Welcome to my home on the web. You may have noted the mountains in the banner are the misty Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Did you know time traveling Highlanders live there? Read about them in the Highland Gardens series. Curious about the big cat? Florida panther~from the Crimson Storm paranormal novel, Sea Panther.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - Just Beyond the Garden Gate

For today's sneak peek, we'll continue from where we left off last Sunday. Hope you enjoy!

Unsure what had just happened, she gave her head a firm shake. Mistake. Dizziness hit in waves. She swallowed hard. When the nausea passed, she pushed her palms against the ground and rose to her feet. Unsteady, she swayed. The stranger’s image blurred.

Large calloused hands gripped her arms. A strange though familiar jolt of energy coursed through her, causing her heart to beat too fast.

He quickly released her. He must have felt it too.

Again, she swayed. She reached for his support at the same time he took hold of her upper arms.

She blinked to clear her vision and moistened dry lips. The flash of desire in his eyes made her shiver. He smiled for real this time, leaned forward, placed a hand behind her head, and brushed her lips with his. Gentle at first, then with vigor, his tongue delved into her mouth.

Instinct insisted she struggle. Holding her body rigid, she fisted her hands, which he’d trapped within his embrace. She forced her fingers open and pressed her palms against his hard chest—a vain attempt to push him away.

Click here
to join in the fun
and hop along
with Sneak Peek Sunday.

~Dawn Marie

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fierce Romance: Celebrating Spring!

If you adore spring flowers and inspiring quotes, hop over to Fierce Romance: Celebrating Spring!

Lovely floral photos from Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina, by Vonda Sinclair.

~Dawn Marie

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Urisk—Scottish Solitary Faerie

This article was previously posted at Castles & Guns and Celtic Hearts...

Many a man or woman has sought release from their woes by visiting wild places within the woodland. Seeking ease, they're attracted to secluded pools. Places supportive of contemplation. If you are of the Celtic bent, you probably know that in the dark forests of Scotland, more likely than not, an individual chances meeting a creature so peculiar they'll scurry back to civilization, heart in throat.

'Tis sad. The urisk, a humble creature by nature, is lonely and wants to make friends. Most humans shun the poor fellow because of his uncomely appearance, found by many to be horrifying and frightening.

Still, he holds hope someday someone will come along and befriend him.

"What does he look like?" you ask.

The gangling urisk appears an aging bald creature with pointed ears. His face is long and drawn. He peers at you through soulful rounded eyes. He sports a wiry goatee on his chin. His emaciated, hairless torso is somewhat human-like—his lower half goat-like with shaggy fur. His limbs are long and thin and he walks on cloven feet.

Many confuse the urisk (ùruisg) with the brownie (brùnaidh), though I believe they are each a distinct variety of Scottish solitary faerie. And look nothing alike.

A wonderfully dark depiction of the urisk can be found in the illustrated book, Faeries, by Brian Froud and Alan Lee.

Would you be frightened if you met an urisk in the woods? Or would you make friends with him?
~Dawn Marie

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - Just Beyond the Garden Gate

Available June 2013

Laurie opened her eyes a crack. Her head pounded, her pulse raced. This wasn’t good. Those couldn’t be two, huge, leather-clad feet inches from her face.

She opened her eyes wider. Raised her gaze higher.

Those feet—the ones that couldn’t be there—was it possible they were attached to two muscular calves wrapped in soft napped animal skins?

Higher still. Bare knees. Plaid wool and saffron linen.

Farther up, she took in all of the man who towered over her. Piercing blue eyes blinked. Crinkles appeared in the corners. He was grinning. Not outwardly. The perfectly shaped lips remained tight and straight, but something within this gorgeous man was pleased.

She gasped with recognition. This was her man, the one from her heated dreams and visions. The man she didn’t believe existed. The man who made her insides flip-flop.

Click here
 to join in the fun
and hop along
 with Sneak Peek Sunday.

~Dawn Marie

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Just Beyond the Garden Gate—Cover Reveal

Coming June 2013



The Scottish Highlands—a place where faeries and brownies and other fae creatures dance through time. On occasion, so do mere mortals.

Determined to regain her royal status, a banished faerie princess accepts a challenge from the High-Queen of the Fae to unite an unlikely couple while the clan brownie attempts to thwart her.

Passion ignites when a faerie-shove propels burned-out business consultant Laurie Bernard through the garden gate, back through time, and into the embrace of Patrick MacLachlan. The arrogant clan chief doesn’t know what to make of the lass in his arms, especially when he recognizes the brooch she wears as the one his stepmother wore when she and his father disappeared.

With the fae interfering at every opportunity, the couple must learn to trust one another while they battle an enemy clan, expose a traitor within their midst and discover the true fate of the missing parents. Can they learn the most important truth—love transcends time?

Journey from the lush gardens of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to the Scottish Highlands of 1509 with Just Beyond the Garden Gate.

I just love the cover for Just Beyond the Garden Gate. Hope you do too. J

~Dawn Marie

Friday, April 19, 2013

Visiting Across the Plain of Shining Books Today

Just Beyond the Garden Gate—Cover Reveal

Pat McDermott is graciously hosting my debut cover reveal for Just Beyond the Garden Gate at her book blog Across the Plain of Shining Books. I’m so very excited to show off my new cover. Stop by, say hello, and throw some cyber confetti with me.
~Dawn Marie Hamilton

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Fachan from the West Highlands of Scotland

This article was previously posted at Castles & Guns and Celtic Hearts...

One of my favorite coffee table books is Faeries, illustrated by Brian Froud and Alan Lee. I love to browse through the pages and enjoy the wonderful art.

I flip to a new page, and a fachan stares at me through his single eyeball positioned in the center of his forehead like that of the Cyclops, the primordial race of giants from Greek mythology. The reddish-purple iris surrounded by blood-shot white seems to watch me as I pace about the room. My spine tingles with shivers.

Good thing I have a strong heart since reports claim his grotesque appearance can cause a heart attack.

He stands erect on his only muscular leg at about three feet of height. He covers his egg-shaped body with a loose shirt made from blue-green feathers. Although I can't smell him, others allege his stench is worse than that of an ordinary ogre.

I imagine rotten eggs or a science project gone wrong. My nose twitches at the thought.

A single short arm with a big hand protrudes from under his chin. I certainly don't want to get close to his claw-like fingernails or the sharp teeth visible when he opens his wide mouth.

Most of his skin is a dirty tan—except for the mottled green of his lips, his bulbous nose and the tips of his large pointed ears. A few strands of wiry black hair top his head, matching the hair at the tips of his ears.

Rumors abound that the unusual creature is extremely agile with its flat-footed hop.

I cautiously approach the table and snap the book closed. My neighbors probably hear my sigh of relief.

Many believe fachans live in the depths of caves in the West Highlands of Scotland. Since known to dislike humans, wise men and women are prudent to stay away.

Are there other Scottish creatures of legend you try to avoid? Please share.

~Dawn Marie Hamilton

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Bad Plus

The Bad Plus—does it sound like the title of a paranormal novel? Perhaps a romantic suspense? A western? No?

The Bad Plus is a band I enjoyed listening to last night with my husband at Rams Head Onstage in Annapolis, MD. Ethan Iverson on piano. Reid Anderson on bass. David King on drums. And all great!

If you’re into avant-garde jazz, check out The Bad Plus.
I have eclectic taste in music. What is your favorite flavor?

~Dawn Marie

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chili Today

Not cold—chili. Hot chili. I’m in the kitchen today cooking up a large batch of medium-heat black bean chili.

I make this chili every year for a charity event in which my husband participates. It even finalled one year. J The first time I made the chili, I named it Crimson Storm Dark Pirate Chili for my Crimson Storm paranormal romance series. ‘Sea Panther’, my 2013 Golden Heart® finalling manuscript, is the 1st novel in the series.

For tomorrow’s cook-off, my husband gave it a new name. Shhh! It’s a secret until the judging is over. J

My favorite chili recipe…

 Black Bean Chili


1 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
2/3 cup catsup
½ cup water
½ cup celery, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
3 cans (15.5 ounces each) black beans, rinsed
3 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chili powder
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, minced
1 teaspoon adobe sauce
2 squares (2 ounces) 70% Cacao Extra Bittersweet Chocolate
Shredded Mexican blend cheese
(Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Queso Quesadilla and Asadero Cheese)

1. Sauté onion in olive oil. Add beef and brown lightly. Drain off excess fat. Add catsup, water, celery, lemon juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and dry mustard. Simmer covered for 30 minutes

2. Add black beans, diced tomatoes with liquid, chili powder, chipotles, adobe sauce and chocolate. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve chili over brown rice with a generous sprinkling of cheese. Tortilla chips on side. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Ceasg and the Baobhan Sith

I post at the Celtic Hearts blog once a month and will include those posts here in addition. This is the post from yesterday...

Do Mermaids Have Fangs?
Did you see the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides? I wonder if there exists a basis for mermaids with fangs. Do any of the mermaid legends mention fangs? What about Scottish folklore? Could a mermaid with fangs be drawn from the merging of two mythical Scottish fae creatures?

Perhaps the first is the ceasg or maighdean na tuinne (maiden of the wave), a Scottish mermaid of the Highlands. Appearing as a half-human woman and half-grilse (salmon), the ceasg were said to lure young men into the sea's depths. Other accounts describe love affairs between the mermaids and human males with the offspring of these relationships becoming great sailors and sea captains. Some tales attribute the mermaids with the ability to grant three wishes if captured. Of course, to force such action, the mermaid's soul must be destroyed.

The second, the baobhan sith, is a vampiric faerie known to be dangerous and evil. Although sometimes taking the form of a crow or raven, the baohan sith more often appears as a beautiful young woman, wearing a long green gown to hide her hoofed-feet. On a single evening each year, she rises from her grave to seduce a young man into dancing with her until he is tired and weak from the drinking of his blood.

At first, I believed the combining of these two creatures would produce a mermaid with fangs. Then I read an account stating the baobhan sith use long fingernails to draw the blood of their victims.

So what do you think? Do mermaids have fangs?
~Dawn Marie

Monday, April 8, 2013

Author Photo

I hate having my picture taken, but I needed a new author photo to give to RWA® for my 2013 GOLDEN HEART® final. I drafted hubby. After four hundred or more shots, I decided on this one. So very me. Hair all over the place.


~Dawn Marie

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Just Beyond the Garden Gate—Sunday Sneak Peek

A Highland Gardens Romance

I’m in the midst of edits for my upcoming release of Just Beyond the Garden Gate, but wanted to share a sneak peek…
Setup: after traveling through time and space our befuddled heroine, Laurie, meets our Scottish hero, Patrick, who she’s previously dreamed about in the most delicious way.

The current flowing between them became overpoweringly seductive. No man had made her feel this way before. For several moments, she wavered between fighting him—a stranger—and succumbing to the delicious sensations swamping her. He deepened the kiss, and the internal battle ended. Desire won. She clasped hold of the front of his shirt with shaky hands and kissed him back with pent-up passion.

Hope you like the snippet.
~Dawn Marie

Thursday, April 4, 2013

2013 Golden Claddagh Contest - Open for Entries

~Permission to Forward Granted and Appreciated~

2013 Golden Claddagh Contest


Enter Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Chapter contest The Golden Claddagh! Don’t let our chapter name dissuade you; your entry does not have to be Celtic based to enter. We have four categories for unpublished manuscripts: Historical, FF&P, Contemporary, and Young Adult.

Our contest opens on April 1st with a final due date of May 1st, 2013. Finalists will be notified by June 15th, 2013 and winners announced at the Celtic Hearts AGM at RWA Nationals in Atlanta. All finalists will be invited to the AGM, if they are able to attend.


The competition is open to RWA members and non-members. The Golden Claddagh Contest is open to published and non-published authors but the submitted work must never have been published in any format. The entry must be either a full-length novel (greater than 40,000 words) or a novella (no less than 20,000 words and no more than 40,000 words). Short stories and novelettes are not accepted.

Entry fee is $15 for CHRW members and $25 for non-members.


CONTEMPORARY: Long & Short Contemporary / Romantic Suspense / Strong Romantic Elements: Includes single title, romantic suspense, long and short romantic fiction with a contemporary setting set after 1945. Main focus is the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.

FF&P: Future, Fantasy & Paranormal / Steampunk / Alternative History: Romance novel where the mains focus is on the romantic relationship, but the future, fantasy or paranormal elements are integral to the story (includes time-travel).

HISTORICAL / Celtic: Romance novel set primarily before 1945 — any location.

YA: Young Adult / Middle Grade / New Adult: Romance novels or novellas in which young adult themes constitute an integral part of the plot. Main focus is still on the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.


Contemporary – Julie Mianecki of Penguin Books, Chelsey Emmelhainz of Harper Collins Publishing

– Alissa Davis
of Carina Press and Laurie McLean of Foreward Literary Agency

Historical – Meredith Giordan of Carina Press and Susie Townsend of New Leaf Literary Agency

Young Adult – Aubrey Poole of Sourcebooks and Becky Vinter of Fine Print Literary Agency

Find the Contest Entry Form and Rules at Celtic Hearts Romance Writers website.

Sign up today! You know you want to. So what are you waiting for?

~Permission to Forward Granted and Appreciated~

Cate Parke, Rebecca Lynn
2013 Golden Claddagh Contest Coordinators

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

'Sea Panther' - 2013 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist

A Crimson Storm Paranormal Romance

After evading arrest for Jacobite activities, Scottish nobleman Robert MacLachlan turns privateer. A Caribbean Voodoo priestess curses him to an eternal existence as a vampire shifter torn between the dual natures of a Florida panther and an immortal blood-thirsting man. For centuries, he seeks to reverse the black magic whilst maintaining his honor. Cruising the twenty-first century Atlantic, he becomes shorthanded to sail his 90-foot yacht, Sea Panther. The last thing he wants is a female crewmember and the call of her blood.

Although she swore never to sail again after her father died in a sailing accident, Kimberly Scot answers the captain's crew wanted ad to escape a hit man. She's lost everything, her fiancé, her job, and most of her money, along with money belonging to her ex-clients. A taste of Kimberly's blood convinces Robert she is the one woman who can claim the panther's heart. To break the curse, they travel back in time to where it all began—Jamaica 1715.