FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ‘COUSIN’ FLORA …

THE SCOTTISH HEBRIDES are steeped in the history of Jacobite Risings and the legendary Flora MacDonald – a beautiful, spirited young woman from the Outer Isles who dared to put her life at risk to help the fugitive Bonnie Prince Charlie. And she may just be a cousin of mine!

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Flora – her life, loves and adventures – is the subject of my forthcoming historical novel, THE JACOBITE LASS. Available for pre-order on Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/1w5dtcl

and Kindle.com: http://amzn.to/1n63KZX

Scotland, 1722: on a remote and windswept Scottish island an enigmatic poetess foretells tragedy for the proud Macdonalds of Clanranald and the birth of an extraordinary child. That child is the passionate and free-spirited Flora. 

She is in love with childhood sweetheart, elusive Jacobite, Neil, yet increasingly drawn to passionate and handsome Allan.

Before affairs of the heart can be resolved, the exiled Prince Charles Stuart lands on the Outer Isles in his bid to win back the crown and his arrival ignites the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Scotland is plunged into bloody civil war; families and clans are torn apart in their loyalties and Flora’s fate is changed forever. The fate of a fugitive prince is in her hands. Will she risk everything for the sake of those she loves?

Deeply emotional and uplifting, THE JACOBITE LASS is set in the turbulent times of 18th century Scotland and is based on the true story of Scottish heroine, Flora MacDonald.

I have been following in her footsteps to get a feel of where she came from and the places where she lived – I feel like I know her!

Visiting Milton in South Uist where Flora partly spent her childhood.

Visiting Milton in South Uist where Flora spent part of her childhood.

Although I’m a proud MacLeod – a clan genealogist has worked out that Flora and I are distant cousins – five steps of kinship removed and several generations!

The next post will tell you more about my search for Flora’s past …

A typical Outer Isles beach and the Atlantic stretching away to America - a view unchanged since Flora's time.

A typical Outer Isles beach and the Atlantic stretching away to America – a view unchanged since Flora’s time.

REMEMBERING 1984 …..

In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike of 1984, I am putting my novel NEVER STAND ALONE on at a special price.

99p on Amazon.co.uk9780956642660

When Carol Shannon, the unruly daughter of Brassbank’s pit manager, falls for young miner, Mick Todd, their defiant relationship causes a storm in the close-knit mining village. For the bitterness between their families runs as deep as the coal seams that are Brassbank’s lifeblood. But the hardest battles are still to come for rebellious Carol. With 1984 dawns the year long Miner’s Strike that divides the nation and sets communities at war. Hardship not only threatens Brassbank’s survival, but pushes Carol and Mick’s passionate union to breaking point, leaving tragedy in its wake. Set against the fascinatingly vivid backdrop of a momentous time, Never Stand Alone is an impassioned novel of a woman’s fight for her community, her family and the man she loves.

‘A tough, compelling and ultimately satisfying novel … another classy, irresistible read’
Sunderland Echo
‘She pulls no punches, tells it like it is and taps directly into your emotions. Excellent’ 
Northern Echo 
‘A vivid picture of courage in the face of injustice…Never Stand Alone ought to increase the author’s growing band of fans’ 
Northern Review 
‘The gritty, unforgettable story of families torn apart by the conflict that divided a nation…a powerful story’
World Books

$1.65 on Amazon.com

$1.78 on Amazon.com.au

CDN $1.76 on Amazon.ca

Cakes & Books At The Lit & Phil

Earlier this month at Newcastle’s Literary & Philosophical Society we had the official launch of the paperback edition of my new book, The Haunting of Kulah.

The Lit & Phil is a special place for me – it’s where I do a lot of the background research for my books. I also do a lot of the actual writing there, in the cosy “silence room” on the ground floor:

We held the book launch itself up in the main library – it was great to have so many people come along to see my holiday slides that’d inspired ‘Kulah, and to hear the various passages from the book read out. (And a big thank you to my husband Graeme and son Charlie for helping out with the characters for this!)

We even had souvenir cakes made for the event… though I’m not sure if any of these survived the evening – they were very good to eat!

And of course, I did my duty (can you call it that when it’s so enjoyable?) as an author, signing books – the profits from all the sales on the night went to the Lit & Phil’s appeal – thanks to daughter Amy for handling the sales!

FROM PONTELAND TO PORT STANLEY – FALKLANDS WAR 30 YEARS ON

John wearing his Falklands medal by the River Tyne

30 years ago, Geordie matlot John Mew was heading south on HMS Coventry as part of the British Task Force. He didn’t know then that his ship would be bombed and he plucked from the South Atlantic during the Falklands War. We knew him from his involvement with Ponteland Rugby Club in Northumberland where my husband Graeme played in the 1980s and 90s. When he was home on leave John would lead them in vigorous training and fitness sessions – with exacting Royal Navy standards!

After the Falklands conflict, John was generous in talking about his experiences and knowledge of the Navy when I was researching my novel, FOR LOVE & GLORY.

Amy, myself and John by the River Tyne

It is set in Wallsend on the River Tyne from where my husband’s family come. I have them to thank for much of the background information on this vibrant community where many of the world’s greatest ships were built. The Falklands material was inspired by veterans I’d read about – ordinary people who’d shown extraordinary courage – long after the short war was over and out of the news. But in particular, I’m indebted to our brave friend, John.

We met up recently to launch a new version of the novel. It’s now available as ebook for the first time. My daughter Amy is the model for the new cover!

These days it is John’s sons who are playing rugby for Ponteland – but I’m sure he can still teach them a thing or two about fitness!

FOR LOVE & GLORY ebook