Pepper Oneal Confesses

Tell Me I Didn't Just Do That

I have this problem. And I freely admit that I need help. Not therapy, just help. I have this terrible habit of writing in my head. What’s wrong with that? you ask. Nothing—unless you’re me. Or someone like me. Honestly, I think what I really need is a keeper.

When I write, I am consumed by the world, characters, and lives that I’m in at that moment. I can totally tune out the outside world—also known as reality—and focus my whole brain on my work. The house could burn down around me, but dang it, I’m going to finish this scene! That’s bad enough, but worse is that even when I am not at the computer, I continue to write—in my head. Which wouldn’t be so terrible, except while I am totally consumed by the scene I am composing, I am not paying attention to the world I actually live in. And that can be painful, not to mention dangerous.

Now my family and close friends know this about me, and they recognize the symptoms. So if they see me wandering around with a blank stare on my face or putting my manuscript in the refrigerator, they’ll intervene. They just shake their heads and say, “Oh, she’s writing again,” as they keep me walking into walls. And I take precautions myself. Such as, I never start the dishwasher without first opening it and inspecting it very carefully to make sure I haven’t stuffed something inside that isn’t dishwasher safe, like a manuscript—or a cat. Same thing with the washing machine. And some things I have learned the hard way that I can’t do when I write in my head. Like cooking. Case in point is the time I was having trouble with a scene and decided to take a break and make potato salad. So I put some eggs on to boil. Oops. Bad idea! They ran out of water and exploded all over the kitchen. Made a god-awful mess. Who knew that eggs explode when you run them out of water? Not me! That’s not a mistake I’ll make twice.

So why did I do this? I really wish I knew. I was working on a scene from my new book, Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Men Don’t, which is coming out on Saturday, June 28th, and I’d painted my characters into a corner. I didn’t have a clue how to get them out. So I decided to take a break and run to the store to pick up a few things I needed. Just a quick forty-five minutes to clear my head. Yeah, right. Now I know better. I really do. At least I had sense enough not to drive myself. A friend took me and waited outside while I ran in. And pick up a few things I did. I hurried around the store, working on the plot problem and grabbing what I needed to get by for a few days until I could take the time to really go grocery shopping. I only needed five or six things so I didn’t bother with a cart or a basket. I just stuffed what I needed in my arms.

When I got back to the car, my friend frowned at me. “What? They didn’t give you a bag at checkout?”

I looked down at the items I’d stuffed in my arms and tuned into reality long enough to realize I hadn’t even bothered with checkout. I’d just picked up the things I needed and walked out. God, I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t believe I had done that. Now I had to go back in the store, go up to a clerk, apologize, and pay for my items. I am sure she realized that I hadn’t intended to steal anything. Most thieves don’t take the items back into to the checkout counter after they’ve already gotten away clean. But still…I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. I hate to think what would have happen if store security had seen me before I woke up and realized what I’d done. “But, officer, I wasn’t stealing, honest. I was writing.”

Dead Men Don’t Blurb:

A strange man has come to save her...but is he friend or foe?

Anderson Merritt’s been kidnapped, but when a stranger comes to rescue her, she isn’t sure he is who he says he is. He claims to work her father’s boss. But someone close to Andi set her up, and now she doesn’t know who to trust. Every man she’s ever known has seen her only as a tool to get to her father or his money, so why should this one be any different? As the sparks between them ignite, and the danger escalates, Andi has to choose—go off on her own, or trust that some men really are what they seem.

He doesn’t want to hurt her…but he may have to if she doesn’t come willingly.

Ex-CIA black ops specialist Levi Komakov doesn’t believe in hurting women, but when the place is set to blow and Andi won’t cooperate, he has no choice to but toss her over his shoulder and carry her out of danger, determined to keep her safe in spite of herself. But the beautiful little spitfire doesn’t make it easy for him. With her abductors seemingly always one step ahead of him, Levi suspects there’s a rat in the woodpile, but who? Could it be someone close to Andi’s father, someone in the FBI, or someone in the family Levi works for? When a new threat appears, and even the CIA can’t help him keep Andi safe, Levi puts everything on the line—but will it be enough?

Pepper O’Neal Bio:

Award-winning author, Pepper O’Neal is a researcher, a writer, and an adrenalin junkie. She has a doctorate in education and spent several years in Mexico and the Caribbean working as researcher for an educational resource firm based out of Mexico City. During that time, she met and befriended many adventurers like herself, including former CIA officers and members of organized crime. Her fiction is heavily influenced by the stories they shared with her, as well her own experiences abroad.

O’Neal attributes both her love of adventure and her compulsion to write fiction to her Irish and Cherokee ancestors. When she’s not at her computer, O’Neal spends her time taking long walks in the forests near her home or playing with her three cats. And of course, planning the next adventure.


Thanks for visiting, Pepper. Loved your confession!

What a story about the grocery store adventure! I get involved in my stories but not to that degree! Good luck with your book!

Mary Montague Sikes
I love that story because I understand exactly how that mind-wandering, head writing thing can get us into trouble. I haven't walked out with unpaid groceries yet, but I've mumbled bad-guy dialogue in public a time or two. :D

Dead Men Don't sounds like a page-turner. Thanks for hosting Pepper, Marilyn.

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