Christmastime in Old Scotland

Nativity by Scott 1872

Nativity by William Bell Scott, 1872

 

The canvas above was painted in 1872 by the Scottish artist, William Bell Scott. He gives the story a local Aryshire setting. The barn is an old one near Penkill where Scott was then living. Notice the shepherd playing bagpipes. I took a photo of the painting in the National Galleries of Scotland and lightened it to better see the detail. Click on the photo to enlarge.

 

Yuletide Traditions of Scotland

Elements of Yuletide traditions in Scotland are the same in other Celtic countries, but Scotland has those particular to the country. Many of the Scottish traditions are rooted in the customs of ancient Celtic culture and the Roman Catholic Church practices. During the reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries, Presbyterian Scots did not allow holidays at Christmas. Christmas Day was another work day as you can see in the Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchit worked through Christmas Eve.

For Yuletide decorations, Scotland tended to hang evergreens, the holly particularly. A pretty modern Scottish Tree may be decorated with bows made from many different tartans. A strip of cloth is all that’s needed, from 1″ to 8″ widths and around 18″ to 4′ long. Select plain enameled baubles in different sizes to compliment to colors of the tartans, from black (yes they do work!) to rich greens, reds, deep gold, and blues. For the tree top, put a teddy bear with a tartan beret! But you could use a large tartan bow, or a simple star.

Next the music. The most traditional one is Hogmanay Party by Jimmy MacLeod and his band. Rousing and foot-tapping, you can sing , dance or just turn this one down for background music. A must for a Scottish Christmas party!

A good all-rounder with carols like Taladh Chriosta, Scottish songs and music such as New Year’s Day and Bottom of the Punch Bowl, well blended with some of the more popular carols such as God Rest ye Merry, Gentlemen. Many of which you can hear a sample of at the Amazon.com music site.

Your reading may include, Silver Bough vol.3. Calendar of Scottish National Festivals – Halloween to Yule. This one has all the customs for you to follow, many of which are very old. A must for anyone who is of Scottish ancestry and wishes to live the seasons as their forefathers did!

Also, if you can find it, The Scottish Yule an American publication by Francis Thompson, who has written many other Scottish books.

You must have a Scottish Shortbread on your table. You can make it, or buy the real McCoy. Black Bun, and a Venison Stew would set the right feel at the table.

 

SCOTTISH BLACK BUN

This cake in a crust is the traditional New Year cake in Scotland. Every housewife has her own variations. This one is from a family recipe book.

Preparation First make a 1lb weight of short crust pastry your usual method. Leave to chill.

Take a springform (if possible) cake tin, and line with baking parchment. Set aside.

Mix together

1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground ginger, 1/4 fresh grated nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper.

Weigh into large bowl 10oz plain flour and 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda, mix well. Add 4oz sugar, then the spices, and weigh in 1lb currants, 1lb raisins, 4oz broken or flaked almonds, 4oz mixed candied peel.

Mix altogether well.

Add two beaten eggs, 5 tablespoons buttermilk (or milk will do) & two or three tablespoons whisky. Mix to a stiff sticky dough.

Roll out 2/3 of the pastry and line the cake tin with this. Press the fruit mixture into the pastry shell so that it is filled densely. Roll out the rest of the pastry to form a lid, and put on top in the usual way, moistening the edges with water to make then stick.

Take a long skewer, and pierce several times, right through the cake till you feel the tip touch the tin bottom. Brush the lid with a mixture of egg and milk, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 325 Fahrenheit; 170 Centigrade for about three hours. Test with skewer, when it is done, the skewer will not have any cake mix sticking to it.

***

 

Read about a Christmas wedding in A Highland Pearl.

 

Click HERE to purchase

 

Excerpt:

All heads turned toward the door when a hard knock rang out. Nellie rushed to answer the knock, and held the door open for Andrew to enter, then curtsied. Flora and Anne followed Nellie’s lead, curtsying to the laird.

“Leave us.” Andrew motioned with his hand toward the door.

The three women looked at Maidie. She nodded and they hurriedly left the chamber. She smiled at Andrew when he stood before her. He looked dashing in a great plaide of Munro colors—muted red with stripes of dark blue and gold—and a wide leather belt girded around his hips holding the plaide in place. The long end of the plaide passed under his right arm then over a cutaway blue wool jacket that reached his waist with a matching waistcoat, and bound together on the left shoulder with the large crystal brooch. A sporran made of black leather with a gold buckle hung from the belt. White wool stockings held up by black garters reached his knees with black brogans covering his feet. His ebony hair, tied in a queue at the back of his neck, sparkled with drops of water from a recent bath and washing. He looked every bit the chief of Clan Munro.

“’Tis bad luck to see your bride before the wedding,” Maidie managed to say while watching him walk closer.

“I don’t believe in luck.” Andrew’s eyes searched hers and then moved down the length of her body and up to her face again. They seemed to take in every detail. “You’re beautiful, Maidie. The most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a long time.” He held her arms and put his nose close to her neck. “Aye, you smell of roses. The odor I crave now.” He raised his eyes to pierce hers. “I have no’ said this to any mon or lass in a long while, but I apologize for my rude behavior of last eve.”

She smiled with love for him filling her heart to brimming over. “You’re forgiven, M’Laird. And you’re verra dashing this day.”

With a broad smile, he stepped back, took a small green silk bag from the sporran, and placed it in Maidie’s hand. She considered the small heavy bag.

“Open your gift.” He kissed the tip of her nose as she opened the bag and pulled out a shining gold necklace. Holding the beautiful ornament up to the light, she observed it carefully. “What say you of your wedding gift?” Andrew’s handsome face glowed as the corners of his mouth lifted.

He took the necklace from her hand before she could answer, walked around, moved the train of her dress, then fastened the heavy gold chain around her neck. On the chain lay a large teardrop-shaped pearl. Maidie felt the pearl. She had never seen anything so beautiful. Andrew planted a kiss on the back of her neck, sending chills down her spine, then walked back to face her.

“’Tis beautiful, M’Laird. Where did you find it?” she asked while watching him and fingering the smooth pearl.

“Someday, I’ll tell you, a ghràidh, but not now. ‘Tis Christmastime and our wedding day. We have guests waiting, only a few, but those who count the most—our friends and family. My heart overflows with love for you, and I am in a hurry to make you mine.”

He moved closer, wrapping his arms around her waist. Her lips longed for his kiss, but instead of a kiss, he spoke. She felt his hot breath fan across her face and inhaled the freshness of his scent. “I’ve searched all my life for you, Maidie.” He looked into her eyes with shards or light flashing through his. “I have indeed found the pearl. MaighstirTam read the story to me from the abbey’s Bible. He said Jesus considers each of His own a pearl of high value, but I consider you, Maidie Munro, the pearl of great price.”

Click HERE to purchase.

 

 

 

 

*Taken from the Christmas Archives of Countess Maria Hubert von Staufer

 

 

Posted in A Highland Pearl, historical heartbeats, Inspirational Romance, Scottish historical romance, Yuletide Traditions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giving Thanks

20131128-085750.jpg

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims who left their homes in England searching for religious freedom. They lived in a feudal society where the king and lords determined their faith and controlled their lives. They sought freedom to live and worship according to the dictates of their own hearts.

20131124-224309.jpg

Over half of their group died the first winter in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Sickness and death affected every family, but some survived with the help of friendly Native Americans. After the next fall harvest, the survivors celebrated a time of thanksgiving. Although grieving for the lost ones, they rejoiced with Indian friends in the New World, in their new life.

“Give thanks in all things,” the Lord says. Sometimes this is difficult while going through a storm of life, but being thankful in all circumstances will bring you closer to God.

The follow excerpt is from the novel, Through The Storm by Brenda B Taylor. The novel continues The Wades Of Crawford County saga, following Leann and Ralph through the years of making a life together and raising young children. As with all married couples, they struggled through the storms of life, but drew closer to the Lord and to each other.

Through The StormClick HERE to buy

“And Sunday we’re going to church,” Ralph told his family. “We’re going to praise the Lord for making us well. I want you kids to get your Sunday clothes ready, and take a good bath Saturday.”

Katy smiled. She loved to dress up and helped Leann wash and press the family’s Sunday garments. Ralph and the boys polished the Sunday shoes and boots. The boys frowned. They didn’t like to bathe, but their mother insisted on a good bath each week with a hair washing, and sometimes in between if they got too dirty.

Bathing took a good deal of time on Saturday night, because Leann insisted each member of the family have fresh water in the tub. She filled a number three washtub with water, then heated water on the stove and added it to the washtub to make a warm bath. She put the tub in a corner of the kitchen and hung blankets around it for privacy. The children bathed first. Since there was not much privacy in the kitchen of their little cabin, Ralph and Leann took their baths after the children went to sleep.

“Do you want us to wash our neck and behind our ears, Papa?” Jesse asked.
Ralph and Leann looked at each other and smiled, trying not to laugh at their son. He was attempting to get ahead of the command Leann gave the children when they bathed. Sometimes those spots were missed.

“Yes, Jesse,” Ralph said. “Be sure to wash behind your ears, and your neck. Dirt sticks in those places when it jumps out on little boys.”

“Dirt don’t jump out on boys, Papa.” Jesse reached up to feel behind an ear.

“I don’t know about all boys, but it sure jumps out on you two.” Ralph winked at Leann.

“You’re fooling me, Papa.” Jesse went to Ralph, searching his eyes for any sign of jesting.

“I’m not fooling, am I Leann?” Ralph stared back at his little son.

“No you aren’t, and we’ll start the baths early to make sure those spots get clean.” Leann knew Jesse and Jim didn’t like to come indoors early to bathe.

“Heck!” Jim said.

“Heck!” Jesse echoed.

Ralph laughed at the boys. Leann went around the table and stood beside him, examining his hair. She smoothed a strand on the back of his head. It went well below his collar.

“Looks like haircuts are overdue. I haven’t paid close attention with everyone being sick.”
Ralph’s smile faded quickly. He disliked sitting still for a haircut more than the boys. “Oh no.”

“Oh no,” the two boys said in unison.

Katy laughed now. Leann rested her hands on Ralph’s shoulders and giggled at the expressions on Jim’s and Jesse’s faces.

“It’s real tough for us men to sit still for haircuts and then be made to take baths,” Ralph told Leann, glancing around at her.

“I can only imagine.” She gave his hair a small pull. He reached up and caught her hand.

“I’m buying us a Sunday dinner at Mrs. McCall’s boarding house,” Ralph said. “We need to celebrate getting over the mumps, and Mama needs a rest after taking care of us.”

“Thank you.” Leann gave him a hug.

The children clamored over each other, trying to hug him. “Thank you, Papa,” they said in unison.

Ralph patted each one on the head and smiled at his children. They were his joy, and a stranger asking Katy questions concerned him greatly. After ten years of having her in his home, she was like his own daughter. For the first few years she lived with them, Leann and he expected her father to return, and guarded their hearts. When Ray didn’t come back, they began to believe she might stay permanently.

“Okay family, time to get on with our work. I’m going to get as much tobacco in the barn before dark as I can. Jim, you and Jesse come and help me. Katy can help Mama.” Ralph rose from the table and put his work hat on.

Leann and Katy began setting the kitchen in order. Leann hummed a hymn from the music he and his pa played earlier. Ralph knew she was pleased they planned to attend church on Sunday after a long absence. He missed the services too.

Posted in American Historical Romance, Brenda B. Taylor, historical heartbeats, Inspirational Romance, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ACFW November New Releases

November 2018 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Christmas in Jingle Junction by Tabitha Bouldin — In the small town of Jingle Junction, Holly Winters owns the local coffee shop, Jolly Java. It’s here that she meets Patrick Cooper and promptly throws coffee everywhere. Not only does Patrick not like coffee, he also despises Christmas! It’s up to Holly to show Patrick that Christmas is worth giving a second chance, just as Patrick himself deserves a second chance when he is accused of robbing a local convenience store. In a town full of Christmas spirit, lively debates over the best superhero and riding in a sleigh pulled by actual reindeer is just a normal day. Will Holly be able to prove to Patrick that Christmas is more than a holiday that has to be endured? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Picture Perfect Christmas by Candee Fick — Freelance photographers Liz Foster and Ryan Callahan are finally making plans for their future. And what better time to get married than during the festive holiday season that brought them together? If only Liz’s parents weren’t standing in the way of a picture-perfect wedding. Spurred on by the ghosts of Christmases past, Dan Foster has already written Liz out of his will, so even attending the wedding—let alone walking his daughter down the aisle—is out of the question. However, this is the season for miracles and Ryan will do anything to make his bride smile. What will it take to bring this family back together in time for the wedding? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter — When his secret crush joins a dating website, Jack takes a leap of faith and soon becomes Daisy’s online suitor. But when they begin growing closer in real life also, Jack finds himself with an unexpected dilemma. Is Daisy falling for the real Jack or for the online version of himself? And how is she going to respond when she finds out they’re one and the same? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

A Merry Miracle in Romance by Melanie D. Snitker — Baxter Reid returns to his hometown of Romance, eager to see his childhood crush. Unfortunately, Savannah hasn’t forgotten all the ways he used to tease her back then. He’s got his work cut out for him if he’s going to get a second chance. Savannah Miller avoids Baxter and the embarrassing childhood memories he evokes…until he apologizes and suggests a truce. Now what is she supposed to do? Only time will tell whether the spirit of Christmas in Romance is enough to transform a grudging relationship into true love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

I Still Do by Melanie D. Snitker — What’s worse than running into your ex-husband? Becoming snowbound with him and an avalanche of memories you can’t escape. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:

A Southern Season by Eva Marie Everson, Claire Fullerton, Ane Mulligan, and Linda Yezak — Four seasons. Four stories. Each one set in the enchanting world of the South. These are the kinds of stories your grandmother told you from a front porch swing. (Women’s Fiction from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Historical:

Second Chances by Carol Ashby — A widowed father, still grieving the loss of his wife and child, and a devoted mother, who leaves behind everything she’s ever known to rescue her daughter from the ex-husband who would hurt her, are first drawn together by their love for her little girl, but God has much more for them than either could have imagined. (Historical, Cerrillo Press)

Historical Mystery:

Murder of Convenience by Linda Shenton Matchett — May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit. (Historical Mystery, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection by Lena Nelson Dooley, Rebecca Jepson, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Candice Sue Patterson, Kathleen Rouser, Pegg Thomas, and Marilyn Turk — Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of our nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 at Great Lakes Lighthouses bring hope to the lonely lighthouse keepers and love to weary hearts. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Musket in My Hands by Sandra Merville Hart — Two sisters have no choice but to disguise themselves as men to muster into the Confederate army in the fall of 1864–just in time for things to go very badly for the Southerners at the Battle of Franklin. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Uncharted Journey by Keely Brooke Keith — Young widow Eva Vestal assumes loneliness is God’s permanent plan for her life. She keeps busy by raising her son and co-managing the Inn at Falls Creek with her elderly father, but her heart yearns for more. Solomon “Solo” Cotter has spent his life working with horses, but he secretly wants to write a book of the children’s stories his grandfather told him as a boy. He barters with Eva’s father for a 40-night stay at the inn, a needed respite from work to get his stories on paper. Once Eva discovers the barter, she believes Solo is taking advantage of her father’s failing memory. But when tragedy strikes and Solo works hard to save the inn, Eva sees his true nature. As her heart stirs with feelings for Solo, she wrestles with the guilt of loving someone new. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Snow Angel by Davalynn Spencer — Lena Carver works as her physician brother’s medical assistant, housekeeper, and cook. Maimed in a childhood accident at Christmas, she believes she is beyond love’s reach—until a dark-eyed cowboy arrives broken, bruised, and bent on changing her mind. Wil Bergman wakes in a stranger’s home with a busted leg and a bullet-creased scalp. Trail-weary, robbed, and penniless, he is at the mercy of a country doctor whose sister’s healing touch has power to stitch up his heart and open his eyes to the impossible. (Historical Romance from Wilson Creek Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Tell Her No Lies by Kelly Irvin — After Nina Fischer is accused of murdering her uncle and adopted father, she must unlock deadly family secrets in order to clear her name and learn to trust love again. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

North by Starlight by Diane and David Munson — Attorney Madison Stone hurries to help her client Jordan Star defeat a mysterious relative who claims a share in his inheritance, and during the Christmas season Maddie learns to leave past regrets behind her, embrace the warmhearted people of Starlight, and dig deep to find her true heart. (Romantic Suspense from Micah House Media)

Her Deadly Reunion by Beth Ann Ziarnik — What will it cost an estranged daughter when she meets her birth father at his home and discovers it’s a dangerous place to mix past and present? (Romantic Suspense from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Speculative:

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse — When the new Lady of Ravenwood inherits her family’s secret gift of dreamwalking, she discovers a dark history. Women in her family have been wielding the gift to preserve her family’s legacy—through assassinations. She’s determined to find the true reason behind the gift, convinced there must be a more noble purpose. But she’s torn about upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people. What will she do when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations–but who is also prophesied to bring about the downfall of her own house? One path holds glory and power and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and likely death. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen? (High Fantasy from Bethany House [Baker])

Thriller/Suspense:

Stratagem by Robin Caroll — Psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux creates mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s for their executive retreat, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder. (Suspense from Barbour Publishing)

 

Posted in ACFW New Releases, Christian, contemporary romance, Historical, historical heartbeats, Historical Romance, Mystery, Romantic Suspense, speculative, Thriller/Suspense, Women's Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Highland Emerald ~ Spotlight and Giveaway

A Highland Emerald, third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series, is now available at most book vendors in digital and in print formats.

I’m giving away signed copies (US) or digital copies (International) to two commenters on this post.

AHighlandEmerald_Small3

Following are what some readers say about the book. Now is the time to begin your Christmas shopping and secure a copy for the book lovers on your Christmas list.

I didn’t believe I would enjoy reading a Scottish historical romance until I finished this novel! The author’s descriptions and host of lively characters certainly changed my mind. Brenda Taylor has done a great job here.

Keeping with the sequel, A Highland Emerald is written beautifully. I felt I was there with Aine and William, experiencing what they were going through. I love Ms. Taylor’s style of writing. It’s so true to life in the time that it was written. I look forward to more novels by Ms. Taylor.

Book Trailer:

Universal Buy Link

Blurb:

A Highland Emerald is the third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series. It tells the story of Aine MacLean and William Munro, and is the prequel to A Highland Pearl.

Aine MacLean is forced into an arranged marriage with Sir William, Chief of Clan Munro, yet her heart belongs to a handsome young warrior in her father’s guard. She must leave Durant Castle, the home of her birth on the Isle of Mull, and travel across Scotland in a perilous journey to her husband’s home on Cromarty Firth. William agrees to a year and day of handfasting, giving Aine an opportunity to accept him and his clan. He promises her the protection of Clan Munro, however, Aine experiences kidnapping, pirates, and almost loses her life in the River Moriston. She doubts the sincerity of William’s promises and decides to return to Durant Castle when the handfasting ends. William determines to win Aine’s heart. Will the brave knight triumph in his fight for the bonnie lass?

Excerpt:

Isle of Mull
Scotland, 1486

My father sat in his usual chair in front of the crackling fire, staring at the flame with dim eyes and a fur robe wrapped around his broad shoulders, the deerhound curled at his feet.

“Where are you going, Aine?” he asked with his back turned toward the stone, spiral staircase where I stood. “Come, sit with me for awhile.”

I pushed the arisaid from my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor, then stepped over the wrap. Making my way to the stool where my mother’s embroidery frame stood, I took a seat and watched the flame.

Without turning his head, my father, Lachlan Og MacLean, eighth chief and fourth Laird of Durant Castle, asked, “Where are you going?”

“How did you ken ’twas I?” He never ceased to amaze me with his uncanny knowledge of events around him although his eyes, so dimmed by injury, saw very little.

“I heard the rustle of your skirts.” He extended his hand for me, so I rose and hugged his neck. He smiled, embracing my arms. “And I ken your scent, lass. ‘Tis so like your mither’s. You use the same scented soap as she.”

“Aye, but from so far away and with the smell of burning wood and dog in your nostril’s?”

“Your odor is a different pleasantry among the usual burning wood and dog. It stands out in my memory as does the pleasant odor of your mither.” He smiled broadly, showing still straight, white teeth beneath a greying beard. I could almost feel his penetrating gaze upon me as in the days before his sight was taken in battle. He asked, “Where are you going this dreary night?”

“Here, Da. To sit beside you and talk of the feast on the morrow.”

“Don’t try to deceive me, lass. I heard the sound of your arisaid dropping to the floor. You are planning a tryst, I feel certain.” His dimmed gaze pierced through to the depths of my soul. “I could see the turn of your head toward him each time he spoke at the evening meal.” A line formed between his brows and a shadow darkened his face. “You are to marry the Munro.”

“I dinna love William Munro.” My voice began to rise, and I struggled to control the cry climbing from the depths of my heart. “I wanna marry him, Da. You promised I could wed for love, not convenience.” The cry emerged from my lips. I buried my head on his shoulder and sobbed.

“Come here, lass.” Da rose, grabbed my hand and pulled me to face him, wrapping his powerful arms around my shoulders. He stroked my hair and planted a kiss atop my head. Disturbed, the great dog stood.

My heart ached to please Da, I loved him so. His tender embrace brought back memories of my childhood when he comforted me after a fall or some aggravation caused by my three older brothers. We stood for a long while.

He pushed me away, looking into my eyes and planting a kiss on my forehead. “I only want the best for you, sweeting. Your my heart, you ken. I dinna wish to leave this world without you being in the care of a good mon. The Munro is a good mon.” He hesitated then added, “With wealth and title.”

I looked into his faded blue eyes that once shone with the brilliance of the azure sky on a sunny day. He could only see the outline of my face while standing close, now. “If you truly desire the best for me, you’ll let me marry the love of my heart, not some bloat because of his title. Titles mean naught to me, Da.” Tears streamed from my eyes, wetting my cheeks. I pulled away from his grasp, swiping at the wetness with a smock sleeve.

“The Munro is a good mon and a fierce warrior. ’Tis nae better for a husband. He’ll be here on the morrow. We’ll have a feast to celebrate your marriage.”

“He’s old. I’m only eighteen summers. I shan’t attend.” Sometimes the stubbornness of my nature overtook good sense. I knew not to speak to my father in such a manner. He also possessed an immovable streak, and his word overruled my desires.

“He’s no’ old, Aine. A few years your senior, but no’ old by any means. When he’s my age, then he’ll be old.” I continued to sniff, wetting the front of his léine. All right, Aine. If that’s the way this game is to be played. You’ll be watched until after the celebration and the Munro departs.” The words spewed from Da’s mouth. A sinister, dark shadow cloaked his face. Muscles twitched in his jaws and his hands clenched in tight fists. I stepped back.

He abruptly turned and made his way up the stone steps to the upper story bed chambers, feeling the wall for security. When his foot struck the arisaid I dropped on the stair, he reached down, seized the garment and flung it with a vehemence I rarely witnessed from him, and continued up the staircase. The large dog followed at his heels. Not knowing what to do, I grabbed the arisaid, wrapped it closely around my shoulders, pulled the hood over my head, then ran toward the door of the great hall. Ellic waited in the garden. I wanted to be near him, feel his embrace, and listen to the sweet words he would whisper in my ear.

AHighlandEmerald_Huge

Buy Links:

Universal Book Link

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IBooks:

Kobo:

avatarbrenda_1

Author Brenda B. Taylor

Author Bio:

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

Author Contact Information:

Historical Heartbeats
Book Bub Author Page
Amazon Author’s Page
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads
Tumblr
Google +

Posted in A Highland Emerald, Book Spotlight, Giveaway, historical heartbeats, Inspirational Romance, Scottish historical romance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ACFW October New Releases

October 2018 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

A Christmas to Remember by Julie Arduini, Valerie Comer, Janet W. Ferguson, Kimberly Rose Johnson, Deb Kastner, Elizabeth Maddrey, Lindi Peterson, and Ginger Solomon — Eight authors from the popular blog Inspy Romance each share a Christmas-themed novella to put you in the mood for the season. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Their Family Legacy by Lorraine Beatty — Annie’s inheritance will provide a home for her twins and all she had to do is keep a man paying for his mistake forever. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Return by Marianne Evans — A prodigal who never wanted to return home must repair his family farm and rush back to the big city before an old love convinces him to stay. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

A Harvest of Blessings by June Foster — When Nadia accidentally sits on a stranger’s lap in the graveyard where her late husband is buried, she’s horrified to learn the good-looking guy with salt and pepper hair is her new boss. Jared is intrigued by this beautiful woman who puts God first in her life, but his daughter isn’t ready for him to move on after his wife’s death. As Nadia and Jared try to cultivate a relationship, will they reap a Harvest of Blessings, or a season of drought? (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romance [Winged Publication])

A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson — Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan’s great-grandmother was a guest at banker Howard Dawkins’ palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie’s great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . . (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Reason to Breathe by Deborah Raney — At twenty-nine, Phylicia Chandler put her life on hold to care for her dying mother with her sisters, Joanna and Britt. Now Mom is gone and their father has run off with a woman young enough to be their sister. Phylicia feels stuck–until her father’s protégé, Quinn Mitchell, presents her and her two sisters with an intriguing business opportunity to purchase a trio of cottages just outside of Langhorne, Missouri. But Phylicia is skeptical. Quinn soon finds himself falling hard for Phylicia. But how can he pursue this beautiful, talented woman twelve years his junior when she’s still reeling over her father’s hasty engagement to a younger woman? Quinn is determined to give Phylicia her happily-ever-after. But first, he must help her come to terms with her discovery of long-held family secrets and persuade her that true love can transcend their differences. (Contemporary Romance from Gilead Publishing)

General/Women’s Fiction

An Amish Homecoming by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller , Shelley Shepard Gray, and Beth Wiseman — A collection of four new Amish stories of coming home. (General from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti — These no-longer-newlyweds want out of this road trip–and their marriage. Too bad they can’t find the off-ramp. (General Contemporary from Gilead Publishing)

Historical:

When the Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma — In 1943 Poland, the Nazis have forced Natia and Teodor from their peaceful farm to the harsh confines of a labor camp. When the couple is separated, Natia risks everything to send him messages through song as she passes Teodor’s dormitory. The stakes get higher when Natia finds a Jewish orphan on the doorstep where she works. She is determined to protect the boy and raise him as the child she and her husband were unable to bear—but if her German captors discover how much she’s hiding, both she and Teodor may pay the ultimate price. (Historical from Gilead Publishing)

Historical Romance:

This Courageous Journey by Misty M. Beller — When Noelle Grant sets off to visit her brother in the Canadian Rockies, the prospect of making a name for herself as a news correspondent finally seems within reach. But when the dangers become more than she bargained for, she finds herself—and the mountain man she’s come to love—in a situation more hazardous than any story her imagination could conjure. (Historical Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy — Union army officer Cameron Scott is used to being obeyed, but nothing about this journey to Lake Tahoe has gone as expected. He’s come to Lake Tahoe to fetch his daughter and nephew, and seek revenge on the people who killed his brother. Instead he finds himself trapped by a blizzard with two children who are terrified of him and stubborn but beautiful Gwen Harkness, who he worries may be trying to keep the children. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall — As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette Everstone meets someone she can’t help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears of “what if” at bay? (Historical Romance from Whitaker House)

The Christmas Heirloom by Kristi Ann Hunter, Sarah Loudin Thomas, Becky Wade, and Karen Witemeyer — A family heirloom brings true love to its bearers through the generations as it is handed down from mother to daughter. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

A Heart for Freedom by Janet Grunst — Life was better than she dreamed, now the conflict between the British and the colonists threatened the loss of everything dear, even her husband. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Romancing the Bride by Melissa Jagears — Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another. Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes—without laughing in her face? (Historical Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear — Thomas Bledsoe and Kate Gruener are traveling the Wilderness Road when conflicts between natives and settlers reach a peak that will require each of them to tap into a well of courage. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Mist O’er the Voyageur by Naomi Musch — Desperate to flee a cruel suitor, Metis woman Brigitte Marchal flees into the wilderness to find her long-lost, fur-trader father, but who will save her from the dangers of being a woman among a voyageurs’ brigade? (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Romantic Suspense:

Five Years In Yemen by Luana Ehrlich — When the President issues a memorandum to bring home a military scientist who went missing in Iraq, CIA operative Titus Ray has been given the assignment. However, when the mission takes an unexpected turn after his contact is murdered in Riyadh, Titus is forced to make changes in the mission’s protocols, changes that endanger his operational team and have lasting consequences for his future. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon — A woman who owns a fair trade shop and a police detective find themselves plunged into international intrigue—and danger—when people connected with her shop begin dying. (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Burden of Proof by DiAnn Mills — A hostage negotiator is thrust into danger and betrayal when a frazzled young woman shoves a crying baby into her arms, then disappears. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

Supernatural Thriller:

Surrounded by Darkness by Rachel Dylan — When attorney Olivia Murray opens a legal clinic for victims of domestic violence in Windy Ridge, she knows she will face legal and spiritual opposition. The New Age presence has grown stronger as alliances form between groups hoping to spread their destructive way of life and gain a stronghold in the community. While the forces of evil target Olivia’s new clinic, her legal partner Grant Baxter, and her relationships, she refuses to let them stop her quest for justice. Will Olivia’s and Grant’s faith be strong enough—in God and each other—to prevail in the battle that threatens to bring darkness to the entire town? (Supernatural Thriller, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Speculative:

A Dance of Shadows by Erica Marie Hogan — Ten days have passed since Sundragon blood was shed for a sacrifice by Raphaela Kael. Ten days since Lathan and Maxx Jandry fled the city in search of Princess Damari Kael and their niece, Noelle. Brecken Jandry, Brae’s loyal husband, remains a tortured prisoner in the Kael dungeons and no one in Sunkai is safe from Roderick and Raphaela’s wrath. Damari Kael flees Sunkai with little Noelle Jandry, determined to deliver the child to the safety of the Shadow Lands, even as her own power emerges within her. The Eventide Sisters embark on a mission to join the Winter Queen. Across the land, Clea Jandry arrives in her birthplace of Molderëin where she is met with a savagery she thought long dead. Afra Malaki seeks the Creator’s will and the Queen of the Woodlands prepares for battle. In the peaceful city of Quintaria, the Winter Queen grieves. But the shadows are coming for her. They carry a message for Adlae Sundragon, and they will not rest until all is revealed. (Fantasy from Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.)

Body By Blood by Dr. Patrick Johnston — In the not-too-distant future, where cloned bodies are marketable commodities among the super-rich, leaving graveyards of trampled dehumanized classes in science’s wake, the richest man in the world who pioneered the breakthrough technologies learns the meaning of true love from a disabled granddaughter. (Speculative Action Adventure from Ambassador International)

Mercury Rising by Tim and Gail Sattler — Four ordinary people are thrown into an extraordinary situation when they are thrown into a diabolical plot hidden under the guise of global warming. (Contemporary Fantasy from Mantle Rock Publishing)

The Awakened by Richard Spillman — If Lazarus didn’t die a second time what would he be up to today? (Speculative from Mountain Brook Ink)

 

 

Posted in ACFW New Releases, Christian, historical heartbeats, Inspirational Romance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Plans for The Wades of Crawford County Series

Headwaters of Rio Grande, CO.jpg

My husband and I are planning a trip to Missouri, the setting for the Wades of Crawford County novels. We hope to see beautiful autumn foliage and visit the homeland of my Missouri ancestors. Plans for adding to the Wades series are on the drawing board. The newest book in the series, Heaven Must Wait Wait, Part II, continues Ralph and Leann’s story about their very rocky road to engagement and marriage.

Times are difficult in Missouri after the Civil War. Families struggle to keep their property from creditors and outlaws. The desire of Ralph Wade’s heart is to marry the girl of his dreams, beautiful Leann Clark, but many obstacles stand in their way. Ralph finds love is not enough to persuade Leann’s father to give his permission for their marriage. John Clark wishes more than love for his daughter. He wants her husband to provided a good living with a secure future. Ralph is much too hot-tempered and unreliable in John’s eyes. Leann desires the dashing Ralph and defies her father to be with him. She believes her love is strong enough to see them through the hard times. Through adverse circumstances, the young couple struggle to keep the fires of their love and faith burning.

HeavenMustWaitpartII_Small

 Purchase

Excerpt:

Leann felt she couldn’t be happier. Her parents seemed to have forgiven Ralph for the altercation he had with Wesley Snipes over a saloon girl and were making friendly overtures toward him. She knew Pa expected both she and Ralph to act responsibly, and she determined not to break his trust. Her heart sang as they walked to the oak tree where Maude waited patiently.

Ralph put his hat on, then untied his mare. “I love you, Leann. I’ll see you next week.”

“I love you. I can hardly wait ’til next Tuesday.” She looked toward the house, then stood on her tiptoes and lightly kissed his lips.”

He quickly glanced toward the house, bent down and planted a firmer kiss on her mouth, then mounted Maude. Without saying anything more, he turned his horse toward home. She stood watching until he rode out of sight. With a heart bursting of love for Ralph, Leann made her way back to the house.

 ***

The next book planned in the Wades of Crawford County series is a novel entitled, Morning of Joy. The story takes a surprise turn for the Ralph Wade family, and is the last Leann Frances Clark Wade story.

***

The last book in the series is about Sonny Wade who is Ralph’s brother, Civil War veteran, and in love with Leann. The novella entitled, Coming Home, tells the story of Sonny’s return after several years. He brings a surprise with him, altering the lives of the Ralph Wade family.

Posted in American Historical Romance, American West, Book Spotlight, Brenda B. Taylor, Clean Reads, historical heartbeats, Historical Romance, Inspirational Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Newgrange

My husband and I toured Ireland last year. One impressive site we visited was the ancient passage tomb of Newgrange in the Boyne River Valley.*

IMG_8248

Newgrange is a 5,200 year old passage tomb located in the Boyne Valley of Ireland

Newgrange was built by Stone Age farmers. The mound is 85 meters (93 yards) in diameter and 13.5 meters (15 yards) high, an area of about 1 acre.

A passage measuring 19 meters (21 yards) leads into a chamber with 3 alcoves. The passage and chamber are aligned with the rising sun at the Winter Solstice.

IMG_8257

Newgrange is surrounded by 97 large stones called kerbstones some of which are engraved with megalithic art; the most striking is the entrance stone.

IMG_8275

Newgrange is a Stone Age (Neolithic) monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, it is the jewel in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East. Newgrange was constructed about 5,200 years ago (3,200 B.C.) which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza. Newgrange is a large circular mound 85 meters (93 yards) in diameter and 13.5 meters (15 yards) high with a 19 meter (21 yard) stone passageway and chambers inside. The mound is ringed by 97 large kerbstones, some of which are engraved with symbols called megalithic art.

IMG_8272

Newgrange was built by a farming community that prospered on the rich lands of the Boyne Valley. Knowth and Dowthare similar mounds that together with Newgrange have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

IMG_8273

Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however Newgrange is now recognized to be much more than a passage tomb. Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest.

IMG_8294

Newgrange is a large kidney shaped mound covering an area of over one acre, retained at the base by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 19 meter long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. The amount of time and labor invested in construction of Newgrange suggests a well-organized society with specialised groups responsible for different aspects of construction.

IMG_8269

Newgrange is part of a complex of monuments built along a bend of the River Boyne known collectively as Brú na Bóinne. The other two principal monuments are Knowth (the largest) and Dowth, but throughout the area there are as many as 35 smaller mounds.

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6XAFJ_FdOA

*The information in this article was taken from www.newgrange.com. The photographs were taken by Brenda B. Taylor.

Posted in Historical, historical heartbeats, International, Ireland, Newgrange | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment