A Few Kilts Can Thaw a November Chill

NH Highland Games sky

I recently attended two very different Scottish Highland Games – one in New Hampshire and the other in Georgia. Both these USA-based gatherings had one thing in common…kilts in a wide variety of Tartans.

historical kilts

A Tartan is a plaid of certain colors that pertain to a clan or family that have traced their roots to Scotland. Many ‘Ancient’ tartans, or plaids, have muted colors. Before weaving, the original homemakers of the early centuries dyed the wool strands by using bugs, berries, grasses, and the like. Today’s tartans are more brilliant and though most are still woven of wool with a multitude of pleats at the back, others are made in solid colors of waterproof duck or soft cotton blends. Many of these have wider and fewer pleats and even add-on pockets. Some choose a military branch’s specific pattern.

kilts

Whatever a person chooses to wear, these men, women, marching band members and even performing musicians wear their plaids with pride. Here is a link to a video of one of favorite groups, Albannach, who played at the September 2018 NH Highland Games   https://youtu.be/uENuWEoFwOk     Listening to them was a pleasure!

Other sites, including the kilted athletes, were not to be missed. I am glad we were able to attend both and I gained quite a few plot ideas for future books!

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October Rushes in to Frighten or Entertain?

Halloween

Pumpkins, Witches, bats…

Like this sign in my yard, October is filled with crazy things that kids and candy companies look forward to. Halloween is known in the Celtic community as Samhain. My readers are often unaware of the celebration’s strong Scottish connections. With Scotland’s beautiful yet harsh landscape, haunted castles, and superstitions, it is not surprising that Halloween first took root there.

My heroine in Heaven-sent Warrior is an American of Scottish descent, but my hero is French. Halloween is not a typical French holiday, although you might find carved pumpkins at the grocery store. The French translation concerning this holiday is “des bonbons ou un sort” (candies or a spell) or even “betises oufriandises” (mischiefs or sweets).

However you call it, this is a holiday that brings us the beauty of pumpkins, harvested red apples, changing leaves, and sweet-smelling wood fires. Enjoy these with a good book…    

Heaven-sent Warrior
How about Heaven-sent Warrior
With Every Spark
 Or, With Every Spark

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Sweet Smells of September

cowWhen we lived in northern New Hampshire, the best smells of the beginning of the Fall season were State Fair food that mingled with the odor of 4-H cows and sheep. It was a homey scent, until the demolition derby started. Fumes and smoke were not my favorites smells, but my kids loved that part of the annual fair program. fireplace and cat

Here in North Carolina, people begin using their fireplaces to ward off the chilly evenings. The delicious aroma of burning wood takes me back to my days as a volunteer firefighter.

I am packing for our annual trip back to New Hampshire where we will meet up with other family members to volunteer at the NH Highland Games & Festival. I cannot wait to smell the morning mist over the White Mountains, the aroma of hot cider and Scottish shortbread cookies, and haggis. 😦  Find out more about the festival HERE

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July is a Month to Celebrate!

Heaven-sent Warrior Cover

July is known for celebrations and fireworks. In America, we celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July. After the fireworks fizzle out, the real celebration starts! My new book, Heaven-sent Warrior, will be released with great fanfare on Wednesday July 18th. This full-length paranormal romance, set in North Carolina, deviates from my normal Scottish characters and shape-shifting dragons. Intrigued? Here is a taste:

 

 

HEAVEN-SENT WARRIOR

CHAPTER 1

Present Day

Raleigh, North Carolina

Henrí Chevalier materialized in human form, stretched his naked limbs, and groaned. Bones, long unused, slid into place. He arched his back, raising both arms toward the night sky. Aching in a dozen places, he inhaled and savored crisp fresh air.

I am free.

Lowering his arms, he flexed all ten fingers, and shook the numbness away. His last memory was of a cold, damp wall at his back. No longer imprisoned, he relished his newfound freedom. Rubbing phantom pain at each wrist, Henrí soon relaxed, while he slid his fingers over one cheek. As he brushed the light stubble, the tips tingled. Moving his hand lower, he paused on the pulse pounding beneath the skin of his neck.

Life beats here. I am alive again.

A clean, grassy scent lingered on the night breeze. The sweetness made his lips twitch into a slight smile. Such normalcy, he thought, even as he turned in a circle with slow determination to get his bearings. Sleep-filled eyes adjusted to the inky night’s low light. Odd forms hovered near, and he fought the urge to crouch low, into a warrior’s stance.

I shall stand my ground this night.

Odd sensations cautioned him to move slowly. Rounded pebbles pressed into the soles of his bare feet until he tripped over something low and hard. His hand shot out into blackness, slamming against something smooth and icy.

Mon Dieu!” Did God care that he was cold and achy, standing alone in a strange place? As if in answer, clouds moved aside, and the moon’s radiance spilled over a trio of statues. Familiarity made his eyebrows quiver. He brushed loose hair off his face and stared at the hard, cold bronze beneath his palm. His breath caught in his throat, remembering the pain, sorrow, and loneliness. Without love, there was no life. One-sided love did not count. This was not the time to feel sorry for himself.

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Why Paranormal?

Okay, I talked about sci fi, now the other side. For me it starts with revealing my little secret – I wrote fanfic for X-Files for ten years (10!!). Like I said, I’ve always written. What I didn’t mention was I never allowed anyone to read anything I wrote – it was just for me.

X-Files Logo

Then I stumbled across a fanfic story that popped up on my feed. I didn’t know any such thing existed. I dived in headfirst. I wrote over 500 short stories, including a 60 chapter novel – After the Future – which got a chapter a month. You do the math, I wrote that thing for five years with monthly installments! Fanfic has no formal editors and quite often it shows, but we had fun!

That led me to writing about those little changes that make someone “different”. Again, as with sci fi, the possibilities are endless and you can create your own rules about whatever abilities your hero and/or heroine have. So now I’ve written psychics, ghosts, supernatural children . . . Having to follow the rules of physics isn’t necessary and the imagination can soar.  Small Changes, Before You, Learning Trust,  Wraith’s Heart

Talk to me, what abilities would you want to read about (or have yourself)?

Small Changes for eBook copy 2  Before-you-flat-med-reso  Learning-Trust-Optimized-202x300  Wraith's Heart final 6x9

Why Science Fiction

Well, for me it came naturally. Both of my parents read extensively – Daddy, sci fi and Momma, Harlequin (I still remember those boxes arriving.).

In third grade my teacher, Mrs. Hickman, allowed us to bring in books to read when we’d finished our work to keep quiet while she helped someone who wasn’t finished. One of the books I chose came from Daddy’s paperbacks in the basement – Slan Slan new coverby A. E. van Vogt. Okay maybe that wasn’t what most third graders would read, but it was about a young boy who was an alien, and I was fascinated. Then Momma found the book in my bag and took it away. I was told that I couldn’t take that book to school because, and I quote here, girls don’t read science fiction. Well, that sealed my fate. If I wasn’t supposed to read it because of my lesser gender, it was the only thing I wanted to read.

I’ve been at it ever since. The freedom of possibilities has always drawn me in. The fact that women could be the heroes and anything could be achieved kept me going long before #MeToo came along. I’ve added my own to the mix now and added a little romance to them (hey, that’s what was missing!) and am enjoying it immensely. Below are some of my sci fi covers. Anyone want to guess what’s in the distance of the one with forest – Rth Rising.  Alien Embrace

Do you remember what led you to the love of reading? Please share – you never know what will inspire someone to pick up a book!

Final Rth Rising cover 121615 copy   978-1514188248

Happy Summer Solstice 2018 from Dawn Marie Hamilton

sunrise-938998_640
Sunrise at Stonehenge

Ahhh, yes! The summer solstice arrived this morning in the northern hemisphere at 6:07 A.M. EDT. ‘Tis my favorite time of the year. I love when the days have the longest period of daylight. More time to spend in the gardens.

I imagine many a soul flocked to Stonehenge this morning in celebration. I’m celebrating getting my fingers dirty in the gardens.

Coreopsis Moonbeam 2018
Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’

Don’t you just love the  bright blooms of this Coreopsis from my garden?

What else am I doing? I’m working on the next book for the Highland Gardens historical time travel series–Just His Fae Kiss. More about the upcoming book in a future post.

How are you celebrating the first day of summer? Please share in the comments.

I hope you have a magical day!

~Dawn Marie