"Where words leave off, music begins."
I don't know about you, but music always hits me right where I live. It also plays a huge role in my writing. One of the first things I do when starting a new book is cobble together a playlist. If I get stuck, I plot by shuffling around the tracks.
As the story progresses, the hunt for the perfect songs becomes an obsession. Today, I get to share that obsession—along with some corresponding snippets from my new urban fantasy novel, A World Apart.
If you're so inclined, you can also listen to the whole playlist for free on Spotify.
1. Run Devil Run- Jimbo Mathus and the Tri State Coalition
Poor fellow. He'd tried to end it quickly, but there were certain things required for the ritual; things necessarily obtained while blood still pumped through his unwitting assistant's veins.
2. White Rabbit- Jefferson Airplane
The energy spiked abruptly.
Before she could fully prepare herself, a ball of white light exploded into the center of the room.
3. Romany Dagger- All Them Witches
His gait swayed, and she realized what she'd thought was a swagger was actually an injury. An old injury, judging by the practiced grace with which he wielded his curved black cane.
Lena relaxed slightly. A wolf was bad news, but a wounded wolf? That, maybe, she could deal with.
4. Superstition- Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
There had to be a logical explanation for all this, one that didn't involve him losing his mind. Unfortunately, he had no idea what it might be.
5. Welcome To My World- Depeche Mode
"There are things that go bump in the night, Mr. MacMillian. It's my job to bump back."
6. This Town- Firewater
"Everyone's avoiding you," she murmured.
Grim satisfaction flashed over his face. "They should. I'm the big bad wolf."
"So what does that make me?"
MacMillian looked down at her. His lips twitched. "From where I'm standing, you look an awful lot like Little Red Riding Hood."
7. Jesus Gonna Be Here- Tom Waits
"Has it crossed your mind that sometimes crazy people are just, well, crazy?"
8. All The Lost Souls Welcome You To San Francisco- American Music Club
"Let me get this straight." He struggled to form the words. "You're telling me all the conspiracy nuts are right? The Freemasons, the Illuminati, Area 51—all that shit's real?"
9. Worse Things- Johnny Hollow
It wasn't a stretch to imagine the alley the way it had been a hundred years ago, lined with gambling parlors and opium dens.
10. Phantom Limb- Alice In Chains
Her vision flashed between darkness and blinding light, as if each was fighting for control. Everything started to spin. Her stomach rolled.
She doubled over and threw up on the wet concrete. Then the darkness won.
11. Three Legged Dog- Firewater
"Seen men like you come through here before. Men who got the same look in their eye. You can't stand the thought of relying on somebody else to get where you're goin'. Think your ignorance makes you weak." He stopped in front of a row of shelves and turned to MacMillian. His bright eyes hardened. "Well, it does."
12. This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now- U2
She was burning, all of her was burning. The only solution was for him to touch her. Everywhere, and all at once.
13. Run Devil Run- Jenny Lewis
Damn it, this was how everything always started: with shadows. She closed her eyes and forced herself to breathe.
14. It Will Come Back- Hozier
The darkness deepened, like it was laughing at her. Suddenly, she felt like she was choking.
15. Drag The River- Kate Mann
Lena managed a gulp of air, then ice flooded her veins. She'd never been jumped like this before. It hurt. Worse, she was sure it was meant to.
16. Too Old To Die Young- Brother Dege
Her back arched off the table. She was being ripped apart, turned inside-out, reduced to atoms and carbon.
17. Adam Raised A Cain- The Jeff Healey Band
"You said you would help me!"
She shrugged. "I lied."
18. Your Heart To Haunt- Glossary
MacMillian searched her face. She didn't know what he saw on it, but his expression changed, softened in a way she couldn't describe if she tried.
19. The Devil Within- Digital Daggers
She was hardly the first person to hallucinate strange things during times of stress. Comforted, she deposited an armful of clothes on her bed, dropped to her knees and plucked a fuzzy blue sock off the floor.
Instantly, she froze.
20. Heavy/Like A Witch- All Them Witches
Bottomless black eyes glittered down at her. Realization thudded dully in the pit of her stomach.
It was memorizing her.
A World Apart
Genre: Urban fantasy
"There are things that go bump in the night, Mr. MacMillian. It's my job to bump back."
Private investigator Jesper MacMillian was sure he'd seen it all. After all, in a city like San Francisco, strange is what's for breakfast. Following a long recovery after a horrific accident, his life is finally the way he wants it- or at least, close enough. The only monsters on his radar are the ones that keep him awake at night.
All that changes the day he meets Lena Alan.
Before MacMillian has a chance to brace for impact, Lena drags him into a world where monsters aren't just real, they're hiding in plain sight. Suddenly, everything he knows is suspect, starting with his current case. For Lena, a medium since childhood, it's just another day at the office.
For MacMillian, it's the beginning of the end of everything he thinks he knows.
The elevator came to a stop. The doors started to open. MacMillian backed away and shook his head. "Do me a favor. Leave now. Don't come here again."
He stepped into the hallway, then froze. Clustered outside the door to the office was a horde of people, the widest slice of humanity he'd ever seen crammed into one place. There were cowboys, businessmen, soldiers. Native Americans, what looked to be early Chinese, and more than a few women resembling the one from the side street.
The woman stepped out of the elevator behind him. She hissed. "Jesus. Is it always like this here?"
MacMillian stared down at her. "What are you- you can see them?"
She rolled her eyes. "Well, obviously. I'm a medium, remember?" She started down the hallway, paused, and glanced over her shoulder. "Are you coming?"
MacMillian hung back. She shrugged. "Suit yourself."
She walked up to the edge of the crowd and cleared her throat. "Okay, someone want to tell me what you're all doing here?"
Multiple heads swung towards her. An elderly man in a suit that would have been the height of fashion in the late eighteen-hundreds stepped forward. MacMillian strained his ears, but he couldn't hear what the man said. The woman listened closely, made a curious sound in the back of her throat and turned back to him. "He says there's a medium here. Are you sure you're not sensitive?"
He was feeling rather sensitive, but he shook his head. "I don't even know what that means."
The woman humphed. "That's what I thought." She turned back to the man. "So you're all here to be moved on?"
The man nodded.
Her shoulders relaxed. She reached out and took the man's hand in hers. His eyes widened, then a peaceful look came over his face. His lips turned up. White light appeared in the center of his chest, expanded outward until his entire body glowed. With what looked like a sigh of relief, he evaporated.
MacMillian's jaw dropped.
The woman moved slowly through the crowd. Hand after hand reached out for her. She took each one, held on until its owner flashed white and disappeared. By the time she reached the office door, the hallway was empty. She leaned back hard against the wall and closed her eyes.
MacMillian didn't remember moving, but somehow he was standing in front of her. He closed his free hand around her arm and towed her inside, not stopping until they reached his office.
He slammed the door. "What the... what was..." He dragged a sleeve across his brow. It was drenched in sweat, but his skin felt freezing.
The woman watched him, her eyes sympathetic. "Rough day, Magnum?"
She sighed and rubbed her forehead. "That, my dear detective, was the other San Francisco. You've probably seen it before, just out of the corner of your eye. You've probably dismissed it all your life. Maybe you always told yourself you'd just had too much to drink." She paused, her gaze heavy on his face. MacMillian squirmed. "But I'm guessing you always knew better."
His head was throbbing. He shook it once, twice, but it didn't clear. "I don't get it, Miss..."
"Alan," she supplied.
He nodded. "Ms. Alan. Why are you here?"
Her eyes darkened. "Because there are things that go bump in the night, Mr. MacMillian. It's my job to bump back."
About the Author:
L.J.K Oliva is the devil-may-care alter-ego of noir romance novelist Laura Oliva. She likes her whiskey strong, her chocolate dark, and her steak bloody. L.J.K. likes monsters... and knows the darkest ones don't live in closets.
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