Tag Archives: clara54

On The Horizon at Clara54

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It’s been a looong Friday! So, I’m going to make this short but relevant:) I’m taking a page from Oprah when I say the one thing I know for sure is that nobody’s perfect. Every single creative on their writing journey want to become better at their craft. Readers just make better writers who are always looking for that next great read. I recommend “100 Ways To Improve Your Writing” by Gary Provost, who also wrote “The Freelance Writer’s Handbook.”

This particular handbook is only about 158 pages, but it is packed with useful information and proven techniques on everything from finding inspiration, punctuation and grammar, to rewrites and gaining the respect of your readers. It’s a great little writer’s resource and I finished it in about 60 minutes.


“All Beautiful Things” by Nicki Salcedo is be the next book on the horizon for an upcoming review at Amazon.com. If you’ll like to read the author’s debut novel, pick up a copy here: http://www.amazon.com/All-Beautiful-Things-Nicki-Salcedo-ebook/dp/B00H9H6JNE.

I was the featured author at BAB.http://buff.ly/1nHDsgs

What’s on your reading agenda?

An Amazon.com Book Review…

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Happy Friday, everyone! I’m in a bit of a tizzy today- where did the time go? because I’m preparing to spend the weekend with my daughter and help her get settled in her new house. I’m going to share with you guys an earlier review I’d written at Amazon.com.

Eloisa Ramos is a student and teacher of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or tapping, which she uses in her work. I’d vaguely heard of tapping via webinars, newsletters and such, but Eloisa explains the technique in more detail as a stimulus process used much in the same way as acupuncture on key areas of the body to,”unblock stuck energy showing up as negative emotions and beliefs- releasing them from our energy system.”

This book is deep and I initially thought too conservative in its writings for me, but, you’ll see from reading my review- I had, as Oprah would say, “aha.” moments during the read.

My amazon review:

Self-Esteem: Discovering Your Boundless Self-Worth (Volume 1) (Paperback)
When I downloaded a free copy of Beyond Self-Esteem, from Story Cartel. admittedly, I began my initial read of the author’s work, with bit of a closed mind, as I had preconceived notions of what to expect in regards to self development, enlightenment and spiritual self awareness- some of the the criteria for which my own work is based. The author’s work started to read like a college term paper at first, but, when I returned with a sincere determination to finish the book and give an honest review, I allowed myself to read, without prejudice and harbored no perceptions of what I thought the message should be. Overall, I found the book to be stimulating, interesting and humanly intriguing.

It was interesting to find out more about EFT and how it works when exploring the true ‘self.’ I was also encouraged by the author’s take on self-images and how we find our truths by recognizing what’s lies beyond our externals. I enjoyed letting go of limiting beliefs and opening up to the positives the author have to share. Important lessons to learn!

P.S. Let this be a lesson to all creatives- never assume anything until you’ve read the fine print:)

How about you guys- ever thought a book ‘difficult’ only to find it was really worth the read?

A Five Year Clara54 Surprise!


Thanks WORDPRESS! Time simply flies when you’re doing the thing you love to do:) Thanks to all of my faithful readers, writers, book authors and all around good folk for keeping me interested and interesting!!!

Enjoy your Summer Time Fun weekend and I’ll see you guys back here on Friday with an amazing interview with Nigerian Author, Poet and Screenwriter, Abiola Olatunde.

Clara Freeman

A Review of Numen Yeye by Abiola Olatunde

Where did May go? Happy Friday, everyone! It’s like the wheels of life is turning at warp speed:) Only a week ago, the excitement of my granddaughter’s Prom was the topic of conversation in my world and now, we’re gearing up for her HS graduation! Anyway, I’m still finding time to read and review great art from awesome authors for you guys and I might add, yours truly is being inspired and motivated to do more storytelling of her own! More about me in upcoming posts.

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I’ve just had the pleasure of reading Numen Yeye, a speculative work of fiction by Nigerian Novelist, Abiola Olatunde. The story centers around Numen Yeye, a Princess in the Kingdom of Light who must come to the human world to serve as their guide against the evil darkness that threatens to consume their light. In order to help these unaware humans and dispense of several dark foes( including a grandmother) Princess Numen’s spirit will live through the earthly body of a young girl named Ife.

As an earth mother withdraws and questions who this all-knowing child is; a father accepts and says very little. Amid accusation, polygamy, rituals; husbands with many wives; wives and jealousy, anger, suspicion and dislike, lies the fabric of life meaning within the workings of this book.

The author paints a beautiful canvas of richness and wonderment for the reader as we are led to explore the traditions, cultures, customs and religions of a people.

While the story is fiction, Nigerian culture is the backdrop as civilization comes to the forefront and antiquated teachings of myths, misconceptions and witchcraft is pondered. I truly didn’t know what to expect from reading this book. But, in the end, I feel it’s a testament to ones’ own spiritual interpretations.The book is over 200 pages, but, I believe it’s a worthy read.

And just to show how much I appreciate my readers?

I will have this wonderful prolific poet, writer, screenwriter and Novelist as my guest next week!
Can you believe she’s written over 200 stories for television and radio plays, in addition to anthologies and her novels? I will definitely ask her about this awesome feat in our one on one!

If you’ve read Numen Yeye, please share your thoughts with us. To pick up a copy of Abiola’s book, go to http://www.amazon.com/numen-yeye-ebook/dp/BOOA1o22EM

Scott Bishop On His Novel: A Soul’s Calling


Hi Scott, thanks for agreeing to this interview. When I learned your memoir, A Soul’s Calling, was just out, I wanted to share your work with my readers, because I love the Memoir, as well as the spiritual aspect of finding one’s self. I’ll let you tell the readers about your journey. But, first a brief author insight…
Who is Scott Bishop?

Just a normal guy. I’m just a normal guy. Pretty average, I’d say.

What led you on a trek to The Himalayas? My soul. The Prologue and Chapter One explain this in more detail. But to pare it down, it was my soul and the call of the mountains that beckoned me to go on this trek.

Many of us can identify with Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Is A Soul’s Calling somewhere in the vicinity of seeking meaning after suffering disappointment and pain?
No. The book is nothing like that at all.

It’s funny you should bring up Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. In researching A Soul’s Calling, I read her book. I knew it was a travelogue and wanted to see how an established writer went about her craft. But no, A Soul’s Calling is not about a man seeking meaning after suffering disappointment and pain. It’s a very different book than Eat, Pray, Love. For that matter, it’s different from Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. But for anyone who liked Wild, I’m sure they’ll like A Soul’s Calling. My book has plenty of hiking scenes to enjoy. Plus, I make the Himalaya a big part of the narrative. When writing A Soul’s Calling, I wanted to bring the Himalaya into the comfort of people’s living rooms, to make them as vivid as possible. I hope I accomplished that.

I find people are coming to the assumption that my book is about the author’s soul’s calling just by the title and cover alone. On one level, they’re correct. But to quote from the book, “there’s more to it than that.” A Soul’s Calling is about something much larger than just one man’s soul’s calling.

But I understand the knee jerk reaction and pegging it a spiritual book, that it must be about the author’s soul’s calling. I wrote the book, though, to entertain, to be pure escapism for the reader. It’s a travelogue, a hiking adventure, that’s sprinkled with shamanism and magic throughout.

I also worry what people are going to think about the first chapter. I worry whether they’ll say this is just too crazy and give up before they give the book a chance. I’m confident though, that if they make it Namche, they’ll be hooked.

I can tell you this. The book’s ending took me completely by surprise. I never saw the end coming until I wrote the chapter in which the book reveals itself. When it happened, when the book revealed itself to me, I felt like it landed in a beautiful and sweet place. That was the moment when I fell in love with the book. But that was my experience. I think A Soul’s Calling will speak differently to readers in different ways.

I promise this. Whatever readers think the book is about, it’s not what the book is about. If I could say anything to a curious reader thinking about reading my book, A Soul’s Calling will reveal itself in the end. Until then, be open, don’t presume to know how it will end, and just enjoy the trail. I hope the ending is as magical for them as it was for me when writing it.

What came first, the idea for the book or seeking answers to meaning in life? Give us the process.
You might be surprised to hear me say that when I went on this adventure, I wasn’t seeking answers to the meaning of life, and I certainly never imagined writing a book about the trek while I was on the trail.

My need to reach Mount Everest Base Camp came upon me all of a sudden. It was an epiphany really. A light bulb moment. One moment I was thinking about the dream that I describe in the Prologue, and then the next, I knew I had to reach the foot of Mount Everest, to thank her. That was the initial catalyst. That’s what got me up off my caboose and to purchase a plane ticket to Nepal. I began training myself into shape earnestly after that. In the end, my reason for needing to reach Mount Everest was not the reason I needed to reach her. In the end, the reason why I needed to reach her turned out to be quite different. I won’t say anymore because that would be giving away the book’s biggest spoiler.

As for the book, I never imagined I’d write a book about my experience trekking to Everest Base Camp. That was the furthest thing from my mind. Had I any inkling that I was going to write a book afterwards, I would have taken much better notes along the trail. I would have written more in my journal. I would have taken more photographs, too.

The book grew organically. When I returned from Nepal, it took me a good two weeks before I wanted anything to do with the trip. What I mean by this is that my duffle bag and daypack sat in the middle of the living room floor, and that includes my dirty laundry stuffed inside. When I did recover and began to re-engage life, I started looking at my photos. It didn’t take long before I started posting some of the photos to a WordPress blog. The posts soon grew to include excerpts from my journal. The journal excerpts grew to having narratives. The first narratives were short, less than 1000 words long. But then they began to grow, until I think it was installment ten or twelve, which wound to be about 5000 words. That was when I asked myself, “Hm. I’m not writing a book am I?” But that was too crazy an idea for me to accept. So I didn’t.

Several more weeks went by. All this time I remained reluctant to say I was writing a book, but after setting down another 20,000 words, I finally threw my hands up and surrendered to the process. By this time, it was early January 2012, something very powerful had taken hold over me. Something burning inside me insisted that I write every day. It was only then that I allowed myself to acknowledge I was writing a book. Surrendering to the process was all I could do. There seemed little choice in the matter for me. There was a story that needed to come out. So, I wrote.

In conversation, you told me what you wanted readers to take away from A Soul’s Calling. Can you expound a bit?

Sure. I don’t want readers to take anything away from A Soul’s Calling. That’s not for me to dictate to anyone. The book will speak differently to different readers.

What I hope, though, is that in the end, readers will realize that what they’ve been reading, is not a story about the author’s soul’s calling, but about something much, much larger. In doing so, I hope they hear their soul “calling” out to them. I hope they are encouraged to get in “tune” with their soul. I hope they stop to consider whether they’ve been leading the life that their soul came to live or a different one.

I believe that everyone will take something different away from A Soul’s Calling. There are people who will read my book and will think it some fantastical adventure that could never have possibly happened. And that’s alright. I’m not asking anyone to believe anything. In fact, I make this clear in one of the final chapters.

Then, there are others who will take more away from my book. What they take away from A Soul’s Calling, though, is up to them.

One reader who reviewed my book wrote:

A Soul’s Calling is soulful, insightful and informative. This book is truly a must read for anyone who has ever questioned life, love and loss. Scott Bishop’s writing encourages and challenges all to open our hearts, minds and souls to the universal law of love. He neither endorses nor disparages any religion, yet beautifully validates that a God, by whatever name undoubtedly exists. His message inspires hope and reminds us we are truly never alone, we all have a purpose and death is definitely not an ending. This has to be one of the most thrilling and fascinating books on the subject of higher realms that I have ever encountered. There is far more going on around us than we could ever imagine.

And another reader wrote me:

Absolutely incredible story!!!! Honestly, I was polarized throughout. I almost had to stay up all night, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to face work in the morning.

Seriously Scott….I loved the book. I really felt like I was walking next to you every step. The prose is rich with visual brilliance, words so carefully blended together.

I think there’s much in A Soul’s Calling that offers opportunities for rich discussions. I hope if people discuss my book they are mindful and respectful and non-judgmental of the beliefs of others. This is a central message and theme of A Soul’s Calling. Do no harm. We’re all on our own unique spiritual paths, and we’ve been given the resources to successfully navigate them. I hope people will see this and honor the book in this way. Yes, let’s talk freely about our beliefs, but let’s not cast judgment on others when their beliefs don’t align perfectly with ours.

Let me leave you with my disclaimer. The only thing I know for certain is, I know nothing for certain.

I was convinced by your reasoning that this book is worthy of massive readership because of its message. Please tell my readers where they can purchase a copy of A Soul’s Calling and give us your Twitter handle, Facebook and LinkedIn connections.
Thank you for this opportunity Clara.

A Soul’s Calling is available at Amazon.com and through BN.com. It’s available in Kindle format and in April it will be available for the Nook. It’s available at your local independent book store. They should be able to order it for you. The ISBN number is 9780615695358.

My author website is http://www.scott-bishop.com
My Twitter handle is @SBishopAuthor.
My Facebook is a longish link. I can’t have a fancy name until I get thirty people to like the page. (I only have six likes as of this interview). The link is: https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Souls-Calling/529223290430260.

Thanks so much, Scott.

I’m Reading A Soul’s Calling By Scott Bishop

When I was the writer for Chicago Women’s Examiner at Examiner.com back in 2010, one of the editors for the region contacted me for assistance in locating local writers to contribute to other areas of their Examiner brand. He ended his request by alluding to the fact that I seemed to have an ability to recognize great talent. Although I did not ‘find’ Scott Bishop, the conversation with that editor hovers somewhere in the back of my mind while reading the story this author has woven with such keen attention to detail. I’ve reviewed a few books over the years and read a great many authors… so far, this book doesn’t disappoint

Scott Bishop recently debuted his breakout Novel, A Soul’s Calling at Amazon.com. A Soul’s Calling takes the reader through twists and turns of one man’s trex through the Himalayas, along with other great surprises. But don’t take my word for it. Book reviewers at Goodreads have been favorable in a short amount of time, giving A Soul’s Calling a 5 star rating.

The author on his work:

“A Soul’s Calling is a memoir about a man who listened to his heart instead of reason. The book, a work of speculative non-fiction, is part travelogue, part hiking adventure, with shamanism and magic woven throughout.”

The good news is that you can read excerpts of the book by visiting http://www.scott-bishop.com and take a sneak peak inside on Amazon.com here:


If you’d like a copy for review, that can be arranged through Scott as well for a limited time. Want to hear more great news? I have an interview coming up right here at clara54 next week with the author and you don’t want to miss it! I know you’ll enjoy hearing his thoughts.

Ok, now, I do want to remind those of you who are considering writing a piece for The Mirror Monologues that submissions are underway, from Feb 1st through March 31st. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Answer that question in your mirror observation and you could become the next playwright whose works grace theatres near and far. Visit http://www.themirrormonologues.com for more insights.

Have you realized your calling? Would you travel to faraway lands for answers?

It’s A New Year!

thCAGXN1I2ed new yearHAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m so glad to be back with you guys another year. It’s been an amazing journey in looking back to 2012. Can you believe it’s 2013?! Still trying to wrap my mind around it:) Anyhow, I’m back with more stuff to talk about in this writing arena. To kick things off, let’s backtrack a moment to contest submissions. We talked about how it’s beneficial to enter contests, not only to win money (good thing) but to get your work out there , generate a buzz and keep your writing skills sharp.

When I recommend some of these contests, I’m usually one of the first to enter:) I love the thrill of writing competition, people:) Well, my results from the Missouri Review & Zoetrope Short Story contest came and I didn’t place. The essay contest for CostsofCare.Org, didn’t yield me the $1000 bounty either, but, the medical director and founder emailed me to say how my essay on saving hospital costs was 1 of 5 out of over 150 submissions to hold their attention…he wondered if I’d be willing to allow them to use it in further media exposure for Costs Of Care.org – well, yea!  

On New Years Day, the publisher of Bronze Magazine emailed me the link to my 2nd post for 2013! http://bronzemagonline.com/why-loving-yourself-makes-you-your-best-self/ hope you can take a stroll over to read and leave a comment.

My motivational column “Motivating Moment” debuted in the relaunch issue of Mirror Mirror Magazine and hit newsstands on the East Coast, January 2nd. Please pick up a copy or go to the website at www.mirrormirrormag.com . 

And the fun is not over:)  I’m blessed to be celebrating another birthday in the coming weeks! Have no fear ladies, we’re not getting older, just better:)  

Okay, your turn writers, what’s in your witches brew for 2013? Give us a taste!