Funny thing happened on the way to Menopause

I grew up around men. I have both competed with them on the same team and against them. I have an equal number of male friends as well as female. I am a successful and very active woman. As I approached 50 years old, my body should have been preparing me for menopause. In fact I had gone 5 months without a menstrual cycle. 51 is the average age women go into menopause.
I go to a lot of events, seminars, workshops, some of which I am in charge of. I would get the occasional man who seek conquest for the sake of conquest or because I take the time to share a conversation with them. I have worked hard for many years to build my reputation of integrity. I don’t do friends with benefits or casual encounters like many people do. Fortunately, there was not that many advances and they were easy to deal with.
My time of the month kicked in again after five months, meaning that I was cheated out of menopause and fully functional as a childbearing woman. I noticed a marked change in men. I attended one convention and six men made overt passes at me and half of them tried even more than one time. I went to sit in the hotel lobby late in the evening to read and had 5 young men sitting around me, seemingly waiting for something to happen. When I got up to leave, they were like confused sugar ants who had their food taken away. I attended a convention in another country and had 3 men make passes at me. A hotel manager who rode in the elevator with me who looked to be about 35 years old looked at me and told me I looked hot. I looked at him out of the corner of my eye. He told me it must be the hat I was wearing. I had encountered him earlier and he had asked me if I was taking a tour of the hotel.
Another strange encounter was during the after activities. I was sitting in the hotel seating area just outside of the hotel bar where several of the invited guests had gathered as well as convention attendees. One of the guests, an actor whom I had interviewed earlier in the day joined the group late. He sat about 20 feet from me. Someone gave him a guitar. The actor was playing jazz all night except for two songs that he changed to rock songs and sang, across the room, to me songs that had strongly suggestive themes, meanwhile a young man of 22 years was trying to share his drink with me.
At different convention, I had a scary encounter with a man whom I had spoken earlier with at a publisher. I went to shake his hand and thank him for the earlier conversation and tell him it was nice to meet him. He grabbed my arm and looked deep into my eyes hoping I would go to bed with him. Scared the heck out of me. He also had made a pass at me earlier and I turned him down.
Walking around the mall or the grocery store, I would have strangers come up to me and try to pick me up. The age range is 22 to 68 years old. Most of them younger men.
This is all weird because I was between 180 and 198 pounds. I went on an extreme diet later and lost 40 pounds. My friends that I told the tales to were envious. They wished that men would give them attention. One time I was speaking to a writer sitting at a table and a 22 year old came up to me and made an overt pass. When I old him for the second time in two days that I was not like that, he told me that he likes older ladies. He was drunk as well. The guy at the table with me just shook his head. Later he made a play for me as well. The attention was fun at the beginning. It is not fun after a while. It was getting scary.

I may have figured out what caused all of this. I have always been sensitive to chemicals. I have to be careful when I go to the dentist and prefer no medication if possible. I get migraines from being around people with perfumes or walking through a group of smokers on the way into a store or restaurant.
I have sons who, with their friends were at the time 15-18 years old and I was approaching 50. They would have boys over constantly and sometimes there would be as many as 10 at a time. The enormous amounts of testosterone in the air which bothered me. I found I would have to go to a movie, out to eat, go to my room early or go for a walk. While I have no interest in young men, the testosterone in the air had an unexpected effect. Not only did it prevent my body from going into menopause, remember I had no cycle for 5 months, I believe it threw my body into heat. Not just any heat, but like a super strong version of it. No wonder the men at the conventions were so affected. Elevators and closed spaces were the worst.
After I figured out that heat was the problem, the men acting like romeos made sense. I am a public person as well as a businessperson. The pheromones were hindering my work and my ability to form new friendships. The one thing I can say for the conventions was that I did not have to see these people ever again.  The downside is scary and I avoided going out after dark.

Sadly the pheromones had gotten to some of my male friends and one friend that I had for 10 years put his hand on my knee and I haven’t spoken to him sense. Once that bond of trust is broken that makes you friends in the first place, it is gone forever.

All I can say is that the conditions that lead to menopause can be very strange. I still have not hit menopause, however, at least the heat problem has nearly disappeared.

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How to make your autograph look its best

Make your autograph look its best. Lets take a look at where to sign, how to sign, and what to use to sign on certain types of materials.

Starting with novels. A novel has a  Cover, a Title Page (that has the title and author and usually the publisher on the page,), a Bastard page (which has only the title) and a Dedication page. I have found novels without the Bastard page.

The Cover. Is it okay to autograph a cover?  A paper cover that protects a hardcover is not recommended as a place to put your autograph. If you have many books to sign, you will most likely have someone with you who can have people open the book to a certain page while waiting in line. The hardcover or paperback cover is still not an ideal place.

Bastard Title Page

This is an example of a Bastard Title page or a Half Title page.  It consists of usually only the title. Books are inconsistent. I have seen more printed on the page or the page doesn’t exist at all.

A basic autograph is only a signature. What you put in addition to that signature is up to you. You can sign the novel her, on this page. If you know the person and wish to include a personal note, this page is ideal for the amount of blank space available to write.




The Dedication page should only be used for an autograph when you are going to present an autographed copy to those people printed in the dedication and should include a personal note.

The Title Page. Title pages vary in their presentation. An autograph by your own name is popular.

I like this page if you are only going to write your signature.

If you have to ship a whole box of signed copies you may want to print on a strip of paper about the size of a bookmark, “signed copy”.  Fold the paper in half and tuck the back half behind the cover so that the words “signed copy” drape over the cover. People like signed copies.

How to sign. Practice your autograph a couple of hundred times. Get something consistent and recognizable as your signature. Plain letters or script or a combination of both.

Wait until someone asks for you to personalize their copy. I have had people who know me by name, incorrectly assume that I wanted my name in the book and wrote “to Deb,” when in fact the book was for someone else. They started writing before I could say anything. Do your best to wait for them to ask or ask them if they would like it personalized and verify with them the name to personalize it with even if you know the person.

The use of To: or For:  The use of To: Guestname is very impersonal and should only be used for people who you do not know. For: Guestname is for someone who you know or an acquaintance. Use For: or their first name when writing a note. If I am writing a note, I put the autograph separately and use my first name to sign the note.

I like this Autograph on the Bastard Title page because it was dedicated as For Debra. (No one who knows me calls me Debra, BTW, but that is okay.)  What he wrote was very professional. He signed it Phil. He put his autograph on the Title Page. Look at all the room for the note.


 Here is the Autograph that goes with the note above. There has been some discussion about striking out the name. I like the idea of striking out the name for the very reason that in doing so, the author claims ownership of the books contents.







Here is an example of an autograph and note on the Title Page. Space is limited.

I do not collect autographs and will give anything with a generic autograph away. I do keep books where the author has written me a personal note.

This author properly put For instead of To and signed the note John. Here is a second person who strikes through their name.



What should you write in a note or with an autograph? If you are writing the To: Guestname or Fanname then something impersonal is appropriate. I like personal quotes or mannerisms. Have at least three prepared ahead of time. I know an actor who repeatedly said Yeesss! in his cartoons and he would put To: Guestname, Yeessss! and sign his entire autograph. I would try to make it personal to myself and avoid metaphors like To: Guestname, Keep on Truckin, Your autograph. Using For is more personal. You should have some sentences prepared or even a paragraph. Yo can easily tailor it to an individual. Be prepared, it will save you time. What not to write is anything negative or that puts someone off. Beginning something with the word Hope is one of the words to avoid. Hope you are well. Hope you had a good time.  Hope is a word of dismissal. It means that you hope something is right because you don’t want to hear about it if it is wrong.

This is an example of what not to write.  Avoid these mistakes if you can. Before he started writing, I asked this guy to write something nice to me to remember him by as I was not likely to ever see him again since he lives outside the country. Everything about the autograph is an insult. The To was inappropriate because this is from a good friend and was supposed to be a nice note. The hope you keep hold of this one has to be the lamest thing I have seen anyone write. Best (short for best wishes) is an insult because it implies he doesn’t know me and putting his entire autograph was an insult because this was supposed to be a note.  I asked him to sign it sweet.  He thought that putting in the asterisk at the end of his autograph was sweet. It was supposed to be a kiss.  I was mortified.  If he wanted to autograph it then he should have signed the cover and written a nice note on the inside since this was a comic book. I was so put off I mailed it back to him.

What pen should I use for an autograph? That depends on the media. For a novel, use a fine point marker or gel pen of other fine point pen. Avoid a ball point pen. Colored markers are fine. Test what you intend ahead of time. Some marker bleeds through and some ink (and marker) will leave an image on the facing page. The tip on some markers will flatten and your signature will not look so nice after after signing for a while. Some pens will dry up and so will some markers. Have a backup with you. Silver and gold colored markers look good on a dark background. If you are signing something glossy the sharpie type markers work the best.  Marker on glossy can smear so make sure it is dry. If you are signing on fabric then buy markers made for fabric. Don’t sign that bra with sharpie unless it will not be washed. They will not bleed or wash out. If you are signing skin or plastic used for food (a water bottle or baby bottle) do not use sharpie. Use a product that is food safe. For ceramic of tile, marker will wipe off. A china marker works well but will also wipe off unless you spray a sealer on it.

Signing your name is easy. Signing it many times takes getting used to and having your signature look good that 100th autograph takes practice. Look professional by knowing what to write because you have taken the time to rehearse several adaptable sentences. Know where you are going to write.




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Creative Romance

A couple of years ago I watched a documentary about a woman who came to the United States with $68 in her hands. She was an artist with no place to stay, no job and didn’t know anyone. She had hope and the promise of a better life. The story turned out well for her. It  was what you would expect from that type of documentary.

The part of the documentary that had my interest was how she met her husband. It was a blind date arranged by a friend. The nice looking man showed up at her door with flowers. There was something hidden in the flowers that impressed both her and myself.  I don’t remember what was in the flowers. I think it was something he made. He took the time to do something out of the ordinary. His creative side impressed her. She knew immediately that he was the one for her.

I like things that are thought out. A small detail can make a difference.

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