Tag Archives: writer

Colleagues Who Are Expanding Their Horizons

Happiness Friday to all Creative Thinkers and Doers! In the mid 90s , I would take the train to downtown Chicago after work some evenings to attend creative writing classes at Harold Washington College, while hubby stayed home on daddy duties. I have to admit, I loved this bit of “me” time, I’d carved out for myself.¬† Attending evening writing classes with other like-minded adults centered me and motivated my creative juices at the same time.

The instructor was a young 30 something, who wore a cropped Afro and admitted that she drove a Jag! Wow, I wanted to chuck family obligations, right then and there and be her:) Well, being a trendsetter wasn’t all she was about. The woman was actually a great teacher, who advised us to “expand” our creative horizons and throw our whole being into becoming the “writers” she knew us to be.

I suppose creatives learn the same things, only in different ways. Here are some of my colleagues who are Expanding Their Horizons :

Books Ink interview with Karen Ford

Featured Artist: Henry L. Jones

Men of Winter Group Art Exhibit at Monthaven Mansion

Men of Winter Entertainment Flyer revised

Chicago Author, Evelyn Cogdell makes a personal appearance tonight on RARE Woman for Valentine’s Day, to discuss her new relationship book, Essence of Romance (co-authored by yours truly)

RareWoman uprightPublicity Photo - 2006&2007-1Check out Evelyn in conversation with two rare women tonight:

http://www.ubnradio.com/ channel 2 RareWoman 4PM PST
Congrats to all of you creative folk. Keep expanding your horizons.
If you have great news to share on the blog, just hit me up and do the thing! ūüôā
How are you expanding your creative gifts?

A Conversation With Chicago Author Evelyn Cogdell

Happy Friday, all!¬† Please join me in welcoming Evelyn Cogdell to Clara54’s writers blog.

I’ve known you for a while now, Evelyn, but please  share a bit about yourself for our readers.

Publicity Photo - 2006&2007-1

E:¬† I am Evelyn (aka Eve) Cogdell, a Freelance Writer/Poet, and the self-published Author of 5 books: a Poetry Chapbook (5th Story Reflections); a Short Story collection (Matters of the Heart); a Cookbook (Auntie Eve‚Äôs Favorite Dishes); and 2 Novels (Cashmere & Silk, A Love Story and Cashmere & Silk–Two, A Tapestry). Additionally, I have contributed to 2 Anthologies: This Mother‚Äôs Daughter and Wisdom of Our Mothers.‚ÄĚ

My articles have covered such diverse topics as: religion; politics; health; science; sports; fashion; beauty; recipes; art; music; celebrities; and relationships. I have been featured in newspapers, magazines and e zines. Various venues where I have appeared include: The Black Expo; The Black Women‚Äôs Expo; African-American Images; Woodson Regional Library; Avalon Branch Library; Whitney M. Young, Jr. Library; Books Ink; Barnes & Noble and Trinity United Church of Christ.‚ÄĚ

C: Interesting! You write in several genres: poetry, romance, food and interviews. Is there something I’m missing, and which genre is your favorite and why?

E: Good question! I don‚Äôt really have a favorite, but if I must pick one, I believe I would have to say ‚Äėthe interview‚Äô gives me the most satisfaction. Finding out about other people and discovering what makes them tick is a real ‚Äėturn-on‚Äô for me. Basically, I like to write about whatever will uplift and entertain people, as well as enlighten them about the facts of life. In addition to the genres you mentioned, I also write short skits.

C: Do you have a specific writing routine?

E: Actually, I don‚Äôt, except for the fact that sometimes on a sleepless night, I might create a ‚Äėnew‚Äô poem in my head and get up and write it down. When an idea strikes me I write about it. Also, for the past several years I have purposed to schedule a self-published book release every 5 years.‚ÄĚ

C: What do you love about writing?

E: For me, writing is very therapeutic. It gives me the opportunity to express my innermost thoughts and feelings. Writing releases such pent-up emotions as passion, humor, anger and fear. Also, writing gives me the opportunity to communicate with other people by connecting with them on a much deeper level than just mere conversation. Finally, writing is a way of sharing myself with the world.‚ÄĚ

C: Excellent, I like the way you think! So, what are you working on now?

E: Currently, I am in the process of publishing book number 6, titled, The Essence of Romance, a collection of articles centered around male/female relationships. Essence is a practical guide to love and romance for today’s couples and singles, and features my first collaboration with another Writer/Poet. The book’s contents are sure to delight and enlighten the average adult, both young and old, alike. Essence is scheduled for release in early 2015.

C: What direction do you see your writing going in the next 5 years?

E: Another good question! Well, as previously stated, I strive to write and self-publish a book every 5 years, so by that time I hope to schedule the release of a ‚Äėnew‚Äô book. This book will probably be a book of religious or ‚Äėthought-provoking‚Äô poetry or perhaps another cookbook. As you mentioned, I like to write in different genres; I just love the element of surprise! In other words, I like to surprise people by not writing in the same ‚Äėvein‚Äô all the time; I like to ‚Äėmix it up‚Äô, so to speak. We will see what God and Jesus have to say about my next book. It’s all in their hands!‚ÄĚ


Evelyn (aka Eve) Cogdell, a Freelance Writer/Poet, and the self-published Author of 5 books: a Poetry Chapbook; a Short Story collection; a Cookbook; and 2 Novels. Additionally, she contributed to 2 Anthologies:¬†This Mother’s Daughter and Wisdom’s of Our Mothers.

Evelyn articles have covered such diverse topics as: religion; politics; health; science; sports; fashion; beauty; recipes; art; music; celebrities; and relationships. She’s been featured in newspapers, magazines and ezines. and various venues, such as The Black Expo; The Black Women‚Äôs Expo; African-American Images; Woodson Regional Library; Avalon Branch Library; Whitney M. Young, Jr. Library; Books Ink; Barnes & Noble and Trinity United Church of Christ.

Currently, Evelyn is in the process of publishing book number 6, titled, The Essence of Romance, a collection of articles centered around male/female relationships. ‚ÄúEssence‚ÄĚ is a practical guide to love and romance for today‚Äôs couples and singles, and feature articles written by Writer/Poet, Clara Freeman.

The book’s contents are sure to delight and enlighten the average adult, both young and old, alike.  ESSENCE  is scheduled for release in early 2015.


I’m excited to work with Evelyn on her new book. It was such an honor. I will post updates to The Essence of Romance, pending dates of publication and purchase information.

Have a great weekend and as always “Treat yourself special”

Amazon Review: The In-Between By Jeff Goins

Happy Friday, writers and authors! Here’s my Amazon review of Jeff Goins book, The In-Between. This is a must read for all creatives for when we find ourselves doodling during those precious moments of in-between times- such a waste of time:) Enjoy!


A Reminder To Find The Message In The Slowing Down-My Amazon Review Of The In-Between by Jeff Goins

I finished reading The In-Between over the remainder of my time off for the Holidays and it was gratifying for me during this down period to reflect and consider the points made in Jeff’s book about the state of busyness in our lives, how we are bored for something to happen within the waiting periods when we’re actually growing during those in between the waiting times. I wasn’t caught off guard entirely from how important those moments of ‘quiet’ really is in our lives if we stop to in essence ‘smell the roses.’

I enjoyed the anecdotes of his life learning’s unfolding during times when he felt like he needed to be somewhere or doing ‘something’ to those reflective, in-between times he began to cherish with family, baby time, friends long gone. There are truly moments in those in between times Jeff Goins writes about that we all need to be reminded are some of the most memorable times in our lives. We create the lives we think we should have, when oftentimes we find ourselves on a detour of a much more meaningful origin.

I would recommend the book for everyone to read because it’s inspiring, motivating and offers meaningful insights that could very well define your own “aha” moments of the in between times.

Have you read The In-Between? What was your takeaway value?

Guest Post: Marcie Hill

10 Ways to Keep Your Freelance Writing Mojo Going

In 2008 I left my human resources career to pursue my passion of writing. I was published in a local magazine the following month. That was a great start to my journey, which seemed very promising. I thought that one success was going to get me published in my ‚Äúdream‚ÄĚ magazines without having to query first. I was wrong.

I submitted a few query; received either rejection letters or no response at all; got discouraged; and gave up freelancing completely. During that time, blogging became the ‚Äúhot‚ÄĚ thing to do, and I was drawn to it like a magnet. That was a blessing and a curse. While it helped to improve my writing skills, it took my focus away from what I should have been doing all along ‚Äď freelance writing.

To keep you from making the same mistakes I did, I would like to share 10 things ways you can keep your freelance writing mojo going. These tips apply whether you are a full-time or sometime writer.

1.      Write out your story idea. Flush out your story as much as you can during your first few drafts. Be sure to identify the central point. This will make it easier to select audiences.

2.      Who is your audience? Think of all of the audiences that may be interested in your story. Some will be more obvious than others, but after a little brainstorming, you will have a pretty full list.

3.      Which online and print publications cater to these audiences? To find print publications, use Writer’s Market. You’ll find information categorized by topic, genre and name of publication. They also detail the audiences served, topics accepted, and the best way to submit your story. Conduct a search for online magazines or visit Twitter to find online publications.

4.      Review the writer’s guidelines for each publication. You will find these guidelines by doing a general Google search or going to the websites of the individual publications. Be sure to write and submit the story as specified. Sometimes publications want the entire story, but query letters are preferred in many cases. You may even be asked to mail your submission.

5.      Write query letters. When writing query letters, share your idea and tell editors why their audience would care about the story. To get better results, specify in which department your story would fit. If you have an editor’s name, use it. If you don’t have the editor’s name, find it. Also, keep your query letter to one page.

6.¬†¬†¬†Be sure to submit your query letter. This may sound obvious; it isn‚Äôt. If you second guess or doubt yourself at ANY time, your dream of seeing your name in a byline will continue to be just that ‚Äď a dream.

7.      Wait. But don’t wait too long. Some magazines will tell you when you should hear from them if they are interested. Others won’t say anything at all. If you don’t hear anything within a month, follow-up.

8.      Follow-up. You want to do this for two reasons: 1) to confirm that your story had been received, and 2) to let the editor know you are serious. If you don’t hear from the publication at all, move on. There are more audiences waiting to read your story. Continue to submit future stories to that publication, though.

9.      Have a tracking system. Keep a log of the date you sent the query letter, the title of the story and the name of the publication. This makes it easier to follow-up on your submissions and to see additional opportunities with other publications and audiences.

10.  Keep on moving. Laugh in the face of rejection. Keep submitting stories to the publications in which you’re really interested; they will notice you. Also, continue to build clips and credibility by submitting your work to smaller, lesser-known publications.

If being published is your desire, keep on writing, even if you only have a little time. This will build your confidence and credibility.  Most importantly, though, writing often will help you keep your freelance writing mojo going, which will ultimately increase your visibility and profitability.

Marcie Hill is a gifted writer and blogger who loves sharing stories, educating her audiences with little known and unknown facts, and giving people a platform to tell their stories. Find her at www.marciewrites.com.

The ABC’s Of Public Relations

Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Ll...
Image via Wikipedia

If you’ve ever watched “Spin Crowd” on the E-channel, you’ve probably¬†come away thinking how lucky those young people are. How expensive and expansive that dang office is, and how in the world did they get to live out their passions at such young ages? Okay, I came away from watching the show asking those questions!

Writers are naturally curious beings. We want to know the ins and outs of¬†events leading up to how someone got “made”. The premise of Spin Crowd¬†centers around the lifestyles of young publicists, living and working in the world of Celebrity.¬†The group consists of 20-somethings working for a public relations firm owned by a 30 something (maybe 30ish) hotshot publicist whose love of self and all things “celebrity”¬†is evident. This guy got the Hollywood¬†hookup in the world of PR.¬†

The show is co-produced by Kim Kardashian . The¬†focus is¬†on¬†how these people¬†get¬†exposure for their clients. Much like writers and bloggers, publicists use their communities and networking skills to get the product (the celebrity/functions) to the photographers, celeb magazines and¬†television viewers…All that ensures profit for their public relations agency and what a profit making¬†mogul company it is…

Watching this show from a purely writer’s perspective,¬†I’ve learned a few techniques applicable to growing¬†a freelance¬†writing career:¬†Getting the interview or assignment.¬†Promoting your business brand. Gaining long term¬†clients and keeping your business a step above the competition.

I suppose the show isn’t called “Spin Crowd” for nothing! AND they’re so young AND so rich! I wonder if they’re really a¬†happy group of ”¬†rich”?

Okay writers out there,¬†fess up. What television show gave you food to chew on and¬†digest with¬†writer’s envy!¬† Hmm?

eclasses For The Smart Freelance Writer

short story class
Image by Susan NYC via Flickr

I’m loving this early midwest morning. A bit of a cloudy¬†overcast coupled with¬†the aftermath of an early morning rain…The simplicity of nature. Anyhow, good morning readers! In the spirit of¬†Literacy and knowledge, I’m enthused about a new Fall beginning. While the children are back in school to get their learning on, adults have no excuse for not¬†picking up some of this¬†extra mind fill for themselves. Recently, I’ve been taking a¬†few email courses. This route¬†of educating myself and adding to my writing¬†portfolio¬†is the best way for me to go because I’m still in the workforce. Those¬†days I do come home all beat up & trampled upon, I’m not looking to do any assigned¬†homework.

E-classes/courses are gaining more momentum¬†with the savvy¬†writer, whether they’re teaching a class¬†,or taking one. Susan Jonhston wrote on her blog, The Urban Muse recently that she is taking a class¬†with author Steph Auteri called¬†“Five Weeks To Freelance Awesome.” Susan says she is confident in this author’s ability to carry the class and warns that it all starts with the instructor, because not everyone is who they say they are on their blogs and so forth¬†. I’m confident in the e-classes I have signed on for as well and I’m enjoying & learning some new information¬†from¬†everyone of them. Well, the Copywriting class 101 is a lot of information to digest, but when it comes to copywriting, you gotta set the pace for learning about a fast paced industry.¬†

Srinivas Rao teaches from his personal development blog. His courses are timely, informative and filled with his personal journeys to achieving his writing  dreams. His course also includes guest posts from other writers. This course from Srinivas I sort of happened into, but once I read all of the inspiring posts for writers, and bloggers, I decided to stay with it. Srinivas is generous with his time, asking for feedback from participants and sending information of importance to aid your personal development.

My all time favorite e-class at the moment is¬†“Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life”. The course is based upon the author’s book of the same title. I’ve just completed part 4 of Deborah Bailey’s e-class. I love the motivational approach and lessons she offer for writers on their journey to becoming solopreneurs! An actual coach who teaches many entrepreneur classes, Deborah shows you the strategy from start to finish on how¬†to¬†accomplish and grow¬†your¬†business.¬† Deborah can be reached at http://www.dbailycoach.com for info on her classes and her book of the same name.

Ok, in¬†the spirit¬†of full disclosure, I must tell you: There’s another e-class I’m curious about. It’s called ”¬†Social Media Simplified for Small Business Owners and Solopreneurs” by Chrisitne Gallagher.¬†Whew, got that off my chest:)

¬†Writers, don’t forget the short fiction contests! Zoetrope: All-story is open for business. Visit www.all-story.com/contests.cgi¬† and Writers Digest 6th Annual short story contests in Romance, Horror, Thriller/Suspense and Mystery/Crime¬†Fiction.¬† Are you entering any contests?

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?

“It Matters Not The Size Of My Step; As Long As I’m Facing The Right Direction”

 Picture 001

Okay, so it’s a tad long, this quote by Dawn Thierfelder, but it so describes my journey here at clara54, that I had to make it¬† bold & serious! If you want to read more affirmations from Dawn, you can follow “quotes” @ Coach Dawn Says on Twitter.

Nooo, I’m not getting paid to endorse Dawn’s quotes ūüôā Speaking of getting paid, I went in to work this morning, only to be told that we were over staffed.¬† Say What!?!

Actually, as bad as the healthcare arena is in today’s economy, we’re over staffed? Yea, the folks in charge are still cutting costs for quality Healthcare. I won’t even address the nurse to patient ratio because I’m not going to use clara54 to rant.

I’m of a new mindset and¬†new attitude these days. So, before vacating the premises,I go down to the hospital cafe¬†to grab some delicious grub for breakfast, thinking about this other hat I’m wearing¬†& loving btw: Freelance Writer.

I have been doing a bit of networking over at my business blog at Authentic Woman, my empowerment site for women, which has gotten positive results. One motivational guest post was accepted. Another awaiting publication.¬† I also have a biz deal in the making that I’m waiting for paperwork to be finalized before revealing details.

I have a ton of email backlog that needs my attention as well. And I’m finishing up a read in 3 volumes from Beth Ann Erickson of Filbert Publishing¬†that I’m going to profile here soon. In the meantime, I’m still paying it forward to some of my writing buds when I get emails for PR pieces that doesn’t exactly gel with the theme of Clara54.

For the most part, the work folks are asking me to profile is totally legit & fabulous!¬† I guarantee if I can’t fill your requests, I’ll forward it to someone who can.

Okay, that’s it for clara54. There’s so much more stuff I need to get out¬†. I have a full day ahead, but I do have a social life as well! Life is good, even in bits & pieces, because clara54 is headed in the right direction ūüôā

Looking Forward To 2010!

Do you feel as I do… that there’s just so much to do at the starting gate into 2010? I suppose it could be because I’m looking forward to a great New Year! I’ve landed a wonderful & paying gig with Working Nurse Magazine with my veteran nurse advice column… My story of struggle & triumph can be read in When One Door Closes-Reflections from Women on Life’s Turning Points by Terri Spahr Nelson ,making its purchasing debut at the end of January, just days after my birthday ( the real one) so feel free to visit http://www.reflectionsfromwomen.com website for the latest updates about the book and get on Terri’s mailing list!

I’ve also become a colleague of sorts over at SmallBusinessCEOMagazine. At least they have accepted my application into their business circle of seasoned professionals. I’ve also finished a great book I’m going to review for you guys here at clara54. The book, Always Looking Up- The adventures of an Incurable Optimist is by Michael J. Fox, the Actor, Activist for stem cell research, and Patient with PD (Parkinson’s Disease) left me, a seasoned nurse, humbled by accounts of his personal battle with a disease that wasn’t his call to make…

As if that’s not enough, I’m looking to devour 5 more new reads …. Write articles for my column. Clock in on time at my ‘day’ job ( ok this part sucks, sort of) and try to keep my excitement radar down to a minimum:) … I’m so in the moment right now folks, I just want to sing the words to a Darius Rucker song : “In the time I have left, I’m gonna work like I don’t need the money… I’m gonna laugh like I’m not afraid to cry… I’m gonna dance like nobody’s watching…I’m gonna love while I still got the time…I’m gonna love while I still got the time!”

Happy New Year!

I Know ‘Love’ Poetry…

It’s been a while that’s for sure, since I’ve penned a “for love poem” but I’ve¬†been missing my love of words & have been thinking¬†lately on the possibility of a ‘thang’ and if for no other reason than¬†this, maybe¬†my readers might get a kick out of my prose &¬†glimpse another side of this transitional nurse, woman, and writer.¬† Here goes:

For No Other Reason…

than to hear your soft laughter

after man on woman loving

or, whatever floats your boat

The outcome of two people cupplings

make for happy times & even happier moods

for whatever the day might bring…

Basking in moments of shared intimacies

where their ‘flow’ seems right¬†…¬†

It is the most awesome feeling

to show another your

caring, compassionate, & passionate self

perhaps ,oftentimes kept hidden

away from prying eyes & inquiring minds

of the world…

Clara54 advises folks to:

live a little

love a lot

give themselves up

To the possibility of a ‘thang’

to note with certainty:

I’ve been there…

done that…