Friday, August 3, 2012


I'd like to welcome romance author, M.L. (Matt) Buchman, to Over Coffee. Here's your cuppa hot chocolate, no whip, Matt and a nice comfy chair to sit in while you visit us. 
Matt wrote one of my favorite books of the year, I Own The Dawn--part of The Night Stalkers Series. Those who know me realize, by now, that I love kick-ass stories served with a healthy dollop of romance. I say, I Own The Dawn is one of my favorites because I initially read this on my Kindle and then promptly ordered a print copy, along with the first in this series, The Night Is Mine, for my keeper shelf. Let me just say, there are only a few books I will read on the kindle and then order the print copy. This is one I know I'll enjoy reading a second time. You can read my 5 star review on Goodreads.
Matt talks a bit about what made him get into writing and the shock value of being a man who writes romance (and does it very well).

Hey Sia and thanks for having me for a little sit down. Don’t mind me if I have hot cocoa instead (no whip, please). I know, I’ve lived in the Pacific NW for thirty years, starting back when Starbucks was still only one store (now almost 20,000). Worse, I was a computer geek for over a decade, no coffee on those round the clock nights either. Anyway…

My journey to writing came late. Perhaps it was just how eclectic my background was/is. My day job resume just makes employers laugh. (And recruiters weep. Honestly, I think it’s a bit cruel. I often buy them a cuppa in apology.) I’ve worked in live theater (where I learned about electricity, lighting, sound, and dialog). And fast food (where I learned how to really tick off a parent who’d paid for a good college education in geophysics –possibly the only field I’ve never worked in).

I got a job as a paralegal, but discovered I was better at computers. I climbed fast and far, right into a high-end consultancy that blew up in my face. (There is a point to this, really; bear with just a moment longer.) So there I was in that classic place; lost the business, the career, the house, and I thought, “Hey, I could get on bicycle and go around the world.” (18 months and 15 countries later, that’s exactly what I’d done.)

The weird thing was, out there in the middle of nowhere (and I mean way out there), I started into writing. At first it was a little bit of a story. But it expanded and it grew. As the months rolled by beneath my wheels, I wrote my first novel and discovered something really cool. The best job on the planet must be sitting around and making s--- up! I get to read anything I want and call it research. I managed to write off a trip to Europe for one novel and I’ve interviewed a female U.S. Army helicopter chief mechanic for another. As a matter of fact, I interviewed her for this book, I Own the Dawn, and the one to follow in the winter, Wait Until Dark.

Sure, I go to my day job, but my heart isn’t there anymore. It’s out on a flight to somewhere. It’s snuggling up in the dark after hot sex and discussing unexpected truths. It’s about sitting down and discovering that the one person you truly need in your life is seated right across from you. I can’t believe I get to share my worlds and my words with readers. That is the greatest high of all. The thing that jazzes me up and keeps me up for hours after a long work day, getting to share my stories.

“You do what?!” I write romances.

  • What do you do to startle those around you? Or what do you wish you did? I’d love to hear. 

And please check out the contest page on my website: by following along my blog tour for the month of August, you will have multiple chances to win a signed copy of I Own the Dawn:


Name: Archibald Jeffrey Stevenson III
Rank: First Lieutenant, Dap Hawk Copilot
Mission: Strategy and execution of special ops maneuvers

Name: Kee Smith
Rank: Sergeant, Night Stalker Gunner and Sharpshooter
Mission: Whatever it takes to get the job done

You Wouldn't Think It Could Get Worse, Until It Does...

When a special mission slowly unravels, it is up to Kee and Archie to get their team out of an impossible situation with international implications. With her weaponry knowledge and his strategic thinking, plus the explosive attraction that puts them into exact synchrony, together they might just have a fighting chance. 

I apologize, I don't have an excerpt link but you can read the first chapter on Amazon preview.

M. L. Buchman has worked in fast food, theater, computers, publishing, and light manufacturing. It's amazing what you can do with a degree in geophysics. At one point he sold everything and spent 18-months riding a bicycle around the world. In 11,000 miles, he touched 15 countries and hundreds of amazing people. Since then, he has acquired a loving lady, the coolest kid on the planet, and lives in Portland, Oregon.

For more information, please visit
Sign in here for a chance to win a free copy. Also, be sure to check the Contest page for a chance to win a free, signed copy of I Own the Dawn.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


My guest is the magical Judi Fennell. I just finished reading Magic Gone Wild and I have to say it's my favorite of the Genie books. This story is a genuinely fun read. It made me laugh, go awww a time or two, and I really love Vana and Zack. The chemistry between them is hot but there were some great moments of bantering and laughter. I also genuinely liked Vana's sidekick, a colorful phoenix called Merlin. He was pithy, had some great one liners, but he also had some sweet moments and he added to the story rather than detracted. For sure I love how Judi took an ordinary place and made it mystical. Isn't this cover gorgeous? 
I'll be putting up the Review shortly but I can already tell you it's worth the read and it will make you laugh and feel good as you read it. I don't know if it's Vana's pink smoke or creating magic via a kiss, or her term "holy smokes", could be Merlin, but all the magical ingredients come together so well and make the story so very entertaining! My Amazon Review

Hi Sia, and thanks for having me back to talk about my August release, Magic Gone Wild!

For those of you who have read my other books, you know that you’re in for a trip to somewhere magical, whether it’s a hidden merman’s lair off the coast of NJ or Atlantis, or a magical city in the Sahara desert, you’re going somewhere exotic, right?

Not this time. This time you’re going to northeast Pennsylvania, to one of the old steel towns. Why? Well, it’s actually a place our family visits. We have family in the area and we go up to visit, hike the canyon, swim in the swimming holes and creek (pronounced “crick” up there), stay in the cabin, and eat at Mike & Mary’s. Great family time in the outdoors with lots of hiking, fishing, and kayaking.

What a place for a genie to end up, right?

That little town will never be the same again. Actually, it hasn’t been the same for a hundred years when her previous master took the fall for her, um, shall we say magical mishaps?

Vana, short for Nirvana Aphrodite, and yes, she knows that name is not only a mouthful but impossible to live up to, might have, you know, jumped the gun (er, bottle) a bit on becoming a genie back in the day and didn’t quite finish her training.

The magic… it’s off.

And it did a number on her previous master’s reputation, one the new hero, Zane Harrison, has been trying to live down his entire life. It’s not easy to grow up as the object of ridicule. There was the pink square window in the church his great-grandfather built, or the story of the grist mill that went rolling around town on its own, the flying blueberries, and of course, the infamous vanishing-staircase incident. Zane’s sick of dealing with it so when he inherits the home, he comes to town to get it ready for sale.

Then he meets Vana and his world is turned upside down. (Don’t ask.) She’s beautiful, she means well, but she can’t seem to do anything right.

Well, okay, maybe there’s one thing she can do right. But with the hide-and-seek-playing gargoyles, the anthropomorphic furniture, the crazy stuff that happens in her bottle, and Merlin, the gender-inquisitive, cross-dressing phoenix, who’s always bursting (literally) in and out with his pithy words of wisdom, Zane’s afraid that not only won’t he be able to sell the place, but that maybe he’s suffering from the same affliction his great-grandfather was: Genie-itis.

When I start writing a story, I usually have the opening scene and a basic outline of the plot. I usually know my characters fairly well, though they always surprise me. But as I started this one, knowing that we weren’t going on any fantastical journey, I was a bit worried what my readers would think. Would it be the same experience? The same fun?

And then I wrote it. OMG, I had sooooooooo much fun writing this! Because, in the end, the story is about the characters. For all that we put them in fantastical situations or magical cities, the story is all about the characters. Vana and Zane have the same sorts of problems to overcome on their path to happily-ever-after as my other heroes and heroines. The pursuit of love and happiness, that falling in love feeling…

And, well, yes, maybe I did throw in a wee, tiny trip to the top of Mt. Damavand for a visit with the Fates. Those three had me laughing while I was trying to type fast enough to keep up with them. Now THEY were some characters!

So how to make the ordinary magical? Have the characters fall in love. After all, isn’t that the best magic of all?

  • I always love hearing people’s falling-in-love stories. Care to share yours below?


Every Time She Uses Magic Something Goes Terribly Wrong...

Vana wishes she hadn't dropped out of genie training. Now she's determined to get a grip on both her genie magic and her life. But the harder she tries to fix things for her intriguing new master, the more she drives him crazy...

Except There's Nothing Ever Wrong About Him...

Pro–football player Zane Harrison finally has control of the family estate and is determined to put to rest his grandfather's eccentric reputation. Until he discovers that behind all the rumors is a real, live genie who stirs feelings in him he's never known before. The more Zane tries to help Vana harness her powers, the more her madcap magic entangles his heart... EXCERPT

Judi Fennell is the award-winning author of six light paranormal romances, including a trilogy of Mermen-inspired love stories, and three genie-inspired romances. Wild Blue Under won the PRISM Award for Best Light Paranormal from the Paranormal Chapter of Romance Writers of America. A former corporate meeting and convention planner, Judi now writes full time around the hectic schedules of her husband and teenagers. She lives in suburban Philadelphia, PA. For more information, please visit You can also find Judi on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter.

Monday, July 30, 2012


I’m always in awe of creative people. It doesn't matter if it's a book they're writing, a room they're decorating, a new recipe, an outfit or a piece of artwork they're doing; the process is fascinating to watch, as is the end product. Especially those who see a concept and decide they can either do it better or they want to give it a try to see what they can come up with. Creative projects can refresh us. Our creativity in one area can jump start it in another.

I've been watching, with interest, a close friend of mine’s ongoing project over the past few months. Wendy’s renewing her vows next month and wanted to make it special (she tells me she’s as excited with the renewal ceremony as she was with her initial wedding).

The project, I’ve been watching with amazement, is her making her bouquet as well as all the flowers arrangements for her ceremony. Now, I have a brother-in-law who is an award winning designer—very creative and does beautiful work. He also designs floral arrangements for weddings and I’m well aware of the costs involved—even for simple arrangements. The bride’s bouquet usually averages about $150, depending upon the design. Factor in bridesmaids, boutineres, mothers’ corsages, table arrangements, and altar arrangements; you can easily spend $500 to a $1200 on flowers alone (and we won't talk about celebrity weddings). Mind boggling, isn’t it? You add some bling to the bouquets and you’re talking some major money.

Let me show you what Wendy has done.

Basic flowers and a few pieces of basic bling. Nothing remarkable. Sorta blah, but we see enough of the pieces to know where it's going. 

Much like a story we create. The scene has the basic components and then we edit. And this is where the lesson, you can't edit what doesn't exist, really comes into play.

Wendy called this a hot mess. She's editing and shading. 

Here's two of the boutineres
You can click on the pictures
and it will enlarge.
She's taken the basic flowers and bling and she's added a bit more ribbons and bows along with more interesting bling. There are some unique pieces here.

Over time she worked on various pieces of the arrangements, the corsages, boutineres, and the center bouquet. I have a lot of pictures but I'll spare you and show you what she had at the end of her first full edit:

An artist has an inner vision. Taking that vision and tweaking it through various edits until it resembles what we're seeing inside takes time and a certain amount of patience.

So long as our goal is to make our artistic project the best we can make it, we're moving forward. 

Sometimes we look at something and think, this is really nice but something's not working for me. Or something is missing. At this point we start moving or removing parts. As Wendy explained, she looked at it and thought, no, closed her eyes and started cutting. Ouch. That had to be painful. 

When you compare the two you see the work that went into the next edit of the arrangements.

Looks like a treasure chest, doesn't it? I recognize various pieces and I can see where Wendy has moved them for better effect. She's added more color, variety, and texture. The end result is fuller and richer. Not so crowded and the overall edit brought more impact to the piece. 

It's beautiful. 

What a difference between what she started out with and where she ended up.

The creative process is fascinating and reminds me that the process is a matter of stages and steps. It's also a matter of focus and an awareness of our overall vision. We can't lose sight of that or we end up with a mess.

Like Wendy says, everything has edits.

Most creative people I know are creative in more than one discipline. I think the variety adds pleasure to life. Switching from one to another refreshes and revives. Wendy is also an author but what she's created here is awesome.

  • What about you? What's in your creative bucket?

FYI: There are a couple of interesting blog hops going on with some lovely prizes: