Darlene Campos Reveals Why She Included Cypress Hill On Her Spotify Playlist


Earlier this month, we shared the playlist for Darlene P. Campos' Summer Camp Is Cancelled, featuring 19 songs inspired by the book. Those songs were selected by Darlene herself, and below, we feature the reasons she selected those songs.


Pearl Jam – Even Flow

I was born in 1991, but I grew up with two older siblings who would constantly play top hits of the 90s. Hearing my siblings play Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, etc. was a daily thing. Since Lyndon is a middle school kid in the middle of the 90s, I was pleased to make him a fan of the songs I grew up with and still listen to often. “Even Flow” is one of my all-time favorite songs.

Smashing Pumpkins – Today

I’ve been a fan of the Smashing Pumpkins for so long, I remember when Billy Corgan had hair! This song plays on a radio the day Lyndon introduces Melody to Fernando, her crush and his enemy. Lyndon loves this song, but definitely not on this specific day.

Cypress Hill – Insane in the Brain

My brother has loved Cypress Hill for a long time. He’s the one who introduced me to this band. I’m not a fan of rap, but there are a few rap artists I like and Cypress Hill is one of them. As I wrote SCIC, I went on YouTube to find 90s playlists to get me in the writing mood. This tune came on randomly and I started dancing in my chair! Additionally, I thought Lyndon and his friends would like this band because they are Latin artists, something that was just getting started in music at that time.

Stone Temple Pilots – Plush

This song plays as Lyndon dances with Melody. They dance together and in a split second, Lyndon does something that makes him feel extremely embarrassed. Read the book to find out why!

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Soul to Squeeze

This song has an important role in SCIC. Like I said above, read the book for the full

Pearl Jam – Black

Lyndon says this song is one of the saddest songs he’s ever heard. This song really stuck with me throughout high school when I felt lonely due to a couple of unrequited crushes. It’s such a deep and sad song that I always find it hard to listen to without a few tears flowing from my eyes.

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

This is probably THE most defining song of the 1990s. So, of course Lyndon and his friends would love it!

Smashing Pumpkins – Cherub Rock

This song is another Smashing Pumpkins classic. Since Lyndon is a fan, he adores this song as well.

R.E.M. – Drive

This is another important song in SCIC. I chose it as the background music because the beat of it begins quite ominously which perfectly fits the situation Lyndon finds himself in.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge

While this tune is about the effects of drug addiction, I thought it was about loneliness when I first heard it as a middle schooler around Lyndon’s age. It does certainly highlight feelings of isolation though and Lyndon experiences this a lot throughout the novel.

Vicente Fernandez – Por Tu Maldito Amor (For Your Damn Love)

This is the ultimate breakup song sung in Spanish! Grandma Raquel, Lyndon’s grandmother, is known to blast Vicente Fernandez while she completes tasks around the house. I’m sure she has blasts this track at some point! It’s also the song Javier, one of Lyndon’s best friends, suggests as a serenade to Melody.

Vicente Fernandez – Hermoso Cariño (Beautiful Dear)

This is a cute song for a child. It basically talks about a child being a precious gift from Heaven and it’s one I can picture Grandma Raquel singing to Lyndon, her beloved grandson. She might be fierce and mighty, but she loves her grand baby.

Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught Stealing

Another 90s hit!

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

This song was HUGE in 1994 when it first came out. Since Lyndon’s story takes place from 1993 to 1994, this amazing hit would definitely be part of his life.

Ron Gutierrez – I Have Loved You with an Everlasting Love

Lyndon says this hymn is his favorite hymn to sing during Mass at Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church. While this version is a jazz rendition, I’m sure he’d love it!

Mr. Mister – Kyrie

This is a song Edgar Perez, Lyndon’s father, plays when he attempts to “fix” his old grill. Though it’s a rock song from the 1980s, it has religious tones to it and could be counted as a worship song. Maybe if Mr. Perez plays it enough, he can skip Mass one Sunday, but Mrs. Perez probably wouldn’t let him.

U2 – Gloria

U2’s Bono is a devout Catholic, so it’s no surprise that he writes Catholic themes into several U2 songs. This specific song features a beautiful chorus sung by all the members in Latin. It sounds like a Catholic Mass with rock music! Since Father O’Brien is from Ireland, it seems appropriate that he would be listening to this song when Lyndon approaches him for advice.

The Cathedral Singers – Angels We Have Heard on High

Lyndon mentions singing this song during Christmas Mass 1993. There are many, many Christmas songs, but something about this one gets to me every time I hear it.

Selena – Bidi Bidi Bom Bom

Though this song is never mentioned in SCIC, I can bet Lyndon hears it sometime in 1994. It’s about a woman describing the way her heart palpitates (the sound of her heart goes ‘bidi bidi bom bom’) when she sees her crush walking down the street. I can imagine Lyndon hopes Melody feels this way about him.

Summer Camp Is Cancelled will be available everywhere books are sold on August 3.

Official Soundtrack for "Summer Camp Is Cancelled"


We asked Darlene P. Campos to curate a Spotify playlist for her book, Summer Camp Is Cancelled and she selected 19 incredible songs featuring R.E.M., Cypress Hill, Pearl Jam and Nirvana.

SCIC Spotify Front.jpg

You can listen to the entire soundtrack below or on Spotify.

Summer Camp Is Cancelled will be available everywhere books are sold on August 3.

Darlene Campos Reveals Why She Included The Roseanne Theme On Her Spotify Playlist


On Monday, we shared the playlist for Darlene Campos' Behind Mount Rushmore, featuring 21 songs inspired by the book. Those songs were selected by Darlene herself, and below, we feature the reasons she selected those songs.


Keith Secola – NDN Kars

This is one of my favorite rock songs. It pertains to the story of an “NDN Kar,” which is an old clunker that’s falling apart but it still runs. The lyrics and melody are so catchy – you’ll be singing this song in your head for days!

Keith Secola – Say Your Name

Unlike “NDN Kars,” this song has a much sadder tone to its lyrics and rhythm and the reason is because it’s about the history of Native American boarding schools. Years ago, it was legal (yes, legal!) to take Native children from their homes and families and put them in boarding schools. These boarding schools were meant to kill off Native culture by forbidding the children to speak their native language, practice their religion, and practice their traditions. This is an ode to those children and their descendants. As Secola says, “preserve our children.”

Robbie Robertson – Peyote Healing

Sung in Lakota by Verdell Primeaux and Johnny Mike and produced by Robbie Robertson, this is a healing song as its title states. The lyrics call out to “Ate,” which is the Lakota word for “Father.” In this instance, “Father” is God and the song asks for health restoration. I first heard this song in the movie Skins, based off the novel of the same name by Adrian C. Louis. As soon as I heard it, I was inspired to write more in ‘Behind Mount Rushmore.’

The Cody Blackbird Band – Tribal Blues

I’ve been following Cody Blackbird and his band for the last couple of years. Blackbird is Eastern Band Cherokee and Roma descent. He’s fairly young, too, I believe in his late 20s. He won Flutist of the Year in 2011 at the Native American Music Awards (NAMA). This is my favorite track by him – you can really feel his talent for flute playing in this song.

Robert Tree Cody – Lakota Love Song

Cody is the adopted son of the actor Iron Eyes Cody. He is of Dakota Sioux and Maricopa descent. When writing ‘Behind Mount Rushmore,’ I wanted to make sure I focused on love, especially the love between Nimo’s parents. Love is a feeling all of us human beings crave and I feel that this song, even though it has no words, captures the emotion of love for another.

Lakota Thunder – Looking For My Friend

Lakota Thunder is an awesome, Grammy-nominated band. This song is especially important because of the friendship Nimo shares with John David. If you listen closely to the song, you will hear the word “kola.” The Lakota word for a man’s friend is “kola,” but kola means more than just friend. As defined by Lakota language teacher Sam High Crane (his lectures are on YouTube and totally worth checking out if you want to learn some Lakota!), the word kola means a friend you would be willing to give your life for to save his. John David is undoubtedly Nimo’s kola and Nimo is John David’s kola in return.

Robert Tree Cody – Lakota Lullaby

Back when ‘Behind Mount Rushmore’ was its earliest drafts, the point of view was an omniscient narrator and Nimo was only a six-month-old baby. His parents sang him their own version of this soothing lullaby. However, once the drafts changed, Nimo began telling the story and surely, he wouldn’t remember his baby life. Even though this lullaby isn’t mentioned in the book, it remains as a huge musical influence for ‘Behind Mount Rushmore.’

Judas Priest – Breaking the Law

One of Jay Eagle Thunderclap’s favorite bands is Judas Priest. In “The Clash,” he is observed grilling turkey meat while blasting Judas Priest on his personal radio. I don’t know which song he was blasting, but it was probably this one.

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust

This is one of my favorite David Bowie songs because it tells a story from beginning to end in just over three minutes. In “The Fork,” Nimo and John David head to Rapid City to see a David Bowie tribute band called The Mars Spiders, a name which is taken from this song specifically.

David Bowie – Let’s Dance

This tune is the tune which comes on at George’s in the second to final chapter of the book. Since the full details contain spoilers, I won’t say much about its importance.

Madonna – Into the Groove

Nimo’s a big Madonna fan, but John David is not – in fact, this is probably the only interest they don’t share. Madonna plays a major role in the one of the chapters, but again, this is a spoiler alert. My lips are sealed on this one as well.

Sonny and Cher – I Got You Babe

I was introduced to this song by a former professor during my freshman year of college. We watched the movie Groundhog Day in class which infamously uses this song about a billion times. As I created Jay Eagle and Josephine’s characters, this song was endlessly stuck in my head thanks to that professor! I feel this song describes their marriage down to a T. There are times when the Thunderclaps don’t have much, but they have each other and they’re not letting go.

Lakota Thunder – Lakota Hoksila

This is another great song by Lakota Thunder. Its title means “Lakota Boy” which applies to Nimo throughout the entire novel. He might grow up in the novel, but he remains a Lakota boy at the core of his heart.

Sacred Spirit – Yeha Noha

This song is a rendition of a traditional song from the Navajo Shoe Game. This specific version is sung by the Navajo elder Kee Chee Jake. Even though it is a Navajo song, I listened to this song many times while writing Behind Mount Rushmore to some creative sparks on. The full story of the Navajo Shoe Game is told on YouTube by the user DayBreakWarrior.

Will Peters – Memorial Song

Death is a process we all must go through. Nimo experiences the death of a relative and he laments the deaths of other relatives he never got to meet. This song is for those relatives.

Buddy Red Bow – South Dakota Lady

Josephine Thunderclap, Nimo’s mother, is definitely a South Dakota Lady. She’s strong, she’s loving, she’s hardworking, and most of all, she doesn’t put up with nonsense. If Jay Eagle was a real person, I can imagine him singing this song to his South Dakota lady.

'All in the Family' Theme

All in the Family is a show the Thunderclaps watch a lot because I watched it (actually, I watched the series) while forming the early chapters. This isn’t the original theme sung by Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton, but it’ll do. In fact, when ‘Behind Mount Rushmore ‘was only a few chapters long, I visited Los Angeles for the first time and I had the opportunity to visit Carroll O’Connor’s grave while I was there. If it wasn’t for Carroll O’Connor’s Archie Bunker character, ‘Behind Mount Rushmore’ would not be the same.

'Roseanne' Theme

Roseanne is a show I grew up watching, but I never fully understood its weight until adulthood. It’s a pivotal show for its portrayal of the working class and their struggles with money, but it also shows their deep love and humor. Jay Eagle and Josephine Thunderclap’s marriage was greatly inspired by Dan and Roseanne Conner’s marriage.

The Magnetic Fields – The Book of Love

This song is dedicated to John David’s character. He’s a tough guy when it comes to showing emotions, but he falls in love, too.

Northern Cree – Thank God I’m an Indian Boy

While this song is sung by members of the Cree tribe, it certainly applies to Nimo. No matter what happens to him on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, he’s proud of his heritage and his ancestors.

Robbie Robertson – Cherokee Morning Song

This is another Robbie Robertson production sung by Rita Coolidge. Coolidge is one of the founding members of Walela, which means hummingbird in Cherokee. I’m NOT a morning person at all. If I could hit my alarm’s snooze button more than once, I would, but I can’t be late for work! This song somehow awakens me with its peaceful tones. It does not only awaken my body, but it also awakens my mind for some more writing.

Behind Mount Rushmore will be available everywhere books are sold on May 19.

The Official Soundtrack for "Behind Mount Rushmore"


We asked Darlene Campos to curate a Spotify playlist for her book, Behind Mount Rushmore and she selected 21 incredible songs featuring David Bowie, Madonna, Judas Priest and a bevy of Native American artists.

You can listen to the entire soundtrack below or on Spotify.

Behind Mount Rushmore will be available everywhere books are sold on May 19.

The Official Soundtrack for "Brownish Green Female Sheep"


We asked Adrien Julious to curate a Spotify playlist for her first book, Brownish Green Female Sheep, and she selected 24 incredible songs featuring Rihanna, Whitney Houston and Mary Lambert.

Hall & Oates - "Sara Smile"

This is a song I grew up listening to because my mom’s name is Sarah. The song, like my mother’s smile, is something I reach for when I need a quick self soother.

Rihanna - "Love Without Tragedy"

It’s the perfect blend of screwed up relationship. Love shouldn’t be tragic, but tragedy can be sexy.

Mary Lambert - "Body Love (Parts 1 & 2)"

‘Love your body like your mother loved your baby feet’ is such a strong body positive statement. For years, I had that quote on a Post-it note on my mirror. It helped me love myself.

You can listen to the entire soundtrack below or on Spotify.

The Official Soundtrack For "Speaking In Tongues: Love In Five Languages"


We asked T.J. Love to curate a Spotify playlist for his first collection of poetry and he selected a super-sized list of songs with 26 songs and almost two hours worth of music featuring Michael Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lenny Kravitz and Musiq Soulchild. 

You can listen to the entire soundtrack below or on Spotify.

Pre-order Speaking In Tongues: Love In Five Languages here.

The Official Soundtrack For "The Dirty Dozen: Volume 3"


We asked Garvey Hemisphere to curate a Spotify playlist for the latest installment of The Dirty Dozen erotic poetry series and he selected a dozen sexy songs featuring The Internet, John Legend and Ro James sure to get you in the mood.

The Internet - "Special Affair"

This song is just so damn sexy and the whole vibe is really laid back and smooth. “Fuck what’s on your phone, I’m tryna take you home” is definitely a line that could easily fit into the Dirty Dozen series. I almost wish I had come up with that line myself.

Nipsey Hussle - "4 in the Mornin"

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played this song on a continuous loop for hours at a time. It’s always my go to when I’m doing revisions because the song just relaxes me and puts me in the right headspace. Plus, Nipsey is crazy underrated. More people should fuck with him.

Trick Daddy - "Nann Nigga" (feat. Trina)

How could I not include this song? It’s all about two people trying to outfreak each other (which is how it should always be in my opinion). It’s perfect for this book.

You can listen to the entire soundtrack below or on Spotify.





Official Soundtrack For "A Body Held Still By Fear And Loathing"


So last week, we asked D.A. Alston to curate a Spotify playlist for her novel The Unlikely Tale of The Royal Elite Squad and she dropped off an incredible list of tracks. This week, A.A. Redd does the same for her book of poetry, A Body Held Still By Fear And Loathing. The playlist features songs from Sia, Frank Ocean, Tame Impala and Frederic Chopin.

Brand New - "Sowing Season (Yeah)"

This has been one of my favorite songs for nearly a decade. Brand New merged their own lyrics with some lines from Rudyard Kipling’s “If” to paint a sorrowful soundscape, resulting in an ode to watching your life destruct before you and being forced to reassemble it under the worst circumstances. Both “Learning Curve” and “Underground” share the themes of failure and struggling to recover from it, and the same somber tone.

Frederic Chopin - "Nocturne no. 2 Opus 9"

I fell in love with Chopin in middle school because his music embodies the era of classical music he lived through. It is utterly romantic in every sense of the word and it manages to do that with only a passionate piano to carry the listener from gentle start to sweeping finish. Some of the poems in this book are about toxic love, but quite a few are just love poems, like “Honeyed” and “Overboard.” When reading those, the lilting keys of Chopin would be the best accompaniment in my opinion.

Chaos Chaos - "Do You Feel It"

“Dependency Dance” was what drove me to choose this song. Toxic love is something I can’t seem to stop writing about. This is one of those songs that broke my heart as soon as I heard it, because the relationship it portrays is blisteringly desperate and incredibly fragile, something that feels very familiar to me.

Motion City Soundtrack - "Everything Is Alright"

Last year, a lot of things started to make sense after I was diagnosed with OCD. One of those things was why I loved and identified with this song so much. Justin Pierre, the lead singer, penned the song about his own struggle with severe OCD. I’m starting to feel more comfortable writing about my disorders and other neurodivergencies (“Split” and “Dissociation Dreams” are two poems that deal solely with those topics) and that’s partly thanks to music like this.

You can listen to the entire soundtrack below or on Spotify.

A Body Held Still By Fear And Loathing is available now on Amazon, Kindle, B&N and Vital Narrative.

Official Soundtrack For "The Unlikely Tale Of The Royal Elite Squad"


We asked D.A. Alston to curate a Spotify playlist for her novel The Unlikely Tale of The Royal Elite Squad and she dropped off an incredible list of tracks. Featuring 20 songs from Chance The Rapper, Logic and Mali Music, D.A. was sure to select music that was true to her writing.

Mali Music - "Royalty"

If I had to choose a theme song, it would definitely be this. Mali Music personified exactly what I was thinking while I wrote this book. I believe we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood. I believe when you know that, you walk a lot higher and with purpose. You wouldn’t let people call you certain things if you knew you were a king or queen - that’s why I’m so big on reminding people about the king and queen within. Even in the midst of the darkness, you are called! You are royalty.

Meghan Trainor - "Me Too"

As someone who suffered from low self-esteem growing up, this song was such a triumphant moment for me. I love myself and I’m no longer looking for validation from anyone. God took his time making me and I am going to fully embrace that.

JoJo - "Music"

I’ve been a huge JoJo fan since I was a little girl. Through all her classics, this is one of my favorites. It’s her love letter to music and I honestly feel like she was reading my deepest inner thoughts. She asks “Where would I be without you (music)?” and music has always been such a huge part of who I am. I grew up singing before I even knew what singing was. My family comes together to harmonize every holiday before we eat dinner, so music has been a universal theme in my life. It’s helped me through break ups, gave me theme music to help celebrate my major victories and pulled me closer to the amazing God I serve. Music is life.

 Kamau - "Jusfayu"

Have you ever had a song that you love, but can’t quite understand why? For me, this is that song. This is my get-ready, it’s-the-weekend, I’m-finally-done-editing-and-I’m-so-happy song! Everyone needs a feel good song and this is it for me.

You can listen to the entire soundtrack below or on Spotify.

The Unlikely Tale Of The Royal Elite Squad is available now on Amazon, Kindle, B&N and Vital Narrative.