Spooky Books

Haloween Books

Halloween is near, and we just can’t contain our excitement!!

If you haven’t stopped by in the last week, you may notice something a little different the next time you come visit.

Decorations are up!

The ghosts, the skeletons, the little witch in her rocking chair. The crying baby pumpkins.

Most importantly, the books! As soon as you get upstairs, you will be greeted by a selection of our Halloween kiddie books. Feel free to read them with your little one, or grab one to peruse for yourself.

The young adult/teen section also received some seasonal updates.

Teen Books

Do you see any Fall favorites in there? I am most excited about the Scary Stories books!

One book that is very special to us is ‘The Haunted Mansion’. This is a Disney book based on the popular song ‘Grim Grinning Ghosts’, which was written as the theme song for the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland. (Fun fact: the song title comes from a Shakespeare poem.)

The original song was sung by Thurl Ravenscroft. You may recognize his voice from ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’, ‘The Cat in the Hat’, the voice of Tony the Tiger, and various Disney movies.

Haunted Mansion

Not quite sure what I’m talking about?

Don’t feel bad; I wasn’t all that familiar with this song, book, or Disney attraction before I flipped through the book and listened to the original tune. I think that I kind of missed the boat on this one, which is kind of surprising considering my love for all things Spooky.

After I thought about it a bit, I vaguely remembered the movie featuring Eddie Murphy that came out in 2003. Might be time to watch that one again…

One of the things that makes this book extra special to us is that there is a raven featured on every page of the book. (Except for the last page…we’re still trying to figure that one out.)


Come check out this magical book, along with all of our other Halloween favorites.

See you soon!

-Jessica, your Media Specialist


Preserving the Spirit

Artist Jody Parmann (aka JP) has loved the Raven interior long before she owned it. The books, the art and the wood all make for an English library environment that is warm and inviting.

When she and her husband Sadaat Hossain acquired the cafe almost 4 years ago, they knew they wanted to keep this spirit of the Raven intact wherever possible. Even so, they’ve made improvements and changed things here and there. Recently JP has set her sights on the random taxidermic animal heads. The mounts were inherited from original owner Gerald Edson. She had no idea how old they were, but their ragged and weathered condition suggested they’d been around for a while.

Seeing the mounts as an artistic opportunity, JP decided to up-cycle them in a way to preserve them and their history at the Raven.

Making Art at BlueChiliGrass

BlueChili Table

I do believe that the Kid’s Art Tent at BlueChiliGrass was a success.

I’m not being biased on account of the fact that I myself had a blast at it, either. I mean, just look at these faces! These kids are having an amazing time!

It was absolutely fabulous watching the creativity unfold right before my very eyes. There were suggested crafts such as rock painting, instrument making, and fashioning jewelry from a plethora of brightly colored beads.

The most popular activity was painting.

BlueChili Colten Painting

Many kids painted rocks.

BlueChili Colten

This is Colten’s rock, complete with orange elephant. He told me that he was having a GREAT time.

Most kids painted plates. Sometimes this happened because they were recycling the leftover paint; more often than not, plate painting became a project in and of itself.

BlueChili Plate

Ingenuity was not stifled at this table. The kids were allowed to paint, draw, and create with reckless abandon.

The adults had just as much fun as the kids!

BlueChili SaraBear

Just look at that gorgeous face! She’s so excited! Sara and little miss Ariah ventured into the world of jewelry making before veering off into painting. Ariah used beads to accent her masterpiece.

BlueChili Ariah D

I think that this was the most fun volunteering activity that I’ve ever participated in. Lizzy and her little man also had a fantastic time helping out the artists.

There was art, happy kids, and we could hear all of the music right where we were at.

It was perfect!

BlueChili Stacey & Babe

I hope that you had as much fun as we did!

BlueChiliGrass rocked.

Hope to see you again next year.

Blue Chili Rocks

-Jessica, your Media Specialist

TARDIS & Magic

tardis-cheesin1Just look at this ridiculous mug.

I look like that dog that just told a punny joke…

However, this is my level of excitement about being your Media Specialist. I LOVE this job. Who wouldn’t? I show up, play with books, and make social media posts to share with you. It’s fun!!

(I mean, there’s more to it than that, but those are the main things. The things that you see most often. The exciting things.)

This is hands-down my favorite place to work. Apart from doing fun things that I like to do anyway, I get to work with friends.

How many people can say that?

I mean, I know that you can become friends with the people you work with and then you’re working with friends, but I already knew most of these guys when I came aboard. This is the first place I have ever worked where:

  1. I don’t require a name tag.
  2. If I did, my given name would weird out my coworkers due to the fact that everyone here calls me by my nickname.

(True story: when my name was written out on an employee introduction post, the “A.K.A” was my real name. I L.O.L’ed.)

Funny thing is, this picture was actually taken back in March when I first noticed the TARDIS door. At that point in my life, I had absolutely no idea that in mere months, this would become the door to my little office.

In March, I was still dealing with being dumped by the Macy’s. Life was slightly terrifying, but kind of exciting and I chose to look at it as an adventure rather than a setback. Had the Doctor (preferably the Tenth Doctor) shown up and said “Get in!”, I would have gladly hopped aboard without so much as a second thought.

I’m not kidding.

(Sorry, Paul. I would have made the Doctor come back for you.)

But here we are and here I am, sitting in the TARDIS and typing away as I listen to people just outside the door enjoying their coffees and sandwiches, having a marvelous time.

Earlier this morning, about one quarter of the upstairs was full of people from out of town. As I buzzed around organizing things, I heard them making plans for their day downtown. They seemed excited about the trolley. They remarked more than once about how amazing the Raven is, and how glad they were that they had decided to stop in. They loved everything that was ordered, and they were not leaving without purchasing postcards, and probably a mug, and most likely a shirt.

What I love the most about this is that a conversation such as the one illustrated above is not an uncommon thing for me to hear while I’m doing my librarian thing. The people having this conversation might not all be from out of state or even out of town, but at least once a day I hear someone exclaim about how amazing this place is and that they’re definitely coming back.

It’s a great thing to overhear.

This is serious business a magical place, and I feel so happy to be a part of it.

If you haven’t been here in a while, stop by. There’s really something for everyone here, including great people to share the experience with.

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you soon.

-Jessica, your Media Specialist




“Festivals cause diseases, since they lighten cares but increase gluttony.” ~Apollonius of Tyana


Welcome back! Week two of our ongoing parade of Deadly Sins features Gluttony. This bad lad is described as habitual greed or excess in eating. The word is derived from the Latin “gluttire”, meaning “to gulp down or swallow”.

Some may well confuse this sin with that of Greed. While Greed does seem to lead straight to Gluttony, they are indeed two different characters.

Speaking of festivals, I attended a large backyard barbecue event yesterday and had my own brush with Gluttony. You may have been there as well. It was a most excellent time, a day full of food, music, more food and more music, and libations aplenty.

There. Was. So. Much. Food.

My friends cooked all day. And I mean all day. I don’t think the grilling stopped until 10:30 last night. I myself had to stop after three plates of food. Mind you, they were reasonable sized plates of food consumed throughout the course of the day, but that’s still a lot of food when it’s hot out.

It was so difficult to stop eating! I had to tell myself “no” three times when I saw the corn roasting over the fire after my third plate of food. I’m kind of sad about this today, but last night I would have deeply regretted eating even one more bite.

Hello, Gluttony. I see you there. I have no room for you.

So, earlier today I was meditating on which Deadly Sin each of the kids in ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’ might be. (This is the sort of thing I will regularly mull over in my spare time, yes.)

Obviously, Augustus Gloop’s downfall is Gluttony. The kid can’t stop eating. Or whining, but unfortunately whining does not count as a major sin. (Thanks, Evagrius Ponticus. Missed a big one there…)

I’m kind of torn on whether the poor behavior of the other three unfortunate children would be classified as Gluttony or Greed.

At first I thought that Veruca Salt’s issue might be Pride because she’s so boastful, but she wants EVERYTHING. So that could be Gluttony. However, it’s not always related to eating, so that’s more likely Greed. (The fit about the “Bean Feast” always throws me, because none of the food she lists off for that extravagant party has beans in it. Unless the cream buns and doughnuts are vanilla flavored?)

Violet Beauregarde is greedy for gum, which she sometimes swallows, and that’s kind of eating. She also turns into a piece of fruit because she doesn’t know how to listen and continues to indulge in an imaginary dinner, so…I’m counting that as Gluttony.

Then there’s Mike Teavee. Over indulging on the idiot box and not opening his mouth wide enough when he talks. It’s true that he watches a glut of TV, but again that’s not related to food so I suppose I’ll have to leave that one with Greed.

I still think it was totally bogus that Grandpa Joe didn’t get out of bed for twenty years until a Golden Ticket was waved in his face.


~Jessica, your Raven Cafe Media Specialist






“Do not overrate that which you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not achieve peace.” ~Buddha

Hello, there.

I am extremely excited to announce that I am your new social media person/librarian here at the Raven Cafe.

My name is Jessica, and my confession is this:

This is my first blog entry ever. It’s not like this is my first rodeo with regard to writing. And with facebook/social media/online platforms being what they are, it’s not my first time writing for an audience, either.

Just my first time blogging. (“Blog”. “Blogging”. “Blogger”. Fun words.)

So, my predecessor set up this pretty cool weekly blog idea to correspond with with one of the weekly social media posts. She granted me full permission to run with it, and run with it I shall.

As you may know, the Seven Deadly Sins are scattered around the Raven in the form of caricature wall art. These delightfully terrible creatures are to each get a bit of limelight for the next seven Sundays.

Speaking of “lime”, our first sin featured will be that of Envy.

(See what I did there?)

Did you know that the term “green with envy” is attributed to none other than the Bard himself?

Shakespeare wrote in ‘Othello’:

“O beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on…”

‘Othello’, Act III, Scene III

The sin of envy is equated with jealousy, as envy is categorized as the desire for others’ possessions. These possessions could be those of the material nature, or it could be jealousy over a relationship or someone’s current station in life. It is also said to lead to the sin of wrath, or anger.

This makes sense. When another person has something that one does not have and greatly desires, one may move through covetousness straight to anger that one does not have said thing. One may even resort to violence in order to get it.

I feel that such behavior rather denotes a lack of will power and also points towards laziness, but that’s just my opinion.

Have you ever felt envious over something? What did you do about that feeling?

Authors at the Raven


The Raven Café is all about showcasing local talent and creative spirits, from music to art to food to books. We are proud to present a diverse group of Michigan authors at our first-ever book signing event this August 1st. Each bring their own unique style and genre and would love to share their work with you. Come hang out for a meet-n-greet and get your own signed copy!

Here are some introductions of our amazing authors and their featured works:

Gretchen with BooksGretchen Bassier / Various Books

A short story and nonfiction author with stories appearing in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books (The Cat Did What?, The Dog Did What?, The Cat Really Did That?, Thanks to My Mom, and My Kind (of) America), as well as the following magazines and anthologies: Alternate Hilarities 3: Hysterical Realms (fantasy/humor), Trysts of Fate (dark paranormal romance), Bloodbond (vampires/shapeshifters), Triskaidekaphilia Book Three: Transformed (shapeshifter romance) and more.

Peggy Christie / The VesselHeadShotFuzzyEars

About her book: Nora is an average woman in an average job with an average life. She senses that she is destined for more. Nora has no idea how right she is. A group of rogue Chinese vampires target Nora who, according to a centuries-old myth, is the embodiment of the collective energies of all the souls that have ever or will ever exist. For the vampire who can possess her life force that is infinite power. For Nora? Death. For the world? Oblivion. Nora is forced to trust another sect of these vampires in order to stop the evil that will destroy all life as we know it.

Cnv0050R. R. Ennis / The Unexpected: Tales of Lust, Love & Longing

The synopsis for my book The Unexpected: a collection of nineteen tales about characters whose personal desires and notions of romantic fulfillment take them on journeys of self-discovery, often leading to unforeseen outcomes.

Cheryl L. Morgan / OTTISSIPPI THE TRUTH about GREAT LAKES INDIAN HISTORY and the Gateway to the Westche

The sweeping history of the Ojibwa and Three Fires People of Michigan! The indigenous Anishnabe – original men and the many tribes connected to the Great Lakes. The truth that has been scattered and hidden, inaccessible, due to time, complexity and name changes of people, places, and governments. The great unknown, what we never learned about Indian history! No accessible, you can know the truth in one volume!

37185181_10211980629294320_3560671490615541760_nJordan E. Morrow / Nature of the Machine: a short story encoded within poetry

“Nature of the Machine: a short story encoded within poetry” is an exploration of hauntingly beautiful words that gives readers a chance to read poetry through the stanzas of someone living with mental illness, the dysfunction it can be to relationships, and both the bitter and fragile moments caused by its mechanical nature.

Sally Sulfaro / Abe SulfaroDSCN4989-token-abe

Detroit rock musician, author, and poet Abe Sulfaro died in 2014 during final edits on his novel The Antiheroes: Treatise of a Lost Soul, a dark, gritty ode to the author’s beloved Detroit and all things Goth.  Abe’s family has published his work posthumously including a compilation of his quotes, poems, and song lyrics titled Memoirs de Nocturne: An Anthology.  His mother Sally has written Co-eternals: A Story of Entangled Consciousness, a tale that begins with the death of Fade, the main character in Abe’s The Antiheroes, mixing historical fact with fiction, bridging centuries, and jumping continents. 

Vic Amato / “Incoming”

signing-ft-g.jpgVic Amato holds a Ph.D. in political science/public administration from Wayne State University, Detroit. He is a former journalist, mental health services administrator, and college instructor and he served with the Third Infantry Division. He and his wife Susan live in Port Huron, Michigan. He holds awards such as the iUniverse Editor’s Choice 2015, was seen in New York Review of Books, and has a very positive Clarion review, which was picked up by Forward Reviews.

If you’d like to check out the books before the event, we do have some for sale on the first shelf you see upstairs. All of us at the Raven and all of our authors are so excited to share this first-time event with you!


We Gather


On any given Thursday, you may have the pleasure of meeting Cathy, Susan, Julie, Helen, Diane (pictured above, left to right) or any of the approximately 12 members of the Hillside Wesleyan Church small group at Table 6. They regularly meet at Raven Café  and like to begin with sharing a joke to brighten their day followed by reflection and fellowship. “We’re a support network for each other,” Susan said describing how important the group is to them before reading the daily meditation. The group has been meeting at the cafe for over twelve years.

“It’s amazing how often the theme is similar to something I’ve read elsewhere earlier in the week. It makes me feel  like it’s a message specifically directed at me when that happens,” Helen commented afterwards.

Carol Mason, server at Raven Café, enjoys serving this dedicated group of well wishers each week who graciously share their smiles, along with their sincere pleasure in meeting others. “They’ll add your name to their book of prayerful intentions if you’d like. I’m not a believer in any organized religion, but they offer to keep me in their thoughts and prayers if they know I’m experiencing a difficult day or facing a major decision, or even if I’m just excited about something, and I’m a cool with that. They’re cool,” Carol said with a nod and a smile.

I was welcomed at their table. I felt the sincere appreciation they had for their shared time with each other. Before I left, they asked a bit about me. I shared news of my pending home sale, eventual plans for relocation to South Carolina, and bittersweet feelings about eventually leaving Raven Café where such wonderfully diverse groups of people gather. They provided affirmation and asked to add me to their prayer book. I accepted. I don’t think a little extra prayer will hurt me, and if it can fly me safely to the two cute little faces I call, “My Silly Gooses” waiting for me in South Carolina faster, all the better.  ( And yes, I know the plural of goose is not gooses, but that’s just the way that I am.)  1526653719977.jpg

If you have a group who would like to reserve a table or the entire upstairs for a gathering perhaps, contact us ahead of time to make arrangements and we’ll put the sign out!

Yours truly,

SK Mabry

Media Specialist, Raven Café



“Hi guys! I’m a gluten free vegan and was psyched to find so many options…you guys are my fave! Cheers!”  (Written on the back of the Raven Review comment card by one of our patrons. We read them all!) “My server, Courtney, did an awesome job taking care of me!! Overall I found my experience to be exceptional. My favorite feature of the place was the gluten-free menu.” -Karin

So much more than a salad, Raven Café offers a large selection of gluten-free and vegetarian delights that eat as a meal. In fact, we’re confident you can find something in each area of the menu to dine in like-fashion with your group of friends or family without compromising your taste buds. Any specialty, grilled or baked sandwich can be served in a gluten-free wrap or sandwich bread for only an additional 99¢! *

Soups always on! We serve nine, repeat nine, soups each and every day which also include multiple options for those who crave a gluten-free cup, bowl, or meal sized serving, including Baja Chicken Enchilada, Herb Tomato Bisque, Vegetarian Black Bean, and Meaty Beef Chili with Beans.

Linda -Lefty's Lunchbox

Linda Staton, Lefty’s Lunchbox, Port Huron

Don’t forget desert! Our Homemade Gluten-Free Baked Goods, including scones, rolls, muffins and more are baked with a smile. If you visit regularly, don’t hesitate to let Linda know the flavor of scone you crave – she just might whip it up while you wait for a taste test. Linda Staton of Lefty’s Lunchbox, Port Huron bounces in a couple times each week with her flour-free equipment to restock our pastry cooler with mouth-watering gluten-free treats, like the Lemon Blueberry Scones pictured below.




*Please note, all items are prepared in a kitchen that uses gluten. Trace amounts may be present. Please notify your server for details and available gluten-free modifications.

Yours truly discovered this awesome place because of their  gluten-free menu and I fell in love with everything and everyone else behind the doors. I’m a stranger nevermore.

Be free with me-

SK Mabry

Media Specialist, Raven Cafe


Seeking Storytellers


You may have noticed, but we REALLY like books. We celebrate the great minds who thought them up and wrote them down. Our book-lined walls attract creative spirits including many writers and we’re approached often about hosting book signings.

Because of this, we’re looking to organize an event for 4-6 writers at once – preferably local talent. There is no cost to the authors for this. Interested persons, please send an image of your book cover and a synopsis to Jody Parmann at jody@ravencafeph.com by May 31, 2018.

Collective Book Signing Event (with readings by writers) will be held Wednesday, August 1st from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Authors must have books available for purchase.