Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Are you new to the writing atmosphere? Maybe you have just gotten published and are looking for a way to promote you and your books. Let me first congratulate you on such a feat! Getting published isn't easy. But, you still have some hard work ahead of you and promoting with a web site is a great way to go. All of the famous authors have one. Veronica Wolff, Nora Roberts, Diana Gabaldon, and the list goes on and on.

Well, let me mention one other award winning author. I am sure some of you have read her work and if you haven't, please do so. I think you will be entertained. Her name is Kimberly Killion and you can visit her at 'My Cursed Highlander', 'Her One Desire', and 'His Magick Touch" are just a few of her books.

I haven't mentioned her here just to brag on her writing skills, but to also brag on her computer skills. Kimberly has also started up a web design company called Hot Damn Designs. You can find the link here at Kimberly designed her own web page and I think it looks great! When it is my turn to come to a point where I will need a web page, this is the lady I will turn to.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Celtic Hearts Romance Writers would like to announce their October workshop:

Witches, Kelpies and Fairies, Oh My!
October 1 through October 29, 2010

Instructor: Cindy Vallar

My first introduction to the Otherworld, as Highlanders call it, came when I joined the Brownies. My Girl Scout handbook included a tale that explained who brownies were. Little did I realize that many years later, I would immerse myself in this strange world in order to better understand my Scottish characters. I invite you to step into the unknown as we explore the supernatural Scottish Highlands. The Scots believed the creatures and forces of the Otherworld were real, and sometimes more menacing than one’s neighbors. In this workshop you’ll learn about the differences between Highland and Lowland witches; second sight and seers; water creatures; portents of death; the world of fairies and elves; other supernatural beings; and ghosts.

Lessons are enhanced with a resource bibliography and excerpts from my novel, The Scottish Thistle, where I incorporated the Otherworld into this tale of the Rising of 1745. We will also discuss whether you believe and which elements of the Otherworld you would weave into your Scottish stories. At the end of the workshop, I offer to edit a chapter from each participant’s manuscript involving the supernatural.

Past Workshop Participants’ Comments:
This class far surpassed anything I could have imagined. You are so kind to go the extra-extra mile for your students. The info is more than I ever dreamed I might need and your resources are worth a pirate's ransom. Thank you so much for a wonderful class. ~Kati

Thank you SO much for this workshop. You're an incredible teacher and always give killer workshops! – Diana Cosby, author of His Captive

You are such an engaging presenter. And I always enjoy your workshops -- just can't believe that the return on my dollar is so high. ~Evelyn Marentette

The class was well structured and the amount of information was amazing! I have never attended a class that has provided so much information pertaining to the subject being taught. The resources listed and the information given is invaluable! You're a wonderful instructor and giver of knowledge. ~Shannon Robinson

This was the first workshop I have ever tried and it more than exceeded my expectations. Not only did it provide a ton of factual information and resources, it really triggered a lot of plotting and character ideas. This was an A+ class in all respects. ~Millie Bullock

Cindy Vallar, Associate Editor of Industry for Solander, writes the “Red Pencil” column where she compares a selection from an author’s published novel with an early draft of that work. She also reviews for the Historical Novel Society’s journal, Historical Novels Review. She is a freelance editor, the editor of Pirates and Privateers, and the author of The Scottish Thistle, her debut historical novel about the Camerons and MacGregors during Scotland’s Rising of 1745, and Odin’s Stone, a romantic short story of how the Lord of the Isles settled the medieval feud between the MacKinnons and MacLeans on the Isle of Skye.

She belongs to the Historical Novel Society, the Red River Branch of the Clan Cameron Association, the Scottish Clans of North Texas, and the National Maritime Historical Society. In 2005 at the Clan Cameron North American Rally, Cindy received the first Friend of Clan Cameron Award. Prior to becoming an author and editor, she was a school librarian for twenty years, and she also taught computers and social studies. She invites you to visit her award-winning web site, Thistles & Pirates (, to learn more.

For more information, you may contact Celtic Hearts Education Coordinator, Kerri Nelson at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A little moment to myself

What a week! Have you ever heard of the old saying "run ragged"? I feel as if I have been run ragged. More hours at work, kids in the after school activities, wedding reception, birthday party, and today I had to take my son to the doctor and then to the Out Patient services for x-rays. He might have fractured his hand or wrist in football. With my husband in the fields, it is up to me to do it all.

As I sit here writing this with guilt on my shoulder because I haven't written on my site since Friday, I try to think of ways to take a few moments for myself. Monday I went to Dairy Queen and read a book while I ate my lunch. Then treated myself to an ice cream cone. I have to say it was fun and very relaxing. Something so simple, was exactly what I needed.

This got me to thinking. There are so many ways for me to relax. I could go and take a walk at the park. Maybe go to the Library, watch a movie, read a book, or get my nails done. What did the women from the past do to relax? I can't imagine that I am suffering from anything that any woman through the years hasn't suffered from. Kids running through the house, siblings fighting, spills made and things torn. Or how about the husband who brings in his dirty shoes on a clean floor, food that didn't cook right, or not enough money to get done what needs to be done.

In this day and age kids go to school for 8 hours. I have a husband that I could wag my finger at for disgracing my poor floors, and there are many more options to us to get money. We have come along way. What do you think mom's did back in the day when they needed to relax? How did they keep sane when once in a while every fiber of their being was on the brink of going crazy?

Friday, September 17, 2010

What is tanistry?

A custom among various Celtic tribes- notably Scotland and Ireland- by which the king or chief of the clan was elected by family heads in full assembly. He held office for life and was required by custom to be of full age, in possession of all his faculties, and without any remarkable blemish of mind or body. At the same time and subject to the same conditions, a tanist, or next heir to chiefancy, was elected, who, if the king died or became disqualified, at once became king. Sometimes the king's son became king, but not because the system of primogeniture was in anyway recognized; indeed, the only principal adopted was that the dignity of chieftainship should descend to the eldest and most worthy of the same blood, who well could be a brother, nephew, or cousin. This system of succession left the headship open to the ambitious and was a frequent source of strife in families and between clans. Tanistry in Scotland was abolished by a legal system in the reign of James 1 (1406-37) and the English system of primogeniture substituted.
Source cited: Encyclopedia Britannica

It has been said that a female relative could not be a tanist, only a male could. I imagine it wouldn't have been uncommon for older men to marry younger woman or girls in hopes of a male heir. Could/would a chief have more than one wife or was divorce possible if a current wife didn't produce a male heir?

We know that the people of a clan revered their Chief. They looked up to him for protection and guidance. A chief could call an army together amongst his people very quickly and at little or no cost. A chief was judge and jury. He would rule between disputes and decided punishment.

Though the sentence up above says that tanistry was abolished many years ago, it is eveident among the clans today that this practice still lives on in some aspects.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One lovely blog award!

I wont this award from Maeve Greyson at I want to thank her for the award and I hope she knows how much I appreciate it!

So now I pass it on. These are the ladies and their blogs that I follow and enjoy.

Kaelee Morgan
Jena Lang
Nancy Badger (2 blogs)
Beth Trissel
Andre Snyder
Eliza Knight
Rebecca Lynn
Lizzie Walker
Donna Goode

This is how the award works.

Accept the award, post it on your blog along with the name of the person who has granted the award and a link to his or her blog.

Pass the award on to 10 other blogs that you enjoy and and contact the blogger to notify them of your choice.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Where's Rebecca?

Ever play the game, Where's Waldo? Well, I want to know "Where's Rebecca?"

I received in the mail a book. It is Veronica Wolff's, "Lord of the Highlands" and it is signed by Veronica herself but it was autographed to a Rebecca. I called the lady who sent it to me and we squared away the confusion. This still left me with the book.

I already have my own autographed copy of this book from Veronica, so I wondered what could I do with this extra book? Veronica suggested I have a "Where's Rebecca?" contest. So here we are.

If you know of anyone who is named Rebecca or you are named Rebecca, please leave me a comment. Who ever can guess my middle name will win. I will let this run for a few days and at the end of Thursday, I will pick a winner.

So, go out there and tell your friends. Help me find Rebecca!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Want to learn about Scotland?

Have you ever wanted to take an on-line class or learn more about Scotland? Now you can do both. Celtic Hearts Romance Writers is offering a class called, "Insiders Guide to the Scottish Highlands." by Sharon Gunn. The class runs from September 14 to October 26, 2010. It isn't too late to join. You can also join even after the class has started. Here is a little bit of information about the class.

Scotland exists on the periphery of Europe. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the laws and customs of the Scottish Highlands were archaic, that is, they were common in much of Western European the High Middle Ages, but the Renaissance had changed or disappeared. Highland Chiefs were still inaugurated, but not crowned, in ancient ceremonies and revered by their clansmen as semi-sacred. A Highland assembly for justice in the 17th century resembled a Viking Thing in the 10th and 11th centuries. Serial marriages drove the clergy wild. But what really scared the Lowlanders and English was the chief's ability to raise a small army at little or no cost to themselves. The Jacobite Rebellions would not have been possible without the clan armies.

This course will go into depth about life in the Highlands. You will learn who lived in a castle and in a village and who earned a living travelling about. Find out who different this area is from the Lowlands and other parts of Great Britain how similar to Ireland.

1) Scotland in Europe
2) Highlands and the Lowlands
3) Houses and Castles
4) The Court of a Highland Chief
5) The "Clan System"
6) Clothing and weapons

Sharon Gunn learned to read and write Scottish Gaelic at Xavier College (now UCCB) in Nova Scotia, and later obtained an honours degree in Scottish History and Celtic Studies from the University of Glasgow. While a student, she had a job selling Gaelic books in the Highlands from which she gained a greater knowledge of the geography and people. A requirement for the job was fluency in Gaelic, the language of the Highlands and the Islands. She often returns to Scotland. Several times she has travelled to the Royal Royal National Mod, a huge music festival, as a member of a Gaelic choir from Canada.

For more information, you may contact the Celtic Hearts Education Coordinator, Kerri Nelson, at RWA membersip is not required.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A few of Scotland's finer things! (part 4)

When we think of Scotland there are a few images that come to mind. Okay ladies, men in kilts is the first thing that comes to mind, I get it! Besides that and the great country side, what else do you think of? Yes, the food. Everyone has heard of Haggis and maybe even some of you have tried it. Here is one recipe and the link to a whole lot more!

OATCAKES- Oatcakes were a very important part of the diet and were cooked on a griddle over the fire.
INGREDIENTS- 4 oz. medium oatmeal, 2 t of melted fat (bacon fat prefered), 2 pinches of bicarbonate of soda, pinch of salt, 3/4 T of hot water, additional oatmeal for kneading.

Mix the oatmeal, salt, and bicarbonate soda and pour in the melted fat into the center of the mixture. Stir well, using a porridge stick if you have one and add enough water to make a stiff paste. Cover a surface in oatmeal and turn the mixture onto this. Work quickly, as the paste is difficult to work with if it cools. Divide into two and roll one half into a ball and knead with hands covered in oatmeal to stop it sticking. Roll out to around quarter inch thick. Put a plate which is slightly smaller than the size of your pan over the flattened mixture and cut round to leave a circular oatcake. Cut into quarters (also called farls) and place in a heated pan which has been slightly greased. Cook for about three minutes until the edges curl slightly, turn, and cook the other side. Get ready with another oatcake while the first is being cooked.

An alternative method of cooking is to bake them in an oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until brown at the edges.

Visit for more.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A few of Scotland's finer things! (part 3)

I decided to look up famous Scottish battles for today's post. The list is very long. I can't possibly list them all, so I will offer up the link that I used and if you are interested in viewing more, you will have it.
The majority of the battles fought on Scottish soil were with her neighbor, England. Scotland initiated some of the battles and though she had many wins, there were also many losses.

Battle of Culloden- 1746. The final battle of the Jacobite Uprising of 1745/46. The army of Prince Charles Edward Stewart, consisting mainly of Highlanders, was soundly defeated by the Duke of Cumberland, bringing to the end of the ambitions of the "Young Pretender" to recover the throne for the Stewart dynasty. This took place three months after the Battle of Falkirk. The battle of Prestonpans in 1745 was the beginning.

Battle of Bannockburn- 1314. An English army, led by Edward ll, marching to relieve Stirling Castle, were met by King Robert the Bruce at Bannock Burn near Stirling. The over-confident English army was soundly defeated, losing 3,000 to 4,000 men, Scottish casualties were light. King Edward ll escaped back to England.

Battle of Mons Graupius- AD 84. The precise place where the Caledonian leader, Calgacus, met the Romans advanced by Argicola is not known but it was probably in north east Scotland, in what is now known as Aberdeenshire. There was said to be 30,000 Caledonii who were defeated by the disciplined Roman Regions in the only known set piece battle in the north. 1,300 years later, a transcription error led to the name becoming "Grampian" which is the name now given to the Cairngorn mountains, east and south of the river Spey.

Battle of Kilsyth-1645. The Marquis of Montrose led his royalist force of Highlanders and Irish to another victory at Kilsyth, leaving him in control of much of Scotland. In England, King Charles l, was not faring so well against Cromwell, having been defeated at the Battle of Naseby.

The Battle of Glenfruin- 1603. 400 MacGregors ambushed a larger number of Colquhouns in the glen. They took no prisoners and 140 Colquhouns were killed. A large number of sheep and cattle were stolen. Two days before he journeyed to London to assume the title of King of England as well as Scotland, King James Vl held a judicial review of the incident. The MacGregor named was banned.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see what of "Scotland's finer things" I will find next!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A few of Scotland's finer things! (part 2)

Today I have chosen to talk about Scotland's great inventors. Some of these names you may have heard of and some you may not know. Either way, I hope you find this as interesting as I did.

JAMES WATT (1736-1819)- Perfected the Steam Engine. The Greenock-born genius changed our world from an agricultural society to an industrial one. He transformed steam engines into the power of the Industrial revolution. The electrical unit is named after him.

WILLIAM MURDOCH (1754-1839)- Invented Gas Lighting. Born in Lugar, Ayrshire is famous as the Scot who lit the world. His Cornwall home was the first to be lit by gas and by 1803 gas was used around Britain. He also invented steam tricycle, steam canon, and waterproof paint.

CHARLES MACINTOSH (1766- 1843)- Invented the Raincoat. Glasgow-born chemist developed the technique of sandwiching a layer of rubber between two layers of cloth, making it waterproof. It was first used for an 1824 Artic expedition. His name lives on today when we refer to wearing a mackintosh or a mac.

JAMES YOUNG SIMPSON (1811-1870)- Discovered chloroform. The baker's son from Bathgate pioneered anaesthetics. As Professor of Midwifery at Edinburgh University, he was the first to use anaesthetics during childbirth. He won acclaim after using chloroform on Queen Victoria.

LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)- The father of Thermodynamics. Went to Glasgow University at the age of 10. He developed the science of Thermodynamics and formulated the Kelvin scale of absolute temperature. He also supervised the laying of the first transatlantic telegraph cable and improved ship's compass.

This is just a few of Scotland's greatest minds. For more, follow this link.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A few of Scotland's finer things!

Here are a few of Scotland's finer things it has to offer. I will be posting in this section all things Scottish all week long, but why not start off with a little bit of eye candy?! I'll post a couple of ladies for the men too!

JAMES McAVOY- born in 1979 in Glasgow Scotland. He lived there until he was 7 when he moved to Drumchapel to live with his Grandparents. He moved to London when he was 20 where he now lives with his wife and new baby.

SHEENA EASTON- born Sheena Shirley Orr on April 27, 1959 in Belshill Scotland. In 1979 she married Sandi Easton, and even though they divorced 8 months later, she retained the Easton name. In 1981 she sang the title song for the James Bond movie "For your eyes only" and is the only singer to be shown on the opening credits singing the song in any James Bond movie. Sheena Easton is still singing and staring on T.V. and in movies.

KEVIN McKIDD- born Aug. 9, 1973 in Elgin, Moray, Scotland. As a teenager, he was part of a rock band called Plan 9. He picked up the acting bug after leaving college where he was studying Engineering to study drama. He has many movies and T.V shows under his belt. Most noticeably "Made of Honor" and "Grey's Anatomy". Kevin and his wife, Jane, live in Bedford England with there two children, Joseph and Iona.

ANNIE LENNOX- born in 1954 in Scotland, she left at the age 0f 17 to attend the Royal Academy of Music in London. There she met Dave Stewart and joined the band, The Tourists. When the band broke up in 1979, she and Dave formed the Eurythmics.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Good Reads!

Have you ever read one of Monica McCarty's books? If you haven't you are missing out on a good read. She has started a new series called "The Highland Guard" series. Book one is "The Chief" and book two just came out Aug 31 and it is called "The Hawk."
I have read The Chief and I enjoyed it very much; as I have all of Monica's books. Please go to her website and check out all of her books and any information she has put out.