Shelly Hickman

Ramblings and Whatnot

Harmony to Heartburn Playlist


I’ve finally finished the third book in the Fortytude series and it will be heading to my magnificent proofreader Wendy Janes in April. Unfortunately, this one took me a little longer to complete than anticipated, so I’m excited to release.

One of the funnest parts of releasing a new book is creating a playlist to go along with it. I’ve always enjoyed including musical references in my novels, and Harmony to Heartburn — whose release is scheduled for May-ish — is no exception. (If you’d like to read the book’s description, just go to my Home Page.)

In this post I’ve included little teasers related to each selection. I’d love to know which song is your fave!

     “I’d like to thank everyone for coming tonight,” Carly begins. “Dad, Richard… Jason and Claire have prepared a little duet for the two of you to celebrate your anniversary, and we hope you enjoy it.” She bends over to speak to Claire. “Go ahead, sweetie.”
     Then my musically brilliant granddaughter begins to play. It takes me a few moments to recognize the melody is “A Thousand Years”—that song from one of the Twilight movies. She performs flawlessly for about a minute or so when her dad takes over on the keys and she begins singing the words. Granted, her singing isn’t nearly as good as her playing, but her innocent voice coupled with her father on the piano is quite simply one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.
     Luke and Richard are still as statues, tightly gripping each other’s hand with their sights on Claire. Soon their eyes are moistening, along with my own. As I scan the room, there is not a dry eye in the place. Guests are wiping their faces, sniffling and chuckling with embarrassment.
     When the lyrics are over, Jason relinquishes the keys to Claire, and the room is spellbound by the notes coming forth from those tiny fingers. Though I’ve heard her play many times, I always seem to forget how truly gifted she is.
     At last, the song ends and everyone applauds as Luke makes a beeline for Claire and scoops her into his arms.
     “Happy Anniversary, Poppy,” she says. “I kind of messed up on some of the words.”
     “You were perfect, Claire Bear,” Luke answers. Richard stands beside them and smooths her hair with a trembling hand, and immediately lowers it to his side. Then there’s this weird moment when they’ve become aware I’m watching. Though Richard looks downward, Luke meets my eyes with a pained gaze before setting Claire down.

     We’ve been listening to Hindi music all evening, but the selection now playing happens to be a particularly sensual instrumental with a slow heady combination of drums, violin, and sitar.
     We stand face to face, but say nothing. As his fingers lightly skim my shoulder and run down the length of my arm, he briefly scans my body from head to toe. My breath comes heavier and I wonder why I suddenly feel like a teenager about to be kissed for the first time.
     His hand takes its time finding its way around my waist, his fingertips gently pressing into the small of my back. While I wrap my arm around his shoulder, Kiran’s other hand collects mine and leads it to his chest, holding it there. His every movement is mindful, deliberate, as his eyes focus on mine; though occasionally his gaze strays to my hair, my mouth.
     I’m not sure I’ve ever felt as cherished as I do in this moment, and the simple act of swallowing becomes difficult. Slowly we begin to move to the music, and though there are still several inches separating our bodies, there’s an exhilarating heat in my belly pleading with me to move closer.
     I don’t. As long as I’m the object of such adoration, I’m unable to.

*This song has a really long opening too long, IMO but it was my inspiration while writing this scene. Jump to about two minutes in.*

     Seth sees us from the opposite end of the room and waves us over, and I can’t help but admire the dancing skills of some of the couples as we make our way toward him. That’s when I spot Dad dancing with the woman I assume Seth was referring to, and he’s surprisingly good. Watching the two of them instead of where I’m going, I bump into someone’s table and apologize for being so clumsy.
     “I am so sorry, Anna!” Gretchen jumps out of her seat when we reach their table. “This is all my fault.”
     “Oh please! Don’t apologize for including him in your plans. I’m still not even sure if I should be here, but I didn’t want you guys feeling like he was your responsibility.”
     “Well, if it makes you feel any better, he’s not behaved… inappropriately with this woman.” Gretchen peers past me. “He’s just having a good time.”
     Aghhh! I do not want to be here having this conversation. Mom and Dad are “on a break,” and I don’t even know what the ground rules are for this break.
     “But this woman,” she continues. “It’s obvious she’s into your dad.”
​     Seth scrunches his face and looks behind him to see if Dad has noticed me yet. He hasn’t. He’s now doing some kind of shimmy thing with his shoulders that looks nothing like salsa, and the woman circles him, trailing her fingers over his arms, his back. Definitely not something I’m up for viewing.

     While I chat with Carly and Geena, Kiran has been enjoying drinks with his father and Seth. When Geena looks past me and her eyes grow large, naturally I turn to see what has drawn her attention. Kiran now stands at the karaoke machine, touching the screen to scroll through the list of songs.
     “Umm…” I’m at a loss for words at first, trying to take in what I’m seeing. Kiran’s been known to let his guard down after a few cocktails, but this I would never have anticipated. “Is he trying to find a song for someone else? Or is he actually going to sing?”
​     Geena gives no reply, her mouth slightly parted in what I can only assume is shock.
     As the music begins, it’s clear that he has no intention of handing the microphone over to someone else. After clearing his throat he offers the room a wide, intoxicated grin.
     “Oh my God. He’s really going to do it.” Mechanically, I bring my glass to my lips.
     In old Rat Pack style, he holds his drink in one hand and the mic in the other as he begins his serenade, eyes on me. “Some-day, when I’m aw-ful-ly low…”
     A sip of wine gets trapped in my mouth as I slowly blink at Gina, and I’m afraid to swallow it. Her face is just hilarious, as I’m sure is mine.

​     Luke slides down in his seat and closes his eyes. “This is nice, reminiscing about old times. We’ve had a lot of fun memories together, haven’t we?”
     “And tonight will be one more we can add to the list.”
     I give him a friendly pat on the leg, but when I go to draw my hand away, he covers it with his and holds it there. He opens his eyes with an innocent grin before squeezing my fingers and releasing them.
     Returning his smile, I take a sip of my drink.
     “You were heavy into Depeche Mode for a while. I remember,” he says.
     I was. I loved their broody, often sensual sound. However, a couple of songs on my cassettes I wouldn’t listen to because they creeped me out a little. “Yeah, I went through a phase where I had some serious fantasies about Dave Gahan.”
     “You and me both.”
     I smack him in the arm. “You did not… Wait, did you?”
     “I’m kidding! I wasn’t even out to myself at that point.”
     “Oh yeah. Well, I wouldn’t blame you if you did. That voice. And those eyes! Even though he was such a string bean.”

Add to your To Read list on Goodreads. 🙂

16 responses to “Harmony to Heartburn Playlist”

  1. Yay! Shelly’s on the Fiction Writers Blog Hop! Woo Hoo! I have to leave in like – ten minutes – for a writing class I’m taking as a birthday gift to myself (today’s my birthday). Will check in this afternoon. I can’t wait to read this! Welcome!


    1. No worries, Julie. Hope you’re enjoying your writing class and Happy Birthday!


  2. My speakers at work suck, so I couldn’t hear the songs too well, but I really enjoyed A Thousand Years. I’m also a fan of Sinatra (of course) and Depeche Mode. I love music but I don’t really combine music with my books. I think it’s interesting that certain songs inspire scenes from your novel. Very cool. Best of luck with the release!


    1. Thank you, Meredith! Thanks for popping by!


  3. I really like A Thousand Years, too, although Sinatra would be a close second. Many congrats on Harmony to Heartburn!


    1. Can never go wrong with Sinatra, right Pauline? Thank you!


  4. I love this, a playlist for your book (and go, Frank S., go!). I never stopped to think of the importance of song selections in novels, or how one might use those songs for book promotion. What an ah-ha moment. Cheers and can’t wait to read more.


    1. I love referencing music in my writing, Cinthia. I get frustrated that I can’t use the lyrics, though. So many great lyrics! Thank you for coming by!


  5. I have to go with Depeche Mode 🙂


    1. Tracy, in the book I mention their song “I Feel You”, but I didn’t use that song here because I don’t like how Dave Gahan looks in that video. He’s got the long hair and beard, and dances kind of spazzy. LOL.


  6. I enjoyed A Thousand Years a lot, but I am also a fan of Marc Anthony. Best wishes for your release.


    1. Hmm. That needs to be reworded. LOL Release from where. Best wishes on your upcoming book pub.


      1. Hahaha! Now that you mention it, it did sound a little like I was getting out of prison. Thank you, Michelle. 🙂


  7. I can usually marry 1 or 2 songs to certain scenes in my ms, you know, when I’m imagining the movie version and all. 🙂

    Of your list, my fave would be Thousand Years.


    1. Yeah, Sandie, I think we’re all guilty of imagining movie versions of our work. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!


  8. Interesting thoughts


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About Me

Las Vegas native, Computer Science teacher, and writer (when the mood strikes). Author of five novels – mostly romantic comedies – available on Amazon and Audible.


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