Record Store Day 2019

RSD 2019 Wide

Hey all!  Are you excited?  It’s that time again.  Tomorrow, April 13, 2019 is Record Store Day here in the US and a few other participating countries.  Dust off your phonograph and go buy some vinyl!

Check out all the great music in just about every genre.  The list is quite long.

What are you excited about?  In The Garage: Live Music from WTF with Marc Maron – Vol. 1 is something I’ll be looking for as well as the David Bowie and Ramones on vinyl.  (Just so you know, I don’t work for Record Store Day, but I love music.  Going to a record store on Record Store Day when it’s buzzing with others excited about music is a thrilling thing!)

In The Garage - Live Music From WTF w/ Marc Maron

Check to see if there’s a store near you.  We’re lucky to have so many here in the Seattle area.  Good luck finding some great music!

Happy Listening!






Record Store Day 2018 | #RecordStoreDay

Once again it’s time for the annual World Record Store Day this Saturday, April 21, 2018.  And once again, I’ve got a million things planned that day.  I’m hopeful that I’ll get a chance to get to at least one of the two record stores close to me: Vortex Music or Silver Platters.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the list of music you might be able to find, click the link below.  There’s new and old music: David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, Johnny Cash, Car Seat Headrest – something for everyone!




Growing up in the 80’s, I was a fan of The Alarm.  If this stirs a spark in you, you have to check out the video of Mike Peters of The Alarm talking about his new album release and his planned 24 hour Trans-Atlantic tour.  This is amazing!


If Lix and the Shredded Orphans were a real band they would definitely be supporting this.  You’re reading this and you’re real.  Hopefully, you’ll get a chance to get out to your local record store this Saturday and show them some music love.

Happy Reading and Happy Listening!



GoodReads Giveaway winners of Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans!


Thanks to all 544 people who entered the GoodReads giveaway for Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans.   I wish I could send you all a copy of the book.  The two lucky giveaway winners are Melissa and Sheri.

Shredded Orphans and the Space Pirates_200

I’m so thrilled with the response to this giveaway.  It’s the first GoodReads giveaway that I’ve done in celebration of the release of The Shredded Orphans and the Space Pirates, book two in the series.  I’ll definitely think about doing another giveaway for book two at some point in the future.

Thanks again to all who entered.  I really appreciate your interest in my books!

Happy Reading!


KEXP 12 Top Artists of All Time | What does your list look like?

Vote for your favorite 12 Top Artists of All Time. Join KEXP and cast your vote by Friday, September 19th. While

they mostly play alternative music and indie rock, they have everything on their list from Beethoven to Zola Jesus.


My list looks like a soundtrack to an 80’s high school movie, combined with a few new artists.  There were so many that I couldn’t put on the list.  Remember this is not what artists you think are most successful or talented, but simply your favorite.  I realize this may even change from day to day.  It’s hard to pick.  What does your list look like?

Thank You For Voting!

Dear Sonya,

Thank you for voting in the KEXP Top 12 Artist Poll. Below are your recorded selections!

  1. Cyndi Lauper
  2. Broken Bells
  3. Elvis Costello
  4. Joe Jackson
  5. Elvis Presley
  6. Kate Bush
  7. Ramones
  8. Blondie
  9. X
  10. Daft Punk
  11. David Bowie
  12. Tom Petty

Be sure to listen to KEXP starting Sept 27th to hear the results!

Best Regards
KEXP 90.3

Donate to KEXP at

“Waltzing Matilda” is not a Waltz – National Poetry Month day 6 with Sonya Rhen


Welcome to National Poetry Month day six.  It is the start of week two and we have the following poets this week; Sonya Rhen, J.D. Brink, Jakub Sofranko, Roderick Hart, Casi Thomason, and P.F. Chan.

Today is Waltzing Matilda Day, the anniversary of its first performance.  Happy Waltzing Matilda Day!  Today’s poet is ME!  Hello all!

I originally had planned this as a regular blog post.  I particularly wanted to post it on this day.  I have included one of my poems from “Requite Me: Poems of Love, Jelousy and Angst”.  I’m sure this poem was inspired by the song “Silhouettes on the Shade” by The Rays.  Following the poem are my blogging thoughts on rhythm and waltzing as most of my blogs have something to do with music.  Enjoy!


Requite Me Front green

Last Dance
I looked at him from across the room
As a smile began to capture me.
I slowly turned my eyes away
Remembering what we used to be.

I don’t know if he saw me then.
It didn’t look that way,
But if he did it might just be
He couldn’t find the words to say.

I looked again and our eyes met.
We couldn’t look away.
He got up and asked me to dance
As the music began to play.

The days go on and we’re dancing still.
The music never fades.
To everyone who passes by
We’re just shadows on the shades.

By Sonya Rhen



I have been thinking a lot about music, rhythms and melodies. What makes one piece of music enjoyable to an individual over another piece of music? Why don’t all people like the same thing? My husband and I like many similar bands and types of music, but not all. Things he loves, I sometimes don’t. My tastes run more eclectic than most, so he often doesn’t like things that I enjoy. The way we listen is different as well. I can listen to the same song over and over again until it sinks into my pores. He prefers to listen once and move on to another song or cd.


I wonder if there is something innate in all of us that makes us like the things we do, or is it experience, possibly a combination of both? Can we learn to like something? Certainly, I think there is an element of conditioning. Sometimes I will hear a piece of music or song that doesn’t move me at any level. However, after repeated exposure, I may find that I love that song. It can go the other way as well, where you hear something too often and grow tired of it. Sometimes you hear something you love and you simply can’t get enough of it. It is love at first listen. This music seems to fill your heart and soul every time you hear it.


There is something about waltzes that I simply love. When I hear a waltz, I want to get up and dance. Something in the 3/4 rhythm, the “boom, chink, chink,” makes me feel happy. I wonder if there is a physical reason why this pattern resonates so strongly with me. But it’s not just me. Apparently, Everybody Loves a Waltz.



I went to the internet to look up Waltzing Matilda and thought I would waltz with my daughter. Imagine my surprise to find that Waltzing Matilda is not in fact an actual waltz. The rhythm is in 4/4 and it has a meaning of walking around with a bag slung over your back rather than of dancing. While Waltzing Matilda is a fine folk song, this was not what I was looking for.


To many of you waltzing may conjure up images of old fashioned ballroom dancing, you may be surprised to find that a lot of modern day pop/rock songs are waltzes. Here are some examples of waltzes that I have in my music collection. I can recommend all these albums and if you love Christmas music the Cyndi Lauper is a must have! You may recognize some of these.


Vince Guaraldi Trio – Great Pumpkin Waltz (From the Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits)

Aimee Mann – Nothing is Good Enough (From Bachelor No. 2)

Elliot Smith – Waltz #2 (XO) and Waltz #1 (From XO)

Stars – What the Snowman Learned about Love (From Heart)

Cyndi Lauper – Minnie and Santa and New Year’s Baby (From Merry Christmas… Have a Nice Life!)

While I don’t have this CD – Midsomer Murders theme song may be the only waltz played on the Theremin.


So as I waltz off into the sunset, I leave you with this question. Do you have a favorite waltz?


Keeping Time with Music

You know the old saying, “I am a product of my times”?  I have never felt this more acutely than when I listen to music.  A friend once told me how she had explained to a younger colleague that when you get to a certain point in your life you no longer listen to “new” music and only like the music of your past.  She was clearly exaggerating, because I know she listens to at least some new music.  However, I get her point.

My formative years were the 70’s and 80’s.  I love the music of that time period, not all of it, but what I liked then, I still like now.  Case in point, when I listen to KEXP and hear a song that I like (this is usually when I am running errands in the car) I try and remember the time of day and look it up on their playlist.  I get excited that there is a new song out that I really like.  I immediately click their link to buy on Amazon and put it on my wish list.  If it’s already on my wish list, then I set the priority to “High”.  (Yes, I have a very long wish list.)  Often I find that the “new” music that I am grooving to (highly technical 70’s term to mean “like”) is a song from the 80s or late 70s.  It is most likely that I had heard the song before, but forgotten it.  Sad that I had forgotten something that I had probably heard many times before and also that my heart seems to be pointing in the past and not the future.  Another sign of aging, I suppose.  (Sigh!)

I sometimes wonder if it is just me, or if everyone does this?  I do know of people that discard all things old and only try to live in the moment.  Is this something people do to help move things in a forward or new direction?  I can’t help thinking that possibly those people fear death.  To keep moving forward with newer and better things to try and outrun the inevitable.  (See the movie Moonstruck for more on this topic.)  That’s just my thoughts on the matter.

It’s not just the 70’s and 80’s, though, music of my peers.  I also have a fondness for music that my parent’s loved.  We drove everywhere in our old station wagon and my parents listened to classical music and music of the 40’s and 50’s.  The oldies station would occasionally throw in some 60’s music.  The span of music from my formative years is larger than the actual “formative years” were.  I know this is not just me, since I find that some music of today has a feel of a time past.  Those musicians must have their heart set to that time, at least for the moment of creating that piece music.

In 2004, I purchased the CD Brian Wilson Presents Smile.  When I first listened to it, I was disappointed to find that it sounded like an old Beach Boys record.  After more listens, I find that the beauty of it lies in the fact that it sounds like an old Beach Boys record.  I am drawn to music that sounds like it belongs to another age.  I love the band Tennis and the album Cape Dory.  The feel is very 60s.

There seems to be a 60s music revival going on.  Another favorite of mine is Best Coast’s “When I’m With You”.

There are many more 60s sounding new bands in my CD collection, not to mention the rest of the world of music.

I am eagerly awaiting the release of the CD from Broken Bells.  It has a quality that I thought was long past.  Can you guess?  The CD is called After the Disco and possibly no surprise now is the song I like sounds like a 70’s Bee Gees song.  Looking up the CD online brought me to this interview with them on NPR and you can hear this awesome (here I’ve mixed times with a 80’s/90’s term meaning really cool) song, “Holding On For Life.”

Broken Bells

The CD is due out on February 4, 2014.  I’m ready, are you?  I can hardly wait!

New music or old music, what is the flavor your heart desires?  What time is it for you?

A Year in Passing


This past October marked the one year anniversary of my mother’s passing.  She died on October 2nd, 2012.  It was her 71st birthday.  It may seem like quite a coincidence, however it was the day that we made the decision to pull the plug on her life support machine.  I’m not sure if the doctor knew that it was her birthday, but it was kind of poetic and we decided to do it that day and not wait.

This past year has been hard.  It was very hard, especially the first three months.  Throughout the year there were many rough spots, times when I wanted or need my mother and she wasn’t there.  In truth, she hadn’t really been there like she used to be for several years, which was another pain altogether.  When she died, I not only mourned the physical loss of her, but I was then able to mourn the loss of her mental presence for the past two years.

The time that I most missed her was during the holidays and mother’s day.  But what took me by surprise, was when I missed her this past July at Med Fest.  I belong to a belly dance troupe and every year we dance at the Mediterranean Fantasy Festival that takes place in West Seattle.   This year, my father was mourning as well and he returned to his hometown of Dauphin, Pennsylvania to stay with his sister and be close to other family and friends.  So when the day of Med Fest came around, I was without mother or father.

Now, I had invited other family and friends, some of whom said they would try and make it.  But in the end, my husband and son went to play board games, everyone else was busy and no one came to see me dance.  My daughter was there, but she was dancing with us, so no one was there to see her dance either.  There were other belly dancing friends there, but they would have been there even if I hadn’t been dancing.

My point being, that normally this would not have bothered me in the least.  I have danced on several other occasions without having anyone I knew in the audience and it was fine.  But on this particular day I broke down.   I’m not kidding.  I literally broke down and cried in the middle of breakfast.  When my husband asked me what was wrong, I said that no one was coming to see me dance and I didn’t know why I was doing it anymore.  His response was that I should quit.  He didn’t get it.

If I may back up several years.  It was at Med Fest and we were still a pretty new troupe.  I was nervous.  My hands were sweating.  I’m standing behind the stage with my sword and I’m so worried that I’ll drop it, I’ll forget the group choreography, or whatever.  My stomach hurts.  We finally take the stage and I feel my hands shaking.  My face feels tight with trying to smile.  I look out at the audience and there is my father.  He has brought my mother to see the dancers.  She is sitting there in her wheelchair.  She seems happy enough, but who knows what she is thinking.

I get out on the stage to do my solo piece and I look at my mother.  I don’t even know if she knows who I am.  Suddenly, she breaks out with the biggest smile on her face and I know she knows me.  Her face is beaming and I can tell that she is happy.  My heart beats slow to a normal pace.  My face loosens to a natural smile and everything with the world is okay.  I don’t have to dance for anyone else in the audience.  I can dance to make my mother happy and nothing else matters.   From that moment forward I dance for my mother and I haven’t been nervous (much) or worried, because the rest just doesn’t matter.

This past year, I got out on stage with a heavy heart.  I looked at my daughter, who was so happy to be there and I realized that this year I dance for my mother…  and my daughter.  Nothing else matters.

If you happen to read this sometime close to my posting date, you may also want to look up KEXP’s John in the Morning dj’s “The Mom Show”.  It is his annual tribute to his mother who died of cancer and to everyone who’s lost someone.  I’m pretty sure it will be aired on Wednesday, November 13 between 6-10am.  If you miss it you can probably catch it in archives or at least see the playlist from it after.  If I were to request a song for my mother it would be Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’.  She loved big band and especially Louis Armstrong.


So, this is for my mother, who loved music and dancing with a passion.  I’m not positive, who she would say that she danced for, but I believe her answer would have been her family.

Whether your passion is dancing, music, writing or anything else, I think you can substitute what I’ve written about for any of those things.  When you think about what’s important in your life, I have this question for you.  Who do you dance for?

Daft Punk in My Electric Dreams

With the release this past May of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, it gave me a chance to be nostalgic about one of my favorite movies of all time, Electric Dreams.  When this movie came out in 1984 I was in high school.  I heard music from the movie on my favorite radio station, KYYX – the Wave, which played new wave music.

I eagerly awaited the movie coming to SeaTac Mall theaters.  I waited and waited, and waited.  It never came to my local theater.  After a while this movie came out on VHS.  I was lucky that my local library had a copy.  Every time I saw it on the shelf I checked it out.  I saw this movie so many times I could practically quote the entire movie line by line.  As a joke my dad and I would call each other “Moles”.  (He watched it almost as many times as I did, just from me playing it in the living room.)

This movie is funny, witty, charming, delightful, and filled with great music.  The main characters are Miles (Lenny von Dohlen) and Madeline (Virginia Madsen).  Lenny went on to play various diverse roles, including one of the bad guys in Home Alone 3, but I was delightfully surprised to see him in an episode of Red Dwarf, even though he played a bad cop.  Virginia has been in many movies since Electric Dreams.  I actually had a copy of Slam Dance, but I think an old roommate stole it.  There are a lot of other great celebrities in this movie.  I love Ruth Westheimer as herself on the radio giving advice.  Bud Cort is wonderful as the computer.  You might know him best from Harold and Maude.

At the heart of this movie is the music.  It has several sweet love songs from Culture Club.  There are peppy pop songs that make you want to get up and dance as well as classical music.  The juxtaposition of electronic music and classical music comes together beautifully.   The song to get the most air play was of course “Together in Electric Dreams” by Giorgio Moroder (thus the Daft Punk connection) and Philip Oakey (of the Human League).   This movie to me is perfection.

The movie is a bit dated since computer technology has grown so fast.  But I still would recommend seeing it if you can.  If you were as crazy about this movie as I was, you may also have paid the $80 to get this movie on VHS.  If not, then the only copies available are on PAL DVD, VHS, or laser disc.  I think I have given up hope that they will put this movie out on a US version DVD.

If you loved this movie and have not discovered Daft Punk, then check out the collaborator podcast here:

It has interviews with the collaborators of Random Access Memories; Georgio Moroder and Paul Williams to name a few.  If you like Daft Punk and have never heard of Electric Dreams, it’s worth checking out if you can find a copy or watch snippets on YouTube.  Giorgio Moroder even has a cameo in it as a DJ.

Who are you Together with in your Electric Dreams?

The Soundtrack to my life

I have been thinking about writing about soundtracks for awhile now.  Then last week, Roger Ebert died.  The next day they played a set of soundtrack music in honor of his passing on KEXP.  I thought that was quite brilliant and touching.


I have to say that I am a huge fan of soundtracks.  I don’t just mean those soundtracks of movies that have a lot of music in them.  While those are great (ex. 200 Cigarettes soundtrack is awesome), but I also really love the ambient soundtracks to movies.  I can listen to the soundtrack for Princess Bride and tell you where that occurs in the movie.  Who doesn’t love Ennio Morricone, Henry Mancini, John Williams and Giorgio Moroder?

It occurred to me that I like a lot of TV shows as well, because the music.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer had some of the best music in it.  I had realized this years ago, but recently, I noticed that other areas in my life are filled with music that moves and inspires me as well.  From listening to KEXP or KING fm in the car to the great pianists Arief and John at the church I attend.

My life is filled with music and I couldn’t imagine what it would be without it.  What music fills your life?