Tag Archives: Scotland

Thank you! Now, what’s Next?

Thank you to everyone who helped welcome BARROW WITCH into the world! I hope you enjoyed the book. Please let me know your thoughts by posting a comment or by leaving a review on Amazon.

So, what’s next you ask? Some exciting stuff!

I’m working on a novella featuring a young Jack Canonbie. Jack was such a favorite of mine to write, I’d love to give him more room to knock some heads!

And that’s not all. I’m also working on a new mystery series that will be a departure from the gaslamp world of A Fey Matter. The series is dubbed Harvest Falls for now, and will have murder and secrets and tangled webs aplenty, all set in the Pacific Northwest. I’m about halfway through an initial draft of the first book. The killer is lurking, but salty and sweet Charlie Henry is hot on their tail!

More to come on both!

BARROW WITCH Inspiration #5 – Cities & Abbeys

BARROW WITCH, book 3 of my Gaslamp Fantasy series, A Fey Matter, is available for pre-order! As part of the release, I’m sharing some of the inspiration for the book’s events and places.

I hope you’ll enjoy these views of Edinburgh & Glasgow, and the Borders abbeys of Melrose, Jedburgh, & Kelso. Each shaped Effie’s adventures in their own way, but to find out how, you will need to read on!

BARROW WITCH Inspiration #4 – Scottish Highlands

BARROW WITCH, book 3 of my Gaslamp Fantasy series, A Fey Matter, is available for pre-order! As part of the release, I’m sharing some of the inspiration for the book’s events and places.

Hear anyone say, “Scotland,” and almost instantly images of the Highlands come to mind. And for good reason. They are spectacular in ways that my photography skills cannot nearly do justice.

Here are a few images of the places that inspired my imagination, including some of Effie’s Glen Coe!

BARROW WITCH Inspiration #3 – Scottish Writers

BARROW WITCH, book 3 of my Gaslamp Fantasy series, A Fey Matter, is available for pre-order! As part of the release, I’m sharing some of the inspiration for the book’s events and places.

A trip to Edinburgh can’t be had without recognizing the amazing amount of influential writers who have lived within the city over the past 500 years. There is even a Writers’ Museum dedicated to some of its most famous inhabitants… not to mention the monuments and statues!

Sir Walter Scott’s influence on Scottish culture is hard to deny, and his home of Abbotsford is filled with the rich history of the man’s life. His books are everywhere in Edinburgh. The Scott Monument dominates Princes Street.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s childhood house on Heriot Row features quite a bit in A Fey Matter. After all, it is the home of Thomas Stevenson. But did you know that you can not only walk to it, but lodge in it as well? It’s a hotel and hosts private events!

Kenneth Grahame’s house is also now a hotel. I’ve enjoyed staying here a couple of times, and can recommend it. Its views of Edinburgh Castle and location can’t be beat!

For J.K. Rowling fans, check out The Elephant House cafe, where reportedly a large part of the first Harry Potter book was written. It has a long history of writers finding inspiration at its tables, and the views of the castle are spectacular!

BARROW WITCH Inspiration #2 – Borders History

BARROW WITCH, book 3 of my Gaslamp Fantasy series, A Fey Matter, is available for pre-order! As part of the release, I’m sharing some of the inspiration for the book’s events and places.

The Scottish Borders region is rife with history, and several of the places I’ve visited made it into BARROW WITCH, although not always in their original form. Without spoilers, here are:

  • The Hawick Mote, a hillfort within a town famous for its Tweed knitwear & an annual Common Riding meant to commemorate the defense of the town against Border Reivers
  • The medieval ruins of Roxburgh Castle, an auld stronghold at the junction of the rivers Tweed and Teviot
  • The Jedburgh Castle Jail, a Victorian jail built atop a medieval castle
  • The mysterious Rosslyn Chapel, where the Holy Grail is kept…?

Hope you enjoy reading about these tidbits as much as I did weaving them into Effie’s adventures!

BARROW WITCH Inspiration #1 – Walking the Scottish Borders

BARROW WITCH, book 3 of my Gaslamp Fantasy series, A Fey Matter, is now available for pre-order! In order to celebrate, I thought I’d share a little bit about the inspiration for the book.

A couple years ago, my wife and I walked the Borders Abbeys Way. Well, most of it…in parts. The point is, we walked a lot for several days! Along the way, we not only saw beautiful scenery, we explored the region’s incredible past, enjoyed its rich culture, and found quite a few spots that made it into the pages of BARROW WITCH. Here is a sampling!

Can you spot the tree where Thomas the Rhymer met the Queen of Elfland?

You can pre-order BARROW WITCH on Amazon! It comes out July 28th!

Craigmillar Castle – Murder Plots & Witchcraft!

Welcome to Realm Tramper, a mini-reboot of my author blog. Here I’ll continue to post status updates about my books, and interviews and tidbits on writing and writers. But I’m also going to post some insights into the places and characters that inspired elements of my writing, from my travels in Scotland and farther afield.

I’m starting with a castle featured in THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN, Craigmillar Castle. This isn’t a play on my name but a real fortress in Edinburgh (and a really cool one at that!) Located on the outskirts of the city, it’s where royalty took refuge from plagues, nobility plotted murders, and the brother of one king was imprisoned for the practice of witchcraft.

I first explored the stone tower house and ranges of Craigmillar Castle as a college student, and the memory of it stuck with me–from the beautiful fields surrounding the “High Bare Rock”–a translation of Craigmillar–to the turreted towers and imposing keep. One of the coolest things about Craigmillar is the lack of crowds. As opposed to Edinburgh Castle, which has queues within queues spawned by other crowded queues, visitors of Craigmillar can roam the tower and walls as if they owned the place! (Note the complete lack of other visitors in my pictures.) And if that isn’t great enough, if one is inclined, they can walk the 4 miles between the two castles via some great parks and quaint suburbs, and really get a feel for the modern city.

When I needed a clandestine prison for the Fey Finders to hold Effie, I knew Craigmillar was the perfect place. With its history as a prison and place of nefarious plots, where better to have Effie confront the dastardly Edmund Glover?

Here’s a timeline of some notable events at the castle, along with a drawing of the castle’s layout:

 

 

A view of Edinburgh Castle from Craigmillar’s towers:

 

 

 

 

The ‘service of an archer’, an interior passageway, and the outer courtyard:

Have you ever been to Craigmillar? What did you think? Are there any other great places that stand out from your own travels? Let me know!

The Laird of Duncairn – Cover Reveal!

I am happy to reveal the cover of my forthcoming novel, THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN! (available in print May 2nd and eBook May 16th)

 

Here’s a bit about its origins, from an interview on the City Owl Press website:

THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN is set in Scotland, where I lived and studied history at University for a year. Having a chance to roam throughout the Highlands and live in an old, storied city such as Edinburgh was truly amazing. With its breathtaking glens and lochs, it’s easy to see why the country is often used for romantic settings.

But I didn’t set out to write a novel set in Scotland. I started with a character, a young orphaned girl who suffered at the hands of politicians hundreds of miles away. That situation reminded me of Scotland’s history with London, and the tale grew from there. The girl became half fey, part of a dying race oppressed by centuries of scathing propaganda.

Added in were creatures out of folklore, real-life historical figures, and, of course, crank-guns and dirigibles. Adventure and mystery sweep across the countryside in THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN, as auld creatures awaken and new discoveries are made that will rock civilization to its core.

Thanks to everyone involved! More exciting stuff to come!