All Good Things...

Red Pencil Thursday… must come to an end. Well, that’s what they say. Personally I don’t believe it. Even though my 20Days/20Books Reader Appreciation is winding down today, my blog marches on and I hope you’ll come by again. I often spotlight other authors, chat about what I’m working on or what nonsense Mack the Wonder Dog & Prince Harry have gotten tangled up in. I also host Red Pencil Thursday–an online critique group that readers seem to enjoy as much as other writers.

Plaid to the BoneI hope you’ve enjoyed the snippets and excerpts from Plaid to the Bone each day. This novella is near and dear to my heart and not just because it’s my 20th published work. The love story between Adam Cameron and Cait Grant isn’t the usual boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl tale. It’s more like girl-meets-boy, girl’s-supposed-to-kill-boy, girl-falls-in-love-instead-but-nothing’s-ever-that-easy. Oh, and Adam and Cait have to figure out how to avoid the curse her blood oath will set in motion.

At only $2.99, it’s a budget-friendly read and the prequel to the Spirit of the Highlands series!
Find Plaid to the Bone at: Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo
And for my international friends: AmazonUK | AmazonCA | AmazonDE

 Grace Burrowes

When I asked some of my writer friends to help me celebrate this publishing milestone, the incredibly talented Grace Burrowes was one of the first to volunteer. Here’s a little of her email to me:

Hiya Mia,

Once Upon a Tartan

Read an excerpt!

Congrats on the upcoming twentieth title–may there be twenty more that you enjoy writing even more! I’m happy to donate an audio version of my July release, “Once Upon a Tartan.” My narrator for the Scottish Victorians, James Langton/Roger Hampton, was born in Yorkshire and educated in Edinburgh. He NAILS the Scottish accents, and the English too.



Read an excerpt!

I can also donate either an audio or a print copy of my first Scottish Victorian, “The Bridegroom Wore Plaid,” which was a PW Best Book of 2012.

PS I treated myself to your Waking Up With A Rake and found it delightful!

(Mia again here. I shared this so if you only know her by her NYTimes bestselling books, now you’ll know the warm, generous person behind them.)

Connect with Grace at her website, Twitter & Facebook!

Plaid Tidings

Plaid TidingsMy Spirit of the Highlands series starts with Plaid to the Bone. The tales of Bonniebroch Castle continue in a few days on October 1st with Plaid Tidings. As the title suggests, it’s a Christmas story. And in the grand tradition of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, a few “corporeally-challenged” characters take up residence in the castle, to alternately bedevil or assist the living.

4 ½ stars! Marlowe has penned a wonderful tale, rich in romance and wit. Replete with memorable characters and a touch of Scottish legend, this well-written romance is both poignant and highly entertaining. Not to be missed by fans of Scottish Regency.” ~ Kathe Robin, RTBOOKReviews

Pre-order yours today!
Amazon Print | Barnes & Noble Print | BAM | iBooks | Kindle | Kobo

The Prize

Today we’re in a Scottish state of mind. You might win a download of Plaid to the Bone from Kensington, an audio version  of Once Upon a Tartan or a print or audio edition of The Bridegroom Wore Plaid from Grace Burrowes. I’m thrilled to share that I have three ARCs of Plaid Tidings to give to 3 lucky winners. And as always, your comment will enter you in the Grand Prize drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite. All winners for my 20Days/20Book Reader Appreciation will be announced tomorrow!

If you’ve been entertained these past 20 days, I hope you’ll also sign up for my newsletter. That way you’ll know when I do something like this again sometime!

Here’s our discussion topic: Grace is just getting back from a trip to Scotland. My DH and I cruised around Scotland last May. We’d love to answer any questions you might have about that lovely land. But remember, being fiction writers, if we don’t know the answer, we may make something up!

130 thoughts on “All Good Things…

  1. Aretha says:

    Hi Mia and Grace, do you guys find any hot man in kilt while you were in Scotland ? If yes did you use them as a source of inspiration? Cheers Aretha

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      There are plenty of kilt wearers in Scotland, but since I brought my own hot guy with me, I wasn’t looking for another. ;-)

  2. Laurie G says:

    How receptive are Scotlanders to Americans?
    Favorite activity
    Best view
    City you liked the most and why

    Thanks for sharing your exciting trips!

    Mia thanks for the chance to win all of these wonderful prizes and for introducing us to some new authors!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      You’re welcome,Laurie. The Scottish people were uniformly welcoming and warm to us. They seem happy to share their beautiful country. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but the scenery around Inverness is spectacular.

  3. Alexisa N. says:

    Mia thank you for your 20 Days 20 Books Reader Appreciation, its been great. I’ve been planning a trip to Scotland that one day I actually get to take. What places would you two recommend visiting?

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Culloden, Edinburgh Castle and Loch Ness.

  4. Marcy Shuler says:

    I loved your 20th book celebration, Mia. Thanks for hosting and for having so many great authors visit. *waving at Grace*

    I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland. Did you two find you had a bit of a Scottish burr when you returned to the states? ;)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I wish. I’ve lived in New England for 7 years and haven’t picked up the Massachusetts accent. I can’t even imitate it well. I still sound like a Midwesterner.

  5. Sandy Xiong says:

    Since I have never travel outside the state, I don’t think I can ever dream about traveling outside the country. I’ll ask the basic questions since I don’t really know what to ask. How were the foods and what was your favorite (most liked) dish? Did you see any historical landmarks? Did you happen to meet any lords?

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I’ve answered a few of your questions already, but no, I didn’t meet any lords. Not that I was aware of anyway. ;-)

      One of the loveliest things about reading is that you actually can travel anywhere and to any time and still sleep in your own bed each night.

  6. Trudy Miner says:

    I’m sorry to see this blog special end! I’ve enjoyed meeting the authors you’ve invited and also learning more about you. Both you and Grace are automatic purchases as I love both of you as authors and can hardly wait to read your books!

    Would that I could go to Scotland someday! My mother was stationed in Ireland during WWII and I have friends there. Someday, if I win the lottery, I’m going and make the grand tour! Want to see where my mother was stationed, want to go to Edinburgh, the Highlands, Glasgow, Dublin, Derry…….sigh.

    1. Trudy, hold onto to that Someday. I saw the UK first about thirty years ago, and never thought I’d get back. I’ve been on three research trips since, each one longer and better than the one before. Start planning–that’s half the fun!

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      I agree. If you want to do something, write the goal down. Start thinking about how you might accomplish it. I’m a firm believer in speaking things into existence.

  7. Shirene_DFT says:

    Did you go just for research purposes or did you have a specific site you wanted to visit? If it was a specific site, what was it and why?

    1. I wanted to see Culloden, for sure, Shirene, because that battle decided the fate of Scotland for centuries afterward, and casts a shadow into the present day. I also wanted to gather references, see landscapes, hear inflections, and breathe the air.

      I took a bottle of water around with me, refilling it from the hotel taps, and it was interesting. When I swilled from that bottle the night we landed in Glasgow, I could taste Tobermory (a harbor town in the Western Isles) in the water I’d filled it up that morning.

      And I find when on a recon mission, I can never tell what I’ll take back that germinates into an insight, a scene, or even a full book. It might be a song, a painting on the wall of a restored tavern, or the peat piled in the kitchen garden outside the cottage where Robert Burns was born. It’s all wondrous.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      I didn’t go with a specific site in mind. Like Grace, I was there to soak up sensory details as well as delve into the history of the place.

  8. BETH SHEEHE says:

    What was your favorite place to visit and are the highlanders as hunky in person as in romance books?

    1. Favorite place to visit… Dunkeld. The River Tay was peacefully quiet, the bird watching delightful, the big trees really impressive. Apparently the Victorians got into a keeping-up-with-Jones over who had the most sequoias, and we’re still enjoying the results.

      Highlanders… for six hundred years, they were apparently the tallest men in Europe. I didn’t see anybody extraordinarily tall, but those caber tossers were mighty.

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        My DH will tell you it’s the Viking DNA! Studies have shown many people, particularly in the northern parts of Scotland, have some Viking ancestry.

  9. Glenda says:

    Thank You Mia for your wonderful 20 days blogs! And thanks to all the guest authors! I’ve discovered several new authors and had some fun reading more about (and from well loved authors)!

    Anyone who hasn’t read Grace’s books needs to! I’ve loved all that I’ve read. Just like all of yours Mia! Having recently read The Bride Groom Wore Plaid and Once Upon A Tartan I highly recommend them.

    I’ve never been to Scotland and am jealous of both visits. As much as I love history, I don’t think I would like to visit Culloden. Too much negative history there.

    Nice information on Haggis, not sure I can suspend knowledge of ingredients long enough to eat though. Before knowing what it was, I tried fried blood sausage while in London several years ago and wasn’t fond of it.

    On a lighter note, did either of you see Nessie or wander onto Hogwarts grounds while in Scotland? :-)

    1. We did see the Hogwart’s express train when we were traveling from Pitlochry to Oban on the way to Mull. Weeee!!!

      And yes, Culloden is hard, but the museum is quite clever. Down one wall, you get the Government perspective, down the other, the Jacobite supporters tell their tale, mostly in original sources. Sad business, and sadder and still when you realize Cumberland and Prince Charlie were both men in their mid-twenties.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Culloden is hard to visit but so is Pearl Harbor and the Ground Zero memorial. If we don’t examine these sad events, we are likely to make similar mistakes.

  10. bn100 says:

    What was your favorite thing to eat there?

    1. That’s a toss up between sticky toffee pudding and tablet, but we had excellent food every night, and some raspberry dishes that were ambrosial. Because Scotland is so far north, when the sun starts shining in late spring, plant growth is explosive. The flowers are unbelievable, and the raspberries (this is the farthest north they’re grown) have a particularly intense flavor.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Everything on a cruise ship is in the amazing category, but they didn’t serve traditional Scottish food. We had to go off on our own to try haggis, neeps & tatties.

  11. Danny says:

    What was your favorite place in Scotland? What did you think of the Scottish men and their accent? Did you try Haggis?

    1. We had a haggis competition–the person on the tour who ate the most servings of haggis won a special prize (a bottle of “haggis” whiskey!). I love the accents (there are many variations on the burr, and the thicker it is, the more I like it–though Doric is really hard for me to understand). Because we were singing traditional music, I also come across a lot of Broad Scots.

      Most people don’t realize that Scotland has three languages–English, Scottish Gaelic, and Scots, which is a Germanic dialect of the old language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons. “Ma heid’s fair burlin'” (My head’s fair boiling) is a way to say “I’m overwhelmed,” for example.

      My favorite place was all of it–every bit of it.

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        What Grace said. It’s impossible to pick a favorite.

  12. Sandy says:

    Sounds like an amazing trip and I saw a few pics of Grace on her travels. Congratulations to both of you.

    sandy (at)thereadingcafe(dot)com

    1. It’s so rare that something lands in the “exceeded my wildest dreams” category of life experiences. Nice to be able to natter on about it when it does!

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      I’ve posted a few pictures from our trip, but I never know if I’m boring people silly with them. We had a lovely time.

  13. Janie McGaugh says:

    Did you attend any Highland games or ceilidhs while in Scotland?

    1. Went to the Royal Highland Games at Braemar, along with HRM, Prince Phillip and Prince Charles–all togged out in the their tartans. We had a ceilidh at Castle Murthly, complete with music, dancing, and much merriment. The Laird of the Castle piped us home at the end of the evening… special, special memories!

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Afraid we missed that. Heavy sigh. Must go back!

  14. Glittergirl says:

    Hi Grace :-) — Waving with a smile.
    I finished Once Upon a Tartan and it was even better than The Bridegroom Wore Plaid. Thank you for your generosity and your lovely humor!

    Thank you so much Mia for a lovely 20 days. I’ve had a blast getting to know and visit with other authors and remembering your books. The journey was fun.

    My question is… As I live in the southern Willamette Valley of Oregon and am 60 miles from the Pacific Coast or the Cascade Mountains I have a love for rugged and dramatic landscapes. Have either of your visited by beloved Oregon? How does my Western Oregon compare to Scotland? I understand Scotland is in a more northern latitude so it must be colder. I’ve been told I live in a Temperate Rain forest. My draw to Scotland is the beauty of the landscape, the Scot’s burr and of course the kilts ;-)

    Thanks for a lovely journey!

    1. Western Scotland is beastly rugged, but gets a ton more rainfall than you, at least in the Western Highlands. If Eugene averages slightly less than four feet or rain per year (internet stats), parts of the Highlands get about sixteen feet of rain a year. It’s the wettest region of Western Europe, in fact.

      And Scotland is full of micro-climates. There are spots in the Higlands were snow is possible any month of the year, but in general, the Gulf Current keeps the whole place more temperate than you’d think. Some of the mountains get over 4000 feet, and elevation plays a role in temperature too.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      We used to live in Seattle so yes, I’ve been to Oregon. Lovely country. Your mountains are considerably higher in altitude than Scotland and you’re sitting on the Ring of Fire there. One of the things we noticed in Orkney particularly was how very light it still was around midnight. The sky was gray rather than black.

  15. Denise Z says:

    My sister recently traveled to Scotland and had a wonderful time. I have a weird question, in your travels did you get souvenirs and touristy treats? Did you get Celtic jewelry? I know oddball right LOL I would love to go there someday. I can’t wait to read Plaid to the Bone – just saying it makes me smile :)

    1. I saw a ton of Celtic jewelry for sale–a ton, some of it gorgeous. There’s actually a working gold mine in Southwest Scotland. I had haggis, which is not quite a touristy treat, and I went slightly uh-oh over tablet. I also bought a lot of CD’s of traditional music. Every night, we’d hear a different live soloist or duo, and they all had CDs, as did our host, Jim Malcolm. Jim’s voice is just plain, no other way to say it, beautiful. So yes, I blew the trinkie budget–badly.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      I probably should have looked at some jewelry, but I’m really not a shopper. I’d rather tour a museum or castle or just people watch.

      I actually liked haggis, though not enough to learn to make it, you understand. The process takes forever and would require me to think about exactly what’s in it, thereby robbing me of some of the pleasure of eating it

  16. Nicole Laverdure says:

    I guess you visited some castles, which one did you like the most?

    1. Murthly Castle. You should have heard us make the rafters shake with our version of “Auld Lang Syne.”

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Edinburgh Castle. I found the inspiration for my current WIP there. Will tell you more in the months to come!

  17. Armenia says:

    Thank you, Mia for having a fantastic 20 days of reader appreciation fun. I really enjoyed myself and learned so much for you and authors you have featured.

    I know you have visited castles, ate local foods, but as all travelers do we love taking a bit of our travels home with us. Mia or Grace, what is your favorite souvenir you have brought home with you to remind of your travels?

    1. True confession: I bought a little bagpipe fridge magnet that plays “Scotland the Brave,” also a stash of tablet and a biography of Robert Burns, whom the Scottish mean when they refer to “The Bard.”

      1. Armenia says:

        I once had a little tea spoon collection from each place I traveled. But then I had to buy a display for all of them. Needless to say I had to stop collecting since what getting ridiculously large.;-)

        Plus I found out they were made in China…go figure.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      I take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints. My memories, my experiences are my souvenirs. (But remember, I’m the Anti-Shopper, so it’s not so surprising that this bleeds over into my travels. ;-) )

      1. Armenia says:

        Mia…sometimes the best memories are just pictures and remembered smells of favorite places. My trip to Alaska one year was pretty much filled with just fishing and there’s a certain smell about docks and harbors that always bring me back to those memories.

  18. Diana Gould says:

    I have always wanted to visit Scotland. Are the castles all you imagined them to be ? Which was your favorite?

    1. The castles come in all stripes, from functional homes beautifully appointed (Castle Murthly), to piles or rocks quickly being overtaken by weeds. Urquhart came to a sad end–its owners blew it up to keep it out of the hands of their enemies, and to use up the powder stored there. Eilean Donan, by contrast, underwent careful restoration in the 20th century, because somebody found a single, detailed sketch of the place as it existed in the 1700s… also a pot of gold with which to undertake the work.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      We saw one very old keep that was for sale. You could make that ruin your own if you didn’t mind not having niceties like modern plumbing or electricity.

  19. Quilt Lady says:

    Its been a fabulous 20 days and I can’t wait to read your book. I have always wanted to go to Scotland, is it as beautiful as it sounds in books? Are the highlanders as sexy as they sound?

    1. YES and YES!!! Scottish romances are disproportionately popular as audio books because there truly is something special about that burr.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      I can hear the accent as I write. It’s lovely to have those whisky voices in my head.

  20. Sheryl N says:

    Thank you for a fun 20 days! I would have to say that my dream vacation is Scotland. Do you think 2 weeks is long enough to see some of the most famous sights? Also, should you plan the trip on your own or with a travel group?

    1. Scotland is smaller than you might think–you’re never more than 50 miles from the coast, for example, and you can see a LOT in two weeks, but nowhere near everything. I didn’t trust myself to drive on the “wrong” side of the road. I’d never gone with a tour group before, but I’d travel again with this bunch, ANYTIME. Beltane Tours:

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      We did a cruise that took us to Ireland, Orkney and France in addition to 3 ports of call in Scotland. I’d like to go back and stay in a B&B type setting so we could do more exploring than the ship’s excursions. Like Grace, I was surprised that Edinburgh & Glasgow were only about 50 miles apart.

  21. catslady says:

    One of my favorite authors!! I would love to know if you had to pick one thing from your visit(s) what did you enjoy the most and did anything surprise you?

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I enjoyed the cruise of Loch Ness. I was surprised by my Scottish guides. After all the years of trying to win freedom from English rule, there is going to be a vote on separating from England soon. All the Scots I spoke to didn’t think it would pass. They reasoned that the English & the Scots are too bound together by history to separate. Finances and security in the larger world also weigh heavily in the decision.

      1. That reminds me: Did you see Nessie?

        1. Mia Marlowe says:

          Only cardboard cutouts of him at the gas stations!

      2. The data I saw said that now–a year out–30-40 percent of Scots favor separation. The newspapers are owned by English and pro-English organizations, and are heavily, even fantastically biased against separation. It’s a propaganda war at this point, and while the television stations have to give equal time to both sides, change is hard. North Sea oil is a bone of contention, and the English aren’t about to let those revenues go, though the oil companies would rather deal with 5 million Scots than 60 million English. It will be an interesting year!

  22. Martie H says:

    Wow, Ann/Alba had the same reaction I did when I was in Scotland. On my way back to the States it was like I’d left my HOME behind.

    On my next trip I’d like to get to Iona, where there is a wonderful music community and a scottish composer/writer I met at a music conference in residence. And I guess Urghart Castle. My favorite was Edinburgh last time, probably because I was on my own. Oh, and Jedburgh. I was fascinated by Mary Queen of Scots’ story.

    Can’t wait to read “Plaid to the Bone”. I loved Waking Up with a Rake. Thanks for the very enjoyable post!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      You’re welcome, Martie. I’m so glad you enjoyed Waking UP with a Rake!

      Poor Mary, she had a horrible time, didn’t she? First it was the “Rough Wooing” when she was no more than a child, then she was made a very young widow by the dauphin of France. She chose very poorly with her next two husbands as well. Then she made the mistake of expecting mercy from her cousin Elizabeth. To top it all off, the headsman botched her execution and had to strike more than once. She did however have a group of friends (all named Mary) who stuck with her over the years and her Skye terrier actually went to the block with her, concealed under the folds of her skirt.

    2. Iona is where Christianity first touched Scotland, and there’s an abby there where music is still made. You get there by taking the ferry over from Mull–or by row, row, rowing your boat. Urquhart is mostly ruins, but has a nice little museum, and sits in a picturesque location at the foot of Loch Ness (and no, did not see Nessie!).

  23. Ann/alba says:

    I lived in Scotland Now in Canada.
    I travel back as often as I can to visit Family
    For me as soon as I land I have this calming effect come over me Like I am HOME where I Belong.
    Did either of you feel anything of that ?

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I have that feeling when my feet touch US soil, but I felt very welcomed by Scotland and would love to go back.

    2. I hated to leave Scotland, and hope someday I can spend some residential time there. It’s simply more Scandinavian than England in its social outlook, that appeals to me.

  24. Sarah R. says:

    I had never really thought about visiting Scotland but I have to say with all these pictures and talks of Scotland between you, Mia, and Grace it is fast becoming one of those places I really want to see. Of course I would have to really prepare myself for that long flight.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Plan to stand up every two hours and walk the aisle. I also do “walking in place” in my airplane seat on long flights. Sticking to water only helps too. I can’t drink coffee or soda when I travel.

    2. For some reason, the 7.5 hour trip over seems a LOT shorter than the 8.0 trip back. I HATE to fly–it scares the living peedywaddles out of me–but you fly so high it’s usually pretty smooth going.

      1. Sarah R. says:

        Oh Grace, thanks for the laugh this morning.

  25. Rhonda Kirby says:

    I have read books by both authors and I enjoyefvthen tremendously. I have also enjoyed these 20days as I have discovered new reads and some new authirs as well.

    What was the weather like in Scotland and do the colors really pop there? I spent a month in England a couple of years ago and hope to make it to Scotlqnd within the next two years.

    1. I’m supposed to say the weather was a bit of a challenge–except it wasn’t. We had a bit of drizzle on two of the ten days, but mostly, we had those startlingly brilliant sunny days, dramatic big skies, and soft breezes. I think the colors do pop because of the northern sunlight. It’s more contrasty light, sharper, and the air quality is excellent too.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      The rapeseed oil plants (used to make canola) was in full bloom when we were there, so there were fields of startling yellow against the green hillsides and purplish mountains. We made sure to take our umbrellas everywhere and I learned a new word for rain–“mizzle.” It’s a cross between mist and drizzle.

  26. julie says:

    Thanks for the chance ladies. They sound so exciting. Im Welsh we have some marvellous castles too. 1 day i’ll get to Scotland, dont know if im brave enough to try haggis though. All the best with the releases

    1. The only statistic I came across regarding Wales: There are more sheep in Wales than in the entire US. THAT is a lot of sheep! I’ve seen a bit of Wales, and had the same sense of enchantment, and a post card view in every direction–also a number of rainbows!

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      I love mountains, so I’d really enjoy visiting Wales someday and hiking Snowdon.

      When it comes to haggis, just close your eyes and take a bite. It’s not at all nasty.

  27. Janice Hougland says:

    Hello Mia and Grace! Love love love all things Scots! Loved the land (visited in 1986), the people (very friendly, very thrifty), the food (except Haggis), the weather (even the wet). Never made it up to the Isle of Skye though (my Logan ancestors are from there). Question: Did either of you ever visit Skye? I would love to see it. BTW, I have The Bridegroom Wore Plaid, Once Upon a Tartan and Plaid to the Bone. But I would LOVE to have an ARC copy of Plaid Tidings. :-)

    1. Janice Hougland says:

      Oops! Forgot I pre-ordered a copy of Plaid Tidings already. So I’ll just say “Hi”! :-)

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        Thanks, Janice. I appreciate it and hope you love Alexander and Lucinda!

    2. We did not get to Skye, which seems to be mentioned in company with the word “magical” more often than not. We spent two days on the Isle of Mull (side trip to Iona), which is south of Skye. There are summer courses on Skye for Gaelic singers… I can haz me a bucket list!

    3. Mia Marlowe says:

      We cruised by the Isle of Skye. It was shrouded in clouds and very mysterious-looking in the mist. Love it.

  28. Diane Patricia Diamond says:

    I know firsthand how beautiful Scotland is. I loved my time visiting there. My husband was in the USAF, and was stationed up in Fraserburgh for two years.

    Did either of you visit any of the distilleries whilst you were in Scotland? I went to one with my husband (even though I don’t drink whiskey) and was given a really pretty glass as a souvenir, with a bit of whiskey in it. I tipped it into my husband’s glass.

    Thank you for this amazing chance to win.

    1. As a matter of fact, I did a distillery tour. I was surprised to learn that Loch Ness alone holds more fresh water than is in all of England COMBINED. With all that extra water, Scotland 200 distilleries have plenty to use for Other Purposes.
      The distillery tours all seem to take seriously the need to educate the interested–this is a typical Speyside, here’s a characteristic Islay flavor, and so forth. Fascinating stuff!

      1. Diane Patricia Diamond says:

        Ah, yes Grace, I’d read that about Loch Ness, too. I actually went to Loch Ness, and have a couple of pics of me there. I also went to Culloden, and found it very sobering, just like Mia did.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Sorry. Missed that tour, but that just means I have to go back!

  29. Amy Hart says:

    Sad to see the 20 days come to an end, but will be sure to comment in your blog from time to time. I already follow it. Did you guys visit any dungeons while there, or are they in ruins and unsafe to tour? I wish I could go there. Their accent is one of my favorite parts of Scotland! And their dialect.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      There are some lower chambers in Edinburgh Castle that seemed dungeon-like, but I don’t think they were.

    2. There’s a prisoner’s hole intact within the walls of Urquhart castle, and a miserable, dark place it was. In the middle ages, imprisonment was a rare punishment in Scotland. You were more like to be fined, maimed or put to death, and incarceration was for when you awaited trial.

  30. Mary Chen says:

    Mia, I greatly enjoyed the 20Days/20Books Reader Appreciation event; this was really fun!

    Do many Scots play bagpipes, and in public?

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      We heard them often but we were in touristy places so I can’t say that many Scots play them. There’s something about that feral skirl that sets all the hairs on my body straight up!

    2. At Braemar, there were at least six massed bands of pipes, and the members included men, women, young and old. It’s probably like the clarinet–we all know somebody who’s taken lessons, but how many of us know a clarinet player we’d pay money to hear?

      I would say, though, that music plays a larger role in embodying a unified Scottish culture than it does in American culture. We have variety, they have the old songs.

  31. Theresa Fischer says:

    What was your favorite place to visit while you there?

    1. Mia says:

      I loved the wild peaks around Inverness and the history in Edinburgh. Got to see a Dali in Glasgow and wander among standing stones on the Orkneys. It’s hard to pick a favorite place.

      1. It’s impossible to pick a favorite place. My favorite day was spent in the Hilton hotel right by the River Tay in Dunkeld–it’s set among huge trees (Scotland has a lot of redwoods), a bird watcher’s paradise, and the day was completely free of obligations–a bit of paradise.

  32. Kathie says:

    I just finished Once Upon a Tartan! Loved it. And Mia’s title is GREAT!

    1. Mia says:

      Thanks, Kathie! I had fun with it.

      1. I have serious title envy over “Plaid to the Bone,” and I’m sure every other Scottish romance author out there does too!

  33. may says:

    Thank you again for such fun the last 20 days. :) I had tons of fun and found some new books to add to my TBR list! :)

    I went to Scotland about 20 yrs ago. Did things change a lot?

    1. Mia says:

      Not having been there 20 years ago, I can’t say how much has changed. The people were lovely. Verra welcoming.

      1. “Things” have probably gotten better, as North Sea oil has brought some steady employment even in hard times, a Scottish parliament has been established, and tourism continues to make Scotland a world wide destination–as well it should be!

  34. Sarah Meral says:

    Thank you so much for this great event :) It was a lot of fun to learn more about you, your writing and your guests.

    My question is: did you visit Culloden?

    Thanks again :)

    1. Mia says:

      Yes, I did and it’s a very sobering place. I hadn’t known there were Highlanders on both sides of that battle and that many of the fighters might have been there by coercion, not due to any loyalty to Prince Charlie.

      1. I visited on a beautiful sunny day, and yet, the place still had a bleak feel. Like Waterloo, the outcome of the battle was influenced by the fact that heavy rains had fallen the night before, and the charging side (those in favor of independence), were trying to make that charge across a bog. It did not go well for them, and yet they managed to break the lines of the better rested, better fed, more numerous government forces. Much sadness all around, especially, as Mia notes, when you realize more Scots fought on the government side than the independents’ side, and Scotland was devastated after the battle by Cumberland nonetheless.

  35. Aly P says:

    It sounds like great fun! Do you use real life places you saw on your visit in your books or you just get inspired from them?

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      A little of both. Sometimes, I use the real settings–the dock at Leith for the opening of Plaid Tidings for example and sometimes, I create an aggregate of many places such as my fictional Bonniebroch Castle.

      1. What Mia said. If you use a real place, you have to go back and figure out what it was like at the time. Eilean Donan, for example, the beautiful castle often photographed with shirtless men in kilts striding over a stone causeway toward it, was an utter ruin until about mid-twentieth century.

        1. Aly P says:

          That beautiful castle?! I can’t believe it!

  36. Linda Thum says:

    Super envious of your Scotland visit. I’d love to be able (to afford) to go there. Do they still speak Gaelic? Hope you’ll share some photos!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Very few people actually speak Gaelic, but the road signs are often in both English and Gaelic.

      Drop by my blog again. I do share photos of my travels from time to time.

    2. Gaelic in Scotland is imperiled–everybody who speaks it also speaks English–and because of that, the Scots are rallying to revive it. It’s taught in schools, and all official signs are in both language. I heard plenty of Gaelic, and not just when we were in the West, where it’s more common.

  37. Mary Preston says:

    I can’t believe the 20 days just flew by so quickly. It’s been great thank you.

    My question is; did you have a lot of difficulty understanding what the locals were saying? I do know that the accents can be very strong.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Sometimes, but you just have to listen harder.

    2. Not particularly, but I still have a musician’s ability to listen with focus, and for the Broad Scots words, our guides could provide translations. What I found jarring was a return to English accents in the south as I traveled homeward.

  38. Anita H. says:

    How nice that both you and Grace were able to visit Scotland. I’m sure that you both have lots of great memories and stories from your trips. I want to know if you have a favorite Scottish dish/food/drink?

    Mia,I’m so sad to see the 20 days celebration end but it was so nice to chat with you and read more about you and meet some new authors! And big thanks to you and all your guest author friends for all the fabulous giveaways!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      A Clootie Dumpling is very tasty–a little like a rich carrot cake with clotted cream.

    2. Tablet is my new best bad friend, being a sort of fudge/toffee/solidified frosting that goes well with whiskey and can even be whiskey flavored.

      1. Grace: Cool! To me, “tablet” is what I’m typing this comment on.

  39. Are there any Scottish legends you’re particularly fond of? Any that have inspired your work or might in the future?

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      There are ghost stories and selkie tales in great number in Scotland, as well as a very early vampyre story about a creature known as a baobhan sith. This beautiful female preys on young men stumbling out of taverns.

      1. Mia: We got chicks like that here in the States too. But we got names for them in English!

    2. The received history is that the Honours of Scotland went missing for decades, shut away when the Acts of Union were signed. Sir Walter Scott was given permission to look for them, and found them in a dusty old chest… I hate that a nation’s symbolic pride was shut away, and love that they’re proudly displayed for all to see now.

  40. Ada says:

    Hi Mia, thanks so much for having these 20 days of fun! It’s been a pleasure reading snippets of Plaid to the Bone and getting to know more about you and your author friends! :-)

    I’m sure you’ve visited some Scottish castles, which one would you say was your favorite one and why? Cheers!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      The ruins of Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness are very picturesque, but Edinburgh Castle is intact and still houses the Honours of Scotland (the Crown Jewels!)

    2. There are so many. Castle Murthly now has fond memories for me, because the Laird allowed us to use his music for an evening of singing and dancing. Mia’s choice of Urquhart (which manages to sound kinda like Eckert) would also be near the top of the list.

  41. Elizabeth says:

    Did either of you try any haggis while there? Also did spot any men wearing kilts? I know some men still wear them for special/formal occasions.

    1. Elizabeth says:

      Oh and thank you to you and all your guest authors for this 20 day give away! It’s been a lot of fun and I was introduced to a lot of new authors I haven’t read before and have added some of their books to my to read list. :)

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Yes! My DH and I had haggis, neeps & tatties while we were in Edinburgh. So long as you don’t thing about what it is, haggis is quite good–a savory, nutty-tasting sausage-like dish. Neeps are mashed turnips and tatties are potatoes.

    3. Ate several servings of haggis, particularly at the Burns dinner we did at the Brid O’Doon Inn near Burns’ birthplace. Saw MANY men in kilts, and not just for special occasion.

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