Thursday, June 3, 2010

June - Craziness, End of a Journey and Love

June generally signifies the ending of the school year. For our family June is like hell month. Literally. We have 3 birthdays just in our immediate family, 5 more in our close surrounding family, our wedding anniversary is in June (but I was very young and didn't understand the repercussions of this decision at the time so don't hold it against me) and then we have Father's day.  Not to mention the sometimes two or three graduations that happen to fall within the already over-crowded month. So that pretty much covers the craziness. But since it all involves family, it's usually tolerable and filled with big rewards at the end...empty pockets, but big rewards. :) And love.

This year will signify the end of a journey...not an educational one, but a very long and arduous journey undertaken by my 14 year-old son. (The rest of the family obviously went along for the ride, because that's what we do.) I haven't talked too much about it but you can guess from some of my posts that it has to do with a very serious medical issue. I won't go into details but his treatment should be ending soon and all indications look very good. It's so much better when the doctor comes out and talks to you in the big waiting room with everyone else instead of calling you back and talking to you in private. Not fun...don't ever want to do that again! But my brave boy handled this better than I think many adults would have, including myself. Very little self pity if any...lots of humor...(tons and tons for he is much funnier than his mother.) And love

Though I don't know how we did it and if it would have happened at any other time, I don't think we would've made it, I was able to quit my job and stay at home and take care of my son. You would think that would leave lots of time for writing...not so much. Now that his care is under control I think I can prioritize. (Like I know my closet really, really needs to be cleaned out and organized, but I will make a date for that to be done and not worry about and write until then...sounds like a plan, right?)

Writing is what I love to do and it's saved me many times when I thought I really needed to run away but couldn't physically manage it. Reading is a great escape but you are lead along a predestined path, chosen by the author who wrote that book. Many of them do that phenomenally well and I have a fabulous time. But writing is absolutely magical - writing is a go anywhere do anything type of escape.  Limitless possibilities. Imagination is key and it's like a muscle, the more you stretch it, the more it bends. 

Have you ever listened to a kid's story and thought, How the hell did they come up with that? Because they've not yet been told they couldn't or that it doesn't make sense. Their imagination knows no boundaries yet because they haven't been created. Or when you wake up and try to remember a dream can't quite even grasp all the twists and turns of the dream, most of them turn to mist when you try to visualize them upon waking. It's like the conscious mind can't quite make itself believe it actually dreamed such a fantastical thing. But dreams...they no know limits. Your imagination shouldn't either. Feel free to write whatever. Just get it down. You never know what you might create. You can always fix it later or chuck it if it's that bad. But you just might surprise yourself and have a wonderful journey in the process.

And if you write with love...and I don't mean you have to write about love, but do it because it's something you love to do...BONUS! Everything is better when there's love. Even the awful sad and scary times; the wonderful, happy times. They are all made muchier with love. 

All things -- Always with love. 



Monday, April 26, 2010


I went to SVRWA's meeting with my critique partner, Kadee Sinclair, this weekend and won a .pdf copy of the soon to be released "Love Writing: A Guide to Writing & Getting Published (Without Losing Your Passion or Sanity)" by Virna DePaul and Tawny Weber!! Very cool...and these lovely ladies were also the presenters of the "Conflict" topic at the meeting. Now, they also gave this same presentation at my local YRW chapter a couple of months ago, but I was unable to attend. However, conflict is something that is absolutely vital to any type of book. Without it..., well without it, there is no muchiness, to borrow a phrase from my blog a couple weeks past and the wonderful Alice in Underland. So important is muchiness to a novel, that I woke my very sleep-loving self up at 4 am to drive to Milpitas on a Saturday morning. Yeah....4 am in the MORNING...dark time. Really.

After some Starbucks run, and more coffee once we arrived at the lovely breakfast buffet put on by the SVRWA, I was wide awake and ready to be instilled with all the wisdom the two of them could impart. And boy did they impart! They gave a lot of GREAT information. It was a very "muchy" presentation, but clear and to the point. I very enjoyed it and had already decided to purchase their book coming out in June 2010. (You can find out more about it on their website But now I don't have to...but I still might, just to have a hard copy. :)

Anyway, back to conflict...Kadee and I were able to apply some of what we learned to her current WIP on the drive back...well she actually I applied it. I acted as a sounding board and a proper critique partner should. :) One of the things we learned was to layer your conflict. Hmmm....kind of like life. So simple, but not so easy to see sometimes when you are writing.

In life...there are tons of layers and complexity. I don't believe I've ever heard anyone say, "I need more conflict." (I've heard writers say this often. And, of course, they mean in their WIP...right?) But conflict drives us in life just as it drives a storyline. Without conflict, we would definitely react to situations differently. If we had all the time in the world to weigh options and figure out what we should do, no hasty or rash decisions would be made, resulting in consequences we should have foreseen.

But we are human, with instinct and emotion, and hopefully passion and purpose. Thus, conflict is a given. Maybe not to the degree we sometimes find ourselves, but some inner conflict will always exist. We do not have control of others or life around us, so external conflict will also come into play, making us deal with conflict on a daily basis. Whether big or small, these moments define us in some way.

So, as a writer, I will channel some of the conflict in my life into my writing. Yes, I can do that. Isn't that cool? That's one of the reasons I love to write. One of these days, maybe I will write about all of the conflict in my life, but for now I want to escape that conflict. To do that, I give my characters problems. And you know what? I can fix those problems!! Yay me!!

Okay, now I really need to get back to those characters and all of their conflict and apply Tawny and Virna's advice to my own WIP. Thanks again Ladies!

But my question to you is this. How will you handle your conflict? If possible slow down and try to envision the consequences. If you can't -- when the consequences come, accept them and move on. Because you know what? There's no going back. And to complain and use them as an excuse to act badly, well that's no good to anyone and not very muchy at all, now is it?

Treat all disasters as if they were trivialities, but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster. -- Quentin Crisp

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Time to shop, eat, and sleep, time to work, play, and sing, time to listen, laugh and cry...a time for all seasons. That's my very liberal paraphrase of the verse in Ecclesiastes. But the message is the same. There is a time for everything. The trick? The trick is in finding the right combination so you can fit as much into this life as it has to offer.

Everyone is aware of the concept of time. It begins the moment  when as children we are told that we will have to wait until a certain amount of it has passed before we are allowed our request. The older we get, the faster it seems to go.

If you ask someone about their life, their response will generally involve something they've done or an upcoming event. Rarely will they respond with what they are doing at that exact moment. Does that mean that no one lives in the moment? Most often, the answer is yes. We are always wishing things were the way were in times past or just hanging on for a future event to unfold. If only...??? If only we could appreciate the time we have at the moment.

Now believe me, there is no gorgeous beach before me nor rum anywhere in sight, (dang it!) so I am not just waxing poetic about some dreamy sunset. But I am in a place in my life where time has become a double-edged sword.  I want it to pass quickly so that someone in my life can be done with a very hard time in their's. I want it to go slowly so that I can treasure each moment I have with all of those in my life who are precious to my heart. I also want it to slow down so that I can fit everything I need to do into the ever shrinking hours of each day, as well as some of the things I just want to do.

So I steal the moments when at two in the morning, one of my dear someone's is a little chemically blissed -- thanks to his IV, and cracking jokes that only he understands. But his laughter and smile are my medicine and better than any sleep I've ever had. Or when I come home and am wrapped in multiple hugs by other precious ones and their love replenishes me in so many ways.

I also write because it it allows me to do several things at once. And I am a big fan of the multi-tasking. I can visit with the characters in my head and allow their problems to take precedence over mine for a while. (Not voices...characters...big difference. Really.)  My imagination is not right or wrong, there is no mistake I cannot fix when I write -- if only life had a backspace! The beautiful thing about writing is the creativity, the fact that you took nothing...blank piece of paper...or screen as the case may be, and made something that conveys image, emotion, and hopefully a cohesive thought. But whatever it is, you built it from scratch from your brain through your fingers to page or screen.

I LOVE that. It's exciting and addicting and it's a very positive thing in my life that I have complete control over. I say when, I say who, I say how....oops, started channeling "Pretty Woman" there for a minute. But you get the picture. In a crazy world, where virtually nothing is in our control anymore, this is my way to exert some authority in my own life. Now, this does not mean that my writing is boring and staid, and completely orderly. Far from it -- I write romantic thrillers....romance, thrillers?? Never a boring combination! :) But I get to decide what happens, well as long as my characters agree, and we have an amazing journey along the way.  Hopefully, soon you'll be able to join us.

Until then, try to remember you can't live in the past and the future will be here before you know it. Don't waste all the moments you have in between now and then wishing for one or the other. Enjoy your life as much as possible in each moment that you have. Do what makes you happy. If you can't do it for a living, do it on the side. But do it, damn it. Don't wish your life away. Live it. Be thankful for it and if it's not the way you want it at the moment, change it. It is YOUR life.

What will you do with your time?


Donna O'Brien

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Much Muchier...More Muchness??

***Spoiler Alert*** You guessed it, I've been to see Alice in Underland...yes, Underland, she pronounced it wrong the last time she was there. But the kid was what, like eight? So we'll give her a break.

My point? I was truly capitivated by all of the characters but utterly intrigued by the fact that because Alice had grown up, she'd lost a lot of her "muchness". She was "much muchier" last time around. Was this muchness her ability to believe in Wonderland and/or her destiny, something only the hatter could see inside her, or simply part of her childhood that made her THE Alice? Perhaps, only the delicious Mr. Depp's character could truly answer that question...yes, I believe he was delicious even in his hatter makeup!

It's my opinion that her muchness was not just her imagination but her own freedom to believe in herself and in her ability to make her own destiny in or out of Underland. And Alice...she kicked ass! The only thing missing from the movie was a certain drunken pirate at the end. (Or he didn't have to be drunk or even a pirate, he could have been a sober sailor, but the hatter/Depp should have been in the end somewhere as she sails off!! I'm just saying...) Okay, ahem...end of rant.

Everyone has the freedom to believe in their muchness, their ability to take control of their own life and pursue their dreams and fight their own it is that needs fighting. But do we do it?

Writing is a big jabberwocky! Anyone who takes on writing a manuscript and sticks with are a slayer! [I'm including myself, thank you very much. ;-)] You put yourself and muchness out there for everyone to see and that takes guts.

So pursue your dreams, whatever they may be. If you write, keep writing and writing, believe in yourself, and always, always, be as muchier as you can be!



Monday, March 29, 2010


Perception is such a varied thing. Add to that a writer's imagination, especially one who writes thriller/suspense novels, and a scene from a movie can come across completely different than how it was intended.

For instance, we were watching a flick this evening, a comedy --- absolutely nothing scary about it. A little tension was thrown in, but that was mainly conflict between characters and a little car chase here and there, but no gloom or doom. THE SCENE: The two main characters are walking down a country road, kind of deserted, but its daylight and the sun is shining, birds are chirping -- no threats to be found. (I don't remember if birds were actually chirping, but you get the picture.) This tree appears before them, backlit by a beautiful almost cloudless golden sky. The tree is wonderfully symmetrical and its many branches are peppered Yes, all sorts of different shoes have been tied together by the laces and thrown over the branches.

My first thought? OMG, what happened to all those people? Were they killed? Is that the killer's trophy tree or his warning? Do they need to run? My teenagers and the main characters response was that it was a beautiful tree and that it was a fun and "voluntary" act to throw one's shoes over the branches. writer's imagination took me in a completely different direction. Like I said, the movie was a teenage comedy, no dark elements. Absolutely nothing to make me think all the owners of those many shoes had been murdered.

Now, I first thought, oops is there something wrong with me? But then as I pondered my reaction, I realized that's the part of me that allows my brain to take a single idea and turn it into a book. To be creative isn't easy and if I thought exactly the same as everyone else, I don't think I would be able to do that. And to be realistic, each of us thinks and reacts a little differently to each situation, just maybe not AS differently as I did.

So I am thankful for my unique perception, as dark and scary as it may be sometimes. I am thinking this is a good thing since suspense and thrillers need to be chilling, keep you on the edge of your seat, and make you want to turn that page!

And here I go back to those pages. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mary Lou

Man, March is not shaping up to be the hopeful Springtime rejuvenation month it's supposed to be. Our local chapter of RWA, Yosemite Romance Writers, lost one of our members, Mary Lou McCaffrey last week. Such a shame and so quick. It was a big shock to us all. You could always count on Mary Lou to something thought provoking at the meetings and I recall laughing on more than one occasion at her sense of humor. She was a generous and gracious hostess, but most of all, she believed in and pursued her writing. May wwe all learn something from her devotion to her craft and kindness to her fellow writers. Slainte Mary Lou

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tough Weekend

I love weekends. They are vital to my sanity. This last one...not so much. Definitely, not one of my lighter memories. First, I've been fighting the flu, and succeeding pretty well, until Friday. Hello 101 temp. and super migraine headache to go right along with it. Nice fun day w/covers over my head. (Not really.)

But that was a picnic compared to Saturday. It was the six month anniversary of my death of niece, Brittany -- she was only 18. It was also the date that had been set for her annual fund-raising dinner, the fifth one since she began having them. She suffered from Mitochondrial Disease, a cellular disease that was severely debilitating for her. (See or for more info.)

So my family and I attended her dinner, held in her honor and memory this year, and continued her legacy. It was extremely difficult and sad. It was also very inspirational to be reminded of all that she had accomplished in such a short lifetime: being part of a movement to get a bill introduced into congress for the awareness and research for Mitochondrial Disease, a myriad of proclamations, raised thousands and thousands of dollars for research and awareness, organized dozens of fundraisers, recorded a song, and filled an event center to capacity with friends, loved ones, family, and strangers.

She was so much more than that as well, though that was her main goal. She was a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, a grandaughter, a friend, with a special smile and soft touch. She was here too briefly, but she had a story to tell and she told it everyday. She still the heart of everyone who knew her.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dick Francis

I saw something that saddened me today. I usually stay away from the news for that very reason...too much ugly out in the world. But there's the drawback that by avoiding the news, I miss out on knowing things right away. Such as the fact that one of my favorite authors passed away on Sunday.

Dick Francis was a great author, always building his fiction around the world of horse racing. I always learned something when reading one of his novels. Not only did he provide an escape from reality, a true journey of fantasy, great entertainment, but he gifted me with knowledge that I did not have before reading his book.

I am very sad that we have lost such a great man and novelist but very grateful that we still have so much of him left in all of his works. Many good thoughts and peace to all who loved him.

Wow - Long time no Blog...Seriously LONG time. I knew enough that I needed a blog when I first started,'s been quite a while since I've been back here. I actually had another blog that I posted at more often. A whole three or four times!! I know...contain your amazement. :)

Well, a lot has changed...the title of the first manuscript (yes, first manuscript -- as in, I've written more than one! Yeah me!), how long I've been writing, how many requests I've received, that I know enough now to change my template background AND that I need to blog more. BUT I'm still not published. However, I believe I am getting closer everyday because I am writing. The good thing about NOT blogging all this time has been that I have been writing consistently.

I finished the first manuscript which was formerly titled Carrick's Deception and is now dubbed Deceived by Duty (yes, I like it better - and it goes with the titles of the other two books in the series). I also started and am two-thirds of the way finished with the second book in that series, Stalked by Darkness. I know...great title right?...even better book!

But the writing muse recently grabbed me by the shirt, well I guess hand/arm would be more appropriate, literally dragged me to my computer, and MADE me start writing a third book. Not in this series (although I do have that one outlined).

I am very excited about it. It's based on a story I heard in the news. Just a blurb that caught my attention and I went, "No way...that's horrible!" Then I thought...hmm...that's a freaking book. But if I twist it this way...that's a best seller! Right??

Positive thinking!

So I will try to blog here much more often. I am visiting my friends' blogs and posting there. Not as often as I'd like, but I try. My main focus is still to write, but I think it's important to be part of this community as well.

I've got a few other projects that I had to start and write a few notes so I didn't lose the idea and I am looking forward to getting into those characters and plot lines as well. But for now, I am listening to my muse. May she bless me for it.

If you want to comment on what your up to, on what your blogging about this week, or just to say hi, feel free! Catch ya later.

P.S. Be sure to check out the website when you have a chance. There are still a few bugs. I did most of it myself and with a trial version of some software that I won't name. I am having some issues getting the links to work. You'd think that would be one of the easiest things right? I've tried everything, including calling in reinforcements. But the reinforcements are busy and I am waiting for them to have a break in their schedule so they can assist me with this technical difficulty. Until then, you will have to visit the sites the old fashioned way - type in the URL - gasp! Or come back here and click on the links! :)

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