Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In Celebration of Thanksgiving and My Gift of Gratitude to You...

For me, the Thanksgiving holiday conjures visions of family gatherings, an outpouring of love, laughter, a ton of delicious food crowding the table, and a silent inventory of things I'm thankful for. That list is endless, but always begins with my wondrous, amazing family. When I contemplate that family, I have to include my adventurous ancestors. They who gathered their courage, hopes and dreams, boarded a ship, and sailed to America. 

"Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor," by William Halsall, 1882

John Howland and Elizabeth Tillie, my ninth great-grandparents through my father's maternal side, were the first of my ancestors to do just that. They boarded the Mayflower in England, as single, young adults, September 16, 1620. The ship dropped anchor at Plymouth Rock on the 16th of December, that same year. Three years later, John and Elizabeth were married after surviving the hardships of the first deadly winter that claimed the lives of half the passengers.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Spirit of the Knight" Gets a Cover!

My August post "Of Haunted Castles and BookCovers," found me anxiously (hand-wringing, sweating, pacing...well, you get the idea) awaiting my book cover for my soon-to-be released novel, "Spirit of the Knight." As you might recall, I fervently hoped a castle would grace the cover in some small fashion. Debbie Taylor, of Dca Graphics, did not disappoint...

Cover by Debbie Taylor

Not only did she not disappoint; she used one of the very castles that inspired my fictional castle... the mysterious, Eilean Donan.  According to a host of witnesses, this castle, which is situated in Loch Druich, is truly haunted.  This beautiful edifice was all but destroyed in the year 1719. History records that three frigates from the Royal Navy bombarded the castle for three full days while fighting Spanish mercenaries who supported the Scots during the Jacobite rebellion.  It is believed that the ghostly soldier often seen carrying his head inside the gift shop, lost his life--and his head--during this battle.

He's not the only man to lose his head in an altercation in this location either. In the year 1331, after defeating his enemies, Robert the Bruce became king of Scotland. He subsequently made his nephew, Randolph, the Earl of Moray, the warden of Scotland. For their lack of respect for the law, Randolph promptly executed fifty men and hung their heads on pikes from the battlements of the castle. He did this as a warning to all those who would follow their lead. (Ick...)