Thursday, December 30, 2021

❀New SELF-HELP Book Alert❀: This Is How I Spell Grief by Erik Lewin


Learn to address grief on your own terms, to make true and lasting peace with your loss…

By Erik Lewin

THIS IS HOW I SPELL GRIEF, Self-Help, Jeffrey Park Press, 126 pp.

Erik Lewin shares how he turned the profound loss of his mother and father into life-changing growth, with intimacy, warmth and humor. He offers a no-nonsense, commonsense way to create your personal path to acceptance of your loss.

Lewin became an expert in his grief experience twice over, encouraging readers to find their own way, as no two lives or losses are the same. He eschews expert opinions and general analyses of grieving in favor of common sense, letting you know you are not alone in how you’re feeling. He shares how he turned his loss into an impetus to personal change. A former criminal defense lawyer, Lewin is now a full time writer and standup comedian.

This Is How I Spell Grief takes a counter-intuitive approach to self-help; there are no eight simple exercises to get over it. Instead, you gradually learn to address grief on your own terms, to make true and lasting peace with your loss.


“Generous, intimate and deeply personal, even funny at times. I believe this book will help readers work with their own grief.” - NOAH BRUCE, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director, Salinas Valley Medical Clinic

Outstanding work. Everything I felt about my father’s recent death and my best friend’s death 14 years ago was articulated in this writing. It truly is a wonderful tome on helping one to manage their grief after the death of a loved one.” – Philip Peredo

“This is the book that I wished I had many years ago when first confronting the passing of my father. The author expertly navigates all of the issues that one encounters when grieving. It’s a remarkable book in that even for those who think we have a handle on their grief, the author helps us understand new ways to engage with grief. It’s definitely not a self-help book, but I found it much more profound and valuable.” - AKF



The World Goes on But You’re Still Grieving


One of the worst aspects of grief is it can feel like nobody knows what you’re talking about. This can make you feel emotionally alienated, and therefore reluctant to share your feelings with others.

Since losing my mom and dad, I’ve tried to share with family my feelings of alienation, but I suspect they’re convinced I’m something of an alien; as if the emotional frequency I am tuned into is like dog ears—one they cannot hear at all.

Hey, I’m now alone in the universe. “Oh okay,” they reply, “want to get a hot dog?”

Or silence. They’ll just ignore the subject. It’s flabbergasting! Especially when it’s an anniversary of loss, and the person is aware of this, it hangs in the air real thick and gloomy; they treat it as no more important to discuss than the weather, something far in the distance, passing us by. The longer the absence of their acknowledgment of the loss, the gloomier and thicker the air becomes, until it’s suffocating to not say something. It’s up to me to bring it up! As if it wouldn’t exist otherwise! I’m sorry to have made them feel uncomfortable.

I understand that no one wants to talk about death. In the first place it’s depressing, and its finality is just plain hard for a human mind to comprehend. It’s baffling, overwhelming, heartbreaking, traumatizing, debilitating, anxiety-inducing, and this list goes on.

But the irony is laughable! Everybody on the planet dies, so presumably, many people have lost someone close already, and you would therefore think many could relate. The truth is somewhere in between; a lot of people still have not lost a parent, or child, or brother or spouse, someone integral to their life, and this often renders them incapable of meaningfully empathizing, or even sympathizing, with your experience. Likewise, certain people are simply incapable of dealing with the discomfort of the subject. In the end, there’s effectively not too much difference between the two, and so it just becomes too exhausting to examine the reasons why any particular individual doesn’t feel really “there for you.”

Nevertheless, as I grapple with the enormity of loss, I still do bristle at those who express scant empathy. I visited with a close relative, (whom I still love in spite of the following) shortly after my mom’s passing. I felt fragile and vulnerable, yet eager to commiserate with someone who knew my mother well. It felt like an opportunity to help with my healing process, and of course, listen to anything grief related my relative might have to share. When I arrived, to my shock, over the course of an entire day, he didn’t ask a single question, or say a single word regarding my mom’s passing.

We were outside his apartment later in the day already, and he looked at me with a certain intention. I figured this would finally be the opening salvo into the subject. He spoke.

 “Hey Erik, wanna smoke some weed?”

“No man, I’m good.”



“How about a little boxing?”

“Okay.” We plugged in the video game. My head swam with confusion. When is he going to say something? Then he suggested we go out for a burger. I thought I’d give him a head start.

“So how’re things with you?” I said.

“Pretty good, but tough sometimes, y’know.”

Okay, here comes the first mention of my mom’s passing.

“This place is a lot of fun on the weekend. . .”

OMG!!! At this point I paid little attention to whatever he talked about, none of which had anything at all to do with my mother. We hung out all day without so much as one solitary word on the matter. That my mom had just died. Not one question about it, not one question about how I was holding up. Nothing. We parted ways afterward, and as I drove off, the chance of any talk of it now gone, I was pissed.

I guess he was. . . unsure, uncomfortable, weirded out about how I’d react—

He maybe thought: So. . .  I guess I might as well say nothing. Yeah, ‘cuz if A, B & C options all mean saying something, and I’m not sure which one is right, then, uh, yeah, let’s go with D—say nothing. Can’t go wrong then. Besides, Erik’s here to get away, escape, have a little fun—what kind of dick would I be if I reminded him that his mom just died?

I promise you I haven’t forgotten that my mom has died! I also love when people say this sort of thing, like—I didn’t want to bring it up, I mean maybe you wouldn’t want to talk about it, and I’d be rude to put you on the spot like that, it’d be thoughtless and disrespectful of me to cause you pain like that.

Here’s a message to all humans who have said something like the above to someone in grief—THE PAIN IS NOT FROM YOU BRINGING IT UP. IT’S FROM THE FACT THAT MY LOVED ONE HAS DIED.

I say this emphatically, but with less anger and bitterness as my process of recovery deepens. In other words, it’s important to convert one’s frustration into an understanding that is cathartic. The message here is these feelings of dissatisfaction are perfectly acceptable and normal, though that doesn’t mean you have to hold them close to your heart. You can observe the reactions of people, as well as your own feelings, accept them and let go. 

There are friends who have gone so far as to have questioned what was wrong with me. Why am I not the same person? How I disappointed them. And from one point of view, who can blame them? They’re not the ones suddenly crying at a bar during a night out. It’s ME. That kind of behavior doesn’t scream fun to be with. I’d go out with friends and they’d be upbeat, living their normal lives, and I’d just kind of stare at them for long silences. After a while of that, I didn’t have to worry about turning down too many invites.

I didn’t mean to be dead weight. It’s just that whether or not your friend should switch to Dial soap to better moisturize their skin rash didn’t hold quite the same sway over my attention. All these mundane parts of life that everyone is so caught up with. How serious can I take any of it?

It’s even harder when some friends and family continue to wonder why I haven’t “moved on.” It’s been so many years already, how come you still seem so burdened? How come you’re still not back to “normal”? I’d love to send a message to people everywhere who have made any bereaved person feel this way: MY FAMILY IS STILL GONE. As in, not coming back to life. How could I not continue to be deeply impacted by this irreversible fact? I am doing the best I can.

These frustrations are commonly felt by those of us who have lost a loved one. I hope other sufferers have the good fortune to benefit from support that is healthy, responsive and supportive. It is also certainly possible to make new connections and to develop friendships that can be quite nurturing. Unfortunately, if you’re bereft of such help, a certain sense of estrangement can arise.  

There are mourners who may momentarily have an attitude of well one day you’ll understand, but I’m confident no one actually wishes grief on anyone. But the truth is, wished or not, everyone will be next in line at some point. The time will come when everyone will lose a loved one and be overwhelmed with grief.  I think it’s an instructive question to pose: What kind of support would you hope for?



is available at:

Erik Lewin is the author of three books – This is How I Spell GriefAnimal Endurance, and Son of Influence – as well as numerous essays published in Ponder Review, GNU Journal, David Magazine, Real Vegas Magazine &Literate Ape. Erik is also a stand-up comedian who performs in clubs and venues around the country. He formerly practiced law as a criminal defense attorney in New York City and Los Angeles. He is at work on a new one-man show loosely based on This is How I Spell Grief.

Erik lives in Las Vegas with his wife and their furry pets.

Visit his website at or connect with him on Facebook and Goodreads.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

❀New SELF-HELP/PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT Book Alert❀: Arise & Walk by S.M. Adams


This book walks readers step by step through the process of life transformation…

By S.M. Adams

ARISE & WALK: FROM THE SIDELINES OF LIFE TO THE NEXT LEVEL, Self-Help, Kingdom Building Project, 188 pp.

Whatever challenge you may currently be facing, Arise & Walk: From the Sidelines of Life to the Next Level offers a proven framework to assist you in making that much needed life transformation.

During the pandemic with her classroom shuttered S.M. Adams an experienced educator and instructor shifted her focus from teaching adolescents to creating a different kind of lesson plan, one to help survivors of the Covid 19 pandemic and its devastating aftermath, reimagine and reinvent themselves.

Always a teacher first, this new author with over a decade’s experience in New York City classrooms uses verbal imagery, examples from her own life along with interesting analogies to make clear the mindset shifts and action steps which lead to a transformed life.

So, if you’re unsure of what to do, look no further.

Arise & Walk: From the Sidelines of Life to the Next Level will help you to think about:

  • How to begin to process change
  • How to emotionally and mentally deal with downscaling
  • Whether to continue with the old venture or start something new
  • Which relationships to embrace and lean into as you undergo a life change
  • How to clear the path to accomplish new money goals


  • How to better manage time in a way that suits the new you.

Preface, pages 1-2

In March 2020 Covid-19 the world faced a new thing. An unexpected, unwanted thing.

With the new year just months old a deadly, contagious virus lead the way into a once in a century pandemic.

Devastating and unapologetic in the way it changed lives, Covid 19 forced the world to its knees. Agendas, programs and schedules were suddenly discarded and abandoned.

For months until mitigation efforts were decided upon it seemed we were all benched like players waiting for the whistle to blow. 

In the end it was clear we could only move forward if we adjusted and adapted.

New rules and new procedures were put in place for once routine tasks.

The upheaval and discomfort of it all rattled some folks, many of whom resisted boisterously and belligerently.

I did not.

Instead, I folded and conformed into the change.

I had never been in a pandemic before, but I was familiar with the need to change.

What many people considered disruption was familiar to me.

My life had always been littered with unexpected challenges.

 I knew what it felt like be sidelined and to simply watch life pass me by.

So, during the pandemic I simply did what I knew worked during these times.

I began to reposition myself. 

Like a player seated on a bench during half time, I started to plan for the rest of the match and prepare for when the whistle blew.

To me, these periods of mandatory inactivity present the same options as those available during half time during a tennis match.

These seasons allows us the opportunity to reassess, plan, strategize, reimagine and reinvent

Ourselves for the next half of the game.


Initially I hesitated to begin writing; and was only convinced as the pandemic lengthened and strengthened, extending my stay indoors.

As bodies piled up in my beloved NY, I joined my neighbors in clapping at 7pm. It was our way of showing appreciation to healthcare workers on the frontlines whose shift ended at that time.

Wanting to do more than just clap, I eventually committed to this book.

With all the changes it brought many of us would be forced into creating new lives.

And so, I began to write down in this book the mindset shifts and action steps which successfully transformed my life previously.

 I hope that it will be useful. 


is available at:

S.M. Adams is a licensed secondary school teacher and experienced college instructor with over 10 years’ experience in the field of education.  She holds graduate training in both American History and Adolescent Education. A confessed late bloomer Sarah returned to college as a student-parent to uncover her life’s passion for education and helping others. For years of community service and volunteer work, S.M Adams was awarded the prestigious New York Life fellowship from the Colin Powell Center for Leadership and Service in 2008 and received the Phoenix Award from Urban Resource Institute thereafter. She also briefly spent time on the policy committee of HEAASC, the Higher Education Alliance for Advocates of Students with Children. As a domestic violence advocate, she has appeared on NYC Fox 5, NYC Bronx 12 as well as in Marie Claire magazine. A graduate of City College of New York and Pace University this New York transplant by way of Jamaica W.I. loves the summertime, reading on the beach, eating mangoes and spending time with her son and husband.

Arise and Walk: From the Sidelines of Life to the Next Level is her latest book.

Visit her website at Connect with her on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

❀New NONFICTION Alert❀: Your Mid-Career GPS by John Neral


Create your professional roadmap to find the job you love or love the job you have…

By John Neral

YOUR MID-CAREER GPS, Nonfiction, LLH Publishing, 281 pp.

Are you considering a career change but doubt yourself or get easily overwhelmed by the entire process?

Are you a mid-career professional ready to level-up, but unsure of what steps to take?

What if there was an easy and supportive way to plan your next career destination?

Your Mid-Career GPS will guide you to create your own professional roadmap so you can find the job you love or love the job have. John Neral, Certified Professional Coach, will help you strategically position yourself in the marketplace while teaching you how to leverage your unique skills from a place of value and service for any organization.

Learn how to prepare, position, and promote yourself as you create a tactical and strategic plan by building Your Mid-Career GPS. Let this book be your guide to answer many of the current questions you have about creating your next advancement opportunity.


“This book is for those of you who feel like you know everything and nothing about what’s next, you can’t fathom writing yet another cover letter, and you wonder “why bother” when it comes to updating your résumé. If you are feeling alone on this journey, bring this book, and all of the insight and tools it contains, along with you. You will have John’s company along the path and you will be one step closer to finding your way!”–Natalie Siston, Best-selling author of Let Her Out: Reclaim Who You Have Always Been and Founder, Small Town Leadership

“John expertly guides readers through the trials, tribulations, and common pitfalls of mid-career professionals and managers. He also provides information on the effective career strategies and mindset needed to be successful. This book is a must read if you are looking for professional support and could use a career GPS! — Porschia Parker Griffin
Founder and CEO of Fly-High Coaching Millennial Coaching Institute

“LinkedIn is the most powerful tool to help you network, build professional relationships, learn, search for jobs, and much more. I always say if you are not on LinkedIn you might be left out. Your Mid-Career GPS provides valuable tips and guidance to help you navigate LinkedIn and start growing your network and create your next advancement opportunity.”— Rhonda L. SherLinkedIn Specialist, Author, Speaker

“I picked up this latest book after enjoying John Neral’s previous book, SHOW UP – Six Strategies to Lead a More Energetic and Impactful Career. In Your Mid-Career GPS, John Neral provides clear, actionable steps to put his six strategies into play quickly and effectively. I really enjoyed his conversational writing style as well. As a mid-career professional, I love that my cohort is the focus of his attention and expertise. He demonstrates throughout the book that he knows the benefits mid-career professionals bring to an organization and his thoughtful observations and exercises will help anyone define their professional value and market not only their skills but themselves. Reading and employing the strategies in this book can position you to be a more valuable resource to your current employer or challenge you to spread your wings and find your next, great career opportunity. The underlying message is one of empowerment and encouragement and that’s a message everyone can benefit from.”Victoria A. Bourgeois

In this book, I will ask you to define certain moments of your career. One of the most defining moments in my career happened in my 11
th year as a middle school mathematics teacher. I loved where I was working, the people I was working with, and I certainly had a fantastic time with the students I got to teach every year. One day, as I was beginning to teach a lesson on multiplying fractions, I looked at 25 students' faces staring back at me, and the voice in my head said, "You can't do this anymore." It was as if that voice came out of nowhere, but it was loud, and I needed to listen to it. I felt happy. I enjoyed what I was doing. But I wasn't satisfied knowing that this could be it for the rest of my career. I wasn't ready to settle. As I continued to deliver the lesson, I gave myself permission to question what I was doing with my career and why I wanted more from it. Have you ever had one of those moments?

What transpired over the next few months was an opportunity to honestly evaluate where my career was going and what I wanted. I had a fantastic consulting relationship with a Fortune 500 company along with a successful tutoring business outside of my teaching duties. I was learning that I wanted to shift my focus from teaching students to working with teachers. This would look like some kind of administrative position or an opportunity to level up, but I was unsure of what that was.

I talked to my closest friends and colleagues and told them I was considering making a significant career change. I had my résumé professionally written. I updated my LinkedIn profile. I started networking, looking for jobs, and sharpening my interviewing skills. And then the rejections came.

I got to several last-round interviews for a handful of positions that I not only wanted but also believed I would've been great at, only to learn I wasn't the selected candidate. If someone were kind enough to give me some honest feedback, I would hear things like, "You made it a difficult decision for us, but we went with someone who had more experience." These are comforting words amid disappointment and perhaps something you also have experienced recently.

My opportunity to make such a change came three years later, when I was 40. I accepted a position as a Professional Development Specialist for the District of Columbia Public Schools. In this role, I would work with and supervise 21 instructional coaches across 13 middle schools. I was going to help teachers be better teachers. I got the job I wanted and a fantastic opportunity to stretch and grow. While the job came with an advanced title, it also came with a pay cut. I relocated from New Jersey to Washington, D.C., for a professional and personal opportunity. My husband and I had been dating long distance for two years, and because he was happy with his job, I decided I would be the one to make a move since I was looking for a new job. Yes, you could say I made a move for love, but it was not only for the love of my husband but also for the love of my career. Relocating wasn't part of my plan, but it was a welcomed detour and new destination for my Mid-Career GPS.

That move over 10 years ago accelerated my career. It gave me opportunities I would have never had if I decided to stay in my previous position. I had an opportunity to work as an administrator in a larger and high-profile district. From there, I went to go work at the State Superintendent's Office. From that position, I leveled up to take a job at an educational nonprofit as a Training and Staffing Director. And then, I took an even bigger leap into entrepreneurship. I have never regretted any of these moves, and I continue to have an exciting career. I get to go to work every day. I get to coach amazing clients and help them figure out what's next for them professionally by helping them create their mid-career roadmap to find a job they love or love the job they have. I've launched two podcasts. The first is called #SHOWUP2020 and highlighted everyday people who do extraordinary things because of how they choose to SHOW UP. My second podcast is "The Mid-Career GPS Podcast," and it's an extension of this book. You can listen to it wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.



is available at:

John Neral, MA, CPC reawakens, energizes, galvanizes, and innovates the mind think of employees, corporations, associations, and systems. A celebrated executive/career and professional development coach and in-demand, mindset-shifting public speaker, John’s professional walk included a 25-year career in education and a longstanding corporate consultant for Fortune 500 giant, Casio America, Inc. He now leads John Neral Coaching, LLC, one of the most progressive, mindset-shifting professional and organizational coaching and public speaking firms in the U.S. He is the author of Your Mid-Career GPS – Four Steps to Figuring Out What’s Next and SHOW UP – Six Strategies to Lead a More Energetic and Impactful Career and the host of “The Mid-Career GPS Podcast.”

As a Master Practitioner in the Energy Leadership Index, John’s experience has made him an impactful and valuable coach to his one-on-one and group coaching clients and organizations. With Energy Leadership™, John identifies where people perform at their optimal levels and when they are under stress. Combining the Energy Leadership™ principles, a client’s workplace strengths, and their “unique professional value,” John helps his clients create their career GPS so they can take action toward achieving their professional and personal goals.

A former church organ prodigy, John is an avid traveler–having sojourned to 5 of the 7 continents, a professional bowler and the winner of a Professional Bowlers’ Association Regional Title (2010), and a game-show fan, having appeared on previous episodes of GSN’s Chain Reaction and Make My Day. John is happily married and lives with his spouse and their rescue cat, Amy Farrah Meowler (named after the Big Bang Theory character), in the heart of Washington DC’s Dulles Technology Corridor, Tysons Corner, VA.

You can visit his website at or follow him at TwitterFacebook and Goodreads.


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