Beyond Broken Pencils Playlist Walkthrough

Find the playlist here on Spotify.



The discussion contains spoilers, but then again, so does the back cover copy and the subtitle. You know what’s going to happen in Beyond Broken Pencils. It’s really all about the how and why. Still, if spoilers aren’t your thing, just listen without the explanations.

I’ve recently made 3 lists, and as usual, I tried something different this time. They’re in order for ease of listening and the meaning they take on. Roughly, they’re in order of inspirational, then what would be going through one of the MC’s heads, danger, and aftermath.

Can’t Hold Us Down by Tommee Profitt and Sam Tinnesz

I love Sam’s voice! Knowing what’s coming, this is a reminder that even these sorts of tragedies can’t kill a community.

Take the World (Let’s Go) by The Phantoms

A nice, rousing, inspirational tune.

Strange by The Score

“Lately, I’ve been thinking everyone around me is insane.”
The song bounces back and forth between thinking the world’s gone mad and then thinking there’s something wrong inside. Teenage years are sort of confusing for most people.

High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco

“I was gonna be that one in a million.”
A lot of kids/people in general want to stand out from the crowd.

Never Going Back by The Score

I’ve put this song on a few different playlists, including the one I prepared for my current students. “I can’t slow it down.” “I’m never gonna follow just because they say so.”
“Never giving up. Never gonna crack. Never giving in. Never going back.”
Good song for capturing the indomitable human spirit

Stand Out The Phantoms

Pretty straight forward message about standing out. Even school shootings are a desperate cry for attention in at least some of the cases. “Ya gotta break some rules. You gotta take some chances.” This message appeals to most people, teenagers included.

Tightrope by The Score

“I can’t be everything that you want me to. Fill my mind up with silly dreams.”
“People look like specs of dust when you’re this high off the ground.”
“I am walking a tightrope. I am walking it for you.”
“I’m fighting with gravity. Trying not to fall.”
Haven’t had a chance to think too deeply about this one, but on first few listens it comes through about the weight of expectations, some fairly and some unfairly placed upon people.

Little Voice by for King and Country

Roughly the midpoint of the list was a great spot for an instrumental piece. In every arrangement, there’s always that calm before the storm. It’s from the soundtrack for Priceless, which I haven’t seen, but I believe has to do with setting someone free from human trafficking. In the face of darkest evil, shine the brightest lights.

Will I Make It out Alive by Tommee Profitt and Jessie Early

The title’s pretty descriptive. In the middle of a horrific event like a school shooting, I imagine that’s a thought that goes through most people’s head. Also, when it comes down to instinct, how will I react?

Only One by The Score

You’re probably sick of hearing this band on this list, but they just happen to have a lot of songs that capture the right mentality.
“It’s time to break out, so everybody just scream out. I’m the only one.
“I cut the strings a long time ago”
I’m probably not grasping the whole message here. I’m going to key in on the last line: “No chains, no chains won’t hold me down.”

Heroes by Zayde Wolf

“We are heroes in the darkest time when there is no light.”
“… we’ll rise above

Tragedy has a way of bringing out the best and worst in people. Some rise as heroes. Ordinary people placed in extraordinary positions show what we can be. If it were a movie, I think this is the kind of thing to play during a montage of various responders doing their jobs.

Carry Me by For King and Country

Another instrumental piece when the chaos is ending but nothing’s truly sunk past the horror of what’s going on around.

Hold Me Up by Sam Tinnesz

“It’s been some long days and some hard nights”
“I’m losing this fire in the valleys of my heart.
“I need somebody to lean on.”
“Can you hold me up?”
“I know it’s out of my hands,
But I can’t do this again.”
Great song about coming together after something awful has happene

Walk through the Fire by Zayde Wolf and Ruelle

“I’m always wonder if it’s ever gonna end
I can feel it in my bones x2
Standing in the dust of what’s left of us
I can see you in my soul x2”
“Did we take too many chances?”
“Did we light too many matches?
Turn ourselves into these ashes?”

“We walk through the fire…”
After the dust settles, comes a time of reflection and bandying about blame.
“Try to understand, how we’re here again
In the middle of the storm.”
As a society, how did we get here again and again? Also, just a lovely, haunting song.
“Is there a way out?”

Ubi Caritas by Audrey Assad

After the Parkland shooting, I happened to be sent this song by a friend. The timing fit perfectly. I could hear this song as a memorial for the lives lost. It’s in Latin, but there are translations available. Audrey’s voice is amazing in most of her songs, but especially so here.

Heaven Come Down by Becca Bradley

Kind of a mini-synopsis of what happens when there’s a school shooting (or any mass shooting incident). Beautiful cry for mercy and grace from above. “Will it ever change?
Oh everyone’s got someone to blame
For the hurt and fear and pain
In the mess, in the madness we will pray…
Heaven come down.”
“Nothing on Earth can give us what we really need…”
“No law, no money, nobody else can save us.”

Live Life by Zayde Wolf

If this were a movie, I think this would be a nice way to begin the credits. “What am I gonna do?
Live life like I never had
Live life through the good an bad”
Life goes on for those who survive tragedies. They might be haunted by events and struggle in other ways, but there is hope for them.

joy. (Fransis Derelle and Jinco Remix) By for King and Country

Joy is sometimes a choice.
“Gotta get that fire fire back in my bones.”
“Oh hear my prayer tonight…
Time has come to make a choice
And I choose… joy.”
“Let it move you.


Ultimately, this is the whole reason to write a contemporary drama story like Beyond Broken Pencils. We can’t always bottle the crazy. Sometimes, people unleash their inner demons on the world at large and innocents to down with them. At such times, after the natural course of mourning, you have to make a conscious choice to return to joy.

Associate Links to Follow:

(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 ….)

Amazon Prime

The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family. Kid friendly.

If fantasy’s more your thing, go Redeemer Chronicles. The first, Awakening, is available as an audiobook.

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.

Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.


Scratched Off/ Mystery Playlist Explained

Warning: The discussion here will contain spoilers if you haven’t read Scratched Off. That said, if you don’t mind spoilers or don’t intend to read the book, you should totally read on. It’s a fantastic collection of music regardless (if I do say so myself).

Find the list here.

Audiobook Cover. Digital Artist – Rachel Rossano; Narrator for audio version: Rick Struve

Side note: Many of the songs on here aren’t really my first go-to for style, but I enjoyed exploring beyond my comfort zone.


Scratched Off (ebook version) features the story of an FBI agent hunting a serial killer. Typically, I try to find key points or chapters and find something that matches that mood. This time, though, I pretty much stuck with the killer and tried to go for things he would find inspiring. (What would he listen to as he prepared to wage his private war? What’s going on in his head? Is there a progression/a distinct spiral into madness?)

A Storm is Coming by Tommee Profitt and Liv Ash

The title’s pretty powerful and indicative of the whole story. In the killer, we have a man who wants to figure out the best way to take out the “human trash.”

Become the Beast by Karliene

“Embrace the darkness.” “We are the predators. The Hunters.” “Become the beast. We don’t have to hide.” Not quite a literal fit, but a nice metaphorical one for the killer’s logic.

Raise Hell by Dorothy and Born Ready by Zayde Wolf

I feel like Raise Hell captures the killer’s attitude pretty well. He knows he’s going to cause all manner of chaos. He’s prepared to walk the dark side to bring his own brand of justice to evil doers.

Born Ready is a pretty late addition to the list. Sounds like something he’d use to psych himself up. “I am the unknown fighter.” “I’m gonna push up higher.” “I’m gonna do what I do.” “I’m made of stone. I won’t break.”

Light That Fire by Oh the Larceny

Another song I feel the killer would keep on a personal motivation list. It’s also a good cheerleader type song to encourage one to keep on going.

Who’s at the Door by Unsecret, featuring Sam Tinnesz

This is probably the first song, besides the first, that is really about the mood of the book from the victims’ point of view. It’s also suitably creepy. Play around Halloween.

Wicked Games by The Hot Damns

I like the rhythm of this song. Probably the type of thing the killer thinks about the world. Why the world needs cleansing so to speak.

Wild Thing by Jaxson Gamble

“We descend into the madness. Like a wild thing. Rabid.”Another rallying cry for our killer.

Check it Out by Oh The Larceny

This would be something the killer would want to share with his muse. He has a person he thinks is perfect. He really wants to protect her. This song would appeal to his sense of purpose.

Rule Breaker by Gothic Storm

Don’t think there are any lyrics to this one. But the song captures the mission the killer’s set for himself. Also, from the flip side, it’s a good song to capture the rivalry and high stakes of the game between the FBI agent and the killer.

Vagabond by Tommee Profitt featuring FJORA

The fit here is twofold. I can see him thinking this as he eyes one of his victims. There’s a whole chapter where he kind of rails against a society that lets a woman stay homeless. In a way, this also applies to him. “Can’t put down roots cause they won’t last long … Everything here will all be gone.”

Watch Me by The Phantoms

He’s crying out for attention. He’s getting arrogant.

Incendiary by Tommee Profitt

There’s a dark, dangerous quality to this theme. The killer deepens his game. The agent closes in on a breakthrough.

Thoughtful by MHBH

Wasn’t totally sure about including this. It’s kind of a brain break. One of those that would be played in a montage of the agent and the killer each carefully planning their next steps.

Wolves by Sam Tinnesz, featuring Silverberg

The killer still declaring he’s dangerous.

Can’t Stop Me Now by Oh The Larceny

Pretty straightforward. A challenge.

Big Bad Wolf by Roses and Revolutions

For the second victim, the prostitute (Haley Doherty) or for one of the later victims who he takes out from afar.

Let You Down (piano version) by Tommee Profitt

You’ll probably think I’m obsessed with only like 3 artists, and you’re probably right. This is yet another nice interlude kind of piece. It can also be a theme for Melissa Novak and the budding relationship between her and the FBI agent. Mel’s definitely a side character, but a meaningful one to the main characters.

Man on a Mission by Oh The Larceny

“I’m never gonna ever stop. I won’t wait another minute. I’m a man on a mission. I don’t need no permission.” “If you’re standing in my way. It ain’t gonna be your day.” As things get hard, I can see the killer clinging to this kind of logic to bolster his courage.

Wicked Ones by Dorothy

“This not for the faint of heart. Cause the faint of heart gonna fall apart.” Another song that captures the spirit of what the killer wants to accomplish. Also, something to sort of key in on this mental decline.

No Escape: Genesis (instrumental) by Tommee Profitt

Good for when things come to a head.

Man or a Monster by Sam Tinnesz, features Zayde Wolf

The ultimate question for our killer. He’s done some crazy wicked things, but does it make him a monster? Who is he? Is his humanity gone?

Unstoppable by the Score

A nice theme for the good guys. Also, if it was a movie, a nice place to start the credits.

Gambling with Fate (Instrumental) by Tommee Profitt

If this were a movie, I imagine this would be middle/end credits.


Of course, I’d love for you to read my book, but I know it’s not going to be for everyone. Still, listen to the playlist. You might find a new artist to love. They’re all super talented.

Associate Links to Follow…

(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 ….)

Amazon Prime

The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family. Kid friendly.

If fantasy’s more your thing, go Redeemer Chronicles. The first, Awakening, is available as an audiobook.

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.

Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.


Black Friday Giveaway and Clean Reads Book Sale



Check out this big Black Friday sale. There are over 150 titles available and they are all either $.99 or FREE!

There are also a long list of paperbacks for sale at incredibly discounted prices as well! And the good news is they are all clean reads! Be sure to go check out this amazing sale here.

(If you’d like any of my titles discounted in paperback, you have to email [email protected] … I think my website only has like 2 listed at full price.) I do sell series at a discount. That’s not specific to this sale.

Enter to win stuffs too. (Grand Prize winner receives 20 paperbacks and the 2nd place winner gets 20 e-book titles)

You can sign up for the giveaway here.

Fine Print: The giveaway runs from November 22nd till November 26th @12AM ET Grand prize open to US winners only. 2nd place prize is open Internationally.

Not quite ready to jump right in?

You Could Win These 20 Paperbacks … (Grand Prize)

Leandra’s Enchanted Flute by Katy Huth Jones

Mythical Doorways by Jenelle Schmidt

Faith is the Victory by Faith Blum

Kiera by Kate Willis

Because Anonymous Diana L. Sharples

After: Book One in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski

Specter: Book Two in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski

Eagle Eyes by Tammy Lash

London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn

When Beauty Blooms by Victoria Lynn

Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset by Sarah Ashwood

Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels

There Was Always Laughter in Our House by Sarah Holman

Bridgers: A Parable (paperback) by Angie Thompson

Love Blind (paperback) by Angie Thompson

Code by Angie Thompson

Christmas Eve at the Backdoor by Rebekah Morris

The Seven Drawers by Kendra E. Ardnek

He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen’s Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness by Sara Willoughby

You Could Win These 20 E-books … (2nd Place)

Beyond Broken Pencils by Julie C. Gilbert

Ashlynn’s Dreams by Julie C. Gilbert

Gather Round the Fables by Erika Matthews

The Case of the Tabloid Tattler by Perry Kirkpatrick AudioBook

The Twelve Cats of Christmas by Perry Kirkpatrick Audiobook

Coffee Shop Christmas Ebook by Ryana Lynn Miller

The Land of Cotton ebook by Ryana Lynn Miller

Entertaining Angels, Entertaining Angels Book 1 by Emerald Barnes

Secret’s Kept by Jennette Mbewe

The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue

Soldier On by Vanessa Rasanen

Burning Rose by Hope Ann

Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels

Imani Earns Her Cape by Bokerah Brumley

October by J. Grace Pennington

Disowned by Sarah Addison Fox

My Compass Home by Michaela Bush

Summer Shadows and Necessary Evil by Killarney Traynor

Check out the whole sale. Most are discounted as ebooks and/or paperbacks.

Convinced yet?




Associate links to follow…

(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 … not kidding, that’s basically it.)

Amazon Prime

The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family. Kid friendly.

If fantasy’s more your thing, go Redeemer Chronicles. The first, Awakening, is available as an audiobook.

If clean thriller is more your thing, try Scratched Off (New Release): FBI agent Samuel Kerman takes on a serial killer.


Audiobook Reviews 4/5 Stars: Written in Blood by Rebecca Deel



Typical Romantic Suspense

(I’ll try to keep this relatively spoiler free.)

Narration provided by Kristina Fuller Yuen


Megan Cahill is a news editor who happens to be in the dark park to meet her friend when that friend is murdered. The killer knocks her cold, giving the lady nightmares. So, of course, she provokes him at every turn, daring him to capture or kill her. I know it’s fiction, but the way the murder went down isn’t very realistic. It would have been more realistic if the killer had tried to off Megan in the beginning and simply failed instead of letting her live.

Additional Comments:

– It’s a 3 star story with nice narration. The characters are distinguishable. The editing’s pretty smooth.
– Plot 3.5/5: There are some events that have nothing to do with the murder mystery, which I appreciated. Despite the lack of a true twist and an end sequence worthy of a low budget movie, complete with cheesy confrontation between the villain(s) and our heroes, it’s a satisfying story. Happily ever after is achieved. There is a good amount of action along the way.
– Writing Style 4/5: There’s decent flow to the work.

Main Characters 3.5/5: I like that the author tried to give the police guy a backstory that was deep and full of tragedy, but it felt forced. Megan’s spitfireness got annoying too. There’s usually a line between aggressive, bold, and stupid. I could totally see her being dumb, but then owning it and being contrite.
– Side Characters 4/5: I got a tad confused about who each of the side characters were, but they were fleshed out enough to make them feel realistic.

  • Not sure the title makes much sense to me. Or the book cover, but they fit the genre well enough.

Side note: The whole “she’s an identical triplet” thing was mentioned several times, but never really meant much. The main character confesses to being worried for her sisters, but it would have been nice if they were in it a little more. I have not read the others in the series, so I don’t really know them well enough for cameos to be sufficient.

Favorite side character: the old lady Megan hires to do some part time writing.
– It’s formula writing, but the formula works. She’s in danger. He protects her. They’re in danger. They protect each other. He’s got a painful past. She’s stubborn. They overlook each others’ flaws and fall in love. The end. Who’s ready for the next?
– Would I read/listen to another story by the same author? Sure.
– Would I listen to the same narrator? Certainly.

Second side note: If you liked this story, then you would probably like Choices Veil of Secrets (It’s an app with “free” stories, though to make all choices you’d have to buy game currency). I’ll write more about those later.
– Who would I recommend the book to? Fans of the genre. If you like romantic suspense, then you’re not going to be surprised by anything in here, but it’s a relatively fleshed out world with varied characters.


Romantic suspense fans should be pleased with this. You might get the most out of the series if you actually start from the beginning, but it’s perfectly understandable jumping right in here.

*I received a copy of the audiobook, and I chose to review it.

Associate links to follow…

(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 … not kidding, that’s basically it.)

Amazon Prime

The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family.

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.

Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.


Movie Reviews 4/5 Stars: Bad Times at the El Royale

I don’t own the pretty pic. I’m assuming it’s a generic promo pic.

*Relatively spoiler free until after the ads.*


5-7 strangers end up at a run down hotel along the border of California and Nevada. Over the course of the movie, you get to know them better, but their given profession is probably how you’ll get to know them. There’s the vacuum cleaner sales man, the singer, the other girl with an attitude, the hotel staff kid, and the priest. That’s who you know from the beginning, a couple of others show up over time, including Chris Hemsworth’s character. I don’t consider that a spoiler because he’s clearly in the trailers. Keep in mind that as their backstories unfold, your perception of these characters might change.

Additional Comments:

– Overall assessment:

As usual, I had no expectations, but I found it a surprisingly satisfying movie reminiscent of a murder mystery theater thing. It has the feel of the type of story that unfolds while you eat fancy food all dressed up around white linen tables while the actors mill about around you.

– It relies pretty heavily on the surprise scare. Mostly, those worked here.

– Content warnings:

A fair amount of cursing, including a few strong curse words.

– I’m not sure there are any morally good characters to root for in here, except perhaps the singer. That said, once you know their backstories, most people will sympathize with the hotel kid, the girl with a chip on her shoulder, and the priest. One thing I like about the movie is how easily it points out that everybody’s got a deeper story. What they show the world is shaped by past events in many cases traumatic events.
– I’ll discuss which themes I think are in here during the spoiler section.


This isn’t a genre I gravitate to, but I think they pulled it off very well. In the end, it’s a satisfying story that I’d watch again, maybe not in theaters, but as a rental in a few years. There’s enough depth to the character reveals that I think a second viewing would be fun. Try to go into it spoiler-free the first time though.

Associate links to follow…

(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 … not kidding, that’s basically it.)

Amazon Prime

The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family.

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.

Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.



Spoiler Section:

– I almost cried at the end as the hotel was burning and the kid was dying.
– In part or in whole, sometimes only obliquely this story talks about child abuse, protecting family, cults, post traumatic stress disorder, keeping secrets, robbery, prison, and Alzheimers. That’s a heck of a lot of heavy hitting topics.
– My sympathy lies with the girl trying to protect her sister and the hotel worker kid. I believe her name was Emily. Rose, the sister, was brainwashed essentially by Chris Hemsworth’s character, Billy Lee. The hotel worker, Miles Miller, is haunted by his past as a soldier.