Playlist & Contest: Lauren Smith

Have you ever heard a song that just fills your mind with images? That’s how music is for me. I can be standing in a crowded mall and hear the faint strains of a song and it just captures me. I see things, scenes, characters, stories not yet told, as they unfurl like brightly colored flags in my mind.

Music is true inspiration. For every song you can dream up a thousand stories. Music enchants us, spellbinds us, weaves emotions and tones into a beautiful symphony that leaves us bewitched. Because this connection for me and music is so incredibly powerful, I make sure to create a playlist for every story I write. Some characters have their own theme music, some scenes have a particular song, or the hero and heroine together have a song or songs that help me channel the emotions and the plot points of the story. In other words, music is magic for a writer like me.

When I set out to write my Regency romance Wicked Designs, I knew I’d need a special blend of songs because the hero is dark and brooding, and the heroine, young and innocent, but feisty. Even the hero’s group of friends, the infamous League of Rogues for which Wicked Designs is the first book in the League of Rogues Series would all need songs.

So dear readers, settle back in your favorite armchair, with a cup of hot chocolate, your e-reader and your mp3 player and settle in for a great playlist!

The List:

1)      Bad Company by Bad Company– This is just a good ol’ fashion rock song that sums up the League of Rogues. Five powerful, handsome and wealthy lords who rule London and delight in wicked ways in the bedroom. Listening to this will make you want to know each of the rogues better and wonder about their mysterious past that brought them all together as friends.
2)      I Don’t Deserve You by Plumb– A haunting song that gives you chills when the music starts. It’s both beautiful and tragic and yet filled with a glimmer of hope. Perfect for my hero Godric, a tortured man with a dark past who thinks he’s unworthy of love.
3)      Elements (Orchestral Version) by Lindsey Stirling– This is a great energetic yet classical sounding string piece that will put you back a hundred years in time, but won’t leave you bored. I picture beautiful balls at Almacks and ladies dancing, perhaps a little too close with the gentlemen they adore.
4)      Dead in the Water by Ellie Goulding– What a great song, with a choir that makes you get goosebumps and a simple refrain that leaves you full of images of a woman in love. This is the perfect theme for my heroine Emily who is stuck with several difficult choices in her life after meeting Godric and the League of Rogues.
5)      You Can Go Your Own Way by Lissie– This is a cover of the classic rock song “You Can Go Your Own Way. Only I think I prefer Lissie’s version. It’s darker, more melodic and haunting, yet still sounds like the original version. It’s hard to really describe, except to say that I think everyone should check it out. It’s a great song for my couple Emily and Godric and how they view each other and their relationship whenever they hit a rough patch in the book.
6)      Feel Me by Mecca Kalani– Another amazing song that just transports you. There are so many parts in Wicked Designs where Emily and Godric get physically close and the chemistry between them ignites and this is the perfect song to set up the atmosphere.
7)      New York by Snow Patrol– A great song for the climax of the plot at the end of the book when Godric is racing to save’s Emily’s life. It’s deep, emotional and supercharged with subtle melodies.
8)      Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey– An anthem for my hero who is 32 and the heroine is only 18. Despite their difference in years, they find each other and love and realize they can make a go of life together. This song seems to capture the early worries and concerns that they both endure when trying to figure out if they can have a relationship and make it work between them.


* * * * *

Enjoy this excerpt from Wicked Designs:

Emily listened to the drum of retreating hooves and silently counted to one hundred. Her heart jolted in her chest as she considered what the men would do if they caught her. Highwaymen could be cruel and murderous, especially if their quarry offered little. She had no access to her father’s fortune, which left only her body.

Icy dread gripped Emily’s spine, paralyzing her limbs. She drew a breath as anxiety spiraled through her.

I must be brave. Fight them until I can fight no more. With trembling hands, she pushed at the roof of the seat, wincing as it popped open. Once she climbed out, she brushed dirt from her gown, noticing some tears from the rough wood on the inside of the seat. But the tears held no importance. All that mattered was survival.

Emily looked out the coach window. Nothing stood out in the darkness. Only the faint glimmer of moonlight touched the road with milky tendrils. Stars winked and flickered overhead, pale lights, distant and cold. A shudder wracked her frame, and Emily hugged herself, wanting so much to be at home. She missed her warm bed and her parents’ murmurs from down the hall. It was a comfort she’d taken for granted. But she couldn’t afford to think about them, not when she was in danger.

Were the men truly gone? Could it really be this easy?

She opened the coach door, and stepped down onto the dirt road. Strong arms locked about her waist and yanked her backward. The collision with a hard body knocked the breath from her lungs. Terror spiked her blood as she struggled against the arms that held her.

“Good evening, my darling,” a low voice murmured.

Emily screamed once, before she bit down on the hand that covered her mouth. She tasted the smooth leather of fine riding gloves.

The man roared and nearly dropped her. “Damn!”

Emily rammed an elbow backwards into her attacker’s stomach and began to wrestle free until he grabbed her arm. She swung about, striking him across the face with a balled fist. The man staggered back, leaving her free to dive inside the coach.

If she could get to the other side and run, she might stand a chance. She scrabbled towards the door, but never made it. The devil surged into the coach after her. Turning to face him, she was knocked flat onto her back.

She screamed again as his body settled over hers.

The dim moonlight revealed his bright eyes and strong features.

He caught her flailing wrists, pinning them above her head. “Quiet!”

Emily wanted to rake his eyes out, but the man was relentless. His hips ground against hers and panic drove her to a new level of terror. Her fears of being forcibly taken surfaced as his warm breath fanned over her face and neck. She shrieked, and he reared back away from her, as though the sound confused him.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” His voice vibrated with a low growl, ruining any promise his words might carry.

“You’re hurting me now!” She yanked her arms uselessly against his hold.

The man eased off her somewhat, and Emily took her chance. She tucked her knees up, and with all the power she could summon, she kicked. Her attacker stumbled out the open door and fell onto his back. Emily barely registered that he was winded before she turned and exited the other side of the coach.

The moment she emerged, another man lunged for her. To escape him, Emily fell back against the side of the coach. Rather than grab her, he held his arms wide to keep her from slipping by him, like he was corralling livestock.

“Easy, easy,” he purred.

Emily whipped her head to the left and pleaded with her mind to think, but the man she’d bitten rounded the corner and pounced, pinning her against the coach, his arms caging her in. His solid muscular body towered over her. His jaw clenched as though one move from her would trigger something dark and wild. Emily’s breath caught, and her heart pounded violently against her ribs.

The man was panting and angry. The intensity of his eyes mesmerized her, but the second he blinked, the spell broke and she fought with every bit of strength she could muster.

Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets—a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.

Check her out at You can follow her on Facebook at and on Twitter at @LSmithAuthor. Her blog is

Hope you all enjoyed the songs and get a chance to check out Wicked Designs!

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16 thoughts on “Playlist & Contest: Lauren Smith

  1. Donna June Cooper says:

    I love creating playlists for my books and seeing the lists other author’s create for theirs! What fun. When I read yours (it’s in my TBR pile, but close to the top!) I will go listen to snippets on Amazon so I have I idea what you heard in your head. Do you do a Pinterest board for your books with photos and such?

    Very cool. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. martha lawson says:

    No, I don’t but I love music. Have to have the radio or cd player going at all times!! This sounds like a really awesome book, putting it on my to buy list.

  3. Jeanne Miro says:

    Whenever anyone asks me what my favorite song is I’m taken back to 1965 when I was in High School and our class went to New York City to see Man of LaMancha which is adapted from Cervantes story Don Quixote. Growing up in the 1960’s I think we had a greater hope to grab onto our independence than are parents did and the thought of “dreaming the impossible dream” was something I wanted to achieve. It was the beginning of my search to find out what I wanted out of life and not what my parents expected me to do.

    That song solidified my feeling of living a life of my own making and making my own choices instead of that of my parents. I became a rebel and took my life in my own hands and over the past years have been thankful for realizing at a young age that you are the only one responsible for making life a success.

    All these years later I don’t regret any choices I’ve made some of which were good choices and some bad but from all of them I’ve learned important lessons and have a had a wonderful life filled with both joy and sadness and that all you have to do is to reach out and dream the impossible dream (and then work hard to make it happen!).

  4. Great play list! Some of my favorite songs and artists 🙂 Especially Lindsey Stirling – love that girl! I’m the same way when I write. Music is so inspiring! Rob Dougan and E.S. Posthumus are great mood setters for me 🙂 Wonderful book trailer as well, definitely adding this one to my TBR pile! 🙂

  5. Lesia Chambliss says:

    Three Times a Lady, by The Commodores. This is the song my husband chose as ours when we got engaged. It still holds a special place in my heart.

  6. Johnnie- Marie Howard, CMA says:

    It’s me and my husbands wedding song By Nickleback never going to be alone, I hear that and still get butterflies in my tummy!!!

  7. erinf1 says:

    I don’t have a specific song that “themes” me but I do enjoy music of almost any kind 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  8. It’s so fun to see authors’ playlists for their books. Often I find that most of the songs are ones I’m unfamiliar with, so I like to check them out. It’s a great way to get a feel for the characters and expand my music interests at the same time! I love music and it’s not unusual for me to hear a song and think of some of my favorite literary characters. I think I could probably take any song and relate it somehow to something from my life, lol. One song that always moves me is “Why” by Rascal Flatts. It’s about someone who committed suicide, which is how I lost my dad.

  9. Barbara Elness says:

    I love music, and there are songs that make me think of special times in my life, but I don’t have a specific song that I’ve chosen for special moments in my life.

  10. Kathy N says:

    I play Kelly Clarkson’ “Stonger” whenever I need encouragement. The words and the music inspire me.

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