My Leadership Test

From one of my walks in the woods at Cong, Mayo, Ireland

Here we are after another week of keeping physical distance and staying at home (cocooning as it is called in Ireland). My heart goes out to everyone who is on the front lines, fighting to save lives, to keep people alive, to keep each of us alive.

Our behavior makes a difference is my mantra whenever I speak to friends and family. A reminder that our commitment to staying at home is our part to do in this time of the virus. I don’t know if you saw the Prime Minister of Ireland’s speech on St. Patrick’s Day. The Prime Minister paraphrased Winston Churchill saying, “never will so many ask so much of so few.”

When our lives turned upside down several weeks ago, my first response was to treat the time at home as an extended snow day. You know, get in plenty of exercise, get some much needed rest, write as much as possible. But as the devastation of what is happening in the world, our country, our cities, and our families unfolded each day, the thoughts of self improvement turned to consideration of what each of us can do not just during the “stay at home” time but after. What are we going to do after? Each of us is being called upon to show leadership in our homes and our communities. This time of the virus will end and then I offer this definition of leadership from Robert Greenleaf for consideration. I am asking myself this question each day?


Robert Greenleaf

Our behavior makes a difference. Stay home, stay safe. In the meanwhile, keep the love going. Martha

Social Awareness While We are Social Distancing

Purple Heather – Beauty, Solitude, and Protection

I’m thrilled to see all the post likes and shares about my first book in the Star O’Brien series and the redesigned cover. Thank you all so much. As a new author, your comments and feedback mean so much to me.

I want to give a shout out to the talented designer, Robin Vuchnich, who has also created the cover for the second book in the series. You will love it as much as I do! The second book is still in the editing stage. I will be providing updates as we go along.

So, what are you all doing with your time at home? I’m working on the third book in the series with a goal of writing 500 words a day. Although I have more free time than usual on my hands, I’m using most of the time, talking or texting with friends and relatives. I’m using lists to keep a normal schedule. I talk to my Mom at least three times a day. She lives alone and doesn’t drive. We’ve been figuring out how to get food to her, especially all those staples like milk, bread, and eggs. I’m trying to go for a walk every morning for about an hour with my puppy before I make breakfast for Bill and myself.

Last week I blogged about emotional intelligence and the importance of listening, compassion, and empathy. In this time of the virus, we have to keep our socializing to a minimum but we can ramp up our social awareness. Listening, deep, deep listening is so critical right now to picking up on understanding and responding to our loved ones as we face this virus. Positive actions, words, and ideas are contagious…and we need that kind of contagion as we join together as one to fight this virus.

In the words Star O’Brien, let’s get this done. Stay safe everyone. And, in the meanwhile, keep the love going.


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

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.