Coffee CommuniTea: Solo Café Gourmet Coffee and Tea House – Tempe, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Solo Café Gourmet Coffee & Tea House
Tempe, AZ

Solo Café's quaint storefront and patio seating

Solo Café’s quaint storefront and patio seating

Perks (what I really like!)

  • A whole wall full of loose-leaf tea selections
  • Delicious hazelnut mocha latte
  • Super friendly barista/co-owner, Chad

    Co-owner Chad hard at work

    Co-owner Chad hard at work

  • Edgy artwork
  • Lots of comfy seating, inside and out, giving the place a homey feel

Share a cuppa (the stories about the owner, building, history, name)

My research turned up little marketing material online or otherwise for patrons to discover more details about this hot spot. They may not need it, as the shop was packed in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon, but I still would like to find more background on the place… (If you know more, please comment below.)

Plenty of delicious choices.

Plenty of delicious choices.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Coffee drinks of all kinds
  • Did I mention a whole wall of loose-leaf tea? Ahh!
  • Pastries and snacks

The Grind (what I would change)
No decaf offered. This place must be for purists!

Relax in the intimate library

Relax in the intimate library

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Cool little library with cushy seating
  • Turntable and vinyl available for a listen
  • Small TV with DVDs
  • A community night for musicians on Wednesdays

The Grounds (location)
107 E Baseline Rd., #A-4
Tempe, AZ 85283
(480) 838-7656

Tea Times (hours)
M–Sa 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
Su. 11 a.m.- 8 p.m.

Yelp rating: 4.5 stars

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Coffee CommuniTea: Bergies Coffee Roast House – Gilbert, AZ

Bergie's exterior

Photo: @2013 ANVidean

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Bergies Coffee Roast House
Gilbert, AZ

Share a cuppa (stories about the owner, building, history, name)
More than two years ago, when I met my friend Cherie Scott for tea here, she suggested I write a positive blog about coffee and tea shops. The idea for “Coffee CommuniTea” started brewing at Bergies!

Perks (what I really like!)

  • Its location. Brothers Brian and Bruce Bergeson opened the doors to Bergie’s in Gilbert’s historic Heritage District in early 2009. It earned a New Times “Best of Phoenix” award that year.

    I enjoyed the comfy seating in intimate rooms. Photo: @2013 Cherie Scott

    I enjoyed the comfy seating in intimate rooms.
    Photo: @2013 CScott

  • Cottage environment with comfy, private sections
  • Two shady patios
  • Knowledgeable baristas
  • Delicious tea. Even though the menu focuses on coffee, I was pleasantly surprised at the knowledge of the barista who helped Cherie and I on our return visit. She introduced me to a special “Celebration” blend of teas, which was fruity and delightful when brewed later at home.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Quality coffee, custom roasted by the brothers themselves
  • A limited number of teas
  • Online ordering available
  • Pastries and desserts
The front patio. Photo: @2013 ANVidean

Bergies’ front patio.
Photo: @2013 ANVidean

The Grind (what I would change)
Our visit was delightful. Why it’s taken me so long to feature this charming place, I’m not sure. But, I highly recommend you check it out.

Percolation Factor (activity/ environment/energy/service)

  • Local musicians on Saturday evenings
  • The brothers chat every Tuesday from 11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. on “Culinary Confessions” on AM Radio 1440
What's not to love? Photo: G2013 CScott

What’s not to love?
Photo: ©2013 CScott

The Grounds (location)
East side of Gilbert Road, between Elliott and Guadalupe roads, next to Joe’s Real BBQ.
309 N. Gilbert Road
Gilbert, AZ 85234
480-497-3913
bergies309@hotmail.com
http://www.bergiescoffee.com/

Tea Times (hours)
M–Th:  6 a.m.–5 p.m.
F–Sa:  6 a.m.– 8:30 p.m
Su:  7 a.m.–12 p.m.

Yelp rating: 4.5 stars from 63 reviews

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Coffee CommuniTea: Celestial Seasonings – Boulder, CO

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Celestial Seasonings
Boulder, CO

P1270015

Perks (what I really like!)
An all-natural tea manufacturer, with a tea tasting room, art gallery, café, and gift shop in one of my favorite eclectic U.S. cities. What’s not to love?

Share a cuppa (the stories about the owner, building, history, name)
Celestial Seasonings, headquartered in Boulder, is one of the largest specialty tea manufacturers in North America.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)
My family and I dropped by the Celestial Seasonings facility, expecting to pop in to buy a few of our favorite teas at a discount. We ended up staying a couple of hours enjoying the flavors of many teas, buying presents, and learning about teas.

Tea-tasting room and art gallery.

Tea-tasting room and art gallery. @2013 ANVidean

I especially loved the tea tasting room. When you walk into the light, inviting room, a host hands you a small porcelain teacup. You carry it over to the tea station featuring a handful of featured pre-brewed teas. If the flavor you want is not available, you walk up to the counter, ask to try a particular tea, and they fill your cup with hot water and give you a fresh teabag to brew  your own.

P1270021

They offer so many delicious teas! @2013 ANVidean

My new favorite: Jammin’ Lemon Ginger. Yum!

The Grind (what I would change)
Not a thing. My family thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

Tea tasters. @2013 ANVidean

Tea tasters: Codi, Bob and Cutter. @2013 ANVidean

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)

  • Informative hosts are handy to provide answers to any tea-related question.
  • Free tours of the world’s most advanced tea production plant every day (except major holidays) show you how the finest all-natural ingredients from around the world become your favorite Celestial Seasonings teas. Tours leave on the hour and last 45 minutes.
  • A tea shop with discounted teas, all the tea-related supplies and gifts you can imagine.
  • The Celestial Café, serving fresh, delicious, home-cooked meals in a cozy atmosphere featuring beautiful Celestial Seasonings artwork. See Web site for special café hours.
  • My favorite surprise came in the form of tea art. The tasting-room and café walls, and lobby display cases, brim with beautiful packaging artwork and unique tea sets. The work is truly eye-popping.

    This is a teapot! @2013 ANVidean

    This is a teapot! @2013 ANVidean

The Grounds (location)
4600 Sleepytime Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 581-1202

Tea Times (hours)
M–Sa.  9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Su.  11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Yelp rating: 4.5 stars from 165 reviews

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Coffee CommuniTea: Gotham City Comics & Coffee – Mesa, AZ

 Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Gotham City Comics & Coffee
Downtown Mesa, AZ

GothamCitySign

Perks (what I really like!)

Gotham City is low-key, fun, and filled to the rim with comics, action figures, toys, video games, and knowledgeable staff.

MiguelKevinCoffee

Owners Miguel and Kevin are trained to serve up excellent libations, too. @2013 ANVidean

My favorite feature, of course, is the Espresso Bar serving comic-themed coffees and Italian sodas. It’s just a small stand in the midst of geek heaven, but trust store manager Jaime to create you one delicious drink.

Share a cuppa (the stories about the owner, building, history, name)

Owners Kevin and Miguel met in high-school and still share common interests: “devouring” comics, selling toys online, and playing Magic: The Gathering.

Shannon is the resident Magic: The Gathering liaison at Gotham City Comics & Coffee. @2013 ANVidean

Shannon is the resident Magic: The Gathering expert at Gotham City Comics & Coffee. @2013 ANVidean

They used to work together at another well-known comic store. When it closed, they saw an opportunity to buy an existing coffee shop in downtown Mesa featuring a few comic books. They started Gotham City Comics & Coffee in December 2010, and watched the business morph from a coffee shop with comics, to a comic book shop with coffee.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

The Espresso Bar features locally roasted coffee from Cortez Coffee Company—a coffee grower, roaster, and full coffee academy, in Tempe, AZ.

Gotham’s drink options are unique and delicious, including Italian sodas. They also sell chips and candy.

The Grind (what I would change)

More tea selection would float the boat of this Tea-vangelist, but what they offer should more than fulfill anyone’s specialty-drink palate.

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)

VideoWallSeats

Inviting video game room. @2013 ANVidean

They offer free Wi-Fi, and plenty of seating and electric plugs. In the back, there’s a game wall in a cushy-chair video game room, rentable for just $5 per hour. It looks great for parties or groups.

Events draw the most people to Gotham City Comics. These include:

  • Dr. Who gathering on Tuesday, or “Dr. Whosday
  • New Comic Book Day and Dungeons and Dragons Encounters” every Wednesday morning, with an evening “From Parts Unknown” Indy Pro Wrestling Showcase hosted by Zero1 USA Pure Pro
  • A weekly, Thursday-night, live podcast taping of “Comic Book Shelf Life
  • Friday Night Magic: the Gathering” play every Friday evening of the month.
  • “Saturday afternoon yo-yo instruction with Julius, a world-wide yo-yo expert, an early evening Pokemon League, and later-night “Saturday Night Magic: the Gathering

The Grounds (location)
[Main Street 40, with Link Stops in walking distance]
46 W. Main Street
Mesa, AZ 85201
(480) 649-3065

Tea Times (hours)
Mon.–Th.: 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Fri.–Sat.: 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
Sun.: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Yelp rating:  4.5
Other awards:

  • “Readers Choice” by the Phoenix New Times “Best of Phoenix” 2011
  • #5 of the “Top 10 Places to Geek Out” in Phoenix by the Phoenix New Times

P.S. You can meet Kevin and Miguel—plus “Garbage Pail Kids” artist Mark Pingitore—at the Phoenix Comicon‘s Gotham City Comics & Coffee booth #374, May 24–26, 2013.

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Coffee CommuniTea: Vinyl Rush Cafe – Downtown Mesa, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Organic Bean Café
[formerly Vinyl Rush Café]
Downtown Mesa, AZ

Park right on the street in front and enter here... ©2013 ANVidean

Park right on the street in front and enter here…
©2013 ANVidean

Perks (what I really like!)

...walk down the courtyard alley...©2013 ANVidean

…walk down the courtyard alley, where you may want to sit later…        ©2013 ANVidean

  • Courtyard seating. A cute, narrow courtyard between the rows of small businesses in the building.
  • Intimate setting. “Side A:” the coffee bar where you order your goodies, and “Side B:” a room across the courtyard where you can sit, chat and listen to music away from the sounds of blenders and counter chatter.
  • Album clocks. The owners decorated with lots of charming music paraphernalia, including a large collection of vinyl record album covers—33s and 45s—which they’ve turned into clocks.

    ...purchase delectables on Side "A" and enjoy them here in the comfort of "Side B." ©2013 ANVidean

    …purchase delectables on Side “A” and enjoy them here in the comfort of “Side B.”
    ©2013 ANVidean

Share a cuppa (the stories about the owner, building, history, name)
Missy, one of the owners, is both a coffee and music lover. She and her coffee partner bring you 38 years in the restaurant, hotel, and retail industry. At Vinyl Rush, they roast their own coffee beans, favoring full-bodied, medium-dark to dark roast styles. Just be ready for it!

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Fresh roasted coffee
  • Espresso drinks
  • Smoothies
  • Hot teas (a nice selection)
  • Pastries and bagels

The Grind (what I would change)
Not a thing. Just be prepared to enjoy your goodies in a close, intimate setting.

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
If you want your own album clock, they’ll make one for you. Each is custom designed with the time movement and hands placed creatively to compliment the cover image. http://vinylrushcafe.com/clocks/

The Grounds (location)
Downtown Mesa, AZ
40 N. Macdonald Street
Mesa, AZ 85201
480.615.4333

Tea Times (hours)
Monday – Friday 6:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Yelp rating:
4 stars (62 reviews)

Who recognizes the symbol under their “Vinyl Rush Cafe” signs?

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

CBTL answers tea questions

A graphic I created to enter a CBTL gift card contest. Yep, those are my family's hands. @2010 ANVidean

A graphic I created to enter a CBTL gift card contest a couple of years ago.   Yep, those are my family’s hands. @2010 ANVidean

My favorite tea organization, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, held a live tea chat with their international tea expert David DeCandia today (Jan. 30, 2013). The convo took place in honor of National Hot Tea Month. [Who knew that was going on?]

Even though you didn’t catch it live, the questions and answers are still worth checking out.

Coffee CommuniTea: The Black Cat Coffee House – Phoenix, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
The Black Cat Coffee House
Arcadia Towne Center in Phoenix

Black Cat Coffee - 6

Perks (what I really like!)

  • Urban, friendly atmosphere
  • Fairly quiet
  • Comfortable seating and varying sized tables
  • No trouble finding a plug-in for the Wi-Fi
  • Nice selection of teas

Share a cuppa (the stories)
I saw a friend’s Facebook “check-in” at Black Cat and thought I ought to go check it out. This place did not disappoint.

A pleasant, community minded hot spot: Black Cat Coffee House in the Arcadia District.   ©2013 ANVidean

A pleasant, community-minded hot spot: Black Cat Coffee House in the Arcadia District. ©2013 ANVidean

The owners’ community spirit encouraged me. Black Cat is a member of Local First Arizona, so they support other local businesses. This contributes to a more thriving Arizona community and economy, and that makes me happy. Plus, they support local schools and educators, whenever possible. Noble and kind, as well as solid coffee purveying. Nice.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Coffee blends and single origin coffees
  • Ice-blended drinks
  • White, green, oolong, and black teas
  • Herbal teas (herbal infusions or tisanes)
  • Pastries
  • Sandwiches
  • Salads

The Grind (what I would change)
Not much, but if high-school students make your allergies flare, you might want to visit in the mornings, as the location is right across from Arcadia High School. The kids I did see on the afternoon I visited kept their composure well. 🙂

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
I found one male barista especially considerate and helpful. Cheers, m’man!

The Grounds (location)
4730 E. Indian School Rd., Ste. 120
Phoenix, AZ 85018-5443602-553-BCAT (2228)
info@theblackcatcoffeehouse.com

Tea Times (hours)
Every day of the year from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Yelp rating: 4.5 stars (36 reviews)

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Coffee CommuniTea: Pegasus Coffee House, Bainbridge Island, WA

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Pegasus Coffee House

A favorite of Jackie Nagel, owner of
business coaching/consulting firm Synnovatia, San Pedro, CA,
who recommended this choice spot.

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Perks (what I really like!)
“The beautiful, nurturing environment and the incredibly good-tasting coffee.”

Photo complements of the Pegasus Coffee House Web site.

Share a cuppa (the stories)
“My first experience with Pegasus Coffee House was when I was still living in Washington State. I arrived early for the ferry to take me to downtown Seattle. With the little bit of extra time I had, I discovered this incredible coffee house shrouded in [Virginia Creeper, which looks a whole lot like] English Ivy.”

History: The Pegasus opened its doors on May 1, 1980. It’s Web site description says it’s “friendly, lively, casual and a bit funky and bohemian.

“The building was formerly home to Anderson Hardware store and its trademark bricks were salvaged from the Port Blakely Mill incinerator.

“Some use it as an office, some as a living room, but it’s always been a hub for information and the arts. The walls play host to local artists works and there’s live coffee house music every week.”

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)
“Love, Love, Love their coffee! Although we moved from the area in 2001, we still order their coffee online. There’s no bitter aftertaste like some of the better-known coffee brews/beans.”

They also offer tasty treats like:

  • Greens and soup
  • Sandwiches
  • Dinner, with available beer, wine and cocktails
  • Desserts

The Grind (what I would change)
“Wish they were local!”

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
“The people always remember my name when I call in to place my order. It’s nice to be remembered.”

Per the Web site, Pegasus also offers:

  • Free wi-fi
  • Music on Friday and Saturday nights, with a distinct preference for folk and country flavors
  • A 20-person private event room available for parties, or business meetings
  • An outdoor terrace
  • A “Fresh Connections” blog

The Grounds (location)
131 Parfitt Way S.W.
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
206-842-6725

Tea Times (hours)
M–Th.,  Su.: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
F.–Sa.: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Yelp rating: 3.5 stars (49 reviews)

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Coffee CommuniTea: Pink Spot Coffee and Ice Cream, Phoenix, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Pink Spot Coffee and Ice Cream

Watch, in the coming months, for a new patio renovation to allow more outdoor seating at Pink Spot.
©2012 ANVidean

Perks (what I really like!)

  • Uh … coffee, tea AND ice cream! What’s not to love?
  • Fresh food, made to order, and inexpensive.
  • The “chill” environment
  • Free wi-fi
  • The staff provides input on everything they do, from ice cream flavors to sandwich types.

Share a cuppa (the stories)
When the space next to their healthy, organic Zpizza location opened up four years ago, former attorney Julie Kossak and hi-tech sales exec Mark Wheeler got excited to bring something unique to the downtown Phoenix Willo District where they live and work. The husband and wife team considering what type of place was missing in the neighborhood and decided it was ice cream. Oh, and what goes great with ice cream all day long? Coffee! And, what do people need with their coffee? Yummy food!

The name originated with their daughter’s love of the color, and represented the fun, happy ambiance they hoped to create. Vîola! Pink Spot was born.

My ALWAYS authors tribe met at Pink Spot this month for a lively discussion about Deep Point of View: Eduardo Cervino, Raleigh Pinsky, Andrea Beaulieu, Erana Leiken, Ann Videan, and Kris Tualla.
(Thanks to our attentive barista for taking the photo.)

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Ice cream and frozen yogurt
    – Hand made from Karen Kreamery especially for Pink Spot, the gourmet, super premium (16% butterfat) ice cream includes 16 standards like chocolate, mint chip and coffee. But you can also go adventurous with a few unique rotating flavors like pear and Gorgonzola, or lavender.
  • Tea, and coffee roasted locally and specifically for Pink Spot by Coffee Roasters of Arizona
  • Breakfast and brunch available all day long
    – Made-to-order egg sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and fresh baked goods
    – Greek yogurt and granola parfaits
    – Vegetarian breakfast/lunch offerings and five delicious made-to-order
    – Now, don’t forget the special pizza next door, either.

The Grind (what I would change)
I have one tiny issue with the noise level if you’re planning to have a meeting or serious conversation there. But, overall, the location is delightful.

It’s definitely a comfy, party environment.
©2012 ANVidean

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
Great place for:

  • Meetings
  • Tutoring
  • Parties (especially build-your-own sundae types of gatherings)
  • Showers

The Grounds (location)
49 W. Thomas Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85013
602.265.3889

Tea Times (hours)
M–F: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sa.–Su.: 8 a.m.to 10 p.m.

Yelp rating: 4 stars (77 reviews)

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Burger phenom: Hudson’s Hamburgers

Bob, Codi and Cutter help occupy the 23 counter stools available at Hudson’s. ©2011 ANVidean

One special Coeur d’Alene memory I somehow neglected to work into my Rhythms & Muse novel (half of the story takes place in the Idaho town) is Hudson’s Hamburgers. The joint is known worldwide for serving up – for the past 100 years! – a limited menu of simple, fresh, delectable burgers in a storefront on Sherman Ave., the town’s short main street!

I happened to grow up right next door to the Hudson family in the Fairway Hills neighborhood. Patriarch Roger was the fry cook in my day, but his sons Steve and Todd were in training on weekends. Now, they run the place.

I have very fond memories of conversations with the Hudson boys while sitting at their counter. How many times I watched them form my burger, grill it up on that savory grill, slap on the cheese, rapidly slice up thin slices of onion and pickle to place on the grill-toasted bun. The best part about a Huddy burger is the hot mustard and/or special sauce you squirt on yourself once the server plops your small plate in front of you. My mouth is watering right now, just thinking about the juicy goodness of that first bite.

It’s not a true trip to Coeur d’Alene without standing in line at least one, or two, or three times, at Hudson’s to enjoy a perfect “cheese, both” (i.e. cheeseburger with both onion and pickle). If you’re ever there in Cd’A, do not miss it. Any wait is totally worth it!

Check out this a great little historical PBS video about the local institution,  providing a number of fun facts, plus interviews with Roger and Todd.

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Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD: