Love Songs Are My Favorite: Inside the Music of WHAT WE NEED TO REBUILD

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Every book of mine has a playlist, it’s the way I roll.

If you weren’t around for the first two, you can catch up on your listening here:

What We Need to Survive :: What We Need to Decide

The final installment in the series has its emotional ups and downs just as the story does, so be prepared for a rollercoaster.

What We Need to Rebuild playlist

The Promise — What better way to start things off than with a song about strength and survival? Nina did make Paul a promise, after all.

Satellite — Paul’s always been watching Nina, in one way or another.

Sweetness Follows — Once again, they can’t all be love songs. Family’s complicated.

Colorful — Love doesn’t expect someone to be perfect; love accepts them as they are.

Peace — A song that covers all the bases of Paul’s hopes for the future.

Hold On Forever — The first time I heard this, I knew it would be something Paul would sing to Nina.

Losing It All — What they both want most is to be together.


I’m excited to get to finally share this, I’ve been sitting on some of these songs for two years now…and I’m even more excited to finally share the rest of the story! Next Monday, everybody, and you can finally find out how it ends!

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Writing Homework #9: Every Song a Story

A long time ago, under a different name on an account long deleted, I was an active participant in /r/WritingPrompts, before it became a default sub and exploded into a crazy pit of meme prompts. I didn’t stick around, and to be honest, I have no idea what the community is like these days.

But I do remember one prompt in particular, to take a song that almost tells a story, and write a scene based on it.

My response to that prompt is lost to the sands of time (and the account deletion) but I do remember I chose “Shape of My Heart” because the song so clearly defines a character, but not the story itself.

So this week’s assignment is to seek out a similar song, not one that already lays out a story in great detail, but one that gives insight into the character or situation it describes, and write a drabble/scene/flash fic based on it.

I know, I know, song prompts aren’t exactly a new idea, but I want to present my take on it.

Have fun and keep writing!


Need to get caught up on your assignments?

Love Songs Are My Favorite: Inside the Music of WHAT WE NEED TO DECIDE

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With a new book comes a new playlist!

I don’t actually listen to music when I write–too distracting. (I usually listen to rain sounds, or nothing.) So this isn’t the music I wrote to, but a combination of the songs that inspired me, or the songs I hear on the radio that make me think, “Paul would sing this. Absolutely. This is his jam.”

(Spotify Playlist Link)

Be Mine – It was actually hard to chose a single David Gray song to include, because this was one of at least five I could have. The man knows his love songs!

Faster – Cheerful, sweetly sexy, and dirtier than I realized the first few times I heard it, until I started learning the lyrics.

The Living Years – Wait, not a love song? Family’s complicated.

Breathing – I always thought this song was a pretty good depiction of being in love with an introvert. You know, like Nina.

Hymn For Her – I could not have written a better song encompassing Paul’s character arc in this book. (He’s still trying to write Nina’s song, and someday, I’m going to have to, so it’s too bad Stephen Christian already did. Because he did, and this is it.)

Wanted – Wait, country? Paul may be from Kentucky, but he doesn’t sing country! (Elena doesn’t listen to country, either!) Except this wonderful little earworm is perfect for the list.

Grandma’s Feather Bed – I promise this song is here for a reason, but you’ll have to read to understand. (And just because I’m a lifelong Muppet fan, here’s The Muppet Show version too.)

The Guy That Says Goodbye To You Is Out Of His Mind – Title says it all.

I Won’t Give Up – No, no he won’t.


What We Need to Decide is out on Friday! Just a little longer, everybody!

A Quick Musical Interlude

So, I wrote 4K+ on my novel draft yesterday.  Hurray!

The problem is, I did that at the expense of having a blog post ready to go for today.  Sometimes I am on top of my schedule, and sometimes, I am not.

I’m in the home stretch, and I’m still on target to be done with the draft by the end of the month, so I’d rather keep working on that today.

To keep you entertained, however, I offer a song that’s got the right feel for the scene I’m writing:

See you on Friday with this week’s books!

Love Songs are My Favorite: Inside the Music of WHAT WE NEED TO SURVIVE

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This article was originally a guest post @ In Desperate Need of Words. . .and Caffiene. With Valentine’s Day coming up, love songs have been on my mind…

Music has always been a huge part of my life.  Everyone in my family sings, and some of my earliest memories involve that—sitting between my parents in a church pew and hearing my dad’s booming baritone and my mother’s flawless sight-reading of the alto harmonies, listening to my brother singing along with the radio or spouting out random bits of song from school choir.  I started to sing along almost as soon as I was talking.

My elementary-school years were dominated by fantasies that someday, I’d be like Madonna or Janet Jackson, a huge pop star.  My teenage years were taken over by grunge and alternative, staying up late and listening to that new Smashing Pumpkins song just one more time before I really had to go to bed or I’d be a shambling zombie in class the next day.

I do my chores to music, I run to music, I turn off the sound in my video games sometimes because I’d rather listen to my favorite tunes.  A day when I don’t have a chance to listen to music is usually a bad day.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that even my plague-ruined dystopian world still had to have music in it.

Paul, our romantic hero, used to be a musician, a singer-songwriter trying to make a name for himself with the power of his voice, his words, and his hands on the keys of a piano.  Even after the plague, he still carries a notebook with him to scratch down lyrics whenever he can, because his dreams of success may have died with the old world, but that doesn’t mean his passion is gone.

But, of course, I’m not actually the songwriter I made him out to be.  So, if you want some idea of the sort of songs I imagine him writing and performing, I give you the What We Need to Survive playlist.

(Spotify Playlist Link)

Thinking Out Loud – I’d started the book before I ever heard this song, and when it was constantly on the radio (which I didn’t mind a bit!) I couldn’t stop thinking about how this was Paul in a nutshell.

I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues – Paul’s a tenor who plays piano.  There was no way he wouldn’t know everything Elton John’s ever done.

Ever the Same – Another song that’s pretty on-the-nose for Paul’s tenderheartedness.

Annie’s Song – This is on the list because it’s hands-down one of the best love songs ever written.  He’d know it, he’d sing it.  In an early draft where I was actually including the songs he sang, he did.

An Innocent Man – What is true for Elton John is just as true for Billy Joel.  In his piano-bar days, Paul was probably playing “Piano Man” every night, but this is a better fit for his early troubles working his way into Nina’s heart.

Something in the Way She Moves – Okay, James Taylor is a guitar man, but still, you can be sure Paul knows all his songs.

Let Me Serenade You – This one’s self-explanatory, right?

All That I’m Asking For – Because nothing ever goes perfectly the first time.

Nightswimming – One of the most beautiful piano pieces I know.  The first time I heard this, I wished I knew how to play piano, just so I could learn it.

Better Than Love – Though I didn’t know it at the time, Griffin House is pretty close to how I imagined Paul’s voice.  (I started out thinking he sounded more like Jason Wade of Lifehouse, but then I heard this song, and I knew better.)

Something To Say – Toad the Wet Sprocket is reaching a little past the singer-songwriter groove, but the lyrics are spot-on for Paul’s willingness to listen just as much as he talks.

New York to California – Mat Kearney was another early candidate for Paul’s voice, and even if he didn’t win, I couldn’t pass up a song about devotion.


Interested?  Read the first chapter and find all the purchasing info here!