Pepper Phillips – Office Space Should Lead to Creativity

A writer’s office should reflect their personality and help them create. It’s a space where you can have the books you love around you. Where you can place items that will amuse, enchant, and move you.

Here’s a glimpse of mine.


I bought the desk and computer cabinet from an office supply store and managed to put them together myself.


This is the night view with the lights on.  I put a sheet of glass on top, installed a light underneath so that the glass vases on top would be highlighted.  I love the look at night.  Here’s a close-up of one of the sections.


The green picture frame holds a picture of my first son…taken a few days before he was ill and in the hospital for a month.  He received the last rites. A very scary period of my life. Thank heavens he recuperated.


Here’s a delightful item I purchased that even has it’s own working light. She’s holding a baby bear on her lap.


This bookcase is located to the right of my desk. The leprechaun is my ‘muse’…LOL


This filing cabinet is also on the right hand side of the desk.  There is a door between the filing cabinet and the bookcase above.  On top is my ‘romance writer’ hat.  I have worn it in public…once.  It did get the stares.


The forward left hand corner holds Rob…a almost life-size poster board that I managed to get at a Romantic Times Convention.  The lady who won it came by plane and auctioned it off.  I drove a car…and he’s mine.


At the corner of my desk sits Alf, the little sofa opens up and there is a hidey hole there to hide stuff.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing there.


I couldn’t resist this sign.


This is my world.  I hope you enjoyed this little tour.

Mother’s Day Soon

For Mother’s Day 2008, I wrote the following post:

Today I celebrated Mother’s Day as a daughter, mother and grandmother. My son-in-law invited four generations of women to lunch: my daughter and her two little daughters (4 and 2), my son’s daughter (3) visiting from Chicago, my mother and myself.

Four Generations on Mother's Day 2008

Four Generations on Mother’s Day 2008

Lunch was lovely. We ignored the spilled glass of orange juice, the I-don’t-like-it whining, and the crumbles forming a hidden mess under the table.

It took fifteen minutes to organize the ladies for the picture of the century. Moving my mother and her walker to a strategic place, and then having her hold on the rail of the entrance stairs wasn’t too difficult, but gathering three laughing, squealing and squirming little girls and having them stand still for two seconds was an enormous challenge. But the effort was worth the pain. The children are growing too fast and we don’t know how long we will be blessed with my mother’s presence.

I hope all the mothers reading this blog had a great day today.

Sometimes Mother’s Day is a difficult time. I know it is extremely difficult for my cousin who lost her mother a week ago. For her and her family, Mother’s Day consists in a trip to the cemetery to deposit flowers on a fresh grave.

Unfortunately, time flies. My mother left us for a better world in September 2010. There isn’t a day that passed without me thinking of her. Next month, I will travel to Ohio to visit my parents’ graves and tell them I haven’t forgotten them.

I recently wrote a sweet humorous novel titled MOTHER’S DAY BABIES. No it’s not my mom’s story but I know she would have smiled and laughed while reading it. She read my first three books and loved them, unfortunately she couldn’t read the others.

Enjoy your mothers and enjoy your day as a mother.

This book is dedicated to the mothers we celebrate and those we remember with love.

WMDB MD-idowed for seven years, Barbara Ramsay lives and breathes for her five grownup daughters and their babies. She’s also used to chatting over the phone with her good friend, Lou. But why has he invited her to come to Paris with his TV Network crew?

Powerful News Director, Lou Roland is certainly not marriage material, yet he has suddenly decided he wants Barbara in his arms. Not an easy task when his pretty confidante from Kentucky proves so difficult to date—unless he follows her rules. Can the over-fifty confirmed bachelor and the widow loyal to her husband’s memory find true love and share a future?


The Iris are blooming, so are my sinus cavities.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Spring. Spring is the most beautiful season of all. Birds sing louder and more often, because the heavens open, showers the earth and brings worms galore closer to the surface. 🙂 Sometimes it rains more often than we’d like, but that’s April and where would we be without gentle rains to wash away the pollen?

Our cars change overnight to a shade we don’t recognize. I emptied the vacuum cleaner filter, threw away the bag tinged with greenish-yellow pollen. In and out the house and leaving the door open until I can get my mom from the door to car, brought tons of pollen inside. Thank goodness for air cleaners!

A friend shipped one gorgeous white Iris bulb from North Carolina a few years ago. Now, there are probably more than fifty bulbs protruding from the small flower bed. The more I give away, the more they spread. I should sell them, but it’s much nicer to see a sweet smile on the face of an Iris bulb receiver.

Before the rain, I snapped this beautiful Iris in my yard. There’s a hint of lavendar on this perfect shaped flower.


During a short shower I snapped the photo below of my Muscadine Grape vine. I hope you can see the sparkling rain drops. The vine is still on my deck in the pot! I haven’t had time to plant, but hope to get it into the ground in the next day or so. The skin is tougher on a Muscadine than a regular grape, but if you’ve never eaten one the flavor will knock your socks off. 🙂 My mom used them to make jelly and jam. Wow, what a delicious spread for a hot buttered biscuit.


So…my sinus problem will go away. For now, the flowers make up for the pollen explosion we all shared.

I wish you many happy blooms and veggies from your garden.

My books are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, Apple and Smashwords.

You can find links on my website, here.

What Is A Romance Novel by Joan Reeves

Scents and Sensuality by Joan Reeves

Scents and Sensuality by Joan Reeves — Available Now!

What is a romance novel?

As a reader, you may be surprised that the answer to that question frequently is under discussion by romance authors and the main organization of romance authors.

Sure, you know that the romance novel is a literary genre, and that the primary focus in this genre is the relationship – the love – between two people. Once, publishers of romance novels demanded writers end the story with a happily ever after. Now, publishers often ask for writers to end stories with an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

To me, there’s a huge difference between happily ever after and emotionally satisfying and optimistic. I suppose the new romance novel standard is supposed to reflect the cynicism of contemporary times.

A Teensy History

In 1740, Samuel Richardson penned Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. Considered the first romantic novel, Pamela had two surprising elements that were different from other novels. First, it focused almost entirely on courtship. Second, the novel was told from the viewpoint of a female protagonist.

In the next century, the remarkable Jane Austen, whose Pride and Prejudice is often considered the pinnacle of the genre, came along. She inspired Georgette Heyer – I always think of her as the twentieth century Jane Austen – who introduced historical romances in 1921.

About 10 years later, a small British company called Mills and Boon began publishing what were called category romance novels – short books with a set number of pages and standard elements. The Mills and Boon romances were resold for a North American market by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. Harlequin marketed directly to readers and allowed mass-market merchandisers to sell the books too and the genre was off and running.

Then, in 1972, Avon published The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, the first single title romance novel to be published as a paperback original, and the modern romance genre was born.

My How You’ve Grown

From then until now, there have been a lot of romance novels published. The genre has grown and given birth to sub-genres of every possible variation. It has become the most popular genre in North America where it accounts for more than half of all paperback books sold.

Romance isn’t just a North America phenomenon. The genre is also popular in Europe, the UK, and Australia. In fact, romance novels are published in more than 90 languages.

Hey, Girls! Guess What?

For years, the romance novel was decried as being lowbrow and read by women who were out of touch with reality. We’re not out of touch with reality. We just know what we want. Sadly, many women don’t get that overwhelming love and romanticism from the men in their lives, but many women do have that.

I sometimes think a good romance novel sets the standard for the kind of love and romance a woman wants in a relationship. If a man really wants to know what a woman wants, he should read a good romance novel.

I find it heartwarming — and a bit ironic — that our beloved genre is now the most popular, best selling genre of all time. Tell that to your romance-dissing acquaintances the next time they start talking about how romance novels aren’t “real” books!

With all the changes and growth in the romance genre, I guess it’s not surprising that the happily ever after morphed into the optimistic and satisfying. But, I’m not willing to give up my happily ever after – in real life or fiction.

Maybe, it’s because the traditional ending is all about love — lasting love. Today, in the wake of so much death and destruction in the news, I find myself thinking about the importance of love. In the end, it’s the most important thing in anyone’s world.

With the romance novels I write, like my latest novel, SCENTS and SENSUALITY, I aim high. I want that happily ever after for my characters, not just an optimistic, satisfying ending.

After all, I always say my motto is: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” And I believe that.

Post Script

What’s your favorite kind of ending for a romance novel?

(Joan Reeves writes sassy, sexy Romance Novels. Her latest novel, indeed all her ebooks, are available at most ebook sellers, with audio editions available at Audible and iTunes. Joan publishes Writing Hacks, a free subscription newsletter for writers, and Wordplay, a free subscription newsletter for readers. Visit SlingWords, Joan’s Blog, or her Website.)

Rain, Rain, Go Away

It feels like it has been raining here for weeks. And it has, on and off. The last few days though have been relentless. The rivers near our home are flooding. Roads are closed. Farm fields are running black with sludge. And my mood reflects the weather; so gray and dim and dampening.

Most of the time I don’t mind the rain, especially when there’s intermittent sunshine tossed in to round out the day. This unrelenting rain has gotten to me. It’s hard to smile when everything is wet.

The news this week hasn’t brought any rays of sunshine either. The senselessness in Boston and the willingness to maim and kill randomly without compunction or remorse seems to be making the heavens weep. Knowing there is no cause and effect relationship doesn’t stop the writer in me from finding connections where there are none.

As I was thinking of upbeat topics to blog about, the weather and the week’s events kept circling in my head. Neither of them particularly things I want to dwell on, primarily because I can’t change them, but they’re here and there’s no escaping weather or news. (Sometimes escaping e-mail is huge victory.)

So, friends what do you do when the weather turns for too long in a dark direction or the news of the week turns destructive to your psyche in a way that has you questioning the humanity of your fellow humans?

I saw a quote from Fred Rogers on FB that said something like, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘when tragedy strikes, look for the helpers’. I love that. There are always helpers and focusing on that does help. I also look at my children and think, there are really great people in the world who make every day better just by being here.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have fallen victim to senseless violence, especially those in Boston this week. Peace to you and those you hold dear. It’s time for a little sunshine in our hearts, in our actions and in our lives.



My Favourite Movie Hero

Last weekend I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, yet again. I’ve indyseen the movie (and its sequels) dozens of times, but whenever it comes on TV, I can’t seem to tear my eyes away. There’s something about Indiana Jones that I just can’t get enough of.

Indy may not be an ideal romantic lead; he appears to have commitment issues, putting off marrying his longtime love Marion until the fourth movie. But he’s not your standard action hero, either. He’s daring but still human and relatable. He may be able to outrun a giant boulder and jump from a horse onto a moving truck, but he still makes mistakes, gets battered and bruised, and loses his temper when things go wrong. Watching him, we feel we could do the same things he does were we in his situation. And, though he’s not perfect, we can love him because he’s a good man with honourable motives. He risks life and limb to recover ancient artifacts not for glory or monetary gain, but so they can be studied and appreciated by everyone.

Of course much of Indy’s appeal comes from the actor portraying him. Harrison Ford has the rare talent of making every character he plays someone we instantly like and want to root for. Add a leather jacket and fedora, and you’ve got instant sexy.

Which movie hero makes your heart flutter?

Texas is abloom by Jill James

This week the husband and I visited the son and daughter-in-law in Texas for son’s birthday. He is in the army at Ft. Hood.


Photo credited to Rob Wiltshire via

Texas is abloom right now with the state flower; Texas Bluebonnets. Being from California I’m used to the hills aglowing with golden poppies. In Texas the fields, hills, and any flat surface is overflowing with blue flowers. It is a pretty sight.

The weather was atrocious. If that is spring I’ll stick to Sunny California. It was windy, cold, and it seemed like a tornado was just waiting behind every black cloud. And my hair does not like humidity. LOL

But seeing the son for his birthday was priceless, and I’ll take any weather to see him. Like they say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a couple of hours, it will be different. 🙂

Has spring come to your neck of the woods yet?

LoveintheTimeofZombies 200x300Jill James, author of contemporary and paranormal romance.
coming soon, Love in the Time of Zombies
Booksigning – May 2nd 4-6 pm. at Romantic Times Convention, Kansas City, MO