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/


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Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews: The Unveiling by Camille A. Frazer

Title: The Unveiling
Author: Camille A Frazer
Pages: 132
Publisher: Frazer Mill Publishing (December 12, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0999523007
ISBN-13: 978-0999523001
*I was gifted a copy of this book from the author*

The Unveiling is a powerful collection of poetry from debut author and poet, Camille Frazer. Divided into several sections, the poems range from a variety of topics concerning the human condition. We learn of purpose, faith, hope, love, beauty and much more. The poems themselves are elegant and strong, forcing you to reread them for meaning and self-reflection. This is definitely not a book that you can just skim through. You will want to take your time and savor each line. Poems like Mana and Faith unveils a spiritual tone and set-apartness while poems like A Warrior’s Heart and Lionhearted are fierce. Some of my favorite pieces include: What is Love, Education, Lost, and Hidden History. Whether you are in search of your purpose in life, are in need of motivation from a spiritual perspective or are a lover of history, there’s something for everyone in this book. Check out the blurb below.

During her work as a children’s advocate, Camille A. Frazer has seen suffering and tragedy. But as she shows in this refreshingly optimistic new poetry collection, tragedy does not have to define us. Through her poems, Ms. Frazer examines the current direction of humanity and illustrates the importance of each individual life.

Ms. Frazer divides her work into distinct sections. The first urges a lesser focus on the individual and the recognition a larger whole. The second examines the fracture between the individual and society. It is at these breaking points, she posits, that violence has seeped in.

Even as Ms. Frazer examines societal ills like mass incarceration, slavery, and human trafficking, she never loses her faith in humanity. Her writing recognizes the failures of humankind but expresses the joys. She writes of tender familial love, passionate romance, and the all-encompassing support of the larger collective.

Her poems demonstrate an unshakeable faith in a better future for the world. Ms. Frazer believes that every human has a purpose, and is capable of compassion, contentment, and making meaningful connections. She hopes that her work will inspire you to find these gifts in yourself and then share them with others.

Rating:

Lyrical Factor: 4/5

Presentation: 4/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Overall: 4.5 / 5

The Unveiling is available now on Amazon. Click Here.

Camille is also one of our featured authors. If you missed her Introduce Yourself interview, CLICK HERE.

 

About Camille Frazer:

Camille Frazer currently serves as Regional Legal Counsel for the State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program. Ms. Frazer has been with the Guardian ad Litem Program for twelve years. Prior to her current position, Ms. Frazer was the Supervising Attorney in the 19th Judicial Circuit.

In 2005, she began her tenure with the Guardian ad Litem Program as a Best Interest Attorney in the 11th Judicial Circuit. While there, she also represented the Guardian ad Litem Program in the capacity of Litigation Attorney. After a one year hiatus practicing in the field of Insurance Defense, Ms. Frazer re-joined the Guardian ad Litem Program in October 2009, continuing her advocacy for the best interest of children.

Ms. Frazer earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. She obtained her law degree from New England Law, where she served as a Senior Editor for the New England Journal of International and Comparative Law.

Ms. Frazer serves as a mentor with the Florida Take Stock in Children Program, which prepares high school students for college and provides scholarships to assist with their educational needs. She is also a member of the Family Support Committee with Habitat for Humanity.

The Unveiling is her first collection of poems. The poems cover the many nuances of a relationship between people, between an individual and a community. Ms. Frazer believes that every moment has meaning, and each should be utilized to achieve its full potential.


Got a book for me? Click HERE to order a review and promotion on this blog. Want to be interviewed too? Click HERE. (There is just ONE more interview slot for March. If you want to be featured THIS month, email me soon.)

A New Book Review and a Book Signing

Don’t you just love being surprised by new reviews? Yes! I am Soul has a new review and it is just in time for the next signing. If you are in Georgia and have not yet grabbed a signed, paperback copy of this book, I’ll be at the Nubian Bookstore on Friday, April 12th in Morrow, GA. The signing will take place from 5-8:00p Eastern Standard Time. This means you good people can stop through on your way home from work. See how I consider you fam? Lol

Here’s what the reviewer had to say:

Grab your copy on Amazon here or order a signed paperback HERE.

And if you think you’ll make the signing, be sure to stop by the store. Details below:

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Sophia Tsegaye

Today, I’d like to welcome Sophia Tsegaye to the blog. Welcome! Let’s get started.


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Sophia Tsegaye; I am an Ethiopian American living in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia in the house. What was it like transitioning from Ethiopia to America? Any major adjustments?

I arrived in America as a newlywed, and my husband and I had to adjust to the cultural difference at first, with the help of my sister.  And soon our neighbors and co-workers led us through our new lifestyle. One of the adjustments was being away from my parents and extended family members.
The other adjustment was the difference between American and  Ethiopian calendar. Ethiopia uses Julian Calendar and is 7 and a half or 8 years behind the American Calendar.  Ethiopia has 13 months (12 months of 30 days each, and one month of 5 or 6 days).
Now as a family, we celebrate both cultures. My children have learned to embrace the diversity in the family. In short, we have two New Years, two Christmases, two Easters and the like.

Wow, I didn’t know that about the calendar difference. This is why I yearn so much to travel outside the country!

When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I published my first book “She Is My Mommy!” in March 2019 through CreateSpace. Holding my book for the first time was rewarding. Carrying a task to completion was my first goal, and I felt fulfilled. It has kindled the desire and the strength to go forward with my second book. And now I am working on my third one.

Congratulations! Amazing feeling right? Are you married Sophia? Got a boo somewhere?

I am married to a wonderful and supportive husband for the last fifteen years.

Awesome. Children?

Yes. I have three awesome boys, ages 14, 12 and 3.

Beautiful. What do you wish you knew more about?

Growing up, one of my many challenges was speaking up. Both in Middle and High school, I was known for being timid and introvert. It continued well into my graduate class. For example, I would know the answer to a question, or want to voice my opinion, but could not make myself to say something. It was like being present and absent at the same time.

Later on, I realize that the only thing that was holding from communicating was the fear of making mistakes.

Now, I know that making mistakes is all right, you learn from them and move forward.

I can relate for sure. What small things makes you life easier? What makes it difficult?

Living a simple life, being grateful and exercising kindness make my life easier. I try to see the positive in people. I believe that it is wise to listen to your conscious before you speak.  We often forget that a calmer tone conveys a message more effectively. I think that we all have the choice to decide whether to make our life easy or difficult. It is a choice we need to make every day. If you always feel you are a victim and everybody is onto you, then you will remain a victim of your own conscious.

If you do not control your temper, you will be treated as the perpetrator even if you are on the right.

If you are not kind, then you will miss the heart-warming reward that you get from it.

I love that Sophia. Wise words. Let’s get back to writing a bit. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The most difficult thing as a writer is writer’s block.

The most exciting thing is when you are in that creative zone, and you have no control over your writing.

Why is writing important to you?

When I write, I let myself go to places I have not visited for a long time. I navigate through my thought and dig deep into the desire to correct the wrong, to encourage the weak, to give a voice to the timid, and the like.

I want to show the reader that she or he is not alone in any circumstance. Happiness, fear, triumph, sadness, friendliness, and depression are a part of life. Therefore, what we need to do is find a way to fix the problem. In my books, I encourage children to learn to ask for help.

Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?

I love making pieces of jewelry and cooking.

You’re a children’s author. What do you think of the bullying in our schools?

Unfortunately, bullying is a real and dangerous issue. I try to focus on this issue in my books and demonstrate the effects it can bring.

My boys have experienced bullying, and I have also heard of various incidents in the school. I have seen firsthand how bullying can break the spirit of a fun loving and active child.

As a parent, we should teach our kids empathy at an early age. If we see our child push another child, we should be able to explain that it is wrong.

We have to encourage our kids to communicate with us, or the school personnel if they feel unsafe or overwhelmed. Schools have councilors, and they should use these resources.

And I urge parents to listen to their kids. If a kid voices concern then parents should intervene immediately.

If you could, would you visit the past?

Yes, I would visit the past if I could. Would I give some advice to my young self and try to change the past? I do not think so, because those experiences made me the person I am today.

Precisely. What advice would you give your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to trust her instinct and be comfortable in her own skin.  And of course, tell her to take it easy, enjoy life, and laugh more.

Thank you Sophia for spending this time with us! We enjoyed you.


Copyright©Sophia Tsegaye. photo used with permission.

Bio.

Sophia E Tsegaye, is a stay-at-home mom, with three boys who keep her busy. She’s a children’s book writer, living in Cincinnati, Ohio.

From the Author:

I enjoy listening to what happens in school.  Every day, my boys will come home with new stories, but unfortunately, not all are pleasant.  I use their stories as a learning experience, and I guess this is how my books were born.

Many little kids are fascinated by school buses and animals. Hence I chose to have a school bus and animals as the characters.

There are different approaches to explain to kids about being unique, being different and being accommodating, so I try to bring these issues through my books.

The first book “She Is My Mommy!” is about transracial adoption, and the second book “Your Jokes Are Not Funny!” is about bullying.

Kids can be simple and yet complex. They ask us complex questions and are satisfied with the simplest explanation.

I believe in teaching kids empathy at a tender age.

You can reach me by email at tsesophia@yahoo.com

Be Sure to Follow Sophia Online!

Web: https://tsesophia.wixsite.com/tsegaye-1

Twitter: @SophiaTsegaye

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SophiaETsegaye/?modal=admin_todo_tour


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. Stay tuned for our next featured author.

Mark ‘Even Salt Looks Like Sugar’ as ‘to read’ on Goodreads!

Hey guys!

I am releasing a short novel (also known as a novella) this fall. It is a special project I hope to eventually offer for free to you, my loyal readers! Right now it is only 99cents on Amazon and will not go up. Proceeds from the eBook will help to fund my next poetry contest.

Today, I am asking if you could mark the book as ‘to read’ on Goodreads so that others can learn about this new, exciting read. When you mark a book as to read it shows up on your timeline as a book added and works similar to Facebook whereas your Goodreads friends will be able to see the book you added. Every time you add a book, comment on a review to a book, review a book, or update your progress on a book it shows up at the top of your page and others can see it! It’s a FREE way that you can support your Indie Author friends, like me, without spending money. Thanks so much!

CLICK HERE TO MARK

Even Salt Looks Like Sugar as “to read” on Goodreads

CLICK HERE to PRE-ORDER

Even Salt Looks Like Sugar at just 99cents.

 

The Time is Now to Become an Independent Author

Excellent article from Don.

DSM Publications

Soap BoxYes, It’s time for my soapbox. You may be going through the classic struggle trying to decide whether to self-publish or wait for traditional publishing possibilities.

There are many pros and cons to each and I’ve gone through many of those in previous posts. For me, the obvious choice was self-publishing. When I triangulated my age with my available time and my tolerance for rejection, it was the smart option for me.

It’s up to you do decide which path you want to take, but I want to let you know that there has never been a better time to be an independently published author. There are so many tools and favorable platforms that, when you choose the indie author path, it is a fairly straightforward route to navigate.

Is it easy? Not at all. You will expend the same amount of energy (if not more) than you would have creating…

View original post 1,133 more words

My Top 5 Email List Building Mistakes

I believe we Indie Authors have to stick together people and that is why I am sharing some of my top email list building mistakes. Before I jump to the conclusion that email lists don’t work, I am going to identify some of the things I am doing or have done wrong. Before finding solutions, we must identify the problem. Sometimes it is not that something is not working, we are just doing it wrong.

Problem#1 – Randomly Asking People to Sign-Up

When I started focusing on building my list, I didn’t pay attention to who was signing up. I just wanted the numbers up. I had heard the hype about getting email list subscribers and how helpful it was to authors. By just asking people to sign-up, people subscribed who were not part of my target audience. This means that when I came out with a book, they weren’t taking action. It wasn’t because they didn’t like me or thought I was a bad person. It was probably because they didn’t read the kinds of books I wrote!

Lesson: I should have been seeking targeted readers (readers who like my genre/topic) and not everyone. Just like a target audience isn’t everyone, my email list is also not for everyone.

Problem #2 – Hard selling to my list

In other words, selling my books directly to my email list. I just thought, what’s the point of having an email list if you can’t sell your book to your readers? Isn’t that what the list is for? To help authors to sell books?

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Lesson: I should have been nurturing the list with reading material, short stories, etc, giving away copies of my current works and hoping for reviews (this helps if I’ve learned lesson one).

Problem #3 – Not Focusing on Core Fans

I was too busy trying to build my list and increase my numbers that I didn’t pay attention to the few people that were engaged and reading and responding. These are my core fans. They are the ones who will buy, leave reviews and communicate consistently.

Lesson – Not everyone will respond and interact with my list. This is the hard part and I am still trying to figure how to get people to simply communicate with me. But, there are core fans and when broken down, this is a more realistic number far as readership is concerned. It starts to matter little how many people are subscribed if the people subscribed aren’t readers interested in the kinds of books I write (again, goes back to number one) or intrigued enough to interact with me.

Problem #4 – Not collaborating with other authors in my genre

This one is kinda not my fault. Kinda. OK it is, whatever. The point is, I am finding it difficult to find Indie Authors of black historical fiction. I hate to have to add the “black” part but there is a difference between the historical fiction I write and the historical fiction novels that come up when I put Historical Fiction into Google or Amazon’s search engine. There probably shouldn’t be a difference but it is. I have to put in Black Literature or something to find books like mine. Needless to say, I am not interested in just any historical fiction but historical fiction as it pertains to the African American experience. While Romance and Urban Fiction writers are abundant, I am having a hard time finding Indie Authors to connect with of my genre. I participated in a writer support thread on Instagram for example and stopped when I realized the people following me were Romance writers. I enjoy Romance and I support Romance writers but it doesn’t really help me on the flip side.

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Lesson: Find more writers in my genre? Interact more on Goodreads maybe? I don’t really know what to do here. Where are y’all at? Lol.

Problem #5 – Not making use of Giveaways (using my book or books in my genre so that the readers who enter are my targeted readers)

I have not been taking advantage of giveaways as much as I know that I should. Giveaways work when it comes to building an email list. I know this for sure. I don’t like to keep talking about my books over and over again. I do not think it works very well. Probably because I assume people have already made up their minds as to what they choose or choose not to support and I don’t like the idea of begging people to support me (which is the image I get when I think of constantly pushing books in peoples faces).

Lesson: I should use giveaways more as a way to build my email list and promote my books. Update: I forgot to mention that when it comes to giveaways or contests in which people subscribe to your email list as a form of entry, for a contest or giveaway to be successful, the prize must be relevant to your niche. And since the goal is to get new subscribers, what you give away should attract people who are interested in what you write about. And as always, I am talking to myself here. I am trying to learn this too.

And there you have it. My top 5 mistakes. Now, don’t make them!

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Enjoy Black History? Literary Fiction? Historical Fiction as it pertains to the Black experience in America? Poetry? Young Adult / Coming of Age stories? Subscribe to my email list HERE. (get a free book when you do!…I also dabble in Sci-Fi!)