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Song to the Siren by @parkcooper is an Indie Reads event pick #supernatural #romance #giveaway

Title: Song to the Siren

Author: Barb Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper

Genre: Spooky Supernatural Rock-And-Roll Romance

Book Blurb:

When two young documentary filmmakers start investigating the enigmatic death of the infamous Reed Sinclair, founder of the never-quite-made-it indie rock group The Big Carnival, they interview Reed's former girlfriend, photographer Samantha ("Sam") MacNamara-- who tells them the story of a seeming love triangle between herself, Reed, and a frightening entity named Belle.

Belle may have simply been how Reed's troubled mental state interpreted multiple tragedies and coincidences in his life... or she may have been a supernatural being.

As the filmmakers begin to uncover the frightening truth, Sam must face the riddle of her relationship with Reed if she wants to step into the light, away from the specter of Belle and the shadow that was cast over Sam's life.


If I reply to this email, thought Samantha, I’ll have to tell them what really happened. The whole thing. The slow way. Because if I just came out and tried to explain the truth to them all at once, they’d... She stared at the email that was waiting, on her computer screen, for her to reply to it...

Dear Ms. MacNamara... it began...

Samantha frowned. What would they do... if I really tried to explain what happened back then? What would anyone do? It’s why I’ve never told a single living soul...

She looked up above her monitor, at the wall of her home office, at the framed photograph of a handsome young man holding a guitar. His long blond hair was flying around as he played. He was smiling at the camera, at the person taking his picture... In the background was the rest of the band, with the drum set that bore the stylized logo of the Big Carnival. “Am I really sure I want to be interviewed, Reed?” Sam asked the young man in the photo. “Music press people, diehard fans, even people I trusted, I’ve never told anyone about... what happened. It’s amazing that after all of these years, people are still interested in you and the Big Carnival.”

She sat for a minute, as if listening for a reply that she knew would never and could never come... and then she sighed. “I’ll do it for you, Reed darling...”

Sam spent several minutes typing out a frenzied reply to the email. Then she went back and re-read the most provocative part of what she had written: I loved Reed Sinclair, but he was taken from me by another woman. It wasn’t someone made of flesh and blood—I could have handled that—but a woman made out of spirit... and hatred. She was someone who hungered for more than Reed’s blood. Belle hungered for Reed’s sanity. She took his mind, and then she took his life. The news reports back in the day said that Reed’s death was a suicide. But I was there. I know everything. Reed Sinclair’s death was cold-blooded, premeditated murder.

Sam began to giggle. The giggle turned into the type of raw, painful laugh a person laughs to try to avoid crying.

It didn’t work, though. Sam couldn’t help but let her laughter turn to crying anyway, as she’d cried so many times over Reed...

She took a few tissues from a nearby box, and dried her eyes. Then she began to delete her reply. She watched with grim resignation as every word was destroyed by the backspace key. When she was finished, she looked at the blank box where her initial response had been.

Then she clicked on another window, and looked at the information she’d found when she looked up the two young men who’d sent her the email. Ryan Torres, and Brandon Hawkins... They seemed like nice enough Midwestern boys... Brandon was about four inches taller than Ryan, with light brown hair and blue eyes... Ryan was on the thin side, but he was sort of wiry, too, like the sort of young person who might’ve run track in high school... In the first picture she’d found of both of them from one of Ryan’s many social media profiles, they were posing together and making zombie faces in front of a revival-house showing of Night of the Living Dead. In the second picture, the thumbnail of which was right below the zombie one, they were holding up two different Big Carnival albums, each young man wearing a gleeful expression on his face...

She looked back up at the photo of Reed. “I can’t hit them over the head with the whole truth. I’ll have to just lead them on a little. A... a warm, charming... evasive reply, but not to the point where anyone would realize it...”

She nodded a tight, determined little nod, and resumed typing. Dear Ryan...


“She really said she’d do the interview?” Brandon asked.

“Yeah. We’ve got Samantha MacNamara for our documentary,” said Ryan. “Sam Mac. I am not kidding. This is really gonna happen.”

“How’d you get her to agree to talk to us? I mean... us? Sam Mac never talks to anyone about Reed and the Big Carnival.”

Ryan gestured at the computer monitor behind him, on the desk crammed with books on film, charging cables for a variety of electronics, Green Bay Packers memorabilia, and even some things like deodorant and mouthwash. Every inch of space in the very small apartment he and Brandon shared was filled, and if anything got knocked over, it often knocked something else over, too. “I got her email from an online friend who’s as much into the Big Carnival as we are, and I used it to write to her—Sam Mac, I mean—and I explained, y’know, that we’re two documentary filmmakers who got crowdfunding for a documentary about the band...”

“‘Documentary filmmakers?’ So you didn’t tell her that we’re just two guys who graduated from college a couple of weeks ago.” Ryan made a face that was just uncomfortable enough to confirm Brandon’s theory. “Ryan...”

“Have we started making a crowdfunded documentary? Yes. Therefore, we’re documentary filmmakers. My point is, I told her how important the project is to us, and how much it would mean to the Big Carnival fans out there if she’d talk about the BC, blah blah blah...”

“...And she said yes?”

“She said yes!”

“...Lemme see the email!”

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What makes your featured book a must-read?

Author Barb Lien-Cooper, reading scholarly articles about the novella “The Turn of the Screw,” noted that some scholars called the work “an ambiguous supernatural tale” –one that could be read as a ghost story, or as a story of a young person (the governess) having a mental breakdown. However, with the exception of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, there aren’t a lot of examples of tales that can be read either way. So, knowing that audiences like stories that make them ponder, that stay with them after the book is over, Barb and her husband and writing partner started writing their novel Song to the Siren.

It has been observed that the modern reading audience sometimes has difficulty suspending disbelief concerning supernatural tales, so, thinking about found footage horror films, the authors created much of Song to the Siren as an extended interview with an artist named Samantha MacNamara, done as if the cult musician Reed Sinclair actually existed in real life. The goal is to make the reader forget that they’re reading fiction, so as to keep wanting to know what happens next. The novel starts as a slice of life story with loveable characters, but turns darker and darker as the story progresses. There are scares in the book, but it’s not like modern horror stories, but like The Haunting of Hill House it explores its characters while providing thoughtful chills.

Also, Song to the Siren is a love story—but not one with typical tropes. Sam and Reed are characters who fall in love with each other for their personalities, for their intelligence, and for their shared burning desire to become artists when they grow up. Sam was a life-long tomboy who eschews the usual identity stereotypes that her parents and society tried to force on her. Reed Sinclair was not some macho rock star type, but a sensitive musician who loves his Samantha as an equal, not as someone to fulfill a particular “girlfriend” role.

Finally, the book uses a very direct style, since many audience members are neuroatypical, which can lead to challenges in finishing a novel. The authors were gratified when multiple readers specifically said that Song to the Siren didn’t make them struggle with their ADHD, for instance. Song to the Siren has been written for a 21st century audience, keeping their struggles in mind.

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $35 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.

Runs December 13 – December 21, 2022.

Winner will be drawn on December 22, 2022.

Author Biography:

Barbara Lien-Cooper:

--grew up to become a guitarist/singer-songwriter

--got an album put out on the Imp label

--jumped in the fountain of youth one time (she looked down into the water and her glasses fell off so she had to get them back)

Park Cooper:

--got a Ph.D. in literature

--wrote a fantasy prose novel

--wrote a cyberpunk graphic novel

Barb and Park:

--met through a comic-book fanzine

--had a long-distance relationship

--got married

--co-wrote an online column about pop culture for a dozen years

--adapted and edited manga

--wrote comic books and graphic novels (one co-published by Marvel)

--wrote prose novels (and still do)

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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Dec 19, 2022

Thank you, Barb and Park, for sharing your book in our Indie Reads Bookish Event!

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