How Did This Happen?


I am up way too early on a Saturday, and the reason is kind of stunning. My baby, my little girl, who is actually my middle, is attending a business seminar this morning, and I am up because… say what? My child is growing up too fast, that’s what.

She is only sixteen but already a junior  in high school, and the pressure to know what you want to do with your life is intense. She has begun applying for summer programs at various colleges, and meeting with her college counselor. She has been told that she has to get a job this summer, and do community service. She has also been told to expand her interests outside of school, because her incredible GPA won’t be good enough when it comes to getting into some the schools she is thinking about.

It is mind blowing. There is no time to do all that they say she has to do, and it’s hard to believe that the college administrators can’t do the math to figure that out. They are expecting superheroes instead of kids who are simply motivated to make a better life for themselves. It’s completely overwhelming for both the kids and their parents. As I told my brother last night when discussing something else, you can’t get around it, so you have to go through it. I know this child is destined to do anything she sets her mind to, and that somehow whatever is meant to be, will be, but wow! It is a lot to take in, and sleep? Yeah, I suspect that is a thing of the past.

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A Weekend Deal

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For just this weekend I am putting the Kindle version of Crashing Into Us on sale. This is a 5 star book that admittedly is not selling and I cannot figure out why. I thought maybe it’s just too expensive to take a chance on? Who knows. Marketing baffles me.

If you have yet to read this book or any of my books for that matter, they are reasonably priced and this weekend downright cheap. Treat yourself to a good story. Treat a friend too. Did I mention that it’s cheap? Lastly, if you could tell everyone you know about this sale and all of my books, I will love you forever!

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A Daily Struggle

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I hated high school. Hated it! I couldn’t get out fast enough, and in the end, I quit. Six months before graduation, I just quit. I was working in my sister’s child care center at the time and I was sure I had it all figured out. I would continue to work there for a few years if necessary, and then I would become a famous writer. Sure, I knew not everyone makes it as a writer but I had confidence and big dreams. I was also going to get married and have six kids. It was all good. It was a plan with a backup plan. I mean, even if the whole fame thing didn’t work out, I’d have a family and a house and I’d be happy. Certainly I couldn’t fail at both of my dreams.

Well, guess what, life doesn’t always work out the way you plan, and unfortunately, that has been proven to me time and time again.

Now my youngest child (one of three I had on my own because Mr. Right has never come along) is in high school, and no real surprise, she hates it. She has always hated school but there for a brief second it looked as though high school might just work for her. She had several good teachers and a large group of friends, but many of the good teachers have left as a new principal has come in. Also, although she might not acknowledge it, most of her friends have proven to be very high maintenance. The amount of drama she reports to me on a daily basis is staggering.

I have always been okay with the fact that she has no intention of going to college. I’ve told her she needs to find what she loves and work from there. We have discussed her desire to own her own bakery and to possibly attend The Culinary Institute of America. I am completely supportive of this, but how I am going to get her from point A, where she is now, to point B, where she wants to go, I have no idea.

It’s hard to preach stay in school when you know that it is a miserable experience. It’s hard to find what she is getting from there that is positive, and it’s hard to make her understand that she should learn from my mistakes. I wish my mother had forced me to come up with a realistic plan as to how I was going to make it as a writer. I wish I had been told what goes into writing other than just writing. I struggle every single day to find ways to make it as a writer and I don’t want her to have the same fight when it comes to her future.

Today when she came home from school early not feeling well, as she does at least every couple of weeks, I brought up the idea of changing schools, but the reality is, there aren’t a lot of choices for someone without money. Public school is hit and miss at best. I have her in what at least was, one of the best, and understandably, she was horrified at the thought of starting over somewhere else.

The reality is, somehow she has to get through this and so do I, but today I have no idea how. Today I feel defeated and as if I have let her down with my own shortcomings. I can’t help but think if I had stuck it out and been given a little direction, perhaps I would be a lot further along in my own career. Were that the case, not only would we have more choices, but then I would have some conviction behind my words when I say she has to stay in school. At least then I would know what I’m talking about and why.

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Shake, Rattle & Roll!

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What a way to wake up. We were all but thrown out of our beds this morning when our building was jolted by a 4.4 earthquake that felt much stronger than those numbers would lead you to believe. It started out a 4.7, but as always happens, it has been downgraded.

My girls are 16 and 14 years old and have never felt anything like this. It’s safe to say they did not like it. My youngest was a little dumbfounded that I would actually send her to school today, but life goes on, and this is L.A. We have earthquakes, and for the most part I’m okay with that. They are scary, but unlike hurricanes and tornadoes, at least they don’t happen all of the time.

The Northridge earthquake was hands down the scariest thing I have ever been through. That one displaced us and changed our lives forever. This one was a definite reminder of that unsettling time. I think being only a few miles away from the epicenter of this one, and the fact that it was closer to the surface, made it that much more startling. Here’s hoping this has relieved the stress on the fault and that it will be a long time before we are shook up again.

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Standing Room Only

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I went to The Sweet Potatoes CD release party last night, and as I knew it would be, it was great. There was a room full of friends, family and fans, all enjoying wonderful music interspersed with entertaining side stories. The best thing about The Sweet Potatoes is that they are enjoyable, plain and simple. You can lose yourself in the stories their songs tell or you can tap your foot and sing along. Either way, you are in for a good time.

Their second CD Faith, Good Neighbors and a Telephone is a collection of nine new songs and three covers of songs they have put their own take on. They do a haunting rendition of Sweet Dreams that I absolutely love. They have managed to take a song that was played to death (and which in all honesty I was so sick of that I never wanted to hear again), and they have made it new. I’m pretty sure that speaks to the talent of both the original composers as well as The Sweet Potatoes themselves.

Their original material is both fun and at times poignant. Every Time is a hard look at something too many people have had to deal with, while Shake You Baby is the happiest break up song around. Not Gonna Let It Get To Me will have you feeling better in no time, and You Kissed Me That Way will have you reminiscing about that one great kiss (or if you’re lucky, lots of great kisses.)

The production is wonderful and the musicians top notch, so what are you waiting for? Click on the link below to get your copy.

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Puppy Predicament


Charlie was spayed today, and we have been told to keep her quiet for the next two weeks. Two weeks! While they brought out other dogs who were tired and slowed down, Charlie ran out and could not get out of there fast enough. Who could blame her?

We got in the car and she anxiously cried all the way home. We came inside and she ran around, obviously looking for the girls. There was more crying, so we fed her. We had been advised to give her only a little food to start. She gobbled it down, went outside, and went to the bathroom. This dog is nothing if not regular. Then she came in and cried some more. I gave her lots of love and attention hoping she would fall asleep, but she wouldn’t even lie down. Like a toddler, I could feel her head getting heavy, but she would wake herself up every time.

She has one of those cones on and clearly doesn’t like it. The girls came home and she jumped on them just like always, madly excited to see them. Since they have been home the crying has lessened but she still hasn’t slept for more than a few minutes and I’m beginning to fear that it’s going to be a long night.

In other news, my nephew’s dog gave birth to ten puppies today. Kind of ironic. This would be the nephew with the brand new baby of his own. I’ll bet he’s looking at a really long night!

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The Dan O’Brian Project



You’re never too old to have one more adventure

Brought to life by Steve Ferchaud’s vibrant drawings, this story for all ages by Dan O’Brien lets us know that it is never too late to have one more adventure.

 An Excerpt:


Robert Pendleton opened one eye as the light of a passing car flashed over the window, shattering the darkness into prisms. He rolled onto his back on the beat-up couch and yawned as he reached his hands up and rubbed his eyes unceremoniously.

 He looked out over the darkness at the digital clock. The red digits spelled out a quarter ‘til midnight––nearly fourteen hours of sleep. He smiled and grabbed one of the cushions of the couch, burying his head in it. Just enough sleep, he reminded himself. Robert felt that anything less than twelve hours of sleep was very nearly too little.

He grasped blindly for the TV remote.

Groaning as he lifted his head, he looked at the empty table––his eyes drawn by another flash of a passing car. He couldn’t see clearly, but he knew that the remote had been there before he had fallen asleep nearly half a day ago.

“Could have sworn….” he mumbled as he pushed himself up and brushed his hand around the top of the table, finding nothing. “Where did….”

Another groan escaped his lips as he lifted his body to a sitting position and threw aside the cluster of pillows that he had gathered around himself. He reached out for the lamp, but instead knocked it to the floor with a resounding thud.

Robert muttered as he stood up from the couch, and then sank to his knees to search around in the darkness for the fallen lamp. Reaching around on the shadowed floor, shards of the broken lamp scattered like pieces of light.

He turned his head, peering beneath the large space underneath the couch and saw the reflection of the buttons on the remote. The off-gray piece of machinery was underneath the couch––only darkness lingered beyond it. He reached out as he spoke again.

“How did it get all the way down there?”

Robert flexed his hand and strained as he twisted his back to reach farther; yet, the remote remained just out of reach. He pulled his arm away with a huff and craned his neck to the side, staring underneath into the darkness below the couch.

His eyes widened as he saw the impossible: there was something beyond the remote. He shook his head and closed his eyes, whispering to himself that he didn’t see what he thought he had.

“I saw a little man,” he whispered to himself as he opened his eyes once more and nearly gasped as he did so.

The figure was closer now and he could make out the outline clearly. A tiny man rested just beyond the remote.

“What in the name of…?”

“Not here in the name of nobody, laddie. I be a friend though,” crooned the miniscule figure as he interrupted Robert and stepped forward, placing a hand on the darkened and slick surface of the remote.

A tam-o’-shanter crested his bright red hair, the shaggy mane blending perfectly into his equally crimson, neatly trimmed, beard.

A billow of whitish smoke drifted from the long-stemmed pipe that he held clenched between his lips.

Robert fell back and knocked aside the adjacent table. Rubbing his eyes, he spoke a single word: “Leprechaun.”


About the Author:


Dan O’Brien, founder and editor-in-chief of The Northern California Perspective, has written over 20 books––including the bestselling Bitten, which was featured on Conversations Book Club’s Top 100 novels of 2012. Before starting Amalgam, he was the senior editor and marketing director for an international magazine. In addition, he has spent over a decade in the publishing industry as a freelance editor. You can learn more about his literary and publishing consulting business by visiting his website at: Contact him today to order copies of the book or have them stocked at your local bookstore. He can he reached by email at

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Simply follow the author here and here and a few winners will be randomly selected on March 20th!


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