Six Sentence Sunday #4

What makes a good villain?  Do you prefer one with some redeeming qualities?  Or is off-the-wall crazy your favorite type?  You’ll have to read Highland Healer to find out what kind of villain Toran and Aileana face.  In the meantime, here’s a snippet showing him getting a taste of what’s coming to him.  Karma’s a….well, you get the idea.  Enjoy this week’s Six Sentence Sunday!

Suddenly, it seemed that men and horses moved in surreal silence.  Blades bounced off blades without ringing.  Mouths opened in soundless screams.

Colbridge didn’t notice the blood streaming down his arm until he saw his sword drop from nerveless fingers.

Abandoning his men to the fight, he rode as hard as he could back toward his camp,  his vision wavering.

Aileana would fix this.

To see other authors contributing to Six Sentence Sunday, just click here.

Want more of Highland Healer? Click here!  Highland Healer is on sale on Amazon Kindle until 4 January.  Don’t miss it!

I’m visiting Scotland on He Said, She Said!

I’m so excited to be interviewed today by fellow Wild Rose Press author, the lovely –and Scottish! — Nancy Jardine, for her Monday Moments  feature on her blog,  He Said, She Said.

I’m dishing on my favorite scene in Highland Healer and talking about some of my earliest success as a writer – and I do mean early.

Please drop by and say hello.  You’ll be making a virtual trip to Scotland!

And check out Nancy’s latest, The Beltane Choice, on Amazon.

Six Sentence Sunday #3

My readers rock.  Thanks to you,  Highland Healer is a bestseller on Amazon!  I’m blown away – and grateful for your terrific reviews.  So I’m going to reward you with a deeper glimpse into the bond between Toran and Aileana.   Enjoy this week’s Six Sentence Sunday!

Even when his touch left her skin, Aileana was aware of him.  She knew she would be able to find him on the darkest night, in the deepest forest.

But when they did touch, her heart beat with his, and his hot blood seemed to course through her veins.  His hunger for her was a living thing.  She missed that knowing as he leaned over her from where he stood by the bed, so she reached for him.

“Are ye certain, lass?” Toran asked, his voice deep, his brogue thick with his need.

To see other authors contributing to Six Sentence Sunday, just click here.

Want more of Highland Healer? Click here!  Highland Healer is on sale on Amazon Kindle until 4 January.  Don’t miss it!

Trial By Combat

My best-selling debut novel, Highland Healer, is set in 1516. It’s a chaotic time in Scottish history, three years after King James IV met his fate fighting the English at Flodden Field along with many of his nobles, clan chiefs and their heirs.

Memorial Cross at Flodden Field

In the chaos the followed Flodden, some clans were left leaderless, or broken, overrun by neighboring clans. Other clans hung on until younger sons could mature into the capable chiefs their people needed. Many battles were fought, large and small, for control of territory and resources.

To portray the conflict of the times, I needed a battle, but not just any battle. It had to be personal and have dire consequences for the hero and heroine if it went against them. And whether you take Wikipedia articles on faith or with a box of salt, it was a Wikipedia article on Trial By Combat that gave me the final clue I needed to stage the climactic battle in Highland Healer.

According to that article, “Wager of battle, as the trial by combat was called in English, appears to have been introduced into the common law of the Kingdom of England following the Norman conquest and remained in use for the duration of the High and Late Middle Ages…In Scotland and Ireland, the practice was continued into the 16th century.”

Claymores were 4-5 feet long and weighed more than 5 pounds

Two warriors, considered champions by their sides, would fight what was, in effect, a duel. Before they fought, they would swear that their respective armies would abide by the result of that battle, the winner declaring victory for his side. Battles were fought with the weapons at hand, until one or the other was dead or disabled. In the Highlands of that time period, most likely that meant claymores and dirks or other bladed weapons. I had my combatants use both.

The Wikipedia article said something else very interesting – that the combatants would swear oaths against using witchcraft and sorcery to give them an advantage. For my purposes, this meant that Aileana could not use her hidden Talent to impair the villain and directly affect the battle, even if it meant Toran’s death. But since the battle took place in the midst of the villain’s men, and since the villain refused to abide by the rules of the duel, she did even the odds a bit, circumspectly, behind the scenes. That’s exactly where I put her – behind the wall of the villain’s men who ringed the fight, using her Talent on them rather than the combatants, in a way that left the outcome of the battle up to Toran’s strength and skill rather than the villain’s perfidy.

Six Sentence Sunday #2

Here is another quote from Highland Healer.  Stolen from the lowlander army’s camp by Toran Lathan and carried to his keep, Aileana Shaw finds her circumstances vastly changed – or are they?  Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday post!

“I’m not a prisoner, then?”

“Prisoner? What nonsense is that?” Elspie waved a hand to encompass the room and its comfortable furnishings. “Does this look like the dungeon, then, lass?”

“There was a guard on my door last night.”

To see other authors contributing to Six Sentence Sunday, just click here.

Want more of Highland Healer? Click here! Today is the last day Highland Healer is free on Kindle. Don’t miss it!

Highland Books That Make You Go Yum!

What do you love about Scottish Highland romance? Braw men in kilts? Stubborn lasses strong enough to stand up to them? Mountains and lochs and icy cold burns? Do you need a few more great books to add to your TBR shelf just in time for these long winter nights?

You’ve come to the right place! I’m talking about some of my favorite highland books on USAToday’s HEA Blog. Click on the HEA logo or the underlined text to link to my list!

Whether you’ve read dozens or none at all, you’ll want to read these! And if you have favorites of your own, share! Add your favorites to the comments here and at HEA, and tell the rest of us why you love them. Who knows? One of your favorites might just become one of mine, too.

If you don’t have Highland Healer yet, click here!

Six Sentence Sunday #1

Good morning! It’s not time to “Fall Back” from daylight savings time yet, but it’s after midnight on the East Coast and time for Six Sentence Sunday! Enjoy my first Six Sentence Sunday post, a quote from Highland Healer!

“Senga!” he cried while pulling Aileana up against his chest. She was so still, so pale, so cold, as though she had taken her own life and gifted it to Jamie.

Senga left Jamie’s side and reached out to Aileana, where she lay in Toran’s arms.

“She breathes, though weakly. She’s spent.” At the panicked look in Toran’s eyes, she continued, “Nay, no’ like that. She’ll no’ die on ye.”

To see other authors contributing to Six Sentence Sunday, just click here.

Want more of Highland Healer? Click here!