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.
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.
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.
If a book is well-written, I always find it too short.
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.
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.
I didn’t post last weekend and this post is not directly related to my writing life but here goes. I hope you like the short video of what I was doing on Saturday. Most of you know that I have a schipperke puppy named Turlough. For the last year, Turlough and I have been learning agility. I’ve dreamed for a long time about running around the agility arena with this amazingly fast puppy. Finally, last weekend we participated in our first official trial. What a disaster for me and what fun for Turlough. The first day when I walked out onto the trial area I was struck by stage fright. Turlough and I didn’t last long out there. This video is from the second day…I did a little bit better and Turlough took some of the jumps and weave poles before just having fun.
The analogy I want to make here between being an indie writer and trying to qualify in an agility trial is this: life is full of obstacles. Some of the obstacles are a jump, others are a tunnel or weave poles. The main lesson for me is to keep going. The likes, shares, and reviews I get from readers are my big successes and mean so much to me as a writer. I don’t always have the amount of time I want at my writing desk. I often have self-doubts about my ability. These are my obstacles, my little failures, that with practice and commitment I intend to overcome.
Welcome back to everyone who may have been away during the holidays or who may have just taken a break from social media. I trust your holiday was just right for you. Low-key is a good adjective to describe mine. We went to the movies, church, socialized with friends, and spoke to family on the phone. I made my annual walnut-carrot cake with lemon cream cheese icing for a neighborhood gathering. I also made my pumpkin zucchini bread for me (it’s gluten free). And, oh yea, I had cataract surgery the day after Christmas.
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I don’t usually make too many because by the second week of January, I’ve broken them. But this year I did choose a word to represent what I aim to embrace in 2020:
So…I’m planning to smile more, to embrace each day, to see the blue sky, to hear the rain, to love all that is part of my life. How about you?