So, to mark the occasion, I thought I'd start a new type of promotion - authors describing the settings of their novels. This adds a more personal touch as location plays an important role in many settings.
My Place - Ballachulish:
I love exploring stunning landscapes, so for me there was no question about where Highland Arms, should be based: Ballachulish!
Baile a' Chaolais, the village's Gaelic name, means 'village of the narrows'. It lies at the junction where Loch Leven flows into the much larger Loch Linnhe. The original village lay in what is now North Ballachulish (Highland Arms is based just a couple of miles north along the shore of Loch Linnhe), with a settlement in South Ballachulish, now linked by a bridge, established later.
Ballachulish is less than a mile from Glencoe, at the entrance to the Glencoe hill range. The small villages nestle at the bottom of hills, with clouds always hovering low over the mountain tops. It is a magical place, highly atmospheric. Driving out of the Glencoe range, the view gives way over Loch Leven towards Loch Linnhe and more hills beyond. Breathtaking!
The shoreline of Loch Linnhe northwards provides a beautiful backdrop, views across to the scarcely populated western shore and north along the Great Glen. This location must have seemed utterly remote to an Edinburgh born and bred young lady. Occasional cottages, empty shells along Glencoe and humble huts along the shore of Loch Linnhe, saw tenants lead a hard life. Driving towards the north, we're now perfectly safe from the snow, sleet, hail, rain and the odd bit of sunshine we have experienced on our numerous trips. Now think back to travelling the Highlands in 1720!
My hero, Rory, loves it. But oh, poor Catriona!
Betrayed by her brother’s lies, Catriona MacKenzie is banished from her Edinburgh home to her godmother’s remote manor in the Highlands. While her father ponders her fate, Catriona’s insatiable curiosity leads her straight into trouble--and into the arms of a notorious Highlander.
Five years after an ill-fated Jacobite rebellion, Rory Cameron works as a smuggler to raise money for the cause--until Catriona uncovers a plot against him and exposes his activities. Now Rory is faced with a decision that could save their lives or destroy them both.
“What are you doing here?” Her voice croaked, and her clammy fingers fidgeted with the curtain tassels.
He remained silent, staring at her, the storm in his eyes relentless.
Her throat constricted in shock, she only managed a whisper. “I’m so sorry. How rude of me. I’m Catriona MacKenzie...from Edinburgh.” Why was she so nervous? After all, this was not their first encounter. But who was Rory Cameron that he wandered freely around Auntie Meg’s house?
As if he lived here.
“I know who you are. Now.” The tone of his voice held none of the humor he’d shown at the inn, none
of the flirtation. Instead, the chill in it sent icicles down her spine. His Highland lilt was strong, deliberately so, marking the difference to her accent.
“Auntie Meg told me about you when she received your father’s letter. Catriona, the fallen angel from the city.” He snorted and let his gaze rake at will over her curves.
Heat shot into her cheeks, setting her skin on fire. What gave him the right?
“I’m sorry but you are misinformed.” She crossed her arms under her breasts. The move did not escape his attention. He raised a fair eyebrow as his gaze focused on her décolleté. Quickly she lowered her arms again, entwining her fingers.
“Don’t you worry, Miss MacKenzie.” He laughed, though the humor never reached his eyes. “There
won’t be any temptation for you out here. Highlanders learnt a long time ago not to mess with Lowland ladies.”
He abruptly turned to the fire, grabbed a poker, and stoked the flames with fierce thrusts. The hissing of embers filled the room, and the rich scent of peat drifted to where she stood.
“Who are you?”
Highland Arms at The Wild Rose Press
Highland Arms at Amazon.com
Highland Arms at Amazon UK