Good Riddance, California?

So, just wanted to point something out to those in the United States who've made the comments about how the country would be "well rid" of California, because of what it cost the nation recently due to disaster funding given to the state by the federal government: California is the largest contributor to the federal budget, at 13.3 percent. Even with the check just written to them to mitigate the costs of the flood disaster, California puts in more money than it takes out. Always. In fact, there are only four states that get more than they give, and those states are DC, West Virginia, Hawaii, and New Mexico. Therefore, if California leaves, the US would lose 13.3 percent of its federal … [Read more...]

Cab Calloway and Opera Gloves

For those who have an interest, here's an update on Book II of The Secret Spice Trilogy, SPELLS and OREGANO, scheduled to be released late this year: ____________ First of all, thank you to the Art Deco Society of California and Art Deco Motor and Fashion Group for their expertise and gracious help on hairdos and styles of the 1930s. I've spend two weeks researching and writing about The Art Deco Ball which takes place annually on The Queen Mary for Book II of the Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy, SPELLS AND OREGANO, due to be released late this year. Two whole weeks, with the music of Benny Goodman and Cab Calloway playing in my head, hankerings for champagne cocktails and Singapore Slings, and … [Read more...]

A Modest Proposal to Yahoo, from a Customer

Dear Yahoo: When my first book was published, I took book marketing classes and discovered how important it was that I have an author website, along with a contact list of readers who have shown interest in my work. You were one of the new games in town, so I signed up and created a website and email address book through your server. Eight years later, I feel like your bitch. It's not the fact that your IT people are bored out of their minds, and so randomly make unnecessary changes to email that are a hindrance rather than an improvement. It's not the fact that your prices to host a website are higher than most. It's not the fact that if I have a technical problem, I need to … [Read more...]

A New Moment

A new year. I always shake my head a little when I hear people panicking over that, or wanting to celebrate that too desperately. Here's why: We imposed that on ourselves --the marking of time that is, into days, weeks, months, years, and decades. Nature itself remains unchanged in its cycles, but its humans who feel the urge to count time, and thus add unnecessary stress or expectation to it. We say we want to do this "by age thirty," or that "by age sixty." It's just another restriction, another way to fit us into boxes that society has set up. I mean, what if "this" isn't accomplished by age thirty, but age forty? Does the achievement mean less because of the date it was achieved? And the … [Read more...]

Finally Sat Down and Wrote This Letter. Now, We Wait.

  Dear Santa: I hope all is well with you. Been meaning to write for a while about this: "Naughty or nice," by what definition, specifically? After decades of observing who gets lots of presents and who gets none, I'm still not clear on the parameters. Could you clarify? Yours sincerely,  Patricia V. Davis     … [Read more...]

Lady,Take the Bag: A Christmas Story

I had the Shopping Trip From Hell today, and I'm going to rant about it here, so if you’ve had enough of your own holiday shopping trips from Hell, best move along. Let me start with all the Santas standing outside of every. damn. shop. My heart tells me, “Those Santas are there for a good cause. And they’re cold, poor things, outside for hours, ringing those bells, next to that little leprechaun pot. Look at them ─ so persistently cheery, asking for nothing, just wishing everyone a happy holiday, wanting to help the needy, hoping you won’t be a selfish git and ignore their smiles and puppy dog eyes.”  But my head tells me, “Oh, goody. Guilt Trip. Haven’t been on one of these in a while. … [Read more...]

One Voice

A number of ..."things," I'll say, for lack of a more creative but vague word, happened to me along this road of life. For a number of reasons that are important to me, I don't talk about them, other than in ambiguous terms, such as calling them "things." But I'll say this: those things --- things that I wasn't able to control --- were pretty damn terrible. They could have destroyed me. They could have warped me. They could have robbed me of empathy, generosity, and trust. I could have learned from these things to truly and deeply hate, to become viciously determined to destroy everyone and everything that had harmed me. And others, besides. We've all met people like that, haven't we? … [Read more...]

How All of Us ─ From Left to Right ─ Helped Put Trump in Office

  Yes, I know. Quite the attention grabbing headline. I did that on purpose, of course. But for three days now, I’ve been watching my country implode, my friends “unfriend” each other, and even an eight-year-old girl be uninvited to a birthday party because of how her parents voted. And that wasn’t a virtual block. It was real. Everyone’s upset, even some of the people who voted for Trump, it seems. So why did this happen? Why did a man ─ a third party candidate of one, essentially ─ win over so many voters? It doesn’t matter that Clinton won the popular vote. We have an electoral college in this country, and Trump won that. But before I tell you why I personally think that … [Read more...]

“Haunted Tea and Cakes,” from the novel, COOKING FOR GHOSTS

                                  When I wrote Cooking for Ghosts, I had no idea it would inspire chef Carmen Shenk  to create (from scratch) her own versions of the fictitious recipes named in the novel. The story is about four diverse women who open The Secret Spice Cafe, a restaurant aboard the haunted RMS Queen Mary. The Mary is a real life, majestic ocean liner that was once the fastest on the seas, and now sits permanently docked in Long Beach, California, as a floating hotel and museum. The women in the novel are surrounded by ghosts of the figurative kind long before the step aboard … [Read more...]

Wonder Women Are Everywhere

So, Wonder Woman has been named Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Girls this month. On the one hand, I think this is a great thing---that little girls can look to female superheroes instead of princesses as role models. (Did you know that for the first time, ever, female superhero costumes are outselling princess costumes as girls' choice for Halloween?) On the other hand, could they not find a real life woman to be honorary ambassador? They're headed in the right direction--don't get me wrong. They've already invited Jessica Buchleitner and Siobhan Neilland to speak. And honestly, honestly, honestly---if you knew what these two women have been trying to do for the female … [Read more...]

Water the Flowers

Early this past week, I was hit like a sucker punch to the face by some business news. Ever get hit like that, when you don't expect it? Those are the worst, right? When you're not braced for it. In my case, the shock was doubly compounded by where it came from. It hurt, that hit, and left bruises that are just starting to turn color. I lost some sleep, too, feeling hurt, and debating what decisions I could make to do some damage control. Even after I put those decisions into action, I brooded about what had happened for most of the week. Until yesterday morning, when I got an email that lit up my whole inbox with its positivity. And that's when I remembered my own "true diva" hype: When … [Read more...]

The Black Sheep

Something I was working on yesterday got me thinking about the term, "black sheep." Webster's defines it as, "a disfavored or disreputable member of a family or group," and, "someone who does not fit in with the rest of the collective; often considered to be a troublemaker or an embarrassment." What that definition doesn't cover is why a person gets charged with this distinction. And there's not just one reason, is there? No, in fact, there are many. Here's one: (And this might be a terrible example, considering everything that's going on in the world today, but I'll risk it, for the purpose of the visual) Suppose someone --- let's say John Smythe --- climbs to the top of the town clock … [Read more...]

That Voice, That Voice. That Demon Voice

The next time you find yourself internally criticizing yourself, "I should be much further along in life by now," "I should be much thinner," and so on, stop for a minute and listen to that voice, that critical voice, the actual sound of it in your head. Whose voice is it? Because if you listen carefully, you'll notice that it's not your own voice. I'm serious. Really listen to it. I noticed this years ago, when I was in one of my self-ravaging states of mind. Something made me stop and truly listen to the sound of those words I was hearing in my head, and I realized it wasn't my own voice. I realized that I was listening to the combined sound of the voices of every person all through my … [Read more...]