"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Calling All Fabulous Females: March is W.H.M.!

 

Are you a fierce, fabulous female? Would you like to have your empowerment story or success tips featured at Pen & Prosper to reach and teach? I've got you covered.

The Godfather of soul, James Brown said it best:

"This is a man's world, but it ain't nothin' without a woman or a girl."

Helen Reddy boasted of our brilliance in a popular hit song of former decades, 
"I am woman hear me roar!"

Sistahs, whatever your color or creed, Pen and Prosper would like to salute you in March; which is historically significant, in that it's National Women's History Month. 
To celebrate our collective gifts and talents, I'd like to feature 6-10 bodacious female Bloggers and/or writers within the month, and share related success stories.

Game?


Submit a 250-500 word piece as a Microsoft Word Attachment, along with your photo, Bio and maximum of 2 links to: Gemsjen@yahoo.com

Deadline is March 1, 2021.

I look forward to connecting and expanding our reach!




Image credit: Pixabay.com

Sunday, February 14, 2021

5 Must-See Sidney Poitier Movies For Black History



Full disclosure here: unlike many people of color, I don't typically tune into movies that are aired annually in tribute to Black History Month.

The reason? I find far too many to be painful, poisonous and pointless. Why relive horrific events that as a society we can't or won't change? Besides, I can see the "sequel" to these oppressive films being played out every night on the 10 p.m. news. 

Don't get me wrong: I recognize the cinematic value these films hold in chronicling the history of our people and this nation. But for me, these movies are a painful reminder of the past and all the hell people of color have had to endure, overcome and overlook. 

Further, I find that categorically these stories often resurrect and fuel feelings of hatred, racism, injustice and despair. 

More specifically, watching Black folks getting hung, butchered, beaten and bamboozled is not my idea of entertainment. Sorry; to each his own.

So, I tend to be very selective in reference to my viewing options.

This being said, one Black actor's body of work that continues to inspire, inform and engage me is Sidney Poitier.  

SIDNEY POITIER AND HIS BODY OF WORK



HERE ARE SOME FAST FACTS PROVIDED BY KESQ.COM:

  • Sidney Poitier was nominated for two Academy Awards and won one. Also received an honorary Oscar.

  • Nominated for two Grammy Awards and won one.
  • Nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards.

  • Grew up on Cat Island in the Bahamas. The family later moved to Nassau. His parents sent him to live with relatives in Miami at age 14. After an encounter with the Ku Klux Klan, he left Miami at age 16 and moved to New York.

  • Lying about his age, he joined the Army at age 16. He feigned insanity to obtain a discharge after nine months, and later admitted the ruse in his book, “The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography.”

  • A heavy Bahamian accent and limited reading ability cost him an acting job at Harlem’s American Negro Theater. He overcame the accent by imitating radio announcers and improved his reading skills by studying newspapers.

  • Has dual citizenship in the United States and the Bahamas.

For additional info on Sidney Poitier and his vast contributions to the arts and entertainment read here: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Poitier

HERE ARE MY 5 RECOMMENDED MOVIES FEATURING SIDNEY POITIER 

(in no particular order):

1. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER

This movie stars Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and of course Sidney Poitier. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner addresses interracial romance, classism and family dynamics in the 1960’s with grace, honesty and insight. Stellar performances add to the movie‘s appeal.  

2. A PATCH OF BLUE

Sidney Poitier, as an educated Black man befriends a blind, illiterate Caucasian, 18 year old impressionable woman, who has an abusive, prejudiced mother. Along with an array of other social challenges she must face. Film gives a different take on a love story resulting from a budding friendship.

My only issue with this movie is that the ending doesn’t provide adequate closure. Still, well worth the watch.

3. TO SIR WITH LOVE

In this classic film, American, Sidney Poitier received his degree in engineering, but cannot find gainful employment. To survive financially, he takes a job as a teacher in a rough London East End school largely attended by troublemakers who were rejected from other schools for their behavior. 

With some “tough love” Poitier ultimately wins them over and changes the trajectory of their lives.

4. A RAISIN IN THE SUN

Based off of Lorraine Hansberry’s play, this drama shares the trials, tribulations and struggles of the Youngers, an African-American family living together in an apartment in Chicago. Each with their own perspective of what happiness is. On the heels of the death of their patriarch, they try to decide what to do with the life-changing insurance payment they'll soon receive. A perfect illustration of why relatives and money often don’t mix. 

5. UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT

I love this film for two very solid reasons: it’s a fun movie to watch and it showcases Sidney’s great versatility as an actor. Includes an all-star cast: Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby. Here, he plays a more humorous role than in many of his films, engaging in gambling antics with his accomplice Bill Cosby, amid a “night on the town”. Will surely tickle your funny bone.

IN CONCLUSION...

For me Sidney Poitier is much more than an actor and director; during his active years, he was a standard bearer of excellence and artistic integrity. His legacy speaks volumes about Black History and our collective contributions. 

As referenced by Wikipedia: “Poitier sought to represent black actors on screen in an elegant manner in contrast to the usual image of blacks in Hollywood. During his career, he refused roles that enforced negative stereotypes, and chose to play characters who were "dignified, proud, and ethical." Critics have noted this pattern: "In all his films, [Poitier] was educated and intelligent. He spoke proper English, dressed conservatively, and had the best of table manners.”


Thoughts? What's your favorite Poitier film or portrayal?


Image credits: Pixabay.com




Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Pen & Prosper Celebrates Black History Month With Featured Author Dr. Wilson-Cone

 

Good Morning, Dr. Wilson-Cone, it’s a pleasure to have you join us today. 

For the benefit of my readers, can you please share a little about your background and who you are?

Good day to you, I am a Certified Educator in the field of ministry which literally means I teach clergy persons how to be ministers in hospitals, churches, synagogues, mosques and all types of sacred spaces. I am certified by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. I am also a Pastoral Counselor and founder of Cone’s Spiritual Counseling Center and recently selected as Pastor of First American Baptist Church here in Anchorage, Alaska. 

Enjoy reading, traveling and writing. Have a 7 year old Tibetan spaniel, Deacone is his name and that’s my only child.

Do you write everyday or as the “muse“ strikes?

I write everyday regarding my ministry and as the “muse” strikes regarding my publications which I am changing daily.

How would you describe your writing style?

Multicultural genre and Spiritual as well as uplifting



Please tell us about your book Multi-cultural Diversity. What was the inspiration behind it? What is the core message?

The inspiration behind my book Multicultural Diversity: Opening Our Hearts is to continue to claim first and foremost that I am a Multicultural Theorist in my daily work and teachings to my student chaplains and colleagues. This book’s core message is to open our hearts to have honest and critical conversations around the subject of multicultural in the area of sexism, classism, genderism, racism, etc.  

Since this is Black History Month, what recommendations would you have in terms of how we can best support Black authors? 

Lets’ support Black authors by assisting in providing a platform for our works to be read, heard, and acted upon. Let’s share in recommending publications and platforms such as spaces for speaking, presenting our works, films, podcast, radio and TV interviews, etc. 


What would you consider your creative “super-power”?

My creative “super-power” is empowering others to be the BEST that they have been created to be and becoming on a daily evolving basis by shining their light and being transformed in the here-and-now.

What one tip would you give to aspiring writers today?

One tip I would give is “STAY FOCUSED.”

What would it surprise others to know about you?

There is a shy side to me. 

Anything else you’d like to share?



Thanks for the opportunity to share today and feel free to connect at patriciawilsoncone@att.net 


Learn more at her website:

https://menshisstorymonth.org/






Image credits: M.L.K. PAINTING--Henry Jones

Book covers-- author's website

Question mark-- Pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Pen & Prosper Seeks to Feature Creatives of Color





Are you an African American writer, blogger, poet or visual artist interested in being interviewed or profiled for Black History Month?

Or perhaps an activist or author with a book on subject matters relevant to Black issues, social causes or current events?

If so, I'd like to hear from you.

February marks National Black History Month and I'd love to share your views, success stories, challenges and/or creative projects with my growing readership.

To be considered, please get in touch at Gemsjen@yahoo.com no later than February 1, 2021 for B.H.M. inclusion.

I look forward to connecting!





Image credit: Pixabay.com

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Links You'll Love And Writers' Resources! The 3Rs Series




RECOMMENDED READS ACROSS THE WEB...


ON WRITING


6 MONEY HABITS FREELANCE WRITERS SHOULD ADOPT

https://thewritelife.com/money-habits-for-freelance-writers/

STUCK ON STATS? HOW TO LOSE THE STRESS...

https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2131552149590/stuck-on-stats-how-to-lose-the-stress-and-gain-perspective

10 INCREDIBLE REASONS THIS POST WILL GO VIRAL!

https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2131443561686/10-incredible-reasons-this-post-will-go-viral

WHAT YOUR SENTENCES ARE TELLING YOU

https://www.chicagowrites.org/blog/entry/sentences-telling-you

HOW TO KEEP YOUR POISE IN THE PRESENCE OF "HATERS"

https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2139788489761/how-to-keep-your-poise-in-the-presence-of-hecklers-and-haters

BUTT OFF OF GREEN COUCH

https://www.chicagowrites.org/blog/entry/green-couch

HOW BUSINESS OWNERS CAN REBOUND IN 2021

https://marciewrites.com/business-owners-rebound-2021/


MARKETING TIPS FOR YOUR ONLINE COURSE

https://inkwelleditorial.com/market-online-course-tips


ON PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

PESSIMISM IS NOT A USEFUL WAY OF LIFE

https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2143047919917/pessimism-is-not-a-useful-way-of-life

HOW TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE WHEN WORKING FROM HOME

https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2142892999181/how-to-be-more-productive-while-working-from-home

THE PURPOSE OF YOUR LIFE MIGHT SURPRISE YOU

https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2134700653231/the-purpose-of-your-life-might-surprise-you

RESOURCES

THE PAGE TURNER AWARDS

https://pageturnerawards.com/

THE ULTIMATE TECHNICAL SEO CHECKLIST

https://thriveagency.com/news/the-ultimate-technical-seo-checklist-for-2021-you-need-to-know/

WRITING CLASSES FOR 2021

https://www.writing.com/main/info/about/writing_classes.html


DRIFTWOOD PRESS SEEKS SUBMISSIONS IN VARIOUS GENRES





REVIEW





With many of us working from home these days, the importance of comfort and aesthetics have never been more crucial. So, recently I decided to replace my office desk chair of many years.

The former chair was all leather, attractively designed and affordable.
But now, with increasing creative assignments in 2021, I discovered that I needed more. This became evident as a result of the back strain and shoulder discomfort I was beginning to experience each day after signing off my computer.

Upon doing a little online research, I came across a few viable options from my local Office Depot. So, off I went...

After sitting and sampling different versions (and driving the sales person a little nutty, I'm sure) I ended up with a model that I was pleased with.
With coupons and sales, I paid about $140.00 to walk out with it.

THE VERDICT IS IN...

I have come to realize that in addition to beauty, a nice chair that is functional and ergonomically designed is essential to proper support and good health.
When shopping for your next one make sure that it has comfortable arm rests, a high back and proper cushioning for optimal results.

Here's a link to Office Depot office chairs and accessories.


 
Your turn.

Thoughts? How has your creative life been going so far in 2021?
What's your favorite link here?
 


Image credits: Pixabay.com

Sunday, January 3, 2021

5 Must-Have Resolutions For Serious Writers in 2021!

 


Welcome Back, Readers!

It's here. Finally, a new year!  
A clean slate. New possibilities. Endless opportunities. And I am encouraged and excited.

Let's face it. 2020 unfolded like a horror novel: a global pandemic; race riots; political pandemonium; murder; mayhem; financial devastation and incidents that rivaled episodes of The Twilight Zone.

The only difference is that I couldn't cover or close my eyes through the scary parts this time. 2020 was certainly a wake up call for us all. Tomorrow is not promised. All reasons why we need to close this chapter in history, embark upon better times and forge forward. 

Wouldn't you agree?

With this in mind, here are 5 must-have things each of us as writers should resolve to do in 2021.

(Feel free to add your own in the comments section).


1). PLAN

There's great validity to the adage: "Those who fail to plan, plan to fail." What would you like to accomplish in the next twelve months?  How will you make your dreams a reality? What are your strategic goals? Your game plan? Your budget considerations? Make a plan then make a move! Planning involves taking inventory, writing down your aspirations, researching your options, then taking the needed steps for execution.

2). PUBLISH 

With so much at stake, now is not the time for procrastination. Make this your "year of yes"!
Why not start that blog you've been considering? Or perhaps finish that novel that has been hidden away in a box under your bed? Remember? Publish before you perish. 
It's a great legacy to leave the world.

3). PROMOTE

There's no getting around it: in order to share our work, build our writer's platform and get paid in the process, we must promote our books and services. This can be done through an array of activities. Things like guest posting at other blogs; article marketing; and asking people in our social media circles to include our links in their Tweets, etc.
Like it or not, it's a "necessary evil".

4). PARTNER

Last year, I had the opportunity to have some of my works published through participation in a few anthologies. What fun! It's something you should resolve to try as well. Collaborative projects allow writers to form creative alliances; share common interests; and potentially get their work in front of larger audiences. Here's a link to a previous post I covered on anthologies and related perks.


5). PERSEVERE

Contrary to popular opinion "professional" writing is not an easy task. Many of us writers must juggle competing demands; meet family obligations; overcome doubt; and contend with feast or famine cycles in the pursuit of our dreams. And did I mention maintain positive relationships with editors, work through countless computer glitches, and bounce back from rejection? 
It's a tall order.  Which is why it's crucial to stay focused and prepare to withstand the peaks and valleys that are a part of this way of life. For good measure, prayer helps too. :-)


Final Thoughts... 

This year can be filled with great progress and great promise. If you "resolve" to put in the work and follow these key resolutions along the way. 

Success is within your reach.

You. Got. This.


Thanks for reading. Have a great week ahead.

Your turn.

Thoughts? Agree or disagree?










Image credits: Pixabay.com  


Monday, December 14, 2020

Year End Reflections and Observations for 2020

 


Happy Holiday Season!

I hope today finds all of you in good health and good spirits. Since we last connected, I have had some new developments as well as previous projects to tie up, as we prepare to usher in another year (hopefully). :-)

2020 has been a year that will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of many; as we have had to adjust to a "new normal."  And say goodbye to old friends and loved ones.

I have found that writing has been a saving grace; offering opportunities to connect with others, express my thoughts and keep my head above water financially.

As we close out this year, let us be reminded that we are still blessed amid this challenging time. We have our families, friends, faith, health and a community of support from bloggers and writers around the world. 




I count you among my blessings.

In preparation for the upcoming holidays, I will likely return to Pen & Prosper on/or around January 3, 2021.

In the meantime, please feel free to connect with me @ Newsbreak.com, where you'll find an array of interesting, original articles I've authored on writing, relationships, money and life enhancement tips.

I look forward to your future support. Let's continue to uplift one another.

It's never been more important than now...

Have a bountiful, beautiful, safe holiday!


Joyfully,
Jen  


Share your thoughts...



Image credits: Pixabay.com