Thriller Writer Tj O'Connor

The Pappa Files: The Blog  

Mar 13, 2024

For those of you who followed my last blog and read my harrowing two weeks of babysitting last month, thank you for your get-well cards and prayers. I survived. Barely. The last weekend with the Grands was, indeed, a tribulation of wills. Rail (the ten-year-old) tried to kill me playing basketball all day and night. Kat, the two-year-old, practiced being a drill sergeant and ordering me about like a trainee. The two 100-pound labs slept on top of me each night fearful the boogey man might sneak in and get me. The last night with the grands was Ghostbusters-Monopoly all night with the cousins, aunts, and uncles, whom I served a huge steak dinner and all the trimmings. I was cooking for 18 and I think they were starving all week. Yikes! The good news is that two weeks are over. The bad news is the two weeks are over—don’t tell the Grands that I hated seeing them go. Yeah, yeah, the two labs, too. Not the ducks and geese, though. Nope.

But enough about surviving grandkids.

my brilliant and amazing publicist

After a week of relaxing to my normal 70-hour schedule, I have two simple tasks. First, to cook a traditional Greek feast for 18 family and friends for my eldest daughter’s birthday. Second, to deliver a blog installment of The Pappa Files blog at the demand, er request, of my brilliant and amazing publicist, Gina. That and get my happy-butt back to work on my latest thriller.

commanding drill sergeant

So, as I cook rotisserie Greek lamb, horiatiki, spanakopita, and roast potatoes in garlic and onion, I steal away into my den to dabble with words. I’ll have to return to my novel tomorrow since I owe Gina-the-Powerful (a commanding drill sergeant and taskmaster in her own right) blogs, reviews, and schedules. Gee, I wonder if my two-year-old granddaughter trained her . . .

Here goes.

1200 Hours: I’ll start my latest blog. I’ll call it . . . Ooooo! Wait, I gotta make the spanakopita! Eggs, steamed spinach, feta cheese, melted butter and olive oil, phyllo… yum.

Okay, back to work.

1:30 pm: Now, the blog will be The Blog. Great title, now, what shall I enrich the world about? I know . . . wait! I gotta go marinate the lamb roast for the rotisserie. Garlic, olive oil, oregano, red wine (to drink and a little marinade of course), and the secret ingredient—a good hearty rub of … Nope. It’s a secret learned from a Greek-Egyptian Jedi Master in Athens where I lived for three-plus years. Sorry, I would tell you but I took an oath. And I take oaths very seriously.

Now, back to the writing.

2:30 pm: Arg, just had my fingers hit the keys and Angel and Tucker—the two Maine Coon cats my wife rescued for her and who adopted me as their hooman—have staked out my desk. Named for my hero and heroine from my original paranormal mystery series, The Dead Detective Casefiles, they are as mischievous and fun, though a little distracting. Tuck wishes to learn the art of touchscreen maneuvers on my $1,000 monitor. Angel, the demure lady who has an evil crush on me (stop laughing, I’m not kidding), is on my keyboard demanding I focus on caressing and loving on her. This would be weird if it weren’t true.

Tuck Helping

3:00 pm: At last, back to the blog…. Wait, what’s that smell? Oh, my spanakopita is done and the house smells of rich Greek food. Now I need to make the horiatiki. Cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamatas, red onion, feta and goat cheeses, and my secret recipe dressing (yup, still secret).

Tuck and Angel are helping. Tuck has taken my daughter’s birthday gift box as hostage and refuses to retreat. I guess Jean will get one hell of a surprise when she opens her gift and finds Tucker inside. Angel is sitting on a chair watching me cook, swiping at me each time I limp by. (Did I mention I destroyed my knee and it’s in a brace? No, the Grands didn’t kill me. I twisted it lifting weights and training to survive said Grands. Stop laughing. It’s true.) Anyway, Angel won’t take no for an answer and demands my loving attention.

I need a drink

4:00 pm: Now, where was I? Oh yeah… wait! The 18 guests for Jean’s birthday dinner are arriving. I gotta do my hair. Gotta do my makeup (not). Gotta limp into the kitchen, steam the shrimp appetizer, and prepare the Greek potatoes. Good lord, I’m whipped!

I need a drink

But first, I need a drink.

11:30 pm: Alas, they’re gone. I’ve cooked, served, told jokes, hobbled around so everyone could say to me “hey old guy, sucks to get so old,” and cleaned up. My night is done.

Pappa’s Log—Epilog—11:35 pm: Hey, Gina—The blog you demanded, er requested, is coming together nicely. But just in case, can I get an extension on the due date? Please? You know you’re my hero, right?


I first fell in love with writing while in grade school and over the years continued to dabble with characters and stories whenever life allowed. Lately, I've focused my energy on pursuing this dream—interrupted only by life as a security consultant and the demands of two Labrador retrievers.

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