The Power of Preparation – Guest Post by, Yecheilyah Ysrayl…

Join me on The Story Reading Ape Blog with Chris! Tonight, I am talking the power of being prepared using my bookstore journey as an example. Come on over!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Yecheilyah and Nora at The Nubian Bookstore in Morrow, GA. Copyright©2017 Yecheilyah Ysrayl.

If you’ve been following The PBS Blog you know that I have been on a bookstore journey where I am visiting bookstores to see if I can better understand the process. The update is that I’ve been stocked in one store, two are currently reviewing two of my books, and I am hosting a double book signing event this month. Today, I would like to share a few things I’ve learned about the power of being prepared and how it has allowed me to cut through a lot of red tape.

But first, why bookstores? Aren’t brick and mortars over and done with? Not quite. Large stores like Barnes and Noble may be on the decline but Independent Bookstores are making a comeback which can have major positive benefits for Self-Publishers.

“Just take a look at the…

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Prepare for Your Success – Part 1

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The biggest mistake that people make is focusing exclusively on where they want to be instead of preparing for where they want to be. Someone may want to publish a book or have a successful blog but they aren’t prepared to receive it. What will happen if the book does blow up like you want it to, are you prepared? What if one of your blog posts does go “viral”, are you prepared? It’s not just about the end goal, it is also about the journey. I want to encourage you today to prepare for where you want to be. I wanted to provide blog and writing tips but I’ve decided to split this into multiple posts so it’s not too long because I know you got places to be. Today’s post is on mental preparation.

Mental

  • Nerves and Doubt is a Part of It

Don’t let others deceive you and don’t deceive yourself. You’re always going to be nervous before embarking on something that is truly life changing. You’re always going to have that fear or that doubt in the beginning and truth be told the only way to overcome that doubt is to do the very thing you’re absolutely nervous about doing. I always say that if you ever get too comfortable that’s when your humility is not as strong as it needs to be because you should always be just a little bit nervous before embarking on something great. Why is that? Because that uncomfortable nervous feeling is where the growth happens. No one ever did anything in the comfort zone.

  • Stop Telling Everyone Your Plans

Discouragement doesn’t just come organically but we also invite it. Not everyone deserves to know what you plan to do and how you plan to do it, especially people who don’t deserve to know. Spell casting is real and all it takes is the word. Words are spiritual and they live. When someone speaks negatively about your life they are trying to cast a spell on you whether they know it or not. Stop telling hateful people your plans and surround yourself with people who will support you. Remember, destruction is always loud just as the tree falls and hits the ground. However, the seed grows with no sound. Grow silently.

  • Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People

Steve Harvey said that if nine of your friends are broke then you’re going to be the tenth. If eight of your friends are smokers, you’re going to be the ninth. We’ve heard the saying repeatedly, “Birds of a feather, flock together” because they do. If you’re truly trying to grow your business or writing career, surround yourself with the people who are where you want to go. Don’t be intimidated by their success or jealous of it, feed off it. Mimic it. Work ethic is great but effort directed in the wrong places is counterproductive. It won’t do you any good. Chances are if someone is more successful than me it’s because they’re doing something that I’m not. That’s motivation for me to find out what it is.

  • Learn not to Respond to Negativity

Silence is a beast. Listen, many of you don’t know me and I don’t say this to be mean or to say that we can’t develop a closer relationship at some point in our blogging journey’s together as we become more acquainted and of service to one another (wow, that was a long sentence lol), but it’s the truth, you don’t. If you knew me, you would know that I am not the most liked person in the world. People hate me fiercely. They annihilate me and my family on and off social media both for who I am as a person, for what I believe in, for the things that I say, and for just being me. I don’t count this as a bad thing, in fact, it’s a blessing and I pray for the people who I have loved but who have given me hate in return. In fact, I know that many of you will one day grow to hate me too and that’s OK because I know what I do this for and it’s not to please any of you. I say this because if you’re going to be successful at anything in your life you have got to learn not to respond to negativity. You’ve got to change your perspective on life itself and stop listening to people who tell you your silence represents guilt or fear.

The true mark of maturity is when someone hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of hurting them back. Silence amid the storm does not make you weak or incapable. It means that you’re meek and humble. You’re humble because you are not concerned about what you can say to lift yourself up above someone else who has torn you down. We’ve got to get to the point in our lives where we can understand that how we overcome adversity shines a light on who we really are. When you can hear something bad about me, something so unbelievable (because chances are it’s a lie) and still stand with me, that’s when I know that you know me as a person. It’s not the good times that you really get to know a person, it’s in the struggle that you find out just how real people are. If you have to jump in someone’s face or say something bad about someone because they said it about you that doesn’t mean that you’re fearless, it means that you are weak.

  • Spotting the Haters

Investing time in haters will halt your success. Point blank and period. If every time you bring something to someone they have something negative to say about it, that’s a red flag. They don’t have to agree with you but real friends will at least give you some insight into what you’re doing. They don’t just disagree but they give you something you can take back with you. You have to get to the point of understanding that everyone can’t go where you’re going.

  • Be Yourself

I know this sounds cliche but you’d be surprised how many people compromise their personal integrity once they think they’ve reached a level of success. Even in the blog world some of you start changing up your ways to please new followers. The truth is that things will constantly change but you have to stay true to who you are because who you are becomes your brand.

When Oprah started out she didn’t know what a brand was, and even though she’s a named brand today it wasn’t because she intentionally set out to be that, she just did what felt right to her. In fact, when she started The Oprah Winfrey Show everyone (except one person) said that she would fail. The point is that you are only successful being yourself. I hear people time and time again talk about how authors should be more personal on social media. That we should talk about more than books but more so of other things that we like and that’s cool if that’s you.

The reason I’m not as personal on Twitter, for instance (since I’m on there the most) is because I’ve never been that way on social media. Even when I was on Facebook I didn’t talk about walking the dog today or my favorite color. I keep telling ya’ll that I’m a private and laid back person so social media for me is just business and that’s how I use it. This isn’t to say that it’s wrong to get more personal online but that’s just not me is the point.

It don’t matter how many times people say it that’s not going to change my social media habits because it’s just not who I am. The same with this blog. I’m not changing the name of my blog, not even to my name. Is that a good strategy? It’s a great author branding strategy. Is it me? Nope.

I have this one blog post that I did not expect to do well (8 Ways to go from Author to Authorpreneur). I wasn’t trying to be someone giving advice, I was just sharing (as I always am) what I do and how it may can help you. Everything in that post is something that I did, that I literally put into practice myself and I wanted to share it with you. In short, I was just being me and it turned out to be one of my greatest PBS Blog posts (far as engagement is concerned).

In all things, to yourself be true. That’s what people are attracted to. You don’t have to change up because your subscriber number is growing or because the social media guru tells you to do this instead of that. Only do it if that’s what you would do anyway. Only do it if that’s already in line with who you are.


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman writer who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release July 15-16, 2017. For updates on this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

Recipe Sunday – Potato and Beef Pie

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Its been a minute since we’ve had a Recipe Sunday. For those of you new to the PBS place to be, Recipe Sunday is when I share a fun recipe with you on you guessed it…Sundays. Not just any recipe, but recipes that are specifically designed to be simple for those who are not experts in the kitchen. Cooking is an area I’m not very excited about but I love getting creative and that means recipes. They put me in a cooking mood and give me the motivation I need to get going. After all, I do have a family to feed. Meal preparation is not just important, it is one of the skills I don’t think is taught enough these days.

So anyway, last week I was searching around the house for something to cook. But I was in the mood for something creative. I decided to take regular household foods we often always have in bulk, and try to see what I could do with them. This is good practice for lean days. If for whatever reason a catastrophe ensues, are you capable of creating a meal from the seemingly little things?

I grabbed:

Potatoes, Nacho Cheese, Ground Beef, Pancake Mix, Butter, and Tony Chacheres Creole Seasoning (while your at it, go ahead and chop up some Onions and Bell Pepper).

 
What a wide range of stuff huh? What exactly did I make?

 
I call it: Potato and Beef Pie

 
1. In a skillet, season and begin cooking the ground beef.

 
2. While the ground beef is cooking, cut your potatoes into squares, set aside.

 
3. Next, lubricate a baking dish with the butter. Make sure it covers the entire pan on all sides.

 
4. Your ground beef should be done now. Make sure it’s well done. Set Aside.

 
5. Make a pancake batter. (Make sure to add an egg or two). Be sure that it’s a thin mixture. If it’s too thick, add more water or milk but make sure it’s nice and thin.

 
6. Coat the baking dish with the batter. This is your crust. Using pancake mix adds a better flavor to me than regular flour. Plus, this is supposed to be a recipe made up of random foods around the house.

 
7. Heat the Nacho cheese so that it’s nice and smooth

 
8. Layer the dish: Add Ground Beef, Onions and Bell Peppers, Nacho Cheese, and Potatoes

 
9. With the leftover Pancake Batter (you may have to make more), coat the entire dish with the batter. This is your top crust.

 
10. Place this dish in the oven and bake uncovered at 350 degrees F. for one hour.

 
Regrettably, I did not take pictures so I cannot show you the end result. But when you take it out of the oven it should be a nice golden brown with delicious goodies tucked on the inside. You should be able to slice into squares or triangles or whatever shape and eat like a pie. The cheese provides just enough moisture for it not to be dry and the beef provides just enough meat to be filling. It was delicious.

 
This is an easy and efficient meal that even the kids will love. A vegetarian version can be made also. Just substitute the ground beef with ground Mung Bean, a good meat substitute.

DIY: Crisco and Butter Candles

It’s Sunday again and that means another exciting recipe here on The PBS Blog. We’re gonna switch it up a bit for you today though. Instead of cooking up a delicious treat, we’re going to take a look at two ways you can keep your light shinning in the event of an emergency.

How to Make a Candle using Crisco

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Did you know that the Crisco Company used to be a candle company? Which means you can use Crisco to make candles.

You will need:
• Any sized tub of Crisco Vegetable Oil (I recommend the large 48 oz tub)
• Candle Wick (10 inches for a 48 oz tub)
• Stick
• Lighter

Take your stick and pierce a hole in the middle of the Crisco all the way down.
Next, take the Wick and use the stick to help stick it down to the bottom of the can. Hold the wick with one hand, and use the stick to work it down the hole with the other hand.
And finally, light the candle.
Yup, it’s that easy. But before we move on, let us establish some safety rules:
If you Google or YouTube Crisco Candle you will get loads of information about it since everybody and everybody’s mothers pretty much know about this by now. But one of the primary pieces of information you will also find in addition to how to make the candle itself is that this candle will burn for 45 days. Stop Here.
First of all,  I’ve never tried to burn it for that long, nor will I attempt to, and nor should you try to either (didn’t ya mama ever teach you not to believe everything on the internet? lol, joke) but seriously, here’s why:
The Crisco Candle is an Emergency Candle for a reason. It is not designed to be a long term source of light, but it could help in emergency situations. The Crisco container is a foil-lined cardboard tube which can definitely catch fire once the melted oil makes its way down into the paper. In the event you must use this option, it’s a good idea to scoop some of the Crisco into a more stable container that has less of a chance of burning through.

 

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As seen in the picture, I collect Candle glasses after the wax has burned down specifically for this purpose—so I can use it in the event I must make my own candle. The Crisco Candle is a great creative source of light for an emergency, but it is not something you leave burning for an extended period of time or that you walk away from.

 

Butter Candle

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This one comes with the same Caution label as the Crisco because of the paper wrapping, but we’ll get to that later.
You’ll need:
• 1 Stick of Butter
• Knife
• Toilet Paper
• Toothpick
• Lighter

Take the stick of butter and slice it in half, that’s right, right down the middle (horizontally of course….please don’t slice the butter down the middle from the top, vertically in other words. It will be no good).
Next, with the toothpick, make your hole in the middle by sticking it down in the middle; this is where your “wick” will go.
Now, you can buy extra wicks for emergencies, but if not, you can make your own. Tear a nice piece of toilet paper, and roll the toilet paper into a tight roll like your rolling a blunt (don’t lick it though).

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Now, twist the rolled toilet paper so that it’s nice and tight, and bend it at the end as seen in the picture.
Using the toothpick, stick your toilet paper wick into the butter (the bended end will make it easier to stick it down). Make sure to rub the top of your toilet wick around a bit in the butter before lighting it.
Light it and there you have it, a butter candle!
Now, this is an emergency tip. Like the Crisco, it is not designed to last for long periods of time without taking extra precautions. Instead of having it just in the butter like on these pictures, you can just take some butter and put it into a better container to ensure a longer burn.

Every Tablespoon of butter burns for approximately 1 hour. That means one stick of butter will give you 8 hours of emergency light. Use your time wisely.

 

warning_answer_1_xlarge WARNING: This post is not from a professional perspective and is not a recommendation from any Fire Department or Medical Professional. Candles should be handled by an adult mature enough to take the precautions necessary to handle fire.