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The High Road/The Low Road

June 28, 2024 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field tagged as , , , , ,

The Bonny Shores of Loch Lomond

Welcome to another Quarter Days’ Post

I celebrated the summer solstice a few days early with the release of my latest novel, A Wallflower’s Midsummer Night’s Caper, Book 15 in the multi-author Revenge of the Wallflowers series. More on that below, but first…

Midsummer in the far north

A visit to Scotland has been on my bucket list, and I was finally able to get there a few weeks ago. It’s a country of dramatic landscapes and many, many, many castles. Here’s one of the abandoned ones:

photo of Dunnottar Castle in Scotland
Dunnottar Castle

The rainy weather made for dramatic vistas and cloud formations.

A photo of the fairy pools on the Island of Skye in Scotland
The fairy pools of Skye

Everywhere we went, folks asked if we’d watched the series, Outlander, based on the books by Diana Gabaldon.

While Outlander has been a definite boon to their tourist industry, it seemed to me that many of the people we talked to really do treasure their proud, defiant past. They’ve moved on from tragedies but they haven’t entirely forgotten them.

The Culloden battlefield museum commemorates the Highlanders’ defeat by the British in 1746. What followed that battle was an attempt by the victors to destroy the Highland way of life.

Concerned about another rebellion by Highlanders, the British banned Highland dress and bagpipes. It would be years before author Walter Scott popularized Highland life again in his novel Waverley.

The High Road/The Low Road

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.

O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.

A photo of Loch Lomond in Scotland
Loch Lomond

After Culloden, not all captured rebels faced execution. Some were allowed to return to Scotland to share descriptions of the terrible punishment meted out by the British. Those spared death took the “high road” up and down mountains, through the glens, across rivers, on the long and difficult journey from England. The others–those drawn and quartered–sped along home to Scotland over the “low road”, their spirits escorted by the fairies, sadly, unable to reunite in this world with their true loves.

On a Happier Note

I prefer my romantic stories to have happy endings, don’t you?

My latest release is a happily-ever-after story about a young lady spurned at her first ball by her brother’s friend.

As Midsummer Night’s magic unfolds and passions rise, will a repentant duke be well and truly punished, or will a vengeful wallflower be caught in her own game?

A Midsummer Night’s masquerade at her family’s country home presents the Honorable Nancy Lovelace with the perfect opportunity for revenge against the man who ruined her first London season—a man she’s known since childhood, a man she’d once thought she loved. With the help of her crew of younger relatives, she’ll give him his comeuppance.

Thanks to his bad behavior, Simon Crayding is now known to society as the Swilling Duke. When an old school chum invites him for a Midsummer Night’s party, he jumps at the chance to lick his wounds among friends and apologize to his friend’s sister, Nancy, because apparently, he’s done something to hurt her, he just doesn’t remember what.

It soon becomes clear that Nancy will not easily forgive. Never one to resist a challenge—or a beautiful lady—Simon vows to persevere. As the night unfolds and passions rise, will Simon be well and truly punished, or will Nancy be caught in her own game?

Available wide in eBook and in print at Amazon. Find your favorite bookstore here: https://books2read.com/aWallflowersMidsummerNightCaper

I hope you enjoyed the Loch Lomond story. I had no idea before what the high road/low road of the song signified. Happy summer, and I’ll be back in September with another Quarter Days’ post.

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EYE OF THE BEHOLDER by Rebecca Forster

March 15, 2019 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , , , , ,

I was in the U.K. during the last two weeks and every second was a celebration of writing.  My son graduated with his masters in writing from Oxford (I am in awe), I met an author I had been corresponding with who managed to meet me in London on his way to the Netherlands. I had cocktails with a fan in London and another fan/friend/author in Edinburgh.  When all that was done, another new friend drove me around the city.

I saw J.K.Rowling’s house (actually, I saw her security hedge) and Alexander McCall Smith’s haunts. I went to the writers’ museum. There were statues of writers, dishtowels, t-shirts and cement blocks in the squares featuring literary quotes. I raised a glass at The World’s End Pub made famous by Outlander. Even though I have made a living writing for over thirty years, I felt as giddy as a newbie in this amazing city. But when my host drove me to a middle school and parked across the street, I was speechless.

I will pause here to make a confession. I have never read a Harry Potter book. I have never seen a Harry Potter movie. I have never been to Universal Studios and gone on the Harry Potter tour. But the moment I put eyes on the imposing school building – ancient stones black with soot, turrets sliced into pieces by narrow windows, an entrance door so large it would take ten people to open it or at least a magic spell – I knew this was the building that inspired Harry Potter.

Thousands of people drive by that school each day, hundreds of uniformed students walk the halls and parents attended teacher meetings. For them that place was a school; for Rowling it was a universe.

On the other end of town I found Alexander McCall Smith’s stomping grounds. There is no 44 Scotland Street. However, I did see 43 Scotland Street and that was all I needed to understand his work.

Edinburgh is behind me, but I will never forget the moment I recognized the home of Harry Potter or the neighborhood of 44 Scotland Street. The reader in me lives for these moments when an author’s inspiration meets my reality. The author in me dreams that one day a reader will stand in the middle of Hermosa Beach and recognize it as the place Josie Bates was born.

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