I Wanna Score Big on Words With Friends! (And Apparently So Do the Men Who Challenge Me)

Well now, who even needs to make an online dating profile when there are Scrabble type games on the internet? Sheesh! At first I thought it was a big coincidence, the number of strange men requesting a round with me. Then I let it go to my head — Ohhh, they were all challenging me because my stats were glowing, and the impressive number of seven letter words I formed! Then it started dawning on me….it’s because my name is Stephanie and not Stephen. Hmmm.

So let’s just say that I’ve experienced “Words With Friends” morphing into “Words With Male Strangers Wanting To Become MORE Than Friends Using Words They Think Are Good Pick-Up Lines.” And they don’t hesitate to put their (lame!) words into the Chat-Box instead of on the playing board.

As an example, here’s what transpired before I could tell any of these men that the jig was up. Just because I’m such a nice person and I don’t like ignoring anyone…

Male WWF Player: Wow! Impressive Word!

Me: Open? What’s so good about “Open?”

Male WWF Player: I like it. It means you are Open to the possibilities. With us.


I took the bait one more time before I got wise.

Male WWF Player: So how about that ‘R?” How do you think ‘R’ compares to “L?”

Me: Are you really trying to initiate a conversation about capital letters?

Male WWF Player: Oh! Did you want to bypass the alphabet foreplay and just get straight to sexting? I like it. 😉

Me: Ugh. Just mind your P’s & Q’s, creep!


These idiots were lowering my overall scores because I had to keep quitting all the games in the middle with them. A sure fire way to tell that these “players” are not serious WWF players  is to look at how long they’ve been competing, which is noted in their profiles. Typically they’ve all recently joined the game like yesterday. And for some reason, they all think that I was born yesterday!

Other red flags: These scammers are FAR MORE talkative than someone who actually cares about winning the game. And they will always try to get your email address, claiming they have some tips on playing the game better that are too lengthy to share in the chat box. And their profile photo usually has a child in it that they’re piggybacking on their shoulders so you think, “Aw, what a devoted father he is. Probably just plays on here to take a short breather from that active little tyke. I’ll give it a go!”

Enough! I just want to play some Scrabble without having to dust off the real thing from my game shelf and take up room at my kitchen table.

I’m experiencing the same intrusions on Facebook a lot more lately as well. A rash of “Friend Requests” from odd men. They always have two first names. Antonio Marcus or Clyde Thomas or Justin Scott. And they are ALL (supposedly) in the military and they always have an American flag as background for their profile photos. And they are all listed as widowers. Why do they think being a widower would be such an attractive thing to advertise, I wonder? Perhaps they feel it will garner sympathy. “Ahh, the poor man lost his beloved spouse. I should bring him a brisket dinner.” Is that what they think goes through a potential victim’s head? When I’m actually thinking, “Ew! I wonder if he stabbed, poisoned, or strangled his wife!?”

Readers: Are you finding a lot more scam artists in online places where you’d least expect to encounter them? Also I am writing less here on WordPress and more on The Medium. (I cannot resist that readers can “clap” for you over there. What can I say? I like applause!) If you’d like to peruse my more serious writing about relationships on The Medium, I’ve been getting published on PS I LOVE YOU. Just click   HERE

15 Unique Ways To Utilize A Blog Post!

blogging-success-2013-green-wood-1t4tkvs.jpgAre you boxed into a blogging rut? Blogging is far more versatile than any of us realize. Having a blog gives you the ability (and freedom!) to express, entertain, earn, educate, enrich, empower, eliminate, elevate, enlighten, encourage, extricate, expose, and even end something! And those are just the E’s.

15 Unusual Things To Do With a Blog Post! (with hyperlinks to my examples)

  1. CONFESSION:  It’s good for the soul. Write a post where you confide to your blog things you might only write in your personal diary. Everybody loves a secret! Then dramatically hover your finger over the “Publish” button, count to three (deep breath!) and click! What’s the worst that can happen? Try it . . . it’s very freeing!
  2. SUPPORT:  Use your blog to help others who need something. You’ve heard of the “Make a Wish” Foundation? Why do you have to have proof of a fatal illness to make a wish? Aren’t we all going to be six feet under one day? Ask each of your friends/family for one wish and then post them on your blog. You’ll be surprised how many wish fulfillment readers you may have! (PS. I wish I had a million followers!)
  3. $$$: Publish your resume and experience (no matter how odd!) on your blog. You never know where this could lead. Are you really going to turn down an offer to moonlight as an official chocolate taste-tester?
  4. VICES: Announce to the world one bad habit you have and how you plan to break it. Let everyone in on how it’s going with occasional updates.
  5. ADVISE: Become Dear Abby for a day. Get your readers to tell you about a problem. OR even more fun — just hand out unsolicited advice on your blog to anyone you know whose life could use improvement. Be sure and tag them.
  6. MISSING: Mysteriously vanish from your blog. Who notices? Stay away for as long as it takes until someone says, “Well she’s obviously dropped out of the blogosphere. Let’s reuse all her really interesting posts as our own. Hmmm, you take that one and I’ll take this one. And um….that’s all there are.”  Suddenly make a triumphant return, muttering something about alien abduction.
  7. SOUND: Your readers really want to hear your voice. Trust me, they (I!) do. Make an audio post of you reading what you’d normally put in print. (I personally don’t know how to accomplish this noisy feat because I’m old and technologically challenged, so you’re never gonna get to hear what I sound like. But let’s just say when people call me up — especially telemarketers– when I answer, they ask if my mother can come to the phone.)
  8. LIVE: Host a live event right on your blog. People will tune in to watch you get baptized, bar-mitzvahed, married, divorced, or buried. (ps. that last one is taking #6 just a bit too far.)
  9. LOVE: Describe your dream girl or guy. Hey, nobody says you’re turning your blog into a dating app, but if you’re single and your fantasy man just happens to be a reader of yours? He’ll recognize himself in your description and then WordPress will gladly pay for your honeymoon if you credit them in the wedding invitation. Yes, I checked!
  10. REVENGE: Have your significant other come on your blog and write all about you from their perspective, for a change. After all, they’ve put up with being your subject matter for a long time now. Turnabout IS fairplay.
  11. LIFEHACKS: You (yes, YOU!) have useful ways of solving problems that others want to hear about. Like “Eat Popcorn With Chopsticks To Prevent Butter Fingers.”
  12. CONTEST: Have a prize for whomever leaves the longest comment or shares your blog the most. Or when the Oscars roll around, hold your own “Bloscars” for best written blogs. The prize should be chocolate flavored, if you want me to enter.
  13. INSIDE-OUT: You’ve seen those articles on “What’s in a celebrity’s bag?” But do famous people have the monopoly on interesting possessions? Nope! Divulge what’s in your own purse, pocket, refrigerator, trunk of car, under bed, garage, or just admit what’s in your heart!
  14. INTERVIEW: It can be whomever you want. Make your grandmother feel important. Or . . . Interview yourself like I did.
  15. NAMEDROP: Everyone likes to see themselves listed in the movie credits or the acknowledgments of a bestselling book. Your blog is the second best option. Do a post and mention whomever you feel has helped you in life, Yes even the Ex, if you learned something from the relationship. However don’t turn him into an Ex by doing the actual break-up on your blog — that’s one unusual post I will draw the line at.

READERS: Feel free to add your own unique use for a blog post in the comments!

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How Lice Can Make You Rich !

price is rightThis is a parable. You can substitute anything at all for Lice in this (nit)witty allegory tale — Fleas, tics, bedbugs. Okay, seriously? This is a quick but true story of how parasites can become paradise!

Once upon a time (Note: there are far more original ways to begin a narrative than this so think up another one.) I wrote a piece for The Huffington Post about how a mother of six deals with lice. The lice finally disappeared (or we may have given them away to some classmates, but that’s not really relevant here) and any reader laughs from the article also faded into Arianna’s (that’s Ms. Huffington’s first name) archives. All was forgotten.

Until….fast forward a year (Note: editors state that writing “fast forward” is an overdone, awkward device to depict the passage of time in your writing, so don’t use it!) when I get an email from the Chief Marketing Officer at Lice Clinics of America saying they need someone to dispel the public stigma of lice. Basically they needed someone who can write about nits and nymphs (a teenage louse) and other itch-worthy causations in a humorous way.

Well anyone who has read more than one of my blog posts knows the immediate reaction is to scratch your head and ponder, “Why does this woman think she’s even remotely funny?” And thus my humor was deemed louse-y enough to fit the bill. (Note: Self-deprecation is borderline acceptable as humor but fairly transparent as to its intentions, so don’t rely on this too much.)

But there was a major problem. My Little Miss Menopause persona simply would not do. It sounded old. And hot-flashy and crotchety. What could my new Pen Name be when writing about these fascinating creepy crawlies?  I thought of The Licey Lassy, aLice in Wonderland, Minnie Louse, and even Linda LoveLice came (no pun intended) to mind. An idea I thought was brilliant, “Glinda the Good Itch of the North” was blatantly rejected. Hmmmm. How will you Dear Reader, ever find out which alias I eventually came to use to become so well-known in the lice world? (Note: Cliffhangers can work but should be inserted at the end of your post.)

Here’s the real point for conveying the information in this post. If you write blogs ABOUT ANYTHING, there could be an unlikely paid opportunity just awaiting you as well. But the person has to know that you’re open to such possibilities and have a concrete way to contact you. After she read me on The Huffington Post, the Lice Chief Marketing Officer (lice have chiefs and they get marketed?) tracked me down to offer me this glamorous job from a category on top of my blog menu called “Hire Me To Humor You.”  You need to have something similar! Make one right this minute. (Note: Research shows that readers love to be told what to do by an author. It has something to do with Fifty Shades of Grey.)

And now without further ado, I implore you to follow my brand new blog aptly called “Sugar & Spice & Everything Lice” because even though Lice are no laughing matter, I’m going to find a way to make them at the very least, a chuckling matter. And also because they’ve given me permission to write about other subjects as well, just so long as I loosely relate them back to lice. Therefore you can expect the topic of sex to surface at my new Lice blog quite often! (Note: Sex Still Sells!)

PS.  If any readers think I’m selling out, you should know that I have firm self-respecting boundaries.  I draw the line at writing about termites. Crickets however will be okay because duh…Jiminy and Pinocchio. (Note: Very bad idea if you’re trying to get followers to a new blog about lice to suddenly end with a Walt Disney movie reference. Give the original link once again so the last thing on their minds is to click and follow it RIGHT HERE.)

Should You Take The Training Wheels Off Your Blog? (Growing & Stretching!)

baby-photo-with-computerIn 2014 I was a newborn blogger and WordPress was my comfortable, cozy crib where I felt safe to kick, cry, and reach out to bat my hands at my colorful dashboard to learn new tricks. Getting “Freshly Pressed” was the only playpen I wanted to hang out in and every day I delighted in adding a couple new followers with names like Strained Carrots and Creamed Corn.

Now that I’m a toddler blogger, crawling around and getting into everything — I think it’s safe to take down the child safety gates.download (2) Okay, the creepy baby analogy can only go so far.  But the point is there’s a whole big Blogger park out there to explore!

I frequently get questions from people inquiring how I started publishing outside of my personal blog. I can give a long, detailed answer that will probably seem boring and circumstantial because it happened in a very specific way based on my particular lifestyle and personality type. Or I can just say this . . . absolutely NOTHING ever would have happened if I didn’t stretch outside of my comfort zone.

My fear of rejection was keeping me small. But somehow I developed a new tolerance for taking risks when I turned 50 years old in 2014. (Yes, I realize I was just wearing diapers and shaking rattles three paragraphs up!) My new mantra was suddenly, “Go big or go home!”  After all, what was the worst that could happen?

I hope everyone will ask themselves that same question as they begin to stretch out, reach up, and SUBMIT!  Yes, there is a life of “Submission” outside of Fifty Shades of Grey. Please don’t wait until you’re my age to try!

If I could recommend just doing three things to start out, they would be:

1.  Start going to any and all blogger conferences.  (I went to BlogHer 2014 because I was named a “Voices of the Year” in the humor category and Arianna Huffington was the keynote speaker which eventually led to my getting on The Huffington Post!)

2.  Go HERE and read anything and everything you can. Take a deep breath and email some words you’re proud of to one (or more!) of the places mentioned. I live here and on the Facebook page she moderates, which you can request to be a member of.

3.  Write as if you already have a HUGE audience of readers. There’s something about feeling like you have lots of people waiting with bated breath for your next piece that elevates your writing and makes you rise to the occasion.

Here are four recent categories of publication I’ve ventured out into trying:

1. Pitching:  Did you know that you don’t even need a finished post to submit –you just pitch them your idea! Sell it and make it sound good. That’s what I did to this major online magazine and was astounded when it was accepted and I had to go write it up. Gulp! And it was a serious article about growing up with large breasts, too. Ugh…What had I done? You can see how it turned out right here.   XO JANE

2. Guest Posting on Another Blog: This is a terrific way to gain exposure and you never know what else it will lead to! Here is just one blog I adore and admire and was thrilled to write something that actually went up. It’s my adventures as a Snoopaholic!  Ripped Jeans & Bifocals

3. Syndication:  There are many big websites that you need not write something brand new or original for.  You can simply submit some of your best (or favorite!) stuff that’s already been on your own personal blog. Or do what I do and send posts that are older and perhaps went up before you had many followers.  It’s a great way to breathe new life into them. Here is one such place where I am able to recycle some of my older stuff.  Midlife Boulevard

4. Anthologies:  I used to think you had to be a famous writer to get your work into an anthology.  Uh, nope!  There are tons out there that publish according to themes.  Find one that correlates with what you like to write about, then think to yourself — “If the theme does fit, you must submit!” Here’s an anthology book I just found out I was published in from a website called Story Shelter which is a great website anyone can have their writing appear in right now.  I AM HERE!

Good luck and let me know when you take those first steps or eat solid food!