Category Archives: characters

It’s time for the November edition of Searching for Serenity!

Let’s play the November edition of

Searching for Serenity!

 

Where will we find her this time? You want to make sure you behave in here. There are at least four elves in the shelter. Two on the throne and two in the back corners.

Serenity and Roger visited this park area in It Happened on Dufferin Terrace. When they did, the throne was outdoors totally, not sheltered by three walls and a roof.

november edition

Serenity may not have visited here, but we frequently do for a bowl of their French Onion Soup. It’s to die for! If you look out the window, you see the Christmas market across the street in the square and the Simons department store in the background.

November edition

If you were to turn 90 degrees to the right from where this picture was taken, you would see the Château Frontenac Hotel.

november edition

The street at the top of the staircase is Avenue St Denis. This is a place Serenity visits in It Happened on Dufferin Terrace.

november edition

It’s quite the trek up all these stairs, especially in winter conditions. Obviously, it was something important that brought here here and up the wooden flight of steps.

november edition

So there you have it. A few more spottings of Serenity around Vieux-Québec.

Do you think you know these locations or why she’s in them?

 

#TellaFairyTaleDay

Today is…

#TellAFairyTaleDay!

Never heard of it before? Well, you can read more about it here. The stories can cover everything from Grimm to urban legends.

Scottish legends, myths, and mystery are found in A Shadow in the Past, so what better time to celebrate it?

Even the cover exudes fairytale mystery. Once upon a time…

#TellAFairyTaleDay
cover by Aidana WillowRaven

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages, powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.

Available from the publisher 4RV Publishing or amazon

And then there’s the sequel … Shadows From Her Past

A cruel twist of fate returns Sarah Shand to her life in the year 2010 where she discovers she is a patient in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and has been for months. Struggling to come to terms with the situation, she insists she belongs in the year 1886 at Weetshill mansion with her husband the Laird, Robert Robertson, and adopted daughter, Jenny. Her family and consultant physician try to convince her she was dreaming or hallucinating but Sarah refuses to believe them.

Robert, who has experienced strange things at the stone circle at Gordonsfield Farm, somehow breaks through the time-space continuum and visits Sarah in his future. He pleads with her to return to the past but his cryptic messages only confuse her.

Medical student, David Robb, himself a descendant of the Robertsons of Weetshill, befriends Sarah. Fascinated with her stories of the past, after her release from the hospital, he takes Sarah to meet his parents, the current owners of the mansion and surrounding land.

This year, the winter solstice and lunar eclipse occur on the same day. Will a trip to the stone circle during this combination of events create the magic Sarah needs to return to 1886 and her family there? Or will she remain in the present and make a life with David?

Available to buy from amazon.

Do you have a favourite fairy tale? I’d love to know what is is. Tell me in the comments.

Once Upon a Time… It’s Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Once upon a time

there was a day specifically dedicated to telling fairy tales. Today is that day…

Tell A Fairy Tale Day!

Never heard of it before? Well, you can read more about it here. The stories can cover everything from Grimm to urban legends.

Scottish legends, myths, and mystery are found in A Shadow in the Past, so what better time to celebrate it?

time

Even the cover exudes fairytale mystery. Once upon a time…

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages, powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.

 

If you have a favourite fairy tale, leave a comment telling which one it is.

 

 

 

 

Character ~ John Robertson from A Shadow in the Past

John Robertson – patriarch of the Robertsons

John Robertson played an important role in my debut novel, A Shadow in the Past. He was the grandfather of my hero, Robert (named after my father Robert Robertson and my uncle Andrew Robertson).

In order to make this chart even remotely readable, it had to be split into three sections. This first section starts with the patriarch himself and his wife and ends with his grandchildren, Robert being one of them.

John
descendants of John William Robertson

This second section begins with his great-grandchildren who were Margaret’s (Robert’s sister) children.

john
descendants of John William Robertson cont’d

This last chart ends with one 5th great-grandchild – Colin Cameron.

John
descendants of John William Robertson cont’d

Some of these characters were mentioned in the first book. Some (but not all) will be introduced in the second one – Shadows From Her Past.

These charts were created using Legacy genealogy software and the handy dandy snipping tool in Windows, which I have to say is as ‘handy as a pocket in a shirt’.

A Shadow in the Past Blurb:

When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages, powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.

I can’t share the blurb for Shadows From Her Past with you yet but when I can, you can read it here.

 

 

Character ~ Gordon Eadie from A Shadow in the Past

‘Auld’ Gordon Eadie

While he didn’t play a big role in A Shadow in the Past (two mentions in two paragraphs one one page in one chapter), his character was important to the story … and in more ways than one.

His forename, Gordon, latterly became part of the name of the farm Sarah was born and raised on – Gordonsfield.

Gordon
descendant chart for Gordon Eadie

And, as you can see from the descendant chart above, produced from Legacy, he was Sarah’s 3rd-great-grandfather. If you click on the chart, it will give you a larger image which is readable.

Not all of the characters appeared in A Shadow in the Past, nor will they all appear in the second book in the the series – Shadows From Her Past – but I needed to create a family for Sarah that included aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and grandparents.

A Shadow in the Past Blurb:

When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages, powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.

I can’t share the blurb for Shadows From Her Past with you yet but when I can, you can read it here.

For more information on A Shadow in the Past and where you can purchase it, visit my website.

 

 

 

 

#AtoZChallenge – S is for SHADOWS FROM HER PAST

Shadows from Her Past

I’m currently sitting at just over 62,000 words in my first draft and my target length is 85,000. This book hasn’t progressed as quickly as I had hoped but I’ve not totally thrown in the towel yet, either.

I don’t have a cover to show you but as the book hasn’t progressed to that stage, I can’t.

a shadow in the past cover 500x773Here is the cover image for my first book. I see my name and the title Shadows from Her Past exactly how they are here. Keep the ‘author brand’ continuity if you will.

I also see the past and present being represented much as they are here but, shall we say, in a more modest setting. Present looking into the past and the two characters who are most important to the heroine appearing with her in the mirror’s reflection.

What do you think of my vision?

Blurb for Shadows from Her Past:

Sarah finds herself back in her time without her husband, Robert, and adopted daughter, Jenny. When she sees visions of them appear, Sarah doesn’t know if it’s her imagination or if they’re really there trying to break through the constraints of time and space.

David Robb, a student doctor at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary who has been assigned to her case, bears a familial resemblance to Robert. Sarah develops feelings for him but also feels like she is betraying her husband, despite them being centuries apart.

Will Sarah make a new life with David in the present, or will she find her way back to her husband and daughter in the past?

~~~~~~~~

Keep coming back for news regarding Shadows from her Past. In the meantime, you can purchase book one in the series – A Shadow in the Past in paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters, and local bricks ‘n mortar bookstores.

If you’d prefer to buy it as an ebook, all you have to do is click on the logo of your choice to download it. The link for all the amazon domains is the same, you just have to change the .co.uk to your own.

#AtoZChallenge – R is for Reading

Reading

reading

Whatever your genre, or preferred medium, curling up and reading a good book on a cold wintry day is fab and in my corner of the world, there have been a pile of them this season.

There are loads of genres to choose from – crime, romance, paranormal, Young Adult, New Adult, non-fiction, memoirs and literary fiction.

A great place to get your reading material is at your local independent bookstore. Mine is Leeds County Books. If I find a book whilst shopping elsewhere, I take down the details and then go here and order my copy, if it isn’t already on the shelf.

I also have a great collection of ebooks on my ipad in the Kindle app.

And I’m going to do a wee bit of shameless, self-promotion here. If you’re looking for a great read, check out A Shadow in the Past and The Consequences Collection, written by yours truly.

Character interview with a twist…

Character interview

In most character interviews you see, it’s the character being interviewed. This time, it’s the character being the interviewer as opposed to the interviewee. My main character from A Shadow in the Past, Sarah Shand, interviewed me over at her blog, Sarah’s Place the other day.

We talked about A Shadow in the Past, the second book in that series, Shadows from her Past, author brand and other things. She asked some pretty tough questions. You can read the full interview here.

About Sarah:

cartoon SarahI live in rural Aberdeenshire with my parents, sister, and ginger and white cat, Murphy, on our farm (Gordonsfield) near the village of Kendonald.

When I’m not with them, I live in the year 1886 at Weetshill mansion with the laird Robert Robertson and his staff.

If you think going back to the past and knowing what you do now is fun, let me tell you, it isn’t. But then I’m probably telling tales out of school.

The best way to find out is to buy a copy of Melanie’s novel, A Shadow in the Past, and find out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Day 15 – Glasgow to Toronto

Day 15 – Glasgow to Toronto – August 25, 2013


View Larger Map

We were checked out of the hotel and over at the airport before 8:00. When I booked the room, I went with room only because I knew there were plenty of places in the airport to go get breakfast.

The Air Transat desk opened at 8:15 so we went and got checked in so we could get rid of our two big bags. After passing through security, we found a place reasonably close to our gate where we could have a meal (and me, a coffee). We decided on the Beardmore Bar and Restaurant. After all the huge, cooked breakfasts I’d eaten in the two weeks, and having already mowed down a packet of Prawn Cocktail crisps, I only had fried eggs on toast.

I’m not sure how it happened, but when I went to fasten my belt in the WC, the buckle came off in my hand and a belt without a buckle isn’t much use to anyone, so the entire thing went into the trash. At least for the time being, we didn’t have a lot of walking to do so I didn’t have to worry about losing my pants… LOL.

While we waited in the departure lounge for our flight to arrive, I took advantage of the free wi-fi and checked my email. I discovered that an interview I had done with Stacy Claflin before our trip went live the day before. I went to her blog and thanked her for hosting me before my half hour expired.

Before our plane arrived, a fire engine arrived and parked by the gate. It doesn’t exactly inspire a warm, fuzzy feeling. Shortly after that, an ambulance arrived and parked next to the building below where we were sitting.

Our plane at arriving at Glasgow Airport
Our plane at arriving at Glasgow Airport

We waited and watched to see what would take place next. Once the plane taxied in to location, the fire engine went out and parked by the left, rear emergency exit. Once the gangway was in place, two paramedics sprinted up the outside stairs.

For the longest time, nothing happened. Well, there was likely a lot going on in the plane but from our vantage point, we couldn’t see.

Eventually, a paramedic descended followed by a man carrying some cabin luggage and a purse. He was followed by a woman and a paramedic. She and her ‘husband’ were bundled into the ambulance.

When hubby came back from a walk, he told me he’d overheard a couple of flight crew members saying that they didn’t know exactly what happened but the woman was taken to Royal Glasgow and would be spending the night there for observation. Not a very nice way to spend the beginning of your vacation or arriving back home.

The flight boarded and left on time. We thought for sure it would be late with all the earlier excitement.

Except for hitting a few patches of turbulence, one severe enough to suspend beverage service – it was rough – but other than that, everything went to plan and we landed in Toronto on time and I phoned my cousin who was picking us up to let her know.

Walking through the airport, I had to continually tug at my pants to keep them from falling down. I thought for sure, my actions would create suspicion but we had no problems at all, well except for the self-serve customs scanners not reading our passports or declaration form the first time. It wasn’t until the girl started towards us that it worked. I told her it had to be her aura.

When we finally got our bags, which seemed to take forever (trouble with checking in so early – bags are the last to come off the plane), we headed outside and found a place by one of the posts and called my cousin again. Within minutes, she and her husband were there and our luggage loaded into their car.

Back at her place, we transferred our stuff from her vehicle into the trunk of mine. I had bought something for them to say thank you for letting us leave the car at their place for the two weeks and for putting us down at and later uplifting us from the airport, so got it out of hubby’s CPAP machine bag so I could give it to them when we got inside. I quickly discovered the price tag was still on it so I had to get it off and into the garbage without them seeing. I was successful.

So what was the gift you ask? It was a wee sign with a picture of a cat and wording to the effect “household staff here”.

We visited with them for a while before leaving for home and pulled into our driveway shortly before 9:00 pm.

What a trip! I can’t wait until we can do it again… so I guess I best get my second book finished and published so I can take it on a UK (or maybe elsewhere) book tour.

Day 14 – Largs to Glasgow

Day 14 – Largs to Glasgow – August 24, 2013

What a difference a day makes. Late yesterday afternoon when we arrived in Largs, it was dull and overcast, not to mention, cold with showers. This morning, it was bright and sunny. Over breakfast, I chatted with Pica, the lady who runs Tigh-An-Struan Guest House. She knew I was a writer from my email signature and asked about my book and could she buy a copy. Since I still had some in the boot of the car, I was more than happy to oblige. I gave her the price and told her I would even sign it for her. While I was at the car getting a copy and the book swag to go with it, I made a note to myself to tell hubby I wanted to go back down to the beach and take pictures since it was so different than when we arrived. Book signed, bill paid, hugs from Pica (especially after I showed her the page I had signed on), we headed to the car only for me to have to go back because I’d left my warm poncho in our room. She handed me the key and I dashed upstairs. Not only had I left my poncho on the bed, but hubby had left his shampoo and body wash in the shower. Before we left, we put as much of our stuff as possible into the suitcases since for the most part, any extra bags from purchases had just been tossed into the boot. Our rental car would be going back later today and the fewer items we had to contend with, the easier it would make our lives. Before leaving Largs, we walked down to the beach so I could take pictures.

Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs looking towards Great Cumbrae
Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs looking towards Great Cumbrae
Ferry at Largs
Ferry at Largs

As we’d done the day before and back on Day 8 when we headed south, I wanted to stay along the coast for as much of the drive to Johnstone where we would catch the train into Glasgow as possible.

River Clyde near Langbank
River Clyde near Langbank

Same day return tickets purchased, we went out onto the platform to wait for our train. We weren’t there more than ten minutes before it pulled into the station.

Train arriving in Johnstone
Johnstone Station platform

As soon as we were off the train and out of the station, we immediately headed for Argyle Street where we turned left and made our way to the High Street and up to the Necropolis.

Corner of The Trongate and Albion Street
Corner of The Trongate and Albion Street
The mercat cross in Glasgow
The Mercat Cross
The Tolbooth Steeple and McChuills from High Street
The Tolbooth Steeple and McChuills from High Street

Call me weird, but I love cemeteries – especially old ones. The stonework in these older monuments is amazing, not to mention the architecture of the mausoleums.

Me on the Bridge of Sighs
Me on the Bridge of Sighs
Necropolis from the Bridge of Sighs
Necropolis from the Bridge of Sighs
Grave of William Miller author of Wee Willie Winkie
Grave of William Miller author of Wee Willie Winkie
Grave in the Necropolis
Headstone in the Necropolis
Grave in the Necropolis
Mausoleum in the Necropolis
Grave in the Necropolis
Headstone in the Necropolis

We had barely scratched the surface of this amazing ‘City of the Dead’ when it was time to move on. From here we went to George Square where there used to be a tourist information shop but was closed and relocated to Buchanan Street. So off we went but not before taking a slight detour down to Royal Exchange Square to see the Duke of Wellington Statue.

The Duke of Wellington statue
The Duke of Wellington statue

Yes, that’s a traffic cone on his head. If my murky memory serves, back in the day people would climb up and put it on the statue only to have the city come along and take it down. Finally, once it was up there it was left as is because the statue was being damaged. Now it’s illegal to remove the ‘jaunty chapeau’. Buchanan Street was alive with bands playing and buskers on almost every block.

Clanadonia playing on Buchanan Street
Clanadonia playing on Buchanan Street

We stopped in at the tourist information looking to see how far out the new transportation museum was, only to discover it was far from being within walking distance. I had toyed with the idea of buying the guys something from here but that didn’t happen. From here, we walked down to Argyle Street and went into the St Enoch Centre where I visited my favourite department store – Debenhams along with a few others but didn’t find what I was looking for. On our way back to the train station, we went into The Glasgow Kilt Company on Union Street. Much to my delight, they had the tartan corset I’ve ogled and drooled over for a few years and decided that buying online wasn’t an option. There was no change room here, and with UK sizes being different than North American, I needed to be able to try it on. One of the staff was extremely helpful. He told us of their other store on Hope Street which had more tartans to choose from plus, the needed change room. He even came out onto the pavement with us and told us how to get there so off we went. What a score! It took some time trying on various sizes (hubby was even allowed to come and help me) until I found the right size. I got my corset (one that fit and less expensive than online), a couple of fridge magnets and ‘Glasgow’ hoodies for the guys. Here it is, what do you think? I’m seeing some new author photos done wearing it. Maybe up at St Lawrence Park after the leaves change since it’s gorgeous up there in the the autumn.

tartan corset
tartan corset

When we finally got back to the airport complex to return the car and check into our room, we decided to return the rental car first. It wasn’t a long walk between the two places. We made sure all of our loot was out and got one of the baggage carts to put most of the stuff on to go back. They were quite pleased at the condition the car came back in, and surprised when hubby told them that one of the back-up lights was out. I guess they don’t get a lot of people fess up?

Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn

After we got checked into the hotel, the first thing we did was re-pack up the suitcases ensuring they weren’t overweight and that said weight was relatively equal, and a few pounds below the maximum allowable so that we’d have the wiggle room we needed in the morning to put our ‘can’t pack until the end’ stuff in. Despite having a well stocked mini-fridge in the hall just inside the door and a bottle of wine on the desk, we steered clear of them (well, I used a wine glass later so I could finish up the bottle of red wine I’d brought with me from Earlsfield Farm) and visited the bar downstairs where we had a bite to eat and a few well-deserved pints of Becks, and toasted a very successful trip. It’s really hard to believe it’s gone by so fast. Tomorrow morning, we’ll be trundling our luggage over to the airport and flying home.

But one last time before we leave Scotland, let’s play SEEKING SARAH SHAND!

Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand