Posts tagged ‘music’

February 22, 2021

New Book: Song of Light by Sandra Saidak


My friend Sandy has a new book out I thought you might enjoy.  What a beautiful cover! Who can resist music, magic, and adventure?


Song of Light by Sandra Saidak

Fleeing a cursed land, Salia finds salvation in a world of magic. But she must fight to save her new home from the impending dark forces that threaten to consume it.

Sold into servitude by her father to settle his debts with a brutal innkeeper, Salia dreams of a better life. Desperate for a way out, she finds her escape in a portal to another world… a world where magic still flourishes.

Welcomed by a band of wildlings into a land of eternal childhood, time passes happily, until the injury of one of her friends forces Salia to seek help at the temple of healing. There she meets Alyssa, an elven warrior princess who encourages Salia to explore the wider world with her.

As Salia embraces her exciting new life of adventure, she is able to grow and blossom. A sense of belonging and acceptance fills her with the belief that she’s found her true home in the elf kingdom of Evintyr.

But the Darkness, an evil force that drained Salia’s former world of magic, now threatens her new home with the same fate. As Salia finds herself thrust into a race to save this new world, can she prevent it from falling victim to a similar destiny?

Author’s note:

I’ve loved escaping into other worlds for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes, through movies, books and songs, I found worlds created by others.  Sometimes, I created them myself.

The upside of this quirk was two ready-made careers.  The first is teaching high school English so I could share my passion for stories with the people I believe need it the most: teenagers.  The second is writing, so I could share the worlds I created with everyone.

While not all my fantasy life centers on history, all of my early writing did, probably because of the huge impact Jean Auel and her Earth’s Children series had on me.  Despite the rich niche of prehistoric fiction, I couldn’t get enough of it.  More properly, I couldn’t find the exact story I wanted to read.

So, I wrote it.  And in 2011, published Daughter of the Goddess Lands, Book 1 in my Kalie’s Journey series.  I added alternative history with From the Ashes and That This Nation Might Live, and historical fantasy with The Seal Queen.

This year, I am taking the plunge into epic fantasy, with Songs of Light, and for the first time, indulging my passion for ballads and folk songs, and the healing power of music.

When not writing, I enjoy dancing, music, attending science fiction conventions and hearing from my readers

October 8, 2019

Summer of Hush by R.L. Merrill

Summer of Hush by R.L. Merrill

A rocker with a crush

An intern with a secret

A meet-cute

A band attempting to make a comeback after a tragedy occurred

A group of metalcore musicians who are all awkward and adorable and a supporting cast of bands and crew who will make you laugh, swoon, and maybe even tear up a time or two.

Hush is back… and it’s about to get loud.

After two years grieving the death of his best friend, Silas Franklin is back on the road with his metalcore band, Hush. With a new member, a brilliant new album, and a headlining spot on the last cross-country Warped Tour, life couldn’t be better—unless Silas could meet the intriguing music blogger known only as the Guru. Silas has followed his blog for years and feels the Guru might be the only person who “gets” him.

For years Krishnan Guruvayoor has reported on the metal scene as an anonymous blogger, and he’s just landed an internship on the Warped Tour as well as a potential position with a well-respected music magazine. His best friend arranges for him to meet singer Silas Franklin—but only as Krish the Intern. Their chemistry is instant, and Krish is thrilled to get to know the man behind the music.

The rock star and blogger quickly go from meet-cute to cuddle session, but secrets, overprotective bandmates, meddling media, and a terrible accident all conspire against them. Can their romance survive the Summer of Hush?

June 8, 2018

Emmy on Music Inspiring Fiction, Last Lullaby

Emmy, writing as Emerian Rich in the horror anthology, Crescendo of Darkness.

“Last Lullaby” by Emerian Rich

An opera diva is haunted by a dangerous secret which threatens to end her career and her life.

I was seventeen when I saw my first Broadway production. Our choir class sponsored a trip to Los Angeles to perform at a university-sponsored choral event and see the production of The Phantom of the Opera, my favorite musical. It was a trip of firsts. The first time riding on a luxury bus, the first time I’d performed on a real stage, and the first time I’d sat in a theatre seat.

When the lights dimmed and the music began, it was a surreal moment. My heart pounded hard in my chest, like the drumming of the enormous timpani drums. I stared through my borrowed binoculars at the stage and the costumes, candles, and fog consumed me. I was lucky enough to see the original cast with Michael Crawford as the Phantom and Sarah Brightman as Christine. Tears collected in my eyes as the performers sang the beautiful music because I was hearing greatness—live. But also because I wanted so badly to be a part of their world. What a stunning, horrific, lovely, dramatic world where anything could happen.

In my short story “Last Lullaby,” Claire has the same yearning to be included in this magical world. She is an opera chorus girl when fate—or perhaps something more sinister—rockets her into diva-hood. For a girl such as her, who loves music with her whole being, what will happen when the gift is ripped from her? Will she survive? Or will she put her life at stake to sing one last time?

Find in this Phantom retelling, “Last Lullaby” in Crescendo of Darkness. Sometimes, it’s better to travel the hard road to gain respect than to make a deal with a demon.


Music has the power to soothe the soul, drive people to obsession, and soundtrack evil plots. Is music the instigator of madness, or the key that unhinges the psychosis within? From guitar lessons in a graveyard and a baby allergic to music, to an infectious homicidal demo and melancholy tunes in a haunted lighthouse, Crescendo of Darkness will quench your thirst for horrifying audio fiction. is proud to present fourteen tales of murderous music, demonic performers, and cursed audiophiles.

 Crescendo of Darkness

Direct link:

Edited by Jeremiah Donaldson

Cover by Carmen Masloski Press


Let music unlock your fear within.

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March 11, 2018

Guest Post: A Perfect Soundtrack by Lela Bay

Guest Blog: A Perfect Soundtrack by Lela Bay

Before I begin writing, I often create a playlist with the mood of the book. Unlike many authors, I don’t mind lyrics. I know I’ve been in the writing zone when I pause and suddenly reawaken of the music and singing that’s been playing all along.

Movie musicals know what they’re doing. They start with a powerful opening number. Just consider the release of La La Land, where an entire Los Angeles freeway becomes a thumping, mardi gras party for those stuck in traffic. It’s an easy daydream to have:

More recently, The Greatest Showman grabbed hold of the audience with its pulse-pounding opening number. The multi-talented Hugh Jackman owns the stage with his presence, and the tempo builds with the marvelous stomping effects.

However, even in non-musicals the soundtrack plays an integral role setting the tone of the movie. If you love music and romance, prepare to be blown away. The opening scene of A Perfect Man, with Liev Schreiber and Jeanne Tripplehorn, is the ideal of using music to set up the story and inspire the audience. It’s a beautiful, mysterious and powerful sequence. When I heard the music, I needed to know more. Hints in the lyrics sounded familiar. It nagged at me. In searching I discovered the opening lyrics were from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 57. The director filmed the movie but ran out of funds and didn’t finish it. Later, he showed a rough cut to a film class, and they were so impressed they insisted he complete the movie.

I couldn’t find a clip of the opening scene from A Perfect Man on Youtube for you. Ideally, go to Netflix and stream just the first 5 minutes of the movie (sorry film students, the movie is good but never lives up to those opening minutes). Alternately, you can hear the music here but it isn’t quite the same without the amazing scene. “For This Sin (featuring Jules Larson)” by Jeff Cardoni.

As a writer, I wish I could use music to instantly tell my audience the tone, genre, and energy of the story they were about to read. I find it entirely believable that our reading devices of the future could come embedded with soundtracks to match the pace of the reader.

Until then, here are a few songs that I listened to while working on my Regency romance novella, Ruined Reputations. Since it’s a period piece, I chose music that didn’t use too many modern instruments (not too much electric guitar and synth for this soundtrack). The two tales, “The Unusual Mr. Aarons” and “Virtue’s Temptation” are sweet and sometimes funny with an undertone of longing.

  • For This Sin (feat. Jules Larson) by Jeff Cardoni
  • Earned It by The Weeknd from 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack
  • The Look of Love by Diana Krall
  • Everywhere by lissie
  • On Less Bell to Answer/A House is not a Home – Glee Soundtrack
  • Issues (acoustic version) by Julia Michaels

Lela lives in a modest house with her husband, children, and pets. Despite living in the far north, she requires a certain amount of sunshine each day or she gets grumpy. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys strolling, gardening, reading, and tea time with friends.

She enjoys stories with intimacy and humor.

Amazon Author Page:



“A tantalizing pair of Regency tales.” ~Emmy Z. Madrigal

“Ruined Reputations is a love letter to high romance of the Brontes with the meticulous eye for detail that readers crave like oxygen itself.” ~MJ Sherry-author of the Back Page Babylon series

–The Unusual Manners of Mr. Aarons–

Rumors of Mr. Aarons unconventional ways are confirmed when he nearly yanks the bonnet off Emmaline’s cousin’s head. Drawn by his charm and good looks, Emmaline finds herself assisting him in his mysterious mission.

His obscure search appears to lead to her cousin, beautiful Catherine Connersfield. She is the more sensible choice, but will she have him? More to the point, will Emmaline let her?

–Virtue’s Temptation–

Experience has taught Eleanor it’s better to be practical than passionate.

When she discovers Bitsy eloping with her French tutor, scandal threatens to ruin the girl.

To keep her reputation intact, Eleanor reluctantly chaperones the rebellious heiress.

Eleanor’s spotless character protects Bitsy, but behaving respectably proves difficult when tempted by the dangerously attractive Mr. Stinson.

If she fails it will end with … Ruined Reputations.

December 25, 2016

Listen to the Sweet Dreams Series in real-time!

Listen to the Sweet Dreams Series in real-time!

Today Victoria and Rob met for the first time. Whether you’ve already listened to the whole series or are brand new, this is the chance to listen to the series in real-time. Here is a listening schedule if you’d like to listen to their love unfold as our calendar counts forward into the New Year.

December 25th, 2016: Listen to Sweet Dreams Chapter 1 & 2

Chapter 1:

Chapter 2:

December 26th, 2016: Listen to Sweet Dreams Chapter 3 & 4

Chapter 3:

Chapter 4:

December 27th, 2016: Listen to Sweet Dreams Chapter 5

Chapter 5:

December 28th, 2016: Listen to Sweet Dreams Chapter 6

Chapter 6:

December 29th, 2016: Listen to Sweet Dreams Chapter 7, 8, 9, 10

Chapter 7:

Chapter 8:

Chapter 9:

Chapter 10:

December 30th, 2016: Listen to Sweet Dreams Chapter 11, 12, 13

Chapter 11:

Chapter 12:

Chapter 13:

December 31st, 2016: Listen to Sweet Dreams Chapter 14

Chapter 14:

January 1st, 2017: Listen to Sweet Dreams Chapter 15

Chapter 15:

January 2nd, 2017: Listen to Star Struck Chapter 1 & 2

Chapter 1:

Chapter 2:

January 3rd, 2017: Listen to Star Struck Chapter 3

Chapter 3:

January 4th, 2017: Listen to Star Struck Chapter 4, 5, 6, 7

Chapter 4:

Chapter 5:

Chapter 6:

Chapter 7:

January 5th, 2017: Listen to Star Struck Chapter 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Chapter 8:

Chapter 9:

Chapter 10:

Chapter 11:

Chapter 12:

January 6th, 2017: Listen to Star Struck Chapter 13

Chapter 13:

January 19th, 2017: Listen to True Love Chapter 1

Chapter 1:

January 25th, 2017: Listen to True Love Chapter 2, 3, 4, 5

Chapter 2:

Chapter 3:

Chapter 4:

Chapter 5:

January 26th, 2017: Listen to True Love Chapter 6, 7, 8

Chapter 6:

Chapter 7:

Chapter 8:

January 27th, 2017: Listen to True Love Chapter 9, 10, 11, 12

Chapter 9:

Chapter 10:

Chapter 11:

Chapter 12:

January 28th, 2017: Listen to Undecided Chapter 1, 2, 3

Chapter 1:

Chapter 2:

Chapter 3:

January 29th, 2017: Listen to Undecided Chapter 4 & 5

Chapter 4:

Chapter 5:

January 30th, 2017: Listen to Undecided Chapter 6, 7, 8

Chapter 6:

Chapter 7:

Chapter 8:

January 31st, 2017: Listen to Undecided Chapter 9, 10

Chapter 9:

Chapter 10:

February 1st, 2017: Listen to Undecided Chapter 11 & 12

Chapter 11:

Chapter 12:

February 2nd, 2017: Listen to Undecided Chapter 13

Chapter 13- End:

More Sweet Dreams real-time listening to come in One More Try this February!

March 21, 2015

Dean Martin and the Meaning of Cool by Elliot Thorpe

Hello, Sweet Dreamers! I know you are all interested in Victoria and her Jazz singing career, but what about the ladies and gentlemen who inspired her to sing those awesome songs? A friend of mine, Elliot Thorpe, is here today to tell us about one of the Jazz greats Victoria strives to emulate, Dean Martin. Enjoy! ~Emz

Dean Martin and the Meaning of Cool

by Elliot Thorpe

 At some point, most likely the 1960s, the word ‘cool’ entered public consciousness as description for something ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

When, then, did ‘cool’ become synonymous with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and a whole host of others? Clearly, they were charming, laid back and smooth, a hit with all demographics – so it seems that the meaning of ‘cool’ was tailor-made for them!

Ironically, it was never a term used to describe them in the 1970s and only really came into regular use towards the end of the 1990s.

When Dean and his contemporaries were regularly performing, they were stars pulling in the crowds. But was it ‘cool’ to go see them live? ‘Cool’ never entered the equation: they were perceived as celebrities, entertainers and a guaranteed good night out in Vegas.

Times move on. Tastes change and the public perception of a ‘celebrity’ in has altered drastically these last few years.  Our digital set-top boxes and satellite dishes are crammed full of reality shows. Unknown members of the public are being shot to celebrity status because of something embarrassing they have done on front of millions of viewers. Worse still, those with just an ounce of fame, and little self-respect sometimes, go and live in a camera-crammed house to become the victim of their own plunging popularity.

But the clamour for public recognition is worryingly alluring. Not so long ago, I attended a convention in Birmingham, UK to promote a ‘Doctor Who’ story that I had scripted. The day before, no one knew me. The day after, I had signed so many autographs I had wrist ache. And I’m not famous. Not in the slightest. But my ‘public’ couldn’t get enough of me. They thought it was ‘cool’ to meet me because I was now linked, and always will be, to a ‘cool’ show. And it was a very surreal and fantastic experience. I had a cool time, you might say!

Dean Martin personally asked my dad to set up his first ever fan club for him in 1960. Cool! Dean Martin used to communicate all the time with my dad. Cool! Dean Martin sent my older sister a doll that he was holding once on a cover of one of his discs. Cool! Dean Martin once sent my dad a very limited edition Sinatra box set that Frank had personally signed it, too, at Dean’s request. Cool! Dean Martin specifically asked to meet my dad face-to-face whenever he came to London. Cool!

I apologise for sounding like I’m in a teen-movie but, when you think about it, all this was pretty cool, eh?

But at the time, we were simply honoured that Dino took such a vested interest in us so I don’t mean to sound big-headed. ‘Cool’ never came into it. It was my dad’s past-time, running the fan club. The additional stuff that came with it, the dolls, the discs, the regular contact, were added bonuses – and gave us a unique insight into Dino himself. Yet my dad never really got to know him, no one ever did, but he got to understand him. And that, both for Dean and my dad, was the most important thing of all in their relationship. They understood each other and knew how each could best benefit each other.

Let’s not beat around the bush, here: Dino knew my dad because my dad helped promote his career. If my dad had remained just a fan back in the 50s and 60s, Dino would have not given him the time of day.

And that’s no disrespect to Dino.

The man was a true celebrity. He held audiences with presidents. He ‘phoned Apollo mission crews while they were orbiting the Earth. He was best mates with Frank Sinatra. But he couldn’t meet his fans, just couldn’t face them. As he told my dad once, “…that’s why you’re here. You do it. You meet them for me and tell them how grateful I am.”

Dino was incredibly shy. And we felt that he perhaps saw our family as opportunities of quiet and down-to-earth normality in an otherwise topsy-turvy life of touring, performing, recording, partying and having hundreds of shallow friendships. He probably took advantage of that normality. My dad was open with him, honest with him. And it was reciprocated.

He was a huge star who had time for us: time he made and found himself, not through his manager or agency. And that’s why my dad has been and continues to be so dedicated to him and the promotion of his career over the last 47 years.

So, if you ask me if Dino was and is ‘cool’, then the answer would be…well, the answer would be: yes – for those reasons, more than anything.

Almost as cool as my dad.


Elliot Thorpe is a writer and jazz aficionado. To read more of his work, go to:

May 6, 2014

Sweet Dreams 4: Undecided, Chapter 12

undecidedIn Chapter 12, Victoria, Cynthia, and the gang travel to a neighboring town to attend a Never Open gig at Alaster’s. Victoria sings with Never Open, Raul reveals his feelings, and Cynthia gets carried away backstage with Ian.

More information at

Voices by: Emmy Z. Madrigal and Kirk Warrington.

Theme song, “Single Girls”written by Laura Jansen, preformed by Marinda Wijnen.

Speical songs for this chapter, “Again” and “Without You” by Brad Wait.

April 28, 2014

SD2: Star Struck, Now Available on Kindle


starstruckStar Struck – Now available in print from

Or in Kindle format

Now you can enjoy Star Struck in audio, print, or Kindle versions. if you buy the Kindle version, you can loan it out to friends and if you buy the print version at, you can get the Kindle version for just 99 cents!

Three days is not very long, but to Victoria, who’s been away from her new love Rob Malloy, it seems like forever. Returning from Colorado, Victoria reconnects with her friends, finding one particular friend isn’t too happy about her having a high society boyfriend.

Imagine waking from a nap to find your favorite boy band star sitting in the chair across from you. That’s what happens to Cynthia Porter. She can hardly believe she isn’t dreaming when Derek Montgomery shows up at Rob’s apartment.

The initial shock gives way to real mutual admiration as they spend time together. Unfortunately, it seems Derek’s old girlfriend haunts him too much to let go. Will Cynthia ever find a guy who is completely into her? Or will she constantly be the friend and counselor to these screwed up males?


July 2, 2010

True Love fans push it to the top!

The 3rd novel in the Sweet Dreams Series, TRUE LOVE, is now available on podiobooks!

And thanks to you loyal listeners, we are at #2 right now after one day. Can we bust out number one?