Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Stranger by Joan Hall

Title:  The Stranger

Author: Joan Hall

Print Length: 102 pages

Publication Date: October 21, 2016

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Language: English

ASIN: B01M8LJFMT

 

The Stranger is a short read about a woman named Julie Williams, the owner of Uncommon Grounds coffee shop, the wife of a loving man and two grown children who are doing well for themselves. Julie’s life is stable and put together and everything seems fine except the feelings Julie has of her mother.

Margie Smith has just passed and there are only a few people at her funeral. As the minister gives his words, it becomes apparent that both Julie and her husband did not like Margie. She is remembered as a mean woman who cared about only herself. Not only does Julie and Mark feel this way, but even Stella Green, the nurse who worked for Margie, found the woman difficult. It seems Margie was just a mean woman and I enjoyed trying to figure out why as the author gave bits and pieces of her persona. Meanwhile, someone is watching as Julie leaves the cemetery and he seems to have just as much disdain for Margie as she does.

Since the book is short I’ll leave it here. It’s a fast paced read and I enjoyed trying to figure out who The Stranger was following Julie. I thought the feelings she had toward her mother started to get a tad repetitive and Julie was starting to get annoying with it. I just wanted her to let it go because it didn’t seem that deep. However, this too plays into the mysterious feel of the novel. Who was Margie Smith really?

I’m starting to really enjoy these psychological reads and was excited to have caught onto The Stranger’s identity ahead of time which I gave myself cool points for. (It was like a mental game lol) The Stranger is a tad predictable for me personally and I wanted more on Julie’s mother. However, an overall enjoyable read. You can’t go wrong with a book that’s short, well written and to the point.

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 4/5

Overall: 4 / 5

The Stranger is available now on Amazon

Be sure to follow Joan online!

Author Website: http://www.joanhall.net/

Twitter Handle: @JoanHallWrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joanhallwrites/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15256532.Joan_Hall

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/joanhallwrites/

Queasy

Photo by Oli Dale on Unsplash

 

Change is a sickly feeling

a nervous-like anxiety

fear of the unknown beckoning for patience

to wear itself  thin

stomach fluids swirl in the belly of futures

unknown

and yet I know the power of self-examination

of mirrors and of light

will require me to change

or let go completely

to strengthen

and to build up

to reject what once felt as close as breath

in my mouth

now a violent release of what had been

for what will be

who knew

new beginnings

could be so

queasy.

Her

stock-footage-silhouette-of-a-woman-standing-on-the-shore-and-thinking-about-something

I’ve grown an extra set of eyes just to catch the shadow in her walk. Micro-managed every detail of her smile, every light in her footsteps, and every scar in her heart. I stalk her intentions and pick out pieces of glass that may have found themselves in her thoughts when the levees poured over when the skies darkened and there was no light; when the glass broke. I scan her body with the intrigue of a man caught lusting for the first time. You see I need to make sure that her back is not bent, that her shoulders are sharp, and her head held high. I am intrigued with tasting her words before they exit her mouth, and I refuse to release my stare from the interior of her mind. I understand that my ways can be likened to that of a stalker but tell me, is it too much to zoom into her soul every morning to make sure that she smiles? Is it too much to hover over her sleeping eyes and find my way into her dreams? You see I have to make sure that she’s not distracted by destruction. I can never stop watching this woman’s ways and monitoring her heart. If I am to be of assistance to anyone it starts with her because she is me.

Poetry Contest – Closed

Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

First, I want to thank everyone who supported this contest. Whether you re-blogged or shared this across social media or participated, thank you.

I want to give a special thanks to Colleen Chesebro for allowing me space on her blog to host this and for promoting it in her weekly poetry features.

As you all know I have just released a new book and am just getting in from travel. It has therefore been a challenge to promote this contest and the book simultaneously. While I did not time the contest well, I am excited to have had the opportunity to do it and look forward to reviewing the entries and announcing our grand prize winner.

The contest is now officially over. I would extend it but honestly, it is not a good time. There are some family things to take care of and more travel in the near future. However, this is the first of many. My hope is to do this at least once a year, introducing to you more and more talented artists.

Until next time,

Peace and hair grease 🙂

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Lyn Horner, Yecheilyah Ysrayl and Tina Frisco

Special thanks to Sally for featuring us in this wonderful update.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to the first update of the week and we have two new books and new version of a very popular book which has just been lovingly remastered.

The first book is Bequiling Delilah: Romancing the Guardians – Book Six by award winning author Lyn Horner

About Bequiling Delilah

He’s a Navajo sworn to bring her to America;
She’s a sexy genius in a race with him across France

Delilah Moreau, the glamorous French Guardian, possesses a miraculous mathematical talent that provides her a privileged life, but it can’t give her what she truly wants: lasting love. Leon Tseda, a Navajo whose homeland serves as a hidden gathering place for the Guardians, vows to bring Delilah to safety, thwarting thugs sent to capture her and the valuable scroll she guards. Opening in Paris, the story whisks the pair in a life-and-death chase across France to Nice and Monte Carlo on…

View original post 1,818 more words

Thunderclap Results

First, launch weekend was amazing. Though I did not make it to Tampa, I did make it to Sanford and, for a brief moment, Orlando.  I really needed the trip and can’t thank the ladies enough for sharing this special moment with me. They treated us like royalty and the food was the bomb dot com. We had a feast of curry chicken, oxtails, red beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, plantains, the works. I am getting hungry just thinking about it. The meat fell off the bone ya’ll.

My favorite weekend pic. The shy one, the glamorous one, the silly one (those glasses loll)

Thunderclap

I won’t spend a lot of time explaining what Thunderclap is since there’s so much to share already about the experience. Briefly, it is a way to spread a single message online in a digital word of mouth type format. Learn more about Thunderclap in a previous post HERE.

Thunderclap is not as easy as it looks! Because the program is still relatively new (launching April 28, 2009, but just now getting real notoriety), there are still questions about it and understanding the best way to promote a campaign was pretty much trial and error for me. A lot of time was spent explaining to people just what this was and how to use it. Because of this, I’ve tried both right ways and wrong ways of promoting it.

Week One

I did not look at Thunderclap until the end of each day. I did this because checking back every three minutes does not help move anything forward. It also wrecks my nerves. I also did it this way because it added more to the excitement and made me feel accomplished and encouraged before getting back to it the next day. Here’s how to read my notes:

EOD = End of Day

Number =  The number of supporters I had by the end of the day

Action = What I did that day to help promote the campaign

EOD 1- 26

Action – On day one, I sent out an email blast to my email list, posted it to this blog, and on my social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and IG). This resulted in 26 supporters, not bad for day one. This may look like a small number in the grand scheme of things, but keep in mind that the number of people following you online and on the blog (as you will see at the end of this post) has nothing to do with the number of people who will actually support you. Judge the pulse of your blog by engagement more so than numbers.

EOD 2 – 37

Action – Contacted someone who sent a mass email on my behalf. Also changed headline on blog post and tags. When I published the blog post on day one I didn’t really think it through. The headline was:

“Let’s Make Some Noise!”

Shy EC: “Umm…hi. That’s not very inviting. Sounds kinda arrogant.”

I had to check myself because that’s not the impression I want to give at all because it’s not who I am. I went back and changed it to “I Need Your Social Media Support”.  This simple change resulted in more people willing to support. On Day Two, I also changed the tags to the original post.

I am not going to get deep into why tags are so important. Just know that they help people to discover your blog. There’s more to it but that’s the short version. I always include tags specific to certain days on my blog posts along with my regular tags (for instance, this post includes #Tuesdayshares because it’s Tuesday).

Since it was a Thursday, I initially used: #ThrowbackThursday #ThankfulThursday

Day two was on a Friday so I changed it to: #LinkYourLife and #BluSkyFriday

Photo Break – We were photo bombed. Check the sista in the back loll

EOD 3 – 49

Action – I didn’t do anything on Saturday. Listening to Shy EC, I put some space between the promotions to give people a chance to support it without thinking I am spamming them.

EOD 4 – 53

Action – I sneaked a peek at the page Sunday morning and saw that I was still at 49. Needless to say, business EC kicked it. Doing nothing didn’t really help my Campaign. I thought about my networks and decided to call my big sister. After talking with her about it I decided to do another Facebook shout. This time my focus was on family members and genetic relatives. I specifically tagged those of blood relation on purpose. I knew others would support me but this was to reach out to relatives to see if they would. Well, we all know relatives. Of everyone, I tagged only a few took action. However, the post did bump it up four points which was good. Every little bit helps.

EOD 5 – 59

Action – Day five was a busy day so I didn’t get to check my results until late. On this day, I sent individual emails to contacts, not on my email list. These are individuals who are great supportive influences in the blogging / Indie Author community but also very busy people. I was nervous to reach out to them at first but remembered that if this was to be successful I should step outside my comfort zone. So, on Day 5, I decided to email influencers personally and ask them a favor. To my excitement, they were happy to oblige. This taught me something about how important it is that we don’t make assumptions about anyone’s intentions. People are busy. Sometimes the best way to reach out is personally. Sending an email is like visiting them at their front door. You are more likely to get a response if you just talk to people.

EOD 6 – 62 *Passed the 100,000-social reach mark *

Back to my regular checking time of about 6 pm (that is when I close for the day….mostly), I didn’t do anything to promote the Campaign on this day, giving people time to put in their support organically and again, it didn’t increase by much but I did pass the 100,000-social reach mark with 100,222. I did a little happy dance but restrained my excitement. It wasn’t over. I sent more personal emails before I went to bed as well as thank you’s.

EOD 7 –  65

Action – By now I am seeing a trend. We are jumping 3 points on days where there is little to no promotion. At the end of Day 7, I complained spoke to my husband about it.

Moshe – “So why don’t you just get on your grind?”

EC – (*Laughs inwardly. He something else*) – “I don’t know what else to do. I can’t keep posting to social media. People will get tired of seeing me. I don’t want to spam them.”

At the end of Day 7 I took a step back. While I managed to reach more than half of my goal in seven days, I wasn’t jumping around about it. Over half is not all. I needed to think of ways to keep the momentum going until the goal was met.

EOD 8 – 69

Action – After thinking over yesterday’s results, I realized I couldn’t count on ‘blasting’ the message out too much. What seemed to work best is reaching out to people individually so that’s what I did. I also did some research on the best way to promote a Thunderclap Campaign to see how others have done it and how they fared. In addition to reaching out individually, pictures of the campaign itself also helps. I have found the more transparent you are, the more people will support you. Updates with screenshots of the campaigns growth helps a lot.

Photo Break – I got to attend a graduation while I was in Florida. Congrats again on your Bachelor’s big baby. You did that.

2016 Thunderclap Results – 35%

2017 Thunderclap Results – 109%

I am humbled to see such tremendous growth between my network last year and this year. When I started my campaign my husband told me I would exceed 100 people even before I got my first supporter and I did. Still, I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks to everyone who shared and re-blogged my blog posts and shared it across social media when I promoted the campaign.

In the end, I reached 170 thousand people in ten countries and 59 cities in 44 days. On July 15th, when the book released, my message went out through the platform of these 109 people. This is when your Thunderclap Campaign “Tips”. It means that because you reached your goal, your message was shared.

Recommendation

I won’t bore you by going over every single day. After week one it was touch and go and doing a lot of reaching out. Toward the end, it was more and more challenging the closer I got to the goal. And then, eight days before the deadline, I got great support from genetic relatives on Facebook who pushed me over. With plenty of time left on the clock, I was able to sit back and chill, letting more support trickle in organically since by this time, whatever support I got was extra being I was already at my goal.

On the one hand Thunderclap is a great way to promote your book. However, it is best suited for those with large enough platforms. By this I don’t just mean your numbers but people who will act on your behalf. While I met my goal, I would not have had to work as hard if my network was bigger. Since I met over half of my goal in the first week maybe next time, as I grow, I can set a higher target and a shorter window.

My biggest suggestion for those of you who choose to use Thunderclap is to please be realistic with everything. The time-frame for your campaign and the goal you wish to reach must both be realistic.

  1. Give yourself enough time to promote and build support
  2. Choose a goal that is realistic for your network

Time

I chose a little over 30 days because my platforms are small. I found both positives and negatives about this:

It gave me enough time to gather the support I needed. I read somewhere that someone did a campaign for just eight days. Had I copied this I would not have made my goal. This is what I mean by the strength of your network. I was only striving for 100 supporters and that was hard (lol) but in the future, that will be easy as my network grows. Which leads me to the negatives.

Although 30 days gave me lots of time to build support, it also drained me. I discovered quickly that Thunderclap works best when there is something done to promote it every single day which means I’d recommend putting some kind of plan together. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just something you can do everyday to move it forward. If your campaign is too long you may not be as committed to pushing it as you would on a shorter time-frame.

I would therefore not recommend Thunderclap for new authors with little to no platform. It will overwhelm you.

Choose a Realistic Target

Thunderclap gives you the option of 100, 250, or 500+ far as the number of people you can try to reach. Be realistic about this. If you are virtually unknown, have never used Thunderclap before or have a small platform don’t try to reach for a number that is not realistic for you. Think about your platforms. Look at it and break it down into realistic figures: How many of these people are going to put forth action vs. those who will just like your post?

While there are other programs similar to Thunderclap that will allow you to set smaller targets, Thunderclap carries the most weight because it is most known of crowd-sourcing. While running the campaign, I found that people will like your post and think they have supported the campaign. You will have to tell them that they must click on the link and follow through for it to work. When I told people this, I got more support. Again, most people won’t know what Thunderclap is. You will have to walk them through it or they won’t support because they don’t know how. Keep this in mind when promoting your campaign. Reach out to people and check on them. It may not be that they don’t want to support but that they don’t know how.

Thunderclap also asks for permission to post on your behalf and access to certain information which people aren’t comfortable with. This requires the host of the Campaign to reassure individuals that their information is not being shared and that the process is safe. I’d like to add here that most of the Apps we download to our phones request access to certain information as well. You’ll be surprised to what extent, from access to passwords and text messages to permission to record your conversation. Reassure your supporters that this is a one-time message posted to their page and that it is OK. They may not even notice it when it posts.

Photo break – The ladies and me trying not to look hungry as we wait for the food to be ready.

IMG_1947

Thunderclap Tips

When your campaign goal has been met and your message hits social media, this means your Campaign has tipped and is now being shared. I’m not feeling how the message is displayed once it tips. This is my second time working with Thunderclap but my first time tipping. I thought it would be just the message with the link to where to get the book. Instead, it shows on Facebook in a similar fashion to when you are promoting the campaign, with the Thunderclap link. To me, this doesn’t look very authentic or enticing. It looks, in fact, more like an Ad. I did not like this.

So, yes or no to Thunderclap?

Yes – If you have a platform

Yes – If you are willing to work it

Yes – If you schedule it ahead of time

Yes – If you think you can get at least 100 people to act

No – If you have little to no platform

No – If you don’t have time to promote it

No – If you can’t schedule it at least one month in advance

No – If you don’t think you can get at least 100 people to act


Be sure to check out my latest interview with the beautiful Nadine on her website HERE. It is part one with the second part coming tomorrow.

“Storytellers are responsible for telling the truth. For writing the shackles off history.”  ― Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Also, be sure to join me and fellow Rave Reviews Book Club Members Mary Carlomango, Jennifer Owenby, and Kerry Hall in another episode of Rave Waves “TAG TEAM 2* 4* 5*”, hosted by John W. Howell and Gwen Plano on Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 12:00p.