Cover Wars

We had a private cover war going on in my email list, where I asked my audience to choose between my original cover for Keep Yourself Full and a new concept I was thinking about. Almost everyone chose the new concept and together we decided to switch it up. For those of you who don’t know, I did a similar thing with I am Soul. The original cover is still up on Goodreads, while the new concept (the one loved by everyone!) is the black woman rocking the fro you can see on the amazon page, except, I didn’t have to ask which was better. I knew, without doubt, the new version of I am Soul was much, much better and readers agreed. (I love this about Indie Publishing! Total creative control.)

For Keep Yourself Full, I loved the simplicity of the original cover and the water. Water is deep enough to cleanse you yet gentle enough to quench your thirst, and still powerful enough to destroy you. Water is powerful. The new cover certainly popped more but I was concerned the flower didn’t communicate as powerfully as the water. We are talking about keeping yourself full after all, and when you think of this you instantly think, water. In the end, we chose the new concept. Here’s a snippet on why (after much thought and prayer) I decided on the new cover.

At this writing, we are entering the spring months. A time where everything is renewed, refreshed and being reborn. Colors are big, bold and vibrant. Grass is cut low to the ground and the bright greenery is beautiful. The bright, bold colors stir something exciting in your soul. There is a reason people wear black and gray during funerals or when they’re depressed. It is because colors portray mood and give off a feeling. Blue is a beautiful and powerful color. It’s symbolism is used to portray inspiration, communication, freedom, imagination, self-expression, and clarity. All the things Keep Yourself Full was written to establish; the freedom to accept ourselves as we are, to love ourselves unconditionally and to be renewed and replenished; to have a sense of clarity in regard to who we are, what our purpose is as individuals first, and the ability to communicate this in our interactions with others through our actions and words. When a flower blooms is also significant. The bloom of the flower is figurative meaning the peak or ideal moment of something. March has been a rainy month here in Georgia and April is also said to be a rainy month. Rain-loving flowers might remind us of purification, spiritual cleansing and refreshing the soul.

Publication Date: Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Publisher: Literary Korner Publishing

Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Target Audience: This book is perfect for young men and women 18-45 struggling with low self-esteem/worth, depression; Bible believers looking to be encouraged and motivated from a spiritual perspective, readers of Self-Help/Inspirational Non-fiction, lovers of inspiring quotes, poetry and books focused on self-love and self-care. 

About.

Keep Yourself Full is a spiritual handbook that focuses on our return to self-love. It is a reminder that self-care nourishes the quality of our lives and makes us fit to be of service to others. Through my own personal testimony, I give examples of how we self-abuse and how that differs from self-love, why it is important not to take things so personally, why we must establish and enforce healthy boundaries, and how assumptions kill relationships. We learn that by investing in our well-being spiritually, physically, mentally, and professionally we can be of service fully to others. It cannot be ignored that we treat others how we feel about ourselves. When we realize that what we do to others we are equally doing to ourselves, we can use this awareness to heal. By treating ourselves better, we treat others better. Keep Yourself Full is about keeping ourselves filled with love and all that is good so that we are overflowing with enough to share with everyone else.

COMING JULY 16, 2019

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Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Cursed Queen: Mystery Tales Series Book One by Carlo Ocaya

Title: The Cursed Queen: Mystical Tales Series 1

Author: Carlo Ocaya

Publishing: Coming June 19, 2019

 

*I was gifted a copy of this book from the author*

The Cursed Queen is part of Ocaya’s Mystical Tales series, a fantasy, mystery novel full of adventure and magic. The story takes place on a hidden Island called Ophen and the world is reminiscent of Bright; the movie starring Will Smith, where humans, orcs, elves, and fairies co-exist. In this book, there are short people called Hervecs, big, colorful skinned people called Broncords, animal people called Naiths, and magical people called Elves.

Yuna Queenertia has just awakened from a coma and does not understand who she is or where she is. She lives with a woman named Marianna Waterglow, who calls herself Granny, a woman named Anna and her daughter Samantha, who everyone calls Sam. Sam is hilarious and I enjoyed how the author has developed her character. (I admit I liked her better than Yuna. She just seemed more real to me, like a real little girl.) I enjoyed the tension surrounding Yuna’s confusion about who she is and why she is not allowed out of her room. The anticipation makes you want to keep reading. We soon discover that Yuna has silver hair and that because of this hair she is cursed. The people throw stones at her and treat her badly. As the book progresses, we follow Yuna, Sam, and their family on a journey of self-discovery as Yuna searches for her memories. We are taken back to her childhood for some backstory, introduced to more interesting characters with interesting abilities and discover many twists as secrets are revealed.

I do wish there was more that tied in with Yuna’s hair though. A lot is revealed but I felt that it became more about the Wraiths (a terrorist group in the magical realm), than it was about Yuna’s discovery. I would have liked for the story to dig deeper into the history behind people with silver hair more than it did. But, this is just book one so who knows what Ocaya’s got up his sleeves! I think it’s fascinating to depict someone with this hair as someone who is cursed because normally gray and silver hair is indicative of someone with wisdom.

I can see this book as a movie and would recommend it to young adults. I just feel like children would love it. Yuna’s History and Tradition teacher, for instance, is a Hervec with a long mustache that reaches to the floor, a long robe and glasses. I think this would be funny to see on the screen. Then there’s the funny little fairy Yuna and Sam meets in search for Anna. I can’t tell you much else without spoiling the book, but there’s a youthful, fun, innocence about this book that I love. Although the anticipation of Yuna discovering her memories wrecked my nerves (lol), this was a fun, adventurous read.

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Characterization: 4/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 4 /5

Overall Rating: 4 / 5

 

The Cursed Queen (Mystical Tales, #1) is available for Pre-Order at various retailers. Click Here.


About this Author:

Copyright©2019. Carlo Ocaya.

Carlo Ocaya was born and raised from the island called Saipan (No, not Spain, Saipan). Staying within his hometown for the first 19 years, he decided to join the Marine Corps and was sent to the U.S. mainland in California.

During his time in the military, Carlo began writing his first few drafts of the Mystical Tales series. He got the idea of his first book by the thought of his home. The setting of the island was meant to contain similar features as his homeland with the people and settings slightly altered. His adventure towards the states is what has created and developed his future ideas on books.

He went to school overnight in order to study the basics of writing and further his knowledge on grammar and literature. It wasn’t until the next few years that he gained the confidence to publish the book.

Independent and thriving, Carlo uses his knowledge from software engineering class to further develop his website into what it is now. He continues to further his education by learning the tricks and trade at San Diego Mesa College.

Now residing in Santa Ana, California, he stays with his brother and goes to school full time. Carlo hopes to partake in future book events and display his writing, skills, and books to others.

His first book, Mystical Tales: The Cursed Queen, will be featured within LA Times Festival of Books and San Francisco Bay Area Book Festival.

Follow him Online:

Website: https://carloocaya.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Carlo_Ocaya

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/op_t_mystic/


Have a book for me? Learn how to order a blog book review HERE

Aborted Purpose

Photo by Alexis Chloe on Unsplash

 

I know too many women aborting their purpose

Manipulating our daughters so that their dreams are tied to two horses

And the black family unit is pulled apart in both directions

And our sons are Willie Lynching their seed

On Fallopian tubes

And walking away

They forgot what grew there

They forgot there are trees with their DNA

and we gave birth to boys who never became men

I know too many women aborting their purpose

We forgot the generations of women we carried in our ovaries

at conception

So we miscarried Eve’s redemption

now the hand me down fabric of expired womanhood

dangling over the degrees of our bedroom walls

we traded our integrity for dried ink on top cream colored paper

the folded crease and stained remembrance

of what we used to be

before the glass ceiling defined us

the faded glory of the black family unit

before we were Diva’s

and Bosses

back in the day when we were content

being Queens

we traded our crowns

in exchange to do bad all by ourselves

now the stress

and the guilt

of 70% of black women

whose descendants will stare down the barrel of a gun

cause she couldn’t admit

that it takes more than a black mother

to raise a black son

No Whining Wednesday – No Reflection in Boiling Water

I think I’ve been away from this blog the longest since starting these past few months! I miss you guys! Which is why I am taking time out to chitchat with you this morning (evening for some of us). The air in Georgia is cool but I am not complaining about the cold for the first time since ever. There’s a bite to the air that’s refreshing and the warm coffee I am drinking is hugging my insides. There is a gloomy cast over the city as I am writing this and it sets the perfect tone. If you are new to No Whining Wednesday, be sure to visit the original post here to learn more about this segment. I haven’t done an NWW post in a while so we are far overdo.

 

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

I read a quote earlier this week that stayed with me. The quote said:

I encourage you to try this for yourself. It will be fun and drive the point home. Set water to a boil. Once it’s boiling good, try to see your reflection in the water. Can you see anything or is the steam too much? Let the water cool and then try again. The cooler the water, the easier it will be to see your reflection. Even after the water settles, it is difficult to see yourself if the water is still too hot.

When you are hot, popping off and steaming, you can’t think logically. You can only think emotionally. You can only think with what you are feeling at the moment. This isn’t always bad (not all stress is bad…some stress is good because it gets you excited, motivated, and charged) but too much and it blurs your vision. Only after you’ve cooled off can you see the situation clearly enough to make a sound decision.

I came upon a Facebook memory the other day that fits this well. In the post, I said the following:



And I’ll leave it here. You got this.


p.s. The Gutenberg WordPress editor is not so bad! Perhaps a bit unnecessary since the classic is easier to use but not so bad. I used it for this post and I’ll do a short tutorial soon.

3 Lessons I Learned from the Settlefree Mixer Event

If you’ve been following me on social media you have already seen the photos of this weekend’s mixer. I had a good time, though I spent most of it being reserved. I mostly listened. There were many in the room who had achieved greatness and I just wanted to soak up their wisdom. I learned a lot that way too and was given some excellent advice. I did not take many pictures at all. Most of the pictures I have were taken by others. I have included a few pictures in this post but to view more pictures, CLICK HERE.

A Deeper Understanding of Self

Copyright©2018. Tinzley Bradford and Settlefree TV.

I have learned that the way you feel about yourself influences everything around you both on and off the job. It influences the way you run your business, the way you interact in relationships, and what you choose to accept and not to accept. It controls how you speak up for yourself and how you handle disputes. How you feel about yourself is so powerful that it shapes every single decision you make from getting out of the bed in the morning to laying down in the evening. How you feel about yourself is important because it influences the choices that you make. People with high self-esteem are not people who have it together all the time or never have down and depressed moments. People with high-self-esteem are also not necessarily people who are loud and outspoken. Whether someone is quiet or outspoken should never be used as a measure for how they feel about themselves because some people are loud to cover up insecurities. And people with high self-esteem are also not arrogant and proud since love is also not arrogant and proud. Instead, people with high levels of self-esteem know that they are good people regardless of the circumstances. They have a deeply spiritual understanding of themselves because their self-perceived value of self is set high.

But, there is an issue that arises that comes along with the self-love journey that must be acknowledged. How high is too high to think of oneself? Is there such a thing as thinking too much of oneself? How do you find the balance between humility and confidence?

Narcissism is an extremely positive view of the self, combined with limited empathy for others. The difference between arrogance and confidence is an awareness of other people / the other person’s needs. That’s why I have always said that self-love gives you what you need for yourself so that you can be better for others. When you start to disregard other people’s feelings, thoughts, and perspectives you have crossed the line. It sounds simple, but it’s not so much. If you think about your everyday interactions, there is plenty of room for humility or cockiness. Will you choose to put your call on hold until after you have finished your exchange at the register? Will you move out of the way when someone says excuse me? Will you cover your mouth when you yawn or wait until someone finishes speaking before you speak? All of this requires some level of humility. The more self-aware you are (aware of your own emotions, feelings, and needs), the more aware you can be of how you are with others. The more aware you are of yourself, the more humble you become.

“If you wanna be a Michelle Obama, don’t get yourself a lil Wayne.”

Me and Moshe (Hubby). Photo by Relle Godwin with “Let’s Get Relle”

Laughs followed this statement made by the financially successful women on the panel on how to improve finances. The point was clearly understood. Having nothing against lil Wayne, the advice was to make sure that you are with someone who can elevate you to where you want to go. Depending on your goals you may very well want to get a lil Wayne. You and he may be going to the same places. Maybe you want to change the world musically. But, if you want to be in the White House, figuratively speaking, lil Wayne is not going to get you there. If you want to be Michelle Obama, you need a Barack Obama. I am only interested in being a better EC, thank you. But the point is, in relationships, make sure that you are with someone who can help you to level up financially as well. Be with someone you can build something with together. I will tell you, I am good by myself, but boi am I a force when we’re together! You should not be unequally yoked by any means. Make sure that you are on one accord in everything that you do. Be with someone who can lead you somewhere in every aspect of your life.

Your Circle

Me and Actress and TV Show Host Chere Turner | TV One)

I spoke to the audience briefly about my perspective on the circle. I challenged the idea that our circles should be small. On the surface, yes, that’s true. You don’t want to surround yourself with a whole bunch of fake people. But, what I explained was this: the size of the circle doesn’t matter. The quality of the people in the circle is what matters. I explained, that, you can have only two people in your circle or who you fellowship with and who you kick it with. But if these two people are both snakes you need another circle. People also do not fulfill the same roles and will thus add a different kind of value to your life. My husband is in my circle. He adds a value to my life that cannot be filled by anyone else, not even my mother. But my mother is also in my circle and she adds a value to my life that no one else can fulfill, not even my husband. My sisters are also in my circle and they have a role they fulfill as well. Everyone will bring something different. Professionally, there is a circle as well and your professional circle is different from your personal circle.

Tinzley’s 4th Quarterly Settlefree Mixer Group Pic

Professionally, I want a balanced circle, people I look up to who know more than me or who can teach me something new. I know that sounds odd, but that’s because we’ve learned, in this society, to hate each other. By surrounding myself with people who are more successful than me, I can learn how to perform on their level and beyond. I want to be around people I can learn from and look up to because it forces me to look up. Instead of being jealous of each other we should be learning from each other. As a reminder, the professional circle may not be the same as your personal circle. Your personal circle is what we usually think of when we speak of the circle but remember there are different kinds of circles.

There will always be people who look up to you but who do you look up to? Who is doing what you want to do one day professionally? Who can you align yourself with professionally, who can show you how to do what they do and to do it better? If you want to stop smoking what would be helpful to your life? Filling your circle with smokers who have no plan of action on how to quit or filling your circle with non-smokers whose non-smoking habits you can mimic? Which would help you to achieve your goal of not smoking? Common sense says the latter so why do we want to only be around people who are not where we want to be? What is at the core of us surrounding ourselves only with people who are at our levels or below our levels? Is it jealousy? Ego? Competition? Fear? It’s good for you to inspire others and to be a good example for others to learn from. That’s good. What’s also good is you having someone you can learn from as well. Seek to be informed and to inform, not just to inspire and be inspired.


Have you grabbed your copy of Even Salt Looks Like Sugar yet? Have you reviewed Even Salt Looks Like Sugar yet? What are you waiting for?? Grab your copy now and leave an honest review when you’ve finished reading! CLICK HERE.

Grief

 

it came in waves today

grief did

the sound of Yolanda Adams opening her heart

did it

I was wrong to listen

her voice was a gun

her lyrics, a trigger

me, the victim

she was thunder

my tears

rain

Yolanda knows I can’t listen to that song

it hoola hooped on the radio in ’99

the year we lived with him

and I combed my Barbie’s hair to her voice

as my Dad’s memory rode on the backs of those lyrics

a warrior

the knight and shining armor

of my adolescents

invisible crown on his head

he is bald now

cancer ate away his hair

and I rubbed Witch Hazel on his foot

I kissed his forehead

I am thirteen again and my heart is inexperienced

I am not ready for the lightening on its way to me

My hands are too small to hold the weight of what’s about to happen

“What if I choose the wrong thing to do?”

she sings

and in my warrior walks

the cab driver in nice suits

his words are “hip” like his style and his commandments

“don’t sleep ready rose,” meaning,

“don’t sleep in your outside clothes”

“I feel so lost, I don’t know what to do,”

in he walks

tight-roping Yolanda’s lyrics

In those sharp suits

riding on the back of my preteen memories

and I curl my small fingers into a fist

and fit them inside the center of my Dad’s palm

the way we used to do

the way his hand covered my entire fist

the way he’s tight-roping on my heart strings

the way memory crawled its way into my throat this morning

“I just need to hear one word from you,” 

Yolanda’s voice penetrates the clouds

the thunder growls

the lightning strikes

and I am thirteen again and the year is 2000

the final moan of a passing storm

and James walks out of the door

his name planting kisses on my forehead

and anointing my eyes

with grief

7 Reasons I Stopped Promoting my Books so much on Social Media

Note: This is just my personal experience and has nothing to do with anyone else. I must also note that I do believe some promotion is necessary. If people don’t know your book exists they can’t support you.

 

  1. Not that this is a necessarily good thing but I pull back when I see that people are not interested. I don’t like feeling like I am forcing people to support me. That’s like forcing someone to love you and I refuse to do that.

 

  1. I noticed that Social Media is cracking down on Spam. Promoting your book all day every day does not work without a strategy in place. As Angela J. Ford, puts it, “Instead of just publishing a book and hoping to sell a few copies, you should have a business strategy in place to help you to consistently grow your fan base and sell more books.”

 

  1. I see no proof of the “see it seven times buy it” rule. Not saying this doesn’t work. It’s just that in my experience constantly pushing books in people’s face just seems to piss them off. Generally, people have already decided whether they want to buy your book. Asking them repeatedly to buy it won‘t change their minds.

 

  1. I noticed that promoting less gives a better result (for me personally….not saying this for others.) For Even Salt Looks Like Sugar, I have promoted it today on my Instagram for the first time since September 4th (not counting my business account). The last time I promoted it on Facebook was September 19th. I promote it more on Twitter but that‘s because Twitter is a fast-paced platform where tweets get buried. You can post several times on Twitter and not be spammy. When looking at my data, I have sold books both times on IG and Facebook. I believe it’s because by spacing out the promotion the posts are a fresh reminder and not a spammy irritation.

I have edited this part to give you some examples. I don‘t care about likes but when it comes to my book promos, I do care because it goes into my data for understanding what‘s working and what‘s not working. Are the people liking the post supporting or just “liking?” Are people getting tired of me? Is the promotion working? So far I have done 4 Book Promotions for Even Salt Looks Like Sugar on Instagram since August for the preorders. Just four. Below are the results for the new novella promotion on IG:

August 1st – First time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder:
48 Likes, 9 Comments

Obviously, everyone is excited to hear of the new book. That explains the number of likes and commentary. Readers bought books on the first, second, and third of August.

August 10th – Second time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder:
27 Likes, 2 Comments

People are still excited but the core supporters already have a copy of the book. Books sold on this day and 8/23.

September 4th – Third time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder:
34 Likes, 2 Comments

A good month has passed, people forgot. This was a good reminder. Numbers went up. Books sold the first of this month, the 10th, 17th and 18th.

September 26th – Today. Fourth time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder preorder:
10 Likes, 0 Comments

Nice reminder but some people haven‘t seen the post yet, core supporters already have the book, others are not part of my audience or just don’t care. Currently no books sold for 9/26.

Update: Post ended with 25 likes on 10/1. Books also sold on 9/30. I attribute this to the days that passed, new readers who saw the promo, and payday for those getting paid end of the month.

  1. I don’t want everyone to buy my book. Negative reviews and feedback are sometimes the result of people who bought and read our books who were not members of our target audience. If someone doesn’t like the genre I write in or are not interested in the book in general, I don’t want them to buy my book and I don‘t care how many reviews I miss out on.

 

  1. I’ve learned not to care so much about how much I make from my books. I don‘t mean I don’t care about money. Who doesn’t care about money? But money has never been and is not my motivation. It’s also difficult to make a sustainable income from selling books alone. It’s possible but challenging. Instead, I have decided to focus more on building my business which involves more than just writing books. I have decided to focus on the vision and my purpose for writing, my messages and how those messages can change and empower lives. To focus on ways, I can interact with people face-to-face through public speaking, events, programs and services I can offer and other things I can do to build and nurture my small business. For me being an author is not just about writing and publishing books but so much more. One day, I hope to become a full-blown entrepreneur who influences and empowers others to do the same. With this, of course I also hope me and my husband can quit our day jobs in the process, if we wanted to. I believe that by focusing on the vision everything else, including money, will come.

 

  1. I’ve learned that when promoting books to promote what the book is about, not the book. I learned this from The Stella Trilogy. Stella was not the most perfectly written book. It had typos and I could have done better with the covers and formatting. There were also typos in Renaissance. I am sure you can find mistakes in every book. But these books did well because people cared about the story. When you get people to care about the story that’s when they will care about the book.

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Will Wanda secure the paperwork necessary to secure her and Abby’s freedom? Find out next week on the release of my new short novel, Even Salt Looks Like Sugar. Available now for preorder in eBook. Into African American Literature? Short Fiction? Young Adult or Women’s Fiction? Buy it now for 99cents on Amazon here.