Food countdown till New Years

I know Christmas has come and gone, but the celebration of good friends, family and food is still upon us. I wanted to share all of the recipes submitted for the last newsletter giveaway.

This Recipe would be good year-round.

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Celebrating my book release a little early!

I’ve got a few things going on running up to the release of Highlander Betrayed on Aug 6th so please join me for some fun and book giveaways!

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May 18th noon – 10 PM

Join me and fellow authors Carmen Caine, Tarah Scott, Kay Springsteen Tate, and Suzan Tisdale for our Newest and Best in Historical Romance Bash on Facebook. We’ll be giving away books, posting excerpts from our newest books, chatting and generally having a grand time. Please stop by so you can be entered for a prize!

 

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June – yes, the entire month of June!

Join me and a bazzilion other authors over at The Romance Reviews Sizzling Summer Reads Party where they will be hosting games, giveaways, and you can chat with some of your favorite authors (who, moi?). So slip on your flip-flops and bring your favorite beach chair and settle in for a great party while you make your summer reading list!

 

Robert Burns: the man behind the poetry

In honor of Robert Burns’ birthday, here’s a guest post from Thursa Wilde about the man and his inspirations! Enjoy! (psst…don’t miss my note at the end!)

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Robert Burns
Robert Burns

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o the puddin’-race! (from Address to a Haggis) is what many a Scottish person will be reciting to a large sausage this weekend. The annual Burns Supper marks the birthday of Scotland’s favourite poet.

Burns (Rabbie to his friends) was born on 25th January 1759. His work influenced English Romantics like Wordsworth and Shelley.  But what else do we know about the man?

Not to dampen Scottish enthusiasm, but one can’t ignore a certain rakish behaviour. While he was courting his childhood sweetheart, Jean Armour, he had got his mother’s servant pregnant. Jean by this time was also with child. Rabbie did scribble his commitment to Jean on a piece of paper, but her father refused the match, as Rabbie, poor tenant farmer and poetic dreamer, wasn’t good enough for his daughter. He even went to the trouble of taking the offending piece of paper to a lawyer to be defaced!

1786 was a busy year for Robert Burns. In March of that year Jean announced her pregnancy, and was sent away to live in Paisley. About the same time Rabbie fell in love with Mary Campbell. By May he had pledged his troth to Mary, and dreamed of escaping with her to Jamaica. Such a move might never have brought the name Burns to Scotland’s attention at all, but in April his first book of poems was published at Kilmarnock. Escape to Jamaica still looked inviting, as in July he wrote to a friend that ‘Armour has got a warrant to throw me in jail until I can find…an enormous sum.’  However by the end of July a second volume of poetry was published, this one such a huge success, he quickly became a Scottish household name.

In September things came to a head. Jean gave birth to twins, Rabbie postponed his trip because of penury, and a friend showed him a letter that changed his life. It was from Thomas Blacklock, expressing enthusiasm for his poems, and encouraging Burns to publish another edition in Edinburgh. Burns wrote that this man ‘belonged to a set of critics for whose applause I had not dared to hope.’

In October Mary took a trip to see her family. It was on this trip that she caught a fever and died. An infant’s coffin was buried with her, possibly an unborn child. Rabbie carried the pain of her death with him for many years.

In November Burns went to Edinburgh, and by 1787 was a great success, dinner guest at several aristocratic houses and the instigator of more affairs, Agnes McLehose, his ‘Clarinda’, being the most famous.  But when, despite passionate exchanges, she wouldn’t be seduced, he made overtures to her servant which produced another child.

Returning home he visited Jean again hoping to impress her with his fame. That meeting resulted in another pregnancy! This time Mr Armour was quite changed in his opinion of the now famous poet, but Rabbie refused to marry her. The Armour family was so cross with their daughter they threw her out and she became destitute. Eventually Rabbie found her, reconciled her to her mother, bought her some furniture, and boasted to his friend that he ‘gave her such a thundering scalade that electrified the very marrow of her bones’. (I think we can guess the meaning of ‘scalade’!) Then he made her swear she would never make any claim on him as a husband. He told his friend she did this ‘like a good girl.’

It seems that being a good girl and a loyal one gave Jean the leverage over Rabbie, because he did finally marry her in 1788. By the time he died, Burns had twelve surviving children from his various partners. Those are just the ones we know about!

Thursa Wilde is a writer and member of the support team at Highland Titles. Highland Titles sells plots of Scottish land to people all over the world, many of whom have an affinity with Scotland and Great Britain.

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Laurin again: I’ve never celebrated a Burns Night, though I have heard the address to the haggis and even eaten some (it was pretty good!). Have you ever hosted or attended a Burns Night Supper? I’d love to hear about what conspires at one of these events!

Whether you have attended a Burns Night event or not, leave a comment and I’ll put your name in the hat for either a trade paperback or audio copy of one of my books. Two winners. One book (format of your choice) per winner.

Comment by Jan 31st and I’ll pick the winner on Feb 1!

Laurin

The “Next Big Thing” Blog Hop is Here!

Welcome to this blog hop.

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way that readers can discover new authors, because with bookstores closing and publishers not promoting new authors as much, we need to find a way to introduce readers to authors they may not see in their local bookstore.

Through the hop you have the chance to find many new authors. Here you’ll find information about me, what I’m working on now, HIGHLANDER BETRAYED, the first book in my new (as yet to be named) medieval romance trilogy, and some of the inspirations behind this book. HIGHLANDER BETRAYED will release August 6th, 2013. Also see the links below the Q&A to other authors you might like to check out.

I’d like to thank fellow author and friend J.T. Geissinger for tagging me to participate. Click the link below to find out about J.T.’s latest book, EDGE OF OBLIVION, the second book in her paranormal romance series, which released October 2nd.  Literal Addiction calls EDGE OF OBLIVIONa dark, dangerous, sexy, action-packed thrill ride and I wanted more the minute the last page was flipped. Find out more about J.T. at her website: http://www.jtgeissinger.com

In this particular hop, each of us, on our own blogs, answer 10 questions where you get to learn about our current work in progress as well as some insights into our process, from characters and inspirations to plotting and cover decisions. I hope you enjoy it!

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So let’s get to the Q&A! Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments!

Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book?

My current work in progress is Highlander Betrayed. It’s book one in my new, yet to be named, romance series set in medieval Scottland.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

The culture of the Scottish Highlands includes a lot of beliefs, tales, and superstitions that would be categorized as paranormal these days. I loved the tale of the Fairy Flag (something I first learned about years ago when I was researching the MacLeod clan for my book Charming the Shrew), and how it is supposed to protect Clan from harm. Since I base my books (so far) in the time of William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and King Edward I, I played with the idea of Edward seeking a way into Scotland via the Highlands and how the Highlanders might keep him out with something like the Fairy Flag. After a lot of years of letting the idea ferment, I dreamed up a small clan with an ancient relic – a shield – that would protect the Highlands from invasion and from there, a whole new series, starting with Highlander Betrayed, was born.

3: What genre does your book come under?

Historical romance, specifically medieval Scottish Highlands romance — with paranormal elements.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, that’s an easy one since I’ve used their pictures to inspire me as I wrote the book. Rowan MacGregor would be played by Rachelle Lefevre who I first saw on the short lived (but very good) TV show, Off the Map. Nicholas fitz Hugh, aka Nicholas of Achnamara, my half-English, half-Scottish, spy would be played by the gorgeous Henry Cavill. I of course would get to meet both of them on set.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A half-English, half-Scottish spy for King Edward of England is sent to find and steal an ancient relic believed by the Scots to protect the Highlands from invasion, but the spy doesn’t count on falling in love with the chief’s niece, forcing him to choose between the King’s will and his own.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

This book will be published by Montlake Romance, part of Amazon’s publishing arm. They have published two of my previous books as well and have been a dream to work with.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

That’s a trickier question than you might think. I wrote three chapters of it years ago but it didn’t sell so I never finished it. It noodled around in my head for years until I began writing this version of Highlander Betrayed in May of 2011. I had a very rough first draft by the end of August. I just finished the final draft on Dec. 15th, 2012. In between there were many partial drafts since I tend to revise from the beginning until I get stuck. Then I go back and revise again, getting further before I get stuck. I go back to the beginning, etc, etc, etc. So, start to finish, it took me either 7 years (conception to finished manuscript) or 19 months (first full draft to complete manuscript). The truth is, though, that I wrote most of it between September and December, 2012. Deadlines have a way of focusing me on the work.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I can’t say I read much in my genre these days so I really have no idea who else is writing similar kinds of stories. I find it hard to read Scottish historicals while I’m writing one because the other author’s voice and story ideas invade my brain. What I read mostly are paranormal romances, about as opposite from a Scottish historical as I can get and still be reading romance, but they have definitely influenced this book because there is a strong paranormal aspect to the entire series, though the paranormal idea emanates from the culture of the time and place.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

When I first dreamed up this book/series I really wanted to write a Robin Hood story with a female Robin, set in medieval Scotland. I haven’t stuck strictly to the Robin Hood tale, but I have drawn from it. Rowan MacGregor is a Robin character and her cousins Jeanette and Scotia are loosely modeled after Little John and Will Scarlet. Nicholas fitz Hugh is modeled after the Nazir character (an assassin who becomes one of the merry men) in the BBC Robin of Sherwood series from the 80s (my very favorite TV show of all time…though Downton Abbey and Pride & Prejudice are almost as dear to me). This series also took the traditional Robin Hood story and imbued it with a mystical element in keeping with the beliefs and culture of the time, as I have done with Highlander Betrayed.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I’ve returned to Argyll for this book, the area my first book, The Devil of Kilmartin (which also had a paranormal element to it), was set in. I love the standing stones and stone circles found in this part of the Highlands and I’ve found a way to connect this story to the ancient culture of the area — but I’m not going to give that away!

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Below you will find authors who will be answering these same questions about their “next big thing” on their blogs, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases. Happy Writing and Reading!

1.     Danelle Harmon I just met Danelle this past year and have the great good fortune of belonging to the Jewels of Historical Romance group with her so I’ve gotten to know her pretty well very quickly (if you love historical romances stay tuned to both our blogs for more info on the Jewels soon!). Even better, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to discover a new-to-me author whose books I adore. Please stop by her blog next Wednesday to see what her “next big thing” is. I can’t wait to see myself!

2.     Melynda Andrews A self-avowed Jill-of-all-trades, Melynda writes wonderful Regency romances while also juggling sculpting, painting, a family, and too many projects for any of us who know her to keep up with. I first met her years ago when we both finaled in the Golden Heart contest. We’ve been friends ever since. Please stop by her blog next Wednesday to see what her “next big thing” is. I can guarantee it’ll be interesting!

Thanks for blog hopping by!

Laurin

Summer!

It’s been a busy, busy summer! Here’s a hint on where I spent my summer vacation last month:

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I’ll be in Anaheim, CA, at the end of the month for the Romance Writers of America conference. If you are in the area don’t miss the GINORMOUS book signing from 5:00 – 8:00 PM on Wednesday, July 25th. Proceeds go to support literacy!

I hope you are having a great summer! Don’t forget to pick up some great books to wile away the summer days!