Sometimes life gives us gifts of pure grace; one such for me was meeting Pea. She began as an exercise in sheer fun—sitting on my deck in a wicker rocker, taking a few weeks off from my contracted writing to see if, after several years as a working writer, I still remembered how to play, how to write for the sheer fun of it, a joy too easily lost under the pressure of deadlines and expectations, both mine and others’.

I knew nothing about Pea, even her name at first—only that this woman was on the road searching for the reincarnated soul of the sister she desperately missed. It all seemed like a lark those first few days, drinking this delicious Mexican iced coffee recipe while listening to birdsong under my live oaks…and seeing where Pea would take me next.

When it was time to get back to my deadlines, Pea was never far from me, and over the next few years, I returned to her often, letting the flight of fancy take me away whenever possible. It led to such adventures as the Conan the Barbarian Festival in CrossREMEMBERING THE JOY by Jean Brashear Plains, Texas (yes, it’s real, though the sword-fighting competition is only my idea of what should go on.)

Then there were the back roads meanderings to check out various markers I’ll share with you in my blog in coming days. In the course of doing so, my husband added to his collection of photos of oddball sights one misses when traveling by interstate highways. Thanks to a wonderful resource called Why Stop? by Betty Dooley Awbrey and Claude Dooley, I could find and share the various roadside markers used to begin chapters.

THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA is available for preorder now!



  1. Love this book and Pea!

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