Wednesday, December 25, 2013


I'll see y'all in the New Year!

Wishing the very best to you and your family! 
May love's warmth surround you
May the joy of laughter be shared
May peace hold you close.


Monday, December 23, 2013


We sometimes forget that voices are also instruments. I have always liked these songs but I thought I'd find the voices that touched me and sang them well. I know there are many other voices that do justice to the songs I've chosen but I like these.

I'm very eclectic when it comes to music. I listen to and enjoy all sorts music from hard rock to symphony, a simple voice to a multitude of voices in a chorus. All have their beauty.


The music of Gloria in Excelsis Deo, was composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1743 and the words were originally in Latin, not his usual German. Bach wrote several cantatas and this is one of them. Cantatas were composed for vocal with an instrument accompaniment and usually involving a choir. Bach wrote this cantata for his Christmas Oratorio in Leipzig and it was performed in 1745. I thought that Bocelli captured the feel of Bach's composition--voice, instruments, and choir.

Handel's Hallelujah Chorus is also a favorite of mine. The music was composed, in 1747, by George Frideric Handel with scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens.  It's a beautiful piece but I couldn't resist a bit of laughter with the song. Music should invoke all the emotions including laughter, doncha think?( I can guarantee these kids knew the words and the pacing of this song by the time they finished practicing this routine) :-)

One of my Dad's favorite holiday songs was Bing Crosby's Do You Hear What I Hear? It was a song created by a husband and wife team of musicians in 1962. Noel Regney wrote the lyrics for the song and  his wife, Gloria Shayne, wrote the music. Admittedly, Bing sang it well and I love the feel of nostalgia when I hear it but I really like Third Day's arrangement and vocals of the song.  

Happy Holidays! 


Friday, December 20, 2013


If anyone asks me what my favorite carol is my answer is quick--Carol of the Bells. It's been my favorite since I was a very young and according to my parents I loved it as a young toddler. I don't remember so I must take their word for it. 

My first memory of it was when I was just four and we lived in Washington D.C. I had a new baby brother that year. He was born October 25th. I was out in our small back yard. Big fat snowflakes were falling all around me and I was spinning around and trying to *fly* up to catch them and I *fell* right out of the sky when I heard it. It wasn't our neighbors on either side of us. It was coming up from the alley. My fenced in yard was 25 steps(my mother counted them the last time I escaped) above the alley. But someone was playing it loud on the radio, I think it was a radio but, it could have been a record player because another Christmas song followed it. What drew me was the sound of the bells. It was so pretty and different from what I had heard before. I really wanted to go down the steps and find where the song was coming from but that path had already gotten my little Houdini self in serious and painful trouble. I sat two steps down and listened (hey, I was still in the yard). I remember wanting it to play again like it did on Dad's record player.

I have two carols to share with you today. Both are unusual in different ways. One is played with carillon. The other isn't unusual in the instruments but the setting and reverence brought to the piece sets it apart.

This particular version of The Carol Of The Bells is played with bells. It's a manual carillon. The carillon in French, or glockenspiel in German, is a percussion instrument made up of tuned bronze cast cup shaped bells arranged in chromatic sequence and tuned in concordant harmony and played from a baton keyboard. It's a huge instrument and this one weighs in about 4 tons. I chose this particular video because it shows how it's played--both hand and foot movements. I'm not sure I would want to listen to many other songs on the carillon but for the Carol Of The Bells it's pretty cool.

I'm sure many of you have heard O Come, Emmanuel. This version is played by the Piano Guys on the piano and cello. For me, the cello is a haunting instrument. It touches something deep inside. I love the sense of reverence brought to this piece and watching Steve play...seeing the emotion well up from his heart as he plays is beautiful. The location they chose to play and the acoustics for this video is fabulous. 

You'll notice in the upper right of the video is a link to a special Christmas video which blends scenes from this video with an enactment of the story. It's pretty and well done.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I had a chance to chat a bit with my guest, romance author, M.L. Buchman. While he's not an anomaly, Matt is one of the few male authors writing romance and does very it well. He writes in several genres but I've only read his Night Stalker series (something I intend to rectify) and he tells a compelling story. You get the flavor of military combat life and some seriously hot romance. What I like about his writing is it can be read and enjoyed by both men and womennot girly hearts and mush. Matt's stories have lots of action and his characters have flaws, emotional scars, and a strong sense of honor. 
I'll tell you something, when I'm in the mood for a good kick ass military based story I reach for Christine Feehan's Ghost Walkers or M.L. Buchman's Night Stalkers and while Matt's stories aren't paranormal they are equally addictive. J 

  • How did you start writing?

Twenty years ago, I’d lost everything: my job, my business/career, my house that I’d spent 7 years remodeling for the family I never had time to find. So, for lack of a better idea, I set off on a solo bicycle journey around the world. Somewhere in the air from Korea on my way to ride across the Australian Outback, I started writing a little vignette. It turned into my first novel that sold to a tiny regional press after I returned. That was it, the storytelling bug had bitten me.

  • And I understand you recently became a full-time writer?
January of 2013. Once again, the lack of corporate commitment to their employees sliced the ground out from beneath my feet. My wife and I talked about this dream I’d been pursuing for twenty years in stolen moments. But now, with my step-kid was almost through college, we decided to go for it. We dumped everything and moved to a small house on the Oregon Coast. I began writing like a madman. The fans have been hugely receptive and it’s really taking off. I have twenty books out now, and more coming next year.

  • Twenty?
Yep. Take Over at Midnight  is my twentieth as well as being the fourth in my Night Stalkers series. I also write contemporary romance, fantasy, and I have a foodie thriller.

  • What about your life do you bring to your writing?
Just about everything. The characters take a vacation on a sailboat—I rebuilt a sad old fifty-foot ketch back in my twenties and learned how to sail it by myself. They go flying—I used to have my private pilot’s license. They travel to some exotic locale—if I haven’t been there, I’ve ridden my bicycle to somewhere similar enough to fake it. I have an eclectic resume, I’m being kind there. But as a long-term computer nerd and project manager, I’ve worked in industries such as law, construction, opera, and map design. It all makes great fodder for story. Did I mention that I’m addicted to Project Runway and Top Chef? I’m a lousy seamstress, but I’m a better than average cook, that’s why I wrote my Angelo’s Hearth foodie contemporary romance series, and why I’ll be starting another soon now that Angelo’s is nearly over.

  • How would we pick you out of the crowd?
You probably wouldn't. I tend to be quiet, even in a circle of friends. My favorite time of day is when my wife and I cook together or curl up on the couch with books or a movie. Well, there is one thing that stands out. Even mention kids and I’ll start bragging on my step-daughter. I’m one of “those” parents, so don’t get me started. It’s the one topic I never know when to shut up on.

  • What does your day look like compared to when you were in corporate?
I used to work hard, often long hours. I’d crawl home, spend a couple of hours with the family, and when they’d gone to bed, I’d gear up to write for another hour or two. Now, I write almost as many hours as I used to work, but the crawling is gone. I've never had so much fun as this last year. It’s still stressful, starting a new career in a new town, but I just love, as my mentor says, “sitting in a corner and making shit up for a living.”

  • If writing is no longer your hobby, what has taken its place?
I’m not sure yet. I spend more time walking the beach, reading, watching movies. In the past, I’ve designed and built a couple houses, I might have one more of those in me. We’re talking about taking up Italian in the next month or so which could be a lot of fun. I wouldn't mind doing some traveling again, though probably not on a fully loading touring bicycle; that’s hard work.

  • Since you have done so many things, what’s the one you've liked the most?
Oh, the present one, writing. If you look at job satisfaction surveys, which I've done a number of times over the years, almost any form of art takes the top five or so spots. I love what I’m doing, it both energizes me and let’s me share that energy and excitement with others through my art. That it also pays enough to support my family, well, that’s a surprise I’m not yet used to.

BUY: AmazonBarnes and NobleChapters/IndigoIndieBound

Name: Lola LaRue
Rank: Chief Warrant Officer 3
Mission: Copilot deadly choppers on the world's most dangerous missions
Name: Tim Maloney
Rank: Sergeant
Mission: Man the guns and charm the ladies
The Past Doesn't Matter, When Their Future is Doomed... 
Nothing sticks to "Crazy" Tim Maloney, until he falls hard for a tall Creole beauty with a haunted past and a penchant for reckless flying. Lola LaRue never thought she'd be susceptible to a man's desire, but even with Tim igniting her deepest passions, it may be too late now...With the nation under an imminent threat of biological warfare, Tim and Lola are the only ones who can stop the madness--and to do that, they're going to have to trust each other way beyond their limits...


M. L. Buchman has worked in fast food, law, opera, computers, publishing, and light manufacturing. It’s amazing what you can do with a degree in geophysics. His Night Stalker Series have garnered starred reviews, top picks and have even been named an NPR Best Romance of 2012 (I Own the Dawn). He lives in Lincoln City, OR, with a loving lady and the coolest kid on the planet. For more information, please visit

Monday, December 16, 2013


The hammered dulcimer (aka cimbalom in Europe) is not a musical instrument one hears everyday and traditionally it has been used for folk music. The hammered dulcimer has been used by classical composers and has even been used in popular movies like Star Trek In Search Of Spock (when they were stealing the Enterprise) and also, more recently in Lord of The Rings The Two Towers (used to highlight how sneaky Gollum was).  It isn't a new instrument and has been around, in one form or another, since about 3500 BCE.

Dulcimer means sweet song from the Latin dulcis (sweet) and Greek melos (song). It does have a sweet sound but I like the energy and rhythm it can bring to a song. Here's a few selections of Christmas songs played on the Hammered Dulcimer. 

I particularly like the unusual sound it brings to this particular Christmas carol, The Little Drummer Boy. It's played by Ted Yoder.

Even with traditional carols the dulcimer brings a toe tapping energy to the beauty of the song.

I love the feeling of uplifting joy Mark Wade brings to this traditional Christmas song...he's able to capture the rich fullness of the song.

I'm a fan of Ted Yoder's playing. I love his energy and chord choices.

  • BTW, anyone know what famous group of singers first brought The Little Drummer Boy exposure? Care to guess what the original name of the song was?

Friday, December 13, 2013


Tis the season and everywhere we go the music of the season rings out. I have many Christmas favorites from traditional to a few modern renditions. I have to admit I especially drawn to creative people who present the beauty of music in unusual ways.

I've always loved Tchaikovsky. He's one of my favorite composers, in part, because of his ability to tell a good story. His medium happened to be music and he touched the senses with those stories. His passion imbues his music. Tchaikovsky could tell a tale dark and ominous and do it well. He could also create whimsical fantasy with his music. He was willing to try different things to create the sound and mood he wanted. In one of my favorite sounds of the season, The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky used a celeste to create the sounds for the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. It was a new and different instrument in his day. Instead of typical piano this keyboard had a four octave range and attached to hammers which struck graduated steel plates. It was both a percussion and keyboard instrument. It created a different sound. It was unusual.

Below, is another rendition of Sugar Plum Fairy, and is played on another unusual instrument, the glass harp. I have a few more traditional Christmas songs played on unusual instruments that I'll share in a few more posts. Meanwhile, enjoy this one!

  • Do you have a favorite Christmas carol?

Disclaimer: Although I'm curious how many bottles of good wine it would take to fill these glasses I did not help them empty wine glasses before they were played. Just sayin'  J

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


There are many ways writers work through knotty problems of characters not talking or plot points not working. My guest, romance author C.H. Admirand, tells us one of the ways she handles recalcitrant story issuesshe bakes.

As an author, there are days when the story just isn't flowing the way it should and my characters aren't talking to me. This happens from time to time and to clear my head, I can either do mindless mundane household chores or wander into my sanctuarythe kitchen and
start baking.

When my hands are busy smooshing butter in a deep bowl, adding in flour, sugar, spices, etc. my mind is free to go where it wants, oftentimes solving a plot point, or deciding just where I need to take my characters next.

But sometimes, all of that free-thinking has my recipes going haywire. Let me share a few pics of what was in my mind an epic failure—but the taste-test (provided free of charge by the men in my life) proved that while it might have looked like and epic failure, the flavor was stellar. LOL!

My daughter’s friend, Courtney, never tasted the chocolatey-peanut butter goodness of Funny Bones before Drakes’ Cakes closed their bakery. But, she heard about my sadness over not being able to buy them anymore and shared a recipe she had for peanut butter filled chocolate cupcakes.

They looked great in the picture, so I figured I’d give it a try. Well, there is one tiny tidbit you need to know. I never—well that’s not true, I rarely (closer to the truth) follow a recipe. I change it A.) Because I don’t have a particular ingredient, or B.) Because I don’t like a particular ingredient. LOL! Welcome to my kitchen.

Anyway, I didn’t have any paper muffin cups, so I decided to use my square shaped muffin tin instead. Mistake number one because the square shaped muffins weren’t as deep as the standard muffin tins.
Then I changed the recipe because A.) Things taste better with whole milk, and B.) I didn’t have any 2% milk. ;)

So far so good…


Here’s a picture of what they looked like after I struggled to extract them from the muffin tin—EPIC FAILURE! But I continued to salvage what I could. *sigh*

Meanwhile, I baked another batch and tried to add less in the muffin tins so they wouldn't do the whole Vesuvius-thing. The results were a little bit better—not so much oozing up over the sides of the muffin tin to form one large muffin. *sigh*

Here’s a pic of them iced before mega-consumption—yes and here is where I finally smile because although they didn't look like the picture, they tasted like “I’ll have another one—just to make sure.”

A BIG thank you to Ms. Courtney for sharing her recipe! And of course to my guys for being willing to try any baked good—no matter how ugly it might be before it’s iced. ;)

How do you handle creative projects when the ideas are flowing?

Happy Reading!


BUY: AmazonBarnes and Noble,
Discover a New Love

There's No Place Like Home...

Grace Mulcahy thought she'd finally gotten Apple Grove, Ohio, out of her system. Then she's lured back for a family barbecue and spies a broad-shouldered hottie hanging out at the grill. He somehow seems utterly at ease, whether flipping burgers or horsing around with her hellion nephews. Why didn't her brother-in-law tell her he had such gorgeous friends? Suddenly her mouth is watering for more than her best friend's famous pie.

Some fires aren't meant to be fought…

When firefighter Pat Garahan sees Grace, it's like a five-alarm bell goes off and he's the one ablaze. She says she wants to leave Apple Grove, but he will do whatever it takes to keep her around. The life of a firefighter isn't an easy one though, and he'll have to prove their immediate spark can have a lasting chance at love…EXCERPT (Chapter 1, publisher website)


C.H. Admirand was born in Aiken, South Carolina, but 
grew up in New Jersey. She has been delighting readers with her Secret Life of Cowboys Series, featuring three cowboy brothers with Irish charm, as well as the Small Town USA Series, with the quirky characters of Apple Grove, OH. She lives with her husband, who is the inspiration for all of her heroes’ best traits, in New Jersey. For more information, please visit You can also find CH: Facebook and Twitter

Monday, December 9, 2013


Snuggled in my covers in between sleep and awake, I try to identify the sounds. Rain? Whatever. It’s not even eight-o-clock! I burrow deeper under the down comforter and reached for sleep only to be roused not more than twenty minutes later by gravel being thrown at my window.

Wait, gravel? What the hell?

Not gravel. Ice pellets. I pull the pillow up over my head. Doesn't matter. I can still hear old man winter whistling a discordant tune through the windows while scraping his fingers through the last of the leaves on the oak trees. His nasty little sprites, armed with machine guns, are shooting the side the house and windows reminding me that I forgot to lower the storm windows. Again.

Arrgh! I’m cursed this morning. So much for sleeping in.

I grumble as I pull on jeans and heavy socks and rummaged through my winter drawer for my Packers sweatshirt, which I drag over my thermal tee shirt. At least I was warming up. I forgot to turn on the heat the night before so the house was cold. Who thinks about turning on the heat when it’s sunny, warm, and 63 degrees? God bless central heat and coffee. J

I watch the horses through the window as they stomp their feet and blow fog sculptures. They’re waiting for hay. Funny how they know it’s the weather for hay and grain. Yesterday they watched as I offloaded bales of hay with mild interest but went back to grazing. Of course I was sweating like a pig yesterday in shirtsleeves as I worked insulating pipes, leveling and filling the water troughs, unloading the grain and dog food.

No sunshine this morning, just a whistling north wind, dirty cotton clouds and piles of white pellets.

I’m prevaricating. It’s frickin’ cold out there. The temps are still falling. I really don’t want to go outside but my babies are waiting for me. …fresh hay has to be put into the cat’s sleeping boxes and Rex’s new doghouse. We did a pretty good job with that despite not having a floor. Rex hates a floor in his doghouse. He’d rather dig a burrow in the dirt. Still needs a good layer of hay for insulation.

I set the cup down and reach for my wool scarf and gloves and pull on my coat. I stomp my feet into boots I haven’t worn since last February, grab my leather work gloves and head out the door. 

The horses rumble good morning and Sassy, me darlin’ is in fine form this morning arching her gorgeous neck, prancing along the fence line as I head to storage area of the work garage.  Sweet Tea is her usual bitchy self when food is brought out. Mine, all mine. Doctari is dignified and patient. Sassy knows I’ll feed her last and she lays her head on my shoulder and wuffles the edge of my stocking cap. I know what’s coming. She hates my winter caps. 5, 4, 3, 2, there it goes…plop and catches on the fence and she buries her nose in my hair. Damn horse. She makes me laugh and I soak up her love and affection. With a final hug I give her portion of hay.

I work my way through my list. At least it’s a relatively short list. My pride of cats bears me company as I work. A welcome comfort.

My final chore is Rex.  The pride follow me his area. They don’t mind Rex. He’s gentle with them. He sits close at hand, tongue lolling to the side, as he watches while I unload the hay and spread it in his nest. We have a pact you see. He sits patiently, sort of, while I lay the hay. I step back and gesture to the hay and he’s in the house pawing the hay this way and that until he has it arranged just so. Is he done? No. Next, he uses his nose and fine tunes the arrangement, lays down and wiggles around, then gets up again and noses it some more. I stand by grinning while he works. Several of the cats drape themselves along the roof of his house as he works and Jag is on the fence post by my shoulder. Sassy is finished eating and comes over to watch. I lean against her chest as she drops her head on my shoulder. She has such a soft nose. Rex bounds out of the house and back to me wagging his body in thanks. Sassy snorts but doesn't move away. Of course, it must be Pride approved. Couple of the cats jump down and look inside. Rex allows it.

I didn't want to come outside this morning. Cursed because I had to crawl out of a warm bed. It’s wicked cold. I’m already tired. My nose and the tips of my ears are about frozen solid. So why am I still standing here?

It’s the blessing, you see.

Love is a blessing. There is richness in love given and received. It doesn't matter whether that love is from two legged or four legged personalities. It’s something precious.

I close my eyes and give thanks for the blessings in my life. For the life I have today. For the love that surrounds me.

Something soft brushes my face. I open my eyes to big fluffy snowflakes softly falling around me. I feel like I’m floating in the snowfall. It’s beautiful. There is a hush to falling snow. A feeling of benediction. It’s magical.

I’m loved and life is good.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


It's my pleasure to, again, have Kathryne Kennedy (and Pikachu) visiting Over Coffee. It's been a while since I've had the privilege of having her here. As you may know she writes some fabulous stories involving all manner of magical creatures and I particularly enjoy her Relics of Merlin series.  

Hello Sia and friends! It’s wonderful to be back here talking with you all again! Although I have already posted about my new puppy on my personal blog, I had to share some new photos and news about her! I named my new girl Pikachu, and if any of you have kids who play Pokemon, you’ll know where I took the name from.

I found her on the following website, and it was such a thrill to see the words ADOPTED, and know that I was the one they referred to:
This is a wonderful place to find a new dog if you are looking for one, so you might want to go to the site when you can browse for a while.

This poor puppy was part of the ‘miracle litter’, because she was scheduled for euthanizing along with her brothers. Theirs is kind of a sad story, but if you have the stomach for it, you can read about them all here:

Otherwise, just know that she was rescued by some amazing people, and found a wonderful new home with me. I adore her, as you can probably tell from my photos. The first picture cracks me up, cause I swear she looks like she’s laughing at me. And see the little brush in the background? Yeah, I try, but she thinks it’s another game, and winds up attacking the brush and then stealing it from me.

In the second photo I am talking to her, and like usual, she’s trying to understand what I’m saying. She’s a quick learner, and I swear she already knows what I’m telling her most of the time.

In the third picture, you can see the mix of Chihuahua and…I’m guessing maybe a dachshund? I’m not sure, but whoever her parents are, they made an adorable puppy. 

In the fourth, she’s doing one of her favorite things: snuggling into the covers. She loves to dive in them and growl and pretend she’s a commando. 

In the fifth, she has dropped her toy over the edge of the bed, and in the last picture, you can see why I can’t find her half of the time. I have brown floors and carpet, and she blends in like a little ghost. I’ll say, “Where’s Pikachu?” And look down and there she is, staring up at me with a grin. Sheesh, I love this little dog.

I've written several books that include animals, including fantasy creatures like shapeshifters in the Relics of Merlin series. I think my love of animals has inspired many of the critters I write about. 

I’d love to hear about your pets, and how they came to be a part of your lives.

My Magical Best,


BUY: AmazonBarnes and NobleChapters/Indigo,

Power Magic is Afoot …

Millicent Pantere has lived her entire life in the notorious London Underground. She cares nothing for the problems of the crown or the intrigues of society. But the ladies of the realm are acting strangely, and Millicent is coerced into tracking down the rumors of a mysterious man—a magic man who comes in the night and disappears at dawn.

And So the Hunt Begins…

Millicent's search leads her to one of Merlin's legendary relics and the seductive knight whose fate is bound up with it. Centuries ago, Sir Gareth Solimere made the mistake of seducing the wrong woman, and he has been trapped ever since by a diabolical curse. He's looking for the one who can break the enchantment—but in this world, there is no love without betrayal...


Kathryne Kennedy is a critically acclaimed, bestselling, award-winning author of magical romances. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives with her wonderful family in Glendale, Arizona. For more information and ongoing contests, please visit

Monday, November 25, 2013


All my life I've been a Magpie collecting shiny bits of information and storing them. As a little kid those ideas played out in drawings or illustrated stories—like a comic book. Sometimes those ideas just created a world in my brain and played. Other times the ideas were used as pretend adventures to be played out by my brothers and I. When I brought my brothers into the story they embellished and fleshed out the ideas and we had days of fun with the results.

Wonder what's going on over there?
Where many people would see a pretty piece of landscape, my mind would react to the beauty visually but then it would gallop off into storylines of hidden people and animals living there. The shadow between two trees would become a door into another world. One place we lived had a honeysuckle caves in the woods with paths moving between them and they were fun to explore physically. Some of them were quite large and big enough to, with a little work, create living quarters. Mentally, in my imagination, this is where all sorts of interesting creatures lived—faeries lived there, you see, or the people who were magic and could turn into animals. I was playing paranormal shapeshifter games long before it became a genre. But those tunnels and caves became paths to different worlds and people.

Ah, that's the perfect shade of do I get it 
home? Wait, was that a mermaid I just saw? No, maybe a 
lady with 
a sword? 
My mind has always worked like this. Even today, when I take a walk there is a part of my mind that sees stories and snippets of adventures. Granted, the ideas aren't in the forefront of my mind like they were as a preteen or teen but they’re still there. Many times those places I've walked or things I've observed in my walks will play out some adventure, later, in my dreams. To me it’s normal and I thought everyone had that moving video in their head, lol!

As I got older I started writing down some of those vivid dreams. I have notebooks of ideas and snippets of scenes I've written. When I got my computer I would store those outlines, ideas, scenes in a writing file. My writing files are quite large and filled with fascinating, to me, research on things I've seen in dreams or just thought about.  I’m inquisitive about many things and my files reflect that curiosity.

My inner magpie is a collector of lots of shiny ideas and some of them have made it to a basic story outline, others have not. I say outline but its more like a paragraph of storyline and some character sketches and maybe glimpses of the world I’m playing in. Any teacher would raise an eyebrow at my use of the term, outline, but it works for me. When I go beyond flashes of ideas
and create a basic storyline it moves from my writing file to it’s own file and my magpie flies around collecting more shiny bits of  research to add to it.

Yep, I have a curious magpie mind. J

How about you? How do you collect your story

Do you write down ideas and file them or let them ping around your mind for awhile?

Wednesday: I have the incomparable Kathryne Kennedy sharing her new book and her very cute puppy with us.