Monday, November 12, 2012

Pepper Phillips Kills Her Touch Pad

In July I managed to ruin my computer, so I had to buy a new one.

I’m still learning it, but one of the things I couldn’t turn off was the Touch Pad. I looked online, visited HP’s website, tried to tap the little box in the upper left hand corner as directed. Nothing worked. Absolutely nothing. All their instructions sucked big time. I could easily hire myself out to a computer company and tell them the problems they have with their product and why their instructions should be written in clear, concise step-by-step instructions. They assume that I know what the hell I’m doing when I turn that power key on. I don’t.

The problem was that my thumbs kept hitting the touch pad and moving all over the page, cutting words I had written (a big no-no in my book).

What’s a girl to do? 

I need the thumbs to hit the space bar. But it became too much to overlook.

So, I thought I would cover it up and found a neat little coaster that I obtained several years ago, add two strips of two inch clear strapping tape and I thought, this will work!

The only problem was, it was too thin. If my fat thumbs hit the touch pad, it would still jerk around.

Not good.

So I looked around for something stiff. Do you know how hard it is to find exactly what you need when your only requirement is that it be hard, square and something you won’t need again.

I walked by a cardboard box several times, then decided I would use it. I trimmed it to fit the area, and since I didn’t like the brown industrial look, I copied out a writer’s quote.

Taping the sucker down with two strips of two inch wide clear strapping tape solved the problem. This is what it looks like.

And it WORKS!

Due to the fact that cardboard has two layers and the inside wavy part, if you touch it, nothing happens. Absolutely nothing. The cost, next to nothing.

If I want to use the touch pad, I can take off the tape. If I want to change the quote, easily doable.

Color me a happy camper. I solved a major problem with my laptop!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mardi Gras in Small Town Louisiana

It's coming..."Fat Tuesday" which means the diet starts on Ash Wednesday!
But before Wednesday are the parades, the costumes, the throwing of beads.
Each of the towns in Central Louisiana celebrate with parades.  Some of them are put on by civic organization, others by the towns, themselves.  Floats are rented, and the last I heard they were about seven hundred dollars, up to three thousand for a day.  Yikes!  For most organizations in small towns, they do their own floats and keep them every year or do a new design for that year.
People on the float might be in costume, or not.
There will be a lot of people on the sidelines watching the parade.  Those in small towns will set up lawn chairs, ice chests, of course bring something to bring their booty home.  The major part of the floats is throwing out beads, plastic cups, candy, candy, and more candy. 
You can see what's happening here...the crowd will be changing 'Throw me something Mister!"
The thrill and excitement only lasts for a few moments while the parade passes.
But that is Mardi Gras in a small town.
Or as the natives say it, "Laissez les bon temp roulet."
"Let the good times roll."


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Author Interview: Pepper Phillips

Author Interview:

How this book came to be:

I'm a Nursing Home Administrator, and one of our patients was in the local hospital, dying. 
She was one of those ladies that I pictured as the perfect grandmother.  Fluffy, white-haired, brilliant blue eyes, a peach tone to her wrinkled skin, she was the grandmother pictured in all the books I read as a kid. 
She was lying in the hospital bed with her eyes closed, her family around her, and I bent over and kissed her on the forehead and whispered in her ear, "Mom, come home, we miss you."  I stood up, her eyes snapped open, startling the daylights out of me. 
Three days later she was back in the nursing home.  I figured that she heard her family talking about her demise and thought she was dying. 
The day she came back to the nursing home, her daughter was talking to my Director of Nurses and myself and made the comment, "We have to change out the pig in the freezer." 
My D.O.N. and I looked at each other, wondering what she was referring to, and we had to ask.  The explanation was that the family kept a roasting pig in their freezer so that when their mother died, it would be roasted for the funeral. 
We were both speechless. 
I went back into my office and thought for a moment, grabbed one of those 4x6 pads with advertising and wrote the beginning of The Devil Has Dimples.  The excerpt is those five pages fleshed out over the years.  It took me six months to write the last line, ‘The next day, the daughter no one knew existed showed up in Boggy Bayou.’ and that's when the story really started.

You knew Maudie Cooper was really dead when you read her funeral invite listed in the Boggy Bayou Chronicle.
I’m T-Jack Couvillion, newspaper owner and reporter of ‘The oldest family-run newspaper in Louisiana.’  I can’t report all the news, else I’d be sued every week after the paper came out.  So, I just ramble my thoughts down in case I need to jog my memory later on.  You never know when some bit of information might sell more papers.
Back to Maudie.  There had been talk, of course.  Someone said Maudie was dead, but I couldn’t print her obit, ‘cuz I couldn’t find out if it were true.
Some figured she finally found a salesman gullible enough to believe her blarney about being rich.  Heaven knows, she cornered every male that ate their lunch at Hank’s Hole-in-the-Wall, her hunting ground.  Most never came back.  Maudie could talk them to death.  Fact is, she talked so much they didn’t notice she put her lunch on their tab.  Or they didn’t care.  It was a small price to pay for their freedom.
Two or three were of the opinion that Maudie wasn’t dead.  They thought old Sedgewick Jeansonne had finally caved in to her amorous overtures and that the two were holed up at his place doing the naughty.  No one had seen him much since Maudie closed up her antique store about two weeks ago.
We all missed Maudie.
Silas Moreau, the town’s fix-it man, figured that she could wear out any one human being in three to five hours.
When the boys who sit in front of the courthouse questioned how he knew that fact, he just turned beet red and left.  Silas hasn’t lived that down yet.
The boys (the youngest being seventy-seven and the oldest being Mackie Marcotte, who lies about his age, but everyone knows he’s ninety-three) at the courthouse spent most days speculating where she might have gone.  They missed Maudie telling them all the news, gossip, and trash on everyone in town and the ten miles that encircle Boggy Bayou.  She gave most of the juicier leads to me. 
Our number of tidbits really dropped when she disappeared.  Wasn’t hardly anything to talk about.  Excepting Maudie, of course.
No man dared fool around in Boggy Bayou.  Maudie always found out.  And after she called the man’s wife, the rest of the town knew before he could zip up his pants.
I was in my office finishing the last details on the newspaper, when Grant St. Romain, Maudie’s attorney, brought in her funeral invite. That was a shock.  I said a silent prayer for her and almost busted a gut getting the revised paper out on time.
Maudie would have loved the layout.  Hearts and flowers danced around the corners and inside big bold letters spelled out “Maudie Cooper - Last Rites.”  She died in late October and her wishes were to be buried on Halloween night.
Yeah, at night.
According to the notice, everyone was invited to dress in costume and bring a candle to light during the service in the cemetery.  Since kids were invited, candy would be available for the trick or treaters.  Afterward there would be a pig roast and beer bust at the local V.F.W. Hall.  Most everyone thought that was a nice touch.
All her friends and most of her enemies decided to dress up and go.  It’s not every day you get to wear a costume to a funeral.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite so many people at a graveside service.
Silas dressed up as a pig, complete with a snout, and went around grunting and snorting at all the ladies.  He got a lot of teasing about being dinner.  Silas didn’t need any padding, and many of us wondered why he owned a pink jumpsuit.
Bitsy, Silas’s wife, ran an apple dunking contest by the front gate, welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming.  You would have thought it was the social event of the year, but then, she and Silas don’t get out much.
Mackie Marcotte, Grant St. Romain, and I stood watching the goings on.
“Mackie, you ever been to a funeral on Halloween?”
He thought for a moment, most likely turning the decades over in his mind searching for an answer.
“Nope.  This is the first night funeral I’ve ever been at.  Makes me think it might be a good idea when my time comes.”
“Never for me either, although I did attend a Halloween wedding once.  It was a bit over the top,” said Grant.
Maudie’s casket was perched on a roller parked next to the grave hole.
“Her casket looks like it cost a handsome dollar,” I said.
Mackie nodded.  “They should have given her a kid’s coffin, since she was so small.  If’n I die in the next ten minutes, stuff me in there with her.  There’s more than enough room.”
Grant chuckled.  “I don’t think your wife would like that, Mackie.”
Mackie shook his head, “You’re most likely right.  Maybe I can get us a double wide and we can sleep together ‘til the end of time.  That would jolt her.”
Grant and I couldn’t help but laugh, the visual alone was hilarious.
We watched as kids, busy munching on treats, and bobbing for apples, threw apple cores and candy wrappers all over the ground.
The more serious-minded adults brought lawn chairs and ice chests to get a head start on the beer bust.
When the time for the service arrived, everyone lit their candles.  I have to tell you that was a show.  The candlelight sure was pretty.  Some of the kids had their candles in hollowed-out pumpkins, so there were orange and white lights all over the place.  It was dark enough that you couldn’t see the empty candy wrappers anymore.  A few placed candles on the built-up burial sites, making the area rather festive, even for a graveyard.
Silas managed to burn his snout almost off with his candle.  Bitsy threw a bucket of apples and water over him and his cronies and managed to put that fire out quite nicely.
Reverend Benny Gagnard stood at the head of the casket.  Drawing his fist up to his mouth, he coughed to clear his throat, then said in his loud, hearty sermon voice, “She’s dead.  Thank you, Lord.”
Mackie turned to me.  “That was the shortest eulogy I’ve ever heard.”
“Yeah,” I agreed, “He must be still ticked off ‘cause of Maudie telling his wife about his indiscretion with the choir leader.”
Mackie nodded.  “Just goes to show you.  What goes around, comes around.”
Then the choir led out the song.  Angie Tassin, the choir leader and Maudie’s arch-enemy, raised a little triangle and whacked it twice.  The choir, all Angie’s friends, began to sing, “Ding dong, the witch is dead, the wicked, wicked witch is dead.”  Angie finally got her revenge.  They continued the song while the rest of us hooted, hollered, and laughed so hard, tears rolled down our faces.  Silas fell out of his lawn chair and lost what was left of his burned snout, but didn’t spill a drop of beer.
The only person who seemed to take everything serious was Sedge.  He was dressed up in a new black suit complete with the label still on the sleeve, a hat in his hand and even carried a bunch of yellow flowers he’d picked that grow wild along the roadside during this time of year.
Mackie said, “I’ve never known Sedge to dress in a suit.  Didn’t even know that he had one.”
“Maybe he’s in costume.”  I replied.
“As what?  A funeral director?”  Grant asked.
“He could be a mourner, what with the flowers and all.  He and Maudie have been friends for a quarter of a century.”
Sedge placed his hand on the casket and started to cry.
The three of us stood there, uncomfortable, not knowing what to do.
Someone dressed up in a witch’s costume walked over to him and patted him on the back, giving him what comfort she could and handed him a handkerchief. He was so overcome with grief that he almost toppled into the grave.
Finally, the singing stopped, and while everyone wiped tears and smirks off their faces, the casket was lowered, and old Sedge dropped his bouquet on top.
Then Silas threw in Bitsy’s candle and that started a candle throwing frenzy.  Needless to say, there was a really big blaze going in no time.
The grave diggers got hopping and shoveled dirt in fast.  Eventually the blaze was buried and so was Maudie.
The town’s sure going to miss that old gal.  She sure knew how to enjoy life, and her death wasn’t so bad either.
Then came the biggest surprise of all.
The next day, the daughter no one knew existed showed up in Boggy Bayou.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jolyn Palliata - Connected

Did you ever get a song stuck in your head? Or part of one? How did you get it out? Did you avoid the song at all costs in the blind hope it would stop hammering you into submission? Or did you listen to the song over, and over, and over, until you were so obsessed that all you could think about was that delicious, devilish little laugh….er, what was I saying? (Right. Song stuck in my head. Ahh...I mean, your head.) Now, I know this has happened to every person reading this post, so I’m hoping you’ll relate to my little story here.

Let me give you some background. In October, I released Connected (Twists of Fate #1), and here’s a brief description of the story: A rock group’s rhythm guitarist, Rhys Alexander, dies and finds himself bound inside the body of a woman he’s never met. Can she help him move on to the other side, or will he end up finding the love of his life…after his has already ended?  
For a time, I had this for free on Wattpad (where I posted as I wrote it). And several readers asked me how in the world I came up with the concept. The short answer was ‘By taking the longest route possible.’ The more involved answer is this…

It all started with a song—Imagine that, huh?—which began with a synthesized-sounding guitar and a sinful, maniacal laugh that made my gut quiver. (Yes, I do realize this may be an issue I need to fully address later.) It was Disturbed’s “Inside The Fire”. Add a little Framing Hanley (with that oh-so-sexy voice), and Tavion, lead singer of the band Persevere, was born. And what kind of woman would knock a strapping rock star to his knees? Why, a best-selling author, of course.
So here I had two people who worked in the entertainment industry, but were worlds apart. What could possibly bring them together? The answer seemed so simple, really: Fate. Then my next though was “What if Fate was a living, sometimes-breathing, entity? What an interesting point-of-view that would be!” And it spiraled from there. I dug deep into the protag, Devan (the name of the girl in Disturbed’s song), and put pieces of me and my personality into the mix. Naturally, then I had to mock myself and my works along the way. (i.e., Suddenly Impending Reprisals became Devan’s masterpiece, and guess what…it made it all the way to the NYT Bestsellers list! Way to go, Devan!!)
Now, the question was ‘What inspired me to write Connected’, and so far, I’m telling you how I started writing Twisted (Book 2). Yeah, well, I’m getting there. (Remember how I said it was the longest route possible?)
So there I was, writing Twisted and having a hell of a time. And then the unthinkable happened (insert suspenseful music here)…I got writer’s block. I’m talking a stint of writer’s block that could only have originated from the deepest, most vile and sulfuric, bowels of Hell. And, man, was it stubborn! Over a year went by before I picked it up again, and even then it wasn’t because I came up with a grand master plan, or that my head was swimming with ideas. No. It was simply because I missed my characters. So I started to reread/revise/edit the 30K words I had written, hoping it would shake something loose. Enter: two new inspirations.
The first was the Demonica series by Larissa Ione. In the series, paired up mates can sense each other’s emotions and I got to wondering “What would that be like?”
The next piece of inspiration came from Avenged Sevenfold (A7X). I was studying up on rock bands for Twisted (and can A7X ever ROCK!!), and checking out the band members (*drool*) and it inspired a new character—Rhys.
From Ione and A7X blossomed Connected (finally!) where Rhys’ spirit was stuck inside Addison (my protag), and they could sense each other’s emotions.
But I had one problem. I absolutely REFUSED to walk away from Twisted again. Soooo…how could I use this? Well, first of all, Rhys couldn’t be a lead singer since that’s what Tavion is. And secondly, I wanted this to be a fast-hitting novella used to compliment Twisted’s story. What I needed was a supporting member of the band... Hello, Rhys, my luscious rhythm guitarist!
But then I had another problem. (Because I needed more, right?) I couldn’t picture Rhys in Tavion’s band, Persevere, which is a more mature, established group. No, he belonged with some just-making-it-big band that wasn’t afraid to play with the formula, to take chances, and was just enjoying the ride and what life had to offer. He belonged with the guys of Black Codex.

Then problem #3: How did Black Codex and Persevere tie in to each other? I mean, if Connected leads into Twisted, they have to know each other somehow, right? Well, as luck would have it, they’re all friends. (Who knew?!) Eh, okay, so actually two members from Black Codex are brothers and they grew up with a guy from Persevere, so, by association, they became friends. (It’s all in the details, right?) ;)

All right. Now what? I didn’t want to introduce Fate (my sassy, capricious entity) in Connected even though he’s definitely hard at work behind the scenes. It would’ve been too distracting from the plot, and I had plenty to maneuver already! (Hello…dead rock star stuck in some chicks head!!) So what I did was plot Connected so it all occurs during the same timeframe as the first half of Twisted. Perfect! Then when people read Twisted, they’ll get all the behind-the-scenes-extras that were going on in Connected that either 1) I didn’t have time for, or 2) I couldn’t smoothly transition in.

At the end of my long-ass journey, not only did I have Connected, but I shook myself loose on Twisted…aaand came up with storylines for the other eight band members. (I’ll spare you the details on those. LOL) Thusly, the Twists of Fate series was born.

So, let me ask you again: Did you ever get a song stuck in your head…?

Donna here...I bought Jolyn's book Connected and while not finished with it yet, her concept is brilliant and I don't know how she's going to get out of the corner she's painted herself's a great read and I wholly recommend it.

For more information on the Twists of Fate series:

To purchase Connected (Twists of Fate #1):

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Lovers' Buffet - Holiday Extravaganza

This is your chance to fill your Kindle with eBooks for under a dollar!  Check it out!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Gift by Mary Marvella

THE GIFT - Women's Fiction
by Mary Marvella

On Edna Mae's 40th birthday she buried her controlling father and lost her virginity in a one-night stand with a stranger she never expected to see again. Her life is about to change in more ways than she could have imagined.

Like Cinderella, she had no real life. The world opens for her now that she has no sick parents demanding all of her attention. Finding new friends and a world she thought had passed her by is wonderful, but there's more!

THE GIFT is story about an old-fashioned woman in a modern world, written in an old-fashioned way.

Mary is also the author of two paranormal romances,
Haunting Refrain &  Forever Love

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hide'n Go Seek by Dale Mayer


A twisted game of Hide’n Go Seek forces an unlikely alliance between a no-nonsense FBI agent and a search-and-rescue worker.

Celebrated search-and-rescue worker Kali Jordon has hidden her psychic abilities by crediting her canine partner Shiloh with the recoveries. But Kali knows the grim truth—The Sight that she inherited from her grandmother allows her to trace violent energy unerringly to victims of murder. No one knows her secret until a twisted killer challenges her to a deadly game of Hide'n Go Seek that threatens those closest to her.

Now she must rely on FBI Special Agent Grant Summers, a man who has sworn to protect her, even as he suspects there's more to Kali and Shiloh than meets the eye. As the killer draws a tighter and tighter circle around Kali, she and Grant find there's no place to hide from themselves.

Are her visions the key to finding the latest victim alive or will this twisted game of Hide’n Go Seek cost her…everything?

You can find Dale's book at Amazon - All Romance eBooks

You can find Dale on her website:

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