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Candice LaBria: Falling Hard (Contest & FREE in KU!)
Thursday, September 30th, 2021

“Music is to the Soul what Words are to the Mind.”
~Modest Mouse

As I started writing the short story, The Homecoming, music was an obvious component. It’s a bonding experience for my couple. It sets the mood for a romantic night. I listened to music as I wrote. Songs inspired feelings I wanted to convey. Lyrics prompted dialogue. It’s a second chance at first love. Lauren and Beck shared their first kiss at the homecoming dance just minutes before he broke her heart. Twenty-plus years and two failed marriages pass before Lauren—OM Goodness, I’m so sorry, I’m so ahead of myself. Sorry.

I’ll start over: I have loved music since I was a child. I remember finding a single of Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World when I was five and playing it over and over. Suspiciously, my record player disappeared one night. Hmmm. Thanks to the internet (and lack of parental control!) I don’t have that problem now. I stream music constantly. The array of genres means no matter what my mood, feeling or occasion, I can find the perfect song.  How many times have you been experiencing a major life event and suddenly come upon the song that captures that moment? It has gotten me through heartbreaks, made the road trip memorable, created lasting friendships, and elevated a celebration to an unforgettable party.

My first boyfriend and I would talk on the phone every night. He was a bass guitar kid. He would play albums and delve into structure and composition. Me – I just knew I liked it or not. It frustrated him because I always got the lyrics wrong. (Still do. And still don’t care. Mine are way better.) Music created that bond between us. Decades later, we had a discussion about Rush’s 2112 album. I hated it as a kid. I watched it on YouTube last year. I got it. And I realized the lost art of listening to an album; how the musicians craft a series of songs to tell a story or address issues. I now have a record player again. When was the last time you listened to an album?

I shared a desk with an employee in the late 90s. I worked days and he worked nights. He would leave me funny notes, we barely knew each other having only met once. One day as Christmas approached, our paths crossed. I asked if he wanted to help me do some shopping for the office. We headed to the mall. A song came on over the sound system. He swept me up in his arms and waltzed me around the store. It was beautiful and magical. There was a smattering of applause. A woman commented how lucky I was to have such a spontaneous guy. I thanked her. Our friendship was cemented in that moment. We traveled through Europe together. I attended his wedding and have watched his children grow. Have you ever made a friend over music or lost one?

My son taught me how innate the emotional response is to music. He was barely two months old when I was dancing him through the house to the soundtrack from Braveheart. We came to the death scene track. His expression changed and he started crying. It took me about five times to realize it was the song that was doing it, not hunger or a need for a diaper change. Something in the composition spoke to his soul at that young age. Studies conducted on the powerful effects of music on your mood support this. What song has evoked an emotional response from you?

My daughter taught me the power of the musical group experience. She loves music more than I do. As I struggled to bond with her as she entered her teens, I bought concert tickets to One Direction. At the time I wasn’t familiar with their music. She had an iPod and earbuds, so I didn’t have to listen to it like the torture I inflicted on my parents. I was excited to be spending an evening with her. We joined the thousands of girls, moms, and the occasional dad, in the football stadium. I fell in love with the opening act, 5SOS, but that is another story. The boys appeared. The energy in the stadium was astounding. 78,000 people standing and singing every word along with One D.  We were a united group. My daughter and I have traveled the US chasing bands and catching shows. How I miss that with Covid and look forward to pursuing that again. What was your favorite concert?

As I started writing the short story, The Homecoming, music was an obvious component. It’s a bonding experience for my couple. It sets the mood for a romantic night. I listened to music as I wrote. Songs inspired feelings I wanted to convey. Lyrics prompted dialogue (yes, I verified they were correct—thank you, internet). It’s a second chance at first love. Lauren and Beck shared their first kiss at the homecoming dance just minutes before he broke her heart. Twenty-plus years and two failed marriages pass before Lauren, filled with liquid courage, makes a date to reconnect with her lost first love. Drinks in a cozy Manhattan bar turn steamy, and their old spark is rekindled, but Beck leaves her wanting more. Still haunted by the heartbreak of homecoming, Lauren doubts the budding relationship after his sudden cancelation. Can Beck convince her to give him another chance? Or will the distance, both in time and location, keep them apart? “Old Me” by 5 Seconds of Summer spoke to me for the story. What’s your romance and music story?

The Homecoming is included in Passionate Ink’s Falling Hard anthology being released TODAY!  Get your copy here!

Falling Hard is a collection of 7 steamy short stories with all the proceeds going to ProLiteracy,,  a leading organization working to promote adult literacy.  I made a playlist for my story. Take a listen:

I asked the other contributors about music.  For Jordyn Koss’ story, Open Enrollment, Ed Sheeran’s All the Stars has meaning for her characters and to the story. Cher’s anthem of All or Nothing inspired Ryan T. Osborn’s character in Claiming Papa.  As Michal Scott was writing Who can Find a Virtuous Woman, Rick James’ Super Freak was playing in the background. Deni Dawson’s says, “Time is an important theme in my short story, so I wanted songs that embody the futility of time, that when time is all you have, it becomes meaningless. Until you run out of it.” Check out Lord Huron’s When the Night is Over.

If you want to read the full story on the Playlist behind Passionate Ink’s Falling Hard Anthology, find it on my blog . Interested in hearing the songs, check out them out here:


I would love to hear about how music has played a part in your life. Drop me a comment and share the experience. Have a playlist that inspires you? Drop the link. I am always looking for new music. Comment, and Delilah will pick one lucky winner to send a copy of FALLING HARD to someone who isn’t a KU subscriber!

A huge Thank You to Delilah Devlin for giving me the opportunity to write about music.

Happy listening and reading.

About the Author

Candice LaBria is the author of The Homecoming and a member of Passionate Ink. She is currently working on a Mardi Gras-themed short story and a novel about a couple that is stuck rut. Can they get past it and save their marriage or is the chasm insurmountable? Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @bria_writes, Facebook Candice LaBria, newsletter. Follow the story and music at www.

13 comments to “Candice LaBria: Falling Hard (Contest & FREE in KU!)”

  1. Candy LaBria
    · September 30th, 2021 at 6:51 am · Link

    Thank you, Delilah for this opportunity.

  2. Jennifer Beyer
    · September 30th, 2021 at 1:09 pm · Link

    I don’t make playlists since I never know how I might want to mix music from day to day. I love a lot of different types of music. My favorite concert ever is actually two different bands. I loved Heart because they are amazing live. They don’t do anything fancy, they just play and sing. Amazing! The opposite end of the spectrum was Peter Gabriel. He had a tree, a whole freaking tree, grow out of the middle of the stage! Everything about the show was so over the top. Amazing!

  3. Colleen C.
    · September 30th, 2021 at 3:15 pm · Link

    I love a wide variety of music… I find it relaxes me… some of my faves are ENYA, Loreena McKinnett, Josh Groban, etc.

  4. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · September 30th, 2021 at 6:22 pm · Link

    Great post Candice. Looking forward to tomorrow’s party.

  5. Candy LaBria
    · September 30th, 2021 at 7:55 pm · Link

    Jennifer – I love the power of Heart – the vocals are impressive. I bet it was a great concert. A tree ? That’s wild, but so talented that Peter Gabriel. There is just a unique experience at a concert. I love the small intimate venues as well as the football stadiums. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  6. Candy LaBria
    · September 30th, 2021 at 7:59 pm · Link

    Enya is my go to for calming. Josh Groban is another talented guy. I am now googling Loreena McKinnett. Thanks for that one. I LOVE finding new music. Thank you for leaving a comment.

  7. Candy LaBria
    · September 30th, 2021 at 8:01 pm · Link


    Thank you. I cannot wait for the party. Everyone’s invited. Passionate Ink’s page on Facebook. Giveaways, fun, meet the authors.


  8. bn100
    · September 30th, 2021 at 8:58 pm · Link

    don’t have a playlist

  9. Debra Guyette
    · October 1st, 2021 at 5:12 am · Link

    I like to listen to the blend on XM

  10. Candy LaBria
    · October 1st, 2021 at 6:17 am · Link

    bn100 –
    Do you list to a station on a streaming service? Or is there type of music you prefer?


  11. Candy LaBria
    · October 1st, 2021 at 6:19 am · Link

    I haven’t listened to the Blend, yet. Thank you for your comment.


  12. Mary McCoy
    · October 3rd, 2021 at 12:06 pm · Link

    Sorry I missed the party, had to work. Playlist with hubby is eclectic, from Peter Paul and Mary to The Ballad of Dennis Moore from Monty Python.

  13. Candy LaBria
    · October 3rd, 2021 at 6:36 pm · Link

    That is an eclectic playlist. I love it. Monty Python is hysterical. Sorry you missed the party.
    Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Comments are closed.