Tag Archives: creatives

The Writing Life aka My Crazy World by Patti J. Smith

Happy Friday to my fellow readers, writer, authors and creatives! I was outside taking in the stillness of the morning with a cup of java. My only companions were chirping robins and a mulberry tree that was weighted down by its lush green leaves. My brother, who was a poet, once wrote how the simple things in life were the only things he truly enjoyed and I have to agree. The simple pleasures of Mother Nature are ever humbling:)

I’m excited to share a glimpse into the writing life of Patti J. Smith. In May, Patti invited me to take a seat “In The Authors Chair”segment on her blog where she hosts other writers and authors who want to share with readers about their work. Please join me in welcoming this accomplished writer and author to clara54.


A writer sits at wooden desk pushed up against a large picture window that opens to fields of flowers. The room, located in a secluded area of the house, is quiet except for the chirping of birds and whispering breeze.

Ahh, the life of a writer … maybe in a perfect world!

For this writer, it’s a recliner with a laptop, in the living room with two dogs, a very loud parrot and bell-ringing cockatiel. I’m a caregiver for my 86 year-old father and 82 year-old uncle and they wander in to remind me of days gone by, provide commentary on recent world events or ask for a ride. When my husband comes home from work he joins the party. Such a glamorous life.

What do I do?

I’ve become a creature of the night. During the day I care-give and delve into the world of domesticity. In my mind I ponder how I want to proceed on a recent project, sit down and do a little editing, work on social media promotions and take a mid-day nap. Once everyone is tucked tightly in their beds, the dogs asleep and the birds covered, my laptop screen comes alive and my fingers fly across the keyboard. My husband rises at 4:30 a.m. and finds me tap, tap, tapping away.

What do I write?

I am a cross-genre writer. I began with Christian devotionals and thanks to my ever-persistent and confident publisher, I’ve expanded to light romance and suspense/thrillers. Switching between genres (sometimes in the same night), keeps me from over-focusing which, for me, is the cause of an author’s worse nightmare – writers block.


Inspiration can come from anywhere; however, my devotional topics usually filter into my mind during prayer or Mass. Romance inspiration comes from daydreaming or traveling back in time … reliving romantic moments of my own. Suspense/thrillers are roused by nightmares and plunging my mind into my deepest darkest fears.

The Topic of Time

I feel the Holy Spirit guiding me and I have been known to finish one in a week. Yes! A week. Sometimes the Holy Spirit wants the word out immediately, and who am I to argue? The light romances and suspense/thrillers are a different story. In stark contrast to devotionals, my short-story fiction usually take three to four weeks. My pace slows as my mind wanders to, “How can I describe something that will result in the reader turning into a hopeless romantic or someone feeling the need to check the closets and under the bed?”
Faith in Genres

Some of my author friends have called me “Dr. Jekyll and Patti J. Smith”, or the “Sybil” of the writing world. Regardless of genre, I strive to bring faith into each one because faith belongs everywhere, and it’s the guiding force of my life. No one knows what word, sentence or paragraph within a genre will reach out and pull a reader towards Him so I plant seeds everywhere.

The Results

~~A Mended Heart – Rosary Meditations on Forgiveness
~~Journey to Sunset – Rosary Meditations for Caregivers
~~Redeemed – Rosary Meditations for Post-Abortive Women
~~Embrace the Morning – Rosary Meditations to Calm the Storm
~~And God Still Loves Me – A Journey from the Dark Abyss of Sin to God’s Mercy – my personal testimony.
~~Moments with God – The complete collection of the above

~~Behind the Smile – Overcoming Depression through Scripture and Prayer

Light Romance:

The San Francisco Wedding Planner series. The trials and tribulations of a wedding planner – A cooperative effort with four other authors.


Grave Obsessions Series
~~Chiseled Heart
~~Savage Sojourner
~~Shackled Souls (Work in Progress)

All available at http://www.amazon.com/author/pattijsmith.


Patti J. Smith was born in Wimpole Park, England. She lived in England and Morocco as well as several state-side Air Force Bases and considers her father’s last assignment, Moses Lake, Washington, her hometown. She audited for the Dept. of Labor and Veteran’s Administration Offices of Inspector General, served in the U.S. Army Reserve (Transit Control Unit and Criminal Investigation Division) and recently retired as a background investigator.
Patti lives in Vista, CA with her husband and has two (almost three) granddaughters. She serves as a Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, Co-leads Rachel’s Hope After-Abortion Healing Retreats and sings in her parish choir.
She is a prolific blogger and reader, and proudly admits to being a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan and Fantasy Football fanatic. Her travel adventures include Spain, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Fiji, South Korea and almost all states – including Hawaii and Alaska.
Follow her blog: http://www.gridirongrannyfootballfanatic.blogspot.com/
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/PattiJSmithAuthorPage

What Every Writer Can Learn From Janis Joplin…


A couple of Saturdays ago, I was in a black and white mood. I only wanted to spend my day lazing about on my sofa, stuffing my face and watching old black and white movies on the boob tube. Let me just put it out there; I had a heck of a good time! 🙂

I ended my “me” time by watching a documentary on the life of Janis Joplin, the white punk rock/blues singer/songwriter of the 60s. I found myself listening to the haunting lyrics of a woman in songs like “Summertime”, “Piece of My Heart” and my favorite “Me And Bobby McGee.” Those songs of love, longings and for freedom and unity were reminders of years gone by, but, this documentary also taught me something beyond my love of great music.

It showed the depth of an artist’s dedication, passion and love for her craft. It was raw footage of a great singer at work being her best self. As writers and authors, storytellers and game changers, our words can make a difference. We write to be read, heard, published and paid, true? We also write for the sheer joy of creating.
We cannot survive in a vacuum. Our passions need to be shared with the world. Janice Joplin’s passions for her music was only upstaged by her love and freedom for living life- oftentimes by making dangerous choices (drugs and alcohol) addiction.

This artist never lost her passion and purpose to use her music to invoke change, yes, but mainly Janis Joplin just wanted people to feel the ‘oneness’ she felt when on stage.
Unfortunately, Janis Joplin’s raspy voice and musical talents were stilled when she died of a drug overdose in 1970 at the tender age of 27.

What great artist have you learned brilliant nuggets of creativity from as a writer? More importantly, why do you write?


Whatcha Doing Clara54?!

Would you believe I’m chasing FEDEX for a package that’s been MIA since July!?! Hopefully there will be resolution in the morning! Also finished off the last of several writing obligations I’d committed to for two of my  colleagues.

Pleased and surprised to see that my short story “Technicolor Love” in the Independent Authors Index Compilation had received 5 stars & review from a buyer. Thank you, precious person, I’m inspired to submit a second story! If you haven’t purchased your Compilation, go here http://v1s.it/Sp2P74 to download great reads from some awesome authors, including yours truly. 

Gearing up for my daughter’s birthday next week and looking forward to family coming in for the weekend…seems only yesterday everyone gathered for the wedding and what a beautiful occasion that was- will post pictures of the mansion & wedding details later.

Not everything is coming up roses, however, due to the fact that my computer want to act ugly and I’m still waiting to get paid for several articles, but, such is the business of freelance, huh? I’m continuing work on my book, Stepping Into Greatness, with awesome contribuotrs, albeit at a slower pace than before- must start an accountability log for myself, people..:)

Next week, I will have a guest post up at Susan Johnston’s, The Urban Muse, so look out for that and I’m taking notes for another invite from an SEO/Copywriter’s famously “out there” site to guest post as well…now, this one? A wee bit challenging, but, I love a challenge.

Anyhoo, that’s what’s happening in my creative world this week- everyday brings the possibility of a thing:)

How about you guys…whatcha doing?

P.S. If you’re liking my “whatcha doing” series give me a holler…

Special Guest Post From Deborah Bailey

Embrace Life
Image by joesflickr via Flickr


I’ve learned a lot from this wonderful author & professional coach in the last year from how to “Think like an entrepreneur” to just putting aside your fears…Whether it’s a fear of a business failure or, success, Deborah breaks it down for all creatives on how to get over yourself & get on with it!


How to Move Through Fear

by Deborah A Bailey

The other day I got an email from a gentleman named, Tim. He asked me for
advice about looking for a new job. He was unemployed and money was running
low, but he wanted to make a fresh start.

How much courage does it take to transform your life after it’s come undone?
Having been through this situation myself more than once, I’d say it takes
quite a lot. That’s the difference between those people who survive and
those who thrive. Survival is going from one crisis to the next, always
shocked and a little surprised that you made it. Thriving is a totally
different experience.

When you thrive you are not expecting doom at every turn. Your life isn’t
just an endless journey through anxiety and insecurity. Yes, things do
happen and life is not always a big bowl of cherries. I’m not saying you’ll
never be hurt or disappointed, but I am saying that how you react to those
things will determine your life experience. We can spend a lifetime blaming
this one or that one, being a victim of circumstances and believing that
someone else took our stuff. Lots of people do it everyday. If that appeals
to you, I certainly won’t discourage it. However, if you love your life no
matter what you are thriving. That’s something no one can ever take away
from you.

At the end of Tim’s email, he admitted to being uneasy about the changes he
was about to make. He acknowledged his fears, but then he said he wanted a
better life and was going to take the steps to get it. From the outside his
life may not look very attractive, but with that admission he’s already made
the move from surviving into thriving. I’m excited for him, and I’m looking
forward to hearing about his progress.

1. How about you? Are you ready to make the move? If so, here are some steps
you can take.

2. Get clear of negative people and negative influences. If someone is
always telling you what can’t be done or how awful everything is, you won’t
benefit from being in that energy.

3. Take some quiet time everyday. Whether you call it meditating or being
alone with your thoughts, take time for yourself.

4. Keep learning new things. Once you decide you know it all, you will never
grow beyond that point.

5. Write down your ideas and your goals. There’s something about writing
them down that makes them real.

6. Laugh. Not only is laughing healthy, but it’s much more attractive as
well. Who would you rather be with – someone who laughs or someone who’s
always grumpy?

7. Love yourself, a lot.

8. Embrace life. Don’t wait for some terrible event to occur before you
appreciate what you have.

I’ve been in survival mode and in thriving mode, and I can tell you that
thriving is much better. No, fear doesn’t completely go away, but it stops
being a way of life. We all have the power to go from surviving to thriving,
and in the end it’s up to us to make it happen.

Copyright © 2010 – 2011 Deborah A. Bailey
Excerpted from “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and
Taking Charge of Your Life” available on Amazon.com.

Trivia,Tales &Truth

Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer, better known ...
Image via Wikipedia

Today’s post will be short and to the point because I’m sorta beat from a long work week:(  Recently, I heard from my friend & Chicago based filmmaker Kai Duc Luong who’s in Paris for the showing of his latest video installation “De’sincarne’fs(English?-Disembodied/2010 to run from October 7th through November 15th as part of the CARNE exhibit. Here’s the link: http://www.expo.carne.fr/. Kai has so much going on. Here are more links to his awesome works which you can view in French & English:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLWCTR-ejfw&hd=l and French version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpMJSMinOr8&hd=l  and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsWNabb-Kns&hd=l. Let’s hope you can access these links because at my EYEGLASS angle, those ls are starting to look like Ls …

For all of you creatives who might fancy your words hanging about in some famous, well-known Gallery? Dream no more! The National Gallery of Writing is seeking even more writers to double their content from now through October 20th. Visit www.ncte.org for more information and perhaps, contribute your dynamic writings. ( I contributed in August, no confirmation of being accepted, only notice they’re looking for more writers!)

Ok, enough about that. I call this part of my post a bit of trivia & what I think are a few tall tales:)

I’m a sucker for statistics and for the most part find them believable. However, I’m starting to draw the line between fact and fiction where some of this data is concerned.

It’s reported that nurses, doctors and hotel workers are the group of professionals who consume more coffee than any other group of  folks in the workplace. ( yea, right)

The city who top the charts for cleanliness in hand washing is Chicago, Illinois and  it’s estimated that more women than men wash their hands after using public facilities! 

Due to rains, Australia has a Locust invasion-

Kids in some schools have to get fingerprinted in the cafeteria before eating!

The television drama The Good Wife is based upon former Governor Alex Spitzer’s affair with a call girl

Good Morning America is looking to add an “Advice Guru” to  their ABC News lineup. Will the next Ann Landers please visit abcnews.com/advice guru? You have until 2011 to get your bid in.

Because Clara54 fancies herself a poet, she was recently published here : http://www.femmevip.com/thepurplelounge.htm

Last for today, but certainly not least, I have to thank all of those who visit Clara54 . Because of you, my stats continue to rise & my twitter connection of  friends/creatives/entrepreneurs/solopreneurs are growing…So Godspeed & let’s make some noise!

Some Of My Best Friends Are BOOKS!

Cover of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings...
Cover of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I’m working on an interview with a great woman playwright. One of the questions I asked was reflective upon past memories from childhood and how those memories helped to shape her passion for theatre…I started to think about the stuff that my brain has soaked up like a sponge on the way to adulthood. Right now, I’m going to omit the stuff your eyes are straining to read about & just keep it about my favorite progressive influence: Books!

Some of the books I’ve read over the years that left an indelible impression upon my psyche are:

The Power Of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

Diary Of Anne Frank                                          I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck                 Canterbury Tales

Peyton Place                                                       All Gods Children Got Traveling Shoes

How Green Was My Valley                           The Measure Of A Man/ Sidney Poitier

Othello                                                                  I Wonder As I Wander / Langston Hughes

Romeo & Juliet                                                 Their Eyes Were Watching God/ Zora Neale Hurston

Yes I Can, The Story Of Sammy Davis Jr.     So You Want To Be A Writer? Carl Perrin

The Writer Within                                                    If You Want To Write/ Brenda Ueland

Awakening At Midlife by Kathleen A. Brehony      The Writer On Her Work        Woman Thou Art Loosed/Bishop T.D.Jakes

Always Looking Up, The Adventures Of An Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox and one of my all time favorite book of poems by Nikki Giovanni?

Those Who Ride The Night Winds where she writes about the horrific crimes & haunting sadness from the little boys targeted in Atlanta’s killing spree.

These books are just a drop in the bucket really, of some of my favorite reads. I’ve always loved the written word. It makes for a great pasttime. Wouldn’t you agree? Feel free to share with Clara54 some of your absolute favs:)

Highlights From The Creative Mindset Series

Lately, I’ve been doing more reading, writing and adding important stuff to my to-do list. Some of my earliest joys in life  came about when I was reading, writing and storytelling. I’ve decided to return to those joys and recapture my love for the written word & creative expression. Recently, I finished the Creative Mindset Series by Beth Ann Erickson, the Queen Bee of Filbert Publishing. I originally purchased the 3 volume book’s Advice For Freelance Writers, highlighted great stuff and listened to the 5 DVDs included as well. The entire purchase came at a fair price considering ALL the valuable information gleaned from the books & DVDs, some of which I’m going to share with you guys.

The Creative Mindset Series DVDs speak to writers about dealing with change. Awakening their muse. Dealing with negativity. Dissolving Blocks and Marketing 101. The lessons and advice are clear & beneficial to writers of all levels, creatives in every genre and touches a great deal upon copywriting. These insider tips from a seasoned “pro” in the field of freelance writing answers the question “how do you become a successful writer?” I identified with her response in that you follow your bliss (path of writing) as opposed to that of other writers. Stressing that it’s ok to read & learn from the greats, but, ultimately, you and you alone, define your success. Do not she stresses, allow someone to define your success for you. On that same note, she advises writers to follow “The Art of Allowing.” It’s a writer courtesy that in essence says while nobody is defining your success, you don’t define other’s success either. Sounds good?

What I love about this series is that Beth is both professional and personable in her delivery. She writes with authority, but, you find that she reads like the girl next door. There’s no feeling of grandiose (although she could certainly go there!) No preaching, no talking down to the newbie writer who’s still learning the ropes, or, mimic the  shortcoming of the newer, less seasoned writer. No, this class “act” instructor teaches by example and reminds us that writers must be awake & aware of what’s going on in the industry.

Another tidbit of information that I’ve worked from is that writers can mainly write anything. We’re quite creative that way. When asked the question  “Do you accept everything offered to you in the world of freelance writing?” Beth answer came as no suprise to clara54 “Just because a window of opportunity opens, it doesn’t mean you need to walk through it.” also ” If an opportunity doesn’t advance you toward your ultimate goal, nix it.”  

I do tend to go on when I’m excited about a thing. You’ll have to purchase the Creative Mindset Series for yourself to see why it’s a good read. Also I’m listening to a weeks worth of the Successful Authors Secrets about Book Marketing (free teleconferences) with an option to upgrade for even more insights from famous authors. So far in my resolve to write more fiction, I’ve entered one of the contests mentioned on the previous post. Submitted poetry to an anthology contest and received a glowing email from a women’s magazine who will be publishing excerpts from my post “How I built a Popular Blog for Women” under their Technology page…I’m excited with the editors’ email and so excited for my wisewoman2!  

It’s a great time to be a creative creature 🙂 wouldn’t you agree?

My Friend Molly…

RN Admirals hat
Image via Wikipedia

What a beautiful morning guys! I’m writing today to talk about Molly. Yea. you’re probably thinking, how grand, it’s not about clara54 right now:) Well, you’d be wrong, sorta.  Molly is an RN with two young children and a husband to boot. Yep, men need to be cuddled as well. I digress, but, the point here  is, Molly is juggling a stressful job, being a wife & mother, and going back to school to get her Masters Degree.

Molly, I find, has a secret. A secret much like I had when I was a few years younger than she is now. Friday, Molly asked if I’d take a look at a couple of stories she’d written online at FanStory.Com. I said “sure I will” and I did. As a creative who has become quite adapt at scouting out and recognizing the “gift” in others, let me tell you, Molly has the creative writer’s gift!

The story is about Molly’s grandmother, written in descriptive voice in her native Johannesburg.Right off the bat, I’m haunted about how dark it gets at night in Africa. I become caught up in the  young girl’s fear. I’m wondering how long the next bus takes, reading how Molly misses the bus that takes her to her grandmother’s house way in the desolute countryside. Then it rains, adding to Molly’s fears because she’d never been out & alone so late before.   

When the frightened young woman exists the bus to walk the remainder of the way, she is crying and find herself doing something she’d never done before; Praying…praying for her grandmother. The moment in the story comes when Molly hears her grandmother calling out her name. Her grandmother had come to meet her because she knew Molly would be afraid…just like a grandma! 

I never got to read the second story from Molly due to time constraints, but I definitely will. She tells me she’s working on a manuscript, only 200 pages so far. I think about all of the stuff that sometimes take priority over our creativity and I can relate. But, I also know that when I give Molly my thoughts on her work? She already knows of the writer within. At some point, she’ll have to open herself to that…

Ok, so, next week, it’s all about me:) There’s stuff I’m working on and lot’s of stuff coming your way as well. How about you guys? Met any great, clueless creatives out there?

Clara54’s “No Dumping Zone” Ordinance

So I’ve been missing in action from my readers at clara54 and from other projects due to “Technical Difficulties” .  Needless to say, at the onset of computer trouble, I almost panicked…what was I to do? How could I ever play catch-up and What if I lose my readers who might turn away in distrust/disgust? I nearly voiced as much to the first internet service provider as I answered questions & followed his guide connectivity directions over the phone. I was raised properly, however, so I held my tongue (teeth imbedded) to ask when I’d be getting the replacement part. Reassured, I hung up feeling better and anticipating being back online in a few days…

After several days and staying on the phone several hours, I reconnected with yet, another service provider. She was friendly, efficient and sorry to inform me that my replacement order had never left it’s initial write-up stage. YIKES!  Ok,  so now, I’m about to blow,, but, she was sooo nice and helpful and let it be known that this particular assignment wasn’t in her job description but, that because I was so patient & understanding, she’d go ahead and set up the info needed to get my show on the road. We talked about the how tos of photo images, breathtaking scenes she’d captured with her camera and suburbanites going to July 4th parades in the city.

I read a lot in my downtime. Wrote several articles for my blogs and even went to Michigan to visit my grandchildren. I suppose what I took away from this whole internet debacle and what I’m proposing here at clara54 is this: When life happens and “stuff” hit the fan, instead of jumping around, screaming, and flabbing about like a chicken with its head cut off, why not stay in the moment? Experience the good with the bad while finding a workable solution? One thing Deborah @ the tech support said that stayed with me? “I don’t have to do this, but, because you’re so nice, I will”.  Sure, I could have copped an attitude & demanded she send me to someone whose job it was to do ” this” but, I didn’t.  Instead, I thanked Deborah for her time and for being ever so nice:)

I suppose I said all of that to inform folks that clara54 is back in business and that she’s got a new attitude. Therefore, my site is for extolling positives and the sheer beauty of creating. If you’re needing to fan the flames of negativity,  keep-a-going! Clara54 is not the place for you. Gosh, It’s so darn good to be home!