Celebrities with mismatched eyes

David Bowie, in his younger years.

David Bowie
in his younger years

The world lost a musical legend last week with the death of David Bowie. Those of us who are old enough remember his music well: “Fame,” “Let’s Dance,” (Ch-ch-ch) “Changes” and “Space Oddity” (Ground control to Major Tom). Bowie (also called The Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust and a chameleon) is a rock ‘n’ roll icon, but it wasn’t until I looked back at his pictures that I remembered his mismatched eyes. The picture to the left, emphasizes Bowie’s condition from a permanently dilated pupil he apparently got as a kid after a fight. So, it’s not quite heterochromia iridis or irises of different colors, but it’s striking all the same.

Alice Eve.

Alice Eve, actress
“Star Trek Into Darkness”

A number of celebrities have mismatched eyes. Perhaps–who knows?–it helped get them noticed. True heterochromia, which can be caused by an injury or appear at birth, tends to make a face more interesting. In Alice Eve’s case, her right eye inclines toward blue, her left, green. (You can get a better look by clicking on the image.)


Baseball pitcher Max Scherzer.

Max Scherzer, pitcher for the Washington Nationals


I have a particular interest in heterochromia because I made use of the trait in my novel The God of Sno Cone Blue. My main character, Grace, has eyes similar to those of baseball pitcher Max Scherzer, seen here, with his one bright blue eye and the other dark brown. As with the general population, some celebrity cases of heterochromia are obvious, like Max’s, some not. Some involve the entire iris and some only sections. Here’s a look at a few more examples…


Actress Mila Kunis.

Mila Kunis
American Actress



Ukrainian-born actress Mila Kunis says she’s had trouble with her eyesight and the health of her eyes, which may explain why one is green and the other a darker, greenish brown. She has no trouble landing acting jobs, though, from the voice of Meg Griffin in the animated series Family Guy to roles in Black Swan, her breakout movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall and many more.   



Dan Aykroyd.

Dan Aykroyd
Canadian-American actor


Here’s one you might not have noticed: Dan Aykroyd. The trailblazing actor, comedian, screenwriter, musician and entrepreneur also has eyes of differing color. It’s probably not conspicuous in a Ghostbuster suit, but if you look closely (you can click on this image as well) one of his eyes is blue, the other green.



Jane Seymour.

Jane Seymour
British-American actress


Perhaps the first celebrity we noticed with heterochromia was Jane Seymour. The actress, who for years played Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, has what’s known as sectoral heterochromia, where only a portion of one iris is different. In her case, the lower half of her right eye is dark brown while the rest, as well as her left eye, is a much lighter, hazel green.



Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benedict Cumberbatch
British actor


Could it be the eyes? My daughter’s favorite actor (at least for the moment) also has sectoral heterochromia. But the effect is far more subtle with Benedict Cumberbatch, a British actor who plays an aloof, laser-focused Sherlock Holmes. (Cumberbatch is also a producer as well as a stage and film actor). It’s not easy to see (click on the image for a better look), but he has a tiny brown spot in his right iris and asymmetrical striations in his pale green eyes.

Kate Bosworth.

Kate Bosworth
American actress and model




There’s no mistaking Kate Bosworth’s eyes of a different color. While at first glance it appears one of her eyes is blue and the other brown, she actually has sectoral heterochromia as well. If you look closely, you’ll see the brown hue appears to invade only the lower half of her right eye with some blue remaining above it.



Henry Cavill.

Henry Cavill
British actor


One final example for you: yet another image of sectoral heterochromia. Does this one catch your eye? He does mine–I mean his heterochromia of course. Henry Cavill, of “Man of Steel” fame, has bright blue eyes, as you can see here, but his left iris is punctuated by a patch of brown. Hard to call it a flaw though, wouldn’t you agree?



If you’d like to leave a comment, please feel free. Is there an unusual physical trait that you find interesting or attractive?

What am I thankful for?

Turkey face, bird, close up.I’m wondering if you know the feeling: you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, crazy busy getting everything ready–What time did I put the turkey in?–then finally, everyone is gathered, the potatoes are mashed, the gravy done, and you call the masses in to eat. But it’s only after everyone’s seated and halfway through their meals that you realize you forgot to give thanks. On Thanksgiving Day! I confess I’ve done this and ended up feeling like an overstuffed, ungrateful birdbrain–all before I’d even had pie!

This year, for a little insurance, I’m thinking ahead about all I’m grateful for and making a list. It’s not complete. How could it ever be? But it’s a start:

Clouds with sun shining through.

Summer sky over Lake Billy Chinook



First, I’m thankful for the grace of God, and how, despite evil and heartache (too much of which we’ve seen lately), hope and goodness shine through.


Marcia and Ed out to dinner.

Anniversary dinner in Lincoln City, OR




I’m thankful for my husband, who shows tremendous patience with the hours I spend writing (and not cleaning house!)…



me with kids (little) asleep in pajamas

Asleep before the story is done, circa 2000



…and for our kids (who for some odd reason never learned to clean house).



Clayton and Hazel with trick or treater.

Clayton and Hazel with neighbor “baby May”



I’m thankful for my parents (about to be great-grandparents again) and for every new day they’re able to stay in their own home…

Sisters in brown outfits, circa 1968.

Coffey sisters 1960s style (clockwise from upper left) Karen, Sally, Linda, Marcia





…and for my sisters, for all our years together, and that we’re each able to help with mom and dad.



My friends, around a table, waving.



I’m thankful for friends I can reach out to after a bad day for a little confidence or a big laugh…



Me with a goofy smile.




…and for humor, EVERY SINGLE DAY, which keeps me sane!


Sunrise over neighborhood.

Sunrise from our living room window




And, finally, I’m thankful for this life, however flawed, and hope that, one day, when it comes to a close, I’ll have family beside me and the presence of mind, one last time, to give thanks.


–If you’d like to add to this list, please feel free to leave a reply below–

It takes a neighborhood to raise an author

Cedar Mill Living review of The God of Sno Cone Blue.Word of mouth here, a thumbs up there, either globally or from one street to the next, that’s basically what I mean by It takes a neighborhood to raise an author. My latest example? A full page review saying, “The God of Sno Cone Blue will tickle your funny bone, exercise your love for twist and turn mysteries and cause your mind to race with questions….” It’s written in Cedar Mill Living, a publication with a small but focused audience–and I’m thrilled.


This is how word spreads about a good book: from reader to reader, publication to publication, and book club to book club. Because I’m self-published I’ve had multiple doors slammed on me–figurative doors, yes, but nevertheless, slammed hard all the same; if they’d been doors of solid wood, I’d look like a boxer after a 10th round knock out. This is despite the fact that self-publishing is the future of publishing. The good news is, there are other doors in this ever-expanding neighborhood of mine that keep flying open to reveal excited readers.

Examples please

Book clubs are first and foremost. They’ve embraced Sno Cone Blue like a long-lost cousin at a family reunion. And I’ve had a blast sharing my story with them, chalking up 45 author visits to various groups so far, most of them book clubs, but also civic-centered and philanthropic organizations as well. The women and men I’ve met along the way have been impressive: doctors, lawyers, educators, accountants, artists and authors–even a former bathing suit model. (Okay, I admit, I peeked at her photos.)

And my readers never cease to amaze me with their questions and insights. Believe me, no two book clubs are alike, nor do they operate the same way.  I continue scheduling, so drop me a line on my Contact page if you’re interested in an author visit. If you’re near Portland, I’m happy to come in person or, if not, I Skype for long distances.

Beyond book clubs

The novel continues landing excellent reviews. Besides the latest endorsements in print, Sno Cone Blue is fast approaching 100 reviews from readers on Amazon. The vast majority (83 percent) rate it 5-star and the remainder, 4-star, which is awesome. Based on the comments you’ll see there, readers are moved by the story, appreciate the depth of the characters and, best of all, don’t anticipate the twist at the end.

What’s next?

For Sno Cone Blue, I expect doors to keep opening… In the meantime, I’m staying busy with novel number two, progressing chapter by chapter as I look ahead to estimate editing and publishing dates. In fact, I just finished a shoot for a promotional video you’ll see down the road, probably in spring. Mum’s the word at this point what it will look like, but suffice it to say you’ll get a good laugh out of it–at my expense! Hints are buried in the novel’s subject matter and description of its heroine, a skilled cliff climber.

The next novel will be called Skipping the Light, and it’s a new genre for me: Dystopian society in the vein of Hunger Games, with the added twist of time travel–yes!–written for Young Adults with Adult crossover. How’s that for a change from a mother-daughter novel?! Not to mention it will be the first in a trilogy to keep me–and readers–busy for years to come. I’m excited and passionate about the story, so stay tuned for news on the new book as the chapters add up.

Thanks for being a part of my neighborhood, and drop by again soon.

Looking for some good summer reading?

Here are a few books I’ve got my eye on. They come recommended by friends, book clubs I’ve visited with or from Amazon reader reviews, and they’re all pulling four and five star ratings. I’ve grouped them by genre (in no particular order) and also included links (the blue book titles) where you can purchase copies or read more about each selection.

If you have a recommendation you’d like to add to this list, either something you’ve read or are dying to read, please reply in the space below, and happy reading!


The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins.

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins is a 4 star psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator, which tends to add a few goose bumps for an extra chill. My book club friends call it a page turner. The story begins after a passenger, looking out from a busy London train, sees something shocking that she reports to police. From there on out, she’s entwined in the suspense.


Every Man Dies Alone.

Every Man Dies Alone: A Novel, by Hans Fallada. This one truly breaks the mold: a novel written in 24 days by a German who had just been released (in 1947) from a Nazi insane asylum. Both the author’s life history and the novel are harrowing. In real life, Fallada refused to join the Nazi party, was arrested and suffered later from alcohol and drug addiction. The novel he wrote is based on the true story of a couple who chose the simple act of writing postcards to stir rebellion, and the terrifying consequences that followed.

The Devil in the White City.The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson. Not the stuff of pleasant dreams, this is the true story of a serial killer who used Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair to lure his victims. It just so happens that my husband read it and has been talking it up for months. He’s in good company among Amazon readers whose ratings average 4 & 1/2 stars.


All the Light We Cannot See.

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. Another post WW II story, this one is both a best-seller and a Pulitzer Prize winner. The novel follows a blind French girl whose life converges with a member of the Hitler Youth. The story and writing are described as beautiful and stunning.



Go Set a Watchman.Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee. While I’ve fallen in love with many books, my all-time favorite and the one I’ve read most (without tiring of the story) is To Kill a Mockingbird. Now comes the surprise prequel-sequel with the publishing of Lee’s long-misplaced manuscript. Is there any chance it could be as good as the classic? Very soon we’ll find out. The book is in preorder until its publishing date July 14.

Sci-Fi/Action Adventure

The Martian.The Martian, by Andy Weir. Imagine you’re an astronaut in the near future. You and your crew are sent to Mars, but end up getting caught in a horrific dust storm. Your crew escapes, assumes you are dead, and leaves you behind! The story is raw and told first person. Scanning the reviews, I’d say it’s best suited for readers who love science and engineering and don’t mind profane language.


Written in My Own Heart's Blood.Written in My Own Heart’s Blood: A Novel, by Diana Gabaldon. The story picks up where the Outlander series left off. The golden and gorgeous Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed death to find his beloved wife, Claire, married to his best friend. Of course, if you haven’t read the Outlander series–a time-traveling love story–you may want to start there. Either way, you’ll get a satisfying dose of history along with a passionate–and often raw–love affair.


The Information-A History, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, by James Gleick. If you’re interested in learning the history of communication and information theory, then you may want to dive into this hefty book. Written by a science and technology journalist, it begins with a look at African drums and proceeds to cover everything from the telegraph and telephone to modern computers. It’s also chock-full of biographical information on a multitude of inventors.

Killing Patton.Killing Patton: The Strange Death of WW II’s Most Audacious General, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Part of the bestselling “killing” series, this book looks at the final six months of the war, Patton’s crusade against communism, his contentious relationship with General Eisenhower, and the seemingly low impact car accident that killed a tougher-than-nails general, asking the question: Was Patton assassinated?

Young Adult

Paper Towns.Paper Towns, by John Green. I enjoyed this author’s The Fault in Our Stars so much, I’d try anything he writes. Green is smart, witty and so honest in his prose, that his YA books end up with huge cross-over to adult readers. This story centers on a teenage boy and his childhood best friend, Margo, whom he’s been in love with all his life. Margo, who’s been distant for years, suddenly reappears, begging him to go on an all-night spree, after which she disappears again. The question thereafter: What has happened to Margo?

Golden.Golden, by Jessi Kirby. Another young adult choice, this one chalking up a 4 & 1/2 star rating a year out of publishing. This is the story of a high achieving high schooler who’s never been kissed or broken any rules. But her life takes a turn with one final school assignment that has her unravelling her town’s biggest mystery.

And one final category: I’ve read it, of course, but…

The God of Sno Cone Blue.I’m listing my own novel, The God of Sno Cone Blue, to extend the offer for an author visit or Skype with any book clubs interested. A little more than a year after publishing, I’m thrilled to report the book has 84 reviews on Amazon and is pushing a 5 star rating. So far, I’ve visited with nearly 40 book clubs and groups, and we always have great fun. I’m scheduling through the summer and fall, so drop me a line on my contact page if you’d like to get on the calendar. Then again, you don’t have to be in a book club to read it. :-)

Thanks for stopping by, and, again, if you’d like to recommend a book, simply click on reply below.

Remembering on Memorial Weekend


Keaton with buddies on fun run.A funny story came up at the memorial for my cousins’ son, Cpl. Keaton Coffey (US Marine Corps). Though the story is not related to surfboards, this picture (with Keaton clowning on the far right) best illustrates the mood. A fellow Marine, Keaton’s roommate, repeated it to the hundreds upon hundreds packed into the church that day to honor a fallen hero. It was about a time when the Marine had gone on leave one weekend, and when he came back, he said, he caught Keaton red-handed, eating his last piece of cake, a coveted slice he’d looked forward to. The Marine was incredulous and said something to the effect of, “Really, dude? You’re eating my cake?” And Keaton, his mouth full, simply replied, “But it tastes really good with milk.”

The story struck a chord–for several reasons. It was a moment of levity amidst so much pain; it showed Keaton’s sense of humor, the dry wit that mirrors that of his dad, a former firefighter; but more than anything, how even the simplest moments can end up taking on so much meaning, becoming forever engrained in our memories.

Keaton and Brittany.It’s hard to believe three years have passed since Keaton was killed, in Afghanistan, in the line of duty. He had so much to live for… just 22 years old… only two months shy of his wedding to Brittany Dygert… the only son, the only child of Grant and Inger Coffey. Keaton was so proud of what he’d accomplished as a Marine. Its beyond painful, even now, to contemplate the loss, to those who loved him so deeply and to his country.


Keaton Coffey with his dog Denny.I love this picture too, because it shows how much even his dog, Denny, adored him. Look at that paw stretched around Keaton’s shoulder! The pair were a team, trained to go first into danger to sniff out explosives and save countless other lives. But danger was everywhere in Afghanistan. As it turns out, it was a bullet and not an explosive that killed Keaton. Denny survived, and, thankfully, my cousin, Grant, Keaton’s dad, and his mom, Inger, have the option of taking Denny in his twilight years as their pet.


Keaton Coffey honored.The day Keaton was laid to rest whole communities lined the streets near Boring, Oregon, his hometown, for the procession. The sight of it and the throngs of Marines in uniform, veterans on motorcycles, firefighters and fire trucks at the funeral nearly brought me to my knees. Keaton was a beloved son, a source of pride, one of their own.

But Keaton is also one of yours, in the end, whether you knew him or not, for he gave everything in service to you and his country.

On this Memorial Day weekend, I’m glad you took a moment to read this and remember Keaton, and if you’d like to extend a hand in his memory, give to Wounded Warrior Project and/or Keaton’s Memorial Scholarship Fund.

It was May 24th three years ago, a few days shy of Memorial Day, that we lost him. For that reason, Memorial Day and Memorial Weekend have taken on new meaning. I trust, as do his parents, that Keaton is now at peace, smiling down on us. And so does the Marine buddy, once miffed at Keaton over something as mundane as a slice of dessert. As he said to Keaton at the memorial, he’d see him again one day, and then he admonished him, “Save me a piece of cake.”


Help me find the girl on my cover!

The God of Sno Cone Blue with BRAG Medallion.

In all likelihood, she’s years older and has no idea she’s there. How cool would it be to find her on social media? Please share this–or if you recognize her, let her know I’d like to connect. I’d love to send copies of the novel to her, and if she’s willing, post an interview. Wouldn’t you like to know if you were on a book cover?

She modeled for the photograph and I bought the rights to use it, but it’s doubtful she knows it ended up representing the main character on a book cover–with one of her eyes changed to blue!


Who is she?

It’s been a year since the novel was published and many people have asked that question, so I thought it’d be fun to try to find her based on the photo, (especially since I don’t know her name!) She’s on the cover of the novel, The God of Sno Cone Blue should be on her bookshelf.

Besides sending her complimentary signed copies of the book, I’d love to request an interview (keeping her privacy and safety in mind). Who is the real person behind the representation of my main character, Grace? Is she a reader? Where is she now? How much older is she? Did she have any idea she was on a book cover?

An update on the novel

The God of Sno Cone Blue continues to be well received: 64 reviews so far on Amazon for a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars–yay! And I’m still making author visits to book clubs, 30 so far and counting. (Leave a message on my Contact Page if you’d like to schedule a book club visit or Skype session.) However, because I’m self published and the sole marketer, a limited number of people know about the book. And, while it’s available on Amazon worldwide, the majority of its readers are in the Pacific Northwest. So, sharing this post not only helps find the girl on the cover, it will also help Sno Cone Blue find a broader audience.

Speaking of signed copies

Based on requests from readers (particularly for Mother’s Day), I’m also offering signed copies of the novel (along with a matching bookmark). If you’d like one (or more) please share this post and send a check to the address below, made out to yours truly in the amount of $12 per copy (US only). Provided you live in the United States, I will cover the cost to mail the book (signed to whomever you’d like) to your address. If you are outside of the United States, drop me a note on my Contact Page first and I’ll check the additional mailing cost and get back to you.

Marcia Coffey Turnquist

PO Box 205

North Plains, Oregon 97133

Thank you

With any luck this post will go viral and we’ll find “Grace.” In the meantime, thank you so much for supporting this effort! It will be interesting to see if we’re successful and how long it might take.

A California writer and former prosecutor reviews Sno Cone Blue!

The God of Sno Cone Blue with BRAG Medallion.The latest about my novel appears online at The Review:

…rarely have I  found a piece of literary fiction as compelling as The God of Sno Cone Blue, a B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree. As suggested by the title, the book is a masterpiece of visual imagery but it is also a penetrating commentary on the human condition. It is a showpiece not only in the quality of its writing but in the author’s management of its sensitive content.


The reviewer goes on to say

When I learned it had been a selection of the Mother and Daughter Book Club, I was apprehensive it was going to be a two-hankie family saga, but it is far more complex than an intrusion into the misadventures of a dysfunctional family. It is a two-tiered mystery with a built-in tragic love story. Thanks to the author’s wordsmithing, none of the twists in plot seem contrived. Since one level of the story unfolds in the form of letters sent at intervals from a long-dead mother to her coming-of-age daughter, I expected a heavy dose of the paranormal. However, while the novel is highly inspirational it is not fantasy. The God of Sno Cone Blue is not a ghost story. Its devils are flesh and blood.

The writer is no slouch

Linda Root is the reviewer, a fascinating woman I would love to meet. As you’ll find online, she is the distinguished prosecutor of 140 trials, two of which became featured episodes of the TV series The Prosecutors and Arrest and Trial. She’s also the author of several historical fiction novels (see links below), has taught writing at the law school level, and writes reviews (along with other accomplished authors) for The Review.

Her writeup on Sno Cone Blue is not only thoughtful and lengthy, but also beautifully written with fine literary sense. Rather than attempt to paraphrase, I’ll include another excerpt from her review of my book.

More from Linda

While Grace is always the focus of the plot, both her story and her mother’s are populated with rich characters of considerable complexity, including one of the most despicable villainesses in my wide reading and personal experiences. The author’s mastery of the descriptive phrase allows the most jaded reader to build an almost uncanny desire to see Sharon and her progeny avenged.

It’s hard to know what to say except that I am deeply honored.

If you’d like to read the entire review, you’ll find it, plus The Review’s giveaway of a signed copy of Sno Cone Blue here. If you’d like to see more about Linda and her books, access her Amazon author page. Are you in a book club that would like a personal author visit or Skype? Just drop me a line on my Contact Page.

–Thanks for reading and, as usual, your comments are welcome! Just click Leave a reply below.–

Sno Cone Blue highlighted in another newspaper!

Southeast Examiner article on The God of Sno Cone Blue.“The emotional tug makes it an ideal book club read,” says The Southeast Examiner, and the words ring true as I continue visiting with book clubs. (Drop me a line if you’d like to schedule a Skype or personal author visit.) As the article points out, the success of The God of Sno Cone Blue “has been largely through word of mouth.” And what better way?

I talked with reporter Midge Pierce Continue reading

KXL stories on Sno Cone Blue!

Rosemary Reynolds at KXL radio station.In case you missed it on Portland’s KXL Radio, here’s the audio of Rosemary Reynolds’ coverage. She filed two reports, short and sweet, on The God of Sno Cone Blue. Continue reading

Sno Cone Blue on Portland radio!

Rosemary Reynolds at KXL radio station.Tune in to KXL (FM News 101) this Thanksgiving Day afternoon for a story on The God of Sno Cone Blue. I had a great time talking with veteran radio reporter Rosemary Reynolds about my novel, her voice so familiar, it was like chatting with an old friend. Continue reading