up and write it down. When an idea strikes me I write about it. Also, for the past several years I have purposed to schedule a self-published book release every 5 years.”

C: What do you love about writing?

E: For me, writing is very therapeutic. It gives me the opportunity to express my innermost thoughts and feelings. Writing releases such pent-up emotions as passion, humor, anger and fear. Also, writing gives me the opportunity to communicate with other people by connecting with them on a much deeper level than just mere conversation. Finally, writing is a way of sharing myself with the world.”

C: Excellent, I like the way you think! So, what are you working on now?

E: Currently, I am in the process of publishing book number 6, titled, The Essence of Romance, a collection of articles centered around male/female relationships. Essence is a practical guide to love and romance for today’s couples and singles, and features my first collaboration with another Writer/Poet. The book’s contents are sure to delight and enlighten the average adult, both young and old, alike. Essence is scheduled for release in early 2015.

C: What direction do you see your writing going in the next 5 years?

E: Another good question! Well, as previously stated, I strive to write and self-publish a book every 5 years, so by that time I hope to schedule the release of a ‘new’ book. This book will probably be a book of religious or ‘thought-provoking’ poetry or perhaps another cookbook. As you mentioned, I like to write in different genres; I just love the element of surprise! In other words, I like to surprise people by not writing in the same ‘vein’ all the time; I like to ‘mix it up’, so to speak. We will see what God and Jesus have to say about my next book. It’s all in their hands!”


Evelyn (aka Eve) Cogdell, a Freelance Writer/Poet, and the self-published Author of 5 books: a Poetry Chapbook; a Short Story collection; a Cookbook; and 2 Novels. Additionally, she contributed to 2 Anthologies: This Mother’s Daughter and Wisdom’s of Our Mothers.

Evelyn articles have covered such diverse topics as: religion; politics; health; science; sports; fashion; beauty; recipes; art; music; celebrities; and relationships. She’s been featured in newspapers, magazines and ezines. and various venues, such as The Black Expo; The Black Women’s Expo; African-American Images; Woodson Regional Library; Avalon Branch Library; Whitney M. Young, Jr. Library; Books Ink; Barnes & Noble and Trinity United Church of Christ.

Currently, Evelyn is in the process of publishing book number 6, titled, The Essence of Romance, a collection of articles centered around male/female relationships. “Essence” is a practical guide to love and romance for today’s couples and singles, and feature articles written by Writer/Poet, Clara Freeman.

The book’s contents are sure to delight and enlighten the average adult, both young and old, alike.  ESSENCE  is scheduled for release in early 2015.


I’m excited to work with Evelyn on her new book. It was such an honor. I will post updates to The Essence of Romance, pending dates of publication and purchase information.

Have a great weekend and as always “Treat yourself special”

Author Spotlight: Chris Thrall


Good Morning everyone! I hope your day begins on a high note of joy, awesome opportunity, and the sheer possibility of a thing. In October 2013, I wrote a review of Eating Smoke, a thrilling breakout memoir by author Chris Thralls ,and found it to be a fascinating read! (apparently the big boys in movie-land do as well)

This morning I ask you to join me in welcoming Chris Thrall to the author’s spotlight.

th now Chriss

Happy 2014, Chris! I did a review of Eating Smoke for Amazon. com and Good reads. com back in October 2013. I’ve always wanted to interview you about your book, because it made quite an impression. Before we discuss the book, however, please share a little about yourself, as you clearly didn’t start out a writer.

What made you want to pen stories? And what were some of your earlier works before Eating Smoke?

CT: They say everyone has their fifteen minutes of fame. At 38, I knew I wasn’t going to top the charts in a rock band, or walk the red carpet in Hollywood, so I decided to write a book, figuring ‘Eating Smoke’, my Hong Kong experience, would make a good one. With the exception of university essays, it was the first thing I ever wrote, so there were no earlier stories.

Secondly, having traveled the world ticking items off my bucket list – volunteering in children’s school Mozambique in Africa, skydiving, and earning my pilot license, for example, I saw having a book published as a final goal. Something I could feel pleased about and everything else in life a bonus from that point forward.

Reading about your drug addition and your eventual ‘psychoses’ really rattled me (former nurse) and almost had me believing your experiences in Hong Kong were the reality. Were there moments of clarity where you were told by concerned parties, or if you somehow became aware that, “hey, it’s the drugs?” and did you even consider trying to quit or seek help?

CT: My experiences in Hong Kong were more real than you might think. They were just pretty surreal, so many readers put them down to the drugs. As for psychosis and addiction, you don’t realize you’re in either at the time. Addiction is a psychological condition where your mind tells you if you keep taking the drugs, which fool the brain’s reward mechanism, then everything will work out alright.

It’s only by hitting rock bottom and wallowing in deprivation for a time that you’re forced to face the fact the drugs aren’t working anymore and your life has spiraled out of control. I never sought any help. When you’ve lost almost everything it becomes increasingly obvious you have to make some changes, and you know only you can make them.

Is there a message you want readers to take away from Eating Smoke or did you write it primarily as a personal release of sorts?

CT: The reason I chose to write Eating Smoke was because I thought readers would be fascinated to hear about the Foreign Triad – the secretive group of expats that worked hand in hand with the Chinese gangs. There’s no intended message in the book. If there was it would be to live your life to the full, take what’s thrown at you on the chin and try not to feel sorry for yourself!

Your dad was my hero and I’m sure others reading the book would agree. Share your feelings on how he handled such a precarious situation with you needing him from so far away.

CT: I made a couple of what must have seemed bizarre and rambling phone calls to my dad while in Hong Kong, telling him I worked in a nightclub run by the triads and that things weren’t as they seemed. He was obviously shocked, frightened and confused, and made contact with the Hong Kong Police, who said they were ‘well aware’ of me … which didn’t do anything to calm his fears. But, without ruining the ending of the book for people, he did what a father should and continues to do so to this day.

Where can readers find all of your works and what are you working on now?

CT: Eating Smoke is available through all the usual channels, Amazon, etc. I’ve recently signed a new publishing deal which will hopefully get the book the worldwide exposure it deserves. I’ve been approached by Hollywood several times for the film and TV rights and am co-writing the screenplay with Dean Mitchell, who is producing on Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film, ‘Tomorrow’. I’m now writing the second novel in a unique fictional thriller series, really good fun, and am currently seeking an agent to represent the work.

For more information on the author and his work you can also go to his social media sites:


Doesn’t this interview make you want to purchase a copy of Eating Smoke?
Read it already? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Author Spotlight: Eloisa Ramos

Hello and good morning to all of you! I’m thrilled to be back with movers and shakers and creative word makers to wish you a wonderful and prosperous (health, wealth, love, happiness) New Year 2014! Today our spotlight is on a woman whose work is not only intriguing, but, enlightening. How much do you know about EFT and Tapping? My next guest will provide insights into this phenomena and other insightful tips on recognizing the inner workings of our personal psyche. Please welcome the author of Beyond Self Esteem, Eloisa Ramos.


Eloisa, I’m so glad you’re here to talk about your informative book “Beyond Self-Esteem- Discovering Your Boundless Self Worth. But, before we do, please tell our readers a little something about you and why you wrote this book.

The issue of self-esteem, and more importantly self-identity, has been important to me since my early college days. I remember asking myself the question, “Who am I?” as a sophomore in college after realizing that I was not the labels and roles that I played: “a student, a daughter, Latino, a woman, etc.” and which were many. I wanted to know my true Self.
More recently, I noticed as I worked with clients doing EFT, and as I saw my four children grow and go through their teen years, that self-esteem and self-identity, which go hand in hand in my mind, can become problematic in so many different areas: relationships, work, finances, major changes, etc. So, I wanted to write something that would have helped me when I was a sophomore; young adults trying to figure out who they are now; and also adults that suffer from self-worth issues because of how they are seeing and evaluating themselves.

As you now know I reviewed Beyond Self-Esteem for Amazon.com and as you also know, from our correspondence, I was a bit per-judgmental and that I quickly recanted those preconceived notions! Talk a little bit about EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) as it applies to us.

The founder of EFT, Gary Craig, describes EFT as a needleless version of acupuncture because it is aimed at releasing or balancing blocked Chi energy from our acupuncture meridians by using our fingertips to tap on various points on the face and body. The discovery statement of EFT is, “The cause of all negative emotions is the disruption of the body’s energy system.” So, with EFT we are restoring inner peace, or energetic balance, by releasing stuck or disturbing emotional energy, thus the name: Emotional Freedom Techniques.
We hold emotions because we were not able to fully process them at the time we experienced them. They stay stuck in our energy system and become a type of glue for holding on to particular conclusions or beliefs about ourselves, others and the world. When we release this stuck energy, our mind opens up and we are able to see other possibilities.
The mind is then free to recognize the truth about ourselves, others and the world
Gary said that what occurs with EFT is like what happens when you clean the grime off a floor and see the natural shine underneath, or like having the clouds clear to reveal the sun. This approach is unlike hypnotherapy that clears a belief and then replaces it with another, granted, a negative is replaced with a positive, but I was primarily interested with what lay underneath, the essential nature of what we are. This is what attracted me to EFT, though at the time the most pressing issue was helping my kid’s heal their allergies and asthma and I applied it to that.

As I used EFT, I saw how fast and lasting the shifts happened within my mind. Compared to the walking-pace of the self-awareness gained in the previous 20 years, this practice felt like I was riding a high speed bullet train of self-insight.
The depth and speed of the new understandings I receive continues to amaze me, and of course, I am deeply grateful. EFT is a tool to help us heal, but what many people may not see is that the healing of our mind is what allows the consciousness of Higher Truth to dawns upon us. Healing is the journey to our Higher Self, which is our true self.
I continue to use EFT daily since I learned it, and in particular I apply it to the study of A Course in Miracles, my spiritual practice at this time. As I read, I notice the resistance you spoke about in your review (when you first started to read my book) and release it with EFT, and the Ramos Clearing Technique– which has evolved out of my study and practice of ACIM, EFT and muscle testing– to open my mind to new ideas and possibilities.

It was interesting and revealing to know that we are so our self image that we completely are unaware of our “self” expand upon what you’re, in essence, saying to people about our ‘self.’
Any conceptual idea that we have about our “self” will be limited or have boundaries set by the definition, the picture/image, or implied by the words and concepts we use. So anything that follows, “I am __________” will be some label or concept with individuality or boundaries.
The problem is that when we put boundaries on anything, we exclude what is not included in that concept or definition. So if you say, “I am a daughter” because in that moment you may be playing out the role of “daughter” with you parents; but in the next, you may be with your kids and now playing the role of “mother”; or at work and playing the role of “writer”; it means that the self you have defined in such a way is not constant and therefore unstable. Or, you would be trying to somehow reconcile the idea of having multiple selves and then which one are you really? So even though we may feel and act as if we have been split apart into many selves, we fundamentally recognize there is only one of us (given we are in our right mind).

So, the true Self with a capital “S”, is that which lies beneath all concepts or self-images. It experiences itself in the present moment, not as a thing separate and individual from other things, but as a part of all that shares life. It is a bit like a series of above-ground water springs that see themselves as separate above the ground, yet underneath are fed by the same water source. Our identification shifts from “I am this above-ground spring and I see myself separate from those other springs over there”, to, “I am one with all springs because we have one source of water; and my essential nature is a part of the source of the water that rises and feeds all the surface springs.” It is an expanded sense of self that has no boundaries and encompasses everything. All life that I meet is me.

I’d like to believe that I’m living a spiritually existence and that I’m aware of my spiritual truths. Tell me, how do we know for certain that we are?

Well truth implies certainty, so if there is no certainty we need to look at the doubts that are in the way of us connecting to that certainty and release them. That is all we can really do, clear the blocks that are in the way and the truth will then be revealed to us; because it is inherently there, but just obscured by the doubts. So when there is certainty, there is truth, and that is why Truth is self-evident and not learned conventionally.

I don’t know if you are familiar with Byron Katie’s The Work. The first question she asks is “Are you absolutely sure of that?” This is how the clearing begins with her work, asking us to connect with certainty so we can recognize that what we are believing to be true, is not Truth; and so ,”It (the false appearing true) releases us”.

The truth with a “th” cannot be known by the thinking or conceptual mind because Truth, which is universal, is not bounded like all concepts are, yet it can be experienced as the obvious, or as an insight or an “aha” moment.

“We are as our creator created us.” Immediately upon reading those words, I felt a connection to the powerful messages you share with us. “Beyond our externals lies our essential nature.” Please share your insights on such words of impact ( there are many)

We are often reminded in A Course in Miracles that “I am as God created me.” Now we can have different perspectives on how our creator created us, or even on whom our creator is, but without a doubt, if you recognize yourself as being alive, you will have to acknowledge that you have life and that this life has a source–we happen to call “creator”. Otherwise, you would be saying that life can come from no-source, no-life or death; which is a contradiction and cannot be.

We can also see that life extends itself, it shares its essential nature; a peach tree gives seeds and seeds grow into more peach trees, etc. So regardless of how the conceptual mind wants to define “essential nature”, we are going to be sharing that from which we are created; source, and if we create, we share that which is our essential nature. That we are, or exist, then can have no doubt.

But for the conceptual mind that can’t know Truth, the important decision that we must make is: What do I want to believe that I am? Beliefs are part of the conceptual perceiving mind and that is why we have so many different beliefs around this question. However, beliefs in no way change the Truth, that we are as our creator created us, though we may not yet recognize what that is exactly.

Since most of us accepted beliefs about what we are from others, it is now important to notice the effect they have on us; how we experience ourselves and life, as a result of holding them. This will guide us in choosing which beliefs are really in our best interests to hold on to.

There are noticeable and important differences in the effects. Some will engender fearful and stressful states and some will engender a more loving, joyful and peaceful existence.

Perhaps you are tired of feeling scarred or hurt most of the time? I am. This is what guides me to choose what I want to believe. In my experience, those beliefs that come into alignment with loving acceptance, forgiveness and non-judgment have the effect of bringing about healing, joy and boundless gratitude to my life and those I work with. It is these beliefs that I choose to hold on to; the rest I clear.

Website-Beyond-Self-esteem book

Note to self- pick up Byron Katie’s The Work. What are you working on next?

I will be hosting an on-line radio show on http://www.eftradioonline.com titled “A Course in Miracles: Health and Wellbeing through Inner Peace” which begins January 17, 2014 on Friday at 12 noon and continues every two weeks. I am also translating Beyond Self-esteem: Discovering Your Boundless Self-worth into Spanish and putting it in audio format. In the back of my mind is another book to be written that will focus more on healing and creating, but I haven’t started on that yet.

Where can readers pick up a copy of your book?

I have a PDF download at: http://www.healing-with-eft.com/, and links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble, if your readers have a kindle reader or want to order a hardcopy.

Thank you Eloisa, it was such a pleasure as your work provides many “aha” moments.

You are very welcome. Thank you for the for the opportunity to share this with your readers!

Eloisa C. Ramos was born in 1960 in a farming village, in Guanajuato, Mexico. Her family moved to Northern California in 1968. She graduated from Stanford University in 1983 with a BA in Sociology. She married, but when two of her four children developed asthma and substance sensitivities, she began looking for “another” way to help her children.
It became clear to Eloisa that mainstream medicine did not offer a permanent solution for their health issues. In finding “another” way to help her children, she discovered many wonderful healing aids including EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).
EFT tapping has opened up a new world of possibilities for Eloisa, her children and her clients. She has evolved The Ramos Clearing Technique which uses muscle testing to find and clear non-serving beliefs, and energetic imprints. She is a certified EFT Master Practitioner with the AMT and will be starting a radio show at http://www.eftradioonline.com beginning January 17, 2014.
Eloisa incorporates EFT tapping into her daily life and study of A Course in Miracles and shares the insights she receives with her readers and listeners.
May her work help to light the way for all to see the Truth that is within. For more information about doing a phone or Skype EFT session with Eloisa Ramos; EFT, muscle testing and to get a free download version of the Ramos Clearing Technique, visit her website: http://www.healing-with-eft.com/ramos-clearing.html or email her at ramoshealing@comcast.net.

I’m so much more informed after talking with Eloise! What do you guys think or feel after this interchange? Please share.

Author Spotlight Audrey Chin Talks about her new book and Brings A Gift!

TGIF! Hello lucky people! I say lucky because Audrey Chin sits in the author spotlight today and this will be a treat for all of you as it was for me. I recently reviewed Audrey’s latest book, As The Heart-Bones Break for Goodreads.com and gave this book 5 stars across the board. You’re also going to have a lucky Friday because Audrey has a surprise for you guys–woot-woot! Okay, first the interview 🙂


Welcome Audrey! I’m excited to have you here. For those readers who might not be familiar with Audrey Chin, please share a bit of your background.

I was born in Singapore, a little country right-smack in the middle of South East Asia and lived there till I was 16. Then my traveling life started. My first stop was to Salem Oregon to be an exchange student. Following that I spent five years in college in Britain. I lived in California for a decade as a postgraduate student and young married woman before moving back to Singapore when I was 32. Singapore is where I come back to now when I’m not traveling to Vietnam, the rest of South East Asia, Australia or North America.
I grew up in a bookstore and have been a lover of story ever since. But I haven’t been able to pay my bills with words yet, so I work in finance during the day and write in-between.
My other loves are good food, my garden, my friends, my siblings and parents, my children and my husband … not necessarily in that order.

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing your latest book, As The Heart Bones Break for Goodreads, which I also posted on my site. Thank you for the opportunity. Why did you write this book?

I’ve been a daughter-in-law of the Vietnamese diaspora for over 30 years. My husband Minh was a Vietnamese boat-person whose face I first saw on a BBC documentary and whom I later met while doing a summer internship at a Singapore refugee camp. I’m an inveterate eavesdropper and living among the Vietnamese community, I heard many amazing stories.
Their experiences really demonstrated the truth of Hemingway’s quote in A Farewell to Arms – “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”
When it came time, it just seemed natural to write down what I’d heard. The problem of course was pulling everything together to make a good story. My husband, for example, was indeed the son of a Viet Minh guerilla leader who was subsequently adopted into the family of a civil servant working for the French. But my husband wasn’t a spy, merely an engineer. He’d merely spent his youth in wartime Vietnam trying to survive and avoid trouble, nothing more. There was no conflict or tension in the story. I couldn’t move it forward. It wasn’t until I read Marti Leimbach’s and Tatjana Soli’s amazing books about American women who’d fallen in love with Vietnamese men working two sides that the light-bulb turned on. Of course, Heart Bones is quite different from Leimbach’s and Soli’s stories, but the idea of a Viet Cong spy … that came from them.

Your books are masters of imagery. At times I felt like a spectator, watching the chicken fights or Tran Thong eating his first hot dog, the shop owner getting beaten to death, the rapes and so on. Have you always written with such flair?

I’m a really visual person so I basically write what I’ve seen or imagine I’m seeing. For example, I’ll close my eyes and try to imagine my characters interacting as if I’m at the movies. And then, voila! The scenes come out. But they usually come out in long-winded paragraphs full of excess words. Here’s what some of my beta-readers and editors said about the initial versions of Heart Bones – overburdened by history and details, sluggish beginning, inconsistent voice … It’s to their credit that my books turn out they way they have.
Heart Bones took 4 initial structural edits before it was accepted for publication by Marshall Cavendish. In the process, the manuscript got trimmed from 150,000 words to just 93,000. I had to kill my favorite character and take out two huge historical events, the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam and September 11 2001. When that was done, my Marshall Cavendish editors Tara Dhar and Mindy Pang put me through 3 additional edits before we sent the proofs to print.

You talk about POV with this book and how people in America who read early copies for review were a bit put off by the book being in 2nd person POV as opposed to 1st person. You found Westerner preferences for 1st person were different than readers in other countries? Can you talk a bit about that?

The global version is written in the 2nd person, as if the narrator is talking to the main character and telling him his own story — “You let yourself forget who you really were. You let yourself forget the promises you’d traded for your ticket out of Vietnam. You did not tell her you were flying cross-country the next week… You kissed her.”
This wasn’t a stumbling block for my beta readers. However, it turns out none of my beta readers were typical main-stream Americans.

My North American readers felt instinctively that the 2nd person “you” was too directive. Most had to make the effort to get through the first two or three chapters. My writing lesson for 2013 was to “listen to my readers”. I took the hint and rewrote everything in 1st person. Here’s an example — “I had witnessed a killing and I had taken a life. Whether I liked it or not, I had stained my hands. I had stepped off the sidelines and joined the war.”
It got a much better reception.
The upshot is there’ll be two versions, one written in 2nd person POV that Marshall Cavendish is publishing for the global market ex-North America and then ta 1st person POV version now making the rounds now at US and Canadian publishing houses.

What’s your next project?

My next project follows one of Heart Bones characters into the Burmese refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border. Like Heart Bones it will be about a personal struggle to find significance and meaning set against a backdrop of conflicting political alliances. I visited Burma (now Myanmar) early this year and found the country absolutely fascinating. This is a nation that’s been isolated for 60 years and just opening up. While many know of Aung San Suu Kyi’s struggle to bring democracy to the country, not much is known about the travails of the common people and how the transition is affecting them. I want to bring it all alive in a personal human way.
I’m also fooling about with a paranormal detective story centered on Singapore food. I’m not sure where that’s going though.

Where can readers pick up a copy of As The Heart Bones Break or any of your wonderful books?
The global edition of Heart Bones will be available January 2014. You can put in an advance order at any of the suppliers listed on https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18513417-as-the-heart-bones-break?from_search=true
Until we find a publisher for the North American edition, anyone who wants a soft copy for advance reviews can download it FREE at http://www.audreychin.com

18513417 heart bones

Yes! In this case, the early bird catches the worm;)
For the other books, please go to http://www.audreychin.com/books/ to check out suppliers.

Wow, what a treat! Audrey, I know you’re about to set off on another adventure, so thanks for taking the time to visit with us and Safe travels!

Thanks so much for having me visit Clara.

Wow, wasn’t this amazing? and a free gift to boot:) What are your creative impressions after Audrey’s interview?

Spotlight: Pauline Rowson Writing Routines…

Happy September, everyone! Can you believe it’s been more than a month since we visited? I’m excited to share some of the things I got myself into during my time away, but that’s for later postings. Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Crime Novelist and author of the DI Andy Horton Mystery Series, Pauline Rowson to the writers blog. Pauline has agreed to share her writing routines with us.


There are writers who write the same time every day come what may; others who will write a certain number of words a day and when they’ve done their quota, they’ll knock off. Some authors will hide themselves away for a set number of weeks dedicated to writing, others will only write during certain months of the year. Me? I have no real set routine but I do like to write every day, speaking engagements permitting.

Some days when the words flow or I am at a critical stage of writing – usually at the end of the first draft of a novel – I am keen to crack on and write as much as I can. This can result in me spending up to seven hours, maybe more, sitting at my computer. Not terribly good for the posture or the wrists.


Other days I will struggle to find the correct words and the creative flow will trickle to a halt. If the latter happens I usually pick up my knitting, do some sewing or go for a walk while my mind works away at the snag with the plot or with a character.

But writing isn’t only about pounding away at a keyboard, writers also spend a great deal of time staring into space – thinking! (That’s where the knitting comes in handy, I can knit and think at the same time). Writing a novel also involves research and because my crime novels are set in the area in which I live I do a lot of research on location walking DI Andy Horton’s patch which is Portsmouth, the Solent and the Isle of Wight on the South Coast of England. (Alright so I can’t walk on water but I can traverse the Solent by boat).

My mind is constantly working, thinking through the plots or sub plots and developing characters. Time will also be spent mapping out the plot lines and developing and researching the background of my characters, their personalities and motivations.

All my initial plotting and character construction is executed in pencil on recycled paper and each character is bound together with a good old fashioned India tag, the same for the plot outline. My work in progress stays on my desk until the novel is completed. I do some research before I begin writing, but a great deal more as I write. As long as I have an outline and some characters to begin with, I can start the creative writing process, which is really important for me, because until I start to write and put words into the characters mouths they don’t come alive. When they start breathing, speaking and taking action then the plot also begins to develop.
As to the actual writing tool – it is straight on to the computer for me, so easy for editing.
Getting that first draft right is the longest part of the writing process for me and usually takes me two/three months. It being a crime novel I want to surprise the reader, and myself, so when I begin I often don’t know who the villain/killer is or sometimes it turns out to be someone completely different. And that means a rewrite. Once I’ve cracked the ending though there is a certain pleasure in going back over the novel, fleshing out the characters, making sure all the clues and red herrings are in place, that there is variety in the scenes and in the pace, then it’s questioning each word and passage and generally testing my prose until I feel the novel is the best I can possibly write, and even then I always feel I could do better!


And when I’m not doing all the above there are copy edits to be checked and proofs to be read and another novel to be written… The cycle goes on. I’m currently writing DI Andy Horton number eleven, as yet untitled.
And which part of the writing process do I like the most? All of it, because I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t enjoy it.

Undercurrent (DI Andy Horton 9) was published by Severn House in May 2013
Death Surge, (DI Horton ten) will be published by Severn House Publishers in the UK and Commonwealth on 30 September 2013 and in the USA on 1 January 2014.

Pauline Rowson is the author of the DI Andy Horton mystery series set on the South Coast of England published by Severn House Publishers. Her books are available in printed format, as e books and some are also available as unabridged audio books. The DI Horton series has been highly acclaimed in both the UK and the USA. They can also be borrowed from libraries in the UK and the USA.

For more information visit her official website at http://www.rowmark.co.uk
‘Deserves mention in the same breath as works in the upper echelon of American procedurals (those by Ed McBain or Joseph Wambaugh for example) and their British counterparts, including the work of Peter Robinson and John Harvey.

‘Andy Horton is an especially good series hero, a likeable fellow with plenty of street smarts and the requisite personal baggage – an abrasive supervisor and an antagonistic soon-to-be ex-wife. Procedural fans who haven’t already read Rowson should be encouraged to do so in the strongest possible terms.’ Booklist, Starred Review

Whew, can you believe this woman’s body of work?! I’m exhausted already:) Thanks Pauline, I’m keen to your habit of writing ‘something’ everyday as well.

What about you guys? How’s your end of summer writing routine shaping up for fall beginnings? Please share with us.

An Interview With Nigerian Author- Abiola Olatunde

Happy Friday to all of my readers, writers and followers! I have had the most awesome week, celebrating the high school graduation of my granddaughter with family and friends. A very happy week, indeed and today I’m happy to bring you a wonderful, insightful interview with the prolific author, poet and screenwriter, Abiola Olatunde.


Welcome Abiola. Before we talk about your great Novel, please share a little something about yourself.

Thank you Clara for giving me this opportunity. Well my name is Abiola Olatunde but I generally like to use the shorter form Biola Olatunde. I am from South Western part of Nigeria. I am a Yoruba woman. I have been writing for some 30 odd years. I am a trained broadcaster and scriptwriter. Have written quite a lot of plays for television, radio and have a few books of poetry. Have had my poems in some anthologies as well as being the Nigerian guest editor for a literary magazine in Romania as well for a small press publisher Lummox press.

Tell us about your novel, Numen Yeye. What inspired you to write it?

Numen Yeye for me is a very important story about concepts and myths from my tribe. In the old days,( even in some places now), there was a belief that certain children known as abiku could give their mothers a hard time through repeated child births and death. Such children were labeled and treated with dread, and resentment. Women dreaded having such children and they were all types of practices to deter such children from incarnation in a household. The woman was usually pitied and the child will be given odd names that would identify such a child with the intention to shame such a child. Over time, it was understood that high infant mortality could easily have been due to lack of proper medical care. However there was the deeper understanding of another type of incarnation in which the child did not have to be a consequent of repeated births. It was the dreaded and feared emere. This type of being is believed to be one who will incarnate with a set mission to exact maximum pain through the manner of departure from the physical world. They were assumed to carry the ability to be capricious and could wait until they attained a milestone of life achievement and then leave abruptly. If a child had ESP, she was simply called an emere, or if she grew up to be too pretty and was deemed to too lovely. It was also believed that such beings could make their family very wealthy or pauperized otherwise comfortable families. I was intrigued.

I come from a village that had a goddess who was said to come back to earth at certain times. My grandmother told me the story of this goddess as she was the chief priestess. That gave rise to the story, what if a goddess came back and was neither an abiku nor emere? She would need to learn all over again what being human meant and would carry all the hallmarks of an emere. The human being has never being without help from the celestial realm. That was what inspired the story.

I was struck by the poetry in the dedication and at the ending of your book…was this a conscious thought or did your natural ‘poetess’ ability take over?

I guess it is an instinctive thing with me. I tend to express deeper emotion through poetry. I can only say things better that way. I appreciated a young girl Erin. I sensed her depth and I felt I could say what I wanted to say only in that way as I appreciated the loving care her father gives her. Thank you was too small for a friend Skip so I simply expressed it that way.

Although, I understand this is a work of speculative fiction, I learned a lot about cultural traditions and customs from your book (Yoruba) My own God -centered faith-based beliefs and love for comfort foods are forever, mainly because of my Southern upbringing. What are some traditions you carry today to help keep your’Self’ centered?

Numen Yeye 002d1

Well Clara, it really wouldn’t be a hundred percent speculative fiction as some of the traditions, culture and concept is real for us in my corner of the world. We actually also live a One God centered life… Olodumare who very much has lesser gods you might see as saints or I would like to see them as elementals. The average westernized Yoruba person has his worlds. One world is the western education, pretensions and civilization and the other is his essential spirituality and conviction.

He is always at war within himself trying to make these worlds merge. How does he center his Self? He makes a compromise which you find in Imole Ife’s mother. I call it the compromise religion not fully Christian nor truly Yoruba. He still searches for himself. Some overdo it by attempting to be so westernized while there are those who simply wish to let things be. You know , man’s search for identity. I personally feel, every human being has a responsibility to have a luminous goal and try to reach it. It is not an issue of religion.

How did you manage to write over 200 stories for television & plays, in addition to anthologies and novels, without going mad? 🙂

Wow! Clara, I thought it would be the other way round. I write everyday, and in the days when I was much younger. I would write a 30 minute TV soap in a day. When I was employed as newscaster/producer, I had to produce a play for radio every week which I generally wrote myself. Then I had to write for the United Nations population fund a TV series for every week and that soap lasted two years that meant more than a hundred. I loved it because I was having so much fun. I had the gift of being able to write quickly and still write TV plays when I am commissioned. I simply love writing. I run blogs, write for my blogs regularly, write articles, and poems . I simply just write Clara. I most likely would go mad if I am not writing!:))

What are you working on next? and please tell readers how they can purchase a copy of Numen Yeye.

I am writing a romance with a traditional twist, exploring a probable sequel to Numen Yeye. And ah yes just finished a 13 week TV series.
Numen Yeye is published by IFWG publishing in Missouri and print copies can be purchased from them as well as on amazon.com here I think you can get the print edition at:


Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Numen-Yeye-ebook/dp/B00A1O22EM/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1370144229&sr=8-1

Kobo Book: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Numen-Yeye/book-zJxsZAAlSk-ekz-Q3ypjAQ/page1.html?s=2BjFEAPT2kqoTBUWxwR5Ig&r=1

As a nook book on Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/numen-yeye-biola-olatunde/1113739302?ean=2940015934922

Thanks Abiola, it was a pleasure.

Thank you Clara, I am grateful.

I hope you guys enjoyed the interview with Abiola, as much as I did. Have you ever read a book that left you wanting to learn more about its author? Please share your experiences with us.

Christian Romance Author-Yvonne Randle

Everyone have a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend! Please join me in welcoming Yvonne Randle to the writer’s blog in a discussion on writing for the Christian Romance Genre.


Christian Romance is one of the hardest genre’s to write for. Why, do you ask? Glad you asked. Christian Romance itself is an oxymoron for singles, but it’s a wonderful title for married couples. When writing Christian Romance you must be mindful of the tone you set throughout your book. You are representing our Almighty God, and you certainly don’t want to mislead your readers when it comes to integrity, spirit, ethics, and right and wrong.

Writing Christian Romance: When designing your characters you want them to have one or two flaws that need to be consistently threaded throughout your book. The dilemma’s they face should be solved by the end of the novel.

Crafting your scenes should depict wholesome attitudes and venues. After all, your characters are ethical, even though they may be on different levels. If one of your scenes is at the home of a male, let’s say, then they shouldn’t be there alone. Their consciences/spirit should not allow that to happen, or you could use that situation as a struggle they overcome.

The plot should be of redeeming quality also because the entire purpose of the book is to glorify God. Say you have a female who is very vulnerable due to a situation she’s either in or just come out of, then the male has to be the stronger Christian and preserve her virtue. In this way he becomes a man of honor and ethics.

If your book addresses a married couple, your scenes should be sensual but not lustful. You want to show the character of the couple. They love each other, so they depict this love through conflict resolution and communicating with the other person’s best interest at heart. The couple should not gossip about anyone. They should be on the same page when rearing their children. Overall, you want to show that the couple may have conflict, but it’s not the end all to their marriage.

Yvonne Randle… is a gifted writer, inspirational speaker, mother, daughter, and CEO of Loving Relationships. Educationally, she holds two B.A. degrees, her first being a Born again Christian, and her second in Human Services.
Yvonne is also a regular guest on WVON’s AM 1690 Recovery Radio program where she speaks out against domestic violence, does workshops for churches, and has been featured on The Total Package TP Forum, Triton College’s Radio Station, has taught classes at the OCEA conference, and featured on
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thefirstbornsonshow#, the Darlene Hunter Show.

Yvonne’s experience as a Christian and domestic violence survivor has given her the tools to inspire and encourage others. Yvonne’s passions are to educate others about the horrific pandemic of domestic violence, change the negative perception of self-published authors, and to show young women that God the creator loves and cherishes them for who they are as individuals.
708- 227- 6646

Have any of you tackled the Christian Romance? Please share your experiences with. We’d love to have you join in the conversation 🙂

Clara54’s Author Spotlight…


In 2011, I received a Christian Romance Novel for review by Yvonne Randle of http://www.lovingrelationships.biz. The book was enjoyable, informative and a supportive resource for victims of relationship abuse and domestic violence. Yvonne and I reconnected recently and were in talks about her reasons for penning “Loving Relationships” from a Christian perspective as opposed to other genres.

Truth be told, I am a believer in God, a participant in daily prayer and a faith follower – all connected to living right. But, I’ve read only a handful of books in the Christian genre. It will be a pleasure to have Yvonne Randle join us on Friday as she talks about her latest works in the Christian romance.

In other news, you guys know by now that I operate 3 blogs, as well as work on projects that will supplement my retirement income:) My business brand, Authentic Woman Networks is making great efforts and strides in bringing women together worldwide and readership has increased to over 1000 pageviews/day…I am truly blessed! Recently, I opened an empowerment apparel shop for women to purchase empowerment t-shirts in solidarity of women stepping out in voice and in ownership of their power, all over the world. Please take a moment to show your support for women to use their voice and make a difference.

Visit the shop and purchase an authentic woman tee shirt for yourself and for the strong women in your life at http://www.cafepress.com/AuthenticWomanApparel for a great cause.

Also: Short Story contests are trending. If you’re stuck writing your novel (like me) why not enter a few short stories and keep writing, until you get the ‘feel’ for your book? Here are some contests to consider.

Writing Tomorrow Magazine
Flavorwire Magazine
Kenyon Review
Women Who Write 2013 International Poetry & Short Prose Contest.

What are you guys working on? See you on Friday!