Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sandy Blair is in the Lair!

interview with Suz

Banditas and Bandit Buddies we have one of my all time favorite authors, and my very good friend, Sandy Blair in the Lair today to talk about her novella Her MacKinnon, featured in the Mommoth Book of Scottish Romances. Please pull up a chair and help me welcome Sandy!

Sandy: Hi Suzanne. Thanks for inviting me to blog with your wonderful Bandits again. I really enjoy the site and usually only lurk when a favorite author is on.

Suz: Her MacKinnon in the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance is your second novella for the Mammoth book series. What makes this such an appealing market for your stories?


Sandy: The Mammoth books provide readers a broad spectrum of plots and author voices under one cover. They also provide authors with an opportunity to stretch while reaching a broad audience. (I.e. Time-travels are a hard sell in today's market. Mammoth provides me with an outlet to write and sell yet another subgenre I love.)


Suz: In Her MacKinnon, you have a ghost, a modern day heir and a modern day heroine. How did you bring these three characters together?

Sandy: Through a little magic. ?

Suz: Your first novel A Man In A Kilt had a ghost as the hero, too. Are you intrigued with ghosts? Or do you just think Scottish tales are a good vehicle for them?

Sandy: Thanks to its turbulent history I suspect Scotland is littered with many a ghost and I'll admit to being fascinated by them but my incorporating a ghost into a Man In A Kilt came about as a flight of pure fancy. I was staring at my hubby's ancestral Highland home Castle Stalker, wondering what our lives might be like if he'd inherited the island bound fortress instead of some distant cousin , one thought lead to another and then I wondered, "What if it came with a ghost?" Her MacKinnon came about over dinner when my son pondered the possibilities of inanimate objects being possessed by spirits. Grinning, I ran with the premise.

Suz: You do quite a bit of research for your books. What special research did you do for Her MacKinnon?

Sandy: After becoming reacquainted with the clan's history, I had to become familiar with the isle's current look, (i.e. roadways and buildings.) As I pumped a Scottish born friend for brand names (i.e. an inexpensive car, brand of shampoo) for this contemporary ghost story I was surprised to learn many items mentioned would be American brands. (The world is indeed getting smaller which takes some of the "romance" out of travelling.)

Suz: I know you have a lovely new tale, titled "The King's Mistress". Where did you get the idea for that story and what is it about?

Sandy: Thanks. I'd been researching another tale when I came across several odd details related to King Alexander III's life and death. I found myself wondering if things really happened as reported or if the facts supplied to historians were simply a means of covering up jealousy and murder?.and so this new story took shape. I hope to see this tale released shortly.

Suz: So do I! I adore the hero and heroine in that story! Any other news you'd like to share with our Banditas and our Bandit Buddies?

Sandy: Oh yeah. Scott and I have recently left our comfort zones and best friends to be near more family. We're currently living in New Hampshire with my daughter and her family as we wait for our new home to be finished. Which will hopefully be soon. I seriously miss my desk-top computer and bed. (I've discovered I'm definitely not a lap-top kinda gal. Become all thumbs and random cursers.)

Suz: I have to confess I "stole" these pictures from Sandy's website. www.sandyblair.net That's Skibo Castle just above and that's Sandy on the staircase inside Skibo! The other castle is Castle Stalker, the Castle for the insipiration of A Man In A Kilt

So, readers, have YOU ever been to a castle? Which one and where? Ever met a ghost? Tell us about it!

101 comments:

Deb said...

Woo hoo, is it me?

Jane said...

Hi Sandy,
I'm a fan of your books. I've never had a chance to visit a castle, but do hope I'll get to someday, especially in England and Scotland. Never had an encounter with a ghost and not sure how I would react if I did meet one.

Deb said...

I have actually seen 4 castles and toured one when I was in Denmark. I visited Kronborg Castle which looks across the Kattegat Bay to Sweden. It is the castle in which the play HAMLET is based upon. The wall tapestries, weapons, and the furniture were so awesome to view. I also went down into the dungeon and, brrr, it was quite chilly down there.

I was also able to walk around the grounds of Queen Margrethe's Summer Palace called Marselisborg Palace. It was huge and the grounds and gardens were beautiful! The Royal Family was coming the next day, so my group and I were lucky to be able to tour the grounds since it is closed to the public when the Royal Family is in residence.

I was also lucky enough to see Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen where the Royal Family resides most of the year. I was able to see the changing of the guard that afternoon and my cousin Bent had some interesting stories about the time he was a castle guard.

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Sandy! I live among sand casltes. But I have dragged hubby and kids on two trips to Scotland to hunt for castles. IMHO, the crumblier, the better to inspire one's imagination.

Two great sources for castle hunting:

- National Trust For Scotland (NTS) http://www.nts.org.uk/Home/

- Historic Scotland,
http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/

Of course, you have your own fabulous Blair Castle in Perthshire. I'm sure the Duke of Atholl lets you pop in every now and then!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Deb, it's been a while, hasn't it? Yahooooo!

Sandy, lovely to see you back in the lair. Suz, thanks so much for bringing Miss Blair here to entertain us. Love the sound of the Scottish time travel/ghost story. I love the Mammoth Books too - it's a great way to find new authors and as you say, for writers, it's a wonderful way to stretch your wings a bit.

Kirsten said...

Hi Sandy,

Loved the interview. I've never been to a real castle. The only one I ever entered was of the bouncy type and full of kids :) They where very real and loud! so getting just one of them out was a challange.

Donna MacMeans said...

Welcome back Sandy!

I've been to the Tower of London and Warwick Castle, and I spent the night in a B&B that was built to resemble a castle - does that count? It was here in Ohio - not a state known for castles (grin).

I've never seen a ghost, though I've been in many haunted venues. I know people that swear they've seen ghosts - and darn it - I want to. My editor just shakes her head. "You're an accountant," she says. "Accountants aren't open to ghosts." I didn't realize they were so particular.

Laurie Faelan said...

My daughter and visited a few castles as we drove around Ireland. Some were ruins such as Blarney Castle, one a touristy castle near Shannon airport (Bunratty Castle), but the one that captured our imaginations was Dunluce Castle located on the edge of a cliff in Northern Ireland.

Legend has it that during a violent storm, the castle's kitchen fell off and plunged into the sea taking almost the entire kitchen staff to their deaths - with the exception of one kitchen boy that had been sitting in a corner.

Although we didn't see any, ghosts are said to roam the grounds and spirits of sailors from the Spanish Armada wrecked treasure ship, Girona, haunt the beach below.

I love time travels and doubly when they include a sexy Scot! I'll be sure to look at for the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance.

Fun interview!

barb said...

well done Deb have a great time with GR

Hi Sandy... great blog and book... I. like Donna I went to Warwick Castle years ago when I lived in the UK but these days it is very commercialised... my BIL lives down the road from Kenilworth Casle which is not far from Warwick but it is a ruin... when my kids were little they used to like to go and explore there and were able to run all over the ruins

Minna said...

Let me think: I've been in 3 castles in Finland in Turku, Helsinki and Savonlinna and one in Sweden, Stockholm. I've never met a ghost, but presumambly one of my cousins did when he was a kid.

Helen said...

Well done Deb what are your plans for him today

Hi Sandy and Suz

I love the sound of this story and a castle in Scotland I would love to go there one day.

Sadly I have never been to a castle and I haven't seen a ghost either although I am not sure if I would really like to I like the idea of reading about one but meeting one I don't know LOL.

Congrats on the release I will have to order this one

Have Fun
Helen

Cassondra said...

Woohoo Deb!

Cassondra said...

Sandy, that's a great cover *picks up tongue and puts it back into mouth*

I have been to castles. A whole bunch of them. I'd have to pull out my scrapbooks to remember, but I can think of a couple. Edinburgh Castle,Powis Castle, and Hever Castle, are three I can think of, but there were gobs of them. I spent a summer exploring the gardens of Britain, and saw a frightening number of dungeons and the accessories which go with them in the process.

It was an amazing summer, and I wouldn't trade it. It taught me that I don't think I'd want to live in one, that's for certain.

Have also had a number of encounters with ghosts. One of them in one of the castles, actually. Let's just say I went out through the in door--literally-- getting the heck out of there when that happened.

Anna Sugden said...

Hey Sandy - welcome back to the Lair! (even if you are talking about those blasted Scots again *g*)

Yep - been to lots of castles, both big and little. Kind of goes with the territory. Love exploring them, but can't say I'd like to live in one. Now, some of the stately homes *sigh*.

Also had several experiences with ghosts - again, kind of goes with the territory *g*. I'm afraid I was a chicken and kept my eyes tightly shut with the first one - at a Civil War pub in Somerset!

Gillian Layne said...

Wow, I would love to visit a castle. Actually, my father tells me we have a family castle in Germany. It's on a hill overlooking a small village and it's basically a picturesque ruin. But it's kind of neat to show pictures to the kids. I'd love to go visit it some day.

I just love those Mammoth Books of Romance. Can't wait to read your story! :)

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Whoo-hoo, Deb! I guess you get to wrangle that bird today!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Jane!

I've never been to a castle, either, unless you include the Biltmore estate in Ashville, North Carolina. It's pretty impressive. I'm hoping to get to go to England and Scotland someday and tour a few castles there.

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Suz & Sandy! I love a good castle! I visited several while in Ireland but after a while, I ended up with castle fatigue. It was like, "Eh, seen one castle, seen 'em all." Which is not the best attitude with which to visit a castle.

I also loved the Governor's mansion in Williamsburg, though it really isn't a castle. There's just such a rich sense of history. I'm always tempted to start writing historical ghost stories when I visit a place like that--good on you for actually doing it! Can't wait to check yours out.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Wow Deb! You've gotten to see such great castles!

I also went down into the dungeon and, brrr, it was quite chilly down there.

Okay, that took some nerve to go down in the dungeon. I'm not sure I'd want to go there!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Kim!

But I have dragged hubby and kids on two trips to Scotland to hunt for castles. IMHO, the crumblier, the better to inspire one's imagination.

LOL. I bet the kids LOVED the crublier castles to crawl around on!

Joan said...

Hi Sandy!!! Hi Suz!!!!

Castles. Aye, I've seen a few in Ireland though I didn't fatigue out on them.

Ross Castle in Killarney. Gave a real sense of what life within a castle (at least a small one) would be like. The winding staircase was barely big enough for me so it kind of blew the image of strapping knights weilding swords with enemies. Maybe a toothpick, but no broadsword.

Laurie, I saw that castle in Northern Ireland. Poor servants.... And the Bunratty one was fun with it's "medieval" banquet but the singing and music!!! Superb!

St. John's castle in Limerick though that was so "tourist fied" it was comic.

And stayed in Dromoland castle the last night of our trip. Suffice to say it was THE most luxurious suite I'd ever stayed in!!! Who cares if there were ghosts? I had a soaking tub!!!

Can't wait to read your new stories!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Anna C!

I always love bringing Sandy to the Lair for a visit. This has been a bit of a juggling act this go round with her big move to New England and the blizzard and the holidays.

You have been to a few castles in your visits to England, haven't you?

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Kirsten!

The only one I ever entered was of the bouncy type and full of kids :)

LOL! I didn't know bouncy houses came in the shapes of castles!

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Deb!

Hi Jane,
So pleased to hear your a fan. You'll love Scotland and her castles. I've only had one ghost encounter and that was auditory, not visual. And it did startle me.

Sandy Blair said...

Deb,
What a fabulous experience! I envy you that trip.

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Kim,
Thanks for dropping by. Funny you should mention Blair Attoll. I have a photo of Scott, my dh, at the front door. The place is fabulous inside.

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Anna!
LOVE your work!! Thanks for dropping by.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Donna: I spent the night in a B&B that was built to resemble a castle - does that count? It was here in Ohio - not a state known for castles (grin)

I didn't know this! Where's it at? Maybe I'll swing by when I come home this year!!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hi Sandy!!! Glad to see your laptop let you get on line and in the Lair today!! (I was sweating that out, y'all.)

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Kristin,
LOL. I imagine real castles were just as loud in their day.

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Donna,
Real? I think you should count every vacation as real where someone else does the dishes.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Laurie!

Legend has it that during a violent storm, the castle's kitchen fell off and plunged into the sea taking almost the entire kitchen staff to their deaths - with the exception of one kitchen boy that had been sitting in a corner.

OOooo...I think a few writers in the Lair today could come up with some good ghost stories for that incident! (Sandy, Joanie, Nancy!)

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Barb!

but it is a ruin... when my kids were little they used to like to go and explore there and were able to run all over the ruins

See? I'm thinking crublier castles would be a great joy for kids. Did your kids see any ghosts or start any ghost stories after they'd be on the ruins?

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Laurie,
Oow, what a fabulous tale! LOL at the accountatn comment. I've been in a dozen castles and been on a few ghost tours--my last with author Nancy Haddock--and never really saw one while she, a sensitive, got totally spooked.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

By the way, y'all, in Her MacKinnon the ghost is a very sexy Scotsman...and it's interesting how he's been an influence in the heroine's life without her knowing it, isn't it, Sandy? (She has such a twisted sort of mind, my CP!)

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Barb,
What a childhood memory...playing in a castle ruin. Love it.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Minna!
Let me think: I've been in 3 castles in Finland in Turku, Helsinki and Savonlinna and one in Sweden, Stockholm

Wow! I didn't realize there were that many castles in Scandinavia!!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Helen!

Sadly I have never been to a castle and I haven't seen a ghost either although I am not sure if I would really like to I like the idea of reading about one but meeting one I don't know LOL.

See, I've never seen or felt a ghost's presence, either. I have several friends who say they are sort of ghost magnets. Maybe it's just you and I are responsive to them?

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Minna! Are you as cold as I am? Lord, what ever possessed us (no pun intended)to move north? I hope your warmer than I.

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Helen,
I hope you get a chance to stay in a castle one day. And do hope you enjoy the story. I had a great deal of fun writing it.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Cassondra!

I spent a summer exploring the gardens of Britain, and saw a frightening number of dungeons and the accessories which go with them in the process.
Why does this NOT surprise me? Did you study the weaponry in the castles, too?

Have also had a number of encounters with ghosts. One of them in one of the castles, actually. Let's just say I went out through the in door--literally-- getting the heck out of there when that happened.

See...this goes to the being open or receptive to ghosts thingy. I think some people are and others go blissfully through life not knowing they exist!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Anna S!

I bet you do get to see lots of castles over there in England. I have to agree, the stately homes look very, very nice!

I'm afraid I was a chicken and kept my eyes tightly shut with the first one - at a Civil War pub in Somerset!

ooooooooo what happened?

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Cassondra,
Wow!! Great story. What did you think of Edinburgh as a city? I loved it, but it would have helped had I been part mountain goat. Lordy, some of those streets are steep.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Gillian!

Actually, my father tells me we have a family castle in Germany. It's on a hill overlooking a small village and it's basically a picturesque ruin.

Oh yeah, you REALLY need to plan a trip to Germany to see that! I'm pretty sure my family would have a hovel in our history. No castles at all! hehehe

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Gillian,
If you ever get a chance to visit Germany, do spend some time at the castle. Something will stir within you, a feeling of coming home.

And I hope you enjoy the tale.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Susan!

but after a while, I ended up with castle fatigue. It was like, "Eh, seen one castle, seen 'em all." Which is not the best attitude with which to visit a castle.

LOL! I hope you didn't tell that to any ghosts in those castles!

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Anna,
Thanks for the warm welcome.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Joanie!!

How's the hip today?

And stayed in Dromoland castle the last night of our trip. Suffice to say it was THE most luxurious suite I'd ever stayed in!!! Who cares if there were ghosts? I had a soaking tub!!!

Did you have to share the soaking tub with a ghost or two?

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Susan,
I hear you about tourist burn-out. I felt the same way after taking a catheral tour in Germany/Austria. I thought if I saw one more gothic arch or ounce of guilding I'd scream. But now I long to go back.

Minna said...

Suzanne, there are plenty of castles in Nordic countries. Where you have kings, you have castles, too. Of course many of the castles here in Finland were made as one line of defence against the attacking neighbour, Russia. Well, the castle in Turku is obviously an exception as it's not anywhere near the border of Russia and it was built in the town that used to be the capital of Finland. On the other hand for instance Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna was clearly built with defence in mind. You wouldn't want to live there!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_castles_in_Finland

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Suzy,
Yup, I made it on the loop but the typos. Oy. (Folks, I normally use a spread keyboard, not a standard, so right now I'm fighting my boobs as I try to type.)

As for Her MacKinnon: This tale reminds me of that saying "I love you more today than I did yesterday. Yesterday you really pissed me off."

As the story opens the heroine is seriously upset with the man she promised to love and honor til death do they part...and they do in a mnner of speaking. (Grin.)

Irene said...

Hi Sandy,
Growing up in the Scotland & England I have able to visit many castles there.Then being Stationed in Germany we were able to visit castles there.I am going to visit Heidleberg Castle in the next couple of weeks.
My scary visit to a castle was Dracula's Castle in Germany. I was going into a room that had never been open to the public until that day, I barely had my feet over the door frame, I was filling with such a fear of evil I knew evil things had been done in that room.I was so pale ane it was like my blood had froze.
Scottish Angel

Minna said...

Sandy, we have plenty cold here. It's not so bad as long as the electricity doesn't go out for some reason. Fortunately our sauna stove still works with wood.
And at least when it's cold our wandering bear is sound asleep and doesn't make any paw prints on the road.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Irene!

Welcome to the Lair!

My scary visit to a castle was Dracula's Castle in Germany. I was going into a room that had never been open to the public until that day, I barely had my feet over the door frame, I was filling with such a fear of evil I knew evil things had been done in that room.I was so pale ane it was like my blood had froze.

ACK! I'm pretty sure even I wouldn't want to go in Dracula's castle, much less into a room where evil stuff happened!! Nope! No way!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Oh, never been to a castle and have never seen a ghost but felt one's presence very strongly. Don't want to do that again actually.

I loved your Kilt series Sandy and all your other works as well. It was actually How to Marry a Duke that I "found" you. I really do love anthologies just for the reason you mentioned. It is a great way to find new to me authors. I have 3 of "The Mammoth" books and really enjoying them. I just received The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance.

Gillian Layne said...

Here's a link to see the "family" castle-ha!-on my father's side (and evidently the town is the same name as well, don't know how I didn't know that):

http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~runkle/castle.htm

Irene, your Dracula story gave me chills. I felt kind of the same when we went to visit Alcatraz prison when I was a little girl. The unhappiness of the place was palpable. I was so glad when we got back on the boat and left!

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Irene,
You're a braver woman than I going into a castle with so much scary history.

catslady said...

I remember eating in the "dungeon" of a castle in England - a touristy thing but lots of fun. I love reading or hearing about anything Scottish or having to do with castles and ghosts are always fascinating. Unfortunately, I've never encountered one but I think I'd find it as fascinating as your Mammoth Book!!!

Nancy said...

Deb, congrats on the bird! Don't let him give you any trouble.

Sandy, welcome back! I do love a good ghost romance. And Stalker Castle? How cool a name is that?!

I have been to castles in England. My favorite is Middleham in North Yorkshire. It's a ruin but set in a picturesque little town in the dales. I never met a ghost in a castle (or anywhere else) and don't much think I'd like to. I prefer my ghosts fictional.

I thought the part of your post about getting the current look of the place was interesting. I'm usually on a quest for the reverse.

My dh went to college in NH, and we visited there once. It's beautiful country. I hope your move works well for you.

Nancy said...

Laurie, that's interesting about the castle in Ireland and the kitchen collapse.

Tintagel Castle is on a headland, with a cave underneath that goes all the way through (Merlin's Cave, as it happens), and geologists say that erosion will eventually cause the headland to collapse.

Nancy said...

Donna wrote: "You're an accountant," she says. "Accountants aren't open to ghosts." I didn't realize they were so particular.

LOL! I hadn't either.

Nancy said...

Suz wrote: I'm pretty sure my family would have a hovel in our history. No castles at all!

There's a castle in my family's history, and it IS a hovel! *g*

On my mom's side, we're related to Clan MacQueen, whose original seat was Castle Sween in Scotland. No one maintains it, so it's pretty much a crumbling pile of stone. I've never seen it, but my relatives have.

Danielle Gorman said...

I have never been to a castle or seen one, unless you consider Cinderella's castle at the Magic Kingdom. I would love to see a real castle. As for ghost, I once saw the reflection of my dead grandfather in my bedroom. I was lying in bed reading, and I had a glass door on my entertainment center. I looked over at it and there he was standing in the doorway. Freaked me out! I don't want to see anything that is no longer here. After that I would not stay in the house alone at night.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome back, Sandy!!! So great to have you here in the Lair and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I LURVED Warwicke Castle when I visited it about 20 years ago. Sorry to hear it's become over comercialized. :-( Another castle I really liked (but has probably changed for the worse) is Burg Eltz in Germany. Anyone been to it lately? About 15 years ago, I LOVED it! And of course, Neuschwanstein, that Cinderella's castle in Disneyland is based on. I might actually LIVE in that one (in Disneyland) but the others... No thanx, I want my modern conveniences. ;-)

BIG THANX to Suz for inviting Sandy to join us today!

AC

Joan said...

Did you have to share the soaking tub with a ghost or two?

Who do you think was making the bubbles? Grin

Hips still sore but better.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Congrats on the GR, Deb. Don't let that rascal give you any trouble!

Laurie, wasn't Dunluce fabulous?!?! Certainly a far cry from Bunratty, but that was the first place I smelled an honest-to-gosh peat fire. An experience NOT to be missed! The castle ruins closest to my DH's family in Northern Ireland are Castle Monea. I got the very definite "feel" of the previous inhabitants there.

Nancy, Tintagel is one of the places I'd most love to visit!

AC

Beth said...

Welcome back to the lair, Sandy! And congrats on your latest release *g*

I've never been to a castle but I have been thinking a lot about ghosts lately (though I've never encountered one) Not sure why they've been on my mind. Maybe I'll get a new story idea from it :-)

gamistress66 said...

haven't met any ghosts yet ;) but I seem to recall in the early 80's visiting a castle in Toronto that had been moved there from Europe by some millionaire many years ago. it even had secret passages if I recall correctly. :) Would love to head over to see some of those beautiful old castles (even some of those in ruins) in England, Scotland, Ireland, etc. perhaps some day :)

Karyn Gerrard said...

Book sounds wonderful, all the ebst for the release!

I would love to go to a castle, on my to-do list when I finally get on that trip to the U.K.
And sadly, no ghosts either.
I must lead a rather dull life, LOL!

Louisa Cornell said...

YAY, Deb ! Enjoy your day with him!

I LOVED Man in a Kilt, but then I really enjoy your books, Sandy!

Great interview, Suz!

I have been to quite a few castles in my life. Warwick Castle, The Tower of London, Orford Castle, Framlingham Castle, Ightam Mote, Edinburgh Castle, Colchester Castle. Those are some of the UK castles I've visited.

I've visited Neuwachstein, Salzburg Castle and several other castles in Germany and Austria.

And I have visited several castles in Romania and Transylvania - a couple reputed to be temporary homes of Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) It was at one of those that I felt more than saw a ghost. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up and I felt eyes on me. I didn't gather the courage to turn around and look !!

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Dianna,
I'm so pleased to hear you enjoyed The Accidental Duchess.(If only Mammoth would give me as much latitidue with page count.)

I hope you enjoy Her MacKinnon.

Sandy

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, Sandy! I love your books---I confess a weakness for sexy Highlanders. *g* I have been a castle, but no ghostly encounters there. I did have a friend when I was in elementary school and their house was supposedly haunted. I never saw anything, but sometimes their dog would look at "nothing" and the hair would stand up on his back.

I'm fascinated by ghosts, too. Maybe I'll meet a, hopefully benevolent, spirit someday.

Margaret West said...

Loving this blog :-)

Cassondra said...

Suz said:

See...this goes to the being open or receptive to ghosts thingy. I think some people are and others go blissfully through life not knowing they exist!

You're right. I'm one of those who may not be exactly receptive, but I know it when they're around. That dungeon was not a nice place. Torture instruments and a lot of horrible things had happened there. You could feel it. The air was absolutely thick with it. AFter I was out, and waiting in the garden, some of the others in my group came out and said, "I didn't like it down there." They felt it too, just didn't know what they were feeling. One other girl was following me up the steps and out of there, and as we passed through the foyer, I said, "not doin' that again," and she said, "nope, me neither."

Yet others stayed down there and like you said, were oblivious. It's interesting, isn't it?

Cassondra said...

Sandy said:

Hi Cassondra,
Wow!! Great story. What did you think of Edinburgh as a city? I loved it, but it would have helped had I been part mountain goat. Lordy, some of those streets are steep.


Edinburgh is the city that calls me home. I've told this story before I think, but I'll tell again. This was my first (and only thus far) trip to Great Britain, so it was all new to me. We'd walked all over England looking at gardens, and after a few weeks of that, I was exhausted. We were on the train going from London (where we had our headquarters) to Scotland. I had accidentally dozed off, leaning against the side of the train. I jerked awake suddenly, completely alert and sat up straight. My graduate adviser, in the seat beside me, looked at me funny. I looked around me and out the window at a sky that was a strange peach-color I'd never seen before. Everyone else was just sitting there. I kept looking around the train and said, "did something just happen?" and he said, "We just crossed the border into Scotland." I'll never forget it. I can only explain it as "my soul recognized home."

I didn't get to spend as much time in Edinburgh as I'd have liked, but every time I had two days off, I went back there. My father had very unusual eyes--I've never seen them on anybody except his brothers and a few of my cousins. Only one of my brothers has those eyes. Maybe five people in my life have had eyes that looked like that--just like the eyes in the pictures of my grandfather (Daddy's father.)

When I got off the train in Edinburgh and walked up and onto the streets, I saw those eyes everywhere. In fact, some people came up to me and said, "Yer a Murray?" I nodded. "Ye've the Murray eyes," they said.

If I'd never believed in ancestral memory before that, I believed then.

Edinburgh haunts me.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Catslady!

I remember eating in the "dungeon" of a castle in England

Okay, this would make me nervous. I'd want to see the food BEFORE it was prepared...I'm just sayin'...!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Minna:Suzanne, there are plenty of castles in Nordic countries. Where you have kings, you have castles, too. Of course many of the castles here in Finland were made as one line of defence against the attacking neighbour, Russia.

Wow! Didn't know all that. See what interesting things we learn here in the Bandit Lair!

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Louisa, I'm pleased to learn you enjoyed A Man In A Kilt. I loved the story, love the characters but seriously disliked the title. But the marketing people tagged me the "In A Kilt" gal and that was it.

Hi Karyn, so pleased you dropped by. I hope you do get to stay in a castle some day.

Hi Gamsitress, thanks for posting. I hope you get that trip to the UK as well.

Hi Beth, Sounds like a story in the making!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Nancy!

On my mom's side, we're related to Clan MacQueen, whose original seat was Castle Sween in Scotland. No one maintains it, so it's pretty much a crumbling pile of stone. I've never seen it, but my relatives have.

See, another person related to some sort of royalty or landowner. I'm pretty sure my side of the clans was part of the village at best! hehehe

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Danielle!

I once saw the reflection of my dead grandfather in my bedroom. I was lying in bed reading, and I had a glass door on my entertainment center. I looked over at it and there he was standing in the doorway.

OKay, I'm with you on that. I prefer to only see those things I'm supposed to see, like living breathing people!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Cindy!

And of course, Neuschwanstein, that Cinderella's castle in Disneyland is based on.

I've been in Cinderella's castle! hehehe. I believe Sandy's been to Neuschwanstein. We've talked about it a few times.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Beth!

Not sure why they've been on my mind. Maybe I'll get a new story idea from it

I'm with Sandy on this. There is probably a story waiting to gel out of the ghosts!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Gamistress!
but I seem to recall in the early 80's visiting a castle in Toronto that had been moved there from Europe by some millionaire many years ago. it even had secret passages if I recall correctly.

How cool. I think castles should all have secret passages in them.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Karyn!
I would love to go to a castle, on my to-do list when I finally get on that trip to the U.K.

This is on my to-do-someday list, too!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Louisa!

Wow, you've been to a bunch of castles!

Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) It was at one of those that I felt more than saw a ghost. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up and I felt eyes on me. I didn't gather the courage to turn around and look !!

Okay that's two people who had bad experiences in the Dracula castle. I'm thinking that's one to steer clear of!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Margaret West!

Well thanks, we love the blog and all our visitors, too! Welcome to the Lair. I hope you'll be a frequent visitor!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Gannon!

Always a pleasure to see you here. I'm hoping to see castles some day, but can do without the ghosts, friendly or not!

flchen1 said...

Ooh, hi, Sandy!! Highlanders :) Castles!! What's not to love? :D

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Sandy & Suz,

No to the castle but yes to the
ghost. For several years the
children reported that they had
heard my sister's voice. (She was
taken from us in 1975 by breast
cancer.) I was at my computer and
suddenly found myself surrounded
by a cloud of her favorite Nina
Ricci perfume. This continued for quite a few years until I loudly
said "Enough!" The perfume amount lessened to just enough to know
she'd been by. It's now been a while since she last visited.

Pat Cochran

Nancy said...

Suz wrote: See, another person related to some sort of royalty or landowner.

Yeah, but on my dad's side, they were English farm hands.

Nancy said...

Gannon, I've heard that about dogs, too.

Anna Campbell said...

Suzanne, you know I HAUNT castles when I go to the UK. Hmm, perhaps people have seen me and not a ghost! ;-) Some of my faves are Eilean Donan castle in Scotland (the one on the island with the bridge that you see in all the pics) and Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe. That one is seriously spectacular. http://www.gettyimages.com.au/detail/96621211/Flickr And it's a Campbell stronghold too!

Nancy said...

Gamistress--oooh, secret passages! I would love to see a place that actually had them.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Sandy, welcome to the Lair. Sorry I'm late, but I've been gone all day.

I have visited several castles in Scotland and I find them very interesting. I always try to imagine how it'd be living there among the stone, crenalated walls, and cold. Wonderful setting for a romance novel!

gamistress66 said...

Think this was the place I mentioned: Casa Loma (http://casaloma.org) it's been over 25 yrs since I was there but recall thinking "ooohhh", "wow", & "neat" (I was a teen after all) :)

SiNn said...

Hii Sandyyyy! i adore you and all of ur books and well just you really ur a lucky lady being to a castle i wish i was unless u count the cute ones lil girls get for the yard i was in one of those playin fairy princess with my adorable princess

id say ive seen ghosts i belueve in them i think wed be remiss if we thought we were all thats left in this ever expanding universe

Silvia said...

I often dreamed of visiting a castle. Picturing luxury and paintings, gold cherubs and a massive ballroom. Not sure what a real castle looks like but it seems great to visit one. I remember seeing a few castles in the movies, pretty comfortable places and yes also a few with ghost flying around. Should be fun.

Sandy Blair said...

Yikes! You're certainly a chatty group. I went to bed thinking I'd read and responded to all the messeges only to awake to find you've one from 77 posts to 94!!

Maragaret: Thanks for dropping by.

Pat: ((((Hugs))))) on your loss and the perfume...seriously spooky. I can see why you told her, "Enough."


Hi Jo: So pleased you dropped by.

SiNn: I love you too. And thatnks for the compliments. I hope you enjoy this new Highlander.

Ladies,
It's been a pleasure. Thank you all for dropping by. Hugs to all who need them and best wishes for the New Year to all.

Carol L. said...

Hi Sandy,
I love your books. I love Scotland and I love reading the research the Authors do when they write their stories. I 'e never had the luck to visit a Castle except Cinderella's at Disney World. lol But I truly want to go to Scotland one day and tour the Castles. No ghosts,, thank God. :)
Carol L
Lucky4750@aol.com

Margay said...

Hi, Sandy, I have been to a castle. It's called Hammond Castle and it's in Gloucester, MA; it is pretty cool. I have also had experience with ghosts, usually of people I already knew.
Margay

LilMissMolly said...

I've been to a few castles in Ireland, Scotland and Germany. I just love them! The only ghost I've ever experienced was when I was 15 and almost died from surgery complications. Never in a castle, darn it!