Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Guest Author, K.M. Daughters

Today's guest is fellow Wild Rose Press author, K.M. Daughters, or rather the writing team of of sisters Pat Casiello and Kathie Clare. Their penname is dedicated to their parents: Kay and Mickey Lynch. I thought you might like a glimpse into what it's like to write as a team, so in addition to a little bit about their latest release, Capturing Karma, Book 3 in their Sullivan boys series, I've culled these questions from their beautiful website, which I urge everyone to check out, as they have several more titles available as well.

Also, in addition to an autographed copy of AGAINST DOCTOR'S ORDERS for a randomly drawn commentator, they will be giving away charms to other randomly drawn commenters--two sterling Chamilia “Sisters” charms and a Claddagh charm (fitting for a Sullivan Boy) that fit Pandora style bracelets. So please, comment away :) The more comments you make, the more chances you have to win. And if you don't know what to say, I've added a question at the bottom of the interview.

That said, welcome, Pat and Kathie, and thank you for being here today.

1. How do you write together and keep from killing each other?

Good question! When we first decided to become team writers we weren't at all sure we could blend our very different writing styles without skirmishes or outright warfare. We knew we loved the plotting process. When we're together we walk. And we talk. Repeat those last two sentences several times and it describes our favorite sister times. We talked our way into a plot outline for REUNION FOR THE FIRST TIME and then ran for some paper and a pen when we finished our walk. We created a scene map and divided the scenes equally between us. Then we hunkered down in our respective home offices - Kathie in New Jersey and Pat in Illinois. Ah there's the key! Only kidding. We really loved every minute and never exchanged a single cross word. Really.

2. Where do you get your story ideas?

That's definitely a question for Kathie. She is so imaginative. Might be because she had an imaginary friend when she was little - Charlie. She either cast blame on Charlie for little naughty things she was suspected of doing by our Mom OR she blamed Pat. Kathie wants to interject here…It was Pat.

3. Who writes the male POV in your books?

We both do. It depends on the scene we're assigned. For us it makes the writing experience richer to have all the characters talking in our heads. And we think it makes a much better book. We blend our two distinctive literary voices into one unique voice.

4. Your heroines or heroes all have to deal with the death of loved ones. Do either of you write from experience?

Yes, we both do. Our father died when Pat was 19 and Kathie was 15. He was a seemingly healthy, strong housepainter one day and eleven days later he had succumbed to acute leukemia. The shock of that loss was devastating to us. He was a loving, lyrical Irishman who adored us and spoiled us rotten. Our mother was utterly devastated by the loss of her husband. Witnessing her grief, and trying to comfort her through it, had a profound effect on us, also.

5. Your books have comforting, healing themes, though.

Yes they do. Love heals. We know this from experience, also.

6. Your second book, AGAINST DOCTORS ORDERS, begins a series featuring the Sullivan brothers and they're all involved in law enforcement. How do you know so much about policemen?

We have Lieutenant Frank Cargola, a brave law enforcement officer in suburban Chicago, to thank for all of it. He patiently answers any question and analyzes any goofy scenario we dream up to make sure we're at least in the world of possibility.

7. The emergency room scenes with Dr. Molly Jordan are very realistic. Do you have medical backgrounds?

Nope. Pat worked for a pharmaceutical company and has a pretty good handle on some medical terminology and we both hated the shots that Dr. Cole, our real life pediatrician, gave us. But we owe the accuracy of medical scenes to Drs. Brandon Kramer and Michael Maugeri. They are wonderful physicians and kind, generous friends.

8. Are any of your characters based on real people?

Not a one. Except we name a female character and a male character after our parents in each book. They always play secondary roles but we think they have a lot of fun getting into our action.

That said, here's a little bit about their fascinating book, Capturing Karma, available NOW from The Wild Rose Press. To read an excerpt, go here.

Matty Conners, our heroine in CAPTURING KARMA, possesses reputed, infallible psychic abilities. THE Matty Conners, famous for using her gift to assist police in San Francisco, her former home, earned her reputation by accurately identifying murderers. Then, retaliation by a vicious, serial killer resulted in the brutal murder of her fiancé.

Years later back in her Chicago suburban hometown, Matty remains determined to exclusively use her gifts anonymously. Haunted by nightmares involving her fiancé, Matty still risks exposure to work with Brian Sullivan in solving a homicide. Why does she allow herself to be vulnerable again? What is the source of her courage?

Ahhh – love.

With love as inspiration, is anything impossible? Matty’s feelings for Brian result in simple faith – that he’ll honor her truths, respect her wishes, and understand the reasons for her reluctance to explore the visions she receives about his homicide case. She trusts Brian and that fuels her courage.

Pity poor Brian. He has no problem respecting, and appreciating sultry Matty, but her otherworldly abilities confound him. Contemporary psychics who possess similar abilities invariably profess that we’re all born with the ability to perceive the spiritual world – some cultivate that ability more than others, for unknown reasons, and by inexplicable means. Perhaps Brian’s brush with his own psychic abilities is his saving grace to make him aware of the extent of Matty’s courage.

Liana: So let us know where you stand on otherworldly abilities. This inquiring mind wants to know :)

Thanks, and have a great day!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Handbook for 2010

I'm still feeling under the weather, so how handy that I got this in an email from a friend this week. On all the loops people are talking about resolutions, and this seems like a great guideline to use. Take what you need from it, and have a great year!


1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't overdo. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Changing Lives - One Book At a Time

The following is an update on my friend Nora's Book Club for Parolees

Friday, January 1

What a year its been for reading! The Book Club for Parolees in Inglewood, California emerged in May 2009. I had a group of eager men wanting to become a part of my vision. And I had the support from you to make that vision happen for them.

The men have read and discussed The Soloist (S. Lopez), The Four Agreements (don Miguel Ruiz), Always Running: Gang Days in Los Angeles (L. Rodriguez), A Lesson Before Dying (E. Gaines), Beautiful Boy (D. Sheff) and Tuesdays with Morrie (M. Albom).

The participants held a dynamic and interesting discussion this past Wednesday night. The 18 men had finished reading Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson. Discussions involved the role of mentors in our lives; not fearing death; dying with dignity; traditions/rituals; and treasuring the moment.

This month's book was entirely donated by Meredith. It was such a treat to kick back and listen to the guys discussing the book back and forth for two hours. I had the pleasure of re-reading the book, and mostly listened to the discussion (with an occasional comment). The guys look to me mostly for acknowledgement or approval as they speak. I remember the first time I read this book, I was writing a term paper on death and dying (around 1999). As I searched for books in the library I came across Tuesdays with Morrie. I recognized the title, since it had been on the best seller list. In my usual style of procrastination ... I sat in the library that night and devoured the book, while leaving the term paper for another day. I was so moved by the intimate moments shared between Morrie and Mitch, and reflecting on the role of mentors in my life. What a gift it was to bring this book to the Book Club for Parolee participants.

I provided the guys a list of three books (and synopsis) to choose from for January and February. I gratefully received book inputs from friends and family that evening. The book selected for January is Blind Side, Michael Lewis (which was recently made into a movie). I have yet to see the movie (and might have to go by myself, since some folks seem to be having a problem with seeing Sandra Bullock on the screen!) ... my mother said it was an excellent movie, but it was my younger brother who read the book and recommended it for reading. The book for February will be Life of Pi (Yann Martell). A book suggested by Rachel, which I have read ... oh, back around 2004 or so. What a memorable book ... I clearly remember reflecting on my spiritual struggle, as Pi was doing the same out at sea. I am looking forward to book club discussions to gain new insight into the complex layers of this incredible story. (and to read the book again myself)

I am so grateful and humbled by the Book Club's support from my family and friends. This truly has been a magical project for me.


This was added after a request for donations for January and February, which I didn't get posted in time :(

You did it! Thanks everyone. I am once again humbled by your generosity. Your support arrives in many ways, and keeps the fuel fired under me. Blind Side's book order is complete for the month of January's Book Club for Parolees. My 20 guys will begin reading the new book on Wednesday.

It looks like we'll be good for a few months. And then we can start using books read from last year again for the Book Club (since I have a whole new group of men).

Remember, if you live in the Los Angeles area ... you can come join our Book Club any Wednesday night.