Remember

Photo by Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash

Remember that you get access to exclusive information when you sign up for my email list!

SIGN UP HERE

Here’s a quick tutorial:

  • Access to my books for free
  • News and Writer links / resources
  • Updates on my projects / books I am reading
  • A chance to promote your book using my platform (email me your book cover and buy link after signing up. I have stopped doing this but I am ready to begin again.)
  • First notice of events, sales, and special announcements
  • Personal reflections not shared on this blog

To be clear, signing up for my email list is not the same as signing up for this blog. Signing up for this blog gives you access to every post I publish and a chance to connect with me and my writing. Signing up for my email list gives you access to anything I do not share on this blog so you won’t just be getting the same information. What you will get as a member of my email list is exclusive pieces of inspiration, free books and resource links you won’t find on this blog.

 

Peace and Hair Grease

Yecheilyah

Advertisements

What’s So Special About You?

1-1254760156mOJO

Lately, I’ve been asking myself, “What is the benefit of subscribing to your blog/email list?” The answer to this question loomed over me and really got me thinking. “Is there a benefit?” What is it that I’m offering that makes subscribing to my email list or blog such a big deal? What is it about it that will make readers feel, well, special?

I was happy to discover this article: 7 Emails You Should Send Your Subscribers (But Probably Don’t). While advice is always “take it or leave it”, Will makes some great points. For instance, in this post he explains the kind of content you should include in your email newsletter. One set of questions I zoomed in on that really convicted me and got me to thinking was this one:

What sets apart all those bloggers who can rapidly build an insanely engaged audience from those who have to beg and plead just to get a handful of shares?”

This question convicted me because I’ve been thinking a lot about the content of this blog. I noticed that often bloggers receive the same support over and over again. The same five or ten people who like and comment on every post. While this is most excellent, I became concerned about the direction of this blog and whether or not I was reaching you. While I don’t intend on reaching everyone, it became a deep concern that the people who were once interested in my blog no longer were. So I thought, could it be content? But my content has not changed. Will went further with his questioning:

What sets apart all those bloggers who can rapidly build an insanely engaged audience from those who have to beg and plead just to get a handful of shares? Is the answer really just “great content?” Content is important, but plenty of bloggers put just as much time, energy and care into their content as those in the top tier, only to experience 10% of the results.

Exactly! Someone finally said it. For the record, I’m not in the business of begging, but Will’s questions did trigger something and I’m excited it did. I have long wondered if content alone was the key to a successful blog (I use successful loosely sense it is so dependent on your own definition of success).  Now, as a blogger content is something we hear a lot. But, is blogging just about content? Or is there something else that is needed to keep an audience? Well, I kept reading:

So what do the big guys have that the little ones don’t? They have a relationship with their audience.

Ahhh. There it is. The relationship. Blogging is not just about content, it is also about the relationship! This is why I have also created an email Newsletter because its more personal. Like Will, even though I know the author is speaking to a large group, getting a personal email still makes me feel special as a subscriber. Even though my blog posts are sent directly to the emails of those who follow me (via email) an email list is still more personal and, contrary to popular belief, not old fashioned. A study by McKinsey revealed that, “E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media — nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.” But now I had more questions. This time about Newsletters:“Is there a huge benefit to subscribing to my email newsletter?” One thing that got my confidence up is a point Will made in this article. He said to be more personal in your email list. Instead of sending links of your recently blogged post, talk to us as if we are sitting at the computer/tablet/phone reading you. This got my confidence up because it is something I’ve always done. I never just list my accomplishments and upcoming events in my email newsletter. This can be boring. Readers can follow my updates just by being on my Social Media so again,“What makes subscribing to my newsletter so special?” If someone follows my blog and social networks, why should they also follow my email list? Some people include links to their recent blog posts in their email newsletters. I do not. It doesn’t make much sense to me. I don’t really get how that can be productive when I already have followers of my blog who get the latest post in their email. You mean I should also send them additional emails with links to my recent blog posts? Is that an email newsletter or just another blog? I didn’t know, but I kept reading because I’m not blog perfect and there is still so much I need to learn. As I read on, I discovered that Will makes another great point. An alternative to providing the link in your newsletter to your recent blog post:

…. too few bloggers consider the pros and cons of each approach before making a decision. They just send a link to their posts because that’s what everyone else seems to do.

This stood out to me. It stood out to me because according to my own personal experience as well as research on clicks in a post, people do not use them much. They may click on a link once but that’s pretty much it with only a few (and I do mean a few, like probably just three of your best friends) exceptions. This means that the chances of someone clicking on multiple  links in your newsletter or blog post to go to additional sites are slim. This is one of the reasons I don’t like posting links in my blog post of other sites without some explanation of what the link is about. I don’t want you to miss out on the info just because you didn’t feel like clicking the link. Like now, at least you have some insight into Will’s article even if you didn’t click on it! (It is however, important to know that while people may not be interested in clicking links, that doesn’t have anything to do with the success or failure of the post. That’s right, we don’t care. What readers care most about is ease of navigation. Though we may not want to click on, it won’t affect us coming around unless your blog is extremely difficult to navigate. In fact, readers are probably not even thinking about clicks until you said something. The 3-Click rule is outdated. Kind of. Yes people don’t want to click on lots of links, but the number doesn’t have anything to do with it. Today its about ease of convenience. You can have one or five links and most people won’t bother to click them period, which I discovered by measuring how many opens my emails get verses clicks on any links in the actual email. There are always more opens of the email than clicks on links in the email. Common sense thus told me its better to say everything in the body of the email instead of having people follow a link). Another point to remember about just including project updates and advertisements / announcements in your email newsletter is this:

Just think about how rare and uncommon it is to receive an email that asks nothing of you. Its sole purpose is to educate, inspire, and help you.

Isn’t that the type of mailing list you’ll tell others about? Isn’t it the kind of list that survives the occasional inbox purging when you get tired of all the emails you’re receiving? Isn’t it the kind of list whose owner you’ll tend to trust?

This is why I try to keep my advertisement to a minimum. As I’ve stated before, I do think too much promotion is something that exist because it lacks the balance of the other components that can make it work. I thought also about the email lists of others I am subscribed to and how much I really enjoy the ones that offer me guidance, such as author tips and article links, without always asking me to purchase or donate something. These are the kinds of email list and blogs I want to follow, the ones that inspire and inform in addition to whatever else is being offered. But still, there is so much Will spoke about that I would like to improve on in relation to my blog and email list and it all begins with the question: “What’s so special about you?”

Writer’s Quote Wednesday + Three Day Quote Challenge Day #3

Hello there loves, this Writer’s Quote Wednesday I will be combining WQW with the final day of my Special Three Day Quote Challenge. Special thank you again to Roo for nominating me for the challenge. I hope you don’t mind my special twist on the initial challenge :).

I hope that my quotes these past days have been an inspiration and a strength to you. Since Writer’s Quote Wednesday is the last day of this challenge for me, I will combine this challenge with that weekly prompt so as not to overwhelm you with quotes.

I will also not explain the quotes as usual. Instead, I want to know what you think of the quote. What comes to your mind, how would you interpret it and all that good stuff. OK, we ready? Here we go.

Quote #3 Day #3 + WQW:

WQW

For this final 3 day special challenge, in which I have featured my own quotes, I challenge Yinglan for the 3 Day Quote Challenge. You can choose to participate and follow the traditional rules, my rules, or not participate at all. It’s completely up to you.

Special Challenge Rules:

1. Post three consecutive days.

2. You can pick one or three quotes per day.

3. Challenge ONE different blogger per day.

As for the rest of you, what do you think my quote means?

In Case You Missed It:

Quote Day #2

Quote Day #1

***

010516_2129_writersquot1

Week #4: Interracial Blog Feature – Beyond The Colored Line with Andre Wells + Special Gifts!

interracial

 

Since this is the final interview I will skip through the semantics and get straight to the point.

 

 

 

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. Not just between  whites and blacks but between all diverse relationships.

Today, we welcome a special guest in as our final interviewee. I didn’t know initially that both he and his wife wanted to be interviewed and being I did have an extra spot left you can imagine my excitement. Help me to welcome Andre Wells, husband to Allison Wells from last weeks segment, to the blogosphere.

EC: Well hello there Mr. Wells. As our first and only male guest I appreciate your boldness in letting me interview you! I was starting to think this was a woman thing LOL. So, you know the routine, can you give the racial background of you and your wife for the record and how long you’ve been together?

AW: Hello EC. My name is Andre Wells and I am African American and my wife is Hispanic and Caucasian. We’ve been together for about 12 years, Married almost 10.

EC: Excellent. Now, the character in my book, Stella May, is what the people of her era deem a mulatto, that is, she is of mixed ancestry. You have children who are biracial. What advice would you give to fathers of mixed children on how to deal with the stigmas that are often placed to them?

AW: Be honest with your children about who they are and the struggles they may have to face. Teach them how to respond to stigmas and challenges.

EC: I like that, “teach them how to respond to stigmas and challenges”. Speaking of challenges, what are some challenges that interracial couples deal with that couples of the same race may not have to deal with?

AW: Some people think I am over dominant over my wife or feel the woman must be the head of house because the black man must not be that responsible.

5143497-120875522_3-v1

EC: Interesting. There is a big controversy within the black community concerning role reversal or the topic of submission and authority in general.

Mr. Wells, 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 personal opinion, since you would know more than any of our guests! As a black man, and your experience with Interracial Relationships, what do you think attracts other ethnicities to black men?

AW: Black men are unique. Unique in our looks; unique in the way we carry ourselves; even the way we raise our families. In most cases white women want black men but don’t want the stigmas that come along with it.

EC: Wow. Speaking of black men, 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 or your wife ever had the misfortune of the title and why do you think this is?

AW: I’ve heard that term in reference to relationships such as mine. I think it stems from feeling betrayed, jealousy, misunderstanding and some just down right racism.

EC: Speaking of opinions, a lot of people discern that blacks who speak with a professional tongue are trying to sound white. I speak from experience. My husband is not white but he’s very educated and he grew up in a diverse city as well where the majority of people in the town were white. Of the blacks present, he was teased by them a lot for his speech. They said that he sounded, “White”. As a man married to a “bi-racial” woman, what are your thoughts on this?

AW: Black men / women who have to live in a world where success is often based on one’s professionalism and ability to communicate properly, some may face scrutiny when trying to present themselves as respectable individuals in society.

EC: Mr. Wells I am enjoying this interview I must say. Now, speaking of speech, I’ve always wondered about the conversations between interracial couples concerning the ongoing racial tensions surrounding blacks and whites. Are there any moments when you and your wife disagree with a subject that is race related? If so, how do you deal with that?

AW: For the most part we understand and agree concerning each others racial differences. We look to the bible to help us have knowledge of who we are and that generally relieves any confusion we may have.

EC: Speak brother speak! Hope I’m not offending anyone out there, yall know I’m silly hee hee. So loving this interview right now yaass LOL. Were almost done though. 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?

Photo Credit: Copyright© Andre and Allison Wells. Used with permission.

AW: I didn’t have knowledge of who I was when I met Allison. But even so, I didn’t even begin to discriminate or allow race to determine who or how I love someone. To me, those days demonstrated racism and racism restricts people from fulfilled lives.

EC: Indeed. Andre, I want to thank you again for being part of this series, it has truly been a pleasure. If there is one form of advice you would give to people still struggling to accept Interracial Relationships, what would it be?

AW: Know that not every “interracial relationship” is joined together because they deny their own or even prefer another race. Some are actually together; love enjoins them and friendship maintains them.

EC: Can I ask you that same question again? I need you to repeat your answer for the record lol. No, seriously, in closing, as someone who has been married for some time, name one thing that has kept your relationship going.

AW: A relationship together in spirit and in truth.

EC: Thank you Mr. Wells, it has truly been a pleasure.

AW: Anytime.

***

It is unusual for me not to put much thought into scheduling Mr. Well’s interview last, simply because I tend to plan everything (well, mostly everything). From the dates I choose to release my books to a subject as complex as this one, nothing I ever do hardly come without reason or significance. That said however, I didn’t put much thought into scheduling Mr. Wells interview last. But as I reflect on his answers, I am thankful for how this series has ended. His answers, in my opinion, summed everything up very nicely. I love how he brought in the bible and spoke concerning identity. What people must understand is that when I bring up these kinds of topics it is not about white or black. I am not trying to unite a color of people. It is not, then, about blacks or whites; it is about identity and nationhood.

Contrabands_at_Headquarters_of_General_Lafayette_by_Mathew_BradyIt’s been a long ride for our people here in the America’s; from slavery, to Jim Crow, to racism, imprisonment, police brutality, the list goes on. Black people are the only group of people whose nationality changes with the census. They are the only people who cannot trace their lineage back to their natural heritage. If there is any people on the face of the earth more discriminated against than they, more despised and more afflicted then they please, inform me. They are such; the African American is, because their problem is not physical. Being deeper than racism itself, their problem is spiritual. If African Americans can begin to search deeper into the question of “Who am I and what is my purpose?” Then race and the concept of black and white in general will eventually fade. As I have stated on this blog plenty of times and as I will continue to state, I use black and white as terms for understanding, but I do not consider it my nationality. Black is, after all, a color but it does not define nationhood.

I want to thank everyone so much who has taken the time to support this series, either as interviewees or as interactions. I know it touched someone somewhere and for that I am thankful.

As a token of my appreciation for those who have opted to share a piece of themselves with us, I have a special gift.

6482435-120875522_3-v1

Over the course of my writing career I have published a number of books and I have carefully chosen a few of them (the ones I think are the best lol) and placed them here. I want you (Interviewees) to each choose which book you would like to have and I will mail it to you at no cost. I am a hard-copy type person so your book will be a hard-copy. It is my way of saying thank you. Choose any one of these you like and email me your mailing address (Please visit the website to see what each book is about. I don’t want to list it here to preserve space on an already lengthy post. Just click on each book as if you were buying it and it shows what each is about):

Stella Book #2

26372935

Stella Book #1

Stella front

Pearls Before Swine Vol #1 (a play)

PBS bc front

From Girlhood to Womanhood (poetry)

Yecheilyah-72dpi-1500x2000-e-book

In Case You Missed It:

The Interracial Blog Feature – Interviews Beyond The Colored Line:

Week #1
Week #2
Week #3
Week #4

Interracial Blog Feature- Interview Reminder for 10/8/2015

interracialThis is a reminder to tune into The PBS Blog every Thursday starting tomorrow 10/8/2015 until the end of this month for my Interracial Blog Feature. In this series, I will be interviewing four individuals who are in Interracial Relationships. Each week, they will be sharing with us their experiences beyond the colored line, the ups, downs, joys and triumphs. Each person provided a different perspective into the subject of race and its influence on relationships. Not only did it provide me with a history lesson but we all learned something in the process. They have sent me pictures of their beautiful families and handled each question with intellect, honesty, and fierceness! I love that.

The Interviews are scheduled to post every Thursday morning (starting tomorrow) until the end of the month at 8:00p CST. I can’t wait to witness your support of my friends and to show you what they had to offer.

Until tomorrow,

file(8)

– EC

Special Places

150208_0001I find you in diverse places: coffee shops, libraries, community centers, parks, even out on the front lawn! Writer’s sprinkled miscellaneously about the earth: polished glasses, warm tea or iced coffee (depending on the weather), Mac books, PC’s and a 3 1/2 pound miracle between their ears. Is there a special place you go to write? You can’t see it, but it’s there; the invisible surge of energy that powers creativity. Electricity is all around us–the power of technology beating through our cell phones, lights, computers, and dishwashers. Yet technology has not its hold on electricity, for it exists beyond the tangibility of anything we can explain. We have not precisely deciphered its definition or explained the beauty of lightening. Energy, it pulses its way through nature, and slithers its way through our fingers.

The table circles its way around my small dining room, with four chairs to keep it company. One of these chairs props itself against the wall and faces forward. From here I can see the landscape of everything from the living room, to the kitchen and peer out the window at the same time. The swimming pool is naked of bodies and is in need of attention from maintenance. It’s a nice day in Shreve City; right now the community is as quite as it often is on Sundays except for the elderly woman walking her puppies. There is nothing special about this view, yet it is where I go to charge when I have not the solitude of being away at the office. It is an unusual place, yet being here is incentive enough to write. Here I may fulfill the need of written expression the moment I sit my bottom in this wallflower of a chair, revitalized by the invisible power that charges our anxious need to build.

Guest Feature – A Modern Day Slave Plantation by Laura Dimon Part 2

*Note: This article was not written by The PBS Blog, it is featured as part of the continuation of an ongoing series and is written by Laura Dimon. Please view our Guest Feature or Article Section for Part 1*

**************************

Angola_Prison_--_Leadbelly_in_the_foreground

In 1972, the prisoners were virtually all black. Merciless guards — all white men, called “freemen” — worked the inmates like slaves. Sugar cane was the main crop, King said. In the documentary film In the Land of the Free, it’s stated that the inmates labored all day every day for a measly $.02 per hour. The abuse didn’t stop there. As NPR reported, “There was a prisoner slave trade and rampant rape; inmates slept with J.C. Penney catalogs tied to their waists for protection.” King was one of three men who formed the famous Angola 3 group, leaders of the Black Panther Party’s Angola chapter. King said they were fighting for equality, but he later realized their efforts had been misaimed: “We were focused on civil rights, but we didn’t have human rights,” he said.

 

Prison Horses

In our most recent conversation, I asked King, “How’s it going?” “It’s … ongoing,” he replied. It’s easy to see why: Little has changed at Angola. It remains a time warp, a living, breathing relic of a shameful past. Of about 6,000 inmates currently in custody, roughly 70% are black and 30% are white. In October 2008, NPR reported, “In the distance on this day, 100 black men toil, bent over in the field, while a single white officer on a horse sits above them, a shotgun in his lap.” The context of this modern day slave plantation is unfortunately appropriate. Nola.com wrote that Louisiana is the world’s “prison capital,” with 1 in 86 residents serving time — nearly double the national average. The racial skew is extreme. One in 14 black men in New Orleans is behind bars; 1 in 7 is either in prison, on parole or on probation. Louisiana is “notorious for racial disparities in its justice systems,” Andrew Cohen wrote in the Atlantic.

 

One highly concerning aspect of Louisiana’s judicial scheme is that, unlike in 48 states, a unanimous jury decision is not required — only 10 jurors have to vote to convict someone, even for a life sentence. Oregon is the only other state with this system, but it doesn’t have the same tremendous racial component. Cohen wrote, “Prosecutors can comply with their constitutional obligations to permit blacks and other minority citizens to serve as jurors but then effectively nullify the votes of those jurors should they vote to acquit.” It is one of “the most obvious and destructive flaws in Louisiana’s broken justice system,” he wrote, arguing, plain and simple: “Louisiana is terribly wrong to defend a law that was born of white supremacy.”

grace-before-dying-513x190
A Duke University study examined more than 700 non-capital felony criminal cases in Florida and found that, in cases with no blacks in the jury pool, blacks were convicted 81% of the time while whites were convicted 66% of the time. The researchers concluded that “the racial composition of the jury pool has a substantial impact on conviction rates” and that “the application of justice is highly uneven.”

 

Image Credits: AP, Peter Puna, Robert King, Google Images