Tag Archives: Literature

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?


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.


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:


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

Interview With Zoe Forward

Happy Friday, readers & writers! A few weeks ago, I told you about Dawn Of A Dark Knight, a great Paranormal romance novel by Zoe Forward. Today, I ask you to join me in welcoming Zoe to Clara54’s writers blog.


Dawn of a Dark Knight is a spellbinding read! Is writing your passion?

Writing is simply wonderful, but I came to it well after I had an established career as a veterinarian. I recall reading a dreadfully written paranormal with a rather blasé plot. Annoyed, I determined that the characters bumping around in my brain would be vastly more interesting to read about. So, I released them onto paper. And what an exhilarating experience. I’ve got many more characters and stories. So, I’d keep writing even if I never publish another novel (although Forgotten in Darkness, Scimitar Magi series novel #2 is on the way), I’ll keep on writing.

Your book is in the paranormal realm. What led you to write for this genre?

I’ve been a paranormal romance and mainstream fiction addict for decades. I’m not sure there was much of a choice not to write paranormal for me having grown up loving Ann Rice and movies like Indiana Jones. For Dawn of a Dark Knight everything came together at the right creative moment — my thoughts on Egyptian mythology, my interest in archaeology, my ideas about a new type of paranormal hero and more. It all just gelled.

What sort of research, if any lends itself to such interesting characters in Dawn of a Dark Knight?

This book required researching Egyptian mythology, which I discovered is complex and there is not always consensus between references on much of anything (from the names of gods to what exactly they did or represented). I spoke with people well versed in weapons to learn about knives and guns, as well as what makes sense during fight scenes.

The odd mixture of characters just seems to work for this book! Were you concerned that readers might not care about such an integral part of fiction writing?

Characters are the key to driving the story. If we’re not interested in who is in the story, then it’s probably not a book that the reader is going to finish. I never thought about readers being concerned about introducing so many different characters. I was careful to differentiate the characters so they each have a unique voice and unique personality quirks.

Tell us how you approach a writing process…do you use an outline, notepad or just hit the blank page with fingers to the keyboard?

I’m not a plotter and outlines don’t work for me. I rarely use actual physical writing…too slow. It’s just me and my laptop. And I just go for it. I have a rough idea in my head of where I want to go, and the story arc. I create my characters and then throw them together. They usually drive the story. On occasions when I have a strong idea of where and what I want them to do and I try to push them into doing it, the character has rebelled. I had a few fights with my characters while writing, and ultimately the character won.

I’m paraphrasing a bit, but, some great author/writer shared that a writer who haven’t written about sex in their stories, essentially does not a writer make, although, that’s not the case here. Care to comment?

When I first started writing romance, I found love scenes tough. But now I don’t fight it. I just let them flow as any other scene would. I don’t let the subject matter hinder me. My job as a writer is to put what’s in my head on the page as faithfully as I can. That includes the love scenes.

What’s next for Zoe Forward?

Dawn of a Dark Knight is the first in the Magi series. In the second novel, Forgotten in Darkness, there is a new magus who just got released from an unjustified stint in purgatory. Long ago, a dark-magik sorcerer cursed him and the woman he loves to murder each other within days of meeting in each new lifetime. Being back means this cycle will start again. He’s attempted countless curse-reversal rituals over the centuries, and all failed. Now, he may have discovered a way to break their vicious cycle. But it requires he kill her before she strikes her deathblow, something he’s never done in the past.

Where can readers pick up their copy of Dawn of a Dark Knight?


I’d like to thank my readers for picking up my book and taking that chance. There are so many options out there. I’m honored when you put my book on your shelf. I love to hear from readers whether it is via email, facebook or twitter. So, don’t be shy.

Website: http://www.zoeforward.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorzoe.forward
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6591244.Zoe_Forward

Buy links:
Wild Rose Press: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=5122

NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dawn-of-a-dark-knight-zoe-forward/1114807621?ean=2940016381633

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dawn-Dark-Knight-ebook/dp/B00ADAD9AU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354129181&sr=8-1&keywords=dawn+of+a+dark+knight

Zoe Forward writes action-adventure paranormal romances. Although a deep part of her wishes she had pursued a career that would have her at a dig site in a hot, sandy country, she’s a small animal veterinarian, caring for everything from chinchillas to dogs…and even one hermit crab in there. When she’s not being a vet, a mom, or sneaking out to a movie with her husband, she’s at her laptop writing.

Zoe is the creator of the brand new Scimitar Magi series. The first book in the series, DAWN OF A DARK KNIGHT was released by Wild Rose Press on March 1, 2013.

Having read Zoe’s interview, would any of you tackle this genre? If you already write paranormal, please share your thoughts.

What’s Keeping You From Writing Your Memoir?

thJames Frey

Happy Friday to all brave souls who have answered the call to write! Writing is hard, but, you know you’ve done it well, when it flows so easily on the page. You people are my kind of folk:) If you haven’t already heard, the month of April will be dedicated to the memoirist who have written or in the act of writing their truths.

To some degree, I’ve harbored thoughts of how friends and family might feel after reading my story. Would they be hurt? disappointed? disagreeable? Would they be offended? Nagging thoughts of what other people think can hinder someone wanting to write their memoir. Frankly, I wasn’t too bummed out when a virus attack and no backup system totally destroyed 40,000 words to my less than stellar attempts to write my memoir a few years ago. Now, that I’ve written a little personal e-book, A Life Toward Authenticity-My Authentic Woman Story :)I realize that my truths are mine and mine alone. Memoir writers have to have thick skins.

When Oprah Winfrey touted James Frey for his memoir “A Million Little Pieces” back in 2006, I was one of many who ran out to purchase his masterpiece. I was inspired by his courage and saddened by the death of his girlfriend… and then, James Frey fell from grace for fabricating important details in his book. A memoir is based on ones’ truth-their authentic stories. Stories that could affect any number of people in any number of ways. What James Frey did was wrong, in that he called his story “memoir” I was reluctant to tell certain details of my story and that’s okay. No one need tell every detail in the telling of their story. And ,there are creative ways to get around hurt feelings, but, lies have no place in truth writing.

Should memoir writers use avoidance where it could be a pivotal point in the story? I think I’d prefer reading a work devoid of certain facts, instead of one filled with inconsistencies and fabrications. If James Frey had labeled his story a work of fiction, he could have avoided the fallout from his distorting the truth. So, how much is too much in the telling of your story and why should you care, as long as it’s based on the facts as you remember them occurring in your life?


It’s difficult to write ones memoir. Even if you have had a wonderful life, it’s not easy to share with others. When I wrote my memoir, “Of Roots and Wings,” I committed myself to total honesty. In my heart and soul the truth would set me free – but only if I were honest. For two years my rational thoughts considered who I might offend, did my sisters see things differently than me?, would I expose people I had put on a pedestal for years of my life? Will there by retribution by the church for clergy abuse? Will there be repercussions from the mafia by exposing the truth, from a little girls perspective? Will my abusive ex-spouse seek me out ? Such a myriad and cyclonic dervish wind surrounded me. One night while drifting off to sleep, I carefully considered sharing my pain and triumphs with an audience. Somewhere in the night, I awoke and realized that most of the pain in my life had been kept hidden – once shared my pain eased. Then I heard a clear, confident voice from within –what has been the purpose of my life if not to share it with others? In so doing, others may be encouraged by my experiences, thoughts, and feelings. I decided to share my memoir and offer inspiration and hope to others. My memoir has done that and more I am truly blessed.

Julie Swope, http://www.julieswope.com

thmary and jane

Mary Williams, the adopted daughter of Jane Fonda, have said in interviews that she refused to listen to the star when she wanted to confide in Mary about the deterioration of her 10 year marriage to Ted Turner. One can only imagine how the story would have read, if Mary Williams had been made privy to the actual cause of the Jane Fonda/Ted Turner divorce. The brave people who write their authentic truths, for whatever reason, always stir emotions in their readers, in some form or fashion. I’m encouraged by reading the truths of others.

Are you hesitant about writing your memoir because you fear what others might think or you fear the possibility of hurting a loved one? Did you read a Million Little Pieces? Any thoughts you’d like to share?

An Interview With Romance Novelist- Kwana M. Jackson


I recently read the steamy romance novel, Through The Lens and knew I had to talk with the author about her new, saucy release. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Kwana Jackson to Clara’s writer’s forum.

Kwana, welcome. I really enjoyed reading Through The Lens, your new release. Before we get to your novel, please share a bit about yourself.

Thank you so much for having me here today. It’s a great honor. I’m a born and raised New Yorker and former fashion designer, mother of teen twins and am now a full timed writer.

Please share some of your prior works.

I’m proud to say that Through The Lens is my first publish work. That said it’s the first of a 3 book series out from Crimson Romance. My next work, still set in the creative romance world will be out at the end of May and just in time for summer beach reading.

What led you to the romance genre?

I’ve always been a fan of woman’s fiction and romance. Some of my favorite authors, and these are just a few, have been: Jackie Collins, Terry Milan, Helen Fielding and Danielle Steele. Being a New York city kid I’d read romances on my long train commutes to and from high school.

Readers of Through The Lens will get swept away to some exotic island to live vicariously through your protagonists and some steamy makeout sessions…were you concerned at all about how women of a certain age might react or was age demographic not a factor?

LOL. Oh now what would you consider women of a certain age? Really, I’d love to know in the comments what readers think that certain age is . I think that would be a fun survey. I happily give the credit of my love of romance to my mother and my grandmother who always seemed to have a new romance novel around the house and these were not the tamest of books either. I think women of any age (as long as it’s a legal age) could enjoy Through The Lens.


What advice would you give the millennial who might have a passion for writing the romance, but, fear rebuttal or embarrassment ?

I do understand some having that fear, I sure did. It seems romance is, sadly an easy genre to make fun of, despite the fact that it’s been documented that it’s the best selling genre in the industry. This gives me great pause and makes me wonder why is it so singled out and put down when others are not. Could it be because it’s a genre primarily dominated by women for women. I don’t know, but still it’s something t be considered. That said, I don’t know what to tell folks besides follow your passion and do what speaks to you. You can’t work to please everyone, only yourself. As for me, I try and do the best work that I can each time and write a story. One that in the end makes my heart feel good and if I can make another person happy with that story then I’m done my job twice over.

Would you ever use a pseudonym?

That’s funny. K.M. Jackson actually is my pseudonym, but I’m horrible at secret keeping and in this Google day what’s a secret anyway? It all comes out in the wash so I kept my long standing Kwana.com website figuring folks would somehow marry the two.

Tell us about your next project and where readers can grab a copy of Through The Lens.

As I said Through The Lens if the first in my Creative Hearts series for Crimson Romance. My next in the series which is tentatively titled: Still Life will be out at the end of May. It’s the story of Samara, a bad girl New York socialite and artist with a dark past who falls for her new neighbor, Mark Thorn who has an equally dark past that he’d rather keep secret. I can’t wait for everyone to meet the two of them.
As for where you can find Through The Lens it’s available in ebook and in print at all your favorite e-tailers:
Barnes & Noble
And I can be found on my website http://www.kwana.com
On Facebook http://www.facebook.com/KmJacksonAuthor
And on twitter https://twitter.com/KwanaWrites

I really appreciate having you here, Kwana. Thanks for sharing your ‘romance’ author insights with us.

Thank you so much once again for having me.

I’ve read many romance novels. Through The Lens did not disappoint the romantic in me:) Have you written a romantic short story or novel? Please share your experiences with us on the forum.

Freelance Fiction Authors…

thCAXYA9ZP fiction bks

Happy Wednesday, Writers! I haven’t decided if I’ll be posting twice a week at my new forum for writers and authors, but, things are heating up and authors are on board to share their expertise in evey imaginable genre! So, in order to not overwhelm my storytellers (you guys!) or give too much of a good thing at one sitting, I’ll be interrupting your usual Friday’s with other exciting news. I hope you all enjoyed Angela Meredith’s contribution to the forum, Beyond The Basics of Good Writing. Thanks Angela!

I’ve been working REALLY hard at maintaining my blogs (three) and the effort is truly paying off. I felt I needed one day of other folks company, so I stepped away from the computer on Tuesday and spent a great day just hanging out and enjoying the moments (beautiful & fun) of course, I sent out the envelope containing my completed Mirror Monologue (happily)

You guys do know, March 31st is the deadline to enter this playwriting competition? There are quite a few guidelines to follow- sending your work via snail mail is only one stipulation. Here’s the link one more time: http://www.themirrormonologues.com/about-us/

Another great looking competition I have my eye on, is The Annual Bristol Short Story Contest at http://www.bristolprize.co.uk/


Self published fiction authors can serve as paid consultants at Callisto Media in Berkeley, Ca. Your self-publisshed books must have reached Amazon’s sales rank of 10,000 or more. The perks are that you get to work from home and from any location. Speaking of locale? I have a great romance author whose newest release of steamy fiction will take you for a roller coaster ride! Have you ever wondered about all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes of Reality TV?

An upcoming heart to heart with a Hollywood Insider will keep you on the edge of your computer chair! Her new book is a bestseller and methinks, people in the industry might be up in arms about it:)

Like I said, so much good stuff to share and perhaps entice you to get cracking on your next or new novel is coming your way in the months to follow. Also , make sure you guys visit Angie’s Diary for my latest Women’s History Month article “A Woman’s Story” here: http://angiesdiary.com/psychology/self-improvement/a-womans-story/..

Let’s meet back here on Friday, okay? If you come across any good news for writers & authors, feel free to share with us at the forum.

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.

Book Review: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

A tweet from Ms. Terry McMillan advising another person to definitely pick up a copy of Tayari Jones 3rd novel, Silver Sparrow, has spurred me on to get this review out for my readers:)

The story is set in 1980’s Atlanta & centers around a Southern family caught up in the drama of lies, loves and emotional breakthroughs, due, entirely to decisions grownups make. At the age of 5, Dana Lynn is excited to show the picture she’d drawn at school  for her teacher to James Witherspoon, her father.  Her fathers’ reaction to seeing the two sets of families in young Dana’s drawings, however, only baffles the young girl. She, after all, knows about Chaurisse, his other daughter and her sister, so what’s the problem?

 She soon learns the ugly words used to describe her family’s existence. Dana’s father is a bigamist and young Dana Lynn is the “secret”. The author’s clever pairing of the sisters encounters- planned entirely by Dana and unbeknownst to Chaurisse, the fathers’  “legitimate” daughter,moves the characters along in a gripping series of events that will have the reader wondering what’s going to happen next.

The story is told through the eyes of both sisters, which makes for an interesting perspective on how children handle crisis. It also begs to ask the question? How far should adults go in keeping secrets as a means to protect their children? Tayari Jones Silver Sparrow has been compared to a Toni Morrison‘s The Bluest Eye. A professor at Columbia University, Farah Jasmine Griffin said in an interview profile of the author’s work “Scholars are starting to recognize that Southern Writers are also global writers” 

After reading Ms. Jones latest book, I’d have to agree:)  Tayari Jones blogs at Tayari Jones.Com

Clara54would like to thank Algoquin Books for providing a copy of Silver Sparrow for review…

A Novel Preview, Poetry Page, And Stuff on the Horizon

Morning All!  There’s a bit of a chill in the Illinois air this morning as I’m sitting in my computer room reading from my to- do list. First, I have to finish a geat novel for a clara54 review from Tayari Jones. In Silver Sparrow, we get to know about 2 sisters with different mothers, but, same father. Only one girl knows about the other.  At five, Dana Lynn is only too happy to draw a picture of herself & her mother, along with her father & his other family for her teacher…

Dana Lynn is happy that her teacher likes her drawing; so happy, that she takes it out to show her mother and father. At 5 years of age, Dana Lynn will learn from her father that she is” the secret.” Tayari Jones story is set in the 1980s Atlanta and centers around a middle class African American family. I’m loving the way the author weaves this web of fiction! I won’t give more away, but, the review of Silver Sparrow is on the horizon!

Recently found out that more of my poetry was  featured on their May/June Femme Vip website here: http://www.femmevip.com under Purple Lounge Section.

Taking an online writers’ Village “Master Class” for competition short story writing . There’s also a short story competition with a deadline of June 30th. Guidelines can be obtained by writing cwriting@btinternet.com  Good luck!

Okay, that’s a short recap of what’s to come & what’s happened since my last post. Today I’m literally winding down from a weekend of nurse duties and attempting to cross off a few more things on this Monday’s to-do list before I can curl up with a good book!