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Best Memories Made of Simple Things

We welcome our special guest blogger, Dan Blanchard, award-winning author, speaker, and educator who has appeared on over 100 television and radio shows. Dan offers a father’s perspective to last week’s Father’s Day post, a daughter’s tribute: My Dad. My Hero. My North Star.  Both posts illustrate the best of good parenting with personal examples of simple things remembered.


The Simple Things in Life are the Best Things in Life!

Enjoying simple things — Several summers ago my daughter and I were swimming in our pool. This day had been like most others, so I had no way of knowing that this one would go down in our family history as a memory we still talk about from time to time.

The sun was setting and the night was quickly approaching. From the shallow end of our pool, my daughter noticed it first. Right about eye level, building its life connections to the bottom of the freshly painted blue fence that surrounded our pool, was a spider spinning her web. It surprised me that my daughter wasn’t grossed out.

“We lost track of time simply having fun.”

Instead, she delightfully watched as the spider busied herself in the cycle of life. As we both gazed at this wonder of nature, a very simple thought hit me.

“I had lost track of time. I didn’t know how long we had been standing together staring at that spider building her web. We were simply having fun and hadn’t really done anything special.”

Parent-child timeWe hadn’t saved the world or bought something expensive. No travel on some big airplane to some exotic land. However, I believe we were both just as fulfilled as if we had done these things.

What we had done was to spend time together and appreciate the simple things in life. We laughed and talked about the circle of life, and what it means to die and what it means to really live. We talked about how precious our limited amount of time is on this planet and how we should pause to enjoy the simple things in life like the flight of a bird. And we talked about the importance of leading rather than following.

Lessons learned: 

  • the circle of life and death, and what it means to really live
  • our limited time on this beautiful planet is precious
  • pause to enjoy the simple things
  • the importance of leading the way to a better life
  • where, when, and how much it costs matters less than simply being together

Now let’s all get out and learn how to create memories with our children. Let’s teach them to lead, and lay the way to a better life in this great big world of ours! Finally, remember that the simple things are the best things in life, even our kids think so.


Our thanks to Dan Blanchard for adding a father’s perspective to a daughter’s tribute in last week’s post: My Dad. My Hero. My North Star.

About Dan Blanchard

The Storm: How Young Men Become Good Men by Dan BlanchardDan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker, and educator who has appeared on over 100 television and radio shows. Check out Dan’s new book, The Storm:

The Storm: How Young Men Become Good Men 

An angry, struggling teen is changed when his estranged and mysterious Granddaddy appears and reveals his life as a former WWII fighter-pilot, his past, his famous friends, and how he escaped a meaningless life.

More about Dan on his website and blog at:


My dad. My hero. My North Star.

My dad. My hero. My North Star.

My dad taught me to stand up for myself—and others. “But Dad, must we practice on concrete?

My dad’s spirit lives in moral principles.

My dad’s spirit lives in my moral principles and my work ethic. If my dad thought the scoldings and lectures made the strongest impact, they did not. Hah! Those blew over with a fraction of the intended content reaching my brain. It was his actions that I observed and that I recall, even decades later.

My dad was a single father of three. 

I was five, my sister eighteen months younger, and my brother only six months old when our mom died. She dropped to the floor one morning with no warning, while he prepared to leave for work. She was gone at age twenty-eight. So I learned everything about life from my dad.

A night at the neighborhood tavern with my dad.

One evening when I was eight, nine or ten, my dad took us kids to the neighborhood bar. Yes, it’s true. My dad was a young widower in his thirties, had worked all day at the machine shop, commuted a half hour home, and fed us dinner. He never missed an evening dinner with his kids. The guy must have simply wanted a cold beer and adult conversation. We walked a block to the neighborhood tavern.

Too young to legally sit at the bar, we kids settled into one of several “Booths for Ladies” lined against the wall with our bottles of Coca-Cola and a couple of five-cent bags of State Line potato chips. What an exciting adventure this was turning out to be! At some point my dad joined us in the booth, and while we sipped from our straws and talked about our day, a few guys in the next booth loudly spouted foul words that made my dad cringe.

He said nothing to us kids as he slowly rose from the bench, turned toward the rowdies, and calmly and politely said, “Hey fellas, would you watch your language? I got my kids with me.” All the guys nodded, looking a bit ashamed and embarrassed, as if they knew exactly what they did wrong, what was expected, and why. (I knew that feeling, had been there many times.) 

Lessons learned: 

  • the proper way that good people resolved disputes
  • the standard to which I should expect and demand to be treated
  • how men should behave
  • that I could say to a man or woman behaving badly “this won’t stand”
  • don’t curse in front of dad

A hero is born—or was he home all along disguised as my dad?

That night my dad was my defender, my hero. Bold and brave. I was never so proud or saw him in the same light as I did that night. I felt safer and more secure. That evening at the neighborhood bar wasn’t the only time I saw him stand up for his kids—even when he was outnumbered four-to-one.

I’d lost my mom, but this guy had proved to me that he wasn’t going anywhere.

Decades later, current works reflect the lessons learned.

Asylum, book front cover #suspense #thriller #mustreadA father-daughter subplot in Asylum exemplifies my respect for my dad, and many of his characteristics are imbued in the patriarchal character of Antonio Delito and how he relates to his daughter, Maggie.

To this day, decades later, I do not use vulgar language. I don’t say it. I won’t write it. My stories can make a reader squirm without it. There’s nothing in my books I’d be embarrassed or ashamed to read to my dad—if he were here in the flesh.

Asylum’s dedication reads:

To my widowed father,
a principled man, who without complaint,
shouldered a heavy burden
with dignity and forbearance.
I was his sunshine.
He was my North Star.

Coming Next Week: Special Guest, Dan Blanchard writes: Simple Things are the Best Things.

Next week’s blog post will continue to honor dads, when we present a father’s perspective by our friend, award-winning author, speaker, and educator, Dan Blanchard.


Cover Reveal: Makeover for International Psychic Thriller

I confess. I resisted for five years, now, finally …

Premonition of Terror gets the love it deserves.

Before and After Makeover Cover Reveal.

Cover Reveal: Before and After Premonition Makeover

Cover Reveal: BEFORE (2013) on Left.  •  AFTER (2018) on Right.

“It was a rush to hold it in my hands.”

I loved this first cover, maybe because Premonition was my first published (though not first written) and it was a rush to hold it in my hands. I especially loved the shot of the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic, photographed by Frank Chmura. His website’s Travel Gallery is stunning.

A swirly, circular blur effect in Photoshop expresses the otherworldly mood I wanted, and I shifted the blue tones of the original shot (below) to purple, and made other size and shape adjustments.

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic. Photo by Frank Chmura.

I must have read a thousand tips, dos & don’ts, and cover critiques by Joel Friedlander of With a graphics background and inspired by the perfect image, I felt confident I could produce a cover, took a chance, risked receiving the brutal truth, and I entered the monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards competition. It’s free. Nothing to lose.

E-book Cover Design Award, TheBookDesigner.comImagine my surprise.

E-Book Cover Design Gold Star, May 2013, awarded to Premonition of Terror.

Now I wondered if I should I quit this writing gig and stay with graphic design.

Years passed and now and then other authors and friends would artfully criticize the cover design. I listened, considered all comments, but resisted. After all, if Joel Friedlander approved, who was I to disagree.

Unfortunate coincidence or authentic premonition?

Those who know me or have read the book know why Premonition of Terror never got the love it deserved. With limited distribution and no promotion, it merely existed. To avoid spoilers, I’ll simply say its release date was an unfortunate coincidence to a real life catastrophe—or it was an authentic premonition.

I knew the book deserved better. Especially after reading it again. Five years later it remains a fast-paced, thrilling read with characters you can relate to and care about. I missed them, I envied them, and I feel a pull to write a prequel and sequel to fill out a Premonition Trilogy—or more.

I resisted change until I realized, what worked five years ago, well, maybe needed a fresh look.

So with a few interior tweaks, proofreading in which I am confident (thank you Nancy Breininger), updated front and back matter, and a new cover that tells more story with a human connection, even if you can’t be sure if he’s walking away or coming toward you—even if you can’t know if he’s the danger you’ve been warned about in your dreams.

Premonition of Terror, a psychic thriller by Kathryn OrzechCover Reveal: Premonition of Terror.

I can live with this cover, at least for a while. I look forward to learning how readers react at upcoming signing events—the only vote that matters.

About Premonition.

International threats strike close to home in this psychic thriller when premonitions from around the predict the same catastrophic attack. How far would you go to stop it if no one believed you?

Available in print and e-book where book are sold. Book details and Buy Links on this site at DreamWatch Press.


Welcome to Writings on the Wall blog

Writings on the Wall

Writings on the Wall. Welcome to my new blog. Catchy name, huh? It only took two years to think of it.

Writings on the Wall offers a peek into the life of a thriller author—this author—with personal blog posts and photos and whatever captured my interest to distract me from writing. I’m working on several book projects so posts might be brief, but will include photos and graphics.

Personal and author posts will no longer mix with supernatural stories on the DreamWatch Paranormal Blog. Though, fair warning—my paranormal experiences might show up here, there, anywhere—same as in real life.

Coming soon to Writings on the Wall blog.

Camouflage bug? Moth? Insect spy drone?

A bug spotted in the driveway made me wonder. Hmmm… Is it a camouflaged moth? Or a downed spy drone disguised as an insect?

Diverse interests. A must in an author’s life.

My interests are ever changing, some are compulsive. Here are a few, as I reveal in my author bio: An avid film fan, seasoned world traveler, news nerd. Other interests include history and geopolitics, society and culture, archaeology and psychology, earth science, and parapsychology, leaving few subjects off my literary table—or the subject of a blog post.

Count on it. On this Writings on the Wall blog, you’ll see my favorite rocks, ancient reptiles, a reincarnated plant, and a newly installed multi-pronged defensive perimeter to rid my carport of birds.

Writings off the Wall and on the pages.

Asylum, a dark suspense saga, though published second was my first novel, inspired by a ghost story told at a dinner party mere blocks from the Mark Twain House & Museum.

Online since the 1990s,, true paranormal experiences of everyday people, was the inspiration for Premonition of Terror. A prequel and sequel are planned.

Counting Souls, a contemporary mystery, is my work-in-progress, though progress goes slow. It’s inspiration was my sister who wanted to be a character in one of my books.

The Five of Cups will be a short story or novella. Finding this Tarot card on a path in the forest got me to thinking: This must be a sign, but what does it mean?

For more about my books and buy links, visit DreamWatch Press on this site.

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