I am happy to feature Soul Mate author Lauren Linwood’s inspiring journey and her new release, Ballad Beauty.
I was a writer before I could even write words on a page. As an only child for several years, I learned how to entertain myself with my vivid imagination. I would gather my dolls and stuffed animals around me and create all kinds of stories, which my little friends would act out. That make believe-ing eventually led to being a writer today—though it was a long journey.
In seventh grade, my English teacher assigned us to write a short story. I tamped down my enthusiasm as my classmates grumbled, but I couldn’t wait to get home and start. I wrote a 25-page western. My hero Joshua Wade seemed more real to me than any person I’d ever met. In a twist of fate, many years later I met that same teacher at an RWA chapter meeting. She’d left teaching English and French to pursue her dream and had become a popular Harlequin romance author.
In the years since I’d seen her, I’d also become a teacher. I’d written my first novel in college (where it still rests high upon a shelf in my closet), and my goal was to teach by day and write by night.
That seemed impossible. That first year, I should’ve brought a sleeping bag to school and stayed overnight to save commute time. I lived, breathed, and dreamed of school. Between reinventing the wheel, lesson planning, meetings, grading, meetings, parent conferences, training seminars, and meetings? I had very little personal life beyond taking a moment to floss. I should’ve taken a crazy pill because I enrolled in grad school and added classes 2 nights a week on top of my teaching load. All of a sudden, I had papers to write and books to read and projects to do and tests to study for. Frankly, it was hard to find time to even eat! Then I threw into the mix meeting and dating my future husband. Sadly to say, writing went on a back burner for many years as we married, raised a family, and I acquired more and more responsibilities in my job as I sat on numerous committees, wrote curriculum, and attended workshops so I could train others.
But you know what? That burning desire to write never left. To tell my stories. To share the people inside my head. To feed that beast inside me who longed to get out. And I finally did something about it!
I found a couple of like-minded women who needed to fulfill that creative outlet. We formed a critique group, the most valuable step I ever took in learning how to be a writer. It eventually led to pitching to my future editor, Debby Gilbert of Soul Mate Publishing, at a conference. When she asked me to send her the entire manuscript, I could’ve floated from Houston back to Dallas. And then when she offered me a contract, I soared all the way to heaven. That book, Music For My Soul, was the birth of a new chapter in my life. It’s been followed by Outlaw Muse, A Game of Chance, Written in the Cards, A Bit of Heaven on Earth, and today’s release—Ballad Beauty.
I’m actually glad that it took this long to become a published author. The life experience I bring to the table adds to my writing in ways no 20-something could imagine. I’m older, a tad wiser, and can better manage my time to write. So here’s to staying with the dream, no matter how long it takes!
After ten years apart, Boston schoolmarm Jenny McShanahan receives a letter from her beloved father that instructs her to join him in Texas. She has no idea that he’s become Famous Sam McShan, the Robin Hood of the West. She arrives to find Sam already gone, but he left instructions for Jenny to hire a guide and rendezvous with him in Nevada.
Texas Ranger Noah Daniel Webster knows Sam personally because his father, Pistol Pete Webber, was Sam’s longtime partner in crime. When Pete is killed during their last big score, Noah requests the assignment to bring Sam to justice. Going undercover, he volunteers to act as Jenny’s escort across the dangerous prairie, using her to track her outlaw father’s location.
As they journey through rough country, love blossoms—but Noah knows the second he arrests Sam, his betrayal will kill Jenny’s love for him. Should the lawman do his duty as a Ranger, or should he let love rule? The choice Noah makes will change their lives forever.
Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Her romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grow into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love.
Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters addicts.
Where to find Lauren…