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Author | Blogger | Workshop Facilitator Visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novels, Gotta Let It Go and Gotta Get It Back, the sequel. Connect with me online @authordeelawrence (Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

"The Johnstown Book Festival - It Was A Hit!"

On Saturday, August 29, 2015, I went on a road trip with a fellow author to the Johnstown Book Festival at Lorain Burough Park in Johnstown, PA. This wasn't the typical book festival chock full of authors selling their books. Instead, it was an intimate group of authors (many of them I already knew) who ventured to Johnstown for a literary event created by Sharon Lucas, President of the Reading Divas Book Club. She thought it would be a great idea to add this component to the Johnstown 50 & Over Reunion. And it was a fantastic idea.

When we arrived, the warm welcome we received made us feel right at home. Throughout the day, the activities were nonstop: the DJ was bumping old school music, folks were singing karaoke, line dancing, playing bingo, etc.

All the authors (from left in the photo below: Dionne Peart, Me, Dr. Hattie Washington, Renee Daniel Flagler, Nanette Buchanan) had a great time singing along with the music, dancing and drinking our coolers (Jamaica Me Happy) as we enjoyed the delicious meals. What can I say...the fried fish at lunch was da bomb! And dinner was very delicious too!

Overall, it was a great day. We had a chance to read from our novels, meet new readers, and laugh and chat with them. We networked with each other and traded writing tips and tricks. I was also impressed with some of the authors who could churn out two novels a year. And guess what? Well, now I'm inspired to get my projects off the ground! It was the reality check that I needed.

As we made our way to say our goodbyes to Sharon Lucas, all we could say was, "This was hit!" Until next time, check out some photos from the event:

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Review of "Gotham Diaries" by Tonya Lewis Lee and Crystal McCrary Anthony

Gotham Diaries is a story about three friends living the New York City Black elite life and how their friendships crash and burn amidst lies, deceit, scandal and betrayal.  At the root of it all is the almighty dollar: folks needing more of it, folks not knowing what to do with it and folks losing it all.

The characters are well developed and the descriptions are spot on.  However, the pacing was a bit slow but picked up momentum in the middle and towards the end. Also, there were times when the characters should have reacted to a situation immediately but didn’t and that left me wondering “what the heck.” Overall, it wasn’t a bad read once you get through it.  

Here are a few of my favorite lines:

Tandy was fed up with this child playing Speed Racer at the amusement park. “ALL RIGHT! YOU STUPID LITTLE BITCH! Life is tough. Get over it. If you want to kill yourself, go ahead, but you let me out. Your money is better served in my hands. You don’t know how to live.” In fear, Tandy made a subtle admission. At this point she no longer cared what Lauren knew; she just wanted out of the car before Lauren killed them both. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"Listen Up Folks...Warren Buffett's Got Some Tips for YOU! - Stop Worrying So Much"

I recently read an article in the Muse (an online magazine that provides free career advice) by Jim Schleckser of Inc. In this article, Schleckser tells readers why the successful Warren Buffett doesn't worry that much. Despite all the billions of money Buffett has made and the number of investments he's made over the years, he remains "cool as a cucumber."

You may ask yourself how the heck is that possible. Well, Schleckser tells us that Buffett has adopted secrets from Dale Carnegie's book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.  Here are the 6 secrets:

1. Isolate the Problem. The key to isolating the problem is to departmentalize your life. This means keeping your business, relationships and finances separate so they don't spill into each other. For the most part, I agree. I typically keep work where it belongs...at work. But sometimes, when I've had a very hard day, it does spill over. However, the trick is knowing when to turn off that faucet because I wouldn't want it messing up my time with family and friends.

2. Understand the Problem. If some aspect of your life has gone haywire, don't react to it until you have all the facts. In theory, this sounds great but how many of us fly off the handle before getting all the facts? I know I sometimes do this very same thing. However, over the years, I have learned to take a step back. For example, if someone sends me an email that is scathing, before I blow a gasket, I take a breather and wait before responding so that my thoughts are clear. I find that my answer is more pointed and leaves the sender feeling not so good about sending me the email in the first place.

3. Prepare to Accept the Worse. Once you know the type of issue you're facing, determine the worst-case scenario and make peace with it. Recently, I had a situation that got me all knotted up in the stomach. I worried so much that I couldn't think clearly. Then once I mapped out the worst-case scenario, I finally made peace with it and so I stopped worrying about it.

4. Make a Decision. After you have accepted the worst case scenario, you should start thinking about creating a better outcome after weighing all the facts that you have. Like I said above, once I accepted the worst-case scenario, I was able to stop worrying about it. But this didn't happen overnight. I had to weigh all the facts before I was able to get to that point.

5. Act. You have to act on the decision because this will reduce your level of worry. I can honestly say that once I made my decision, I did act but it could have been a lot swifter. Anyway, I'm working on that.

6. Let It Go. This is the golden prize. Once you've done everything to deal with the worst-case scenario, it's time to accept and make peace with it. Why? Because, there's nothing you can do about it. So, it's time to move on to the next issue. And yes, I did make peace with my issue and have moved on to the next.

I can so hear Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy" playing in my head! So, if Warren Buffett can use these 6 steps to not worry, why not give it a try!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"American Moor" - A One Man Play by Keith Hamilton Cobb

On Sunday, August 2, 2015, a friend invited me to go see the Keith Hamilton Cobb's one man play, "American Moor" at the Anacostia Playhouse in Washington, DC.  As an avid theatergoer, I was excited to see an unconventional play especially that one that touches on the realities of being a black man in America. So, I knew I was in for a treat.

We sat second row, dead center, up close and very personal. As the rest of the audience (diverse) began to trickle in, I could feel the excitement building to see Keith Hamilton Cobb, all 6 foot 4 inches ("on a good day," as he mentioned) of a black man take center stage ready to spill some knowledge.

Throughout the play, Cobb engaged the audience as he belted out his range of emotions from anger to frustration to incredulous to WTF. We hung on to each word as he switched between quoting lines from Shakespeare's Othello to modern day slang to show how white America stereotypes him as a black man. There were many poignant moments where his message regarding stereotyping hit home for me as a black professional woman in corporate America. The frustration he felt in his industry and the need to subscribe to white America's way of thinking how he should act really resonated with me.

I had to laugh out loud at times when he mentioned that directors would ask him whether he's ever played basketball because of his height. When in fact, he stated that he sucked at it. This is a classic case of preconceived notions because white America doesn't take the time to know him or what he could bring to the character he's playing. Same holds true for me in corporate America as they would rather have me conform to their way of thinking and not be my authentic self. Therein lies the struggle.

At the end of the show, Cobb received a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. We stuck around for the post show discussion facilitated by Thembi Duncan. I loved that she started the dialogue by asking the audience to throw out some words that came to mind as we watched Cobb's performance. Some of those words were anger, black lives matter, frustration, etc. Once the audience was warmed up, the dialogue scratched the surface about race. But given more time, I'm sure it would have been a very rich and interesting dialogue.

Overall, this is a must see play. I've already had some friends of mine purchase tickets to go see it and I can't wait to hear their reactions.

Great job, Mr. Cobb! American Moor is so much more and then some! Two thumbs way up!


American Moor is a 78 minute solo  play written and performed by Keith Hamilton Cobb, examining the experience and perspective of black men in America through the metaphor of William Shakespeare's character, Othello.

Check out this YouTube video and some photos from the play.