Thursday, April 15, 2021


The following songs helped set the atmosphere for writing my books. Some are even mentioned and featured in the books.

You can listen to the playlist on Spotify by clicking here.


"Genetic" - Sonic Youth
I repeatedly listened to the My So-Called Life soundtrack throughout writing, and this is just one song from it.

"Soul Alone" - JoanMarie
Originally written as a song by my ex-wife, the lyrics became a poem written by Hannah. This song concludes the U.S. audiobook of Thirteen Reasons Why.

"Larry" - Buffalo Tom
I listened to this on repeat to write the final scene.

"Two Steps Behind" - Def Leppard
I needed to create a specific distance between two characters in the final moments, so used the title from this song.


"Don't You (Forget About Me)" - Simple Minds
My co-author and I wanted the story to feel like a John Hughes movie. This song, featured in The Breakfast Club, is one of the most perfectly placed songs in cinema history.

"I'll Be There for You" - The Rembrandts
Many people know this as the theme song for Friends, which our mid-1990s characters watched.

"Basket Case" - Green Day
I listened to a lot of early-'90s pop-punk while writing. This is the first song Cody learned on guitar.

"Wonderwall" - Oasis
Emma listens to this while driving.

"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
We found a TV Guide for the specific week when our story takes place, which resulted in Josh's brother watching the final episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.


"Love Story" - Taylor Swift
I thought this story felt like a Taylor Swift long song as I wrote it. Coincidentally, Sierra and Taylor both grew up on Christmas tree farms.

"Let It Be Christmas" - Alan Jackson
I listened to so many hours of a "Country Christmas" station on Pandora while writing.

"The First Noel" - Lady A
(Same note as above.)

"Christmas Canon" - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
I listened to this on repeat to write the final scene.


"Into The Woods / The Witch" - Danny Elfman
My co-author and I wanted the story to feel like a Tim Burton movie, specifically Sleepy Hollow.

"Lai de la pastourelle" - Norbert Rodenkirchen
We also did a lot of research into 13th century Germany, including their musical instruments.


"I Believe in Santa Claus" - Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers
The Once upon a Christmas album by Parton and Rogers was a childhood favorite of Cole's.

"Uh Oh, Beautiful" - JoanMarie
A song originally written by my ex-wife, it's performed by Cole in this story.

"Under the Mistletoe" - Trey Pearson
Written for this story by my ex-wife, it was later recorded by my friend.


"Dragula" - Rob Zombie

"Happy Dance" - Mercy Me

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Happy Easter!

The following is my annual Easter re-post.

Every so often, a reader tells me their impression of something I wrote in a way that deepens my own understanding of my own words. Someone in Florida once told me how a decision one of my characters made helped her illustrate a sentiment she'd been trying to get across to her friends.

Here's what she told me:

In the past, I've had to help friends realize that life goes on even after you've made a poor decision. Not because you move on or get over it, but because you grow as a result of it. You build something new, something with a higher purpose, using what you've learned as one of your bricks.

When I read that, my heart leapt! Since there was no way I could say it any better, I immediately knew I'd be using her words in future speeches...and blog posts.

So what does this have to do with Easter?

One of the most beautiful ideas surrounding this holiday is that we're all given an opportunity to make corrections if we find ourselves traveling down a road we don't want to - or shouldn't - be on. In fact, we're given this opportunity to change every day. Every second! But sometimes we need a calendar to remind us.

Refresh. Repair. Rebirth. Whatever you want to call it...

Renewal is a wonderful blessing!