I’ve got a fabulous post from my guest author today, Tracy Brogan, who is on tour with her new release Highland Surrender. Tracy’s going to entreat us all to be bold!
Full of Hot Air
One of the fun parts about being a writer is having an excuse to try things I might not otherwise try. A few years ago I took a hot air balloon ride specifically for the purpose of being able to write about it. Since I am not a fan of heights, nor particularly fond of balloons, I assumed this death-defying excursion would trigger all sorts of huge emotions. What I found instead was that in this case, the dreadful anticipation far outweighed the actual experience.
I had done a little research before deciding to pursue this. And by research, I mean I Googled, “Number of deaths from balloon rides.” Turns out the only way to die from hot air ballooning is to have a heart attack while on your ride, which, considering my fear, was not out of the question. Once at the field, I was petrified to climb into that wicker basket. I mean, who in their right mind decided wicker was a suitable mode of transportation?
My good friend, Kris, who was equally squeamish about this whole endeavor, asked if I thought I might be able to do this without her. She has been by my side through many an ill-conceived notion. Always my rock, cheering me on. So I glared at her and said, “Get in the basket.” Our husbands laughed at us, which is not really that unusual. They weren’t remotely frightened. Or if they were, they sure weren’t going to let us know.
So, after much giggling, and a few deep breaths, Kris and I climbed over the side and prepared for terror to strike. We were staring danger in the eye, taunting fate to crush us. But suddenly the trees were slowing swaying. And shrinking. There was no jolt. No rocking. No loud noise as we evaded gravity and floated upward. It was quiet and smooth and slow. I could see we were rising, but I couldn’t feel a thing. All of my angst was for nothing.
I have found that is true in most cases. It’s the anticipation of not knowing what to expect that scares us. I try to keep that in mind now as I face new challenges. When I attended my first writer’s conference, I was nearly as frightened as I was when climbing into that wicker basket. But I faced it, and realized that only when push myself from my comfort zone will I learn anything new about myself. And only by learning will I grow. I’m still not who I want to be yet, so I have to keep pushing, and trying, and learning, and yes, even making mistakes.
So remember, life is too short to be scared. Be bold today! You won’t regret it!
Commanded by his king, Myles Campbell is no more willing than his reluctant bride. Still, she is a rare beauty, passionate enough to warm even the coldest marriage bed. Buy Myles quickly realizes Fiona Sinclair is no common wench. She has a warrior’s spirit and a fierce pride that only a fool would try to tame. And Myles Campbell is no fool. Their marriage was meant to unite warring clans. They never imagined it would ignite a once-in-a-lifetime love…
Scottish Highlands, 1537
Fiona Sinclair could not reconcile the irony of nature’s twisted humor. For today of all wretched days the sky should be burdened with clouds as dark and dismal as her mood. But the morning dawned soft and fair, mild as a Highland calf, and she knew that God himself mocked her. At any moment, Myles Campbell and his father, the Earl of Argyll, would pass through the gates of Sinclair Hall, unwelcome, yet unhindered by her clan. Soon after that, she must stand upon the chapel steps and marry a man she had never met, and yet had hated for all of her life.
Through her narrow bedchamber window, sounds from the bailey filtered up. The smithy’s hammer tapped a mellow cadence as if this day were just like any other. Perhaps he shaped a horseshoe or a pointed pike. She smiled at the latter and imaged the heaviness of that same pike in her hand. Oh, that she had the courage to plunge it deep into the earl’s heart, if indeed he had one.
She rose from the threadbare cushion on the bench and moved without purpose toward the stone fireplace. A low fire burned, warding off the spring morning’s chill. From habit, Fiona slipped her hand into the leather pouch around her waist. She squeezed tight the silver brooch inside, its design and inscription etched as clearly in her memory as on the pin itself. A boar’s head, symbol of Clan Campbell, with words chosen by the king himself.
To Cedric Campbell, a true friend is worth a king’s ransom. James V.
The brooch had been a gift to the Campbell chief, the man about to become her father-in-law. But he had left it behind nearly seven years earlier, pierced into the flesh of Fiona’s mother so that all the world might know he had dishonored her. The priest found Aislinn Sinclair’s lifeless body in a secluded glen outside the village, stripped bare and broken, marked by Cedric’s lust and spite. Thus a feud, long simmering at the edges, boiled over.
But today the king thought to put an end to it with this farce of a marriage between a Sinclair lass and a Campbell son. It would not work.
Fiona paced to the window, restless and melancholy. She leaned out to breathe fresh spring air, hoping it might lighten her spirits. The too-sweet scent of hyacinth clung to the breeze, along with the ever-present brine of Moray Firth. Along the west curtain wall, more hammering sounded as masons worked to bolster the steps leading to the main keep. As if precarious stairs alone might halt the Campbell men from gaining entrance. But nothing would. Her fate as a Campbell bride had been declared the very day she drew in her first breath, and sealed when her father blew out his last.
Tracy Brogan is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist who writes funny contemporary stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and also stirring historical romance full of political intrigue, damsels causing distress, and the occasional man in a kilt. Her first two books, CRAZY LITTLE THING, and HIGHLAND SURRENDER both earned a 4-Star review from RT magazine and have hit the Amazon Best Selling Books list.
Tracy lives in Michigan with her bemused husband, her perpetually exasperated children, and two dogs, who would probably behave better if they could understand sarcasm.