Indie Shine – Yecheilyah Ysrayl

I am on Lisa’s Blog today. Come on over! Thank you Lisa for having me.

Rebirth of Lisa

indie-shine

In this edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to “Shine” the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome author Yecheilyah Ysrayl.

EC 1 ©Yecheilyah Ysrayl used with permission

Bio:

Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the author of Young Adult, Black American Literature, and Poetry. The author of eight books (most notably, The Stella Trilogy), Yecheilyah is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story”. Renaissance: The Nora White Story Book One is due for release July 15, 2017. Revelation: The Nora White Story Book Two is due for release December of this year. Yecheilyah is also a Blogger and Book Reviewer. Originally from Chicago, IL, she now resides in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time.

Q & A

What do you do and Why do you do it?
Thank you, Lisa, for having me. I am an Independent Author of Black American Literature, a Poet, Book…

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Then and Now – Writing 1920s Fiction in 2017 – Guest Post by, Yecheilyah Ysrayl…

My monthly Guest Post with Chris. Writing 1920s Fiction in 2017 has its challenges. It is also a lot of fun. (I’ve been away from the blog lately but I’ll be returning soon.)

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

One of the important pieces of research I must do for my books is to look at the differences between how we live today and how we lived in the early 1900s. In writing book one of The Nora White Story, for instance, I found myself researching some strange things, such as how the people bathed back then. It may sound funny but such details can make or break a work of Historical Fiction. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself doing weeks of research just for a single scene. Here’s an excerpt from The Nora White Story:

Sunday night baths were the norm but the boys got so dirty in the field that mom was bathing them every night. Nora and Walter would take turns drawing the water up from the well on the land, Nora would set it to boil on the stove and let sit for cooling…

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Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews Special Edition: Introducing William Spivey’s “Strong Beginnings”

Title: Strong Beginnings

Author: William Spivey

Publisher: TBA

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

Blog: https://enigmainblack.wordpress.com/

E-mail: wspiv001@aol.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/william.spivey1

Twitter: @wspiv001

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

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This is the last book review of the year and what a way to go out. Today’s review is a special one.

I am honored to introduce to you William Spivey, a regular contributor to the Inner-City News where he writes about politics and popular culture. He also blogs as “Enigma in Black” where he explores poetry, religion, politics and all manner of things socially relevant. He is the founder of the Facebook pages Average Citizen Forum, and Enigma in Black. William is also the winner of a University-wide Essay Contest while at Fisk University titled, “The Value of a Liberal Arts Education”. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Fisk and resides in Orlando, FL.

His goal now is to make his voice heard and make a difference, and he has given me the honor of advanced reading his soon to be released Political Fiction/Romance novel “Strong Beginnings”.


When Frederick Douglass Strong witnesses the murder of four African Americans on the Moore’s Ford Bridge in Covington Georgia in 1966, he set into motion a string of events that would influence the actions of his family for years to come. After all, Frederick wasn’t the only one to witness what would be known as The Moore’s Ford Bridge Four but so did Chris Lee Thomas, the teenage friend of his son Roosevelt and the son of one of the white men who just murdered the four.

Gripped with anxiety, Frederick goes home and is unable to sleep. With a thorough understanding of the time, he is drenched in the fear of what could happen next. Neglecting to reveal the details to his pregnant wife, he suffers silently until a knock is heard on the door. It’s Chris Lee Thomas and he wants Frederick to step outside. Frederick does and is faced with a lynch mob. Meanwhile, his son Roosevelt is peeking through his bedroom window, watching as the men chase his father.

However, Roosevelt is also seen by Chris just as his father was and the family is panicked with a decision of a lifetime. After Frederick’s death, it is clear, they must leave Covington if Roosevelt is to survive.

The story goes on to follow the life of Roosevelt and his family fifty years after The Moore’s Ford Bridge Four in Orlando Florida. His daughter, Voncelle Strong is one of the foremost voices of the novel. She is a passionate teacher and blogger and we watch as she positively influences her students, battles the unfair school system, juggle relationships and come face to face with relatives she didn’t know she had. As a former teacher, I enjoyed Voncelle’s fight for the student’s well-being.

As for the incident, can the Strong family outrun their beginnings? What will happen when they come face to face with their past?

There were many things to love about this book, such as the History, the family bonds, and education. Most of all, I loved how the title to this book is appropriately titled. Not only in its relation to the Strong family and the symbolism of new beginnings, but the beginning of this novel also starts out strong. I was nervous for Roosevelt as the family was deciding what should be done before making the decision to leave Covington. I also enjoyed the relationships, how they were tied into the story in a realistic way. For instance, when Voncelle travels to Europe she meets two young men who have more in common with her than she thinks and when a family member contacts Roosevelt all those years later for a family reunion, it sets in motion a string of revelations that would impact the family for a lifetime I am sure.

I recommend Strong Beginnings to anyone with a passion for the plight of African Americans, for those concerned about the politics of education and those who have a love affair for strong families.

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Characterization: 4/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5

Strong Beginnings is not yet available. Stay tuned.

Don’t forget to Follow this Author online!

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

Blog: https://enigmainblack.wordpress.com/

E-mail: wspiv001@aol.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/william.spivey1

Twitter: @wspiv001


I hope you enjoyed our final review of the year! It’s been amazing and I am truly honored to be in the company of such a talented group of individuals. Don’t forget that you can contact all of the authors on the new Indie Author Page HERE. It’s a new page so there isn’t much going on right now but over my break (which started about…5 seconds ago) I intend to update it so it looks more “authorly” (whatever that means lol).

I have many more authors to come so be sure to return to The PBS Blog after the new year. If you’re an author in need of more reviews, be sure to register your book HERE for consideration. Also, do not forget to update me on any special occasions or anything exciting you have going on! I love supporting the authors I review so let’s stay in touch. Each one, reach one.

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Black History Fun Fact Friday – The Chicago Black Renaissance

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Many of us have heard of The Harlem Renaissance, the literary, musical, and artistic movement that exploded during the 1920s in Harlem New York. Also known as The New Negro Renaissance, the New Negro Movement, the Negro Renaissance, and the Jazz Age, the Great Migration of blacks from the south to northern cities like New York produced a national movement centered around black culture and tradition.

Music, poetry, literature, art, and theatre was brought to the mainstream from a black perspective in a huge way. Magazines such as The Crisis (the NAACP monthly journal) and Opportunity (the monthly publication of the Urban League) employed Harlem Renaissance writers on their editorial staff, published their poetry and short stories, and promoted African American literature through articles, reviews, and annual literary prizes. Names like Alain Locke, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston come to mind.

However, though termed Harlem Renaissance, the time was much more complex than Harlem itself (which in many ways can make it hard to define). While standing as the anchor for the movement, Harlem was just one piece of a much larger puzzle. Across the United States and the Caribbean, The Renaissance was taking place. In fact, only some of the writers, musicians, and artists were native to Harlem itself. The Renaissance did not just happen in Harlem but a Black Metropolis was brewing in other big cities as well, such as Chicago.

Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks

As the Harlem Renaissance was winding down, The Chicago Black Renaissance was getting started, or rather, continuing. Creativity and activism was blooming from the great number of blacks coming up from the south to escape Jim Crow and The Great Depression. While it’s true many blacks did not suffer as much during the depression due that many of us were already struggling (having been depressed since we got here) there were some who came to Chicago from southern states like Mississippi and secured well paying jobs that were no longer available. While at first blacks could work at factories, meat packing places, and steel mills, the great depression shut this down.

Blacks were also dealing with extremely poor living conditions and fighting housing discrimination. As more and more blacks moved to Chicago the city was also still getting a large immigrant population pouring in from Europe so there was always competition for jobs and since segregation was in full effect, many blacks found themselves at a loss. However, there is great beauty that often springs from the depths of struggle and The Black Mecca of Chicago’s South Side was quite literally a diamond in the rough.

The black belt of Chicago’s South Side, as it was called, was the location for such diamonds.  Jazz, Blues, and Literature flourished as an outlet for blacks to voice their discontent not only about the city but also the whole of the black experience in America in general, and when Gwendolyn Brooks passed a pool hall in a Chicago neighborhood and took notice of a group of young men standing around, “We Real Cool” (a poem that speaks from the point of view of these seven young men, see my analysis of the poem here) was born. Chicago exploded in culture from the 1930s through the 1950s and the south side remains the most cultured part of city today.

Music, art, literature, and journalism were all part of The Chicago Renaissance. Though never deemed “Chicago Renaissance” officially, there are many who contributed to the movement whose names we’ve grown to know. The writers: Richard Wright (born in Mississippi but moved to Chicago in 1927), Frank Yerby, Margaret Walker, Willard Motley, John H. Johnson (publisher of Ebony), St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton (who later co-authored Black Metropolis), Gwendolyn Brooks, Arna Bontemps, and Lorraine Hansberry; entertainers Nat King Cole, Ray Nance and Oscar Brown, Jr.; dancers Katherine Dunham and Talley Beatty; photographer Gordon Parks, and the artists Elizabeth Catlett and Hughie Lee Smith.


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of eight books, most notably The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story -Book One” is due for release summer, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

How Does Reading Level Matter in Fiction?

This is cool.

Kristen Twardowski

How well do most published authors write? Would you be surprised to hear that Jane Austen wrote at just above a 5th grade level, Stephen King writes at about a 6th grade level, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote at slightly more than a 6th grade level, and Leo Tolstoy wrote at about an 8th grade level?

To find out all of this information, Shane Snow did a readability analysis of the works of different bestselling authors. He based his exploration off of their scores for the Flesch-Kincaid tests, which were developed in 1975 on behalf of the US Navy to assess the difficulty of technical manuals. These tests take into account total words, sentences, and syllables in order to assess a written work’s grade level.

Snow’s analysis found that higher level writing did not necessarily result in successful sales. In fact, the bestselling fiction books that he looked at all fell…

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Why Black Girls Need Diverse Books

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“Storylines with Black female main characters’ supplement in-school experiences where the stories of Black people are often misrepresented or excluded from the classroom curriculum. Stories with Black main characters fill in where classroom curricula leave gaps. In addition, narratives with people of color at the forefront introduce readers to new vocabulary words, customs, people, and places that they otherwise might not have learned about.”

http://educationpost.org/why-black-girls-need-diverse-books/

‘Queen Sugar’ Author Wants More Diverse Stories About Black People

“As I started to write Queen Sugar, especially in the late ‘90s … all of these great diverse stories that I had grown up on and was inspired by, started to disappear. All of a sudden you saw a very, very narrow portrayal of the African-American experience on the bookshelf. All of a sudden the only thing you saw were titles like The Bitch Is Back or Stackin’ Paper, and there’d be a picture of a woman, scantily clad, on the hood of a car.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/queen-sugar-natalie-baszile-interview_us_57d337dfe4b06a74c9f4e712

Popular Indie Book Publisher Launches Campaign to Prove That Diversity in Publishing Matters

Rosarium Publishing was founded in 2013 by scifi/fiction writer Bill Campbell with one goal: to bring true diversity to publishing so that the high-quality books and comics the company produces actually reflect the fascinating, multicultural world we truly live in today.

https://www.newswire.com/news/popular-indie-book-publisher-launches-campaign-to-prove-that-diversity-9870669

50 Books That Every African American Should Read

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/50-books-that-every-african-american-should-read_n_1647614.html

“Huffington Post BlackVoices has compiled an extensive book list, featuring a range of genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, science-fiction and the autobiography.

From Ralph Ellison to Jesmyn Ward, many of the authors have been heralded with national awards in the United States. Others, such as Zadie Smith and Tsitsi Dangarembga, have broken literary ground abroad in countries such as Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Uganda. Stemming back to 1789 with Olaudah Equiano’s “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano,” these 50 titles have heavily contributed to contemporary narratives about the black experience across the globe.”

13 Books That Every African-American Should Have in His/Her Home

“Oftentimes, rich literary treasures are not associated with writers of African descent, but objective evidence has shown and continues to denote that some of the world’s finest books have evolved from the minds of black authors. Whether fiction or non-fiction, these writings have been important not only as poignant reflections of reality, but also as interesting opportunities for cross-cultural understanding.”

http://madamenoire.com/108532/13-important-african-american-books-that-you-should-have-in-your-home/

Beyond The Colored Line – A Year in Review

One year ago today, I published the second book in The Stella Trilogy, Beyond The Colored Line. I was shocked at the positive response I received from those who read it and the kinds of discussions it started. I hosted giveaways, book signings, and conducted an Interracial Interview series on this blog in which I interviewed couples in diverse relationships who still find themselves the victims of misunderstanding. I must say it seems more like a few years ago!  I’ve learned so much since then. Of course, there are lots of things I would have done differently with the knowledge I have now, but nonetheless BTCL still remains a favorite. And most importantly, still helping to expand the ongoing controversial subject that is race itself. I hope this book will live on through many generations and that my children will one day learn from this experience, as I did.

Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl used with permissionFeatured Image -- 481920160226_150037ReviewDSCN013120151207_114849 - Copy (2)DSCN014320160203_174649

My Favorite Review Quote:

“Move over To Kill a Mockingbird – the next best thing is here. If I had the power, I would put this book in the hands of every middle school child in America and let them truly understand what it means to be beyond the colored line. The thing is, the literary classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Huck Finn definitely bring up the issues of race, but they’re incredibly separated from what it’s portrayed as in today’s world. But this story, even though the setting went through the Great Depression and beyond, is still just as relevant. It is a concept of what it means to be of a race and how it affects us that still exists on every level, individually and socially. It is the name you put down on your resume. It is the cop that shoots. It is the indifference toward poverty and murder in non-white communities. It explains, in great detail and without fault, what white privilege is, and how it shows itself behind that line.”

– Anna Kopp

To learn more about Beyond The Colored Line, my blog buddy Colleen, host of the famous Writer’s Quote Wednesday weekly segment, did a special blog feature for me on the day of the debut last year. Check it out here.  You can check out the Interracial Blog Feature Here.

In the meantime, what kind of wine should I get tonight tho?

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My husband thinks my avatar is hilarious