I’m guest blogging throughout Sunday, June 2, in the Goddess Fish Party Pavilion. For my blog readers, I’ve combined all 5 of those posts into 1 so you can see what I talked about at the party today. It’s mainly to help kick off my blog tour June 10-14 for my first book, MUSIC FOR MY SOUL. You learn a little about me and get to read some excerpts from this medieval historical romance. Hope you enjoy these posts all lumped into a group!
Goddess Fish Party Pavilion Blog #1: Debut Author Lauren Linwood and MUSIC FOR MY SOUL
A huge thanks to Goddess Fish for inviting me to their Party Pavilion this first Sunday in June.
Being here, I feel a little like Cinderella did when she went to the ball – eyes wide open in awe, totally nervous and terribly excited, and ready for a good time.
Ella (Some versions of the fairy tale call her that, and her wicked step-sisters called her Cinder Ella for having to clean the ashes in the fireplace) is experiencing a new world. She’s thrilled to be there and yet not quite sure of her place in it.
I’m a debut historical romance author with Soul Mate Publishing, coming to the party for the very first time, and I’m learning the way as I go. I’ve launched a website. Start writing a blog. Put up a Facebook page and have learned the fine art of tweeting. I’ve found there’s so much more to writing than just being creative. There’s a whole business side to consider – and I have to watch carefully so that side of things doesn’t suck the life out of me.
But I’m eager and ready to learn. I’m here in the GF Party Pavilion to get to know you, dear readers, and let you learn a little about me and my first published book. I’ll be back throughout the day telling you bits and pieces about myself and Music for my Soul, a medieval historical romance.
Here’s a blurb to start the party off:
As the third wife of an abusive French vineyard owner, Madeleine Bouchard hasn’t produced the expected heir after three years of marriage. Fearing he plans to kill her, she flees during a trip to England. Unable to make her way home, she joins a troupe of traveling mummers and reinvents herself as the only woman troubadour in the land, captivating audiences with both song and story.
Nobleman Garrett Montayne’s fascination with Madeleine causes him to pay the troupe to bypass their next stop in order to journey to his estate. Though he suspects Madeleine of being a thief with dark secrets, love blossoms between them under the magical moon of summer solstice.
But Madeleine’s past is about to catch up with her, as her husband is set to arrive to conduct business with Garrett. Madeleine determines to free herself from her loveless marriage and make a new life with Garrett, no matter what the cost.
Music for my Soul is a Kindle Select novel available through Amazon at:
Goddess Fish Party Pavilion Blog #2: House Hunters Addict, Lover of Dark Chocolate, and Debut Author of MUSIC FOR MY SOUL
Welcome back to the Party Pavilion, dear readers! I promised to tell you a little about myself in the previous post, so here goes:
I don’t know what I’m addicted to more – dark chocolate or House Hunters! I love long walks, animals, and reading People magazine. I’m most comfortable in jeans, love to travel, and enjoy pedicures and listening to music. I taught history for many years and currently live in a Dallas suburb with my family.
My debut medieval historical romance is entitled Music for my Soul. It’s the story of Madeleine Bouchard, the only woman troubadour in all of England, and Lord Garrett Montayne, the nobleman who falls for her – despite the fact that he thinks she’s a thief!
Here’s an excerpt from it:
Madeleine knew with certainty that the nobleman would recognize her. They spent too much time together in one another’s company for him not to know her upon first sight.
Madeleine groaned aloud. Where Sir Ashby was, she was positive his friend, the brooding Lord Montayne, would soon appear. She did not care to see that one face to face, especially since he had been so angry at her when they parted.
She decided to skirt around the crowd and make her way back to the performance area. She would plead a sore throat and have Farley allow her to take York’s place in the play. York was a decent lute player, though not much of a singer. Still, he could perform before and between their scenes while Madeleine could be in plain sight of all, disguised by the heavy costume and mask York wore.
She moved stealthily through the throng, hoping she would avoid attention. Just as she thought she’d made her way unseen, she heard shouts headed her way.
“Stop, thief! Stop!”
The cutpurse ran by her swiftly, throwing a cursory glance over his shoulder. She despised people who preyed upon others’ misfortune, and she was ready to see this shabby scoundrel caught. Madeleine stepped out, ready to give chase after the fellow when she was blind-sided, being thrown to the ground, the wind knocked from her.
She rolled into a ball, her arms instinctively wrapping around her in a protective mode. She had spent many a time lying on the floor after one of Henri’s swift punches to her stomach. She knew she must guard her ribs at all costs. Oh, God, it hurt so much when one broke. Please, not again. Not again.
A hand, firm but reassuring, touched her shoulder. A voice came through the fog rolling through her brain. It wasn’t Henri! She half-laughed, half-gasped, as she opened her limbs and came to lie on her back. She even reached into her pocket and stroked Henri the pebble, validating that she was alive and unharmed.
Yet who had attacked her? She looked up into the blinding summer sun but could not see who stood above her. Then the shadow moved, covering her face from the harsh light.
“Why if ‘tis not Lady Montayne,” said a familiar voice. “And where the hell is my favorite cloak?”
Goddess Fish Party Pavilion Blog #3: Great Characters + Great Plots = A Terrific Read!
Lauren Linwood here, back again at the GF Party Pavilion with you. I promised to share more about myself so you can learn more about me, dear readers. I’d also love to hear from you, as well!
I’m a romance author who frequently reads outside her genre. I reading everything from romance to mystery & suspense, thrillers, biographies, horror, YA, and women’s fiction – and I’m sure I left something out from that list. To me, good writing consists of captivating plots and interesting characters – no matter what the genre. I find this in a variety of authors from Lee Child to Harlan Coben to Stephen King and Victoria Thompson.
I feel the same way about movies. If a story is compelling and I find the characters believable and interesting, then I don’t care if it’s action/adventure, a romantic comedy, or sci-fi. I want to be entertained. I want to laugh and cry, be scared out of my wits, wonder, dream, and think. I enjoy sweeping sagas such as Titanic or Braveheart as much as a thought-provoker like The Usual Suspects or Memento. I’m a sucker for Notting Hill, while I love a fun movie such as Adventures in Babysitting or a popcorn movie like Independence Day.
The same holds true for television. I think TV is doing remarkable work, even better than movies in many respects. I’m enthralled by Game of Thrones each week, wondering how HBO does such quality work with a huge cast and far-flung locations. My tastes are very eclectic. I enjoy everything from Downton Abbey to The Walking Dead to MasterChef and Survivor.
Enough about me. I want to share a little more about Music for my Soul with you. It’s my debut medieval historical romance from Soul Mate Publishing and a Kindle Select available from Amazon at:
Here’s another excerpt for you:
Garrett peered into the angry face of the woman who haunted his dreams by night and left him absent-minded by day. Their encounter had been brief, but he doubted he had ever met a more remarkable woman. Not even his petite Lynnette had brought such a sweet longing to his loins as did the bewitching creature before him.
Her honeyed hair, loosened from its intricate braid, curled around her shoulders. Tiny beads of sweat had formed just above her upper lip. Without thinking, Garrett reached his thumb towards her and wiped it away. She flinched slightly, her dark, amethyst eyes glowering up at him.
Garrett smiled in spite of himself, offering her a hand to pull her to her feet. He had forgotten how very tall she was as she stared at him, her cheeks flushed with anger.
“Perhaps we could arrange a trade?” he suggested.
She eyed him suspiciously. “I’m not sure if I could trust you, my lord,” she countered.
“Trust me?” he sputtered. “This, from the woman who traipsed about the countryside claiming to be my wife?”
She shrugged nonchalantly, an almost Gallic air about her. She didn’t sound French, but there was an unmistakable manner to her movement. Garrett spent enough time in France to recognize the behavior. However, when she spoke, he quickly put it from his mind.
“I chose a bloody awful name to scare away anyone who accosted me on the road! How was I to know I’d run into you?” She snorted in an unladylike fashion. “I had heard tales of the wicked Lord Montayne, how he frightened old and young alike and gobbled up babes for his dinner. Why, the very mention of his name would cause grown men to plead for their lives and their loved ones. Oh, no, my lord, I was an honest liar. You were the one who resorted to trickery and hid your true identity from me.”
Her accusation so startled Garrett his jaw flew open. No sound came out for a moment. The woman lifted her chin high and turned on her heel. That brought Garrett into motion.
He grabbed her elbow and pulled her around to face him. “Not so fast, my lady.” He studied her a second. Her eyes narrowed at him, but she remained silent. Finally faced with her visage square in front of him, Garrett was at a loss of what to do. His emotions swirled out of control as he spoke.
“’Tis curiosity,” he sputtered.
She looked puzzled. “Curiosity?” she echoed.
He nodded, his words spilling forth rapidly. “I know not who you are, nor where you come from. I’ve dreamed of you since that night only to awaken to an emptiness.” His voice became low and tinged with sadness. “I don’t even know your name.”
Goddess Fish Party Pavilion Blog #4: Do You Really Have To Be So Mean To Your Characters? Well, Yes!
One of the hardest things about writing is causing problems and hurting my characters – physically, mentally, and emotionally. These are my people and I love them! But as a romance writer, I understand that I can’t write all about happiness and hearts and rainbows … because that’s not really interesting to you, dear readers. I need to take you on a magnificent journey, with a full showcase of emotions and difficulties along the way. The more awful I am to my characters – the worse the mess I can place them in – the more readers will enjoy seeing them figure out how to solve their problems and remove all the obstacles.
In my medieval historical romance Music for my Soul, Madeleine Bouchard and Lord Garrett Montayne have problems. Make that PROBLEMS! And SECRETS. Despite everything, these two fall in love, but they face many obstacles before they get their happily ever after ending. In this excerpt, Garrett declares his love for Madeleine:
Garrett loomed over her, his eyes intense, willing her to keep looking at him, only at him, and nothing else.
“I love you,” he repeated softly and brought his mouth down on hers. His grip tightened on her shoulders as he brought her closer to him.
Madeleine had thought their kiss on the rock in the meadow was earth shattering, but this one went even farther. The other had started gently and built, while this one began possessively and became more so. She could feel the passion pouring from Garrett into her, and she responded to his call. His assault on her mouth was rough and tender at the same time, savage yet sweet. It came in wave after wave, as an invading army would, never letting up. She couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t imagine being anywhere else except in his arms. How could something so wrong feel so right?
He finally pulled away from her slightly, and she moved instinctively toward him. He chuckled, a low, soft laugh, one that held satisfaction even as his eyes held triumph.
“You will not enter a convent, Madeleine.” He cupped her face in his strong hands.
You were made to be loved…by me alone.” He kissed her again, this time a sweet, tender kiss, sealing his pledge to her.
”I’ve never loved another, Madeleine,” he said, his voice raw with emotion. “Never.”
Her tears fell at his words and before she thought, she replied, “I love you, Garrett, with all my heart.”
“And never another man?” he asked, his tone serious.
She shook her head. “Nay, no other.”
“You are happy with me?” he asked, hesitation in his voice. “I do have a certain reputation for coldness.”
Madeleine smiled at him. “You are never cold with me, my lord.” She cocked her head to one side. “Arrogant. Argumentative. Hard-headed perhaps, but never cold.”
Garrett laughed at her words. “You do bring out the best in me.”
She found voice for her brave words, though they rang hollow in her ears.
“I am damaged goods, Garrett, a poor troubadour with a limp. I have a regretful past and no future, nothing to offer you. I cannot accept your love.”
The gleam in his eye scared her. Madeleine saw her words only challenged him. He would be resolute in his quest for her. He moved towards her, but she placed her
hand upon his chest.
“No more kisses,” she told him.
“Not after this one,” he said and reached for her one more time.
Music for my Soul is a Kindle Select novel available through Amazon at:
Goddess Fish Party Pavilion Blog #5: Turn Out the Lights … The Pavilion’s Closed
For my last blog in the GF Party Pavilion today, I’d like to share with you a blog I wrote on May 15, the day that my debut medieval historical romance Music for my Soul was released. I hope that you enjoyed the three excerpts from my novel that I shared with you today and that you’ll come visit my website – www.laurenlinwood.com.
I’m pleased to share that I have two more novels coming soon from Soul Mate Publishing. Both are western historical romances set in the 1870s. Outlaw Muse will come out in October, while A Game of Chance will be released in January of 2014.
My blog, Write Up My Alley, can be found at: https://laurenlinwood.wordpress.com/. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Remember that Music for my Soul is a Kindle Select novel available through Amazon at:
And here’s my most personal of all my posts today – The Five Best Days of My Life:
Mitch Albom released a book about the five people you meet in heaven, which became a best seller that was also turned into a TV movie. Because today is a special day for me, I’ve turned that thought into the five best days of my life.
My first best day occurred when I was five years old and got to start elementary school. I had my brown paper sack (the go-to before backpacks) full of school supplies. I’d smelled the manila paper and practiced holding the gigantic blue pencils for weeks. I was proud of my shiny new lunchbox. I couldn’t wait for the adventure of school to begin. That first day was scary yet so exciting. It taught me to look forward to every first day of school, from those as a student to all the ones I experienced as a teacher. The first day of school still remains close to my heart today.
A second best day would be when I graduated from college. I was the first in my family to accomplish this, and I combined my love of history with my love of learning and earned a bachelors degree in secondary education. I remember wearing that gown and mortarboard with pride, knowing that day culminated my college years and my degree enabled me to pursue my dream of becoming a history teacher.
For my third best day, I would choose my wedding day. I wasn’t one of those little girls who planned out every detail of her wedding, from the dresses to the flowers to the napkin colors. I just knew that one day a special man would come into my life-and he did. That wedding day when we pledged our love to each other, through good and bad times, in front of God and family and friends still remains dear to my heart.
No question what the fourth best day is. Hands down it’s the day I gave birth to my daughter. My doctor told me my due date was March 20, and it thrilled me because that was my dad’s birthday, and this would be his first grandchild. Dr. J warned me that first babies were either notoriously early or late, rarely born on their due date. I gave him a smile and just knew she would come right on schedule. Maybe I willed my water to break, but after seventeen hours in labor on March 20, she made her appearance. There’s nothing like that first glimpse of your child. A fierce, protective love washes over a mother, making this a landmark day.
All these days remain etched in my memory, and I have the pleasure of adding May 15 as my fifth best day ever. Today I start a new chapter in my life as a published author. MUSIC FOR MY SOUL is my debut historical romance. What a thrill it’s been to see this story come alive, first in my head, then through my fingers as I typed away, to a cover that is tender and sensual, and finally seeing it available for purchase on Amazon. Today I join the rank of authors-men and women who had a vision and saw it through.
Today others beyond my critique group will have the chance to get to know Garrett Montayne, an unhappy lord in medieval England, who has a chance meeting with a beautiful stranger one night on the road to London. He rescues her and agrees to help her safely reach her destination, only to be shocked when she reveals she is Lady Montayne. Garrett is intrigued why she would claim to be his wife and can’t wait for what happens when they arrive in London.
Madeleine Bouchard is resilient and resourceful, and she gives Garrett the slip before he can call her out on her deception. She discovers his true identity and hopes she never meets Lord Montayne again. Naturally, these two do come together, falling in love under the honey moon of summer solstice, but complications abound.
Writing MUSIC FOR MY SOUL was as much about the journey as arriving at the destination of publication. It’s been fun and challenging creating a website, starting a blog, tweeting, and getting to know future readers through Facebook. I’m fortunate that Soul Mate Publishing has already purchased OUTLAW MUSE, a Western historical romance that will come out near the end of 2013, and A GAME OF CHANCE, to be released in 2014. I hope that I have many more release dates to come in my future as an author.
But today, this first release day, is a sweet one for me. It’s definitely the fifth best day of