Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


***All photos accompanying posts are either owned by the author of said post or are in the public domain -- NOT the property of History Undressed. If you'd like to obtain permission to use a picture from a post, please contact the author of the post.***

Monday, December 3, 2012

Highland Rake with a Ghostly Twist by Terry Spear

Welcome back to History Undressed, guest author, Terry Spear! She's got a new release, HIGHLAND RAKE, with a new twist and she's sharing her ghostly travels to Scotland! The pic to the left is Terry Dunnottar Castle in Scotland. Enjoy!

Highland Rake with a Ghostly Twist

FromRavenswood House in Ballater, Aberdeenshire where a seafaring ghost, trader in alcohol and tea, resides…to ghostsat various inns all over Scotland…to a BBCspecial about how highly populated Scotland is with ghosties…to castles that house ghosts…

Dunnottar Castle 

and Brodie Castle

I was fascinated with the idea of incorporating one…or a few…in my current book release.
In one castle we visited, it was said that a young lady was taken in by the laird, but when she was found pregnant, and unwed, she vanished. Now her ghost haunts the castle.

We didn’t see any evidence of hauntings while we visited the seven castles in Scotland, but when we stopped to take pictures of the Highland cows in a pasture, trees shading them, no farmhouse nearby, a river beyond the field, tall hills behind us, no buildings or people anywhere about, I heard the most beautiful instrumental Celtic music. I felt carried away to a movie scene, the grass bright green, the air chilly on that October day, the red long-haired cows munching on grass, and the Celtic music playing in the background.
When I reached the fence to get as close as I could to take pictures of the cows, the music stopped. I took several pictures, then joined my lady friends, one being Vonda Sinclair, another Highland romance writer, and said, “Did you hear the music? Wasn’t it beautiful?”
Highland Cow

I knew they’d say yes. I mean, who wouldn’t who loved all things Scottish?

Neither heard any music. I couldn’t believe it. It was real, just beyond the tall lonely hills where not a soul lived or stirred.

So when I wrote Highland Rake, third book in The Highlanders series, I wanted the heroine to be able to commune with ghosts. She has a pesky ghostly brother, and the hero’s spirited sister that tangles with Alana’s brother. The story is filled with mystery—why her brother had died, who had murdered her father and his men—and both the living and the dead help to provide clues in this Highland Medieval romance.

Even in my Highland wolf series, starting with Heart of the Highland Wolf, the MacNeills have a ghostly cousin who lives at Argent Castle. I just couldn’t write the werewolf tale, without having a resident ghost! In A Howl for a Highlander, and A Highland Werewolf Wedding, both coming in 2013, the MacNeill ghost has his part. The Castle Dunnottar inspired me to write: A Highland Werewolf Wedding though. The Medieval castle overlooks the northeast coast of Scotland in Kincardineshire and was extremely cold that day. But when we were in the inner bailey, surrounded by thick walls, I felt almost warm. I didn’t feel anything evil—just at home there. And so because of that I used the castle ruins in the story.

Several roads in Scotland have ghostly sightings also. Drivers have thought they’ve hit a person, only to discover there is no one there. One of the days we traveled, the fog was so thick, it was hard to see much of anything. I could imagine a ghost blending in with the mist.

Scotland just seems the perfect place for spirits to thrive.

Having had a love of all things ghostly since I was a child, but never having experienced such a thing back then, I always felt the ghost stories fun-filled fantasy. I later encountered ghostly apparitions. One was in the Palo Duro Canyon, Texas, where Indian ponies raced across the cliffs, and as I was curled up in a sleeping bag alongside my fellow Army ROTC cadets, I believed we would be trampled to death. Except the ponies were already dead—corralled by the US Cavalry and herded off the cliff’s edge to prevent the Indian tribes that had gathered to fight from remounting their ponies and fighting again.

I didn’t believe that I had had a ghostly experience then. I never do. It happened. I heard them, their hooves pounding the ground, their neighing and whinnying, and snorts. The only thing I realized I didn’t sense was the vibration through the ground that I would have felt as they stampeded toward us. They moved away and faded into the night. And no one but me had heard them.

Yet, when I went to write about the real ponies years later, and was doing research about them, for years believing they were wild mustangs, I discovered many over the years had heard the ghostly horses.

I’ve had other experiences too, only in one, my son, daughter, and mother witnessed it too. You know, it’s really great when others have seen or heard the same thing you have!

So what about you? Ready to witness ghosts in Scotland? Or have you already? Or somewhere else that you’ve been?

Dougald MacNeill takes Lady Alana Cameron to his laird brother James's Craigly Castle when he finds her roaming the heather on the MacNeill lands. But who has sent her there and why? Her uncle, laird of the Cameron clan, and warring with the MacNeill for years, has made a marriage arrangement with another clan and now that is even at stake.

Having witnessed her father's death, and even believing he had returned her home when all along he had been dead, Alana discovers she has the gift, or curse, of seeing the newly departed and sometimes those who should have long ago passed over. Her own deceased brother continues to plague her, the rake, and now another, who is very much of the flesh, Dougald MacNeill, has her thinking marrying a rake might just have its benefits. Dougald's sister, who is one fiesty ghost, has offered to help Alana keep Dougald in line if he thinks of even straying.

But who sent Alana on a fool's errand in the first place to remove her from the Cameron's lands and set her squarely in Dougald's care, and who really killed her father and her brother, and what has it all to do with Alana? Will she and Dougald learn the truth before it is too late?

"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality."

About the Author
USA Today bestselling and an award-winning author of urban fantasy and medieval romantic suspense, Terry Spear also writes true stories for adult and young adult audiences. She’s a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, that are personalized that have found homes all over the world. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses or gardening. Her family has roots in the Highlands of Scotland where her love of all things Scottish came into being. Originally from California, she’s lived in eight states and now resides in the heart of Texas. She is the author of the Heart of the Wolf series and the Heart of the Jaguar series, plus numerous other paranormal romance and historical romance novels. For more information, please visit www.terryspear.com, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/terry.spear .


Terry Spear said...

Thanks for having me here today, Eliza!

diva donna said...

I'm looking forward to reading this Scottish Ghost story. I had strange visits and encounters for many years after my brother's death. Mind you he was a prankster and practical joker in life too. I was visited many times. And we put up with his funny pranks for years. My family seen the pranks too. He moved things, all the time, hid then in the weirdest places. My house keys was put in a canister of sugar once. I didn't find them until I was baking cookies about a week later. It finally stopped about 3 years ago after his daughter moved his ashes from my parents home to a Granite Cemetery Vault. I believe you seen and heard all that Terry.

Terry Spear said...

Oh, wow, Donna! That's too funny about the keys! How interesting that it all stopped after she moved his ashes. Poor guy. No more fun! :) That's neat!!!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Great post, Terry! I wish I'd heard that ghostly music! What an interesting experience that must have been.

Terry Spear said...

Thanks, Vonda! It was. It was being in a movie like Brave Heart...the setting, the music, beautiful. I wish you'd heard it too! Maybe next time!

Sandy L. Rowland said...

I very much enjoyed the post, Terri. Ghostly horses adding to your experience and your strength as a writer. You're blessed to have others who have similar stories to share. Thank you for the post!

Terry Spear said...

Thanks, Sandy! I kept thinking that the horses would run through our camp. Deer had done that to friends of ours when we were at a California lake. They had a tent, and the deer collapsed it on top of them. So I kept thinking the horses wouldn't go around us. We didn't even have tents!