Category Archives: Books

Insiders, outsiders, travel, COVID and a book

Welcome! This episode is another installment in our COVID catch-up series…I’ve been chatting with past guests on Planet Noun—to find out how they’ve been faring during this rough year…known as 2020.

This time, it’s a first time guest to the show…but THIS dude…I haven’t seen in SOOOOOOO long. We overlapped at college for a bit where we sang in the same choir…then poof!  No sightings for many years—until Facebook came along.  Still haven’t seen him in person since the 90s.

His name? Brian Watts… author and host of Knowledge is the Key on Envision Radio.  He’s also an author and an educator.  We talk about a range of things including how his love of travel led him to Kuwait, how getting pulled over by the police so many times factored into that decision and experiencing the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in another country. We also talk about his book—which delves into how parents can help their children to help themselves.  

Let’s get to it with Brian Watts…on Planet Noun!

Thanks for listening to Planet Noun where it’s all about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents.

That was Brian J.T. Watts. Peruse his website to learn more about him. You can also learn more about his book titled “How to Help Your Children Help Themselves.

And here’s more info on his radio show, “Knowledge is the Key” from the man himself!

Thanks again for stopping by… until next time, take care!

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Leaving all dreams on the table with author Keosha Turner

You want dreams.  Well dreams cost. 

If you don’t remember Debbie Allen uttering those words on the television show Fame, we can’t be friends.  

Kidding!

But seriously,  what I’ve learned from interviewing folks on the 30 previous episodes of Planet Noun, is that there’s a cost to realizing goals and aspirations.  Even when it seems like luck, trust and believe—there’s a lot of work that goes into being ready for that “lucky” break and being ready when opportunity calls.

Today’s guest is Keosha Turner—a woman who has a busy life, but she manages to write fantasy books in her spare time, like a page turner called The Disappearance of Magda Harden.

In this conversation, learn more about Keosha’s path to writing, and her writing plans.  

I’ll have to circle back to see if anything has changed, because this episode was recorded a little before the COVID-19 ish hit the fan and a national emergency was declared in the United States.

So if you’re looking for something new to read—even as things are opening back up…check out Keosha Turner!

And good news—the second installment of the Magda Harden Series will be out in July…that means not only one, but two of Keosha’s books for your spring/summer reading list!

Oh, and if you don’t know that “Fame” reference I referred to earlier, that means I’m getting old…and you’re about to get schooled, lol:

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When disappointment steers you to bet on yourself with David Arrington

There’s a quote that says — move boldly in the direction of your dreams. I love that one…but Sometimes we all need….wait…let me speak for myself….I need a nudge to get me moving in the direction of those dreams, aspirations, and goals written in all those notebooks around the house. Is this you? Do you know someone like this? Either way—keep reading.

“What I do is I accelerate your success. That’s the funny thing about coaching. When you work with me, you’re fundamentally getting a force multiplier.” —Dr. David Arrington, COO of Arrington Coaching Click To Tweet

My guest today is Doctor David Arrington, COO of Arrington Coaching…author of the book “Promotable: How to Demonstrate Your Value, Highlight Your Potential & Land Your Next Promotion.”

We talk about a bunch of things…from the book he released in February, to the role his family plays in the business, lessons learned along his life and business journeys, and lessons he hopes his children glean from his experiences.

So some disclosure here—I’ve known David for YEARS. We met through the woman who would become his wife. But I met her during our high school years in Los Angeles. We went to the same school for a time.

A few years later, we met David and they hit it off. I have the honor of being one of the people who can say — I was present as part of his origin story unfolded.

Well, let’s get to it with Dr. David Arrington of Arrington Coaching — right here on Planet Noun.

Learn more about what Dr. Arrington’s company can do for you and your organization at the Arrington Coaching website.

You can also explore the various courses available at David’s training site—Arrington Training. Offerings at Arrington Coaching include free and premium courses.

One good thing about books is you can read those during pandemics, when you have to shelter in place or are abiding by stay at home orders. Dr. Arrington’s paperback is available from Amazon. So is the e-book.

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Land your next promotion with “Promotable”

This book is GOOD!

Promotable is a quick read that doesn't drone on and on. It pulls no punches and gets straight to the point and quickly tells you how you can become more Promotable in your career. It's also filled with suggestions that can be used right away.
Promotable is a quick read that doesn’t drone on and on. It pulls no punches and gets straight to the point and quickly tells you how you can become more Promotable in your career. It’s also filled with suggestions that can be used right away.

I could end this book review by right there, but it wouldn’t explain WHY I think Dr. David Arrington’s, founder of Arrington Coaching, has given readers a good thing.

Well, let’s get to that. Why should you snag a copy this book?

Reason #1: It’s a quick read. I read Promotable: How to Demonstrate Your Value, Highlight Your Potential & Land Your Next Promotion in two sittings—I put it down the first time only because it was time for bed. I had stuff to do the next day, but guess what? I used one of David’s suggestions during a meeting.

How about THAT?

Reason #2: I like this book because it doesn’t drone on and on, but gets straight to the point of how you can become more promotable and prove your value at work. It’s also packed with extra resources and links to additional reading material—including probing questions to ask yourself, and free worksheets to help you think through the things you desire in your career.

Another thing I enjoy is that the author’s personality shines though this-here work. Full disclosure: I’ve known this dude for decades, and his wife even longer than that. This book is not only a helpful read, it’s also a throwback journey down memory lane with film and old-school hip hop references!

Long story short: With so many books out there, it’ll be worth your while to pay attention to this one. Click the image to learn more.

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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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