Thank you, Readers and Reviewers!

My publicist (her name is Jane) asks me to please not read book reviews.  "Let me worry about those things," Jane says. That's a tough request to agree to, naturally. Although I'm doing my best to take Jane's advice, The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy are my debut novels, so I can't help but peek once in a while. Today, however, I got an email from her to which she attached the graphic above. "Go ahead and look," she wrote. Both Cooking for Ghosts and Spells and Oregano have achieved the above ratings, from real readers and reviewers -- not just, you know, from my favorite aunt or my best friend.  So, thank you. Thank you to those who are reading, for taking the time out of your busy life to … [Read more...]

A 13th Moon

Today is Friday, the 13th. According to the Bible, "13" represents all the governments created by men, and inspired by Satan, in his outright rebellion against the Eternal. The symbolism of the number "13" plays a significant role in all three books of The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy, as well. First of all, as many already know, Number 13 is the number of the airtight door aboard the Queen Mary where a crewman tragically lost his life when he was crushed to death. In all three books in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy, the only chapter heading that's not written out is the heading for Chapter 13. In the Readers Guide for each novel, there are always 13 questions. And in the final book, DEMONS, … [Read more...]

Writing, and the Flapdoodle That Goes With It: A Primer

Here's my philosophy about being a writer. I'm putting it down here because sometimes it helps me to remember it, and I think it holds true for most anyone who has a dream they wish to follow: 1) No one but you really cares that you "need" to do this. Your loving family and friends will support you emotionally and encourage you to a certain point, but after that point, if you don't have it in you to encourage and support yourself, you don't have it in you to persevere for the long haul. 2) If you're going to persevere, do your very best work. YOUR work, not some other writer's. Don't write "like" someone else. Write like YOU. Then rewrite it. Then rewrite it again. Then let an editor look … [Read more...]

Which COOKING FOR GHOSTS Character are You?

  If you've read COOKING FOR GHOSTS, you know that the characters are unique and diverse. So, which one do you share the most personality traits with: Cynthia, Rohini, Jane, Angela, or Cristiano?  Take this fun, free quiz to determine if you're a Vegas cocktail waitress, an Indian herbalist, a British chemistry professor, an Italian-American widow, or a cordon bleu chef who's done time for murder. Above is a screen shot of my result. I'm most like Cynthia--- bossy, emotional  and excitable. Yeah.  No surprise there.  What about you? Take the quiz to find out:     … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

Yay! COOKING FOR GHOSTS Goodreads Giveaway

Starting February 10, 2018: Goodreads Giveaway: 100 copies of COOKING FOR GHOSTS … [Read more...]

Ssh! Don’t Say That Number Out Loud

The belief that the number 13 is unlucky is an ancient one. The Romans believed the number 13 was a symbol of death. Norse legends claim that the 13th guest at a banquet is the spirit of evil. Traditionally, there were 13 steps leading up the gallows. In Christianity, the idea that the number brings bad luck is believed to have come from "The Last Supper," when Jesus sat down with his 12 disciples --- making 13 people at the table. For this reason, some believe that the first person to leave a dinner table at which there were 13 diners will die before the end of the year.  And a coven of witches was once made up of exactly 13 members. The number "13" is a very significant number in all … [Read more...]

On Choosing to Be Alone for the Holidays

For too many of us, holidays are a trying time rather than a joyous one. Before I learned the profound difference between "honoring family" and "enduring horrifically dysfunctional gatherings with people who swim in my gene pool," it was every year, right about this time, that my sleepless nights and heart palpitations would begin. Nothing to do with the limited daylight hours, as I'd once assumed. No, it was because I knew in just a few days, I'd be subjecting myself to the loud bitterness, the jeering sarcasm, the barely-disguised envy, and the general passive-aggressive cruelty known in my circle as "Christmas Day." But luckily, for the past sixteen years, I've been spending my … [Read more...]

Seven Holiday Rules to Live By

1) First guest who mentions the words, "Trump" "Hillary" "tax bill," or "health care" over the food it took someone hours to prepare and cook, has to wash ALL the dishes, and serve up dessert. 2) If you're a vegan, let the hosts know ahead of time. If they give you a hard time, bring your own food. If they give you a hard time about that, go where you're appreciated next year. But if you're made welcome, DON'T talk about the evils of eating defenseless animals. 3) Anyone who directs the following questions to any of the guests, should go on the naughty list and not be invited back: How come you're still not married? Do you really think you can make a decent living doing that? Did you … [Read more...]

Regrets: Have More Than Just a Few

Happy Sunday from northern California. As I was watching the frost on the grass in the back garden melting with the sun, I wrote a letter to some friends and wished another a happy birthday. It's things like that I've been missing as I market not one, but two books, and write another: Writing to friends, spending time with family, watching the sun reflect on the grass, cursing at politicians. This week, for the first time this winter, there was that frost here. The weather is mild in California, and I love that. Thinking about the weather made me think about all the locations on the planet my life has taken me. Before I met my husband, I lived in New York, where I'd been most of my life. … [Read more...]

Breathless Books and Bubbles: Award-Winning Sparkling Wine Label Pairs With Women’s Literature

A lovely story I want to share with you all about author Rebecca Rosenberg, Sharon Cohn, Kathy L. Murphy, a tiara-wearing book club and Breathless Wines. Rebecca and I met years ago at a Redwood Writers Conference, and as soon as we sat down to chat, she became an inspiration to me. She simply seizes life, celebrating the good and minimizing the bad. She works hard too, a trait I admire in everyone, but in my own sex especially. She and her husband Gary started Sonoma Lavender, which, sadly, was affected by the California wine country fires. (Although, being Rebecca, she's already knee-deep in rebuilding.) Rebecca's debut novel, The Secret Life of Mrs. London, will be released in January. … [Read more...]

Spells and Oregano: Book II in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy is Here!

November 30 is the day.  I can't believe I made the deadline to turn it in to my publisher, that my editor didn't strangle me, and that, after all the rushing around, I actually kinda like this book, although I would have loved to have time to tweak it just a bit more.   But, here's an AMAZING trailer for it, which was filmed aboard the RMS Queen Mary. (It's only a minute and a half, but watch until the very end, as there's a surprise.) Secondly, it is available for pre-order on Kindle for 2.99 until November 30, after which, the price will go up.  And finally, if you pre-order a paperback before November 30, and send an email with your receipt … [Read more...]

There’s Love, and Then There’s Moldy Egg Salad

This is for a special someone who is too inexperienced in this sort of thing as of yet to have figured this out thus far: You say that this person tells you he/she loves you. You say that you too, love this person. And yet you're miserably unhappy with each other, and you're wondering what's wrong, what you can do to "fix things." Allow me, if I may, to save you some time, possibly a whole helluva lot of time. Answer the following: 1) When you're in public with this person who 'loves' you, do you feel that you have to watch what you say and do, in order to prevent this person from getting angry, annoyed, making fun of you, or rolling their eyes? 2) When you know that you're at your very … [Read more...]