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How To Animate A World: Fiction Writing Class

My Fiction writing class is going well. We’re at the 5th assignment mark , where we are¬† instructed to write a 400 word dialogue between three characters who are put in a conversation where they don’t know what’s happening. I’m also looking forward to starting the FutureLearn Writing Class on Monday.

If you’re interested in this class, go to http://www.open.ac.uk/choose/ou/open-content or visit their Facebook page at https:.www.facebook.com/theopenuniversity .

I thought this video might stir the juices of creatives who want to become the next Stephen King or somewhere there abouts ūüôā

This week, the class is “How To Animate a World” and it’s about creating character and dialogue. We’re learning from some of the best established authors out here. For this assignment, two moderators said something that resonated with me.¬† Margot Livesey, author of seven novels and one short story collection reminds us that dialogue in fiction is more than ‘showing not telling;’ it’s showing what can’t be told.”

Mahsa Mohebal , author of 4 works of fiction tells writers that it’s very important to be a writer for yourself-not for your friends.

Hmm, I suppose I should start drafting those character dialogues, because I’m plain tired of having my short stories rejected.

What are you doing to enhance your professional development ?

Social Media Mania!

Well,if someone had predicted three years ago, I’d be singing the praises of Social Media’s TWITTER, I would have told them to keep it moving…:) Today’s post is about the awesomeness of Twitter. Yep, those few 140 characters can¬†equal up to¬†some mighty hefty returns in the networking¬†and influence arena.¬†Three years ago, I didn’t Tweet, Facebook, or use LinkedIn. Now, I’m using them and investigating how to get on board with¬†Pinterest! I’ve never kept a bulletin board on anything, but, when I came across one of my own guest posts “scooped” by a very prominent writer in the blogosphere, I decided Social Media was all good…

I use Twitter when I come across an awesome and informative post that serves to benefit all¬†freelancers in some form or fashion in¬†their businesses, I’ll retweet it. I retweet many¬†posts. Some¬†that make me laugh, think, or even¬†become¬†a sore spot¬†for debate. Retweeting often causes other folks¬†to jump on the bandwagon and retweet as well. That’s a great benefit to your blog or¬†business promotion.Some websites have established a “retweet” day where¬†every member get to promote their blogs, which, in turn¬†will be¬†retweeted by each member on their site, to their¬†followers.- Sylvia Browder’s organization,¬†The National Association for Women on The Rise offers “Retweet Tuesdays” for its members,

ForHarriet.com, a powerful women’s self improvement and motivational site often retweets response to questions asked on Twitter to their 5,000 plus¬†followers! I’ve had my¬†response retweeted¬†to their member base on a few occasions. ForHarriet also promotes your site every Saturday on their Facebook page-awesome! BlogHer.com also retweet a featured member’s post to their thousands of Facebook followers. Once you land on their featured member site, you’ll be batting “a thousand” due to the fact¬†your online presence is heightened.

There are, of course,blog friends whose posts I naturally retweet because their work is so often profound, educational, motivational and just downright retweetable:)

No matter what you might think of, or how you use Social Media, you have to admit, this ingenius communication tool just keeps getting better.

How many of you are already Pinterest users?

An Interview With Talk Show Host Marcus Jones…

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For those who are just getting acquainted with Marcus Jones could you give us a
bit of a background?

Well, I’m definitely living more responsible now. I didn’t always have this
mentality of staying focused on the right purpose. As a young man growing up as a teenager, I was heavily involved in the street life. I didn’t have the proper
support and guidance that I understand today is so necessary. You see, my dad left us when I was 6 years old and even though I had a grandfather and a couple of uncles, they weren’t always around. I learned more and more from those I allowed into my life how to live a destructive lifestyle. Before I knew what was happening, everything began to spiral out of control. Eventually I started believing it was okay to take from others what I wanted without even acknowledging that there could be great consequences. I wasn’t that young man anymore. I had turned into someone I didn’t know and couldn’t even recognize.

Before long I had attempted to rob a drug dealer and was shot 4X in my back and
legs. I was rushed to Northwestern Hospital, and from there I was taken to Cook
County Hospital and from there to Cook County Jail. I spent 2 ¬Ĺ years there
fighting my case before being sent to Dixon Correctional facility to finish my
sentence of 10 years. I was released in 1999.

¬†Upon being released I told myself that I could no longer live my life being destructive. I realized that I had to do something with my life. Ultimately, before long I started writing my autobiography entitled ‚ÄúEveryone Has a Story‚ÄĚ, in 2004. I finished it in 2007 and published January 2008. Soon after that I started producing and hosting my own talk show in Chicago at CAN TV called ‚ÄúEveryone Has a Story‚ÄĚ.My book is solely about me and my talk show is about everyone else.

What lead me to launch Everyone Has a Story?

¬†What lead me to my talk show ‚ÄúEveryone Has a Story‚ÄĚ, is after being interviewed
at CAN TV myself, the host of that program asked me would I be interested in
becoming a producer / host. I thought and prayed about it all that night. I had
just finished with my book and what better way to get my message out while
helping others in the process. It was an even bigger vision than I had for
myself in personal accomplishments at the time. I was glad to be able to show my
children by example that they can do anything they put their hearts and minds
into. So I took a class and got certified to be a producer / host at CAN TV and
have been doing this since 2008.
What are some of the setbacks that you had to overcome in seeing your vision to fruition?
Oh, I’ve had a lot of setbacks in seeing my vision come to fruition. One was the
fact that I didn’t know a thing about being a host or a producer. I had to learn
how to sit up straight in my posture, get my speaking together, practice my
format outline, become more engaged with the guests, get and process materials
from guests and last but not least, find ways of being comfortable in front of
the cameras.
I realized one important key piece of information in any person’s
life is that you must allow others to help you through the process of becoming
whatever you want to become in life because for me and probably many others, ego and pride can sometimes get in the way. In the beginning, I felt as though I
didn’t need anyone’s help.
 Another setback, which was probably my biggest, that I had to get over quickly is what people thought about me because I’m a paraplegic (in a wheelchair). I had a lot of physical challenges. I had to learn to manage what finances I do have and receive wisely while saving at the same time.
How has the show been received thus far?
My talk show ‚ÄúEveryone Has a Story‚ÄĚ, has been getting great reviews from
everyone in the community, as well as my friends and family.
For folks wanting to take a seat next to you to tell their stories, how do you
decide which ones to bring forward?
Well, there are several ways I decide on guests for my talk show. One of my most
significant tools that I use is my listening skills, see I consider myself to a
good listener so while I’m out and about wherever I am, I pay attention to
people. I talk to people and it doesn’t matter where I am, it can be the CTA
train or the Grocery store. I scout at events and different social websites like
Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Then I do my research on backgrounds and having
extensive conversations with them while communicating with them via phone or
email to decide whether we want to take it to the next level.
Do you have a staff or is this work of solepreneurship?
I have a staff of three, director, camera man and a teleprompter. I could never
do it by myself in this profession you need help and now I’m getting more people
offering their help though I’m always open for more people with like minds to
help make my vision even better.
How can people interested in your show get connected?
People interested in my program that want to get connected should follow me on
Twitter and LinkedIn or Facebook where I post videos and a schedule of my
program. The can also get in touch with me directly through my e-mail
marcus_jones1031@yahoo.com or everyonehasastory@yahoo.com.
Anything you would have done differently now that you’ve established your purpose?
I can’t really say that I would do anything different other than getting started
sooner than later in my life accomplishing things and being more responsible. I
like to think that I would have been more established and certainly free from
the trouble I experienced, but I know for sure that had things been different I
just might not be talking with you right now about this situation would I. So
when I look at the big picture, I am grateful to have met you and to be sharing
my story.

Pray, Replenish, Renew…

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I know that ALL AMERICA¬†will be taking moments of silence as we pray for the victims of 9/11/2001 and their families….

Clara54 will be taking a week of respite as the month of August, although productive, was overwhelming! Clara54 needs a breather!!!

Will return with a new attitude & loads of stuff to share ( including my going back to school!) CLIFFHANGER

Peace and blessings…

A Social Media Experiment


Happy Monday! I’m all over the map today people, washing, writing, catching up on emails and trying to beat the DVD rental time lapse before heading out to run¬†a few much needed errands! And may I add, I also took time to tweet updates to my authentic-woman.net motivational¬†website for women. Still open to your authentic woman¬†stories over there. Things at my new place is really looking up!¬†But, I’m posting here today to tell y’all about a little experiment I¬†implemented with Social Media over the weekend. See, I’m of the curious sort, so when I got the idea to write about my 10 year old granddaughter’s birthday request at my column for Blogher and because I’m¬†on the social media bandwagon, I thought let’s test the awesomeness of this phenomenon- why not test the speed¬†of¬†the blogosphere to respond.

The post “When Did Birthdays For Ten Year Olds¬†Become So Expensive?” went up around 7am without a tweet, fb, or linkedin connection. I returned to the scene of intent about 2 hours later to find¬†about 40+ visitors to the post and no comments. I proceeded to link to my FB page, LinkedIn, and Twitter page.¬†The next two hours in my creative research, yielded approximately 200+ visits with comments from Facebook! Thrilled with¬†the response to my post, my granddaughter’s obvious 10 year old greed and my¬†knack for the curious, I left home to enjoy the remainder of my¬†day. Returning to check my blogher column around 8pm, I saw¬†the FB¬†comments had grown to 12 and visits to my post? Well over 300!

The point about making connections via these internet¬†social media is an awesome truth in the face of¬†marketing, branding and building relationships while writing your dreams and passions has become¬†the cat’s meow within the context of the¬†blogosphere. Of course, my little test doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s happening in the world of technology, because there are other venues for making community! ¬†I’m glad to be a part of it:) Anyhoo, that’s¬†my creative input for today, people.¬†Now, back to creating great stuff that might be read someday by Stephen Spielberg…Hey now, I’m not too old to¬†spin a dream:)

So fess up. What experiment have you done as a writer and was blown away by the results?

Book Advice From Lynne Klippel

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5 Ways to Pump Up the Progress on Your Book


Whether you are just beginning your first draft or you have a published book that’s been launched for a few years, your book progress relies on how much energy you put into it.

If you find your sales slumping or you just can’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm to write, it’s the ideal time to try something new and fresh. We get bored and bogged down by doing the same things repeatedly. When things feel a bit stagnant, try these ideas to recharge your enthusiasm and restart your forward motion:

  1. Plan Before You Write.Instead of sitting down to write and waiting for inspiration or struggling to fill up the page, take a few moments before you begin writing and plan first. Jot down a brief outline of the key points you wish to make. Do all your creative thinkingabout the content before you start to write so you can focus on expressing that content with a smooth flow of words while you are writing.Just a few moments of planning before you write will make the process of writing so much easier.
  2. Join in the Conversation.Nothing will renew your enthusiasm for your book like conversations with real people who are interested in your topic. Refresh your blog, start a conversation on social media, have a few friends over for lunch, or attenda networking meeting. Intend to have interesting conversations about your book topic so that you can experience the thrill of having someone ask you about your book or tell you that they are eager to read it.The more conversations you can have with people about your book, the more feedback you will gather and the clearer you will become about the importance of your topic. This feedback and clarity will inspire you and remind you that people are waiting for your message.
  3. Build Your List.Building a strong opt-in list of interested future readers is a key skill for a successful author. In fact, your list is one of your most important assets. Learn more about the people on your existing list by conducting a survey or contest or calling a few of them on the phone. Learn more about what the people on your list need so that you can make sure you meet those needs in your book and your business.Spend some time attracting new people to join your list. Seek out internet radio shows which might like to interview you about your topic, post a press release, or write some articles and send them to article banks. Make it your goal to devote time to building your list each month and then nurture the people on that list by providing them with regular contact from you.
  4. Explore New Avenues. Book marketing is changing rapidly. Do some research on ebooks, selling to book stores, group sales to corporations, or marketing to gifts stores. Aim to learn at least one new place where you can offer your book in addition to your website and Amazon.
  5. Increase Your Service Line. Since you are building your business with a book, you need a line of products and services which enhance and deepen the material in your book. You may wish to provide an audio program, coaching, or teleclass series.Just for fun, create a new small product or service and launch it. Make this something easy, perhaps a single session teleclass, a short-term group coaching program, or a live workshop in your hometown. Enjoy teaching a portion of your book. Watch to see how the material transforms the lives of your participants.Not only will you enjoy the inspiration and results you see from your teaching, you’ll bring in some additional income, which is always empowering
  6. Lynne Klippel is a best-selling author, publisher, and book coach who specializes in helping non-fiction authors with books that build their business and transform the world. For a free assessment that will help you see your author strengths and opportunities, visit http://businessbuildingbooks.com

On The Positive Side of Nurses Week..

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Just to be clear, I don’t usually write about my profession so much, simply because I feel the heat! The truth is, I don’t often come up with anything positive to say about my profession as a Professional Nurse! I know the wrath of the Gods will befall me, huh? Actually, my truth is,¬†I’ve been around the ins and outs of Healthcare for well over 30 years and frankly my dear, I find that the world as a whole just don’t give a damn! Let me clarify.¬†From my room with a view, oftentimes,patients are looked upon as¬†consumers by those in the business of Healthcare. Nurses? Well, as a whole,¬†we’re finding out that our voices are no longer considered the “voice” of reason when it comes to patient care and patient¬†intervention. You might want to run your assessment by the Therapist, Dietitican , Activity Aide, and¬†Social Services Dept first,¬†before that decision-making¬† nursing skill of yours can be validated.

But, then, this is Nurses Week & I’m a nurse, so let me find “something ” to be positive about… hmmm…Let’s see:

Ms. “P” is a¬†trooper & a cutup at the ripe old age of 102, YAY!

Mr. “D” finally figured out that his wheelchair was for sitting in¬†and not falling¬†out of¬†3-4 times a day, YAY! (No lap buddy for protection-as they’re considered a form of abuse)¬†

Ms. “M” meds finally kicked in and she can stop screaming¬†at the top of her lungs and¬†scaring other patients and having visitors think she’s being abused, YAY!

The CEO actually said “hello” as I got off the elevator, YAY!

For once, the Attending¬† Physician didn’t scream when¬†nurses paged him countless times for routine /normal labs on the same patient,YAY!

I got to urinate earlier than 10am, YAY! YAY!  

I’m not writing this gripe on Facebook, YAY!

I “loved” my job, YAY!

I still know WHY I became a nurse, YAY!

The patients recognize caring nurses, YAY! 

I could be written up for this and lose my “Happy Nurses Week gift bag! YAY!?!

Happy Nurses Week Nightengales!

Are U a Nurse? Your response ? No profane speech people:)

Monday’s Book Review, High-Fives, And Herbal Teas

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Rough day today people!¬†But, tonight, I’m reclining on my sofa with my trusted lapstop… & the hat I’ve been¬†wearing for¬† days now? Removed and replaced by comfy pillows & a¬†warm cup of herbal strawberry hibiscus tea. I can almost feel my feet again…Almost.¬†Because I’m juggling a “day” job and posting on my 3rd blog, I will set aside Mondays for fresh content at each site. If you haven’t visited¬†Clara54’s T Blog,¬† you must finish this post and head right over!

On Monday I’ll be reviewing a book by Yvonne Levert, a writer from Ohio. Yvonne has penned her first Christian¬†Romance story with a¬†surprising¬†twist. I found it to be well worth the read. I’m still debating if this will be a 2 part series for my readers to get to know Yvonne better…

A few congratulatory high-fives going out to my writing compadres:

Marcie Hill¬†for winning 1st place for both of her¬†prosposals submitted to the Blogging While Brown Conference in Los Angeles, California. Marcie could chose only one of her wins so she will be presenting “Live Blogging 101” in July. To congratulate Marcie, visit one of her sites @¬†www.thewritedesigncompany.com.

My romance writing pal from California actually held a press release for his new ebook in December! Okay, Mark Anthony Hall, better late than never, because it’s all gravy:) Mark’s new release is called LOOKING FOR BARRY-THE 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! For highlights go to www.lookingforbarry.com.

I got a bit of good news this week from Karen, one of the¬†editors over¬†at blogher. My Monday’s post, Oprah’s Family Secrets, written after watching The Oprah Winfrey Show introducing¬†the world¬†to her¬†half¬†sister, Patricia, was¬†placed on their homepage & promoted via their Twitter and Facebook pages. At last viewing, the post had garnered¬†over 600 views…Visit http://www.faceback.com/blogher to read it.

Okay, what’s going on in your writer’s world? Spill & I’ll tell it to all the right people:)

P.S. Don’t forget to stop by on Monday to read my book¬†review from first time Author, Yvonne Levert.

5 Take-Away Blogging Tactics Of 2010

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I don’t have an aversion to learning new things, or even implementing fresh ideas into a¬†tried and true game plan when it comes to growing my¬†writing business.¬†I’m in total agreement with the adage “even old dogs can learn new tricks” in this arena;¬†not that I’m calling myself old- mind you. Okay, maybe a tad¬†seasoned:)

In 2010 there were definitely lessons of take away value I learned when it came to blogging. The information highway via the blogosphere is ablaze with something for every blogger, whether labeled newbie, or, seasoned . Here are 5 helpful & strategic tactics I took away from 2010 that will insure my blogging success in 2011 and beyond.

1. Establish relationships- bloggers know by now that networking and communicating with other bloggers and writers is a necessity for a¬†blog’s survival. How you network is just as important as where. Most of us think of Social Media outlets: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for starters.¬†Those are the popular ways of connecting with people. Attending non profit organizations is another. I met quite a few people at one such meeting, networking¬†and exchanging business cards keeps me in the loop about upcoming fundraisers, jobs and so forth.

2. Reopen communication with past clients- I’m finding myself biting the bullet these days by being proactive and contacting folks to ask how they’re doing; what projects they’re working on and is there anything they’d like to share with my readers. Most times, responses are positive. Reconnecting with past clients are popular with your blog readers because they’re familiar with that person’s prior¬†work.

3.It’s about your clients- By being sincere in your work, you’re going to earn people’s trust. Blogging about¬†what’s important to us is a good thing, but, if we’re trying to offer our services to others, we have to remember, it’s about them and not us. When we establish trust, the word quickly spreads that your product, or, brand can be trusted as well.

4. Inform Family/friends of your blogging venture – This can be a bit tricky because sometimes it’s your closest relationships that will ultimately disappoint you. They might wonder why you want to go that route, or shut you down as a dreamer. On the other hand,¬†family and friends in business for themselves will understand and embrace your efforts. They might even connect you to friends of theirs in business as well…I landed a gig blogging for a realtor through family recommendation.¬†

5. Advertise- Yep, I said advertise, as in spend a little money on exposing your business to the masses. Local Premium Business Listings in your area promotes brand awareness by placing newspaper, banner ads, customer reviews and testimonials.

These take away lessons will surely aid¬†your¬†blogging success¬†in 2011…Onward and upward!

What take away blogging tactics will you carry into 2011?

Article Writing:You never know what you’re gonna get!

The idea of freelance article writing has always held this rite-of-passage¬†that when putting your words out there for public consumption, you give it your best. But, also, there’s the unspoken rule among many¬†writers that somehow you save your best for the publication¬†where you’ll reap the most for your efforts. You wouldn’t send your indepth piece involving lengthy research and¬†expert analysis to say, a free ezine or would you?

The more¬†writing I do as a freelance writer and blogger, the more¬†I’m dismissing the notion that writers should¬†somehow save their¬†best for the very best: The best magazine. The best & most popular blogs in the blogosphere. The best web master website. The best chance of getting recognized and, or getting the most bang for your buck!

A look back at the articles I’ve written for free ezines, print magazines and as guest blogger on a few well noted blogs of late, I’m noting where the articles that got the most visits are actually the ones that were supposedly geared toward¬†the less or non paying markets .Recently, one such piece I’d submitted to a women’s website got a¬†glowing¬† review from the site’s managing editor who informed me that she liked the piece so much, she was¬†promoting the article on their Homepage, Twitter and Facebook pages. Their readership? Well over 20,000 viewers.

I’m speaking of course of Blogher.com. Sometimes value doesn’t always come via monetary gain, PEOPLE!¬†Imagine how exciting to know that just one article you’ve written, which by the way you might not deem your very best…imagine that one¬†good work has become intertwined with the¬† great works¬†that are¬†going to¬†expose your work¬†to thousands of¬†readers?

You get where I’m coming from? My belief as a writer is this: WRITE your passion. Write from the heart. Stay true to yourself and stray from the competitive nature¬†that’s a big part of becoming a freelance writer. You write and submit to whatever site you feel comfortable submitting to. Don’t judge a “name” by implication and above all else: “Do you!” Your rewards will come at the right time.

P.S.In the beginning of clara54. I wrote how this site was like Forest Gump and the advice (lesson)¬†received from his mama, when he asks “Mama, what’s my destiny?” She responds “Forest, life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you gonna get.”¬†I’m loving what I’m getting…

Clara54 welcomes your writer input…