Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway: Mia Marlowe

Please join me in welcoming Mia Marlowe to Debbie's Book Bag today. Mia is here to tell us a little bit about her inspiration behind her latest book with Connie Mason, Sins of the Highlander. The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for two copies of Mia's book, see details at the end of the post.

 First, thanks so much for having me here today.
Debbie asked what inspired me to write about the Highlands. The simple answer would be ‘When is a man in a kilt not inspiration enough?’
But actually, the real answer goes back to the heart of my partnership with Connie Mason. If you’ve read any of this romance legend’s backlist, you know she regularly takes her readers outside the usual settings. My previous works have been set in Victorian/Regency England. When Connie suggested we set our debut collaboration in Scotland during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, I knew I had some serious researching to do.

But that’s part of writing historicals that I dearly love. So I dived into the world of the Highlands, where cattle reiving was a respectable occupation and blood feuds were a way of life. I always study the legends that spring up in a time and place because they reveal so much about how the people thought about themselves and their world.

One of the legends I discovered while researching SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER was the each uisge, or the water horse.  Scotland is dotted with deep lochs and in addition to the Loch Ness Monster, almost every body of water is a potential home for an each uisge (pronounced sort of like “eck whiskey”). A Water Horse is a crafty beastie. He may look perfectly harmless on dry land. In fact, he’s probably the most beautiful horse you’ve ever seen. Unless it’s a sunny day (a highland rarity) you likely wouldn’t notice his glassy greenish color. But canny highlanders know it’s very unwise to try to capture and ride a strange horse munching long grass near a loch. Once a person mounts a water horse, he’s unable to dismount and the beast will bolt into the loch and drown his rider.
If the Water Horse is looking for a wife, he’ll appear on land as an extremely handsome man. But don’t be fooled. That waterweed in his hair is the dead giveaway and no highland lassie wants to become the each uisge’s bride. He’s a terrible husband.

In SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER, ‘Mad Rob’ MacLaren admits that he can’t throw stones at the water horse. He believes he too was a terrible husband. And when he confesses as much to his captive, Elspeth Stewart, a girl blessed with the Sight, she surprises him completely. Here’s a snippet from a scene on Loch Earn as they flee from Elspeth’s father and bridegroom.

Elspeth wiped the last of the salty tears from his cheeks. Then she kissed him again. On the lips this time, firm and sweet. Like a blessing. Like a benediction.

“Ye are no’ to blame for Fiona’s death,” she said with conviction.

Rob didn’t have the heart to contradict her, but he didn’t believe it for a moment. “After all that, I’m sure ye believe me a madman now.”

“‘Tis no’ madness to  weep for someone ye loved.” She shook her head. “If ye had no tears, I’d think ye less a man. Never because of them.”  
“Ye’re a strange lass, Elspeth Stewart.”
“And ye’re a silver-tongued demon.” She laughed, obviously trying to lighten his mood. “Dinna think to turn my head with such compliments.”
Rob smiled at her, confused, but strangely comforted. He still grieved for Fiona, but the serrated edge of unexpressed mourning and guilt that threatened to send him spiraling into insanity was gone.

Elspeth returned his smile. He shook his head in wonderment. He’d stolen her from the altar, taken her prisoner, and tormented her body with a wicked lover’s touch. And here she was giving him comfort. If he lived to be a hundred, he’d never understand what went on in a woman’s head.

Then while he was watching her, her eyes glazed over and she stared sightlessly over his shoulder.


She gave no sign that she’d heard him.

He let go of the tiller and grasped both her shoulders, but she continued to stare unblinking. He gave her a little shake. She looked at his face then, but he sensed no recognition in her eyes.

“The each uisge comes, reaching up from the depths to snag his bride,” she said in a voice devoid of all expression. “And a bolt from the dark finds its mark.”


Then he was nearly knocked off his feet, thrown forward as the boat stopped dead in the water.

Thanks again for having me here today, Debbie. I’d like to invite your readers to pop over to my website http://www.miamarlowe.com to enter my website contest. The Grand Prize is a new KINDLE!

And I’m happy to share that Sourcebooks is offering two chances to win SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER to  lucky commenters today (USA & Canada only). All you have to do is answer this question:

Is there a legend you’d like to see incorporated into a historical romance?



Never had Elspeth Stewart imagined her wedding would be interrupted by a dark-haired stranger  charging in on a black stallion, scooping her into his arms, and carrying her off across the wild Scottish highlands. Pressed against his hard chest and nestled between his trong thighs, she ought to have feared for her life. But her captor silenced all protests with a soul-searing kiss, giving Elspeth a glimpse of the pain behind his passion—a pain only she could ease.


“Mad Rob” MacLaren thought stealing his rival’s bride-to-be was the prefect revenge. But Rob never reckoned that this beautiful, innocent lass would awaken the part of him he thought dead and buried with his wife. Against all reason, he longed to introduce the luscious Elspeth to the pleasures of the flesh, to make her his, and only his, forever.

With two clans against them burning for battle, they must find a way to join together—body, breath and soul. Or both will be made to pay for the Sins of the Highlander.


The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for two copies of Sins of the Highlander by Connie Mason with Mia Marlowe.

~ You must be a GFC follower or E-mail subscriber to participate.
~ US and Canadian Addresses only (publisher request).
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST January 24th.

1. Please answer Mia's questions from her guest post above. The question is in bold print.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Carol L. said...

I really can't think of a Legend. But seeing the names Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe on this book tells me I'm in for a great read. I look forward to reading about Mad Rob.
Thanks for the tour. :)GFC name is Lucky47.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Kathleen O said...

I have not heard of this particular Legend. But one of the things I was brought up on from my Irish heritage was the "Selkies", which are the mystic seals, that take on human form.. I have reasd a few books with these magical sea creatures.
I have my first Mia Marlowe book on my tbr shelf.. So to add this one to my collection would be fantastic..


MiaMarlowe said...

Good to see you here, Carol!

MiaMarlowe said...

Kathleen--I thought selkies were simply the Scottish name for seals. I'll have to do a little more digging. Another watery entity I ran into were kelpies. They're like a water horse, but instead of inhabiting lochs, they thrive in rivers.

Di said...

I've loved many versions of the Robin Hood legend - but I like to think there was an HEA. A story by Connie + Mia is inspired - will love reading it!
sallans d at yahoo dot com

Chrisbails said...

I would love to see the Legend of King Arthur brought into a story. With his love for Guinevere. I have loved this story and love the stories about it.
Have read a few of Mia's books, but none of Connies. Love Highlander stories, would love to win and read this one.

June M. said...

A legend that I would like to see incorporated into a historical romance would be the Loch Ness Monster. Maybe it could be a story of how the legend got started.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Glittergirl said...

I agree with June M above, I was thinking of Nessie before I read her comment. It would be fun to read how that legend got started. I've not read a book with "water horses" before. I enjoyed the excerpt you included. I'm glad you added a bit of brogue into the writing style. It helps me keep to the Highland vision as I read :-). glittergirl54 at ymail dot com

justpeachy36 said...

Well I have to put my two cents worth in LOL... As many of you who follow this blog regularly know, I am of Scottish heritage. There a so many legends and mythos to choose from but I would love to see a historical romance that takes into account the Sidhe legends or Banshee's if you will...

It has been done before, but I think Connie and Mia to bring new life to the legends!

Thanks for being here Mia! I appreciate it when the author takes the time to interact with the readers!

MiaMarlowe said...

Di--There have been many retellings of Robin Hood and I've loved almost every one. When I'm in a silly mood, there's nothing better that MEN IN TIGHTS!

MiaMarlowe said...

ChrisBails--As you may know, I used to sing professionally and one of the roles I did was Guenevere in CAMELOT. It was a very difficult role to perform because no matter how hot Lancelot was, I had to betray Arthur, who was the finest of men. I trudged to the stake each night with the sense I deserved my fate.

MiaMarlowe said...

June M--I loved the way Diana Gabaldon slipped Nessie into her Outlander. The idea that the monster had passed through a time portal just like Gabaldon's heroine was a fascinating one.

MiaMarlowe said...

June M--I loved the way Diana Gabaldon slipped Nessie into her Outlander. The idea that the monster had passed through a time portal just like Gabaldon's heroine was a fascinating one.

MiaMarlowe said...

Glittergirl--Writing an accent is always tricky. I'm glad ours worked for you.

MiaMarlowe said...

Thanks, Peachy! I love to connect with readers. Terrific blog, BTW!

lag123 said...

I think I would like to know more about Indian legends. I cannot think of one in particular now, but I know there are many. Thank you so much for the telling of the each uisge. I find that very interesting.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Theresa N. said...

The only Scottish legend I can think of is Rob Roy and I think of that as more fact than legend.
Theresa N

Unknown said...

I can't really think of any legends. Maybe the Legend of Sleepy Hollow? Please enter me in contest. I really want to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

mamabunny13 said...

I think it would be fun to read about Big foot/Yeti in a story.
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

Tanya said...

A specific legend I cann ot think of but I would like to read about Norse Legends/mythology. Like Beowulf. I am of Norse heritage and I always found the Vikings, Valhalla and there myths very interesting. Oh and I totally agree with glittergirl about the brogue, I can hear it in my head and LOVE it.

justpeachy36 said...

There are tons of Scottish Legends...

Here's just a few to whet your appetites, if you get the chance check them out

the Legend of Black Donald - a devil that couldn't disguise himself

The Legend of Fionn - a Scottish magician, warrior and poet (one of my favorites)

Ghillie Dhu - a Scottish elf

Scotia - a Scottish goddess but frequently portrayed as a hag or a Banshee

Shellycoat - Scottish boygeyman, that haunts the rivers and streams.

LoL, those are just a few!

Angela said...

I've always loved the legend of Robin Hood - I'd like to see more of those characters and stories written as a historical romance.

In Julie's Opinion said...

As usual, when I'm asked a question, I can't come up with a single answer, but later I'll probably think of 2 or 3!! LOL I loved hearing about the water horse legend, and the only other one I can think of right now is the loch ness monster! I would love to read Sins of the Highlander! It looks great, and sounds even better:)

Renee said...

I love anything that has to do with Bonnie Prince Charlie. I think anything from that time period is wonderful.

bn100 said...

I would say incorporating the legend of the search for the fountain of youth would be interesting.

*yadkny* said...

Hi Mia!
I really like the fountain of youth idea or Nessie. I could imagine both of them being quite interesting to re-do in a historical romance.

*GFC follower

misskallie2000 said...

I think a mystery with Nessie aiding victim in capture of evil one would be fun. I looked for Nessie when I was in Scotland in 2001 but did not see him. I did get me a stuffed Nessie. lol
I have added this to me wish list and can't wait to read. Thanks for the opportunity to entr.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Pam S (pams00) said...

Really enjoyed the interview Mia and Debbie thanks for sharing. I have read and enjoyed several of Connie's books and loved yours too Mia :)!

This sounds like it's going to be great and as you said - what's not to like about a man in a kilt, love Highlanders :). Thank you for sharing the interesting info on Water Horse you found.

gfc - pams00