Hello! This is Rowan Speedwell checking in with more stuff about life, the universe, and “Angel Voices,” the second edition of my Christmas story, out November 28th. Since it is the holiday season, what better way to celebrate than with a drawing for a $15 Riptide gift card? Here’s the catch—you can’t just comment randomly. No, you have to ask a question—one I can answer, no “what’s the airspeed velocity of a laden swallow” sort of thing. And no math. And keep it clean! I’ll answer you back and at the end of the blog tour do a drawing for the gift card from all the entries!
Angel Voices Singing
A lot of writers will post playlists of what music they were listening to while composing their magnum opus—the music that inspired them or defined their characters or worked with particular scenes. I don’t listen to music when I write; it’s too distracting, and writing is so hard I don’t need any more distractions! But frequently there is one song that informs a story, and Angel Voices has one.
Surprisingly, it’s not “O Holy Night,” although that song does make an appearance. And gives the story its title. No, it’s “How Can I Keep from Singing.” Specifically, the Enya version.
A lot of people think it’s an old Quaker or Shaker hymn, and it does sound like it, but it’s actually based on a poem published in 1868 in the New York Observer. Written by a “Pauline T.,” it was put to music and published a year later by Robert Lowry in a book of songs for Sunday School. Since then it’s been recorded by dozens of musicians.
In the 1950’s, in the midst of the reign of the House Un-American Activities Committee, it gained a couple of new verses by Doris Plenn. A friend of hers, the folk singer Pete Seeger, recorded the song with those verses, which spoke of tyrants trembling in fear, and friends imprisoned but undefiled by shame. (Seeger himself was sentenced to a year in jail by the Committee, but was released on a technicality.) He also revised some of the original religious phrasing, in favor of more inclusive, secular themes. Most of the later recordings were of his version of the song.
It’s still a profoundly spiritual song, though. With the vitriol of the recent election, it strikes a new and deep chord. And even though it’s not an official Christmas carol, it has the same themes—of faith, of love, of hope. So I felt it perfectly appropriate to add to the program for Quinn’s concert.
There are many beautiful versions of this song, but as I said, my inspiration came from Enya’s recording on her Shepherd Moons album. Haunting and ethereal, it’s well worth the listen.
Publisher ~ Riptide Publishing
Published ~ 28th November 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Rating ~ 3 Stars
One frigid winter night a week before Christmas, college student Will stumbles into a church during choir practice, bruised by his own father’s hands. He’s out of the closet now—there’s no going back since his fundamentalist father learned the truth—but he’s also out of a home, a family, and a future. Will has nowhere to turn. No one to care.
Except . . . Will’s roommate, Quinn, cares. Maybe too much. He’s been attracted to Will since they moved in together, but never dreamed his crush was gay. With Will’s life in pieces, Quinn doesn’t want to push. He also knows he has more experience than Will, who’s never even been kissed.
Then Will’s father makes a reappearance, and Will has to learn to trust his heart more than the voices of his past. But it’s the season of miracles, faith, and hope, and Quinn is determined to teach Will how to love and be loved.
Meet Rowan Speedwell
An unrepentant biblioholic, Rowan Speedwell spends half her time pretending to be a law librarian, half her time pretending to be a database manager, half her time pretending to be a fifteenth-century Aragonese noblewoman, half her time . . . wait a minute . . . Hmm. Well, one thing she doesn’t pretend to be is good at math. She is good at pretending, though.
In her copious spare time (hah) she does needlework, calligraphy and illumination, and makes jewelry. She has a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago, is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and lives in a Chicago suburb with the obligatory Writer’s Cat and way too many books.
To celebrate the release of Angel Voices, one lucky winner will receive $15 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with a thoughtful question and your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 3, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!