Guest blogger: Nancy Lee Badger
Many of my romance novels are set in Scotland, a foreign country that has intrigued me since meeting my husband many decades ago. He is of Scottish descent and owns two kilts that represent his two clans. Although we now reside in North Carolina, we volunteer every fall at the New Hampshire Highland Games in New England. Being immersed in the sounds, smells and sights of thousands of kilted Americans, my idea to write tales based in the Highlands of Scotland was born.
My latest series is different. Having grown up on an island (Long Island, New York) I decided to set it on the Isle of Skye, which sits off the western coast of Scotland. I discovered that Skye is famous for its Black Cuillin Hills and fairy pools. It has meadows, forests, peat bogs, and all types of interesting trees, not to mention the long coastline. My stories take place in the early 15th century, and I include wolves, red deer, pine martens, seals, horses, and dragons.
My research of Skye came up with these facts. Wolves roamed all of Scotland, but died out long ago. Herding their does, enormous red stags still flourish; rutting in the fall, grazing the high ground in summer, and mingling closer to humans come winter. The pine marten, a member of the weasel family and about the size of a cat, scamper about at night, preferring the woodlands of Skye. Two types of seals live in the sea lochs and bays around Skye. The common seal grows to six feet, and the grey seal even larger. Many myths exist about these animals, calling them selkies, with the ability to shed their skins and walk on land as humans.
Horses such as the Eriskay Pony originated centuries earlier in islands of the Hebrides, including Skye. Though a gray horse, I took the literary liberty of making my horses a bit more colorful. I write fiction, but I like to keep some aspects, including flowers, trees, wildlife, and locations, as close to real as possible. The paranormal twist came when I decided to make my main characters members of a clan of dragon-shifters. Why not?
My series starts with Spark, and my hero, Evan, who shifts into a copper-coloured horse in order to investigate a village of humans. Neither looks, wings, or talons can save their clan. How far will Evan go to save their species? He must shift to find a mate among Scotland’s Isle of Skye’s humans, but dragons don’t wear plaide.
In the second book in the Clan of Dragons series, Smoke, Wynn stumbles across an unusual creature. This accidental meeting with a wolf-shifting female leads him on a merry chase beneath the lure of the coming full moon. Will he follow her, or shift into a human to find a mate among the villagers?
I will continue the series with Smolder, which I will release next month. I am currently working on a prequel novella that will explain how fairy pools and dragons, with the ability to shift into other forms, came about.
Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America and president of her local chapter, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. She is also a member of the Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Association of Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers.