Guest blogger: Nancy Lee Badger
When I attended the American version of Scottish Highland Games, held annually in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, inspiration bloomed. Many visitors to these ‘games’ have commented that the location, in a river valley surrounded by mist- or cloud-covered peaks, is reminiscent of the moors and hills of the Scottish Highlands. I heard these opinions while I watched kilt-wearing men stroll by, or visited the historic re-enactment displays. I drooled over muscular athletes competing by turning the caber or throwing the hammer. I snacked on Scottish shortbread, meat-filled bridies, and haggis. I listened to marching drummers and bagpipers. Dressed in period costumes or kilts, visitors carry dirks on their belts, or the smaller sgian dubh in their kilt hose.
I look forward to returning each year. The best part of these visits? I am never alone. Family and friends meet here, every year. My husband and adult sons wear their kilts, while I continue my quest to lose enough weight to (again) wear the lady’s kilt handed down to me by my late mother-in-law. In the meantime, I have several long gowns, and am happy that the September weather in New Hampshire is normally cool.
What have I learned at these events and wish to share with readers? Besides sharing the flavours, sights, and sounds with family and friends, ideas for romance novels sprang up. I still attend this annual event in New England, and strive to visit several in my new home state of North Carolina. New Hampshire will always be special, and I have volunteered welcoming visitors for many years under the Information Tent. Years back, I wrote a few Scottish historical novels, than came up with my Scottish time travel series. I mixed present-day Highland games with Scottish life set in the late 16th century/early 17th century.
Romance is an integral part of my stories, and I show how men and women from different time periods interact on their way to true love. Besides the kissing, and the more sensual scenes, I throw obstacles and villains in my characters’ paths. My latest release, My Hunted Highlander, introduces a present-day woman, kidnapped from New Hampshire, who has ended up in 1603 as the captain of a Scottish pirate ship. When her crew finds my hero floating in the North Sea, she is torn between the need to discover his identity and keep her crew from killing him, and wanting him in her bed. One reviewer said that her adopted son, Keegan, steals the show. I have several other characters and events that keep the story twisting and turning right up until the end.
My Hunted Highlander is my sixth Scottish time travel book. Although I am writing other genres now, I am looking forward to returning to the New Hampshire Highland Games next month, because I need another dose of kilted hunks. I pay-it-forward by the giving of my time: to sell raffle tickets, guide patrons to the various events, to steer visitors toward the Clan tents. All writers need inspiration, and mine just happen to be wrapped in plaid. Jealous?
If you are planning to join me in New England, find out more information at NHScot.org
Otherwise, here are the links to a few of the many Highland games taking place in Australia: Aberdeen Highland Games | Maclean Highland Gathering | Ringwood Highland Games | Australian Celtic Festival-Isle of Mann
(I do not endorse any of these games; just giving my readers suggestions)
Plucked naked from the North Sea, Niall Sinclair wakes bound to the mast of a pirate ship. Hiding his identity, his reaction to their female captain makes him nearly forget his need to escape. Kidnapped from modern day New Hampshire, and now at the helm of a pirate ship in 1603 Scotland, Blair MacIan sees Niall as a chance to escape to her world.
Also available on-line in print
After growing up in Huntington, New York, USA, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy Lee Badger moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Area Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers.