Friday, February 7, 2014

Blog Tour Stop~Review, Interview & Giveaway~ Life's A Cappella by Yessi Smith ****

I want to tell you how great my life was. How I lived without regrets. With constant laughter. Without any tears. I want to tell you how I lived each moment to the fullest. How each breath I took was fresh and full of life. With eagerness. Without any fear.
I want to tell you all of that, but then my story would be masked with lies and not worth telling.
My life didn’t start until I left my past. And I left everything. My mother, my friends, my name.
My new name, the name everyone knows me by is Erin Lewis.

Four years after finding the courage to leave her hometown in Alabama, Erin is finally happy with where her life has led her. Not only is she secure in her environment, but the relationships she has formed center her, making her forget how damaged she once was. Before she can fully settle into her new life, her past crashes into her present, unraveling a set of events that destroy the very foundation she has built her new life on.


Talk about an emotional breakdown. I think I had one while reading this book. It was absolutely one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read this year. It will touch your heart and give you so much faith and hope. It’s that wonderful.
I absolutely loved and adored Erin. She went through so much in her life, it was heartbreaking. I looked up to her strength she never once gave up even when the depression and darkness started to take her over. She still tried to find the light and the positive in everything. Her past will break your heart. I was so glad that she had such amazing friends who became her family and showed her that not everyone in life will let you down.
Trent is one of the most amazing men. You will instantly fall in love with him and be so grateful that a man like him found Erin. He was there for her through everything and even when he wanted to give up because of Erin’s past holding her back he still couldn’t love anyone else.

Trent and Erin’s story is beautiful and will touch you in every possible way. I never once wanted to put it down even while I was bawling my eyes out. Yes you will need plenty of tissues for all of the sadness in this book, but it’s so worth it. It’s a wonderful book. I loved it. You will fall in love with Erin’s little sister as well and there situation will have your emotions all over the place.

Meet Yessi Smith

I’m a Hispanic living in South Florida with my redneck husband from Texas and our “half breed” son, who is actually the reason I started writing again after years of celibacy. My son loves stories, but not the kind you can read in an existing book. No, he’d rather make up a story, complete with our own illustrations. So, thank you, Son, for igniting a flame I had let go out.

I also live with two dogs: a neurotic Border Collie we call Nitro and a midget Rottweiler named Nisa.
I have always found my sanctuary at the beach and in music and writing. I wish I could write rhymes so I could become a famous rapper, but rhyming is completely lost on me.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Master’s in Human Resource Management. I have held several jobs, from picking up dog crap to upper management positions. And now I am hoping to leave the business world behind so I can live full time in a world that does not exist until I place my fingers on.

Author Interview

What inspires your writing?
Anything. I live a lot in my head and I love making up stories for strangers that pique my interest: who they are, what they’re doing, and, because I have a flair for the dramatics, what they’re hiding or running from. Within minutes I’ve constructed they’re whole life story, sometimes with a HEA.

In Life’s A Cappella, music is a common theme. What artists have impacted your life the most?
Definitely Pink and Eminem. My mind is always on the go and rarely ever rests. Pink and Eminem are my go-to artists when I want to escape from my brain for a little while.

What character in Life’s A Cappella do you like the most and what traits do you find you share with this character?
Cam is my favorite. She’s the type of person that wakes up every morning and lives it to the fullest. She’s a people person, doesn’t care what others think of her, and is loyal. She’s funny and a bit unpredictable and actually made me laugh a couple times. 
The one thing Cam and I have in common is our optimism. Life takes brutal twists and turns, but the most important thing life has taught me is not to let the bad things beat you down. Stand tall, proud of your scars and the lessons you’ve learned.

Have you always aspired to be an Author?
Always. From the moment I learned how to write, you couldn’t find me without those black and white composition books. I’d draw out comics (I’m horrible at drawing and my grandma still has those books to prove it), write screenplays I’d want my family to act out, interview strangers, and write stories nonstop.

In writing Life’s A Cappella, did the characters take over the storyline, creating their own paths, or did you create an outline in advance, and stick with it?
They  took over ME! Every moment, they were demanding I listen to them so my husband bought me a little black notebook for me to write in that I keep with me at all times. It is full of the different paths my characters wanted to take. I’d let them guide me, but there are several chapters I wasn’t happy with and deleted entirely. Cam was my biggest surprise, but once she told me what her fate was, I couldn’t back out, no matter how much I fought with her.
It’s weird for me to call them characters in my book because they took over my life so completely. I dreamt about them and spoke to my family and friends about them as if they were real breathing people. I know them intimately and it’s been hard to let them go.
I’ve started an outline for my next novel to help me get in a new person’s frame of mind, but I find its hard to stick with the outline. Life is unscripted, without an outline or directions on where we should go. I like to write not knowing where I’m going. I like the unknown, even when it leads you down paths you would rather not have traveled.   

 Do you have another career?
I do. I am Human Resources and Crewing Manager for a company that owns 7 vessels that transport fuel throughout the Bahamian islands. So in other words, my job mainly comprises of me bossing around 60+ men.

Describe your support system during your journey.
My husband, Derrick, would be my biggest supporter and motivator. He has read every word I have written since I was in college and published my first article in a dog magazine. After some success and a lot of failure, I stopped writing altogether. Derrick always encouraged me to keep trying, but even though I published a few things, the rejections devastated me. I put everything into what I write and each rejection felt like a personal attack on me. A few years ago, he started pushing me again, but this time towards publishing independently. After reading a few indie authors, I realized that I had never let go of my dream, so here I am trying again, but this time the success isn’t as important as the journey itself. My husband is proud of me and, more importantly, I’m proud of myself.
My family has had to put up with me shoving my stories down their throat since I was young and my mom especially has always encouraged me to go after my dreams. Although I can’t find them, my grandma says she still has every composition book I’ve ever written in and is demanding the first autographed copy of Life’s A Cappella even though she can’t speak English.
My friends are amazing and have helped me immensely as beta readers and/or as motivators. As far as friends go, my greatest supporters have been  Madelyn, Tashaune, Pia and Lissette. In fact, while I was doing this interview, Pia sent me a message telling me how proud she is of me and how she’s been telling me I should write since grade school.

Did you experience any challenges along your journey?
Just a few (note sarcasm). While trying to juggle the demands of my 6 year old son, a full time job and writing was difficult, my biggest obstacle was myself. I have doubted myself, been led the wrong way and deleted chapters, gotten discouraged and stopped writing a few days at a time.

And then after it was done, promoting the book was far more difficult than I imagined. I didn’t follow book blogs and hadn’t befriended other indie authors so my connections were nonexistent. The day Ty posted on Facebook about being an author’s Personal Assistant and handling the promotions side of the business, I swear I heard angels singing.

Name your TOP TEN favorite Authors and Books:
In no particular order:
1.  Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend – Matthew Dicks
2. The Fault in our Stars – John Green
3. The Passage Series – Justin Cronin
4. Expired Regrets – Megan Smith
5. Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
6. The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
7. The Way Series – HJ Bellus
8. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
9. Hunger Games trilogy – Suzanne Collins
10. Happenstance – MJ Abraham

Excerpts from Life’s A Cappella


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Reviews of Life’s A Cappella

Connect with Yessi Smith

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Our A Cappella (A Cappella 1.5) Cover Reveal

Releasing February 7, 2014

Five months after their wedding, Trent struggles with the strain of juggling work and family life as Erin furthers her education, getting a Master's degree in Nursing. All Trent wants is one weekend alone with his wife to reconnect but Erin's focus is adamantly elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Nate, Erin's oldest friend and brother, has formed an undeniable bond with Tonya that he is reluctant to pursue because of his own inner demons.

Will love be enough?

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