Tag Archives: writing

What Every Writer Can Learn From Janis Joplin…


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

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

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

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

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


September Is Self-Improvement Month!

Happy Friday, readers and writers! Today is going to be a great start to a wondrous weekend:) I can feel it, can’t you? So, I have special treats in the works for upcoming author spotlights, but, today, I want to share one of my favorite motivational authors who inspired my work, my dreams and helped to settle my nerves when I went to apply for my driver’s test years ago as a young wife and mother- It was Norman Vincent Peale’s words of inspiration; You Can If You Think You Can.”

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Long before there were such awesome motivators like Les Brown, Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Randy Gage or Dr. Phil and Oprah, there was Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and his great book, The Power Of Positive Thinking. I’m sure there were other successful visionaries before Norman Vincent Peale, but, for me, during that time, he became the mentor in my head, by way of positive motivation, inspiration and spiritual lessons.

All of his books, including The Positive Principle Today and Enthusiasm Makes The Difference comes in eBook format and as CD selections. I prefer Print and CD’s because I find them to be meaningful and great inspirational Christmas gifts.

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Now for a bit of great news that I learned about while out for vacation: My own inspiring words for entrepreneurial women are among the pages of the 2014 Woman’s Advantage Shared Wisdom Calendar. It’s seem a small thing, but, we were assured that it is, indeed a big deal because only 365 selections were chosen from a hefty pool of 5000 entrants, so I’m proud to be one of the lucky ones:)

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What self-improvement guru/author/book influenced you to keep-a-going on your writing journey? Please share.

Contest Updates And More…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews And Recommendations

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

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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!

Guest Post: The Writing Profession By Jennifer Andrew

Happy Friday everyone! I’m a frequent flyer to this professional writer’s website and I’m so pleased to have her here to share some take away writing gems with all of you. Please welcome Jennifer Andrew to Clara’s Writers Blog!

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When you say you’re a writer, some people ask you what inspired you to write and why you chose the writing profession. I love to read and I like being able to absorb myself in the world of the writer and live an alternative life in his or her eyes. During my teens, through my English and art classes, I discovered poetry, short stories and comic strips which all told a story in one way or another and I fell in love with writing myself. Romance was never my first choice as I was drawn to science fiction, fantasy and the paranormal but I found that in every story there was a romantic element.

The beauty of romance today is that a writer is not stuck to the old stereotype of what a romance should be. You are free to write the story that projects from your heart; whether both characters find each other forever, their love is dark and by the end of the story they can never be together or the character flows through love and discards her partners at a whim. Whichever way you play the romance card, the genre has seen its many changes to enable a writer to create with no holds barred.

I have received mixed reviews on what your main characters should be. I have read that the main characters should be well developed, strong and attractive characters that the reader can be drawn to. I have also read that too much description doesn’t allow for the reader to project the look of the character in his or her own mind. I personally like creating a character that is slightly flawed, but not to the point where the reader is going to be put off or becomes disinterested. No one is perfect and I believe that no one wants to read about a perfect main character either. It is more exciting to see what happens to the main character or characters, if their flaw gets him or her into more trouble. If you develop interesting and vibrant characters, the flaws will make them more real to your reader.

How many secondary characters should you put into your story? I have conducted book reviews where authors have put so many secondary and minor characters that it was getting confusing as to which character was whom. The reader wasn’t able to fall in love or be able to despise anyone since you were too busy trying to figure everyone out. I think that as long as there are one or two strong secondary characters that complement the main characters, and propel the story forward, then you’re on the right track.

Plot and subplots are sometimes hard to writer for writers because it’s difficult to keep your story on track. The first thing I like to do before starting to write my story is put down in one or two sentences the core reason for the story. What is it about? What would you write on the back of the book cover to inform readers of what they are in for? What other stories can be used as sub-plots? Do you need a sub-plot? What genre or sub-genre will you be writing the story for? If you think about your own life, you usually have more than one thing in your life that you have to concentrate on. Sometimes, by adding a sub-plot, and one that doesn’t take over the story, it gives it more depth.

Once you have the story-line, write it down and then jot down points as to how you are going to develop the story to meet that end. Sometimes you end up going into another direction but don’t fret, as I believe where your story takes you, is where it is intended to go. Don’t fight it. See what happens. You never know if you like it better. Sometimes, your characters write the story for you.

What you shouldn’t forget, while you are getting carried away with your creation, is ensuring that whatever problem you created for the character is resolved at the end. Don’t leave the reader hanging and don’t rush your story due to word count or deadline. Take your time and tell a good, entertaining story with a final end that leaves all questions answered. Unless you are writing a two book series or a trilogy, then you can leave a cliff-hanger.

Keep your readers entertained and your characters active. No one likes too much of a lull in the story because you end up losing your readers. We all want a life more exciting than ours, without actually getting our hands dirty so let the reader experience it through your story. Keep them engaged and eager to find our more.

Jennifer Andrew resides in Ontario, Canada and has a Business Writing Diploma and a Freelance Writing Diploma in Genre Fiction. She has submitted articles to several online magazines and websites in regards to relationships and dating, as well as poetry, movie and book reviews. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and currently writes book reviews for aspiring writers and for http://www.bookpleasures.com. She also runs a free monthly women’s website entitled http://www.femmevip.com and writes a weekly writing blog called http://www.whimnotes.net.

Contact: Jennifer Andrew, likes2blog@gmail.com

Thanks to Jennifer for these awesome take away tips! What thoughts are you having right about now regarding your professional writing career?

Memoir Writing Insights From Kathleen Pooler and Pat Mckinzie

This special Thursday post continues the conversation on memoir writing and coincides with a post on Kathy Pooler’s blog @ http://krpooler.com. Kathy is one of my guests today and she is joined by Pat Mckinzie of X-Pat Files from Overseas and author of the memoir, Home Sweet Hardwood. Pat is also the guest at Kathy’s blog today! Please join me in welcoming these two awesome memoirists to clara54’s writer’s blog.

Kathy, Pat’s journey to writing her “truths” is well documented in her new memoir, Home Sweet Hardwood, so I’ll ask you to share a bit about your passion for writing.


Kathy- For years, like many others, I have felt I have had a book inside me. I have enjoyed writing since I was about ten years old when I wrote plays for my maternal grandmother, Nan and all her little Italian lady friends. I can still see them gathered in the living room sipping coffee and chattering on in Italian. I never understood a word but can still feel their fascination and loving attention as they hushed each other when I stood in the archway to announce the play would begin. I have kept a journal since I received my first pink diary with a lock and key at the age of eleven. Several years ago, when I looked back on my life and realized the life of joy I was living despite the many obstacles I had faced, I felt the need to share how the power of hope through my faith has worked in my life. I have a story of survival, resilience, hope and overcoming obstacles that I feel others may benefit from. I feel deeply connected to this intent in my writing. Since Nursing was my career for forty-four years until I retired in 2011, I knew I needed to spend time learning about the art and craft of writing. In 2009, I joined The National Association of Memoir Writers, participated in ongoing memoir writing workshops, attended regional workshops and national writing conferences and started a blog. I began by writing vignettes that I eventually shaped into a story.

How much is too much information when writing for this genre or is there such a thing?

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Pat- Yes, there can be too many side stories. Each time I worked with a different agent or editor, I redrafted the manuscript to fit their demands. The central theme is about a girl fighting for the right to participate in competitive sport as a first generation Title IX athlete (amendment to Civil Rights Act mandating equal opportunities for all regardless of race or gender in all public educational institutes), but within the basketball story is a story about sisterhood, family bonds, and falling in love with a foreigner. Home Sweet Hardwood reflects on the compromises women make for love, family and career and challenges stereotypes of gender, race and nationality.

Kathy-The details that move the story along and support the theme of your story are what should be included. These details need to serve a purpose in the story. Details not related to the theme can serve to distract the reader. There is also an axiom in writing, “less is more” so judicious use of details should keep the reader engaged and not distracted. I’d like to add that I feel it is very important to write with intention and with a commitment to the truth as you remember it. Equally important is to be careful not to intentionally disparage others. Sometimes the facts of the person’s behavior speak for themselves. In my opinion, seeking legal counsel in writing memoir is essential because the actions of other people are an important part of our story. That’s a whole other discussion but I intend to seek legal counsel before I publish.

Talk about the process itself. Were there times when you just wanted to throw in the towel and say, “forget about it”?

Pat- ”Absolutely. Each time I got closer and then ultimately rejected by publishing houses, I felt a piece of myself die. I finally realized that it was more painful not to write, then to write and be rejected. Writing allows me to process life. I also didn’t know how I could possibly market a work for an American audience while living in Europe. Internet made publishing a whole new ball game.
How important is it to have a mentor or writing buddy or coach when you take on such a big project? My sister is a godsend. She has believed in me always. I also draw strength from fellow writers, like both of you. When I was scribbling my stories alone in a Parisian studio, I was driven by the illusions of youth. Later, the reality set in, I became jaded. The fact that others believed in me when I doubted myself has made all the difference.

Kathy- For me, the process has been like peeling on onion. Just when I think I’m done, a new layer of my story unfolds without much prodding on my part. The story reveals itself in the writing. When I get stuck, I do a free write in my journal. I know the story I set out to write three years ago is not the story I am writing now. In fact, after two rounds of edits by a professional editor, I have gained clarity on my story and recently , this has meant going in a different direction. I have many vignettes that will still be part of my story but I will structure it differently. I have used a combination of outlining and story boarding to help plot out my story structure. I also have had several beta readers who are memoir authors provide me with feedback on where I need to go with my next draft. And yes, I have had fleeting moments of wondering if it is worth it. But, the moments don’t last long because the passion I feel to tell my story is deeply-rooted and won’t let me rest!.

What were some ‘aha’ moments of advice that stuck with you while writing your memoirs and what advice would you ladies give to aspiring memoirists?

Pat- Never give up. That has been my life mantra. The obstacles I faced as a pioneer in the women’s sport are like the challenges people face in the pursuit of any dream. The lessons I learned through sports – practice, discipline, perseverance – carried over to help my reach my writing goals. I also had more than my fair share of injuries, accidents and illness, but that too helped shape me as writer and luckily, I had a day job to help pay the rent.
Don’t take rejection personally. In any art you are expressing yourself but in memoir, you are not only exposing your craft, you are revealing your soul.

Kathy- The best advice I can offer that has come from my collective experience of writing and working with many fine memoir teachers and authors is to honor the story within and keep writing. Writing a memoir is a healing process as painful memories are unearthed and explored. It involves not just the recollection of memories but also the reflection and introspection on the impact those memories and events have on the person you have become. We need to show the growth and change that has occurred so that the reader can connect to their own experiences and transformation. That’s what I mean when I say writing with intention- show growth, overcoming obstacles, transformation. Memoir writing has a trans-formative potential when the reader sees his/her own story reflected in the experience of others, Both the writer and the reader are changed. That is the healing power of memoir.

How important is it to have a mentor or writing buddy or coach when you take on such a big project?

Kathy- Extremely important. In fact, I did a blog post in December, 2012 recognizing three of my memoir mentors. It is important to learn the basics of writing craft, the specifics of the genre you are writing and to have the ongoing support and feedback about your writing from mentors and writing buddies. Being open to constructive feedback about your writing is key to improving your writing and taking it to the next level.

Pat- My sister is a godsend. She has believed in me always. I also draw strength from fellow writers, like both of you. When I was scribbling my stories alone in a Parisian studio, I was driven by the illusions of youth. Later, the reality set in, I became jaded. The fact that others believed in me when I doubted myself has made all the difference.

Kathy, you’ve completed the first draft to your memoir in progress. You must be breathing a sigh of relief.

Kathy- Actually , I will be when I finalize this next version of my first draft! Memoir writing is definitely a process that takes time, patience, perseverance. It is important to take the time to write it right and I expect I will know when it is ready to be launched. I’m sure Pat can address that.

Congratulations on being chosen to speak at the 2014 University Of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Athletics Tournament for girls, Pat. Explain what that honor means for the layperson like me, but, more importantly, how you’re feeling right about now.

Pat- Ahhh, March Madness, to reach the NCAA Final Four Tournament is ultimate experience for college athletes. They call it the Big Dance. When I left the states in the infancy of women’s sport, the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW 1971-1983) fought for the rights of women’s and the NCAA opposed those efforts. And Clara as you well know, laws don’t automatically change attitudes. It wasn’t until the government threatened sanctions against any public educational institute not complying with Title IX that the NCAA stepped in and took over.
I was a good ball player, but not the best, certainly not the Michael Jordan of women’s basketball, but my story captures the depth of emotion of woman moving in man’s world, of how an ordinary small-town girl followed her dream from the cornfields of Illinois to the City of Lights and kept fighting in spite of obstacles.
I am excited about the opportunity to speak even though I don’t feel comfortable talking about myself. Women’s stories have been left out of the history books, so I have to rise to the occasion because I feel like I have been given a voice for an unsung generation of heroes who led the way for our highflying daughters of today.

Any after thoughts or information you all would like to share with our readers?

Kathy- Keep writing and sharing your stories. Think of your story as a gift to yourself and your readers.

Pat-Embrace life with open arms and take advantage of any opportunity to learn. I quit taking French in high school cause I thought I’ll never use it. Go figure. I married a Frenchman.
I dropped out of creative writing in college cause I really thought I had no talent. Then I taught myself to write while living in foreign countries where all the books were all in French or German.

This has been a blast! Wasn’t my guests awesome? How do you feel about writing your memoir?

Kathleen Pooler is a writer and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner who is working on a memoir and a sequel about how the power of hope through her faith in God has helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.
She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com and can be found on Twitter @kathypooler and on LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads and Facebook: Kathleen Pooler
One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe, 2012.
Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the mini-anthology: “My Gutsy Story” by Sonia Marsh, 2012.


To pick up your copy of Pat Mckinzie’s new memoir, Home Sweet Hardwood, go to

Building a Mystery By Author Anne Marie Stoddard

Happy Friday readers and writers! Please join me in welcoming Mystery Author, Anne Marie Stoddard to Clara’s writer’s forum.


It’s no secret that I’m a lover of mysteries (and as you can tell from the title of this post, the secret’s out that I’m also an old school Sarah McLachlan fan—everyone has their guilty pleasures!). I grew up reading everything from the Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes’ series to Agatha Christie. Lately I’ve been enjoying some great who-dunnit’s from Charlaine Harris, Victoria Laurie, Madelyn Alt, and P.J. Morse. There’s just something so satisfying about curling up with a good puzzle in book form and challenging myself to solve the crime before the author reveals the culprit. Sometimes, I can point out the killer by the end of the second chapter, and other times an author leaves me stumped right up until the guilty party reveals him or herself.
It’s that exhilarating feeling of piecing the clues together along with the characters that led me to write my first mystery novel, “Murder At Castle Rock.” Why not? I thought to myself as I begin typing the first page of Chapter One. I’m pretty good at solving them when I’m in the reader’s shoes, writing my own should be a piece of cake—right? Not exactly. Still, it can be done, and here are the lessons I learned along the way:
Use an Outline to Plan Your Clues
One very important part of the writing process for most authors is creating an outline for the plot and scenes of the story. Sure, there are quite a few “pantsers” out there—myself included—who simply start from scratch and let the story evolve as they write, with little to no sense of direction. Plenty of books have been written this way and turned out great, but not planning ahead can often lead you to writing your characters into a corner that you can’t write them out of. I started writing “Murder At Castle Rock” with no outline, and I found my characters reaching dead ends (no pun intended) every couple of chapters. If I had created a full outline before I began writing, I might have saved myself a LOT of rewriting and stress!
Writing an outline helps you to put all your cards on the table before you begin the writing process. If you determined who committed the crime, you’ve got to decide where it’s best to drop some hints for your readers. In any mystery, readers want to pick up on clues along the way that help them narrow down the suspects along with the detectives. Make rational decisions about where to place your clues—is the killer the town baker? Perhaps you can include a hint in Chapter 4 where the sleuth smells yeast or finds a white powder at the crime scene that turns out to be flour.
Your Characters Know the Story Better Than You Do—It’s Their Story, After All
This will sound like almost the opposite of the advice that I gave above about outlines, but just hear me out: Sometimes during the writing process, you have to concede from your own ideas about a scene and let your characters do the writing. Get to know your main character—step into her two-inch heels for a minute and see your way through a scene through her eyes. It’s best to ultimately stick to your outline in order to arrive at the desired end result, but sometimes you have to let your characters decide how to get there. Would my main character, Amelia, run away if she heard footsteps behind her—or would she turn around and make a snarky comment to her stalker before defending herself? Once you’ve developed a character, make sure that his or her actions reflect his or her personality—not yours.
Get Creative to Keep it Interesting
If you’ve got an understanding of how to logically place your clues and plan your story, that’s awesome! Still, in order to write a mystery novel that will leave your readers craving more, you have to keep it interesting—it’s time to flex your creative muscles!
Here’s an example: Would you rather read a book about a detective who goes to the office every day, solves a crime from his desk, and then goes home to bed—or would you rather read about a crime-solving supermodel who goes undercover at fashion shoots to track down a ring of high-end designers who are producing their clothing in sweat shops?
See, it’s easy to plan a Plain Jane story that doesn’t include much action—but you’ve got to get creative in order to pull readers along to the end. Choose a fun or interesting setting (like the fashion industry), and create characters that have personality. Give them quirks, fears, doubts, ambitions—there should be more at stake in your novel than simply finding out who killed the mailman. In the model example, perhaps if our heroine doesn’t catch the culprits and shut down the sweatshops in time, New York Fashion Week will be cancelled. (And perhaps the mail man was killed because he was delivering photographs of the guilty parties to someone who wanted to turn them in to the police!)
Writing your own mystery is an invaluable learning experience that will test your own wit, creativity, and deductive reasoning skills—and the story you create might surprise even you!

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About the Author:
Anne Marie Stoddard is a mystery author and writing tip blogger in Atlanta, GA. Her music industry thriller, “Murder At Castle Rock,” was the winner of the 2012 AJC Decatur Book Festival & BookLogix Publishing Service, Inc. Writing Contest, and it will be published in April 2013.
Website: https://www.amstoddardbooks.com
Connect with Anne Marie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AMStoddardBooks
Connect with Anne Marie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmStoddardBooks
Connect with Anne Marie on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6949689.Anne_Marie_Stoddard

Tackling The Romance Genre…


Good morning writers. Have you been working on your “Mirror Monologue”? If you don’t know the specifics of this call for women writers 16 and above, just read my last post, Calling All Women Writers. I’ve been contemplating on the perspective of the woman in the mirror sort of perspective for a submission piece. It’s a work-in progress for now because the submission period starts Feburary 1st through March 31st.

You guys might not know this, but I’m a romantic at heart 🙂 I have penned a few stories in this genre. My latest short story, Technicolor Love, was selected for the Independent Author’s Short Story Compilation in 2012, an anthology edited by Faydra Deon. A week ago I proudly finished another short story, hit saved and moved on to other projects. Recently, I re-read the peice and it made absolutely no sense at all!

Okay, so writers beware, we don’t get it right on the first draft, at least not always. I haven’t given up on the story because I believe in its characters. I decided to do more research on the Romance Genre experts and came across an excerpt of Viviane Brentano’s A Little Crushed on the front page of Angie’s Diary. Angie’s Diary is a great online resource for new and established writers and authors who want more exposure for their work. I’ve had a few creative articles published there.

Reading the excerpt from Viviane’s book led me to follow her on twitter and reach out to her for a possible guest spot at clara54 for you guys! Ms. Brentano, I know you’re busy, but if you’re reading this? just putting it out there:) The point I want to make is that we’re all in this writing thing together. Some of us are more advanced than others, but it’s about paying it forward. Wouldn’t you agree?

If you are an author or creative person who feels the same way, you’re more than welcome to share some of your success secrets with all of us here at clara54 writer’s forum. We’d appreciate you but only God can bless you:) Either way, I’ll be picking up a copy of A Little Crushed.

What have you ‘Romance” creatives got cooking/simmering in your pot? Laddle it up and share in some romance writing moves, why don’t you?!


It’s A New Year!

thCAGXN1I2ed new yearHAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m so glad to be back with you guys another year. It’s been an amazing journey in looking back to 2012. Can you believe it’s 2013?! Still trying to wrap my mind around it:) Anyhow, I’m back with more stuff to talk about in this writing arena. To kick things off, let’s backtrack a moment to contest submissions. We talked about how it’s beneficial to enter contests, not only to win money (good thing) but to get your work out there , generate a buzz and keep your writing skills sharp.

When I recommend some of these contests, I’m usually one of the first to enter:) I love the thrill of writing competition, people:) Well, my results from the Missouri Review & Zoetrope Short Story contest came and I didn’t place. The essay contest for CostsofCare.Org, didn’t yield me the $1000 bounty either, but, the medical director and founder emailed me to say how my essay on saving hospital costs was 1 of 5 out of over 150 submissions to hold their attention…he wondered if I’d be willing to allow them to use it in further media exposure for Costs Of Care.org – well, yea!  

On New Years Day, the publisher of Bronze Magazine emailed me the link to my 2nd post for 2013! http://bronzemagonline.com/why-loving-yourself-makes-you-your-best-self/ hope you can take a stroll over to read and leave a comment.

My motivational column “Motivating Moment” debuted in the relaunch issue of Mirror Mirror Magazine and hit newsstands on the East Coast, January 2nd. Please pick up a copy or go to the website at www.mirrormirrormag.com . 

And the fun is not over:)  I’m blessed to be celebrating another birthday in the coming weeks! Have no fear ladies, we’re not getting older, just better:)  

Okay, your turn writers, what’s in your witches brew for 2013? Give us a taste!


A ‘Book In Progress’

Okay, so I’m trying not to procrastinate when it comes to working on “Stepping Into Greatness!” my self help book whose sole purpose is to motivate and inspire folks to get their productive groove back after setbacks & unforseen challenges have knocked them down and trampled all over their confidence- a lot of good truths for readers to use as take away value in their own lives…

The message today for my readers is that “I’m Writing.” Yes, I’m still planting an evergreen seed of purposeful writing, hopefully, for a 2013 Fall harvesting!  I’m appreciative of all of you guys, far & wide who want to know how the book is coming. My Switzerland connection-sistah-friend ( you know who you are) is keeping me accountable. I appreciate the advice , the well wishes and numerous supportive “can’t wait” to read it!

What would be even grandier is if more of you sent your gems of inspiration for inclusion in the book’s selection process. Deadline for submissions is looming fast- June 30th. Visit my website http://authentic-woman.net for contact information. Shining your light will ultimately inspire and empower others to shine theirs- Marianne Williamson’s words have never rang truer.

Other stuff happening for clara54 includes anticipating contest competition results… Preparing to head South to honor & participate in a family tradition and happily celebrating being invited by founder,Sylvia Browder, to join National Association Women On The Rise @ www.nawomenrise.com  One On One Mentoring program as one of 56 women( and counting) on a mission to empower other women by sharing their expertise and experiences… Thank you, Sylvia for this great honor! 

How about you guys? What’s shakin’ bacon?