Clara Grace Walker's Blog

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The NFL, Domestic Abuse and My Books


I don’t normally talk much about what’s going on in the news.  I figure the world gets plenty of shouting, opining and people otherwise commenting on the state of the world.  And sometimes it makes more sense to just listen.  Occasionally, however, something happens and I find I just can’t resist pulling out my soapbox.

I’m guessing pretty much everyone has heard about the NFL players arrested for various types of domestic abuse by now.  After all, even I’ve heard about it, and I don’t even watch football.  And while I don’t care much about football, I do care a lot about the issue of domestic abuse.
 
This probably comes as no real surprise to anyone who’s read my books.  Maggie was an ardent supporter of a domestic abuse shelter in Gratification; Gossip tackled the subject of sexual abuse of underage girls while its heroine, Jamie, tried to help a teen-age prostitute; and Mindy, the heroine of Redemption, was a survivor of sexual and emotional abuse.

Issues of abuse are woven throughout the storylines of the entire Desire Never Dies series.  As in real life, the abusers come from all walks of life.  Scott, whom Preston Tyler adopts in Gratification, comes from a drug-addicted mother on welfare, while Darla Arnold, from Gossip has suffered abuse at the hands of her publishing tycoon father.  Redemption takes a look at the effects abuse can have on its victims as Mindy, Scott and Darla, all abuse survivors, now struggled with addiction.

HelpGuide.org says the following:

            “Domestic violence can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused or denied.  This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather

            Than physical.  Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it.”

This link to their website provides more in-depth information, signs of abuse and resources and information:  http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm

It’s not always easy to hear about this issue, or read about it, or even think too much about it.  Perhaps because the betrayal of trust is so great.  Perhaps because it’s uncomfortable to realize the darkness one human being is capable of inflicting upon another; upon those whom they claim to love.  Perhaps the solutions to the problem just seem so far out-of-reach.

I even had one reviewer of Gossip caution that those who did not have the stomach for sex scandal should maybe not read my book.  But maybe that’s the best reason to read my books (of course, I like to think people should read my books because they’ll like them.  Shining a light on a problem is usually the first step in dealing with it.  It’s when we allow dark deeds to remain hidden that they fester and grow.  So I write about domestic abuse in my books.  I want people to know these things happen.  I want people to be as outraged as I am.  And maybe, just maybe, if enough people know about these things, and enough people get outraged, we can one day stop turning on our televisions and hearing about things like an NFL domestic abuse scandal.

That’s my hope anyway.

Thank you, all, for indulging my little soapbox moment.  Now put that smile back on your face, because there’s still a lot of good left in the world, too.  Like books!! J

Happy Reading!
Clara  J

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

If My Books Were Movies

When I’m deep in the realms of Creative Land…some mystical place outside so-called normal reality where authors, artists, musicians and the like travel…I frequently see my books paying out like some Hollywood film filtering through my mind.

Not surprisingly then, the idea of having my books turned into a TV series and/or movies, holds the appeal of say, winning the MegaMillions lottery, finding an undiscovered DaVinci in my attic or finding a money tree in my backyard.  Yes, that much.  Really.  No, I’m not kidding.  If someone were to offer me a choice between putting my books on film or all 3 of the others, I would say put my books on film.  Pretty please!  With a cherry on top!!

So then, in this wonderful, mystical world where my books become films, whom, you might ask, do I see in the starring roles?

Haha! This is fun!  Let’s start with our heroes and heroines:

Gratification:

Preston Tyler - Simon Baker (suave, debonair, killer smile)
Magie McKenzie - Megan Fox (long dark hair & lots of spunk)

Gossip:

Nick Beck - Karl Uban (yummy Kiwi hottie!)
Jamie Jennings - Rose Leslie (one tough redhead)

Redemption:

Earl Grayson - Anson Mount (tall, dark and inspiring)
Mindy LePage - Emilia Clarke (even has the dark hair dyed blonde!)

Oh wait!  I know how to make this even more fun…who would you cast in the starring roles??

And don’t stop there…who would you cast in these supporting roles??  Post it here; tweet it to me, or give me a shout on Facebook…can’t wait to see what you think!!

Supporting Cast:

Rod Skinner -
Darla Arnold -
Scott Tyler -
Peter Arnold -
Sarge Freeman -
Danny Ventura -
Taralynn Clarke -
Andy Clarke -
Marianne Clarke -
Patrice McKenzie -
D-bag -
Shirley Cantwise -
Arthur Belanger -
Vince Allen -
Peter Arnold -
Pearl Watson -
Janelle Tyler-Beck -
Tracy Capelli -
Henry Tyler -
Elise Chambers -
Heather Sorenson -
Kenneth Watson -
Detective Sanchez -
Carlita -
Belinda -
Rory -
Ryan -
Pauline -
Patty -
Betty -
Dennis -
Jim -
Jerry -
Dex -
Frisco Gomez -
Anthony Howard -

Happy Reading!
Clara  J

Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Problem With Category


As human beings, we’re fond of categorizing things.  People are commonly broken down into groups according to external factors.  Go anywhere in the world and you’ll find people categorizing other people.  In school students were categorized by groups such as jocks, , cheerleaders, and brainiacs.  Some kids belonged to more than one group, while a very few crossed easily between the boundaries.  Consider me a boundary crosser.

We tend to like groups, I think, because it gives us some perceived point of reference.  In this way we feel like we can size someone up, make our judgments about them, without taking too much effort getting to know them as individuals.

 It isn’t all that different with writers.  We have groups, too.  The romance novelist, the mystery writer, the sci-fi guru, and a whole host of others.  Not to mention all the various sub-genres.  And as soon as an author has typed or written the words, The End, and thinks about publishing their work, he or she will be asked to categorize themselves. 

Now, before I get too much further into this, let me acknowledge; I get it.  Publishing is all about marketing, and marketing is all about selling.  And all those readers out there?  Well they want to know at a glance; is this a book I’m going to enjoy reading?  So a certain amount of classification is necessary.  But here’s the thing; categories are all about expectations, and expectations are all about rules.

I’ve never been good at following a complete, pre-set list of rules, as laid down by someone else.  Call me a rebel, but I like to decide things for myself.  And my writing is no exception.  I write what I like to call Mainstream Romantic Suspense.  Though one reviewer of my work recently likened it to a soap opera, and really that’s quite an apt description also.

I go with the mainstream title because I don’t want to be told on what page my hero needs to meet my heroine, or what percentage of my book needs to focus on the romance, versus the suspense, or other elements of the plot.  And if I want one or more of my characters to use strong language or behave despicably, or for my books to have a gritty feel covering very adult topics, well I want the freedom to do that.  I suppose I could just stick myself in the mystery/suspense/thriller category, but that would preclude the strong romance portion of my book.  And hey, I like romance!  So Mainstream Romantic Suspense it is.

I suspect the readers will have less of a problem with this than the marketing gurus.  But if it makes the marketing gurus happy, maybe we could just go along with that reviewer-suggested tag and start a whole new genre.  I’m thinking of calling it Soap Opera Fiction.  J

Happy Reading!
Clara  J

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Writer's Blog Tour


What is a Writer’s Blog Tour?  Hmm… here’s what I know:  I received an invitation from Callie Hunter to participate in this blog tour.  Callie Hunter is a very talented writer, in addition to being a lovely young woman.  So I was happy to jump on board when she asked me to take part.  I love the concept of so many writers sharing their love of the written word, hearing how they work through their writing process, and supporting other writers.

You can find Callie and her blog at http://calliehunter.wordpress.com .  I’m pretty sure you’ll love her as much as I do!

I can’t wait to read what Callie and so many other wonderful authors have to say about writing.  Here’s what I have to say about it:

1.  What am I working on?

            A:  Because I always more than one iron in the fire, I am finishing the editing on Redemption, which will be published this month, while drafting my next book, Exploits.  Redemption will conclude my Desire Never Dies trilogy.  In it we meet movie star Earl Grayson and the woman he loves, pop singer Mindy LePage.  Those of you who’ve read Gossip know this pairing was hinted at near the end of the book.  Earl’s quest to save the woman he loves from a psychotic rehab facility involves all of the major players from the previous two books, Gratification and Gossip.  And look for more than one character to be redeemed.

After the publication of Redemption, I will continue work on my next series, Sex and Secrets.  Exploits will launch this series, where either the heroine or the hero is hiding a secret that stands in the way of their happily-ever-after.  Look for danger to ensue, along with a few hot and steamy moments and a bit of soul searching before our lovers realize they cannot live without each other.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

            A:  Romantic suspense always combines the elements of romance with a dash of danger, and my books do that as well.  Unlike the typical category books, however, mine are usually as focused on the suspense as they are on the romance.  I write mainstream fiction with a more realistic feel and feature some characters with a bit of an edge.  I also like to tackle heavier topics, such as abuse and exploitation, that are not typically found in romance novels.  You can also expect my books to feature a sprinkling of glitz and glamour, juxtaposed with some of the seedier elements of life.
 
3.  Why do I write what I do?

            A:  I find myself continually drawn to the themes of redemption and the deceptive nature of appearances.  Because I’m a real romantic at heart and because I also love mystery and suspense, these elements show up in my writing, wrapped in a nice package of romantic suspense.  The stories I tell are ones that build inside me until I’m forced to tell them.  It’s just my own unique way of looking at the world, I suppose.

4.  How does my writing process work?

            A:  I usually start with the romance.  The first thing I know about any story I write is who the hero and heroine are, and what’s keeping them apart, (both internally and externally).  The external obstacles are where the danger/suspense creeps into the story, and the internal conflicts are where my themes tend to show up.

I don’t plot everything out stringently.  Usually I have just enough of the story in my head to get me started writing it, while leaving enough room to allow the story to develop on its own as I tell it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing a little about my writing process.  Be sure to read more about writing next Monday, when three of my favorite authors/people, will be blogging about their own writing journey.

 B.A. Wilson

 

B.A. Wilson lives in the middle of nowhere, Missouri. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Tourism, that took her further from her dreams of writing and a Masters of Science in Library Science and Information Services, which brought her so much closer. Wilson is too short for her weight, too nocturnal for her day job, and way too liberal for her small town.


http://bawilsonwrites.blogspot.com/

 

 

Sophia Valentine

Sophia Valentine is an author, blogger, book reviewer, and newspaper features writer. She is currently working on her debut novel. Originally from England, she left her career in Law for the excitement of sunny Spain. She has resumed her lifelong passion of writing books, usually from a pool or beach bar. She also loves sunbathing at private villa’s drinking a Cosmopolitan, shopping, holidaying, and socialising.





 


Janie Storer

 

Janie E.M. Storer was born in Essex, England in 1976 and qualified as a nurse in 1998.  She did well at school and university despite during her early years being told she would never learn to read or write well.  By The last year of junior school she had read the ENTIRE school library of books, including the full unabridged version of Lorna Doon. At age 11 she was given a book by her teacher at school, called Daddy Long Legs, and this became a firm favourite, along with Pollyanna and inspired her to write.  Janie loves the classic books as well as science fiction and crime / murder mysteries, she also has a love of crafts such as knitting, crochet, quilting, cross stitch and jewellery.

 Blog link

http://janiestorerauthor.blogspot.com/

 


 

Have an amazing day!

 Clara  J

 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Motivation, Inspiration & Coping With Life's Curve Balls


As a writer, I bare my soul in many ways.  You might be surprised to learn then, that I’m a fairly private person.  Many aspects of my personal life stay hidden behind a fa├žade of smiles and positivity.  One aspect of my personal life, in particular, I thought I’d never mention, is my health.  While shopping at the supermarket, however, I had this thought.  What if writing about this aspect of my life helped someone?  What if it motivated someone to stay positive and soldier on, even when the going got tough?

That single thought was all I needed to convince me I should be writing about this.  So here goes:  I have an incurable disease.  In my case, it’s a blood cancer called polycythemia.  The Mayo Clinic defines polycythemia as, “a slow-growing type of blood cancer in which your bone marrow makes too many red blood cells.”  I’m lucky really, as this disease will probably not shorten my life much, if at all.

As medieval as it sounds, my disease is treated with bloodletting.  For the past five years, my life has consisted of regular blood counts and, when necessary, draining some of it out.  They call this process phlebotomy.  Perhaps because it sounds so much nicer than bloodletting.

There are days when the bloodletting goes well, and other times, not so much.  Occasionally they have trouble getting the blood out.  Once, after jamming the needle into both arms and still not getting out the required half a liter, I was told to come back and try again the following week.  I found myself praying the bruises on my arms would heal before the next attempt.  Another time I passed out following the procedure, before the nurse even pulled the needle from my vein.  I regained consciousness to see four nurses surrounding me; one placing ice packs on my chest, another holding an oxygen mask over my face, while a third prepared to start an IV, (and yes, this means I’m going home with two more bruises).  My hematologist, a lovely man who has hugged me when I cried, sat beside me, hand placed gently over my forehead.

Mere seconds after coming to, I started throwing up.  Quick, change the oxygen mask for a sick bag.

On days like this I don’t feel much like writing.  Really, I just want to curl up in bed, covers pulled to my chin, and spend enormous amounts of time feeling sorry for myself.  I’m sure we all have those days.  And I’m quick to remember, that for some, the cause of a bad day is far worse.

The question as a writer is what to do with a day like that, and how to keep it from sucking the joy from your life, and your work.

There’s an old saying about getting back on the horse when you’re thrown, and for me, it’s a lot like that.  As with my cure for writer’s block, my cure for dealing with inspiration-sapping days is to just start writing.  Usually I start by looking for some emotional scene in my book that needs to be written, and pouring whatever I’m feeling into it.  My last bloodletting was in early March, and on that day, after I’d spent a good hour in bed wallowing in self-pity, I picked up my current project, Exploits, and wrote the scene that explained my heroine’s fear of rejection and her desire not to disappoint the people she loves.  Not exactly the same emotion, but close enough that I was feeling it.

By the time I had finished the scene, I felt a slight improvement in my mood, and moved on to more humorous scenes.  Not so surprising, really.  After all, what is writing if not the opportunity to vent?  So strangely enough, life’s curve balls, the ones that can sap my inspiration and motivation to write, can be alleviated by doing just that.

Have an amazing day!
Clara  J

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

But I Don't Want to Write Right Now


Ah, writer’s block.  Thou art the bane of a writer’s existence.  Normally I ignore you.  Normally you and I play a game of chicken, where you threaten to cut off my creative juices, and I continue to write anyway…daring you to do it.

This morning you are making progress.  I sit, pen and paper in hand, thinking about how determined I have been as of late to write a new blog post every week.  But you, writer’s block, you defy me.  You challenge me to make good on that vow, to find something of value to say to anyone who reads this.  Probably, you are laughing.

Life was so much easier when I posted to this blog sporadically.  If I was in the mood to write about something concerning, well, writing, I simply wrote it.  Since I wrote only when I felt like I had something to say, writer’s block held no sway.  It never even made an appearance.

My self-imposed deadline has changed all that.  Now I sit brainstorming, wondering what more I could say that might be relevant.

I have stared down writer’s block with many other writing tasks...played the game of chicken and emerged victorious.  Time to draft that book and no ideas are flowing?  No problem.  Just start writing.  Doesn’t matter if it’s garbage.  Eventually something worth saying will be said.  Ditto for the rewrites.  And also for my podcast segments.  This blog should be no different.  I should just start writing.  After several paragraphs of material destined for deletion, something good should come out of this.  I am too stubborn to fail.  Too stubborn not to write.  My stubbornness has served me well through every bout of writer’s block ever suffered.

Wait…I have just realized something.  My stubbornness has borne fruit once more.  I have started writing, despite the lack of what feels like inspiration…and look…here is a blog post.  Written utilizing exactly the same methods I have utilized with every past episode of writer’s block…by simply writing anyway.

Stubbornness, I love you!!

Happy Reading (and Writing)!

Clara  J

 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Time Traveling


I have a clock on my phone.  There’s one on my bedside table, too, so I know instantly, upon opening my eyes, exactly what time it is.  If need be, this clock can wake me at a specified hour.  The microwave in my kitchen also contains a clock.  As does my stove, just in case I happen to be facing the opposite direction.  No matter where I stand in my kitchen, I can see what time it is.  And if I climb inside my car to drive somewhere, well you guessed it, there’s a clock there, too.

This obsession with time helps me schedule my day.  Knowing what time it is allows me to run errands and be places I need to be, when I need to be there.  Because of my clocks, I can accomplish all the tasks that make up my day.  On good days this plethora of time-keeping devices tells me one more thing:  how much time I have to spend doing the things I actually want to do.  Like writing.  When all goes as planned, I do a lot of writing.  Currently I’m putting the finishing touches on Redemption, the final installment of my Desire Never Dies trilogy, scheduled to be released in June.  When I’m not polishing that book, I’m working on my next book, Exploits, which will kick-off my new 4-book series, Sex and Secrets.  Then, of course, there’s this blog post I’m writing right now, for my Creative Juices blog.  And last but not least, there’s the Revolution Gossip segment I do every week for the Revolution Diaries podcast.  That requires a bit of writing as well.

I love writing, so I really don’t mind all these jobs.  In fact, it’s the highlight of my day when I can find time to squeeze it all in.

Recently, however, I found it necessary to rejoin the workforce.  And even though it’s only part-time, it’s a time suck.  There’s just no other way of putting it.  It also coincides badly with my newfound determination to post more regularly on my blog.  All of my carefully planned and scheduled activities have been thrown into a tailspin.  People with full-time jobs, I salute you!!  Mind you, I’ve gone that route myself in the past.  Just not in a very long time.

Which brings me to the point of this entire ramble:  time.  We never seem to have enough of it.  Always there is more we need to do, more we want to do.  And until such time as someone finally invents a time machine, or Doctor Who becomes real and takes me on as his companion, I am left struggling for more time.

And staring at my clocks.

Happy Reading!

Clara  J