Monday, March 21, 2011

The Magic of Scotland

Posted by: Nicole North
Today is the release day for Laird of Darkness, my historical paranormal erotic romance novella from Carina Press. Woohoo!

Half-Fae Laird Duncan MacDougall is cursed. His nights are haunted by Otherworld creatures sent to kill him. The only way to stop them is to possess the magic bow currently in the hands of his enemy half-brother, Kinnon MacClaren. In desperation, Duncan plans to take MacClaren's bride-to-be hostage and exchange her for the bow.

Lady Alana Forbes has never met her intended, but she hopes he is handsome-and a good lover, for Alana is no innocent virgin. On her way to Castle Claren, Alana and her escorts are intercepted, and she is kidnapped by a man with extraordinary abilities-and every attribute she longs for in a mate.

Duncan didn't expect the woman he thought of as a mere pawn would be so beautiful, and so arousing. Alana is drawn to him as well-but Duncan still needs the bow, and Alana is betrothed to another. How far will Alana go to save the life of the man she's come to love?

Why do I love writing stories set in Scotland?

Scotland is a magical place. It’s beautiful, breathtaking, inspiring, fun and fierce. Scotland’s history is violent and tragic, the people brave and strong. The country has hundreds of castles in every condition from total ruin to castle hotels. The amount of history to be seen in some of these castles is mind-boggling.

I confess… Scotland has cast a spell on me. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m captivated. It doesn’t matter to me that Scotland is cold and damp and cloudy most of the time. Actually, I’ve experienced just as much sun and warmth in Scotland as I have rain and cold. But either way, my spirits are not dampened when I’m exploring Scotland. I feel like a kid again, gazing in wonder at the beauty of the landscapes. And I can hardly sleep for the excitement before I go.
I’m obsessed. I force myself not to talk about Scotland too much to friends and family. I know they’ll get sick of it and realize I’m… er… obsessed.

If I’m in a bad mood all I have to do is think of Scotland and remember some of the places I’ve visited, and I feel much better.

I suppose all of this is a good thing since most of my romance stories are set in Scotland. Below are some of the inspiring, beautiful and magical places I've visited.

View from a window of Dunnottar Castle, a ruin on the east coast overlooking the North Sea. Below is Dunnottar also, as viewed from the approach path along the rugged coast.

The chapel ruins at Dunnottar.

Sligachan Bridge on Isle of Skye with the Black Cuillins in the background.

Above and below: Fairy Glen on Isle of Skye. An incredibly inspiring and charming place.

Dunvegan Castle on Isle of Skye, home to the Clan MacLeod who possess the Fairy Flag.

Dunrobin Castle looks like a fairy tale castle, despite its dark history. The gardens are equally charming.

My favorite castle, Eilean Donan seen at sunset. Surely something magical is afoot here.

Anytime I write a story set in Scotland, I’m there in spirit, attempting to make history, myths or legends come to life.
Thanks for checking out my pictures!

Click here to read a first chapter excerpt of Laird of Darkness.
My story is available from Carina Press, Amazon and other online bookstores.

Nicole North's erotic romance novellas have been described by reviewers as “exciting, high octane, captivating, scintillating, sinfully delicious and pure romance.” Her stories contain “heart and heat, killer love scenes, magic and extraordinary characters.” She has sold four stories to Red Sage Publishing. Laird of Darkness is her first novella for Carina Press. Nicole’s stories usually focus on her favorite things: Scotland, Highlanders and hot men in kilts. She and her husband live in the Southeastern US, but she wishes she lived in the Scottish Highlands at least half the year. As she puts it, Scotland is a beautiful, magical and enchanting place where anything seems possible. She teaches online workshops about various aspects of writing, including sexual tension and how to write great love scenes. Though she has a degree in psychology, writing romance is her first love.



  1. Ooh I love Scotland - and I had great fun at Dunvegan. They have a fairy flag! The whole place is magical. And I'm a sucker for a highland accent too :D

  2. Congrats on your release Nicole!!! I can't wait to read your new novella. Lovely pictures. I agree, there is definitley magic afoot :)

  3. Congratulations on the release! I would love to visit Scotland someday. In the meantime, thanks for the great pictures : )

  4. Julia, so nice to meet someone else who loves Scotland, Dunvegan and the highland accent. :) To see the fairy flag was an amazing thing.

    Eliza, thanks!! I'm glad you are feeling the magic too! :)

    Eleri, thanks!! Scotland is even better than I imagined. I hope you get to visit!

  5. CONGRATULATIONS on the release of LAIRD OF DARKNESS Nicole! I can't wait to read this!!!!

    And I LOVE the pictures, but I'm sure you all ready know that!!!

    Wishing you much success!!!


  6. Thanks, Andrea!! I'm glad you liked the pics too!

  7. Congrats, Nicole!

    I've always adored Scotland, too, though I haven't been there yet. I always thought it would be the first country I visited outside North America, but it turned out to be Russia. I developed a similar obsession with it while researching for a book. ;)

  8. Thanks Jane!! That's very interesting! There's just something about visiting a new country that is intriguing and inspiring!

  9. Congrats on your release, Nicole!

    I've been to Scotland twice, but I haven't spent as much time there as I'd like, and both times I was hampered by being dependent on trains for transportation.

  10. Susanna, very cool that you've been to Scotland. I hope you get to return and see things off the beaten path. Some of the remote places in the Highlands are breathtaking.

  11. Congratulations!

    There's a lot of VERY good reasons why so many great romances are set in Scotland!

  12. Congratulations on your release day! Great pictures! I never heard of the fairy flag, but I know all about it now.

  13. Congratulations on your release, Nicole. I can agree with everything about Scotland, I love going up there (and I'm originally from the Southern Hemisphere, we don't play nice in the cold, lol)

  14. Congrats on your release day! I'll head over to amazon to post my review this evening. I too love Scotland. Wouldn't it be cool to rent a cottage in the highlands for an entire summer and just write??
    Great pics. I was on the East coast my last trip. Next time I'll check out the Western Highlands.

  15. Fantastic photos of Scotland AND a geat first chapter! Good luck on the release.

  16. AmyBeth, thanks!! That's so true! Scotland is a romantic place.

    Thanks, Tia!! The story of the fairy flag is fascinating.

    Claire, thanks!! That's true, Scotland is a place where you need lots of sweaters, jackets, scarves, hats, etc. LOL But it's so worth it to brave the cold wind.

    Barbara, thanks!! I appreciate your being willing to post a review!! It is one of my dreams to rent a cottage in Scotland for the whole summer. I was also in the Aberdeenshire area last time, for a couple days then we zoomed over to Isle of Skye for a couple days. Couldn't decide between east and west so did a little of both. :)

    Nancy thanks so much for checking out my chapter!! I'm glad you liked it, and the pics! :)

  17. Congratulations on your release, Nicole. Laird of Darkness sounds fascinating. And thanks for sharing those wonderful pictures. One day, I hope to go to Scotland and see for myself what makes it so magical!

  18. Gorgeous pics. Congrats on the new release!

  19. Marcelle, thanks!! I hope you get to visit Scotland very soon!

    Janni, thanks!! And I'm glad you enjoyed the pics!

  20. Such fantastic photos. I could become Scotland-obsessed.

  21. Thanks Jenny! I hope you do become Scotland-obsessed. LOL! It's a fun thing.

  22. I'm buying this to read on my way to Scotland in June <3 (I'm going with one of my best friends and absolutely cannot wait!) Congrats on the release!

  23. Oh thanks, Seleste!! I'd consider that a huge honor! I know you'll enjoy Scotland. I'm going to Scotland, too, in May. Woohoo! :)

  24. I am Mexican, and I went to Scotland one year ago. I have been remebering that incredible trip. Scotland is amazing, as you have said, it´s a magical and fascinating place. I also became somewhat obsessed with this country and I want to come back soon. Congratulations for your release, I would love to read your stories set in Scotland!


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