Friday, August 31, 2012

Is Being Single Really That Bad?

If you have experienced the loss of a beloved partner or, if you have divorced a spouse with whom you’re very glad to part ways, either way, you have now entered the Kingdom of Singleville. 

There’s a good chance that you never thought you’d be forced to move here – and especially at a more mature age. You survey the landscape, and you spy lots of young singletons, who have never left the kingdom, as well as many in the same situation as you.

You reluctantly set up your home and continue to go about the business of your life. However, you’re mad to be in this place and your attitude reflects it – so much so that, if I were a wagering woman, I’d bet you haven’t even given Singleville a chance. There are lots of good things in this kingdom, but you may be stuck in resentment over your circumstances, and this is making you oblivious of what it has to offer. And Singleville CAN be a great place, if you can look at it from a slightly different perspective. 

Here are three ways in which you can look at your situation. I urge you not to take offense at my comments; instead read them all through to the end.

1. Sure, you’re missing a companion with whom to share your life. However, maybe sharing is overrated. 

Look at the bright side. You can now hog all the covers; stay up as late as you want and not worry about bothering a partner; not shave your legs; wear ratty old underwear and PJs; watch what you want to on TV; eat cereal for dinner because you don’t feel like cooking; not have to sit through endless sports games; or not have to associate with former family members you never liked. This is a time to be selfish and not feel guilty about it.

2. The silence in your house is deafening. 

Look at the bright side. When you’re single, you may have lots of time on your hands to think and, even better, to dream. You can take this quiet pause in your life and utilize it to formulate an Action Plan for the next part of your life. Without having to worry about ignoring a partner because you’re too busy, you can continue your education or work towards a higher degree, pursue hobbies you love, learn new things, and volunteer for causes dear to your heart. 

3. You look at older couples walking in companionable silence and feel you’ve been robbed of the experience. Even if you meet someone new, he/she will only be able to see you as you are now and will never see the young person inside that your former mate did. 

Look at the bright side. I agree that this is a sad fact of losing a partner at an older age. However, if you look at the divorce rates these days, there’s at least a 50% chance you wouldn’t make it to your old age with one partner. When the institution of marriage was first invented, longevity for humans wasn’t in the cards. “’Til death do us part” might have only meant 20 or so years before one or both parties passed away. Without negating your loss, instead of ruing the fact you have to look for love at an older age, consider the idea that you’re a grown up now who knows what he/she wants and needs. The fact is that the next partner you meet might be better suited for you and the second half of your life than the partner you met and married at a young and na├»ve age. 

Now, I realize that even the good parts of being single don’t ease the pain of loss, and I certainly didn't mean to be flippant in my comments. Of course, you'd gladly share the covers with a partner, but the truth is that it’s necessary for you to work with what you have. You can’t undo the past, so your power lies in what you do with your present in order to build a bright future for yourself and for your children or children-to-come. 

 Living in a single state can be a very selfish time of life – and I mean that in the most positive of ways. Without the distraction of a partner and the responsibilities of commitment to another, it’s a period that can be all about you. How often in life do any of us have that opportunity to concentrate all our efforts on personal growth? Spend your time building your emotional, spiritual, mental and physical muscles. When you’re totally buff, you can use these muscles to lift you out of Singleville and onto your next adventure.

Friday, August 24, 2012

10 Tips on How To Pick Up Women The Right Way

When you spot a woman to whom you feel an attraction, what’s your first thought and, subsequently, your first move? 

Do you turn away due to a fear of rejection or, worse yet, approach her with a tired pick-up line like the one Joey used on the television show “Friends”?  

Both of the preceding are bad ideas and they will not encourage a positive response from a woman. Approaching people with whom you desire to start a conversation is really all about exhibiting a confident demeanor (even if you’re shaking in your boots inside!). 

Here are 10 tips that can enhance your success ratio. 

1. Smile. A smile is your most attractive quality. It allows you to seem accessible, friendly and non-threatening. 

2. Stand up straight. Poor posture and shuffling as you approach creates an aura of negativity and can be indicative of poor self-esteem. 

3. Show your confidence. One way this can be illustrated is by not being hesitant in your actions. Know what (and who) you want. Rather than taking multiple sneak peeks and then pretending you weren’t doing so, approach a woman soon after you notice her. 

4. Maintain eye contact. If you manage to start a conversation with a woman, pay attention to her. Don’t let your eyes wander to see if there is someone better on the horizon. 

5. Be a gentleman. Be courteous while using please and thank you. If it’s applicable, hold out a chair for a woman or open a door. 

6. It’s not so much what you say but how you say it. You can say the same thing in two different tones of voice, and the recipient will get a different message each time. Be aware of the modulation of your voice. Don’t let it be too booming in an enclosed area or too wimpy in a noisy arena. 

7. Body language also plays a big part in how a message is received. Make sure not to take a threatening stance. Don’t be too close a talker, such as the character in the Seinfeld episode about this matter. Learn to respect a person’s boundaries, for leaning in too close to a person you just met makes most very uncomfortable as you impinge on their space. 

8. Use your active listening skills. Don’t play out a conversation in your head with pre-thought out lines. Remain in the moment, pay attention to what a woman is saying and make sure to respond appropriately. 

9. Don’t go too fast. If you seem overeager, you may frighten a prospective date away. Strike a balance between being interested in pursuing further contact and acting like a stalker! 

10. If all else fails, don’t worry about being interesting. Simply be interested in the person to whom you are speaking. 

To learn more about dating, check out my book, “Understanding Dating and Relationships From A to Z.”  Click here to purchase.

Read the Introduction and an excerpt here

For more tips on how to date with success, click here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Guest Post by Andrew Hessel

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed Andrew Hessel's newest book, The Do-Over. If you missed it, you can read it here. Today, it's my pleasure to present to you a guest posting by Andrew as he tells in his own words how The Do-Over came to be written. 

The Do-Over is my fourth novel, written after completing a crime thriller trilogy in the Cups Drayton Series. I confess it came as quite a surprise, one of many reasons the book has special meaning for me. 

With elements spilling across different genres, I won’t attempt to force it into one, instead calling The Do-Over a novel of hope, love and second chances; a crime thriller-love story with a dash of fantasy and a sprinkle of sci-fi. That’ll have to do. 

Readers and fans have asked how this book came about, so here goes. 

My wife, Lynne, encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone. As an artist, I liked how that felt. While I had ideas for three more Cups thrillers and dearly love those characters, the allure of sailing uncharted writing waters was irresistible. 

Besides, writing novels isn’t baking cookies; the next book isn’t simply the next batch.

She asked what I thought readers really want. I took that to mean what do people most need, what might make a difference? The more I thought about it, the more I came to the conclusion that Hope was in preciously short supply, and that a little piercing of the gloom was something we could all use. 

That times are tough for many of us is hardly breaking news, I know. Still, the reality is that so many of us are living lives that scarcely resemble what we might have dreamt or imagined not long ago. For the vast differences of our lives, loss is a rather mysterious common denominator. 

There is no more life-changing event than loss and it comes cloaked in so many guises. 

The loss of a spouse or a partner; the loss of a child or a dear friend; the loss of passion, or faith or dreams; and the loss of spirit and will, leaving us incapable of believing that we have the strength, or can summon the courage, to endure what we must and somehow find our way. 

Trust me when I say that, as a writer, the notion that the loss of hope would be the central theme of my new novel was both inspiring and terrifying. 

My novels all begin with the characters. Crazy as it may sound, as I meet them, and get to know them, the characters reveal the story. 

Kimberly Ann “Kiki” Kinsler, the heroine of The Do-Over surely did. In fact, at the end, I’d come to know her so well I had no choice but to revisit and completely rewrite earlier passages. Such was the intimacy and feeling I had for her after really getting to know her.

A twenty-one year old college student, Kiki couldn’t have been a greater departure from Cups Drayton, my middle-aged, feet of clay, maverick FBI agent. I wasn’t sure where all this had come from, but I was having the time of my life and the story had taken on a life of its own.

As parents, whatever our age or the age of our children, we all harbor a hope for their future. 

That our children will thrive and live happy, healthy, richer, easier, and fulfilling lives.

That they be spared the cruelly capricious and unjust pain life too often brings.

And for all their dreams to come true, whether ours did or not. 

Of course, there are no guarantees nor can we protect them. 

Kiki had lived a happy life before the tragedy that upended it. A bright young woman of good heart, eager for the future, filled with confidence and hope, albeit born of youth and innocence. 

What befell her couldn’t have been more cruel, unfair or heartbreaking. Or changed her life more fundamentally. 

I felt such a good person dealt such a horrific hand deserved a second chance, but there could be no celestial-snapping-of-the-fingers to make it so. 

There would be big risks, steep costs and unfolding uncertainties and contradictions associated with it. Her path is full of surprises; many are life affirming but others are soul crushing. 

Confronted with impossible, untenable choices, Kiki wrestles with her capacity – and her right – to make them, fearful of the consequences of changing the past to redefine her future. 

And, incredibly, along the way discovering love that she never expected, a love that was meant to be but couldn’t be. 

Readers tell me the story stays with them for a while after they’ve finished. A writer couldn’t ask for more than that. Please take a Free Test-Read, download the first seven chapters on my website and decide for yourself. Whatever your thoughts, I’d genuinely appreciate hearing them. 

Email me at and I’ll write back. 

I’m fiercely proud of the Cups Drayton crime thrillers. The characters are rich and complex, the stories they tell are extraordinary, and they appeal beyond the genre for the right reasons. I love them and plan on returning to them in the future. 

For all that, The Do-Over will always occupy a special place in my heart, for the hope it offers, for what it says about the power of love, and for the second chance most of us only dream of. 

All the best to all of you. May the pages turn and deprive you of sleep. 

Andrew Hessel 
Portland , Oregon 

The difficulties one encounters when coping with loss of which Andrew writes, obviously, rings true for me. I have spent almost two decades, first, working through my own grief and then helping others to deal with theirs. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, I invite you to please visit my website and bookstore for help on your journey.

Friday, August 10, 2012

7 Tips For When You Join an Online Dating Site

Anyone can join an online dating site and post a profile. However, if you want to have a successful dating experience with said site, heed the following 7 simple tips. 

1. Carefully choose your “handle” or user name. As prospective dates peruse the available profiles, your name and picture are the first two things they will see. Don’t use a sexually provocative name, unless you are simply looking for a hook-up. For privacy issues, if you don’t want to use your name, try to come up with something that is representative of your personality. When I was dating, I either used Nelle (Ellen backwards) or LN (say it aloud and it’s Ellen). No one ever guessed my real name until I told them and then it became a conversation point. 

2. Upload a good picture. Make sure your picture is not outdated or so fuzzy that a person cannot make out your features. Moreover, the picture should just be of you. That means no group shots or cropped out old boy/girlfriends where only an arm or a leg is visible. No pictures of kids or dogs; save that for later. 

3. Write a strong personal message. Many of the sections on a dating profile are structured where you only get to check boxes or choose from a predetermined list. Your personal message is where you get to shine and let prospective dates know who you are and for the type of person and life you’re looking. 

4. Don’t leave any sections empty or fail to list your requirements. Don’t be afraid to state what you want. For example, if you only want to date those who are of the same religious persuasion, then don’t waste the time of those who are not. 

5. If you’re serious about finding a partner, join a dating site vs. simply uploading your profile in the free membership program. If you don’t join, you can’t contact anyone you may find interesting nor can you answer anyone’s e-mails to you. Free member profiles usually don’t show up on the beginning pages of searches, and many who are looking never make it past the first few pages. Consequently, you may never get seen. 

6. Be an active member on a dating site. Login often and see who’s online and to see if there are any new members who recently joined. Send messages, winks and the like to members who look interesting. Most likely, they will be flattered and at least acknowledge your contact. 

7. Online chatting is also a conversation and should be treated as such. Conversation means that you don't hog the spotlight and you show interest in what the other person has to say. For example, you can make comments about a picture by saying it’s a nice setting. This leaves room for the other person to talk about where the picture was taken or something else about it, such as hiking if it’s one of a mountain.

Click for 9 more tips on how to date with success.

For books that can assist you with strategies to help heal your heart, date with success and enhance a new or current relationship, check out my series of three books, If You Want To Be Terrific, You Need To Be Specific.

Click here to purchase 50 Tips on How To  Heal  Your Heart

Click here to purchase 50 Tips on How To Date With Success

Click here to purchase 35 Tips on How To Enhance Your Relationship