Tag Archive: Scotland

Novel Magic–Gallowglass by Jennifer Allis Provost

It’s my pleasure to welcome Jennifer Allis Provost to Novel Magic on Sorchia’s Universe. Her new book, GallowGlass, has everything we love here: Scotsmen, magic, suspense, romance, and did I say Scotsmen?

 

Karina didn’t set out to free the Seelie Queen’s gallowglass. Now she’ll do anything to keep him.

After Karina and her brother, Chris’s, lives fall apart in separate yet equally spectacular ways, they leave New York behind and head to the UK. Karina buries herself in research for her doctoral thesis, all the while studiously not thinking about the man who broke her heart, while Chris—who’d been a best-selling author before his ex-fiancée sued him for plagiarism—drinks his way across the British Isles.

In Scotland, they visit the grave of Robert Kirk, a seventeenth- century minister who was kidnapped by fairies. No one is more shocked than Karina when a handsome man with a Scottish brogue appears, claiming to be the Robert Kirk of legend. What’s more, he says he spent the last few hundred years as the Gallowglass, the Seelie Queen’s personal assassin. When they’re attacked by demons, Karina understands how dearly the queen wants him back.

As Karina and Robert grow closer, Chris’s attempts to drown his sorrows lead him to a pub, and a woman called Sorcha. Chris is instantly smitten with her, so much so he spends days with Sorcha and lies to his sister about his whereabouts. When Chris comes home covered in fey kisses, Karina realizes that the Seelie Queen isn’t just after Robert.

Can Karina outsmart the Seelie Queen, or is Robert doomed to forever be the Gallowglass?

 

Here’s a little excerpt from GallowGlass:

 

Robert grabbed my arm. “’Tis one o’ the fuath,” he growled.

 

“The who-ah?” I asked.

 

Foo ah,” Robert repeated, stretching out the syllables. “They are water demons that act as Nicnevin’s assassins. Like as no’, she has sent this one to collect me.”

 

“I thought you were her assassin.”

 

He ignored my comment, and said, “We must leave, lass. Fetch your brother.”

 

“Leave the tour?” I asked. “Can’t we just walk around to the other side of the ruin?”

 

“No. We must leave this place altogether.”

 

“We’re on an island,” I reminded him. “We have to wait for the ferry.”

 

“We canna,” he hissed. “’Tis no safe.”

 

“Um, okay.” I scanned the tour group; it was comprised of a rather harried looking guide, a gaggle of senior citizens armed with cameras and fanny packs, and my brother, the only individual under sixty. None of them looked to be likely candidates for a fairy assassin. “Where exactly is this fuath?”

 

“At the rear o’ that gathering.” Robert jerked his chin toward a white haired woman leaning on a cane who looked so frail, I worried the breeze would topple her.

 

“Are you sure?” I pressed.

 

“’Tis one o’ them, o’ that ye can be certain,” he insisted, his grip on my arm tightening. “The beast is wearing a glamour.”

 

I stared at Robert, the man I’d known for less than twenty four hours, who had claimed that I’d liberated him from centuries imprisoned within the Seelie Court. The man I had believed, until he started avoiding my questions. “You haven’t answered me. I thought you were her assassin?”

 

“I was but the deadliest of many,” he replied, then he spied Chris. “Come, we’ll collect Christopher and commandeer a vessel.”

 

“What? No!” I shook my arm free, and glared at him. “That little old lady can’t hurt anyone, and we are not stealing a boat!”

 

“The boat? Ye are concerned about a wee boat when a killer’s naught but twenty paces from ye?”

 

“This is insane,” I muttered. “Just insane.” I turned my back to him, rubbing my temples. Chris had been right; Robert was nothing but a gigolo, one who was now playing his part a bit too intensely, and I was his willing mark. I’d crossed half the world to get away from one man that had used me, only to run smack into another.

 

The tour group had noticed Robert’s and my argument, and a few of the old ladies were whispering about us. I smiled and waved, trying to impress upon them that everything was fine. The ladies lost interest in us, except the one Robert had labeled as an assassin. She was standing stock still, leaning on her cane and peering at me.

 

“Why isn’t she moving on?” I wondered. I glanced over my shoulder; Robert had stalked off toward the trees again, muttering to himself. “Robert, could you come here, please?” I called. “I think someone needs help.”

 

All I could think of was that something of a medical nature was happening with the woman, maybe a stroke or a heart attack, and Robert—or whatever his name was—was a big guy, and could carry her if necessary. As soon as I called his name he returned to my side.

 

“Who is needin’ help, then?” Robert demanded. He looked past me, the blood draining from his face.

 

“Gallowglass,” a voice hissed. I tore my gaze from Robert and back to the old woman, who wasn’t looking so feeble any longer. Her eyes glowed red, and her mouth was packed with long, needlelike teeth, way too many teeth to be in such a small opening. I stood, mesmerized, as she kept opening her mouth, wider and wider until her jaw unhinged, her teeth growing longer and sharper with each passing second.

 

“Behind me,” Robert shouted as the woman sprang at us. She crossed the twenty or more paces in a single leap, landing like a cat on Robert’s chest. Then she screamed, a horrible, shrill noise that physically hurt my ears, and reared back to bite Robert’s neck.

 

I shrieked, certain this monster was about to take Robert’s head off, when he pitched himself forward, throwing his full weight on top of the much smaller creature and knocking them both to the ground. While the monster was still dazed, Robert leapt to his feet. He extended his arm to the side, and the claymore he’d carried the day before materialized out of thin air. Robert grasped the sword with both hands, and with a single swing he decapitated the creature.

 

I was shaking like a leaf, staring from the body to Robert. There was blood everywhere, black stinking blood marring the lush grass, some of the foul liquid having sprayed onto Robert’s chest. I hated gore, even the fake gore in horror movies and in cheesy Halloween displays. I swayed, certain that I was going to faint, when Robert caught me.

 

“’Tis all right,” he murmured, his arm about my waist. “It canna hurt ye now.” I pressed myself against Robert’s side, hiding under his arm and trying not to touch the bloody parts of his shirt. All of my doubts about Robert had ceased just as surely as that creature’s life had ceased. I would never doubt him again.

 

“What the holy hell was that?” Chris demanded.

 

I looked up and saw my brother jogging towards us. Behind him, the tour group was screaming and pointing at the man with the gigantic, bloody sword, and at the body at his feet. “Robert had to,” I whispered.

 

“Had to?” Chris repeated. “He had to kill a little old lady?

 

“Not a lady,” I said, shaking my head.

 

“Old man, whatever—”

 

“Chris!” I pointed at the creature’s head. “Look at the mouth.” He did, squatting down to get a better view. I stayed where I was; I already knew more than I wanted to know about that thing.

 

“Crap,” Chris murmured. Being that Chris considered such language beneath a man of his stature, I inferred that he understood the gravity of our situation. He reached toward its teeth, and I looked away. Did he have to touch it? He couldn’t tell just by looking at it that it was wrong? As I tried not to lose my breakfast I noticed an official-looking man striding toward us.

 

“About stealing that boat,” I began, then I turned to my brother. “Chris, we are going to steal a boat.”

 

Chris nodded. “Good plan.”

 

Robert grabbed my elbow, and we raced toward the dock.

 

Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library). An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. When she’s not writing about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes during the day) she’s working on her MFA in Creative Nonfiction.

Grab your own copy of Gallowglass at any of these purveyors of fine literature:

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2qaTKuM

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gallowglass-jennifer-allis-provost/1126185405?ean=2940154110164

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/gallowglass-4

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/gallowglass/id1225187436?mt=11

 

Connect with Jennifer and learn more about her writing.

 

Web and blog: https://authorjenniferallisprovost.com//

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/copperraven

Twitter: https://twitter.com/parthalan

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2975887.Jennifer_Allis_Provost

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Allis-Provost/e/B003LXSUFU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jennallis/

13 Zoraida Grey Tricks and Treats–Happy Halloween, Witches!

She’s one crazy witch and she went live on October ZoraidaGreyandtheFamilyStones_w10984_30028. Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones is the first in a three-book series that will take Zoraida from Arkansas to Scotland to the Yucatan Jungle and back again. Since we are at the heart of Witching Season, here are Thirteen Tricks and Treats you’ll find in the book.
And be sure to enter the contest for a chance to win a smoky quartz necklace.

  1. A Castle: Fantastic Castle Logan in far north Scotland has a history stretching back to the Picts. When the Logans claimed the spot, a Pictish broch sat like a fat spider on a precipice over the Loch of the Black Bridge. What lurks beneath the broch in the crystal encrusted cavern?
  2. Ghosts: Castle Logan is infested with phantasms of various descriptions including a psychotic lady in lilac who tosses hapless women to their deaths. A Spaniard in glowing green armor haunts the East Tower. Is he looking for revenge?
  3. Crystals: From the crystal doorknobs to the crystal chandeliers, Castle Logan vibrates with crystal energy.
  4. A man in kilts: Michael Logan nurtures black roses in the gardens as skillfully as he tends the Logan clan. But to make one thing grow, he may have to sacrifice something—or someone.
  5. Herbs: The Logan witches have tricks in their gardens that may beguile even Zoraida.
  6. Magic: What is it about Zhu, Zoraida’s best friend, that repels magic? She’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Trapped in Castle Logan, Zhu may find magic isn’t all fairies and roses.
  7. Another man in kilts: Shea Logan wraps himself in protective spells and chooses his words carefully. Blue lightning flashes from his black Logan eyes and indigo tattoos spiral around his arms. What’s he hiding?
  8. Cats: Grimalkin, Pyewacket, and Johnny Lee Hooker, the black cat who lives with Zoraida, creep through the story, batting the dangling ends of knotted cords and watching with luminescent eyes. If only they could talk, what secrets could they reveal?
  9. An oubliette: This place of forgetting beneath the ancient East Tower came in handy to the Logans in the past. Zoraida gets the heebie jeebies just looking at it. No one has ever escaped from its dark depths.
  10. Curses and Spells: Curses and spells drip from the fingers of all in the Logan clan. Can small-town fortuneteller Zoraida compete with their malevolent power? Of course, she has a little Logan blood running through her veins, too.
  11. Scotland:From steel gray lochs to rocky hillsides to windswept shores, Scotland casts a spell every bit as powerful as those hurled by the witches of Castle Logan.
  12. Legends: Creatures and stories of Scotland peek from the pages of Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones. Zoraida finds fairytales come to life when witches are involved.
  13. Whisky: Smooth, peaty Laphroaig single-malt Scotch in a Cairngorm glass steadies Zoraida’s nerves. She better lay in a good store because the story’s just getting started.

Grab a copy and find out which of these 13 are tricks and which are treats.

E-Book
Paperback

Take a minute to enter my Zoraida Grey Release Celebration Giveaway for a chance to win this necklace of smoky quartz-BYOS (Bring Your Own Skull–skull not included.)

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Snarkology Halloween Hop: Things that go Bump in Scotland

I can often be found pondering quaint and curious volumes of forgotten lore.  Research is half the fun of writing for me. Indulging this passion takes up endless hours, provides fodder for numerous nightmares, and gives me a wicked edge in trivia games.  And you never know when some tidbit will come in handy in a story.

My new release, Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones, takes place mostly in Scotland.  Here are just a few of the legendary creatures you’ll find lurking within the pages of Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones.

booghostThe Blue Men of the Minch. Blue water sprites who lure ships to their doom—unless the captain can answer their questions—in perfect iambic pentameter. Want to know more about these demonic Smurf-like creatures?  Check out my post HERE.

 

booghostA Caoineag. She is a gauzy apparition who foretells doom. Learn about the part she played in a famous Scottish massacre in this post.

 

booghostA purple ghost and a green ghost. Scotland practically glows with ghosts of every color in the rainbow. Zoraida meets the spirit of a burned witch who is, as you might imagine, not in the best of moods. The glowing green ghost of a Spanish soldier haunts the East Tower. He knows a thing or two, but getting him to talk isn’t easy. Find out about some of the colorful ghosts of Scotland in this post.

 

booghostWitches. Scottish witches are arguably the worst (or best, depending on your perspective) kind of witches.  Zoraida stumbles into a nest of them—some good, some bad, some undecided. It will take all of Granny’s teachings and the intuition Zoraida was born with to tell which witch is which.

 

booghostBaobhan Sith, a vampire. She’s a seductive female vampire. Learn her story HERE. And read the excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones to see how a Baobhan Sith figures into Zoraida’s family history.

 


from Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones

Shea sits on one of the repaired merlons, his legs stretched in front of him and his arms crossed. His eyes are distant, already lost in the story he is about to tell.

“Long ago, Clan Logan fled to Scotland from Ireland, seeking a place to rebuild. They crossed the North Channel and made their way through the western Isles to Loch Linnhe. They traveled north through the Great Glen Way and struck out through Easter Ross.

“When they found Loch an Drochaiddubh, they saw a tall, gray broch perched on the edge of a precipice. Lorne Logan wanted it, but the only clear path to the summit led between two granite boulders with barely room for two abreast. There was no way an army could assault the tower. His people were tired and ill-nourished after a long journey, so Lorne Logan went alone.

“He wrapped himself in spells and crept through the cleft in the boulders in the dead of night. Sword drawn, he advanced to the tower. It was empty. No living thing had dwelt in the broch for centuries. By the light of a waxing moon, he explored the ancient round tower. On the floor lay crystals of every imaginable size and hue. In the center of the broch, a chasm opened into darkness. He caught moonlight in a crystal and by its light dropped down through the chasm.

“The light of the crystal revealed runes and symbols on the passage walls. He could not decipher them, but he followed them deeper and deeper into the caverns. They led him through winding passageways to a crystal-encrusted cave where blind fish swam in a black lake.

“From the dark, something watched Lorne Logan and his moonbeam crystal. The Baobhan Sith, a vampire, had seen no living thing in centuries. She fell in love with the tall, strong sorcerer at once.

“She had ensorcelled many men in ages past, luring them to their deaths in the black lake. She planned a different kind of spell for Lorne.”

Learn more about Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones (and pick up your very own copy) HERE. Release Day is October 28 but you can reserve a copy right now.
Enter Sorchia’s Giveaway for a Smoky Quartz Necklace

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And enter this giveaway presented by The Snarkology Halloween Hop!!
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Away with you to the next stop on the hop:

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A Haunted Halloween Hop–Painted Lady Ghosts of Scotland

Welcome to my Stop on ABA’s Haunted Halloween Hop. Keep hopping by using the list of writers at the bottom of this post.

My topic? Ghosts, of course.

When I decided to write Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones, I wanted the series to be chock full of everything I love—haunted castles, men in kilts, witches, Scotland, did I mention men in kilts, and–lastly but not leastly–ghosts.

A quick bit of research reveals that Scotland glows with female ghosts of various hues. I wanted to add a couple of ghosts of color, and thus, the Lilac Lady of Castle Logan was born—because I like purple and I like the smell of lilacs and all those Ls make for nice alliteration. In life, she was a crazy witch bent on the destruction of the Logan clan in general and of her husband, laird of Castle Logan, in particular. Being burned at the stake did not improve her disposition. She plays an important part in Zoraida’s journey of self-discovery.

Take a look at this rainbow of lady ghosts and—after you read Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones—tell me if you can see which real-life (or real-dead) ghosts I used for inspiration.

The Green Lady of Comlongon Castle

Lady Marion Curruthers died at the

Comlongon Castle

Comlongon Castle

foot of the castle tower where legend says no grass has ever grown.  Before his death, her father arranged a marriage for her with Sir James Douglas. Only problem—she hated every inch of James Douglas’s guts so she refused to marry him. When she defied a decree some said came from none other than Mary Queen of Scots, Lady Marion found herself locked in the tower by her uncle. The story goes that she jumped out the window in despair on the 25th of September, 1570. Another story has the uncle’s minions tossing her out because of her recalcitrance. Either way, she is not a happy apparition and appears as a weeping lady in a long green gown. And who can blame her? Sir James Douglas, by virtue of his legal betrothal to Lady Marion and despite her protests, inherited all the wealth and lands. To top it off, no one was ever punished for her murder­­––if murder it was.

The White Lady of Claypotts Castle
Claypotts Castle

Claypotts Castle

Rumor has it that John Graham performed diabolic rituals in the castle, but that may have been propaganda spread by his enemies. However, tales of orgies, screaming, demonic images, cackling laughter, not to mention the stomping of the Horses of Hell keep the populace a healthy distance from the castle come nightfall. A lady in white who waves a handkerchief from the window is supposed to be either Marion Ogilvie, mistress of Cardinal Beaton who was murdered on May 29th 1546 or the ghost of a mistress of John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee—aka Bonnie Dundee or bluidy Clavers. The Lady is said to return to the castle on the 29th of May. John Graham was killed at the battle of Killiecrankie in 1689 and is also reported to return on the 29thof May.

The Grey Lady of Glamis Castle

Lady Jane Douglas was burned for witchcraft in 1540. King James V, who

Glamis Castle:http://de.academic.ru/dic.nsf/dewiki/526083

Glamis Castle:http://de.academic.ru/dic.nsf/dewiki/526083

never liked the plaguey Douglases anyhow, appropriated the lavish castle after the scandal. A ghostly woman is often seen in the clock tower surrounded by flames. She might be the grey lady who frequents the chapel. Glamis Castle is a busy place, supernaturally speaking, housing no fewer than a dozen ghosts. You can’t swing a dead cat without stirring up one spirit or another.

The Pink Lady of Stirling Castle

Stirling CastleAfter Edward I defeated William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, Stirling Castle was the last stronghold of Scotland. It took six years of war, but Edward and his twelve siege engines at last had the Scots treed.  For four long months, The English bombarded Stirling with Greek fire, rocks, and whatever else they could lay their hands on. Though the garrison of 30 surrendered, many died of starvation during the siege. The Pink Lady is thought to be a noblewoman who pined away  for her lover, a soldier who starved to death in the Castle. People say the faint scent of rose lingers just before she appears. She wanders between the Kirk Tower and the Castle, waiting for the Day of Judgement when she will find her brave Scottish knight again.

Meet the Lilac Lady and the witches of Castle Logan in Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones. You can preorder the book–which is due to be released by Wild Rose Press on October 28–HERE.

Want to see more? Visit my Zoraida Grey Page.

Sign up to win a fabulous smokey quartz necklace. Winner to be announced right here November 21.necklace2

 

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And another giveaway sponsored by the Haunted Halloween Blog Hop.
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Now–Away with you to the next stop on the hop where Author Tricia Schneider is talking VAMPIRES. Or visit any of these fantastic writers who are participating.