Archive for March 2nd, 2009


He risked everything to love her…

Lady Gelis MacKenzie, one of the most desirable heiresses in the Highlands, yearns for love. When a vision shows her a darkly seductive man, she knows she’s seen her future betrothed. But when she finally meets the handsome stranger, she finds a man who has endured more than any warrior can bear. She must use all her wiles to convince him that love is worth any challenge.

With his dashing good looks and smoldering eyes, Ronan MacRuari, known as the Raven, is every woman’s dream. Yet with his late wife newly buried and the MacRuari curse haunting him, he weds only to satisfy his clan. Refusing to believe in curses, Gelis trusts the magic of her second sight. As she kisses away the Raven’s doubts, she unleashes a torrent of desire. Yet Ronan knows that loving Gelis places her in mortal danger. Soon he’ll fight dangerous forces to protect her as only a Highlander can — with his whole heart, his honor, and his life….

Hello RRAH’ers!

It’s so nice to be here again. Thanks so much, Fatin, for inviting me to blog about my newest release, Seducing A Scottish Bride.

This book’s heroine, Gelis MacKenzie, has inherited her mother’s gift of second sight and that’s the topic I originally meant to blog about today. The sight, Celtic precognition, or whatever you wish to call it, was a very real part of medieval Scotland and has been through all the ages. Even today it’s rare to find a Highland Scot who doesn’t believe in its existence. My own grandmother had it, I have several Highland friends who either are so blessed themselves or know someone who is.

So I was going to list some interesting tidbits about Highland second sight as the basis of my blog. But then I met a neighbor when walking my little dog the other day and she commented that she rarely sees me. She went on to say that she often notices my office light burning well into the small hours and, since she assumes I am frequently alone, working, she asked if ‘my characters become my friends?’

I blinked. Then I told her that, well, gee, they aren’t real. But her question stayed with me. And as I walked on, I realized that – in a way – my characters are real to me. I think that is a very good thing, too, because if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be real to readers. They’d simply be ink on the page. Flat as paper cutout dolls.

In previous blogs here, I’ve mentioned how important atmosphere is to me. If a book doesn’t have a strong sense of place, I have no interest in reading it. But a vivid setting and being able to transport readers into the story world is just one element in the fairy dust mix that authors use to create an engaging story.

Sure, I want readers to feel as if they really are in medieval Scotland when they slip into the pages of my books. But I also want them to care about my characters. That can only happen if the characters seem real. Breathing life into them is incredibly important.

Some characters make it easy for an author to do that. They waltz onto the page full-bodied and vibrant, seducing the author from the get-go. They burst with life, energize your writing, and make the long hours at the keyboard an absolute pleasure. Often they first appear as secondaries in other books and you just know you must write their story.

These characters invade your dreams, occupy your mind during waking hours when you should be thinking of something else, and they are very adept at stealing scenes in books that aren’t their own.

They can be absolutely irresistible.

Gelis MacKenzie, heroine of Seducing A Scottish Bride, is such a character. She’s definitely my strongest heroine so far and she was such fun to write. She’s bright, courageous, and passionate. What I really loved about her was her determination to chase her dreams.

She does so against formidable odds. She has a father who does his best to avoid seeing her wed. And when an old family debt demands she does marry, her betrothed is the most accursed man in the Highlands. Her new home is thought to be a blighted place. Worst of all, her new husband is bent on keeping his distance from her. He knows that letting her into his heart will mean her doom.

But Gelis isn’t easily dissuaded. She knows what she wants and she sets out to get it, using all her wit and wiles to make her dreams come true.

Obviously, she succeeds. Seducing A Scottish Bride wouldn’t be a romance without a happy ending. But the road to her happiness was fun, exciting, and a real adventure to write. It was a hard book to let go because I so enjoyed spending time with these extra-special characters.

Now the book is out there and you can visit Glen Dare with Gelis and look on as she does her best to win her Raven’s heart. I hope you’ll enjoy their journey.

My question to you is what dream would you chase if you were a romance heroine and knew the writer’s pen would guarantee your happy ending? Better yet, since I really love to see women put back their shoulders, take a deep breath, and tap into the inner strength I believe we all have in us, have you ever overcome difficult obstacles to make your own dreams come true?

I’ll share one of things I’ve done that cost me much courage. It was learning to drive left so that I could rent a car on my trips to Scotland and drive myself to the places I most wanted to see. Having once almost been killed in a head-on collision many years ago, I am not overly fond of driving. Driving left really scared me! But I love Scotland passionately as everyone knows and really, really wanted to be independent on my trips there.

There was only one way to get to the remote and wild corners of Scotland that I so love exploring. It was to slide behind the wheel of a car and drive. No matter that the wheel –for me- was on the passenger side. Nor that driving out of the rental car parking area at the airport meant repeating “stay left, stay left” like a mantra.

I did it and I’ve been doing it for years. Now driving left in Scotland is a breeze for me. But that first time was, well, let’s just say my palms were slick and my knees trembling.

And it was sooo worth it.

The blue car in the photo is one that was mine in recent years. The road sign warns of one of Scotland’s major traffic obstacles: sheep on the road!


The second photo proves the need for such warnings. And perhaps also demonstrates the kind of empty – and really amazing – landscapes that await those willing to dare to drive left. These are the places I love best in Scotland. The kind of places that often become settings in my books. Exploring these places myself helps me take you there in the pages of my stories.


So what about you? Have you been a bold dream-chaser like Gelis? Have you, like me, pushed yourself to do something that scared you? And if so, was it worth it?

And if you haven’t, what dream would you chase if you could?

I’m giving away three signed copies of Seducing A Scottish Bride. Good luck to those who comment.

To see some stunning photos I’ve taken in Scotland – and see at glance why it was so worth pushing myself to drive left – visit either of my websites: welfonder@msn.com or www.alliemackay.com

Thanks again, Fatin, for having me back. To everyone else … Alba gu brath! (Scotland forever)

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