Caitlyn Factor

Caitlyn Factor

(Now this is before the pandemonium has broken out.)  So this was about three weeks ago at ten o’clock in the evening, the favorite time that John and I like to go to the grocery store.

I have two speeds.  I either like to meander around the store and look at every new item that is on display, or I like to split up and act like it is a formula one course.  John is always the same.  He is Eagle Scout boy, and he goes methodically down our same aisles. 

Now, what do I mean by the same aisles?  We buy the SAME DAMN THING.  Every SAME DAMN TIME.  There are bananas, cheese, bread, cran grape juice, apple juice, orange juice, oatmeal, grape nuts, cheerios, soy milk (yuck, I want dairy, but I’m allergic), almond milk, coffee, peanut butter (organic) and strawberry jam.

We usually have 3 other wild card items.  Is this too much of a window on our household?  Do you wonder where the vegetables come  from?  You saw the bananas and strawberry jam, right?  Well we do make weekly trips to the Organic fruit/vegetable stand. 

Okay, so one night was one of my meandering nights.  John’s six foot five, I’m five foot five.  I must have been distracted by the pretty color on a new package of oats, or maybe I was drooling over Froot Loops, who knows.  But all of a sudden I hear John swearing.  I turn around to find him. 

I can’t find him.  He was just there.

Our cart is still there.

“Caitlyn?” an irritated voice calls from below.  I look down, John is squatting near the jam.  I notice it’s on sale.  It’s a really good price.

John looks like a pretzel. 

“That’s a really good price,” I say.

“It’s going to fall.”

I look again.  His hands and arms are full with jars of jam, and one knee is pushing in the jam so it doesn’t fall off the shelf.  He’s in quite a pickle.  I soak it in.  This would make a good scene for a book.

“A little help?” he asks incredulously.

“Oh!” I say coming out of my stupor. I bend down and shove the jars back on the shelf.

He stands up and plops the jars in the cart.  “Really?  You were just going to leave me hanging?” John asks.

“I was considering the possibilities,” I explain lamely.

Now whenever I’m oblivious to John, he just says, “A little help.”

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Caitlyn Factor

Caitlyn Factor

So, I’m a romance author, right?

So, I should be one of those women who knocks Valentine’s day out of the park, right?

Not so much.

That morning I was running late…again. Nothing new there. It was the day I was hosting a big party on Facebook.  Valentine’s Day in honor of one of my new books. It starts at noon EST, so I need to get everything ready at 9:00 am PST.

First thing? I have to wake my husband up at 6:30 in the morning because someone wants to talk to me on the phone. They’ve sent a message via Facebook, and John has hidden my phone for the night. I read too much, and if I’m going to be up in the middle of the night I should be writing. (This is a practice I’ve begged for him to do for me.)  Yes, I’m a toddler in a middle-aged woman’s body. I have NO self-control. So, I wake John up for my phone before he’s ready to get up.

Next thing? I’m running back and forth around the house, trying to get things organized, a little bit cleaned up, showered, you know, the regular things. Breakfast would be nice too. Is there any sugared breakfast cereal? Please say there is…

So I scramble to my computer seconds before the party is about to start and “hit it”. I shove everything out of my way so I can post my first contest. I’d had it planned in my head. You always start out with a big prize and have them say something nice about the other authors in the party.  When I’m done, I breathe a sigh of relief.  I have ten minutes before the next post.  (Any sane person would have this pre-planned.  I didn’t.)

I hustle to the living room when I remember to ask John to go to the bank today, since I won’t be able to leave my chair for more than twenty minutes. 

“No problem,” he smiles.  He’s salutes me with his coffee and goes back to eating his healthy granola cereal.

Next post is up, who knows what I said.  But I remember that I need John’s help again.  He’d taken a lot of nice pictures of the prizes I wanted to give away for this party, but he needs to send them to me so I can post them on Facebook.

I run out of the office and find him at his computer and ask him if he could send me the pictures from his problem.

“I’ll do it right now, Honey.”  I get another smile.

I rush back to the office to see about making another post.

Oh yeah, I want to fly out next month for a trip, and I’ve screwed up Uber and Lyft on my phone. They say my phone number isn’t valid.  WTF?

Back to the living room I go.

I hurriedly explain the problem.  (Not well, John has to ask many questions because I’d used garbled language and the word thingie a lot.)  Finally I just begged him.  “Make Uber and Lyft work on my phone again.  They say my phone number isn’t associated with my phone.  How is that even possible?  I don’t know what I did wrong,” I’m whining.  

“Well Caitlyn, I suppose I need to look at your phone.”

“Oh yeah.” I rush back to the office to get my phone and make another post.

“Caitlyn, are you coming back?” John asks from the other room. (Ooops, I’d forgotten him.) I rush back and give him my phone. Somehow he makes the phone work.

“John, can you send me the photos of the prizes?”

He looks at me exasperated. “Are you going to at least say thank you for the card?” he asks.

“What card?”

“The Valentine’s Day card I left propped up on against your monitor.”

Holy hell. Had I just shoved that out of the way and not noticed it? I go back to the office. There it is, a big oversized red envelope that had been sitting on top of the papers, that I’d shoved to the side when I’d first sat down.  It even had my name on it.

I open it. It’s a beautiful laser-cut 3-D card. “It’s gorgeous,” I say. “I love it.” It takes me three minutes to notice there’s writing on the back.

I then remember I have a card for John. He’s so sweet. He likes it. But seriously? How could I have been so blind?

Note to self. No more Valentine’s day Facebook parties.

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Caitlyn Factor

Caitlyn Factor

How could it be so close to the due date for the book?  Oh yeah, because it’s ALWAYS so close to the due date.  I remember it being the day before my Brazil report was due in third grade and I was cutting out pictures from Mom’s World Book Encyclopedia Set.  (Don’t do that by the way, you get in trouble.)

((Also, many of you youngsters will need to google what the hell and Encyclopedia Set is.))

Anyway, suffice it to say, that the meme “Nothing Makes Me More Productive than The Last Minute” was made for me.  Okay, now to the Factor Story.


“John!  I need to go for a walk.  This story is killing me!”

“Caitlyn, it’s almost midnight.”

I’m putting on my shoes.  “I don’t care, need to go.”

“Well hold on for a minute,” he says as he heads for the garage, “I’m going with you.”

I roll my eyes.  Our neighborhood is as safe as Mayberry, well there was that one little incident, but that person is in jail now, so we’re good now.

“John, seriously, I’m fine.”

“Caitlyn, you damn well better wait for me,” he damn near roars.

Well that kind of catches my attention, so I cross my arms and wait.

He comes out of the garage and I’m giggling at his manliness and we go outside through our gate to the wilds of Ladera Ranch.  Seriously, this is like Wisteria Lane, but off we go.  So now I start talking.

“Caitlyn, you’re yelling.”

“Am not.”

“You’re talking about dead bodies in front of the neighbor’s house.”

“I am?”

“You also discussed three different ways to kill a man.”

“I did?”

We keep walking.  Now I’m trying to figure out how the heroine is going to get free.  “What do you think of this?” I ask John.

He groans.


“You’re yelling again, this time you’re talking about kicking them in the balls.  See that house?  Their security light just came on.  Walk faster.”

I start thinking again and stop talking.

“John,“ I yell.  “There’s a red light following us.  It’s between us!”

John sighs deeply.  “We’ve been walking for twenty minutes, and you’re just noticing the bicycle light I clipped to my shorts?”


He tugs on my hand and shakes his head.  “Keep walking, Honey.”

“Oh my God, that’s must be at a whole family of bunnies back there,” I point.  (We have bunnies around our house.  Honest.)

He stops and looks down at me, his expression bewildered.  “You think the loud sound of the sprinklers system could be rabbits?”


This time he starts laughing.  And laughing.  And laughing.

“You have one hell of an imagination O’Leary.”

“Hey!  I figured out what to do.  Let’s get home so I can write,”  I want to run.  But he insists we walk.  He knows I’ll probably trip and fall in my flip-flops without his light and him holding my hand.

He’s probably right.

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Caitlyn Factor

Caitlyn Factor

Okay, okay, okay.  I really don’t want to admit this one. 

“Caitlyn, there’s a tag on your shoe.”

“No, that’s a bow, honey.”  I look proudly down at my new white shoes.

“It’s a tag.  I’ll take it off.”

I squint down at my foot.  He’s crazy.  Each shoe clearly just has bows on them.  “John, it’s a bow.” 

I’d know, I’d been wearing the shoes for two days now.

“Look closer, you don’t have your glasses on.”

“I crouch down.”

John’s bending down too.  He has his phone out.  He’s taking a picture of the tag on my shoe.  Dammit, it’s a price tag.  “I’ll e-mail it to you,” he says gleefully. 

“How about you be really helpful and cut the damn thing off,” I suggest.

Now, this wouldn’t be so embarrassing if my friend Kelley Jefferson hadn’t had to stop me as I’m at the podium at the California Dreamin’ Conference gathering my notes and waiting as people walk into the ballroom to hear me talk.  She’s tugging on the bag of my dress.

“Got it,” she says.

“What?” I ask.

“You left the price tag on your dress.”

For God’s sake, I was so worried about the slides, I forgot to check the dress, it’s amazing that the skirt wasn’t caught up in my pantyhose!

Last but not least was me getting to the swimming pool.  I was feeling a little more uncomfortable then normal.  I’m convinced there are very few women at my age truly comfortable in a bathing suit at a swimming pool.  I’m getting ready to dive in to do my laps.  But dammit, I’m really not feeling right.  I do a quick shimmy in my new swimsuit.  Sure enough.  I know what’s wrong.  I walk over to the bathroom and rip the little protective seal that’s still there in the crotch of the swimsuit.  The one that had made it through the wash cycle.

I go back out and dive in.  I’m feeling much better now.


Apparently I can’t even properly dress myself.  Sigh.

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Caitlyn Factor

Caitlyn Factor

After all these years, I should KNOW not to jump too fast.  I should KNOW that there is a good chance that I’m wrong and I should wait.  So this time I DID wait.  But unfortunately, not long enough.

Here I am, all excited.  I completed my first book in my new series.  I think you all know how it works now.  If not, I’ll give you a quick run-down.

Midnight Delta – The way I wrote the titles, Her xxxx SEAL

Black Dawn – Their titles were, Her xxxx Hero

Now I’m writing…..

Night Storm – Their naming convention, Her xxxx Protector

I tried to keep it simple.  You know, simple enough even for me?  Maybe?  Hopefully?  Here I am, la la la la, blissfully onto the next book, which is a one-off because I’m writing it as a twelve part series with eleven other authors.  I’m checking Goodreads to see if any reviews have come in for my Ruthless book which is the first one in my Night Storm series.

I have this WONDERFUL woman, Karen DiGaetano who is a Librarian on Goodreads, she has never failed me.  So I go into Goodreads and I start searching for Her Ruthless Hero.  I’d seen it before, but now IT’S GONE!



What in the hell happened?

I don’t want to call Karen, because it’s going to end up being my fault.  But come on…..  It just disappeared.   I check on it for the next 24 hours.  Nada.

It’s on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Apple.

Still Nothing.

I decide to contact Goodreads.

“Dear Author, you asked us about your book Her Ruthless Hero.  Did you mean to say, Her Ruthless Protector?”


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Caitlyn Factor

Caitlyn Factor

This happened many, many years ago, but it bears repeating.  I was working in Belgium and I had a long weekend off, so I took my company car and drove alone to Paris.  I walked around, seeing the sights, doing some shopping, it was a fabulous day.  I was kind of bummed that night when I had to eat by myself at a Greek restaurant.

I had been given Tetracycline as a child for earaches, and it had turned my permanent teeth a lovely shade of gray/green.  My smile was not the best.  So a year or two before that assignment I had finally saved up enough money for veneers.  It made all the difference, I felt like I could finally smile.  They made my teeth look pretty and white.  So here I am, feeling a little lonely, but at least I had a nice smile when I talked.  I ordered lamb and a Greek salad.

I’ll be damned if a bunch of Parisians (seven of them) didn’t invite me over to their table.  My French was so-so, their English was almost non-existent.  But we had a great time.  They took me to some of the best hidey-hole places in the St. Germain neighborhood.  A lot of these were underground.  Now, one of the few words they understood was tequila.  So they had shots with Seven-up, and slammed them down on the table, and then drank them.  I taught them about lime and salt.

It was a surreal night.  At one point it occurred to me that they never would have spent this much time with the old Caitlyn with the bad teeth.  But eventually they even took me up to Sacre-Coeur church that is at the highest point in Paris to watch the sunrise.  I was so blessed.  But before that happened.  We were at another bar, with a bunch of English rugby players, they had just won a game, so they were pretty psyched.  One of them bought me a drink as I was trying to get to the bar to get to the bar to buy my round of drinks for the Parisians.

He looks at me and says, “Luv, you have something stuck on your front tooth.  You might want to clean that up.”

Before buying the drinks for the Parisians I go to the bathroom, and check what’s on my tooth.  There is a piece of fricking black lettuce from the Greek salad that is stuck on my front tooth that almost makes me look like I’m missing one of my front teeth.

What the hell?

I peel this sucker off and laugh my ass off.  Oh.  My.  God.

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Caitlyn Factor

Caitlyn Factor

I’ve moved from California to Washington.  To begin with, we weren’t sure where we were going to land.  How fast were we going to buy a house?  How long were we going to be in this AirBnB?  So, I have the following:

My author name.

My real name.

My physical home address in CA.

My p.o. box in CA.

My AirBnB address WA.

My Sister’s address in WA that I first had stuff sent to.

Finally a new p.o. box in WA, when I realized that I’m a picky wench when it comes to buying a house, and I haven’t found anything I like.  Sigh.  (Nobody should ever want to be married to me.  John is a saint.)

So, the state of Washington says that you have to have a new drivers license and car tags within thirty days of moving here.  We got here the first week of August.  I think we are now past the thirty days.  Why are we so late?  I’ll tell you.  You have to go to their website and set up an appointment.  They schedule 30 days out.  Every time we go to it, it’s filled up.  John finally calls.

John:  How am I supposed to get an appointment if they’re constantly filled up?

DMV:  You have to call at a couple of minutes after midnight and make a reservation.

John:  Seriously.

Weary DMV Person:  Sadly, I am serious.

John:  Thanks.  How are you doing? 

DMV:  As well as could be expected.

They both laughed and hung up.

I set my alarm for midnight, and get up wearily and make the appointment for 30 days out.  It isn’t until the next morning that I realize I have set up appointments for John and I on his birthday.  And not just any old birthday, NO, on John’s 50th birthday.  What the hell?  He has to spend his big day at the DMV?

But at least it prompts me to remember to buy him presents…  Thank the Lord.  I even have a card this time.  Plus, I have remembered to purchase him a chocolate birthday cake!

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Caitlyn Factor

Caitlyn Factor

This will come as no big surprise.  The closer it comes to a deadline, the more I procrastinate.  Then, the more chores and errands build up, and then the faster I rush around trying to get other things done.  Well, Monday was just such a day.

John’s been enjoying his job, but it takes up A LOT of his time on zoom calls.  (Thank God I have noise cancelling headphones.)  Therefore I’m the one who does errands during the day.  Do we need groceries?  I’m your gal.  Something BIG, from the office supply store that they might not deliver, like one of those totes, yep, that’s me.  Banking?  Pharmacy?  Go to our mailbox place to pick things up? Me.  Me.  Me.

So, I had all of that piled up, but I even scheduled in a treat.  So here goes.

Staples is the first stop, grab a big plastic tote, because I know that the big package I need to pick up from the mailbox place is John’s cycling gear, and it will need to be organized into something.  Then the pharmacy is on the way from Staples. 

“What do you mean you don’t have my thyroid medicine, it said on the app that you did.”  I asked nicely, even though I was frazzled.

“I’m sorry ma’am, it’s this other med, that starts with a “T”.  You didn’t ask for a refill on your thyroid medicine.”

I grit out a smile and ask them if they could put in a refill for it. 

“It will be ready in an hour.”

Okay, I’m going to my next errand.  The mailbox place, which is next door to Panera Bread where I can get a cinnamon roll. 

I whiz into the UPS store and smile.  “I’m just collecting my mail, but you have a package for me.  I’m number 65.”

The man checks his screen.  “No we don’t.”

I go and open my box, and grab the mail, there’s the slip that says I have a package.  I hand it to him.  He gives me my huge package.  I say thank you.  I take it out to the car and shove it in next to the tote.  I walk over to Panera Bread and pick up a cinnamon roll.  I dig around in my purse to see if I have enough in cash, nope, only three dollars and no change.  I pay by credit card.

I put it in my car, then walk over to the bank to deposit two checks into the ATM.  Then figure I could use some cash.  I ask for $300 in cash first, all twenties.  I throw that into my purse.  Then I think better of it, and figure I should put it into my wallet, so I grab it out, and start to put it into my wallet.  But it’s doesn’t feel thick enough.  I count it.  Only $120.

I go into the bank.  At least I can see my banker, Bac, she is so cool.  But most of the time I’m thinking I’ve got to get back to writing my book and eating my cinnamon roll.  I go up to the teller, and explain my situation.  She tells me I need to see a personal banker.  Perfect, I ask for Bac.  She’s notarizing a client, but I play on my phone and wait.  (Still dreaming about my cinnamon roll, and figuring at least I will have killed enough time to pick up the thyroid meds.)

When I get over to Bac’s desk, I explain my tale of woe.  She said that had just happened to another customer, and she gets on the phone and is put on hold.  We chat for a bit.  I had given her two signed books for her sister before Christmas, and apparently her sis had loved them.  After a while on hold, Bac’s transferred to someone else, then put on hold again.  We’re talking about insurance agents, and I told her about mine.  I said I’d give Bac his card.  I look in my wallet, it’s not there.  I go fishing in my purse. 

Damn.  Damn.  Damn.

“Bac.  I am sooooo sorry.”

“What, Caitlyn?”

“I just found the money.”

I pull out the $180 in twenties and show her. 

“Are you sure you didn’t have that money before?  Maybe the ATM really did short you.”

I laugh.  “You are so sweet.  Trust me, I only had $3 to my name.  Yep, I’m just a dumbass.”  I hand her the insurance guy’s card, and swipe up the $120 that had been laying there, and take the new $180 and start to throw it in my purse.  Bac politely clears her throat. 


“Do you think you might want to put that in your wallet?”

I thought tears would stream down my face, I laughed so hard.  

I love her.

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Caitlyn Factor

Caitlyn Factor

I love my readers, here’s just one reason why, I GET them.  I’m as much of a big ole goofy fan as they are.  I devour books, and during a deadline I make my husband hide my phone so I can’t read during the night, instead it forces me to write.  (Yes, I have the willpower of a six-year-old.)

One of my readers, who I communicate with on a regular basis through Facebook, asked me this question.

“Hi Caitlyn sorry to disturb you but I think I losing my mind and now need to find a book the thing is the only thing I can remember about the book is a scene where a team is sent to retrieve a family they believe the father to be a traitor it turns out to be the mother and when the camp is infiltrated to save them one of the team is injured by a grenade the father is injured and almost dead the mother cares for nothing but a password the husband changed father dies and mother slaps one of her daughters when she asked about her dad please say you can help me find this book and reread it. Ps I am never good at remembering book names but I usually am about authors this time I wasn’t I already messaged one other who had informed me it might be yours sorry”

I tell her that it’s not mine.  But that there is this great group of diverse readers who read all kinds of romantic suspense, where she could post the question. 

She thanks me.

I then say, I’m 98% sure it’s not my book, and if it is, I’m going to be really embarrassed.   But if it is, it’ll just be another Caitlyn Factor. 

I can laugh, because I know for sure it’s not.

(Do you see where this is headed?)

She Facebook messages me:

“You so pulled a Caitlyn factor lol it’s her devoted hero I will be starting this series again in the morning lol xxx”

I go to the group I had recommended to see her post.  Somebody had taken a screen print of the page of the scene. 

Head slap!

Now I remember it.

I tell my husband John that it had been nine books ago….He just shook his head and said.

“You totally have to own this one.  It’s sad.  It’s very, very, sad.”

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Caitlyn Factor

Caitlyn Factor

Caitlyn Factor

This is a true Caitlyn Factor Story. I went to San Juan Capistrano to the Old Timey train station on Tuesday to take the train down to San Diego. I saw that there were two railroad cars converted to Steak House. So I’m like obviously this is not train station.

I go home and purchase my tickets online. I go to the “new” train station the next day, sit outside at the right time and watch as the train doesn’t stop, just whizzes by me.

I go to my phone. What the hell? I press the button for AMTRAK? Where’s the station? It says it is 3.5 miles away, right near the steakhouse. Fuck. It’s right behind the steakhouse. I’m apparently at the metrolink.

I’ve missed the train. I go to the train station. Explain to the clerk who is nice and laughs, she redoes my tickets. She says for the next day. I don’t look, I trust her. I’m now on the train riding back from San Diego back to SJC, and the ticket taker says my ticket is actually for yesterday. Fuck.

She says we might not have room for me. Yes, I might get kicked off the train at some point, before San Juan Capistrano. Depending on how many people get on the train.

They didn’t kick me off, Thank God……But in my book, I’m crashing the train.