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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halloween Trial of Linda Banche

From deep in the woods, a coyote howls, its piercing wail slicing through the pumpkin patch. A black cat hisses, its back arched and rigid. Leaves rustle as the brisk fall air swooshes through the willowy pines surrounding the haunted house. Dare Linda Banche enter the manor on the hill where she has been summoned by Officer Oliver? A shiver hurls through her when she spies the spiked fence surrounding the fortress. Bats circle the steeple of the bell tower, flapping their wings as they soar toward the manor, screeching.

When she hears footsteps behind her, racing through the pumpkin patch, manic laughter echoing through the forest, she bolts up the rickety steps and bangs at the door, heart in her throat.
With a hissing creak, the door swings open and Officer Oliver stands there, razor sharp sword strapped to his hip. He grins, his eyes glazing over.

“Who be knocking at me chamber door? Why it’s Linda Banche, the Pumpkinnapper. This way, dearie.”

Oliver handcuffs her as he escorts her to where the Queen of Hearts sits on her nail-back throne. Dank air snakes through the long dark corridor to the parlor. The pet bat screeches and the floorboards creak. Skeletal remains bang at the walls, their chains rattling. From the parlor, the organ grinds out Humphrey the Blue-nosed Pumpkin.

Sharon: That will be all, Officer Oliver. Now while I decide if Ms. Banche is indeed the pumkinnapper, bring us some Diet Pepsi and Devil Dogs. Then the room goes dark as the facts about Linda Banche and the Pumpkinnapper illuminate on the screen.

Linda Banche writes sweet/sensual Regency romances. Her historically accurate stories include humor (most of the time), fantasy (sometimes) and the paranormal (once in a while).

Linda read romances for years before she finally decided to write her own. She quickly found out it's harder than it looks. She lives in New England and likes aerobics and ducks.

Pumpkinnapper, Regency Halloween comedy
Buy link:

Pumpkin thieves, a youthful love rekindled and a jealous goose. Oh my!

Last night someone tried to steal the widowed Mrs. Emily Metcalfe's pumpkins. She's certain the culprit is her old childhood nemesis and the secret love of her youth, Henry, nicknamed Hank, whom she hasn't seen in ten years.

Henry, Baron Grey, who's never forgotten the girl he loved but couldn’t pursue so long ago, decides to catch Emily's would-be thief. Even after she reveals his childhood nickname--the one he would rather forget. And even after her jealous pet goose bites him in an embarrassing place.

Oh, the things a man does for love.


"Emily, even with Henry, formidable as he is--" Hank glared at the goose. The goose glared back "--you need protection. I will send over some footmen to guard the place."

"No. Turnip Cottage belongs to Charlotte's husband. What will the townspeople think, with Lord Grey's servants about my house?"

Her refusal increased his fury. The sight of her hand on that damned goose's head didn't improve his mood, either. He balled his fists as his patience thinned and something else thickened. "I'll find you a guard dog. You must have some protection out here all alone."

"But I have Henry." She patted the goose's head and the bird snuggled into her hand.

Again Heat flooded Hank, part desire for Emily's touch, and part desire to murder that damned goose, who was where he wanted to be. His insides groaned. "Very well, then, you leave me no choice. I will help you catch the culprits.

"But--" He changed his voice to the voice that either melted a woman or earned him a slap in the face. "Who knows, mayhap we would enjoy ourselves as I lie in wait with you." I would love to lie with you.

Her eyes widened. Had she understood the innuendo? "I cannot stay alone with you, and you know it," she said, her voice severe.

"You are a widow in your own home and no one will see. I will make sure of it."

"No." She marched back into her cottage and slammed the door. Henry smirked and waddled away.

Hank grinned. He would be back, whether she liked it or not.

Linda Banche
Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal
Lady of the Stars--4 stars from Romantic Times, Regency time travel available from The Wild Rose Press
Pumpkinnapper--Regency Halloween comedy from The Wild Rose Press
Website Blog Myspace Facebook Twitter

Officer Oliver places down the refreshments and takes a seat, his searing gaze penetrating.

Sharon: Hmmm. And tell me, Ms. Banche. How do you plead to this crime? Are you the Pumpkinnapper? And don’t lie because the inmates have sixth senses from beyond the other side.

A blood curdling scream shakes the chandelier and rattles the windows.

Sharon: That one lied. So how do you plead?

Linda: Innocent! I love pumpkins! I would never steal one.

Sharon: And what prompted you to write this book?

Linda: Pumpkinnapper is the byproduct of a Halloween story I planned for an anthology. As I sifted through Halloween legends for the first story, the idea for Pumpkinnapper popped into my head. A real Eureka moment. The original story, which is the prequel to Pumpkinnapper, is still in my Ideas folder.

Sharon: Tell us about your main characters, the setting, the aura of the book.

Linda: Pumpkinnapper is the story of a love triangle: man, woman and goose. Emily lives in the countryside of Regency England with her pet goose, Henry. Everything is peaceful until the Pumpkinnaper shows up. Enter Hank, who wants to help, much to Henry's chagrin. The goose isn't about to let this outsider win Emily without a fight, and bites Hank on an embarrassing portion of his anatomy. Meanwhile, the dread Pumpkinnapper, who has an agenda of his own, keeps trying to steal Emily's pumpkins. Hank and Henry trip over each other in their efforts to catch him, a regular comedy of errors.

Sharon: You look a bit faint. And we need to hear all the facts before deciding your fate. Officer Oliver, go get that lemon cake to revive our inmate. Sharon glances at the raven clock. And once the clock strikes the witching hour, your fate will be decided.

Linda gulps as Oliver feeds her a bite of lemon cake.

Sharon: Just time for a few more questions. What inspired you to write a story about somebody stealing pumpkins? Was this some secret fetish of yours, to nap pumpkins?

Linda: Fetish? What fetish? I'm so straight I'm boring. I would never steal a pumpkin. But, every story needs a villain, and the most dastardly of Halloween villains is a pumpkin thief.

Sharon: And what is your favorite costume for both male and female?

Linda: Why, Regency, of course. Ladies in high waisted dresses, and men in tight breeches and ruffled shirts. But only if they look good.

Sharon: And finally, will you be handing out tricks or treats to the wee ones this Halloween?

Linda: Oh yes, I always hand out candy. No tricks, only treats.

Sharon: Opens her mouth to speak but the raven screeches as the bell tower chimes in the witching hour.

Oliver slams down his fist on the coffin table. “Order in the Chamber.”

Sharon: Stand up, Ms. Banche. How do you plea?

Linda: Not guilty.

Sharon: We the people find you guilty of being the Pumpkinnapper. Officer, take her away!

Linda: No, no! I want an appeal! The Pumpkinnapper is still out there, stealing pumpkins!

Officer Oliver grins a wolfish grin as he snaps the handcuffs around Linda and leads her into the void.


Sharon Donovan said...

Welcome, Linda! What a captivating read for this time of year to get us in the spirit of Halloween. Now in real life, Linda would never dream of being a pumpkinnapper. And in her book, well you'll just have to buy it to find out who the culprit is. So sit back and relax while we wait for guests to come chat. And here comes Officer Oliver with your favorite treats. Are you ready for Halloween, Linda?

Dayana said...

Evening, Sharon and Linda. Linda, I promise I'll visit you in the dungeon. We'll find a way to get you out. We'll prove your innocence.

Be reasonable, Oliver. Oh! I've never seen this side of you...

Sharon, we both know Linda didn't do it. Can we go over the facts once more?

Linda, your book sounds charming. Ladies, wonderful interview.


Margaret Tanner said...

Good evening Linda and Sharon,
Ooh Sharon that introduction was scary, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Pumpkinnapper sounds like a great read Linda, especially at Holloween time. Hope you don't have to spend too much time in the dungeon.
And how's my hunky friend Oliver doing? That man has so many facets to his peronality, I can hardly keep up with them all.


Sharon Donovan said...

Hmmmm. So you think Linda is innocent, do you, Dayana? Perhaps you are the real pumpkinnapper? Officer Oliver is going to have a full dungeon of inmates if this keeps up...

Sharon Donovan said...

Margaret, yes Oliver wears many hats but he wears them so well! Glad the introduction had your skin prickling! Linda will be along shortly to chat about the Pumpkinnapper.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Linda and Sharon, great post.

Wow,Linda, this looks like a great story, and I love the cover. Oh dear, I hope your innocence is proved soon and Oliver lets you go - although on second thoughts I imagine being led away by Oliver might not be so bad...

P.L. Parker said...

Punished by Oliver - hmmmmm. Is there a line we stand in? Perfect book for those scary Halloween nights. Good luck on sales.


Sharon Donovan said...

Welcome to the trial, Lyn and Patsy. Officer Oliver has pots of coffee and tea and platters of chocolates and brownes to munch on whilst we wait for the inmate.

Linda Banche said...

And here I am, none the worst for wear!

Everybody, thank you for your kind words.

Sharon, thanks for having me. Oh, yes, I'm ready for Halloween. The pumpkins are out, and I already have Halloween candy. Now I have to hide it so I won't eat it all before the big day.

Hi Dayana, I would enjoy some company. Although Oliver keeps a nice dungeon. I guess, once a butler, always a butler.

Margaret, I thought the skit was a great idea for a blog post, too. Sharon did a great job with it. All I had to do was answer the questions.

Lyn, thanks for coming over. You're right, being in this dungeon isn't half bad.

P.L., you're right about being in the dungeon with Oliver. Every dark cloud has a silver lining!

KatieO said...

What a fun blog post ! Thanks for sharing the excerpt and getting us in the mood for Halloween. Your book sounds wonderful!

Hope you and Oliver had fun in the dungeon...

Sharon Donovan said...

Grinning and winking wildly, Oliver brings Linda her favorite drink, an icy Diet Coke and a plate of Devil Dogs and a huge slice of lemon cake. He lets her out of her cell to eat and being the gentleman he is, gives her a back massage.

Lindsay Townsend said...

That's a super post, Sharon and Linda - not forgetting officer Oliver!

Linda Banche said...

Hi Katie and Lindsay, thanks.

Sharon, that's quite a butler you have. Whoever thought being in a dungeon could be this good?

Julie Robinson said...

Wow, Sharon, you have been busy this past month!!!
I've got a lot of catching up to do, but wanted to pop in and say hello to you and your guest.

Linda, I enjoyed hearing about your book, and all I can say is "Enjoy your captivity!"

Julie Robinson said...

Sharon, I 'd have pled Linda's case for her, but it sounds to me like she wouldn't mind taking a little trip back down to the dungeon with the officer in charge.

Sharon Donovan said...

Welcome to the dungeon, Katie, Lindsay and Julie! Yes, it would appear as Linda our Pumpkinnapper has it pretty darn good. Help yourselves to refreshments while we chat with Linda.

Keena Kincaid said...

Diet Pepsi and devil dogs are an unique interrogation technique, Linda. I love it. Fabulous interview and excerpts.

Linda Banche said...

Julie, thanks for you kind wishes. Today certainly turned out to be much better than I expected.

Sharon, I still maintain I'm not the Pumpkinnapper, but I can live with the accusation. I wonder why.

Hi Keena,
Yes, diet Pepsi and Devil Dogs. And Oliver. What a way to go. **grins**

Julie Robinson said...

Why thank you, don't mind if I do.
Hey wait, have Oliver and Linda disappeared again?
Geez, guess I'll just have to serve myself.

Sharon Donovan said...

Well, Linda. Hmmm. You still want to stick to the not guilty plea, do you? The skeletons rattle from inside the walls and a woman screams loud enough to wake the dead. Sharon cackles while waving hi to Keena. Are you sure about that, dearie? Julie, here comes Oliver and he's wearing his chef's hat for the moment. What would you like?

Julie Robinson said...


OmGosh!! Is that ALL he's wearing?

Julie Robinson said...

Uh-oh, my work just called and I've got to leave for the afternoon. Don't know how long I'll be, but it's sure not going to be in a dungeon with Oliver.

Carry on.

MarthaE said...

Just popping in and then back to work! What a cute interview! Great job ladies! I have to get this little book for my Halloween read! *BG* Hope Sharon realizes her mistake soon and lets you out of the dungeon Linda! Is she letting Oliver serve you? At least that would be a plus! LOL

Linda Banche said...

Sharon, at this point, I don't care if I'm guilty or not. Let the Pumpkinnapper have the pumpkins.

Julie, I'm going back into the dungeon with Oliver. We'll cook something up!

Linda Banche said...

Hey MarthaE, thanks.

We're back! Oliver made the best lemon cake--lemon flavored cake with lemon butter cream frosting. Ah, to die for. The man is a genius. Sharon, you lucky woman.

Sharon Donovan said...

LOL Linda! Must have been the...ah...lemon cake that made you spill your guts, eh? That Officer can wiggle out a confession out of the best of them. Julie and Martha, no use letting the rest of the lemon cake go to waste. Dig in! Julie, only you would ask that. Grin.

Mary Ricksen said...

Oliver, quick help me, I need a couple of pumpkins at home, you know how it is. They won't miss two with all the pumpkins they have used to decorate. Linda is in the dungeon so she will not suspect a thing. Ha!
They are all visiting her and won't realize I have even been here. Mary smiles wickedly, grabs two huge pumpkins and with Oliver watching her rear she runs for it. Oliver slinks back to the dungeon. Thanks Oliver!!! He! He!

Linda Banche said...

Everyone, Mary's the Pumpkinnapper! She stole pumpkins right out from under our noses, with Oliver helping her.

And I let him distract me with ..ah..lemon cake. I'll make both of you pay for this!

Although, maybe I'll just have Oliver pay. He'll have to stay in this dungeon and keep providing me with .. lemon cake.

Joelle said...

The towering, heavily carved doors burst open and a chill ripped through the chamber, " What is going on here?!" Black robe swirling around her thigh-high boots, Joelle Walker paraded into the room, casting a bombastic glare at any who dared meet her gaze. "It's my understanding one of our own TWRP Dark Goddesses, the obviously innocent—sweet and cherished—Linda Banche, is being held without proper legal representation. Not to fear, my dear. Joelle is here!"
"Sharon, I am here as counsel...or, at least a paralegal...for the defense in this travesty of injustice."
"Uh, Oliver, oh Oliver—OMG(the drop-dead gorgeous man, uh, vampire in uniform approaches...), sidebar, please."
"Oliver, darling, before I address the jury, my special only you can...shake it..." Joelle wets her crimson lips and smiles wickedly.
"First," Joelle turns, paces, and addresses the court, "may I say, as usual, this interview has been exceptional—yet, it is my hope that this will not in any way sway the jury to realize the undeniable fact that my client, the lovely, sweet Linda Banche, would never, ever steal a pumpkin. I mean,come on, folks—diet Pepsis and Devil Dogs—does that sound like any kind of felon to you?"

Sharon Donovan said...

Sharon, the Queen of Hearts, slowly saunters across the cherry wood floor, her heels tapping rhythmically as she walks up to Joelle. Hmmm. So you are here to defend the fair Linda Banche, are you? And outside of bringing to our attention the fact a convicted and hardened criminals would partake in far more wicked delights than Diet Pepsi and Devil Dogs, what is your case? Sorry, dearie, Oliver and I need more. Oliver chooses this second to present a perfectly stirred Bombay Martini to Joelle in a frosted long stemmed glass, two Bleu cheese olives swimming. But just then, the alarm goes off and all the lights illuminate in the courtyard. The Queen of Hearts, Oliver, Joelle, Linda and all the visitors scurry through the dark corridor and through the vestibule and out to the courtyard. And the real pumpkinnapper is caught red-handed, fleeing from the pumpkin patch with a twenty pound pumpkin, the one Officer Oliver had been tending to all season with his special herbs and tlc. And mouth agape, eyes wild with fear shedding her face in brilliant white light is the real culprit. Sharon steps forward, the Queen of Heart flushed with rage at being taken for a fool. It's you! Our very own Mary Ricksen! Stealing pumkins while an innocent woman goes to jail. Arrest her and throw away the keys, Officer Oliver. This case is closed. Linda, dear, you are a free woman. Linda flees as Humphrey the Blue Nose Pumpkin blasts through the pumpkin patch.

I would like to thank Linda Banche for being my special guest today. It was most fun and we all enjoyed this different side of Oliver. Thank you, Linda, and best of luck with sales on the Pumpkinnapper. I hope you will stay tuned for my Thursday guest, the talented and lovely Joelle Walker, Black Rose editor. Y'all come back now, hear?!!!


Linda Banche said...

Sharon, thanks for having me.