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, June 30, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - 'Just Beyond the Garden Gate'

For this week's Sneak Peek, we'll continue from where we left off last Sunday. Patrick is escorting the strange lass (Laurie), whom he found near the faerie mound, to his castle. For more Sneak Peek fun, check out the other participating authors by clicking the link below. Hope you enjoy this wee snippet!

He shouldn’t have kissed her, but hadn’t been able to stop.

Feathery lashes graced smooth cheeks silvered in the moonlight. Patrick feasted on the sight like a starving man. His chest tightened for lack of air. This wouldn't do. He tore his gaze away. An ardent fondness for the lass would bring naught but trouble.
Though she belonged to him, it would be best to maintain a distance. He couldn’t afford becoming attached. Not with the false betrothal hanging over his head. But damn, he desired the lass with every breath.
Arriving at the castle side of the small bay, he jumped into the shallow water. The boat scraped along the bottom when pulled onto the beach. Still, she didn’t stir.
Patrick lifted the woman, held on tight, and strode across the shingle to the castle. Entering through the main gate, he made haste to the wheel stair. The tight space required caution to ensure the woman’s head didn’t bang against rough stone.
In the great hall, he found his cousin with Elspeth seated before the fire. His sister leapt from her chair and ran to him. “Stephen told me what happened in Fir-wood.” Her gaze slid over the woman in his arms, and her eyes widened. “Did you hurt her?”

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

~Dawn Marie

Friday, June 28, 2013

Folklore Friday: Brùnaidh (Scottish Brownie)

Contradictory information regarding the diminutive creatures known to the Lowland Scots as brownie and to those who speak the Scottish Gaelic as brùnaidh abounds. I've seen where the brùnaidh is mistakenly lumped together with the ùruisg and the gruagach but each is a separate species of otherworldly creature, the brùnaidh being of the household, whereas the others are creatures of nature.

My first exposure to brownies was as a young Girl Scout. Scouting Brownies take their name from the folklore brownies, as the wee men are a model for the young girls due to the brownie's penchant to assist in household chores, asking for only a bowl of cream or a honey cake for payment.

I became reacquainted with the brùnaidh while doing research for my first romance novel. Thus was born my Highland Gardens series, which revolves around the MacLachlan clan, who resided at Old Castle Lachlan on the shore of Loch Fyne. The clan has several legends regarding their clan brownie. The History and Legends of Clan MacLachlan, written and edited by James A. Finegan, states, "The MacLachlan's brounie, known as both Harry and Munn, has been associated with the clan for so many generations that no one really knows when the brounie first appeared." The legends are from 1746 and before.

In the classic work, Faeries, from Brian Froud and Alan Lee—I have the twenty-fifth anniversary edition—brownies are introduced as a species of faerie. The brownie is described as a shaggy male of short stature, no more than twenty-five inches tall, wearing either tattered garments or nothing at all. It is also suggested that brownies living in the Highlands have no fingers or toes, whereas those living in the Lowlands have no noses.

Other references tell a different tale. "In appearance, they (brownies) have been variously described, from squat, shaggy, naked creatures to tall, handsome and well proportioned. They usually kept to themselves, being mostly solitaries, unlike the fairies who were notably gregarious." –Scottish Fairy Belief by Lizanne Henderson and Edward J. Cowan

Although few brownie names are known, there are some who've achieved notoriety: Billie Blin, Aiken Drum, Wag-at-the-wa', and Puddlefoot. With Meg Mullach, also known as Hairy Meg, being one of the few females.

Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, by John Gregorson Campbell is available on the internet for download and provides additional references to the wee men.

As historical figures might be included in a story, why not take the folklore and, using creative license, tweak the nature of these otherworldly beings to include them in romance novels? In my Highland Gardens series, I borrowed the incredibly mischievous brùnaidh of MacLachlan legend. Since brownies are known to have a keen sense of responsibility, Munn is duty bound to the Chiefs of Clan MacLachlan. Part of the twist since many accounts state brownies in general prefer mistresses to masters. In the series, Munn creates all kinds of havoc for my heroes and heroines.

Some say brownies evolved from the lore of the elf, and in my mind, they have similar physical characteristics. The included drawing is of an ancient elf, but his image is similar to the one I imagine for a brownie.

The Brunaidh, whose duty it was to watch over Clan MacLachlan, sat on a stool near the fire, reciting rhymes for Elspeth. He waved his arms as he spoke. Dressed for foolery, the brownie wore baggy brown leather trews and a knee length leine of fine woolen cloth secured at the waist by a thick leather belt adorned with bronze. Around his shoulders, he wore a green brat held in place by a bronze brooch with a large clear crystal in the center. He tapped his feet in rhythm to the cadence of his voice. On those wee feet, he wore green boots with toes that pointed upward.

"Munn," Patrick bellowed.

The little man twisted around, his whisker-covered face scrunched up more than usual. Panic flashed in blue-green eyes, and he jumped to his full three-foot height. His bent nose twitched and he grabbed hold of the funny-looking pointed green cap he always wore.

Just Beyond the Garden Gate by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Have you read a story including such creatures? What do you think of fae creatures in romance novels?

~Dawn Marie

Thursday, June 27, 2013

'Just Beyond the Garden Gate' Tour Stop: Melissa Limoges Blog

Today, I'm visiting with Melissa Limoges. Giveaway: A PDF copy of ‘Just Beyond the Garden Gate’ to one commenter. Stop by and share with us your dream setting to fall in love.

~Dawn Marie

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Daylilies and Firebirds

Look what greeted me this morning. This sweet plant was thrown in as an extra when I ordered other plants several years ago. The daylily moved with me from New Jersey to Maryland. Aren't the blooms lovely? They make me smile.

Today, I'm visiting with the Firebirds, the 2012 Golden Heart® Finalists. I'm sharing a wee bit about my journey into indie-publishing. Stop by if you have an extra moment.

~Dawn Marie

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - 'Just Beyond the Garden Gate'

For this week's Sneak Peek, we'll continue from where we left off last Sunday. Patrick is escorting the strange lass (Laurie), whom he found near the faerie mound, to his castle. For more Sneak Peek fun, check out the other participating authors by clicking the link below. Hope you enjoy this wee snippet!

She teetered and collapsed against him.
He shook her. Even with gentle slaps to her cheeks, she didn’t respond.
For all the saints, what was he to do with her now? He lifted her and carried her to the water’s edge. She weighed naught and was easy to carry.
Patrick placed her into the currach he’d left on the beach. She didn’t stir, and a knot of alarm twisted in his stomach. He climbed in behind her and sat. The small boat, made of skins and wicker, pitched. He carefully settled himself and pulled the lass onto his lap—to balance the boat, not for any other reason.
Paddle in hand, he rowed toward the opposite shore.
He frowned at the limp woman. Women didn’t swoon in his presence. There must be something wrong with the lass. At least her chest rose and fell with her breath. He hadn’t scared her to death.

Here's where I'll be this week:

6/24 Fresh Fiction
6/26 Golden Heart Firebirds
6/27 Melissa Limoges's Blog

Full Moon Book Giveaeay
Visit the Full Moon Book giveaway today. I'm giving away two e-copies of Just Beyond the Garden Gate.

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

~Dawn Marie

June Full Moon Book Giveaway

June Full Moon

This morning's moon, a supermoon, is at its fullest at 7:32 AM EDT. It is the closest moon to the earth and appears the largest moon in the sky for the year. The next supermoon will be on August 10, 2014.

What is the nickname for the June full moon?

Hint: June's full moon was named by the Algonquin tribes because they believed it signaled the time to gather ripening fruit

Full moons are important to the Highland Gardens series. To celebrate the June full moon, I will give away a PDF gift copy of Just Beyond the Garden Gate to two lucky readers, commenting on June 23, 2013 and answering the question:  What is the nickname for the June full moon?

Just Beyond the Garden Gate

A Highland Gardens Novel

Available at Amazon and B&N

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.

# # #

Answer the question, "What is the nickname for the June full moon?" in comments with an email addy or email me at dawn (at) dawnmariehamilton (dot) com to be considered for the e-book giveaway.

# # #

~Dawn Marie

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice June 21, 2013, 1:04 AM EDT

Sunrise at Stonehenge

The summer solstice occurs in the northern hemisphere when the earth’s axial tilt is most inclined toward the sun. This year that would be today, probably before you read this post, at 1:04 AM EDT on the east coast of the United States and at 5:04 AM UTC. The solstice is a mere moment in time, but we use the term freely to reference the day on which it occurs—the day of the year with the longest period of daylight and the shortest night.

Throughout history, many cultures have recognized the solstice as a sign of fertility and have observed the day with festivals, rituals, or other celebrations. Some pagans thought it a time of magic, a time when evil spirits appeared. They wore garlands of herbs and flowers to ward off evil intent.

Celebrating the solstice may be thought of as a pagan rite by some, yet in our modern times, many celebrate the day in various ways—music festivals, art shows, parties with bonfires, parades, and more. Thousands gather annually at Stonehenge in England to welcome the sunrise. Many years ago, I was fortunate to celebrate in a small town outside of Paris and enjoyed an array of musical events performed throughout the town. We strolled from venue to venue, a glass of wine in hand.

This year, I’ll spend some time in my garden during the morning and in the evening attend a classical concert on the lawn of a local college. How will you celebrate?
~Dawn Marie

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

'Just Beyond the Garden Gate' Tour Stop: House Millar

Today I'm visiting with author Aine P. Massie for an inerview at House Millar.  Giveaway: A PDF copy of ‘Just Beyond the Garden Gate’ to one commenter. Come on over for a visit.

~Dawn Marie

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

'Just Beyond the Garden Gate' Tour Stop - Author Anne Lange's Blog

I like to take a tea break during my working day at around three o'clock in the afternoon . Sometimes I enjoy a snack. I'm sharing the recipe for one of my favorite tea time snacks at Anne Lange's blog today. Stop by for Men in Kilts & Cranberry-Walnut Zucchini Bread.

~Dawn Marie

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - Just Beyond the Garden Gate

For this week's Sneak Peek, we'll continue from where we left off last Sunday. Patrick is escorting the strange lass (Laurie), whom he found near the faerie mound, to his castle. For more Sneak Peek fun, check out the other participating authors by clicking the link below. Hope you enjoy this wee snippet!

“Not far.” He caught her frown and a glimmer of gold in the moonlight. Why did she wear his stepmother’s brooch? He was tempted to question her, but he’d wait until he secured her in the castle.

Patrick whirled on his heel and started walking, expecting her to continue following. He squeezed his fist tight then uncurled his fingers. Too many questions rattled around in his head. Was she involved with fae magic? Munn claimed the faerie, Caitrina, caused the visions. Was the lass in league with the faerie?
They left the trees, finding the sky had cleared. Patrick straightened his shoulders with pride at the sight of Castle Lachlan in the glow of the full moon. The lass would be impressed. He stopped and waited for her to catch up. Disappointment tweaked his pride when she didn’t compliment the fortification of his home. When he grasped her elbow to guide her down the grassy slope, she trembled.

Maybe she wasn’t of his station. Nae. Her garments were too fine not to be. She stared toward the castle, took a step, hesitated, and almost tripped him. He urged her forward with light pressure. She stopped when they neared the beach across the water from the castle.

“Oh. My. God.” Her trembling increased, and when she tried to pull away, he released her arm. “This can’t be for real. Please, tell me that’s not a medieval castle.”

“Medieval? ’Tis my home.”

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

~Dawn Marie

Friday, June 14, 2013

'Just Beyond the Garden Gate' Tour Stop: Star-Crossed Romance

Yay! It's Friday. Been a long week. Today, I'm visiting with Lynda K Scott at Star-Crossed Romance. I'm talking about foxgloves and faeries and gardens. Stop by if you have a moment. Giveaway: I’ll gift an e-copy of Just Beyond the Garden Gate to a lucky commenter.

~Dawn Marie

Thursday, June 13, 2013

'Just Beyond the Garden Gate' Tour Stop - Books à la Mode

Just Beyond the Garden Gate is featured today at Books à laMode. I had fun being interviewed by Karielle. Stop by if you have a moment. Giveaway: a digital copy of Just Beyond the Garden Gate and a $10 Starbucks gift card.

~Dawn Marie

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

'Just Beyond the Garden Gate' Tour Stop - Author Nancy Lee Badger's Blog

Today, I'm visiting with Celtic Hearts sister and good friend, author Nancy Lee Badger. I'm talking about the Scottish belted plaid or great kilt. Giveaway: $5 Starbucks e-gift card. Stop on by.

~Dawn Marie

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

'Just Beyond the Garden Gate' Tour Stop - Romance Junkies

I'm visiting Romance Junkies and talking about using Celtic folklore in romance. I'm giving away a PDF copy of 'Just Beyond the Garden Gate' to one lucky commenter. Stop by if you have a moment.

~Dawn Marie

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - 'Just Beyond the Garden Gate'

Sneak Peek Sunday is back after a brief break last weekend. Today we'll catch up with Patrick after he finds and kisses senseless the strange lass (Laurie) near the faerie mound. For more Sneak Peek fun, check out the other participating authors by clicking the link below. Hope you enjoy this wee snippet!

Clouds moved swiftly across a starless sky, casting the land below in shadow. Every muscle in Patrick’s body tightened with acute awareness of the woman who walked behind him along the wooded path. Although she dressed in the fine cloth of a highborn lady, when she stumbled over loose stones in her unsuitable shoes, she swore under her breath like a low-bred whore.

Had inattentive guardians allowed her too much freedom, and she’d lingered more than she should within hearing of stable lads or foul-mouthed warriors?

He would forgive her the minor failing, though suspected she’d require a heavy hand to guide her. Who cared so little for the lass they allowed her to wander about unescorted?

She grabbed hold of his arm and tugged hard. “Stop.”

“What?” Patrick ignored the jolt from her touch, stopped in place, and twisted around to glare at her.

“How much farther? We’ve been walking a long time.” She puffed out a breath and brushed a stray hair from her face

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

~Dawn Marie

Friday, June 7, 2013

Folklore Friday - Ghillie Dhu—Scottish Forest Faeries

TGIF. I'm at Voices From the Heart today, talking about recharging the muse and sharing a couple of waterfall photos from Shenandoah National Forest. And Paranormal Unbound is featuring the 2013 Golden Heart Finalists in Paranormal Romance, including me. Very excited! Stop by if you have a moment.

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

The Ghillie Dhu


The Ghillie Dhu or Ghillie Dubh are solitary faeries believed to reside within Scottish forests, especially near Gairloch in Ross-shire, though one account claims many emigrated to forests in Northern America after following Scottish fur trappers to French Canada in the late 1700's.

Imagine a wee man of about three feet tall, dressed in garments made from leaves and moss, with hair black as a moonless night and eyes the deepest brown of a hazel nut. 'Tis said his skin color changes from green to brown to green with the seasons. He lives in the trees, preferring birch, and protects the woodland. He seems to be kind to children, with a nature both wild and shy. In Wonder Tales fromScottish Myth and Legend, Donald Alexander Mackenzie tells the tale of young Jessie Macrae who upon getting lost in the forest is directed home by a Ghillie Dhu.

Some accounts claim him to be a harmless sprite, while others recount a darker side. His name means dark servant to match his dark hair and dark eyes and darker temperament. Be wary of venturing into the forest at night when the Ghillie Dhu are known to be most active, for if offended by an adult human the wee man will reach out with thin, long arms and crush him in his angry embrace, leaving the human to rot into earthy compost. Instead, Ghillie Dhu might kidnap the human and drag him into faerieland to be enslaved.

An excellent depiction of a Ghille Dhu illustrated by Brian Froud can be found in the wonderful book, Faeries.

Are you afraid to walk in the forest alone at night?

The virtual tour for Just Beyond the Garden Gate continues...


Next week's tour stops:

06/11/13 Romance Junkies - Guest Post
06/12/13 Nancy Lee Badger’s Blog - Guest Post
06/13/13 Books ‘a la Mode - Interview
06/14/13 Star Crossed Romance - Guest Post

~Dawn Marie

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jewels in the Garden

We spent the morning over coffee, watching two hummingbirds in our new yard. They seldom sit long enough for a clear shot. This photo is a tad blurry, but shows its ruby throat. So much fun to watch the tiny birds flit around the feeder. Another simple pleasure. 

Today, I’m reviewing the current draft of Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon, the second Highland Gardens novel, before I send it off to the editor for the first round of edits. Hope to have the book ready for release in September.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

'Just Beyond the Garden Gate' Tour Stop - Faeries, Dragons, and Spaceships

I'm visiting with Marie Andreas at Faeries, Dragons, and Spaceships today. Isn't that a great name for a blog site? I'm talking about the Scottish brownie or brùnaidh. If you have a free moment stop by. One lucky commenter who answers a special question will receive a PDF copy of Just Beyond the Garden Gate.

~Dawn Marie

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mountain Flowers and 'Just Beyond the Garden Gate' on Nook

We spent a long weekend at Shenandoah National Park. It's a great way for me to recharge my muse. The above flowers hung over our tent. Aren't they sweet?

We did a lot of hiking. These little beauties were along the South River Falls Trail. Precious.

Not sure what the above tiny babies are, but my husband named them Blue Flowers. Dabbled sunlight changed the color from blue to almost white.

No mater how much fun we have on trips we're happy to get home. And this week to exciting news.

Just Beyond the Garden Gate is now available on Nook.


~Dawn Marie