Drinking With The Bayou Spirits

I love Louisiana. What can I say?

Brandye Flowers

drinking with the bayou spiritstw

Drinking with the Bayou Spirits

You never really know your neighbors.

My family discovered this truth after taking a vacation in our home state of Louisiana. We have traveled the United States and lived far beyond our own borders. It was that one trip to the south that made us realize there are still secrets lurking in the bayous.

Now we make adventures of it. We take weekend trips and vacations in our home state to explore its culture and discover its forgotten places. This weekend, we decided to check out Lake Charles, LA, and follow where the spirits led us.

Rum. I’m talking about rum here folks. The good ole fashioned southern spirits of liquor and beer.

The micro-distillery and micro-brewery markets are alive and thriving in the swampy south, so we met up in Lacassine outside of Lake Charles to see what they had to offer.

Because sometimes…

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New Release – Star Glory by T.Jackson King

re-blogging from Ch’kara Silverwolf. Very fine, strong sci fi new release by T. Jackson King.

Ch'kara SilverWolf

Today I have a New Release for you, Star Glory, book in the Empire Series, by my friend T. Jackson King.

Star Glory


Nathan Stewart never expected to be homeless in the galaxy. But that is what happens when his starship Star Glory is ambushed by a fleet from the alien-run Empire of Eternity. His captain is given a choice–surrender and pledge that Earth will join the Empire as a Servant species, or Earth will be destroyed! Nathan watches all this happening from his job as an antimatter engineer on the Engineering Deck. But what can he do? He’s just a country boy raised on a Colorado cattle ranch. As two other Earth ships are destroyed, Nathan gets a wild idea that might save his ship. The idea works. The Star Glory escapes destruction. But the ship, his captain, his crewmates and Nathan cannot return to Earth without learning a…

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A word about branding for authors. Reblogged from Kristen Lamb

How many of you gave a long sigh when you saw the word “branding”? Yeah, me too. I know marketing is important. For instance BETA and VHS came out about the same time with products that allowed us to watch movies whenever we wanted. Yes, this was pre-DVD, but still a viable lesson. BETA was a superior product, but VHS marketed better and they took over the world. Same thing with Microsoft. Their Operating System was inferior to several that were on the market at the time, but savvy marketing and advertising skyrocketed them into the lead for all those PC’s that people began buying.

So marketing and advertising, yeah, important. Most of us authors are not marketing or advertising geniuses, but we cannot hide our heads in the sand. The blog post below is a great starting point to jump off into the world of branding and specifically marketing and advertising for authors.



Is it “call old people week”?

Suddenly, we started getting calls on our home phone. Yes, we still have a land line! Gasp!!! But that’s not all. We’re also getting calls on our cell phones.

We’re on the national don’t call us list for a reason. We don’t want these calls.

The calls are ridiculous…

“We are noticing a number of errors on your computer…” No – you’re not. It’s a scam. You are a scammer. Don’t call us again.

“We are calling about your pain and suffering.” Right, I’m old. I must be in pain and suffering. I have a doctor for that. Don’t call us again.

“We’re at Microsoft….” No, you’re not. Microsoft didn’t get where they are by calling individuals at their homes with concern about how their computers are running. Another scam. Don’t call us again.

“Do you have diabetes?” None of your business! Don’t call us again.

“We’re from the IRS and we’re about to freeze your assets unless you pay….” No. The IRS does NOT call people at home. It’s not the way they work. Another scam. Don’t call us again. This one is sometimes a recorded message giving me a number to call to find out how to deliver my money to these scammers. I was watching Colombo!!! Leave me alone! Oh, and don’t call us again.

While I’m writing this, my husband just got a call on his cell phone asking if our car was running alright. They have a warranty to sell us. He told them “no” and they hung up. They don’t care about our car!! That’s okay, just don’t call us again.

We’re on the National Do Not Call Registry. Somehow, people recently got our cell phone information and we have been bombarded with calls on our cell phones. If I want something or some information, I know how to use the internet to look up things. I have access to doctors and lawyers and all kinds of professional people if I need help with anything. If my computer up and dies, I can go to Best Buy and get another one this afternoon.

Honestly, all these folks are doing is aggravating me.

Between the land line and the cell phones, we’re getting up to 10 calls a day. Calls we don’t need and don’t want.

Oh, I left out Rachel. She calls a lot with our “last chance” to get a better interest rate on our credit cards. She won’t stop calling either and she wants our credit card numbers. If she’s so smart, she should have the credit card numbers already right? Another scammer.

I admit I do have some fun with these folks sometimes. Once I said… “Gosh, my husband will be glad to hear about this cruise we won. Can we still go when he gets out of prison? He got sent up for 20 years, but I think he’s gonna make parole before that.”

Oh come on. Let’s just have some fun with them. You know you want to.

“Gee, I thought we’d never be able to have credit again after that ponzi scheme conviction.”

Or, “Okay, I’ll just send you guys the check I get from the Nigerian prince. Will that work for you?”

On a serious note. These are professional scammers. They make money from scaring honest people. If they gain access to your computer they will hold it for “ransom”. They can do some real harm. They can also give your computer nasty viruses.

Never give them access to your computer or give out your credit card information. 

Tell these folks to take a flying leap. You don’t have to put up with them. Now, where is that number to call again?

Oh, yeah, here it is.   https://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx

My favorite thing to say is, “I’m reporting you to the FCC.”

And then I do.

New Release – Blood Fever by Simone Beaudelaire

Ch'kara SilverWolf

Today I have a New Release for you from my friend Simone BeaudelaireBlood Fever is a vampire romance adventure.  I have read this book and loved it.

Blood Fever


It is the spring of 1945 and the War in Europe is ending, but in New Orleans’s French Quarter, the sultry nights conceal a danger even greater to the future of humanity. Standing alone against this ancient, bloodthirsty evil, scientist Philippe Dumont races against time to cure a disease that resembles yellow fever… but is not.

Budding researcher Daphne Delaney joins Philippe in hopes of preventing an undead despot from launching his own quest for global dominance. Daunting though the task may seem, neither Daphne nor Philippe can grasp the scope of the danger they face, nor of the passion they will find in each other.

From urban New Orleans to the depths of the bayou, Philippe must chase the monster…

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A Zebra or a Horse and the Experience to Know the Difference

My daughter recently went through an ordeal with her health. It began just after Thanksgiving and continued through most of January. That is a long time to deal with a health concern. She woke up dizzy one morning. My first indication was when she was on the floor throwing up and called to me and said she couldn’t go in to work.

A stomach virus – my first thought. It happens. People get over it. She didn’t. Finally she made me understand that she was dizzy and that was the cause of the nausea.

Still, I was not overly concerned. These things happen and she’s young and healthy and we had just returned from one of the best vacations we’ve ever had (Cypremort Point down on the Vermillion Bay  http://www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-parks/parks/cypremort-point-state-park/ ) and I knew she’d be better soon.

She did get a little better, but then she was on the floor throwing up again a few days later. Her nurse and doctor friends became concerned when she was not able to stay better longer than a day or two before another bout of this mysterious dizziness hit her.

So she had tests to rule out scary things that might have gone wrong in her brain. Negative. Then we had tests to rule out other scary things. Also negative. She saw three specialists. Two were ENT people who did more tests. She had MRI’s and xrays and blood tests and hearing tests. Some days she could hear just fine. On other days she was losing her hearing.

Thousands of dollars later, we had no definitive diagnosis and she was going through her savings at light speed.

Sitting and talking to you, she might suddenly fall out of her chair when the dizziness hit. She couldn’t drive herself anywhere. Her new car sat in the driveway looking sad. These dizzy spells sometimes lasted for days. On the days when she could go to work, we had to drive her to her job and back. All these dizzy spells affected her work. They made her use a walker to get around inside the office. Humiliating, but safe. She missed a lot of work days. Amazingly, her employers kept her and worked with her as best they could.

We stumbled through Christmas with a mystery as to what was wrong with her. The doctors and specialists were not sure. No definitive diagnosis. They referred her to other specialists who had different equipment that could maybe identify the problem.

Zebra. January came. They thought, maybe it might be a rare and difficult to diagnose disease for which there is no cure. This might be something she would have to live with while she slowly went deaf. She was trying to find out what to do with her car because she couldn’t keep it if she was unable to work. She was wondering about disability and waiting for a diagnosis to possibly start that process. I would have been screaming and crying. She was calm. I gained a lot of respect for her throughout this process.

So there is an older ENT in town. When someone mentioned him, I wondered, ‘Is he still alive?’ But we made an appointment with him even though she didn’t want to go that day, I urged her to keep the appointment.  She was tired of doctors and tests and no diagnoses. I know she was exhausted with the process. Months had passed with no diagnosis and no viable treatment options.

She was in there a long time. When she finally came out, she was elated. Her problem was not vertigo at all, but an imbalance. Not a zebra, just a horse. A regular horse! Her dizziness was caused by dehydration and too much salt. The fluid in the inner ear caused her balance problems and the balance problems caused dizziness and nausea. A horse! Not a zebra at all!

So now she takes a fluid pill and avoids fast food and keeps her salt intake to about 2000 whatevers a day. Oh, and she had to give up caffeine.

She does not suffer from a rare disease with no cure, instead she takes a fluid pill every day and eats healthier and avoids salt (fast food) and she’s drinking root beer and mostly water and feeling fine and her hearing no longer fluctuates.

That is what experience does for you. It lets you concentrate on the horses and not waste time searching for zebras that aren’t there.

But I think if it had been a zebra, this ENT doctor would have spotted it right away. There’s nothing like experience.

Thank goodness for experience and most especially, thank goodness for ENT doctors with experience.


Failure, Betrayal & Setbacks—Sometimes the Only Way Out is THROUGH

We all have setbacks. It’s how we handle them that makes the difference. Thanks for this reminder.

Kristen Lamb's Blog


Setbacks. We all have them and, strangely, they like to cluster together and dog pile us at once. The trick to setbacks is to adjust our perspective of what happened and use them to to make us stronger, wiser and grittier.

You might not believe me, but instant success is not always good for us. There is something about the process of learning and doing and failing and starting again and again even when we want to give up that is healthy. In fact it is vital for any kind of long-term achievement.

I know because I’ve encountered my share of people who were promoted too soon, beyond the scope of their abilities and far past the strength of their character. And it ended badly every…single…time.

Growth is a Process


All human growth is a process. It has steps. We skip steps at our own peril. Everything we are doing…

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Bunnies and other furry things.

So we went to see our three lovely little Valentines on Valentines Day. They’re so amazing!

We took them some chocolate covered strawberries, a big hit and a big cookie and some little presents. Since the baby told me recently that nobody ever gave her roses, we took a vase of red roses and told them they had to share.

We had a wonderful visit with them.

They also had bunnies – little fluffy bunnies that have to be caged because the dog wants to eat them.

I like animals, I really do. But bunnies in the house? Trying to keep them away from a dog that wants to chase and eat them? Sounds like a recipe for broken hearts for my Valentine girls and traumatic incidents for the bunnies.

When I was a girl, I did get Easter chicks a couple of times. They were cute and they were dyed pretty colors and I took them to my grandmother’s house and she kept them with her chickens. Eventually they grew up and laid eggs and were probably eaten. I realize, not every little girl had a grandmother who had chickens. Farm people look at animals differently and I understood that at an early age.

The girls explained to me that their bunnies were pets, not the kind of bunnies you eat. They were adamant about that.  I nodded, but I don’t think the dog understood.

I don’t know what will happen to these bunnies, but I fear their future might be bleak.

Please consider carefully before you bestow bunnies or chicks on people for Easter, or any other time.

Every other week, my son is a single parent to my three little Valentines and I remember how hard it was to be a single parent. I had so little time, I planned my trips to and from work so I could make right turns to do everything I needed.

The extra burden of dealing with three bunnies in addition to a dog and three little girls seems a bit much to me.

Easter rabbits and chicks are cute. No denying that, but I feel bad for the animals.

Please be considerate.