Today, I have T.R. Stoddard stopping by to share her music book playlist and some information about her new release, Dark Hearts. I’m also going to be helping her today with a cover reveal, so follow the cut to get all the info. 🙂 — Jamie
Music is a huge part of my writing process. I have millions of ideas, at least it seems that way, vying for attention while I write. If a song can capture the feeling of the idea, it helps to keep me focused and grounded in that environment. Dark Hearts is an edgier novel with themes of depression, self-harm, eating disorders, and suicide. Naturally, I didn’t find upbeat music resonated with the novel or its characters. There are plenty of endearing moments snaked within its pages, but they came naturally. No mood-setting needed.
Funny enough, music played such a huge part in this novel that I had the playlist on the first page right under the title. I opted not to keep it that way, but I would love to tell you what each song meant to me during the process. I kept the list on shuffle, so the order isn’t super important. I would listen to most of the song in every area of the book.
Damaged by Assemblage 23: First of all…I love love love this song.
The beginning of the song sums up Kara’s world. She lives with an alcoholic mother and an absent father, living third in her mother’s eyes to the bottle and men. “I am merely the product of the life that I lived. An amalgam of sorrows and the wisdom they give. But the weight has grown heavy and it’s dragging me down.”
30k ft by Assemblage 23
This song sums up unfinished words, things left unsaid. While the theme of this song is more uplifting than the overall theme of Dark hearts, it is fitting at the same time.
Disappoint by Assemblage 23
This song takes on suicide from the survivors’ perspective. I felt that was much needed.
Swing Life Away by Rise Against
“Let’s compare scars and I’ll tell you who’s worse.” Self explanatory.
Bother by Stone Sour
“I wish I was too dead to cry, self affliction fades.” Kara cuts to try to get through the pain, all the while wishing for death. Until that special person enters her life. The right person can give you hope, the wrong person can kill it forever.
Russian Roulette by Rihanna
This song plays a huge part in Dark Hearts, but you’ll have to read to find out how.
Breathe Me by Sia
The breathy, airy, sad quality of this song made for a long time on repeat. These kids are looking for friends, looking for help. Sometimes they get more than they bargained for.
Through the Glass by Stone Sour
Broken (ft Amy Lee) by Seether
Jumper by Third Eye Blind
Hold On by Good Charlotte
I hope you guys enjoyed getting an inside perspective onto my Dark Hearts playlist.
About The Book:
Title: Dark Hearts
Genre: New Adult
Blurb: If you are an angst-ridden teenager with illusions of romantic death, there is a place for you to call home. A chat room full of bleeding brains and bleeding veins, Dark Hearts, offers a place for damaged souls to find others who share their misery. Unfortunately, on the fringes of the suicidal society, a killer lurks.
Six young souls that fall in love with death, the lure of blood, and the search of release find themselves drawn into a twisted killer’s game in the anonymity of the Dark Heart’s chat room.
Kara (aka Bloody_butterfly) ~ 15/f/VA ~ The sad product of an absent father, a drunken mother, a life full of torment, seeks a reason to end it. Weapon of choice: Razor blade.
Sara (aka Decaying_rose) ~ 17/f/FL ~ Abandoned by her perfect family, aims to drown in her own misery, yearns for a pact that ends in forever. Weapon of choice: Narcotics and alcohol.
Lucy (aka Lifelexx) ~ 17/f/VA ~ Trailer trash country girl with a pension for sexual compulsion and blood. Weapon of choice: Anything sharp.
Sammy (aka StarryBlade) ~ 18/f/CA ~ Writer, dreamer, college girl, and unlucky enough to land where she doesn’t belong.
Cherry (aka LifeBlood) ~ 25/f/CA ~ Sexually abused, gun packing, revenge junky.
Adam (aka Shadows_of_my_soul, aka DarkDreamer) ~ 21/m/anywhere ~ Artist, creep, procurer of broken beauties, searching for the one to heal the hole death left behind.
Twenty-one year old Adam trolls the Dark Heart chat room in search of a real connection. Scarred from watching his high school sweetheart succumb to depression and finally bleed out in front of his eyes, he is on the search for retribution.
Sixteen-year-old Kara Watson is a depressed girl from a broken home. Seeking love in all the wrong places, she turns to the anonymity of the internet in a desperate plea for attention to soothe her low self-esteem. Instead of finding the boy of her dreams in Dark Hearts, she becomes an unknowing participant in the hunting ground for predators.
Adam spends weeks building the illusion of love between him and Kara through their chats. As she falls in love he prepares to end a life. A fight with her best friend and the advances of a creepy stalker presents Adam with the opportunity he has been waiting for. Kara is desperate to be saved but when she calls on Adam to play the role of her hero she seals the fate of her young life, death.
Russian roulette is a deadly game of chance but Adam has the odds stacked in his favor when he plays to Kara’s morbid obsessions and pre-written suicide note. A shot rings out and a girl lays dead as the monster disguised as a lover escapes into the night. The perfect murder, no one will doubt a broken, suicidal girl has given into her own madness.
Kara’s death leaves Adam reeling with thoughts of the girlfriend he lost and the exhilaration of taking a life calls him deeper into the game. Posing as Kara, Adam creates a suicide pact with Sara, tying up his loose ends. Ready to find his next willing prey, Adam lurks in the Dark Hearts chat room where he meets Lifelexx. Within hours she invites him into her cramped, dirty trailer where she plays her final game of Russian roulette.
Death and art are the only things that keep Adam going, until Sammy logs into his life. Adam hopes to make the torment of his deadly thoughts a thing of the past and Sammy his future. The plan is to drive across the country and his problems will be forgotten once he is by her side.
Sammy greets him with open arms, and for the first time in a long time Adam feels as if he has finally come home. Life as a couple seems perfect until Adam’s thirst for blood rears its ugly head yet again. He rationalizes that he can quench the desire for death with one last kill. While Sammy is at school, Dark Hearts presents him with Cherry, the perfect Victim.
Adam is on top of the world as he prepares to meet the unlucky young lady at a seedy hotel. Fire-truck red curls cascaded around a pretty heart-shaped face, and wrapped tightly in leather welcomes him. Cherry is more than he bargained for.
Unbeknownst to Adam, Cherry is death. Two killers and one dirty motel bed leaves Adam at the end of the barrel in his last game of Russian roulette and it is game over for him. Cherry rides off into the night with the murder weapon cozily stashed in her thigh high boot and tomorrow’s vigilante is born.
Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DJGC5UA
“This is a must read ! The plot keeps you guessing, the characters make you care, and the message hits home. I could not put this book down it made me go through an entire range of emotions. Where it may seem dark it really gives you an insight of what can/does go on. I have to give this 5 stars and a round of applause for T.R. Stoddard !! Loved it” -Keona El
“I had the honor of beta reading this book and it left me with chills. Being a teenager can suck, even more so when you are mentally unstable and obsessed with death. This is a story of one disturbed young man and the gruesome affect that he has had on the lives of young, desperate girls who are only looking for someone to love.
Dark Hearts takes you on a terrible tour of the internet and a bloody cross country ride. T.R. Stoddard has out done herself. Guaranteed to make you feel a little more uncomfortable the next time you get a message from a stranger.”- Catherine Stovall
“I was provided with an ARC of this novel in return for an honest review, so here goes:
Yet another dark, thrilling read from Ms. Stoddard, the story revolves around the predator/prey use of the internet and what might happen when you put your trust in the anonymity of someone you meet in a chat room.
This is the reason for meeting people in public places. Things can go terribly wrong, and boy, they do in this story.
And yet, as with all of her stories, Stoddard makes you feel sympathy for the bad guys. Bravo.” -Jason Maurer