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:  http://www.gotoquiz.com/which_cooking_for_ghosts_character_are_you_mo     … [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.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GU5PiigiKA 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...]

Red, Blue, Flood, Fire

You know, I've been thinking about something for a while, and I just have to say it, although I know it's not going to win me any brownie points with anyone. I've had a Facebook page for a number of years now, and as a lover of words and learning, I've always wanted it to be a forum, an exchange of ideas, a place where everyone of all stripes could feel safe to have a discussion, to ask a question of someone who they might not meet on an everyday basis. Because I write books and have always encouraged people to "like me on Facebook" etc., I've met many different people from all walks of life.  Right wing, white guy? He's there on that Facebook page, leaving his thoughts right near the … [Read more...]

On Las Vegas, a Ship I Love, and David Copperfield

I wanted to talk about my experiences in Las Vegas.  I live here six months out of every year. Honestly, before I ever visited, I can tell you that I thought I wouldn’t like it. It has that hard-playing reputation, you know, and based on that, it just didn’t seem like me. I don’t gamble, although I’ll put ten bucks into a slot machine now and again, just to hear the clinks and whistles. I don’t drink much. Two glasses of wine is usually my limit, and though I do love a good martini, it'll put me to sleep an hour later, as it has done since I was old enough to drink. But my husband coaxed me into visiting Las Vegas for the first time, and ever since he and I have been together, we’d come … [Read more...]

Why Ban Books?

At the end of Banned Books Week, let's ask ourselves why people feel the need to ban books. It's simple. When we point a gun at ourselves, we can see it. And we know that once we pull the trigger, we’ll cause our own death. But when we use our own mind against our own self, we don’t know that’s what we’re doing. In a twist of biological irony, the most unique and powerful weapon we have to insure our own survival is our brain, but that same brain can be manipulated into causing our own destruction. And the simplest way for our minds to be taken over to our own detriment is for the information that goes into it to be restricted and controlled. Think about it. If rice is the only food we’re … [Read more...]