One perk of this blog is meeting new authors through the friends I have made in the writing community. Today's guest is Regency author Ann Stephens, who is a member of Authors By Moonlight with Sherry James. Sherry is a long standing sponsor of the SOS Military Mixer at the RT Booklovers' Convention.
From Ann's website,
Although Ann Stephens wrote stories and (bad) poetry in her twenties, she did not focus on writing an actual book until she was in her forties. The first novel she ever attempted was bought by Kensington Publishing after an editor read the first chapter as part of a contest. Entitled To be Seduced, it arrived in stores in February 2010. Her second book, Her Scottish Groom, will be released on March 1, 2011 and is available for pre-order now.
She appeared in the Debut Corner of Romantic Times Book Reviews February 2010 issue. Ann is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Nebraska Writers’ Guild and the Nebraska Writers’ Workshop. She lives with her husband, her two beautiful daughters and two cats.
Ann: Clan Chattan. In the first place you can't go wrong with a cat as a symbol, in the second place I've always liked the idea that it was confederation of individual clans that banded together for mutual defense, relying on some diplomacy instead of strictly on blood ties.
Kim: What is your favorite Scottish castle?
Ann: Edinburgh Castle. It's forbidding and dramatic as it towers over the modern city. The oldest part of the castle still standing dates from 1130 -- that's nearly 900 years of history held inside its walls! And it is just as massive inside. Thick walls, the enormous Great Hall with the medieval roof beams intact, the Scottish crown jewels...it's amazing. And you can see for miles from the ramparts...no wonder there has been some kind of fortification on its site for thousands of years
Kim: What is your favorite Scottish drink?
Ann: Drambuie. I'm not a Scotch whisky drinker, but this liqueur has a great story connected with it. It is believed that the recipe was originally a gift from Bonnie Prince Charlie to Captain John MacKinnon, who helped keep the prince from the clutches of the Duke of Cumberland's army after the Battle of Culloden. After being a family recipe for over one hundred years, an enterprising MacKinnon moved to Edinburgh and started bottling the "dram buidhe" liqueur. Based on whisky, with the addition of herbs and honey (the exact recipe is still secret), Drambuie compares with fine French liqueurs for quality. (JMO, lol!)
Kim: What is your favorite Scottish saying?
Ann: I love the phrase 'dinna fash yourself'. The meaning is roughly equivalent to 'calm down', 'don't have a hissy fit' or 'keep your shirt on', but it's far more pungent.
Let's take a peek at Ann's book, HER SCOTTISH GROOM, available March 1:
Proud Scottish Lord Kieran Rossburn doesn't relish the idea of a marriage of convenience, but he'll do what he must to preserve his family estate. Worse, the bride he's been saddled with -- the daughter of a crass, unrefined, American millionaire -- is far to weak-willed for his tastes. Or so it seems at first... After a lifetime under the thumb of her domineering parents, Diantha Quinn can't believe she's shipped across the ocean to be locked away yet again. Now, to gain any sort of power in her life, she must resist Kieran's seductions. Yet how can she keep from falling in love, when she is wed to the most tempting man in all of Scotland?
Tapadh leat (thank you) Ann for joining us on St. Andrew's Day! I am giving away one Hawaiian trivet each day. The trivet has a design from a Hawaiian Quilt - unique as each clan's tartan.
To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about Ann, a "cat" clan, Edinburgh Castle, and Scottish grooms.
2. Make sure I know how to contact you - send your email to email@example.com.
3. This giveaway is only open to US and Canadian residents. But if you live in Scotland, I will send you a special Hawaiian treat!
Mar sin leat (good bye),
Kim in Hawaii
Edinburgh Castle has no equal. It is:
- a working military facility
- home of several regimental museums
- host of the Military Tattoo every August
- home of Mons Meg (a large cannon that is a legend in of itself)
- home of the Honours of Scotland (Crown Jewels)
The Honours as coronation regalia were first used together at the coronation of the nine-month-old Mary, Queen of Scots in 1543, and subsequently at the coronations of her infant son James VI (and I of England) at Stirling in 1567 and her grandson Charles I in 1633 at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Despite his success at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 and his subsequent occupation of Edinburgh Castle, Oliver Cromwell failed to stop the coronation of Charles II in 1651 at Scone (the last coronation in Scotland).
Determined to destroy the Scottish Crown Jewels, just as he had disposed of the English regalia, Cromwell pursued the Honours to Dunnottar Castle near Aberdeen. He failed. From there, they were smuggled out for safe burial until Charles II's restoration in 1660.
The Honours were never again used to crown a sovereign. Until the Treaty of Union in 1707, and in the absence of a resident monarch, the regalia were taken to sittings of the Parliament in Edinburgh to signify the Sovereign's presence and his or her consent to the passing of each Act.
After the Union, when the new United Kingdom Parliament met in London, the Honours had no ceremonial role. They were locked away in an oak chest in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle. In 1818, the chest was opened in the presence of the Castle Governor and the author Walter Scott. They discovered the Honours were still there in their linen wrappings.
During the Second World War the Honours were hidden once again. They were buried in 1941 at separate locations in the Castle as a precaution against possible German invasion.
Can you imagine being Sir Walter Scott, opening a 150+ year old chest with the crown jewels?