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Aural Pleasures

The Soundtrack to CITYWIDE by Santino Hassell | Writer’s Playlist

CITYWIDE, the newest standalone addition to my Five Boroughs series, is a collection of three novellas about three very queer relationships. There is a M/M/M, a NB/F, and a M/F story where the heroine identifies as bisexual. The stories all take place during a massive New York City heatwave, so tempers and passions are running high between the characters as they find refuge in different parts of the city.

As I wrote, I was picturing the city but also thinking of the music that would be playing as each of the characters moved throughout the city. Here are some of the songs that would go on my Citywide soundtrack.

Princess Nokia, Excellent


Well baby, my day was good

I worked hard and knocked on wood

I skipped meals and got no sleep

But this was the life for me


This song is amazing for a variety of reasons, but it’s really Stephanie’s song—the heroine in my very first M/F novella. Excellent is about being proud of who you are, of working hard and finding success and not letting people bring you down while always remembering where you came from. It fits Stephanie perfectly. She practically raised herself but managed to put herself through college, is successful in her career, and has an awesome apartment. She has everything but a romantic happily ever after, which she finds in her story.

Lorde – Royals


My friends and I we’ve cracked the code

We count our dollars on the train to the party

And everyone who knows us knows that we’re fine with this

We didn’t come from money

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Guest Post

5 Reasons Why the Paparazzi are Obsessed with #Vashton by Santino Hassell

The stars of CONCOURSE, the newest standalone novel in the M/M romance Five Boroughs series, are Ashton Townsend and Valdrin Leka and the paparazzi love them. Ashton is NYC royalty—a party boy born into old money and who has a messy personal life and a big Instagram presence. His newest love is a amateur boxer from the Bronx who is rumored to be the son of Ashton’s former nanny. Intrigued yet? See how you feel after you read the top five reasons why the paps chase them around throughout the book.

#1 Ashton’s love life is the stuff of New York City socialite legend. He’s been linked to everyone from married blue bloods, real estate moguls, and airline execs. There may have even been a fling with a politician here or there throughout the years. But now? He’s been spotted several times with tall, dark, and muscular Valdrin. They’re so different it can’t be real, so of course the paps are determined to prove that it is.

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