I get interested anytime a book throws at me words like magical realism, women’s paranormal fiction, and generally having plots such as these.
The Secret Spice Café Trilogy by Patricia V. Davis released between 2016 and November 2019 in the magical realism, women’s paranormal fiction, mystery genre.
Cooking For Ghosts ~ Book I
Do hearts broken long ago forever leave a tangible trace? A Vegas cocktail waitress. An Indian herbalist. A British chemistry professor. An Italian-American widow. Four unique women with one thing in common: each is haunted by a tragedy from her past.
Cynthia, Rohini, Jane, and Angela meet on a food blogging site and bond over recipes. They decide on impulse to open The Secret Spice, an elegant café on the magnificent ocean liner, the RMS Queen Mary, currently a floating hotel in Long Beach, California. Rich in history and tales of supernatural occurrences, the ship hides her own dark secrets.
The women are surrounded by ghosts long before they step aboard, but once they do, nothing is quite what it seems. Not the people they meet, not their brooding chef’s mystic recipes, and not the Queen Mary herself. Yet the spirits they encounter help them discover that there’s always a chance to live, as long as one is alive.
An Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection, and read by Ann Marie Gideon, COOKING FOR GHOSTS is an unforgettable tale of love, redemption, and divine female power.
Giggling again at that, Rohini placed all the smaller sacks into a large white bag she’d found in the wardrobe. The bag had a price list for various laundry services printed on it. With that mission accomplished, she took her treasures downstairs to the kitchen.
But she wasn’t two steps in before she stopped stock still and remained right where she was, listening.
“Oh, my,” she murmured to herself. “Oh, my, my, my.”
Now she understood why she’d felt that the ship had summoned her. To anyone else who might peek in, the kitchen appeared silent and empty. But not to Rohini. She could hear the walls sighing.
Gradually, she walked further inside, and the sighs turned to whispers. She stood still, breathing cautiously, waiting, watching. In unison, the stainless steel cooking utensils dangling from the long, narrow cylinders that were screwed to the walls began to sway, soundlessly. The copper pots that hung from the ceiling over the two spanking-new ovens and eight burner stoves began to twirl, gracefully. Every inanimate object in the room that wasn’t bolted down was waltzing eerily, on its own. To Rohini, the dance seemed sad rather than ghoulish.
Walking quietly, listening carefully, she followed the hushed sounds as they moved along the walls, leading her back to the scullery. As she approached, an ancient, enormous, floor-to-ceiling freezer blew out a puff of ice cold air as its door swung wide open as though it were greeting her, then gently clicked closed again.
Unafraid, Rohini observed it all. Still clinging to the laundry bag filled with her precious sacks of spices, she turned in a full circle, leisurely, so as not to miss any of it. After a while, she set the bag down on one of the gleaming stainless steel work tables. Bending into a full and formal curtsy, she spoke aloud.
“It is my great honor to meet you, Your Majesty.”
Spells and Oregano ~ Book II
A mother desperate to save her twin sons, a war veteran in torment, a beautiful young psychic with a terrible secret, a powerful magician with a shattered soul, and a Queen steeped in history and glory. These extraordinary beings cross paths and set off a remarkable chain of events in Spells and Oregano: Book II in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy.
Overcome by despair after a trauma when she was sixteen, Sarita Taylor has spent the past ten years isolated and lonely aboard her beloved RMS Queen Mary. Fearful of outsiders, she dedicates her time to managing The Secret Spice Café, now an award-winning restaurant. Until Luca Miceli, a man with a dark past, steps on board.
Patricia V. Davis deftly spins past and present, mystery and magic, into a potent story of passionate longing and family tragedy all at once. Spells and Oregano is a compelling tale of atonement, devotion, and undying love, set aboard one of the world’s most magnificent, haunted ships.
Don’t miss Cooking for Ghosts: Book I in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy. The Secret Spice Trilogy is an Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection.
Demons: Well Seasoned ~ Book III
Dare to Believe in Your Power… A long-lost grandmother. A stay-at-home mom. A comic book fan. A five-year-old girl with a star-shaped birthmark. And nine more.
The cast is bigger, the stakes are higher. When Sarita’s grandmother, a Vodou priestess, foresees a terrible evil, Cynthia, Jane, Angela, and Rohini reunite on a heart-rending mission to save all that’s precious to them, including the iconic ship, the RMS Queen Mary. They cannot do it alone–the priestess tells them there must be thirteen on the night of the thirteenth moon. in this life-or-death pursuit. Yet, can she be trusted?
Spiced with history and the supernatural, Demons, Well-Seasoned takes us from 1930s Glasgow, to New Orleans and Harlem in the 1950s, to present day southern California, and back again, on a metaphysical voyage that is both exhilarating and poignant. But before you embark upon this final sail with the denizens of The Secret Spice, be warned: expect to lose sleep, and keep tissues at hand. These valiant characters might just stay with you long after their story comes to a close.
Don’t miss Cooking for Ghosts, and Spells & Oregano, Books I and II in The Secret Spice Café Trilogy. The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy is an Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
PATRICIA V. DAVIS’s debut novel series, THE SECRET SPICE CAFE, is comprised of three books: COOKING FOR GHOSTS (2016) SPELLS AND OREGANO (2017) and DEMONS, WELL-SEASONED. (2019) The audio books will be released in 2020 by Tantor Media, and narrated by Ann Marie Gideon. Patricia lives with her husband, who is both a poker player and a rice farmer, so she divides her time between southern Nevada and northern California. Say hello to Patricia at her author website: www.TheSecretSpice.com
My Experience Writing The Secret Spice Café Trilogy
By Patricia V. Davis
How did a woman who gets motion sick on boats end up writing an entire trilogy of novels set aboard a ship?
The answer is simple. This particular ship is beautiful, historical, mysterious, and magic. And she made me do it. She, meaning Her Majesty, the RMS Queen Mary,inspired me to write about her. She did it herself, and she didn’t let up being my muse for three novels.
It goes like this: Thirteen years ago—and it’s funny how the number ‘13’ always comes up with this trilogy, but I digress—I was invited to be a reporter at a women’s conference being held in Long Beach, California. My publicist told me the local hotels were all booked, but she’d found me a room aboard the Queen Mary.
Huh? She got me a room aboard a … ship?
Turns out the Queen Mary is a floating hotel and museum docked permanently in the Long Beach Harbor. In fact, she has been there since the 1960s. Her heyday was in the 1930s and 40s, when she sailed the seas as one of the most glamorous first-class ocean liners of her time. She carried celebrities, dignitaries, politicians, and even royalty back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean. And then war broke out. Since Queen Mary was also the fastest ship of the day, she was immediately called into service as an Allied troop ship, transporting thousands of soldiers to safety. In fact, she was so fast, she was the only ship that could outrun Hitler’s U-boats.
Despite this magnificent past, the day came when A-listers began using transatlantic flights rather than ships to get across the ocean. The Mary became too expensive to run. She was headed for the scrap heap, but someone—some very smart, lucky someone—realized what an attraction she would make for Long Beach, a city that, at the time, was not very well-known. The council was convinced they should purchase the Queen, and thus, she made her last voyage, to Long Beach, where she has been ‘retired’ since 1967.
However, as famous as she was during her heyday, the ship has seen more visitors, garnered more devoted fans, in her role as a preserver of history. Visitors to Long Beach can stay aboard the ship, take tours of her most historic areas, hold weddings and banquets, and dine at the fabulous restaurants housed within her decks.
Being from the east coast of the country, I knew none of this. When I stepped aboard the ship, into my very-1930s-looking, art deco cabin, I was interested in one thing; getting ready for that conference the next day. I was in Long Beach for work, I had a job to do, and I was determined to do it, whether I was staying aboard a ship, or the local Holiday Inn.
I ignored the ship, I ignored its history, its art, its engineering marvel of a design. And let me tell you, Her Royal Majesty didn’t like that at all. She was miffed. After all, she had beaten Hitler. She had carried Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Winston Churchill, and so many more, across the sea. How dare I not notice her?
And so, she sent me a messenger. One of her ghosts stole my glasses.
Oh—did I forget to mention that the Queen Mary is haunted? Yes, she is. Really. In fact, she is purported by Time magazine to be one of the top ten most haunted places.”
And that was something else I didn’t know. Suffice it to say that a ghost visiting my stateroom definitely got my attention. I did attend my conference, but I spent the whole next day exploring that ship from top deck to engine room, enthralled by her.
By the time I was on my flight home to San Francisco, the entire first novel about four women who meet on a food blogging site and open a restaurant together aboard the haunted ship, was already forming. And the adventures I’ve had since, the people I’ve met since writing these stories, including a 93-year-old war bride who sailed aboard the ship from England when she was eighteen, the regal Commodore of the ship, a brilliant paranormal investigator, and hundreds of other fellow ship aficionados, has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
Her Majesty, the Queen Mary, wanted me to write these stories. I firmly believe that. And because I did, she’s rewarded me royally.
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