WELCOME BACK, SUE-ELLEN!!
~ONCE UPON A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS~
A wonderful Holiday novella!!
Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes Scottish medieval romances for Grand Central Publishing. As time allows, she also writes as Allie Mackay, penning contemporary paranormals, mostly set in the Scottish Highlands.
Her twenty-year airline career allowed her to see the world, but it was always to Scotland that she returned. She spent fifteen years living in Europe, using that time to explore as many castle ruins, medieval abbeys, and stone circles, as possible. Anything ancient, crumbling, or lichened caught her eye. She still visits Scotland when she can as such trips give her inspiration for new books.
Proud of her own Hebridean ancestry, she belongs to two clan societies and never misses a chance to attend Highland Games. In addition to Scotland, her greatest passions are medieval history, the paranormal, nature, and animals. She enjoys long walks and bicycling, loves haggis, and writes at a 450-year-old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle.
I’m proudly old-fashioned, listen to classical and New Age music as I write, I live, breath, and dream medieval Scotland, and enjoy living quietly. Shabby chic suits me better than glitz and glam. Hate shopping except bookstores and thrift shops. I believe in Highland magic and love whimsy. I’m also convinced some people are born out of time and place, and am sure I’m one of them.
If I wasn’t writing, I’d be out in the field fighting for animal rights, rescuing stray cats and dogs, saving whales and seals, hugging trees, and going ghost-hunting, always searching for a time portal to sweep me out of this world and back to medieval Scotland.
WE ARE HONORED TO HAVE WITH US, SUE-ELLEN WELFONDER…..
Hello Everyone! Special thanks to WendyK and April for hosting me today. My holiday novella, Once Upon A Highland Christmas releases on Dec. 3rd, so I’m thrilled to celebrate at My Book Addiction and More.
By now, you may have seen the novella’s official blurb. Chances are you haven’t seen the one I wrote. Publishers do these back cover snippets, not the authors. Yet who knows the story better than the writer? As I was waiting for my publisher to send me their official blurb for the novella, I did my own. I think it gives a good feel for Once Upon A Highland Christmas, a magical holiday tale about two unlikely lovers and set in the enchanted world of the Highlands at Christmas.
Here is my blurb…
In A Magical Season…
As a lass who has lost everything, Breena O’ Doherty’s only wish for Christmas is to brighten the holidays at her new Highland home, Duncreag Castle, where the MacNab laird is determined not to celebrate. Hoping to bring joy to the clan she dearly loves, she’s stunned to see her efforts thwarted by the rugged Highlander who secretly holds her heart.
Grim Mackintosh, Duncreag’s captain of the guard, knows he isn’t a man to stir female hearts. But he’s shocked when Breena believes he’s been stealing her festive decorations. Having admired her from afar, he seizes an unexpected chance to kiss her beneath the mistletoe. His boldness spurs a quest to bring Christmas cheer to Duncreag. Together, they travel across the sparkling, snow-clad hills where passion soon blazes between them. But more than holiday magic is afoot in the Highlands. Can their love survive a secret danger from the past? Or will the wonder of the season give them the happily-ever-after they deserve?
In Once Upon A Highland Christmas, Grim and Breena do enjoy a Happy Ever After, of course. They set off on their quest to heal hearts and end up losing their own to each other, discovering the most beautiful love. It is my hope that readers will finish the story with a happy sigh. The novella is also a ‘happy ending’ of sorts for me. I’ve always wanted to write a holiday story. So I was delighted when my publisher asked me to do one. I loved every hour at the keyboard, smiled through each typed word. Grim and Breena felt as real as if they stood beside me, looking on to make sure I told their tale to suit them.
I hope I did.
I do know I had fun with them. Here’s an early glimpse of them, near the opening of their story.
Set-Up: It is late at night in the great hall. Breena is hiding behind a tapestry, hoping to catch the evil-doer who has been stealing her holiday decorations. She is horrified to see Grim kneeling beside the Yule Log aka known as the Cailleach Nollaigh or ‘Old Christmas Wife’ because it is carved to resemble a crone. Breena looks on as Grim prepares to deface the sacred log, or so she believes…
How could she have been so wrong about him?
Silently vowing to never make such a mistake again, Breena leaned closer into the back of the wall hanging and pressed one eye to the spy slit. To her horror, a dirk now glittered in Grim’s hand. She looked on as he raised the blade above the Cailleach Nollaigh, clearly bent on gouging into the hallowed wood, ruining the hag’s features.
Breena couldn’t believe his wickedness.
Or that the tapestry’s dust and a loose thread tickled her nose so mightily that she sneezed.
Mortified, she clapped a hand to her lips.
Across the hall, Grim stood, shoving his dirk back beneath his belt as he did so.
He turned her way, his unusual smoke-gray eyes honing in on the tapestry. Breena’s breath caught at the determination in his gaze. She’d always found his eyes so compelling, his exceptionally thick lashes. His dark hair swung loose about his shoulders, the strands gleaming in the dim torchlight.
His beard rings also glinted, and the silver Thor’s hammer at his throat.
Grim was pagan.
And just now he looked earthy and bold enough to eat her alive.
Her heart hammering wildly, Breena flattened herself against the cold stone of the wall.
Grim started forward, his strides slow and sure, smooth as a predator’s.
“Dinnae think I cannae see you, lassie.” His voice was rich and smooth, deeply burred and lowered intimately enough to send heat to her face.
She refused to think about what it did to other places.
Nor was there time for any such foolish contemplation. He was almost upon her.
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Once Upon A Highland Christmas gave me the opportunity to write the kind of hero I love best: Grim is battle-hardened, a fierce warrior, but also great-hearted. He’s loyal, a staunch friend, and he loves animals. He’s a rough-hewn man, forged of strength, steel, and rock-hard muscle. He isn’t a ‘bonnie’ sort and he worries that Breena would never desire a fearsome brute like him. Breena has been through some really rough times. She is Irish and was captured in a raid on her village. The raiders planned to sell her at a slave market. They brought her to Scotland and she was with them when they attacked a Highland stronghold. Grim was in the party of neighboring allies who rid the castle of the brigands. So he basically rescued her in the months before Once Upon A Highland Christmas begins. Breena is strong and resilient, refusing to let bad things break her. She adapts to her new home, coming to love the Highlands, and the clan that welcomes her so warmly. She is drawn to Grim, but as he rarely even speaks to her, she is sure her feelings aren’t reciprocated.
I loved bringing these two together. They didn’t stand a chance against the season’s magic. Add the enchantment of cold and dark Highland nights, full of stars and wonder, and these two loving hearts soon saw reason. And that brought a new kind of problem because once they accepted their fate, their love scenes blazed so hot that I nearly scorched my fingers on the keys!
But all is well that ends well.
I hope you’ll enjoy visiting the Highlands at Christmas. Grim and Breena will make excellent guides. If you like them, you’ll be glad to know that you’ll see them again in my upcoming four-book series, Scandalous Scots. Grim plays a major role in the new series, so you’ll be able to revisit him and his fair lady wife in the pages of the new books.
WendyK and April, thank you so much for letting me celebrate this new release with you. It’s always such a pleasure to visit My Book Addiction and More.
Sue-Ellen, thank you for the chance to spend time with you again, we so love you and your stories. Who doesn’t love characters such as Grim, and Breena. What a pleasure and an honor to have you visit with us and our readers!!
Everyone else, thank you for stopping by! In honor of Grim and Breena, one reader will win a copy of Seduction of a Highland Warrior from my Highland Warriors trilogy (Grim is a secondary character in the book) and an e-copy of Once Upon A Highland Christmas. If you read and enjoy the story, please tell your friends and help me spread word about Once Upon A Highland Christmas. I’d really appreciate it.
Ice breaker I ~ Eggnog or Hot Spiced Cider?
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Sue-Ellen, you say the sweetest things. Thank you for spending time with us and our readers. It is always such a pleasure to have you visit with us.
(Sponsored by the author)
Thanks to Sue-Ellen, one reader will win a copy of Seduction of a Highland Warrior from my Highland Warriors trilogy (Grim is a secondary character in the book) and an e-copy of Once Upon A Highland Christmas.
Giveaway will run from December 1 until December 7,2013.
Good luck and please, spread the word!!
As an added surprise, answer the following question for a chance to win a digtial copy of “Once Upon a Highland Christmas” this giveaway will be sponsored by the site. This is for an Amazon, gifted copy!!
Eggnog or Hot Spiced Cider?
Thanks everyone for your support of MBA&M and our guest!!
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Now everyone go forth and spread the word far and wide!!