Playlist for Lab Rats

For me, music is essential to the creation of my story. Once I have an idea of who my characters are and the tentpoles of a new story, I’ll create a playlist for the book. Over the course of the writing, the list gets pared down to songs that are meaningful to me.

Here’s a list of five random songs from the Lab Rats playlist. I’ll try to give a spoiler free reason for them.

1-Lonely by Demi Lovato–There are many points where this song fits either of my leads. Ben grew up in an emotionally stunted borderline abusive family, and he keeps everyone at arm’s length and avoids personal connections. Diana is in the doghouse because her twin is the one who exposed the community, and as a result, she has to den by herself when she’s never lived apart from a pack.

2-It was Always You by Maroon Five–They’re fated mates. That’s pretty much it.

3-S&M by Rihanna–They don’t like each other very much and there’s definitely some semi-hate fucking as they first come together. While there’s not actually any BDSM, the song still spoke to me.

4-The Kiss from the soundtrack to The Last of the Mohicans movies–I was relatively young when I saw this movie, and the scene this music is from hit me hard. Since then, when I have an hungry, urgent kiss in a book, this song usually ends up in that list.

5-I Hate Myself for Loving You by Joan Jett–again, they don’t like each other, but are attracted to each other from the very first day.

My Plunder Playlist

**Disclaimer–Yes, I’m a total romantic version of pirates fan. It was probably inevitable that I’d write a pirate novel. I’m going to mention the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. If you haven’t seen them, see Curse of the Black Pearl and skip the rest unless you absolutely feel the need. I will say, though, that Mick Jagger as Jack Sparrow’s father was an inspired bit of casting.**

Music is as instrumental to me as breathing (pun intended). So when I’m writing, I usually have a playlist going in the background, and not just to block out Sofia the First or Teen Titans Go. When I wrote the short story version of Plunder, I didn’t have a song or a playlist in mind. However, when it came time to write the novel, I decided one was necessary.

I was wasting time on Youtube, as one does, when my recommendations came up with this…


I had no idea that my life was missing this, but it was. I then spent several hours watching Peter Hollens videos.He has an amazing catalog, including any number of gorgeous duets with his equally talented wife Evynne.

Not only was the Pirates medley awesome, but it made something click for me about Plunder.

My heart is pierced by Cupid

I disdain all glittering gold

There is nothing can console me

But my jolly sailor bold.

–My Jolly Sailor

The thing about Plunder is that both Bree and William are sailors, and they’re both crazy in love, despite their constant banter/fighting. So the lyric work both ways…Bree about William, William about Bree.

I immediately bought the song, and it is the cornerstone of my playlist. Because they did such a great job, I went over to the Pirate of the Caribbean soundtracks. I have the entire Curse of the Black Pearl soundtrack, and from the World’s End soundtrack I added “Drink Up Me Hearties Yo Ho” and “Hoist the Colours.”

Interestingly enough, My Jolly Sailor Bold isn’t on the soundtrack of Stranger Tides, despite it being the song the mermaids sing to enchant sailors so they can turn vampire, drag them into the water and eat them. However, you can find countless covers on YouTube.


Disney, however, didn’t write this song. It seems to be based off an 18th or 19th century shanty, depending on which version of My Jolly Sailor Bold you believe to be the origin song. To read more, go here.

So, my playlist (all of which can be bought on Amazon or iTunes, depending on your preference) is The Peter Hollens Pirates Medley, Hoist the Colours, Drink Up Me Hearties Yo Ho, and the full Curse of the Black Pearl soundtrack.

Happy Pirating! I should be finishing my edited version in the next few days and sending it off to betas. Once that happens, my playlist will look a lot more like this…

Sidenote–Check out Todrick Hall’s videos, too. He’s so incredibly talented.

Wicked Wednesday: Dream or Nightmare?


Why am I here?

Here was a seedy bar in get-me-the-fuck-out-of-here Maine. I’d hated all four years, but the advent of my tenth high school reunion had me returning to my small town like a swallow to Capistrano. There wasn’t enough Facebook stalking on the planet to feed my schadenfreude-fueled fantasies about how much better my life was than the hicks I’d left behind.

I certainly hadn’t come back to spend time with my mother. They say that the mother-daughter bond improves once the daughter ages out of being a difficult teenager, but we’d certainly done our best to disprove that theory.

Why am I here?

Right, because after another round of accusations thrown back and forth, I’d left the house and begun to drive aimlessly. Nothing else was open. And the allure of a glass of wine, even a piss-poor one, had been overpowering

Was avoiding my mother worth bleeding from my eardrums? Either way, more alcohol was going to be necessary.

This part of Maine is littered with dead zones. No scrolling on Twitter, no updating Facebook, no bitching on Whatsapp or Messenger. I tried to brace myself for misguided attempts at country, screaming rock lyrics, and unfortunate attempts at the current pop hits. I imagined they’d make a charming counterpoint to the various sounds made when one’s mouth is so close to a microphone that one might as well be fellating it.

I decided to ignore the impending cacophony and read a thriller I’d downloaded to my phone before beginning the trek north. It was topping the New York Times Bestseller List, not that anyone in this room had likely ever read the Gray Lady.

My head snapped up when I heard the opening notes of “The Impossible Dream,” from Man of LaMancha. Broadway? Here?

To dream the impossible dream/To fight the unbeatable foe/To bear with unbearable sorrow/To run where the brave dare not go…

The room didn’t appreciate the scene that was unfolding in front of them. A baritone with perfect pitch.

To right the unrightable wrong/ To love pure and chaste from afar/ To try when your arms are too weary/ To reach the unreachable star

He wore the same flannel and work boots as the other men. This was no fellow city slicker home for the holidays, or if he were, he was far better at blending than I.

The audience continued to talk amongst themselves. He sang on, unaffected by their disinterest.

This is my quest/ To follow that star/ No matter how hopeless/ No matter how far

Our eyes met, and held.

To fight for the right/ Without question or pause/ To be willing to march into Hell/ For a heavenly cause

I abandoned my drink, drifting closer to the chunk of floor with the masking tape denoting the “stage.”

And I know if I’ll only be true / To this glorious quest/ That my heart will lie peaceful and calm/ When I’m laid to my rest

I mouthed the words along with him.

And the world will be better for this/ That one man, scorned and covered with scars/ Still strove with his last ounce of courage/ To reach the unreachable star

At the key change, a shiver whispered over my skin.

This is my quest/ To follow that star/ No matter how hopeless/ No matter how far

He was singing to me now.

To fight for the right/ Without question or pause/ To be willing to march into Hell/ For a heavenly cause

The world shrank down to the two of us.

And I know if I’ll only be true / To this glorious quest/ That my heart will lie peaceful and calm/ When I’m laid to my rest

I yearned. Every note seared my soul.

And the world will be better for this/ That one man, scorned and covered with scars/ Still strove with his last ounce of courage

Beneath the music, he was propositioning me.

To reach the unreachable star

He belted the final note. I nodded my answer.

The anemic applause barely registered as he took my hand and led me through the bar and out into the chilly night. For once, I didn’t have a snarky comment to make about pick-up trucks.

The door clanked shut. He didn’t bother to turn on the engine.

I heard the zing of a zipper, and he yanked me to straddle his lap. Rough fingers reached under my skirt and tore my panties, the rip echoing in the cabin. With one thrust he entered me and I rode him like the cowgirl my family would’ve probably preferred to an MBA.

Our groans harmonized. My pleasure spiraled up into an operatic soprano note of joy. Several seconds later, his baritone fell into a long bass note as he came.

The seduction spell woven through song shattered when he spoke.

“I can’t believe I just fucked Wendy Adams.”

I never knew a nine-hour drive could double as the longest walk of shame of my life.  I still don’t know who he was. I swear upon the holiest of holies–the Louboutin boots upon which I blew my savings rather than therapy–I will never google my high school reunion, because I don’t want to know.

Maybe my mother was right after all. Stick your nose high enough in air and you’ll trip over your feet.

wicked wednesday

Music to write by…

My writing time is cobbled together from stolen moments.  While Ms 1 is napping and Ms 4 is in school in a coffee shop.  I type by the light of my screen as Ms 1 snores in her crib within arms reach of me after bedtime.  Alone in my bedroom during those blissful hours when the girls are someone else’s responsibility (my husband or my sitter).

Neither the hiss of the cappuccino maker nor the delighted giggles of my children make for an environment conducive to writing smut.  So I slip in my ear buds and use music to help create the right mood to write by.  Half the time I’m not even really paying attention to the music-it’s about giving my subconscious a clue as to where I want to go.

My music isn’t always the same.  I have a story set in New Orleans, and when working on that piece, I put on my New Orleans playlist-heavy on Preservation Hall Jazz, the sexy growl of Tab Benoit, the soft sweet voice of Theresa Andersson, and other assorted local artists.  While writing a Lancelot/Guinevere piece, I put “The Trial of Lancelot” and “Avalon” by Heather Dale on repeat.

But I do have an erotica playlist.  If I don’t have a specific agenda (such as above) this is what I’ve got playing on shuffle in the background.  Songs are listed by artist…

  • Rag Doll by Aerosmith
  • Naughty Girl by Beyonce
  • Cradle of Love by Billy Idol
  • Gimme More by Britney Spears
  • But I am a Good Girl by Christina Aguilera
  • Express by Christina Aguilera
  • Genie in a Bottle by Christina Aguilera
  • Your Body by Christina Aguilera
  • Infatuation by Christina Aguilera
  • Don’t Let Go (Love) by En Vogue
  • Whatta Man by En Vogue and Salt N Pepa
  • Persephone by Escape Key
  • Lollipop by Framing Hanley
  • Damsel in Distress by Idina Menzel
  • I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry
  • ET by Katy Perry
  • Addicted by Kelly Clarkson
  • Chocolate by Kylie Minogue
  • You and I by Lady Gaga
  • Alejandro by Lady Gaga
  • Teeth by Lady Gaga
  • Strangers on a Train by Lovage
  • One More Night by Maroon 5
  • What Would Happen by Meredith Brooks
  • Gett Off by Prince
  • Cream by Prince
  • Buttons by Pussycat Dolls
  • The Kiss (from Last of the Mohicans Soundtrack)
  • Fiery Nights (from Lord of the Dance Soundtrack)
  • Stay by Shakespear’s Sister
  • Touch Me by Smash Cast
  • Kiss Kiss by Stella Soleil
  • Sexy Naughty Bitchy by Tata Young
  • I Wanna Be Bad by Willa Ford

If my appalling taste in music hasn’t sent you packing, what do you write by?