Tuesday, January 31, 2017


My aunts and uncles, Myles, Jane, Feilim, Toddy, Bill Reilly (all gone, now—including Jane, Canice, and my mom. I only have one uncle left), in Forest Knolls, ca. 1932-33. My aunt "Toddy" Kathleen (Reilly) Ritter, RIP, Oct 1, 1930 - Jan. 28, 2017

Dirtbags, all...nothing like Marin County dirt.  Franciscan strata. Baths were Saturday night, whether or not you needed it, and since water was scarce, the eldest went in first, followed by the next, and the next, until the water could walk out of the tub on its own.

None of this single person per tubful bathing nonsense, and certainly not showers.

They are even dirtier in other photos! They weren't afraid to play in the dirt or eat mudpies.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Is anyone else being blocked by Facebook censors?

Facebook note: Apologies in advance for any typos. I'm a terrible typist, and I have dyslexia, so I make many mistakes. I do not think in parallel structure, I'm a messy writer, i hone and refine my posts. (It doesn't come easy.) And yes, it's important to ply one's craft to the best of one's ability—even on Facebook. Because, in my world, typos are often the only bits of writing that survive...some sort of weird Murphy's law at work.

It takes me, upon average, three tries for each comment or post, to get everything right. So far, today, I've been blocked by Facebook from correcting my posts ten times. Belay that, we're now up to 2 dozen times.

The problem is, that I have to make a decision each time to either save my revised post or complain to Facebook.

Despite the fact that Facebook is once again blocking my every amended post I have found a copy and paste workaround. Cumbersome.

Wondering if anyone else is being blocked by Facebook censor.

My note to them:

"HEY! I have the right to correct, edit, amend my posts withougt you arbitrarily deciding thst I'm a spammer, As you can see, I'm a terrible typist, and I have dyslexia, so I make a lot of mistakes. It takes me upon average, about three tries for each comment to get everything corrected. QUIT BLOCKING ME!!!"  (Note the typos...)

What is significant, is not that I make typos, etc., but that you, Facebook are being a censor nanny, and your algorithms are broken, if they continue to construe my correcting of my typos on my comments as a form of spam.

"It looks like you were misusing this feature by going too fast. You’ve been blocked from using it."

I can't help it if I'm a fast thinker.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Regrettable Rise of Arturo Ui: a foretelling

Lately I have been thinking of Bertolt Brecht's 1941 Chicago gangster play, the Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. The iconic Berliner Ensemble produced the parable play at Cal during the summer of 1999. It was the company's swansong, their final curtain call before they disbanded forever.

Brecht never staged, nor saw "Arturo Ui" performed. He wrote the allegorical satire while living in exile. It languished in a drawer for decades. Brecht is better known for The Threepenny Opera, Mother Courage and Her Children and The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

Arturo Ui was so riveting, I went back twice to see it. My partner was non-plussed, whereas I had chickenskin—as if it were a foretelling. Alas, the play fits T.rump to a T. The regrettable rise of a gangster where all the world's a stage. And now we are in exile in our own country.

“Therefore learn how to see and not to gape.
To act instead of talking all day long.
The world was almost won by such an ape!
The nations put him where his kind belong.
But don't rejoice too soon at your escape -
The womb he crawled from is still going strong.”

"Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men.
For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again."

Oh, how history repeats itself. The play's the thing.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Man with the Van

I went in to Amazing Grace Music on Miracle Mile in San Anselmo for some guitar strings and a smartly dressed older woman with brassy permed hair and long red nails greeted me. She said she was minding the shop for a friend, they had their own music store in Fairfax.

We got to talking and she gave me tea and bikkies —Walker's shortbreads. Then she sat me down for a good natter, while her husband dressed in tweeds from another century, reclined in a chair reading the paper, holding his pipe reverently. 

She asked what I liked to play, I said Irish music. She was quick to tell me that she was Irish too. From the north, she said. I remember being shocked to learn she was from Northern Ireland, as our family was about as southern Irish as you can get, without falling into the Atlantic Ocean. 

I looked for horns, and found only the kindness of her blue-violet eyes, Violet Morrison was well named, I could see that she was once a beauty, with her red  hair and lacquered nails. She said she was once a cabaret singer in Belfast. I told her of my grandmother who raised me, from Bantry, and how she taught me the old Irish rebel songs.

When Violet found out that I had walked all the way from Drake High School to the store to buy strings for my precious Martin, and had no way home, she called up her son to give me a ride out to Forest Knolls as he was living in Inverness. 

I climbed into the battered white van hugging my precious guitar to my chest. I had no idea who he was, this man who was sullen and refused to speak to me the entire way home. Made me feel obliged. Like I was a real bother. I never spoke to him again. 

Later I found out it was Van Morrison. Though I very much like his music, I'm not a fan of Van the Man with the van.

Monday, January 16, 2017

What albums from my teenage years?

The latest silly meme that everyone seems to be indulging in is listing the top ten albums of your teenage years.

Albums from my teenage years? What albums? I didn't collect albums, I was way too poor (my horse's feed and vet bills got first babysitting money dibs—at 25 cents an hour), but Dobie Gray once gave me his 45 hit, "The In-Crowd." My mom shared a flat with him next to the SF Art Institute on Chestnut. I was pretty young. I didn't even own a record player.

When I was ten I liked The Purple People Eater, The Monster Mash. The mashed potatoes song, and that song about the rings of Saturn? Wait, malapropism: White on white, lace on satin... no wonder I was alternatively abled. 

What can I say? I was ten and I had to sneak listen to KFRC...as my grannie didn't approve of rock and roll music. My aunts, uncles, and parents' collections were mostly jazz and Big Band. Johnny Mathis too because one of them went to school with Johnny, and his brother, who was the toll taker on the Golden Gate Bridge. Chances are...

I did buy two albums when I was a teenager, The Monkees, it cost $3.50 at a record store next to Ali Akhbar College of Music in Fairfax (where Ravi Shankar used to visit).

Meanwhile, Peter Tork of The Monkees was often seen staggering down the streets of Fairfax, drunk out of his mind... Cheeky monkey.

And I did buy a KFRC collection with Van the Man Morrison's "G-L-O-R-I-A" recording and The Rolling Stones' "Can't Get No Satisfaction." Van Morrison's parents ran the Caledonia music store in Fairfax.

Otherwise, it was usually live music, listening to Jefferson Starship/Airplane, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver, Sons of Champlin, Janis Joplin, Big Brother and The Holding Company, etc., rehearsing.

I witnessed most live music in the San Geronimo Valley from the back of my horse, where I could escape... One time the Greatful Dead and co. played in a Creamery Creek gulch under the bridge across from the Papermill Creek Bar in Forest Knolls...

We had to hitchike home from Sir Francis Drake High School—so we got to know all the musicians. They were the only ones who'd stop and give us a lift. But Jesse Colin Young drove a VW van so it was often a crowded bus. Van the man drove a white van. And Carlos Santana drove a Mercedes with leather seats. Janis had a two-seater Porsche so she'd usually shrug and smile. Flash us a peace symbol.

Lots of live bands in high school too: Clover, Moby Grape, The Tubes.... Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa) was a classmate. Why would I even want to buy albums? We were living in the epicenter of live music.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Ankle biter

I went to the doc to sign up for general massive body invasion types of testing, probing at both ends, and squashing maintenance that one is supposed to routinely do, that I've managed to put off, or avoid, for a decade or two—all this, before my medical coverage dries up under the new political regime.

She asked if there was anything else. So I showed her my ankle that I did a right angle stair-stand on mid-Dec., (trying to protect my knee), she slapped a bandage on, and said keep it elevated above your heart! I giggled at the thought of driving home with my ankle elevated above my heart... I drive a clutch.

And here I thought it was healing nicely. I did all the RICE stuff religiously for two weeks (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation ) but apparently it takes longer than a few weeks to heal soft tissue danage. I thought you were supposed to use a sprained body part ASAP... I thought I WAS healed, now I'm merely unheeled. I guess that's better than being unhinged. It only hurts vaguely. Tingly, more than anything else. I chalked it up to chatty veins.

In the GoDays, I would've used horse liniment... I lean toward the stiff (quivering) upper lip thing. I was the kid that broke her arm and never said a word because I was afraid to tell my granny. Donkey tossed me into a fence. A ditch. Many trees. 

And here I've been stomping around all over town with it, gimping like a pirate, yelling ARRRR, ARRR. And craving plunder, booty, and Advil. But it throbs like a gnarly session with an ankle-biter. Wine is an excellent anti-inflamatory agent. Maybe I should switch to rum? I guess I should be grateful that I got off so light as several other friends are sporting full ankle boots from their holiday misadventures with stairs and trampolines.

The doc didn't like my fake clogs either... She told me to wear proper shoes, with laces— not flip-flops either. Apparently because you curl your toes up to walk, that puts strain on the ankles. But I've a fat ankle with a bandage that won't fit into a shoe. And the boots with the split soles that made me fall in the first place, are the only shoes I can slip on. Sigh. When I injured my knee, I couldn't get down there to even put a shoe on, let alone, tie it, so I wore flip-flops exclusively.

For the record, I hate shoes. I have narrow heels, and not quite so narrow fronts. Short toes, long arch, so I hate anything touching my arch. My grannie made me go barefoot in summer, and pick up marbles with my toes so I wouldn't get bunions. I have prehensile toes with fine motor skills.

I guess going barefoot's out of the question mid-winter. Maybe I should get some lace up boots. I'm thinking my flamenco boots with their hobnails won't work. I'll just skid on those nails and fall down again. Time to buy new shoes. Or maybe an irate chihuahua.

If the shoe fits....

Stairways to hell


 — With thanks to Danny Lynch who overate his Hagen Daas welcome

Give me Chocolate or give me death,
give me Cappuccino, or plain old Coffee.

Make it sweet as Dulce de Leche, 
or give me that new swirly Hagen Daas number
with all three flavors rolled into one heavenly pint,
call it Sweet Cream Coffee Caramel,
with vanilla reining supreme as a beneficent godlet.
Not Strawberry Cheesecake or Blueberry Crumble, 
or some other absurd fruity concoction
like Pineapple Coconut, that non-alcoholic impostor
with a tiny invisible parasol complex on the side,
that leaves you desperate and wanting at the bar.
Not Vanilla Swiss Almond studded with land mines,
nor that raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
or Midnight Cookies and Cream, with other odd chunks 
and frozen detritus lying in wait to break my teeth.
And you can forget about that frozen yogurt shit. 
I want full fatted flavors frolicking on my tongue 
until my fillings ache, my tongue goes numb, 
and my brain freezes in kalideoscopic moiréd patterns.
Give me gelato or give me death. 
Make it with chocolate or coffee or caramel.
Make it in a double-wide carton,
make the spoon bigger than my eyes,
and I will certainly scream for more ice cream.
Let me wear it proudly on my hips and thighs.
And may the late-night movie be doubly good too.
Make it so.

rev. 1/16/17

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Cloudburst and thunder,
a leonine wind roars with hunger,
followed by a tattoo of hard rain
falling in biblical proportions,
followed by a full Magi moon
and a fierce king tide determined
to reach the Sea of Tranquility.
Soon, we'll be able to deep sea
fish from the Oakland hills.
What would the cormorants say,
those fisher kings with their mad eyes
full of summer promises?

rev 1/17/2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Thunder on the right

Thunder on the right....cloudburst.
Love the sound of hard rain falling.
Uh-oh, wind roaring like a lion does not bode well.

All-out Eye Exam

Eyeball exam. Check. Cataract/glaucoma test. Clear. Check. Healthy eyes. Check. Prescription for glasses. Nope. Come back next week. Your eyes were caught cheating on the eye exam. They don't play well together. Right eye is a freeloader. A lazybones. A shirker. Gives the world the stinkeye.

Left eye wants to be on top. King of the mountain... Has eagle vision 20/15. Doesn't want to share. Is a loner (vs. a loaner!) I knew a woman with a glass eye...

Apparently I don't fit the patient profile. And my "guess" was right on. I need 150 readers for my left eye, and 175 readers for my right eye. But it's a lazy SOB, and it's probably a brain thing vs ocular.... I had a lazy eye as a kid. It's positively lethargic now.

Binocular specialist it is. Good luck with that, my eyes have never played well together. I can't even use binoculars. Monocular vision times two. Marty Feldman and gOogly eyed. Or maybe gecko-eyed. Think I'll stick with my Dollar Store readers which surprisingly close to the right prescription, more or less. 

My left eye rocks. It makes up for my lazy eye. But then, eye dominance is switched. Left eye/right brain. I wonder if it's related to dyslexia. You know those silly pilot tests, matching color/ shades, or seeing the embedded figure. I always score 100% (unheard of for the color chart). 

So they strapped on both red/green and 3D glasses on me. Apparently I'm using periphery vision to get by. Cheating on an eye test! Imagine. Maybe I need John Lennon glasses. Somehow I don't think prism lenses will work. Like, oh wow....

Driving home in the dark, in the rain, with dilated eyes, was like a bad acid trip. What do they put in those drops? LSD? Atropine is made from deadly nightshade and datura. Then we watched Arrival. OMG! Talk about tweaking out.

Groovy, man.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Here comes the rain again...

Here comes the rain again... The Pineapple Express is never good for California water tables. It melts the snowpack, and then tries to wash us out to sea. We need a stable snowpack in the Sierras so we'll have water in the reservoirs come September... It keeps melting. Not good. We could be in the curious position of drowning in water AND still being in drought mode. It will take years, decades for the Central Valley underground water to recharge. The fat lady is gargling and it ain't over yet.

Rain on top of snow, which is disastrous for our Sierra snowpack, is why California's experiencing a drought (simultaneously while drowning in water). The warm rain is supposed to follow, it's not cold here which means the Pineapple Express has already arrived.

Pineapple Express

Here comes the rain again... The Pineapple Express is never good for California water tables. It melts the snowpack, and then tries to wash us out to sea. There is no downriver or upriver, escape from the ravages of the atmospheric river in the sky. We need a stable snowpack in the Sierras so we'll have water in the reservoirs come September... But with this rain, it keeps melting. Not good. Rain on top of snow is disastrous for our Sierra snowpack, which is why California's experiencing a drought (simultaneously while drowning in water). We could be in the curious position of drowning in water AND still being in drought mode. It will take years, decades even for the Central Valley underground water to recharge. Meanwhile rain is falling in biblical proportions in Healdsburg. Everything is underwater. The fat lady is gargling, not singing. Maybe she’ll need to take up snorkeling. Or kayaking. It ain't over yet. That’s for sure.

See Rain, Rain Everywhere

Tuesday, January 3, 2017



So I abdicate
the hammer and tong striking
my forehead and pate.


Blue-footed boobie 
waved one foot, then the other. 
I had to dance back.


Thunder on the right
Cloudburst, a hard rain falling
Lion wind roaring.

Stump Spellcheck early and often

You know you're doing something right when you can stump spellcheck twice in one post.

A geology post on the malfic peripheries of the Mammoth Caldera was particularly dry reading, but because there was an interactive map, I explored the caldera, and then got lost in the dendritic patterns of rivers (spellcheck does not like dendritic, let alone, malfic).

Which led me to a random comment on a friend's Facebook page, which led to my Facebook post, which led to a blogeen on watersheds—none of which would've happened if I had not read that rather dry post on Mammoth....

The only reason whey I was even interested in the Mammoth article was because I was awakened by a series of earthquakes that originated in Hawthorne, NV, near Mono Lake. Which is a munitions dump on the periphery of the Mammoth malfic periphery.

You see where this is going.....

Rain, rain everywhere...

Before the long-term California drought, about 90% of East Bay's water historically came from the Mokelumne watershed in the Sierras.

The Camanche and Pardee Reservoirs, northeast of Stockton, are the primary source of water for the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) where it's piped across the Central Valley via the triple steel pipe Mokelumne Aqueduct to storage reservoirs in the East Bay hills, including the San Pablo Reservoir.

During the drought, EBMUD also siphoned a lot of water from the Central Valley Project) (Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed). In May, 2015, EBMUD declared an end to the drought emergency. BUT...

The New Melones Dam, one river south of the Mokelumne River (Stanislaus River watershed), in Sonora, is the last reservoir to receive water from the Lake Shasta-Central Calley Water Project. For the first time in over six years, the water level is rising ever so slightly in the New Melones Dam.

As of July, the New Melones Reservoir, the fourth largest reservoir in the state, was almost a quarter full. Then it lost about  2000 acre-feet a day during August-October, due to evaporation. 

By comparison Mokelumne watershed reservoirs, Camanche and Pardee Reservoirs are at 70% and 91% (still not 100%), but as of today, the beleaguered New Melones Dam is still only at 26 percent capacity (up from 24%).

Maybe someday soon we will no longer need to save the shower water for the toilet? However, saving water is a good habit, even during the storm. Bail and scoop. Bail and scoop.

Addendum: Some of Alameda County does get its water from the Tuolumne River watershed: the Hetch-Hetchy Reservoir (and by extension, the Don Pedro Dam). There's a water temple in Sunol.

Some history of our Northern California dams and the towns that were drowned to create them.
Underwater towns of Northern California

On writing reviews

Dear Peter,

Sorry I wasn't more articulate or indepth, etc., in that book review as it was a "repeat" performance. Then, because you asked me to write a review,  I felt compelled to read the entire collection. Catholic guilt.... LOL.

I slogged over the other stories. I even fell asleep in the middle of a few of them. Then I had mixed feelings about the collection itself. Your story was, by far, the best in the collection. Such a powerful voice. And spare prose. Kudus!

I lost the original note I sent you, and l can never seem to reconstruct lost writing. None of that BS: "well, the next post will be better because you had practice." There is no practice. There is only writing. Each attempt at writing is its own progeny.

In my book, lost writing is lost writing. Whatever that drive is (no matter how mundane), it's always a one-off experience. I'm just along for the ride, holding on for dear life as the writer's voice charges along like a rhino on the randan. That's why I have to grab the "voice" when it comes....full steam ahead.

Here's the odd thing: I like good fantasy writing, but there's so much BAD stuff out there, I avoid it like the plague. I adamantly refuse to take a chance on most new fantasy writers. I'm freakin' bored to death.

If you must know, I once took umbrage with Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogies—the moment of discovery that Na' was Napa—flooded just pissed me off, a cheap bank shot. I never forgave her. Ridiculous, I know.

So I punished that book by using it as a mousepad for ten years. I've got a bad Irish sci-fi book in mousepad hell at present. I probably should do a catch and release with it. Let it go.

Luckily I can't turn bad ebooks into mousepads, otherwise I'd have to get another room to write in.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Amazon Book Review of Susanne O'Leary in Selling Dreams drew ire

LOL, one of my Amazon reviews ruffled an author's feathers. Usually no one ever reads my reviews, so I guess I'm thrilled. Sorta. It garnered me a negative vote from the author, though my review was positive, overall. My original review is posted at the bottom. I think I might have gotten a beta reader job offer from it all!
Suzy says: I am the author. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to read and review my books. Please e-mail me at: contact(at) susanne-oleary.co.uk for further discussions. I feel you make assumptions without knowing my background. I would be interested to know about YOUR expertise in what you call 'Hiberno-English.'

I would've been fine with the first part of her comment. But the gauntlet was thrown down with the use of "YOUR." Apparently I ticked her off. So I wrote back:

Dear Susanne,

I take it that you objected to my review comment:

"I've been following Susanne O'Leary since I stumbled upon Hot Property, set in Ireland. There, the Swedish-born author attempted to capture the Irish-English voice, but her dialogue was often flat, as Hiberno-English is, in essence, O'Leary's third language."

Then I went on to say:
"O'Leary does a far better job of capturing dialogue in her French Riviera Romance series. She seems more comfortable with portraying the south of France, than Ireland." 
And I gave Selling Dreams a solid four-star rating.

How is this a judgmental and unfair assumption? Your storyline is superb, you develop interesting characters. However, your sentence structure, and renditions of idioms are sometimes challenging. I didn't flag them all in Selling Dreams, but I will be sure to make notations in the subsequent books in the series, as it seems you question my observation skills as a reader.

I admire Nabakov, who chose to write novels in English, his third language. But it is difficult to write prose (and almost impossible to write poetry) in a non-native language. And Hiberno-English is in a unique class of its own.

Your Kerry series did not grasp the nuance of language or the music of Kerry, or Dublin English. Some characters, who were supposed to be Irish, sounded too perfunctory on the page. I also noted that when you introduced a French character in your Kerry series, that her dialogue rang true. The same is true for the Dream series. You seem more at home with the language and locale.

From your bio:
"I was born in Sweden.... I have lived all over the world, and finally landed in County Tipperary, Ireland in 2002. I started my writing career.... My globetrotting life has provided me with the settings and characters of my novels, mainly set in France, where I lived for four years, and Ireland, where I live now....We ... bought a holiday cottage on the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry on the west coast of Ireland. I was so inspired by the beautiful landscape and the people there, that I wrote three novels in quick succession, in what would become The Kerry Romance Series...
The French Riviera, where we have spent many enjoyable holidays, is another place to which I like to take my readers.... Selling Dreams, was published in December 2014."

And I found this author interview:
"I'm the Swedish-born, Irish-married author of more than twenty novels, mainly in the romantic fiction genre..... I have been the wife of a diplomat (still am), a fitness teacher and a translator.... Being Swedish, I love a real winter with snow and ice....  I went to a French school in Stockholm, so France has always been part of my growing-up years. This gave me fluent French and a love of that country."

and this:
"My latest book was inspired by my own feelings of confusion about my identity and my roots (being Swedish but living in Ireland)."

From the passages quoted above it is safe to assume that English is not your first language. Or your second language. Perhaps it is French? The Hiberno-English dialect, is certainly your third, or fourth "language."

Some Amazon review quotes on Selling Dreams:
"There is no plot and the storyline is all over the place. Very disappointing."

"I didn't have to read any farther than Ms. O'Leary's disparaging remarks about real estate agents telling lies and covering up problems to know this wasn't for me. Since I'm a real estate agent of 32 years I take umbrage with her silly, misleading and just plain wrong remarks."

"A slightly believable story easy to read but I still found it hard to believe."

"the story itself is a bit too loosely tied. The characters - particularly the major protagonist - do and say things that have me rolling my eyes too often. It just doesn't make sense that someone who has managed a Real Estate Agency for any length of time, would do or say such ridiculous things. It's the bones of the story, but it doesn't hold it up. Ditto for the other players. Everyone is placed for their part, but not always in a natural or believable way. "
"Well written however the many mistakes with extra words made me crazy. Are we reading unedited versions or are the proof readers asleep. I wish I had my blue pencil that I could make the corrections."

Just out of curiosity, Susanne, did you also take those Amazon reviewers to task, challenge their credentials?

As a reader, or Amazon reviewer, I do not need to defend my literary background, but suffice to say, I am well versed in the vagaries of language. Four stars is a stellar rating. In good faith, I could not give Selling Dreams a five-star rating as there were too many errors. And mixing up one character for another (Flora/Daisy), is sloppy writing (in any language) that a good editor should have caught. It was never my intent to hurt your feelings, and for that I do apologize.

Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit!

Nice website BTW.

Suzy says:

Gosh, I didn't mean to question your reviews.I think you're terrific to take such interest in my work! It was only your comments about my knowledge of Irish English that rankled. I have been married to an Irishman most of my adult life. English is certainly not my third language, but I believe by now my first. I could never write these books either in Swedish or French, even though I speak those languages fluently My children are Irish, as most of my friends.My Irish readers have mostly commented positively on my Irish books,and our Kerry neighbours have told me I got Kerry 'spot-on.' Equally, my Tipperary readers. Also, I found it difficult to place my novels with English publishers, as they said my English was 'too Irish.'

My characters speak the way I hear people around me, with, yes,an accent but with a reasonably educated vocabulary. I didn't want to make it too colloquial, as that would be hard to understand by many readers around the world.

But, sure 'tis all in the eye of the beholder, to be sure, to be sure... (sorry, couldn't resist a little joke).

To finish, yes I have Swedish roots but the top of the plant has Irish blooms. I love Ireland and I do believe my stories are true to my adopted country.

Happy New Year! Many thanks for your interest in my books. ETA, and of course the stars!


P.S My editor for both the Kerry series and the Selling Dream series is English, but I recently hired an American editor , who seems better suited to my writing

MoHurley says:

RE: "I recently hired an American editor, who seems better suited to my writing."

Good on you! Work him hard to the bone.

And yes, I am that kind of pernickity OCD reader, as I have dyslexia so I need to work harder than the average bear.

But I beg to disagree with your readers/editors who say your English was too Irish in the Kerry series. It wasn't over the top. It just didn't always ring true. Your instinct was right to not make it too colloquial. As my Irish teacher would've said, "We'll have none o' that fookin' shamrockery 'round here." But he was from Mullingar, not Dunquin. It begins to ring truer in your Tipperary series.

One's own native language is alway lurking in the background, which is both a blessing and a curse. My favorite Russian malapropism is Invisible lunaticsâ€"from Out of sight, out of mind.

Suzy says:

My daughter-in-law is from Mullingar. Here's a thought, maybe you'd like to beta read my next book? Let me know. Good beta readers are worth gold.

MoHurley says:

LOL! I'll think on it!


Amazon Customer Review

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Two loosely connected stories weave a tapestry of love and hope, December 31, 2016
By MoHurley
This review is from: Selling Dreams (The Riviera Romance Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

Selling Dreams is two separate stories loosely connected; the characters are fairly well developed. If you persevere, the two stories will mesh. Upon second reading (in order to review it), I enjoyed it more as I now have a better understanding of the central characters.

Chantal owns a shady real estate agency in Antibes, and Flora left an agency in Ireland to join the team. Chantal disappears from the scene after her husband, suffering from dementia, is hospitalized, leaving Flora to navigate the vagaries of selling real estate in France, with her co-workers, Daisy and Iris.

Meanwhile Chantal is having an affair with a painter, and many of the prospective buyers, and locals of Antibes are willing to offer solace to the girls who are looking for love in all the wrong places.

I've been following Susanne O'Leary since I stumbled upon Hot Property, set in Ireland. There, the Swedish-born author attempted to capture the Irish-English voice, but her dialogue was often flat, as Hiberno-English is, in essence, O'Leary's third language.

O'Leary does a far better job of capturing dialogue in her French Riviera Romance series. She seems more comfortable with portraying the south of France, than Ireland. She does not attempt to imitate French speakers speaking English, or Irish speakers speaking French, TG.

It's not easy to overlook the odd grammar, or the conflation of characters' names: Flora is about to go out, solo, to show a house to a client. "Daisy stiffened. "What? Me?" The problem is that Daisy is still asleep at home. Flora is speaking to Iris.

Chantal, worried about making ends meet, thinks the "money will be a welcome boost to our economy." Economy is the wrong word. Perhaps income?
"They were younger and more clued up." Clued up is a malapropism, reminding me that English is not O'Leary's first language. Perhaps clued-in, or in tune?

I do like the way O'Leary economically recycles her characters introduced at the beginning, in her later episodic novels. If you read them in sequence, the layering and detail really builds and fleshes out the characters, making them memorable figures.

Riviera Romance series:
Selling Dreams
Borrowed Dreams
Forgotten Dreams
Marianne's Christmas

Duty Free is set in Paris, and Villa Caramel is set on the Riviera, but they are from a different, earlier series.

BTW, the first three books in the Irish Romance series, The Kerry Romance Box Set, Hot Property, Hot Gossip, and Hot Pursuit, are free on Kindle right now. The fourth book is Hot Wishes. I enjoyed them, but I liked The Blow-In from the Tipperary series better.


Someone fired off a gun last night and I wondered if the bullet could hypothetically crash through our stucco walls. When Obama was first elected, people shot handguns off the balcony of the apartments next door, which was a crackhouse at the time. Guns. Not fireworks. Different sound/percussive impact.

What I heard NYE sounded like that. There were lots of fireworks, etc., too. Apparently East Oakland outdid itself NYE with various and sundry explosives! Mortars, anyone?

When I was a child, I was sitting outside near our road, in the setting sun, and a bullet zinged by me landing within six feet of me. It was deer season, and someone on Mt. Barnabe was hunting, that bullet traveled far! Where I grew up in West Marin, everyone had guns, so I do know the different sounds. Most boys had .22s. I knew the sounds.