I wrote this recently for a fun competition for the most swoon-worthy hero at AJ’s Tattered Pages. (The books there are no longer free, but they are on sale.) There’s just something about a man in a kilt!
I liked this character sketch so much, I decided to share it here. And to do one of these for my other major characters, too. So you’ll see an appearance by Toran, Aileana, Ellie and possibly others, sometime in the near future.
In book 1, HIGHLAND HEALER, loyalty compels him to challenge his laird’s fascination with the uniquely-talented, yet possibly dangerous, healer from the invading army. Donal’s eventual acceptance of her is hard-won.
My muse for Donal is Phillip Winchester as “Crusoe” – especially this picture. It captures Donal’s intensity. How would you like to have those eyes riveted on you, demanding answers…or kisses or…um, I forgot what I was saying.
Revisions are done on the second book in my Highland Talents series, Highland Seer! I sent them back to my editor on Friday, so I’m hopeful that Highland Seer gets into the queue for a fall release, and that I have a new cover to debut soon.
In the meantime, here’s another snippet from Highland Seer. This follows soon after last week’s snippet. Enjoy!
The Lathans have found a clan in trouble. There aren’t many fighting-age men left, and no one to train the younger lads. Donal is determined to find a solution to this problem, but he’s got his work cut out for him. The half-trained young man who is as close to a master of arms as the MacKyrie’s have finds Donal and Bram working with the younger lads and takes offense. Donal challenges him to show his stuff, but Micheil isn’t inclined to treat it as a demonstration.
Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday Snippet!
Micheil growled an oath and shoved through the crowd into the circle. “They’re too young to take up fighting,” he argued. “No one would accost them.”
“Were those lads on the whisky wagon too young to be waving their dirks at brigands armed with claymores, then?”
That stopped Micheil in his tracks. He drew his weapon.
Donal grinned. “That’s better. Let’s dance, shall we?”
The Sunday Snippet group is on Facebook! Click on the banner at the top of this post to find the links to the other authors participating.
I’m so excited! I signed the contract last week for the second book in my Highland Talents series, Highland Seer! This past week I worked on revisions, which I plan to return to my editor in the next two or three days so that Highland Seer can get into the queue for a fall release.
The Lathans have found a clan in trouble. There aren’t many fighting-age men left, and no one to train the younger lads. Donal is determined to find a solution to this problem, but he’s got his work cut out for him.
Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday Snippet!
Donal had collected sticks and wooden swords lying about in the dirt. He gave one to each lad, paired each lad with another, then ordered, “Show me what ye can do.”
Their enthusiasm for sparring didn’t surprise him, but their lack of skill did.
“Do ye think to defend yerselves or yer mates like that?”
The lads stopped what they were doing and stared at him, wide-eyed. “Aye,” a brave one answered him. “We’ll defend our clan to the death.”
“Then die ye will, laddie, unless ye learn how to fight.”
I signed the contract this week for the second book in my Highland Talents series, Highland Seer. So that’s where today’s snippet is from.
The Lathans have rescued old men and lads who were attacked by bandits bent on stealing their wagons loaded with kegs of whisky. Returning the wounded MacKyries home to be cared for, the Lathans are angry that their laird would send his clansmen out so poorly guarded and with bounty guaranteed to draw thieves.
Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday Snippet!
“Can we be sure of our welcome here?” Jamie asked quietly.
“We’re bringin’ home their whisky and their menfolk,” Donal groused. “The laird’s gratitude had better include answering a few questions, like why we’re havin’ to bring home his wounded.” At Jamie’s raised eyebrow, he continued. “Once they ken how charming we are, there shouldna be any problems.”
Jamie grinned and shook his head.
Behind him, Bram choked back a laugh and began coughing.
I enjoyed a visit from a long-time friend this week, so this snippet is about a visitor Toran receives – a new friend and ally. As the old saying goes, there’s good news and bad news…
Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday!
“Aye,” Angus answered. “And good news, as well.” He dismounted and handed the reins to one of the lads who stood by.
This week, I spoke on a panel about writing love stories and love scenes at the Writers Guild of Texas in Austin with Tracy Wolff, Mari Mancusi, and Shawnna Perigo. It was so much fun, I’ve decided to share a bit of a love scene here today.
Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday!
He had to prove to her that he was serious about a future with her. “To become my wife and the lady of my clan.”
Toran glanced quickly around, but no one else seemed to have heard her startled exclamation.
“There will be time, lass. All ye need. And when ye find that ye are ready, we will marry.”
Things are a little chaotic since the demise of #SixSentenceSunday. Our Facebook follow-on group just changed its name to Sunday Snippets. There’s another group called Sneak Peek Sunday that uses 8-10 sentences. I’m going to stick with six for now and hope this all sorts itself out soon. It would be great for all these groups to get together and support each other.
Enjoy my Six Sentence…ooops, I mean Sunday Snippet! In this one, Toran is just starting to get a sense of the chaotic situation he’s landed in.
He needed to get a look outside. If he could move quietly enough so as not to wake the lass, he could peer out the tent flap. His boots were lashed together with enough slack between them to hobble him, but not to prevent him from walking in some limited fashion. He considered trying to remove them, but the bindings around his ankles were too tight, and even if he got the boots off, he didn’t want to lose them. He wouldn’t get far on bare feet, so he’d have to find a way to cut the cord between them. First things first.
This has been a crazy weekend – I appeared on TV Friday to talk about Highland Healer and did my first book signing yesterday. In honor of those pivotal events in my career as an author, I’m giving you a look at a pivotal event in Aileana’s life, one that will affect her, Toran, and everyone around them.
Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday!
Aileana met Ranald’s impassive stare with one of her own and then turned back to Colbridge. She suspected she knew what went on behind Ranald’s expressionless eyes. Colbridge lay pale as death. Blood soaked the tunic and leathers meant to protect his upper body, and pooled on the table beneath him. The metallic tang of it filled the tent. If she let him die, Aileana fretted, what would be the consequence?
Now that the official Six Sentence Sunday is over, I’ve decided to continue on my own, or until I find a group resuming it. I’m starting with the opening sentences of my debut book, Highland Healer.
Enjoy my first solo Six Sentence Sunday!
They brought the man into the tent on a makeshift stretcher, bound and unconscious. A hunting plaid of muted earth tones draped over his broad chest and across one muscular shoulder, where it fastened to his tunic with a simple brass pin. Quartz crystals decorated the open ends of a braided gold torc at his throat. That fact alone, that jewelry remained on his person, told Aileana that he was being accorded special treatment, not robbed like the common soldiers fallen on the field of battle. He would be a warrior, probably a laird, of the clan that Colbridge fought today.
It’s hard to believe, but this is the last official Six Sentence Sunday. January 27th.
I’m sorry to see it go. I know you are, too. It’s been a wonderful way to get a glimpse of so many talented authors’ work.
Should I continue here – just for my readers? What do you think?
In honor of the end of #SixSunday, I’m sharing the moment when Toran realizes his time with Aileana may be ending.
Enjoy the last official Six Sentence Sunday!
Ice suddenly slid down Toran’s back, from his neck to his buttocks. “What do ye mean, lass?”
“You made a promise to me.”
“A promise?” Panic surged like beating wings in his belly. He knew the promise she meant.
To see other authors contributing to Six Sentence Sunday, just click here.
Grand Prize: One lucky person will receive an ebook/print book from all 10 authors. Grand Prize to be announced on Jan. 12th.
I’m thrilled to be a Plotting Princess for a Day and to take part in the Plotting Princesses New Year’s Blog Hop! Don’t miss the giveaway at the bottom of this post!
Toran Lathan never expected to become Laird, and never expected to meet a woman like Aileana Shaw. Her healing ability is just what his people need, but Toran cannot resist her beauty. Yet will loving him destroy her ability to heal?
Aileana Shaw has a healing touch – and a special talent she must keep secret. Stolen from her home by a marauding army, she’s kidnapped again by the Highland Laird she heals. Is she a prize of war, or the prize of his heart?
While Toran battles the invading lowland army, he also battles his desire for Aileana. And Aileana must decide if she can trust her secrets to this fierce warrior who needs her talent, but wants her love.
A special part of this blog hop is that each author is sharing a favorite recipe with our readers. Here’s one of mine that’s just perfect for long cold nights, sitting in front of a fire, reading Highland Healer!
I included it in the gluten-free section of the 2012 A Healthy Garden Gourmet cookbook that’s FREE from The Wild Rose Press. You can download the entire book to enjoy my recipe and others.
Highland Heat Spiced Cider
1 gallon apple cider
1 cup orange juice
1 orange, with peel, sliced into rings, not wedges
3 sticks of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3 pieces of whole clove
6 whole allspice berries
honey to taste
Pour apple cider and orange juice into a large pot (a crock pot works well for a party). Add the orange slices and the spices. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then turn the heat down to keep it at your desired temperature. Add a little honey if the cider is not sweet enough.
For mulled wine: fill a mug halfway with hot cider, top with a hearty red wine of your choice and stir.
Note: Spices can be adjusted to your taste – add more or less of each as you prefer.
Now for my giveaway: an ebook copy of Highland Healer will go to one person, chosen at random, who comments on this page. Don’t own it yet? Now’s your chance. Already have it? It makes a great gift, too!
You can get my autograph for your ebook copy of Highland Healer on Authorgraph.com! Just click on the greenish widget on the right side of this page!
And now, last but certainly not least, Lynn Rush is the last stop on the Plotting Princess Blog Hop. Hop on over to her blog tomorrow.
My next appearance will be here for the next Six Sentence Sunday. Then on January 14 (Monday), I’ll be splashing around in the Waterworld Mermaids lagoon, where I’ll be dishing on what’s really under those kilts. Don’t miss it! You can see the rest of my blog hop schedule on yesterday’s post.
The old year is on the way out and the new year is approaching at light speed. Where has the time gone? I don’t know about you, but this is one holiday that always gets me thinking. As the old year fades, what do we take away from 2012?
2012 has been a year of amazing firsts for me.
- I signed my first book contract (Highland Healer) in March.
- My first book cover arrived in April. Isn’t it great?!?!?
- I spent the summer working through revisions and galleys with my fabulous first editor.
- Highland Healer went live first on Amazon in October.
- It hit it’s first Amazon’s bestseller list within 2 weeks.
- It hit #1 in several categories during its November free days, number #11 overall.
- And it rebounded onto the paid Kindle bestseller lists within a day of coming off the free lists and into the top 500 paid Kindle books.
It’s hard to say goodbye to any of those firsts, but they’re part of my professional history now, along with the past year. Thanks to my readers, my debut book is off to a great start!
And then there are those new beginnings. We love our clean slates, don’t we? Fresh starts. The chance to embark, unencumbered by last year’s thinking, on new adventures. Branching paths that lead – where? We can’t wait to find out.
At least that’s how it always seems to me.
In 2013, I’ll be here, giving my keyboard a workout, letting my thoughts wander and my imagination run free – within the constraints of whatever outline I’ve devised for my current work-in-progress.
I’ll also be attending several conferences which always provide inspiration. There have been unanticipated benefits to every conference I’ve attended, so I’m looking forward to the ones coming up in 2013.
And of course, I’m hoping to see another book in print, and another finished and ready to go. Time will tell!
As you contemplate the coming year, what are you hoping for? Anticipating? Expecting? What path will you tread on your way to your goals, your dreams?
Let’s make 2013 the best year yet!
Welcome to my “stop” on The Next Big Thing blog hop. And thanks to Linda Carroll-Bradd for tagging me to participate. In turn, I’ve asked Kathryn Knight, Chris Redding, Mageela Troche and Bess McBride to participate, and they’ll be posting next week, beginning Dec 10.
“The Next Big Thing” is a question and answer discussion blog in which we discuss…yes! the next big thing we’re working on, or a recent release. In my case, Highland Healer.
- Where did the idea come from for the book? I saw the first scene like a movie clip – a big man being brought into a tent on a rough stretcher, a woman watching and waiting to assess his condition. The rest of the book followed from that. Initially, I wasn’t sure what it was going to be – historical, fantasy, science fiction or something else. But as I wrote that first scene, it quickly became clear to me that the story took place in the highlands of Scotland in the past. Then it was a matter of finding the perfect time in Scottish history, which took a lot of research.
- What genre does your book fall under? Highland Healer is a Scottish Historical Romance with a Paranormal twist. It won the 2011 Washington Romance Writers’ Marlene contest in the Paranormal category.
- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Honestly, I have no idea. In my imagination, the characters have their own faces and personalities, and I’ve never tried to find a “real world” analog for them. I’d love for you to suggest some! It would be fun to find out how my readers see them.
- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? After Toran Lathan escapes with healer Aileana Shaw from the army where she was a captive and the invader lays siege to the Lathan keep to get her back, Aileana uses all her abilities to protect herself and those she loves while Toran fights to keep her.
- Where can we get your book? Click on the cover above to link to Amazon Kindle. Highland Healer is on sale there until its official release date on Jan 4. After that, it will be available at full price from The Wild Rose Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, other e-formats and in print.
- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? My first draft took a decade. I was a pantzer at the time, and still working my day job, so the energy to be creative and write was in short supply. When I started the second book of this series, I first outlined each chapter and its scenes. That book took less than a year to write – a huge improvement for me.
- Who or what inspired you to write this book? I’ve always written – stories, articles for the school newspaper, something for the school literary journal. A few novels that I started as a child are tucked away in a drawer – they’re written in pencil! This book grew over a long period of time out of that initial scene, and like most debut books, a lot of twists and turns in story structure, plot, characters and setting happened before it all come together.
- What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Highland Healer is not your usual historical romance. I always loved reading science fiction and fantasy, especially if the stories included psi talents. So now, traces of psi talents have a way of showing up in most of the stories I write, whether the story setting is past, present or future. Add to that my fascination with how relationships develop, and I think you’ll find my books are captivating, sexy and satisfying to read.
Despite his threats a few moments before, she had sensed no real animosity in him. She’d been treated well since arriving at the Aerie. Her dream of a home, with people who cared about her, perhaps a family of her own, rose unbidden to her mind, and with it came a familiar lump in her throat. She was tired, she thought, to let that longing overwhelm her now. She folded her arms under her breasts and kept her eyes on the flames. She heard Toran move from the door to stand behind her. She tensed as his hands came to rest on her shoulders. He turned her gently, but irresistibly, to face him.
“What should I do with so beautiful, so valuable, a prize?” he murmured, almost to himself.
His deep blue gaze ensnared Aileana as completely as his hands. She knew she should be outraged at being called a prize. He’d done it before, on the way here. Did he truly see her that way? She refused to be chattel any longer, she told herself, and would not allow him to treat her so. But she found she could not summon her ire. One of his hands left her shoulder and he lightly touched her cheek, then slowly slid his fingers down her throat to her collarbone. There, he hesitated, and Aileana held her breath until he moved the hand back to her shoulder.
His simple touch sent shivers dancing and nearly undid her.
As you can see, I’ve rehosted my website. I hope you’ll find this more dynamic, more current, and more fun to visit!
HIGHLAND HEALER is now available on Amazon for your Kindle!
On its official release date, 4 January 2013, HIGHLAND HEALER will be available in other e-formats (Nook, etc.) and print.