Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy Birthday, Rabby Burns

Welcome to my stop on the Burns Night Blog Hop. You might have guessed that I'm a total Scotophile, but did you know I have a rare painted metal Victorian-era statuette of Robert Burns in my living room? Well, I do. (And he looks just like the lad in the picture at right).

My debut novel is The Queen of Swords, a paranormal tale of undying love. It will be published on March 22 by Vamptasy in Kindle and soft-cover formats (you can buy it on Amazon). The book, set in the present day but with historical references and flashbacks, tells the story of a bookish white witch who returns every hundred years to reunite with her soul mate--a Scottish nobleman turned Celtic vampire by a dark wizard's curse. As an avid fan of Scottish romances, I was sure to include a long-haired hero with a sexy brogue who takes pride in his national heritage and costume. There's even a reference to Robert Burns (see the excerpt below)!

Just for giggles, here's my Rabby Burns.
Follow the links at the bottom of this post to meet the other great authors of Scottish romance on the tour and be sure to enter the Rafflecoptor Giveaway. First prize is your own Burns Night Supper prepared by this man, complete with a recitation of Rabby Burns' Address to a Haggis (bagpiper available for an additional fee).

Only joking. The real prizes are a $50 and five $10 Amazon gift cards, so be sure to enter.   

So, here's the cover of my book and that wee excerpt I promised. Stirling Castle, a hot guy in a kilt, single-malt whisky, mentions of Sir William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, and a recitation of Rabby Burns, to boot. What more can you ask for on Burns Night?

It was now the next day and Graham was standing at the perimeter wall of Stirling Castle, gazing out at what the tour guide had described as “one of the finest views in Scotland.” The Asian-American beside him evidently disagreed. Sweeping his arm dismissively across the landscape, the blovious yank said, “If you ask me, it’s highly overrated. I’ve seen way better back in L.A.”
With a disgruntled snort, Graham returned his eyes to the panoramic view: the slate rooftops and green fields of Stirling, the rock bridge where William Wallace divided and conquered the invading English army, the boggy carse where Robert the Bruce finally broke the chains of English bondage, the flat bank of hills fortifying Fife, and, finally, the first purple hills of the Highlands.
Here's the referenced view from Stirling Castle.
Clouds streaked the blue-gray sky. The day was dry, though a wee bit too breezy to qualify as perfect. Still, it was excellent weather for sightseeing, a blessing given how it would be his only chance to show her around. After the tour, she’d gone to browse for souvenirs while he ducked into the whisky shop, a snug hole-in-the-wall whose tartan-festooned shelves offered an excellent selection of single malts. He’d sampled several before finally making his choice: Wallace Whisky Liqueur, a quirky blend of single malt, Scottish berries, and French herbs. He enjoyed a dram now and again when he felt nostalgic and it was hard to come by south of the border.
Taste buds still humming, he waited at the wall where they’d agreed to rendezvous. He’d sported his kilt at her request and a cold wind now whipped around his bollocks. He moved his free hand around back to anchor the pleats. One good gust and those bloody yanks would get a view they’d not soon forget.
A grin sprouted when he saw Cat coming toward him across the courtyard. She was a vision even in her dungarees and bulky sweater. The trousers hugged her arse in a way that made it challenging to keep his mind on history. She carried a bag. What had she purchased? Let it not be another of those silly books with a half-naked Scot on the cover.
“What have ye got there?” he asked.
“A book.”
He fought the urge to roll his eyes. “Oh, aye? What kind?”
“A novelized biography. Of Robert the Bruce. By someone named Nigel Tranter.”
He let the grin bloom. Tranter’s biography of Bruce was par excellence. As she came alongside, he put his arm around her shoulder and turned toward the view. “Do ye see over yon—the first hill with all the trees? That’s called Abbey Craig. And the tower rising out of the crest is the Wallace Monument.”
“I had no idea all this meant so much to you.” She nestled against him.
“Aye, well. It does.”
As he bent to kiss her hair, a chilly gust lifted the back of his kilt, opening the pleats like a fan. The hand gripping the bagged bottle shot around just in time to deprive any onlookers of an unadvertised attraction. Though it would answer the age-old question about his native costume.
Cat, with a smile as bright as the sun, kissed his shoulder.
“My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer,
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.”
Her unexpected recitation of Robert Burns both surprised and delighted him. Pulling her closer, he nuzzled her hair. “My heart’s wherever you are, lass. And always will be.”

Here's the book trailer for The Queen of Swords:

Now, here are the links for the rest of the tour. Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway before you stagger off to the next stop.

1.Love, Lust and Lipstick Stains9.Inner Goddess17.Nina Mason
2.Samantha Holt10.Hunter S. Jones18.Kate Robbins
3.A Dirty Book Affair11.Christina Phillips19.Scenes from a Chaotic Mind
4.Anne Conley12.Andrea Bellmont20.Sarah Bella
5.Em Taylor13.Isobelle Cate21.Joanne Wadsworth
6.Kirsten S. Blacketer14.Storm Chase22.Anne Stenhouse
7.Willa Blair15.Ceci Giltenan23.BJ Scott
8.Nicole Hurley- Moore16.Tarah Scott

And here's the Rafflecopter thingeo for a shot at those fabulous Amazon gift cards so you can buy a bunch of great Scottish romances, including mine when it comes out on March 22!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for taking part in the hop, Nina!

  2. I think I could go without the Haggis LOL


  3. You had me at “My heart’s wherever you are, lass. And always will be.” I'm yours! LOL I just melted into jelly - hee hee.

  4. Congrats on your upcoming release (March 22nd). Wouldn't it be sweet to be called a lass again? LOL.

  5. Congrats on the novel. I went to Uni in Stirling. There's an awesome pub at the foot of the castle :-)

  6. Thanks for being apart of this wonderful night!

  7. Thanks for stopping by, you guys. Wish I could have gone to a real Burns Supper tonight, but alas, I'll have to settle for reading a Scottish Romance.LOL.

  8. Wow, Nina, I really, really enjoyed the excerpt to Queen of Swords. In fact, I had to go get my fan to cool my face. :-) It is glad I am to be introduced to you on this blog tour. Paranormal or not, contemporary or historical, I love to read just about anything about Scots. Thanks so much for this post!

  9. If that wee excerpt raised your temperature, Janice, wait until you read the rest. Your post made better a pretty good day. Thanks so much and hope you buy and love The Queen of Swords.


Writing smexy paranormals with a Celtic twist. Blogging about good books.