NEW: Even Salt Looks Like Sugar: a novella by Yecheilyah Ysrayl…

Thanks Chris! Guys, be sure to pick up your eBook copy of my new short story!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

About.

Wanda wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive upbringing of life with her abusive foster mother. Miss Cassaundra manipulates the system by bringing lost children into her home turned whorehouse and collecting the money. Wanda knows what it’s like to be abandoned and has no doubt Abby is Cassaundra’s next case. When an opportunity arises, that could save them both, Wanda must find a way to get the paperwork that will secure their freedom. But Cassaundra’s got eyes everywhere and no one can be trusted when even salt looks like sugar.

What Readers are Saying:

“I loved the dynamic between Wanda and her BFF, Rosa. They grew up in foster care together and had each other’s backs no matter what. This was a quick read, more like a short story. It held my attention and gave some good info on the foster care system. I expect nothing less…

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Now Available: Even Salt Looks Like Sugar – a short novel

Sneak Peek:

Edited by Lynette Davis

“What’s got you so happy?” said the dark-skinned, toothless woman. She was smoking a cigarette. But Lavenia was on that stuff and it had made her skin darken and cling to her bones. A lot of their neighbors was like this. They nodded, bowing low enough to be inches from the floor before jerking back again, brushing away bugs, only they could see as they unnecessarily cleaned, picking imaginary lint from their clothing, and laughing at jokes only they were in on—the real walking dead. Their skeletal bodies roamed the country roads early mornings, afternoons and late at night. Or they stood next to gas stations waiting for customers to come out, so they could collect change, their long skinny fingers curled into tight fists around the crack they sold their souls for.

Wanda cringed on the inside. Seeing her people like this made her physically sick. Lavenia was once pretty.

“It’s a good day. That’s all.”

Lavenia frowned and inhaled the cigarette like it was the last one she would ever smoke.

“Hmm. Yea. How Abby doing?”

Diversion. Lavenia never asked about Abby. Lavenia only cared about one thing. Getting high. Wanda frowned at the thought. She was so excited, she hadn’t noticed the signs.

“Oh, Abby is doing good, Miss Lavenia. I think she’s adjusting real nice. You seen her mama any?”

Lavenia let the cigarette breathe some, exhaling smoke into the air before sucking on it again.

“Naw. Ain’t seen her since that day.”

She was talking about the day she carried Abby into Cassaundra’s prison. Lavenia eyed the young lady in front of her. She had a shape like that once.

“You got some money? Let me borrow a couple dollars till my paycheck hit.”

“I’m sorry Miss L. I ain’t got nothing on me.”

“I can walk with you to the house. All I need is a lil change.”

“I can’t. I’m broke.”

Lavenia frowned. “You ain’t no damn broke.”

“Miss L. I am. For real. You know if I had it, you’d have it. I gotta get going. Tell Brandon I said hey.”

Lavenia walked off in a hurry. Brandon was her son. She’d probably left him in the house by himself again.


NOW AVAILABLE!!

EVEN SALT LOOKS LIKE SUGAR

a short novel

Order the eBook for 99cents HERE

preorder a signed paperback HERE

or mark as want to read on Goodreads here

About. Wanda wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive upbringing of life with her abusive foster mother. Miss Cassaundra manipulates the system by bringing lost children into her home turned whorehouse and collecting the money. Wanda knows what it’s like to be abandoned and has no doubt Abby is Cassaundra’s next case. When an opportunity arises, that could save them both, Wanda must find a way to get the paperwork that will secure their freedom. But Cassaundra’s got eyes everywhere and no one can be trusted when even salt looks like sugar.

Even Salt Looks Like Sugar

We are six days away from the eBook release of my new novella, Even Salt Looks Like Sugar so this is your once in a blue moon shameless self-promotion post. Go get it!!

Okay. Now that I have your attention. What is this about any way?

Wanda wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive upbringing of life with her abusive foster mother. Miss Cassaundra manipulates the system by bringing lost children into her home turned whorehouse and collecting the money. Wanda knows what it’s like to be abandoned and has no doubt Abby is Cassaundra’s next case. When an opportunity arises, that could save them both, Wanda must find a way to get the paperwork that will secure their freedom. But Cassaundra’s got eyes everywhere and no one can be trusted when even salt looks like sugar.

You should read this book if:

  • You are into Young Adult Fiction
  • You are passionate about African American experiences
  • You love women’s fiction
  • You love and care about children
  • You suspect something is wrong with America’s Foster Care system
  • You’ve been in the foster care system
  • You are a mother
  • You didn’t grow up with a mother
  • You are short on reading time (this is a short novel)
  • You are short on finances (this book is just 99cents)

PreOrder this short novel today in eBook at just 99cents on Amazon. CLICK HERE!!

Mark as “Want to Read” on Goodreads if you want to read it. CLICK HERE!!

Remember, setting up a Goodreads account is FREE and only takes a moment!

Thanks so much!!

 

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Poet Spotlight: Nailah Shami | Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018

This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! Today, you’ll get to meet the poets and read their poems. Let’s dive right in with our 2nd Place winner.

Introducing Nailah Shami

Nailah Shami is the author of two non-fiction books: Taking the High Road: How to Cope Your Ex Husband, Maintain Your Sanity, and Raise Your Child in Peace and Do Not Talk To, Touch, Marry, or Otherwise Fiddle with Frogs: How to Find Prince Charming by Finding Yourself. Continuing to fulfill a personal mission to inspire, encourage and entertain others, she blogs on Better for That, a weekly platform of uplifting micro-essays, vignettes, self-care streams and poetry. She is also working on a series of contemporary women’s fiction novels and a volume of poetry. Nailah lives in Washington state in the shadow of Mt Rainier and loves travel, festivals, music, comedy, cooking, pampering, all things lavender, hanging out with friends and family (or interesting strangers) and, of course, writing. She is always writing.

Welcome Nailah! So nice to meet you beautiful! I have to say we loved your poem.  Please tell us what inspired you to write it.

Nailah: My childhood was spent in an abusive, alcoholic household, so it took a while to come to the concept of self-care, or what I have come to describe as intentionally loving and mothering myself. But once I did, it became the perfect antidote for undoing that early trauma. I am fascinated, even addicted to, the power that self-care has to enhance every area of my life. It’s me saying to myself over and over in so many ways, I got you. This is a sacred obligation that I trust completely. Shortly before I wrote this poem, my BFF {Best Friend Forever} complimented me for being the most resilient, self-sufficient person she knows. Extreme self-care is the reason and I wanted to share that in a poem.

And share you did! Loving Myself Full is a beautiful poem. I mean, we loved it. There are several lines that spoke to us, one of them was:

I reverse-engineer my collapse

With unhurried tithes to myself

Can you explain a little bit to our readers about this line?

Nailah: What I was trying to convey there was that there is a certain mindfulness about knowing what it will take for me to burn out, and a wholehearted willingness to counteract that by making small, deliberate contributions to my well-being. Could be taking 10 minutes to choose just the right bouquet of flowers, 30 minutes on my yoga mat, 90 minutes on the massage table, making sure I’m eating right and getting my zzz’s or happily saying no to a swarm of demands on my time.

Very nice. I think that’s a nugget of wisdom we can all take with us. 

Now let’s get into this poem!

 

Loving Myself Full, Copyright©Nailah Shami

2nd Place

 

I turn off the phone, turn on the sauna

Dial down stress, dial up serenity

Gather my wounds in a circle,

Sing them the tender lullaby, years cultivated

And love myself full

Hush, I whisper

Until they trust me to gently paint over their grievances

With a mosaic of sunshine and light

They vary in age

Strolling through a lifetime, I nod to each me

Spending extra moments with Inner Mother me

She knows how all of this tenderness will play out

My eyes close when a melody from another world caresses my ears

The massage therapist pulls tension out of shoulders, arms, legs, spirit

Hot stones, aromatic oils, mindless bliss

I am AWOL, refusing to be needed

Lost in the valley of me, myself and I

Vowing to return to more simple things

Coloring, skipping, daydreaming

Hula hooping for breakfast

Beach dawdling for lunch

Lovemaking for dinner

Months before I am raggedy meat on a bone

I reverse-engineer my collapse

With unhurried tithes to myself

Casually buying roses with the groceries

Spraying lavender on the sheets,

Rose water on my face,

Wonder in my heart

I practice forgetting disappointments

And I do not have time to doubt the power of this spell I am casting,

The voodoo poetry of peace, stillness, and self-care

Of vowing to do the hardest things in the softest fabrics

And then have someone ease the memory of the fight from my muscles

With Zen music and hopeful scents

I lose time, but do not miss it

A fair exchange to put stars back in my eyes, silken my soul

From far away, I hear the massage therapist tell me to take my time getting up, and I do.

Oh, I do.

Be Sure to Follow Nailah Online!


https://betterforthat.wordpress.com/

 

Books by Nailah

 

CLICK HERE to learn more about Taking the High Road.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Do Not Talk to, Touch, Marry, or Otherwise Fiddle with Frogs.


Stand by for our 2-Day Special Feature of the Grand Prize Winner taking place tomorrow (Mon. 8/27, and Tues. 8/28)!

Who took home the grand prize and why?

Stay glued, Jahkazia Richardson is next.

Poet Spotlight: Nia Elise |Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018

This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! Today, you’ll get to meet the poets and read their poems. Let’s dive right in with our 3rd Place winner.

INTRODUCING NIA ELISE

Nia Elise is a 41-year-old single mom of two beautiful girls. She currently resides in Covington, Ga after relocating from her hometown of Silver Spring, MD. She is currently a 4th-grade teacher and has spent 19 years working in education. Her love of poetry began in elementary school when she received a signed copy of “Honey, I love” by Eloise Greenfield. She began writing her own poetry in middle school. After her divorce, she took to the stage and began doing spoken word. She is currently working on her first book of poetry and vignettes titled “Lessons on Love.” Be on the lookout for her book, and read more of her poetry by following @PoeticallyPurposed and on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Welcome Nia! So nice to meet you beautiful. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired your poem, Self-Love?

Nia: Upon deciding that I would enter the poetry contest, I opened an episode of Red Table Talk where Jada Pinkett Smith discussed her views on self-love. I began thinking about what that meant to me, and more importantly my struggles with learning to love myself, and how I want my daughters to view themselves differently than I did growing up. That was my inspiration to write “Self-Love” for this contest.

I love it. It’s a powerful poem. “The unattainable plight of a woman” was a beautiful way to open and sum up the piece. A few lines caught our attention:

“to break down the expectation into bits she can eat.
And she swallows
her pride, tears, fears, and the expectations of her peers
And spits them back out at her baby girls feet.”

Tell us about those lines.

Nia: Society has placed these expectations on women of what we should look like; Our size, the clothing we wear, how we wear our hair, the way we walk and talk, how we should or should not cater to a man, or how we should mother our children. It’s a lot to take in, or rather to “Swallow”. Every time you open a social media page, there is a meme about what you should or should not be doing to meet these expectations. Through my journey of learning to love myself, I have had to set them aside and understand that I can take in what I think is best for me, and just throw the rest away. I want my daughters to understand this same thing. They do not need to meet the expectations of the world, but only the expectations they have set for themselves.

Well said.

Now let’s get into this poem!

 

Self Love Copyright© Nia Elise

3rd Place

The unattainable plight of a woman
The mask she carries is not her own
Under it
Lies
Expectation
Made into self-deprecation
Caused by
Society, men, magazines and molds.
In her youth she may have had the physicality
but not the mentality
to sustain what they thought she should be.
After birth
she struggles with the physicality
but now owns a mentality
to break down the expectation into bits she can eat.
And she swallows
her pride, tears, fears, and the expectations of her peers
And spits them back out at her baby girls feet.
She tells her
these folks’ expectations are not for you to meet
They are for you to beat
They will gnaw at your mind
Pull on your spirit
And you need to push it aside baby girl,
Don’t hear it
Be the best version of you
That is more than just the view
That is the drive to be alive and to continue to push through
That is the understanding that
God’s got you
That is the realization that
you are beautiful no matter what
That your beauty is more than your face and your strut
That what matters
is in your heart and mind
That it’s more important to be gentle and kind
Especially since we are all going through
The seemingly unattainable plight of learning to love YOU.

 

Be Sure to Follow Nia Online!

IG: @poeticallypurposed

@embodyingpurpose


Stand by for our 2nd Runner-Up.

Nailah Shami is up tomorrow!

Poet Spotlight: Kiyana Blount | Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018

This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! Today, you’ll get to meet the poets and read their poems. Let’s dive right in with our 4th Place winner.

Introducing Kiyana Blount

Copyright©Kiyana Blount. Used with permission.

Kiyana Blount is a mother, wife, and friend who has a heart of pure gold. She is 27 years old and has a passion for the arts. Kiyana loves to write, dance, sing and act and every time she walks in the room has a light that cannot be dimmed. On her journey through self-love, she is learning how to not only uplift herself but those around her. Kiyana is a hard worker and believes she can accomplish anything she wants to!

Kiyana, so good to meet you beautiful! Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and what inspired your poem.

Kiyana: My life is what inspired this poem! I am currently on a journey of rebuilding my inner Goddess and going back to loving myself and being the best version of myself. This poem is my truth!

I love that. I understand that you have a business. Tell us a little bit about that.

Kiyana: The business I am apart of is bringing awareness to little black Kings and Queens through reading the truth about themselves. One of the books is called I’m Naturally Beautiful and it shows little Black Queens that they do not have to conform to what society says and shows through media. They are beautiful the way they are and can do anything they put their mind to!

Excellent. Clouded Container is a powerful poem. How did you come up with the title and what does it mean?

Kiyana: I came up with the title with some inspiration from a book I’m reading called Warrior Goddess: Become the woman who you are meant to be by Heatherash Amara. In the book, it talks about how you are a container and in your container you take things out and put things in. Whether it’s negative or positive! Sometimes the things we put into ourselves is not always good and it clouds our judgment. It causes nasty smudges and debris and you have to scrub real good to clear it out. I am guilty of many insecurities and making myself feel bad and on my journey of self-love, I have eliminated that. I have grown to love me and everything that makes me, flaws and all. I gave myself a good scrub down!! That’s how I got the title Clouded Container.

Wow. I like that container analogy. Well Kiyana, there are several lines in the poem that caught our attention. One was:

“Conditioned to see cracks in a broken mirror that never fell.”

Can you, briefly, explain that line to us?

Kiyana: It’s funny because that’s actually one of my favorite lines in my poem! What that line is saying is that in our society and the world we live in, they make it their duty to set a standard and make you feel like everything is wrong with you. That’s when insecurities and doubts and negative thoughts about yourself begin. You start to see yourself in this broken mirror. But once you remove the glasses that society prescribed to you, you realize you are so amazing and magical and that the mirror never moved, never fell and was never broken. It was just somebody else trying to define who YOU are!

Girl you betta speak!

Now, let’s get into this poem!

 

Clouded Container, Copyright©Kiyana Blount

4th Place Winner

Love

The universal chord to everything

We only see the clouded container without seeing the internal contents that we thought were nonexistent.

Conditioned to see cracks in a broken mirror that never fell

Finding folds and creases in a painting that never left the frame.

Society polluting the consciousness of the reflection I am reaching out to grab

That inner gut feeling saying to stop hiding behind the shadow that doesn’t show at night.

Listening, deeply to the silent thoughts of my mental.

Light shining through the judgmental audience sitting in the sky box of the windows to your soul.

Wow, I can feel the warmth of it. The molded embrace around my higher being.

No worries, no doubts, no questioning; but only the remedy to a strong woman’s dis-ease.

Self-love.

Caring to uplift myself.

Envisioning a powerful Goddess grooming the strength, courage, compassion and fearlessness of her spirit.

Caring to unravel the negative wraps around my illuminating golden brown skin.

The love shines through my pores.

Being able to move through self-love helps me to care and cultivate the container that was once clouded.

Releasing the contents that almost became buried treasure.

Be Sure to Follow Kiyana Online!

Facebook: Kiyana Blount

IG: kueen7


Stand by for our 3rd Runner-Up.

Nia Elise is up tomorrow!

On Soft Hearts

Do not ask me not to care. I will care anyway. I will wonder why the flower doesn’t bloom. Why its petals are dry. Why is there a flower falling to pieces for lack of moisture? I will wonder about the soil and the colors in the sky. I will mourn with those who are sad, rub empathy on the wounds of those who are bruised. I will care about people who probably won’t think twice about me. I will take this heart of flesh and show them that I am hurt too and I too have been trampled upon. Here, see the holes and scars on my skin. But we don’t have to let our hearts grow cold or build walls that are too high for people to climb. When everyone’s a savage, do not be afraid to be soft. There’s got to be someone in this chaotic world who can show proof that there can still be love, after war.