Blog

February 11, 2018

Seize the Day, Paradox of Hollywood and How Dogs Inspire

  ‘Seize the day’, ‘the paradox of Hollywood’ and ‘how dogs inspire’: Do those three phrases even relate to one another? No, of course they don’t. But every once in a while a newsletter format works because it permits thoughts on a few unrelated subjects. Like these. First up, Seize the Day: While driving home from a two- day trip to Ventura, California yesterday, my husband John turned to Catholic Radio where we encountered the host for Seize the Day, a man named Gus Lloyd. Each Friday, Lloyd opens his show by asking for prayer requests. Once he opened up the […]
February 4, 2018

Eric Barker’s Tips for Managing Anger

Tips for managing anger- a timely subject? Occasionally, I get stuck when considering what to write for tomorrow. Fortunately, there are other good writers in abundance on line. Eric Barker’s material is always excellent. He provides extensive research material on subjects that intrigue. Because these tips on managing anger are so relevant to this culture where politics appears to be increasingly divisive, his weekly post of a week ago has been copied and pasted below. Hope you enjoy Eric’s 5 tips for managing anger!   Welcome to the Barking Up The Wrong Tree weekly update for January 22nd, 2018. This […]
January 28, 2018

One Moment, Two Different Entities, Suddenly They Merge

Two different entities, that is how fiction and non-fiction have seemed to me. Ever since I began to write fiction, I have spoken and written frequently about how wholly different is that process from non-fiction. Until this week when suddenly I realized how wrong I’ve been. Maybe you’ve never spent much time pondering this subject. But I’ll bet you’ve had experiences where something you perceived as one thing revealed itself as something else entirely. Like maybe thinking President Trump was an inane idiot and then realizing he’s the best President we’ve ever had. Well, maybe not quite that momentous a […]
January 21, 2018

Darkest Hour-Movie, Author Interview

  Author interviews, why do them? I read they are an excellent marketing tool for authors who sell less than hundreds of thousands of their books. Like me. This latest one had some unusual questions, consequently, replying to them was an intriguing exercise for me. More on that in a few minutes. First, the latest WW ll movie: The Darkest Hour. It’s even better than the reviews- most of them anyway. Gary Oldman is brilliant. The screenplay riveting and enough details of those desperate days to make us awestruck as we view and hear just how close Great Britain came […]
January 14, 2018

Princess Cruise, Being Home and Another Character Interview

  This post is more like a newsletter: three brief pieces on our princess cruise, the joy of being back home and another character interview. Our last stop on the cruise was Lahaina, Maui is quaint, quiet, beautiful. At least until the tourists on the cruise ships wake up and crowd the small town. Since John and I arrived on the 1st tender at 8:30 in the morning, we got a chance to get a sense of the peace of the place. We bought a cup of splendid cup of Kona coffee at a local store and wandered through Banyan […]
December 31, 2017

Solitude: As Critical As Food

Solitude. To some, the word means loneliness, a desperate and solitary state. To others, withdrawing from crowds, conversation and activity can feel as necessary as food. While searching for an image that conveys my current understanding of the concept of solitude, it seemed  the majority of them depicted miserably lonely men and women. While just a few revealed joyous lone individuals amidst a forest or beach. Which is it? Is the solitary state something to dread or embrace? There have been times in my life that my new solitude broke my heart as I learned and relearned the art of […]
December 17, 2017

Malthus Revisited

Here is the final teaser for Malthus Revisited, now available for purchase at Amazon and edited by Laura, my new editor and writing partner: Eighteen-year-old Morgan Gardner did not seem like someone who could save the world—unless you took the time to notice her eyes. And most people didn’t. Morgan’s exceptional gifts were known only to her and to the animals she could understand better than people. For a long time, she told no one about her nightmares. Embarrassed and afraid that no one would believe her, Morgan waited until it was almost too late. Then she confided in her […]
December 10, 2017

Change, Ecclesiastes, Riverbend Church and Matthew McConaughey

The correlation between change and Ecclesiastes is not an association I ever made.   But then I’ve not considered the words in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes in any other than a superficial way: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time […]
December 3, 2017

Murder On the Orient Express-Kenneth Branagh and Patrick Doyle’s Masterpiece

  A masterpiece by Kenneth Branagh and Patrick Doyle is a redundant statement. Since their first and brilliant 1989 film, Henry V, I have been an enthusiastic, even rabid fan of these two men. The film was based on Shakespeare’s play about the young English king, Henry V’s miraculous win at the battle of Agincourt. Impossibly outnumbered by the French, the young king leads his exhausted soldiers to a miraculous win, ending the Hundred Years War. Don’t worry, I’ll get to Murder on the Orient Express. Just permit me to explain-briefly- why I became hooked by the collaboration between Kenneth […]
November 26, 2017

The 4th in Lindsey McCall Medical Mystery Series

I’d planned a November release for the 4th in the Lindsey McCall Medical Mystery series. But it will be December before Malthus Revisited: The Cup of Wrath is published. One of the promises I made myself while writing this book was a refusal to rush it. If that meant not meeting the deadline, so be it. This book has been a different process, in almost every way. A couple of weeks ago while online talking with a friend, I mentioned that I was learning to actually like what I once detested: The cuts, revisions and proofing my books. Glenda asked […]
November 19, 2017

The Most Interesting Author Interview I’ve Ever Done

This author interview from a reviewer at Feathered Quill Book Reviews is one of the most interesting I’ve ever done. Anita Lock reviewed my book, Finding the Narrow Path and assembled a set of intriguing questions, so much so that I thought you might enjoy reading her rather provocative questions along with my replies. But first a very brief background about marketing for the “not yet New York Times best selling writer.” Author interviews are an important part of getting the message out and hopefully stimulate sales of books. Since there has been such an explosion of published books out […]
November 12, 2017

A Life of One’s Own

Sound familiar? A Life of One’s Own? Maybe you’re thinking of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, as was I until I learned more about a book published in the 1930’s. I’d never heard of Marion Milner, a British psychoanalyst and writer who embarked on a seven year experiment in living. One aimed at “unpeeling the existential rind of all we chronically mistake for fulfillment — prestige, pleasure, popularity — to reveal the succulent, pulsating core of what makes for genuine happiness.”  That is how Maria Poplova at Brain Pickings describes Milner’s book published in 1934 under her pseudonym Joanna […]
November 5, 2017

Echoes of Eden: Origin of the Gender Wars and A Novel Called Havah

Ever heard the echoes of Eden? That place of perfection where peace reigns? Not actually sounds, more like the absence of them. As if you are one with the universe, suddenly all things feel connected to everything else. A complete whole with you exactly where you should be. During the many years I lived far away from God and His Laws, I considered the Bible fantasy. The stuff of fairy tales. Pretending that I’d not sensed the echoes of Eden, had not stood alone in a wintry ski trail in awe of an immensity of being that I could touch. […]
October 29, 2017

Writing- Why Do We Do It?

Writing- why do we do it? The first draft of my fourth novel is done. And is now with the editor. I have time now, time I’ve not had for many months. A break until the work of revisions begins again. Reflecting about writing- why do we do it? works for this week’s post because increasingly it feels like everyone has, or wants to, written a book. No big surprise as many of the former obstacles to writing and publishing a book are gone. More and more frequently, new or aspiring authors ask for a review or explain how to […]
October 22, 2017

Our Culture of Superlatives: Do Our Words Matter?

Culture of superlatives: What does that mean, exactly? Recently, I’ve become aware of my tendency to use superlatives both in my writing and in speaking. Consequently, I’ve been thinking a lot about word selection, both mine and that of others. The fourth in the Lindsey McCall medical mystery series, Malthus Revisited: The Cup of Wrath is done. And is currently being read and edited by five, soon to be six people. Always a humbling and often tedious process. No longer a novice at writing fiction, I’ve learned to reign in my use of unnecessary words, often, but not always, adjectives. […]
October 8, 2017

So You Are A Logical Thinker? Really?

Bet you pride yourself on being a logical thinker. Most of do. We’ve been schooled in Descarte’s Cogito Ergo Sum- I think therefore I am. The same Descartes who performed autopsies on live dogs, the euphemism vivisection sounds far more rational, doesn’t it? He claimed that their screams were merely neurological responses by non-rational organisms who could feel no pain. Remarkable, isn’t it? The power we cede others to shape our view of reality and our world? Don’t be too hard on Renee however, after all, he lived during the phase of human development called the Enlightenment. The dawn of man’s […]
October 2, 2017

How to Avoid the Amygdala Hijack

The amygdala hijack. Right. Avoiding it sounds like something we need to do but why is that exactly? It’s a cool phrase coined by Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book Emotional Intelligence: Why It can Matter More Than IQ. And describes the eruption that occurs when someone steps on our last nerve. Although the phrase, the  amygdala highjack is a memorable one, I had forgotten it until I found an interesting post: Normal is overrated. We’ll return to that in just a moment. You know the feeling. After a day of stuffing resentments, mistreatment, and or lack of appreciation you come […]
September 24, 2017

In Praise of Procrastination, Doubt, Missing Deadlines

In praise of procrastination and doubt? Really? I met a neighbor while coming back from my daily walk with my dogs the other day. Although we live very close to one another, we see one another rarely, just when I happen to be walking by. She was delighted when I asked about her ten day Franciscan retreat several months before. After about fifteen minutes of excitedly exclaiming about the great gains she was making in her spiritual life, she interrupted herself to ask how my writing was going. Explaining that the first draft of my current novel will be done […]
September 17, 2017

The Problem with the Catholic Church

The problem with the Catholic Church is the crucifix. That was the first sentence of an article published shortly after my conversion to Catholicism. That there could be meaning in suffering was a concept which both beckoned and baffled me. My career in academic medicine and doctoral studies had been aimed at preventing or at least mitigating suffering. Consequently the Catholic spotlight on the Cross, and St. Paul’s exhortations throughout Corinthians … …But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles fascinated and repelled, yet felt eerily logical. A lifelong writer, finding the search for […]
September 10, 2017

Living Your Life or Someone Else’s?

Are you living your life or someone else’s? Ever asked yourself that question? Silly question? And thinking it impossible to live another’s life? Humor me. For just a few minutes, please. From childhood, we learn by mimicking, listening, reading, studying the words and actions of others. We learn too from experimenting with tools, ideas and attitudes: Ideas, attitudes and dreams of others. The goal being to assimilate those which fit, discarding those which don’t so that we become the human being we were created to be. To fulfill a mission uniquely our own. God knows me and calls me by my […]
September 3, 2017

My Dog Shadow and Prayer for the Care of Creation

“When he looks at me, it feels as if he sees straight through to my soul.” The vet was commenting on my dog Shadow’s face like so many who can see the purity, wisdom and dignity of this beautiful animal who adopted us about 12 or 13 years ago. A gaze which stops your heart. The veterinarian could not miss the distinct difference between Shadow and his adopted step-brother, Seymour. Shadow stood quietly regarding Dr. Cameron Ross while Seymour planted all four feet firmly on the floor and barked at the vet when he walked in the exam room. I hate this, […]
November 12, 2017

A Life of One’s Own

Sound familiar? A Life of One’s Own? Maybe you’re thinking of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, as was I until I learned more about a book published in the 1930’s. I’d never heard of Marion Milner, a British psychoanalyst and writer who embarked on a seven year experiment in living. One aimed at “unpeeling the existential rind of all we chronically mistake for fulfillment — prestige, pleasure, popularity — to reveal the succulent, pulsating core of what makes for genuine happiness.”  That is how Maria Poplova at Brain Pickings describes Milner’s book published in 1934 under her pseudonym Joanna […]
November 19, 2017

The Most Interesting Author Interview I’ve Ever Done

This author interview from a reviewer at Feathered Quill Book Reviews is one of the most interesting I’ve ever done. Anita Lock reviewed my book, Finding the Narrow Path and assembled a set of intriguing questions, so much so that I thought you might enjoy reading her rather provocative questions along with my replies. But first a very brief background about marketing for the “not yet New York Times best selling writer.” Author interviews are an important part of getting the message out and hopefully stimulate sales of books. Since there has been such an explosion of published books out […]
November 26, 2017

The 4th in Lindsey McCall Medical Mystery Series

I’d planned a November release for the 4th in the Lindsey McCall Medical Mystery series. But it will be December before Malthus Revisited: The Cup of Wrath is published. One of the promises I made myself while writing this book was a refusal to rush it. If that meant not meeting the deadline, so be it. This book has been a different process, in almost every way. A couple of weeks ago while online talking with a friend, I mentioned that I was learning to actually like what I once detested: The cuts, revisions and proofing my books. Glenda asked […]
December 3, 2017

Murder On the Orient Express-Kenneth Branagh and Patrick Doyle’s Masterpiece

  A masterpiece by Kenneth Branagh and Patrick Doyle is a redundant statement. Since their first and brilliant 1989 film, Henry V, I have been an enthusiastic, even rabid fan of these two men. The film was based on Shakespeare’s play about the young English king, Henry V’s miraculous win at the battle of Agincourt. Impossibly outnumbered by the French, the young king leads his exhausted soldiers to a miraculous win, ending the Hundred Years War. Don’t worry, I’ll get to Murder on the Orient Express. Just permit me to explain-briefly- why I became hooked by the collaboration between Kenneth […]