Kathleen O'Brien
Kathleen O'Brien


Facebook, family, favorite things, Kathleen O'Brien, Pets, Superromance

purrsia wants to snuggle

Remember when I asked you whether I should get a cat? Most of you said yes, and guess what? You were right! ☺

Purrsia helps me critique

I didn’t think I was ready, but apparently all I needed to overcome my anxiety was one snuggle with the perfect kitten. His Highness drove me to a little town called Christmas (yes, really)—about an hour away—to look at a female Himalayan kitten I’d fallen for on the Internet.

Purrsia notices Ewan...

She wasn’t old enough to come home with us that night. I thought that might help. You know how sometimes a person can struggle a teeny, tiny bit with impulse control? Well, I struggle with it a lot. I thought maybe if I couldn’t take her home right then and there, I’d have time for my sensible side to take over.

Purrsia sleeps on back


His Highness and I had even created a “safe” phrase, the sentence that was supposed to tell him I didn’t want to put a deposit on her, and I wanted to go home uncommitted. At one point, when I was in Sensible Kathleen mode, I even uttered the safe words.

But then, after giving him the signal to leave, I somehow just…didn’t leave. I kept playing with the kittens. I kept talking to the owners (who probably thought I was crazy and wanted desperately to get back to watching TV).

Purrsia on the desk

All the while, I kept battering at Sensible Kathleen until she finally shut up. And then I took out our checkbook. Four days later, after the vet pronounced her perfect (something I already knew), we drove back to Christmas, and we brought her home.

Purrsia in the sink

Ever since, I’ve been in heaven. She’s ridiculous and playful and cuddly and smart. Oh, and she’s adorable. Did I really think, once upon a time, that I could live without a cat? I was utterly, raving delusional.

If you’re my Facebook friend—and if you aren’t, please stop by and send a request!—you’ve probably seen enough of Purrsia Lucy Pun (yes, really…it’s a long story) for one lifetime. But, for me, there’s no such thing as “enough” Purrsia. Honestly, I don’t think I was this annoying even when my children were babies.

Kitty snack

How about you? Do you take pictures of your pets? Do you drive other people crazy, making them listen to stories of their adorable antics?

Katherine Garbera
Katherine Garbera


Bring a Friend Friday, family, Jaunty Guests

It’s ten years ago this week that my life changed…forever.

Jane&Ty-beachFW40I’d just turned forty and was going through a divorce and struggling with writing and meeting my close deadlines for Harlequin Presents when my heart and life felt completely broken.  Facing the first Easter without my two little boys, I jumped on a plane and headed to Hawaii to write at a beach front resort where I wouldn’t have to think about anything but my book and getting through the holidays in one piece.

I was down at the pool working in the shade under an umbrella, when this surf instructor walked a little girl back from a meeting.  Someone shouted his name, thanking him, and it caught my attention since my then five year old was also named ‘Ty’.  

flirtingwithforty_1200_presskitTy, the surf instructor, and I chatted for a few minutes, and after he walked away, I thought–’now theres a story.’  I didn’t even know what the story was, just that this sexy surfer represented a world I knew nothing about, but a world women would love.  I booked a lesson with him for the next day, and spent the two hours interviewing him by the pool because I wanted to hear his story.”

I left Waikiki with a ten page synopsis which I sent to my agent, and she took it to my new editor at Warner Books and they bought the story, slated for publication in mid 2006, since I had my first single title, The Frog Prince, releasing in 2005.  

During the next year, Ty and I dated long distance, and I knew he and I would never be able to go ‘the distance’.  How could we?  We were so different.  I lived in Seattle and was 40 and an ambitious, career focused woman and he was 9 years younger and had never even dated a ‘chick with kids’ before me.  How would we ever work?

Friends didn’t think I should get too invested in him.  They knew my heart was already banged up but I loved his world in Hawaii and the freedom and opportunity to be yourself.  I loved escaping from suburban mom world, and it helped me grow as a woman and a writer.  I knew when Ty and I ended it would hurt, but I had to take the risks.  I had to find out how and when the journey ended.

It’s been ten years, and we’re married and we have a little boy who turns 5 in a couple weeks.   A couple years ago I was able to move from Seattle with my older children and Ty and I have bought a historic property in San Clemente, California, where Ty will set up a second outpost of his Waikiki surf school.  

I sometimes think that if he hadn’t been a surfer, and I hadn’t been a writer, we couldn’t have made it work.  But we’re both about creating a moment–having a passion–and it makes us respect the other.  As a surfer, he knows how to read the water and the waves and he’s patient when he needs to be, and he can charge it when the wave is there.  As a writer I know how to focus on the end goal, and be flexible with the middle bits, turning pieces and tweaking and massaging story elements to make something work.  

Ty and I have our bumps.  He is a laid-back surfer and I can be an intense writer but he believes in me in a way that no other man ever has.  He’s the first person to tell me to ‘go for it’, and he’s absolutely confident that I can succeed at anything I want to try.  I love having a man on my team that is really on my team, and so as I continue to write for Harlequin Presents and trade books for Penguin, I also write stories for Tule Publishing, a small, indie publishing venture that is all about the author.  The romance industry is filled with smart, creative women and they are the real talent in the publishing industry.  I believe authors should feel validated and be respected and its my mission and passion to encourage and support them…and all smart, creative women.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00050]


Bestselling author of 45 romances and women’s fiction titles, Jane Porter has over 12 million copies in print and has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award five times, most recently for her novella, Take Me, Cowboy (Tule Publishing). Her next release, Beauty’s Kiss will be available in April 2014.  Jane makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband.  Learn more about Jane at janeporter.com.


Opposites attract is a powerful romance trope, what’s your favorite?


One lucky commenter on the blog will win a $15 Amazon gift card and some other fun goodies!

Please give a warm welcome to our special guest, Judy Duarte!  I had the pleasure of working with Judy on Harlequin’s 2014 Fortunes of Texas series, and I was thrilled when she agreed to join us today.  So, without further adieu…


You Gotta Love Those Kids… 

One of the things I love about writing a romance—in addition to creating a beautiful love story—is the chance to create unique and entertaining secondary characters who add that special something to the book.   And that’s why I especially enjoyed writing A HOUSE FULL OF FORTUNES!


 Everyone loves a funny sidekick, a dastardly villain, or an older and wiser friend.  But personally, my favorite secondary characters are children.


Having raised five of my own, I’ve also been blessed with their cousins, their friends, and now kids at the pooltheir children—my grandchildren.  Needless to say, I’ve put in my share of babysitting, volunteering in the classroom, chaperoning field trips, and teaching Sunday school.  I’ve cooked for kids, cleaned up after them, rocked them to sleep and disciplined them.   Over the years I’ve come to understand kids and to always expect the unexpected whenever they’re in the room. 


When writing Toby and Angie’s romance, I had the opportunity to create not one, but three children.   Toby Fortune Jones had taken in three foster kids who had nowhere else to go.  And while his heart was in the right place, he found that it isn’t always easy to juggle the needs and personalities of three youngsters.  He soon found himself relying on Angie Edwards to help him with his adorable brood.  

Kids-Say-the-Darndest-ThingsArt Linkletter was right.  Kids really do say the darnedest things.  That’s what makes them so fun to include as secondary characters.   But when doing so, a writer needs to make them as realistic as possible.


 My daughter, who is also an author, once stopped reading a book because she couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that the heroine’s son kept asking his grandmother for more helpings of her delicious okra and vegetable stew.  My daughter said, “Have you ever heard a seven year old boy beg for okra?  I’m sure there might be one or two out there, but at my house, it’s a battle just to get my kids to eat carrots with ranch dressing.  I’m not buying it.”

A HOUSE FULL OF FORTUNES!So kids can be cute, they can be funny, and they can be a challenge.  But when created realistically, they can add so much to the layers of a book.  I tried my best to do that with Brian, Justin, and Kylie.  I hope my readers agree—and that they’ll enjoy watching Angie and Toby fall in love, in spite of  all the antics and obstacles they have to overcome in A HOUSE FULL OF FORTUNES!

Judy is giving away an Amazon gift card to one person who posts. So, please join in on the fun and leave a comment below. 




 family tree

A friend of mine can trace her family tree all the way back to Henri II, of France and Charlemagne. When she told me this, I was enthralled and envious. I’ve always wanted to know my ancestry, but I’ve never had time to research it. Several years before my grandmother passed away, I asked her to write down the birth and deaths dates of as many relatives as she could remember. But she could only recall four or five generations. I’ve urged my father, who’s retired and busier now than when he was doing the 9-5 grind, to take up the project. So far, I haven’t been able to get him to sit still long enough to do it. Yet, after hearing about my friend’s roots, I’m longing to learn about my lineage. Plus, I’m convinced that she and I must be distant cousins since we both have relatives from the Ozarks – could those roots stretch all the way back to France? Maybe that would explain why I’m such a Francophile.    

In my current release, CELEBRATION’S BABY, I channeled some of that curiosity about my roots into the story. My heroine is adopted and she when she discovers she’s pregnant, the need to know about her past takes on an entirely new importance.    

Have you ever traced your family tree or do you know of anyone who has? Any interesting findings?  Any good tips on how to start the process and what to expect along the way?

 I’ll give a copy of CELEBRATION’S BABY to one person who posts.


Celebration's Baby


RT Book Reviews gives CELEBRATION’S BABY 4 stars! They say, “…Thompson unveils not one but two romances in this latest Celebration, Texas story, showcasing vivid storylines and rich, flowing narrative. Bia and Aiden are so right for each other; it’s fun to watch them get bull’s-eyed by Cupid’s arrow…”


Kathleen O'Brien
Kathleen O'Brien


family, Food, Holidays, Jaunty Post, Kathleen O'Brien, Proverbs, St. Patrick's Day

troll st pats 2

Everyone is a little bit Irish today, but in my childhood home being Irish was a full-time job. My father, a man of wit and brevity, never lectured us about anything. But he had an endless storehouse of wonderful old Irish sayings, and he could always pop out the perfect one to put us in our places.

We probably didn’t appreciate it then, but all these years later I remember them, and I’ve even found a few more of my own along the way.

The Irish swing easily from sardonic to sloppily sentimental…and back again. I’m the same way. So of course, my storehouse of favorite Irish sayings hits both notes, as well. Here are a few:

My favorite blessings:

May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

May you always walk in sunshine, may you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.

My favorite warnings:

There’s no need to fear the wind if your haystacks are tied down.

It’s sweet to drink, but bitter to pay for.

My favorite curse:

May those who love us, love us.
And those that don’t love us, may God turn their hearts.
And if he doesn’t turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles,
So we’ll know them by their limping.

My favorite toasts:

We drink to your coffin. May it be built from the wood of a hundred-year-old oak tree that I shall plant tomorrow.

As you slide down the banisters of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.

What wonderful sayings were you brought up on–Irish or otherwise? I’d love to add to my storehouse, so that I can impress everyone the next time we have a St. Patty’s Day party, like this yummy one at my sister’s…from which I’ve just now come home. Apparently, ahem, we’re big on dessert! ;-)

Chaela's St. Pat's table

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