Category Archives: History

Black Cats: Lucky or Unlucky?

Black catsI 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.
What do you believe? Lucky or unlucky?

The Witches’ Well

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 two women’s faces—one old, one young—a foxglove plant in the center, and a snake coiled around it all.

The Witches’ Well was placed there in 1894 to commemorate all the women who were burned at the stake between the 15th and 18th centuries. Above the fountain a plaque read: This fountain designed by John Duncan RSA is near the site on which many witches were burned at the stake. The wicked head and serene head signify that some used their exceptional knowledge for evil purposes while other were misunderstood and wished their kind nothing but good. The serpent has the dual significance of evil and of wisdom. The foxglove spray further emphasizes the dual purpose of many common objects. (Foxglove can be used medicinally but it can also be poisonous depending on the dosage.)

Even though I was surrounded by the magnificence of Edinburgh Castle, I spent the rest of the day thinking about the men and women who were accused of witchcraft, and I had to know more. Many hours of research later, the All the King’s Men series was born. There are seven books in the series. The first three books are scheduled for release as follows:

Seven Nights with a Scot, February 21st, 2019
Romancing the Laird, April 30th, 2019
A Temptress in Tartan, August 13th, 2019

National Tartan Day

Did you know that Saturday is National Tartan Day?  So what is Tartan Day, you ask?  It’s a day that commemorates the signing of the Scottish Declaration of Independence—a day when Scotland finally won their independence from England after centuries of war.

National Tartan Day has been celebrated in Canada for many years, and in 1998 President George W. Bush signed United States Senate Resolution no. 155 that designated April 6th as National Tartan Day!

The signing of this resolution had a special significance for all Americans, and especially those Americans of Scottish descent, because the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that inspirational document.

The resolution honors each year the major role that Scottish Americans played in the founding of this Nation, such as the fact that almost half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, the Governors in nine of the original thirteen States were of Scottish ancestry, and that Scottish Americans successfully helped shape this country in its formative years and guided this Nation through its most troubled times.  It also recognized the monumental achievements and invaluable contributions made by Scottish Americans that have led to America’s preeminence in the fields of science, technology, medicine, government, politics, economics, architecture, literature, media, and visual and performing arts. 

Are you of Scottish ancestry, even a tiny little bit?  Will you celebrate National Tartan Day, if so, how?