10 Characteristics of a Scottish Romance

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Madelyn Hill to the Power of 10 series. Today, Madelyn shares ten characteristics of a Scottish romance and her latest release, Highland Faith.

Here’s Madelyn!

Ahhh, Scotland! Just thinking of Scotland conjures up images of Highlanders, heather, and men in kilts. There seems to be a romanticism affiliated with Scotland that I’m sure if the people of Scotland laugh at our perception.

Here are the TOP 10 Characteristics of Scottish Romances:

1. A man in a kilt! Let’s face it, a kilt is a skirt and you have to have enough self-confidence to pull that off. A true Highlander has a certain swagger—cocksure stride when wearing a kilt. It lends to the romantic view of the story and we get a peek at those muscle-bound legs!

2. Sweeping Romance! While this rings true for other romances, the sweeping romance of a Scottish romance seems to be enhanced by setting and tragic history.

3. Setting! As I mentioned above, Scottish romances have a setting that can be a character in itself. Castles, Keeps, and the Highlands really set the scene and allow for wonderful description and adventures. The untamed landscape allows for many romantic encounters and daring rescues.

4. Romantic! A Scottish Moor or a mysterious castle can lend to the romance of the story. Add the sensual burr of a Scotsman and now we’re talking. A hero who is strong and loyal, but also has a soft heart and would do anything for those he loved.

5. Characters We Fall In Love With! I think everyone has become smitten with Sam Heughan as Jamie in Outlander. The loyalty, sensuality, and humor of his character has made their way into our hearts. Jamie is ready to protect those he loves or die trying. While the story can be intense, there are those humorous snippets or those sensual moments when he woos us out of our corsets!

6. Strong Heroines! A Scottish lass is strong, can wield a weapon, and gives the hero a run for his money. They are loyal, feisty, and ready to fight for what they believe in.

7. Politics! Scottish politics and their tragic history can be an alluring part of a story when used for motivation and conflict. A Scotsman or Scottish lass fighting against the English is a worthy hero indeed.

8. The Accent! Who doesn’t melt when they hear that Scottish burr whispering sweet nothings in your ear? There is just something so damn sexy about a Scottish accent that I wish Siri could be set on Scotsman!

9. The Highlands! I know I’ve mentioned setting a few times, but something as majestic as the Highlands should get a category of their own. Harsh, picturesque and filled with lochs, heather, Highlanders (obviously) the Highlands can be very romantic.

10. Mystery! There is much romanticism about Scotland, but how much is true? Think of Outlander and Braveheart, we have overlooked some of the veracity of these stories and embraced the romance of the characters. And with the Celtic and Druid history of the isle, there is much mystery to make romantic fodder for any novel.

Blurb

Huntress Lady Faith MacAlister seeks adventure. Her father’s dying pledge tethers her to Wild Thistle Keep, thwarting her desire to explore the world beyond the palisade. Solace is found while hunting and providing sustenance for her clan. When snatched from the safety of MacAlister lands by a rogue bent on securing a ransom, she finds the adventure of her life.

Disgraced Captain Graeme Ross travels the high seas in search of bounty to sell in order to secure lands seized by the Crown. He longs to regain his honor in his father’s eyes and continually risks his life on the high seas. Lacking enough funds, Graeme and his crew follow Lady Faith MacAlister as she hunts. Out of need and desire, he kidnaps her. The lady captivates him for the moment he laid eyes upon her. Bold and spirited, she fights him. When he negotiates a ransom, deception tears the burgeoning romance apart.

Now, Lady Faith and Captain Ross seek to settle those differences hindering their union, despite the stretch of land and sea—and angry Highlanders standing between them.

buynow

Bio

Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier!

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children’s sporting events, and of course reading!

Where to find Madelyn…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon Author Page | Pinterest


Spotlight on Death’s Footprint

I’m happy to feature this new release from two Guelph authors.

Blurb

What’s your life worth? If the price isn’t right….you die.

They call him Dr. Death. Not a surprise. He reminds his philosophy students that we never know when the Grim Reaper will come for us. Before Professor Lucas Stride’s lecture at the Quebec City morgue, he receives a threat. If the extortionist isn’t satisfied with the cash offer, Lucas dies.

Toronto cop, Jordan Blair, arrives for a tryst with private investigator, Darcy Piermont. Sightseeing, fine dining, and blissful hours in Darcy’s bed are on her wish list.

Her plans are derailed after Darcy agrees to try and locate a family friend, missing since the morgue tour with his class. In their search for the professor, Jordan and Darcy uncover a series of crimes that conclude with the reality of — death.

Chapter 6 Excerpt

Tuesday, 3:00 p.m.

Lucas had endured a distinct eau de dog emanating from the carpet in the visiting professors’ apartment at Université Laval. He’d had enough. To celebrate the end of the Death’s Reality summer course, and mark his impending retirement from academia, he checked into the luxurious Fairmont Château Frontenac. He had two full days to relax before the morgue tour. After that, home.

With a contented sigh, he settled into the padded gold and blue-striped easy chair and supported his arthritic knee on the ottoman. He couldn’t put off that knee replacement much longer.

The fifth-floor suite’s old world décor calmed his spirit. He shifted his chair to face the window alcove to watch the cruise ships and barges float along the majestic St. Lawrence River. The bedroom view was equally enchanting, overlooking the chef’s rooftop garden. Tonight, he’d crank open the window and let the scents of lavender and mint help him sleep.

The Rococo wallpaper reminded him of the hotel he and Jolene had stayed in during their trip to France, five years ago, before they knew she was sick. He reached for the tumbler of Revel Stoke Spiced Whiskey.

He inhaled the zesty aroma and savoured the smooth taste of his drink, reflecting back to the day he presented the proposal for this grad course to the department Chair at the University of Waterloo. These days, some department heads were nervous about exposing young minds to unpleasant experiences. To Lucas’s surprise, the Chair approved the proposal and welcomed the short course into the Philosophy Department’s curriculum.

Choosing Université Laval to teach a summer course had given him respite from his empty home in Waterloo, where he half-expected to hear Jolene’s voice calling to him from another room. Despite lecturing others on the stages of grief, he seemed irrevocably stuck in stage 2 — anger.

Enough with the self-pity. Back to work. He put on his glasses and flipped open the folder resting on his knees. Despite his lengthy teaching career, he still felt some apprehension when reading student evaluations. He breezed through fourteen forms, all providing positive comments. One student reported spotting a ghost at the cemetery they visited. Evidently, she considered that incident to be the highlight of the course. The professor shook his head and picked up the final sheet.

One word had been printed across the form in red pen. “SUCKED!!!!”

Lucas laughed out loud and reached for the whiskey bottle. Well, Mr. Jared Kavello, hope you aren’t too disappointed with your failing grade.

Something white slid under the door. He hobbled over and picked up a folded sheet of paper and opened it.

Random letters had been cut from newsprint and pasted on the page. After he read the first line, he supported himself against the wall.

I’vE BeEN PaiD TO kILL YoU, PrOFEsSOR.

WHaT pRICe WoULd YoU PAY mE TO LEt yOU LIvE?

PLACe AN aD iN toMoRRow’S QUEbEC ChROnICLE UnDEr CLAsSIfIEDS. INSErT tHe FIgURe yOU’D PAy iN ThE sPAcE bELOw. If YOu cALL tHE pOLiCE, YOUr GrANdSOnS’ nEW PlAYMaTE wILL BE THe GrIM ReAPeR. THE pHONE nUmBER Is fICtITIoUS.

CoUNtRY lOT FOr SaLE ALOnG THe JEaN-LAROSE rIVeR $_________. FIrm. CaLL 555-240-6767 FOr DETAiLs.

Who would do this? Could this be from one of his students? He had used the reference to the Grim Reaper more than once in class. Surely, not even Kavello would stoop this low. Should he warn his son, Greg, and leave the city tonight? Had he ever mentioned where his family lived? There was still Friday’s field trip.

He reached for the phone to call the police. But his fingers froze. No. Corbin’s and Travis’s lives could be jeopardized. He had no choice but to follow the extortionist’s instructions. His head throbbed.

He lay on the couch with a cold, damp washcloth on his forehead in an attempt to ease his headache. The phone clipped to his belt vibrated. He opened an email from his friend, Dorothée Dufresne. Would he meet her at the 1608 Wine and Cheese Bar in the Château at five o’clock? She wanted to introduce him to someone special. Lucas hit the reply key, ready to beg off.

He paused. Dorothée knew he was leaving Québec City in a few days. If he didn’t meet with her and convince her that all was well, she’d hunt him down and pry his secret from him. He accepted her invitation.

His heart raced as he noticed the time. He used his laptop to access the newspaper classified ads department. The English-language Chronicle-Telegraph was a weekly newspaper, publishing Wednesdays. Tomorrow. Twenty minutes until deadline.

How much cash could he access by Friday? With stiff fingers, he provided his credit card information, then typed in the phony ad details. Three minutes to deadline, he entered a figure and hit the Submit button.

Buy Links

Amazon e-book (Canada) | Amazon e-book (U.S.) | Amazon paperback (U.S.)

Bios

Donna Warner’s novella, Targeted, published Nov. 2015, is book #1 in the Blair and Piermont crime thriller series. It’s set in the Caribbean on Roatán Island, Honduras. Book #2, Death’s Footprint, published Apr. 2017, takes place in Canada’s historic Québec City. Both Targeted and Death’s Footprint are co-authored with award winning mystery author, Gloria Ferris.

Before joining the fiction writing industry, first as a freelance editor and then as a published author, Donna was communication manager for the Canadian Network of Toxicology Centres. Prior to that, she tutored ESL students; taught college-level education courses for ten years; and founded a registered private vocational school.

A keen cottager, Donna enjoys the challenges of climbing in and out of her kayak without getting dunked and trying to outsmart fish. Home is a country property on the outskirts of Guelph, Ontario. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers of Canada.

Website (Personal) | Website (Business) | Amazon Author Page | Email


Gloria Ferris is the award-winning author of the Cornwall & Redfern mysteries that feature serious crimes and far-from-serious protagonists. Death’s Footprint is her second crime thriller, quick read, co-written with author, Donna Warner.

When not writing, Gloria works on character profiles, researches plotlines, reads everything, and is often heard to mutter, “I wish I’d written that!” She is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada, the International Thriller Writers, and the Alliance of Independent Authors. Gloria returned to her native Guelph, Ontario, after retiring from her job as procedure writer at a nuclear power plant. She spent more than twenty-five years in Kincardine and Port Elgin, small towns which inspire her mysteries.

Website | Amazon Author Page | Email


The Right Opening

Have you ever experienced the tyranny of the blank page?

If you’re nodding in agreement, you are in good company. In fact, I believe every author—from beginner to published—has experienced those feelings of doubt and apprehension, especially at the start of a new manuscript. That’s when the gremlin thoughts are most powerful.

In this post, I will offer several suggestions on how to squash those gremlins and start writing the first page of your next manuscript.

Continue reading on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog.


Finding Inspiration

When I decided to pursue my writing dream, I imagined one of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne visiting each morning, taking my hand, and guiding me to the computer. There, she would remain, offering words of encouragement until I produced my daily quota of words.

That was the fantasy.

The reality was very different.

I was unprepared for the tyranny of the blank page. While everything was in place—business cards, new computer, dreams of a runaway best-seller—my writing muscles refused to budge.

Continue reading on Brenda Whiteside’s blog.


On Finding My Tribe

After 31 years of teaching, I was ready for a change. So, I put pen to paper and revisited a writing dream I had concocted during my high school years. When I shared my new career direction and goals with family and friends, I was taken aback by their comments.

“Why don’t you write a math textbook instead?”

“Are you sure you want to put yourself through all that stress?”

“But you have a math degree!”

As the months turned into years, I continued to share my experiences but started to notice glazed expressions in the middle of conversations. While my friends were supportive, they simply didn’t understand the struggles and slow progress of a writing career. First drafts don’t automatically evolve into polished manuscripts that are picked up by enthusiastic agents. And most published novels don’t land on best-seller lists.

I imagine many of them wondered why I even bothered to write.

Continue reading on the Buried Under Books blog.

All the World’s a Stage

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have author Judy Knight sharing her multi-act life and her latest release, A Raging Madness.

Here’s Jude!

Joanne’s Second Act series appealed to me; but which Second Act? In nearly 67 years of life, I’ve reinvented myself repeatedly, though always around the two themes that surfaced in my earliest childhood. And as I thought about that, the structure of this post surfaced in my mind. Shakespeare’s seven ages? Why not. I reckon I’m up to age five.

Welcome to the story of my life so far.

In the nurse’s arms: the story begins

I was a quiet baby, happy to be left alone to amuse myself. My mother claimed, with the benefit of hindsight, that I’d been telling stories in my crib.

The toddler who lined her dolls and teddies up and babbled to them in her own language lies too far back for me to remember. But I recall my role as chief architect of playground adventures when I was six or seven.

And at around the same age, I remember bringing home a younger child who was, or so I was convinced, neglected by her family. I made her a home in the chicken coop at the bottom of the garden, since it was between flocks at the time. I would be her mother, I said, and look after her. I robbed the kitchen for food for my new baby, read to her from my picture books, and left her reluctantly just on nightfall when it was time for dinner.

Poor little mite. Alone in the dark, she wanted to go home. My father, investigating the wails, rescued her and returned her to her family, and I was in deep disgrace, and heartbroken both at the loss of my child and at being in trouble for what, to me, had seemed like a good deed.

The twin themes of stories and children were now established, and it was that year I began confidently answering the perennial adult question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ with ‘a writer and a mother’.

Satchel and shining morning face: high school

I lost confidence as I grew older. I’m an introvert who spends most of her life inside her own head, and back then I hadn’t learned how to enjoy being with people.

Nearly all my fellow pupils marched to an entirely different tune, were in another parade entirely. Their motivations were a mystery to me; their likely response to anything I did or said a source of anxiety. By the time I arrived in high school, six weeks after the start of term and in a school 1000 miles north of the junior school I’d attended the previous year, I was expecting disaster. To my surprise, my high school years were not too bad, though that might be in part because I haunted the library, staggering away with piles of books, devouring them, and returning them within days.

But there were other compensations. The library was a magnet for other girls who enjoyed the same things I did. I also joined, and later led, the Students Christian Union. I made friends, and even (briefly) became a cheerleader.

I was blessed to have superb English teachers who fed my storytelling with the world’s great literature, a healthy dose of grammar and punctuation, and parts in the school plays. Leading roles in the last two years. For some mysterious reason, my terror at being conspicuous deserted me when I was on a stage speaking someone else’s words.

And my brand new baby brother was a dear delight.

Stories and children.

Sighing like furnace: early marriage

By the time I finished school, I had finished two (rather awful) novels, several plays, and any number of articles and short stories. Some of the latter had even been published. I was on my way to being a writer, and within six months I began working on the prerequisite to other goal. One day, at a prayer meeting, I met and fell in love with the man who is still my personal romantic hero (PRH), and he with me.

Neither family approved. We came from very different backgrounds, had very different interests, and seemed like chalk and cheese to anyone who didn’t look below the surface. But somehow it worked, if only because neither of us was willing to storm out of our marriage and admit to our parents that they’d been right.

Love led to the natural consequence: a first child, followed by three more. With six children (one with a complex set of disabilities), writing fiction took something of a back seat, though I continued to do articles for the local newspaper. And read. And imagined. And made up stories to tell my little ones.

Seeking the bubble reputation: the consultant

When my youngest started school, I was determined to focus on writing. I began to see some small successes: short stories on the radio and in magazines. I did the research and started writing a long complex family saga based on the New Zealand gold fields. And I planned a few other novels to follow.

But in the mid-1980s in New Zealand, interest rates took a sudden alarming jump, and I found a full-time job a squeak ahead of a forced sale by the bank who held our mortgage.

The job was writing computer software manuals. I knew sweet nothing about computers, but I told the interviewer that I could learn about computers faster than he could learn to write. Turned out he wrote plays. Oops.

One thing led to another. Despite adding two more children to our family when a friend died, I continued working full time from that day to this. The software company was followed by a partnership with another writer, offering a full range of business writing and editing services. Later, I set up a company with the PRH to write, edit, and design business publications.

In the last thirty years, I’ve held most roles associated with writing for business, from technical writer to public relations manager.

And I fed my storytelling habit by reading other people’s books, making up stories and playing story games with my children, and continuing my lifelong practice of seeing my own plots unfold inside my head whenever I was not otherwise occupied.

Many times, I started to write a novel, and something would happen. For example, I was grandmother in residence for two of our grandchildren for a number of years. Stories and children.

Full of wise saws: the novelist

And so we come to the present. Reinvention of Jude Knight, part 5. Several years ago, my mother died. She had always supported my desire to write fiction, and I’d done little with it while she lived. It was a wake-up call, and one I heeded. I had more than 60 plot ideas written out, and 40 or so were set in the late Georgian era. Others were history in other eras, fantasy, speculative fiction, murder mysteries, and contemporaries, but the Georgian/Regency drew me.

I devoted myself to research for eighteen months until it dawned on me that I’d found another way to procrastinate. I realised I was frightened of ‘coming out’ as a writer of historical fiction; afraid I would be no good. So I gave myself something else to fear more, by telling my friends and family what I was writing, and that I intended publication. Now I was stuck. If I didn’t finish, I’d look foolish.

So three years on and four and a half novels, six novellas, and ten short stories later, I’m a published writer. Stories and children.

Lean and slippered: the kuia

The play will continue, and each act will bring new challenges and new joys. My guiding passions continue to be my God, my PRH, and my children (including, now, my fictional children). Will I reinvent myself again? I’ll slow down, of course, if only because the body will demand it. But you have to admit the themes have been consistent, at essence. Stories and children.

Second childhood: a disgraceful old age

Shakespeare was considerably more pessimistic in this speech than I. Even if I reach the sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything, I look forward to a new beginning on the other side of death.

But while I’m on this earth I intend to enjoy myself to the best of my ability: to wear purple, to dance, to annoy my children and grandchildren with my irreverent attitude to society’s shibboleths. I picture myself with a marker pen and chalk, cruising the sidewalks on my mobility scooter, looking for grammar and spelling errors to correct in other people’s signs. Or perhaps I’ll just stay home and tell stories to my great great grandchildren.

Blurb

Ella survived an abusive and philandering husband, in-laws who hate her, and public scorn. But she’s not sure she will survive love. It is too late to guard her heart from the man forced to pretend he has married such a disreputable widow, but at least she will not burden him with feelings he can never return.

Alex understands his supposed wife never wishes to remarry. And if she had chosen to wed, it would not have been to him. He should have wooed her when he was whole, when he could have had her love, not her pity. But it is too late now. She looks at him and sees a broken man. Perhaps she will learn to bear him.

In their masquerade of a marriage, Ella and Alex soon discover they are more well-matched than they expected. But then the couple’s blossoming trust is ripped apart by a malicious enemy. Two lost souls must together face the demons of their past to save their lives and give their love a future.

Excerpt

Before she had even consciously taken in the scene, she was moving, pulling Mrs Broadley further from the kettle that, in falling from its hook, had splashed her with quarts of boiling water. The heat of it soaked into her light house slippers, but only for a moment as she drew Mrs Broadley out of the splash zone.

She sent the maid who ran in from the scullery out to find snow, while she helped Mrs Broadley strip out of her wet garments, relieved that the housekeeper had recovered enough to see the need, and within a few minutes Mrs Broadley was on a couch in the room they were currently using as the housekeeper’s office, stripped to her corset and wrapped in a blanket, with cloth bundles of snow against the long reddened scald on her leg, and the more troubling burns on one foot.

Fortunately, the heavy woollen gown, petticoats, and home knitted stockings had kept most of the heat from the leg, but the foot was already blistering where it caught the full force of the water.

Ella set some of those who had arrived for the day’s work to cleaning the mess and re-laying the fire, had Broadley fetched from the stable yard to be with his wife, and asked Miller to fetch her medical chest.

Alex arrived with Broadley, but diverted to the fireplace, to examine the crane and the kettle. As Ella came back out of the housekeeper’s room to give the Broadleys a few moments alone, Alex was examining the horizontal bar of the chimney crane, and particularly the thick leather strap from which the cook hung kettles and pots. Only part of the strap remained. He was unfastening it as Ella came up beside him.

“How is Mrs Broadley?” he asked, glancing sideways at her.

“She escaped the worst,” Ella assured him. “The foot will be painful for a while, and she may have a scar, but if we can avoid contagion that will be the sum of it. But how did it happen, Alex? You and Dodd inspected this equipment not a week ago.”

Silently, he held up the broken end, and her eyes widened. “How could it split like that? That looks like a clean cut.”

He nodded, his face sombre.

“Alex, no.” But denial would not change the facts. The strap had been cut almost through, leaving a bare quarter inch of leather to take the weight of a large iron kettle full of water.

“Do you have the other end, Ella?” Alex asked.

They hunted together, and Ella found it first, retrieving it from under the kitchen table: twelve inches of leather with the iron pot hook attached at one end and the other severed almost cleanly, bar the stretched and torn fragment whose failure had injured poor Mrs. Broadley.

“Who would do such a thing?” Ella wondered. “And why?”

Buy Links

Jude’s Book Page | Smashwords | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Amazon (U.S.)

Bio

Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.

She writes historical novels, novellas, and short stories, mostly set in the early 19th Century. She writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.


Where to find Jude Knight…

Website and Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Smashwords | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page | Email

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