Am Bratach Sith or The Fairy Flag of Dunvegan Castle is the most treasured possession of the MacLeod clan. Legend has it that this sacred banner has miraculous powers. When unfurled in battle, the clan would invariably snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
There are many tales of the flag’s origin but the one the MacLeod clan chooses to believe is this:
Once upon a time the MacLeod chief, Iain Cair, stumbled upon a fairy dwelling where he met a fairy princess. The two fell in love, married, and had a child. But after a year in the mortal world, the fairy princess had to return to Fairyland. After promising his wife never to let their child cry, the laird did just that. Hearing her son’s cries from the fairy world, the fairy princess returned to her son, wrapped him in a fairy shawl, and sang him a fairy lullaby. Years later, the child told his father that the shawl his mother had given him had magical powers. That magic could be used at a time of great need, but only three times, before the flag, and the flagbearer would return to the fairy world.
The Fairy Flag and the legends surrounding it are woven into the storyline of The Return of the Heir.
I am the owner of four black cats. Or do they own me? I’m never quite sure. Pictured here are Indy and Tye, two brothers we adopted three years ago. In A Temptress In Tartan, a black cat is mistaken as a witch’s familiar. In the sixteenth century, it was largely believed that black cats were affiliated with evil because they are nocturnal and roam at night. They were thought to be supernatural servants of witches, or even witches themselves.
In celebration of my release, I wanted to share a little of the folklore surrounding black cats. Depending on the location and century in which one lived, black cats either symbolized good or bad luck.
In 16th-century Italy, people believed that if someone was sick, he or she would die if a black cat lay on the bed. Today, in Asia and the United Kingdom, a black cat is considered lucky. In Yorkshire, England, it may be lucky to own a black cat, but it’s unlucky to have one cross your path. Completely opposite of that in North America, it’s considered bad luck if a black cat crosses your path, and good luck if a white cat crosses your path.
Other beliefs about black cats that exist around the world today are:
To dream of a black cat is lucky.
Finding a white hair on a black cat brings good luck.
A strange black cat on a porch brings prosperity to the owner.
A black cat seen from behind portrays a bad omen.
If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune.
If a black cat walks away from you, it takes the good luck with it.
Black cats have played a major role in folklore, superstition, and mythology for centuries. Today they are most closely associated with Halloween and used in costuming, decor, and as a party theme.
In Romancing the Laird, my warrior-hero, Reid Douglas, enjoys a cup or two of chamomile tea every day to help him relax and recover from physical fatigue,. Which got me wondering about the history of chamomile tea. Here’s what I discovered.
The name chamomile comes from the Greek word meaning “ground apple.” Records of its use date back to the ancient Roman, Greeks and Egyptians who believed the flowers contained both magical and healing properties.
The ancient Romans battled many plagues, respiratory and other infectious diseases without the aid of modern medicine. This naturally led to using herbs as remedies for disease and to ease the symptoms of skin infections and respiratory diseases. Pliny, the noted physician of the time, is known to have used chamomile to ward off headaches and ease the liver and kidney inflammation. It is likely that chamomile was used for skin conditions and digestive disorders, too. Chamomile flowers were also scattered on the floors at banquets to perfume to the air or burned as incense during sacred rituals.
Like the Romans, the Greeks thought of chamomile as a medicinal herb with healing properties. The Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides used chamomile to heal intestinal, nervous, and liver disorders, and prescribed it for women’s ailments. The ancient Greeks also made garlands from chamomile to fragrance the air.
The ancient Egyptians so revered the chamomile plant that they associated it with their sun god Ra. Egyptians also used chamomile on the skin and probably used it in cosmetics and hair care products as well. It was used in rituals and ceremonies.
Chamomile was considered one of the nine sacred herbs of the Anglo-Saxon and was used ritually to ward off diseases and to promote health.
If you are like me, every spring I get a little congested from the extra pollen in the air. Sounds like I need to make myself a cup of chamomile tea. Will you join me in a cup?
I always think it’s fun to find out where writers get ideas for their books . . . that one thing that makes them pause and ask the question, “What if . . .?” That’s what happened to me while passing through Edinburgh Castle’s esplanade. I came upon a bronze plaque and a fountain featuring… Continue Reading
So happy to announce the sale of a new historical romance series set in the Scotland of James I featuring three brothers to Meghan Farrell at Tule Publishing as part of a three-book deal. The series entitled ALL THE KING’S MEN begins with THE KING’S WITCH. More details, especially a publication date, will be coming… Continue Reading
My latest book cover is here! Along Came Mr. Right will be out in three short months, but I couldn’t wait to share the beautiful cover design. Feel free to check out the book details to read an excerpt or visit the exciting Pre-order button on Amazon. I’m looking forward to sharing Olivia and Max’s… Continue Reading
My first contemporary novel has gotten some fun press I wanted to share. The Boca Raton Observer included FLIRTING WITH FELICITY in an April 2015 article entitled, “Happy Endings” by Linda Haase. Ms. Haase writes, “This sweet tale includes all the requisite ingredients for love and…the journey is a good, lighthearted read.” Luxury-themed magazine DuJour… Continue Reading
Hi Readers, The holidays are over and the new year begins. I hope your celebrations were peaceful and joyous. For me, 2015 started with a bang as my first contemporary romance, Flirting With Felicity, launched as a Kindle First selection for January. Don’t worry, I’ll still be writing historical romances, but sometimes things happen that… Continue Reading
A Laird for Christmas is loosely based on the hit TV series The Bachelorette. Though I must admit that I have never watched an episode of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, I found the high concept of the show fascinating. I started thinking about women over the ages and how they approached finding that special… Continue Reading
I’m very excited to share the newest cover for the Daughters of the Forgotten Realms series. The three-book series begins with Passion’s Storm. Here’s a short blurb of what’s to come: Ianthe of Lyonesse is a sorceress whose magic cannot save her people. Alexander Warenne is a warrior who’s never known defeat yet is now a captive in… Continue Reading