Tag Archives: Scotland

The Selkirk Grace … Some hae meat … #BurnsSupper

All Burns Suppers begin with the Selkirk Grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit

What better place to celebrate the life of Scottish Bard, Robbie Burns, than in a tartan chair in front of a crackling, wood fire.

tartan chair by fire

Once again, I’ve had my head down working on my next novella. If you go by word length, it does qualify as a full-fledged novel, but that’s neither here nor there.

Here’s a portrait of the bard … a handsome fellow, don’t you think?

Selkirk Grace
January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796

I’ll summon my manservant, Donald (the Red), to bring us some refreshments.

Selkirk Grace

 

whisky
By Chris huh (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Some of the selection of whiskies on hand to toast the bard. I also have a special edition Cardhu, 18-year-old Cardhu (not available in Canada), and Oban on hand should these not whet your tastebuds.

We can have cheese and oakcakes with our drams. That way we’re not too tipsy before the feast. Will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps?

(swish of swinging door as the manservant returns with a tray carrying a decanter of whisky – 18-year-old Cardhu no less, two glasses and water). “Your whisky, my lady,” he says as he places it on the table.

“Thank you.”

As the manservant straightens to leave, I cry out… “Donald, where’s your trousers?” because so unlike him, he’s wearing a kilt!

Overcome by the shock of seeing him dressed in that fashion, it takes me a moment to regain my composure. (fans self with a copy of Leopard Magazine) which is very fitting as it’s published in Aberdeenshire where my father was born.

After the Selkirk Grace is recited, the moment everyone (well maybe  NOT everyone) has been waiting for arrives – the piping in of the haggis.

Selkirk Grace

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” ‘hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

Now, the haggis is cut open with great pomp and circumstance, although one has to be careful they don’t get a splattering of boiling hot haggis on them when the casing is cut.

Kim Traynor [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Haggis looks like ground beef (especially in this picture). It’s rather spicy but served with turnips and mashed potatoes, the spiciness can be toned down somewhat.

After our main course, we have Cranachan for dessert.

Saskia van de Nieuwenhof from Edinburgh, United Kingdom [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
Here’s the link to a recipe for if you want to try it yourself. It’s very good, in my opinion.
Back in the day, when Burns Suppers were held at the Manitonna Hotel in Brockville, Creme de menthe parfait was the dessert. Not very Scottish, but good. I was a member of the Wee McGregors Highland Dancing group and it was at this time, we performed for the guests. Highland Fling, Sword Dance, Shepherd’s Crook and more.

© James F. Perry; crop Fui in terra aliena (talk) 05:20, 9 October 2009 (UTC) [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
That’s a real sword and it’s sharp. You just have to ask my cousin who cut the end of her toe on the tip of the blade. I won a silver medal performing this dance at the 1000 Islands Highland Games in 1969 – and no blood was shed.

Before we get started with the Ceilidh, a recitation of Burns’ poetry starting with Ae Fond Kiss by Outlander heartthrob, Sam Heughan.

Followed by Red Red Rose.

I think you’ll like what I have in store for you at the ceilidh tonight. I tried to get the Old Blind Dogs but they weren’t available. That’s okay as I do have a vast collection of Scottish music on CDs – Old Blind Dogs, The Corries, Runrig and the list goes on.

One of my favourite Runrig songs is Alba. Have a watch/listen and see what you think.

We’ve all heard of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but how many of you have heard of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers? Yup, they’re real and they play rock music on bagpipes.

How about this piece? Don’t Stop Believing by Journey played by the Pipers?

One of my favourites performed by the Old Blind Dogs is The Cruel Sister. Listen closely to the lyrics. Cruel is putting it mildly.

And another favourite by The Old Blind Dogs …

There’s a clock tower in MacDuff that has faces on three of the four sides. The side facing Banff has no face. If the good people of Banff didn’t know what time it was, they didn’t know what time MacPherson was being executed.

As we bring the evening to a close, here’s a wee bit of light reading for ‘after the feastie’.

 Enjoy your Robbie Burns celebrations no matter how/where you celebrate.

YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS reaches Phase 2 of the Author Shout Reader Ready awards

Phase 1 of the Author Shout Reader Ready awards closed to entries at the end of October. November 15th, the announcement of the books that made it through that phase came through.

author shout reader ready

My, romantic suspense/psychological thriller, YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS, made it through to Phase 2. *queue fist pumps*

Judging in the first phase was based on the following criteria:

Section 1: Book Cover

Below is a list of the criteria we are considering in this section

FRONT COVER (eBook and Print)

I scored well in this category.

My cover is visually compelling, very well colour coordinated with good use of font, and the use of the tag line is great!

The only downside is, I still have the original cover on the print version which could be confusing to readers. At the time I changed the ebook cover, I still had a number of print copies in my inventory and wanted to wait until stocks with that cover got lower before updating the whole cover wrap.

Section 2: Book Description

Again, I scored well.

My description is clear, concise and hooked the judge right in. As well, it didn’t leave it up to the imagination what the book was about but left enough intrigue to want to read more.

It was recommended that I put my opening statement/tag line in bold. I don’t have much luck with getting html to work at amazon – hence no bold.

Section 3: Look Inside Sample

The fact I didn’t bother with a table of contents scored well. I jumped straight into the book.

The ‘look inside’ sample is free of grammatical and spelling errors, and has a nice flow/pace, making it a good read to continue.

It was suggested I have a link to my website and my other books in this area, but that could backfire and lead readers away from purchasing the book. I include my other books and a link to my website at the end of the book which isn’t available to look at in the ‘look inside’ sample.

Section 4: Overall Feedback

YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS is highly competitive in the criteria considered during this phase of the judging.

*****

So, now it’s on to Phase 2 of the Author Shout Reader Ready Awards. I’ve already sent off the kindle version of the novel for appraisal.

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled but as their second-chance-relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal? Is fate still not done its dirty deeds?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

kindle

Kobo

B&N nook

iBooks

Please welcome Katherine and Jared from YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS

Today, I have the pleasure of not just one guest in the “hot seat” for a fireside chat, but two. Katherine Murphy-Whithorn and Jared Martin, from Melanie Robertson-King’s novel, YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS, are with me here today.

Can you tell us a bit about YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS?

Katherine: Unbeknownst to me, I have a stalker. I thought he was just a poor homeless bloke, plenty of them in Aberdeen, so never paid much attention to him.  That’s it. In a nutshell, it’s a psychological, romantic suspense, thriller.

I understand you met under somewhat unusual circumstances. What can you tell us about that?

Jared: I still have the mark on the top of my foot where she rammed a spike heel down on me. *chuckles*

Katherine: It wasn’t that bad. * swats playfully at his arm* I was looking at CDs in HMV and backed up to move away from the bin. I didn’t know Jared was behind me and I trod on his foot. He’s never let me forget it.

I imagine it was rather painful at the time.

Jared: If she’d been half an inch closer to my toes, she would have hit the steel cap in my work boots, and I wouldn’t have felt a thing. *winks at Kat*

What do you do for a living?

Katherine: I own a bookstore on Exchequer Row – As the Pages Turn – you might have heard of it? *far away look crosses her face*

Jared: I work offshore on the Alba Ecosse platform.

After a long time apart, you recently found each other again. How?

Katherine: I had sent my part-timer, Melissa, up to the corner of Shiprow and Union Street to collect the new chalkboard sign, so it didn’t get nicked like the old one. I advertise our shop up there because of the increased foot traffic.

Jared: I happened along, onshore for a few weeks, and saw her struggling with it, so I offered to carry it for her.

Back up one second. Katherine, you just said you advertise our shop. Earlier you said you owned.

Katherine: *takes a deep breath* My husband, and I started the business before he was killed in the London Bombings when he was off on a book buying trip.

I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m sorry for your loss. *leans over and rubs the back of Katherine’s left hand*

Jared, before I interrupted you, you were saying?

Yeah. I picked up the sign and carried it down the street and into the shop. Poor kid never have managed on her own. It’s a heavy sucker.

Katherine: You could have knocked me over with a feather I was so gobsmacked to hear Jared’s voice and see his face. I didn’t think I would ever see him again.

If you don’t mind me asking, how did you fall apart in the beginning?

Katherine: My father was high up in the Royal Bank of Scotland. My parents didn’t approve of mine and Jared’s relationship, so when the chance came to get me away from Aberdeen, he accepted the position in Canada. They dragged me off kicking and screaming.

Jared: Didn’t approve was an understatement. Back then, I was living in a grotty bedsit trying to work my way through school. Not only was I from the wrong side of Aberdeen, I was from the wrong side of the border.

I thought I detected an English accent. What part of England?

Jared: North Yorkshire.

Recently, Melanie redesigned the cover of the book. Can you show us?

Katherine: *brings up the image on her iPad*  This one is different from the print version. While it was beautiful, it didn’t quite pull off the theme of the book – the psychological thriller aspect. This new design says it so much better.

Katherine
Yes, it is quite a powerful image.

Fire and blood are both red, making it associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. It’s also an emotionally intense colour.

In contrast, the hint of yellow reveals freshness, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, honour, loyalty, and joy, but also cowardice and deceit.

Melanie’s name in stand-alone white on red grabs the reader. The relationship of colours works well together. This book is going to the top of my TBR list.

Did I hear the book is nominated for an award?

Katherine: The 2019 Reader’s Choice Award in the thriller category. Reader’s Choice Awards in the thriller category which you’ll find on page 9. I’d love it if you voted for this book. It is a cracker.

The trailer for it is amazing. Do you think your readers would like to watch?

Blurb

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled, but as their second-chance-relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal? Is fate still not done its dirty deeds?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

Where can YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS be purchased?

amazon

kobo


Books a Million


Barnes and Noble (print & nook)

iBooks

Diesel

Thank you, Katherine and Jared, for stopping by Celtic Connexions. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you.
Thanks for stopping by everyone. I hope you enjoyed the second in what I hope will be a number of fireside chats with characters from Melanie’s books.

Fireside chat with Sarah and Robert from A Shadow in the Past

Today, I have the pleasure of not just one guest in the “hot seat” for a fireside chat, but two. Sarah Shand and Robert Robertson, from Melanie Robertson-King’s novel, A Shadow in the Past, are with me here today.

fireside chat

Welcome to both of you. I have a selection of single malts, if you want something to drink, along with some chilled bubbly. If you prefer something non-alcoholic, I got in some Irn Bru. I believe that’s Scotland’s other national drink? The ice bucket is full. I have some lovely nibbles, too. Haggis in puff pastry, oatcakes with Isle of Mull or Strathdon Blue cheese (Sarah wrinkles her nose) and of course, shortbread.

Sarah:  Pulls the tab on a tin of Irn Bru. “Thanks for inviting us. It’s great to be here. And yes, Irn Bru has been referred to as Scotland’s other national drink.”

“So happy to host you. You’re sure you don’t want a glass of bubbly?”

Sarah: “Maybe after our interview. I like champagne but it goes straight to my head.”

Robert: Chuckles. His golden brown eyes sparkle and a dimple forms in his cheek. “She’s right. If you want to get any sense out of her, keep her on the Irn Bru. Otherwise, she’ll babble on and you won’t understand a single thing she says. I’m going to have a wee dram of Glen Garioch, though, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course not, do help yourself. Now have I heard this correctly, you two had a rather unusual first meeting?”

Sarah and Robert: Giggle. “You’re right there.”

Robert: “You tell it, Sarah. It sounds so much better when you do.”

Sarah: Shifts in her chair. “You or your readers aren’t going to believe this. I still don’t.” Reaches out and takes Robert’s hand. “I’m a bit nervous.”

“Don’t be. Go on, then.”

Sarah: “Okay. I had been at the stone circle on my parents’ farm and the next thing I know, I’m waking up on a sofa at Weetshill mansion. The mansion is visible from the hill where the stone circle is but it’s a couple of miles away. How I got from one place to the other, I don’t know.”

“That’s not overly unusual.”

Sarah: “This is where things get weird. When I was at the stone circle, the year was 2010. When I woke up on the sofa at Weetshill, I was back in 1886.”

Takes a sip of bubbly and coughs.

Robert: “I heard a noise outside the front door so went to investigate. I found her passed out on the ground. At first I thought she was a laddie because she wore trousers. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered she was a lassie, and a rather pretty one at that.”

Sarah: Blushes. “You say the sweetest things. I’ve never really thought of myself as that. Ordinary and some days it stretches to moderately attractive but never pretty.”

“That is a most unusual meeting. So Robert, Weetshill mansion, it sounds like you’re well-to-do. What do you do for a living?”

Robert: “I’m the Laird of Weetshill.”

“So like Hector MacDonald in the television program Monarch of the Glen.”

Robert: “I don’t know what you mean.”

Blushes and pats him on the knee. “I’m sorry. I forgot for a moment you’re from the Victorian era.”

Sarah: “I know what you mean. And Robert is nothing like Hector MacDonald. If you want to compare him to one of the characters in the show, I would say he’s more like Archie.”

Smiles. “I always liked Archie. Thought he was a handsome fellow. As are you, too, Robert.”

Robert: Blushes. “Thank you.”

Sarah: “He’s so modest. That’s one of the things I love about him.” Reaching over and squeezing his hand.

Picks up the book and flips through it. “I’d like to ask you some more questions about your relationship.”

fireside chat

Robert: Holds up his hand. “I have to stop you there, I’m afraid. We don’t want to spoil it for Melanie’s readers. We can’t tell everything here because then they wouldn’t buy the book and that would never do.”

Traces her index finger over the cover. “Right, right, but you can’t blame me for wanting to know. I love this cover. The artist has captured your essence beautifully, Sarah.”

Sarah: “Actually, Melanie designed the cover. She did a brilliant job of portraying me. And you have to believe that because I’m not one to be ‘out there’ and now look at me. Not only did Melanie write the book, create this brilliant cover, she also created a book trailer.”

“Trailer, like you see for advertising films.”

Sarah: “Yes. Let’s watch it.”

 

“It’s amazing. The music adds an air of mystery and suspense.”

Robert: “That is does.”

Where can A Shadow in the Past be purchased?”

Sarah:

amazon (paperback and kindle)

kobo

and in paperback

Barnes and Noble

Books a Million

Diesel

There you have it, folks. The first in what I hope will be a number of fireside chats with characters from Melanie’s books. I hope you enjoyed it.

 

Here’s tae the Scottish Bard, Robbie Burns

What better place to celebrate the life of Scottish Bard, Robbie Burns, than in a tartan chair in front of a crackling, wood fire.

I’m remiss this year in getting an online Burns Day celebration together. Shame on me. But, I have a valid excuse. I’ve had my head down working on my next novella. If you go by word length, it does qualify as a full-fledged novel, but that’s neither here nor there.

celebration
January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796

It’s Robbie Burns Day. Will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps?

Here at The House of King, we celebrated last Saturday (Jan 19th). My idea of a small haggis (about 1 pound), went straight out the window when the smallest one I could get this year weighed in at almost 3 pounds!

So tonight, I’ll have some leftover haggis, sans tatties and neeps as there aren’t any leftover, with whatever else I make for supper. With Burns Day falling on a Friday, it also means it’s grocery night for this gal. A hearty Scotch broth? Fish and chips? Maybe shortbread or sticky toffee pudding for dessert? Decisions, decisions.

celebration
The “Guest of Honour”

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” ‘hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

And a wee bit of light reading for ‘after the feastie’.

 Enjoy your Robbie Burns celebrations no matter how/where your celebrate.

#COVER #REVEAL ~ 2nd Edition of A Shadow in the Past

Here it is – the shiny, new cover for the 2nd Edition of my debut novel, A Shadow in the Past. I’ve been busy editing the content and getting my girl ready to return to the world of print and ebooks.

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

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself in Victorian Era Aberdeenshire, Scotland and has no idea how she got there. Her last memory is of being at the stone circle on the family farm in the year 2010.

Despite having difficulty coming to terms with her situation, Sarah quickly learns she must keep her true identity a secret. Still, she feels stifled by the Victorians’ confining social practices, including arranged marriages between wealthy and influential families, and confronts them head on only to suffer the consequences.

When Sarah realizes she has fallen in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, she faces an agonizing decision. Does she try to find her way back to 2010 or remain in the past with the man she loves?

Here are the covers for the series side by side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated buy links to the 2nd Edition of A Shadow in the Past to follow.

 

 

 

It’s Robbie Burns Day – House of King style

I’m remiss this year in getting an online Burns Day celebration together. Shame on me. But, I have a valid excuse. I’ve had my head down working on my next novella. If you go by word length, it does qualify as a full-fledged novel, but that’s neither here nor there.

celebration
January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796

It’s Robbie Burns Day. Will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps?

Here at The House of King, we’ll be having a toned down version of previous Burns Night celebrations. Although I don’t have a wee haggis, I do have some frozen sliced haggis (great with a Scottish breakfast) so it will do, especially since I’m the only one who truly enjoys eating it here. I made Cock-a-leekie soup shortly after Christmas and it’s in the freezer and for the toasts to the lads and lassies afterwards, I have a bottles of 18-year old Glenlivet and Cardhu.

celebration
The “Guest of Honour”

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” ‘hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

And a wee bit of light reading for ‘after the feastie’.

 Enjoy your Robbie Burns celebrations no matter how/where your celebrate.

#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.

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 26 Glasgow Airport to Toronto

#SEWES2016

Sept 26 – Glasgow Airport to Toronto

With a stop in Montreal

 

Sept 26
Sunrise over Glasgow

This morning was a first. Don got pulled aside going through security. They swabbed his hands (backs and palms) and his shoes before placing the swab in the machine to be analyzed. An episode of Border Security played out before my eyes. Me, I passed through with no problems at all.

We stopped at Beardmore for breakfast. We’ve eaten here before. It seems our flights always leave from gates beyond this point so when you’re lugging a heavy pack on your back, it’s a welcome stop – not to mention, the food is good.

Sept 26
From the window at Beardmore Restaurant, Glasgow Airport

On our walk to our departure gate, we got a good look back at the hotel. We’d intentionally left our curtains open so we could see our room when we were out and about. This was the first chance I had to get a photo.

Sept 26
The hotel showing our room

My plan was to read on the plane on our return flight. Not to be. My iPad was SO dead, even plugged in, it wouldn’t turn on. The seats in the departure lounge weren’t the best for plane watching but fantastic for charging devices. I had my phone and my iPad both plugged in.

While they charged, I took my Canon DSLR for a walk.

Sept 26
Our plane

Enough charge now in the phone to take selfies. We’re not looking overly happy here, but then the vacation was well and truly over by now and by the end of the day, we’d be back to reality.

Sept 26
Terminal selfie
Sept 26
On the plane selfie

Albeit blurry, we’re finally looking happy. A glass of champagne in hand!

Sept 26
Champagne selfie

Since I couldn’t read on my iPad, I watched movies instead.

When we landed in Montreal, I had the opportunity to get a picture or two out of the plane window. This Air Canada was at the gate next to us.

Sept 26
During our stopover in Montreal

It seemed to take forever to get the headcount of the remaining passengers correct. Only those deplaning in Montreal were allowed off. People stretching their legs and milling in the aisles made it impossible for the flight attendants to get an accurate count.

In Toronto, we couldn’t get off the plane straight away because of the bag log in the customs hall. It was still bad when we arrived but when we finally got to the checkpoint, like good Canadians, we declared our 100 gms of fudge we purchased on the Royal Yacht Britannia (indicated on our landing card), the remaining tin of Pringles we’d purchased so we could use the toilet at one of the roadside services, and our bottle of whisky each.

Usually, we have to wait for our luggage at the carousel. Not this time. It waited for us… and had been removed and placed on the floor. That was a first.

Cleared past the last checkpoint and out into the arrivals hall where we made our way to the post where we phoned for the hotel shuttle to come and collect us.

I had a gift card for Montanas, so after we checked into the hotel, we walked over there for supper. They had a large group in so we’d have a wait for our meal. I wasn’t super hungry after everything they fed us on the plane. We had drinks and waited for them to take our food order. Even though it took them longer to do that than we wanted, our meals were brought to us before the estimated time. Amazing what can happen when you get into the queue.

I can’t wait to go back to the UK. Now the question remains… what time of year? Next year? What part(s) do we want to visit?

 

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 25 – Broughty Ferry to Glasgow

#SEWES2016

Sept 25 – Broughty Ferry to Glasgow

Our last full day in Scotland… 🙁 So sad. After we checked out of the hotel and packing our suitcases so we thought they were of reasonably equal weight, and as few packages as possible once we dropped off the rental car, we struck out.

I knew we’d forfeit some diesel but we’d be between a quarter tank and empty if we took the most direct route. With our experiences with rental cars on this trip, I didn’t want to run out and be stuck waiting for roadside assistance to come with a jerry can to give us a drop.

I remember seeing this tower on the cliff on my first trip to Scotland in 1993 when I took the bus from Glasgow to Aberdeen. Back then I was petrified to drive so close to a big city on my own.

Sept 25
Kinnoull Tower on the cliff (centre of the photo)

I stopped at many laybys (parking areas) along the A90 between Dundee and Perth where we switched onto the A9 after a brief stint on the M90.

We were both to the point where we needed toilets so when we saw the signs for Dunblane (which were clearly posted WC – aka water closet) along with the Historic Scotland signage for Dunblane Cathedral, we decided to make that our ‘port of call’.

Following the signs for the “WC” we drove into the village. Said signs became more and more obscure. A public car park was located off a narrow street near the cathedral – still used as a working church. No matter how bad I need the loo, I couldn’t pass up this photo op.

Sept 25
Dunblane Cathedral

We walked back to where the signs for the public toilets pointed. The council office which was closed on Sundays. ACK! I spotted an older woman across the street so approached her and asked where the public bathrooms were. “There are no public toilets in Dunblane anymore,” she replied.

Panic! We both needed a toilet badly.

“But, go up the street to the cathedral and off to the left. Use the toilets there.”

If I didn’t have to go so bad, I would have hugged and kissed her. We strode up to the hall but chose the wrong entrance so had to navigate through the church crowd who had gathered after Sunday service. We didn’t make the same error when we left.

Sept 25
Dunblane Cathedral
Sept 25
Dunblane Cathedral

We dropped Monty off at the convenient Europcar rental return (across the road from the hotel) with his proper paperwork. A bit more complicated than on previous car rental returns but we got through and sent on our way. The collision damage waiver (CDW) and roadside assistance looked after our woes from earlier.

We arrived back at the airport hotel before the 2:00 pm check-in time but our room was ready and off we went. 8th floor and a view of the planes landing on one side and the M8 motorway on the other.

Sept 25
Glasgow Airport from our hotel room
Sept 25
Plane landing in the approaching storm
Sept 25
Rainbow
Sept 25
Clearing up a bit?
Sept 25
Airport activity

Before we both crashed and burned, we went for a walk around the airport complex past the Holiday Inn Express, the Europcar rental return (no sign of Monty) and back to the hotel.

We had a meal in the bar at the hotel where we’ve had excellent service in the past. This time not so much but the food was good.

After returning to our room, I took advantage of the twilight and got some more photos.

Sept 25
The M8 motorway from our hotel room
Sept 25
Plane landing at dusk

Leaving tomorrow would be hard. Since leaving Broughty Ferry I tried to come up with every excuse I could think of to stay.

We double-checked the weight of our bags so come morning when we had to put our last night/morning things away we knew,  what suitcase to put them in.

Breakfast tomorrow at Beardmore (hopefully, still in business) then people and plane watch while we wait to board.