Friday, September 9, 2011

Scotland With Donna Grant




There are a few authors that are auto buys for me. If they have a new book out I don't even look at the story line, I just order it because I know the quality of writing and that I will enjoy it.  


Donna Grant is one of those authors.


I loved the Dark Sword Series from the first book and that love hasn't changed. What's not to like about fierce Scot warriors, as magical and  tough as the land that bred them? Women who are strong enough to stand up to and for their men when needed and with their own magic. 


Scotland is, in itself, a land of magic. It's been many years since I was last there but there's something about the land and history that has always called to me. When I found out Donna and her family were going to Scotland I told her, "You have to do a blog spot on your visit." 


So here she is to tell us about her impressions of Scotland.

  

Thanks, Sia, for once more inviting me to your blog. J

Sia asked me if I’d talk about my recent trip to Scotland.  Of course I said yes.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to talk about such a beautiful land?

I’ve wanted to go to Scotland for so long, that it was almost surreal to have finally gone.  I’d spoken so much about Scotland and what there was to do and what I wanted to do, that imagine my surprise when my parents wanted to come with us. So, we made it one big family vacation. 

As soon as our plane was wheels down on Scottish soil, I had my camera out.  We landed in Edinburgh, and then made our way northwest were we had rented a cabin for a week in a well known ski resort.

It was a fabulous base for us.  I was amazed at all the differences between home (the US) and there.  For one, there’s no litter there.  None.  You don’t see anything.  No huge SUVs or 4x4 trucks.  No four lane highways.  No McDonald’s around every corner.

Small cars were everywhere, and instead of huge chain restaurants, there were tons of individually owned eateries.  Which made picking which restaurant an eeny-meeny-miney-moe situation every day. J

Pictures just don’t do Scotland justice.  The land is as untamed, ancient, and magical as I’d always expected.  So many times I’d just stop and stare at where I was, wondering how many thousands of Scots (and invaders) had stood where I was, how many had died in battles, how many had loved.  How many had survived.

The history of the land cannot be ignored.  Scotland has taken great pains to keep the country much as it was hundreds of years ago.  Yes, there are roads, but not over every mountain.  The roads are few and far between, but the views are majestic.

So many times my breath was taken away by the landscape.  Even the kids would stare silently at what was around us, because words couldn’t begin to describe how we all felt.


Of course we went to several castles.  One was Dunnottar Castle in Stonehave, which was the basis for the MacLeod Castle in my Dark Sword books.   We spent so much time at this castle exploring the ruins, walking along the cliffs, and going down to the shore.

I took tons of pictures.  At one point standing in the tower looking out over the sea, you could almost hear the echo of history.  You could almost imagine the castle filled with people, the lord and lady reining over the land.  The sound of swords clanging over the sea breeze.

There were other castles, but none that held me like Dunnottar.  There was, however, something so special about being on Loch Ness.  The water is as dark as you think it is, and very peaceful.


It was thrilling to hear that Urquhart Castle was first held by a Grant, too.  The kids got a huge thrill out of that.  It was the first castle we explored, and not even a drenching rain could keep us from exploring.


But one of the best things we did while in Scotland was stay at a castle.  I knew if I ever went, there was no way I could go and not stay at a castle. J  I wanted somewhere north, and we found a gorgeous location at Mansfield Castle.  We took the tower suite (two bedrooms, bath, sitting room, and lookout from the tower).

Now, it was not my intention to stay at a castle with a ghost.  I believe in them.  I’m scared of them.  So I wanted no part of them.

But guess what we had?

Yes.  I’m not exaggerating.  I was touched.  Twice.  And I can attest to not sleeping at all that night.  My daughter also had an experience while she was reading in the sitting room in the tower a floor above us.  She heard footsteps above her and voices.  She thought it was her brother.  So she called for him, but he didn’t answer.  He didn’t answer because he was with me and my hubby.

Needless to say, my daughter ran down the stairs shaking.  I’d not told her of my being touched because we didn’t want to scare either of the kiddos, but she kept insisting there was something in the tower.

Knowing how frightened I was, my hubby waited until we were driving away before telling me he heard footsteps during the night, and even voices.  My son heard footsteps, but he’d thought it was me or his daddy walking around during the night.

My parents, who stayed in another room, never heard or saw anything, but then again, the ghost is only seen, heard, and felt in the tower.  Freaking stuff for sure!

I loved Scotland.  I loved the way they did things, the way they lived, the way they used everything local (even in their Burger King), and how proud a people the Scots are.

I never wanted to leave.  And I cannot wait to return.

Return we will because once we landed back home, we met my brother for dinner right off the interstate.  While we were inside eating, someone broke into our vehicle and stole every piece of luggage and tried to steal the truck.

Every souvenir we bought, every item of clothing (my favorite jeans!), everything you’d pack for an 11 day vacation, and my camera was stolen.

No one was caught, and nothing returned.  We lost hundreds of pictures, pictures that cannot be replaced.  Yes, we have our memories of a fabulous family vacation, but it isn’t the same. 

(The pictures you see here were taken from the web.)

I’m hoping to go back very soon and return with lots of wonderful pictures.


~*~*~


SHADOW HIGHLANDER, DARK SWORD #5  
Available now from your favorite bookstore or online.

HE CAN FEEL HER MAGIC

Sent on a dangerous mission into the shadowy world of the Druids, Galen must find a powerful ancient relic to defeat the enemies of MacLeod Castle. But what he discovers is far more powerful—and far more dangerous. A Druid lass whose beauty is as spellbinding as any magic...

CAN HE FREE HER SOUL?


Reaghan is the most enchanting woman Galen has even met—and the most enigmatic. She alone is immune to his mind-reading gifts. He alone makes her feel safe and secure. But Reaghan holds a secret power deep inside her that could destroy them both. And if Galen hopes to hold this captivating woman in his arms every night, he must defeat the darkness that draws closer around her every day...EXCERPT


The Dark Sword series captures all the power, passion, and magic of Scotland’s legendary warriors—sworn to fight for victory, in battle and in love… 







To find out more about Donna please visit her website at www.donnagrant.com.  To read more about the Dark Sword and Dark Warriors series, see pics of the Warriors, take the quiz, download wallpaper, search characters, or watch the book trailers, please visit www.donnagrant.com/darksword.













11 comments:

Jo said...

Last time I was in Scotland I was 2 yrs old. Sounds like I should go back.

Caridad Pineiro said...

Sounds like a great trip! I've always wanted to see Scotland and hope to be able to do it one day.

Donna Grant said...

Jo - you should. :)

Caridad - it's really a beautiful land.

VA said...

What a heartbreaker, Donna. Terrible end to a fabulous vacation. The upside is that this gives you an excellent reason to call a redo :)

Scotland is on my list of places to visit. We have friends there so I really have no reason not to go. My daughter thought it was spectacular and beautiful--and remote. She said, "It's like really, really country." Plus, it was quite chilly which I found amusing since she likes cool. Okay, we're SoCal wimps, but still.

Off to read the excerpt.

Mason Canyon said...

Donna, beautiful photos and what a wonderful adventure you had. Scotland sounds magical to me. Nice to meet you and look forward to learning more about your books.

Sia, another intriguing author and more books to add to my ever growing TBR stack. Thanks.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Donna Grant said...

VA - it was quite chilly when we went. Long sleeves and a coat in the middle of July and I was still freaking cold. lol

Mason - thanks for stopping by! :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Donna, did your parents take pictures? Or were they riding with you in the car?

I imagine there were lots of pictures you took for research purposes. The way a something looked, or the view from a window, the way a track went and what was around, and whatnot. That would have been hard to lose too.

No midges this time?

Donna Grant said...

lol. No, my parents were going to get a copy of my pictures, so no such luck there.

And no, no midges. :D

Enid Wilson said...

That's bad, Donna, to have your photos and souvenirs stolen. But at least they didn't steal your memories. I've been to Edinburgh and Glasglow both for work and travel. It's a magical place and people are nice. They have character.

I hope you will write more stories based on Scotland.

Every Savage Can Reproduce

Donna Grant said...

Thanks, Enid! :)

Talli Roland said...

Scotland is indeed gorgeous! I love the photos here... shame yours were stolen.