Monthly Archives: May 2016

Traveling for Research

Accuracy in a short story or novel is so important. Readers who know that you’ve got something wrong will almost always call you out on it. And even if it’s only for your own peace of mind, most authors prefer to get the facts in their stories right. It’s why so many authors spend so much time doing research.

But there are some things that go into a story that just can’t be learned from another book or a web site. There’s the feel of a place. The architecture found on the streets. The little details that don’t always show up on the pretty pictures people post to the internet.

We can learn the history of a place or a person (or type of person), but we can’t actually know it until we’ve been there or spoken to them.

Most authors don’t have the opportunity to actually speak to a person or type of person we’re writing about—personally, I’ve never met a British Peer and I haven’t yet found a time-machine to take me back to Regency England. So I’ll read biographies and autobiographies. Histories and other novels about the people I’m writing about and that’s about all I can do beyond using my imagination.

For places, though, nothing beats actually going to where your story is set. I had the pleasure of doing that this past weekend. My husband and I spent a lovely weekend in Basel, Switzerland, the setting of the short story I’m writing for my next Merry Men box set.

Now you might think that traveling to Switzerland for a short story is a little much, and indeed, I toyed with the idea of making the story longer—a novella or even a full novel. But I like the short, sweet little story I’ve dreamed up so much that I decided not to change it. I am, however, adding a good deal more description to it—more than I usually put into a short story. Hell, more than I normally put into a novel, but that is the beauty of having actually been there! I can do that. I’ve got all the images and experiences fresh in my mind as I’m sitting down to write.

Basel, for those interested, is a beautiful little town. The part that we saw was, naturally, the older section since my story is set in the late 18th century, but a good deal of the city is actually much, much older than that. We wandered the winding little streets, looked at the old houses and stepped into many a church. Most dated back to the 14th and 15th centuries, which seems to be when a good bit of the city was built. And the fantastic thing about it all was that while they have certainly updated and modernized the inside of their buildings, they’ve left the outside structures just as they were when they were originally built. So, we were able to wander streets filled with lovely half-timber houses and homes which truly gave us the feeling that we could have been in the 15th, or 18th century, like the characters in my story.

I was also very lucky in that the home of a local ribbon merchant, which was built just a little before when my story is set, has been turned into a museum. I had the opportunity to wander the rooms of this grand home to see exactly how people lived at the time. It wasn’t exactly as it had been then, the curators actually took rooms from other houses of the time and put them into this one house, but still, I got a good idea and a feel for how my characters would have lived. So, here are some pictures of for you to enjoy of the city and the house (or haus, as they say in German-speaking Switzerland) at Kirschgarten.

blog bedroom

The mistress’ bedroom.

blog private drawing room

The informal drawing room.

Blog Street

Blog Basilisk

These basilisk fountains are all over the city.

blog inside rathaus

Inside the Rathaus or town hall–it’s filled with beautiful paintings!

blog gate door

My husband leaning against the city gate door, just to give you an idea of the size of it!

blog spalentor

This is the last remaining city gate.

Blog St. George

St. George is forever killing the dragon on the wall outside the Basel Munster (Cathedral).

Blog store window

Even the shops near the cathedral are as they were hundreds of years ago.

Coming August 10th – Just Wait For Me

Just Wait Coming Aug 200
Just Wait For Me
A Highland Gardens Novel
Novel #3
 

The third match in the Fae Queen’s challenge is in play. Will fae magic change Stephen and Jillian’s destiny?

In the chaotic aftermath of the battle of Flodden, an injured Highland warrior makes a vow to a twenty-first century lass cast back in time by a meddling, matchmaking faerie. Stephen MacEwen promises to find a way to send her forward to her own time. But is that an oath he’ll want to keep after finding love in Jillian O’Donnell’s arms? And after saving Stephen’s life, will Jillian want to go?

No matter what the lover’s decide, Stephen’s wife—a woman who acquired the title through deceit—and an old enemy attempt to destroy the couple’s chance for happiness. Only with the help of fae allies can Stephen and Jillian overcome and earn their reward—everlasting love.

~~~

“Your recovery has been truly miraculous,” she said. “I’m becoming a believer in your fae healing magic.”

His quick grin was electric, and it sent a shiver of awareness through her body, culminating in the clenching of her sex. She stepped close to Stephen, placed a palm on his bare chest. The children were off to who knew where, and she was determined to take advantage of their absence. Jillian rolled onto the balls of her feet and planted a kiss on Stephen’s lips.

He stiffened, but then got with the program. The sword dropped with a clatter to the floor and his arms came around her in a crushing embrace. He repositioned his head and sought her tongue. The heady sensation curled her toes. She clutched his firm ass. God, he tasted good from the medicinal herbs the women made him eat. When the kiss ended they pressed their foreheads together and just breathed.

“Ach, lass, you make me want things I must not have.”

“What do you mean?” She leaned away. “I know we haven’t known each other long, but sometimes it only takes a moment to feel an undeniable attraction that might blossom into more. I feel that with you.”

He ran a hand through his overlong blond hair. “You are so sweet…”

“But…”

He opened his mouth, though before he provided an explanation a crashing noise came from the entrance. Stephen dove for the sword, and she swirled to face the opening.

~~~

The release of Just Wait For Me is scheduled for August 10th. Now is a great time to follow me on Amazon. Amazon will alert you of new releases including the release of Just Wait For Me.

Follow Dawn Marie on Amazon.

 

Other Books in the Highland Gardens series…

HG Series

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 

~Dawn Marie

Celebrate Beltane: Scottish May Day!

Celtic Garland

May Day Headdress

Beltane, the Celtic May Day, officially begins at moonrise on the eve before the 1st day of May. It marks the beginning of the third quarter or second half of the ancient Celtic year. For centuries, Scotland’s Celtic people celebrated the day as the coming of spring. Before driving cattle into the hills, many would hope to ensure a healthy herd by running them between the Belfires to protect them from ills. This practice dates back to the Druids. When the Christian church took over the Beltane observances by holding services in church, the parishioners would follow the clergyman to the fields to light the fires.

Branches of a tree that grows all over Scotland is hung over the hearth in homes. The rowan tree is mentioned several times in my latest time travel romance, My Hunted Highlander. Scottish marriages of old, called handfastings, were traditional at this time. This holiday is still a time of fertility and harvest. It is a time for reaping the wealth from the seeds that the Celts have sown. For a slightly sexy custom: the flowers and greenery, usually accompanied by colorful ribbons, are worn by women to symbolize the Goddess. The May Pole represents the God (fertility, anyone?)

May Pole-Celtic

Celtic Belfires

Whether you decorate your home with a rowan branch, wear a ribbon headdress, dance around a May Pole, or light bonfires to acknowledge that spring is finally here, please take a moment to read my book.

My Hunted Highlander is my 6th book in this genre, and the first one where I add a pirate ship, the crew, and their captive. Research showed me there were indeed privateers plying the North Sea of Scotland…at least during the warmer months. The English chased them northward, at times, and I took the liberty of mentioning that the English decimated my pirate’s home base.

A short Excerpt from My Hunted Highlander

“I want to bring ye pleasure, to show ye what a man can do with his mouth, and his tongue,” Niall said.

“Only his mouth and tongue?” Blair asked.

The flame of a nearby oil lamp made Blair’s eyes sparkle. Did she mean to tease him with words? “I am quite capable of pleasing a woman, without impaling her with my cock.”

At the shock of Niall’s words, her mouth opened wide, giving him a chance to demonstrate what his mouth and tongue could do for her.

Find Buy Links for this book and all my books HEREMy Hunted Highlander-large

 

When Love Conquers Time - 400

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