MAY I Have Your Attention Please? #MayChallengeDay4

Now what? No, seriously. Now that I have your attention, I don’t know what to do with it. It’s just that, well, I really wanted to use MAY in my title.

But, while we’re here, I MAY as well say something.

I’m really excited about the results of my Spring Giveaway. The purpose of the contest covered a number of areas so what I’d like to do is list some benefits I found of hosting a Giveaway in the way that I’ve done and some things I wished I’d done better. I don’t feel like being long winded today so I just have four points.

  1. Extending My Hand

I believe, as an artist, that giving back is a very important part of the work. Just look around your Blog neighborhood. The top blogs, the ones with lots of support, are the blogs that give lots of support! I truly believe that what you give comes back to you. Not that you should just do something for that reason, but you get the point here. Giving is just really important on so many levels, business, and personally. It is also a part of me. I have to be able to give back. Giving is such a gratifying experience and just fills me up. There is really no better accomplishment than the opportunity to bask in someone else’s happiness.  It’s like this quote here by Denzel Washington:

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Thank you Denzel for summing that up for us because I didn’t feel like explaining.

       2. Social Engagement

From a Social Media perspective, I really wanted to increase the social engagement of my followers. You know sometimes, with the way social media is now, its easy to accumulate thousands of subscribers or “friends” (gotta use this F word loosely) and never have anything else to do with them. So easy to have large readerships or support and not do anything with them. So I’ve really been on this personal, get-to-know-you-better type kick lately with seeking to understand how to build better relationships with the people who support me and really dig into this networking thing.

    3. Networking

Speaking of networking, I also wanted to increase my social media presence online by offering people who may not be familiar with my work an opportunity to connect with me. Its another reason I wanted to sort of “go all out” by hosting a Giveaway on this level so I can really peer into my circle of supporters and really get to monitor what things are actually looking like around here. If there’s one thing I don’t want to be is in the dark. To have this perception of my work that doesn’t reflect the truth. So one major benefit to this Giveaway I found is the increase in social media. Over the course of this contest I’ve done the following:

  • 17 New Email Newsletter Subscribers (Only 1 person unsubscribed after the contest. Remember when we spoke about the risks of this kind of a giveaway? That people may unfollow you after the contest ends. I am happy to have only gotten one unsubscribe).
  • New Blog Followers. I think there’s a handful of you who found me, welcome, welcome.
  • 21 New Facebook Likes to my Business Page
  • 10 New Twitter Followers

I cannot leave without thanking @Opinionated Man, @Annette Rochelle Aben, @LisaTetting, and @Don Massenzio for their support and others who helped to re-blog the post about the giveaway. I do know that it really helped to contribute to getting the word out to the blogosphere and is most definitely appreciated. This Giveaway has also helped to spread the word about the books themselves and helped me to gauge just how interested people are in the series. If only 3 people are selected to win but there are lots of entries, or not so many entries, I would be able to see where I stood in relation to demand. Now that its all over, I understand where I am on that level.

If there is one negative about the giveaway, there is one thing I wish I’d done better.

   4. Ask For Contestant Names

I know, it seems obvious, but because of the popularity of social media, it was easier to just ask for an email address because that gave me access to the person in which to communicate without doing a whole lot of shout outs. The negative thing about this however that I didn’t think about, was putting my winners at risk of Spam and Junk mail by publishing their emails across my social networks. It occurred to me this week as I was announcing the winners that I probably should have just asked for everyone’s first and last names! LOL. But, on a positive note, I think that by just asking for an email address, it increased participation because people didn’t have to do much. Not that entering your name is much but a lot of people have nick names or maybe they just robbed a bank and don’t want to give their name, who knows. But an email address. Well, you can enter an email address with one click and from anywhere. I definitely did not want a whole bunch of questions or mandatory info that would make that process any less smooth.

In any event I’d say my first Giveaway was a success! I didn’t have hundreds of entries but I had far more than I thought I would have and the experience was really uplifting and brought me closer to understanding how to network and build those interpersonal relationships that are so vital to online promotion / marketing.

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#Book #Review – The Mistreatment of Zora Langston by Lisa Tetting @RebirthofLisa, by Yecheilyah

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Check out last years review of debut author Lisa Tettings “The Mistreatment of Zora Langston.” Happy One Year Anniversary Zora. 💖 Be sure to check out Lisa’s blog for a chance to win an autographed copy of this book!

Title: The Mistreatment of Zora Langston (Paperback)
Author: Lisa W. Tetting
Website: https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/
ISBN 13: 9780996142908
Published: First Edition (March 15, 2015)
Publisher: Self
Pages: 158 pages
Genre: Coming of Age, Young Adult, Drama, Fiction
Rating: 4/5

https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/book-reviewers-wanted/

(A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review):

Blurb:
“Zora Langston is nine years old when her father dies, leaving her in the hands of a mother who is anything but loving and siblings who never considered her family. Without her father, she is truly alone. Before the dirt has settled on her father’s grave, there’s a new man of the house, and he has no interest in being Zora’s father. Despite her hardships, Zora remains true and allows faith to help free her from this new, horrible life she’s found herself in. She finds solace in her aunt and uncle and, for the first time, starts to discover what it’s like to have a real family. However, just when she thinks she has escaped her tormentors, new abusers emerge, old ones return from hiding, and she must find the strength to survive.”

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The Mistreatment of Zora Langston is a Coming of Age novel surrounding the abuse experienced by nine year old Zora Langston. Set in Goldsboro, North Carolina, there is so much to relate to and so much to learn in this powerful testimony of abuse, betrayal, and through it all the ability to still love and to be loved. Ironically, the cause of her father’s death becomes the epitome of tragedy for Zora in more ways than one. His enemies become hers and everywhere she turns, when it seems things are getting better, they only worsen. To start, Zora is not given the chance to mourn her father before her mother’s boyfriend moves in. Her mother, who is supposed to be her shinning example of womanhood and best friend, despises her very existence. Her sister burns with an intense jealousy, and her brother’s nonchalant attitude further illuminates Zora’s invisibility. As a result of continual physical and emotional abuse, she is sent to live with her Aunt Terri and Uncle Jim and for the first time gets to experience what it means to be happy and to have a family. I was excited to see her get excited at those little things that children love.

I think what makes this a moving piece is that it is told from the eyes of a nine year old. I did not expect Zora to endure what she did and the abuse she encountered is shocking. Children have a tendency to be very open and honest even in the midst of grown-up experiences, and Zora is no different. She approaches the situations of her youth with the same level of naïveté as most children. Yet, while Zora’s perspective is rightly child-like, the tragedies she endured makes her stronger and thus her reaction to the situations surrounding her is in many ways also mature, surprising the adults around her who are often taken aback.

What I found especially educational, is how the author incorporated the life lessons of Zora’s dad and the parenting of her Aunt and Uncle into the tragedies of her life, and how those lessons were used to strengthen Zora in the moments she needed them most. In this way, despite the hardships she encountered she was still capable of holding on to a level of innocence deserving of a nine year old. “I usually wore a swim cap…but that made me look like an alien” (pg. 102, Ch. 16) is just one of the many sayings of little Miss Zora that made me laugh out loud. I could have sworn I thought the same thing at her age!

The Mistreatment of Zora Langston is a book of shocking revelations, and raw emotion. As adults, I believe we have a lot to learn from children like Zora. It is not just a book about her, but we also get to see how  adults view situations. How we stress over them, overcome them and react to them compared to how these same situations are viewed and experienced from the eyes of a child who is not yet an adult, but whose life is filled with adult themes. In this way,  debut Author Lisa Tetting proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that “it’s not the love that hurts; its the denial of love.”

Ratings:
Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Characterization: 5/5
Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
Thought Provoking: 4/5
Recommendation: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

You can learn more about Lisa and Zora at:
Website: http://www.lisawtetting.com
Blog: https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/

To Purchase The Mistreatment of Zora Langston, click on the picture below:

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Week #2: Beyond The Colored Line: Inside Interracial Marriages with Author Lisa Tetting

interracialIt’s kind of hard to believe this today, but as recent as 1967, there was actually state laws that banned interracial marriage. These laws weren’t overturned until the Supreme Court case, Loving vs. Virginia in 1967. In that case, the Supreme Court found that it was unconstitutional for the state of Virginia to ban interracial marriage.

Although there are no longer any laws banning relationships, interracial dating remains a controversial subject for some people.

Welcome to Week #2 of my Fall Interracial Blog Feature! The Interracial Blog Feature was inspired by my new book, “Beyond The Colored Line”, and was created as a means to foster a better understanding of diverse relationships. Today, we welcome Lisa W. Tetting, author of “The Mistreatment of Zora Langston” to the convo.

EC: Hey Lisa, I’m so excited to have you spending time with us today. Can you give the racial background of you and your husband for the record and how long you’ve been together?

LT: Thanks for having me. My husband and I have been together for 20 years and married for 15 of those. I am of African American decent and he is Caucasian.

EC: Wow! So collectively you have been together longer than I’ve been alive! That’s so beautiful. Now, what are some challenges that interracial couples deal with that couples of the same race may not have to deal with?

LT: The obvious answer would be dealing with the stares of people who are not used to seeing mixed raced couples. Some people stare at us out of curiosity and others show complete disgust. Living in the south is somewhat challenging, but I will say it is easier today than when we first started dating. I can’t say for sure if it is a change in society or if we have simply gotten used to other people’s reactions.

Another challenge would be cultural differences. I have heard other mixed raced couples who say they struggle with their partner understanding their mindset and the differences in upbringing. I lucked out in that department because my husband was immersed in the culture and there have been very few times where he needs something explained. The same goes for me as I have always been someone who has an insatiable curiosity. This afforded me the opportunity to interact with people from all walks of life and all races.

EC: Awesome. Do you have any tips or advice to help couples overcome these challenges?

LT: As far as dealing with other people’s response to their relationship the only advice would be to ignore them. As with any relationship, you will never be able to please everyone so it is best to worry about pleasing the two people involved. No one else matters and that goes for family as well as strangers. If your family loves you they will come around and if not do you really want that kind of person in your life? You have the privilege of choosing your mate in this country so don’t let anyone deter you from being happy.

Speaking on cultural differences, you just have to show patience when learning the differences and be sure to wear your thick skin because there will be times when your partner will say something you may find offensive, but they are clueless to your interpretation. Be an open book and teach your partner instead of expecting them to know.

EC: Hmm, I love when you said your partner may not understand something, which is so true. Sometimes we are so used to being defeated that we are instantaneously offended at the mere thought of something when it was not intended to be that way from the perspective of the other person. I love that. Now, when African-Americans and Whites marry, there is more likely to be an African-American husband and a white wife. In fact, 73 percent of all African-American and White marriages have this setup. In your opinion and your experience with Interracial Relationships, why do you think Black men are more likely to date outside of their race?

Doug and Lisa Tetting
Photo Credit: Copyright© Doug and Lisa W. Tetting. Used with Permission

LT: Actually, I have found that less than 12% of African American males marry outside of their race, this is according to the 2010 census figures. That being said, I feel when it comes to mixed race couples, black men may be more likely to date white females as opposed to black women dating white males. However, it seems the tables are turning in this aspect and more black women are allowing themselves to think and date outside the box.

EC: That is interesting since I hear a lot of black people, women in particular, accusing other blacks of being “sell outs” when they date outside their race. Have you ever had the misfortune of the title and why do you think this is?

LT: Actually I have never had that title bestowed upon me, at least not to my face. LOL. In my experience when dealing with other black women once they are aware that my husband is white; I am usually met with curiosity. Most of the time they have questions about how white men treat you as opposed to black men and my answer is always the same. A man is a man and he will treat you according to his upbringing and his interest in you. The manner in which he treats you depends on how you carry yourself, no matter his color.

EC: “A man is a man”, I love that. Let me know if this is too personal, but I have to ask: I’ve always known you to be married since following your blog, but I can’t remember ever seeing any pictures of your husband. Why is that?

LT: It is not too personal of a question as I am an open book. I try not to inundate my blog with pictures of my husband out of respect for his privacy because he is not one who indulges in social media. However, I have posted several pictures of my husband, some with me and some alone, on my blog.

EC: Oh, lol. So that means I ain’t been looking then huh? LOL. My husband is actually like that too. He’s not on social media, not even Facebook. His patience is really low with that sort of thing so I definitely understand that. Now, I’ve always wondered about the conversations between interracial couples concerning the ongoing racial tensions surrounding blacks and whites. Are there any moments where you and your husband disagree with a subject that is race related? If so, how do you deal with that?

LT: As far as conversations on racial tension, we are more times than not of the same mindset. The disagreements that may happen occasionally would arise from my inability to turn off my emotions when they are high and his need to move on from the subject at hand. Like most men, he feels a need to fix it and move on where me being an emotional female, I want to continue the conversation longer than necessary.

EC: LOL, right? These emotions I’m telling you. Now, any time before 1967 your relationship would technically be illegal. How does that make you feel today with the knowledge that you’ve chosen to be with someone outside of your race?

LT: I am very fortunate to have been born after 1967 and am thankful to Mildred and Richard Loving for the courage they showed in getting this archaic law removed from the books. It is very disconcerting to think I would not have been able to marry my soul mate if we had been born of that generation.

EC: Very true. Lisa, I want to thank you again for being part of this series. For the outsiders looking in, the people who are struggling to accept Interracial Relationships, do you have any advice for them?

LT: Open your mind! When you least expect it you may be surprised to learn you have more in common with someone who does not look or act like you. Get out of your neighborhood and travel. It is the one way to remove stereotypes and fear of the unknown. I’ve heard people say they are not racist, but feel people should stick to their own kind. I have a few words for them; I am sticking to my own kind… Human Kind!

EC: I know that’s right, gone girl tell it! I absolutely love traveling yaaass. You’ve been married for quite some time, what is the one thing that has helped you to survive your Interracial Marriage?

LT: This is not beholden to just Interracial Relationships; all marriages require love and care as well as good communication. You have to really like the person you have chosen to spend your life with; not just love them, but like them. If you don’t respect your spouse it is a recipe for disaster.

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And that’s it family, Lisa W. Tetting on Interracial Marriages. As you can see from our Q&A, the purpose of this series is to shed light on the fact that mankind was made to be compatible with one another regardless of race. Thank you Lisa for joining me in this series. It was insightful, educational, and I had a great time!

Author Lisa W Tetting
Photo Credit: Copyright© Lisa W. Tetting. Used with permission.

Be sure to check out Lisa’s Social Networking sites and to purchase a copy of her book, “The Mistreatment of Zora Langston.” Stay tuned for another episode of Inside Interracial Marriages next week. You don’t want to miss our next interviewee!

Author Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter: (@rebirthoflisa)
Instagram
Pinterest
Google+
Goodreads

You can purchase Lisa’s book on Amazon here.

 

Something New: Embracing Change – Yecheilyah Ysrayl

My “Something New” Guest Post with Lisa Tetting. Thank you for having me.

Lisa W. Tetting

Try Something New Today!

Primarily, I would like to thank Lisa for giving me the keys to the house. It’s nice and cozy in here and you all look great! While I tend to be long winded, I have been given a copy of the house rules, so I’ll be brief.

Lisa asked me to write about newness today and I choose change.

We live in a world that celebrates routine and ritual, so it’s not always easy to embrace change. It is something that happens so frequently in our lives and yet remains something new; moving in and out of our day with the same glide as oil to a pan. Starting with a puddle and then auctioning pieces of itself off into different directions. But this is not easy for us to do; to forgo tradition for a road less traveled by. To be reborn in a way that blows our minds…

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Couch Convos w/ Lisa W. Tetting featuring Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl

My Author Interview with the beautiful Lisa Tetting.

Lisa W. Tetting

couch convos (1)

Welcome to another edition of Couch Convos with your girl, Lisa W. Tetting. Today we have a special treat for you. Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl, aka EC, joins us to talk about her short story trilogy, Stella. It is a unique take on racism, slavery and provides a history lesson we all need to learn.

Part I

LWT: Welcome EC, let’s get started. What was your inspiration behind Stella?

YY: “Well, I used to teach third and fourth grade creative writing as part of a Home School program and we studied black literature a lot. In that process, Stella was conceived during an assignment I’d given my students on writing about that era, about slavery and discrimination. I always seek to be an example, especially to children, so I occasionally participated in these assignments to show my students that we were in this together and if I could do…

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The Liebster Blog Award

liebster-award

Special Thanks to Lisa Tetting (again!) for nominating me for The Liebster Blog Award. This is now my 5th Award and I would like to take the time to first say that I accept the nomination. I am always excited to take advantage of the opportunity to reach as many people as I can. My hope is always that I can deliver someone with my words, to impart upon someone something of substance; something that they could use and expand on and to be a part of. While I do not strive to please everyone, I do hope that everyone who has found interest in this blog has been enjoying themselves so far. If not, well…now is not the time to be negative lol.

Here are the Rules:
1. Link the person who nominated you to your blog post and let them know you answered their questions.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the nominator.
3. Nominate other bloggers for the award.
4. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Questions:
1. What is your favorite color?
My favorite color is brown and anything else earth tone in nature, green, beige, orange, tan.
2. Why did you start your blog?
Well I’ve had a couple blogs in the past because I’ve always enjoyed sharing my poetry. But this blog was initially started because I had recently published a book and I thought starting another blog would be a great way to engage people with my writing. I also thought it would be a great way to measure the continual improvement of the skill. To have people to comment  and to share their thoughts with me, their perspectives, and to engage in challenges and blog awards is for me such an excellent way to gauge where my writing is going and the kind of messages that truly speaks to the people.

3. What is your favorite place to write?
My favorite place to write is at my kitchen table in the dining room at home next to the window.

4. Name your favorite person in the world and why?
Great question. My favorite person in the world is my husband. The reason I say my husband and not my mother or other close relatives is not to downplay their most excellent influence. I choose my husband because of the close bond that I have with him. He is a man filled with much understanding, much compassion, and much faith. I cannot say for sure if I would have been where I am had I not had him standing here to share in the trials that got me here. He is the other part of my strength.
5. Do you have a pet and if so what?
I do not have a pet but I am currently nagging my husband for a German Shepherd. We used to have a Rottweiler (Hubby’s Fav) but I fell in love with Shepherds because of my neighbor at the workplace. She works in a pool and spa place next door to our community center and recently acquired a puppy I have literally watched grow before my eyes. Extremely adorable, no joke.

6. Who is your favorite writer?
Funny I was just thinking about this. I love Terry McMillan and Toni Morrison’s books because they are such visual writers. I love the use of the poetic language and symbolism usually incorporated into their novels.

7. Who is your favorite singer?
My favorite singer is…I’m not sure that I have a favorite exactly. My taste in music kinda wanders over a large range of folks, some of which whose names I don’t know off hand but whose music I love. But I do enjoy some Stephanie Mills, some Whitney Houston, lil bit of Stevie Wonder, Anthony Hamilton, Toni Braxton, Sade, Bob Marley.

8. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate

9. If you could be anything in the world what would you be?
If I could be anything in the world I would probably be a butterfly if given the chance to turn into anything any second. A butterfly so that I can travel the world quickly and deliver  words to as many people as is possible in my lifetime. I would just say a bird but if I’m a butterfly I can be beautiful too, yesss.

10. What is your super power?
My Super-Power is probably Endurance. I’ve been through a lot in the short time that I have lived but I have not lost hope of everything good.

11. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
Jamaica. Though I’ve only been there once I had an amazing time and my husband and I are dying to go again.

I now nominate the following blogs for The Liebster Blog Award:

SeasonedSistah2

Lucile de Godoy

Wine By Ari

Fill Your Own Glass

Here are Your Questions:

1. Why did you start your blog?

2. What is your favorite city to visit?

3. If there is one post you think best defines your blog, which is it? Post the link too!

4. What’s your favorite color?

5. If there is one thing you’ve learned about blogging that has helped your writing or career, what is it?

6. Other than Writing/Blogging, how best do you like to spend your time?

7. How would you define happiness?

8. Coffee or Tea?

9. What is the one thing that keeps you motivated?

10. What’s your favorite movie and why?

11. If you follow The PBS Blog, what do you like most about it or would like to see more of? 🙂

As an added bonus, since this is my first Liebster award, I just wanted to share a cool definition I looked up that contributed to my choosing of these great blogs:

“It has German origins – the word “liebster” has several definitions: dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, endearing, welcome, and sweetheart.”

And that’s it.

Wow, this post is way longer than I expected lol.