Spells and Oregano: A Novel of Love Lost and Love Found

Ghosts are real. They are our past experiences that haunt us. Lost chances, lost loves, and all other heartbreaks remain with us, ethereal, yet tangible.

Spells and Oregano: Book II in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy takes place ten years after the first in the series, Cooking for Ghosts, closes. Apart from a whole new story line which I hope will resonate with readers, it answers one big question: What happened to poor Sarita, who was left so unhappy in Book I?

Spells and Oregano is a magical realism novel with a cast of characters we met in Cooking for Ghosts, but while the latter novel is primarily a novel of female friendships, redemption, and actualization (with a few sassy, nosy spirits thrown in for good measure) the former novel is about love. Love lost, love found, and love redeemed. 

The setting of all three novels is the fictitious restaurant, The Secret Spice Cafe, which is housed aboard the very real ship, the RMS Queen Mary. Once the world’s greatest ocean liner, it’s now a majestic hotel and museum docked in Long Beach, California. Time magazine has named the Queen Mary  “one of the top ten most haunted places.”  I am so honored to say that apart from the usual places where books are sold, this trilogy of novels can also be found aboard the RMS Queen Mary, where they have chosen to display and sell them in all the gift shops on the ship.

However, though the Queen Mary is the main setting for all three novels (Book III, Demons, Well-Seasoned, will be published in 2019) Spells and Oregano also takes us on  a side trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, where we meet the brilliant, dynamic magicians, identical twins Luciano and Santino Miceli. In order to portray them and their art of magic accurately, I interviewed my favorite magician — in fact, he is known as the world’s best one — David Copperfield. What a thrill it was that he patiently and graciously answered all my questions about orchestrating a magic show such as his. And I am so pleased to tell you that he deemed the novel a success. 

David Copperfield calls Spells and Oregano, “haunting,” and that it “captures the essence of grand magic performance.” But I hope you’ll judge for yourself. Have a look at the one and a half minute book trailer below, which was actually filmed aboard the beautiful Queen Mary herself:

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