Tag Archives: blogs

My Purpose For Writing-Blog Tour


When I was growing up I read everything I could lay my hands on, including true story magazines (kept hidden underneath my mattress, along with a copy of Valley of The Dolls)) harlequin paperback romances and literary school assignments from books such as David Copperfield, How Green Was My Valley, Wuthering Heights and The Good Earth.

I was nominated by Audrey Chin to participate in the #My Writing Process Blog Tour, a global blog tour where writers and authors talk and answer questions about their writing process. I’m honored and humbled by her recommendation. When I told Audrey I was feeling a bit intimidated at the awesome company she keeps, she simply reminded me that I am also a part of that company:)
I reviewed two of Audrey’s magnificent books, Learning to Fly and As the Heart Bones Break at the site and for Amazon .com. Visit Audrey Chin’s blog, Sometimes Words Help at http://www.audreychin.com.

What am I working on?

I have two untitled WIP that I am absolutely comfortable talking about. I quietly revisited my memoir in December of last year, after numerous failed attempts, due to an admitted lack of discipline, focus and motivation. I have been a creature of habit in the past that is reluctant to sit down and actually write what’s brewing in my head but I’ve learned to shift my mindset to stay productive.

My story is basically a coming of age memoir where a young girl of color searches for hope and beauty, in a dark place during even darker times of racial divide, hatred, and killings, in the underbelly of a segregated south. It is a recollection of how people came into my life at pivotal points in my life and made an indelible impression that either touched my heart, changed my thoughts or allowed me reason to hope. I suppose it’s one of those coming of age true stories where life, love and loss mesh into a memorable work that’s written with a southern flair.

The characters in my romance /mystery novel serves as a distraction from the seriousness of the memoir and something I’ve always envisioned doing because I’m a romantic at heart. It’s interesting to note how the protagonists in the story have decided to take the lead in the telling of it and I’m not pig-headed enough to insert my objections. I understand that when the characters want to have their say, then the writer might want to listen.

The book follows a forty something year old journalist who have seen her share of heartbreak and troubles. When she is assigned to do a story on the upsurge of fraud and embezzlement in the gambling Mecca of Las Vegas casinos, she meets the son of a casino mogul and becomes smitten. Of course, at some point, the woman finds herself in a world of trouble when she is entrusted with a secret that leads to death.
I refer to both books as “a process to progress” and I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far.

Why do I write what I do?

Writing for me is a prescription the doctor hands you and says, “Here take this and you’ll feel better in the morning.” I am healed when I write. It’s the essence of all that I want to be or become, no matter the genre, and I have dabbled in many. There have been so many theories on how writers come to call themselves “writer.” Are we born or taught this innate gift of expression?

As one who loves to write and have always written something for as long as memory serves me, I don’t ponder how it came to be. I just know I’m doing what I love and if my writing touches another, however big or small, it’s thrilling and humbling at the same time. Writing is as important to me as breathing and I will continue to breathe life with my writing in every aspect of my creative ability.

How does your writing process work?

I look forward to writing in the early mornings before a world awakes, where I’m alone at the keyboards with my delicious cup of Boston java (half cream half coffee) amid the silence of the universe peering over my shoulder.
I once wrote a poem about my love of waking up to greet the ambiance of the mornings, called “Before a World Arises.” It placed in the Illinois Vanderpool Poetry Competition back when I only dabbled at my craft.
I could go on and on about this wonder of expression, but there are so many writers and authors I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and whose works always add value to my writing life. Here are three of them:

Kathleen Pooler- Kathy is a retired family nurse practitioner whose work references the power of hope through faith in God. Her words are gifts of cathartic healing to everyone who reads her blog. Kathy also invites guest posts from other writers and authors who want to share their writing insights and recently published her memoir, Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse.

Kathy blogs at http://www.krpooler.com/blog

Pauline Haynes- Pauline is a life coach and when shift happens on your journey of living and learning from life experiences, you’ll want to know Pauline Haynes. Her positive, upbeat message takes folk from where they are to where they want to be in every aspect of life.
I often visit and email Pauline when I need an extra dose of courage and inspiration. She is personable, gifted and authentic in her mission to make a difference in the lives of others.

Pauline blogs at http://www.paulinehaynes.com

Sue Mitchell- I met Sue through an interview I was conducting at my blog on the how-tos of memoir writing. She had kindly left an encouraging comment on the lessons of memoir writing and who better to offer advice? Sue is a memoir writing teacher and creative writing coach. She recently returned from a blog hiatus and was happy to participate in the blog tour.

Visit Sue Mitchell’s blog at http://www.anuntoldstory.com/blog.

Is Trending “OVERRATED?”

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Of course, I’m just one little minnow in a sea of gigantic fish in the world of freelance writing . But, having said that, I’m also a prudent observer of human nature and how we go about playing “follow the leader” in our attempts to jump on the bandwagon of a good thing. Not to say, that writers/journalists/bloggers shouldn’t look for that next big story. I’m just as much of a hound dog for getting the scoop. But, when the scoop becomes everyone else’s frigging ‘cats’s meow!”…I got a problem with that!

Case in point: The suicide of Russell Armstrong  (estranged husband of Taylor, one of the reality Housewives Of Beverly Hills) people talked about his alleged reasons for killing himself. His abusive nature, his financial problems, etc. As a celebrity gossip writer for my site, I avoided adding to the mix.

Joy Behar and Sherri Shepherd‘s weddings and as of Saturday, Kim Kardashion’s lavish ceremony to Chris Jefferies; the cost, the gowns, the cake-YIKES! I’m preparing to contribute another (entertainment) guest post to City Connect, based in London– I’m not going to concentrate on the wedding. I’m more intuned to look for the underlying factors to the wedding!

Trends in celebrity, fashion, cars, and so forth hahave become so mind boggling that we who put fingers to keyboards often forget about the stuff people really want to hear and read about. Recently, the media focused so much on Obama’s vacation and so little upon why the rich wasn’t getting taxed, I began to wonder, “what’s really going on?”

Are trends the new “black” in America’s psyche, or do we really care about world issues any more? Hungar and famine . Senseless murders. Troops losing their lives protecting our country. Republicans making a mockery out of American Government????

Hmmm, I suppose this blog rant might better serve my column at blogher. com. Maybe, I’ll just repost it there. I’m not totally against trending, I’m just not so sure it hasn’t become a tad bit “Overrated.”

Any thoughts from creatives ?

P.S. I recently watched an Entertainment Tonight clip of a Youtube musical Military group called “SIDEWINDER”. The same day I blogged about these troops serving in the US Airforce, performing for their fellow troops on my entertainment news site, over 300 viewers sought out this story…those are the sort of trending stories America needs to hear!

An Update From Clara54

Memorial Day Flags
Image by eddiecoyote via Flickr

Hi Guys! Just a prelude to what’s coming up for your reading pleasure this Memorial Day Weekend🙂 I know you’re going to just want to chill and enjoy good times with family & friends and believe me, “I feel ya!” however, you might also want to check out an upcoming book review on Monday. Yep, another book review! Marcie Hill, a Chicago journalist, entrepreneur, blogger, live blogger, social media strategist AND a colleague has asked me to review her new ebook, The ABC’s Of Blogging: Blogging Basics From A to Z!

 Marcie Hill is a rare talent in the world of freelance writing and professional blogging. She owns and manages three blogs, one of which have landed her in the top five finalists of The Black Weblog Awards for Best Business Blog. She will also be attending at the Blogging While Brown Conference  hosted in California in July where she is presenting on live blogging ! So this VIP dynamic is a very busy entrepreneur and I’m proud to showcase her ebook here!

Anyhow, this ebook is a no nonsense and sensible read that has something for the newbie blogger as well as the seasoned pro. Come on back after the good food, good friends & fine wine on Monday for The ABCs of Blogging:Blogging Basics From A to Z.. And let’s not forget to honor our troops for all they do and sacrifice for us! 


TNT’s Memphis Beat-A Review

Memphis Police Department (Tennessee)
Image via Wikipedia

Because I’ve recently been commissioned to review a  book on politics in Illinois for a local newspaper and I’m currently reading Karen Lowry’s book, The Seventh Inning Sit about her family’s personal journey with ADHD for review as well ( Thanks Karen for sending it to me and people can check out parts of Karen’s story on a previous post here) and the work ahead is serious business, I wanted to unwind with a bit of trivial tv talk first.

TNT have great shows. I watched The Closer two summers ago with Kyra Sedgewick in the title role. It was good then, but I haven’t returned to watch this season because I’ve become accustomed to two new headliners that’s piqued my writer’s interest. Nurse Hawthorne starring Jada Pinkett Smith as an RN working in the Emergency Room of a debilitated hospital, is filled with dramas I can relate to. But the show that captured my attention and pulled at my heartstrings is Memphis Beat. Now, I’m assuming that people automatically think of Elvis Presley anytime Memphis is mentioned. Memphis is definitely a music mecca sort of Southern town.

Memphis is where many of the greats, including Chuck Berry got their start in music. Memphis Beat doesn’t disappoint in keeping the legend of music alive as the story focuses upon real life situations that the local MPD (Memphis Police Department) have to deal with. Alfre Woodard (a legend in Hollywood) is Lt. Rice,  a lone southern  Black woman with a no nonsense approach as the  new commander in chief in a sea of male hormones. She convincingly plays an assertive leader, yet, gentile lady when the situation calls for it.

Jason Lee plays Dwight. The brains and admittedly, the bronze behind Memphis Beat and a great crooner… He brings a bit of sex appeal, humor, wisdom and love for the memory of the hero he thought his daddy(former police office) was when he died in the line of duty. Lots of twists and turns for Dwight  folks!

There’s so much stuff going on within the storyline. Each character has something unique going on in their lives where the viewer is lead to ponder upon, smile about and go, “I didn’t see that coming!”

Why do I luv this new show?

Cast of great actors

Music from the good ole days.

Southern charm

Jason Lee…keeping it real:)

And it takes me away from the reality of the work that lies in wait, lol.

Speaking of work? Keeping in tone with fiction writing mentions here, in a few days, I’ll be posting a great essay by a well known author who has kindly given permission to share just one of her many works with my lucky readers at clara54!  I can’t wait:)

Also a  congrats goes out to Anne Wayman for her blog About Freelance Writing, landing a coveted spot at WEmagazineforwomen’s 101 best blogs for  2010! Way to go Anne!

Clara54 Sharing The Grapevine…

Perhaps you’ve heard, or, maybe you’re just hearing it here! I know it seems of late that clara54 is missing in action-NOT! What I have been doing is tirelessly promoting my popular blog for women @ wisewoman2.wordpress.com these last few days & it’s been a whirlwind of good vibrations! People across the blogosphere have sent positive kudos and heaps of continued growth & awareness for what I’m attempting to do as a woman writing from life experiences. It’s all so cool and I’m so appreciating the coolnesss of community both online and off.

Ok, so now that you know what clara54 has been about lately, let me give you all a heads up on what other folks want me to relay to all of my interested readers. First off, I received an email from a great guy & former Chicagoian who is also a hopeless romantic. Why, is he described thus, you ask? I’ll tell you. Mark Anthony Hall’s new EBook is just released for your buying/viewing pleasure at http://www.markanthonyromance.com. The book- Collection Of Secret Romantic Memos And Private Love Letters- Straight From The Heart is guaranteed to set your heart all a flutter as it reveal secrets of love from the love guru himself.

On a Governmental note: Received word from Michelle & Dan Duster- the great/great grandchildren of Ms. Ida B. Wells on the Washington, DC. Tribute & the formal unvealing and dedication of the Senate Russell Building, Room 432, on April 15… This is of particular significance due to the buildings’ use in congressional hearing on lynching & anti-lynching laws. Mr. Dan Duster will travel to Washington for the honor. Mr. Robert L. Johnson will also be so honored. Michelle Duster sent along an itinerary of speaking engagements for her works, Ida in Her Own Words(2008) and Ida From Abroad (2010) you can visit @ http://www.mldwrites.com/upcomingEvents.html for further info.

Tracy Koretsky interview will be for your viewing pleasure shortly YAY! I cannot wait for you to read her revealing interview.she speaks about her book of poetry/prose EVEN BEFORE MY OWN NAME and her latest award winning, ROPELESS. I was totally blown away from reading Even Before My Own Name…I appreciate her willingness to take time from her busy schedule to comply with my request…

Ok, folks that’s enough for now, but, remember just how much clara54 appreciates you 🙂

A Few Surprises For Clara54…

Spring forward! can’t seem to adjust to the time change 😦 I’ve been late to my ‘day’ job twice this week! or, maybe, the clock is set too far ahead on the job, sneaks…
111 visits to clara54 on Tuesday…Yay! appears this flow of traffic stems from a recent interview subject and got folks talking & wanting to know more, hence, the stat increase 🙂 either way, I feel good about that.

The book,When One Door Closes-Reflections From Women On Life’s Turning Points getting mounds of publicity from media & other interested parties…My essay, Second Time Around even sent a few profile seekers my way.

Had to post a sort of rant on my blog post at blogher to purge myself from a distasteful encounter on the way home from work recently. The post “Why Young Men Disrespect Older Women “had to be written/ A tongue lashing given to the fellow was deemed necessary, followed by an overwhelming feeling of sadness for the mothers & fathers who failed to instill respect in their offspring… “oh, if I ruled the world!”

Finally got my laptop back on track…now I can recline in my PJs on my bed/couch as long as I want & write posts like this one!
Preparing for another family reunion in June, destination sunny Florida Resorts…a travel review will be in the works…

I’m not a big fan of the outrageous gossip person Perez Hilton, but love the reality show Bad Girls & took in the Oxygen network’s grand finale with the girls and Perez Hilton as moderator…I thought Perez was out of line when he set out to hurt Natalie’s feelings by challenging her “bad girl” persona… staring in her face… remarked that he was looking at her acne & could recommend a good dermatologist. Not cool Perez! Moderators are supposed to moderate, not belittle their guests! Clara54 love some good celebrity gossip, but never seek out to intentionally hurt folk’s feeling…

Finally, I’ve submitted my next working nurse column post, wrote a guest blogger post (pending publication @ last check) and will relax & welcome some “me” time on my day off!
Life is so grand! Keep visiting AND
keep dancing!


How to Write a Review
This post is part of the Guest Post Giveaway at the blog Unready and Willing. If you think articles about writing or personal development (or personal development for writers) sounds like a good fit for your blog, please take a look at the Guest Post Giveaway page and see if any of the articles spark your interest.

In order to learn how to write a review effectively, you must learn to deliver your opinion in essay form. Like any essay a good review should have these four elements:

• An Introduction – A “hook” to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read the review.
• A Thesis Statement – A statement (preferably one sentence, sometimes more) near the beginning of the review that expresses your opinion about whatever you’re reviewing.
• A Body – The main part of the review where you provide specific evidence to support your thesis.
• A Conclusion – The final paragraph where you synthesize all the points you’ve mentioned throughout your review and restate your thesis in a unique way.
The Introduction
Oftentimes a reader will decide whether or not to read a review after the first three to five sentences, so you better make them good. An introduction serves to pull the reader in. It’s a sales pitch that says: “I have something interesting to say about X and here’s why.”

Just like any article or essay there are many ways to write an introduction for a review. Here are some of the most common:

Start with your opinion
Begin with a bold statement of opinion. If you disliked Saw XVII, for example, you could start with something like: “I’m not sure who experienced the most pain, the characters in the film or the people in the theater.” When you start with your opinion, a reader will be interested in knowing why you have the opinion you do, even if they disagree with you.

Use a relevant anecdote
If you’re reviewing a French café, you might describe the atmosphere of a café you had visited on your last trip to Paris. Then, you can write about how the café you’re reviewing does or doesn’t succeed in recreating that kind of atmosphere.

Quote someone
If you’re reviewing a book, quote Falkner. If you’re reviewing a movie, quote Hitchcock. Or, if you can dig up something the director of the movie or author of the book had said in the past, use that.

Be sure to keep your introduction short, preferably five sentences or less. Don’t get derailed on tangents. Remember that the main purpose of the introduction is to draw the reader in and lead them smoothly to your thesis statement.

The Thesis Statement
For a critical review, a thesis statement is essentially a statement of your opinion. It’s the argument that your entire review centers around. A thesis statement can be a simple, bold assertion: “This has got to be the worst movie of the decade.” Or, be longer and more colorful, like in Roger Ebert’s review of Freddy got Fingered: “This movie doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.”

After you’ve made your thesis statement, which in this case can be boiled down to: “the movie sucked,” you can then provide several details and descriptions of scenes in the body of your review to show just how sucky the movie was.

Here’s another example: Let’s say that you’re reviewing the new French café downtown. A possible thesis statement might be: “The Restaurant’s owner has succeeded in recreating the atmosphere of an authentic French café right here in downtown Seattle.”

This statement does two things. First, it shows that you like the café. Second, it provides the main reason why you liked it. If you can effectively convince your reader that the restaurant does indeed recreate the atmosphere of an authentic French café with enough detail, then you’ve done your job as a reviewer.

If you’re ever lost looking for a good thesis statement for your review, just hop over to the website metacritic. Metacritic takes all the reviews of popular magazines and newspapers and puts them all in one place. For each review they’ll quote one or two sentences which effectively summarizes a critic’s opinion of a movie, music album, TV Show, Book, or Video Game. These quotes are often very good examples of thesis statements. If you’re going to make it a habit of writing regular reviews on popular media, it’d be a good idea to visit metacritic often and learn from the pros.

The Body
After you’ve made your thesis statement, you must provide as many specific details as you can to support it. If you praise a French café as “authentic,” you must define exactly what an “authentic French café” is and then provide details as to how this particular café meets that standard. If you think a particular comedy film isn’t funny, describe scenes where the film attempts to be funny and explain how they just don’t work.

When writing reviews, make sure you have a list of points to cover. It’s quite possible to get so enamored by a restaurant’s dishes that you forget to talk about the atmosphere. Have a checklist handy to remind you of all the important points that you may need to cover when writing. For a restaurant it may be the service, food, decor, other patrons, and the cleanliness of the restrooms. For a movie it might be the acting, directing, pacing and film score. For a website it might be the capability to increase traffic, readability of the copy and the quality of the content. You don’t have to mention every item on your checklist in the review itself, but it’s a good idea to look it over to see if you’ve forgotten any important details.

The Conclusion
The purpose of the conclusion is to remind your reader why they were reading in the first place. It sums up most of the main ideas expressed in the body of the review and will often end by reinforcing the idea behind your original thesis statement in a clear and poignant way.

A good concluding statement can…

• “Madagascar 3 is a manic, but ultimately soulless carbon copy of the first two films. Wait for it to come out on DVD.”
• “Finnegan’s wake: the movie, is a brilliant and surprisingly loyal adaptation of James Joyce’s classic novel. Watching it while sober is not recommended.”
Make a Strong Endorsement or Rejection:
• “This book should be read by everyone.”
• “This book shouldn’t be read by anyone.”
Get us to see the bigger picture:
• “The success and brilliance of Limozeen’s new album will forever change how we think about glam metal bands.”
• “Gigli 2 may go down in history as the only film to cause clinical blindness.”
Use a personal perspective or experience:
• “After two hours of playing the game, I felt like my brain had been microwaved–In a good way.”
• “Now I don’t have to book a ticket to Paris to go to my favorite French café, all I need is bus fare.”

Your conclusion should often be the strongest part of your review. Save your funniest jokes, your most brilliant observations and your boldest arguments for last. You don’t just want your review to be liked, you want it to be remembered. The best way to do that is to end strong.
Kenji Crosland is a creative writing major who, scared of becoming a starving artist, became a corporate headhunter in Tokyo. Since then he’s regained his sanity, quit his job, and now blogs about creating an ideal career at unreadyandwilling.com. He is also developing a web application that just might change the internet. Follow him on Twitter: @KenjiCrosland.


Yay, it’s friday! Thank goodness I’m off today and able to reflect upon the whirlwind of what’s been happening for me this beginning of a brand new year. Whew!…I’ve been busy doing the tedious work related stuff that needs to sustain me, but, I’ve also been in the trenches…visiting other bloggers. inviting them over to clara54. I’ve also landed some great blog love links:)

I can’t tell folks how thrilled I was to learn that Amy Derby over at Write From Home had added Clara54 to her Hump Day Reading blogs! …To be hailed amongst such esteemed writers& bloggers … Melissa Donavon’s Writing Forward…Freelance Writing Jobs… Writing the Cyber Highway… Read write web and sooo many more folks have placed me in a perpetual state of speechless wonder!

Anyhow, so glad I can still write. I so wanted to thank Christina Katz over at Writers on the rise for adding me to their blog as well…sooo many prolific folks, Christina…a bit intimidating , but it’s ALL good 🙂

Thanks also to a well known & popular poet, Mr. DeanjBaker for inviting bloggers to link to his great world of prose/poems & stories… I luv your work dean…Clara54 can also be seen on the site of A Wandering Mind! mind boggling, I know…

I must take a moment for pause and remember to thank the writing community…this great mix of poets, writers, bloggers; all networking just because we need to share our ‘voice’ and help others along the way…and get paid in the process, ha! I luv it when a plan comes together! Ok, so I stole those words from  the mouth of one of my employers 🙂   lots more to say, but, you just have to come back…

potential client response

Can you believe it!? over the weekend, I managed to squeeze in a few queries to a potential client lists and  lo and behold,this morning I find response to two of the five I’d sent out…both positive !  I’m feeling good about that. so good in fact, I’m going to reply to a colleague’s request and do a survey on romantic relationships!! of course, she’s to keep all imput incognito…

I’m also making a list of more blogs/websites I found about freelance writing, blogging, dating and issues I think other writers out there will find interesting reading. One such site that I’ve just became a member of is giftedhandsandwriting by Preethi Burkholder, who’s on a book tour for 2 months, but, has autoresponse, so she did respond to my email…this site I’d actually found a couple of weeks ago by reading another blog, Ellen Wilson’s words and pictures…now, this lady’s blog is worthy of a stroll over as well, her photos are breathtaking and she’s a good one for community networking.

Giftedhandsandwriting offers inventive & creative ways to assist them in their writing endeavors…whether you’re established or, a newbie, membership is free…I’m of the adage that good happens when we sow seeds…don’t you agree?

great blogs…

I’ve had the pleasure of finding a few great blogs/bloggers in the short time clara54 has been up…the bloggers might not all be writers or vice versa, but, in some big way, their blogs are very enlightening, informative, helpful and what I often base my ‘like radar’ on…real. these folks , in my opinion are giving you the real blogger deal…

Deborah Ng over at freelance writng jobs has been a mainstay for me when it comes to finding those great gigs…the articles are informative…the work that Jodee does, outstanding, and just recently, a new player emerged from an ‘idol contest’ fwj sponsored, Terreece Clark… I hope to read good stuff from her.

Rachel Goodchild Writes is one of my favorite places to visit…Rachel is an outstanding author from New Zealand…her blog is just a down to earth, good time read…

Sonya Carmichael Jones over at marketingbudda was kind enough to give me a few tips on how to monetize my blogs, garner increased readership/ community participation to clara54, or, any freelance writers endeavors…she’s offers sound marketing advice.

 I love poetry…I love the spiritual essence that John at internationalpoet works convey…i visit wordsuponmystone often…sorry john, but, had to have your chosen theme for wordsuponmystone, it’s speaks to me and what I want clara54 to convey…

There are sooo many blogs out there, folks who for whatever reason have a need to create. I will continue to list them as I like them, here. I’m so lucky to be part of this community where our worlds connect, our words resonate…our goals defined.