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Guest Post with Em Shotwell & a “Magic” Playlist

Y’all should all be aware by now that I’m a fan of Em Shotwell and her BLACKBIRD SUMMER series with the Gifted Caibre, but what you might not know is that she’s got a novella anthology series starting featuring a new magical set of sisters, the Murpheys, starting with “These Roots Run Deep.” The first anthology MAGIC SPARKS is out today, and to celebrate, Em is taking over my blog to share her magical playlist for the Murphey sisters!

Magic Spark – A Playlist By Em Shotwell

To celebrate the release of my new novella (first in series and included in an amazing anthology with two other awesome authors!) I have decided to share the playlist I used for inspiration, and why each song worked for this series. Some are creepy and some are fun. Some are dark and some are actually kind of funny.

(You can find the complete playlist on Spotify at )

Creep (Kina Grannis version)

The sadness evoked by this song is consuming. I especially love this version, the singer’s voice is haunting. For Creep, it isn’t necessarily the lyrics that make it a perfect fit for this series, but the emotion I feel when I listen. This was on repeat from book one to book three while I worked at telling the Murphey sisters’s stories.

Lyric: But I'm a creep. I'm a weirdo. What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here.

Why this lyric works: The Murphey women are witches—but their life has been anything but easy, and magic has nothing to do with it. Their family is dysfunctional. Their mama was an alcoholic and their dads weren’t around. The happiest times were spent at their Grandma’s house—she herself a seasoned witch. Now, even though they have come into their power, they never feel quite like they fit in. They each compensate in their own way—but it is hard to leave childhood scars behind. Even for a witch.

Where did you sleep last night? (Leadbelly version)

This song is so creepy and perfect for this book series. The lyrics work for each story in a different way. Cheyanne is trying to get back her cheating fiancé, Marchland is trying to escape an obsessive man, and Bradley is trying to outrun a dead man. The sound of Leadbelly’s voice singing “don’t lie to me,” gives me chills.

Lyric: My girl, my girl, where will you go. I'm going where the cold wind blows. In the pines, in the pines. Where the sun don't ever shine. I would shiver the whole night through.

Why this lyric works: This is absolutely perfect for Cheyanne’s story on so many levels. Her heart is both hot and cold and she is out for revenge—and is driven by a deep hurt. Never cross a witch.

Graveyard by Devil Makes Three

This song works for all stories—but especially for Marchland. Her story starts off innocent and sweet and twists and turns and lands somewhere dark. I had to rewrite this story twice because the first two versions were too dark for a romance anthology. My editor asked me if I’d been watching too much American Horror Story (there is nothing gory in my tale…just creepy). Of course I took this as a compliment.

Lyric: It starts off just the Whiskey and Wine. Miles of travel and some real good times. But it ends in a dark corridor. Where there ain't no windows. And there ain't no doors.

Why this lyric works: The instrumentals are what works so well in this song—but the lyrics are perfect too. It is hard to choose one lyric, because the song works so well. Just…just go listen.

Psycho Killer by The Talking Heads

Confession. I love this weird song. It is on my workout mix, lol. There are so many songs that work for their creepiness, but I think this works for another reason. My novella series is dark and twisty—but it is also campy and tongue-in-cheek. It is very aware of its own ability to go over-the-top. That is why Psycho Killer made it onto the playlist.

Lyric: I can't seem to face up to the facts. I'm tense and nervous and I can't relax. I can't sleep 'cause my bed's on fire. Don't touch me I'm a real live wire

Why this lyric works: This song is campy and fun, as is These Roots Run Deep, This Hollow Heart, and These Resting Bones. This song—and especially this lyric—works best for Bradley’s story. While her oldest sister Cheyanne embraces her darkness, and her middle sister Marchland has made her peace with it, only Bradley is terrified of the power she possesses. She just wants to blend in and disappear…easier said than done when you are a witch meddling in magic.

One more just for fun!

Sticks and Stones by The Pierces

This song is just pure fun for anyone writing a girl-power witchy story! It has been around for quite a long time, but it works for the Murphey girls as if it were written for them. It is upbeat and has fun with its dark lyrics (much like Cheyanne in These Roots Run Deep).

Lyric: Oh. Hey, lover boy. Oh, now do you believe me? That’s not all that I can do. Sit back down. I’m afraid we won’t be leaving. Can't undo my spell on you.

This lyric works for Cheyanne and Brett, Marchland and Chase, and even Bradley and the Professor.

I hope you enjoyed this short playlist. If you did, go check out the entire list on Spotify, then check out the first in my Murphey Family Saga, available in the anthology: MAGIC SPARK. My story is titled, THESE ROOTS RUN DEEP. Then visit me on Facebook and let me know what you thought!

Like what you heard? Check out more about Em and the series below, and definitely go buy the anthology ;)

MAGIC SPARK: The first of a trio of trilogies by three amazing romance writers. These stories all have two things in common: magic and romance! “When Demigods Court Death” by Wendy Sparrow: As the demigod of fertility, Aster Slone has a thriving doctor’s practice. In fact, the incidence of triplets has made it too thriving. He needs more time with his neighbor the demigoddess of death to dampen his powers. Chandra Linton being gorgeous and sweet makes his task less of a hardship. Hitting the zenith of heretofore-unknown powers without enough exposure to her match is killing Chandra. Accepting all that her crazy, but hot neighbor says is her destiny…well, it muddles her convictions, but her real concern is: does Aster want Chandra because she’s the woman he desires or because she’s Death? “These Roots Run Deep” by Em Shotwell: Spitfire, New Orleans weather girl, Cheyanne Murphey has everything, and that is exactly how she likes it. When she discovers evidence of her fiancé’s philandering, she refuses to let her perfectly cultivated image fall to pieces. Cheyanne has worked too hard, dragging herself up from the trailer park into New Orleans’ society, to give in without a fight…even if that means trading a year of her life in exchange for a love incantation from her ancestor’s spell book. A skyclad, moonlit dance, a mysterious potion, and magic gone awry leave Cheyanne with a very peculiar life lesson: love can take on many forms, so be careful what you wish for. “Destiny’s Dark Light” by Sara Dobie Bauer: In modern day Charleston, lonely white witch Cyan Burroughs has waited her whole life to lead the battle against dark witches and eventually meet the man she is fated to love. A tragic trolley accident brings Liam Cody into her life. He is her destiny, but he’s also in love with someone else. Now, Cyan and her magic family must find the dark witch who caused the accident while Cyan fights her feelings for Liam—a charming Irishman with secrets of his own. Link: Magic Spark on -->


Bio: Em Shotwell is a Mississippi native turned Louisiana local who writes about misfits and the people who love them. You can learn more about her books by visiting her at She’d love to connect on Facebook, too!

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