What the world needs now…

We all yearn to be more human, more connected, and more in tune with each other than we already are. So…now in our time of social distancing or cocooning or self-imposed quarantining, being human to each other may be tougher than usual.

If you are like me, you’ve been taking care of the family, the pets, looking for a book to read, or a movie to watch or a game to play. Maybe you’ve been able to go for a walk or like me cleaned out a closet or two. A good part of the day is spent on the phone talking with friends and family members.

And still, I wonder about what else I can and should be doing. Sure, I’m writing 500 new words each day for the first draft of the third book in the Star O’Brien series. Of course, the television, although muted, is on in the background. With all of this, I really thought about what to write on my blog today. I thought about what can I do to get myself and family through this difficult time. I keep hearing about the whole America response to getting through this reality. All of this brought me to think about a leadership book that I published in 2008. Why? Because each of us must be a leader now. So I dug the book out of my closet and read through the pages, looking for inspiration. The chapter on Emotional Intelligence (EI) is what I settled on.

I’ll post some of the EI ideas in the form of questions: How well am I listening? Am I demonstrating compassion and empathy when I communicate with others? (This has been difficult today when the puppy ate part of the carpet in the living room.) When I’m ready to lose it because we’ve all been cooped up in the house, do I have a way to regain my center?

I don’t know if any of this helpful. I know I just want to help. And keep everyone around me feeling well and thinking positive. So…I’ll be listening more while communicating compassion and empathy…even with the puppy.

In the meanwhile, keep the love going. Stay safe and good. Martha

Love, Loyalty, and Friendship

Today, I’m using my web site page to write about something else other than my writing life. St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and I typically take out all my Royal Tara and Belleek china to put around the house. I also wear various pieces of my claddagh jewelry for a few days. Many years ago during a trip to Ireland, I made a visit to the mother of our New Jersey parish priest. She gave me the claddagh brooch pictured below (on the left) as a symbol of her gratitude for the visit.

The brooch on the left was a gift from our parish priest’s mother. I’m wearing today.

This year I’m going to begin wearing the claddagh (which symbolizes love, loyalty, and friendship) until the pandemic we all face subsides. I want to remind myself everyday that it will take love, friendship, and loyalty to get through whatever is coming. My heart goes out to everyone in the world who is worried about their parents and children. And, especially those who are separated from each other because of the virus.

I send my love to all of you who follow me on my web site and Facebook. We may not be able to shake hands but we can put our hands on our heart and use our words to send love to all.

Keep the love going, Martha

When you see your name on an electronic billboard!

I have two writing events coming up in the next week. One of the events will be held on Tuesday, Saint Patrick’s Day at the Fruitland Park Library in Fruitland Park. How surprised I was to see my name on the town’s billboard as I drove by on Sunday afternoon. I went back tonight to snap a picture.

Is this cool or what?

Upcoming Events

I’m putting the finishing touches on the next book (Death at Ashford Castle) in the Star O’Brien mystery series (set in County Mayo, of course). But I don’t have a specific date yet. I’m excited and can’t wait to tell you more about the release date!

In the meanwhile, I’ll be at two events in March. On Sunday, March 15 I’m presenting a writing workshop about the key elements of crafting a mystery novel. The W.T. Bland library in Mount Dora will be hosting that event.

Come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

In the meanwhile, keep the love going, Martha

One of My Loves

If a book is well-written, I always find it too short.

Jane Austen

I had the opportunity yesterday to take a brief respite in Mount Dora, Florida, site of this weekend’s Jane Austen festival. I have been in love with Austen’s novels since my undergraduate and graduate days earning my English degrees. The quote above is a favorite from “Sense and Sensibility”. Fans of Jane Austen were walking around Mount Dora wearing period dress. Here’s a picture of some ladies, resting under an oak tree.

Jane Austen Fest in Mount Dora, Florida. I daresay these ladies arrived in quite a modern conveyance as evidenced by the horsepower in the background.

As for me, unlike what Austen and other female writers went through to become a published author, I enjoy the pleasure of being an indie author. For a brief hour or two, I basked in the sunshine, did a little reading and writing, and enjoyed a cup of coffee at one of my favorite hang outs in Mount Dora: Allyson A Bake Shop.

A brief respite in Mount Dora.

Do you have a favorite Jane Austen novel?

Til next time, keep the love going.

Martha