Thursday Throwback Jam – Dear Mama by Tupac

“A poor single mother on welfare tell me how you did it” Whew. Can so relate to this

“Witness History First Hand” – Book Review of The Road to Freedom

That’s right, another 5 Star Review is in:

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I was very impressed with Yecheilyah Ysrayl’s Stella: Beyond the Colored Line, and her second book is just as compelling. The Road to Freedom – Joseph’s Story is something of a prequel to Beyond the Colored Line, and Stella’s son tells us about his own journey through turbulent times when South fights hard and dirty to stay segregated. Joseph and a group of his young, impassioned friends want to do something about it but don’t know exactly what.

Together they make a mix of blacks and whites, boys and girls, who inadvertently get what they wished for when they try to catch a bus to Atlanta. The youths are swept right into the action and end up being relentlessly chased by one side and becoming heroes to the other.

Like the first book, Ysrayl works her magic of putting the reader into her characters’ minds to witness history through their emotions and perspectives. At one point in the story, the friends are trapped in their vehicle as it’s mobbed by a pack of violent racists. My heart was literally pounding at this point. I was horrified that anyone had to experience such ugly cruelty. – C.J. Wojo.

Click Here to Finish Reading Christa’s Review

#Book #Review – “We Could Be Heroes” by Justin T. McCain

 

I don’t usually review poetry. There is something unique about an individual’s voice and how it comes out on the page. For this reason, I find it unsettling to critique someone’s feelings, someone’s voice, someone’s experiences and thought processes in the form of poetry. Each is so very unique. So again, I do not typically review poetry.

I met Justin through Twitter maybe about a year ago when I started re-tweeting a lot of his posts, which I found inspiring. When I saw the promotion of his new book, “We Could Be Heroes” the title intrigued me. I thought to myself, “Yea we could”. Then I went on about my business. It wasn’t until later that I noticed that it was a mixture of short fiction and poetry, which was different. Different in a good way. Different in that it’s something I have not seen much of. Different in that I’ve never read a combination of poetry and short fiction before.  After mentioning how I’d love to get my hands on this book, I was excited to see a private message from Justin that he’d love it if I can review the book for him. Below is the review I posted to his amazon page:

Title: We Could Be Heroes

Author: Justin T. McCain

Paperback: 167 pages

Publisher: M3 Publishing Company LLC

Edition: First Edition

Published: February 27, 2016

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0692564160

ISBN-13: 978-0692564165

**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

We Could Be Heroes is the inspiring work of Justin T. McCain and includes both poetry as well as short fiction. Let me start with the fiction. The story is about a young man named Bard and the legend of a Money Tree considered to be an object of good fortune to those who believe in such superstitions. Bard is preparing for graduation at the University when the sky darkens and he sees the legendary money tree. Shortly afterwards, he is witness to an accident in which he miraculously saves a young woman’s life. The woman’s name is Spirit and she and Bard begin a romantic relationship. However, when Bard finds the opportunity to possess some of the money from the money tree, although it makes him a rich man, things start to fall apart in his personal life. The financial value of the money didn’t make Bard’s life any easier than he’d anticipated. For a short story this book has a really good message.

“If you could heal the world, or have the world, which would you choose?”

Justin’s poetry is most excellent. I love how the poems were relatable to the title of the book and correlates well also with the story line. Speaking of the story, I anticipated short miniature stories to be sprinkled throughout the book and intermingled with poetry. What I got is something much more organized. Instead of having too much going on, Justin stuck to one story and divided this story into three parts and sprinkled the poems in-between. I loved this layout because the book came out to be very organized. The inspiration and the passion of Justin’s poetry is evident. My favorite poem has to be the books namesake “We Could Be Heroes”. The work is beautiful.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

We Could Be Heroes is Available now Online

in Paperback and Amazon Kindle

Click The Book Cover to Purchase

51ZfL3AhcrL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Visit Justin Online at:

http://www.justintmccain.com/

Patience

patience-kkay-radio

“Stillness is not a sign of weakness or defeat. It is showing reverence for what is to come. Humility is the beginning of the manifestation of goals and aspirations. How can we see things clearly if we are always on the go? There is movement in stillness. Moving slowly does not mean we are behind in the race. It just means we are learning our race better to win it.” – Tara Townes

Curiouser Editors 20 Fresh Social Media Tips for Authors

Check Out Curiouser Editors Excellent Social Media Tips! I just used one for my IG bio. Emojis does make it look way cooler lol.

  1. Pin posts to Twitter, your Facebook page, and your Facebook group (you do have your own Facebook group, right? Because I’ve only been preaching about this for a million years, give or take). Ensure the pinned post has some type of opt-in for a freebie so they’ll subscribe to your emails. If you’re pinning a post, then it should tell them to do something that somehow benefits you and them.

  2. Add emojis to your Instagram bio to catch attention. I like to use the pointing finger right above my freebie opt-in so that it’s the first thing they’re directed to. Use emojis in your posts too!

  3. Update your LinkedIn title with stronger keywords. Your title shouldn’t say, “Jane Doe, Author.” It should say, “Jane Doe, Romance Author of [Title], Part-Time Nurse, Full-Time Mother, Oil Painter.” For example, mine says, “President of Curiouser Editing, Author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist, Editor, Writer, and Coach.” If you need more help with LinkedIn, I highly recommend The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business.

  4. Like as many Instagram photos as you can under relevant hashtags (#bookstagram, #bookish, #indieauthor, #writercommunity, #writerlife, #bibliophile, #amwriting, #amreading) to gain more followers. I like to time myself for ten minutes so that I’m not spending a ton of time on it, but I’m still seeing results.

  5. Use the WordSwag app to create visually appealing photos with text for Instagram (or Twitter/Facebook). Foundr Magazine swears by this in their freebie PDF, How to Get Your First 10,000 Instagram Followers.

  6. Buy the Followers + for Instagram app to keep track of your stats as well as discover who’s unfollowing you. This is very helpful if you suddenly lose an influx of followers—why did they unfollow you? Too many posts? Ugly photos? Irrelevant photos? If you’re an author who writes paranormal novels, then posting about politics 24/7 might turn them off.

  7. Add a Hello Bar to your website. You can use this for email subscription, to announce your book’s release, or to advertise a course.  

  8. Add your blog subscription opt-in to your Facebook page. You’d be surprised how many people forget to do this.

  9. Ask questions on Facebook and Instagram for better engagement. Every time I ask a question, I get a couple dozen comments on Instagram, sometimes a few dozen. Make sure that it pertains to writing or publishing in some way.

  10. Try live streaming on Facebook to interact with your readers.

  11. Add images to your tweets to get more retweets.

  12. Try using Facebook’s carousel option to promote your book.

  13. Repost, repost, repost. Not everyone will see that you posted your book’s 99¢ sale.

  14. Tag people you talk about in your post. Tweeting a Medium article from Positive Writer about free Createspace books? That’s three tags right there: @Medium, @ADDerWorld, @Createspace. Posting an Instagram photo of three books you’re reading? Tag the authors. Posting the link to your blog on your Facebook page where you mention different writerly websites? Tag them.

  15. Add a location to Instagram posts. For example, if you’re at Barnes & Noble in Dallas, add that as a location.

  16. Add a cover photo to your Twitter account that shows off your book specifically. I’m a huge fan of The Thatchery’s cover photos, so consider hiring someone to make you one that you can use on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Check them out here.

  17. Reply to every single person who follows you and thank them for the follow. I’ve found that this works better than sending them a direct message, as it comes off kind of spammy. Also, in your tweet, don’t be afraid to tell them about your book and engage them in conversation.

  18. Connect with authors in your field by using the Advanced Search option on LinkedIn. For example, if author Damien Taylor wanted to find more fantasy authors, all he has to do is type in “fantasy author” in his keyword advanced search to connect with them.

  19. Post at the right times, please. All it takes is a little bit of research. According to Buzzsumo’s article on Facebook engagement, posts published between 10:00 p.m. and midnight get the most engagement. I’ve also noticed that 2:00 p.m. is a great time to post on Facebook and Instagram, while author Damien Taylor has seen some serious engagement at 3:00 a.m. Wow!

  20. Directly embed videos to your Facebook page rather than posting your YouTube link. It gets better engagement. < I have also down this one in the past. She’s right, and it looks better too.

 

 

Throwback Thursday Jam – For You, Kenny Latimore

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” – Maya Angelou

Music is powerful energy. I cannot remember growing up without holding on to some kind of tune. Lyrically swinging from one place to the next, music always moves me. When I’m music I am ocean. I am sea. I am one racing body of water. I am tucked between the words and feeling every psalm with my soul.

Enjoy this throwback by Kenny Latimore, “For You”.

What Langston Hughes Taught Me About Writing

Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes, Google Images

What known historically famous writers, like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, have taught me is that writing (far as fiction, / non-fiction, poetry, novelist type writing), is not about making money. Before you throw your stones at the computer screens listen carefully: You can surely make money, but writing is not about making money, if you can understand that. Though I write for a “living” I can honestly say, with my integrity intact, that I have written not one book and not one poem with the intent to make money. I don’t think any writer sits back and says, “Self, lets’ get this best seller on out the way shall we?” Personally, I write because I love doing it and I publish because I love sharing it. But, how did Langston Hughes help me to understand this?

For those of you who are not already familiar, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston are two of the biggest names in literary history. Just mention The Harlem Renaissance and their names are the first to come to mind. When you look into the lives that they lived however, you see two interesting facts: a). Both were very famous b). Both were very broke.

You wouldn’t know it from the looks of it. Not the way their names are plastered into history books. Not their quotes and faces and the people they’ve known. In fact, to the untrained eye one may come to think these people were rich. Yes, just like any “successful” Traditional or Self-Publisher always before the face of the people. The truth is that Langston Hughes had many side jobs throughout his career that made him money. This included many speaking engagements, teaching, traveling the world, and even working as a bus boy at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington. Hughes attended Lincoln University but that was because he couldn’t raise the scholarship money to attend Howard. In addition, both Hughes and Zora worked closely under Charlotte Manson, their rich white patron (she was also a big racist but that’s another story) who paid them for the work they published (she also dictated the works they could / could not publish). They also worked closely, most especially Hughes, with Carl Van Vechten (infamous for his book “Nigger Heaven”) who got him lots of work.

I do not say this to discourage anyone from being an author. I say this to say that there is a passion and a drive to writing a book that has nothing to do with royalties and books sales. This is what the promotion and hard work is all about, or at least mine is.  Writing and promoting books that people want to read. There were times where Langston Hughes could barely pay his rent and yet he still managed to know pretty much everyone there was to know during the Harlem Renaissance and the era to which he lived in general. This is a man who was surrounded by millionaires and billionaires on a regular, not because he necessarily  made the same kind of money but because of the way that his work changed people who were drawn to his message. This is what it’s all about: Changing lives. This is also why the Traditional-Indie argument is so stupid right now. It doesn’t matter how you publish the book and whether or not you’re “making it rain”. What matters is whether or not your book has a voice. If it does, then the people will gather to hear you sing.