Vowella Valley Anthem

Vowella Valley Anthem

We are excited to introduce the newest addition to our music library: Vowella Valley Anthem.

As different and quirky as they are, the Vowellans of Heaven’s Wait never hesitate to come together to sing their beloved anthem. They become a united community when an important occasion or event prompts them to do so. The song praises the beauty of their homeland and displays their appreciation for the paradise in which they live.

The Vowella Valley Anthem accompanies the joyous arrival of new members to the community and the sad departures of beloved family members. It celebrates the Vowellans’ achievements and puts a cap on memorable events. It reminds them of their roots and gives them hope for a brighter future.


The collaboration for the sounds and visuals for this song and its accompanying Sing the Song video truly amazed me. The melody for the Vowella Valley Anthem was a simple tune, with a chorus that I loved, that was sitting quietly in my computer files from previous years of tinkering. I told my music arranger, Aki, that I had to use it in some way. The lyrics actually came to me quite easily, and I wrote some of them into the final edits of Book 1: RJ and the Vowellans of the Tales from Vowella Series. After Aki and I consulted about the mood and sounds that would fit the piece, he took the simple tune and chorus and turned it into this beautifully orchestrated piece you now hear.

I gave my illustrator, Julia, an old computer-generated image of Lake Marie that I had built in my home landscape design software many years previously. She flew with it and created this gorgeous image that perfectly portrays the feel of the calm, peaceful setting within Vowella Valley. I love how the softness and colors of the image blend with the gentle sounds of the orchestration.

Once I created the lyrics slides against the image, my son, Shaun, brought it all together to create the accompanying Vowella Valley Anthem Sing the Song Video. Many thanks to each of them for their beautiful contributions.

Remember to find the lyrics to this song in context, as well as those of several other songs, within the pages of the Heaven’s Wait! Tales from Vowella Book Series, available at https://www.amazon.com/author/bmclaughlin

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Vowella In-Town Song

Vowella In-Town Song

Vowella In-Town Song is the theme song for Innocents and Curiosities, Book 2 of the Heaven’s Wait! Tales from Vowella fantasy series. We wrapped a more upbeat version of RJ’s Theme around key verses from each of the 5 Vowellan clan themes to make a perky tune that invites you to feel the innocent, fun, and busy nature of the faraway, hidden community of Vowella and its quirky inhabitants. Take a listen:


As the HW team began working on the book trailer videos for the Heaven’s Wait! Tales from Vowella book series, I realized there was not yet a song attached to the Innocents and Curiosities trailer. How had I missed that? Aki and I had been building a cozy library of songs for the series, but there wasn’t a specific song that defined Innocents and Curiosities. My thought was to incorporate the 5 clan themes into a medley that would capture the feeling of everyday life in Vowella. And why not add A Journey Above (RJ’s Theme) to the song in some fashion? Creating a perky version of RJ’s Theme seemed like the natural thing to do.

Making transitions from one clip to another was a bit of a challenge because the musical styles of the clan themes and keys were so varied. Aki did a beautiful job with the transitions, making Vowella In-Town Song flow quite smoothly. I think the song provides a delightful backdrop for the book’s trailer. I am most pleased with the results.

Enjoy the song again as you watch the Innocents and Curiosities book trailer. And don’t forget to read all about the Vowellans in the Heaven’s Wait! Tales from Vowella book series, available at amazon.com/author/bmclaughlin. B

No Longer

No Longer

No Longer is a bit of a sad song, composed by the lovely Roz Fog Bob of Vowella Valley. In Book 2, Innocents and Curiosities, her son, Mok, hears her singing it during a quiet, late-night moment. It pains Mok to know she sings about his dad and all that he is missing with his family because he is blind to his mistakes.

Roz Fog Bob

Inspiration for the song came from my observations of many a dad as my sons were growing up. Some of them took little interest in their kids’ lives. Several were more concerned about their own status than that of their kids. I found that quite sad.

I wrote the melody and lyrics for this song many years ago. I’m excited that it will now have a life of its own. Since the Fog Bobs are such proper, studious folks, I thought the song should have a classical feel, yet have a splash of hard rock to signify their rare tendency to let loose. It sounded fine in my head… until I heard Aki’s take on the song. He created my version, but he made his own version, just for fun. My version was out in an instant, with no regrets. The simple piano with the soft guitar accompaniment that he created captures a much more believable and beautiful mood for the song. Kudos as always, Aki!  B


A Song for RJ

A Song for RJ

The character of RJ PLOM is based on my father, so I approached this song with special care. In writing the melody for this piece, I thought long and hard about what RJ’s journey from this mortal world to a new one beyond might sound like. It needed to be reflect various emotions as he traveled.

RJ was now a man alone and sad, surrounded by his little plane and his thoughts about everyone and everything he had left behind. He first ascended through the fog and clouds. He became aware that all he could do now was move forward. RJ embraced the feeling of freedom that accompanied that reality. Once above the clouds, there was time for RJ to cruise along at a peaceful pace. He was able to enjoy the wondrous view of the cloud blanket beneath him as he tried to figure out where the ride would take him.

above the clouds

RJ’s peace was eventually interrupted by a swaying sensation that progressed into a less comfortable, more tension-filled space. He soon found himself tangled in a wild storm that forced him down onto unstable ground. When the tension of the storm finally subsided, the clearing sky revealed to RJ a sight that was brilliant, colorful, and surprising…a wondrous new world.

The melody components for the various stages of RJ’s flight actually came rather easily. Trying to add my own accompaniment was another story. I wrote what I could to add a little texture and harmony to the piece. I realized after a little experimentation that there was an opportunity to blanket a verse of the Heaven’s Wait theme over the main “A Journey Above” melody, so I wrote it into the final verse of the song as best I could. It didn’t sound too bad, considering that my orchestration skills left a lot to be desired. This was all years before Aki entered the picture.

I put the files from my music creator app for this song into Aki’s hands, where he was able to see how I had delineated the different sections of RJ’s flight. He took it from there, finding instrumentation and chords to make each section sound appropriate to its mood. We went back and forth with ideas and corrections until we felt we had done it justice. Aki turned this special piece into something I will always hold close to my heart. I sincerely thank him for that.  We are especially proud of the way the two songs melded during the final verse. It still makes my heart swell whenever I hear it. Enjoy “A Journey Above,” otherwise known as “RJ’s Theme.” B


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Heaven’s Wait Theme: The First Piece of Music

Heaven’s Wait Theme: The First Piece of Music

Allow me to tell you about the origin of HW’s first piece of music, Heaven’s Wait Theme.

Once the fantasy world of Heaven’s Wait had an established name, an idea entered my mind that this world should have a theme song.

I started tinkering on my piano, and the initial melody for the song came to me in bits and pieces. The song, which would establish the initial mood for the fantasy world, needed to be something that portrayed grandeur, a sense of the faraway and mysterious, and a heaven-like essence. I wanted the song to sound somewhat classical yet a little otherworldly. I had no idea how to achieve the treatment I desired.

The melody progressed nicely, and I was able to jot down a simple accompaniment. But writing the notes was a grueling task, because I wasn’t skilled enough to do it efficiently and accurately. I trudged along writing one note at a time, losing parts of the song as the notes traveled from my head to the sheet music. I didn’t know much about the chord progressions, and I certainly didn’t know which instruments to use for the mood I was after. At that point, I was simply happy that the melody sounded lovely to me.

Enter Aki Ross! I found it somewhat hard to expose my elementary work to someone who obviously knew so much about the world of music. It had been just as hard for me to send the first draft of my Heaven’s Wait manuscript to my professional story consultant, Brad Schreiber, many years ago. Back then, the fear of failure had been overwhelming. And I did fail miserably time and again until I learned some valuable writing skills and wrote numerous revisions. By the time Aki entered the picture, I had overcome the fear of criticism, and I welcomed his suggestions with open arms. I was still a little shy about the exposure, but I knew that anything he had to offer would do nothing but make it better than it was. And “better” was something I was eager to embrace.

Aki was full of ideas and suggestions. He took the piece and dug into the orchestration. It was our first time working together, and it was during the 2021 winter of COVID distancing. We passed the files back and forth and had a few Zoom meetings along the way. We discussed the progress and made sure the process was working for us. This was new territory for both of us. I was amazed by his ability to transform my simple work into something I think is now beautiful and something we’re both proud of. Please enjoy the completed Heaven’s Wait Theme. B

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Aki and Me!

Aki and Me!

The time came when I needed to find help to bring my melodies and lyrics out of my head and computer and into the real world. The music in my files wasn’t anywhere near presentable for the outside world. The information I had fed into my music creator app wasn’t at all what I heard in my head. I decided that my amateur collection of tunes deserved more than to die in my computer. I asked friends for suggestions for someone who might be able to orchestrate my music for me. A couple of possibilities popped up and then faded. The onset of COVID didn’t help.

One day at my family’s coffee roasting company, I asked my co-worker, Les, who happens to be a guitarist, if he might know of someone who could do the work for me. He said, “Yes, I think I know someone who can help you. His name is Akira Ross. He’s done some arranging for high school music programs. He plays trumpet in my jazz group. I’ll ask him.”

Les, Barbara, Aki

Aki, a bit hesitant because he hadn’t previously orchestrated original music, agreed to a Zoom meeting with Les and me. February 2021, pandemic precautions were still in place. Fully bearded and working from home, he taught private music lessons over Zoom. Professional trumpet performances for him were non-existent during this time. His work in the high school music programs was non-existent as well. My husband and I were also banned by our sons from our family workplace due to COVID concerns. Our first meeting was successful, and we figured out how to start the process of orchestrating my songs remotely.

Aki and Me Remote

Aki has been so gracious in receiving my terribly orchestrated songs without comment. He has had a decent challenge ahead of him to make each of the pieces sound beautiful. With substantial knowledge of music theory, a keen ear for instrumentation, and a creative side of his own, Aki has taken on the songs in my files one by one and turned them into beautiful works of art. We have developed an easy give-and-take collaboration that is working well for us. I am so proud of the work we have done and the lovely music that has emerged.

It so happens that Aki now works for our coffee company too. An opportunity arose during COVID restrictive times, and he readily jumped on board. I must say, it was quite strange for us to finally meet in person, after many months of collaborating through a computer screen. I kept checking through the office windows to make sure he was a real person. As a result of our close proximity, it is now easy for us to quickly meet during work breaks on new pieces of music. We have just completed our 19th song, which wraps up the music for the Tales from Vowella book series. Again, find out more about our musical journey by following upcoming blog posts on this page – Music of an Imaginary World – and in other spots throughout the Heaven’s Wait website. There is more to come! B

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