Teachers, Bullying, and the Code of Silence, by Angelina Iacovou

  Dear Readers,  My guest blogger today is Angelina Iacovou, a student from New York who has just graduated from middle school. After much research, she has written the following essay, which she hopes will help new teachers deal with bullying in school: __________________________________ In a bullying situation, teachers should know that the students aren’t going to break the code of silence. The code of silence is when the target, the bystanders, and even the bully’s group won’t say anything about the bullying. This is because they don’t want to become targets themselves, they don’t want to “rat out” their friend, or, if they’re the target, they don’t want the bullying to get … [Read more...]

Spirits Aboard the RMS Queen Mary: Patricia V. Davis Interviews Angela Richardson

Growing up in Florida, author and photographer Angela Richardson heard about the RMS Queen Mary when she was a child, but it wasn’t until she went out to California as an adult to visit her now husband that she got to see the ship in person. Says Angela, "When we drove over Queen’s Way Bridge, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe how amazing the ship looked sitting in Long Beach Harbor." Initially, it was the sheer size and beauty of the ship that drew her in. But once she began touring the ship, she became fascinated with the engine room. For some reason, she found it very comforting, and in fact there are times that when visiting the ship she will only go into the engine room. For Angela, … [Read more...]

When Will Things Get Back to Normal?

  For sure, that’s the question we’re all asking ourselves. But I think it’s pretty clear to all of us that life is not going to go back to the “normal” we had before this virus. How ironic that I chose to ‘disappear’ before all this happened. And then, the moment I returned, we all had to ‘disappear’. I’d promised that that’s what this post was going to be about, hadn’t I?—why I chose to leave social media for an entire month, why my publicist turned it into the #FindPatricia game. (I know we all enjoyed that part of it, at least, and I do certainly thank everyone who sent in videos, and everyone who played the game.) I had reasons for wanting to “get away from it all.” Things that … [Read more...]

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...]


  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...]