Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Introducing Author Rosemary Gemmell

I'm delighted to welcome Rosemary Gemmell to my blog today.  Like me, Rosemary is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association.  What is more, we both share a love of Scotland, where Rosemary is very fortunate to live.  Her latest book The Highland Lass has just been released, and Rosemary has very kindly agreed to take time out from her busy schedule to share some of her thoughts on setting.

The Inspiration of Setting

The setting in any novel is often one of the most important aspects of the story, for the author and the reader. This has never been truer than it is for the setting of The Highland Lass, my new Scottish novel, as it is mainly set around my own area in the west coast of Scotland and across the River Clyde.

Having been brought up and educated in Greenock in Inverclyde, my memories are suffused with the wonderful scenery and interesting places to explore. And that includes the large cemetery where ancient and sometimes elaborate graves stones, winding paths and overhanging trees provide much scope for imagination. This was where my mother first introduced me to the gravestone of Highland Mary, who was a brief but important love interest of Robert Burns. This early memory and a fascination for Mary Campbell was the inspiration for the short historical chapters of The Highland Lass.

Greenock and Gourock have an envious position right beside the River Clyde and across from Gourock lies the small seaside town of Dunoon in Argyll. From my side of the river, we can just about see the entrance to the Holy Loch, bordered by the towering Argyll hills and the American Navy was there based from the 1960s until the early 80s. This provided another thread in the story, as Eilidh is seeking the identity of her father, who may have been an American officer, as her mother used to attend the dances for the navy held on both sides of the river. Dunoon is also where Highland Mary was born and her statue forever looks across the Clyde.

The other main setting for the novel is Ayrshire, known as Burns country. Mary and Burns met and plighted their troth there in the 18th century and the small villages have hardly changed. The inn where Burns and his cronies met, Poosie Nancie’s, is still in the same street in Mauchline. Ayrshire is also where the blossoming relationship between modern heroine, Eilidh Campbell, and handsome Scot, Lewis Grant, takes another step forward.

There are even a couple of scenes in Glasgow, one of which takes place at the impressive Mitchell Library. Another setting that has always inspired me is Loch Lomond, especially the fairy-tale village of Luss where Lewis takes Eilidh one day, finishing at Duck Bay along the banks of the loch.

But it is around Inverclyde where all the story threads come together and where Eilidh finds the answers to the past. One of the best-known views where Greenock meanders into Gourock is from the Lyle Hill overlooking Cardwell Bay and the Argyll hills beyond. Along by this stretch of the Bay was the perfect setting for Eilidh’s return to Scotland.

Rosemary's latest Book, The Highland Lass is available from  Amazon UK and Amazon US

Eilidh Campbell returns to her Scottish roots from America with one main aim: to discover the identity of her real father. But her mother’s past in Inverclyde is a mystery with family secrets, a book of Robert Burns’ poems with a hidden letter and a photograph link to the Holy Loch at Dunoon when the American Navy were in residence.
Staying with her childhood friend, Kirsty, while searching for answers, Eilidh begins to fall in love with handsome Scot Lewis Grant, but just how free is he? Together they trace the story of Highland Mary and Robert Burns, with its echoes to her mother’s story. In short alternate chapters, Highland Mary tells her own story from 1785-6. From Dunoon, to Ayrshire and culminating in Greenock, Eilidh finds the past is closer than she realises.

Author Bio
A prize-winning writer, Rosemary Gemmell’s short stories, articles, and poems have been published in UK magazines, in the US, and online. She is now a historical and contemporary novelist and The Highland Lass is the first novel from Crooked Cat Publishing under her full name. She has also published historical novels and contemporary novellas with a touch of mythological fantasy from Tirgearr Publishing as Romy and tween books as Ros, as she likes to tackle a variety of writing genres and styles.
Rosemary has a BA (hons) in European literature and history and a post-graduate MA in Humanities from the Open University. She is a member of the Society of Authors, the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and the Scottish Association of Writers. She enjoys sharing writing information, and loves to dance!
You can contact Rosemary via her Website and Blog.  She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Please Welcome ....

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming award-winning author Aaron Paul Lazar to my blog.  Aaron is a multi-published author of the Gus LeGarde and Tall Pines mysteries, romantic suspense novels and love stories.

An Indian Soul
 by Aaron Paul Lazar

I’ve always been fascinated by Indian* culture. Not from a touristy point of view, mind you, but more from a strong, unyielding pull that comes from deep inside me and seems to grow stronger with every year.

I’m not sure why this is happening, but I do know I have some native blood flowing in my veins. My grandmother told me that one of her French Canadian ancestors married a native woman. I’ve been proud of that fact all my life, but went along blindly accepting the fact without asking more questions until it was too late. My grandmother and father both died in the same year—1997—and there’s no one else to query about which tribe my great, great, great grandmother may have belonged to, or where she lived in Canada. I do know that my grandmother was born in a little town named Beau Rivage, near Quebec, and that it no longer exists because of an intentional flooding done to create a lake, or some such thing. Some folks have suggested our tribe was the Metis, but I have no proof. I never asked my grandmother more than that. Sigh. I really wish I had.

But there’s something inside that draws me to the woods and outdoors with such a visceral pull, I can’t resist. I’m deeply happy when I’m hiking in the woods, tending my gardens, or sitting beside the Sacandaga River. I frequently imagine what life would have been like as an Indian brave—hunting, tending orchards, managing crops, running through the woods all day. It’s more than an occasional speculative thought. I seem to think about it a lot.

I believe God intended us to live as one with nature, managing our woods and fields carefully, without chemicals. This concept starkly contrasts with the lives many of us have now, sitting in an office behind a computer screen. Our bodies aren’t meant to do that, they’re meant to move and bend, with the strength and agility that comes from activity. If only we could somehow recapture the beautiful, natural ways of our ancestors who lived and nurtured the land, I know we’d eliminate high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and more.

When I started to write my Don’t Let the Wind Catch You, the sequel to Tremolo: cry of the loon, I decided to make the ethereal spirit who shows up in chapter one an Oneida Indian.

The Iroquois Nation, whose people call themselves the Hau de no sau nee, consists of six individual tribes located in the northeastern region of North America. The Six Nations includes the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. I chose the Iroquois tribes because I know people of this tribe once lived and walked on the same trails I frequent, and it seemed fitting, you know?

Penaki, or Penni, as she’s affectionately known, pesters young Gus and his friends to find evidence in an old abandoned house that is rumored to still harbor the virus for the Genesee Valley Fever, which killed hundreds in the late 1700s. She needs to be avenged by having the truth come out, so she can be released from her earthly bonds.

When I write about Native Americans, whether it’s Don’t Let the Wind Catch You or my new Tall Pines series, I feel most inspired while sitting by the Sacandaga River, In Hope, New York, or hiking the deep woods nearby. I picture the land before roads bisected its wild beauty, before electric poles marred its view, in a time when man had to rely on his skill and wit to survive.

Like I said, I’ve always been fascinated by this culture. In lieu of going back in time to live life among the trees and rivers, I guess I’m creating a new world, where treachery may lurk around each corner, but where natural beauty abounds, as well.

I’m definitely enjoying the ride.

You can read the first chapters in Don’t Let the Wind Catch You by clicking on the title. Let me know what you think by contacting me at aaron dot lazar at yahoo dot com.

Aaron Paul Lazar

*I’ve read a lot of books on Indians lately, and have been educated to discover that most tribes don’t like being called Native American, they prefer either their tribe name (like Seneca or Cherokee), or native people, or Indian. So I’m trying to dump the PA term from most of my discussions to honor them. 

“Addictive, award-winning fiction.”  

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, thrillers, love stories, and writing guides, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys.

Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming releases, THE SEACROFT: a love story and DEVIL’S CREEK.
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2014 Best Beach Book Festival WINNER, Romance category
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Double Forté  
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Tremolo: cry of the loon –
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For the Birds
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Essentially Yours
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Healey’s Cave
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 Terror Comes Knocking
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For Keeps
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Spirit Me Away
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