Yes, it’s the Vampire vs. Werewolf Hop. You can find a complete list of participating authors and bloggers here. To be entered in my giveaway for a Kindle or Nook copy of my paranormal/time travel romance, WEATHERING ROCK (which features a hunky werewolf) follow this link.
Before you leave, I also want to introduce another type of hero for this blog post–highlanders!
My sister author from Lyrical Press and critique partner, Jessi Gage, has just released a fantasy romance, WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER that I want to share. Jessi has dropped by to tell us about Skibo Castle (wouldn’t that be a cool place for a vampire or werewolf to hang out? Or even a hunky Scot)? And now, I’m happy to turn my blog over to Jessi Gage.
Thanks so much for having me, Mae. It’s been wonderful getting to know you as a fellow Lyrical author and a critique partner over the past few months. Your blog is a favorite stop of mine for your Mythical Mondays and Wizard with Words features. I’m so honored to have a spot to showcase my new release with Lyrical Press , WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER.
WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER is a historical paranormal romance in which a single and pregnant museum worker accidentally wishes herself back in time and is forced to marry a Highland warrior with intimacy issues. The blurb and info are below, but what I really want to share is some of my research in writing WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER.
I love Castles. On a trip to Ireland and Scotland with my husband I had the wonderful opportunity to tour many castles. Some were intact. Some were in ruin. I delighted in them all. My favorite was Edinburgh Castle because of the sheer amount of history contained inside its museum, including The Honours of Scotland, the nation’s crown jewels.
I needed a castle in WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER, because Melanie and Darcy needed a safe place to flee to and work out some of the issues keeping them from consummating their marriage. I chose Skibo Castle purely for its fairy-tale beauty and its not-too-distant location from where I chose to put Darcy’s northern village of Ackergill.
Choosing Skibo Castle was one of those serendipitous writing moments when things all come together and fall into place without my planning it (because, really, I couldn’t have planned anything this amazing. I’m not THAT good).
Here’s what I mean. In researching Skibo Castle, I found out it was the place Madonna married Guy Ritchie in 2000. This is something my transplanted modern-day heroine might have remembered, so I could write her as being somewhat familiar with the castle. Not only that, but Skibo Castle was home to steel magnate Andrew Carnegie before he came to the US as a Scottish immigrant. As it happened, in the first chapter, before Melanie gets whisked to late-medieval Scotland, I have her working in a museum, putting together an exhibit on Scottish Immigrants. It was all too easy to write her as having great familiarity with Skibo Castle and its history, making the setting that much more vivid for the reader (I hope).
But I didn’t plan any of it! It just happened to fall perfectly into place, and is one of those little blessings that make WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER the most magical thing I’ve ever written. Here’s the blurb for WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER:
While examining Andrew Carnegie’s lucky rosewood box, single-and-pregnant museum worker Melanie makes a tongue in cheek wish on the artifact–for a Highland warrior to help her forget about her cheating ex. Suddenly transported to the middle of a clan skirmish in sixteenth-century Scotland, she realizes she should have been a tad more specific.
Darcy, laird in waiting, should be the most eligible bachelor in Ackergill, but a cruel prank played on him in his teenage years has led him to believe he is too large under his kilt to ever join with a woman. He has committed himself to a life of bachelorhood, running his deceased father’s windmills and keeping up the family manor house…alone.
Darcy’s uncle, Laird Steafan welcomes the strangely dressed woman into his clan, immediately marrying her to Darcy in hopes of an heir. But when Steafan learns of her magic box and brands her a witch, Darcy must do what any good husband would–protect his wife, even if it means forsaking his clan.
WARNING: A pregnant museum worker, a sixteenth-century Scot, and a meddlesome wishing box.
Excerpt from WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER:
Size might have its advantages when it came to fighting, but those few boons fell far short of making up for the problems it caused. Being the biggest and the strongest had gotten him into far more trouble than it had gotten him out of. Swallowing his regret for how careless he’d been with her, he sought to determine whom she belonged to, whom, saints forbid, he might owe.
“Whose wife are ye, then? Not a Gunn’s or I wouldna have had to rescue you from one.”
“I’m not married,” the lass said. “And thank you for the rescuing, by the way. I can’t believe I dropped the dirk. Stupid.” She shook her head.
His heart warmed at her thanks. He didn’t hear many kind words from the lasses and would take what he could get, even from a dishonored woman who had caught a bairn out wedlock. Oddly, he didn’t think poorly of her. Whether it was her worried brow, her guileless, soft mouth, or her vulnerable size, he had not the heart to condemn her.
He didn’t even mind so much that she found him distasteful for his size, although talking with her now, she didn’t seem overly upset to be in his arms. He endeavored to keep her talking, keep her distracted from her disgust.
“Ye never answered my first question,” he said. “Who are you? And where are ye from if ye’re no’ English?”
“Ugh. I don’t know. Is there an answer that won’t get me burned at the stake or locked up in a ward for the hopelessly insane?”
Like most things out of her mouth, that had been a peculiar answer. “Ye could try the truth,” he offered, slowing his pace since he heard Archie’s voice not far off.
“No,” she said flatly. “I couldn’t. At least not the whole truth. How about we just go with my name, Melanie, and with the honest fact that I’m a long way from home and I have no idea how to get back.” Her green eyes pierced his. “I’m afraid you might be stuck with me, Darcy Keith.”
Thanks again for having me Mae! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you as a fellow Lyrical sister, a CP, and a friend. More details on WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER and on the blog hops I’m participating in (prizes, people!) can be found on my blog and website.
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Jessi Gage Bio
Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. In addition to writing paranormal romance, she’s a wife, a mom, an audiologist, a church-goer, a Ford driver, a PC user, and a coffee snob. Her guiding tenet in her writing is that good triumphs over evil, but not before evil gives good one heck of a run for its money. The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.
Thanks, Jessi for being my guest today! A castle, hunky highlander and time travel. What’s not to love? 😀
I LOVED all the “coincidences” and ways you linked the past and present in this book. Can’t believe it was all accidental. 🙂 Good job!
Thanks for visiting, Piper. I know Wishing for a Highlander is going to be an awesome read. Looking forward to diving into next on my TBR list. I can wait to see how Jessi links past and present. Should be a lot of fun!
Linking past and present couldn’t have been easy! I can’t wait to read the book!! Congrats, Jessi!! I’m so happy for you!!
Thanks for checking out Jessi’s post, Jennifer! 🙂
And right away I’m picturing Duncan MacLeod 🙂
Edinburgh castle is one of the most breathtaking things I’ve seen, perched up on the mound, right in the heart of the city with that spooky graveyard at its base!
Totally agree. Such an inspiring and haunting place. I will forever be grateful I got to see it in person. Hope to go back one day.
Ahh, Emma, I envy the sites you must get to see across the pond. One day, I’d like to get to your neck of the woods. And spooky graveyard? hmmm, now I’m really intrigued!
I love the idea of past and present and this is a terrific post Mae and Jessi. Really Mae – you are driving a ‘wedge’ in my designated reading hours:) I’m also intrigued here as I’m familiar with many of the castles (both in ruin and restored) across Europe. I always love to see how authors utilize the castle settings – will it be as involved as another character or a detailed backdrop to add to the intrigue.
Sheri, so glad to hear I’m part of your designated reading hours 🙂 What travels you have enjoyed to be familiar with so many castles. Even if through research, what a wonderful topic to be versed about. I’ve dreamt of castles since I was a little girl in the magical/dreamy-eyed sense and I guess I never outgrew that. I would love to visit an actual standing castle one day. I know I’ll fall in love with Jessi’s descriptions in her book. I’m already in love with the setting.
Mae – I’ve lived & worked in 12 countries and it’s always fascinated me that every country has one or more of castles or palaces – and sometimes both. Thankfully I was in each country long enough and enough different times that I could travel just about anywhere I wanted to go. I often felt more like a tourist than someone on the job.
What am amazing background you have, Sheri. I can only imagine the sights you must have seen and the story potential in each of them!
Thanks for the compliments Sheri and Mae! I definitely write a bit about Skibo Castle, also about the fictional Ackergill keep, a smaller, utilitarian castle sitting above Darcy’s hometown of Ackergill. I hope the descriptions do castles justice!
Thanks so much for having me Mae! It’s always a pleasure to appear on your blog! Have a great rest of your week!
You’re always welcome here, Jessi. Loved being able to share your debut release!
Family legend has it that my great-grandmother worked at Skibo Castle (likely as a domestic servant) prior to immigrating to the US. Unfortunately, when I contacted the Castle, their records did not extend back that far for employees, so I was unable to corroborate this family lore!
Hi,, Kerry. Great to meet you! What an intriguing history to have tucked in your family tree. It must be frustrating not being able to verify it but, just the thought and possibility, is something I would definitely treasure and hang onto. I love genealogy, so this really resonates with me.
I love genealogy, too – thus the desire for the paper trail! But the idea is fun enough, and Skibo is a lovely castle. Maybe someday I will get over there to see it!
Hi Mae and Jessi! I’ve been meaning to swing by since yesterday and kept getting caught up. I loved reading this post. It’s so interesting how your plot points came together like they did without you really meaning for it to happen… and then you’re like, “Ooo look! Yes! I knew that would happen all along!!” Hahaha NOT!!
It’s exactly what happened with me on my contemp romance, Taking Chance. Love when situations like that happen. Sure makes the writing easier!
I love reading when I feel like I’m getting a bit of a history lesson. It’s always been a dream to go to Ireland and tour the castles. Someday, I hope I get that chance. For now, I’ll let myself believe I’m there while reading this book.
The plot sounds very original and who doesn’t love a yummy sexy man in a kilt?!
I just snagged my copy! I can’t say when I’ll get to it exactly… but I’m really looking forward to reading it.
Thanks Mae for always making my TBR pile grow!!
Hi, Loni! Always great to see you. You have been missed!!! I know you’re busy with your upcoming release, Painted Memories, but it’s always a pleasure to have you drop by. I’m glad you enjoyed Jessi’s guest post. And it’s fantastic that you’ve already snatched up her book. Of course, what girl wouldn’t like a rugged highlander who spirits her off to a castle? 🙂 TBR piles are great!!
Jessi- your cover alone is drool worthy…throw in the book and you’ve piqued my interest. Guess I’ll be hitting Amazon… 🙂
Glad to hear Jessi has you hooked, Kitt! 🙂
I have a soft spot for Scots, especially Highlanders.
Jessi, I know I’m going to enjoy this book. I love the description, and the excerpt was wonderful. I got to see Edinburgh Castle many years ago, and it was such an amazing place. Now I want to go back!
I would so love to go there ONCE, Donna! 🙂 Lucky you! Thanks for dropping by and checking out Jessi’s interview!