World Departed: The Soundtrack

Here we are again. A book! A soundtrack!
This soundtrack was more fun than usual because I got to include music from my youth onward, both in the actual story and here. Yeah, I’m old, and so are some of the main characters, which means that you get a very random sampling of music from all over the place.

Here’s the link to the Spotify playlist, though one song isn’t on it because that song can only be found on YouTube. So check out the instrumental version of “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” down below. I think you’ll like it. You should listen to the original, too. You’re gonna have to like The Smiths if we’re going to get along, so go find your inner angsty teenager, kick back, and cue up some Morrissey. I’d suggest Louder than Bombs, The Queen is Dead, or The Smiths to start.

Link to SPOTIFY playlist:

So, here we go.

Chapter 12 “Apocalypse Please” Muse
This song fit the chaotic scene. Plus, it seemed like a good song for two indie-rock radio DJs to play in the midst of the zompoc.


Chapter 13: “I Know it’s Over” The Smiths
Much like Craig, this song holds many memories for me from long ago. My God, it’s maudlin, but it makes me so freaking happy.


Chapter 21: “Waiting For the World to End” Mother Mother
Craig, just sittin’ on the balcony.


Chapter 34: “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” The Smiths
(instrumental version by La Thang)
How many nights did we hang out drinking 40s of beer and being angsty teens who lived and died by this song? Oh! Hi Mom and Dad, I forgot you read my blog. The answer to that question is zero. Zero nights.


Chapter 35: “Wave of Mutilation” The Pixies
Who doesn’t like The Pixies? Only weirdos. Much like Rose, I know I’ll have this song stuck in my head all. the. time. in the zombie apocalypse. How could you not?


Chapters 28 – thirty-something: “Bulletproof … I Wish I Was” Radiohead
This is a song for Craig. Early Craig, who needs to find a little more faith in himself. Because I, for one, think he’s pretty awesome.


Chapter 41: “Do You Really Wanna Know” Papercuts
I just don’t know right now if I love you… Yeah, this song fits.


Chapter 50: “Here” Alessia Cara
If you want to understand how Rose feels at 96.3% of social engagements — and, apparently, at a Safe Zone with 500 people — listen to this song.
I can relate. As can the awesome friend who sent me this song years ago.


Chapter 57: “All of Me” Billie Holiday
Sitting in the Model-T.
Lady Day. What is there to say, except that she was amazing.


Chapter 57: “Enola Gay” Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Wouldn’t it be nice if all we had to worry about these days was the Cold War?


Chapter 57: “Your Love” The Outfield
From Rose’s ’80’s playlist. I still love this song.


Chapter 61: “Mr. Brightside” The Killers
We all know this song. Yeah, my KIDS know this song. I can see you rolling your eyes, you know. But we were driving in the car one day, and this fit the scene I had in mind. As stories (at least mine) are wont to do, the scene changed somewhat, as did things prior to that scene. But I still like it, so I’m leaving it in. Mainly because someone is pretty jealous of someone else. 😉 And, dang it, this song is catchy.


Final chapter: “Weaker Girl” Banks
This song, y’all. *happy sigh*
A friend sent it to me a while ago, and I felt as though the heavens had told her to send it my way. It perfectly summed up everything about a character’s journey in this book, and I knew right away it was the final song. It fits this scene like a motherf*cking glove. I LOVE it. If you’ve ever had to find your inner strength and finally stand up for yourself, I think you will, too.
Warning: This song is full of a certain curse word, so if you don’t like cursing, then consider yourself warned. Also, um, if you don’t like cursing, why the f*ck are you reading my books? Haha, I kid. Sort of. Seriously, thank you for putting up with me. I guess you can take the girl out of NYC, but you can’t clean out her filthy NYC potty mouth.


Until next time, happy listening! ❤

Instauration: The Soundtrack

Here I am with another book, which means another soundtrack!
Oddly, there aren’t many songs in the first half of the book. Not sure why that is, except that usually my songs are tied to scenes, and when those scenes all scooted around as the series changed (which happens) they all moved to the back of the book.

That said, we’re going to start off with a song I listened to a lot, but whose scene ended up not being a scene at all. (Yeah, that happens, too.) Still, it was on the playlist I continued to listen to, so you’re going to have to listen now.

“Midnight City” M83


“On the Sea” Beach House
Chapter 19. And 26, for that matter.
Man, I love this song. It’s the perfect song for their beleaguered minds and the garbage-strewn water of the rivers and New York Bay.


“Like Eating Glass” Bloc Party
Now we make a jump to chapters 44 – 47. I’m not going to say a lot. Except I love Bloc Party.


“Dayzed Inn Daydreams” Ariel Pink
Chapter 48.

This song is bonkers and frantic and awesome. It’s also beautiful. And the lyrics–I love ’em. Just listen.


“I Will” Radiohead
Also chapter 48. (The end of chapter 48.)

Of course Radiohead is on the playlist, goobers. You expect nothing less by now, right? This song. This freaking song. In just two minutes, you’re lifted up and thrown back down and then left in a sniveling, crying heap of emotion.
(This is the only video I could find of the shorter version.)


“My Tears are Becoming a Sea” M83
Chapter 50
I can (and have) listened to this song on repeat while writing. Over and over. And, still, if it comes on in the car or when I’m truly listening, it always gives me chills. M83 sure can give you the feels, amirite?


“Fill in the Blank” Car Seat Headrest
Chapter 56

I love this song. It makes me want to throw zombies off somewhere high instead of languishing in a funk. And that’s all I’ll say about that.


“Born With a Sound” The New Pornographers
Chapters 77 – 78
“Now I know love is the way.” ❤


“Your Best American Girl” Mitski
Chapter 80 (The last part, specifically.)
This song is about a clash of cultures in a relationship and refusing to live up to certain expectations, especially when doing so would mean letting go of who you are. And about, as a reviewer said, rejecting “the idea that one must cede authenticity for love.”
Of course, you can read many places where Mitski says it much better than I do. It is her song, after all, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
Though a bit different in my story, the words and ideas still resonated with me. And the music…damn, it’s so lovely.


“Present Tense” Radiohead
Chapter 81
So, I have one bone to pick with Radiohead: they make my embedding of videos very difficult in these posts because finding the studio version of many songs is next to impossible. Otherwise, Radiohead, you’re perfect. But maybe make my life a little easier? K, thanks.
I love love love this song. So will you. If you have a soul, that is. Ha.

Present Tense – Radiohead from DS on Vimeo.


“Simple Machine” Guster
Eric, chapters 83, 85, 87.
This song is pure awesomeness. Also, make sure to watch the video until 1:10. Heh.


“A Wolf at the Door” Radiohead
Chapter 84
Yep, another Radiohead song. Do you know how long this book is? It’s loooong. So, deal. One RH song just wasn’t enough.
Also, some characters just lend themselves to songs about wolves.
(In this (studio version!) video, you get the lyrics in English and Spanish. I thought that was pretty cool.)

“Shut Up Kiss Me” Angel Olsen
Chapter 101
When I first heard this song, I was like, “Holy crap!” It’s perfect for this scene, down to very particular lyrics. So much so that I think she might’ve written it for the book.
Fine, maybe not. Still perfect.


“King Without a Crown”  Matisyahu (Live from Stubb’s version)
Chapter 105
What happens when an Orthodox Jew (well, nowadays a former Orthodox Jew) sings reggae? This song. And it’s amazing. There’s the studio version, and the acoustic version (which, one could argue, is better suited for this scene) but this remains, in my opinion, the best version and the one that helped to shape and inspire certain characters.
It’s exultant and ecstatic and rhapsodic–and a few more words Sylvie might know. I’ve been making people listen to this song for over a decade, and now it’s your turn. Lucky!

(Here’s the acoustic version below. Fine, you can play it for chapter 106.)


“Burundi” Saul Williams
Chapters: a whole bunch of ’em, starting with 113
Sooo, if you don’t like cursing, or political statements, or the idea that, as Saul Williams himself said, “…the collective WE will never be silenced,” then don’t listen to this song. But you’ll be missing out.


“Now” Matt and Kim
Chapter 118 (and some of 117, if you like)
Warning! Don’t watch this video if you have any reaction to strobe lights. They even have a handy-dandy link to stream the song before it starts in order to avoid them, so take advantage of that if you’d rather.
This song! I’ve been waiting to give y’all this song for three years; I’ve been waiting to write this scene for three years. Aaaah, finally! I can’t even express how happy I am to have done both now. It’s so freaking perfect that I get chills.


Okay, folks, we have a problem.  I have TWO songs for the epilogue. They’re both perfect in their own way and I JUST CAN’T DECIDE.
I listen to “This Heart’s on Fire” by Wolf Parade and I’m like, “Heck yeah, this one!”
Then I listen to “There Goes the Fear” by Doves, and I think, “No way, THIS one!” Repeat this thirty-thousand times, in both orders, and you can see the conundrum I’ve faced. *sigh*
Both work for the final scene. Gah! I don’t knoooooow.

So, what I’m going to do is give them both to you and let you decide which one you like. Or you can do what I do and switch back and forth ad nauseam.

“This Heart’s on Fire” Wolf Parade (Whose lyrics couldn’t be more fitting.)


“There Goes the Fear” Doves 



Instauration: Maps!

I have a couple of maps for y’all, to help you better visualize the city and all the various places within. They’re in the print copy, but those of you on ereaders and (forthcoming) audio don’t want to miss out!

First, Stuyvesant Town:

stuytown map FIXED JPG


manhattan map Border TINY JPG



Peripeteia: The Soundtrack

If you’ve been around here a while, you know how I roll. Music makes the writing better for me, and I hope it makes the book better for you.

So, here we go again. And, as before, these artists have no idea who I am and have not agreed to be part of my make-believe world. But too bad for them. *sticks out tongue*

I’ve tried to be as spoiler-free as possible:

This first one is a song I listened to on repeat while out walking last fall, when the book was really coming together in my head. Sometimes I have a song that puts me in a certain writing mood or allows my mind to wander over the characters and story. And, I admit, I’m also excited to force people to listen to it–meaning YOU people. So listen! I’m pretty sure you’re gonna want to have a dance party. But the lyrics are awesome (and apt), too.
“Let it Happen” Tame Impala


Chapter 3. Interference Team A and the fire escape.
“War on the East Coast” The New Pornographers


Chapter five. Although, if you want it to be realistic, you should bring it to a screeching halt midway through. Heh. Try as I might, I couldn’t find you a video for this one.
“Crush” Sleigh Bells


Sylvie and Maria. Chapter 27. This song is so lovely and sad and uplifting and just…life.
“Should Have Known Better” Sufjan Stevens


Chapters 22 & 23. For whatever reason, the image of this song being played over those entire scenes both works (in my opinion, of course) and cracks me up.
“The Only Living Boy in New York” Simon and Garfunkel


Chapter 29. “And since there’s a good chance I won’t live to a ripe old age, I don’t want to waste time.”
“On My Way Back Home” Band of Horses


The second half of chapter 29. What can I say? Chapter 29 needed two songs.
“Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” STRFKR


Chapter 45. “Because you might as well dance while you wait.”
I just love this song. Try not to move while you listen to it–not gonna happen.
“El Dia De Suerte” Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon
And, if you’re interested, here are some translated lyrics, although you can find many differing translations. But you’ll get the gist: El Dia De Suerte


Chapter 62. I think you’ll know which part of the chapter I mean.
“I Will Follow You Into the Dark” Death Cab for Cutie



Chapter 79. The pond. Here’s the song I forgot at first posting. It’s not like I haven’t listened to it a zillion times in the past decade or anything, and especially in the past year. *sigh* Those of you who know me well are not surprised by this bit of scatterbrained-osity. (New word!) I love this song so much, and I love it so much for this scene, that I feel guilty about its omission, although, yes, I am aware the song has no feelings. Maybe.

But I’m sorry anyway, “Is This Love?” by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I hope you can forgive me. xoxo


Chapter 79. The Vale of Cashmere.
“Videotape” Radiohead
If you’ve been around Radiohead a while, you know this song has had many incarnations. I loved the more intense live versions that came before the studio version, but I also love the studio version, and that’s the version that best fits this part. Anyway, I couldn’t find the official studio version online, but this is basically it, only live. And it’s just as good because Thom Yorke always sounds freaking amazing. (Have I ever mentioned I love Radiohead? Yeah, I didn’t think so.)


Chapters 87-89. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
“Wolf Like Me” TV on the Radio


Chapter 90. Again, my lips are sealed.
I just love this song so much, and I have for years. This is one of those songs you want played at your memorial. Or I do, at least.
“The Trapeze Swinger” Iron and Wine


The very, very end of the very last chapter. This was the only video I could find of this song’s studio version.
“Next Exit” Interpol 

The map of SPSZ.

All right, so I wanted to put this map into the ebook of Peripeteia, but, after a long battle, it wasn’t working properly. Whenever I get an ebook that has a map I can’t view as closely as I desire, or is blurry, I get frustrated. I imagined finally getting it into the file only to have y’all not able to see it in detail, and I decided to save you the angst. So, really, I did it for you guys.
Also, I’m lazy.

In any event, here’s a map of Sunset Park Safe Zone for your viewing/reading pleasure.

Sunset Park Map Final Flat

Mordacious: The Soundtrack

As usual, I have some songs for this book. Not as many as with my other books because someone (*cough* Eric *cough*) demanded his own adventures, and some of my originally-planned scenes and their songs became part of book two. But, after hearing what he had to say, I think it was worth it. And just think of all the lovely songs you’ll get next time.

So, here we go (And, as before, these artists are not affiliated with me in any way and may be horrified that I’ve chosen to co-opt their works for my stories. Sorry, folks!). I tried to be as spoiler-free as possible:


This works in a few scenes, both in this book and the next, but, really, this song is  just Sylvie.
“Hold On, Hold On” Neko Case.



The hospital roof. “A genocide. A populicide.”
“This Bright Flash” M83



A backyard in Philly.
“Street Spirit (Fade Out)” Radiohead (Of course there’s a Radiohead song. There always is.)



Eric on his way home.
“Clinically Dead” Chad Vangaalen



“Anyone who makes a joke on his deathbed deserves to live.”
You might think this song is weird at first. I forgive you. But listen to it again and you’ll hear. You’ll hear. And, if that’s not enough to convince you, I couldn’t have said it better myself:
With patience, you could piece together a playlist that chronologically represents everything that’s ever happened to you– birthdays and funerals, weddings and break-ups, workdays and trips abroad, all of it. Or you could simply cut to the chase and put on “Hope There’s Someone”, where we experience the fullness of a lifespan in a few overpowering minutes.
-Brian Howe, Pitchfork

“Hope there’s Someone” Antony and the Johnsons.



Sylvie and Grace. “New York has become a city of whispers and groans.”
“The Penalty” Beirut.



Vale of Cashmere. “I miss that girl.”
Remember how terrible (and amazing) and awful (and wonderful) and tedious (and freeing) it was to be a teenager? Even with all of that, sometimes we miss it.
“Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl” Broken Social Scene



Sylvie. Last chapter. The lyrics of this song. The end of this song. This song. Perfect.
“Wake” The Antlers.

Mordacious is here!

After a long wait (believe me, I know–you guys are saints) Mordacious is available in the Kindle store!

Mordacious Cover smaller2

Thank you so much for your patience and support and all of your kind words. I hope you enjoy the first book of the new story!

For those of you waiting for the audiobook, I’m so excited to tell you that I’ve signed with Audible Studios to create the audio versions of The City Series. The first book is a few months away, but I know it’ll be worth the wait! 

On Research

If you haven’t yet read All the Stars in the Sky, you might find this post to be spoiler-y, so close your eyes!

FullSizeRender (3)

  Alaska, 2014

On research, and some thank yous.

One reason All the Stars in the Sky felt like it took longer to write (besides its length) is that I did a ton of research. I spent a hundred, if not hundreds, of hours on Google Maps. I virtually drove through much of Canada and Alaska, so much so that when I finally went to Alaska this past summer and my husband and I drove through Wasilla, I thought to myself, “I’ve been here before.” I knew where I was, knew what was ahead, and knew that I had probably spent far too long on Google Maps than was healthy.

But I wanted ATSITS to be realistic. I wanted to be in that RV with our group. And besides the obstacles I created—zombies and the like—I’d say 90% or more of the places they stopped were real. The houses in which they stayed, the towns, the stores, the bridges and rivers, the lake and the roads are all there, if you ever wanted to find them. And, like James and Mark, I also have a well-thumbed back roads atlas of Canada.

Part of the reason research is so much fun is that it brings up ideas you never would’ve considered. In regard to the conveniently placed fireworks stands, those are there. And I never would have known it had I not driven the route down to Anchorage myself and thought, “Holy crap, I could so use those fireworks!”

I figured out and kept a running list of mileage, vehicle MPGs, and amount of gas found. I kept lists of food. I asked questions of random internet people and managed to persuade the amazingly kind Director of Distribution of Bi-Mart to allow me into his distribution center to get the lay of the land (Thanks, John!). I forced Canadians to tell me about their cities (Thanks, Jessica and Lindsay!) and made a dentist answer a few questions about the amount of medical training dentists receive (Thanks, Melissa!). I spent two hours researching boat lifts for four paragraphs of writing, I researched the mechanisms of loading doors (also known as rolling doors—who knew?) and thermal cutting (which was not a viable option for our gang), among many other random things. Hey, I’m not complaining. It’s a lot of fun.

I tried my hardest to cover every base and to at least to pretend I knew what I was talking about. But if you find any errors, they’re mine and mine alone. Don’t blame my lovely, helpful readers or the Google Corporation for my mistakes.

I wanted you to feel as if you were traveling along the road with Cassie and the others, to see what they saw, to get a glimpse of what it might actually be like to journey through a wasteland of a world. I wanted it to feel as realistic as possible—you know, for zombies. I sure hope I succeeded.


All the Stars in the Sky–The Soundtrack

As usual, I have a book soundtrack. And, as usual, I’m sharing it with you. So put in your earbuds and have a listen if you’d like.

I keep the scenes (if it does belong to a scene) very vague so as not to post spoilers. I’m a little crazy about spoilers. I HATE spoilers. Death to spoilers! Although I’ll tell someone a spoiler IF THEY ASK because it’s kind of fun.

I’ve done my best to find videos without commercials that you have to sit through while tapping your fingers. Because I hate commercials. Maybe even more than spoilers–nope, I hate spoilers more.
I tried, but YouTube likes to toss out an ad where before there was none, so forgive me.

Some of these are bands I’ve used before, and I’ve used them again (but a different song) because they’re just that good. Don’t take my word for it–listen. But I digress. So, here’s the music:

“Realize it’s not the Sun” -Hooray for Earth


Outside Winnipeg.
“Prelude in C Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier” -Bach


This song is driving through the abandoned towns, past zombies and bodies and cars. And I found you the lyrics video, made by Arcade Fire. (Because I also hate inaccurate lyrics. Geez, someone’s touchy today, no?)
“Afterlife” -Arcade Fire


The mountains. The thunderstorm. Good grief, I love this song.
If one could marry a band, I might just marry Beach House. Seriously.
“Wild” -Beach House


The back of a pickup on a starry night.
You might not like trance music. You might not, but I think you’ll like this one.
When you read the scene, you might understand.
“Big Sky” -John O’Callaghan feat. Audrey Gallagher (Armin van Buuren’s Intro edit)


And, if you just can’t do the one above (C’mooon, please?), I found you the acoustic version. But you’re missing out.


The mountains. Salvation. Maybe.
“Teen Angst” -M83


This one goes out to Peter Spencer.
“Don’t Worry Baby” -The Beach Boys


The distribution center. Lots and lots of zombies.
“Breezeblocks” -alt-J


“I’m surrounded by beauty and horror and suffering and love. I was before the virus, but they were never quite so present and closely intertwined.”
“Reckoner” -Radiohead


New Year’s Eve. That’s all I’ll say. This song is just…sigh.
“Last minute” -Hooray for Earth (And, while you’re at it, you should just listen to the entire album of True Loves.)


The epilogue.
Man, this song is freaking great. And perfect.
“Headlights Look Like Diamonds” -Arcade Fire


Well, there you go.