•What would be your dream campaign?
Aromas and Flavours from my Kitchen
And please welcome Lady Kara, heroine of my book, His Judas Bride, or face getting 1 out of 10?
Dudes, I’m sure if you let Lady Kara get a word in she’d tell you that Scotland is not the moon and while in Scotland we have VERY short days at the end of December. It is dark until around 8.30 am and again about 3.30pm in the afternoon, we celebrate Christmas the same as many other places. Christmas dinner etc etc etc. Of course there’s the pressies and the stockings AND the lumps of coal for those who didn’t behave.
After Kara brought you this lovely Christmas card too.
Well, we’ll be spending it at the castle in my glen–unfortunately because Lochalpin is Callm’s home. But,still we will start with a nice walk in the snow in the morning, after the children have opened their presents. Of course we will be having a venison dinner later with our guests.
Fallon will be getting a new set of knives and Arland, some body armour.
We hope they all will. They are certainly all asked with their families. It makes for quite a party and we all play pin the tail on the hamster. That’s usually after Dug has bitten it off.
The hall is beautifully decorated with pine branches and the fire is blazing. Ideal for roasting all sorts.
Then, when everyone has gone to their beds, we go to ours. More I cannot say, except mulled wine by the fire and the Wolf are a nice combination. The name Yuletide comes from the Scandinavians, for whom ‘Yultid’ was the festival celebrated at the twelfth month, being the twelfth name of Odin, who was supposed to come to earth in December, disguised in a hooded cloak. He would sit awhile at the firesides listening to the people, and where there was want he left a gift of bread or coins. I’m sure if you’re good little hamsters and start getting ten out of ten, that’s what you’ll find in your stockings on Christmas morning.
Braveheart, films, Glencoe, Gregory's Girl, Greyfriar's Bobby, Highland, Highlander, His Judas Bride, Kara McGurkie, Rob Roy, Romance, Scotland, Shallow Grave, Skyfall, The Black Wolf of Lochalpin, The Thirty Nine steps, Trainspotting
Let me tell you, as someone who spends a bit of time in it, it sure is.
Huddled in the Boot Bar in Glencoe, last January, having had a bit of a run in with a mountain–a tree root broke my fall as I sort of contemplated the beauty of the gully a hundred feet below–the party of English climbers we got talking to, agreed re the landscape. Hadn’t they just shamefully spent the day at the Ice Climbing Centre instead, having been forced off an adjacent peak to the one we’d been on.
The landscape is also stunning. I mean it even makes my photos look ok. From the remote upland hills of the south, to the mountainous ranges in the north, the landscape is also as diverse as the rolling winds that sweep it. There’s the savage grandeur of wild, lonely places like Glencoe and the sunlit splendour of the low lying Lowlands. The Scottish character is forged in granite..and I’m not talking people here, I’m talking the landscape itself.
Setting out to write His Judas Bride, I wanted to capture that canvas because it’s not just the country, it’s the history, it’s the very particular breed of people who inhabit this land.
It let me set up a Trojan Horse scenario, an enemy chief sending his daughter as a bride, only she’s not there to actually marry anyone—another wee Scottish tradition.
And, of course his Brotherhood of Wolves
You see another good reason to set a book in Scotland…never mind the gorgeous scenery, the rolling mists, the history, is the superstition, the myths and legends. Selling their souls? Scottish lords were aye doing that
Then there’s the fact you can forge your characters from all these things. Lochalpin is as much part of the Black Wolf as he is part of it. It wasn’t just enough that he HAD to be drop dead gorgeous for to remind Kara of anything, so she’s troubled even from that very first glimpse of him….
She is a woman who can well take care of herself. As the story unfolds she needs a reason to want to be involved with a man again, beyond her initial ruthless motives. And this one offers the kind of safety she’s never known.
All right time to stop the Call-fest.
Scotland isn’t just a great location for books, it’s a great location for movies. It’s purely hypothetical, in long ago Scotland there were no cinemas, but here’s ten set in some way in Scotland Kara and the Wolf might have enjoyed and why.
I’ll be back on Thursday this week with my Wolf Brotherhood quiz.
What’s not to like about this film that has Christopher Lambert playing a Highlander with a French accent –there was the Auld Alliance mind you –and Scotland’s very own Shirr Sean playing a Spaniard with a Scots accent? All this fighting stuff and tearing out throats with your teeth would be right up the Wolf’s street.
Okay, so the Dulux face paint isn’t exactly fetching when it comes to fashion statements, that hard strength in leather would appeal to Kara. The Wolf might find Murren’s murder a bit hard to take.
4 Local Hero
Local hero? Now that would have to be the Wolf.
5 Gregory’s Girl Hmmm. She’s a girl and she’s certainly different from any he’s ever known so this might appeal to the Wolf given Kara is much the same. Also it’s a coming of age scenario which neither got the chance to do.
Tommy and the gang get off an Intercity train to “get some fresh air” on a hike at Corrour railway station, which is located on Rannoch Moor, not far from Glancoe. Imagine what happens next when the Brotherhood of Wolves spot them…..
7 Shallow Grave
Bodies in secret graves in the woods might sound a bit more up my other heroines’ street, but I’m pretty sure Kara and the Wolf might exchange a few glances here about her father.
8 Greyfriar’s Bobby
Oh come on….I don’t know about Callm and Kara, but I can tell you now Dug would just love Bobby. She’d bat her doggy eyelashes no trouble at all.
Are you kidding? The above scene was shot in Glen Etive which is just around the back of Glencoe. Although I’m pretty sure that knowing every nook and cranny as he does, the Wolf would soon suss that the bulk of these ‘Highland’ scenes were shot down south. He’d be happy though that James Bond’s father was from Glencoe. Why did Ian Fleming decide on that? Cos he liked Shirr Sean’s portrayal of Bond.
10 The Thirty Nine Steps
Richard Hannay goes into hiding in Scotland. Okay somewhere in Galloway might not be anywhere near Glencoe, the Wolf still might be giving Kara a few prickling glares here about her sister’s bodyguard hiding out in Lochalpin. Then, of course there’s the sort of ‘bundling’ scene. Two people forced to spend the night together…..
Oh…all right…cue for a Kara, Callm extract.
“Don’t like bundling?” The pile of furs sank beneath his foot as he reached for a dry tunic from the rope-line that dangled above her head. “Damned right I don’t. So don’t you start giving me any maidenly grief that you’re here and so am I. Or how I shouldn’t have brought you. Do you understand?” He snatched the tunic from the line. “Because so far as I’m concerned for tonight, you’re here…bed. I’m over there…chair.”
“A cave. You live in a cave.” She didn’t mean to sound so forlorn about it but he did, didn’t he? An underground cavern, to be precise. How could he? And how could she be so stupid, when what she needed was to be amenable, nice.
He whistled and Dug sprung up. “And she’s there. In the middle.”
“Dug? Dug? Dug’s a—” Kara swallowed a gulp. Oh, the night was full of surprises wasn’t it? Horrible ones. And now if that glower was anything to go by, she had offended him further.
“Don’t you go telling me you never saw the damn cur’s minus more than a front paw. No one’s that stupid. Not someone here to be married. Not someone who’s got—”
“But you call her Dug.”
He tossed the tunic down. “Perhaps that’s because she doesn’t like being called bitch.”
To love, honor, and betray…
which I would never have believed.
Excuse me, Fez, Ratsy and you others, there is no need to be quite so aggressive. The squirrel is here to make a point. The point is that as writers we need to be a bit like that…that is the cute little fellah
Sorry…wrong picture. Of course I meant…Though, seriously, yesterday Mr Shey was wondering how an area looked c1914 and there, to my squirreling credit I was able to unearth from a rom someone sent me when I used to edit, an exact picture.
There is it, the long gone, Carbet Castle, home to certain Dundee Jute Barons…And not just Carbet, there’s Kinettles Castle,
Some of the inhabitants of Carbet Castle out for a stroll in Angus Glens.
In fact that rom is an archive. I could bore on all day on the subject of Carbet Castle. Interiors, dogs, motor cars,
This is judicious squirreling. Then there’s the other type. You know the kind where non writers just see a house, or a street, but the writer type is busy cataloguing it all for later use.
My apologies. Of course that should have read….
Mount Grace priory in Yorkshire
didn’t interest me half as much as what was built on the back of it-here seen as a model obviously…I am saying nothing this time… the monk’s cells, or rather the only one that was left… Ooh look, Saff and Dev are even standing there…not quite, since he probably had her pinned to the door for immoral purposes… but I have to say I loved the idea of a cell that wasn’t. A place that, to quote the hero of Loving Lady Lazuli, was a
‘nicely appointed dwelling. An upstairs, a down, with pleasant rooms and a square of garden.
It helped me create the character of a woman who was done with certain things and wanted to hide away, so she lives there instead of in the house itself. And its simplicity does quite interest Devorlane too…
Christ. All there was, was a bed. If he ignored the candelabras, the bedside table, and the simple wooden chest in the furthest corner that was.
Let’s face it , it is mainly what he is interested in…. Did I say hero? I lied. He’s an anti hero.
Vikings? Well, obviously when a rat ran over my foot in a recreated farmhouse…I think it was at the Hollufgard…I certainly squirrelled that one away.
I don’t have a photo. Don’t be silly. I think the camera is still in there unless the rats stuffed their ratty gubs on it.
Well, what really interested me about Richmond was the Georgian Theatre
And I’ve just loosely used it in a scene in my second jewel thieves WIP. Not the parking ticket bit. There weren’t any traffic wardens in Regency London.
As for the history and that of the amazing Butler family who owned it as part of a circuit of five theatres and the actors and actresses who trudged that circuit on foot in all winds and weathers? Well, that may turn up yet in another story. Who knows? What I do know is……..
wearing the romance jumper and all, sent specially from the lovely Kate Furnivall author of…
Paul is a writer….he says he’s an aspiring amateur, I am not going to debate that one with him, today….with a love of the outdoors.
He also writes book reviews…these vital things as authors we need and value. Something he generously gives of his time doing which is also why I’m not missing him out here.
He was straight upfront about the fact it was not his genre. AT ALL. So I was no help to him whatsoever in suggesting which one to read, largely cos I was thinking I am so gomna lose a follower here.
Anyway he went with His Judas Bride because it is set in an area we both love, while I went and hid, thinking I hope I never meet you there…
Yesterday he very kindly put his review up on his blog and on Amazon UK………
His words not mine!
So, where are we today, well, it’s quiz time. Yes. I did this quiz for a blog a few months back–the blog of my lovely doodling, we’re officially in the weird club, buddy, author Elyzabeth M. Valey.It’s so high tech literary I though I’d share it here. SO bring it on hammies…… Cue Cinnamon and Ginger…
The Starkadder Sisterhood London Jewel Thieves From Loving Lady Lazuli
Okay, so, you just pulled your latest heist and now you need to escape with the loot. Just how far will you get? In other words which jewel thief are you?
Sapphire, Pearl, Ruby, Amber, Jade, Splendor or Diamond?
You’re stuck with a set of diamonds in a locked room. Do you
A. Think what a mess the girls made, I really need to tidy up
B. Don the chimney sweep’s outfit and start climbing.
C. Cower a bit but hide under the desk till the coast is clear.
D. Not a clue. Just get caught. But drink that glass of wine first.
E. Take down anyone who gets in your way
F. Panic and take off your clothes to woo some sexy man
G Hope you will be rescued
It’s Christmas Eve and having nicked a necklace you accept a lift home but the coach slows. Do you
A. Say the floor needs cleaned
B. Kiss the smexy guy and shove the jewels in his pocket
C. Say what is a necklace?
D. Open a bottle of gin and offer some to the sexy guy
E Kill everyone including the sexy guy
F Leap out the coach and hope for the best
G Deny you are even here
You are crawling a long a rooftop with a sack of silver plate when someone below sees you
A You wouldn’t be doing this
B. Keep going cos you know what you’ll get if you don’t
C Say what is a roof?
D Throw the sack away now you’ve been discovered. There’s more to life.
E Berate the world
F. Deny everything. You are carrying this for some smexy guy
G Say what silver plate?
A Clean up the mess after someone runs him through.
B. Fake your own death and run away
C Run away cos you’re told to
D Run away and hope there’s gin
E Run him through
F Take the first offer that comes along, especially if it’s from a smexy guy
G Put up with it. What else is there?
A You were never a thief
B I said I was straight and I mean it
C Well, if people say so
D Long as there’s booze..
E Never. Not if it kills me and it might
F What is in it for me?
G You would die first.
So how did you score?
…………..to fall upon the rebells, the McDonalds of Glenco, and put all to the sword under seventy. You are to have a speciall care that the old Fox and his sones doe upon no account escape your hands, you are to secure all the avenues that no man escape.’
Early in the morning of 13 February 1692 thirty-eight MacDonalds from the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by their guests. Another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.
The whole male population under 70 years of age, amounting to 200, would probably have fallen to the fire and sword letters. But a party of 400 soldiers dispatched to carry out the orders, were prevented by the severity of the weather–always dicey and wildly changeable there, especially on higher ground–
as you can see by this photo of the way they would have come….from reaching Glencoe until eleven o’clock that night. This was six hours after the first shots were fired. By then the Macdonald men, warned of both the danger they were in and learning of the fate of their chief–the old Fox–had fled to the snow encrusted hills.
The Lost Valley is cited as a possible hiding place. I am telling you I would not fancy parts of the one- slip- and- you’re- finished, path in the dark and the snow, not even with the thought of a government broadsword threatening certain places….
(The Lost Valley)
Of course those bits of path probably weren’t so eroded then as now. The fact there is now a bridge over the steeply walled gorge at the start, and steel ropes and fence posts too, gives some idea of the difficulty though.
Letters of “fire and sword” against the Highlanders were as common as Campbells.
What made this one a deed written in infamy was the fact the soldiers had accepted hospitality, had stayed with their hosts for approximately a fortnight.
(The Glencoe Monument)
It was a very convenient way of getting into the fairly impregnable glen itself and while there, of putting the inhabitants at ease. Of course there were soldiers who warned their hosts, just as there were soldiers who broke their swords rather than use them.
SO you won’t be surprised to know my very first stab at writing a novel aged all of thirteen, was an epic with the massacre as a backdrop. Or that my second published book, His Judas Bride—bet Kara and the Wolf are glad I am not sharing secrets of their love life today, like I did the other day with my latest hero and heroine–is set in Glencoe.
which okay, wasn’t around in 1692. I set this little scene there too…..
“What are you so desperate to know for? In a hurry to meet that charming sweetheart of yours, are you?” His face was such a grim triangle between the curtain of hair, she wondered if it was in fact politic to open her mouth. She didn’t see why she shouldn’t though. Anything to ease what had somehow taken up residence inside her. Even if it meant drawing this man like a gloveless falconer, with a honeyed hand.
She cleared her throat. After all, his contempt made it easier to also clear herself of these stupid feelings that had risen in her in that yard. To acknowledge she didn’t belong and it didn’t matter. Belonging wasn’t what she was here for.
“Actually, I am, sir. Yes. Indeed I confess to being agog with curiosity. Deprived by not meeting him yesterday and being happily wed to him by now. I know we’ve only been riding for about two hours now, but will I see him by nightfall, do you think?”
“Like having nightmares, do you?”
“Not really.” Holding out her honeyed hand was certainly taking a bit of doing, especially when it was savaged like this. “That’s why I’d like to know if I’ll have to spend another night in your company or not.”
He snapped his brows lower. “My company?”
She nodded. Why not? Lochalpin was beautiful. The snow-capped peaks, inky blue mist, the trees towering like silent sentinels around her. What she saw, reflected in the plate-glass surface of the loch, was so stunning, she could understand her father coveting this place. Even if his real desire was to walk among the other clan chiefs as an equal. By far the most stunning thing here was this damnable specimen. Of course, if she’d now to lay odds on his arm muscle tightening as he tugged on his own reins, on that smile, denting his faintly stubbled cheeks, she’d be rich.
“That’s the first I knew you spent a night in my company. Did I fall asleep and miss something here, Princess?”
Oh all right. A lot. A Shey pub crawl in fact. What is hair for if not for letting down?
SO instead……I have places…..what more can you want? Don’t answer. Especially as ok…it IS a reblog from a post I did a year ago. Also it will soon be that big day in the Romance writer’s calendar. Even for a dark, twisty one like me…
They’re going to be talking about those literary first kisses…. Now come on, you do not want us spilling more about our own. Lust? Love? Or what? Anyway, it being that romantic time…what could be better than romantic places…in–still being true to Rabbie — Scotland.
No. Being a visitor centre this isn’t my favorite. Not that I’ve anything against them, apart from the fact you can’t get parked and then people stand on your feet when you do. Guided tours now… Did I really just say the Scots weren’t romantics? Well, I don’t know about that but Scotland was the only place in Britain where you could marry at the age of 12 without parental consent. What was more you didn’t need a priest or a minister. Just a blacksmith to perform the ceremony, so keen were we Scots to – quote my hero – get to it.
Oh please, don’t ask me why this is here – apart from the fact it’s beautiful. I mean no famous star-crossed Scottish lovers met here that I know of. But there is a song. And the song is famous. And it is about two lovers, so…of course it’s here.
Hotly rumored to be the place the English princess Margaret, first clapped eyes on Malcolm – the third Scottish king of that name, after a storm drove her ship north. Margaret being a very pious woman I am behaving myself. Whatever the truth of that storm story, the uncouth warrior king and her polar opposite, adored her for the duration of their married life.
All right, I’m not sure about Lady Devorgilla loving her man so much she carted his embalmed heart about in a silver box with ivory trimmings. Personally it sounds a bit like the kind of thing some of heroines might do but not because they’re in any way in love. But how can I ignore a title like that?
Okay, Glencoe has had some bad press lately, with the Savile abuse scandal and climbers killed there last year on the Bidean and Buchaille. But those who know it will argue it deserves its tag as most romantic place in Scotland. And I am one of those. And the most romantic place in it is the Lochan. You can read of it here. All right a bit of self promo – it’s on this blog.https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/she-had-seduced-him/
We also know Glencoe had bad press before in 1692.
No. That’s not her, hugging an inn sign. That is me. But you can see that after sticking the Wentworth emeralds on Dev, Saff’s been appearing all kinds of places… With the fabulous Antonia Van Zandt..
As you’ll see, the sisterhood are not part of a religious order, however they certainly lay claim to some odd, and even dirty, habits.