Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014


ICE MAIDEN, the third book in my series The Chronicles of Alcinia, releases on Christmas Day!

For more about this book and about writing a series, plus a chance to win a copy of the first book of the series, please visit The Romance Room Blog at

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Release: Just in Time for a Highland Christmas -- Read Prologue

I'm very excited to announce the release of my new holiday novella from the Highland Gardens series, Just in Time for a Highland Christmas...

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas
A Highland Gardens Novella
Book #2.5

e-Book available from Amazon
for an introductory 99 pennies
until December 1st.

Can a determined brownie craft a perfect match in time for Christmas?

When the Chief of Clan MacLachlan travels to the stronghold of his feuding neighbors to fetch his betrothed, she is gone. A year later, she is still missing. Making life more vexing, a band of reivers are stealing clan cattle, leaving behind destruction. Archibald MacLachlan determines to capture them and administer harsh punishment.

Though once in love with the man, Isobell Lamont refuses to wed her clan's enemy. After running away, she joins the band of reivers set on revenge.

Can Archibald forgive the raven-haired beauty? Will a journey through time bring them together for a Highland Christmas?

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas, a Scottish historical time travel romance, is 101 pages of Highlanders, scheming faeries, a mischievous brownie, magic, adventure, and romance set in 16th century Scotland and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Read the prologue... 

Fir-wood, Strathlachlan, Scotland, 1511

They weren’t alone on the land. Branches rustled and cracked, the sound amplified by moist Highland air. Archibald signaled the men to silence.

A lone rider broke from an adjacent clump of trees, glanced around, then galloped through the amber grass, leaning low against the stallion's black neck. The slight figure looked over a shoulder once before darting into the wood at the far edge of the meadow and disappearing through autumnal foliage.

Archibald released a loud hiss. The path the fool had taken at risk to both horse and rider was nothing more than a narrow game trail, a dangerous track to approach at such speed.

“Ach, that ragged lad rides well,” the redheaded Duncan exclaimed.

Archibald eased back in the saddle and threw his cousin a sideways glance. "He rides a fine piece of horseflesh, I grant you that. He is likely one of the Campbell's rash, young grandsons."

“Without guards, and on MacLachlan land? Nae Campbell would dress in such tatters.”

Duncan's aghast expression brought a smile along with a forgotten memory to Archibald. As green lads, he and his twin brother Patrick had dressed in servants’ castoff garments and snuck away from Castle Lachlan for a jaunt in the Fir-wood. They later received a memorable scalping when Da caught them roaming about without escort.

“Must be a Campbell lad unaware of the border to our land. I am sure he will feel his father's disfavor across his backside before this day is through. That is, if he avoids breaking his neck first.”

“Aye. For a fact, Chief.” Duncan laughed. A hearty sound that never failed to cheer Archibald.

Poor lad. Duncan braved his temper on this frustrating journey. He'd owe the man a boon upon their return to Castle Lachlan after they fetched Archibald’s bride.

“Let us be on our way, I want my lady ensconced within our keep before winter sets in.”

He reined his horse to the left toward the more traveled trail through the Fir-wood, eager to reach Toward Keep, the stronghold of the Lamonts. Duncan rode at his side as captain while the rest of the Lèine-chneas, his hand chosen guard, followed a short distance behind.

The image of laughing violet eyes urged Archibald to a faster pace. He couldn't wait to hold the raven-haired Isobell in his arms again, inhale her intoxicating scent, caress her ivory skin, and kiss her pouty lips.

* * *

The sun set on the horizon. Crimson colors faded to mauve, a beautiful end to the day after its wet and trying start. Isobell Lamont spurred her horse to greater speed. She would escape the dictates of her overbearing father, even if she might die in so doing.

Her aunt in Glasgow would surely hide her, if Isobell avoided capture. Before she reached the burgh, however, she must cross the land of her unwanted MacLachlan betrothed, the hated Campbells, and other clans she didn't ken. She reveled in the knowledge her journey might be fraught with peril.

She'd always dreamt of doing something truly adventurous.

The doing is never as grand as the dream. With a shake of the head, she ignored the nagging voice admonishing her and rode into the wind, the scent of fir in the air and an invigorating chill on her cheeks.

After risking discovery by crossing yet another open meadow, she eased the reins and sought the wood. Thank the good Lord the weather had cleared. She coaxed Dealanach Dubh into the shelter of a thick cluster of firs and slid from the stallion's massive back.

“Good lad,” she crooned as she patted his sweaty flank, a horsy odor prickling her nose.

Isobell's stomach rumbled. Should have raided the larder before running off in a rage. Dealanach Dubh could graze on the sparse grasses, but what could she eat? Would she never learn to think before reacting to Da in anger?

She'd needed to escape, though, before Archibald MacLachlan arrived to fetch her. She wouldn't marry her clan’s enemy even if she once thought herself in love with the man. It didn’t matter that his once-beloved silver eyes, cleft chin, and chestnut hair still haunted her dreams, or that the thought of his warrior’s body made her feel achy. She squeezed her eyes tight, refusing to shed a tear over a man who wasn’t what she once believed him to be. Grrrr. And Da intended to force her hand. He’d signed the betrothal agreement with the blessing of the king, giving her no choice but to run away. What had changed Da’s mind?

She jerked her eyes open and stared off into the wood. For the past year, he’d raged about the evils perpetrated by Archibald and his clan. She couldn’t wed such a despicable man even if Da changed his mind and thought the match a good one. The men's plans would come to naught. She leaned against a large tree and smiled. Soon she would be in Glasgow, away from their schemes.

Wrapped within the false security of the dense trees, men's voices startled her. Everything within stilled. What have I stumbled upon?

After tying Dealanach Dubh to a branch, she crept closer to the voices, taking care to stay well hidden in the trees. In a wee clearing, a group of ratty men sat around a fire deep in discussion. She worried her bottom lip. Had she inadvertently stumbled into grave danger?

A sudden change in wind direction blew acrid wood smoke into her face. She sniffled, wrinkled her nose, and when she suppressed a sneeze, sagged against a tree in relief.

Gloaming was upon them, and Isobell strained to better see the men. Reprobates all. She started to scoot away— Wait. She recognized a few of them. Lamont warriors who’d left the clan in disgrace and, if rumors were true, taken up with Da’s banished henchman Malcolm Maclay. The warriors must have joined this band of ruffians after Maclay died during a fight with one of Archibald’s men.

She leaned forward to better hear the conversation. Perhaps glean something of import.

Most of their words were spoken in muttered whispers. With a frown, she edged closer, but then had second thoughts. Now would be a good time to leave before they learned of her presence. Too late. One man rose and paced toward her hiding place. Isobell fingered the dirk in her belt, ready to flee, but when he strode back to his cohorts, she held position.

“If we raid the MacLachlan encampment on the northeast border, we can make an escape across the disputed land with at least five head,” the man spoke in a deep voice.

Humph. They were planning—

A large hand gripped her shoulder from behind and yanked her around. She froze, breath stuck in her throat, too shocked by the familiar face to pull free her blade.

"What have we here?"

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas available HERE.

~Dawn Marie

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Available Now: Scotland: Stunning, Strange, and Secret: A Guide to Hidden Scotland

SCOTLAND: Stunning, Strange, and Secret: A Guide to Hidden Scotland
Christy Nicholas

Length: Full
Genre: Travel Guide
Price: $9.99

Get your copy here: Tirgearr Publishing

Do you find yourself drawn to the magic of Scotland? Would you like to see places beyond the typical tourist traps? Come, join me on a journey through the mists of legend, into the hidden places of mystery. Immerse yourself in the legends and myths, the history that has made this island precious in the hearts and minds of millions. Along with the tales and history, there is practical information on planning your trip, budgeting your costs, and finding the best places to while away the magical hours of your holiday.

History and Myth
Superstitions and Beliefs
Gods and Saints
Highland Hospitality
Ceilidhs and Flings
Stunning Shots
Haggis and Cullenskink
Plans and Mechanics
Discounts and Deals
Hidden Gems
Maps and Resources

Visit Heart of Fiction today. Leave a comment or question with your email address, and enter a chance to win a free copy of this book.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Return To Ballycashel...

Hi Miriam, and a special greeting to all lovers of Celtic romance! It's so lovely to be back at the Celtic Rose. And I'm so thrilled to announce the publication of Everlasting, Book IV of the Claddagh Series!

Everlasting is Shannon Flynn's story, and it's set once again in that tiny, wind-swept west-of-Ireland village of Ballycashel that was the setting for the first two books of the Claddagh Series. Ballycashel, and all of its residents, are very dear to my heart, and when Shannon Flynn visited my dreams one night, whispering her story to me, I could hardly refuse to write it.

Everlasting is a story of revenge and redemption, of fathers and daughters and the love that draws them together...and tears them apart.


Where does justice end and retribution begin?
She was driven by anger
When her fiancé died trying to feed his family, Shannon Flynn vowed to punish those responsible…even if it alienated her from her family, even if it put her—and them—in danger.

He returned to exact revenge
Eight years after he was forced to flee his beloved Ireland, Liam Collins returns to Ballycashel to find his family devastated and the person he holds responsible for his exile dead.

Can these two wounded spirits come together to battle a common enemy? Or will anger and pride destroy them both?


Ballycashel, Ireland, Off Galway Bay
January, 1874

“I see them! Sweet Mary be praised, they’re safe!”
Shannon Flynn gripped her mother’s hand so tight she felt the bones crack. On Ma’s other side, her sister Peggy let out a harsh sob. Little Fiona stood a few feet away, white-faced, hands pressed to her mouth in silent horror.
Icy needles of rain slashed Shannon’s face, and though they stood well away from the waves, she could still feel the sting of the sea, taste its sharp, briny tang. She blinked hard against the cloying mist. Was that really the Noreen, Da’s currach? That tiny craft bobbing over those vicious waves, helpless as a cork?
She flinched as the little fishing boat disappeared from view.
“They’ll be fine.” Nora Flynn’s voice rang out, stern and bracing even as she kept her gaze riveted on the storm-tossed sea. “Sure, yer da knows these waters better than anyone. He’s been through many a storm worse than this. He’ll be fine.” Her voice teetered on the edge of despair as wind and rain scored them with merciless claws.
He’s never had Mike with him.
The boat reappeared, teetered at the crest of a towering wave and tumbled sideways. Nora cried out once, pressed her fist to her mouth. The anguished sound echoed in Shannon’s heart. Before she could react, Nora drew a deep breath and set her shoulders. “Come ye, now. They’ll be needin’ us.” She threw a sharp gaze to her two younger daughters. “Peg, look after Fiona. Shannon, come with me.”
Hand in hand, they raced into the sea.
Shannon’s breath gushed from her lungs in painful gasps as icy water clawed up her legs and tangled in her long skirts. Had the sea ever been so vicious and cold? The waves so high? Oh, where was Da? Was he safe?
Was Mike safe?
She clung to her mother’s firm, strong hand as she slipped and almost fell on the sea-drenched shingle and sand. Thick strands of seaweed twined about her legs. Ma pulled her to a stop, her hoarse cry snatched away by the shrieking wind. Could Da and Mike triumph over the furious sea?
Sweet Mary protect them. Keep them safe. Bring them home.
Two heads, one dark and the other fair, burst from the waves, went under, surfaced again. Oh, God, was it possible? Could they really be farther out? The sea clawed greedily at them, pulling them under, down and down. Away from her. The wind tore her hair from beneath her red headscarf, and she lost sight of them for a moment. She swiped the flying strands away, staring harder through a stinging mixture of rain and fog and tears.
Dear sweet Lord, where are they?
“I see them! There’s Da!” Fiona appeared beside them, fighting to stay on her feet as a wave broke over her shoulders. She pointed a trembling finger. “Look, there’s Da!”
“Fiona, get back!” Shannon fought to make herself heard over the crashing waves and the devil’s howl of the wind.
“But I see him, Shannon! I see Da!”
Mike can’t swim! Even as icy realization swept over her, Shannon knew her father would fight to the death to save him.
To the death
She squeezed her eyes shut, fighting back the tears.
“They’ll be all right.” Peggy clasped her hand, swaying against the fierce current. “Please God, they’ll both be all right.”
Please God…
“Tom, look out!” Her mother’s scream reached above the greedy fingers of sea foam just as a mighty wave knocked Da under once again.
Please God… Please God…keep him safe. Keep them both safe.
Moments, hours, days later, Shannon stood frozen under the leaden skies. Da stumbled into the shallows and fell into Ma’s waiting arms.
Da stared into Ma’s eyes, touched her cheek. “Noreen. Ah, Noreen. The currach’s torn to pieces, so it is, but sure, we’re all right now.”
“Ye are, thank God.”
“Da?” Her own eyes wide and dry and burning with salt, Shannon searched her father’s beloved face, saw his anguish.
Fissures shot through her heart.
“Mike?” Shannon scanned the beach in desperation. The gray sea roared and frothed wildly. The broken currach lay on the strand like an exhausted shark. Rain and tears blurred her vision. “Da? Where is he? Where’s Mike?”
Her father’s dark eyes filled with sorrow. “He’s gone, love.” Tom Flynn blinked away tears. “The sea took him.”
“Gone? No!” Her heart ceased to beat. Something was strangling her. Ice held her feet frozen to the beach even as she swayed drunkenly.
“I’m sorry, a storín, so sorry, my dearest. I did everything I could.” Dimly, she saw her father release her mother, move toward her. “But I couldn’t save him for ye.”
He reached for her, his big hands open, his face etched with grief. She flung up her hands, shook her head. Denying. Denying. No. No!
Then she spun away, ran from her father to mourn alone the loss of the man she loved more than life itself.

I hope everyone enjoys reading Everlasting as much as I enjoyed writing it!

You can buy Everlasting at Barnes & Noble

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Saxon Bride - the story behind "Abigail"

As some of you may know, my sister passed away a year ago July. She was really the impetus for me finally publishing my first book, The Bruised Thistle. How that came about is a great story-the "gives you goose bumps" kind. I hope you'll check it out at my blog ( but my latest release, The Saxon Bride, is connected to her as well.

I think it was just the two of us staying at our family's cottage in Maine. It was a great visit, we were getting close again. She told me about her boyfriend and his "hanger on" girlfriend that was making the relationship really hard. His name is irrelevant but her name was Abigail. Needless to say, my sister had some pretty strong words for Abigail.

I had been kicking around the idea of a story about a forced marriage between a Saxon and a Norman where he leaves her untouched only to return years later, meet her but not recognize her, and try to seduce her. I had already come up with my favorite line - "You know me not!" (little play on words there)

The idea of someone nasty like Abigail as a secondary character made the whole story come together.
I like to think Carol, my sister, would appreciate my characterization of the woman.

Here's an excerpt from The Saxon Bride when Rowena, the heroine, first meets the woman. 

"My lady!" Joan's voice preceded her flinging open Rowena's bedchamber door. "My lady!"

"What is amiss?" Rowena held her breath as she stepped toward her. "You look as if you've seen a ghost!"

On a whisper, Joan found no additional information much to Rowena's irritation. "My lady!" Shaking her head in disbelief, she stepped out of the door just as a tall woman would have pushed her aside. 

"So you're the wife my lover is saddled with."

Rowena was unable to exhale the gasp that had been sucked into her belly. Her eyes bulged as she tried to process what the woman had said. She couldn't possibly have heard her right. Like a tempest, the woman stormed into Rowena's private chamber as if she'd every right to be there. Her disdainful gaze did not miss a thing as she looked around the room. "I'm a little surprised he has stayed away from me this long."

Joan's mouth gaped open in disbelief as she looked from the regal woman with the black hair and green eyes and back to Rowena. The petrified look on her servant's face finally broke the spell.

"And who are you, pray tell?" Rowena stood a little taller as she addressed the woman who seemed to tower over her. The woman blinked as if discerning whether Rowena truly had the audacity to speak directly to her.

"No. Better you tell me." She paused, no doubt for effect, assessing Rowena from head to toe, finally lifting the corner of her lip and raising one eyebrow. "Are you 'the wife'?"

I think I succeeded in making Abigail pretty unlikable and obnoxious. What do you think?

Available at The Saxon Bride

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Dark Rose, by Cynthia Owens

Hello, Miriam, and all lovers of Celtic Romance! It’s so great to be back at the Celtic Rose on the eve of the summer solstice. And I’m very happy to announce the release this month of My Dark Rose, Book III of my Wild Geese Series and Dary Greely’s story.

If you’ve read the first two books of the series, Deceptive Hearts (Shane’s story) and Keeper of the Light (Cathal’s story), you might remember Dary. He’s the easy-going member of the group. The one who smoothes things over between twins Kieran and Cathal Donnelly. The solid friend who sat quietly with Shane MacDermott after the loss of his wife. He’s a likeable guy, and he’s everyone’s friend.

He’s also the lucky one. Everyone says so. He alone among his siblings survived the coffin ship fleeing famished Ireland. His father made money in construction and he was able to go to college. He returned from the War virtually unscathed.

But it’s not until Róisín Donavan comes into his life that he really believes it. She’s an Irish girl who lives in a Five Points tenement room. She dreams of a future as a great diva and sings comeallyes (Irish songs) at Paddy Ryan's Pub, the preferred pub of the Wild Geese. But her stubborn Irish pride won't allow her to abandon her family, even if it means sacrificing everything for them.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Sally Malone, Black ‘47
On the Atlantic Ocean
They slid into the water with scarcely a sound.
Dary Greely clung to his father’s hand, watching as the bodies, clad in little more than rags, were tossed over the side of the ship. The children first: his little brother and two sisters. Then Mrs. Morrissey, his new friend Declan’s ma. Shane MacDermott’s da, and the twins’ ma and their granny.
His ma’s thin fingers bit into his shoulder. She was sobbing into a threadbare handkerchief, her eyes red and swollen from crying. He looked up at her, then at Da. A shudder ran through him that had nothing to do with the cold wind blowing in from the sea.
Da’s eyes were dead. Their bright green was dimmed with sorrow. His dark-red hair blew across his face, but he made no move to shove it back with his big, callused workman’s hand. He stared out to sea, a muscle in his jaw jerking rhythmically.
Dary swallowed hard, glancing around him. He saw Shane, clutching his wee brother’s hand, one arm about his ma’s shoulders as she tried to soothe the fussy gossoon in her arms. Kieran and Cathal Donnelly stood close together, drawing silent comfort from each other as tears ran down their da’s face. Declan, self-controlled as always, stared into the water, his face full of sorrow, tears in his eyes that he refused to shed.
When the last victim of the ship’s fever sank to the bottom of the sea, the steerage passengers turned away, their muffled sobs and soft keening carried away on the rising wind. They’d left Ireland for a better life in America, but would any of them survive to see that land of promise?
As they turned to go, his father suddenly knelt before him, clutching Dary’s shoulders and staring into his eyes. “Ye are the last one, Dary.” His deep voice shook with the intensity of his grief. “The last o’ the Greelys. ’Tis ye will live on to tell the stories o’ us all. Ye’re the lucky lad, Dary, so ye are. Always remember that.”
The words rang bitter in Darys ears. The urge to vomit clutched at his throat with ruthless fingers. But he managed a nod. “Aye, Da. I’ll always remember, I promise. I’m the lucky one.”
At that moment, Dary made a fierce, silent vow to himself. He would survive to see America. He would go to school in America, make something of himself, just as Da had told him he could. He’d learn to read and write and do sums. He’d make his parents proud.
He was the lucky one.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Fresh from my friend Ashley York’s post last week at her blog,, I’m going to continue with my own musings about My Writing Process.

What am I working on now?  Well, I’m smack dab in the middle of Book II of my Eagle Trilogy with “The Eagle’s Lady.”  Set in 800’s A.D. Ireland and Norway, it’s the story of Maeve and Ari.  Son of an impoverished, dying chieftain, Ari raids for booty to support his home.  He’s a raider, a heathen, a murderer. It is forbidden for any Christian woman to love him.  In Book II, Maeve fears she may have done just that.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?  I will let one of my readers speak for me. “I like your books. Fun! Reminds me of the books that I sought in my twenties. I outgrew those books but missed them. I tried to read them again but they were too poorly written for me to enjoy. You have solved that problem...your writing makes the stories more adult and therefore more believable stories. As I said: great fun!”

I was happy to see her comment not because I consider early romance poorly written but differently written—for a different time and market.  I loved those books, too, but I was 56 years old before I wrote my first one and from the beginning I envisioned a book with a gritty dose of realism.  I write primarily historical romance, about times and places when life was vastly different, and I try to portray it as accurately as possible without missing the timeless element of love. 

Why do I write what I do?  Ah…that’s an easy one!  Just for the sheer joy of it.

How does my writing process work?  If I knew that, I’d patent it, although I’m not sure anybody would want to buy what I’d be selling!  It all begins with my Muse, Persephone, and she is a heartless mistress.  Mostly she comes steaming into my life in a fit of temper and I sit down and write until she tells me to stop, which is usually when I’m so exhausted I’m of no further use to her.  She gives me just long enough to recover and—BAM!—there she is again, banging at the door or, more frequently, breaking it down.

My Writing Process Blog Tour will continue on April 21 at the blogs of my friends Denise Alicea and Patti  Koontz : 

A member of Romance Writers of America and several of its chapters since 2005, Denise has won two awards for her short stories and several finalist nominations.

Patty Koontz enjoys keeping a "wee bit of magic" or "the spirit of magic" alive by writing fantasy and paranormal romances set in the mystical glens of Northern Island and Scotland. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Scottish History Behind
Sea Panther by Dawn Marie Hamilton

It is a great pleasure to be at The Celtic Rose today to talk about the history behind the novel.

It all started with wanting to write a vampire pirate story. I write Scottish inspired romance so I spent time searching for a Scottish / pirate connection. In the meantime, I began writing to get a feel for the characters. Robert, the hero of Sea Panther, balked at being a pirate. "Too honorable," he said. Can you imagine an honorable vampire?

Researching pirates was fun. During the research, I stumbled across The Republic of Pirates—Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard. Written within the pages I found the wee piece of history needed to set the stage for Sea Panther.

In August of 1714, Queen Anne of England died, childless. The crown would have passed to her half-brother, James Stuart, if not for a law passed in 1701 declaring no Catholic could sit upon the thrown of England. Instead, George Ludwig, a second cousin of Anne’s and a Protestant from Germany was brought to England and crowned King George I. Many were displeased having a German who didn’t care to learn the language as king. The Scots were especially unhappy, having lost their independence in 1707, but at least they had had a Stewart (the legitimate royal family of Scotland) on the thrown. Now, they had a king hostile to their cause.

The noble families of Scotland, along with many Englishmen, became determined to place James Stuart on the thrown. Thus was born the Jacobite movement.
Lord Archibald Hamilton, Governor of Jamaica, was a Jacobite. Although he later denied it, it is believed he gathered together and commissioned a fleet of private warships in Port Royal intended as a Jacobite navy.

Lucky for Robert, he got out of being a pirate in Sea Panther and joined the ranks of privateers commissioned by Lord Hamilton. Though many later called them pirates. Of course, at that point in the writing of Sea Panther, neither Robert nor I knew he’d be cursed and become a shape shifting vampire.

Blurb for Sea Panther:

Can love mend a fractured soul?

After evading arrest for Jacobite activities, Scottish nobleman Robert MacLachlan turns privateer. A Caribbean Voodoo priestess curses him to an eternal existence as a vampire shifter torn between the dual natures of a Florida panther and an immortal blood-thirsting man. For centuries, he seeks to reverse the black magic whilst maintaining his honor. Cruising the twenty-first century Atlantic, he becomes shorthanded to sail his 90-foot yacht, Sea Panther. The last thing he wants is a female crewmember and the call of her blood.

Although she swore never to sail again after her father died in a sailing accident, Kimberly Scot answers the captain's crew wanted ad to escape a hit man. She's lost everything, her fiancé, her job, and most of her money, along with money belonging to her ex-clients. A taste of Kimberly's blood convinces Robert she is the one woman who can claim the panther's heart. To break the curse, they travel back in time to where it all began—Jamaica 1715.

About the Author:

Dawn Marie Hamilton dares you to dream. She is a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist who pens Scottish-inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Some of her tales are rife with mischief-making faeries, brownies, and other fae creatures. More tormented souls—shape shifters, vampires, and maybe a zombie or two—stalk across the pages of other stories. She is a member of The Golden Network, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart chapters of RWA. When not writing, she’s cooking, gardening, or paddling the local creeks of Southern Maryland with her husband.

Visit Dawn Marie:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Once Upon a Highland Moon

Once Upon a Highland Moon, the second book in The Highland Moon Series, takes place in the early 1600's in the Scottish Highlands and on the Isle of Mull. The hero, Galen MacKinnon, heir apparent to Moorloch Castle, receives a missive that his brother, Ewan, is being held prisoner by Alexander MacPherson, the Laird of Blackstone Castle. After traveling to Blackstone with his two friends, Cin and Duncan, Galen learns the reason for his brother's imprisonment and offers to pay for damages done. But Alexander refuses to accept his payment. Galen angrily departs with a plan to return and take Ewan by force, if necessary.

Lady Sorcha, the heroine, is betrothed to Laird Archibald Campbell, a cruel and vicious man seventeen years her senior. Once she realizes the sort of man he is, she escapes from his castle one night accompanied by her two guards and a ladies' maid. The following day the small party is seized upon by four highwaymen, one of which tries to drag Sorcha, fighting and screaming, into the wood.

Galen and his friends rescue her and she is most grateful-until he learns she is the sister of the man holding his brother prisoner, then kidnaps her to trade for Ewan's freedom. As they travel through the Scottish Highlands, the attraction between Galen and Sorcha is undeniable, but before they can be together, Galen must dig deep into his soul and put his life on the line more than once for the woman he loves.

As I stated earlier, this is my second book in The Highland Moon series. "Beneath a Highland Moon" is the first. Kade and Jillian in that book are briefly in "Once Upon a Highland Moon"  I am currently working on Cin's story, "Chasing a Highland Moon," which I hope to release by the end of summer.

I love hearing from people about my writing! You can email me at, or contact me at:

Available at Amazon and Smashwords

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Irish Pride Week -- 7-11 April

This is an all week event to relaunch Kemberlee Shortland's special event to relaunch her popular Irish Pride Series.

Monday 7 April - relaunch RHYTHM OF MY HEART
Wednesday 9 April - relaunch A PIECE OF MY HEART
Friday 11 April - release SHAPE OF MY HEART

The series has been re-covered by the amazing Kim Killion, featuring some of today's top romance models.

The week will be filled with fun and prizes, so head over and join the event today. Tell your friends.

#readmeimirish and #irishprideweek will get you there too.

The craic will be mighty!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Bruised Thistle

The Bruised Thistle takes place in the Borders area between England and Scotland, right after the Second Crusade. The hero, Seumas, was a participant in the pilgrimage and knows the deep sense of failure from not having accomplished what they'd set out to do. He's come back scarred mentally and physically. Guilt and uselessness pervade his self-image and break down his confidence in himself as a man.

The heroine, Iseabail, was the only daughter of a Scottish laird, pampered her whole life, surrounded by love and family until the death of her parents. Her powerful English uncle comes to take over as ward to her and her brothers with no love lost but a profit to be made.

This is the first in The Order of the Scottish Thistle Series. It's a story about overcoming obstacles but beware, it's a story about doing it better with someone than alone. That's just my philosophy. Alone is so overrated. Must be why I'm a romance writer.

Hope you enjoy Seumas and Iseabail's story. I love to hear from readers. You can find me on
Facebook, Website, or email me at

Available now at
 and Barnes & Noble

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Release! The Highlander's Reluctant Bride by Cathy MacRae

Hello! It's great to be at the Celtic Rose blog today! I'd like to introduce you to my newest novel. For those who read The Highlander's Accidental Bride,

 The Highlander's Reluctant Bride is Ranald's story.
Available through Amazon from Soul Mate Publishing
March 17, 2014

“Determined to keep the Macrory clan’s holdings out of the clutches of the Lord of the Isles and marauding pirates, King Robert II sends his man, Lord Ranald Scott, to hold Scaurness Castle. There, Laird Macrory lays dying, awaiting word from his son who is missing on the battlefields of France. If the son is not found before the old laird dies, Ranald will take over as laird—and marry Laird Macrory’s headstrong daughter.
Lady Caitriona sees no reason she cannot rule the clan in her brother’s stead, and is bitterly disappointed with the king’s decision to send a man to oversee the castle and people. Not only is Ranald Scott only distantly related to the Macrory clan, but he was her childhood nemesis. She has little trust or like for him.
Her disappointment turns to panic when the king’s plan is completely revealed and she realizes she must wed Ranald. Pirates, treachery, and a 4-year-old girl stand between her and Ranald’s chance at happiness. What will it take for them to learn to trust each other and find the love they both deserve?”

“So, the king forced Eaden to wed,” she murmured. Her gaze caught Ranald’s. “What will he do to me?”
Ranald noted Riona’s sudden pallor, her gray eyes widening until they were naught but huge silver orbs glowing against her skin. Now was as good a time as any to tell her what King Robert intended for her, but he could not force the words.
“Ye are a laird’s daughter,” he reminded her. “And an heiress. Yer mother’s dower lands north of here are of great value to the king.”
“And I am of little worth, aye?” Riona flared.
“Nae. Ye are of great worth.”
“But a pawn to the king.”
Ranald sighed. This was not going as he planned. “We are all pawns in one way or another, Ree. The king willnae let ye stay on yer own. Ye are a ward of the crown, now.”
“So, he’ll marry me off to some rebellious laird he wants to drag over to his side, using me and my lands to hold him?”
“Nae. No’ so bad as all that.”
“Mayhap to a wealthy laird who’s all but doddering in his cups, hoping I’ll no’ breed an heir before he dies, giving title of the land to the king and my next husband?”
Ranald lifted an eyebrow. The lass was getting worked up over nothing. “Marriage, yes. Doddering auld man, no.”
Riona snapped her head to one side, a glower on her face. “Then, who?”
Ranald swallowed and offered a crooked smile.

Author Bio:
Cathy wrote her first historical manuscript based on a love of all things Scottish. Weaving tales of romance in the Highland mists, her books feature strong heroes and feisty heroines pursuing their happily-ever-afters in medieval Scotland.
When not writing, Cathy can be found curled in a chair with a book, outside gardening or playing with her Welsh Corgis (who are quite possibly the reason for the need to repair the garden), or any of a number of outside hobbies at the foot of the Arbuckle Mountains.

Cathy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. She is currently working on another Highland romance novel and planning her next trip to Scotland.
 Visit her on Facebook at Cathy MacRae Author: facebook 
Twitter: @CMacRaeAuthor 


Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Bull At The Gate – Resurrecting a Celtic Water Goddess

Welcome! Comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of both ebooks. [Thanks, Draw now closed]

This weekend launches The Bull At The Gate, Book 2 in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy following the resurrection of a Celtic water goddess in modern northern England.

The premise is not as fantastical as it at first might seem. Yorkshire has more surviving ancient springs named Lady Well than anywhere in the country – and only the naive believe the Lady in question to be a Christian saint. Across Wheeldale Moor where an arrow-straight Roman Road dog-legged to pass it, can be found a spring named Old Wives Well. In the surrounding alder and birch shrubs can often be seen discreet offerings of fine ribbon or tiny bells. Guarded on three sides by a modern wooden rail, its protective stone slab is covered in Nature’s growth – and crowded with silver coins. After all, when you drop money into a wishing well, whose benevolence are you attempting to invoke?

Each of the novels is set in a university city surrounding the North York Moors – just as mediaeval monks built places of learning and worship closer to what was then a less than hospitable landscape. In Torc of Moonlight the city is Hull, its university campus a green oasis in an urban sprawl containing student housing named after Celtic settlements in the area. It was while researching here that the decision was made to set all three novels in true places that readers could visit, in person or by using Google Maps’ Street View.

At the opening of Torc of Moonlight Nick is a nineteen year old student more interested in the campus’ nightlife than in gaining a degree, but he becomes enamoured with Alice, a studious girl determined to discover a lost Celtic shrine. To get into her bed, Nick helps with her research, slowly becoming aware that incoherent images glimpsed from the corner of his eye is the past reaching out to the present. Lost in her maps, Alice doesn’t notice the change in him, but when a jewelled sword fades in his hand, Nick knows that the thing shadowing him has held it, and bloodied it, long ago. Alice is in danger, but from him or from history?

In keeping with using actual settings, I opted for characters that were as a fallible and flawed as any of us – no alpha males or feisty females with a fast line in snazzy sarcasm – ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances and coping as best they can. Each novel carries three parallel storylines, two contemporary and one historical, and the Celtic power of Three resonates throughout.

The Bull At The Gate opens three years after Torc of Moonlight closes, with Nick emerging from post traumatic stress syndrome and taking a temporary job at York’s university as part of his rehabilitation. But had his diagnosis been wrong? Were the images that plagued him not from memory, but Alice reaching out to contact him?

York is a walled mediaeval city of crooked half-timbered houses and tight cobbled streets where historical re-enactment groups of Vikings thrill the tourists. Yet deep in the crypt of York Minster sit the foundations of an earlier occupation, the Roman fortress of Eboracum that garrisoned both the infamous Ninth Legion and the Sixth Victrix, and the stains of older, sacrificial, deaths lay buried deep in modern cellars. When a female student disappears the police start asking awkward questions about Alice, and Nick finds himself a suspect. Who left him a silver votive plaque? Why has an artefact from the Temple of Mithras appeared on his desk? Could Alice and the girl be trapped together, and if he frees the girl can he return Alice to him?

Torc of Moonlight Book 1 is discounted to 99c/99p for a limited period.
The Bull At The Gate Book 2 is available in ebook only, paperback to follow
All Formats now – filtering through to iBooks, Nook, Kobo in a few days

This post is part of a listed blog tour. For more information on how Celtic imagery is used in the trilogy read Writing About Alternate Realities on Stuart Aken’s site.

For more information catch Linda Acaster on  Website ¦ Facebook ¦ Twitter

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Band of Roses Trilogy - Adventure and Romance in Ireland

April 23, 2014 marks the 1000-year anniversary of Ireland's bloody Battle of Clontarf. On Good Friday in 1014 A.D., the armies of High King Brian Boru challenged a host of Vikings and their allies on the plains of Clontarf, north of Dublin. Though Brian’s troops were victorious, he was murdered by fleeing Vikings as he prayed in his tent.

Many historians have speculated that Ireland would be a different place today if King Brian had survived the Battle of Clontarf. The Band of Roses Trilogy, a romantic action/adventure series set in modern Ireland, supposes he did survive and established a royal dynasty that still rules the Emerald Isle. The current King Brian upholds ancient traditions, as does his daughter, Crown Princess Talty, though Talty has a knack for landing in trouble. She wishes she were anyone but the heir to her father's throne—and she learns to be careful what she wishes for.

In Book One, A Band of Roses, Talty must hide her identity to outwit assassins, but she can't hide her ingrained training as a warrior sworn to protect her homeland. From Japan to California to an eleventh century Ireland, she finds romance and adventure, yet all she wants is to return to her family and Neil Boru, the adoptive cousin she secretly loves and cannot have—or so she thinks.

In the second book, Fiery Roses, the discovery of offshore gas ensnares the Boru clan in a web of blackmail and murder. When the residents of rural County Mayo object to pipelines on their land, an arsonist tries to change their minds. One of his fires sends newlyweds Talty and Neil to an ancient world at the mercy of a waking volcano, where they must fight not only to survive, but to save their fledgling marriage.

Book Three, Salty Roses, finds the dynamic princess believing her days of adventure are over. Her royal duties seem endless, and a day off with Neil is looking good. The royal couple accepts an invitation for a jaunt aboard a luxury submarine. As they view an eerie shipwreck, an unknown enemy lures them to an ancient tomb and sends them to a world infested with treacherous pirates. Talty takes charge of a pirate ship and its mangy crew, while Neil matches wits with a temptress who
jeopardizes his wedding vows.

In this Excerpt from A Band of Roses, a military assignment teams Talty with her 'Veddy' English commanding officer, Richard Gale, who knows her as Major Christy McKenna. In an experiment gone wrong, they arrive in our world in 1014 A.D., just before the Battle of Clontarf. They've met a lady named Leesha, whose handsome son Gayth has his eye on Talty. In this scene, Gayth is leading his Dalcassian clan to aid King Brian in his fight against the Vikings—but Gayth has more than warfare on his mind.
* * * * *
For three rainy days, the Dalcassians rode two hundred strong. On the third day, Gayth called a stop to rest. Talty and Richard tethered their horses and made their separate camp. While Richard prepared a fire pit, Talty rummaged beneath the shrubbery to find dry wood.

“Can’t we cheat and use matches, Richard? I’m tired of being cold and wet.”

“So am I.” Richard poked through his toolkit until he found the waterproof matchbox. When the fire was burning well, they finished the last of their oatcakes and ale.

“So here I am, the protector of a holy woman. Who knew?”

Talty winced. She regretted agreeing to the deception. Gayth had told the men her presence would protect them. “I wish Leesha hadn’t started this. I’m not some saint who can heal battle wounds with a touch.”

“They don’t know that, darling. We have an edge as long as they think you’re no ordinary woman. Why did she say that, anyway?”

“She was afraid I’d spirit Gayth away to fairyland. She needn’t have worried, though. He seems able to resist me just fine.”

“Perhaps you married too young to learn how devious men can be. Our friend Gayth isn’t finished with you, holy woman.”

Gayth stepped from the darkness. “My kinsmen are grateful for your fire. The furze is too wet to burn. They invite you to join them in a game of spear fishing, Richard. There’s salmon nearby, and we need the food as well as the sport.”

“I’m reluctant to leave Christy alone.”

Talty bristled at Richard’s protectiveness. “You should get to know the men. I’ll be safe enough at my prayers.”

Gayth’s chocolate eyes sparkled in the firelight. “I will stay and protect you while you pray.”

Still smiling, Richard found a spear and went off to fish. Though Talty had encouraged him to go, his abandonment annoyed her. “I’m going to pray beside the pond. It could be a watering hole for game.”

“You hunt game, holy woman?”

“Even holy women must eat.” She left him by the fire and was soon scanning the ground at the edge of the pond. The twilight’s glow revealed animal tracks in the rain-damp soil. She walked toward a dense stand of trees, not quite sorry that Gayth and his sparkling eyes had caught up.

“Did you see any tracks?” he asked.

“Yes. Deer, I think. Smaller game as well, and I’m sure I heard waterfowl a while ago.”

“I like roast goose. Can you pray for some?”

Silently groaning, she studied the sky. “Do we have time to roast meat?”

“The men must eat. Once we’ve rested and refilled our food sacks, we’ll ride again. We should reach Dublin in three, maybe four days’ time.”

“What day is this?”

“Monday of Holy Week. What holy woman wouldn’t know that?”

Barely aware of his teasing tone, she supposed they could reach Dublin by Good Friday, though that would be cutting it close. Yet in this world, the Battle of Clontarf might not take place on Good Friday. Perhaps no battle would occur at all. Perplexed, she stole into the trees.

Gayth followed her.

“This will make a fine blind.” She spoke more to herself than to Gayth.

“You intend to wait here for deer? Praying?”

Ignoring him, she returned to the fire to bank the embers and fetch the Viking bow.

Gayth was right beside her.

She slung the quiver and arrows over her shoulder. Her hooded cloak went on next to protect both her and the bow from the weather.

Her preparations seemed to mystify Gayth. “Why don’t you simply rush the herd and cast a spear when they bolt?”

“This way I’ll get the deer I want, not one who falls behind because it’s old or sick.”

“I’ll come with you.”

“I need silence.”

“Yes, I know. To pray. I promise to be quiet.”

They stood in the natural blind together and watched the water’s edge. She didn’t resist when he pulled her against him.

“Lean on me, lady,” he whispered. “Rest a little.”

He wrapped his cloak around her. She leaned against him, breathing in smoke and sweat, banishing all thought until a small herd of deer appeared to investigate the clearing. Though tempted to forget them, she broke away from Gayth and uncovered her bow. Silence was critical now.

He caught her face in his hands and kissed her well. After the briefest pause, she kissed him back, grateful for the fading light that hid her burning cheeks. Then she nudged him away. The deer wouldn’t tarry long.

Kiyoshi’s words flowed back to her: See the target as a reflection of your mind, as a mirror. Your mind will find the target.

Gayth stepped back. Talty fixed on the biggest doe in the herd. She drew without breathing, released, and held her position until the arrow pierced the doe’s side.

Shot clean through, the doe hovered over the ground for the briefest moment before collapsing in a motion so natural, the other deer failed to notice. The arrow’s strange whoosh had alarmed them, however. They scattered into the forest.

Pleased with her success, Talty lowered her bow. The kiss that lingered on her lips unexpectedly angered her. “Why are you here, Gayth? You ran from me before.”

“I ran from a holy woman. Your warrior skills bestir most unholy thoughts in me.”
* * * * *
Thank you for reading!
Pat McDermott
Pat’s Website