Tag Archives: clara54’s writer’s blog

Motivational Speaker and Author Marion Levi Jones


Happy Monday creatives! I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter weekend. Also remember it is National Autism Awareness Month.

I wanted to end April on a positive note with enriching food for thought for those feeling overwhelmed in the struggle that comes from living life experiences. My guest today is motivational author and someone who has been there and survived that- Mr. Marion Levi Jones. Please join me in welcoming Marion to Clara54’s Writer’s Blog.

I’m here to help others who were like me, to encourage, to motivate and lift their spirits to become better than they were when out in the streets. Show them that they’re not alone and here for a purpose greater than themselves. I was lost for over 35 yrs since my dad died but it took me until the age of 50 to hear a click and to get it right. God kept me even in my mess to become who He wanted me to be. Now I’m giving back. Was able to write about my drugging days in my first book Poems From Within Me, A Recovering Addict.

Then how God changed me spiritually in my second book The Full Picture Of Marion Levi Jones. Eleven years clean and just last year became a Deacon in my church. So, if you need someone like me that will tell it like it is, please let me know.

Marion L. Jones  books share his story of how he made it through his trials and tribulations caught up in addiction. He informs his readers how there is always a road leading to a way out.  His first book Poems From Within Me was completed in 2006, a gift he says was given to him by The Almighty.

Contact the author @ Levijones55@yahoo.com

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2016 Holiday Roundup For Fiction & Poetry Submissions


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rejection/Reflections


accept reject keys

Happy Friday, creatives! I’m curious, how do you handle rejection, criticism and even rude comments about your work? As a recent recipient of two out of three, in recent weeks, I’d say I’m not down for the count and I will continue to soldier on.

Writers and authors know the deal, but in that moment of rejection, we are bruised human beings because those words of rejection sting our creative efforts. We are professionals and know rejections are not personal. Criticisms, on the other hand, can be questionable. Snide comments of your work is best served by ignoring the haters.

In a March interview with author and blogging guru, Joe Bunting over at The Write Practice Blog, I asked, “How do you handle criticism?” His answer was, “I grieve then get back to writing.”

I think that timeless response should serve as a reminder to all of us that it’s the work that matters, so just keep writing to publication. The more we write the better we become in this competitive arena.

As a multi-genre writer, I’ve found some gems in those rejections and have used them along the way to acceptance. Here’s what two editors in different genres had to say about some of my recent works

On a personal story essay:

”As you know, rejections are never easy—for you the writer, or for us, the editors. But as you also know, they are part of what being a writer is about.”

On a Poetry Chapbook Competition:
Although your work did not make the final cut, I want you to know that it was strongly
considered, and that you were a semi-finalist in this year’s contest.

Can you see why writers just keep writing?

How do you handle rejection/criticism/rude comments? Please share!

Contest Updates And More…


thcreative writ pin

Happy Friday Everyone! You all know by now how much I enjoy creative writing contests. This year, my submission to Affiliated Women International “NAME” their women business store contest won third place selection- yay! Those who submitted their 2 page entry into The Mirror Monologues a few months ago, received an update from the playwrights informing us of the magnitude of entrants. We’re told our work is awesome-( paraphrasing here) and the final decision will be handed down in October. I’ve only written one-acts before and gotten ‘merit’ responses, so, it’ll be interesting to see how far my submission goes.

Two short story submissions were rejected (drat) but, I enjoyed writing under the umbrella of a 72 hour window where writers had to draft a story from scratch, taking cues from the competition book cover- such fun and showed that I could write a short story ( 1769 words) with a beginning, middle and end:) An awesome book cover and I so wanted to win it!

Enough crying over spilt milk, already. Let’s move on to even better contests cropping up for your summertime fun as you take a break from that book in progress deadline…

Bill Cosby has developed a fun way to promote his new book, I Didn’t Ask To Be Born (But I’m Glad I Was) by hosting a Cosby Sweater Tournament on his website. You have to vote for your favorite Cosby sweater in each bracket to be entered to win an autographed copy of his book.

Another Book Cover contest (won’t be entering this one) is Show Me Your Cover Contest by Sunshinestateromanceauthors.com.

July Heat Short Story contest (750) word count, deadline July 25th, at julyheat.blogspot.com

Assent Publishing “Rogue Writing” contest at http://www.assentpublishing.com or baddaybooks.wordpress.com for their guidelines.

Zoetrope; All-Story Short Fiction Contest at http://www.all-story.com/contests.cgi. The fee here seems to increase every couple of years.

My guest post is featured today at Monique Muro’s Passion Series Blog @ http://anovelquest.com/passion-series-clara-freeman/ Please stop by for a visit. It was a fun experience.

Okay, that’s it ladies & gents. If you’d like to add other contests to the list, please, don’t be shy. Who is in the mood for summer contests?

Reviews And Recommendations


Happy Friday to all creatives in the literary realm! I hope your Fourth of July went swell. Today, a brief recount of what I’ve read recently and wholeheartedly recommend that you add to your summer reading repertoire- between those hot fun in the summertime days:)

another Lorain

Walk On Water by Lorain Hemingway is a memoir about starting life as a young girl in the simplicity of Mississippi where she embodies the pleasures of southern life/ its people, Mother nature, swimming and learning the intrinsic of cat-fishing. Lorian’s love for fishing consumes her as she embarks upon a journey that leads to the heart of her passion for the fish and have her traveling in her grandfather’s fishing/writing circle.

Lorian Hemingway wasn’t aware of her famous namesake until later in life. Her father was the youngest son of Ernest Hemingway. Her love and passion for the art of fishing leads her to fish in the footsteps of her famous grandfather, learn lessons about the sport from her uncle Les, Hemingway’s brother and meet many interesting fishermen whose love for the sport supersedes her own.

Lorian Hemingway’s life is written in bold strokes of abuse, drugs, alcoholism, love, legacy and deep sea fishing-all captured on the page in richness and vibrancy.It is a must read. Who knew that a writer could reel in her reader so effortlessly as she does the fish in Walk On Water?

you-are-a-writer-final_212e3fjeff

In, You Are A Writer (So Act Like One) Jeff Goins pulls no punches. He’s direct, assertive and positive in his approach. He doles out sage writing advice, many writers already know, but, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. I found many little ‘reminder’ gems that I need to apply in my efforts to getting published. I’ve listed a few that resonates:

1. Stop writing for accolades and start writing for passion
2.Live up to your calling and make an impact
3.Failure is just a bump in the road to success
4.When do you become a writer? “You are a writer when you say you are”- Steven Pressfield, The War Of Art.

You can read my review of You Are A Writer here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R28MV3WGKOO3FH

Have you read a great book you’d like to recommend? By all means share!

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.

BiolaOlatunde-profile

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:

http://www.amazon.com/Numen-Yeye-Biola-Olatunde/dp/0646595881/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1370144229&sr=8-1

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.

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.

Numen Yeye 002d1

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