Words & Music Monday with Jessa Slade

Jessa Slade is the author of the urban fantasy Marked Souls series, and has just begun the new paranormal romance Steel Born series. I soooooo cannot wait to read these books!!!! In the mean time, Jessa’s stopping by to share a little about her musical influences, which are a little “closer to home” than some, lol. Thanks, Jessa! (And stay tuned at the end for a couple of awesome giveaways!)


Thank you, Jennifer, for letting me post with you today!

Because I live with a musician, music plays — so to speak — a special role in my writing life. Most nights, while Jessa Slade is in her aerie (a.k.a. the second-floor spare bedroom) writing up a storm, Rainstick Cowbell is in his jam room (a.k.a. the basement) coaxing stories from his guitar. Somewhere around midnight, we meet in the middle (a.k.a. the kitchen) for a late-night snack and a kiss.

There are great joys in living with another creatively passionate person.

  1. No one understand the ups and downs of the creative process like another artist.
  2. It’s super easy to schedule brainstorming sessions.
  3. There’s a legitimate reason why the dog hair blowing in the corners has collected into a felt throw rug: I was CREATING!

There are downsides too, of course, in a household of artists.

  1. No money.
  2. The embarrassment of undignified wrestling over who can be more angsty.
  3. No money.

Like many writers, when I write I can’t listen to music with words. (Which is why my sweetie and I are separated at distant ends of the house when we are working.) Other people’s words seem to get in the way of my words. So when I’m writing, I listen to a lot of instrumental albums, movie soundtracks, and foreign musicians who might be singing words but I can’t understand them.

A few of the albums currently on rotation are:

As you can hear, most of the music is fairly intense. The songs that aren’t dark and very atmospheric (which fits well with my stories) are still vivid and driven. Although I have to admit, even though the music is powerful, when I’m writing, entire albums can go by and I’ll suddenly realize I haven’t heard a single song. I love when that happens since it means I probably got a lot of words done! Even when I get distracted (blessedly) by my writing, I believe having that rich sensory support in the background adds to my productivity and helps color my blank white page.

When I have the opportunity to sing along to my favorite music with words (like, when I’m finally sweeping up the aforementioned dog-hair rug) I still gravitate to songs with deep moods. I’m also a fan of great art in music videos. Here are a few of my favorites.

This last one is a particular favorite of mine, not just because it’s from my very own house musician, Rainstick Cowbell, but I was the cameraperson.

Mad at the Megalith, by Rainstick Cowbell

Because I was such a spectacular cameraperson (despite whining incessantly about having to drive out to the Maryhill Stonehenge at o-dark-thirty in a biting cold wind to shoot during the “golden hour”) Rainstick Cowbell wrote a theme song for my Marked Souls series. And as a thank you to commenters today, I stole have a copy of Rainstick Cowbell’s Self, Assemble album which features Seduced By Shadows, my theme song! Did I mention there are advantages to sleeping with a musician? 😉

For a chance to win the album, leave a comment about any song that has touched you on some level, whether it captured a whole episode of your life or just made you dance on a dark day.

I’ll also give away a copy of my new Marked Souls Christmas novella, THE DARKEST NIGHT, and start the comments by saying Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Eve Sarajevo always rocks my holiday.

Both contests open until Sunday, Dec 8th, at midnight pacific. GOOD LUCK!


cover-darkest-night-smlrTHE DARKEST NIGHT

A Marked Souls Christmas Novella

Jessa Slade

Wishing you a demonic Christmas…

Possessed by a divine entity, Cyril Fane fought rampant evil and the pain of more private losses with a fiery golden sword…until he was beaten and left for dead by a malevolent force. Now exiled from his angelic brethren, he reluctantly joins the Chicago league of talyan—immortal warriors possessed by repentant demons—as his only chance to reclaim his sword and his place in the holy sphericanum.

Bella McGreay, mysterious mistress of the Mortal Coil night club, has also danced around an uneasy affiliation with the talyan. She has secrets of her own to keep, and as the days shorten toward the winter solstice, shadows are deepening all around. Even as she barricades herself against the joys—and terrors—of the Christmas season, she’ll have to decide whether the shadows or her secrets are more dangerous.

Bella and Cyril have good reason to fear evil when an old enemy returns to torment them and the Chicago league. But only together will they find a way to the light after the darkest night.


Jessa Slade is the author of paranormal romance, urban fantasy romance, and science fiction romance. Basically, anything with woo-woo and woo-hoo. She and her musician live in Portland, Oregon (living the Portlandia stereotype!) with a dog who should be naked by now, judging by dog hair in the corners. You can find her online at:

Website http://jessaslade.com

Twitter http://twitter.com/jessaslade

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/jessaslade

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/jessaslade

rainstick-cowbell-self-assembleFor more Rainstick Cowbell music, visit http://rainstickcowbell.com and tell him Jessa Slade sent you so she can force him to write a new theme song, a science fiction romance one this time. Heh heh.


  1. Ping from Books Make Me Happy | Jessa Slade:

    […] talking books and music over at Books Make Me Happy talking about writing and living with music. Come say hey for a chance to win a copy of a […]

  2. Comment by Maggie Jaimeson:

    Now that I know you like Florence and the Machine, I have a whole new view of you. 🙂 It’s interesting to me that anyone can write with music in the background (even if it’s instrumental). I can’t do that because just hearing it makes pictures in my mind. And the pictures frequently don’t go with what I’m writing. Off to visit Rainstick Cowbell and insist he write you a song.:)

  3. Comment by Kat:

    I LOVE musicals lol
    I remember roll playing Oklahoma in my living room and making one of my younger sisters be Will or Curly so I could sing I’m just a girl who can’t say no… Kissings my favorite thing

    And I grew up to be a romance junkie and unapologetic Bookaholic and lover of well told stories… and musicals.

  4. Comment by Jessa Slade:

    You should hear me sing Florence + the Machine! Astonishing! (Although not necessarily in a good way lol.)

  5. Comment by Jessa Slade:

    My niece just discovered Les Miz. Hoo-boy, the pre-pubescent angst!

  6. Comment by bn100:

    I like Katy Perry’s Firework because it sounds good. Nice cover.


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