Excellent idea from Sally on encouraging reviews. I think some people think leaving a review means writing a literary critique. A small reminder that it is just them leaving their opinion about the book is most excellent.
I am very keen to make reviews a prominent feature of the book promotions and encourage readers to review the books that they buy and enjoy, or not as the case may be.
Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool that anyone who is selling a product benefits from. Authors are no different, and our books tend to be judged by the number and quality that they have received.
Part of the problem is that those who are not writers of books or blogs are uncomfortable in offering reviews and feel that what they have to say is not important. Many who do review a book, leave just one line after their star rating, simply saying that the reader enjoyed or disliked a book, but they do not elaborate.
That is obviously very welcome. But whilst a potential reader does not want to read three pages filled…
Occasionally on the blog we will talk with one of our author friends, gaining valuable insights into their behind the scene world. Today we meet with Yecheilyah Ysrayl, an extraordinary writer and book blogger, among other things.
Join me as we delve deep – or as deep as we can in 21 Questions; not everybody gives up the goods – with Yecheilyah.
DAN: Welcome to the blog! What is the working title of your next book?
Yecheilyah: Thank you, Dan, for having me. The working title for my next book is Renaissance and it’s Book One in The Nora White Story. It releases in 116 days, 15 hours, 30mins and 40 seconds from now. Not that you care.
That’s more precise than my alarm clock! Tell me, how hard was it to hit that “Publish” button the first time and send your book into the…
Its that time of the week again! Welcome to another edition of Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Hope Destiny. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Latisha. I write under Tisha as well as the pseudonym Hope Destiny. I live in Orlando, Florida.
The Sunshine state! I love it. Your pseudonym is beautiful. What made you decide on this name in particular?
I was airing out my dirty laundry to the world about what I did when I was younger that I shouldn’t have been doing as well as the violations I endured and my feelings about my parents, and I just didn’t want any family members to know it was me or read it so as I was writing it the name just came to me, and I questioned it at first and tried to change it, but God already had planted that seed so it was no way around it or giving it up.
Hmmm. OK. Tell me, what would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
Quiet. No sound.
I feel you. I enjoy silence myself. I understand you are employed outside of writing? Tell us about your job.
I am a Controller at a telecommunications company.
Cool. What’s your favorite color?
If you could shadow your favorite artist, who would it be?
OK OK, I see you. Cleaning out my closet was my jam back in the day, Lol. Seems like a lifetime ago. Speaking of music, what kind of music do you like?
Slow throwback R&B.
Yaass! Me too. You’ll love PBS Throwback Thursdays. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
May 2014. It was exhilarating.
You Don’t Know My Story: I Don’t Look Like What I Been Throughwas published in May 2014. (You Still Don’t Know My Story, and Let Me Finish Telling You My Story was published after that and each about 6 months apart). Part One chronicles my life from a child to the age of 18 years old with the subsequent books from the age of 18 and up. It was heartbreaking to write. I cried a lot. It was hard to recall memories that I had locked up in the attic of my memory to forget them and to move on then I realized how that only caused the anger that shrouded my heart which in turn lead to failed relationships and failed marriages. I had a wall up. I didn’t love anyone. Not even my own children so it was sad. I gave them things in place of love sort of like I was given growing up. It was an endless vicious cycle that needed to be broken and I wanted…no needed to break it.
Sounds like a gripping read. I like that cover too. I’m gonna have to check you out as soon as I find the time to read all these books! Hope, how long have you been married?
Almost one year.
Awwue! Go ahead Newlywed. Alright now fellas, you heard it here first, Hope is married. Lol. Children?
Yes. One girl and two boys.
Total preciousness. What takes up too much of your time?
Can you explain that?
There is always something that keeps you from doing things that you want to do. I would love to write every day all day but I can’t. I have a job. No. I have a career. While my imagination runs wild with stories and ideas all day, I crunch numbers as it does. I am the main breadwinner in my entire family. So many responsibilities. My parents. My children. Nieces and nephews and etc always needing things and I have to be the one to give it. Granted…everyone (my siblings mainly) had the same opportunities that I had but no one wanted the responsibility of doing what it took to get it. I am the responsible one. Everyone depend on me so I can’t live in my fantasy writer world that calls me. I have to live in the now so what really takes up a lot of my time? The need and want to put others before my own needs and wants. Other people problems take up a lot of my time.
Yea, I can imagine that’s a huge responsibility and some serious stress. Praying for your strength. Speaking of life, what do you think of the world we live in?
Hope has a lot of reads for you to explore! Visit her Author Amazon Page HERE
What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The time to write. Finishing it.
As noted above….time is what I have so little of with a demanding career and family as I have so that is just it…so much to do…so little time….that is my mantra.
Once I do finish a novel, it is euphoric. I have completed a task (a most difficult one) that I had set out to do. It is always exciting to complete a difficult task with very little time.
Indeed. And speaking of finishing, why is writing important to you?
I am always thinking about stories all day, everyday and scenes and such or an idea pops in my head and I always wrote poetry as a child to deal with a lot of anger and hurt of growing up with parents that were there but not there so writing became an outlet as it has now.
Thru all the hurt and pain I endured from a child and on, I learned that writing takes me places and gives me that release I yearn for. A release from pain and misery and I can make it continue or end.. in a story. In a story, it is a life I really control. The characters life is in my hands and they don’t have to be miserable like I was. It is wonderful.
Thank you for spending this time with us. I am sure you’ve given many new authors some Hope today!
We live in computers
wirelessly crossing dimensions
the deafening silence of
that ain’t connected
how do you know
if I wrote this poem in my own
or scribbled these letters
with the sharpened edge of my own
how do I know
that you didn’t throw me a smile
minus the jagged tooth remains
of a dilapitated heart
cause the grass is always greener
on social media
when we live in a world
where emojis digitize
the masks we wear
until our differences melt the pride
and phony personas
hanging off the edge of gravatars
profile pictures and WordPress walls
that captured nothing but smiling faces
and not the lies behind them
because virtual realities
is anything but virtuous
for we hide
and cartoon ourselves
into the people
we wish we were
speak in a language we are too afraid
tremble in the presence
too afraid of human connection
how would you know
if I wrote this poem in my own
or scribbled these letters
with the sharpened edge of my own
how could I know
If you emojied me a smile
minus the jagged tooth remains
of a dilapitated heart
here, in this place
where we log out of life
I am off today as usual and I’m actually not at home but I wanted to share the first official review for Nora. A special thank you to Rachel for taking the time to read and review my book. Her honest feedback is just what I need to make improvements before the big day.
Title: Renaissance: The Nora White Story Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Published: July 15, 2017 Genre: Historical Fiction How I got the book: I received a free eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review
When seventeen-year-old NoraWhite successfully graduates High School in 1922 Mississippi and is College bound, everyone is overjoyed and excited. Everyone except Nora. She dreams of Harlem, Cotton Clubs, Fancy Dresses, and Langston Hughes. For years, she’s sat under Mr. Oak, the big oak tree on the plush green grass of her families five acres, and daydreamed of The Black Mecca.
The ambitious, young Nora is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance and decides she doesn’t want to go to College. Despite her parent’s staunch protest, Nora finds herself in Jacobsville, New York, a small town forty-five minutes outside of Harlem.
“Is it true that ‘Anna’ stands for ‘Ain’t No Niggers Allowed’?” I asked at the convenience store in Anna, Illinois, where I had stopped to buy coffee. “Yes,” the clerk replied. “That’s sad, isn’t it,” she added, distancing herself from the policy. And she went on to assure me, “That all happened a long time ago.” “I understand [racial exclusion] is still going on?” I asked. “Yes,” she replied. “That’s sad.”—conversation with clerk, Anna, Illinois, October 2001. James W. Loewen, Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism (Touchstone, 2006),3
Anna, Illinois was named after the daughter of the founder of the town, but got its more derogatory name after the 1909 lynching of a black man in Cairo IL and the mob of angry white citizens who drove out Anna’s 40 or so black families following the lynching. It is at this point that Anna, IL became a sundown town.
A sundown town is a town with an exclusive population of non-whites on purpose. They are towns with overwhelming populations of non-whites and are so deliberately.
Historically, the name Sundown-town comes from Blacks not being allowed in certain towns beyond sunset and the signs that some towns posted within their city limits warning Blacks not to let the sun go down on them in that town (see pics).
Side Note: I wonder if that’s where the parental command to be in the house when the street lights came on, comes from? I’d have to explore that one.
Although signs were posted, forced exclusion was also implemented:
“There were also race riots in which white mobs attacked black neighborhoods, burning, looting, and killing. Across America, at least 50 towns, and probably many more than that, drove out their African American populations violently. At least 16 did so in Illinois alone. In the West, another 50 or more towns drove out their Chinese American populations. Many other sundown towns and suburbs used violence to keep out blacks or, sometimes, other minorities.” – America’s Black Holocaust Museum, James W. Loewen, PhD; Fran Kaplan, EdD; and Robert Smith, PhD
Sundown towns began after Slavery and the Civil War when blacks left the plantations and poured into every city and corner of the country. This was followed by the system we know as Jim Crow, in which black codes and laws were made for the intention of keeping blacks as enslaved as possible despite their free status.
Of course, we are familiar by now with the eyes that had to be kept to the ground, the stepping to the side when whites walked by, the separate restrooms and water fountains, movie theaters and many others. But in addition to all this were sundown towns, all-white neighborhoods where blacks were not allowed to live. Many of these towns existed in the North as the Great Migration brought floods of blacks into Northern Cities.
These communities feared the blacks pouring into their neighborhoods and established Sundown towns by evicting black residents and not allowing them in.
This statue of Orville Hubbard which sits outside of the City Hall in Dearborn Michigan, was the cause of much controversy when people started to learn more about his past.
Hubbard was the mayor of the then all-white suburban town outside of Detroit from 1942 to 1978 and in a 1969 speech acquired by the New York Times said that “If whites didn’t want to live with N–they sure didn’t have to.” He went on to say that this was a free country and that this was America.
“City police cars bore the slogan ‘Keep Dearborn Clean,’ which was a catch phrase meaning ‘Keep Dearborn White,’ ” according to David Good, a lifelong resident of the city who is the author of ‘‘Orvie: The Dictator of Dearborn,” a biography of Mayor Hubbard.
“Out here in Dearborn where some real Ku Klux Klans live. I know Dearborn, you know I’m from Detroit, used to live out there in Easten. And you had to go through Dearborn to get to Easten. Just like riding through Mississippi once you got to Dearborn.” -Malcolm X
Over time the name “Sundown-town” faded but Sundown Suburbs still exist. A sundown suburb is a discrete way in which Sundown-towns exist today. It is when large white populations migrate to the suburban part of the city with the express purpose of separating themselves from the minority population.
When Jason and Kathy Miller marries in June of 1985, they are in total bliss. As any young couple is they are happy and giddy and excited to start their lives together. They are so happy in fact, that even at the beginning I knew things would not be all peaches and cream.
Twenty years and three children later and the fire dies. Once happy-go-lucky Kathy is starting to feel unfulfilled. The life of a Housewife is now just her duty where it had once been so much more. It had once been fun. Now that the children are older, Kathy seeks work to rekindle the excitement in her life but her husband is not pleased.
Jason can’t understand why his wife is so discontent and is unsure of Kathy’s love for him. After revealing that she’d like to start work, Jason is not happy but leaves it to Kathy to make the decision. She decides to work and though it makes her feel like she has a purpose, things do not get better.
When Kathy meets the owner of the Giordano’s restaurant where she works, everything she felt she was missing in Jason is handed to her on a gorgeous silver platter. Kathy is feeling Antonio Giordano and as hard as she tries to fight it, she begins to change and so does her marriage.
Jason notices the change in his wife and their relationship gets worse as they are met with trials that can threaten all the years they’ve built.
I like how Deborah let us into the not-so-good parts of marriage and the realness of Jason and Kathy’s feelings concerning their responsibility in the relationship. The author developed the persona of the characters well so that it is easy to see them as real people. I enjoyed being able to know what each person was thinking, how they were wrong about the other and ways in which they were right.
I think not having open discussions about marital issues causes a lot of people to feel alone like Kathy. Alone in the sense that others are not having the same kinds of problems but as those who are married know, we all have them!
The truth is that marriage is not all rainbows and sunflowers. If couples aren’t careful they can find themselves getting too comfortable and start to slack off in those areas that attracted them to each other in the first place. This is because not a lot of people realize how much work goes into a marriage. Once someone becomes a part of your life in such an intimate way, the relationship evolves and must be nurtured to grow. If a relationship is not growing it is dying. There is no middle ground.
Kathy is representative of many women who feel differently after children, especially if they are stay-at-home moms and have focused so many years on raising children and taking care of husbands that they forget how important their own self-care is. I think this is why it’s so important for women, wives, and mothers, in particular, to give themselves the same kind of love and attention that they give out. If you aren’t right mentally, spiritually, or physically you cannot be of help to your family or anyone else around you. Don’t forget to take care of you!
Jason is representative of many men who get comfortable as well in the relationship. Too caught up with work that they don’t realize how they are neglecting their wives in little ways and because men and women think differently, chances are he is not seeing it that way and thinks all is well. This is also why communication is so important. A lot of misunderstanding could have been resolved if Jason and Kathy told each other how they were truly feeling.