Flashback Friday – Whitney Houston, I Look to You

I wanted to post this for Throwback Thursday but time just slipped all the way away. Sooo I’m posting this late because who knows what next week brings.

This song is my song of the week. Whitney did that. Every. Single. Word.

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

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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

New Author Tip

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Blogging has greatly impacted my writing life. The knowledge and wisdom from my fellow bloggers is amazing. I love that we build each other up and alert one another to things that may seem fishy in the publishing industry. I love that we promote each other and help advance the other’s writing life. That said, my tip for new authors is this:

This is just a suggestion, but if you are about to publish for the first time and you’ve never published a book before (and people don’t know you as a writer, maybe as other things but not as a writer) consider starting a blog at least 6 months to a year of publishing your first book. Spend that time talking about your passions, networking with other writers, readers and getting a feel for the online community. Don’t just talk about your work, talk about yourself. Post funny pictures, inspiring quotes, short story excerpts, articles and anything that appeals to your target audience and that (most of all) showcases your personality. Let people get to know you better while also getting to know the writer you. Then, when you’re ready to publish your book, you have a platform and people who are interested outside of your immediate circle.

This tip is only for those who are close to publishing. If you are still writing your book, I would say to focus on that for now. If you are publishing soon however, you may want to try blogging to test the waters. It’s a better platform for networking (in my opinion) than Facebook and Twitter.

On “Keeping it Real”

Time for some real talk before the week ends.

I am sitting here getting some work done before the sun sets and a thought came to me. It’s a thought I’ve thought on many times before and that I voice with my husband many times over, though I’ve never said much of it publicly. The thought is in keeping it real. I don’t like the term and frankly, the fact it has become a catchphrase annoys me. I understand what is meant by it. I know how important it is to be real and to “tell it how it is.” I understand no one should ever water themselves down and more, no one should ever sacrifice their integrity for the sake of being “Liked.” That’s not the part that annoys me. What annoys me is when we use this term to assume things about people that are not true, we perceive wrongly and our discernment is off. Why is this? Because “Real” is different for each individual but we act as if it means the same for everyone.

Just because I limit my profanity, read the Bible, encourage people and don’t say the first thing that comes to my mind doesn’t make me fake, for instance. This is who I am and these are things I do even when no one is looking. I am not perfect just a little boring. I like to read all day, spend time with my family, write, laugh and drink wine. That’s literally it as anyone who knows me and has been around me more than 5 minutes could testify to. No one is worth me getting out of character for so I don’t try to “fit in” by being unfiltered. That would be fake of me.

Another example is on telling the truth. I do understand the realness that deals with being open and frank about things. I encourage it because it’s needed. For example, women, don’t get with a man just because the sex is good.

That’s a form of keeping it real or telling it like it is because you are telling the truth. But, this doesn’t always mean the person is being real either. I’ve spent years around people who were direct, forthcoming, and to the point but were still phony. Not because I think they should tell all their business or because the things they said weren’t true but because they were not being a real reflection of who they truly are.

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My point is what’s real for you isn’t necessarily real for someone else. You may be funny, loud, quiet, outspoken, reserved, or direct. My blog has a serious feel to it because that’s my persona. I’m a serious person. I expect your blog to reflect your persona. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re truthful like in our example, if you tell people how it is, no filter, be that. The point is, people don’t have to act like you or do what you do to be authentic. They may post a lot or post a little but that doesn’t mean they are trying to get something out of you. They may tweet a lot or post on Facebook or IG a lot, that doesn’t mean they are seeking attention. Maybe they are just “doing them.” Maybe they actually enjoy blogging. Maybe they enjoy posting. Perhaps it’s fun to them. Maybe the standards and limitations you apply to your own space don’t apply to them. Maybe, just maybe, this is who they are. Remember this the next time you judge.

 

Enjoy your weekend people.

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How did I change clothes so quickly? Tee hee.

 

Meet and Greet: 11/3/17

Looking for more exposure? Danny’s hosting a Meet and Greet, stop through, say hi and leave your Link 🙂

Dream Big, Dream Often

 

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend everyone!!  Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!  

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

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Coconut Oil Based Toothpaste

 

Note: I am not a healthcare professional and this should not be substituted for professional advice. I am simply sharing my experience as usual. Please consult a professional if you feel you need to before trying anything new.

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Oral health has a lot to do with your overall health. In fact, bad teeth and gums can lead to heart disease when the bacteria from gum inflammation, lead to gingivitis and, if left untreated, this Bacteria enters the bloodstream and travel to the heart’s arteries, causing them to harden. Plaque starts to grow on the arteries’ inner walls, which can restrict blood flow throughout the body.

I wish someone would have taught me this a long time ago because my teeth need lots of work. There is one thing I am proud of about them though. Despite everything that’s wrong with them, there’s a silver lining in that I am thirty years old and have never had a cavity.

I don’t like to use traditional toothpaste much. It’s too sweet and makes me feel like I am brushing my teeth with candy. It’s to the point now that I don’t even think it makes your breath smell good at least. So, sometimes I substitute with Coconut Oil Based Toothpaste I make myself with common items I can always find around the house.

Ingredients

  • Coconut Oil
  • Baking Soda
  • Peroxide
  • Mint or essential oil of choice
  • Stevia Powder

How it Works:

1/2 cup Coconut Oil

2-3 Tablespoon Baking Soda

2 small packets Stevie powder

One capful peroxide (opt)

10-15 drops essential oil

Melt coconut oil (or slightly soften…I recommend slightly softening. Completely melted doesn’t work well for me).

Mix in the other ingredients per their measurements and stir well.

Let cool completely.

As the coconut oil hits your teeth and gums, microbes are picked up as if being drawn to a powerful magnet. The bacteria hiding under the crevices in the gums and pores within the teeth are sucked out and held firmly in the solution. Brushing with Baking Soda removes stains aroused by tea, coffee, sodas, and smoking. Mixing Baking Soda with water releases free radicals from the mixture. These free radicals break down stain molecules on the enamel that can be scraped off with a toothbrush.

“Hydrogen peroxide is used safely and effectively in dentistry today. While its most common application involves tooth whitening, significant health benefits are documented using hydrogen peroxide to treat gingivitis and periodontitis.” (Jeanne Bosecker, BSN, RDH) However, using peroxide is optional (Learn More Here). You can successfully mimic this mixture without it. If you choose to use peroxide (as I do, it mixes so well with the baking soda), be sure to get the 3% Hydrogen Peroxide to be sure its safe for oral use.

The Stevia Powder and essential oils provide a fresh taste and good smell (though I tend to leave the Stevia Power out.) Baking Soda and Peroxide may be good cleaners but the combination doesn’t have a fresh minty smell. Baking Soda is also nasty so the oils help with that taste. I have also found it useful to use mouthwash afterward.

Storage

You can put it in any container in a cool dry place or even put it in a Ziploc bag. You can really get creative with the Ziploc by cutting it at the corner and taking an old toothpaste tube, cut the top part off and then insert and adjust the Ziploc bag.

While I do still use toothpaste because of the abrasiveness of the baking soda on the enamel, I like to use my coconut mixture more and have found it does a better job than traditional toothpaste. It’s not real sweet and makes my mouth feel fresh.


Yecheilyah (e-see-lee-yah) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet of nine published works including her soon-to-be released short inspirational guide “Keep Yourself Full.” Learn more by exploring Yecheilyah’s writing on this blog and her website at yecheilyahysrayl.com. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is her latest novel and is available now on Amazon.com.

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