Song List for The Ghost Daughter

My novel The Ghost Daughter released from Coffeetown Press last month. Here’s a little about it:

In 1971, a wounded young man runs with his daughter in the woods at night. As he collapses, he tells the little girl to run, and she does.

Eighteen years later, in October 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake buries twenty-two-year-old Angel Kelley under a collapsed building. Her adopted mother Judith is diagnosed with cancer while her deepest secrets surface in national news. In nearby Silicon Valley, Reese Camden loses her husband in an accident that kills him and critically injures their five-year-old daughter Madison.


As news images of Angel’s rescue emerge, Detective Laura Redleaf recognizes Judith from an unsolved missing child case. She travels to Santa Cruz and learns from Judith that Reese is actually Angel’s biological mother Teresa, who has always known that Judith had her child. But Teresa has already fled and reinvented herself yet again, leaving her second daughter Madison in the hospital. Facing a kidnapping charge, Judith refuses medical treatment and bars Angel from visiting her in prison.

For life to move forward, Teresa must reclaim her identity and confront her terrible past. In the end, it will take more than tons of rubble to crush the spirits of these four strong-willed women as they fight for their families, seek redemption, and find love.

I build playlists to listen to while I’m working on my stories.  I often have to write in short chunks within busy days. Playlists drag my brain into the dream without wasting any time. It’s magic.

Here is a sampling of the playlist I listened to while writing The Ghost Daughter:

Jig of Life by Kate Bush

I always hide at least one Kate Bush Easter egg in my stories. If you’ve read The Ghost Daughter, can you find the nod to Jig of Life? I could listen to this song ten times a day and never get sick of it. In fact, I think I did while writing this book. The drums in this song say everything I am feeling about everything.

Fifty Words for Snow by Kate Bush

This is my winter writing song. It reminds me of the scene in Creekside when Angel leaves the trailer to walk through the snow. Kate Bush’s music has haunted me since I was fifteen years old. I should probably write her a thank-you note.

She’s Your Cocaine by Tori Amos

Sheila’s anthem right here, out of Tori’s beautiful but in this case rather foul mouth. Although, haven’t I just described Sheila herself? Beautiful. Poison. So mean.

Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac

Gypsy is Angel wandering California with a broken heart. Stevie Nicks sings  And the child was enough / Enough for me to love, and I’m right there, excavating Angel’s loneliness through a beautiful but dangerous California landscape. I always liked the eighties.

 Like a Hurricane by Neil Young

I’ve run up more words to the guitar riff of this song than I can count. I should write Mr. Young a thank-you note too while I’m at it. This is Angel’s song to Sundullah. She wants to love him, but she’s getting blown away. To be honest, most of what I write is my attempt to wrestle with how Neil Young’s music makes me feel.

Just Breathe by Eddie Vedder

A simple song, but so heartbreaking and lonely and grateful. Is it just me, or does the melody evoke a melancholy road trip on a highway lined by redwood trees?

Waiting On An Angel by Ben Harper

Obvious reasons. This is Sundullah’s song to Angel. Maybe it’s Teresa’s song to Angel as well. Will Angel ever come back? Read and find out. . . . .

See an excerpt read by actress Elise Marie Hodge at the wonderful Sacramento Stories on Stage event here:


The Ghost Daughter is available HERE.

Journal Topics:

  1. What are the songs you listen to as you exercise? Create art? Write? Do chores? Drive? 
  2. Are there certain artists you’ve listened to since you were a very young person? What about their music stays with you throughout all the different stages of your life?
  3. If you’ve given birth, what music (if any) did you listen to during labor? 
  4. If you were going to take a long road trip, what would the playlist be?
  5. What musicians and singers and rap artists really deserve a thank-you note from you for getting you through? 



  1. If your book is half as amazing as this playlist, it’s a fine book indeed. Kate Bush was so ahead of her time. Or maybe timeless is more like it.


    1. Thanks! Ahead of her time, timeless, and also awesome. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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