Monday, October 6, 2008

A Scottish Warrior's Lady

by Nancy
Today we welcome award-winning Dorchester author Gerri Russell back to the lair. Gerri will share the highlights of her recent trip to Scotland, the setting for her three wonderful historicals. The latest, Warrior's Lady, is in stores now, and she'll also tell us a little about that book.

It is not often in life when you have the opportunity to forget the cares of world around you and instead follow your bliss. I had a chance to do just that this summer when I headed to Scotland for three weeks.

Scotland is not the land of my ancestors, not really. I do have a trace of Scottish ancestry in my blood thanks to an ancestor from way back when. But despite my lack of a direct connection, Scotland is the home of my heart, and the place where I have set many of my books.

My journey started in Glasgow before heading straight into the Highlands. It was my intent to see as much of the country in three weeks as I could. I decided to follow the outer perimeter of the mainland, and to hit the major isles. I felt like a kid in a candy store! Driving up to my first castle was an experience I will never forget. As my feet hit the gravel of the parking area, I walked as fast as I could up to the castle, camera in hand, and my heart pounding. Looking back now, I smile at my haste. What was I expecting, that the castle would disappear after having been rooted to that location for the past 700 years?
My whole experience in Scotland was like that: anxious for each new experience, savoring each event as it happened, relishing every nuance of the culture and the scenery, soaking up everything I could. I didn’t sleep much as I kept up my relentless pace of exploration. Someone asked me when I returned home what my favorite memory was. There were so many inspirational moments that it was hard to narrow it down to only one, but this memory stands out among all the others: when I stood in the center of the craggy peaks of Glencoe, surrounded by the scent of heather, listening to the wind as it brushed past my cheeks and teased my hair into wild disarray. It was then that I thought of all the people who had walked in that same spot where I stood over the centuries—early man, the Celts, the Vikings, English invaders, Highlanders throughout the ages--and I felt a part of something bigger than myself.


It is that very same feeling of connectedness that I try to bring to the stories I write about Scotland. Without ever having been to Scotland before, I had somehow captured the essence of what it was like to live in this beautiful land, and had somehow picked up on how much these people cherish their history. A part of history I have been writing about for a while now are Scottish stones of importance. Warrior’s Lady, the third book in the Stones of Destiny series, explores the mysteries behind a small healing stone known as the Lee Penny.

The Lee Penny, or the Charm Stone as I renamed the amulet in the pages of Warrior’s Lady, was obtained by the Locard family in the Crusades in 1330. After the death of Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland in 1329, his friend Lord James of Douglas, along with a contingent of knights, set out to take the dead king’s heart to the Holy Land, making a pilgrimage that the king was not able to undertake in his lifetime. While making their way through Spain, Douglas and his band of knights battled the Saracens. Douglas died on the battlefield, but the king’s heart in its silver casket was rescued by Sir Simon Locard of Lee, who brought it back to Scotland for burial.

After the event, the family changed their name to Lockhart to reflect the service they had done their king.
It was during the same battle that Sir Simon Locard imprisoned a wealthy emir. The emir’s aged mother came to pay his ransom, and in the course of counting out the money, a pebble inserted into a coin fell out of the lady’s purse. She was in such a hurry to retrieve it that the Scottish knight realized it must be valuable and insisted that the amulet be added to the ransom. The lady reluctantly agreed and explained what virtues the Stone possessed.

The Stone was a medical talisman believed to drive away fever and stop bleeding. The amulet was used frequently in the same manner described in Warrior’s Lady, according to tradition. In 1629 the Lee Penny helped cure sick oxen, but as a result a young woman was burned at the stake for witchcraft for using the Stone. There are records of an accusation of witchcraft against Sir Thomas Lockhart during the Reformation, but the Church Synod at Glasgow merely reproved Sir Thomas and advised him to cease using the Stone.

It was these events and the mysteries surrounding the Stone that piqued my imagination and sparked the creation of the characters in Warrior’s Lady, Camden Lockhart and Rhiannon Ruthven, two people in need of some special healing magic from a mystical healing stone. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing a bit about my recent journey to Scotland and about my latest release. If you want to take a journey with me through Scotland from your own cozy chair, head to my website at www.gerrirussell.net.

Have you ever taken a journey that touched you in ways you didn’t expect, or found some relic of history that made you want to find out more about the culture in which it originated?

Gerri is giving a copy of Warrior's Lady to one of today's commenters, chosen at random.

67 comments:

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Woohoo! Did I get the chook?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I did! The rascally bird returns to DC!

Hey, welcome Gerri! Glad to have you with us today. I'll write something more coherent when it's daytime on the East Coast! But until then...welcome!

Oh, and Nancy? WHOOOHOOOOOO! You Maggie Winner YOU!

Nancy said...

Jeanne, congrats on the bird! And thanks for the whoo-whoo. I looked back over the posts that my fellow banditas and our buddies celebrated with me last night (courtesy of Caren's speed-dial and Deb Marlowe's keyboarding skills) and today, which makes my celebration that much better! I thank you and everyone else so much for sharing my excitement.

A highlight of M&M was getting to meet Buffie, PJ, Gannon, and Andrea, and celebrating with them in person as well as seeing Jennifer Y at the book signing. I still haven't quite come down to earth.

jo robertson said...

Gerri, thanks for joining us today in the Lair and sharing your images of Scotland.

We journeyed there several years ago and my husband, of Scottish ancestry, said he felt like he was coming home. It's the most beautiful place I've ever visited and the people and their accents are lovely.

WARRIOR'S LADY sounds intriguing. I'll definitely add it to my TBR list.

Jeanne, whoot on the rooster. He may need to be debriefed after his visit to the prison. He was quite traumatized by all the security!

Louisa Cornell said...

Way to go, Duchesse!! Snatched the chook away from his prison matron! LOL

And I agree! WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOO, Nancy, who I hear gave a fabulous speech in acceptance of her MAGGIE!!!

Gerri, your trip sounds just magical! How fantastic that you got to visit the places you write about and got to soak in all that atmosphere. I firmly believe there are places that are our homes of the heart even if there is no blood tie to that place.

And I LOVE the legend on which your story is based! Great stuff!

I think my trip back to England when I was in college was one of those spiritual experiences I will never forget. I live in England for three years as a child. While I saw a lot of things and learned a great deal about British history I wasn't quite old enough to appreciate it.

As a young college woman I was better equipped to appreciate it all. My father was three fourths Welsh and his family did not immigrate to the States until 1892 or later. As a result he grew up hearing his Welsh grandmother speaking Welsh in her home and later in his when she came to live with his folks. I heard stories about Wales as a child.

On the college trip we toured Wales and even sang in some Welsh churches. Like you, it was standing out on a lonely spot on the rocks and crags of Wales looking over an endless green field that I felt this great bell sort of ring inside me. I was home. As odd as it sounds I have some Welsh dirt in a container that I kept from that trip. I WILL go back some day.

I was lucky enough to sing in Canterbury Cathedral as well, another amazing experience.

Another place I have visited that I will always remember is the Transylvania region of Romania. It definitely had an affect as well. The feeling there at the top of a mountain, after a TERRIFYING ride up a twisting narrow cliffside road in an ANCIENT Volkswagon bus, was of being in a place that time had long ago forgotten. A place were man's most primitive magic beliefs was very much alive and well. The wind was so eerie you could almost hear voices in it. Strange place, but powerful.

Gerri Russell said...

Jeanne, Jo, Nancy, Louisa--

I am thrilled to be here in the lair with you all!

Louisa, I absolutely understand about the dirt! I brought a rock back from Glencoe with me. I just needed a tangible reminder of that moment. Glad to hear I am not alone in that department.

Nancy, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Well done, and much deserved.

Donna MacMeans said...

Woohoo - congratulations to Nancy on nabbing the Maggy and Jeanne on the golden rooster. Banditas are definitely going for the gold!

Gerri - Welcome back! Loved the cover and the legend. How neat that there's true history behind the myth. I'm envious of your trip to Scotland - that one is on my dream list. One of these years...

Anna Campbell said...

Gerri, welcome back to the Banditas! And congratulations on all your success since you last visited us. I loved hearing about the legend your story was based on. How cool is that?

I absolutely understand that home of the soul thing. And I must say I get it in Scotland. I can remember standing on the ferry that goes from Oban to Mull and looking back over the misty mountains to Ben Nevis (you can see it once you're out on the water) with Mull and Lismore nearby and thinking, "This is where I belong." Amazing feeling! And the interesting thing is the Campbells come from Argyll and the Isles although anything more detailed than that is lost in the mists of time. Still, it could be race memory!

ArkieRN said...

As a child, it was magical each time I found an arrowhead in my father's fields.

Once I even found a large rock with an indention in it that had been used to grind grain in. Knowing that some girl had used that to help fix her family's meals many hundreds of years ago inspired many flights of fantasy.

And I am so envious of your trip to Scotland.

Annie West said...

Gerri, your trip to Scotland sounds fabulous. That sense of connection with a place can make all the difference, can't it? So that you come back with far more than photos or souvenirs.

My first ever trip to Greece was one of those. I remember finding an ancient engraving at an archaeological site and being able to read it (it was VERY short) and feeling magic - as the years dropped away. I felt the excitement of being there where so many people I'd read about had stood before me.

So much of that trip was amazing and stayed with me, like having an 80 year old monk offer to lower me in a basket from a cliff top monastery (no, thanks), to seeing a woman sitting in a doorway spinning wool (with a spindle of the type that had been around for centuries), to gorgeous scenes and whispering olive groves that seemed to come alive as the sun set. I'm surprised at how much of that trip is appearing in my books. Just little things but so real that I'm able to draw on them to anchor myself in a time and place. In my current story it's an elegant 19th century house. In a previous book it was a prehistoric seal ring from a museum in Crete.

I hope your Scottish trip provides lots more inspiration for years to come!

Annie

Helen said...

Well done Jeanne have fun with him

Nancy I am over the moon for you well done.

Gerri
What a fantastic story I would love to go to Scotland maybe one day I wll get there. I really haven't travelled much at all I have been on a cruise and I gotta say I loved that visiting the Islands meeting the people who live there they do such wonderful crafts I had a ball talking to them.
I am adding this book to my must get list sounds wonderful.

Have Fun
Helen

Margay said...

I have always wanted to go to Scotland! But I am not a well-traveled person, unfortunately. Someday, perhaps...

Marisa O'Neill said...

Hi Gerri, you're trip sounds amazing. I've had that feeling when I worked in Italy. Every corner I turned was like stepping back in history. I was constantly 'tripping' over antiquity. When I close my eyes I see the rooftops in the morning light and the olive trees in the distance and a smile comes to my heart.

Nancy - congratulations on the maggie award. PJ sent us pictures and we're going to be posting them soon. The M&M conference looked like a blast!

Maureen said...

Hi Geri,
Your trip to Scotland sounds wonderful and congratulations on the new book. I would have to say standing in Independence Hall in Philadelphia gave me one of those moments where you could imagine history being made.

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Jeanne.

Welcome Gerri,
Every time I go to a museum like the Met or the Museum of Natural History it makes me want to travel the world to see where these various art works were created or where these dinosaur bones were discovered.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I have never traveled, and to the best of my memory I have never found a relic but the books I have read have taken me to distant lands. Not only do books give me a happy every after they let me travel too!

Congrats on the GR Jeanne!

Buffie said...

Hey Gerri! I absolutely love books set in Scotland. They just make me sigh and smile.

I haven't traveled around the world, but I was able to spend 2 weeks in Israel several years ago, and that trip still is in the depths of my heart and soul. One of my favorite moments there was sitting on a hillside covered with purple and pink flowers while over looking the Sea of Galilee. The peace and calm I felt during those moments were unbelievable and still to this day I have not experienced that again.

Buffie said...

Nancy -- it was wonderful to celebrate your win with you. You were quite gracious and utterly sweet. I am sure that you are still on cloud 9 and that it has not all sunk in yet. Did you get to explain to your 15-year old just what it was you won? LOL!!!

PJ said...

Welcome Gerri! I adore stories set in Scotland. I hope to walk those hills one day and feel those same connections.

For me, visiting Italy (specifically Tuscany) is a soul-stirring, almost spiritual, experience. Returning to Florence after a 30+ year absence was so emotionally powerful that tears streamed down my face as my plane made its final approach.

Joan said...

Jeanne, you chook snatcher you....Will the GR play with the puppet?

Gerri, your book sounds fabulous and one question I have is....how will I find time to write when I have SO many great new books to be read? Huh? Huh?

Your experience reminds me of my first trip to Ireland. My heritage is strongly Irish/Celtic and I knew the moment I set foot on that soil that I was home.

I love the idea of a magical/healing amulet....um, Nancy....pass that Maggie Medallion over to KY. Just for a minute I promise :-)

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hi, Gerri--thanks for swinging by the lair today! I have always wanted to visit Scotland & your post today only made it worse. I suppose I'll just have to settle for reading your latest release. :-)

And Nancy, congrats, you Maggie winner you! Woot!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Good morning everyone! Gerri, I love the story of the stone and how you used it in the book.

My mother was a Ferguson, so yep, Scottish. :> The fam's been in the US a long time, but the old roots still call. My dream trip is to go to Scotland and Ireland for several weeks. *crossing fingers* Hopefully some year soon.

I love looking at all the pictures and so forth of the Old Land and I frequently read The Scotsman online which is pretty fun.

Hey Louisa, that is PDC - pretty darn cool - that you sang at Canterbury. Woweee.

Nancy, SO thrilled for you! I'm still grinning this morning.

THe GR is roaming the house, flitting from one high spot to another. The new dog - Irish Water Spaniel named Diver - is keeping him on his spurs. He has chastised me quite vociferously for getting yet ANOTHER four legged menace. He asked me just a minute ago if I meant nothing to him...had to reassure him that he's my world. *wink* So we move on. :> Diver, however, cannot be trusted with either the "real" GR or the puppet. Very much the spaniel. He wants to "Retrieve the bird!" Snork.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

BTW, I desperately want to go to Greece and Italy as well. Y'all are making me really want to go with the talk of rustling olive groves and women spinning in doorways and antiquity. :> But Scotland FIRST. We went to Africa on our honeymoon - FABULOUS, I must say! - and were going to go to Scotland next....then we had kids. Hmmmm.

Kirsten said...

Welcome back, Gerri! We love to have you here at the Lair, and I must say, I'd take archery lessons with that guy any day. woohoo. ;-)

I have had those feelings of peaceful contendedness -- of being "at home" -- most when I'm backpacking and deep in the woods. Definitely felt that way in NC in Pisgah.

Thanks for bringing back a lovely memory, and I loved your blog. You make me want to see Scotland-- I can't wait to read your latest!

Joan said...

{slurp, chew, chew, swallow} Sorry, I've been finishing up PJ's candy.

Marisa, just wanted to take a public moment to say that RNTV's reps (PJ, Gannon, Buffie, Andrea) do ya'll proud. LOVELY ladies who wear their love of romance fiction like a proud medal. I'm sure Gerri and all published authors enjoy having their titles reviewed by such a stellar group.

WTG

Is that another turtle in the bottom of the bag? Gotta go!

flchen1 said...

Gerri, what a great post! Thanks for sharing about your trip and research!

I haven't been to Scotland yet but would love to go someday. I'd also love to visit Israel, like Buffie did--it would be amazing to walk some of those places I've only read about.

I did take a trip to China years ago, and there were many many incredibly places there--so many places with SO much history. It's always a little awe-inspiring to think about the generations of people who traveled that way before and what their lives might have been like. Plus China is such an enormous country--we were there for over two weeks, and barely touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much of the sights we saw. We'll have to do another visit sometime (maybe when the kids are slightly older ;))

Congrats on the GR, Jeanne!! Keep an eye on that bird!

Congrats on the Maggies, Nancy and Joan!

Gerri Russell said...

Anna,

So good to be here with you all in the lair. I thought of you several times while in Scotland. The Campbells are quite notorious in Scottish history.

I was also surprised as to how many visitors I met from Australia and New Zealand. They said it was winter back home and they wanted somewhere warm. Scotland warm!? I wore my coat the whole time!

Gerri Russell said...

Annie,

I am so glad you've been able to use your travel experiences in your writing, and I am thrilled to hear you've had similar "connections" to the places you've visited. I've read your books and I love the way you use setting almost as though it were a character.

Gerri Russell said...

Diana,

Books are the ultimate way to travel! No jet lag, no foreign currency to figure out, no odd food (I'm thinking haggis here), or an uncomfortable bed.

It's just you, your favorite chair, and your imagination! That's the best.

Gerri Russell said...

What fun it is being here with you all today. I love hearing about the places you've been and the memories that have stayed with you from those travels.

Isn't it amazing that no matter where we go, we feel connections with people and places. It's that kind of thing that has always made me wonder if there isn't some truth to past life experiences.

Has that ever happened to you, where you go somewhere and you have a deep sense of having been there before?

Rebekah E. said...

Your trip to scottland sounded amazing. I hope to someday take a vacation there. I would love to see Scotlands beautiful country side.

WARRIOR'S LADY sounds like a great book.

Minna said...

Hmm. Usually I have first read a book or watched a documentery about some country and culture before I have actually gone to that country to see for myself what it's like.

Buffie said...

Aww, Joan, I'm so glad that PJ bribed you (and the other Banditas) with those chocolates so that all of you would say such nice things! LOL!

We all thought the same thing about you ladies. It was great getting to chat and hug and cry and cheer and even dance with you all!!! I do believe that Trish out danced all of us :-)

Virginia said...

Hi Gerri, You got to do this summer what I have always wanted to do. Go the Scotland, I would love to go. Of all the places in the world a person could visit that is the one place I would love to go. A friend of mine went and she loved it.

Joan said...

I do believe that Trish out danced all of us :-)

Yup, that Trish is a dancing machine.

But psst....PJ's no slacker! {shimmy, shimmy}

Nancy said...

Gerri, I love the way your travels and your longstanding interest in Scotland mesh in your books. I enjoy books that weave legends into them. Just FYI for everyone else, Gerri and I met because of GH finalist books that wove Arthurian themes into them. Ours were the only two in the category that were "magic" books that year, and Gerri's went on to win.

The trip that touched me the most and in the most unexpected way was my visit to Coventry the summer I studied in England. As I've said before, that experience was a dream come true. I was interested in Coventry, though the "new" cathedral didn't do much for me. What grabbed me was the ruin of the one old, the one destroyed in the bombing. There's still (or maybe "again") a cross standing on the altar, which is open to the sky. As we stood there looking around, I noticed that there are still shards of stained glass in the tracery of the windows. Something about those bits of glass still clinging to their places after hundreds of years and a devastating bombing really touched my heart.

The Blue Guide to England says that cross was made of charred roof beams from the medieval church, which I didn't know at the time, and is now a replica.

Nancy said...

Louisa, what a wonderful trip to Wales! My family has Scots ancestors via the MacQueens (the clan seat, Castle Sween, is now a ruin), and that spurred my interest in Scotland. I've never been to Wales but hope to make it there someday.

Thanks for the kind words about my speech. I didn't know what I was going to say when I stepped up to the microphone, so I'm glad it went over well.

Nancy said...

Gerri, Donna, and Helen, thanks so much for the kind words. I'm still not entirely grounded again.

Jo, I'm hoping the prison reality check reins the rooster in a little.

Arkiern, I used to look for arrowheads, but I never found one. I'm not sure the area right around our hosue, where I was looking, had much of a Native American popuation. I envy you actually finding them.

Annie, I've always wanted to go to Greece. Standing at the Parthenon or climbing up to Delphi would just be beyond wonderful. I'm so impressed that you could READ that piece you found!

Margay, I haven't done much traveling lately. I love the fact that someday is always a possibility.

Nancy said...

Marisa, the conference was, indeed, a blast and not just because I happened to have a very good night. :-) Thanks for the congratulations. I'm deeply grateful for the pictures the RNTV group took, both with their cameras and with mine. The memory card in my camera hit "full," which was the end of my picture-taking, not long after the ceremony.

Maureen, I went to Philadephia once. My favorite spots were in the museum, standing in front of the Declaration of Independence drafts, and in Independence Hall.

Jane, I share your love of museums. I warned the dh before we were married that I read every single word of every single placard on every single object that interests me. Luckily, he was cool with that!

Dianna, I travel via books to lots of places, too. Like outer space, which I don't expect ever to visit, and exotic countries like India that I don't expect to have the budget to visit.

Nancy said...

Buffie, thanks very much! Y'all really did make me feel like Queen for a Day, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate having you share that occasion with me. I did explain to the boy, who made appropriate noises, but I'm not sure he cares beyond the fact that it made me happy. I can live with that. *g*

PJ, you've been to Florence! How wonderful. I've always wanted to see that artwork.

Joanie, you can rub my medallion anytime. *g* Glad your trip home was smooth.

Susan, Jeanne, and Fedora, thanks for the congrats. As for the rooster, Jeanne, I'm on Diver's team. Go, Diver! That bird needs to be kept on his toes. Er . . . claws?

Kirsten, I love the mountains, too. I used to spend part of every summer in the NC mountains with family friends. There's a serenity in the landscape that it's hard to find, at least for me, anywhere else.

Minna, watching a documentary sounds like a great way to figure out where you want to go.

Buffie, no bribes were necessary! Y'all were fun to hang with. And if Trish didn't dance through her stockings, it wasn't for lack of trying.

terrio said...

I've always wanted to go to Scotland, but to have three weeks! That would be flippin' amazing!

I love the story of the stone and how you worked it into a Romance. I used to read books like this all the time but haven't seen any for a while. You are officially going on the TBB list. Thanks!

Congrats on the Maggie, Nancy. So upset I couldn't be there to see it. But as I caught a terrible cold at the end of last week, it's for the better I wasn't there to make everyone else sick!

WTG on the chook, Jeanne!

Buffie said...

Joan, I know about PJ. Her and I got out there and did the twist. And she is SOOO much better than I am! It was a blast!

Nancy, I hope you can stretch out that Queen for a Day for a least a week or two!

Buffie said...

Oops, I totally forgot to add to my last post that I'm typing these messages while eating the rest of the peanut butter cookies PJ made. Yum Yum, PJ!!! They are fab-o!

Nancy said...

Terrio, thanks for the congrats. I wish you could've been there, too, and I hope you feel better. Something nasty is going around, judging by the way my students are hacking and sniffing.

Buffie, I'm milking Queen for a Day for all it's worth, never fear! *g*

catslady said...

Our uncle just got back from scotland and ireland so I at least got to hear about it and see some wonderful pictures. Your trip sounded wonderful and the basis for your book is intriguing! I would like to go to sicily some day because all my grandparents came from there.

EilisFlynn said...

It sounds like it was a wonderful trip, Gerri.

And Nancy? Congratulations!

Nancy said...

Catslady--any particular part of Sicily?

Eilis, thanks! I like your avatar.

Nancy said...

AC is blogging today on my website--just FYI in case anyone wants to pop over.

www.nancynorthcott.com, with the link to the blog on the left, A Walk With the Wild Sight.

Gerri Russell said...

Jeanne,

Congrats on getting the rooster! You stayed up late for that one. :-) Enjoy!

Gerri Russell said...

Arkiern,

I can remember years of heading to Eastern Washington to look for arrowheads. I never found one, but I enjoyed playing archeologist while I was looking.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Thanks, Gerri! I was checking yesterday's blog one last time and managed to bump myself off the internet. Went back to check et voila, there you were! Always fun to have the GR around for a day. He keeps things lively.

BTW, I'll second whoever said the guy on the cover can teach me bow skills anytime.

Also, great picture! Did someone local do it for you or was it the group that goes to National?

Gerri Russell said...

Louisa,

Congratulations on singing at Canterbury Cathedral. Wow, that would be a memory.

I would LOVE to hear more about this trip to Transylvania sometime! There's a great story there, I'm sure.

Gerri Russell said...

Marisa,

Italy is on my must be visited list. Someday I'd love to rent a villa for a season and just live there and write.

Talk about inspiration.

Gerri Russell said...

Kirsten,

The cover model for Warrior's Lady is none other than Nathan Kamp. He seems to be a very "in-demand" cover model right now. At this year's RT conference I sat next to an author at the book signing who also had Nathan on her cover. We decided to play "Where's Nathan" with other books that were there. We found five more with him on the cover.

I hear Nathan's making an appearance on Anna Campbell's next book as well.

The guy gets around. :-)

PJ said...

Buffie, my skill at dancing the Twist has a lot to do with the fact that it was popular when I was a teen...way back in the Dark Ages! LOL!

PJ said...

Gerri, Nathan could be the cover model on a "how to" book about washing toilets and I'd buy it. That man sets my little ole heart a racing!

PJ said...

Joan, you were no slouch out there on the dance floor either!

Thanks for the lovely sentiments about us. You're very kind.

PJ said...

Gerri, are your Scottish historicals a series? Do you recommend they be read in order? I adore series but I'm very anal about reading them in the proper sequence.

Gerri Russell said...

PJ,

The Stones of Destiny books, The Warrior Trainer, Warrior's Bride, and Warrior's Lady are all stand alone books. The only thing linking the series is that they each feature a Scottish stone of importance--the Stone of Destiny, the Seer's Stone, and the Charm Stone (aka Lee Penny). You can read them in any order you like.

Gannon Carr said...

Gerri, I love Scotland! I've been there twice and it remains one of my favorite destinations. The beauty of the Highlands takes my breath away, and there is a sense of homecomeing there. I have a wee bit of Scots ancestry, so maybe that's it. *grin*

I long to visit Ireland--I definitely have Irish roots--and I know I will love it.

I lived in Italy for 2 years, and Tuscany will always be my favorite region. Beautiful in every way.

Nancy, it was such a thrill to be at M&M when you won your Maggie! Your speech brought tears to my eyes and I couldn't find a tissue! Meeting you, Joan, Trish, and Caren was a real treat! Caren got her groove thing on --call her the dancing queen.

Off to eat more of PJ's delicious chocolate....
Can you believe I just opened the bag an hour ago?!

Anna Campbell said...

Gerri, NK is indeed flashing his sexy eyes on my latest cover. You can see it on the sidebar of the main Banditas page. He's definitely the IT boy of the moment!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, we're just notorious, my friend, because we're SMART ;-) That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Gannon Carr said...

Nathan is beyond yummy! *SIGH*

Nancy said...

PJ wrote: Nathan could be the cover model on a "how to" book about washing toilets and I'd buy it.

Well, said, PJ! BTW, I still have a few piece of chocolate left, and I'm guarding them jealousy. Thanks again for that.

Gannon, we enjoyed meeting you, too, and I have my nice, insulated cup holder to enjoy. Thanks for that and for the good wishes. I envy you living in Italy. The closest I've gotten is reading Under the Tuscan Sun. And seeing the movie on TV.

Louisa Cornell said...

Good evening, Banditas! Sounds like all the stops have been pulled out for Gerri's visit. This place is definitely NOTORIOUS, Gerri! And LOADS OF FUN!!

Nancy, I think we need to see the photos please including a big one of that nice hardware you picked up!!

Yes, singing at Canterbury Cathedral was a fabulous once in a lifetime experience. The acoustics were out of this world.

Gerri, the trip to Transylvania was definitely an eye opener. There are things in this world that just defy good old fashioned science. We stayed in an old inn / bed and breakfast type place in the middle of a huge forest and then our guide (who I believe got his license at SUICIDAL MANIACS ARE US!) drove us up this one lane mountain pass to visit a castle that supposedly was occupied by good old Vlad the Impaler at one time. It didn't help that the lady who ran the inn pulled out a box of rosaries from behind the bar and gave them to us before we left. Don't know if it was to ward off vampires and werewolves or because she had seen this guy drive!!

We're standing up in this desolate castle courtyard and the wind is HOWLING and there are sheer cliffsides all around us and the guide is telling us all about Vlad - the real Vlad - and he was NOT a nice guy! Then he told us some other interesting local legends and folklore which was all very absolutely fascinating, but the longer we stayed the more creeped out we got.

Gerri Russell said...

Louisa,

Thank you for sharing! You made me laugh. I loved the fact that the inn mistress sent you away with a Rosary. I think I would have asked for 10! Never know when a good cross will come in handy in Transylvania. What a story. Glad you survived. :-)

Gerri Russell said...

My dearest Banditas,

Thank you so much for sharing the lair with me today. It's been so fun. You are all so special.

Wishing you the very best in all your endeavors.

--Gerri