Self-Publishing Review: “Miss Matched at Midlife”

book-1“For women of a certain age the prospect of dating can be social whirl of a nightmare. But when Rebecca Brockway found herself single in her 40s, she documented her next decade of dating experiences in a humorous memoir, “Miss Matched At Midlife” with a positively can-do attitude. After her marriage of 17 years ended with four kids in tow, Rebecca set out to look for The One – or at least make up for lost time in the dating arena – going on more than 150 first dates – probably more first dates than most of us have ever been on!

The book is written with a lyricism that will draw you in: it starts with the line, “Once upon a time I was a bride…” going on to describe a stomach flu that ruined her wedding entirely, like some kind of foreboding she should have listened to. She continues, “At home, following the festivities, I peeled my dress and undergarments from my body. They’d felt like painful scabs.” This kind of writing is what makes this book stand out, and Brockway presents an all-too-familiar picture that women everywhere who maybe married out of low self-esteem and panic will recognize like an old nemesis. Even by the time she gets through the honeymoon it’s clear her husband is not going to cut it, but like many of us, she perseveres with the mind-boggling adoption of four children, maybe looking for that missing piece of happiness, until the (in hindsight maybe) inevitable collapse of the marriage nearly two decades later.

It must be said author Brockway is something of a looker, with a poise and assertiveness most women would die for, her mane of blonde hair and flaming heart tattoo on slender limbs calling out to the reader from the cover of her book. While this is surely to her advantage for her fabulous dating journey, this book will speak to any woman who has found herself suddenly single – maybe the fact she is such an attractive women means she gets to try it out for the rest of us.

Not only will readers be laughing, “Yes, yes, yes!” to the book in agreement and recognition of her stories, but the book is also full of dating hacks that are actually very proactive for those lost on the dating highway, such as how to choose dates from dating websites without much disaster, and how to deal with it when disaster strikes – one of the beauties of this book is that Brockway hasn’t always followed her own advice, so we get to see what happens when it goes wrong too. The standout stories (without spoilers) are that of the man who revealed his ugly yellow teeth with a first smile (I myself went on a date with a man who had always worn a hat, and on our date he took it off for the first time – to reveal a lustrous comb-over!) and her amusing encounter with a sex party scene. It’s almost investigative journalism into dating here. Someone give this lady a column!

It’s always been the feeling in certain quarters that middle-aged women found single should take the “dregs” and be “grateful” for whoever they can get. Brockway shows us this is not the case, and that there are wonderful men out there on the same journey if you are prepared to put in the legwork to find them.

There is something of Cheryl Strayed (Wild) to Brockway, and this powerful author aura permeates the writing, and makes this a classic book in the making – Brockway is not writing feminism or unrealistic girly fluff aka Sex In The City here – she’s unapologetically reinventing the “game” of how women “should be.”

In other words, it’s OK to be attractive and single and happy in your forties, and claim the board. Just don’t forget the riot gear.”

~ Self-Publishing Review – 5 stars

“Miss Matched at Midlife” Has Reader Reviews:

 

aname bookish

 

Oh boy, can this woman write!

There are times, not often, you come across a book that blows you away. You didn’t expect it at all. Miss Matched At Midlife, is one of those books.

Make no mistake and form an opinion by the title (as I did), though the title tells what the book is about. I didn’t know what to expect and what I saw surprised and got me hooked from the beginning. Here’s why.

Miss Matched At Midlife is a brilliant read; human and entertaining at the same time. It tells you about the hopes and wishes of a human being seeking another. At times, it is harrowing.

It reads like a novel and yet it is a non-fiction book. The stories are put together in a way it is easy to follow and each lays the ground for the next.

Rebecca is an excellent observer of the human nature which she describes in simple terms and great detail. Just enough to make you feel and see the person she is talking about.

Rebecca bears her soul open and lets you in into her world. You see and feel her hopes, heartaches, wishes and dreams through her.

Above all, you see the world of men; naked, raw, as it really is: every now and then funny, often sad and lost, at times childish and hopeless, and in occasions sublime. If you are a man, take note os this world.

Miss Matched At Midlife reads with ease, a lot of time and effort must have gone into editing and polishing it. Hats off!

Whether you are a man or a woman, you’ll be better for reading it. I am. I wish I was one of her dates so I could feel the way she does.

I laughed, I smiled, I was sad, I judged and felt bad for doing so, my heart was broken, I was slashed with hope and despair at the same time. Above all, I saw the world of a woman like never before.

I am humbled by and thankful for it.

I’ll read it again. I’m sure you will.

~ Paul Prifti, Book Publisher, UK

 

The package containing this book arrived (with a stack of other books for review) yesterday. It was supposed to wait its turn but I jumped in & finished it today. I found myself immediately wondering who would play the author, Rebecca Brockway, in the movie. Not sure that there’s enough of a plot line for a feature film (unless it’s a Robert Altman or Woody Allen 95 characters thing) or maybe something Eat Pray Love-ish . As the subtitle says it’s a bunch of “Dating Episodes” but I found myself casting the lead none-the-less. Definitely not Drew Barrymore, not Kate Hudson (or her mother Goldie Hawn), not Meg Ryan. Too cute! Not Julia Roberts. She’s too, well– Julia Roberts-ish. No, we need someone with attitude, someone feisty—and not Sally Field feisty. Maybe a nicer Chelsea Handler?

My first disconnect with this lead character was when she confessed to eating 75% dark chocolate. Everyone knows it’s 90% or bust. But I let that pass ‘cause she brazenly painted her clawfoot tub tangerine (yes, it’s a color) and she understands the nature of “adventurer’s remorse”.

I laughed out loud a lot. The early chapter where she decodes the words & phrases used in men’s dating profiles alone is worth the price of the book! Clever descriptions “dog and beast drove away”; more worked than didn’t.

Hollywood is probably going to want to tack on a happy ending, maybe a rush hour chase scene to the airport, in the rain, where the guy has to jump out of the cab and run the last 10 blocks to declare his everlasting love. The author wanted to take us there. She doesn’t hide her disappointment as she discloses in the last chapter [spoiler alert!] that “at the completion of this manuscript, I’ve acquired not a man but a perspective”. It was pretty clear that she would have preferred the former but she maintains a perky upbeat attitude leaving the reader with no doubt that, in time, this tattooed heroine will find her match. The reader will wish it for the author as well, this woman who has opened the pages of her diary and her heart to us. Buy it for all your single friends. Head out to the beach and read the funny bits out loud together. Fun!

~ Tsufit, Author, “Step Into The Spotlight!”

 

Yes, this book was written especially for women in midlife, and we can strongly identify with many of her experiences. Nonetheless  I strongly urge women of any age (20s, 30s, 40s as well as 50s and beyond) to also  select this book.  The insights you will gain can literally be game-changing, and can save you much angst and misdirection.  I certainly benefited enormously from her willingness to show us her vulnerabilities, errors in judgment, disappointments and disillusions.

There are also moments of  joy when the author believes she may have finally found “the one”– and more often than not is brought back to earth by something entirely unexpected. An optimist by nature, Rebecca Brockway clearly considers every experience, positive or negative, as one of life’s gifts.  As Brockway reports, “Within a span of nine years I’ve experienced a surplus of dating adventures. I’ve made my share of dating debacles, and I’ve celebrated my share of  successes. I’ve given midlife dating my best effort, and I’ve not conceded to defeat–even when my heart has been trampled and my ego lay exposed like a fragile, powder-blue robin’s egg.”

At the end of the book you will feel as if you have made a new friend, and will want to visit her at missmatchedatmidlife.com to see what more she’s up. Incidentally, Rebecca Brockway writes beautifully and has a great sense of humor as she takes you along on date after date. Her story, in my considered opinion, would make a marvelous motion picture. I hope someone smart does pick this unusual dating memoir up for the movies.  Meantime, thank you Rebecca, for sharing your remarkable journey with all those who, like you, are searching for love online and also have, like you, put their hearts  “on the line.”

~ Judy Katz, Huffington Post columnist and CEO of Ghostbooksters.com

 

Miss Matched at Midlife by Rebecca Brockway is a must read for all of us ladies who found ourselves single in our forties and fifties.  Actually, I think men should read it, too, as they would learn a lot.

Rebecca tells her stories in such a way that I found myself constantly laughing at her descriptions of some of the men she met. She is funny, witty, and most importantly, honest. Although her heart’s desire is to meet a man with whom she wants to spend the rest of her life, it will not be at the cost of her own self worth.  Learning to set boundaries is a process which Rebecca learns. We can all identify and learn from her experiences.
Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your dating experiences while juggling being a single mother.  Thank you for showing us how to maintain a sense of humor and to persevere.  Thank you for being genuine.
This book will entertain as well as make suggestions of how to avoid some of the pitfalls of internet dating.  I didn’t want the book to end but found myself wanting to read just one more story.  Each experience is well written, concise, and has a great ending because of Rebecca’s way with words.
Pull up your favorite chair and be prepared to laugh (and sigh) as you identify with many of Rebecca’s experiences.  It’s definitely worth your time.
~ Beverly Poole

 

Miss Matched at Midlife is a very entertaining and thought provoking exploration of a woman’s search for love in her 40’s and 50’s. Ms. Brockway is an honest and engaging guide, drawing on her own personal experiences. As a veteran of 151 “first dates” over a nine-year period, she has gained great insight into the pleasures and perils of dating. Her summaries of computer assisted matchmaking, and her decoding of the online profiles found there, are insightful and funny. Her descriptions of the time she has spent with the men she has encountered, either for 30 minutes or a year, are authentic and balanced. And she has learned the hard way never to make an illegal left turn out of a parking garage in order to end a date a soon as possible. In the end, Ms. Brockway remains optimistic, albeit a bit more realistic, about finding a companion for life.

~ John Rydell, Senior Partner, Griffith & Thornburgh. LLP

 

Just wanted to let you know that I received your book in the mail and it is just a hoot!  I find it incredulous that you have dated more than 150 men. You are going to be famous with your story and book.  It is truthful, funny, twisted, a total page-turner . . . and so relatable.  None of us readers would ever have expected to be in the dating pool at our age.  You have brought to life what so many women struggle with when their marriages fall apart.

Congratulations!  I look forward to seeing your rise to fame and fortune!

~ Grace L. Kim, MD, Anesthesiologist

No Pit Is An Island: 8 Secrets Of LinkedIn Success

Multiracial Group of People with Raised Arms looking at Sunset

 

My LinkedIn profile photo—my “pit pic”—was a (brief) sensation.

The article, “Dear LinkedIn: Is My Armpit Bad For Business?” achieved success because of my armpit. Yet, no pit is an island. Though it’s impossible to deny its allure, my armpit did not carry the article without help. I knew there had to be other defining factors that contributed to my post’s popularity, but I wasn’t clear what they were. I set out to discover the secrets of LinkedIn success.

* * *

A year ago, while I was in the early stages of self-publishing my first book—Miss Matched at Midlife—my editor suggested I devise a plan to sell it. The time had come, she said, for me to build an author’s platform (fan base) on social media. I shut my eyes and groaned.

“I’m a ‘people person!’ I’m not a ‘computer person!’”

My online marketing skills were nil. Social media marketing sounded dreadful.

I pushed through my reluctance and subscribed to LinkedIn: a free, business-networking site that was a breeze for technology-challenged me. Then, I searched Google for blogging advice. I stumbled across a jewel: Expect to fail for a very long time. I was off to a dubious start.

I soon discovered that social media was not dreadful. It was fun! I never felt like a failure. Every baby step—a new connection, one more published post, ranking in the top 10 percent for profile views—brought me closer to success. I marveled at the volume of views, “likes,” and comments reeled in by the LI big dogs: professional blogger John White, author Dr. Travis Bradberry, and university student, Isvari Mohan.

Three weeks ago, I published a post: “Dear LinkedIn: Is My Armpit Bad For Business?” In seven days it attracted over five hundred views. Why had this particular article piqued reader interest when my previous posts had flopped? I sought answers. I logged on to the LinkedIn forum, “Step Into the Spotlight,” and posted my question:

What is the “secret formula” of a well-received LinkedIn post?

Responses trickled in. Group member Kat McKay isolated three factors that attract readers to LinkedIn posts: 1) Engaging title 2) Business spin 3) Lively content. Kat’s tips for blogging success made sense, but was something missing? I wasn’t sure. Meanwhile, my post’s popularity waned. I was grateful for my fifteen minutes of fame.

Buuut then . . .

Writer, Jim Murray, and customer relations’ guru, Paul Croubalian, read my article. Paul said it made him laugh. He promised to share it. Out of the blue, I was graced with a second wave of LinkedIn success. Top LinkedIn influencers Michael Webster and Joe Caruso—The Wonderful Wizard Of LinkedIn—featured my article on Franchise-Info’s company page. According to Michael, my post got 753 impressions (views) in less than twenty-four hours. The exposure my article received from optimal sources—LinkedIn’s heavy lifters—jump-started its sputtering popularity.

My formula for LinkedIn success was taking shape, but still incomplete. I dove back in. I read “A Fish Story” by Michael Webster, “100 Blogs on LinkedIn: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The TRUTH,” by John White, and “Why Authentic Leaders Are Rare,” by career coach Jan Johnston Osburn.

Ms. Osburn claims: People crave authenticity. Mr. White wrote: Readers love a little vulnerability from the author. Michael’s post gifted me a Zen-like gem: So, when a lot of people do finally pay attention to a specific article, make sure you are giving them something in return. (Words to live by, wise grasshopper.)

At the time I published my pit post, I was unaware there were specific factors that determined LinkedIn success—I simply got lucky. But you don’t need to rely on luck, nor is it necessary you fail for a very long time. Here are eight “secrets” that will transform your LinkedIn experience from dull to dazzling.

 

                                                                              8 Secrets Of LinkedIn Success

 

 * Hook ‘em at hello. Your article’s title will grab your readers’ attention—or not. If you need help composing a title, Google “Free Headline Analyzer From CoSchedule.” The analyzer makes it easy and fun to create a title that’s juuust right. The best part? Never again will your amazing posts be saddled with mediocre headlines.

* Give it a business spin. LinkedIn is a business-networking site. Try to make your article’s topic appeal to other business-minded members. Btw, if your “business” is posting photos of scantily clad women on social media, go elsewhere. LinkedIn already has its fill.

* Write lively. Break free from boring! Business articles shouldn’t be dull, yet many are. Try opening your post with an anecdote that ties into your topic. Words are like colorful Skittles—eye candy. Whether your article is serious, lighthearted, or informational, make your writing yummy.

* Expose your tender underbelly. I exposed my tender armpit, and people loved it! You should never play the victim, but it’s beneficial to show a little vulnerability. When you lay bare your imperfections, you tap into a trait we all share: our humanness.

* Be true. Your readers crave authenticity. If you publish an article that criticizes fracking but you ignore a discarded Cheetos bag on the sidewalk, you’re a fake. Don’t be a fake! If you’re an environmentalist who regularly bypasses sidewalk trash, fess up! Your readers don’t expect you to be perfect but they do expect you to be “real.” So next time, pick up the damn Cheetos bag!

* Position for success. I’m a “people person” on social media. I add connections, join LinkedIn groups, and invite my connections to join. I read other’s posts; I “Like,” and comment. I strive to improve my writing skills. I publish my best work. I publish consistently. I thank my connections when they share my work. I share theirs too. I don’t quit (even when I’m dying to). I’m nice to the Wizard.

* No pit is an island. Nobody can do it alone. The success of my pit post was dependent on LinkedIn influencers who positioned it in front of a larger audience. However, I realize they wouldn’t have boosted my article’s visibility if it hadn’t first appealed to you, dear reader. To you, I’m much obliged.

* Give ‘em bang for their buck. Publish content that gives your readers a valuable take away. Engage them! Have fun! Your audience will support you with shouts for an encore. If you make your readers happy, you’ll be a success. And that’s no secret.

                                                                                                           * * *

What are your thoughts? Do you have a secret tip for LinkedIn success?

I welcome your “likes,” comments, and shares.

~ Rebecca “Armpit” Brockway

Dear LinkedIn: Is My Armpit Bad For Business?

 

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I’ve been posting my essays on LinkedIn for a year. The site’s subscribers (you!) have been enthusiastic and supportive, my interactions – productive. I’ve acquired many wonderful contacts and a handful of friends. My profile photo hasn’t seemed to hamper me, but perhaps I’ve been naïve.

 

Seventeen months ago, I hired a photographer to take my picture. Time was of the essence; I was approaching my fifty-seventh birthday. I wasn’t getting any younger . . .

 

I contacted a professional who’d posted her add on Craigslist. I reviewed Melanie’s website and liked what I saw; her work was perceptive and direct. I thought that Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone (a popular pocket of shops, avant-garde artist studios, and bistros located a few blocks from the beach) would make a great backdrop for a photo shoot. Melanie drove from LA and we met at The Lark restaurant. I was relieved I’d hired a woman to snap my pics. I knew I’d feel uncomfortable posing for a male photographer. With Melanie behind the camera, I’d no fear that my crow’s-feet and wrinkled knees would be silently ridiculed. I trusted Melanie to capture me: an attractive and imperfect middle-aged woman. She took a lot of photos. Twenty made the final cut. I utilized one photo for the cover of my soon-to-be-released book. Another became my LinkedIn profile pic.

 

Seven weeks ago, a LinkedIn connection messaged me about my profile photo. She wrote that she didn’t think it represented me well. She believed I was prettier than my picture. She also believed that I would receive more on-site success with a new photo. Then, she suggested different photo ops I might try: a comedic wink with sunglasses positioned halfway down my nose, a traditionally professional look, or me waiting in a meadow for Mr. Right to ride up. (On a tractor? On a white steed?) Her motive, she insisted, was to offer friendly advice from one woman to another. She said she was a fan of my LinkedIn posts.

 

I replied: Thank you for your kind and candid email! I had no idea that I’d be on the brink of fame if it weren’t for the fact that my profile photo is holding me back! But, since I do not have another pic to replace it, I’m afraid it will stick around – and continue to hold me back – until I have another taken. I certainly do appreciate that you follow my posts, and more so, that you send me such great girlfriend advice. You are swell!

 

She responded that she hadn’t known how to broach the subject more sensitively. She admitted that she should’ve asked a friend to review the email before sending it. Then, she apologized for trying to help and confessed that she’d made a poor job of it.

 

I emailed to assure her that everything was cool, and her apology, unnecessary.

 

Our exchange had been puzzling – slightly odd – but no big deal. I forgot all about it.

 

Until five days ago . . .

 

Apparently, my “LinkedIn adviser” remained vexed at my nonchalant attitude, or maybe she was sincerely worried that my profile photo jeopardized my business (or the timely arrival of Mr. Right). Therefore, she called in the reserves; she appointed her friend to message me: If you send the original I’ll touch out the line at your armpit . . . it’s a giveaway for things you might want to be left unseen.

 

Ah ha! It was my armpit they were after!

 

Did one lil’ ole armpit deserve this much attention?

 

I responded: Thank you for your generous offer to Photoshop my armpit. (That was a first!) I understand that my armpit doesn’t look like the pit of a thirty-year-old woman – I’m fifty-eight. My book – “Miss Matched at Midlife: Dating Episodes of a Middle-Aged Woman” is about a middle-aged gal (me!) who goes on over 150 first dates; therefore, I need to look the part 😉 I’ll let you know when my book is launched in June. Thanks again for your concern :-)

 

That wasn’t the last of it.

 

She replied: Let me know if you’d like it diminished or offed 😉

 

I wrote: You ladies have supplied me with a fabulous topic; many thanks to both of you! I have decided to write a LinkedIn post asking my contacts (over 3,000) to weigh in with their opinions on my “unsightly” armpit. Whatever the majority says wins out. I may be looking you up to Photoshop my pit, after all. Don’t worry, I won’t mention either your name or “Jane’s” in my post 😉 Look for my new post on LinkedIn at the first of next week.

 

Soon afterward, she forwarded my original profile photo with a “modified” armpit that rivals the perfection of my four-year-old granddaughter’s. She included this statement: Remember, it’s not ‘unsightly’ . . . it’s distracting from the main focus of the image. Your eyes.

 

I truly believe these two ladies are well intentioned. Yet, the question remains:

 

Is my armpit bad for business?

 

                                                                                        * * *

 

I await your candid comment, dear reader.

 

Thank you!  ~ Rebecca Brockway

 

The “F-word”: What Does It Really Mean?

212_002 It was on date No. 3 that I succumbed to the weakness of the flesh. Hunky Marcos had invited me to join him for a run from Shoreline Park to East Beach. I’d been hopeful I could maintain his steady pace. I darted around a group of tourists who’d stopped in the middle of the boardwalk to take pictures. Bicyclists whizzed by. I gazed into the distance and spotted the volleyball courts—our destination—a sandy area planted with a series of poles and white nets; nets designed to catch low-flying balls, not wild salmon, halibut, or tuna.

“How ya doin’?” asked Marcos. His shirtless, long-legged form loped effortlessly beside me. I’ve always imagined myself an athlete. But obviously, I couldn’t match the physicality of my date, several years my junior, and a personal trainer to boot.

“I’m not feeling so good,” I replied. I could’ve puked.

“Let’s walk.”

“I’m such a wimp. I used to be a strong runner.”

“I enjoy your company. I don’t mind if we walk the rest of the way.”

Two weeks earlier, Marcos had contacted me via eHarmony. We’d quickly progressed through the dating site’s “scientifically” formulated questions and checklists—devised to ensure a “deeply compatible” match. At the end of our first date, Marcos walked me to my car, but not before he’d unlocked the door of his own and retrieved a dozen yellow roses from the back seat.

“Yellow symbolizes our friendship,” he said.

“They’re beautiful! Thank you.” We hugged goodbye.

After I’d arrived home, I received a text from Marcos:

I had fun tonight. I like you a lot, Rebecca. Do you like me as a man?

Hmm…

I sensed Marcos was eager to launch our yellow-rose-friendship into deeper waters. And me? I didn’t know if I liked him “as a man.” After all, we’d just met. Marcos had said his gift of sunny-hued roses meant we were friends. I was wary.

When it comes to the sexes, what does the f-word (“friends”) really mean? I invited single middle-aged men and women to offer their input:

“If a man tells his date he hopes they’ll be best friends, it’s a ploy to get his foot in the door to her affections. He’s made her feel safe. She begins to trust him. Soon after, when he presses for greater physical intimacy, she may assume he truly cares for her. Just watch how quickly their ‘best-friendship’ deteriorates after sex.” ~Phoebe

“When I meet a guy and chemistry is nonexistent, I’ll tell him we should be friends, which means I don’t want to see him again.” ~Maggie

If a man exhibits relationship potential—but I’m ambivalent about him—I’ll suggest we remain friends for a time. A platonic relationship allows us to focus on getting to know one another without the complications of sex. But, a man won’t allow himself to be strung along forever.” ~Sarah

“Men view women as prey, not as friends. The pursuit of pussy: a man’s genteel manners, the luxury car he drives, his stylish clothes, gifting flowers to his date, opening the door for her, or complimenting her dress, smile, or perfume, are part of the game of getting laid.” ~Stan

“A man is a wolf in FTD clothing.” ~Laura

“I want to know from the get-go if the sex is good. If it is, I’ll be his friend.” ~Marcia

Friends-with-benefits is a misnomer. There’s nothing very ‘friendly’ about this type of sex because it’s based on a lie. True friends don’t use each other.” ~Thomas

Couples in healthy relationships can become friends once their physical passion has subsided a bit. When it’s no longer all about sex, there’s room for authentic friendship to grow.” ~ Craig

                                                                                                                      * * *

Marcos and I walked back to Shoreline Park where we’d left our cars. I faced him. Sunlight reflected off sweat and his broad shoulders glistened. I averted my eyes from his six-pack. His abs were distracting.

“I’ve had some time to think,” I said. “I’m physically attracted to you, and you’re a kind person. I’d like to be more than your friend, but I want to take things slowly so we don’t mess up.”

“I like you too, Rebecca, and I agree with you. When sex happens too soon it can spell doom to a new relationship.”

I sighed. I was relieved Marcos and I were on the same page. He wrapped his brawny arms around me and pressed me to his impressive chest. We waved enthusiastically as our cars exited the lot. That was three weeks ago. Marcos hasn’t made arrangements to see me since.

* * *

Please share your views on male/female friendships by clicking on the comment arrow at the top of the page.

Thank you, dear reader!   ~Rebecca