May I Make a Suggestion?

  Please think about this. Maybe this is not the way you want to go, but for the duration of this catastrophic event, I've posted my last negative political post. I've posted my last negative post, period. There is literally a virus in the air, killing people. Some people I am talking to this week might be dead next week, and I include myself in that, of course. Many of us are very scared, too many more are financially stressed, some beyond measure. No matter what our politicians do now, we are facing an uncertain future, as personally as that can get. And tempers and emotions are high. This past week, there was a upset in my own little world with a beautiful person who means a lot to … [Read more...]

Sisters of the Undertow

  Sisters of the Undertow, launched in late February 2020 is Johnnie Bernhard’s third novel. Her inspiration for the story came from an experience she had at an author's event in a downtown urban library, when she realized that a number of the patrons were homeless. The experience of reading to those who live on the streets led her to develop a character who is a librarian working at a downtown library in Houston. Johnnie says, “To understand the diversity in Houston, please consider the fact that over ninety languages are spoken there. Houston is truly an international city, which I love. This allowed me to create some terrific characters in Sisters of the Undertow.” The other … [Read more...]

Where?

  On February 14, 2020, I will disappear.    13 clues to my whereabouts will be posted by my intern on Her Secret Bookshop Facebook page. Follow the clues, solve the mystery, be eligible to win: 1) Your choice of a full set of The Secret Spice Cafe audio books or hardbacks. 2) Dinner for two at a fabulous restaurant near you. Runner up prizes will also be awarded. RULES: Follow the page. Solve the puzzle of my whereabouts, and I will return on the first day or Spring. Or not. It's up to YOU. https://www.facebook.com/HerSecretBookshop/? … [Read more...]

Filthy Rich

  I'm filthy rich. And I got that way by writing books. Yeah. Almost every author I know collapsed into giggles at those two sentences. Unless Neil Gaiman is reading this, they know I can't possibly mean rich in actual dollars. (I'll keep working on that, though, just as Neil does.) What I mean by "rich" is rich in the things I've learned and the experiences I've had. But mostly I mean rich in the people I've met and the relationships I've formed. Here's a thing I now know that some might have not yet ventured to discover: The world is full of wonderful, amazing people living in places we might never get to visit, leading lives very different from our own. And all we have to do is … [Read more...]

A Woman, First

  With everything that's going on in the publishing industry in regards to diversity, and #OwnVoices, I feel compelled to share my experience.   I lived in Greece for more than seven years in an area rife with female ex-pats who had come from pretty much everywhere. We had only two commonalities. The first was that we were in Greece because we'd fallen in love with a Greek national. That man might have been in our home country for school or work. Or we met him in his home country for our work. Some of us had saved money for an adventurous holiday in Greece after college, and ended up meeting the man we would marry. Others like my friend, Angela, were in the American military when we … [Read more...]

On Wonder Woman and Female Jealousy

  When educators rip on the comics, I sigh. I surely do wish they and other literature lovers would take a closer look.   For example, Wonder Woman. How did she come to be, and why was she created?   Before I start on that, let’s go back almost twenty years ago now, when someone who I thought was my best friend left my life.   It happened in increments. We’d spoken habitually at least three times per week, but she stopped calling. And when I’d call her, she started throwing little jabs at the new things I was doing or planning to do. I didn’t notice at first, and then I couldn’t help but notice. But I thought—hoped—that I must be taking her comments the wrong way. Finally, when I … [Read more...]

Dare to Venture

  The first time I used email was in 1995. I remember feeling so alone and isolated (at first) when we moved to Greece. When we finally could afford a pc, and the tech showed me how to send an email to my best friend who lived in the USA, I cried. At the time, international phone calls were still so pricey--outrageously so. Those hour-long chats she and I used to have over the phone every Saturday while we cleaned our individual flats, were a thing of the past. To be able to communicate with a friend who knew me so well while I still felt like "a stranger in a strange land" was a gift I can't describe. Because I have that memory of isolation, that memory of functioning without the … [Read more...]

About Veterans Day

  This week we commemorate Veterans Day, and I am always torn on this day. A human being willing to die for what he or she believes should always be admired, and in the case of those who've fought in wars, thanked. But I can't post trite salutations or memes about veterans. I can't behave like a "military groupie" without thinking about how many of our young people were duped or drafted into giving up their lives or their health for wars we should not have been fighting. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of situations where war is the only option. But there are still too many where it should never have happened, that were engineered by a government or a corporation with an … [Read more...]

Demons, Well-Seasoned: Book III in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy

  Happy Halloween! Halloween is a perfect book launch day (pre-orders only)  for Demons, Well-Seasoned: Book III in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy. I'm celebrating the first day of pre-order with this amazing book trailer, filmed on location aboard the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, and in New Orleans. A book trailer is like a movie trailer, and if you have three minutes to spare, you can see for yourself. If so, I'd love for you to give us your thoughts. If you leave a comment, you'll be entered into a giveaway for a paperback version of the novel, or your choice of one of the three novels in the trilogy. 🎃Check it out below: https://vimeo.com/369723590?   … [Read more...]

1947, October 20, Congress Investigates ‘Communists’ in Hollywood

  "On October 20, 1947, the notorious Red Scare kicked into high gear in Washington, as a congressional committee began investigating communist influence in one of the world’s richest and most glamorous communities: Hollywood. After World War II, the Cold War began to heat up between the world’s two superpowers—the United States and the communist-controlled Soviet Union. In Washington, conservative watchdogs worked to 'out' communists in government before setting their sights on alleged “Reds” in the famously liberal movie industry. In an investigation that began in October 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) grilled a number of prominent witnesses, asking … [Read more...]

What is the Real?

  I'm sure other writers will identify with this---planning a book launch while in the throes of personal circumstances that cannot be circumvented. When Cooking for Ghosts was released, we had just bought a house in a rural area where the usual economical options for internet connection were non-existent, and spotty cell phone service is the norm. We sorted all that out over time, but that first week my first novel came out, I remember sitting in the showroom of a Lowes where my husband was ordering a washing machine, trying desperately to answer emails about book events and appearances, using their store wifi. And when Spells & Oregano came out, we had house guests--my stepson … [Read more...]

Dive In?

I like to go to the pool at the sports club late in the afternoon because it's usually just me there at that time of the day, and I can focus on getting laps done without being distracted by socializing. But yesterday afternoon there was a very young girl there with her father. She was tiny, and had the swimming thingees on her arms--I can't remember what those are called--but her speaking skills were impressive, so, it's hard to guess how old she might have been. But it was obvious it was one of the first times she'd been swimming, because she was hesitant about going into the pool. Dad was coaxing her, and it went like this: Dad: You want to come in? I can hold you. Girl: I dunno know, … [Read more...]

No One Should Read This. I’m just Whinging

  All my devices are hopelessly outdated. I like working on Windows 7, for example. I even bought a backup refurbished laptop with that system just in case this one hit the skids. But I was just scolded by Microsoft: "No longer going to be supporting this. Upgrade, or else." My expensive iPad is "too old" for the OS system to update to the current one. As a result, programs are no longer working. There's not a thing wrong with it, other than Apple loves to make these things obsolete as quickly as possible. I lost Skype credits because Skype won't work anymore on it, either. Nor my Kindle app. Instagram is only allowing three of my library photos to upload. And I won't even embarrass … [Read more...]