Gight Castle, the Gordons and Henderson Close.

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Gight Castle and the Lost Gold of Hagberry Pot BY CATHERINE CAVENDISH

 

CATHERINE CAVENDISH  —(Please insert pic 1)

 

 

 

Ghosts aplenty haunt the towns, cities and countryside of Scotland. Near the town of Fyvie in the Grampian region,

stands the ruin of Gight Castle – once the home of the Gordon family whose most famous son was the infamous ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ Lord Byron. Gight was his childhood home – he and his mother being the last of the Gordons to live there.

Throughout its history, it was the scene of hardship, financial disaster, murder and untimely deaths. Byron’s mother – Catherine Gordon – had to sell the castle to distant relation the third, Earl of Aberdeen in 1787 to pay off the considerable gambling debts run up by her husband.

Local 13th century poet and prophet, Thomas the Rhymer foretold, ‘At Gight three men by sudden death shall dee. And after that the land shall lie in lea’.

 

 

In 1791, George Gordon, Lord Haddo son of the Earl of Aberdeen, fell off his horse and died.

The castle was no longer lived in after that but at its Home Farm a couple of years later, one of the servants met a similar fate to that of the unfortunate Lord Haddo. Then a farmworker, who was working on demolishing one of the farmhouses, remarked that at least Thomas the Rhymer’s prophecy hadn’t been fulfilled, as only two people had died. The words were barely out his mouth before a wall fell on him, crushing him to death. The land was turned into lea. Now the prophecy was fulfilled.

The famous Ghost of Gight is said to be a piper who was working underneath the castle and was sent to investigate an underground passageway and never returned. The sound of his pipes can be heard among the ruins.

But there’s more. Indeed, there may be gold nearby. Legend has it that the seventh laird of Gight hid his treasure in the near bottomless pit that is Hagberry Pot, a short distance away on the River Ythan. He secreted it there during the Covenanters’ Riots in in 1644. After the rebellion ended, the laird tried to retrieve his treasure and sent a diver down to its murky depths to locate it and bring it up. The diver resurfaced, scared out of his wits. The Devil himself was guarding it, he said.

The laird was having none of it and forced the poor man to go down again. A few minutes ticked by and then the lifeless body of the diver floated up to the surface. The body was not intact. Something – or someone – had severed it into four parts.

 

It is said the laird’s gold and jewels remain down there – if you have the courage to go diving for it.

Legend also has it that some of the Gordons dabbled in sorcery and black magic and that the devil himself still visits the castle ruins.

For evil of a different kind, here’s what to expect from The Haunting of Henderson Close:

Ghosts have always walked there. Now they’re not alone…

In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released. Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face? The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real.

The Auld De’il is out – and even the spirits are afraid.

The Haunting of Henderson Close is available from:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Flame Tree Press

About the author:

 Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. In addition to The Haunting of Henderson Close, Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

 

You can connect with Cat here:

 

 Catherine Cavendish

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

MeWe

Advertisements

Meet the Mr and Mrs.-reblog

Tags

, ,

 

Meet the Mr. and the Mrs. –an interview with Pam Lazos, lawyer, author and environmentalist.

 

 

https://greenlifebluewater.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/meet-the-mr-and-the-mrs/

Meet the Mr. and the Mrs. –an interview with Pam Lazos, lawyer, author and environmentalist.

PAM – Unless you’re in Hollywood, it’s not often that you come across a husband and wife who both make their living in the arts.  My dear friend Shehanne Moore, a/k/a Lady Shey because of her work in writing historical romance, and her husband John Quigly, a/k/a the Mr., which is how the Lady refers to him, both have a passion for creating.  For years, Shey labored under a publisher, putting out title after title, only to be told that several of her books had shelf-lives and were soon going to be out of print.  So what did this Scottish-born lassie do?  Not acquiesce, I can tell you that. 

Rather than tow the antagonistic and inhospitable line, she did what any self-respecting woman would do?  (Well, maybe not any woman, but as you will note from her writing and her blog, Lady Shey is not just “any” woman.)  She pulled her books and started her own publishing company, Black Wolf Books.  If that sounds drastic and out-on-a-limb crazy, or even the stuff of fiction, well, it’s something all of Shey’s heroines have in common, a sharp mind, more than a bit of the sass and the ability to turn circumstances to their advantage at a moment’s notice.  

Then there’s the Mister, a playwright and director who producers several plays a year.  

I had a few questions for Shey and the Mr. which they were happy to answer.

First, Shehanne Moore — Lady Shey:

You’ve got control of your own line of books now that you’ve started your own publishing company.  Was that something you felt you had to do or did you just want a new challenge?   

It’s something I wanted to do for at least three years, but not only did we move house and that house required a lot of work, we gave a commitment to look after our very wee grandbaby two days a week after his mum got a hard-to-come-by position as a trainee lawyer, one it was vital she took, or she was looking at redoing the actual diploma bit of her degree to the tune of seven thousand pounds. So it went on hold until the moment I learned my books and those of all non-U.S authors had been pulled from our publishers without any warning. 

How is being a publisher different from being an author with a publisher standing behind you?  Are there fewer or more headaches associated with running your own business?

It is actually far less pressured. Okay it was a steep learning curve in terms of formatting the books for eBook and print, of finding cover images and graphic artists at a reasonable rate. But I did have experience at formatting a magazine.  The rest is far preferable to being hit with first round edits Christmas week, or final proofing the day before a book is going live. One of my books sat for over a year after I signed the contract on it before I saw an edit. Another never came out on the day it was meant to because I hadn’t seen an edit, while yet another publisher offered lousy royalty rates and wanted a book as part of a trilogy, every three months. Not that that’s a problem. I’ve done that. But being my own boss means I can work at my pace and release the books at my pace, too. I can also give –well, I hope this is what I am doing – other authors a chance because, yes, I’ve signed some, and I hope our working arrangements aren’t too shoddy either, having sat on both sides of this desk. 

You use your native homeland of Scotland as the backdrop in a lot of your stories and you’ve often said that Glencoe is one of your favorite places.  Tell us about it and how you use the natural beauty and inspiration of the Scottish Highlands to enhance your novels.  What other places have similarly inspired you?

Ooh, lots of places. I squirrel places away. Firstly I do so love Glencoe.  I set His Judas Bride there, under a different name. As an area of savage grandeur, moody mountains you can have entirely to yourself, plenty of adventure and the Clachaig Inn to stay in, it’s an area of outstanding, wild beauty. It was also the scene of a massacre in 1692, when Campbell soldiers fell upon their Macdonald hosts on government orders. The glen was pretty much a fortress then, so to come under banners of friendship was the smart way in. I liked the remote, fortress idea and two clans being thorns in each other’s sides. So I used that as well as several areas in Glencoe. But other places have cropped up in my books, too.  When we visited the monk’s cell at Mount Grace Priory in Yorkshire, I was so fascinated by it I started thinking where I could use it in a story, and I later did in Loving Lady Lazuli.  One bit of His Judas Bride that has nothing to do with Glencoe is the Black Wolf’s cave. That was based on the Cave of the Berkiris which is, in fact, on the Greek island of Spetses.  

You’ve described your heroines as “Smexy” — a blend of smart and sexy.  Were you the first to coin the term?   If so, how did you come up with it?  Of all the heroines you’ve written about, who is the smexiest?

I came across it not long after I started out and I rather liked it. I felt it wasn’t outright in your face, this sex. After all sex has been around awhile. And I do like to think of my ladies as smart. Of course, sometimes they’re not so smart when they fall for their men. Yes they stick to certain guns, they’re not weak-kneed, but they can unravel a bit. So I’d say when it comes to the smexiest . . . sorry Fury . . . it’s a toss up between her, and the very unlikely in some ways, and for entirely different reasons, Malice.  Both have been at love’s mercy, shall we say, and boy, it’s not happening again. 

Why historical romance?  What is it about the genre that captivates you?

I  have a passion for the past. I have always gravitated towards it in my reading, my viewing and my writing. Let’s face it, there’s plenty of epic events to set stories against. I truly never expected or wanted to write romance though—in fact I had to go take a good look at how to do it. But it was a way in so obviously, I chose historical as my genre. 

I was on your blog the other day and I noticed that you’ve created YouTube trailers for your books.  First, kudos to you for doing that monumental task and second, how the heck did you do it?!  Along those lines, where do you find the models for the covers of your books?  Who takes the photos?  Is there some Romance Writers stock photo selection that you could go to if you don’t have the resources to create your own cover?

Some of the images in my trailers are my own photographs, otherwise I am looking at what I can find. But the book covers, since I’ve got my rights to my Etopia titles, I buy from a site. Period Images is good, Istock  is worth checking. They have many of the  same images on Adobe Stock  but a hell of a lot cheaper. There’s also Romance Novel Covers. For me, it’s far cheaper to buy the license and then find a graphic designer on Fiverr to mock up a book cover from the image you then download. If I thought the results weren’t okay, I wouldn’t. I’d look at book cover designers, but I did a lot of that initially.  When I look on stock image sites I am looking for an image that gives me the book at a glance. And that’s why my books have gone back out in the order they’ve gone back out in. 

Can you give us a brief history of The Dudes and how they became a prominent feature on your blog? Do they whisper in your ear when you’re trying to sleep? Have they ever threatened mutiny?

Ah, the dudes. Well, blame then author Antonia Van Zandt. I had written this blog one day about how some aspiring authors, instead of thinking of the story drivers, goal, motivation and conflict, or how character is king, would hit it with everything they can think of, the druids of Stonehenge, the French Revolution, and I was going to put the emancipation of women and I put hamsters for a giggle.  Antonia asked me were we going to be seeing hamsters asking to be freed from cages. I said you never know, thinking no way, but hey … the rest was history. And yes, they mutiny every blog post. They make  what happened on board the HMS Bounty look tame. 

How did you and the Mr. meet?  Does your own love story ever find its way into your work?

We met across a copy of a Midsummer Night’s Dream.  And no, this is one story that hasn’t found its way, YET. 

Do you have any words of wisdom for struggling novelists?

Never give up. Sometimes the hardest thing is to keep believing. But be realistic. By that I mean we all have dreams of finding this and that, the big advance, the fabulous agent, the Hollywood screen deal. Welcome to the back of a very long queue.  You will break before you break down any wall that way. Take advice when it’s given, rewrite, rinse, repeat, study the craft, rinse, repeat. Study the market, rinse repeat. I see a lot of self-published books out there that are not for the supposedly targeted market. And if you are submitting, study the requirements, rinse repeat. If you want to hit the mark, any mark in this business, you have to know what it is and have it in your sights. 

And now let’s hear from the Mr., John Quinn:

 

 

You have one book out, “The Eyes of Grace O’Malley,” which is part love story, part history lesson, set in 1972 in Scotland during the miners strike when the city of Edinburgh was plagued with riots and rolling blackouts. How much research went into that book?

Unbeknownst to me, I researched a lot of it many years ago when I was a student at the University of Edinburgh and lived in the city. I stored things away. But of course, while writing the book I went back many times to walk streets, visits bars, coffee shops, museums, the precincts of the University, etc. I wanted to get a feel for the city again and make it a character in the book almost. Some of the research was done in the National Library of Scotland which figures in the story and Edinburgh City Libraries across the road. I also checked a few minor legal points in terms of Scots Law with my daughter who is a lawyer.

One of the protagonists is Scottish, the other Irish which gives you a lot of leeway to talk about history, heritage and family secrets.  Did you draw on any of your own history for the book?

I did. I’m Scots but of (mainly) Irish descent. For example the real Farrell Golden was my great-great grandfather, an Irishman who came to Dundee in the wake of An Gorta Mor (The Famine or Great Hunger). The story is imbued with (albeit fictionalised) autobiographical elements. I was present as a student at a protest in Edinburgh about the shooting of Civil Rights’ marchers in Derry a few days earlier. And I was ‘smuggled’ into Craiglockhart Convent and Catholic Teachers’ Training College during the blackout by my then girlfriend. This was before I met Shehanne Moore of course!!

I knew there was be a story there, John!  You say in the foreword to your book that you may never write another book.  Most writers are planning their next book before they even finish the last one.  What gives?  Did you find the novel-writing process more constricting then writing plays?  

I was being slightly tongue-in-cheek! In fact I’ve got almost forty thousand words towards another novel set in the present day – like the 1970s turbulent times. It’s also a love story about a man’s former teenage sweetheart who was supposed to be dead, but who re-appears under another name having been very much alive for decades. This  time the backdrop is the anti-nuclear movement in Scotland.

I like to try different types of writing. As well as the ‘possible’ second novel I’ve been writing lyrics for songs – I was actually asked to do this by a musician I know. We’re putting together an album of 12 songs which is a charity fund-raiser. And Shehanne Moore wrote the music for 2 of the songs!

Is there nothing you two can’t do?  You put on several plays a year and it seems you are intimately involved in all aspects of production.  Do you have backers?  Where do you get the ideas for so much content? How do you have time for it all?  Are you always working on the next play even while you are producing the first one? Have you always been a playwright or was there an occupation precedent? 

I’m a former teacher, but I’ve been involved in various types and aspects of theatre over many years. I don’t have backers – the group is informal and called Shoestring Theatre. It’s a bit like street theatre really. What I do have is a lot of brass neck (not sure of the equivalent expression over the pond). The play ‘O Halflins an Hecklers an Weavers an Weemin’ was based on research I’d done into the rich varied (and international) history of our home City Dundee and the Jute Industry which bestrode it for two centuries. Among the things the city is known for are the warmth, directness and mordant humour of the people, and the strength and character of its women. I find plenty of ideas around me in all of that.

How did you and the Lady meet?  Does your own love story ever find its way into your work?

I was playing Demetrius in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and the woman playing opposite me dropped out with three days to go.  In stepped this other woman.  We’ve now been together 38 years . . . .

Does your own love story ever find its way into your work?

John – I can’t speak for my wife but my own love story regularly finds its way into my writing.

Nice.  Do you have any words of wisdom for struggling playwrights?

I’d hate to be thought of as the fount of all knowledge on playwriting or anything else but it seems to me we learn to write by reading, watching and listening. And drama has to have conflict and pace and variety and passion and (where appropriate) humour.

For the Mr. and the Mrs.:  

You both work together on stage to create John’s plays.  Do you do the writing together, too?  

Shey:  No. We don’t write the same things. I think writing is a solitary occupation. And we’d probably kill each other if we had to work together.  He’s way too bossy. 

John:  Shey is the Director who has the vision and ideas about how scenes should be put across.

How is it working with a spouse?  Do you have creative differences that lead to a crisis or is one person in charge?  And when you do disagree, does that lead to a pervasive quiet at the dinner table or do you easily work through it?  

Shey:  I think we both agreed when I edited Grace O’Malley that it’s like teaching your spouse to drive. There were operatic moments, but I hope that any things pointed out as needing ‘fixed’ made for a stronger story and were things I had learned from working with publishers, editors and having done editing myself.  

John:  The Eyes of Grace O’ Malley was licked into shape by Shey as editor. Working with a spouse can, of course, lead to what is euphemistically known as free and frank exchanges of views and opinions. Coming from where we come from – Dundee – we’re both pretty direct and don’t really do ‘pervasive quiet’. That said, my novel would have been nothing without her fine tuning my ideas. However I have, not that I’m aware of, contributed to her story lines.

What other ways do you support each other in your work?  Are there any hard feelings when one says to the other “It still needs work.”?

Shey:  I think the best way we support each other is by giving each other space. I’m very much the night owl. Mr is the early bird. We each have all our own ideas for whatever we’re doing.  

John: We’ve known one another a long time and communicate easily. Having someone I know and trust to edit or direct my work or ask advice of is hugely reassuring to me.

 

The Eyes of Grace O’Malley by John Quinn

 

State…. Security… Secrets…

Scotland 1972. A turbulent place – miners’ strikes, blackouts, Clyde shipyard workers defying the British Government, oil discovered in the North Sea and the long and deadly arms of conflict in Ireland reaching across the Irish Sea.

Farrell Golden is a bright working class kid from Dundee with an Irish heritage. But he hasn’t always paid it much attention. Thanks to his family he’s made it to the University of Edinburgh against the odds. But does he want to stay there?

There’s beer and there’s women – in particular a beautiful ethereal English girl called Maggie. She’s out of the London stockbroker belt but she’s not all that she seems. Then there’s an Irish girl who is somehow familiar …

Roisin O’Malley’s not like any trainee teacher Farrell’s ever seen. What is she getting away from in Edinburgh? What are her family’s links to the Troubles? What of her ex-boyfriend?

At a Bloody Sunday protest march Farrell sees Roisin in trouble and goes to help. He’s knocked unconscious. When he wakens up he finds he’s stepped down a rabbit hole of Irish history, family ties and state security. Is there a way back? Should he have paid more attention to the family heritage? Who is Roisin O’Malley really

 

The Eyes of Grace O’Malley is available Print and eBook- amazon. 

Loving Lady Lazuli – (London Jewel Thieves )                  Shehanne Moore

A woman not even the ghost of Sapphire can haunt. A man who knows exactly who she is.

 

Only one man in England can identify her. Unfortunately he’s living next door.

 Ten years ago sixteen year old Sapphire, the greatest jewel thief England has ever known, ruined Lord Devorlane Hawley’s life by planting a stolen necklace on him. Now she’s dead and buried, all Cassidy Armstrong wants is the chance to prove she was never that girl.

 But her new neighbor is hell-bent on revenge and his word can bring her down. So when he asks her to be his mistress, or leave the county with a price on her head, Sapphire, who hates being owned, must decide…

 What’s left for a woman with nowhere else to go, but to stay exactly where she is?

 And hope, that when it comes to neighbors Devorlane Hawley won’t prove to be the one from hell.

 

SPLENDOR – London Jewel Thieves                                                              SHEHANNE MOORE

SPLENDOR BLURB   SHEHANNE MOORE

He hates to lose. Especially to a man who’s not.

One move to win ten thousand guineas in a chess competition. One move to marry her fiancé.  Another to face the most merciless man in London across a pair of duelling pistols.  For Splendor, former skivvy to the London’s premiere jewel thieves, it’s all in a day’s work. But when one wrong move leads to another, can she win and keep her heart intact against the one man in London with the potential to bring her down? Especially in a chess game where the new wager is ten thousand guineas against one night with her.

The Endgame to end all Endgames

One move to pay back his ex-mistress. One move to show the world he doesn’t give a damn he’s been beaten in every way. The ton’s most ruthless heartbreaker, bitter, divorcee, Kendall Winterborne, Earl of Stillmore’s, pet hates are kitchen maids, marriage and losing.  Knowing Splendor has entered a male chess competition under false pretences, he’s in the perfect position to extort her help, regardless of the fact she’s engaged to someone else.  He just doesn’t bank on having to face up to his pet hates.  Certainly not over the kind of skivvy who ruined his father and set him on this course.

As one move leads to another, one thing’s for certain though. His next move better be fast if he wants to keep the Cinderella he’s fallen for. But the clock is ticking. When it strikes twelve, which man will she choose?

 

Splendor is available Print and eBook- amazon. 

 

His Judas Bride  – Shehanne Moore  

 

Desiring her could be murder

TO LOVE HOINOR and BETRAY

To get back her son there is nothing she won’t do.

Dire circumstances have forced Kara McGurkie to forget she’s a woman. Dire circumstances force her to swear to love and honor, to help destroy a clan, when it means getting back her son. But when dire circumstances force her to seduce her fiancé’s brother on the eve of the wedding, will the dark secrets she holds and her greatest desire be enough to save her from his powerful allure?

 

To save his people, neither will he.

Since his wife’s murder, Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf of Lochalpin, ruthlessly guards heart and glen from dangerous intruders. But from the moment he first sees Kara he knows he must possess her, even though surrendering to his passion may prove the most dangerous risk of all.

Now only Kara can decide what passion can save or destroy, and who will finally learn the truth of the words… Till death us do part….

 

His Judas Bride is available print and eBook – amazon. 

Happy New Year from us and a brooding #Scottish Heir

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

 

Ella Hayes

Dundee rocks! I got my first degree (history) at Manchester Uni in 1984, but 2017-2018 I did a Master’s degree in Writing Practice and Study at Dundee Uni! It was hard, but that’s because I did it in one year whilst running my photography business AND writing my debut romance for Mills & Boon – so it was a heavy load to carry. The course was great though – took me into reading and writing territory that was new and exciting. I particularly enjoyed the lyrical/creative essay form and poetry.

Ella Hayes – Okay, this is sort of tied up with question 3 – path to publication etc. I’d been writing for a while. I wrote a romantic suspense novel, then a coming of age story set in Scotland but getting an agent, getting published seemed so hard. I wanted feedback on my writing, so that’s why I applied to do the M.Litt at Dundee Uni.

At about the same time a friend of mine sent me the link to a Mills and Boon competition in Prima magazine, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure about it… but then I had a story idea, and thought, why not? So I wrote the first chapter and an outline (that was what the competition was asking for) and sent it in. I didn’t give it much thought until I got an email telling me I’d been shortlisted! I was really surprised. Of course, once you know you’re on the shortlist you can’t help wondering about how it would feel to win. Anyway, about three weeks later I got the call! I’d won! I nearly dropped the phone. So, the deal was that I then had to write the rest of the book, working with an editor from M&B. It was a real education, learning the ropes of the romance genre, but it was great. Because the degree was so demanding, I could only work on it during holiday time, so I’d hand in my end of term assignments, take a deep breath and switch into romance mode. I didn’t draw breath for a year.

Ella Hayes. Well… it’s about an artist called Milla O’Brien who’s been jilted by her fiancé – she flees to an off-grid artist’s residence in the wilds of Scotland to lick her wounds and focus on her work but on the way she gets a flat tyre and is helped at the roadside by enigmatic laird’s son, Cormac Buchanan. He’s a troubled hero, a Royal Engineer who’s lost his best friend in a traumatic skirmish in Afghanistan. He’s grief-stricken, weighed down with survivor guilt. He’s only come back to the family estate because his sister is getting married. Neither Milla nor Cormac is looking for love but fate has other ideas…

Ella Hayes.- Being a brand new author myself, I feel unqualified to advise other writers, but what I would say is that it’s important to network and find support in the writing community – writers understand other writers better than anyone. Oh, and I suppose after the experience I’ve had, I would encourage aspiring writers to enter competitions! You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Ella Hayes– I actually live in the countryside a couple of miles out of Kinross, but it’s a lovely little town –

we’ve got Loch Leven and the brilliant Heritage Trail that you can walk, run or cycle around.

There are some decent eating places, some quirky little shops and it’s right on the M90 so easy for getting anywhere. It’s a friendly place, with a good community spirit.

Ella Hayes- At the moment I’m writing another romance for Mills and Boon and there will be another book after that. I also want to push forward with my Scottish coming of age story. It’s a love story rather than a romance, and the writing style is very different. I’ve had really good feedback on the story and the initial part of the manuscript (I submitted that as my degree dissertation) so the plan is to keep revising and polishing the first draft, then I’ll be looking for an agent/publisher!!

Twitter: @EllaHayesAuthor

Facebook EllaHayesAuthor

Instagram @ellahayesauthor

A kiss under the Northern Lights…

Running from her broken engagement artist Milla O’Brien retreats to the Scottish Highlands. Only to arrive during a lavish wedding on the estate!

She finds the bride’s brother and brooding heir, Cormac Buchanan. Could they heal each other’s hearts?

Her Brooding Scottish Heir (Harlequin Mills & Boon) is published on 27th December and can be pre-ordered on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Her+Brooding+Scottish+Heir

You can also buy from from Mills and Boon:

https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/p57011/her-brooding-scottish-heir-her-brooding-scottish-heir—the-lawmans-convenient-family.htm

A dance with her wouldn’t exactly kill him. #Scottish Brides and murder

Tags

, , , , , ,

Today…

Today His Judas Bride is out in paperback. FOR THE FIRST TIME.

So I thought, why not just get the dudes to help me blog this lovely blog I wrote way back about brides. Scottish brides in particular. There is surely nothing like rooting a piece of fiction in reality.  Of course I was going to get Bobby Bub to tell us all about his lovely bride Olga.

But there, as you can see he has forgotten.

I don’t think so. It might bore you so you fall asleep at your present making.

Okay sowhere were we…? Yes. Rooting fiction in reality. And why, having chosen Glencoe as a setting, I then thought, well what kind of book would I want to write.

Scotland has a proud reputation for brides. Yes.

kara6

Lucia de Lammermoor. Okay. Italian yeah I get it. An opera from the book, The Bride of Lammermoor by Walter Scott no less. Aka the Bride of Baldoon. No matter the version you accept of the story, the facts leading to the wedding day and its aftermath are always the same. She was a nobleman’s daughter in love with someone else, after the wedding feast Mr was found with a dagger in his heart.

You know I think it just was.

Then…Then there was the Cumming bride, whose lovely father agreed to her marrying into the Mackintoshes so his clan could enjoy a little banquet carve up over the hors d’oevres. When it came to exchanging rings this was somewhat difficult, since the bride’s hands had been hacked off as she clung to the castle battlements. The hand-fasting ribbons would have made wonderful bandages as you can see… had she not fallen to her death.  black pap

Or even…dare I mention it… ribbons for decorating Christmas pressies? Moving swiftly on as she did, how about the bride story that rocked Cromarty concerning a woman who appeared from nowhere, married the laird and disappeared…well she didn’t just quite disappear, she went off with a man in black.

Man as in the devil after he turned up at the feast looking for her. Neither he nor she were ever seen again and it was very clear she did not want to go with him either. What with all that inspiration, how could I not write a story about a bride?

As for the plum cake Ulla had probably labored all day to make, or maybe it was Ewen McDunnagh, it was in as many pieces as the plate it had sat on.

Talking was not a wise decision.

“Do you know I used to go about this glen, with a black wolf pelt on my shoulder?”

She didn’t. Firstly, the vision was surreal. But she didn’t want to say so, when this had gone so badly wrong and he was standing in the center of the carnage with his back to her so she couldn’t see his face.

“I got it from the devil.”

She edged a breath. Most people with any desire to go about Lochalpin dressed like that, would just have killed a wolf, maybe waited till they found a dead one to get the pelt. Him now?

“The self same day Morven died. It let me take care of quite a bit of business when I wore it.”

No wonder. If he was telling her all this, maybe she should say something? But when the things he’d said about protecting her were too unnerving, how could she? Unless they were part of the game? Bringing her here, when he was knew fine why she’d come. Part of it anyway. The other bit? All of it? She swallowed.

“Well anyway.” He straightened, strode to the door. A few muttered words were exchanged with Wee Murdie.

Kara moistened her lower lip. Had the time been spent where she should have said something?

He turned to her. “Maybe if I’d kept that pelt I’d have taken care of this business a little sooner and a bit better but I didn’t. And you’re really leaving me no choice.”

————————————————–

If he knew how to stop this he would

Desiring her could be murder.

To love, honor, and betray…

To get back her son, she will stop at nothing…

Dire circumstances have forced Kara McGurkie to forget she’s a woman. Dire circumstances force her to swear to love and honor, to help destroy a clan, when it means getting back her son. But when dire circumstances force her to seduce her fiancé’s brother on the eve of the wedding, will the dark secrets she holds and her greatest desire be enough to save her from his powerful allure?

To save his people, neither will he…

Since his wife’s murder, Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf of Lochalpin, ruthlessly guards heart and glen from dangerous intruders. But from the moment he first sees Kara he knows he must possess her, even though surrendering to his passion may prove the most dangerous risk of all.

 She has nothing left to fear except love itself…

Now only Kara can decide what passion can save or destroy, and who will finally learn the truth of the words… Till death do us part.

https://amzn.to/2rNOMTE

https://amzn.to/2EzHCKf

 

Dark, deep and devastating….

Tags

, , , ,

 

“When it comes to being anything, do you seriously think I chose this life? We’re none of us armored, sweetheart. Not the way we arrive here anyway. We only wish.”

His Judas Bride-5*Review @ShehanneMoore

 

My Thoughts…

‘Dark, deep and devastating aptly describes this historical romance, set in the beautiful but often brutal highlands of Scotland. 

Kara and Callm are both damaged by life and forced on a path of avenge and revenge, even though it is often at odds with the people they once were before tragedy struck.  Their meeting is unconventional and neither want to surrender to their passions, it’s too dangerous.

Kara needs to keep to her plan to save her son, Callm has already lost too much, his people are everything, and he can never put his personal pleasure above their safety. Love becomes a weapon rather than a balm and the resultant passion reflects this with vivid imagery.

If you want to relive history with all the rough edges and raw emotion, this story with its complex, challenged characters will consume you.

I received an ARC of the second edition from the author in return for an honest review. 

Threatening to leave in the hope of bringing him to his senses was a bad idea, when he’d no senses to speak of, let alone ones she could blackmail him into.

My Thoughts…

Lady Splendor was once the lowest of the low, now she needs to find a way to keep her new lifestyle, and that means a chess competition that only men can enter. There is lots of fun in this story as Splendor risks all to achieve everything she desires. 

Kendall Winterborne is a dissolute rake, who dislikes being challenged or made a fool of. Splendor does both and with their history, their relationship is never going to be easy going. Passion escapes, but they are at war, and anything more than physical attraction seems both unwanted and unobtainable.

A thoroughly  entertaining, romantic tale, which is full of witty dialogue, sizzling scenes and unforgettable characters, perfect holiday reading,

I received an ARC of this book from the author.

Shehanne Moore -Splendor -London Jewel Thieves #2 – 5* Review @ShehanneMoore

He was not a man she could help, any more than she was a woman who ever did such things

My Thoughts…

Loving Lady Lazuli is a tense, character-driven historical romance which gives the reader a unique perspective on life and love in Regency England. The power of society and its harshness when crossed is implicit from the first chapter. Lord Devorlane Hawley returns to his ancestral ten years after he left in disgrace. Now the unexpected fifth Duke of Chessington he wants revenge for his ten years of exile where severe mistreatment changed him from a naive youth to a cynical man.
The prodigal is thrown into an unexpected homecoming party. Bored a young woman attracts him. Is she the girl who caused his disgrace a decade ago? Cassidy fears her secret is uncovered and leaves the party abruptly. With the threat of the noose for being a jewel thief hanging over her Cassidy (Sapphire) tries to find the documents that prove her claim to Barwych hall.
Their relationship is laced with misunderstanding, humour and poignancy. Both distrust, threaten and cheat each other. Devorlane demands she becomes his mistress for his silence and help. Cassidy (Sapphire) agrees until she discovers his life-threatening secret and reclaims the advantage. The historical attraction between Devorlane and Cassidy (Sapphire) rekindles and ignites despite his hateful behaviour and her scheming. When their passion overwhelms secrets emerge which affect them profoundly and make them face their emotional involvement.
Memorable characters give this unusual historical romance a realistic edge which makes Loving Lady Lazuli a passionate, enthralling read.

https://t.co/FoLB7SPT93

 

Location in writing. Four places in #Glencoe

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

 

Shey – Yup. Indeed I’ve been meaning to blog it and show off a few pics of that weekend….ages ago now.

 

Shey….including the moveable summit there above. I say that cos mountains in Glencoe are a bit like writing books that way. You think you’re there when you’re not. Indeed you could say that about this whole biz.

But location? Yep. Kate Furnivall said something last post about it being another character in a book and for me that says it all.   It may not have goal, motivation or conflict BUT you ignore it at your peril if you want to bring your book to life.  So I always look to choose a location, or invest a place, a house for example, with characteristics that will hopefully do that.   

Glencoe has been a special place for me, for many years.  And when it came to thinking of what I could

blog about this book, well, it’s a place of savage grandeur , I thought given I’ve a lot of different readers now, so why not the places that found their way into the book?

Besides I got Christmas baking to do and get in the freezer.

In writing His Judas Bride, I wanted to write about the Highlands as I know them. And the clans as history tells us. That’s with a lot of bloodshed and savagery, oh and double crossing. 

So….  Location one that found its way into the book–

One -The Devil’s Staircase.

The most obvious way to stop her from leaving Lochalpin—and it was written in his blood, he damn well would—was to station men at the top of the pass. He’d done that. Hell. Four days now. He’d done everything.

 

Seen above there in the snow….. which used to cut the Highlands off in the winter months often as not. So yeah, there’s a  ton of snow in this story. There’s also the Staircase.

In 1692, the path was the approach route for the (apparently delayed) troops coming from Kinlochleven to provide reinforcements for the Massacre of Glencoe in which 38 people died at the hands of billeted soldiers, who had come as ‘guests’ – the only Trojan hamster…oops… horse way in to the glen at that time.  I may have renamed Glencoe,  Lochalpin, but the Trojan horse principle is the core of the book.

Famously? In personal terms? Well the scene of a turn back off the range behind it in June, covered in ice, in Arctic conditions.  

TWO – The Hidden Valley

 Not once in the last hour, as she’d edged along that treacherous gully, expecting to pepper the rocks hundreds of feet below, with her bones at any moment, had she any idea anyone was followinghidden valle

Famously, the scene of one incident where our party handed out hotel towels– be prepared is my  mountain motto, specially with things taken from everyone else, sure the hotel was delighted NOT–and formed a chain across a raging burn to rescue a stranded party, as you do in Glencoe….

 ‘And the Macdonalds hid their stolen cows here?’  I asked the first time I was ever here.  I mean the coos must have had quite a climb, how they got along the rake with their big cloppers, never mind the one slip and that’s it bit,  I couldn’t tell you. But ideal for giving Kara second thoughts about getting out the place again once things start to fall apart.   Oh, and maybe taking you dudes to, next time I visit……

Location three

The Lochan –

Knew it, didn’t he—what a stunning specimen he was. More stunning in fact than the plate-glass loch, the iced mountains that rose like sentinels around it.

img035

All right…man made under the most romantic circumstances by Lord Strathcona, https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/she-had-seduced-him/ so here doubling as the lovely loch of Lochalpin. Naturally in the story it has a castle out on the loch, and the Black Wolf and his bunch of bandits live in underground caves on the shore…so let’s not hang about here either…..

Famously- okay, ‘fessing up here.. our party once got rid a large half tree trunk here that had been cluttering our boot.

And lastly

 Four – Eilean Munde…….

‘“Has no one told you about the Isle of the Saints, then?”

“The w-what?” But perhaps that was because she’d always been more acquainted with the Isle of the Sinners.eilean

 

No not a person. A place. The burial island  once used by the Stewarts of Ballachulish, the MacDonalds of Glencoe and the Camerons of Callart. The clans shared the island and the maintenance of the graves, even when they were responsible for putting one another in them.  Also the site of a chapel built by St. Fintan Mundus…naturally chapel and island  doubles for the Island of the Saints, a place Kara rather unwillingly becomes acquainted with. Famously in my own book of life, near the spot where we wrecked the local cafe’s grass when our car sunk into it…..

That’s good dudes, cos see that island. Next time that’s where you’re going.  And since you can’t swim it’s where you’ll be staying too. Now I am gonna to open the voddie and do the cossack dance…….

To love, honor, and betray…

To get back her son, she will stop at nothing…

 

Dire circumstances have forced Kara McGurkie to forget she’s a woman. Dire circumstances force her to swear to love and honor, to help destroy a clan, when it means getting back her son. But when dire circumstances force her to seduce her fiancé’s brother on the eve of the wedding, will the dark secrets she holds and her greatest desire be enough to save her from his powerful allure?

 

To save his people, neither will he…

Since his wife’s murder, Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf of Lochalpin, ruthlessly guards heart and glen from dangerous intruders. But from the moment he first sees Kara he knows he must possess her, even though surrendering to his passion may prove the most dangerous risk of all.

 She has nothing left to fear except love itself…

Now only Kara can decide what passion can save or destroy, and who will finally learn the truth of the words… Till death do us part.

https://amzn.to/2PSe9SR

 

Surviving in Berlin with Kate Furnivall

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

 

 

Kate. Hi there, dudes, it’s great to be with you again. Thank you for inviting me over. I heard from Cat Cavendish and from that Aussie troublemaker Noelle Clark that I should think twice before accepting the invitation because it could be … well … traumatic. But I’m not nervous. Because we have an understanding, don’t we, Bobby Bub? *wink wink*

Okay, you ask what made me pick Germany as the setting for my latest book, The Survivors.

The choice was triggered by what I saw on my television screen night after night – the desperate flight of refugees arriving frightened and exhausted in flimsy boats on the shores of Italy and Greece. It was heart-breaking to watch. It got me thinking about how Europe dealt with the problem of refugees in the past. Have we learned nothing?

It seems not.

I started to delve deeper and became totally engrossed in the story of the millions – yes, millions – of refugees who flooded across Europe at the end of World War 2. Homeless, jobless and starving, many fleeing from Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe, it was the biggest mass migration in the history of mankind.

So what did the Allied Military Government do?

They set up camps throughout Germany, just like we do today, to house the refugees. Some were in disused factories or military barracks, some in vast purpose-built enclosures. All had pretty basic facilities. Too often they were dangerous places. But they held out the offer of a dream of a better future.

To me it felt SO relevant to what is happening now and I knew I had found my story – a young mother and her child in one of the Displaced Persons camps in Germany, forced to confront the shadows of her wartime past when a man she knew in Warsaw enters the camp disguised as a refugee.

 Kate : I’m sorry, Bobby Bub, but all the hamsters in the camp were tossed into the stewpot with onions and garlic. Very tasty, apparently. Note to dudes:- steer clear of refugee camps!

 

Kate.

I wish I knew. To be honest, it varies. Sometimes it’s the characters who come to me first, walking into my life as bold as brass. But at other times it is the location that spills into my mind first, seducing me with its beauty or its history. This was particularly true of my last book, The Betrayal, which was set in Paris 1938. All that glamour and decadence. Oh, those delicious hot Parisian nights that I had to research …. I’m looking at you, Bobby Bub.

Kate. – I regard the location in each of my books as a character in the story, with a voice of its own. In The Survivors it’s not just the Displaced Persons camp location, but also the bomb-damaged cities of Berlin and Hanover that play a major role in the twists and turns of the plot.

At one point my main character Klara is taken to a scary prison in East Berlin and when she escapes, all hell lets loose. I loved stalking through the blackened ruins of the city at night with her, aware of its presence looming over her, feeling its breath on her neck. Yes, location for me is a crucial part of my books.

 

Kate.  The Survivors does exactly what it says on the tin – it is about those who endured the war and now have to survive the peace. At its heart lies the question of how far a mother will go to protect her daughter. The answer is to hell and back. Klara, who lost her husband early in the war, is a strong and resourceful young woman whose love for 10 year-old Alicja is absolute and unshakeable. This is what drives the story through its many heart-stopping moments.

Klara and Alicja are incarcerated in the Displaced Persons camp with thousands of others, caught in a twilit existence somewhere between night and day. When the arrogant Oskar Scholtz walks into the camp pretending to be a refugee, she knows he is a threat to her life. But more importantly a threat to her daughter’s life. Because they both know the truth about his Nazi past. Klara decides he has to die, but they begin a dangerous game in which neither can trust the other. Klara is helped by her close friend Davide and by Hanna, the camp’s mighty laundrywoman.

But who will leave the camp alive?

It is a taut and at times tough thriller about love, loyalty and survival. I believe its themes resonate very strongly with the world around us today.

 

Kate.  Berlin is a beautiful city full of parks, bicycles and fun. We’ll have a fab weekend there, Bobby B. I’ll take you first to explore the must-see thrills of the magnificent Brandenburg Gate, the infamous Checkpoint Charlie, the historic remains of the Wall and the Reichstag parliament building, reconstructed by our own British architect Norman Foster. Then we’ll head on down to Hackescher Markt for a spot of Apfelkuchen and beer, and a breeze round its warren of exquisite shops – chocs and leather goods to die for.

But for me the place in Berlin that I love most is right in the heart of the busy city – the awesome Holocaust Memorial designed by Peter Eisenman. It is so moving, it brings me to tears without fail every time I go there. Photographs do not do it justice. It swallows you whole in a maze of tombstones. Utterly brilliant.

In the evening we will enjoy a delicious dinner in the revolving Sphere restaurant at the top of Berlin’s television tower. Not scared of heights, are you, BB? It is 680ft high. Stunning views across the city.

 

After that we’ll hit the nightspots in Friedrichsheim where the bars and clubs rock to live music all night.

I’m packing my case as we speak …

 

Kate..

I certainly do. I am a sucker for German Apfelkuchen … that’s Apple Cake. It’s always moist, spicy and deliciously moreish. Sehr lecker! Here is my fave recipe:-

3 large eggs

300g sugar

250ml vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300g plain flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

600g peeled and finely chopped tart apples, I use Granny Smith

150g chopped pecans

Icing

250g cream cheese

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk

250g icing sugar

 

Instructions

 

1 Preheat oven to 170c degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.

2 In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract until completely combined.

3 In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.

4 Add dry ingredients to wet and stir to combine.

5 Fold in apples and pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan.

6 Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool.

7 Make frosting. Place cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until smooth.

8 Add vanilla extract and icing sugar. Beat until smooth.

9 Spread on top of cake. Store leftovers in refrigerator

 

Kate. My next project? I am VERY excited about it. The story is set in France in 1953 – a new era for me – during the escalating nuclear threat of the Cold War. The story takes place in the Camargue, the French region famous for its gorgeous wild white horses and black bulls. The divisions within a family lead it into a sinister web of secrets and lies. Think Soviet spies, think danger, think thrills.

Thank you, dudes, for inviting me over. I really enjoyed catching up again.

Bobby B, you got your passport ready?

*** THE TOP TEN BESTSELLING AUTHOR ***

Directly I saw him, I knew he had to die.’

Germany, 1945. Klara Janowska and her daughter Alicja have walked for weeks to get to Graufeld Displaced Persons camp. In the cramped, dirty, dangerous conditions they, along with 3,200 others, are the lucky ones. They have survived and will do anything to find a way back home.

But when Klara recognises a man in the camp from her past, a deadly game of cat and mouse begins.

He knows exactly what she did during the war to save her daughter.

She knows his real identity.

What will be the price of silence? And will either make it out of the camp alive?

Kate Furnivall had the shock proof of her life when she learned just over a decade ago that she was part Russian. Not a demure all-English rose after all then. It changed her life. Triggered those Russian genes into action. Inspired by her grandmother’s dramatic St Petersburg life-story at the time of the Soviet Revolution, Kate wrote her first historical novel, The Russian Concubine, which hit the New York Times Bestseller list and was sold in 25 countries.It hooked Kate into the thrill of setting powerful emotional stories in dramatic far-off locations. She took to travelling with a vengeance – Russia, China, Malaya, Egypt, Bahamas, Italy, France. All became backdrops for her sweeping tales set in the first half of the 20th century when the world was in turmoil.

Research trips were riddled with wonderful adventures and weird discoveries that enrich her books. She delves into dark themes as well as intense love stories, and strips her characters to the bare bones in times of crisis to see what they are made of. Her books are full of tension, twists and thrills, atmosphere and romance.

Kate was raised in Wales, went to London Uni and worked in advertising in London. She now lives in blissful Devon with her husband, snuggled up close to Agatha Christie’s house for inspiration. She has two sons and a manky cat.

Kate has written ten historical novels, two of which have been shortlisted for the RNA Historical Novel of the Year Award.

 

He’s lean, he’s mean and he’s back…

Tags

, , , , ,

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Scotland, long ago and far away

 Never look at the moon as you reach for the stars…

 Displaying herself half naked had never been part of the plan. Especially not in a see-through scarlet dress, in the middle of a raging snowstorm. But Lord Ewen McDunnagh was handsome so a plan could change.

It was unfortunate it should change so soon when he was also a drunk with a reputation for hiking the skirts of all women between the ages of fifteen and fifty and she’d still to gain entry to Lochalpin, but then again a knife jabbed her throat–his. So why not?

Show herself fully naked either? Well? Wasn’t she meant to be alluring, despite the fact it killed  her to the fossilized back ends of her chattering teeth?

“Lady McGurkie.”

Behind her, Kendrick—who else?—sounded as if he was hunched in abject despair over his palfrey.

When it later came to him describing her behavior, slut and she has learned nothing weren’t words her bastarding, old father would exactly want to hear.  But the stars could only be reached in Lochalpin. That place no stranger had set foot in in five years. Alive anyway. Here she was on the doorstep.

So the first thing wasn’t to ignore the way the snowflakes glistening in Lord Ewen’s umber colored hair, had just caused her jaw to drop when he first rode through the curtain of snow, the fact he was hard strength in worn leather and his voice when he’d told her to stop in his name, was richer than winter blackberries, too. The first thing was to get over it at all costs. The doorstep that was. That she’d been told to expect a troll and this wasn’t a troll wasn’t even secondary.

What exactly was Lord Ewen going to do if she didn’t shut her cloak which, actually, it had killed her to open? Send her back down the pass with her father’s men? Hardly. If it was his brother, the terror of her glen, perhaps. But it had been agreed he wouldn’t be here today.

Fisting the reins to control her nickering mount, she raised her chin.

“Thank you, Kendrick but I do think I’m capable of handling this. Lord Ewen, sir. I’m your bride, here at last after an arduous journey through the storm. So … so if you would just be so kind, so good …” Good was not something he looked like he was much accustomed to being. Except perhaps in bed? So maybe being good was something she should skip over, “as to remove … “

My bride?”

“Yes. To be, that is, sir. Because of course, we are not wed … yet.”

“Hmm …”

His sea-green glare said yet would be a long time coming–if at all–that he found her left nostril more appealing. Thankfully him wanting her was optional. In fact, if five years in her father’s dungeon had destroyed her allegedly famous allure, think of the hassle it saved her if he didn’t when she’d been expecting a troll and this wasn’t a troll.

There were shores she’d once danced on. This wasn’t one.

“Lady Kara—” Kendrick muttered again.

“Yes. Lady Kara McGurkie, my lord. Will you please stop interrupting me Kendrick, thank you? Chief … Chief Ian Dhub’s oldest daughter, in case you’ve somehow forgotten.”

Lord Ewen lowered his gaze, edged his lip with his tongue. The faintly rueful smile was the first, tiniest crack in his veneer.

Good. It would be a disaster if every piece of tittle-tattle ever to slip past his brother, Callm the Black Wolf, was just that and he’d changed his mind about this wedding.

Or he thought there was something untoward about her, sitting here dressed like this. But she could relax. Finally the glen beckoned.

“The tinker chief bastard’s daughter, my bride?” He thrust the dagger back in his belt, displaying an inch of hardened stomach muscle. “Don’t you just love learning something new in life every day, Princess?”

Yes, she did. Particularly that she was not going to have to fight him off until that ring sat on her finger. Obviously his brother wasn’t the only one who didn’t like strangers in his precious glen. It made her even more generously disposed towards him.

“Already my lord likes his little joke, I see.”

“Damn right I do.”

“Then I shall be sure to see—“

He leaned closer. It was only the brush of breath against her cheek. Yet the shock of the contact travelled the length of her body, the one she’d been dead inside of for five years. “Because where you’re concerned, you can count on it splitting my sides.” Before she could open her mouth he turned to the mob surrounding him, on foot and horseback. “Well, can’t she, lads?”grunge

Lads? Do pardon her for thinking she’d seen better-looking corpses. But to a man they whistled, catcalled and stuck out their tongues, so obviously they were as alive as her, for the time being anyway.

This wasn’t going quite as well as she’d like and if Kendrick complained again it might go even less. What exactly was Lord Ewen going to do if she didn’t shut her cloak? Send her back—remember? At least she hoped she did. Because that would not be a good choice for her.

“Oh, I think you’ll find when we’re wed, sir, I shall count on anything.”

“My lips are wet already.” He curved them in a deep grin. “With what you’re showing me here.”

“Good.”

Because frankly—damn him–the time had come to stop sitting here showing him it in the perishing cold, the snow piling up in her hood and do what she’d come to do. She removed her gloved hand from the reins. “Because you agreed to put an end to the war between our clans by wedding Chief Ian Dhub’s daughter, Lady Kara McGurkie, did you not? And I am Lady Kara McGurkie. Yes. My credentials are right here should you wish to see them.”

An armory clinked. Claymores, dirks, and axes. All glinting in the snow-lit dusk. All leveled at her. His men were good all right. Far better than her father’s stretched on horseback along the narrow pass behind her. Imagine the wedding night if they did that around the bed.

Jesus.” The sloping, three-legged, shaggy beast at his side—what it was she’d no idea, except that it had fangs and it yowled, as his boot hit its backside. “Hell, Dug. Shut up, will you?”

Dug? She swallowed. He called the dog, Dug? How basic. What would he call his children when he had them? Child? Bairn? You? Son

Her ribs tightened.

God, her mind whispered, don’t waylay me on the road to perdition. You can’t win. But there it was in that same moment. A vision, a boy, sitting right there on Lord Ewen’s shoulder, pale as the snowflakes dusting it, ethereal as the roiling mist. The eyes blue as the sky on a sunny day. The same soft hair. Her boy, her son, Arland.

Children’s names?

Wedding nights?

Was she completely, ragingly insane?

There weren’t going to be any children. And there wasn’t going to be any wedding night.

Because, after the wedding feast, there wasn’t going to be any groom.

love most

Desiring her could be murder.

To love, honor, and betray…

To get back her son, she will stop at nothing…

Dire circumstances have forced Kara McGurkie to forget she’s a woman. Dire circumstances force her to  swear to love and honor, to help destroy a clan, in order to get back her son.  But when dire circumstances force her to seduce her fiancé’s brother on the eve of the wedding, will the dark secrets she holds and her greatest desire be enough to save her from his powerful allure?

To save his people, neither will he…

Since his wife’s murder, Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf of Lochalpin, ruthlessly guards heart and glen from dangerous intruders. But from the moment he first sees Kara he knows he must possess her, even though surrendering to his passion may prove the most dangerous risk of all.

 She has nothing left to fear except love itself…

Now only Kara can decide what passion can save or destroy, and who will finally learn the truth of the words… Till death do us part.Releasing December 7th. Now available on pre-order for (99 p?!1.29 cents..limited time, pre-order only. Also coming on print. Just need to sort that with the er.. dudes….

 

https://amzn.to/2PSe9SR

 

 

Lessons learned from Jean Lee

Tags

, , , , ,

 

zinctr

 

Jean  – Wisconsin breeds the fantastic.

We are home to peculiar, toothsome beasts like the Hodag, devourer of all-white bulldogs (or hamsters, if you’re not careful).

We are home to unique, word-some writers like Neil Gaiman: “There’s that tiny off-kilter nature in the Midwest that’s in the details,” he says when asked about writing here.

We are home to hidden towns, small growths of community where railroads and highways meet, places that no one finds unless they mean to find it. Picturesque, perhaps? Plainfield was indeed picturesque once—until Ed Gein was arrested in November of 1957. You may know the rest. Basically, Gein inspired many of the fictional horror icons we know today: Norman Bates, Leatherface, and Buffalo Bill are all rooted in the reality of Ed Gein.

We drove through the wild patches between the hidden towns often when I was a child. I never tried to occupy myself with books or toys in the car. There was too much to see, out there in those scattered homesteads, too much to wonder about. What happened inside that dying barn?

Why is that gravel drive roped off, and where does it lead? Where are all the people for those rusted cars littering the field?

This is the Wisconsin I live in now. The land dips and rises in unexpected places. The trees may crowd a rural highway so much you can lose yourself driving, only to have the tunnel burst open to sunshine and a white-crested river running beneath a bridge you’d swear had never seen a car before. In the small farming town of my youth, I could stand on the lone highway through town and hear snowflakes land beneath the orange street lights.

The short stories began as a writing experiment last year. My husband had been listening to John Carpenter’s Lost Themes, and a story began to shape in my head of a child dying at the hands of a cuddly creature before a dark skulking thing gets involved. When I showed the short story to my publishers, they encouraged me to write more short stories as little introductions to the universe of Charlotte and these imprisoned shapeshifters. Thus Tales of the River Vine was born, with stories following both antagonists and protagonists across the years.

The challenge with such “prequels,” as they are, was to find emotional centers without chipping away at the emotional arc of Fallen Princeborn: Stolen. Take the last story of the collection, “Tattered Rhapsody.” Originally I intended the story to be called “Dirty Charlie,” featuring Charlotte the Wise-Ass taking on some gang members at her high school for profit. I even had little hamsters involved in the fight, bringing a gang member down after he crashes on their cages. I don’t think I have to tell you what these hamsters were named… 😉

But the story felt wrong. I couldn’t pin it at first. Charlotte’s there, she’s showing her strength, her protective instincts for her kid sister. And yet, the story felt…heartless.

Then it hit me: Charlotte’s heart doesn’t speak with her fists. It speaks with her music.

And just like that, the story’s heart found a pulse, a rhythm both despairing yet defiant. Just like Charlotte.

(Don’t worry—two hamsters still manage to make a cameo in the tale.)

I hope you enjoy reading “Tattered Rhapsody” and the other Tales of the River Vine and telling me what you think. They’re all FREE on Kindle, Nook, and other publishing platforms!

Three years ago, you may as well have asked what it’s like to juggle three bowling pins with spikes on fire.

Back when I was trying to write in bedlam, I stole whatever time I could before dawn. The television usually bought me at least an hour in the day to outline, draft dialogue, or keep up with my blog. The children’s naptime never felt long enough, but I made due. Once the boys began preschool, I could at least promise myself one hour of writing time a day. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? But that’s the thing about writing and keeping a job and running a household: every minute to write’s a blessing. Sometimes those days crash and burn. Other times—like when the boys didn’t have school—we found other ways to be creative.

Now that Blondie, Biff, and Bash are in school all day, I always have time for writing, be it for the blog, editing, drafting, etc. Granted, summer’s still a trial, but because I didn’t give up on writing when time was scarce, I have many stories to share here in the daylight hours.

Honestly, not many. I studied in Ireland for a summer, and checked out important places in James Joyce’s life. While this was definitely cool, I was downright ecstatic to drive to Illinois and see the wardrobe that helped inspire C.S. Lewis when he wrote The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Nostalgia played its part, I’m sure, but it was also a real thing connected to a fantasy. How often does one see and touch real doors to another world?

Research can feel like a big time-suck, but when it comes to publishing, DO YOUR RESEARCH! There are so many scammers out there with their “author services” and “exclusive anthologies.” They’re going to talk you up, make you feel amazing, and before you know it you’ve paid four digits for lousy editing on a slap-dash affair no one’s going to see. Scope out the small presses. Join author groups online to gather recommendations for editors, book designers, and cover artists. Your story deserves to be seen, but only when it’s ready.

Yes, an author platform really does help. Don’t think of it as yet another time suck; rather, treat it as the regimented prose exercise. Reading countless other voices, writing tight posts on a regular basis—all helps the craft, not hinders it. No, it’s not the novel you dream hitting the best-seller list, but making a website, commenting on social media—these simple actions give your name an author’s history. Other writers/publishers/agents/readers can trace your name back to studies, comments, and whatever else you write. You build that platform, you build a writer’s resume for the publishing business to see.

Yup, that’s a while ago, but life tends to fill the years, and in my case, I had just become a mom. Postpartum depression hit hard. Very, very hard. I felt very cut-off from life. I couldn’t feel the joy of motherhood. I found myself often staring out a window, trapped in walls yet somehow exiled outside of feeling. I’d look upon my sleeping baby and feel nothing but guilt because I couldn’t feel complete with motherhood.

Then a friend introduced me to the awesome challenge that is National Novel Writing Month. From November 1st-30th, you are to write 50,000 words of a story not yet started (that’s cheating. Outlines are permissible, though.). The story may need more than 50K words, but what matters is that you reach that length in thirty days.

I swung it that year, and felt AMAZING. I was escaping the trap, driven to feel with characters outside of this world. I couldn’t just sit and dwell on individual lines or plot points—I had to keep going, and because I had to march on in the narrative, I found myself marching on in real life, too. I wasn’t staring out the window waiting for minutes to pass. I was…I was back, you know? I felt a part of life again, enjoying the touch of my daughter’s tiny hands around my finger and her boundless grey-blue eyes. I reveled in these things. I felt…complete.

 

 

https://jeanleesworld.wordpress.com/

@jeanleesworld

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Cavendish, One House, Many Ghosts,

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

The Many Ghosts of Stanhope Old Hall by our fiend, Catherine Cavendish

‘In my new novel, Damned by the Ancients, the Mortimers’ new home is haunted by a presence so evil and so obsessed, it will stop at nothing to get what it wants.


In real life, there are numerous stories of haunted houses and, today, I want to take you to Stanhope Old Hall which has enjoyed a small community of them over the years.

Six years ago, previous owners, Bill and Sue Gandy decided to sell up the beautiful manor house. Not because of the ghosts – of which there are indeed many. When they owned it, they lived in it as their own house. These days, the present owners run an exceptionally well appointed B and B and restaurant. The Gandys had simply found that caring for such a large Manor House on their own was too much work. They were sad to leave. Even though their first days –and particularly first night there – had been scary.


 

The exquisite house and grounds form a medieval manor house situated on the edge of the village of Stanhope in England’s picturesque County Durham and was first mentioned in 1139. It passed from the Craig family through to the Stanhopes and then, as a result of a daughter’s marriage, became the official seat of the Fetherstonehaugh (pronounced ‘Fanshaw’) family for many years.


The last Fetherstonehaugh fell at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 and from then on the house passed through a number of hands, including a possible link to the Earl of Carlisle. The fabric of the building reflects its age, with huge 15th century open fireplaces still extant along with original oak doors, staircases and flagstone floors.
A number of memorable historical discoveries have been made here.

A 250 million year old fossilised tree stump was discovered and can still be seen in Stanhope’s churchyard and in 1859, a huge collection of Bronze Age items was found at nearby Heathery Burn Cave – including some of the earliest known evidence of wheeled transport on Britain. These items seem to have belonged to a wealthy Bronze Age family who may have been trapped during a flash flood and al perished. Their skeletons were also discovered.

They had probably lain there for around 3000 years.
So what of the spooky goings-on experienced by the Gandys and earlier owners of the house? One strange story has it that a young couple entered the house back in the Middle Ages. They were engaged to each other and were never seen again – until their skeletons were discovered under the floorboards. They were holding hands.

The owner – and old lady – who sold Stanhope Old Hall to the Gandys said she had called in the Paranormal Society as a result of all the strange experiences she had witnessed. The Society’s investigators reported sudden drops in temperature, images of red-robed monks in the boiler room, orbs captured on camera and an old grey lady. The monks apparently had hidden in the basement to avoid Henry VIII’s persecution.

But, despite the warnings, the Gandys fell in love with the house and bought it. They dismissed the woman’s warnings as she considered herself something of a psychic and they didn’t (at that time anyway) believe in all of that. It took just one night for them to re-think their earlier scepticism.

Recovering from a combination of pneumonia and the stress of moving house, Bill Gandy retired to bed late the first night when, just as the couple were dozing off, they were startled awake by a veritable cacophony of noise. Stomping feet, slamming doors, all coming from the floor above. The couple were so exhausted, they didn’t get up to investigate, but they were unnerved.

Nothing quite like that happened again, but there have been other strange events.
A workman employed by the Gandys fled from a bedroom in terror after hearing something he couldn’t see drop invisible stones or pebbles on the floor.
Bill heard the clomping footsteps once more some months after the first occurrence and their son, who lived with them for a time and worked form home, often heard running footsteps going up and down the stairs, even though there was no one else in the house.
The night before Bill’s birthday one year, Sue alleges she woke to see a cheerful Mrs Bridges-type (from Upstairs Downstairs fame) bending over him and singing ‘Happy Birthday.’
The old grey lady spotted by the Paranormal Society also seems to have been seen by neighbours who told the Gandys they had seen her standing at the window of what had been Bedroom 10 during the 1970s and ‘80s when the house was a hotel. That room also proved too much for two local women who used to work at the hotel. They refused to go into that room alone because they felt something wasn’t right with it.

Despite all the ghosts, the Gandys always found the house warm and welcoming. The spirits that linger there are, it seems, benevolent. In its new life, Stanhope Old Hall certainly seems comfortable and welcoming. As a family run B& B and Restaurant, it hosts weddings and accommodation, providing an excellent base for all sorts of walking and sporting activities. In winter, when the winds howl over the Pennines and horizontal rain lashes down, the house truly comes into its own. Those four foot thick walls keep out the weather and an open log fire toasts the toes of the weary walker.
As for the ghosts? The present owners don’t mention their presence on their website but who knows? They don’t seem at all threatening. The same however cannot be said for the ghosts that haunt Villa Dürnstein – especially the evil Emeryk Quintillus…


Here’s what to expect from Damned by the Ancients:
INFINITY IN DEATH

Vienna, 1908

Gabriele Ziegler is a young art student who becomes infatuated with charismatic archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Only too late does she realize his true designs on her. He is obsessed with resurrecting Cleopatra and has retained the famed artist Gustav Klimt to render Gabriele as the Queen of the Nile, using ashes from Cleopatra’s mummy mixed with the paint. The result is a lifelike portrait emitting an aura of unholy evil . . .

Vienna, 2018

The Mortimer family has moved into Quintillus’s former home, Villa Dürnstein. In its basement they find an original Klimt masterpiece—a portrait of Cleopatra art scholars never knew existed. But that’s not all that resides within the villa’s vault. Nine-year-old Heidi Mortimer tells her parents that a strange man lives there.

Quintillus’s desire to be with Cleopatra transcends death. His spirit will not rest until he has brought her back from the netherworld. Even if he has to sacrifice the soul of a child . . .

Damned by the Ancients is available from:

 

About the author:

Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

You can connect with Cat here: