Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Authors' Inspirations for The Forbidden Highland Anthology

Happy Tuesday and Happy Release day to my fellow authors! Today our anthology, The Forbidden Highlands released, and I can't wait for all of you to read our stories! Check out some of the author's inspiration behind their story and setting in the anthology! Enjoy!




Welcome to the realm of THE FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDS....


Eight USA TODAY and BESTSELLING historical romance authors bring you great tales of forbidden love from the highlands of Scotland based upon the greatest Celtic legend of forbidden love - a Celtic princess being escorted to her wedding to marry a king ultimately fell in love with her knightly escort. So began a powerful tale of great longing, of love spells, of persecution, and ultimately of a fiery passion borne from an otherworldly source. A love so strong is never meant to die... and reborn in these eight fabulous novellas.

Enjoy these brand-new novellas that will keep you reading long into the night, dreaming of lost loves, of great loves, and of forbidden loves.



Laird of Twilight by Eliza Knight

A future foretold...Only one man can fulfill her destiny… 

Lady Lilias Cameron has spent the last thirteen years skeptical of a prophecy regarding her future—until the very man described by the seer is introduced as her escort to a doomed marriage. Brooding and handsome, she cannot help the sparks of awareness he triggers. Nor can she ignore the deep desire to be true to herself.

Dirk MacDougall, Lord of the Isles, is to deliver a worthy bride to his Norse enemy, in an alliance that will hopefully bring peace to his country. The only problem is, he finds himself quite enamored by the spirited and charming lady. When one kiss leads to another, desire to claim her as his own takes hold.

If the alliance is broken, a mighty battle will be waged across Scotland begging the question: is forbidden love worth the price of war?

*~*~*~*~*


Laird of Twilight is the second story in my MacDougall Legacy series, so the castle opens at the family seat--Dunstaffnage Castle. If you've read the first book in my series (Laird of Shadows), you know that a visit to the castle and the mysticism and history surrounding the castle inspired me to start this series. When the group of us got together to write stories about forbidden love, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to explore Lilias and Dirk's story. First of all, each book in the MacDougall Legacy has a touch of magic. As a young girl, Lilias visits a seer with her mother, who prophesies that she will meet a man who is dark of hair, stormy of the eye and fiercer than a gale storm. When she meets Dirk for the first time, the sight of him, the sound of his voice, it all shakes her to the core, bringing her back to that prophecy that she'd long ago written off. And Dirk--he is struck for the first time with wanting to do something other than his duty. It begs the question, what would happen if a man fell in love with a woman he was supposed to give away to another?  What would happen if he were to take her for his own and bring about the possibility of war? Marriages were made as a norm in forming alliances, sometimes to gain allies, to increase holdings and other times to offer peace between rulers. A man and woman were supposed to do their duty without question. Can they give up their hearts for a life of dutiful misery? 

The Highlander's Hidden Heart by Kathryn Le Veque


A childhood promise becomes a question of honor when Jackston Forbes falls in love with another woman.

*~*~*~*~*


I invented my castle, Braelaw Manor, but I used Drum Castle as a model. Compact, stout, and strong! High Middle Ages was a time of tradition. People were very set in their ways, and that included in matters of the heart. There was a caste system and although it wasn't unusual for noble men to take a servant or a peasant as a lover or concubine, one simply didn't cross the line into love or marriage with those below your station. I drew my inspiration from the idea of a warrior who had made a childhood promise falling in love with the 'wrong' woman (in this case, a servant girl who had once been part of a ancient noble line). So... what does he do? Hold true to his childhood promise? Or follow his heart?

Across a Windswept Isle by Terri Brisbin

The story of a man who has lost his memory and almost his life in a terrible accident. Convinced that the woman who haunts his dreams can give him his life back, he is stunned when she doesn’t know him. . . or does she?

*~*~*~*~*

Aros Castle
Dun Ara


This story is set at Aros Castle and Dun Ara Castle, both now ruins on the Isle of Mull. I passed Aros Castle when driving on Mull on my last trip to Scotland – the ruins stand out on a cliff next to the sea and looked so dramatic against the setting sun. When I was creating my story, I was looking at photo from that trip and thought it would be the perfect location for my story…. 



The Highlander's Iron Will by Amy Jarecki

When Skye of Clan Iain Abrach extends the hand of hospitality, she crosses more boundaries than the border of Glencoe. And if Kier Campbell accepts her offering, he will take the first step toward committing treason against country and kin. Given a hostile and unending feud between their clans, can the fierce power of love transcend the destruction of war? 

*~*~*~*~*

My inspiration: After writing The Fearless Highlander which encompasses the massacre of Glencoe, I wanted to include a story of fierce passion that crosses the boundary between Jacobite Highlanders and Government troops.

The Maiden of Moray by Victoria Vane


He’s a man without a past… Abandoned at a monastery as a young child, Alexander serves two masters—God and the fading memories of his past life—the one he never got to live. As he nears the day to take his vows, he’s sent on a last sojourn into the real world to test his faith, and possibly his manhood. But one playful kiss in a moment of weakness awakens a dangerous desire. 

A woman who doesn’t know her own heart… Born from the line of two kings, Sibylla is abandoned by her sire as a child and then ruled illegitimate. Though she lives a happy life under her uncle’s protection, Sibylla craves more. But the hot-tempered beauty never imagines her fate lies in the hands of Alex, a would-be monk who hardly embodies her idea of a pious man of God.

When dark secrets from the past come to light, will Alex choose the safe and secure path he knows, or will he reject holy orders to embrace Sibylla and the life he was meant to live?  

*~*~*~*~*



Although I've written over a dozen historical romances set in the Georgian as well as two books set in Viking controlled Brittany (BRETON WOLFE and IVAR THE RED), I never expected to write anything Scottish -- until I began some personal genealogy research that revealed a heavy connection to the Scottish highlands that I had previously known nothing about! After tracing my ancestral roots through my paternal grandmother all the way back to clan Ross in 12th century Scotland, I knew I had to write their stories. The first of these is THE MAIDEN OF MORAY, a novella to be released in the FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDS anthology, with much more coming later this year with my new SONS OF SCOTLAND series, a saga that begins in the 12th century and will carry forward through the 18th century. This is a brand new direction that I’m incredibly excited about! I hope you all will enjoy my story!


To Love a Highland Rogue by Collette Cameron

She’s determined to end her betrothal, but he must make her his at all cost.

Betrothed as an infant, Mayra Findlay has never been permitted a beau—has never even flirted with a man. Until a chance encounter with a dashing rogue sets her on a course to force her affianced to call off the union. Determined to know just what type of woman he’s reluctantly taking to wife, Logan Rutherford, Laird of Lockelieth Keep, assumes his cousin’s identity; a decision that soon has him snared in a tangled web of deceit.

*~*~*~*~*




I'd always wanted to write a story where the main characters were betrothed as children, because the concept is so foreign to today's culture. Forced marriages were common in earlier eras, but I added a twist to make the union even more of an adventure.


A Highland Betrothal by Emma Prince


How can he protect the woman he loves when she is engaged to another?

Graeme MacKay returns from the siege on Berwick Castle a changed man. A wound to his leg has left him hobbled, but his injury is nothing compared to the blow his heart receives when he learns that Anna Ross, the only woman he has ever loved, is engaged. When Graeme is ordered to serve as Anna’s bodyguard on the journey to wed her fiancé, he is tested like never before. Though he tells himself to feel nothing for her, his heart has other plans.

As the daughter of a Laird, Anna Ross has always known that it would one day be her duty to marry a stranger for the betterment of her clan. Though resigned to her fate, she owes Graeme, the Highland warrior who stole her heart, an explanation—she has never stopped loving him, despite being forced to wed another. But when a shocking truth about her betrothal is revealed, she and Graeme must embark on a perilous flight from her fiancé—or risk losing their love forever. 

*~*~*~*~*


While I was doing research for another book, I came across an interesting historical tidbit about the strange fate of a woman from the 14th century because of a complicated issue with an arranged marriage (no spoilers for my story!). I ended up using this odd detail about the nuances of medieval engagements and arranged marriages, plus a forbidden love, mixed in with a bit of clan politics, and I had a juicy story on my hands!

There actually isn't a castle in my story, but there IS a marvelous medieval abbey called Sweetheart Abbey, which is a real place in southwestern Scotland!

Between a Scot and his Lady by Violetta Rand 

Darach, son of the chieftain of Clan Dùnan Mòr, heard the mournful call of the war horns. Days of peace in the northern reaches were rare. By God’s grace the clan’s lands situated along the coast were left untouched by Norse invaders. But today, a longship drifted into the inlet near his home. 
That's where he discovers a lone survivor, a Viking woman named Elle who claims her mother's family is from Scotia.

Can Darach trust the mysterious Elle? Is she a spy for the Norse? A true victim of circumstance? Or is she a pretender of virtue, sent to destroy everything he holds dear?

*~*~*~*~*



Forbidden love between an ancient Highlander and a Viking woman--the thought of these two people meeting and loving each other under such impossible circumstances inspired me to write this passionate story.   Takes place in 10th century Am Parph, Scotia (near modern day Point Wrath, northern Highlands).





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