Today I am so pleased to welcome Erin McLellan to Joyfully Jay. Erin has come to talk to us about her latest release, Life of Bliss. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

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Soundtrack to Life of Bliss

I’m so happy to be here at Joyfully Jay to share a little about my new release, Life of Bliss. This is a story about frenemies with benefits who pretend to be boyfriends, get drunk, and wake up married. It’s sweet, tropetastic, and was a lot of fun to write. I hope you enjoy as well! Keep reading to find out about the music that inspired Life of Bliss and to learn more about an exclusive giveaway!

My mom is a music teacher, and I grew up playing the piano and singing. It was important to me to write characters who are musicians and artists, as well as teachers. In Life of Bliss, one of the main characters, Todd, is an accompanist for a high school choir program, and he also gives piano lessons. The other main character, Victor, is a dance instructor. Music shapes both of their lives, even though they have vastly different tastes.

When I created Victor and Todd, I made music profiles for each of them. Todd’s favorite artists are Brandi Carlile, Patty Griffin, Jason Isbell, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, whereas Victor’s favorites are Rihanna, Frank Ocean, Prince, Sia, and Snow tha Product. Basically, they represent the two sides of my personal music tastes, which means my Spotify writing playlist is all over the place! And I’d like to share it with you!

I created a soundtrack for Life of Bliss that includes artists who are directly referenced in the story, as well as songs that I simply listened to a lot while writing!

Here’s a little bit about some of the songs, and there’s a link to the Spotify playlist at the end!

Useless Desire (Patty Griffin)

The story begins with Todd thinking about a Patty Griffin song while he’s on a flight. I like this song because it’s achingly melancholy, and really gives a “stuck in a small town alone” kind of feeling, which perfectly describes Todd’s state of mind at the beginning of the book.

Thinkin Bout You (Frank Ocean)

I love Frank Ocean, and in one of the first scenes where Todd and Victor are alone, Victor turns on a Frank Ocean song. This song gives me unrequited-love feels, and Victor has a lot of (seemingly) unrequited feelings for Todd.

Move Your Body (Sia), Desperado (Rihanna), Daddy (Sakima, YLXR), Toxic (Britney Spears), Sexual Healing (Marvin Gaye)

These songs are basically my best friends’ favorite songs to dance to. Todd and Victor go to a dance club together at the beginning of the book. Fun fact—the gay club they go to in Oklahoma City is a real place!

100 (Brandi Carlile)

At one point, Victor and Todd are in the car for several hours together, and Victor notes that they’d listened to two full Brandi Carlile albums because Todd was in charge of the music. Victor isn’t particularly happy about this, but I personally like Brandi Carlile!

Tell Me You Love Me (Demi Lovato)

When Todd and Victor are pretending to be in a relationship at Victor’s cousin’s wedding, a family member interrogates them, and wants to know their opinions on Demi Lovato. This was a little callout to one of my best friends who is obsessed with her.

Alabama Pines (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit)

This song always hits me right in the gut. There is such longing to find a home in it, and the line, “I hardly even know my name anymore/When no one calls it out it kind of vanishes away” always stops me in my tracks. Both Todd and Victor are lonely and find a home in each other. At one point, Todd plays Jason Isbell songs on the piano to de-stress.

Have A Little Faith In Me (John Hiatt)

Todd and Victor attend a wedding together. Then, of course, they drink a little too much and decide to go to a quickie wedding chapel and get hitched. This is one of my favorite “first dance” songs. It’s so deliciously dramatic, and has a great piano part.

Baby I’m Yours (Arctic Monkeys)

Another “first dance” song that I absolutely adore! In fact, this was played at my own wedding reception. I love its retro vibe.

Hammers and Strings (Jack’s Mannequin)

This is a total throwback to my emo high school days. I loved this band back in the day. Since Todd plays the piano, I listened to a lot of music that has strong piano accompaniment, and this fits the bill.

If We Were Vampires (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit)

This Jason Isbell song is one of my favorite songs about committed relationships. It’s romantic and sad and uplifting all at once. It’s the perfect ending song to my soundtrack.

Other songs I included simply because I really like them, and I listened to the artists a lot while writing: Wicked Twisted Road (Reckless Kelly), 3WW (alt-j), Nights (Snow tha Product, feat. W. Darling), Hit ‘Em Up Style (Carolina Chocolate Drops).


If you’re interested, here’s a link to the Life of Bliss Spotify playlist:

Happy listening! And don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon giftcard and an eARC of Life on Pause.


Life of BlissNobody plans to accidentally marry their frenemy-with-benefits.

Todd McGower and Victor Consuelos do not like each other. They can’t have a conversation without insults flying, and Victor seems to get off on pushing Todd’s buttons. The fact that their antagonism always leads to explosive sex . . . well, that’s their little secret.

Victor has a secret of his own. His full-blown crush on Todd is ruining his sex life. He hasn’t looked at anyone else in months, and he’s too hung up on Todd to find a date to his cousin’s wedding.

In a moment of weakness after a heart-stopping night together, Todd agrees to be Victor’s fake boyfriend for the wedding. Victor will have his plus-one—which will get his family off his back—and Todd will get a free mini-vacation. It’s a win-win.

But pretending to be fake boyfriends leads to real intimacy, which leads to too much wine, and suddenly, Todd and Victor wake up with wedding bands and a marriage license between them. That was <em>not</em> their plan, but a summer of wedded bliss might just change their minds.

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Erin McLellanErin McLellan writes contemporary romance with characters that are complex, goodhearted, and sometimes a little quirky. She likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after.

Erin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma. Though no longer a public librarian, Erin still enjoys being surrounded by books and readers, but now she hopes to find her stories on the shelves as well.

Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska with her husband and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepper, and binge-worthy TV shows.


Erin has brought a $10 Amazon gift card and copy of Life on Pause to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, May 4th at 11:59 pm ET.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
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