Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Showing posts with label Scottish Romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scottish Romance. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Castles of Ladies of the Stone

I'm so excited to announce the release of the Ladies of the Stone anthology, and today on History Undressed, each of us are sharing with you the castle(s) in our story, and a historical image of each!




Ladies of the Stone

From within the soul of a special stone, the embodiment of the heart of Scotland, a protector is selected. A woman with a pure heart and the ferocity of a warrior is called to the fairy pools on the Isle of Skye upon the death of the previous protector. However, nature has a way of balancing itself, and so with each call to a Protector comes the call of an evil force, set on using the stone for their own purpose.  These are the stories of the Protectors of the Heart of Scotland, the stone they seek to keep safe and the love that strengthens and emboldens them.


The Highlander’s Quest


By USA Today Bestselling Author, Eliza Knight

Her mission was to protect the young boy king. He’s uncovered a plot to destroy Scotland. Together, they must fight a powerful enemy who hides behind a traitorous veil of secrecy…


Dunfermline Palace

Eilean Donan Castle Ruins 



In The Highlander's Quest, Julia Sutherland (heroine) has grown up at Eilean Donan, one of my favorite castles in all of Scotland! She travels to Dunfirmline Palace on a mission, where she meets the hero Alistair Campbell. Both of these castles have prominent stage time on the page.

Eilean Donan is famous for its bridge. It is situated on Loch Also, and in the distance, you can see the Isle of Skye. I took the picture of Eilean Donan on a trip there in 2015. Dunfirmline is in Fife, and was the preferred residence of many a Scottish king, it is on my list of places to visit next time I go!

Cassandra

By USA Today Bestselling Author, Madeline Martin
Together their power is brilliant. But when destiny rivals the safety of family and the whole of Scotland hangs in the balance, can their love survive the required sacrifice?

Edinburgh Castle


In my piece, Cassandra, King Edgar of Scotland resides in Edinburgh Castle and is demanding the stone for himself. In order to ensure Fergus brings it to him, the king has been holding Fergus' son captive since the day the boy was born.

The Protector's Promise

By Author of the Bestselling Border Series, Cecelia Mecca
Two bitter enemies. One sacred vow. Will the passion that flares between them consume everything they love?


Camburg Castle



The inspiration for Camburg Castle in 'The Protector's Promise,' coming April 24th in the Ladies of the Stone anthology, is The Earl's Palace which I visited last summer. Although Camburg Castle is set along the Anglo-Scottish borders in the Western Marches of England, the inspiration castle is way up north in the beautiful island of Kirkwall, Scotland.

Although the layout of Camburg and The Earl's Palace is similar, fortunately, our hero Sir William is nothing like Patrick, Earl of Orkney. When he wanted the castle for himself, the earl fabricated charges against the previous owner of the palace in order to have him tried and executed. But his acquisition was not without consequences, and he was later executed himself for treason.

The Highland Guard and His Lady

By Award Winning Author, Lori Ann Bailey
To protect Scotland, she must eliminate her greatest enemy. But when the challenge begins, will he forgive her for destroying his family?


Holyrood Palace



Home to Mary, Queen of Scots, Holyrood Palace sits at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In The Highland Guard and His Lady, Leslee MacKinnon is a guest of Queen Mary, there to decipher an old text and seek out a long lost item. 

Her plan is to return home to the Isle of Skye as soon as her mission is complete, but she doesn't count on meeting the Highland Guard who captures her attention or the nemesis who might be the downfall of Scotland.

Want to read the anthology? It's on sale now! 

Check out the video trailer for the anthology!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ghostly Castles and Tales by Madeline Martin

Ghostly Castles and Tales
by Madeline Martin



Europe has no shortage of ancient castles and dwellings, and where there are ancient settings, there are ghosts.

I think one of the things that fascinates me so much about ghost stories is the full on romanticism behind them. Most are driven by and explosion of passion, propelled by love or hate or sheer envy. The stories behind them are rife with drama and intrigue and desire.

In researching ghost stories for this book to decide where to set it, I found a couple of interesting facts to share with people.



First of all, is that Queen Mary of Scots has several ghost stories. She’s reported to haunt Borthwick Castle dressed as a page boy (the way she’d managed her escape in life once before). She’s also reported to haunt Stirling Castle as the pink lady. A hotel in Oundlel in Northhamptonshire, England also claims she haunts their halls where the staircase from Forthinghay Castle had been transported and incorporated into the building. Have you heard of other stories where Queen Mary of Scots has done some haunting?



Secondly, are all the ladies dressed in green. There are seriously a lot of ghostly women in green. And there’s a reason for this. Green is thought to be a color of ill luck in the Celtic legends as it was considered the favorite color of the fae people – and everyone knew they were deviously mischievous. And, of course, ghosts have a tendency to also be deviously mischievous.

I decided to go with Castle of Park for my castle with A Ghostly Tale of Forbidden Love because the story involved had not one, but two ghosts. The first was a green lady who had apparently been the lover of the laird, however, when she found herself with child, she was terminated from her position there. Unable to take the despair of her circumstances, she threw herself from one of the upper story windows to her death. The second ghost was a monk who had been walled up within the castle.

I loved the idea of the green lady getting her own form of vengeance, but felt the ghost story still needed to be made whole. This was what inspired my twist in A Ghostly Tale of Forbidden Love. But I can’t tell you what it is, or I’ll ruin all the fun. I hope you enjoy what I’ve done with the story. I truly had so much fun writing a little paranormal spookiness into this novella.




Senara becomes a lady's maid at Castle of Park to help ease the financial burden of her beloved family. She does not expect to have such a wicked mistress any more than she expects to find a handsome laird...or a ghost with a burning need for retribution.

Gavin vowed on his father’s death bed to watch over his aunt, and regrets it every day. Especially when her new maid arrives. The woman is extraordinarily fascinating, which not only stirs his interest, but also his cruel aunt’s ire.

Can he protect Senara from his aunt? Even more important, can he keep himself from giving in to his longing for the country lass?

Theirs is a journey of treacherous pasts, painful loss, hidden longing and vengeance.

Sweet Excerpt: 


He plucked a bit of hay from her hair. The slender stalk shook between his fingers. “We canna see one another anymore.” His voice was deep with desire.

Senara nodded in agreement and her hands gripped the banister of the stairs, as if she were holding on for dear life.

They had the same conversation every day. And yet every day at noon, they both arrived.

If he were a lesser man, he'd have had her long ago. But he couldn't in good conscience, not with knowing he would have to marry another someday.

He would marry another, one befitting his station.

Until then, he dreaded the day she would finally not show at noon.

Spooky Excerpt:


A cry sounded in the distance, a wisp of an anguished scream as if carried on a hearty wind. Though far off, the sound scrabbled over her nerves.

No, not so far away. Below.

Senara looked to where the stairs disappeared into a dark nothing. Anything could be in that nothing.
Her courage flagged for but a moment. Da would not be frightened of a noise. She may have left his sword upstairs, but she was never without his bravery. Or her dirk for that matter.

With the power of being her father's daughter, she crept down the stairs with her dirk locked in her grip. On the first floor, the air was cold enough to nip at her nose and leave the bottoms of her feet chilled through the thick-soled slippers she wore.

The wailing cry came once more, louder though still distant, muffled almost. She followed the sound down the hall to where she'd been before where the cold stone had hummed against her palm.

The candle flame sputtered and set the narrow hallway bouncing wildly around her, but it did not go out.

Her breath fogged in front of her and hovered in a hazy white cloud. She stared at the frozen breath in wonder. While summer was not always warm, it seldom was ever so cool as to cause such a chill - especially indoors.

A grinding sound filled the quiet and mortar sifted down from the strange stone. Senara's breath came faster and filled the air with white puffs.

Something was in there. 

Want to read more? 

Available in ebook and print
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fzpy5Q
Nook: http://bit.ly/2xkTzzl
iBooks: http://hyperurl.co/gtflib
Kobo:  http://hyperurl.co/gtflkobo
Google Play:  http://hyperurl.co/gtflgp


Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance novels. She lives a glitter-filled life in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions) and a man so wonderful he's been dubbed Mr. Awesome. All shenanigans are detailed regularly on Twitter and on Facebook.

Madeline loves animals in sweaters, cat videos, wine and Nutella. Check out her FB page on any given Friday to see what great new book she's giving away by one of her fellow authors.

She also loves connecting with her readers, so feel free to follow her on any one of her social media platforms, or send her a message :)

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMartinAuthor/
Twitter: @MadelineMMartin
Sign up for her newsletter: http://eepurl.com/biji1j




Thursday, November 10, 2016

Drumroll, Please! Tara Kingston's Gorgeous New Historical Romance Cover...

Pre-Order Now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.

As a regular contributor to History Undressed and a big fan of this blog, I’m so excited to share the gorgeous cover for my upcoming Scottish Historical romance here today. The Highlander Who Loved Me releases December 12 from Entangled Publishing. Set in late-Victorian Scotland, The Highlander Who Loved Me is the first book in my new Highland Hearts series. The stories are romantic adventures featuring rugged Highland spies working for the Crown to safeguard Scottish treasures.

Here’s a little about The Highlander Who Loved Me:

He may be her fiercest ally...or a scoundrel waiting to betray her.

Johanna Templeton is on a life-and-death quest. Swept into an intrigue that rivals the tales she pens, she joins forces with a Highland rogue to find the treasure that will save her kidnapped niece--a prize the Scot seeks for reasons that have nothing to do with ransom. Engaging the Highlander in a sizzling battle of the sexes, Johanna shields her heart.

Connor MacMasters, spy for Queen Victoria, is a man on a mission--keep a legendary gemstone from an evil man. Trailing an American novelist who holds the key to the treasure should've been simple, but Johanna awakens feelings he'd long thought dead. Torn between duty and desire, he wants her in his bed, but loving her would be a fool's game. Blasted shame his heart doesn't agree.




Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Ghostly Stories Behind the Once Upon A Haunted Castle Collection

Happy Release day to wonderful collection mates! Today is the release of our fun anthology: ONCE UPON A HAUNTED CASTLE.


'Twas a dark and stormy night in the Highlands... 
5 Scottish Castles... 5 Restless Ghosts... 5 Epic Love Stories.


In our own words, check out a bit about the history of the ghost stories in our epic anthology!


Dunstaffnage Castle, the setting for Eliza Knight's LAIRD OF SHADOWS
A funny thing happened to me: two friends approached me with ideas that meshed perfectly. Ruth A. Casie wanted to do a ghostly Celtic collection and Madeline Martin wanted to write about Scottish ghosts that help a hero and heroine fall in love. Immediately my mind exploded with ideas! I’d worked with Kathryn Le Veque and Terri Brisbin and thought they’d be perfect for the project, too!

I love a good ghost story, and in my travels to Europe, I’ve often felt the otherworldly presence of those who lived in the past. One of my favorite castles in Scotland is Dunstaffnage Castle, and I was lucky enough to visit there on my last trip! The history behind it is fascinating and haunting. There is this tale of a glaistig, or green lady, who haunts the grounds of Dunstaffnage. She is called the Ell-Maid of Dunstaffnage, but no one knows who she might have been. She appears in green, gliding over the walls, and through the forest. Her appearances often were brought on by tidings of joy or sadness within the family. This gave me an idea—in fact, it sparked a whole series! LAIRD OF SHADOWS is the opening book in my new MacDougall Legacy series (and will be releasing with bonus/expanded scenes in January 2017). In this story, we learn the origin of the Ell-Maid of Dunstaffnage… It was exciting to write this story, and I can’t wait for you all to read it, and to see what happens as I follow the MacDougall family throughout generations in my new series!

In Eliza Knight’s LAIRD OF SHADOWS, a decade old vow and an attack of Vikings brings Lady Elle Cam’béal to Dunstaffnage Castle seeking the help of the new, handsome, provocative laird with a beastly temper—Beiste MacDougall. As battles and treachery rain down upon them, Beiste and Elle find an unlikely ally in a ghost, and discover that a few stolen moments of passion can bring light from the shadows… 

Find later Castle, the setting for Kathryn Le Veque's DEEP INTO DARKNESS

In my novella, DEEP INTO DARKNESS, I drew a huge amount of inspiration from one of my favorite poets, Edgar Allan Poe. This was also my first story set in Scotland and I really wanted to do it right - creepy castle + Poe = Delicious Eeriness! 

I've done novellas based on Poe's works before, so it's really my interpretation of his poetry. In this case, the 'host' that narrates one of Poe's most famous poems, "The Raven", is also the host in my story. He's an old Viking who takes in two travelers for the night. And that's when the fun happens. I loved my hero and heroine so much that I had to write a full-length novel for them - THE RED LION will be released October 4th so readers can see how Jamison and Havilland met. But the bottom line is that I had a great time writing about a highlander hero and a great time writing a Medieval ghost story. I hope readers enjoy!

In Kathryn Le Veque's DEEP INTO DARKNESS, Findlater Castle in the Scottish Highlands becomes a place of mystery and doom for Jamison Munro and his wife,Havilland. Traveling across the highlands one dark and stormy night, they stumble upon a lonely Host in Findlater Castle, a pathetic soul waiting for his wife to return to him. It is a terrible tale of a tragic love story that the Host tells the travelers but when Havilland becomes curious about mysterious tapping sounds that go on in the middle of the night, she soon realizes the danger that she and her husband are in. It becomes a race against time for Havilland to free a trapped spirit and save both their lives in the process.

Duntulm Castle, one of the castle's in Terri Brisban's UPON A MISTY SKYE


When invited to contribute to this collection, I was lost! LOL! All I knew was that it must somehow involved Duntulm Castle, which I’ve visited several times and is known to be haunted. Once I was set on that location, I looked at the clans in the area and knew that the MacLeods and the MacDonalds were rivals for control of the Isle of Skye for centuries. A perfect choice for battling families. . . and forbidden love!

    I kept hearing the opening line of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as I was planning out my story – “Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross'd lovers. . . .” Of course, I wanted a ‘happily-ever-after’ so I adapted my Romeo and Juliet to make sure that happens! I suspect I will revisit the MacLeods and MacDonalds of Skye again....

In Terri Brisbin’s UPON A MISTY SKYE, Alexander MacDonald and Isabel MacLeod were not supposed to meet or fall in love or marry. Now that they have, both of their parents plan to separate them, by any means possible. But the ghost of Duntulm Castle has other plans for the forbidden lovers and those who stand in the way of true love.

Castle of Park, the setting for Madeline Martin's A GHOSTLY TALE OF FORBIDDEN LOVE


I’ve always loved haunted castles and the stories behind them. When first starting coming up with the idea for A Ghostly Tale of Forbidden Love, I read through all the ghost stories in Scotland until I came to one about Castle of Park. There were two ghosts: one of a monk who had been walled into the castle and left for dead, and another of a woman in green who was a servant – she’d  fell in love with the laird, ended up pregnant and then leapt to her death after having been fired. Then I thought, what if I saved the servant? Don’t worry – there still ends up being a second ghost to placate history, but who will it end up being?  

I actually was fortunate enough to stay for two nights at Castle of Park while in Scotland a couple weeks back. While I didn’t see any ghosts, the stay was absolutely magical.

In Madeline Martin’s A GHOSTLY TALE OF FORBIDDEN LOVE, Gavin MacDuff is a laird with a cruel and bitter aunt he’s sworn to protect. Senara is the new lady’s maid at Castle of Park and has sacrificed everything for the betterment of her family. Their paths tangle and lead to a road of hidden longing and secret passion – all of which is threatened by the power of one ghost who is fixed on revenge.


Caerlaverock Castle, the setting for Ruth A. Casie's THE MAXWELL GHOST


When I wrote The Guardian’s Witch I developed a character, Jamie Collins. He’s the hero’s close friend, confidant and at times conscience.  I’ve wanted to give Jamie his own story I just didn’t know what it would be until we started planning this collection. Castles, highlanders, ghosts, these were the elements that screamed Jamie Collins to me. When I sat down the story almost wrote itself.

My story is about Jamie and Laura Reynolds, two childhood friends who find themselves trying to solve a double murder not only to bring the murderer to justice, but to put a ghost to rest. Jamie and Laura’s relationship turns from friends to lovers but their whole story couldn’t be told in a novella. I have so much more to tell you about them that I had to write a full-length novel for them - THE HIGHLANDER’S ENGLISH WOMAN will be released in December. Readers will be able to see how Jamie and Laura’s relationship is tested and who helps Jamie along the way. This was a fun story to write. I hope you enjoy reading about them.

In Ruth A. Casie’s THE MAXWELL GHOST, traitors, deception, murders and ghosts run rampant at Caerlaverock Castle. Jamie Collins, a man of reality not hocus pocus, serves Lord Herbert in exchange for a his own farm.  Laura Reynolds, the Herbert's distant cousin comes to the castle to solve the murders and put the ghost to rest. The two, long-time friends find their destinies intertwined with hidden passions, but all is in jeopardy when Laura becomes the murderer’s next target. Jamie will find he needs some ghostly assistance to save Laura and declare his love.




Want to read more? Check out our anthology, now available in ebook and print!



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Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Release! STOLEN BY THE LAIRD by Eliza Knight

Happy Thursday! I'm thrilled to announce the release of my newest novel, STOLEN BY THE LAIRD!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

She was supposed to be his prize... But not all rewards are sweet...

Laird Brody Keith, Marischal of Scotland, has been asked by his future king to travel with William Wallace to Dunnottar Castle, where they will seize the castle back from the English. If he completes his mission, the castle, the land and all it holds, will be his. Brody is more than eager to sink his blade into the hearts of his enemies after the brutal murder of his sister and father. But what he doesn't count on is finding an English lass in need of his protection...

Lady Guinevere has led a less than pleasant life in Scotland over the past year, and now she can either run for her life or accept the proposal of a man who should be her enemy. Survival bids her to acquiesce, but that doesn't mean she has to play nice. Except, she's coming to adore the people whom she's always been told she should hate, and respect the man who risked his life for her.

Joined for a mutual purpose, Brody and Guinevere seem doomed from the start, but as time passes and their true enemies draw closer, they'll form an alliance that not even the devil himself can break.




EXCERPT:

Brody pushed the door open the remainder of the way and came face to face with four Englishwomen. They huddled by the window, dressed in Sassenach gowns, hair once styled as though they were attending a great feast, jewels at their necks, and tears adorning each face except for one.
“Och, but I’ve died and gone to Hell,” he muttered.
Everyone knew Englishwomen were as shrewish as… well as, an Englishwoman, and as cold as dead fish.
All four stared at him, wide-eyed, mouths hung agape.
Much like fish, he thought.
They were pretty enough, especially the one with the long flowing blonde locks. Though it looked as though her locks had seen better days, perhaps not to have been torn from whatever fancy knot they’d been in.
“Who are ye?” he asked in not too kind a tone. He didn’t want any shrewish behavior, simply facts.
The blonde stepped forward, squared her shoulders and looked him straight in the eye with her piercing blue—nay more green than blue—eyes. She was the only one who didn’t cry. As though she’d been expecting him. The lass was beautiful, even if she was a harpy. Her bone structure was delicate, but her eyes sharp, and the way she frowned, well, he guessed her tongue to be just as barbed. The gown accentuated the curve of her hips and the swell of marginal breasts—he refused to call them the perfect size, for she was English, and he denied finding anything about her to be flawless.
“Who are you?” she retorted.
Och, a fiery little fish. “I asked ye first.”
“Well”—her gaze roved from the top of his head down to his boot tips and he felt more than a little assessed—“I think it is plain to see I outrank you, savage, so you must answer me first.”
At her bold words the ladies in her presence all paled, one covered her mouth, another pinched her own arms and the third nodded approval.
Brody chuckled, taking a menacing step forward. “Then I suppose we have found ourselves at an impasse, fishy, for I do believe I outrank ye.”
“Fishy? Ye insult me.” She shook her head and regarded him with something akin to disgust. “Impossible.”
Her revulsion almost had him checking himself. How odd, and why should he even wonder at her manners? She was English after all. Every woman he’d ever met up to this point had fallen at his feet. Brody was known for his charismatic tongue, his lovemaking abilities. Well, this fish wouldn’t know those things. And from the looks of her, she’d be too uptight to enjoy the pleasures he could have given her, if he wanted to, which he wouldn’t.
Brody puffed his chest and took several steps forward. “I assure ye, madam, given your current situation, anything is possible.”
Two of her ladies fainted dead away and the third stepped in front of the blonde, only to be shoved behind, a sharp word from the Grande Fishy’s mouth.
Then she turned back to him, pursing her lips as though she were contemplating a truce.
Before she could speak, he cut her off. “I dinna make deals, lass. If ye dinna believe me, then take a look out your window at the kirk yonder.”
“So you intend to kill us then?” Despite the stubborn set to her jaw and shoulders, her lower lip quivered.
Och, but why did that slight tremble have to tug at his heart? “We shall see what comes to pass.”



BUY LINKS:



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eliza Knight is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling indie author of sizzling historical romance and erotic romance. Under the name E. Knight, she pens rip-your-heart-out historical fiction. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain with her own knight in shining armor, three princesses and two very naughty puppies. Visit Eliza at http://www.elizaknight.comor her historical blog History Undressed: www.historyundressed.com