Ten Albums That Influenced Me As a Teen

I’m seeing a lot of posts from friends, family, and fellow authors listing ten albums that in some way influenced you in your teenage years. I decided to hop on the bandwagon and create my own list, and for this post I’m going a step further and explaining a bit about why I chose each particular album.


Barry Manilow — Manilow Magic. This was the first LP I ever bought. This one comes in right on the lower edge of my teenage years. I’ve loved Barry’s music since I first heard “I Write the Songs” somewhere around third or fourth grade, and this was my first foray into fandom.
Favorite Song: All the Time
Culture Club — Kissing to Be Clever. Oh, how naive I was when I bought this one! Boy George fascinated me. I had no knowledge of homosexuality, cross-dressing, or anything like that, so I thought he was just a weird dresser with a powerful voice. I took a lot of flak from my parents and from quite a few friends for enjoying Culture Club’s music.
Favorite Song: You Know I’m Not Crazy
Duran Duran — Rio. I bought myself this album with my birthday money when I was 14 or 15. In all honesty, MTV really fueled my love for these guys. I loved the sometimes-weird and off-the-wall videos the band made, and I fell hard for John Taylor. My dad actually bought me the VHS of their music videos, something I’m sure he wouldn’t have done if he (or I) had known what was in some of the videos.
Favorite Song: My Own Way
Rick Wakeman — The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I heard this one for the first time when I was maybe 8 or 9. My brother came home from college with this one, and he let my other brother and me listen to it. I’d never heard of King Arthur at that point, but this collection sparked an early interest in the Arthurian legends that came to life in high school and college.
Favorite Song: Guinevere

Joan Baez — Baptism. One of my college friends had this among his collection. It was far different from anything I’d ever heard before. A lot of it was downright creepy, which always appealed to me, and some of the poems gave me nightmares.
Favorite Track: The Magic Wood
Stryper — To Hell With the Devil. Before MTV began playing Stryper’s videos, all Christian music in my eyes was made up of hymns and Southern gospel. It fascinated me that these songs could be taken in either a Christian or a secular context.
Favorite Song: Calling on You
Guns n Roses — Appetite for Destruction. This album was very popular during my freshman year of college. Hearing any of the songs from AfD transports me back to walking into Smith Hall on a Friday afternoon and hearing “Sweet Child of Mine” blasting from the Lambda Chi Alpha house.
Favorite Song: Sweet Child o’ Mine
Pseudo Echo — Love an Adventure. I kind of stumbled on this band when they remade “Funkytown.” It kind of bummed me out that they didn’t become bigger than they did, because I really liked their sound.
Favorite Song: Living in a Dream
Big Bam Boo — Fun, Faith, and Fairplay. This is another group that I wish had been more popular, because I thought they had a unique sound. One of their songs was featured in a local radio station’s new song competition, and as I recall, it blew the other song away.
Favorite Song: Fell Off a Mountain
Enya — Shepherd Moons. This one might actually be beyond my teens, but it still had a huge influence on me. I was in a period of spiritual questioning and was dabbling a bit in Wicca at the time. I was also very steeped in King Arthur and all kinds of other romantic poetry and fiction, and Enya’s music just fit right in.
Favorite Song: Marble Halls


Some Writing Goals for 2017


Yes, it’s January 9th.

Yes, New Year’s Day was just over a week ago.

Yes, I’m behind in setting my goals for the year. When have I ever done anything on time?

My family and I were away over Christmas and New Year’s (we travel to Florida over the holidays, since that’s when my husband can get off work and the kids are off school), so I’m still getting back into the swing of things with housework, kids back to school, and the half-dozen activities I’m involved with. I think I’m finally at a point where I can start thinking about my writing, specifically a few goals and upcoming events I’m focusing on for 2017.

An Uneasy Inheritance

Naturally, I want to continue my Kyrie Carter: Supernatural Sleuth series. At the moment, I’m about seven chapters in to Book 4. I have some basic ideas of the adventures Kyr and Spook will have in this book, but for the most part, I’m waiting for inspiration to strike about what paranormal encounters they will have. Poor Kyr is already likely to go from being a ginger to being gray-haired with all the life changes she’ll have; I’m not sure how much paranormal she’ll be able to handle.
And in keeping with being behind on things, I am just now writing the part where she’s helping Spook decorate for Christmas. Here’s a little excerpt of that:

After grabbing a quick lunch, we returned to Spook’s house and spent the next couple hours laying his old tree to rest and assembling the new one. After snapping the last piece into place, Spook rested his arm across my shoulders, and we stood back to admire his new tree. Smiling down at me, he said, “That’s a definite improvement over the old tree. In fact, it looks so good that I don’t even think it needs any decorations.”

I laughed and elbowed him in the ribs. “Oh no, you don’t. You’re not going to weasel your way out of a properly-decorated tree, Mr. Humbug.” Ducking away from his embrace, I went to the stereo and turned on the Christmas music. “Now where are those lights?”

My heart swelled with happiness as we trimmed the tree with strings of blue-white lights and blue, white, and silver balls; I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed decorating a Christmas tree. I usually helped Aunt Julia with hers, but this was somehow different, more special. Before long, I was singing along with Mariah Carey and dancing around the tree as I hung the shiny ornaments from the branches. A sudden chuckle from Spook made me stop abruptly, a silver ball on a hook pinched between my thumb and forefinger. “What?”

“Oh, nothing.” As Spook sat on the couch, holding up his phone and smirking at me, I realized that not only had I been doing the lion’s share of the decorating, but had also become the star of a video. “Just enjoying the show.”

Letting out an exasperated huff, I snatched his Bah Humbug hat from the floor and tossed it at him. “Really, Spook? Just because you’re a YouTube sensation doesn’t mean I need to be one too.”

He laughed as he tucked his phone away, then pulled me onto his lap. “No worries, Kyr m’dear. This video is solely for my own viewing pleasure.” I felt my face flushing as I narrowed my eyes at him. He drew me closer to nuzzle my neck and growled, “Call it a Christmas present to myself.”

Other Projects

At some point, I want to branch out from writing paranormal mystery. I’ve already got bits and pieces of a YA fantasy/romance (The Knight and the Not-Quite Lady) and another story set in the fictional town of Millers Ferry, PA (based on my hometown of Millersburg, PA); I haven’t worked out if it will be inspirational, women’s fiction, or cozy mystery, but this one will be set between Halloween and Christmas Eve.
I’d also like to try my hand at writing short stories. There are so many contests and anthologies looking for short stories, but it’s just not something I’ve ever really attempted. I do have an idea for one, tentatively titled “Chasing Skylab.” I won’t give any more on that for now, at least until I put a bit more thought into it.


In an effort to do more in the way of marketing, I want to look into more author events this year. I had a pretty good run of vendor events last year, including Millersburg’s Cherry Blossom Festival and Dillsburg’s Farmer’s Fair, as well as two events in Lock Haven. In March of this year, I will attend my first paranormal conference in Gettysburg. At this point I’m just a vendor, but I hope that at some point I will be able to talk about my books and my writing process at one of these conferences. I’ve also got one library event scheduled for March, and I hope to add a few more over the summer.
One thing I have not done yet, but hope to do, if not this year, then next, is to attend a writers’ conference of some kind. I’d like to go to an event where I can talk with other writers and share experiences, as well as getting my books out on a wider scale.

All in all, I’ve got a pretty good idea of where I’d like to be at the end of the year. God willing, and notwithstanding all the life events that always manage to shove their way into the best-laid plans, I believe this is a good start.

Happy New Year!

Happy Reading!

Happy Writing!

Hedge Riding

Just doing a bit of research.

The Mental Health Witch


One of the many practices that are popular among hedge witchcraft is riding the hedge between the physical and ethereal planes. Hedge witches work closely with the spiritual plane to guide them and aid in their magickal works. There are many ways to ride the hedge, or so to speak, and many different cultures and forms of magick utilize the many ways of riding the hedge. 

One way is to go on a vision quest. A vision quest is a rite of passage in some Native American cultures. The ceremony of the Vision Quest is one of the most universal and ancient means to find spiritual guidance and purpose. A Vision Quest can provide deep understanding of one’s life purpose. A traditional Native American Vision Quest consists of a person spending one to four days and nights secluded in nature. This provides time for deep communion with the fundamental forces and spiritual energies…

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The Wholesome Truth



The Wholesome Truth:

“Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

The waters get murky when people suggest a definition for truth. While that can’t always be agreed upon in a society where standards are becoming increasingly flexible (from morals to education standards) – we can all look toward what is not true: Fake News.

Fake News comes from dubious sources… so does our self-image.

We’re the normal people we grew up with, we know all our own secrets, mistakes and the general mess that we, as human beings are.

Nobody’s perfect. Even our plastic filled celebrities.

Here’s the good thing: we can monitor our fake news intake – just like we can with our ideas and self-talk.

If it bugs you – do something about it.

If its not true – don’t lie to yourself about it…

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