Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Hero Interview! Meet Lachlan McRea from Naomi Musch's "A Tender Siege" (The Highlanders Collection)

Welcome to the final installment of Hero Interviews from the four novellas in Smitten's new romance collection THE HIGHLANDERS which released November 15th. Today I'm quizzing my own courageous hero from A Tender Siege. Meet Lachlan McRea of His Majesty's 42nd Highlanders.

A Tender Siege

Pontiac’s War, August 1763: “I beg Ye to take me.” Wounded in battle in the American wilderness, Lachlan McRea of His Majesty’s 42nd Highlanders pleads with God, yearning to be reunited with his lost wife and child. As death hovers near, he is discovered by Wenonah, a native widow doing all she can to survive alone while avoiding the attentions of a dangerous Shawnee warrior. In aiding one another, their perils increase. If Lachlan can let go of the woman he once loved, he might find healing for both body and soul.

Meet Highlander Hero Deven McLendon

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MRW - May I say what an honor it is to speak with you again, Lachlan. Since revealing your story to me, I suspected I might not see you again.

Lachlan (rubbing his chin) - 'Tis a strange thing, this business of writing you partake in.

MRW - (Chuckling) Some say so. So for my friends who haven't read your story, tell them a little about yourself, where you come from, and how you found yourself in America.

Lachlan - (Stretches his legs and folds his arms) I lived my life in Scotland, all until a few years past. I married my childhood love, Moira, but...ya ken, I lost her givin' birth to our wee bairn. A bonny boy he was, but I laid him to rest wi' his maither. I was broken. I didn't ken what to do after that, until I found meself enlisting with His Majesty's Royal Highlanders. I was assigned to the 42nd and sent to many places. Lately we'd come up from the south seas and found ourselves in New York. 'Twasn't long before we were sent on this march with Colonel Bouquet's forces to relieve the Indians' siege of Fort Pitt.

MRW - And so we find you there at the beginning of this story.

Lachlan - Lost me, don't ye mean? Aye, I was lost. Wounded badly. I thought sure and certain I would meet my Moira again before long. 

MRW - But God saw fit to spare you.

Lachlan - (nodding) Aye...though I begged Him to take me.

MRW - He sent help.

Lachlan - I wouldna believed it. Such a rescuer. Surrounded by on danger on every side I was, and no less so by this woman who found me. 

MRW - You must have been relieved.

Lachlan - Ha! Relieved? She had a sharp knife and wasn't feared o' usin' it. I welcomed her to spill my blood, as ye ken. Instead...

MRW - Wasn't she in her own kind of danger?

Lachlan - So I come to ken. There are many kinds of danger in the wilderness. Many kinds o' danger just livin'.

MRW - Didn't she need your help as badly as you needed hers?

Lachlan - Wenonah was more than capable.

MRW - Aren't you being modest?

Lachlan - (clears his throat, seeming uncomfortable) 

MRW - I notice you seem a bit tense. Is there more you'd like to share about that? Some Shawnee warrior you'd like to tell us about? Or about Wenonah's--"

Lachlan - Nae. (Visibly loosening his posture) I've already spilled my guts to ye. Let those who read the tale learn of it, for I'll not speak of those things again.

MRW - All right. If you've a mind to hold your peace, I'll not ask about that. Tell me, did Wenonah ever say what brought her to have compassion on ye?

Lachlan - Wenonah had been through enough of her own hardships. The kinds that make some turn hard...bitter. She did not. Things might have been very different.

WRW - When you met her, Lachlan, were you at the place of becoming hard and bitter yourself?

Lachlan - (shaking his head slowly) Nae. I'd not call it bitterness, nor hardness either. Sorrow had near swallowed me whole, that's all. My friend Nab saw it so. He saw also what I needed in my life to overcome those raw feelings. More so than I saw myself--or was willing to admit. Ye ken my friend Nab?

WRW - Yes, we've met.

Lachlan - Oh, aye, I'm supposin' ye have. 

MRW - Any chance ye'll be returning soon with the 42nd?

Lachlan - (grinning) I'm hear now, ain't I? I reckon I'll leave that answer for yer readers to discover.

MRW - Yes, a good idea. Thank you for coming to visit me again, Lachlan. I've enjoyed it very much.

Lachlan - The same to ye. Now if ye don't mind, I've much needs tendin' too.

MRW - Farewell.

Lachlan - Aye. fare thee well. 

Now Meet the Author
Hey, that's me!

I'm an award-winning author who crafts my stories from the pristine Lake Superior north woods, where I and my husband Jeff live as epically as God allows near the families of our five adult children. I'm a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Lake Superior Writers. Though I have written in a variety of venues on topics ranging from homeschooling to homesteading, my great love is historical fiction. I enjoy roaming around on the farm, snacking out of the garden, relaxing in my vintage camper, and loving on my growing passel of grandchildren. I would love to meet with and speak to your group. Let's connect around the web!

Naomi on Social Media

Website: NaomiMusch.com 
Twitter: @NMusch
Instagram: NaomiMusch
Goodreads: Naomi Dawn Musch
Bookbub: Naomi Musch
Pinterest: Naomi Musch

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Hero Interview! Meet Callan MacTavish from Jennifer Lamont Leo's "The Violinist" (The Highlanders Collection)

Welcome to the third installment in a series of interviews I'm hosting with heroes from the four novellas in Smitten's new romance collection THE HIGHLANDERS which just released on November 15th. Today I welcome Callan MacTavish from Jennifer Lamont Leo's The Violinist, a hero with secrets.

The Violinist

In 1915 Idaho, homesick lumberjack Callan MacTavish despairs of ever seeing his Scottish homeland again. With kindness and patience, music teacher Rose Marchmont reaches a part of Callan’s heart he’d long ago locked away. She sees beyond his rough exterior to the artistic heart beneath. He longs for more than he can offer her, but she doesn’t know about the secret trauma that keeps him from crossing the sea.

Meet Highlander Hero Callan MacTavish

MRW - Hello, Callan, it’s nice to meet you. Thank you for your willingness to talk to me today. Were you as willing to share your story with Ms Leo so she could get it written down?

Callum - Nay. She had to draw it out o’ me. I’m not one to talk about myself.

MRW - I read your story, and I have to say, I found it amazing. I’d like to ask you a few questions about it, but don’t feel like you have to give anything away that you want to keep secret to readers. First off tell us about yourself and your background. Where are you from?

Callum - I grew up in Scotland, near the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond, as the song goes. That happens to be the ancestral home of Ms. Leo’s relatives. Her birth name, Lamont, is a variation of Lomond and is as common as “Smith” in those parts. My da still lives there.

MRW - In the beginning of the story, you landed yourself in a hospital. How did that happen? In fact, how did a Highlander like yourself end up working as a logger in Idaho, USA?

Callum - I guess ye could say I took a trip to the United States and ended up stayin. I had to support myself somehow, and loggin seemed as good a job as any fer a footloose, single Scotsman. ‘Twas a misfortune between a ponderosa pine and my noggin what landed me in the hospital.

MRW - I see you have a previous injury. Anything you want to tell us about that?

Callum - Nay. Just to say it’s not out o’ the ordinary fer loggers to be short a finger or two.

MRW - When you were in the hospital, you were a little worried that Lars had discovered something secret when he was bringing you a few things. Want to tell us what that was and why you were nervous he’d found you out?

Callum - My journal. My chums in the loggin camp find it strange enough that I read poetry. I don’t need them knowin that I write it, too.

MRW - You’re different than most of the loggers in town who don’t mind living it up when they get paid and carrying on with women. So how do you like to spend your time?

Callum - I daunder aboot the town. I read Robert Burns. I write. I listen to music. I’m not a particularly excitin person to be around, but I enjoy my own company.

MRW - The first time you spied a certain Miss Marchmont, you felt embarrassed. Want to tell us about that incident?

Callum - I was with my chum Lars and he had no qualms about makin a scene, tryin to get her attention. Ye don’t go shoutin out to bonny lasses on the street that way. Plus my face was pretty banged up from the accident with the tree. I didna need her thinkin I was a lout.

MRW - You have an amazing talent, one you’ve been keeping hidden from most of the people you know in Idaho, especially Miss Marchmont. Can you tell us here what that talent is? If not, can you tell us why you don’t want Miss Marchmont—or anyone—to know you have a secret?

Callum - I didna want a lot o’ questions. I just wanted to listen to the lass play her violin and get to know her without a lot o’ fuss and feathers.

MRW - How about you tell us about a few of the other people in town? Anyone you find annoying or especially pleasant to be around?

Callum Miss Marchmont’s sister is a wee bit high-strung. Her husband’s all right, though. There’s a dobber called Godfrey who swans about in his fancy motorcar. Could do without the likes of him.

MRW - I loved your story, Callan. I was blown away by a big surprise I never saw coming. It was a jaw-dropping moment. I’m sure readers will love it as well.

Callum - Much obliged to ye.

Now Meet the Author 

Jennifer Lamont Leo captures readers’ hearts through stories set in times gone by. Her first novel, You’re the Cream in My Coffee, won a Carol Award from American Christian Fiction Writers.  An Illinois native, she now writes from the mountains of northern Idaho.

Jennifer on Social Media

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Hero Interview! Meet Deven McLendon from J'nell Ciesielski's "Night Fox" (The Highlanders Romance Collection)

Welcome to the second in a series of interviews I'm hosting with heroes from the four novellas in Smitten's new romance collection THE HIGHLANDERS which just released on November 15th. Today I welcome our hero, Deven McLendon from J'nell Ciesielski's Night Fox. You'll adore him!

Night Fox

After the failed Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, war-weary Deven McLendon returns home to discover a thief creating chaos on his lands. But this thief isn't like any other. When Rooney Corsen sets out to steal jewels to repay her family’s debts and keep a roof over her little sisters’ heads, never does she imagine snagging the laird's heart instead.

Meet Highlander Hero Deven McLendon

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MRW - Hello, and thank you for taking time from your duties to meet with me, Deven, or should I call you m’laird—or Lord Glèidh— as so many know you by that title?

Deven - Deven or m’laird if ye must. The Lord Glèidh title is not one I’m accustomed to at the now. Seems as if it stills belongs to my father before he fell in battle fighting to put the Stuarts back on the throne.

MRW - You’ve shared your story in full with Mrs. Ciesielsi, so I hope you won’t mind my asking you again about your home and lands and what brought you back to them, if it isn’t too painful.

Deven - Pain is part of life. I willna take the coward’s way and run from it. My family settled these lands centuries ago in one of the bonniest parts of these western Highlands. When the call came from our clan chieftain to take up arms against the German usurper sitting on the English throne, the McLendons dinna back down. We fought with honor and many lives lost, including that of my own father. After losing the war, we were hunted men until eventually being pardoned to return to our homes. Years had passed since I stepped foot on my beloved Strathmoore, and now I do so as her new laird.

MRW - You seem to have settled back into the order of things there in Scotland, but I know from your story, all was not done easily. You’d no more returned when you were met with some trouble—some thievery going on. And the thief had the habit of leaving something behind after each heist. Can you tell us about that? If it isn’t giving away too much, can you tell us a tiny bit about your first encounter with this one they called the Night Fox?

Deven - Aye, that wee thief. You wouldna think so much trouble could be gained by a slip of a thing, but dinna let the size fool ye. She flies into yer window, paws through yer valuables, and then leaves her calling card of a foxtail bundle. I should’ve kenned it was her the first time I saw the prickly ends clinging to her skirts, but that red mane gleaming like an autumn sunset had my wits at a disadvantage. Of course, the first time I beheld her she was concealed in a cloak of black and crouched on my window sill. Lad, I called her. If I’d only known.

MRW - What were your hopes for Strathmoore at this time? 

Deven - Upon becoming laird of Strathmoore, I inherited years worth of debt. It’ll take careful management for her to become the shining jewel she once was, but I’m prepared for the hard work. She will be a beacon of protection and justice for all who live on or near her lands. I only hope to probe myself worthy as her master.

MRW - With so many things demanding your attention, you also found yourself coming to a young woman’s aid in the village. Miss Rooney Corsen, I believe. There was a bit of rumpus going on, some accusations—something about her father. Do you recall that incident? Tell us what you were thinking during that meeting, if you remember.

Deven - Aye, there was something about her father and debts, but it’s not my place to speak for another man. Nor will I condemn those left in his scurrilous shadow, which includes Miss Corsen. She proved herself to be a hard worker, brave, and proud. I admire a lass with such character.

MRW - You seemed to continue crossing paths with Miss Corsen. In fact, you came to her aid again later on. What troubles did you find her in? Why did you feel compelled to assist her?

Deven - The lass is always in trouble though she willna admit to it. Stubborn as a stake in the ground, that one. In the beginning I felt honor bound to help her as is my duty as laird. Everything that happens on my lands, good or bad, is under my supervision and I dare not take the task lightly. Why continue to help her, ye might ask? Weel, let’s just say she may have captured something of mine that no other lass had been able to.

MRW - Who is Sir Leslie, by the way? And do tell us a bit about Miss Logan. Didn’t she also have news to share about the Night Fox’s escapades? It seems his fame was spreading far and wide. You might even say the Night Fox was becoming legendary. Why was that?

Deven - Those two, bah! Like sore teeth I couldna wait to extract. Unless ye wish to see my blood boil, we’ll go to the next question.

MRW - From all you’ve told us so far, it sounds like you had your hands very full, and everyone had expectations of you. And in the thick of it was this problem of trying to catch the elusive Night Fox. Quite a merry game of chase the two of you played, it seems. If it won’t give too much away to readers, can you tell us when you first started suspecting who the culprit might be?

Deven - From first we met the Fox led me on a merry chase. The Fox has a distinct way of moving, a way that nearly looked like … nay, I willna be telling ye the way my redheaded lassie moves, but ‘tis uncanny the similarities.

MRW - The tale of The Night Fox is quite a romp, though I’m sure you’re glad to have put it to rest. What was it like, revealing your story to Mrs. Ciesielski? Did you spill it all at once, or did it take deep recollection?

Deven - I tell ye true, the recollection is nay far from my mind what with the mischief it wrought. How could I so easily forget a redheaded scamp climbing through my window? A scamp who now sits at my side making sure I dinna forget any detail. She loves pointing out how canty she is in all of this. Without her prodding, I never would have agreed to this interview as I’ve more important things to do in the village, but I canna tell my wee fox no.

MRW - Thank you again for joining me today, Deven. I’m sure readers will be as swept away into your story as the Night Fox was when spying a chance at a precious, rare broach. Best wishes to you and to all in fair Strathmoore.

Now Meet the Author

Believing she was born in the wrong era, J’nell Ciesielski spends her days writing heart-stopping heroes, brave heroines, and adventurous exploits in times gone by. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages contest and Maggie Award, J’nell can often be found dreaming of a second home in Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one lazy beagle.

J'nell on Social Media