Monday, April 30, 2012

Poetry Monday

Man of letters: Scotland's national poet Robert Burns

For those of you following along, do you like how Bad Poetry Monday is now just "Poetry" Monday?? :0)

Reason being is that I can only post so much bad poetry before my eye twitches and it just did. SO! Today we have a lovely poet and one that is near to my heart because he is the beloved Scotsman Robbie Burns (or as they say in Scotland Rabbie).

The following poem is from the most excellent book, The Best Laid Schemes, Selected Poetry & Prose of Robert Burns. Note, it is in Scots so it might be hard to read. But no matter I've put in my highly academic translation to the poem below it. ;0)

[Oh Wert Thou in the Cauld Blast] 

Oh wert thou in the cauld blast, 
On yonder lea, on yonder lea;
My plaidie to the angry airt,
I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee: 
Or did misfortune's bitter storms 
Around thee blaw, around thee blaw; 
Thy bield should be my bosom, 
To share it a', to share it a'.

O were I in the wildest waste, 
Sae black and bare, sae black and bare, 
The desart were a paradise, 
If thou wert there, if thou weret there. 
Or were I monarch o' the globe, 
Wi' thee to reign, wi' thee to reign; 
The brightest jewel in my crown, 
Wad be my queen, wad be my queen. 

Translation [ala Becky]:
If you were in that cold blast of wind on the other side of this building that made my cloak whip around crazy like I would have sheltered you [despite his cloak being whipped about]. If not in that crazy winter storm, where the wind was whipping about, your shelter should be my heart and I'd share it with all [sort of makes him sound like a philanderer (which he was, er, or rather gave his love to many women...)]. If I were in the wildest waste [craziest state? wildly wasted? this is a little unclear to decipher], so black and bare, if the desert were a paradise and you  were there and I were the king of the world with you to reign, the brightest jewel in my crown would be my queen.

So, what IS he talking about? The weather or love? Both?

And one more thing, is it just me or does Henry Cavill look just like Robbie Burns??

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Power of Seduction and the Written Word

Bottecelli's Venus and Mars

It's done.

The peer reviewer comments are all in. And the response is overwhelming, there are minor things to edit to get the story straight but what I've created is another visceral story that will transport you to the character's world. It's gritty, raw and emotionally charged. It is, according to one reviewer, a high octane adventure (both in and out of the bedroom).

I also had feedback that startled me - in a good way. They said, this isn't The Legend of Lady MacLaoch. It's better. Good. Different. My writing has evolved from TLoLM and created a story that is dark and emotionally engrossing.

There were several reviewers who put an emotional hand on the manuscript with an open mouth trying to describe what they thought of the book in one word answers. "Good. Like amazing. I think I'm gonna read it again. No I'm definitely reading it again. Wow." All looking like they needed a cigarette after the last page.

And the take away? "Duct tape scene." they say with a deep breath in, "Wow. Just, wow."

Okay. Cocktease is over. Back to editing.

Read the early review of Forged by Annie at the Small Book Blog here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MacLaoch Wednesday

Image of Skye from Highland Explorer Tours
Today's post is for all the new readers of The Legend of Lady MacLaoch. We went on tour last month to Portree, a small town on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Portree is the real life town that the fictional Scottish town, Glentree (from the book), is based upon.

One thing I wanted to spend more time on during the slideshow was the Ben Tianavaig Bed & Breakfast. This great B&B on the cliffs of Portree is run by the very animated couple, Bill and Charlotte. Check out their website in the above link and find them on Facebook for great Skye updates, such as the weather, local music, and other local Portree things of interest.

Bill and Charlotte are a dynamic duo that made such a deep impression that I felt it was pertinent to have them play a large role in the novel. Do note that while staying with them Charlotte did NOT set me up with her nephew, nor do I think she has one that would be so obtuse as Fletcher is. . . or maybe she does. . .

In the slideshow you'll be taken on a tour of the MacLaoch stomping grounds and a visual interpretation of who Rowan is. Though, it's only one interpretation, he it seems, has a different interpretation for everyone of my readers. The REAL Rowan is out there somewhere. For those who've read in my past interviews you know that he's based loosely on the bartender at the hotel I had drinks at in Portree. Alas, I didn't think of it at the time to get his photo - so we'll just have to our imaginations. ;0)

Without further ado, here is an encore of the MacLaoch scenic tour:

NOTE: The following tour will take you to a slideshow, click the forward arrow at the bottom to take it at your own pace. I'd not recommend the "play" arrow unless you only have 10 seconds to watch the whole thing. :0)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Poetry Monday

Today if you are in Portland (or in the Pacific Northwest for that matter) you are acutely aware that the sun is beating down outside and we are racking up record temps for today. We'll probably reach 80 degrees by the time the day is out, which is PHENOMENAL for Portland this time of year.

In this vein I decided to dig up a scrapped poem I did last year while sitting in the sun, in April no less. April seems to be the month we relish the sun the most, the month where it plays games with our NW hearts as it peeks out and hides again from behind the clouds.

So here it is on this sunny Northwest day:


The sun is like a warm hand upon my face 
Cupping gently against my skin
Warm and reassuring, like a lovers gaze
And when it disappears behind a cloud
So too is its love, wrenched from me
Leaving me cold and longing in its wake
Yet it returns once more and I bask
Unquestioningly in its glow

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MacLaoch Wednesday

Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye.

While I'm busily getting the Forged manuscript ready for the editors I've been guilty of ignoring my first book-child The Legend of Lady MacLaoch. So today I thought I'd announce that Wednesday's will be dedicated to all things Legend. Most of it will be random whiskey posts (ha-ha!) though I think a good smattering of Legend info. Today we dive back into Rowan MacLaoch's favorite whiskey - the Talisker 25 year. This (shamefully) is one of the whiskeys I've yet to sample. The tasting notes within the book are taken strictly from the Talisker Distillery's tasting notes. Okay, maybe not strictly I have tasted the 10 year to be knowledgeable of what "Talisker identity" and "seaweed" would be like. Of which, those notes you can taste in the 10 year.

So what does the 25-year taste like? To know for sure you'll have to get yourself a dram, though for those of us who are in front of our computer and not at our nearest Scottish whiskey bar (try The Highland Stillhouse if you're in the Portland, Ore. area) here are the tasting notes from Talisker themselves:

Nose drying. Seaweed and old oranges, with smoke in the distance and some chalk. Surprisingly fruity and juicy, although with clear Talisker identity. With water almost soapy, a waxy sweetness. Smoke still present, but now more fragrant.

Firm. Slippery smooth. [still talking about the whiskey here, I promise]

Sweet and meek to start, with some acidity and saltiness. Extraordinary flavour development. Becomes dry, stony, minerally, dusty, toasty. Ground white pepper. Chillies.

Medium to long, slightly bitter, drying finish with a warming effect. 

Talisker has an excellent visual experience and paring guide for each of their whiskeys, click here to visit them (must be 21 or over to enter). 

Excerpt from The Legend of Lady MacLaoch: 

[Cole is at a pub and is closing out her tab - on a night she's ready to forget - when when the clan chief of the MacLaoch's steps up next to her.]

He moved in beside me and very gently took the credit card receipt from my hand, read my name, and handed it to Johnny the barkeep.
            “Johnny, put this on our tab, aye? And I’ll have a dram of the Talisker twenty-five year.” His voice was smooth, no hint of the anger he’d just demonstrated.
            I watched as my receipt got shredded and Johnny reversed the credit on the little machine he’d used to run my card. Johnny moved with silent obedience to this man, and I watched all this as the MacLaoch watched me. . . read more here

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bad Poetry Monday

Still trippin' down memory lane on Bad Poetry Monday. Today we have a poem about my childhood dogs - written when I was knee high to a grasshopper. My dogs then were awesome Labrador Retrievers, one white and one chocolate - as you'll discover. :0) Enjoy!


Dear Kolu*
Your eyes are so brown
Your fur is so white
Your drool is like shoelaces on a long winter's night.
Your ears are so soft 
They're like puffy round cotton balls. 
But my other dog Mocha is so sweet dark and bald!

*Kolu, is short for ekolu or the number three in Hawaiian.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Rowan and Cole Do it AGAIN!!

Illustration by Hoang Nguyen from Diana Gabaldon's The Exile
For all of you loyal fans who want more, more MORE Rowan MacLaoch and our leading lady Cole. Your prayers have been answered. Posted TODAY for the first time EVER is the deleted love scene between Cole and Rowan. Cole has returned home to South Carolina with Rowan and stands amid her family's peach orchard when he comes for her. It's hot, humid and worth every second.

The fabulous Amy of The Lady Reader Bookstuff is hosting this love fest today as her A-Z Challenge post. I think it's the best challenge post today, but leave her some sugar in her comment box and tell her that I'm not the only one that thinks so. :0)

Cheers and happy reading.

PS - she is also hosting a book giveaway - so if you still haven't snagged a paperback copy of The Legend of Lady MacLaoch, this is another chance to!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bad Poetry Monday

Many moons ago I was an angst riddled teenager with a lethal dose of prepubescent adolescent hormones in my blood. In that stage I wrote the majority of my poetry. It's not really poetry it's more like words on a page with clipped sentences. But, it's emotion fueled and I dug some up to share Monday's here at the blog.

Here the first of them, this is dedicated to every woman who's been jilted by a guy. And ho' boy is it RAW!


In the moment I knew him
I knew all I needed to about love.
 He held me enraptured.
My serpentine defenses
Fell dead upon his feet
As I watched to see
If the key he possessed
Fit the lock on my black heart.
 Instead he removed
A brick from my mighty tower.
And down I fell.
A secret to my handsome warrior
I am yours
My defenses have crumbled
Come to me once more
My serpents will not bite
My black heart will not drown
And the keyhole you will reach.
 I beg you from my crumbled perch.
Come again and try once more for me.
I now see the picture you portray.
The woman you desire does not hold my name.
I see you now my prince all too clearly.
 A word of advice for my handsome warrior,
Come again and
The serpents will devour you
The black knowledge will drown you
And the keyhole will never have your key.
 I used to think that I knew all of love.
But how suddenly I realized that all I knew was nothing.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Flower Floozie

This weekend is Hortlandia! Aka the Hardy Plant Society Sale here in Portland - the convention center teems with vendors as wild eyed gardeners ripe with Spring fever rush in to capture the latest and greatest.

This morning my friend and I arrived right at 10 am when it opened only to be greeted by a hundred other gardeners with exact same idea... Needless to say there were flowers and plants for everyone! We made away with some pretty stellar stuff - including the newest variety of horticultural fashion, a hot pink coneflower compete with a center pompom. That I'll have to be patient for, because it won't bloom until late summer. *bites fingernails*

Here's a part of the score: