Friday, August 12, 2011

Sue-Ellen Welfonder - in the lair

hosted by Donna MacMeans

It's my great pleasure to introduce you to a fabulous writer, Sue-Ellen Welfonder. Sue-Ellen and I met through the internet when we were both contributors to TAILS OF LOVE. Then we met in person at Lori Foster's reader event at the book's launch. These days you can generally find Sue-Ellen at Tartans Ink, a blog she shares with Karen Ranney who'll be visiting the lair next week. So let's chat about kilts and the roguish men that wear them.

Hello, Banditas!

May I sa
y how thrilled I am to be here? I love Romance Bandits and have been a fan for years. I’ve also been an Internet hermit for years, only recently embracing social media. So this is my first guest appearance here.

But guess what? I’ve been in the lair before. Long-time Banditas might recognize the name “Crianlarich.” That was me. In those days, I didn’t want to post on the Internet. But I adored this blog and sometimes really wanted to participate. So Crianlarich was born. It’s the name of a sweet little blink-in-the-road village in Scotland. Better said, a fork in the road. It’s the point of no return if you’re driving into the Highlands. And if you’re leaving them, it’s the place you pass and then know the Highlands are behind you.

So I have a love-hate relationship with Crianlarich. My mood depends on the direction I’m taking.
I do love the name, though. And so I nabbed it for use when looking in here.

Today I’m here as myself. And I’m delighted to chat about my new release, TEMPTATION OF A HIGHLAND SCOUNDREL, book two in my Highland Warriors trilogy. Here’s my one-line summary of the book:

A roguish chieftain’s world is upended when a dangerous enemy shatters the peace of a sacred glen just as a determined lady proves true love can conquer the most unwilling heart.

Here’s the official back cover blurb:


Three proud warriors locked in a struggle for victory
Three beguiling women united in their vow to restore peace.

Despite an official peace decreed by the King after a fierce battle between neighboring clans, old conflicts smolder in the Glen of Many Legends. Kendrew mackintosh, chieftain of his clan, is famed as both a hot-blooded warrior and a sensual lover. He has no intention of settling down… until he kisses a forbidden beauty whose passion matches his own.

Highborn an
d gently-raised, Lady Isobel Cameron has long harbored a secret fascination for the fearless, charismatic Mackintosh leader – even though her brother is his sworn enemy. When destiny draws Isobel and Kendrew together for one night, she discovers a secret tender
ness Kendrew can no longer hide. Unable to resist her deepening desire, she surrenders to his seductive touch. But what begins as a flirtation soon becomes a fight for survival. A deadly new threat has come to the glen, and Kendrew and Isobel must learn to trust one another – or pay the ultimate price.


I love all my books, as authors should, but Scoundrel has a special place in my heart. For one, Kendrew is a rascal. It’s been a while since I wrote such a hero, the last one being Bran of Barra, hero of my favorite Allie Mackay title, Some Like It Kilted.

Kendrew and Bran are rogues. Big, burly men, rough around the edges. They’re rugged an
d cold-hardy, not fazed by lashing wind and rain and they can wear the roughest wool without itching. They live hard and they love challenges. They can silence a great hall with a glance. And if they’re in a good mood, they can fill that same hall with gut-splitting laughter. They have crooked smiles, wicked winks, and have the simple neck nuzzle down to perfection.

They fear nothing, enjoy a good fight, and will tear down mountains to protect their own. They’re bold, daring, rowdy and good-hearted. They make the best friends and the worst enemies.

Women love them. And I should probably write them more often because each time I do, I fall so in love with them.

Kendrew’s heroine, Isobel, was equally smitten. She knew what she wanted and she went after her man. Kendrew’s wildness didn’t deter her. Far from it, she felt drawn to him as you can see in this mini-scene…

This is near the beginning of the book. Isobel is in her bedchamber at her home, Castle Haven. Her friend and sister-in-law, Catriona MacDonald, heroine of Sins of a Highland Devil, is with her. Because Catriona is now pregnant, she’s resting on Isobel’s bed.

It is Mids
ummer Eve and their topic is Kendrew. His clan is famed for their raucous celebration of the pagan festival. The revels take place in the heart of Kendrew’s Nought territory, in the shadows of the dreagan stones. (large stone burial cairns, older than time and very mysterious.)

Here’s the mini-excerpt:

“Kendrew Mackintosh is a howling madman.” Catriona found her tongue at last, proving she knew the source of Isobel’s agitation.

Isobel flicked at her sleeve, too irritated to care.

“It is summer solstice.” She spoke her mind, images of Kendrew’s big, powerfully muscled body kissed by the glow of bonfires making her breath catch and her skin tingle. “The Mackintoshes celebrate Midsummer in the old way.” She glanced at the room’s tall window arches, her pulse quickening at the polished gleam of the twilight sky. “On such a night, I can’t help but wonder if he really does leap naked onto the cairns.”

“He is surely bold enough.” Catriona smoothed the bed covers, resting her hands atop her slightly swo
llen belly. “Everyone knows he’s wholly untamed.”

Isobel could’ve added more. She did imagine him standing in the heart of his rock-hewn land, cold mist blowing around him, the gold of his Thor’s hammer and arm rings glinting brightly.

“He fought ferociously at the trial by combat.” She bit back how much his bravery impressed her. “The earth shook when he stamped the haft of his war ax on the ground after the battle.”

“He is fearless, true enough.” Catriona shivered when a chill wind swept the room, stirring the floor rushes. “Word is he can trace his line back to the Berserkers, Odin’s bloodthirsty, half-mythic body guards.

“So-o-o….” She laced her fingers. “He could well be doing anything this night, including leaping naked onto his dreagan stones.”

l agreed.

But unlike her friend, she didn’t find the notion disturbing.

The brisk air filling the chamber brought traces of damp earth and pine, just a hint of distant woodsmoke. Soon the first stars would start to glimmer. Beyond the thick forest that separated their lands, Mackintosh bonfires would crackle and blaze.

Those who prayed to Odin would gather. Men would touch hammer amulets and drink from mead horns. Blood would heat, passions rising as the revelry commenced….

Isobel’s heart pounded.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing Kendrew on those stones.” She glanced again at the windows, the night’s magic calling to her, making her restless.

“The sight would ruin you for life.” Catriona sounded sure.

Isobel lifted her chin. “I think I’d be rather intrigued.”

Isobel will be more than intrigued when she encounters Kendrew later that night at his clan’s Midsummer Eve celebration. He really is a larger-than-life hero and his roguish charm made him so much fun to write. Isobel is perfect for him, as she knows. Kendrew is the one who needs convincing. Luckily, Isobel is more than capable of persuading him to change his mind. How she does that made working with her a joy. I love strong heroines who are unafraid to go after their dreams.

I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Kendrew and Isobel in the pages of TEMPTATION OF A HIGHLAND SCOUNDREL. If you’d enjoy a bit more insight into their world, read on to discover a few fun facts about the book:


I love wild places. Kendrew’s Nought is my favorite corner of the Glen of Many Legends. Though fictitious, Nought was inspired by some of the most remotely splendid areas I’ve explored in Scotland.

Readers wishing to experience the magic of Nought’s dreagan stones should visit Scotland’s Neolithic chambered cairns. I’m sure I’ve heard the rumble of dreagans inside a few of them.

I observe the two E’s when writing: Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Earl Grey Cream tea.

Kendrew’s battle-lust is legend, his ferocity attested on the page. Readers who know how much I enjoy quiet living, might be surprised to learn that I love writing fight scenes, the more fierce, the better.

Slag, Borg, and Drago, three of Nought’s mythical dreagans, were based on dogs I have known and loved. To me, pets we’ve lost are like dreagans. As long as we remember them, they’re with us always.


Banditas, I’m so pleased to be with you today. To celebrate, I’m giving away one signed copy of TEMPTATION OF A HIGHLAND SCOUNDREL. Just tell me if you, too, prefer your heroes a bit rough around the edges. If so, Kendrew, my very own wild man hero, will toss you one of his crooked smiles.

Thanks so much to Donna and all the Romance Bandits for inviting me to the lair today!


Deb said...

Woot! Is the GR mine?

Deb said...

Sue-Ellen, I have not read any of your books, but the excerpt sounds like TOAHS is a great read! I like my heroes a little rough around the edges that can be softened a little by a great heroine. I love a hero in a kilt, too. Ooh, all that masculine hunkiness in a kilt makes me shiver with romantic pleasure, LOL!

Congratulations on the release of TOAHS. Kendrew and Isobel sound like a perfect match. Thanks for being in the Lair!

Louisa Cornell said...

You got him, Deb! Wonder how the GR looks in a kilt?

LOVE your books Sue-Ellen! Devil in a Kilt is a great read!!

And yes, I DO like my heroes a bit rough around the edges. I love the type that roars and stomps and rages and then the heroine settles him down with just a look, a word, a touch.

Jane said...

Hi Sue-Ellen,
Congrats on the new release. I definitely like a hero who is a bit rough around the edges, but no so much that he's a barbarian. If he's too perfect, he can be annoying.

Minna said...

I certainly like a hero who is rough around the edges. What's interesting about too polished hero?

Helen said...

Well done Deb have fun with him any special plans for him today

Waving Hi to Sue-Ellen
I am soo looking forward to reading Kendrew's story I really enjoyed him in Sins of a Highland Devil and I know that Isobel is going to tame this rough barbarian.

I do so love a hero that is rough around the edges and needs a bit more taming from a really strong heroine. Love all of your wonderful information about Scotland because that is one place I would love to visit.

Congrats on the release Sue-Ellen I need to order this one and thanks Donna for inviting
Sue-Ellen along today

Have Fun

SiNn said...

congrats on anew book!! and honetsly polished heros really arent that interesting I love the roughness aroudn the edges

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Oh my, I do love me some Highlanders, down to earth, get it done and wearing a kilt while they're about it. Sounds like I am taking an imaginary trip to the Highlands soon. Congratulations Sue-Ellen, I know it is going to be a great book.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Deb - congrats on the rooster nab!

LOL Louisa on the GR in a kilt. I have a vampire cape for him. Wonder if I could find a little kilt. Or maybe a jaunty tam.

Sue -Ellen - I love me some roguish heros whether they be kilted or not (grin). Bring on the rogues!

Donna MacMeans said...

BTW Sue-ellen - For my WIP, I wanted my hero to be a distiller. But when I did the research, it looked like only gin was distilled near London in my time period. High taxes on distillers in the early part of the century drove the distillers of better liquors north to Scotland. So it looks like I'm setting a book in Scotland.

Sounds like TOAHS might make good research (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

I agree with you all. Who wants a perfect hero? A perfect body maybe... but not a perfect guy.

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, Sue-Ellen! I love your books---those Highlanders are just too irresistible!

I definitely like my heroes a little rough around the edges. If he's too perfect, what's the fun in that?!

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Morning, Everyone!

Today I am more happy than ever to be in here. If you visit Tartan Ink, you'll know my keyboard died yesterday.

I'm in deadline end crunch and as always at such times, chaotic things are happening. Like a two-day plumbing disaster earlier this week.

There's a second pc in the house, (my husband's) and so I am using it now to say hello. Hopefully I will be up and running with a brand new keyboard later today.

I'm so delighted to be in the lair. It's one of my favorite places on the 'Net.

Thanks so much to everyone looking in to say hello to me. :)

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Deb, Congrats on nabbing the rooster. I met him when he went to Lori Foster and Dianne Castell's Reader Weekend in Cincy a few years ago.

Donna kept him on her arm and he was such a character. :)

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

A tinsy bit rough is always a great thing... I look forward to reading more of your books!!

girlygirlhoosier52 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Deb - I hope you'll enjoy my work. Scoundrel is special to me. (although I love them all) I agree with you about kilted men. If they're also a bit rough-edged, all the better!

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Louisa ~ I remember you from my Crianlarich days. Your comments always resonated. I believe you lived in Salzburg for a time? I used to live close to there, too. 15 years in Munich, and often drove down to Salzburg.

So glad you enjoyed Devil In A Kilt. That book is my little engine that could.

Delighted you love the crooked-smiled heroes, too.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Well said, Jane. A rough-edged hero needs care to write. My rule is to always make my heroes honorable men, even if as with Kendrew, they have their own brand of honor and looking at things. They must also always have a big (and good) heart.

Agree about perfection. That's annoying in a hero or a heroine. Although what annoys me most is a cry baby heroine. If she's bursting into tears every few pages, I'm done.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Minna ~ You're a woman after my own heart. And I love your name, by the way.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Helen, It's so good to see you in here. Hopefully I'll make it over to the Tartan Ink tea room today, too. But I know Kathy G warned our Tarts about my dead keyboard last night. My time on this pc is limited, so I'm staying in the lair until I have my own keyboard again.

I'm so glad you loved Kendrew in Sins of a Highland Devil. I wish they'd put his kill marks on the cover model. Everyone, Kendrew is a fearsome fighter. He's formidable in battle and carves blue 'kill marks' on his arms and chest for each slain enemy.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

SiNn ~ Yep, that's it. Polished heroes are boring. A classic example is Rhett Butler vs Ashley Whats-His-Name in Gone With The Wind. Who would'n't prefer Rhett?
Or Hans Solo vs Luke Skywalker in Star Wars? I'd take Harrison Ford any day, thank you very much.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Thanks, Dianna! It's always so good to see readers loving Scotland and Highlanders. I hope you'll enjoy Scoundrel.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Donna, you're so right... the GR would be a hoot in a litte kilt. A real show-stopper, for sure. 'Course, the vampire cape sounds quite dashing, too. :)

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Donna, I predict that if you once start writing a Scottish-set book, you'll never set them anywhere else again. Once that Highland mist swirls around you, you're a goner. So be warned. Scotland really is magical and its grip is iron-tight.

I'm still waiting for Rogue and Moonlight to arrive. Can't wait to read both. :)

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Donna - Your 'perfect body' comment just cost me a really good sip of Donut Shop coffee!

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Gannon ~ Thank you so much for the good words about my books. You've brightened my morning. :)

I so agree about imperfect and rough-edged heroes being the most appealing. If such a hero always happens to be a Highlander... be still my heart!

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Girly-girl, Thanks so much. I hope you'll enjoy meeting my own brand of rough-edged hero in Kendrew. I really loved working with him.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Okay, Banditas... I'm away for a bit to do morning chores. (and return this keyboard to its rightful owner)

I'll look in again around lunchtime or shortly thereafter.

Thank you so much to all of you looking in here today. Isn't this a great place?

Nancy said...

Deb, congrats on the GR!

Sue-Ellen, welcome! I always love reading about intriguing rascals. Taming one takes a strong woman, with lots of fireworks along the way. Kendrew and Isobel sound like a wonderful pair.

jo robertson said...

Welcome to the Lair, Sue-Ellen. I love highlander books and yours sound delicious!

Hmmm, in fantasy I definitely like my heroes rough around the edges! But in real life, gotta be shaved and showered LOL.

Congratulations on your release!

MsHellion said...

Kendrew darling, please toss me a crooked smile! I absolutely adore my men to be a little rough around the edges, so long as they know where they need to be a little smooth...

And I love me some men in kilts. Or trews. Really it's the accent that does it for me, so whatever they're wearing is fine. :)

Donna MacMeans said...

Wanted to say Sue-Ellen that I loved the excerpt - and the thought of Kendrew dancing naked in the moonlight. - now, THAT puts the tempt in Temptation!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hugs on the dead keyboard. I'm so dependent on my various technological devices. I don't necessarily know how to use them thoroughly - but I need them for the things I can understand. Not having access would probably ruin my day (but be great for productivity!)

Louisa Cornell said...

And I remember you from your Crianlarich days as well!

Yes, I lived just across the border from Salzburg for three years in a little village called Freilassing. I was in Salzburg every day as I studied at the Mozarteum. And I visited Munich often as it is FULL of wonderful museums - some of my favorite places to haunt!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hey, Sue-Ellen! Good to see you here. Welcome back to the Lair.

I do adore Scottish historicals, so I'm sure this will be an awesome read. I'm actually a fan of both the rough-around-the-edges heroes and the "good boy" heroes. Depends on the character, the situation and the heroine.

Cathy P said...

Hi, Sue-Ellen and welcome as yourself.

Congrats on the release of Temptation of A Highland Scoundrel. I have never had the pleassure of reading any of your books, but I definitely need to start doing it after reading your blog.

I love a scoundrel that is rough around the edges but can be tamed by a feisty heroine.

Kathy said...

Hello Romance Bandits This isKathy Garuti from Tartan Ink. I just had a call from Sue-Ellen and she is positively mortified but she is still without a computer. She feels terrible that she is unable at this time to greet each of you individually. She just wanted me to let you know and say how sorry she is.

Cassondra said...

Welcome Sue Ellen!

It's so great to have you as our guest in the lair, front and center, and as yourself! And it's extra special that you're a long-time Bandit Buddy.

You write my kind of guys I think. I mean, I like men who are kind to others, but I don't like guys who are too pretty. A little wild and wooly--that gets my blood going. And especially a little wild and wooly in a kilt. Like Isobel, I'd be a little more than intrigued. I'd likely get into a lot of trouble, though, and not necessarily the kind I'd enjoy. So I'll live vicariously through Isobel, I think.

Cassondra said...

Jane said:

... I definitely like a hero who is a bit rough around the edges, but no so much that he's a barbarian. If he's too perfect, he can be annoying.

Yes, this. Jane said it better than I did, so I'll just say ditto.

Keira Soleore said...

It's been a while since I've posted here chez les banditas. Congrats, Deb, on nabbing the chook.

Sue-Ellen, I haven't read any of your books either, but your Kendrew sounds yummy. I particularly liked that snippet where Isobel is anticipating the late night revels that feature the luscious Kendrew.

I like heroes who are tougher than the men they lead, but unsure in the emotional maelstorm of relationships. I especially like it when the women show them the way and bring peace and a measure of comfort to their otherwise harsh lives.

Barbara E. said...

I loved the excerpt, and now I can't wait to read Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel as well as the rest of your Highland Warriors trilogy.
Yes, I like my heroes a little rough around the edges, because it's always fun to see a nice woman teach them some manners.

Sonali said...

Hi Sue Ellen

Temptations of a Highland Scoundrel sounds absolutely awesome. Congratulations for it's release and wishing you all the very best for it!

I adore a hero who is a little rough around the edges and from the way that you have described Bran and Kendrew, i fell in love with them just from the descriptions.

Isobel sounds like the perfect foil for Kendrew.

Wishing you all the best for your upcoming releases!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Keira! (waving madly)

Missed you and so glad to see you're back with us. Definitely give Sue-Ellen a try. She writes a great Highlander.

Donna MacMeans said...

Sonali -

I loved that excerpt as well. I usually don't read a lot of Scottish set books...don't know why because I like them...but I'm definitely pickig this one up.

Donna MacMeans said...

Barbara E. - wasn't the excerpt great! It has me revved.

Donna MacMeans said...

Cathy P - I hope you give Sue-Ellen's book a try. Nothing like a scoundral in a kilt!

Donna MacMeans said...

Kathy -

Thanks for the heads up - hope Sue-Ellen gets her computer back to working soon.

Pat Cochran said...

Sue-Ellen, you are a new-to-me author,
I've just read the excerpt and Kendrew
sounds verrrry interesting! Scottish
Highlanders were featured in the early
romances to which I was introduced way back in the day! I'm looking forward to
reading this book, rough edges and all!

Pat Cochran

chey said...

I like a hero who is a bit rough around the edges. The polished heroes often aren't as entertaining.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Sue-Ellen!

Happy to have you visiting us here in the Lair, even if your computer refused to cooperate. :-P You'll just have to come back SOON!

Men in kilts definitely do it for me! What can I say, except that I LOVE CELTS?!?!


LilMissMolly said...

I do like them a little rough around the edges. I've never really trusted someone who was all polished - they are too fake to me. The rougher they are, the more sincere they appear.

June M. said...

I do like men who are rough around the edges. Who would want someone too perfect....that would def make me feel insecure, caus I know I am not anywhere near perfect. LOL

Virginia said...

Congrats on your new release! I do like my hero's to be a bit rough around the edges but not to much, just a bit.

Laurie G said...

I love Scotsmen who are rough around the edges. They're perfect targets for taming by a determined, independent lady.

I can feel the heat already, sparks are flying and tempers are flaring!

Sue-Ellen I'd love to meet Kendrew and Isobel.

catslady said...

Yes, yes, yes - rough around the edges but a softy on the inside. I just got Sins of a Highland Devil and your newest sounds absolutely wonderful too.

Jeanne M said...

Whether you write as Sue-Ellen or Allie I love your books and I do like my heroes a bit rough around the edges. I can't wait to read Kendrew and Isobel's story.

I just finished Sins of a Highland Devil and I think I'm going into withdrawal because I don't have another of your books on hand to read!

I always love your characters and the way you bring them to life.