The Healer’s Choice Playlist/Soundtrack

I love music, but I usually don’t listen to it while I’m writing; I find my attention too divided. However, I often listen to music while I’m warming up for writing, and I get a lot of inspiration and energy from music at all times. I do a lot of prewriting and development in my head, with scenes playing out in my mind like my own private movies–and of course, movies have soundtracks. Some pieces of music seem like the perfect complement to the scenes, situations, and characters I imagine; occasionally a piece of music even inspires a scene or plot development. So, as many writers do, I have a playlist for my book; in my case, it’s like a soundtrack for the Healer’s Choice movie-in-my-mind.

After I first put the list together, I reconstructed it on YouTube, although I had to substitute in some pieces that weren’t available on that site. Here, now, is the original playlist/soundtrack with artist and album information; I’ve also indicated which scenes or characters I think the pieces go with, hopefully in a way that doesn’t give spoilers for readers who haven’t yet finished reading the novel. Most of the selections are available on iTunes or Amazon, but for independent musicians I’ve generally linked to CD Baby or Bandcamp, which in some cases are the only sources for their music. Happy listening, and if you like these songs, I hope you’ll support the artists who created them!

[opening credits] “Four Doors to Elfland” by Emerald Rose (Archives of Ages to Come

[healing] “Opening Om” by Celia (Sound Spirals) or “Ground, Center, and Shield” by Celia (For the Asking)

 [night journey] “Veli” by Hedningarna (Karelia Visa)

[the Sanctuary] “Hiraeth” by Carreg Lafar (Ysbryd Y Werin)

[Taras] “Branle des chevaux” by Stefano Pando (Lute Works)

[Corvalen] “Lady in Black” by Damh the Bard (Sabbat)

[heron flight] “Chant et danse (2 duduk et percussion)” by Jordi Savall (Istanbul)

[in the stars] “Fortune” by The Canadian Brass (English Renaissance Music)

[devotions] “Ispariz” by Irfan (The Eternal Return) 

[all is not well] “Ice Storm” by Alexander James Adams and S.J. Tucker (Ember Days) or “Para Barei” by Corvus Corax (Seikilos)

[apprentices] “Ahven” by Kardemimmit (Introducing Kardemimmit)

[the Kel Sharha] “The Caregiver’s Song” by Celia (For the Asking)

[confrontation/the Watcher of the Beeches] “Vinda” by Leaf (Lys) 

[news] “Cymbeline” by Loreena McKennitt (The Visit)

[prisoner] “Lady, We Must Flee” by S.J. Tucker (Ember Days)

[the Mothers] “Ancestor’s Song” by Kellianna (I Walk with the Goddess

[the colors of night and blood] “Viima (Cold Wind)” by Hedningarna (Karelia Visa)

[Rossen’s chase] “Polska” by Garmarna (Vedergällningen)

[homecoming] “Basse dance sur jouissance” by Stefano Pando (Lute Works

[mentor] “Night in That Land” by Nightnoise (Shadow of Time)

[procession] “Hymnus Apollon” by Corvus Corax (Seikilos)

[farewell] “Lisa Lan” by Carreg Lafar (Hyn)

[watching by the pyre] “Märk Hur Vår Skugga” by Pia Fridhill (My Swedish Songbook)

[the Council] “Sol” by Leaf (Lys)

[a daughter’s blessing] “Lullaby” by The Canadian Brass (English Renaissance Music)

[soldiers’ songs] “Wee Be Soldiers Three” by New World Renaissance Band (Where Beauty Moves and Wit Delights) or “Bache, Bene Venies” by Philip Pickett and the New London Consort (Sinners and Saints)

[the ford] “Krummi” by Valravn (Nordic Voyages)

[coming to terms] “Mieleni Alenevi” by Värttinä (Vihma)

[to the trees] “Robin Hood and the Tanner” by Richard Searles (Scarborough Faire)

[under the beech] “In All That Is Green” by S.J. Tucker (Ember Days

[sister and brother] “Peace” by Sarah Jarosz (Follow Me Down)

[treaty] “Closing Om” by Celia (Sound Spirals) or “Awaken” by Celia (Letting Go

[horses] “Rince Briotanach” by Clannad (Clannad 2)

[alone] “Dark Wings” by Wendy Rule (The Wolf Sky)

[the riverbank] “Afon yr Haf” by Carreg Lafar (Hyn)

[the Watchers] “Täss’on Nainen” by Hedningarna (Trä)

[to the Sanctuary] “Fram á Reginfjallaslóð” by Ragnheiður Gröndal (Þjóðlög)

[the House of Healing] “Corrente” (track 14) by Rolf Lislevand (Nuove Musiche) or “Sarabande” by Rolf Lislevand (Scaramanzia)

[swordplay] “Baba Yaga” by Annbjorg Lien (Baba Yaga) or “Luseblus” by String Sisters (String Sisters Live)

[the prince] “Scheidt: Galliard Battaglia” by The Eastman Brass Quintet (Renaissance Brass Music)

[sleepless] “The Window” by Wendy Rule (The Wolf Sky)

[playing and plotting] “La guerre” by Ensemble Clément Janequin (Janequin: La chasse)

[Rossen] “Where Are You Going” by Dave Matthews Band (Busted Stuff)

[riding circuit] “Kecharitomene” by Loreena McKennitt (An Ancient Muse)

[fight] “Chwedl y Ddwy Ddraig” by Calan (Dinas) or “Oro Se Vie” by Corvus Corax (Seikilos)

[Pieran] “Hey, Brother” by Avicii (True)

[spinning] “New Set” by Calan (Jonah)

[tribute] “Stella Splendens” by Philip Pickett and the New London Consort (Sinners and Saints)

[Healer, Listener, and Summoner] “Prayer of Intention” by Trinity Demask (Crucible

[harvest festival procession] “Walking the Labyrinth” by Celia (“Carry Me Home”) 

[ritual] “Gula Gula” by Mari Boine (Voices of the Real World)

[harvest festival dance] “Saltarello” by Dead Can Dance (Aion)

[harvest festival] “Lille Dansa” by Gjallarhorn (Sjofn)

[harvest festival] “Wine and Water” by Arthur Hinds (Tome of Mystery

[harvest gift] “Flamme” by Leaf (Lys)

[curse] “Tuuli” by Hedningarna (Trä)

[enmity] “Antiokia” by Garmarna (Vittrad)

[realizations] “I Can See Now” by Dead Can Dance (Toward the Within) or “Trecensis: Dum Pater Familias” by Philip Pickett and the New London Consort (Sinners and Saints)

[Treska] “Neidon Laulu” by Hedningarna (Karelia Visa)

[the Common] “Evolution” by Wendy Rule (The Wolf Sky)

[nightmare] “Brostnar Borgir” by Eivør Pálsdóttir (Krákan)

[new paths] “The Village Lanterne” by Blackmore’s Night (The Village Lanterne)

[closing credits] “The Mothers’ Land” by Arthur Hinds (Dance in the Fire


The Healer’s Choice: a review!

Christy English, author of the SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE series, has given The Healer’s Choice a wonderful review on Amazon and Goodreads:

“This is the kind of book that I not only loved, but that stayed with me long after I put it down. The best way I can express it is to say this beautiful novel is like the best of Marion Zimmer Bradley. Though set in a fantasy world with a fantasy war, THE HEALER’S CHOICE could easily have been Britain as it fell to Roman occupation. A lovely, well-written novel with fascinating characters on both sides of the war. I want to read it again. I want to read the next one in the series. I love it so much, I am buying copies for my friends. It’s just that good.”

A Map!

I am not an artist, but when I was writing The Healer’s Choice I needed a map for my own reference (and I still need it as I work on the sequel, The Healer’s Curse), so I had to draw one. And here it is. (If you click on it, it will get bigger.)


Songs of Sharhaya

Last year my husband released his CD Dance in the Fire, on which he included his wonderful setting of “The Mothers’ Land,” the final song from The Healer’s Choice. He’s now hard at work recording his next CD, and this morning he played me what he’s done so far with “Wine and Water,” another of the novel’s songs. It sounds so beautiful! I’m also really pleased with how well it stands on its own, apart from the book. However, if you have read or are reading The Healer’s Choice, “Wine and Water” is the song that Taras sings at the feast during the harvest-welcoming celebration:

Good neighbor, will you drink with me

For what has been and what will be,

For sorrow and for gaiety

That mix like wine and water?


Good neighbor, will you raise your glass?

For whatever comes to pass

Is ours to share, though griefs amass

And flow like wine and water.


Good neighbor, will you take in hand

Goblet, cup, or bowl, and stand

To drink your pledge to this kind land?

Raise up your wine and water.


Good neighbor, when my song is done,

Remember still the lesson sung:

Though all things change, Beyond they’re one,

And life is wine and water.

My March Madness

Yes, I know it’s April now, but the end of last month was so busy that I didn’t have a chance to write about it. First, of course, there was the long-awaited publication of The Healer’s Choice on March 17. My dad was visiting that week, so when my author’s copies arrived, I was able to give him the very first one–definitely a moment I’ll never forget, and fitting, in light of the fact that when I graduated from high school he took me to the store to pick out a typewriter, informing the clerk that I needed it because I was going to be a writer. I’m not sure I even knew that for certain myself at the time!

The last weekend in March, I was a featured author at both the Southern Literary Festival and the Dahlonega Literary Festival (both took place, conveniently, in Dahlonega). SLF is a gathering of students and faculty who work on college literary magazines, and they were a wonderful and enthusiastic group of people. I gave a poetry workshop that was practically standing-room-only, and the students in particular asked the most interesting and thought-provoking questions; it was a great experience to converse with them and share our love of poetry. (The staff of The Chestatee Review had some very kind things to say about the workshop, as well as other aspects of the festival: Other highlights were the book signing, at which I made my first in-person sale of The Healer’s Choice, and a well-attended address by Anthony Grooms, who is at work on a novel about African Americans in Sweden, a book I’m very much looking forward to.

I had attended and presented at the Dahlonega Literary Festival in previous years, but this was the first time I was a featured author; I felt quite honored, and the festival treated all of us authors like royalty. Unfortunately, I missed the keynote address by Frances Mayes (which I heard was terrific), but I did have the pleasure of being on a panel with her. As always, it was great fun to be on panels with Cherie Priest and Delilah S. Dawson–they and Kevin Hearn and Molly Harper were hard to keep up with in the witty-and-entertaining department! (Note to self: Try not to be so darn serious all the time!) Other authors I was pleased and privileged to meet and panel with included Ann Hite, Jessica Handler, George Weinstein, and Janice Hardy. The Dahlonega Literary Festival does a marvelous job of bringing together a diverse array of writers, and the festival volunteers and attendees are every bit as delightful as the authors. Hooray for book lovers!

Book Birthday!

healerfcoverToday The Healer’s Choice was released into the world! It is now for sale on Amazon (paperback, hardcover, and Kindle editions) and will very soon, I imagine, be available through other outlets. My publisher shipped me four hardcover copies, and when the UPS driver delivered them to me this afternoon, I was literally shaking with excitement. I have waited a long time to see this book in print; I may even have cried a little as I opened the box and pulled out the first copy. I am so grateful to Dark Oak Press for loving The Healer’s Choice as much as I do and working so hard to turn it into such a beautiful book!

Art, friendship, and faith

I had originally titled this post “Fan Art!” But this is not just about fan art. This is also–perhaps even more so–about friendship and about having faith in our talents and our work. At a certain point, I became completely discouraged that The Healer’s Choice would ever see the light of day. Although I had received a great deal of positive feedback on the novel from agents and publishers, no one I had submitted it to felt as though it was “right for us at this time.” I was ready to give up and stop trying to get the book published. And then my dear friend (and invaluable writing buddy) Maria gave me this piece of artwork (which the photo does not do justice to):


I was, of course, incredibly moved that she had taken the time and trouble to illustrate a scene from the novel (I cried when she gave me the picture). More than that, it made the book real to me again, and got me sending it back out to publishers. And now, here I am with The Healer’s Choice just a day or so away from publication. Thank you, Maria, and everyone else who has helped me keep my dream alive!