Tag Archives: curse

A Grandfather, A Son, and Two Not-So-Holy Ghosts (by Sherrie Hansen)

Although my Wildflowers of Scotland books are contemporary, I always find a way to weave in a wee bit of history… an old kirk with architectural and religious artifacts gone missing, a sunken Spanish galleon filled with gold that was never recovered, a castle with a melancholy history all its own, or the Isle of Skye’s magical Fairy Glen. In GOLDEN ROD, I incorporated a touch of history via a 500-year-old castle that was cursed by a traveling minister when the owners refused his blessing, preferring to wait for the prayers of a Catholic priest.  At least, that’s what legend holds, and it would seem the legends are true, since no eldest son has ever inherited Lachlan Castle – not once in 500 years.

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From GOLDEN ROD:

A traveling Protestant minister who liked to speak in rhymes leveled the curse when the MacKenzie clan refused his blessing, preferring to wait until a Catholic priest could dedicate the newly built edifice.

Oh Lachlan, ye’re on shifting sand.

Nae eldest son shall have a hand

In furth’ring hist’ry on this land.

In the history of the castle, no eldest son has succeeded his father as heir of Lachlan Castle.

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All kinds of tragedies have transpired as a result of the minister’s curse, including ghosts Laird Valan MacKenzie and Lady Rosemary being stranded at Lachlan for over 500 years.

A ghost dressed in full Highland attire roams the castle and grounds at Lachlan, on the shores of Loch Carron. A favorite of locals, Laird Valan MacKenzie so desperately wanted a son to pass the castle on to that he may have taken his wife’s life when she bore him nothing but daughters. Laird Valan’s version of the event was that his wife tripped and fell to her death despite his best efforts to save her. Many a guest has seen Laird Valan’s kilt, plaid, and sporran. Legend has it that Valan will haunt the castle until an ancient curse is broken.

Ghosts - plaid  Ghosts - Rosemary  Ghosts - blue lace 197442_14c1b9f9-2f1a-4779-9b3d-df92290ceadf

I won’t ask if you believe in ghosts because it doesn’t matter. GOLDEN ROD is a work of fiction, so all I’m asking you to do is to suspend your disbelief while you’re reading the book. But whatever our beliefs, I think we all have thoughts on the subject of ghosts. Some of us are afraid of them, or would be afraid to stay in a place that’s haunted by ghosts. Others are fascinated or even intrigued by ghostly happenings and seek out places that are reputedly haunted. What about you? Maybe you’ve had your hair stand on end when you’ve been seated around a campfire listening to ghost stories. How do you react to the subject of ghosts?

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A ghost, known as the “Blue Lady” also frequents Lachlan Castle, on Loch Carron. She is thought to be the wife of Laird Valan MacKenzie, and mother to their five daughters. Her husband allegedly pushed her from a fourth floor window so he could take a new wife who might bear him a son. The ghost of Lady Rosemary MacKenzie, who ironically, was discovered to have been pregnant with a son at the time of her death, is said to have scratched the words, The Son You Always Wanted, upside down on the window sill outside the bedroom window where she fell. The inscription can still be seen there today. It is reported that the “Blue Lady” leaves the scent of rosemary and bluebells wherever she goes. Because her own life ended so tragically, legend holds that the “Blue Lady” will haunt the castle until a Lachlan love story ends with a happily-ever-after ending. Unfortunately, due to an old curse, the dreams of many a castle resident have ended tragically, perpetuating the haunting of the castle by Lady Rosemary.

BlueBelle 2016 

I grew up watching tales of Casper the Friendly Ghost,  the classic Christmas Carol, and even Ghostbusters, so I’ve always been comfortable with the concept of ghosts. In church, we heard about the Holy Ghost, a comforting presence who is always with us. When I bought a house in St. Ansgar, Iowa and turned it into a B&B and tea house, locals told me about a friendly ghost who rescued the century old floor plans from the dump and returned them to the house when they were accidentally thrown away, among other adventures. So in one form or another, I’ve always accepted that ghosts are real.

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In GOLDEN ROD, Rod MacKenzie has felt the presence of Laird Valan and Lady Rosemary since he was young, but never had a direct encounter with them – until Katelyn O’Neal arrives from America and stirs things up.

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Katelyn thinks the whole thing is a crock, and is convinced there has to be some sort of logical, scientific explanation for the odd things that are happening to her.

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Laird Valan and Lady Rosemary, the ghostly duo from GOLDEN ROD, have very distinctive personalities and a sometimes quirky sense of humor. As Laird Valan and Lady Rosemary get more and more desperate to break the 500-year-old curse so they can rest in peace, the stakes grow higher.

GR Blog - Kilt Rock

Once Rod discovers what they’re up to, he’s more than happy to comply, or at least humor them, except that Katelyn’s niece is dying, and if he has to choose who to help, a dying twelve year old or a pair of ghosts who’ve already been dead for five hundred years, the choice is clear. Except that nothing is clear – and Laird Valan and Lady Rosemary will do anything to change history and break the curse that binds them.

Golden Rod

You’ll have to read GOLDEN ROD to learn how the story ends. In the meantime, I hope the ghosts that may haunt you are friendly ones.  Here are the Buy Links for GOLDEN ROD at Amazon:
Kindle: http://a.co/3zRGCpF
Paperback: http://a.co/8oJpv4Q

Ghosts - blur of blue

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Filed under photographs, Scotland, Sherrie Hansen

When Blogs Sleep by L.V. Gaudet

I have been in something of a dry spell for the past months when it comes to writing, blog posts especially.drought

Lack of inspiration is only a part of the problem.

Most advice on how to have a successful blog boils down to one frequently repeated piece of advice.  Post interesting content regularly.

Easy, right?

The problem with that is not only do you have to come up with ideas of blog posts to write about all the time, but they also have to be interesting to other people.  Okay, so that is only half the problem.  The other half is having the time.

If you do not keep up on regular blogging, you can find your blog has gone to sleep and so have you as a blogger.  Your blog followers’ interest will wane when there is nothing to follow.  You become as forgotten as yesterday’s news.

People are fickle that way.  Once you lose them, you can find yourself starting over to create a following all over again.

It can also be harder to dig yourself out of that slump once you are fully entrenched in it than it is to keep writing regular posts.

inspirationboxGetting inspired takes time.  It takes a lot of things, but all of that means little if you do not have the time to let yourself get inspired.

Everyone finds their inspiration in their own way.  A quiet walk in nature, sitting alone enjoying a coffee on a Sunday morning, reading, letting your mind roam on your commute, people watching, these are just a few.

If you do not have the time for that in your busy life, you can find yourself feeling irreparably caught in a dry spell with no end in sight.

When the inspiration does come, it means not losing it, maybe having the chance to write it down before your busy day melts the thought away into a blank mind void.  And then you still have to have the time to sit down and write the article, edit it to perfection, and polish it.

Evasive-Manuvers-penguins-of-madagascar-13157021-607-478Time is both valuable and, at times, insolently evasive.  Time is not on my side.  Not lately.

If you are like me, and like many other writers, your writing by necessity comes a distant last after everything else in your life.

Bills have to be paid and family and home taken care of.  Commitments for work, school, and both immediate and extended family will always push writing time back.  By the time you have finished your work day and commute, feeding and chauffeuring your kids to their activities and back, and getting them into bed, you might find yourself lucky enough to have an hour left to make lunches, throw a load of laundry in, and pick up; and maybe even a moment to or two to write.

This can make you feel a tremendous self-imposed stress to do that writing you are missing out having the time for.  It is too easy in the rush of life and trying to fit in writing to forget what is important.  Never let yourself miss those family moments because you are pushing yourself too hard to do too much.

lessons-in-lifeThe most important lesson I ever learned in life I learned from my own toddler.  Back then, I was doing the stay at home parent thing.  Daycare for two would have cost most than I was making, so we opted for me to stay home.  Every time we went to Wal-Mart to shop for groceries, we passed a display of plastic and fabric fake flowers.  They were depressingly fake, but every time she would make me stop to smell them.  It was not just a memorable moment to be cherished; it was a life lesson.  No matter how hurried I felt, there always had to be time to stop and smell the flowers, whether they smell like anything or not.

Take each moment as it comes.  As the saying goes, take life one moment at a time.  That is the only way to do it when life gets busy.  I spend my lunch breaks editing, and with the distractions that is about all I can manage.  I try my best to note it down when inspiration hits and gives me an idea.  I write in stolen moments.   I do what I can to keep up on the major things while, unfortunately, the little things are often left to slide along with the housekeeping.

When I do have a moment (or thought I did) for writing, it may be interrupted and quickly evaporate.  My advice: no matter how frustrating you find it to have to try to seize those too often lost moments; do not let it become either a chore or a barrier to your life and family around you.

dullWhen your writing is just bland and dry, and inspiration has failed you, you might have to just accept that and cede defeat.  This time.  One of the lovely things about social media and networking is the very nature of it.  It is, for the most part, shareable.

People blog because they want to be noticed.  They want followers.  They want more visits to their blog.  What better way to have that happen than to have followers share their posts?

When the inspiration flows strong, get as much out of that as you can.  If you can snap out six or eight witty blog posts and another half a dozen ideas for later, you are on one killer roll!  Do not post all those great posts at once, but save them.  Spread them out and have some back up posts for those dry spells.

Make your blog more interesting with guest blogs and outside articles.  Invite guests to guest blog, have reviews on their books posted, reviews they wrote on other books posted.  Even just sharing other bloggers posts on your blog that you enjoyed and found interesting.  It is all about driving traffic to both your blog and theirs, and everybody wins.

Distraction is the writer’s curse.  Nothing can kill a writer’s mojo like distraction.  As a parent, I cannot turn my kids away when they need attention just because I am trying to write or edit.  The same goes for your life partner.  These are the most important people in your world, and hopefully your biggest fans and supporters.

When I do have time to write, it is often in the chaos of distraction that comes with a small house and no escape.  You feel like you are central to everything going on in your house because you are, literally, if you have no other room to escape to.  And even if you do have somewhere to go (unfortunately I don’t), if you are like me, they will just follow you there.

It is not easy to write with all the distraction.  And you certainly cannot do your best writing.  But, at least you are finding that bit of time.  If nothing else, you can edit and jot down notes for things to add later.  I certainly do not recommend writing under the cacophony of distraction, but busy people sometimes just have to do what they must.

At the moment, I am being distracted by one child (Okay, a “tween”.  She hates to be called a child.), who is not yet in bed and has a never-ending need to talk to me, a dog requiring my undivided attention, and a very persistent housefly that apparently does too.

recyleIf all else fails, you can always recycle.  Reuse, reduce, recycle.  Isn’t that the saying?  Oh, wait, that’s for reducing trash waste.

In all seriousness, when you are really stuck for something, you can always take an old blog post and re-write it.  You might be amazed at what you learn doing that.

Not only does your writing change, but so does your opinions, feelings, and knowledge.  Writing is a flowing creation that is never stagnant.  The industry itself is ever-evolving.

Over time and practice, your writing continuously improves.  Re-writing an old blog post is a good lesson in that.  Re-writing old stories, whether fiction, blog, or other, is like taking a walk down that memory lane to those old photos of your youth.  Yeah, you remember those old sick clothes and ridiculous hairstyles you laugh at now.

So dust off that old post or story like an old record and play it again, only better this time.

No matter what gets in your way, lack of inspiration, time, distraction, or anything else, you keep on writing.  It’s not what you are, it’s who you are.

You press on because you are a writer.  I am writer; hear me roar.

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L. V. where the bodies areGaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are

What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions?

Watch for book 2 of the McAllister series coming soon at Second Wind Publishing, LLC:  The McAllister Farm.  The secret behind the bodies is revealed.

Links to purchase this and other upcoming L.V. Gaudet’s books

Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary

https://angiesdiary.com/bookoftheweek-web/081-botwoct262014.html

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Filed under blogging, L.V. Gaudet, writing