Date Night – Flirting in a Bookstore

via Date Night – Flirting in a Bookstore

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Date Night – Flirting in a Bookstore

You gotta fight, for your right to have daaaaate nights. Thanks, Beastie Boys

Time to Talk About Date Nights

One of the hardest things to do with work and hockey games and concerts and sick kids and exhausted husbands is to find couple time.

For a wedding gift, a friend, Sheila Watson, gave us 12 months of date night ideas – We have done half of them. I’ll do up a blog on them all, but this one was a little different. We had to go to a bookstore, hunt for books we might ordinarily choose, (book list on tomorrow’s blog) and flirt ‘shamelessly’ while doing that.

Challenge accepted.

So, I put on my flirting pants, jelled up my hair, and grabbed a handful of breath mints. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World wasn’t so sure about this, but I was sure I could flirt up a storm.

Here’s how it went. At least in my mind.

A good place to flirt. A bookstore. Chapters-Indigo. Unless, you know, you’re me

As per our instructions, we bought a coffee at the attached Starbucks and went into Chapters-Indigo. I went straight away to the history section, once grand, now reduced to a few shelves of books. I found a perfect one for The-Oldest, then decided to make my first flirting move.

I eased up beside The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World. She looked so beautiful and I’m surprised she doesn’t get hit on a ton in bookstores, grocery stores, and comicons.

“Hey, wanna come back to my basement with me,” I said. “I’m sure my mom will be ok with me having a girl over.”

“How old are you?”

“50. Ish.”

“I’m calling 911.”

Strike one.

I went over, again, as she was looking in the diet book section.

Me: “So, trying to lose some weight?”

“Do I need to lose some weight?”

“I dunno, let’s ask around.”

“I’m calling the manager.”

Strike two.

Next time I tried while she was in the children’s book area.

“Hey, could you help me. My hands are full and I need to get something out of my pocket. Could you reach in and grab it? The front pocket.”

“I have bear spray in my purse.”

Strike 3. But I didn’t give up.

“Hey, I saw on your Facebook page that you were coming down to the bookstore.”

“Ah, what?”

“So I looked you up. Here’s a white-chocolate mocha, double-shot, with extra sprinkles, no whipped cream, just the way you like it.”

“Ah. I’m not drinking that.”

“No problem. Looking for a book on dogs? I know you like dogs. A lot. And half-naked pictures of Thor.”

“Uhg! I hate Facebook. Please stand at least 10 feet away from me.”


Flirting done by the masters.


Ok, so it wasn’t going well, but never surrender, right?

While she was looking at 50 Shades, errr, I mean, the self-help section, I came up to her, again.

“I love your hair. My grandma does her hair just like that.”

“Go away.”

“Bookstores make me want to go poop.”

“That was inappropriate.”

“I was sharing something personal. The flirting manual says I should share something personal.”

“Not that.”

“I like bees.”

“Are you out on a day pass?”


“Is your special needs helper nearby?”

“I’ll leave.”

So, I guess I didn’t do as well as I thought I would. However, I still got to go home with The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World. A total win!

If you want to see what books we searched for, check out tomorrow’s blog.

How would you flirt in a bookstore?



I may not be the only one who struggles with flirting in a bookstore


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The Big Loss – Being a Goalie Parent

via The Big Loss

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The Big Loss

This is for the goalie mom but applies to any goalie dad as well. And maybe the grandparents, too.

Being a goalie parent is something like being Donald Trump’s mom, you’re just kinda waiting for something bad to happen.

I mean, hey, if your child is playing defense and makes a mistake, no big deal, it’s a mistake and someone Gretzkys by him. If your child is a forward and misses a shot, again, no big deal, it’s not like the whole game will be won or lost on that shot.

But when a goalie makes a mistake, a goal is scored. The other team is super happy, but your own team is not. Your coach is not. Your fans are not.

Now, it’s not like The-Youngest hasn’t had bad games in the past, all goalies do. Heck, when he was starting out, we lost count after 20 in one game. But this isn’t the super cute Timbits hockey, this is Pee-Wee and people take things a lot more seriously.

So when The-Youngest had a bad game, a game where every bounce went the wrong way, where he was a fraction of a second too late, where he made bad choices, we could only sit in the stands and cheer him on, (apparently, much to the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s annoyance, moms are not allowed to rush on the ice and give their boys a big kiss on the head.)

Then, when they switched out goaltenders (as they do when they have two on a team), he skated off the ice, dejected and sat on the bench, facing the wall.

For the first time since he began playing, that game got to him. And we could do nothing.


The coaches came over and talked to him, the team patted him on the head, tried to encourage him, but we knew he sat there crying, upset that he had let the team down.

And we could do nothing!

I guess it’s a part of growing up. He must go through these things himself. He must feel what he’s going to feel. He must react how he’s going to react. Sadly, we can’t rush off to give him a big hug and tell him it’ll be ok.

It’s hard.

It’s a pain no one tells you about. It’s a parental pain. It’s a pain that comes from the heart. You can actually feel it there. Squeezing.

It’s horrible.

Every parent has probably felt it at some point. Likely we’ll feel it again. We want to make it better. We want to make it right.

Sometimes, however, we can’t.

And that’s a lesson I didn’t want to have to learn.

A November 11, 1958 photo of Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender Jacques Plante. Now, imagine your the mom of this goalie!


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Surviving Band

via Surviving Band

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Surviving Band

Is The Simpsons the greatest cartoon of all time?

Would a 2 hour!!!!!! high school band concert be as challenging as an elementary school one?

Honestly, cuteness only goes so far when you have to sit through a 5th-grade concert. It’s an assault on the ears that even I – a person who has the musical ear of the tin man – find a bit overwhelming unless I’m properly medicated.

But I found out that a high school IS different. For one, they made the-Oldest dress up in a tuxedo shirt with a black bow tie, cummerbund, and pants. Thankfully, I didn’t have to tie the tie (since I’d more likely end up strangling the poor kid), but I had to loan him a pair of good shoes.

However, in typical teenage faction, he didn’t know if he had to wear his outfit earlier in the day for photos, and the best he could remember was, ah, I think there’s some sort of photo thing today, sometime. Maybe.

This said at 8am as we’re leaving for school.

I put it down to nerves. It was his FIRST concert as a percussionist. He’s an amazing, gifted piano player but in band, he was told that he had to learn another instrument. So, for weeks, he’s been ting-ing the triangle, drumming the drum, bonging the xylophone (which they call ‘bells’ for some reason – probably named by the same person who called illegible handwriting ‘griffonage.’)

That he had to learn a whole collection of instruments made me a little anxious to watch him. I think I was even more nervous than him. I know how hard he worked to learn the percussion instruments – figuring out when he had to bang on a block of wood, shake the tambourine or clash the cymbals. (Plus, look at even spelling those last two damn things… so hard.)

So, as the conductor/teacher raised his magic wand to begin, I felt a shiver of terror. My mouth went dry. I wanted to close my eyes. He was a superstar on the piano, but percussion was still a challenge to him.

Then the band began to play.

Dwight knows his percussion!

And he did his part, (and as far as I can tell, flawlessly). I could see the look on his face change as he got more and more confident up there – like he knew he was the s**t and was proud of it.

I let out a sigh of relief.

And, hey, turns out that high school band isn’t that bad at all.

All the various variations on the bands played two songs each and did so rather well. The junior band. The junior jazz band. The choir. A choral group. The senior band, senior jazz band, senior bandie-band with extra cheese…they all got a chance to show their stuff.

I don’t have the ear to tell you if they played perfectly, I just don’t know, but what I do know is that I could sit through a 2-hour concert again without sneaking vodka into my water bottle.

The-Oldest did just fine.

He will be just fine in high school band.

And therefore, I too will be fine.



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SiWC Workshops – Sharing What I Learned pt 2

The second part will deal with the exciting world of lion taming, and the business of writing. Minus the lion taming. It’s something I wanted to know more about, so I took not one, but three workshops. First up…

Elena Aitken, USA Today best-selling writer and author of over 30!!!! books

Self Publishing – Elena Aitken.

(Elena Aitken is a USA Today Bestselling Author of more than thirty romance and women’s fiction novels. Living a stone’s throw from the Rocky Mountains with her teenager twins and their two cats, Elena escapes into the mountains whenever life allows. She can often be found with her toes in the lake and a glass of wine in her hand, dreaming up her next book and working on her own happily ever after.)

There is a TON to learn about self-pubbing. Like a Fat-Albert ton. Luckily, I had the incredible and super friendly Elena Aitkens who tried to tell us a bit about the process.

She has a ton of information on her site. Please check it out. But I’ll do a quick overview.

  • Covers are important. Digital decisions are made quickly. Great covers get attention.
  • Use an editor. You’ll not spot your mistakes. It’s worth the money. (God knows this is true for me).
  • Formatting MUST be professional.
  • Set up your publishing like a business. Separate accounts. Know ISBN, taxes, royalties.
  • Connect with readers. Website vital. A newsletter allows for direct connections. FB, Twitter, etc not as reliable. Programs like can help with the newsletter.
  • Always reply to comments, feedback or shares. We all want to feel special, valued, so make sure your readers feel special and valued.
  • Picking the right keywords on your selling site (like Amazon) is vital. Look up your genre, see what’s selling the best, see what words they use.
  • Know your goals. Make a plan. Connect your brand to that plan. Stick to the plan.
  • There is a lot more on her website, so please check it out. She knows what she’s talking about!

Steena Holmes. NY Times and USA Today best-selling author

Branding: Steena Holmes : In the age of information overload, how do you stand out?

From the massively successful and brilliant, Steena Holmes, who did two workshops on branding, here and here. I learned that my brand focus has to be on my readers… not on sales. Not on marketing.

Be aware that you are branding yourself now. Are you doing it right?

Me, I’m not. Not even close. Like a drunk swinging at a bouncer who’s already taken 3 steps back.

Her brand, though, is phenomenal. Her website is perfect. It’s definitely worth checking out

What I learned:

  • Create a brand that connects with readers.
  • You brand yourself on all social media, even if you aren’t aware of it.
  • But one thing she said that really struck me, though was, “You are not your reader.”
  • That means, for example, that you might not bug another writer cuz you know how hard it is to find time to write and don’t want to bother them. But a lot of readers LOVE the personal connection they can get with a writer.
  • Your followers, your fans, your fellow writers, want to connect to you. You might think they’d hate to read about your struggles or your cats or how you did your research, but you are not your reader. Find out what they want and provide that for them.
  • Your brand is your promise. If you’re not writing political stuff, don’t blog about political stuff. If you’re writing romance books, don’t blog about gory horror novels.
  • Use newsletters to connect directly with people.
  • Newsletters are story-telling. Not just info or news. Get past your own hangups. Don’t think like a writer, think like a reader.
  • Don’t just write about writing but about life. Write about life in a way that creates or connects to your brand.
  • Brand your newsletter. Like me – Joe Cummings. Writer. Blogger. Stepdad. Historian. Geek.
  • Make links easy to access.
  • Make the signup for your newsletter as simple as possible. On your website, blog, emails.
  • Keep a regular schedule with your newsletter.
  • Keep it simple.
  • If you’re published, promote new books coming as well as your current book. If not published, promote progress and the experience.
  • Never add people to a newsletter without their permission.
  • Read other newsletters and see what works. Be genre specific.

Honestly, both these women were amazing resources. I hope they come back next year.

Links below.

Elena Aitken’s self-publishing links. Absolutely great stuff.

Steena Holmes Branding With Intent. She has a 5 step program that’s easy-peasy to follow and her website really is a must-see.

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