Advanced Boy with Matches

The following is a bit story about a character from the world of Birthmarked.

Pyrho had never been outside the wall, nor wanted to go, but when one of the older kids at school told him he was advanced, this from a kid who had access to sensitive school files and tended to know such things with disturbing accuracy, he decided, before he talked to his father about it, that he had best go and see for himself what it was like outside the wall.  His father, still upset… Continue reading

How to Raise Reading and Writing Test Scores

As an English teacher who has recently resigned, I’m no expert, but here’s my plan to raise reading and writing tests scores in middle school and high school.

1. Do not require English teachers to attend any seminars, presentations, or meetings on how to increase reading and writing test scores.

2. Do not put the poor readers and writers all together in the same class.

3. Do not require English teachers to write reflections in which they analyze students’ scores on 45-minute writing assessments taken at the beginning, middle, and… Continue reading

Killing Them Off

My friend Jenn Hubbard recently posted about the reader-writer contract, and how a promise is delivered to a reader within the opening sentences of a novel.  It reminded me of another contract I’ve been pondering, the kids’ books one that promises not to kill off major characters.

The End of the Road

Wait.  No.  What makes me think such a promise even exists to break?   I read White’s Charlotte’s Web when I was too young to question what was happening, and while I was… Continue reading

Beauty Surrounds Me

My lunch apple today was just gorgeous, glowing and powerful, so much that I had to just stare at it before I could cut into it.  I am surrounded by beauty.

Rome Apple


I have this theory about sensory detail and reading. Since normal intake of our world reaches our brains through our five senses, if a writer can describe things clearly enough that a reader sees, smells, hears, tastes and feels them, then the words on the page have co-opted the brain.  It’s a polite form of mind… Continue reading

Veterans Day

My novel is dedicated in memory of my father, Thomond R. O’Brien, Sr., who served honorably as a cryptanalyst in the United States Army in Germany in the 1950’s.  On this Veterans Day, I’d like to honor my dad, and all our veterans and the active military personnel who now serve our country.  We would not be here today without you, and I’m grateful.

Tolland Public Library

I’ve been invited to speak in the Eaton-Dimock-King Authors Series at the Tolland Public Library tonight, November 10th, at 7:30.  The event is free, but space is limited, so please call to register if you’d like to come.  860-871-3620.

Caragh's Latest Favorite Reads

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Every Day
The Dog Stars
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Fault in Our Stars
Two of a Kind
Until It Hurts to Stop

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Audio Books

The audio books of BIRTHMARKED, PRIZED, PROMISED, and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS have been released by Tantor Audio. They're available through Tantor, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and
Book Trailer for Promised