Giveaway + Blog Tour: Insight (The Community #1) by Santino Hassell

The Insight Tour is here today and Santino Hassell brought a playlist to get you in the mood. See our Insight review here! Be sure to enter to win a $20 Riptide credit too! See details on how to enter below.

INSIGHT Road Trip Playlist

When I first began planning INSIGHT, one of the first scenes that came to mind was the main character, Nate Black, trying to hitch a ride on the side of the road. Then a guy in a matte black Chevy Nova pulls over as rock music pours out the window.

Those details were really specific, but it was the music I focused on. One of the key parts of that scene is that Nate is scared, he’s running from family secrets he just discovered, he just lost his brother, and he feels alone in the world. He’s also an empath, so he can literally feel the negativity around him. He doesn’t know who to trust. Unsurprisingly, this has led to him being terrified of hitching a ride… but it’s the sound of a song he loves that makes him think: “Maybe this is a sign. Maybe this time it will be all right.”

Nate and Trent end up driving across the country together, and in the early hours of their drive it’s music that breaks the ice between them. They share a love of classic rock, grunge and alternative, and J-Rock. They go from being strangers to two men alone on the open road with nothing but each other and the music to keep them company. They forge a deep bond in those few days, and music is what started it so here’s their road trip playlist.

The music that immediately brings Trent and Nate together is Japanese rock music. Let’s be real, you don’t expect to stumble upon another guy with a devoted love to J-Rock when you’re hitchhiking, but the first thing Nate hears from Trent’s car is a Dir en Grey song. Songs from Dir en Grey and X-Japan make appearances during their road trip.

Team Sleep – Ever
This song is very dreamy and melodic, and it’s about meeting someone who is different than anyone you’ve ever met. Someone who makes the world look new. I picture Nate listening to it as he sneaks glances at Trent as they drive.

Foo Fighters – Everlong
The connection between Nate and Trent is fast and strong. When they touch, Nate feels these amazing vibes that wash away the negativity and bleakness he’s used to. He can’t believe it’s real, or that someone like Trent is really attracted to him, and he’s afraid of their connection but he doesn’t want it to end. This song really speaks to his feelings about their relationship.

Blind Melon – No Rain
This song is so quirky and reminiscent of 90s grunge. It’s about not fitting in, and trying to lose yourself in a fantasy because your reality is less than stellar. Everything about it hits close to home for both Trent and Nate, but especially Nate. Neither of them quite fit in anywhere, but Nate has always felt like the odd man out. Part of his character development is finding himself and his place in this whole new world he stumbles upon once he gets to New York.

The Rolling Stones – Paint It, Black
This song is dark and about loss, but that’s why it’s special to Trent. He lost his mother very young, and he his love for classic rock came from her. When he goes on his summer road trips, he always plays liberal amounts of The Rolling Stones, Kansas, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
You can listen to more on the full playlist.

YouTube Link

About Insight

Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate. 

Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.

Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.

About Santino Hassell

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of LGBT fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

To celebrate the release of Insight, one lucky winner will receive $20 in Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 18, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


  1. Congrats and thanks for the road trip playlist (Foo Fighters are a fav). The book sounds great, and I love gay mysteries and paranormal romances. Like Nate, I'm a transplanted Texan and root for the outcast/underdog as well. The only problem, more often than not, the underdog loses, but when he wins, yay! - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  2. Very quirky, cool playlist!


  3. Interesting pick in music. I use to listen to so much Jrock but not as much anymore. Thanks for sharing the playlist.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  4. Thanks for sharing the playlist!

  5. V. cool playlist! I really dug that both Nate and Trent were Jrock fans. :)

    Mazingergirlie (at) gmail (dot) com

  6. I'm showing my age here but I've never even heard of J-rock, and I was a headbanger back in the day, lol. Just subscribed to your YouTube channel so maybe I'll learn a thing or two. Having fun with your blog tour, thanks!

  7. Thank you for sharing the playlist. Had to go to Itunes to listen to some of these. Might've made some purchases.

  8. Thanks for sharing the playlist! violet817(at)aol(dot)com

  9. Some great songs you have there, Santino! Thank you for sharing them with us, and congratulations on the release