Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Today Over Coffee welcomes debut novelist Oberon Wonch. With the “feasting season” beginning, I asked Oberon to talk about something food-related from her medieval romance, Come to Me. Take it away, Oberon!
Hello, Sia! Thank you for hosting me here today. I enjoy catching up on your blog and love to linger
over your posts of life in the Ozarks, especially the photos of landscapes and wildlife, some of my favorite things to get lost in on the Internet. 

So, it’s not surprising that bees and beekeeping fascinate me, too. Anyone else? I love the imagery of the old-timey wicker skep sitting in a garden. Since the heroine of my first book, Come To Me, is an English noblewoman living in 11 th century England, and we know from writings of the time that mead (fermented honey) was a widespread favorite of the Germanic and Scandinavian peoples of post-Roman Europe, I wanted to include beekeeping and mead-making in my story.  

Here is a fraction of what I learned about bee husbandry. 8,000-year-old cave paintings show that honey-gathering has been taking place since pre-historic times when people risked life and limb to climb trees and rob wild hives of the sweet, gooey liquid. Ancient Sumerian, Greek, and Chinese writings discuss managing bees and providing adequate, manmade habitats. Bee culture became supremely important to the Egyptians, was adopted by Rome, and then spread through all of Europe.  

Even back to our earliest days, we wanted a little sweetener in our cuisine and went to great lengths to procure it, isn’t that something?  
By the time of the Norman conquest of England in late 11th century AD, beekeeping was an indispensable industry. An Anglo-Saxon noblewoman’s responsibilities included keeping bees (in those lovely, conical straw or wicker baskets called skeps), extracting honey and beeswax, and overseeing mead production.  

The entire arc of beekeeping, from capturing a swarm, to monitoring hives through the summer, to harvesting the honey and comb in the autumn, is a world of information too broad to address here.   

However, making the mead was incredibly simple and a tribute to the thriftiness of the medieval housekeeper. Throughout the warm months as honey was gathered, comb was squeezed through linen gauze to extract the last drop of honey for household purposes. The comb and the gauze were rinsed with water (the comb then rendered for its wax to make candles), and the water was left in covered vats to ferment via the natural yeasts existing in the honey and surrounding air.  

Variations in this process were practiced (for example, herbs and spices were added for flavor), and later written recipes called for boiling 4-to-1 parts water and honey rather than merely using the strainings.   

So, that’s my little peek into one tiny aspect of life in the Middle Ages.

Are you as fascinated by bees and beekeeping as I am? Would you like to someday try mead made in true medieval fashion?

Oberon Wonch’s debut medieval romance novel, Come To Me is available wherever digital books are sold. 

Come To Me  
A maiden’s duty becomes a woman’s desire…  
In this twist on the classic Cyrano story, Bridget of Shyleburgh is ordered to help Count Grégoire FitzHenri, the new Earl of Shyleburgh and the man she secretly loves, court another woman.  

Mortified at first, Bridget soon finds herself completely enthralled by the earl’s whispers of love and desire. His heated wooing tempts a fair maiden to stray down a path filled with forbidden pleasures. But his words are meant for another… aren’t they?  Read More at Amazon

Oberon Wonch has engaged in a love affair with books for as long as she can remember. Penning her own stories from an early age, she later earned a degree in World Literature while studying several languages--all in order to learn what makes a tale endure the ages, but really just to read more books. Her very favorite stories--both to read and write--are those that celebrate the happily-ever-after. She enjoys connecting with readers. Contact her through her website at or follow her on Twitter @OberonWonch and on Facebook. 

Monday, November 23, 2015


The thing about having cancer is its tiring.

Oh, I don’t mean treatments, perse, but everything that comes with it. I get tired of thinking about it; planning or delaying my life because of it. Then there are my own fears and worries that creep in at odd times and bite deep. I’ve always been independent and while I can delegate I hate losing my independence due to lack of strength. I dislike the worry about getting to and from appointments if I unable to drive, of being a burden, or looking at and arranging finances.

Then there is dealing with people.

There are those that care and always try to be encouraging, in spite of what’s going on in their life; those that still want to have real conversations or share laughter and I appreciate them. Seriously these people, and not just close friends and family, make life good. 

But, then... there are those that haven’t a clue what to say or how to react or interact with me. They treat me as if the cancer zombiefied my brain and its broken or not working. You know, that over bright tone of voice one uses with a toddler or someone who is at death’s door. I am neither. 

Or that I’m some drama queen looking for the spotlight. 

Seriously? Who the hell would choose something as dangerous as cancer, which can go either way, for attention? I’d rather being doing anything but facing this. Then there are who just want to avoid me as if this cancer thing is catching, like cooties or the ‘flu.

The funny thing is I do understand people and the whys and hows of how they think. I do try to be patient and understanding but it does get wearying to the soul and I’m not even half way through my treatments. There are times I have little or no patience because I’m trying to deal with what’s inside me right now. I don’t have the energy to deal with others’…problems or attitudes. I fight hard, at times, to hold on to my patience and not rip into someone or have to call my brothers to help dispose of a body. Not a good thing. I don’t like me when I get that way.

I guess what's most frustrating in none of this is a quick fix. By that I mean nothing is going to get me through the next 3 months of radiation and chemo easy or fast--- or the 9 months beyond that with the final chemical phase of treatment. Each treatment is a necessary evil but it isn't going to make me feel better. Considering my reaction to most chemicals and meds, I suspect I'm going to be feeling like crap. I won't kid you, it all gets to me. The anticipation of what's coming...the unknown. Yeah, it gets to me on many levels.

I've spent considerable time, the past few months, at a hospital that deal exclusively with all sorts of cancer patients. I'm a natural people watcher and the story that peoples' faces's an eye opener. Sometimes it lifts you up and other times it breaks your heart.
The sights I've seen and the stories I've heard from people fighting this God. It tends to put things into perspective when I'm facing my own fears and worries. 

So, when things get...frustrating or I get a bit down, I give myself a swift kick mentally and say, "Suck it up Buttercup! There are people with this same disease that would LOVE to be standing where you are now."

No matter what's going on in my life, I CAN'T lose sight of the long term. If everything goes right I get to live.

And that's big. 

Really big.