Category Archives: Books

Ghosted? Mourn @ a Funeral with author Lenina Mortimer

Sometimes romantic relationships SUCK.
Especially when they run off the rails…whether it be from growing differences between relatants or if someone just up and decides they don’t want you anymore, but they don’t bother to tell you about it.

Basically—when someone ghosts you.

Today’s guest experienced ghosting…she was the ghostee—if you will. Old boy turned her loose, but didn’t verbally communicate that to her—and wouldn’t communicate with her as she tried to get to the bottom of things.

So Lenina Mortimer wrote a book about it—to help someone else along the ghastly breakup recovery path.

Take a listen to Lenina Mortimer, author of the book “I Ain’t Thinking About You…The 8 Step Guide to Finally Letting Him Go Using the Breakup Funeral Method.”

Let’s get this mourning in motion…On Planet Noun.

1:50—Getting the un-holy ghost(ting)

3:09—Discovering the root of dysfunctional relationships

6:24—Creating the Breakup Funeral

14:51—Timing: When is it best to hold a breakup funeral?

19:20—Why separation is healthy after a breakup/Why the Breakup Funeral is a communal experience

25:54—Running into the ghosted

30:09—A love letter to black women

35:32—Self-care is crucial to breakup recovery

38:50—Steering clear of breakup traps

41:31—To forgive or not to forgive?  And when? 

Get your e-book copy

Find out more about Lenina Mortimer and her work! Let’s start with a link to her e-book “I Ain’t Thinking About You…The 8 Step Guide to Finally Letting Him Go Using the Breakup Funeral Method.”

Lenina’s also on social media. You can learn more about her coaching services there.
Facebook
Instagram

And one thing she mentioned during the show—the Via Character Strengths Survey. Listen to learn how and why she uses this survey in her work.


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QFBR: Trail Of Echoes by Rachel Howzell Hall

There’s a neighborhood in the dusty corners of the ‘hood, not terribly far from where the rich people live, where too many young teen girls have gone missing lately.

Then it happens—again.

This time, it’s 13-year-old Chanita Lords who has vanished from a neighborhood in Los Angeles known as The Jungle.

It’s another case that strikes Detective Elouise “Lou” Norton in the heart and gut because she grew up in that neighborhood. Norton also recently solved the case of her long-missing older sister Tori, whose bones had finally been discovered at a shopping plaza not far from where she was last seen all those years ago–part of the scant remnants of her last living day. Tori had been literally under their noses, yet just beyond reach.

So Lou takes another trip down memory lane to The Jungle, and to a family that still lives in the same apartments where Lou and her family used to reside.

Part of her walk includes revisiting and reuniting with families whose members were problematic on the bullying front back in the day. Now, it appears that foul attitudes and bullying jackassery were passed down to the next generation.  

Lou manages to balance, though not always seamlessly, her unwavering dedication to police and detective work to keep other girls like Chanita from being snatched–while knowing how folks in her old neighborhood feel about the police and understanding why they do.

As part of the murder mystery backdrop, Rachel Howzell Hall continues to weave in relational dynamics between the characters in Lou’s life. From the ultra-tense sentiments she harbors toward her dad who ditched their family and is trying to make amends, to the tensions that arise based on cultural and environmental differences between the way Lou was raised and how her partner, Colin Taggert, grew up in Colorado.

But they still work well together as partners in crime solving, along with the other members of the homicide team. Part of the relational story includes a coming out and its aftermath between two longtime friends, and Lou’s attempts to juggle work and kind-sorta-but-not-really-but-still-kinda-sorta blossoming relationship with an Assistant District Attorney who seems like a great guy. 

As for the murder mystery, Howzell Hall‘s writing, as always, keeps me guessing. Who are the main suspects? What’s up with the three mean hood chicks who lived in the same apartment complex as Chanita? Did they carry out one of those Lifetime-esque jealous cheerleader-type of murders and dump the body in a nearby park? What about the mom who had a roughneck boyfriend? The convicted pedophile who lived nearby? The girl’s counselor at school? Some of her schoolmates? Who, what-the-what, when, where, how and why?

Who killed Chanita and tried to deter investigators by injecting bug repellent into her thighs?

Who’s sending the ciphers and other mysterious notes? Who killed AGAIN? Is this a serial killer?  What about the other missing girls? Who, when, where, what-the-what? How and WHY?

Well, that’s about all I can say without saying too much. But yes, is a page-turner!  And I’m so gratified that I guessed the right killer! But the detectives thinning the field did make it easier, though.

To find out more, check out this read— Trail of Echoes. It was published in 2016.

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

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From breakup pining to thriving with “I Ain’t Thinking About You”

Whew! This book may be fewer than 60 pages, and it’s an enjoyable read—but a dense one. By that I mean there’s lots to reflect on… And reflect some more. This book is a workshop! 

Based on the title, I imagined a sassy, finger snapping read. That’s in here—along with research-based recommendations. I love when sass and humor meet academic research. I really relate to the tone of this book.

I also love the humor! Plenty of that in here, too…along with hope. That’s what I really, really like—all the steps are meant to get folks to hope.

My favorite parts include Chapter 4 and practical ways to get to acceptance—radical acceptance—and no longer blaming ourselves when someone we’re dating “ain’t actin’ right.”

Oh, and the necessity of forgiveness to get to a place of healing, and looking ahead to what we want life to look like after we’ve fully moved on.

I also love the humor! Plenty of that in here, too...along with hope. That’s what I really, really like—all the steps are meant to get folks to hope. Click To Tweet

There are 13 chapters total in the book, eight which outline the path leading to and including The Breakup Funeral™. Each chapter will ask you to do some thought work that involves accessing your deepest emotions surrounding the breakup (or breakups–plural– if it applies?) and any past influences that may impact your dating choices today. There are writing prompts that provide an outlet for all of that self-exploration and excavation.

Lenina Mortimer, the book’s author, recommends going through the eight steps in order because each step is builds up to the recovery culmination—The Breakup Funeral™.

Lookie here, seriously consider (then get) this book if you’re grappling with a recent breakup. Heck, you may want to check it out even if a relationship ended a while ago, but you’re still grappling with some residual grief. Even if your emotions and your mind ‘been known’ the person ain’t coming back, even if you don’t WANT them back—but you haven’t found it in you to start the path forward to thriving again… This book is also for you.

“I Ain’t Thinking About You” gets 5 out of 5 planets!

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EPISODE 15: Crafting characters that can step from a book’s pages and walk down the street

Any day is a good day to profess affection… so—I admit—I’m in love. With books written by today’s guest! So, there’s this character named Elouise Norton who has captured my heart! Why? Because she’s so human… It’s like I know her.

I’m stoked that I got to interview her creator during a visit to Los Angeles!

Critically acclaimed crime fiction writer Rachel Howzell Hall is the author of several books, including the Lou Norton series, and another title They All Fall Down, which will be released on April 9.

We discuss a range of things from her origins as a writer, how she can explores through her characters, the dualities and unexpected realities of her page people—her characters, and more!

Take a listen to Rachel Howzell Hall on Planet Noun Episode 15!

Part 1—00:00-08:10
Where it all started

Part 1a—08:16-17:07 How a character, Detective Elouise Norton, was a tutor to Howzell Hall

Part 2—17:04-29:02
Characters you don’t expect… dualities and unexpected realities.

Part 3—29:05-36:20
Rachel’s journey toward crime fiction

Part 4—36:28-42:37
Reconciling characters and subject matter with a churchy upbringing

Part 5—42:40-end
Most gratifying moments as an author, and maximizing her time as an author who also has a family and a full time job

Links to stories mentioned in episode:

Torrance bowling alley shooting

Rachel’s social media links:

Instagram

Twitter

Website 

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Erotic poetry to keep your Valentine steamy all year long–a chat with Rare Epiphany

There’s nothing like good talks with longtime friends.

Those conversations between decades-old pals can sometimes get pretty personal and… adult.

Especially if your friend has written a book of erotic poetry.

If you don’t know, you’re about to find out…about Atlanta-based poet Rare Epiphany.

Order her already-published books here.

Rare/Pam keeps a constant stream of writing activities on her docket.

“I have a cookbook coming, too, as soon as I learn how to measure,” she tells Planet Noun.  “I’m a classic Southern cook. I don’t measure anything. I just sprinkle ’till the spirit of my ancestors say ‘Enough my child.’”

She’s also working on a poetic autobiography and a second book of erotic poetry. Her projects include a collection titled “Think.”

“It’s funny, because the main script for think was done before Soul Kisses was done. I just never released [it]. And I figured there’s a reason for that, so I gotta go back through and try to look through it and figure out what’s going on [with] “Think.”

That project, Rare says, is built on a series of writing challenges.

“I specifically ask people, when I don’t feel like I’m writing enough, I’ll ask for challenges. So it can be a word challenge. Give me 10 words, and I’ll take those 10 words and…build a piece around these 10 words. Or I’ll say give me a song. And I’ll write a poem based on how the song makes me feel, or the story of the song, where it takes me. It can [also] be a quote–something to kind of push a poem out, and that is how a lot of Soul Kisses was written,” Rare adds.

I”m always working on some project or another.  And then I’ll get pulled into another project, and then I’ll get pulled into another project. And sometimes I just need a breather from something like the autobiography,” Rare says, which is psychologically taxing project because it delves into her entire history, which includes being sexually abused as a young girl.

When her pen needs break, she opts for happier writing projects.

“Let me write about rainbows and unicorns and stuff.  Feel good about life,” she muses.

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Persistent papers pepper patience as Life Changing Tidying Up works its Magic

(FROM WHERE I SIT)—Good Lord, the papers have sprouted feet and are taking over because they want to be recycled. This latest rebellion is underway because I’ve been holding things up for way too long.  But I persist, because the end results will be worth it.

Gratefully ditching clothes that didn’t bring me joy wasn’t nearly as hard as getting rid of these clingy papers. It’s been a trudge. Kinda-sorta. Deciding what to keep and what to toss wasn’t that difficult. Now, there’s so much stuff to shred. If only the pile could rip itself to pieces. Yesterday. But as it’s taken me years to accumulate all this shite, it’ll take at least a smidgen of time to get this foolishness back under control.

Such a slow roll. But shredder wheels keep on turning, proud Lizzy keep on burning. I’m encouraged to don’t stop, get-it get-it because there’ll be time enough for resting when the shredding’s done.

Part of my KonMarie possessions laxative includes purging through all papers and only keeping the ones that bring joy. Of course, as The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up says there are always very necessary papers that must stay, no matter how much they dull the senses. Necessary is necessary.

Some paper goods I’ve considered for the rubbish pile: Treats from students during my teaching days. Every now and then, parents and students blessed me with holiday gifts: Things like a journal, a tile decorated with a little boy’s artwork, a Christmas card made from construction paper, a sporty skirt and top that I wore for a long while before I gave them away. Of all those kind treasures, I still have the journal and use it to jot down recipes. I also have the decorated tile, homemade card, and a different skirt that I still wear during the fall and winter months.

These things still bring me joy. Even the oversized construction-paper card with first-grader penmanship wishing me a Merry Christmas.  I’ll keep them until I can’t keep ’em anymore. Some bring back such wonderful memories. And I’ll treasure them… …. …… …….. .. . always.

there are always very necessary papers that must stay, no matter how much they dull the senses. Click To Tweet

Now, back to the other papers. Part of me wants to find a beach bonfire and introduce them to the flames. Another part of me wants to bake them to a crisp inside the stove, crumble them and use them to fertilize some plant. All of me wants them gone.

Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. That’s what keeps me from tossing everything out the window. That, and not wanting to catch a littering charge.

 

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The Life Changing Magic of paper wrangling

Papers are an itch-bay. They’re all up in everything like sand after a sandstorm.  Not like I’ve been in a sandstorm… But I’ve been stormed by paper for many evers.  That has to change.

Even though I’ve tidied through other possession categories, which you’ll read about as I stumble through this process, I’m still struggling to ditch the papers because my shredder is broke-down and sorry. No, not broken down… broke down. I rode that thing too hard, and it’s trying to quit on me. Another one I have is too dang loud. I swear if I ran that one too long, it would wake the dead.  I’ve been looking for local shredding events, but it seems I missed them earlier this spring. Oh well.

The shred-struggle is real… and slow. Real slow. But consistent. #konmarimethod Click To Tweet

So, according to Marie Kondo, papers should be the first thing to go. I see why. But in my tidying, they’re going to be the first AND last things to go.  That has me scared, because according to the KonMarie method, if you don’t follow her ways perfectly, you’re doomed to failure. [NOTE: Kinda felt like being at some churches.]  I hope that’s not the case.  I know that’s not the case, because this one here (points to self) ain’t going back down that road of clenching and holding on to stuff that doesn’t make her happy or isn’t totally necessary).  No, sir.  No-sireee-Bob (who’s Bob?) Nawsuh. Nunnnt-uhhh.

A high school teacher gave me a Tuit button years ago. Why? Because I told him my procrastination was based on my not having one of these. A round tuit. Now that I have one, there’s nothing I can’t do! 🙂

According to KonMarie, paper includes books. At first, I thought it only meant the bags and boxes of foolishness I’d been keeping for YEARS with plans to file, but just never got around to it.

Now I have one.

Corny, I know. But no more excuses.

So here’s something else that’s helping me get my paper -ish together.  I refused to purchase any more stuff to organize my life. What purpose would it serve to buy more organizers?  This one here (points to self) already had all she needed and hadn’t yet put to use.

Trays to organize papers before filing? Yup.

A personal, physical “in” box that took everything in but never put out? Got it.

Adorable Ikea organizers? Got-em!  These Skubb organizers are inexpensive, well-loved (by me) and well-used.  Not the most fancy-schmancy, but they get the job done.  If ever get more organizers it would be these exact ones or something like them. So versatile. And foldable. If I don’t need them, there’s a zipper on the bottom which makes them easy to break down and store without taking up goo-gobs of space.

Since I’m ditching stuff, it doesn’t make one iota of sense to go collecting more organizers before I’m through getting rid what I don’t need. Instead, I’m choosing to release stuff that doesn’t bring joy and will to use organizers I already have to tidy what I still want to keep.  And if I have leftover organizers, those may have to say hello to Salvation Army or any good friend who could use them.

Book ‘em Liz-o

Can I tell you how many books I hauled outta here?

Nope, because I didn’t count them.  But it was several boxes and plastic containers full.  Some were hauled to a local used bookstore where I could exchange for cash or credit.  I’m sure some bibliophile somewhere already knows this, but opting for store credit gets you more value than cash.  Since I was looking to get rid of stuff, it didn’t make sense to take store credit and welcome more books into my life while choosing to keep ones that I still wanted to read, but hadn’t since I didn’t have a precious Tuit.

THIS! This is why I haven’t read those books! Because I didn’t have my hands on one of these! Tuits are the stuff, yo!

For me, it was wiser to take the value cut and keep the cash.

Now, I have a tall bookcase full and one plastic container of books that I haven’t yet put back on my other smaller bookcases.  I’m thinking about giving these things another go-through.  Some may not make the next cut. My gut tells me the volumes I really need and will use can fit on the one tall case.  All others can visit via electronic means, and if I crave the more intimate feel of pages on fingers…there’s always the local library.

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QFBR: Measure of a Man

Person: Martin Greenfield; Maximilian Grunfeld
Thing: This book—Measure of a Man; a well made suit
Place: Pavlovo, Czechoslovakia; Concentration camps—Auschwitz, Buna, Buchenwald, Baltimore, Brooklyn… Various locales.
Idea: Grace makes an improbable life wonderfully possible.

Martin’s life started in Czechoslovakia. He was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household, but Martin says their faith wasn’t especially zealous. Life was good. They worked their own farm, took care of their livestock and even employed workers.

Then the trains arrived… and scuttled Martin’s family away. His mom, baby brother, younger sister and grandparents were sent in one direction. His other sister—taken away as well.

And then there were two. Martin and his dad. But they, too, were separated.

Martin never saw them again.

He survived Auschwitz, brutal marches through the snow, and Buchenwald, which is where Americans liberated them.

Martin’s main question through the succession of atrocities: “Where was God?”

His life took a few twists and turns after liberation–a stint in the Czech army, making a living as a cigarette runner, and meeting young ladies and having fun.

Martin was working as an auto mechanic when a letter arrived from the United States. He got someone to translate it, and learned he had extended family across the Atlantic.

Eventually, he settled in Brooklyn, worked for the suit maker GGG, a company with a client roster that included many high-profile Hollywood names.

Martin married, worked his way up the GGG ladder, and eventually purchased the company and re-named it.

Some have said Martin’s top-notch, made to measure suits are the best in the world. Repeat clients include U.S. presidents, Hollywood stars, athletes, and late night TV hosts.

Martin, whose family was almost decimated by hate, now runs the business with his sons. He notes how grace afforded the opportunity to create another family to love and nurture. Though there were MANY opportunities for death to smother him during World War II, it wasn’t able to snuff his existence.

After decades of hard work, opportunity, and success, and a bar mitzvah at age 80, Martin says he’s “left with nothing but gratitude for my life. Some things, it turns out, are beyond measure.”

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Sleep your way to a better life AND feel good about it

Person: Arianna Huffington
Places: A lot of ‘em
Thing: Sweet sleep… and a book, Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time
Idea: Get some. More than just some. Huffington says get plenty.

Let’s just sum up this book in one command: Go to sleep, d@mmit. Of course there are variations, such as a get more sleep, dammit… Or get better quality sleep, d@mmit… But it all boils down to making the most of our sleeping hours not only to rejuvenate and recharge each night, but to also connect with our inner selves, our subconscious through dreams.

Huffington culls all sorts of research on sleep, From ancient sleep traditions and mindsets that include holding sleep as sacred, to modern conceptions that catching some ZZZZZZs is a an annoyance that prevents folks from getting “things” done, whatever those things might be. Human beings need, need, need sleep to be more productive at work and play, to improve our relationships, and to maintain or improve health.

There’s even an entire section on how to bulk up our sleep lives by adjusting relationships with our mobile devices, with room temperatures at bedtime, and even adjusting our relationship with exercise and diet to aid in getting better quality sleep each night. Huffington even discusses natural remedies for folks who are having trouble getting to sleep.

For fashionistas, there’s also a way to dress for beddy-bye time. Yes, it’s there.  If you choose to jump ahead in the book, it’s called “The Bedtime Dress Code: What to Wear, What Not to Wear.” Don’t expect E!-style red carpet fashion reviews, but the tips definitely work for the subject matter.

Sleep Revolution is a recommended book… Because it’s both informative and an easy read. Hell, after reading this book, I think maybe the world would be a better place if people slept more. We should all take advice from a book written for frustrated and possibly sleep-deprived parents…and “Go the F*ck to Sleep.”

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Quick-Fast Book Review: Quitting Church

Person: Julia Duin
Thing: Book—Quitting Church
Place: Various
Idea: Once adherent congregants are ditching their churches. Whether they’re fleeing in droves or trickling one member at a time, the attrition is noticeable. But those who leave aren’t necessarily ditching their faith. So what’s the deal?

In this book, Duin breaks down some reasons God-fearing and God-loving folks are finding a more comfortable home outside church structures and strictures.

In short, the faithful pack their belief and find spiritual solace elsewhere because the church is:
• Irrelevant and not addressing 21st century needs.
• Not a teeming and supportive community that folks need.
• Not concerned about singles over 35 years of age outside of how those unattached individuals can serve the church.
• The teaching is too basic and doesn’t stretch the mind. Some need basic biblical teaching, but that doesn’t encompass everyone’s needs. And what about tough areas of ambiguity? What about questions with no easy, pithy answers?
• Some churches are strangled by controlling pastors.
• And although women make large, large swaths of church membership, their leadership presence is glaringly absent… and in some cases, glaringly stifled into second-class status.
• Some can’t find that passionate spirit they so long for within a church body.

I think this book brings up some interesting points. Some I relate to more than others, as a once-weekly attendee who now finds a growing comfort with regular, but decreased frequency.

I recommend this book for anyone who is frustrated with the church experience and anyone who just wants to know they’re not alone. As for help fixing what’s broken, that’s an individual decision. Maybe you’ll find solace in leaving your church, or inspiration to tinker about and repair what’s broken in your local congregation—or even your denomination. If you’re not religious at all, ignore this recommendation and continue being kind to your neighbor… Amen.

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