So This Happened

Me at the Nubian Bookstore in South Atlanta where Renaissance has just been stocked on the shelves.

Those of you already following me on social media are already aware of this….but…

I hate to be so dramatic but I have news…

Yesterday it became official.

I’ve been doing some underground work and….

…on Saturday, December 30, 2017, one of my books made it to the shelves of a brick and mortar bookstore for the first time. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is now available at The Nubian Bookstore in South Atlanta and I am organizing a book signing for Black History Month to help to promote the milestone.

Obviously, this is where the real work begins.

And, obviously, I am excited about this new endeavor.

I am looking forward to learning more about book publishing and networking more offline.

What a great way to end the year!

I’ll be away awhile but I wanted to give you the news for sure 🙂

See you around!

Ya’ll be great.

 

Peace and Hair Grease.

 

-EC

 


“Yecheilyah Ysrayl has crafted an outstanding novel that takes the reader on the migration that black elders have described all our lives. Nora has graduated from high school and run away from her Mississippi town to a northern city, Jacobsville, NY, just 45 minutes outside of Harlem. It’s Nora’s intent to pursue a career as a writer during the 1920’s and the height of the Harlem Renaissance. In Harlem, she rubs elbows with the talented elite or, as some would say, literary royalty.”

– Linda Mims

CLICK HERE TO EXPERIENCE THE NORA WHITE STORY

Advertisements

An Alternative to ACX for Audiobook Production and Distribution – Jane Friedman

Has anyone tried ListenUp for audiobook production? It sounds interesting, though the upfront cost is pretty STEEP. lol. Aside from the service itself, I like what they said about Audiobook sales being dependent on the success of the book in print and digital format. Gave me a new perspective on how to approach audiobooks. My favorite quote:

“Audiobook sales are still dependent on the success of a book in its print or digital format. It’s helpful for authors to think of the audiobook as another edition of their book, extending its presence and reach. So when a reader goes to buy it, every option is available to them. At the same time, when an author promotes a book, there will likely be a spike in sales of all editions. Running an advertisement for a discount on an ebook through a service like BookBub has been shown to increase audio as well as ebook sales.

Much like promoting an ebook or print book, authors should offer review copies to bloggers, reviewers, and social media influencers who have significant reach. For the audiobook, authors should focus on reviewers who regularly review audiobooks and can touch on both the story and the narration.

Check out the interview and entire post HERE. Browse LisenUp’s website HERE.

If any of you have tried it, how is it? Do you like it better than ACX? Does the cost measure up to the service?

Indie Authors and Controversial Posts – Should You? Should You Not?

Controversy-770x285

DISCLAIMER: This is simply my own opinion. I also stress throughout the post that no one has the right to be disrespectful. Writing is a business and publishing books is a career move. I always encourage you to use wisdom in all that you do. Even if you are speaking truth, don’t put people down. That’s not wise.


I think it boils down to why you write in the first place and what you hope to gain from it. It should be a personal choice, not a commandment.

I understand why people propose you don’t post about super controversial topics. The reasons are obvious and have been stated repeatedly already. I won’t bore you with a regurgitation of the facts (see disclaimer.) But at the same time, I don’t understand why some propose Indies stay clear of it altogether. Even if it can help others. I think about what it means to be a writer. For me, this is not a job. It’s much more.

I know most people don’t take blogs and bloggers seriously, but when it comes to writing, it’s not like the 9-5 you go to every day where there are rules, regulations, and guidelines you must live by. Let me put this in perspective.

I am a part-time teacher as well as an author. I know what it means to go into a place that already has a set standard and to clock in and out.

I blog and I write books but when I am not doing this, I am teaching.

To teach, you have to be certified, have the educational background and follow the governmental guidelines necessary to do so. There is already a schedule, a curriculum, etc. (It is why one day, I would like to open my own school. I try not to do anything without an ultimate end goal.)

When I think about being an author, on the other hand, I think of having a much greater freedom than working a 9-5. The freedom to own my own and to speak the truth. Now, there are some that say that because this is a business (writing is) you shouldn’t talk about things that are controversial because you’ll lose readers. Perhaps it is a matter of perspective because I do not think of it this way.

Losing readers for cursing people out is one thing. Losing readers because you are rude and arrogant and just don’t care is one thing. Professionalism is important. If you don’t know how to talk to people, perhaps you shouldn’t be in business.

On the other hand…

If I lose readers for being real. If I lose readers because they cannot stomach the truth I have to offer. If I lose readers because they do not agree with me, then they were not my readers, to begin with. If I lose these people because I decided to be real and they didn’t like it, then they were not part of my target audience in the first place. I know it sounds harsh, but I see a lot of Traditionally Published authors speaking their minds too  and writing their truths. I see a lot of them using their platform to raise awareness of social injustice and other things. There’s a lot they say that can be considered controversial and it seems that for Independent Artists there should be more freedom.  It is only when I get to Independent / Self-Publishing that I hear this talk about how we should, in short, censor ourselves and I understand the need for it but only to an extent.

Using wisdom is one thing, I understand that. In the words of my father-in-law, “Don’t be a fool your whole life.” However, using your art to expand conversations and to raise awareness cannot be done without some inkling of controversy.  Someone somewhere is going to disagree with you. The whole point of writing, it seems to be, is to ultimately expand the conversation of the book. To not speak about your thoughts concerning the political, religious or social climate of today, to censor this in fear of losing readers, doesn’t make any sense to me. Why are you alive?

If I am going to write then I am going to write the truth and if people feel that it is a truth they cannot accept then they weren’t part of the chosen few I was meant to reach in the first place. I have long given up trying to save the world. I am not that naive anymore. I am only trying to reach those who are interested.

I am not saying to be disrespectful. Be choice with your words. That’s important and I’ve spoken about that a lot on this blog. I am only saying that if you are truly speaking the truth you are going to offend someone somewhere sometimes and that it’s not something you can control. If your job is not to offend anyone, where does that leave you? You may as well go work for someone else.

Listen, my intent is not to offend but it’s inevitable that when telling the truth you will annoy someone. To spend my life writing trying not to do so is to not do my job. In case you haven’t already noticed, I do not write to get rich. I don’t care about being famous, political correctness and offending people who can’t handle the truth and all that. It would be nice for my books to reach a large audience of course, but that is not why I write.

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard

Renaissance Ebook 99cents from now through Friday 12/29

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW

After letting Revelation: The Nora White Story Book Two, sit for about two months, I am right back into revisions and getting excited all over again. As such, I decided to give those of you who have not read Book One an opportunity to do so.

Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is now available for just 99cents in eBook on Amazon from now through Friday, December 29, 2017. Also, be sure to leave me an honest review if you feel so obliged after this short read.  Reviews greatly help readers to understand what to expect from these books and are a great source of feedback for Indie Authors. As always, your support is golden.

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW

 

“The writing is of a very high quality, evoking period and place so well that I was transported to the Jazz Clubs and writers’ circles of nineteen twenties New York and to the equally hot and humid atmosphere of the Mississippi Delta.”

– Frank Parker

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW

The PBS Blog in Review

Top Commenters:

  • Don Massenzio
  • Roger from Woebegone but Hopeful
  • Danny from DreamBigdreamoften
  • Felicia Denise
  • OIKOS-Redaktion
  • Mr. Militant Negro

2 Most Popular Posts of the Year:

Most Active Day: August 7, 2017

Books Published this Year:

I surpassed my total number of reviews for Renaissance. I am still trying to break into the 20+ range but I am close! (To review for this book email me for a copy)

I am Soul made it to #7 on the Amazon Best Sellers List for African Literature > New Releases. Currently, we are holding strong at number 12 and patiently awaiting our first review 🙂 lol.

Book Reviews

2017 saw a great increase in book reviews published to this blog, which I am proud of because I am always most excited at what I can do for others.(P.S. I have not forgotten about the Book Review Awards! Updates coming once everything has been organized.)

Here are the top 5 book reviews of this year (most shares, views, likes)

Black History Fun Facts

We were on a roll this year and managed to publish 19 articles as part of our Black History Fun Fact Friday series (which returns next year.) Here are some of our most popular posts of the year:

Week 35: A Brief History of Rae Riots in America

Week 22: The Attica Massacre

Week 30: Sundown Towns

Week 20: The Origins of Black History Month

Week 23: Mostafa Hefny

Week 32: Capturing the Good in Harlem

Week 33: Nora Holt

Collaborations

I must give credit where credit is due. This year, I collaborated with two amazing bloggers. Their support has greatly influenced the growth of this blog. Chris from The Story Reading Ape Blog and Danny from DreamBigDreamOften.

Follow Chris Here.

Follow Danny Here.

Guest Articles

I published a lot of guest articles this year and it has been my pleasure to be featured on so many awesome blogs. My 2 most popular posts were:

Top Countries that Supported this Blog:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • India
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Nigeria
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • South Africa
  • Italy

That’s all folks. See ya next year!


I am Soul, my short poetry collection of some of your favorite poems from this blog, is now available. CLICK HERE.

The Ancient Origins of Modern Holidays

christmas-pagan-updated

I don’t celebrate Holidays. You all know this but rarely have I gone into why. With the high volume of “I don’t celebrate holidays” I’ve had to repeat this year, I thought it would be a good idea to go a little bit into the history of Holidays. To put it simply, all Holidays go back to the worship and honor of a God or Goddess. I don’t celebrate Holidays because I choose not to take part in that energy, the energy of the Gods. That’s the short version and for the sake of time (because this is already a long post), I’ll only cover some of the major Holidays.


New Year’s Day – The Babylonian God Akitu, Roman Goddess Janus

In Egypt, the year coincided with the rising of the star Sirius, the Phoenicians and Persians began their new year with the spring equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice. For the Babylonians of ancient Mesopotamia, the first new moon following the vernal equinox—the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—signaled the start of a new year and represented the rebirth of the natural world. They marked the occasion with a massive religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian word for barley, which was cut in the spring) that involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days. During the Akitu, statues of the gods were paraded through the city streets, and rites were enacted to symbolize their victory over the forces of chaos. Through these rituals, the Babylonians believed the world was symbolically cleansed and recreated by the gods in preparation for the New Year and the return of spring.

Later, Julius Caesar instituted January 1st as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of change and beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future.  This idea became tied to the concept of transition from one year to the next.

Valentine’s Day –Lupercalia, Februata, God of Fertility

Originally celebrated on February 15, Valentine’s Day comes from Lupercalia, the “festival of sexual license” and was held by the ancient Romans in honor of Lupercus, god of fertility. Clothed in loincloths made from sacrificed goats and smeared in their blood, the Luperci would run about Rome, striking women with februa, thongs made from skins of the sacrificed goats. The Luperci believed that the floggings purified women and guaranteed their fertility and ease of childbirth. February derives from februa or “means of purification.” To the Romans, February was also sacred to Juno Februata, the goddess of “fever of love”, and of women and marriage. On February 14, small pieces of paper, each of which had the name of a teenaged girl written on it were put into a container. Teenaged boys would then choose one piece of paper at random. The boy and the girl whose name was drawn would become a “couple,” joining in erotic games at feasts and parties celebrated throughout Rome. After the festival, they would remain sexual partners for the rest of the year. This custom was observed in the Roman Empire for centuries.

Easter- Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus, Goddess of War and Sexual Love

Rabbits and eggs have long been part of spring celebrations as symbols of new life; symbols of fertility. (Wreath-circles are symbols of the womb)

The Sumerian goddess Inanna is known by her Babylonian name, “Ishtar”. In ancient Canaan, Ishtar is known as Astarte, and her counterparts in the Greek and Roman pantheons are known as Aphrodite and Venus. In short, she is the goddess of war and sexual love. Her cult practiced sacred prostitution or temple prostitution where women waited at a temple to have sex with the Gods. The word Easter does not appear to be derived from Ishtar, but from the German Eostre, the goddess of the dawn—a bringer of light. Ishtar and Easter appear to be homophones: they may be pronounced similarly, but have different meanings.

In brief, Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols.

Halloween – Samhain (pronounced /ˈsɑːwɪn/ SAH-win, sounds like Halloween), Lord of Darkness

Halloween kicks off the start of some of the world’s major Holidays and it is the time of the year where heavy witchcraft takes place. In fact, from October 31st through November 1st, this is known as the Witches New Year in some pagan circles. The Celts believed that the dead could walk among the living at this time and that during Samhain, the living could visit with the dead. This is why people dress up in costumes. They are representing the dead who, on this night, walk the Earth and visit the living.

According to the book Halloween—An American Holiday, An American History, some of the Celts wore ghoulish costumes so that wandering spirits would mistake them for one of their own and leave them alone. Others offered sweets to the spirits to appease them. In medieval Europe, the Catholic clergy adopted local pagan customs and had their adherents go from house to house wearing costumes and requesting small gifts. Though some would say that Samhain and Halloween are two separate Holidays, they are not. The only difference (as with all the holidays) is that one is ancient paganism (the maintaining of old pagan practices and traditions) and the other is neo (new) paganism, the incorporation of a more “happy” appearance to seem nice though it is the honoring of the same deity.

Thanksgiving – Ceres, Goddess of Harvest, Grain, Crops

We are taught that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621. We are also taught that the real Thanksgiving involved the slaughter of the Natives and the stealing of their land. Both of these accounts are not entirely true. Around this time, I see a lot of people who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving going back to the Natives and while they were a conquered people, it is deeper than that. Thanksgiving, like the other Holidays, go back to the worship of the gods and goddesses. Specifically, this Holiday marks the worship of Ceres, Goddess of Harvest though she has many names. (Ceres is where we get the word Cereal from.) When the pagans had a good season, they thanked their Gods / Goddesses for their bountiful Harvest.

In ancient Rome, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. She was originally the central deity in Rome’s plebeian or Aventine Triad, then was paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as “the Greek rites of Ceres”. Her seven-day April festival of Cerealia included the popular Ceres’ games.

Christmas – Saturn, the Sun God and The Winter Solstice

Christmas has nothing to do with the bible or the real messiah. Instead, it too is an ancient pagan practice. According to the book The Bible as History, December 25 is referred to in documents as Christmas Day in A.D. 324 for the first time. Under the Roman emperor Justinian, it was recognized as an official holiday. An old Roman festival played a major part in the choice of this particular day. December 25th in ancient Rome was the ‘Dies Natali Invictus,’ ‘the birthday of the unconquered,’ (Sun), the day of the winter solstice and at the same time, in Rome, the last day of the Saturnalia. In other words, Christmas is the celebration of the Winter Solstice (the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year which began today, December 21st), the Honoring of the Sun God Saturn and the festival of the Saturnalia (party to honor Saturn).

In a book by historian Jack Finegan, Myth & Mystery: An Introduction to the Pagan Religions of the Biblical World, “the worship of the sun-god continued widely throughout the empire, and under Aurelian (A.D. 270-275) the cult was restored to its former high estate. In the year 274 Aurelian declared the god — now called Deus Sol Invictus — the official deity of the Roman Empire; he built a temple of the sun in Rome and set the sun’s birthday celebration (naturalis solis invicti) on December 25, the date then accepted for the winter solstice (also in his solar character the birthday of Mithras.) In the time of Constantine, the cult of Deus Sol Invictus was still at its height, and the portrait of the sun-god was on the coins of Constantine….Likewise, it must have been in this time and with the intent to transform the significance of an existing sacred date that the birthday of Jesus, which had been celebrated in the East on January 6… was placed in Rome on December 25, the date of the birthday celebration of Sol Invictus. This date appears in a list of dates probably compiled in A.D. 336 and published in the Roman city calendar, edited by Filocalus, for the year 354 (Finegan, p. 211-212)”.

(Finegan mentions January 6th but this is also a pagan Holiday. It is called Epiphany. The truth is no one knows exactly when Yahoshua, the real messiah, was born.)

In short, when Constantine became Emperor of Rome, he fused ancient pagan practices with the Bible in order to unite the pagan world. As a Pagan High Priest himself, he sought to reconcile and blend pagan practices with Christian beliefs, to merge paganism with the Roman church. This included sometimes killing off some pagans in the process who refused to accept the Christianizing of their Gods / Goddesses.

Sources:

The Bible as History

http://www1.cbn.com/the-pagan-roots-of-halloween

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-schiffman/the-thanksgiving-truth_b_1105181.html

Myth & Mystery: An Introduction to the Pagan Religions of the Biblical World

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(United_States)

https://list25.com/25-popular-holidays-with-surprisingly-pagan-origins/

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

http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day

Halloween—An American Holiday, An American History

https://rcg.org/articles/ttbsvd.html

http://www.dummies.com/education/history/world-history/gods-and-goddesses-of-greek-and-roman-mythology/


I AM SOUL, my short poetry book with select poems from this blog is now available. CLICK HERE.