Thursday, December 01, 2016

Blog Tour: Angel Voices by Rowan Speedwell with Guest Post and Giveaway

AVWe are delighted to have Rowan Speedwell with us today, to celebrate the release of Angel Voices. Go check it out and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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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.


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Angel Voices

Rowan Speedwell


Publisher ~ Riptide Publishing

Published ~ 28th November 2016

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance

Rating ~ 3 Stars

::: MARK’S REVIEW ::: 

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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.

Purchase Links

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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.


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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!


  1. Thank you for the music lesson! I'm not at all great with remembering song titles, so I'm not sure if I've heard this one. I'll have to look it up. You don't have a playlist, but has any reader ever let you know about a song they associate with one of your stories?

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

    1. Not so far! Hmm...
      And please, take a listen to the song - it's beautiful

  2. Thank you for the interesting post! I did not know that song, so I'll check it now on the internet. My question for you is what is your favourite food treat? (you see, it is almost lunch time in my country and I'm starving...)

    1. If I'm in the mood for salty, it's popcorn. For sweet - licorice allsorts! I'm one of those weird people for whom chocolate is not the favorite. I loooove licorice.

  3. Favorite love scene in a movie?


    1. It's not really a love scene, but at the end of Latter Days, when Aaron walks into the restaurant where Christian works, after Christian thinks he's dead, and Christian drops the tray when he sees him. Chokes me up every time. I sometimes rewind and replay that scene over again!

  4. Have you ever seen Enya in concert?
    Years ago her sister, Moya Brennan, performed in a local red sandstone cathedral - very atmospheric!

    1. No, I haven't - but she would be worth it!

  5. I love that cover!

  6. Looks good. Do you have any favorite holiday movies?

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    1. White Christmas and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Hm. Interesting pair...

  7. Thanks for the interesting post about the song inspiration. I am almost done with Angel Voice and am enjoying it so far.

    What is your favorite type of music to listen to (when you are not writing)?


    1. I always say I haven't listened to pop music since 1985, but I'm a huge fan of soundtracks. Shrek 2, Words and Music, and the Music Man are favorites.

  8. I love the Shepherd Moon album! My question is who are some of your favorite musical artists?

    1. Besides Enya? :) U2 (the old stuff), Springsteen (the old stuff), the Beatles, Huey Lewis and the News (the old stuff--wait, I guess it's all old stuff for them...). Pretty much old stuff!

  9. Thank you for the post in music you love, do you make it a compulsion to go and see your favorite artist on a concert or two or more? Or - if you avoid crowd as much as I did - just stick to their album and live concert dvd? ;-)
    puspitorinid AT yahoo DOT com

    1. I'm claustrophobic in crowds (crowdstrophobic?) so I avoid concerts. You can't see anything and half the time you can't hear anything either! So I stick to CD's, most of which I listen to in my car until I wear them out or have memorized the lyrics to every song on the album.

  10. I love the title. It invokes many images.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  11. I looked it up on You Tube. Beautiful.

    Question: What's your sign? :-)

  12. What's your favourite board game?


    1. Well... for years it was Trivial Pursuit because I could pretty much mop the floor with my opponents (I have a weird memory for trivia). But my evil half LOOOOVES Cards Against Humanity, which isn't really a board game but... If we're sticking to real board games, my second favorite is Clue.

  13. Oh, I LOVE Enya's "How To Keep From Singing". Okay, you avoid concerts, just like me, but if you can attend a private concert, like only handful of people within a living room, which singer/musician do you choose to watch?


  14. I see in one of your comments some of the musical artists you enjoy. Do you use Spotify? My son got me hooked on it. Love that I can find just about any artist I want to listen to on there.

  15. Lovely song (I just listened to it for the first time)!
    What is your favorite holiday?

    foebz (AT) hotmail (DOT) com