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Barely Breathing (A Colorado High Country Novel) — The first book in my new Colorado High Country series is now only 99 cents at all ebook retailers! This new contemporary series is set in the small mountain community of Scarlet Springs and focuses on the lives and loves of members of an alpine search and rescue team.


About Me

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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When the hero has been around




I like talking about heroes. They're my favorite part of any romance I read. If I can't connect with the hero, I can't get into the story. I'm betting that's true of many, if not most, romance readers.

Typically, heroes have more sexual experience than heroines. There are a few famous virgin heroes out there — Jamie from Outlander comes to mind — but most have sexual experience and are known for being good lovers. That's as true in historicals, where the heroine is almost always a virgin, and contemporaries.

But how much sexual experience is too much? When does it turn you off rather than make the hero seem more exciting?

That's the topic of my new poll, but let's have some discussion.

Could you see a reformed male porn star as a hero? How about a rock star who made good use of groupies? Or a male prostitute who serviced both men and women?




One of my male friends says he thinks there's a kind of double standard in romance, one that requires the hero to be good in bed, while the heroine is a virgin. He thinks it reflects women's desire to have lovers who know what they're doing, which, in turn, puts pressure on guys. If it's "true love" we're writing about, then why aren't more heroes virgins, too?

So what about virgin heroes? A lot of readers obviously felt it worked in Outlander. Why don't we see more of that?

It seems to me that more erotic novels are moving toward sexual experience for both heroes and heroines. There are now heroines even in straight historical romance who are courtesans and such. Obviously, things are changing. How do you feel about that?

The results of my last poll show that the majority of you (57 percent) think a scene where the hero brings himself to orgasm can be very hot — depending on how it's written. The next largest group (40 percent) think it's HOT. Period. One reader, who by herself constituted 2 percent of the vote, answered that she doesn't find it hot at all. I had thought there'd be more votes in the latter category.

I found the results very interesting. I don't think I would have gotten the same answers a decade ago. I was glad to see that so many of you felt the heroine also has a right to self-satisfaction.

Sorry I've been AWOL. I had an article to write in Danish, which took up a bunch of spare time. Then last night, when I had planned to catch up, I was assailed by a migraine. I'm doing better at the moment.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When the hero makes love to himself


You know what he's reaching for!

I'm not sure how many of you pay attention to the reader forums on Amazon, but this past weekend, an interesting topic appeared. I repeated it in my new poll, asking you all how you feel about it when the hero "takes matters into his own hands." That's a silly euphemism for "wanks."

Society has long accepted that men do this. But, oddly, in romance novels part of contriving sexual tension is putting a hero in a situation where he wants the heroine but he just can't have her for whatever reason. This leads to frustrated, sometimes rude or aggressive behavior on the hero's part because he's so hungry for her!

A male friend of mine made this point when he read Ride the Fire and said, "So do romance heros never jack off? I mean this Nicholas guy could quit kicking his traps around if he just got himself off."

In real life, of course, most guys would ease some of that tension by grabbing hold of the root of the problem. Twenty years ago, one would never have read that in a romance novel. Nowadays it's much more common. The Amazon thread, and my latest poll, ask you to say how you feel about that in a book.

What was interesting in the Amazon posts was that a lot of readers find it very hot, while others say they're completely repulsed. The latter were far fewer in number. Some said it just depended on how "icky" it was. As an expression of the hero's desperation they were willing to accept it.


A bunny is a girl's best friend!

What was just as interesting was the almost universal dislike of heroines who do the same. There's still a double standard, it seems, one that says a woman's sexual pleasure is only legit when it comes from the hands/mouth/naughty bits of a man. There was a loud rejection of "battery-operated boyfriends," though some said such things were okay if used by the hero on the heroine, again placing the heroine's pleasure under the control of the hero. (Is my inner feminist showing?)

In my historicals, there's less mention of self-pleasuring — masturbation is such a judgmental word, I think — with only Wentworth doing the deed "on camera." Refresh my memory if I'm wrong...

In my contemp RS books, Will ("Catch of the Day") admits to doing it and overhears Lissy using her vibrator, which he then sabotages. (They're in the midst of a bet to see who can make it the two weeks until their wedding without asking the other for sex, so though he is using his hand, he thinks she's cheating to use her B.O.B.) Marc does it in prison, though not "on camera," and he thinks about it when he's on the lam after breaking out. Julian and Reece reference it, but I don't think they do it when the reader's watching. (How rude of them!) As for Gabe, yep. You'll have to wait till November to see how/when.

Among the contemporary heroines, there's Kara's "jiggle stick," and Sophie's vibrator, which Marc discovers when searching her house for planted drugs. I don't think there's any mention of it with Tessa. And Kat? Nope. Her situation is very different than the others due to her Navajo upbringing.

I obviously find it sexy when the heroes at least think about it. When the heroines have toys (not that they necessarily use them), that makes them real to me. One problem I've always had with contemp heroines is their tendency to be like women from my grandmother's generation -- waaaay too goodie-goodie for a contemporary woman.

So what are your thoughts, gentle reader? Let's hear it. And there are a few more days to vote in the poll!
Sunday, February 15, 2009

The story of a gown



Before I tell you about this gown, let's talk about poll results.

It turns out, my friends, that you are greedy women! I think that's fantastic! You should be!

The vast majority of you — a full 45 percent — answered "All of the above" in my Valentine's Day, indicating that you wanted world peace, chocolate & flowers, wild sex, dinner at a restaurant, lingerie and a gift card to the bookstore from your honey on Valentine's Day. Not too surprisingly, the next most popular choice was "Wild sex," chosen by 25 percent of you, while 20 percent just wanted a gift card to the bookstore. "Dinner at a restaurant" and "Chocolate & flowers" each garnered 5 percent of the vote.

So, leaving world peace out — that was a long shot anyway — who among you got what you wanted? What has he done for you lately?

And now for something completely different...

The gown in the image above is an authentic 19th-century gown. In fact, it's a very special 19th-century gown. It's Mary Todd Lincoln's inaugural gown.

It was made by my great-great aunt.

My grandmother's aunt is descended from nobility who gave up their holdings and left the Madeira Islands because they were being persecuted for being Protestant. They came to the United States during the Civil War and settled in Springfield, Illinois, where most of my family still live and where I was born.

What skills do the well-brought-up daughters of minor nobility possess? How can they make a living in this world? Well, some of them are good with the needle, as my great-great-aunt was. She was eventually chosen to make this gown, one reason my family has always felt a tie to Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. (The other is being from Springfield, of course.)

My mother has the leftover material from the making of Mary Todd Lincoln's inaugural gown. It's on a national historic registry of significant thingys. I've seen it. I've held it. And it's funny for me to see the actual gown and know that the piece of material we have in my mother's closet was once connected to what I see in this picture and that my family had a connection, no matter how minor, to the Lincolns.

On Monday, we celebrate President's Day in honor of two truly great men, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. I just thought I'd share that personal tidbit of my own American history with you.

Don't forget to check out the new poll!
Thursday, February 12, 2009

V-Day / Naked Edge — An excerpt!



Elizabeth, if you're out there, you won a copy of Extreme Exposure. Please send me your snail address as soon as possible!

Everyone else's prizes are in the mail, including the Surrender winners on Barbara's blog.

Only one more day to vote in the current poll.

In case you're wondering exactly how to use this poll to your advantage, I'll explain. You just scroll down the the poll, then giggle loudly and say so that your hubby/boyfriend/significant other can hear you, "Oh, honey, come look at this!"

Then when he looks, you give him a little affectionate nuzzle and say, "Guess how I voted?"

This leaves him no choice but to read all the different ways you could have voted, thus giving him a solid expectation of what he now needs to do, given that we're down to the wire on Valentine's Day.

Speaking of Valentine's Day...



There are places in this world where the books I write — the books you read — are considered abominable filth. Women who write them are considered no better than prostitutes.

It's no coincidence that those same countries treat women abysmally. In many of those countries, a wife is a woman who has no right to say "no" to the man she married. She has no safe place to go if he beats her, no one who will help her if he tries to kill her. He can divorce her at will, though she can't divorce him. And if they do divorce, she loses her children.

In some of those countries, women have been sentenced to public rape as punishment for the crimes of men in their families. Some are killed by their brothers or fathers for dishonor — real or imagined — that they've brought to their families. Some have been flogged for reporting rape; when the attacker denies it but admits to "having sex" with her, she's punished for fornication.

In some of those countries, women have no access to contraception or to skilled medical care when they're pregnant or when they give birth. They die in droves. Married off sometimes even before they reach puberty, they fear sex. Some suffer mutilation, preventing them from even being able to enjoy sex and making birth more complicated and more painful.

The bottom line is that we are lucky to live in a place and time that allows us to live the lives we live. We are free in a way that women have never been free before. We can love whom we choose. We can read what we want. We can kiss our beloved in public. We can get married or divorced. We can have children — or we can just have sex for fun.

My career as a journalist has largely been focused on fighting to make women's lives better. It's why I became a journalist. My own past — I was sexually assaulted as a child — made me sensitive to the suffering of women. So what's the moral of the story? What's the point of all this depressing stuff?

Women are suffering sexual oppression and abuse around the world, so take V-Day to do something nice for your vagina!

Here's a little V-Day treat.

From Chapter 10 of Naked Edge...


Kat parked her truck on the street in front of Gabe’s house, then dug the police report out of her briefcase. Careful not to leave her keys in the ignition, she stepped out into the cold wind and headed up the walkway toward his front door, trying not to notice the nervous flutter in her stomach, a part of her excited to see him again and a part of her wishing she could climb back in her truck and drive away.

I wanted you so badly that, if you hadn’t stopped, I’m not sure what would have happened.


She cringed inwardly at the memory of her own words, feeling exposed in a way she’d never felt before. But her feelings really didn’t matter. Her people were depending on her. Grandpa Two Crows was depending on her. She climbed his front steps, rang the doorbell, and waited.

And waited.

Disappointed that he wasn’t home, she headed back down the walk to her truck, planning to call and leave him a message when she got back to the office. She unlocked the door, climbed into the cab and was about to drive off when her cell phone rang. She dug her phone out of her purse and saw that the call was coming from a payphone. Hoping Pauline’s mother hadn’t kicked her out of the house again, she answered. “Katherine James.”

But the voice she heard was not Pauline’s. It didn’t even sound human.

Cold and mechanical, it sang in her ear. “Ten little, nine little, eight little Indians / Seven little, six little, five little Indians / Four little, three little, two little Indians / One little Indian… dead.”

The last word lingered in a long, drawn-out exhalation that made the Kat’s pulse spike and the hair on her nape rise. Then there was silence.

“Who is this? Who’s calling?”

But the caller had already hung up.

Kat drew the phone away from her ear and stared at it, stunned. Like any reporter worth his or her salt, she’d gotten death threats before, but there was something about this call, something malevolent…

Report it to the police.

That’s what she needed to do. But not the Boulder police. She didn’t want to have to deal with them again. She’d wait to report it till she was home in Denver. She drew a breath and glanced around her but saw no one.

What did you expect to see, Kat? Some thug in a ski mask watching you?

Feeling silly, she stuck her key in the ignition and started the engine.

She’d just pulled out of the parking space, when her cell phone rang again. Her foot slammed on the brake, and for a moment she froze. Then slowly she reached over and picked up the phone—relief rushing through her when she saw Gabe’s name on the LCD display.

She answered. “This is Kat.”

“Hey, it’s me, Gabe. I need to see you. I need to talk to you.” His words were slightly slurred, and there was an edge to his voice that she hadn’t heard before. Was he drunk? “Can we meet someplace? I just really need to see you.”

“Where are you?” It sounded like there was a party in the background.

“At the West End Tavern. Been here since they opened. It’s happy hour, but they won’t serve me another drink. I guess they figure I’m happy enough.”

So he was drunk.

“I’m in Boulder.” She didn’t tell him she was in the middle of the street in front of his house. “Stay there, and I’ll meet you in a few minutes, okay?”

“You’re coming here?” The surprise in his voice made him sound boyish and strangely vulnerable.

“I’ll be there in about ten minutes.” She took her foot off the brake and pressed on the gas. “And Gabe?”

“Yeah, honey?”

She’d be lying if she said that hearing him call her honey had no affect on her. “Ask the bartender for a glass of water.”

# # #

“Here we are.” Her arm around his waist, Kat leaned Gabe against the brick wall just outside his own front door, having maneuvered him out of her truck and up the walk—no easy task when he was almost a foot taller than she and outweighed her by at least eighty pounds. Not only did the extra weight hurt her weak leg, but she was afraid she’d slip and they’d both fall. “Do you have your keys?”

“In my pocket.” He made no move to get them, but ducked down and nuzzled her cheek, then buried his nose in her hair, breathing deep. “Mmm. God, you smell good—sweet and clean and good enough to eat. Do you know that?”

“Um… ” Kat tried to stay focused on what she was doing, not what she was feeling, her skin burning where his lips had touched her. She reached inside his coat pockets, but found no keys. “Are you sure you didn’t leave your keys at the bar?”

“Back pocket.” He shifted, drew her against him, almost tottering them both to the concrete as he nibbled her earlobe. “God, I want you! I want to kiss you until you can’t think. I want to kiss those perfect breasts. I want to taste you everywhere. I want to fuck you so damn bad. You don’t even know what I mean, do you?”

Kat was forced to press herself against him to reach his back pocket, her hand sliding over the worn denim of his jeans, only butter-soft fabric between her palm and the disturbingly hard muscles of his butt. “I… I think I do know what you mean.”

He groaned, his breath hot, his hips flexing against her, giving away his erection, his tongue seeking and teasing the whorl of her ear. “You might know what I mean, but you can’t know what I mean, not really. I mean, you’re extra virgin, honey.”

She retrieved the keys, twisting to her left so that she could unlock the door. She tried to change the subject, this one far too unsettling, especially when he nibbled the sensitive skin below her ear. “D-do you like your coffee black?”

“You have no idea what it’d feel like to have a my mouth between your legs. I’d suck on your clit till you came. Then I’d slide my cock inside you, and you’d be so wet and so tight!” He nipped her throat with his teeth, his big hand sliding up from her waist to cup her breast, the contact scorching even through her sweater and bra. “I’d make you come. I’d make the dignified Katherine James scream. Mmm, God, yeah.”

His words drove the breath from her lungs, heat rushing into her cheeks. It took her a moment to realize she had no idea which key opened the door. She held up a shaking hand. “Which key… Which key is it, Gabe? Can you help me?”

“Have you ever had an orgasm? But you don’t want… And I can’t... ” He dropped his forehead head against her shoulder, the hand that had touched her breast now balled into a fist as he drew it away. “Get a grip, Rossiter, you stupid fuck.”

“Gabe?” If he passed out, they would both land in the snow. “Which key?”

# # #

Gabe woke up naked in his own bed, certain he was an inch from death. His head throbbed. His mouth was as dry as sand and thick with the sour after-taste of single malt. And his stomach…

Oh. God!

His skull seeming to shatter, he sat, felt his stomach revolt, and made a staggering, stumbling dash to the bathroom, where he spent the next ten minutes puking his guts out like a frat boy. When he was reasonably certain it was over, he flushed and rested his cheek against the porcelain rim.

“Do you feel better now?” a soft feminine voice asked.

Kat?

What the hell was she doing here?

He opened one eye, saw her standing in the doorway. And then he remembered. He’d called her from the bar. She’d come for him, driven him home and…

I’d make you come. I’d make the dignified Katherine James scream.

He closed his one eye, groaned.

You’re lucky she didn’t drop you on the concrete, dickhead!

Now, he was sprawled naked on his bathroom floor using the toilet as a pillow.

Yeah, well, if that didn’t turn her on, nothing would.

He heard the sound of running water, and then she was there, kneeling beside him, wiping his face with a cool, damp cloth. “Oh, you poor, silly goat!”

Silly goat?

He sat up, wincing as his skull exploded, then felt her press a glass of cold water and two pills—Christ, he hoped they were aspirin!—into his hands. He opened both eyes, almost wept for joy when he recognized them as Excedrin. Then he popped the pills and washed them down with gulps of cold, wonderful water. “More.”
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

And the winners are...



Sorry I'm so late in getting here today. It's been a busy day at the newspaper, what with a press deadline and my decision to file a FOIA request with the EPA...

Anyway, without further blathering, I want to announce the winners of my contest for signed copies of Extreme Exposure. I had originally planned only to give away the mis-autographed copy, but given the fact that so many new-to-me readers entered, I increased that number to two and now to THREE copies of the book.

So the winners are:

Jane

Elizabeth

and...

Linda A.

Congratulations!!!!

Please email me with your mailing addresses as soon as possible so that I can get these books in the mail to you.

Those of you who've been visiting my blog from Happily Forever After know that Barbara announced the winners in that contest also. Click HERE to read that post.

I hope everyone enjoys their prizes, and I'd like to thank Barbara for holding the contest and all of you who took the time to "pimp" it on your blogs or who took time to enter. I had a blast chatting with you.

Remember if you want an Untamed book mark, just send an S.A.S.E to my snail address: PO Box 1582, Longmont, CO 80502.

And stay tuned for more contests and fun.

Next up: An excerpt from Naked Edge.

And be sure to enter my latest poll!
Monday, February 09, 2009

Extreme Exposure giveaway update

I'm thrilled to see so many new-to-me readers entering for a signed copy of Extreme Exposure, so I'll up the stakes and offer two signed copies of the book.

All you have to do is click HERE to enter by 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10. I'll announce the winner on Feb. 11. So all the winners from Barbara's contest at Happily Forever After and the Extreme Exposure winners will get good news on Hump Day.

And isn't Wednesday really a great day for good news?
Sunday, February 08, 2009

Latest poll results / Extreme Exposure giveaway



Barring a last-minute rush in the next four hours, the "Fairy God Mother Menage a Trois" poll results are as follows.

In First Place as the most desire duo are Iain and Morgan MacKinnon with nine votes.

Tied in Second Place are three duos: Julian & Iain, Julian & Marc and Marc & Morgan, each receiving four votes.

In Third Place, with three votes, are Morgan & Nicholas.

The duos of Nicholas & Iain, Nicholas & Marc and Nicholas & Julian each received a single vote.

Julian & Morgan was the only duo not to receive a single vote.

Reece and Mr. Jiggle Stick got a single write-in vote, though perhaps more of you would have chosen this if you'd known you could.

Although I didn't cast a vote, I would have voted for Julian & Marc if — and only if — I'd had to choose just one. When it comes to Fairy God Mother fantasies, however, why not mix and match to suit your mood?

I'll leave the poll up for a couple of days so you can peek at the results.

The other poll that's still up finished last weekend, and it dealt with which book you'd like me to write next. I allowed you all to pick more than one, thinking that the multiple votes would offer a clear indicator of where your interests lie.

Not surprisingly, Connor's book — the next story in the MacKinnon's Rangers trilogy — placed first, ahead of Naked Edge, the next book in the I-Team series. An 18th-century Scottish or English historical came in third, followed by another Kengleigh/Blakewell historical. A paranormal story about King Arthur came in fifth, with an English medieval historical coming in last.

Fortunately, no one voted for "None of the Above." Whew! I guess I don't have to retire.

Of course, as of this past week, the order is set. Naked Edge is half done. It will be followed by a paranormal — yes, a paranormal — about King Arthur set in our time. And then we shall see whether another I-Team story or Connor's story comes next.

I wish I could write them all simultaneously, but I don't have enough RAM in my cranium for that.

So a funny thing happened on Friday... I was autographing Extreme Exposure for an excited reader when I accidentally started to write my sister's name instead of the reader's name. D'oh!

As a result, I am giving away a single copy of Extreme Exposure with a "Dear M..." scribbled out in it. I will autograph it and send it to one happy winner who can say, "Yeah, her books are okay, even if she's a ditz." To enter, just post and say that's why you're posting. I welcome lurkers to decloak, particularly if they haven't read any I-Team books.

Coming soon... New polls, a chat with Lord William Wentworth, and a sexy excerpt from Naked Edge!
Thursday, February 05, 2009

Interview with the MacKinnon brothers/Encore


The whipping post at Fort William-Henry.

These MacKinnon brothers are just a bit too popular for their own good. I had to wait for Connor to get good and drunk because I knew he wouldn’t answer some of these questions unless there was rum in his vein. So while we wait a few more minutes for him to drink, I thought I'd mention that his brothers, Iain and Morgan, are currently ahead in the Fairy Godmother Menage A Trois poll (hmm, that sounds strange, doesn't it?). I neglected to include an entry for "Reece and Mr. Jiggle Stick," which would have gotten at least one vote if I'd remembered to include it. So, if that's the menage you'd ask your Fairy Godmother to provide, just send me an email.

We’ll start with Ronlyn’s question for Morgan, so that Connor can have a bit more time with his flask.

For Morgan: Would you *really* have been able to leave Amalie behind?

Morgan: Aye, but only for her sake. If not for that mac-dìolain Rillieux, I would have left her on our weddin’ night. I’d have crept out by the postern gate and made my way to the river and then to the forest beyond. I couldna have stayed, and I couldna have taken her from the safety of the fort’s walls. It is strange to say it, but I see the hand of the Almighty in what happened that night. For if Rillieux had not taken us both, I’d ne’er have seen her again.

For Connor: Now that you're leading the Rangers, how do you relax during your downtime? AND (ok, so it's two questions) after watching both brothers fall in love with their wonderful wives, do you have a fanstasy woman in mind?

Connor: When I’m given leave, I go back the farm to see my family. My nephews and my wee niece — they grow like weeds! Iain Cameron has the run of the house now. And the twins — my namesake, Connor, and little Joseph, they look so like Morgan. Sweet Mara is as fair as her mother. Aye, Iain will have his hands full when she nears womanhood, so he will.

When I’m in camp, I enjoy a gill of rum wi’ my men, talkin’ of friends lost and battles won, listening to Dougie play.

And whene’er I’m sent to Albany, why then I pay a visit to the pub in search of ale and the pleasurable company of women. There are a goodly few in Albany who consider it a joy to pass the night wi’ me.

A fantasy woman? [grins] Are you askin' me if there's a woman in my mind when I... um... Can you truly be askin' me that?

Connor, I think she means to ask whether you have an ideal woman in mind when you think of the sort of woman you might love and wish to marry.


Connor: Forgi'e me. I misunderstood. I dinnae let myself think on that. I'm no' the sort of man a good lass would wish to marry.


For Connor: Connor take care, because I want to see you happily married to the love of your life with at least a half dozen little Connors running around your home and a few sweet little lasses that look just like their mother.

Connor: ’Tis kind of you to make such a wish for me, but… [shakes head, takes a drink from his flask] Some men are meant to take wives and father children. Look at Iain. Or Morgan! Or young Brendan. He’s got two daughters, that one does. But I… I ken naugh’ but this war. Strange to say, but I’ve fought the French longer than either of my brothers. I was three-and-twenty when Wentworth forced us to take the King’s schilling. I sometimes wonder… If the war ends, what will become of men like me? ’Tis a waste of time to think upon. The future holds naugh' of the sort for me. I’ve long kent that this war will be the end of me. I will die in battle.

---

On that cheerful note, I thought I'd mention that I do have one question for Lord William Wentworth that I've saved up. So if you have more questions for the MacKinnon Brothers or for Lord William, email them to me. In the meantime, Barbara's contest is still going on, and there are a few more days to vote in my latest silly poll.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Contest! Contest! Contest!



Hi, everyone!

I just wanted to pop in to announce that lovely Barbara of Happily Ever After fame is holding a contest tomorrow — that's Wednesday, Feb.3 — to give away a set of autographed MacKinnon's Rangers books. One lucky winner will received autographed copies of both Surrender and Untamed.

If you've never read the books, this is your chance to score some free reading material. If you have read them, it's your chance to win a pair of books signed by me. I can't remember which version of the cover Surrender has — maybe Barbara can post and tell us — but the words inside are the same regardless, aye?

To participate in the contest, just pop over to Happily Ever After on Wednesday.

For those of you — Ronlyn, Debbie and Jo — who have questions pending with Connor, I must tell you that I got pulled out of my "channeling" duties this afternoon when our lead story at the paper fell through and I had to start working on something new. I've been researching the story and doing interviews all afternoon and evening and am about to dip my quill in the ink jar and get some words onto parchment. We'll have to finish chatting with Connor later.
Sunday, February 01, 2009

Interview with the MacKinnon brothers




We stop in at the MacKinnon family farm north of Albany in the Colony of New York to ask Iain, Morgan and Connor questions sent to me by readers. Here's what they had to say. Feel free to post additional questions for the three brothers, and they'll answer.
————

For Iain: If you had been laird of the MacKinnon clan during the '45,would you have done anything differently, and why/why not?


Iain: Och, well, ’tis an easy thing to look back at a battle that has been lost and quarrel wi’ how it was fough, aye? But ’tis clear that the hielan’ laddies had many misfortunes in the hours afore the battle. If they hadna marched through the night toward Nairn, if they hadna been conflummixt in the dark, if they hadna let that butcher, Cumberland, choose the ground upon which they fought, then perhaps they’d have won at Blàr Chùil Lodair. Even so, that mac-dìolain Cumberland, kennin’ his troop couldna stand to charge of hielan’ men wi’ claidheamh mòr had trained his troops to shoot from afar wi’ muskets. ’Twas our pride that led us to fecht when we were overtired and to let the enemy choose the battlefield, but ’twas their muskets that sent many a good hielan’ man to his grave. If our fathers and grandfathers had kent the Ranger way of fightin’, they’d have won the battle and the crown would now rest on a regal head instead of upon the brow of that German heretic.

For Iain: If you—

Connor: When are you goin’ to be askin’ me a question?

Morgan: Hauld your whist! You’ll ken when she’s askin’ you a question because she’ll be askin’ you a question, aye? Dinnae heckle her!

Um, ok, for Iain: If you had seen Annie and fallen in love with her then, knowing your families to be in opposition, what would you have said/done to convince her of your feelings for her, were she to be (with all due respect to a woman I am guilty of envying, LOL) such a lackwit as to not want to be with you?

Iain: [laughs] Her da’ wouldna ha’ let her speak wi’ me. I’d ha’ claimed her in the old way — by makin’ her my captive and bride. She’d no’ ha’ been pleased, but I’d ha’ won her heart in the end. Once she’d seen the beauty of Skye, aye, and spent a night or two in my bed, she’d ha’ been blythe. [grins]

For Iain: What makes you feel more alive than anything else in the whole world?

Connor: He isna the only MacKinnon here.

Morgan: ’Tis his story the lassies kent when they were asked to gi’ her questions — his and Annie’s.

Connor: When will they be hearin’ my story?

Morgan: If you dinnae shut your gob, they’ll ne’er hear it because I’ll heave your arse in the river!

Iain: What makes me feel alive? Hearin’ my bairns laugh. Hearin’ Annie singin’ little Iain Cameron and Mara to sleep. Wakin’ up wi’ Annie in the morn’. Takin’ to my bed wi’ her at night. Sittin’ by the fire wi’ my brothers and the men, sharin’ a gill or two of rum. After years of fightin’, ’tis the happiness of those I love that matters to me most.

For Iain: How was it growing up with two brothers like Conner and Morgan were there a lot of fights at home? And Conner and Morgan feel free to jump in on this, too!

Iain: They were good lads, but stubborn as oxen, and fights, aye, we had a few. They were always underfoot, always wantin’ to be doin’ whate’er I was doin’. The day I earnt my warrior marks, Morgan picked a fight—

Morgan [grinning]: And struck you in face, blackenin’ your eye.

Iain: He envied me for bein’ a man while he was still a lad.

Morgan: Aye, I did. But you set me in my place soon enough, brother.

Connor: I’m thinkin’ on the time Rebecca first took Iain as her lover. Morgan and I followed them into the forest—

Iain: And made such a bloody din tryin’ to tiptoe after us that I caught you and sent you back to the village wi’ your tails atwixt your legs. Aye, you were always underfoot, as I’ve said.

For all of you: What would they like/need to do/see before dying?

Morgan: If I could, I’d take Amalie and our sons to see Scotland and France.

Iain: I’d take Annie and the bairns to Skye and breathe the sea air again.

Connor: [silent] To see this bloody war ended and have peace on the frontier again.

For all of them: What thing would they miss the most if they were deprived of it? A thing not a person, nor a concept (so not freedom).

Iain: [grins] My wife’s lovin’.

Morgan: [laughs] Aye, that would be it.

Connor: A flask of rum in my hand and a lass in my bed.

Morgan has tasted what French girls are made of. Don’t the others feel they are missing out?

Morgan:
[frowns] They’d best curb their curiosity, else I may be forced to geld them.

Iain: [chuckles] Easy, brother. The only woman I’ll ever want or need is my sweet Annie.

Connor: [big grin on his face] It doesna matter to me whether a lassie is French, Scottish, Dutch or even English, so long as she is soft, well made and willing.

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Favorite Writing Quotes


"I am an artist. I am here to live out loud."
—Emile Zola

"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day."
—James Joyce

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."
—Jane Austen

"Writers are those for whom writing is more difficult that it is for others."
—Ernest Hemingway

"When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth."
—Kurt Vonnegut

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar is the test of their power."
—Toni Morrison

"No tears in the author, no tears in the reader."
—Robert Frost.

"I'm a writer. I give the truth scope."
—the character of Chaucer in
A Knight's Tale