Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Anne Gracie's Scottish Affair

I've had a love affair with Scotland all my life. I grew up with a father who, like his father and grandfather before him, quoted Rabbie Burns at the drop of a hat, and we recited the Selkirk grace at dinnertime. That was even before we went to live in Scotland for a year when I was eight. My siblings and I came back to Australia speaking broad Scottish - as a kid, you learn to fit in pretty quickly.

Yet I've never set a story in Scotland. Partly this was because my first editor was English and she saw nothing whatsoever romantic about Scotsmen or Scotland.

And just in case my first editor happens to be reading this, here's one reasons why Scottish romances are fabulous:

So when Trisha Telep asked me to contribute a story to the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance, I jumped at the chance. I had such fun with the story, too.

My hero, Cameron, is laird in name only — his inheritance is in the hands of his uncle until Cameron turns thirty, or marries. His uncle is spending money like water and nothing Cameron says will stop him. Cameron storms out, swearing to marry the first eligible woman he meets...

So Cameron sets off, followed by his two cousins, who've bet on the outcome of the vow — and taken a wee dram or three of the Good Stuff along the way...

Of course, the first woman Cameron meets is entirely unsuitable.... on the surface. Not that he can see much of her surface -- he's run her and her sheep into a bog, and she's covered in mud.

But there's more to Jeannie Macleay than meets the eye... and she's no pushover. Cameron is in for a learning experience...

Here's an excerpt — but to get you in the mood first, here's another reason why you should read Scottish romances!

The girl followed her sheep, putting as much distance between herself and the men as she could, running swiftly despite the clumsy, man-sized boots. Cameron watched her thoughtfully.

When he'd made his rash statement he had no thought of wedding anyone except a lady born. This bog sprite shepherdess was totally unsuitable.

But he'd never broken his word before. Rashness gave way to serious thought; there might be wives to be had in Inverness — ladies — but how long would it take to get one to wed him? And how much would his uncle squander in the meantime?

Jimmy grabbed him by the shoulder. "Well, Cammie, will ye wed her or no? There's a bet on."

Cameron swore softly under his breath. The girl was young, unmarried and born outside the estate. What difference would it make anyway who he wed? Women were for running the house and birthing babes and any female could do that. Getting control of his inheritance was what counted. Besides, the little he knew of ladies born was that they were a lot of trouble. They expected a man to dance attendance on them, whereas a lass like this, country bred and down-to-earth...

She floundered in the mud. Very down-to-earth.

"Aye, I'll wed her," he declared.

"Aha—" Jimmy began, then let out a yell. "She's getting away. Don't worry, Cam, I'll get her back for ye." And without warning he jumped on his horse and galloped after the girl.

"Och, the mad fool," Donald began. "Whatever will she think—"

Cameron leapt on his horse and set off after Jimmy.

The girl, seeing Jimmy bearing down on her, screamed defiance at him and ran faster. Jimmy let out a whoop, as if he was running down a hind.

"Leave her be, Jimmy," Cameron roared.

But Jimmy was almost on the girl and oblivious. With a blood-curdling yell he scooped her up and tossed her over his saddle. She fought and struggled but Jimmy just laughed and smacked her on the backside as he wheeled his horse around and cantered back to Cameron with a triumphant grin.

"I fetched her for ye—yeeeowww!" He broke off with a yell of pain. He stared down at the girl in shock. "She bit me! The wee vixen bit me!"

The wee vixen moved to bite his leg again and Jimmy hastily shoved her off his horse. She dropped lightly to the ground and glanced warily around, preparing to run again.

* * * * *

Mine is just one of twenty-one stories in the collection. It's a fabulous read.

The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance - edited by Trisha Telep

Released January 4th 2011 in the USA, Jan. 27 in the UK

And just in case you need reminding, here's a third reason why Scottish romances are fabulous:

So what about you -- do you think Scotland is romantic, or do you agree with my first editor?

Anne Gracie


Jill said...

I love books about Scotland and Scottish romances!
I wasn't at all tainted by my father who grumbled about his time in Scotland. He was in the American Navy and was never stationed in Scotland, but he spent a lot of time at Holy Loch in the 70s. He's not a big fan of rain ;-)

ev said...

Sean Connery. Age really doesn't matter for men does it???

PJ said...

Definitely romantic! I adore Scottish romances. Scotland is my favorite setting for historical romance and, of course, I love everything you write, Anne! Can't wait to pick up The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance!

Oh, and I agree about Sean Connery. The man only gets better with age. :)

Linda Henderson said...

I have always loved all things Scotland, it's just always seemed like such a romantic country. And the men in kilts doesn't hurt either.

seriousreader at live dot com

Michele L. said...

Ooo..those men are sexy in their kilts! Love, love, love stories set in Scotland! Dig those accents and the manly men.

Would love to buy the Mammoth Book. It sure would satisfy my yearning for all things Scottish.

Estella said...

I love Scottish romances!

Anne said...

Jill, I agree, Scottish stories are such fun. And yes, there's a lot of rain, as there is in ireland, and it makes for lush, beautiful vegetation, but hey, in romance we edit rain out where necessary.

Hi Ev, Sean Connery is still a sexy devil, isn't he? And he looks great in a kilt.

Anne said...

Hi PJ, thanks for the lovely endorsement. I did have a lot of fun with this story.
And yes, sigh, Sean -- well i won't say he gets better with age, but he ages beautifully.
I also love the way he has given back so much to his country, in quiet, practical ways. Makes me think he's a true hero.

Linda, I agree with you about the romance of Scotland. Maybe visitors seeing a country view it with rose colored glasses, whereas the locals tend to take it all for granted.

Anne said...

Michelle, yes, a deep, sexy Scots accent sends shivers down my spine. Lovely.
I think you'll enjoy the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance -- there are stories there for every taste.

Estella, thanks for dropping by. Hope you enjoy my Scottish romance. It's given me a taste for more.

Pat Cochran said...

Love, Love Scottish romances!
They were among the earliest books
that I read, waaaay back in the ancient days!

Maggi Andersen said...

Nice excerpt, Anne! I love the wild beauty of Scotland, and I must say the men aren't half bad either.

Anne said...

Pat, I'm with you. In fact I've read a few of those old romances this last holiday period. Lovely.

Thanks Maggi - and I certainly agree with you about the beauty of Scotland.

Mary said...

I love Scotland for romances. I love readinf words like, Lass, Ack, Wee Bit, ect..., lol Gotta love that scottish accent.

I will sometimes buy a book just because it's set in scotland, that's how much I love reading romance stories set in Scotland.

Oh and Sean Connery is still hot.

Anne said...

Mary, thanks for dropping by. I agree with all you've said. I hope you enjoy the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance.
and hoots awa'