Author and former pageant queen promotes stories with Black women in the leading role

 DETROIT, July 15, 2019 –  Octavia Reese, Detroit-native and Miss Michigan 2005, will return to Detroit Book Fest on July 21 with the next two installments in her sci-fi fantasy series, The Hibouleans. Last year, Octavia’s first two volumes aimed to inspire young women to fearlessly delve into STEM-related subjects through her epic adventure treasure-hunt story. This year, Octavia wants to remind fans about the importance of normalizing women of color in the protagonist role for any genre of adventures, especially sci-fi and fantasy.the Hibouleans Octavia Reese

“When Disney announced Halle Bailey will take the lead as Ariel in the new Little Mermaid, I was thrilled,” Octavia said. “But not everyone was.”

Octavia was referring to critics from various social media platforms that were upset to learn Ariel would be played by a Black actress.

“If people can get upset about the skin color of a half-fish-half-human fictional character, it only proves we still have a long way to go when it comes to accepting women of color in leading roles,” she said.

In her young adult series, The Hibouleans, Octavia created a world where leading teens, Taryn and Priya, are STEM fanatics and must use their math and science knowledge to solve clues as they embark on a life-or-death treasure hunt against terrifying shape-shifting Hibouleans. She said she wrote the series for all the brown girls out there that love problem-solving, strength-building, lab experiments and dream of having super powers and being the hero in epic adventures.

“It’s incredibly important, not just for young Black and brown girls to refuse to believe their skin color is limiting, but it’s just as necessary for everyone else to begin to envision women of color as main characters, too, not just restricted to foreign supporting roles,” she said. “We need an entire cultural shift – we have as much a right and a capacity to lead as anyone else.”

Octavia, who now resides in Chicago, represented the state of Michigan in the 2006 Miss America pageant, and is also a cellist and composer. She wrote The Hibouleans book score, too – the musical theme that accompanies her characters’ adventures in the series.

“As a musician, I also hope to show my audience that Black women can do anything – we can be queens, scientists, authors, physicians, Hibouleans, cellists and even mermaids.”Cello Goddess Open Octavia Reese Miss Michigan The Hibouleans

Find Octavia, her cello and The Hibouleans Volumes 1 – 4, this Sunday, July 21 from 10am – 4pm at Detroit Book Fest. For more information, visit and



Thank you, 2018

I normally post these reflections on Road to Relovery, but 2019 has a new vision for that — you’ll see more of my thoughts here. Well. What a year.

When I first stepped out to reinvent myself and really become the person I always wanted to be, I adopted a mantra to get me through the tough times: #andshewillflourish.

Sidebar, this has oddly come full circle. I quoted Louis C.K. in the article linked above, and here we are four years later, I am rising, and he is, well… learning…


I needed to remind myself that no matter how dark the night is, the sun will always reappear. I told myself just as winter always comes, so does summer. I reminded myself that when you go through something difficult, you still go through it. Through. Motion. Movement. No one says “I’m going into something never to emerge again.”

No, you go through. And so I told myself, when you do go through, and through you will, you will flourish. You will be fine and you will flourish.

And so, while not short, or easy, or seamless, or fully pleasant, or smooth or comfortable, I am going through something and finally seeing that light at the end.

I have a lovely home. My boys are thriving. I have incredible friends. I adore my circle of chosen family. I transformed my hobby business into an official business. I republished my first three books in the format I always dreamed. I sold nearly 400 of them. Independently. I’ve started two other novels. I attended 15 events in the name of The Hibouleans. I have about 50 consistent subscribers to the first podcast my business launched just three months ago. And all of this… within the last year. I’ve kept my head down. I’ve stayed focused on tiny wins. And so. When I stand up and look back, I see how much land I’ve covered and how many mountains I’ve scaled. And no, I didn’t do it alone. Keep your friends close, kiddies. The real ones. The have your back in many moment ones.

I’m happy. I’m content. I’m not just good — I’m thriving.

2018 has been good to me. And as this year, finally one more full of abundance than scarcity, closes, I am looking forward to 2019. Because my mantra has arrived. Flourish. There’s no more #andshewillflourish; the will is gone… she is flourishing now.

Octavia Reese BESTNINE

Looking back on those early adventure days, I used a fun goal – A Word A Day – to keep trekking along on my Road to Relovery. This year, I’ll be doing A Haiku A Day. I haven’t written a haiku since fourth grade. This will be fun.

#staycurious #sheisflourishing