from Mia Marlowe…

Mia MarloweI’m a firm believer in writing down goals, mostly because I’ve seen the things I commit to paper come to fruition in my life. When our kids were small, I wrote that I wanted to live in a log home in the mountains close to my parents (who were halfway across the country from us at the time.) Within a few years, I found myself living in a log home at the base of the Big Horns, a mere 10 miles from the girls’ grandparents.

But that wasn’t the first time I wrote down my goals. In high school, my English teacher invited us to dream on paper. After deciding finding The One was my first priority, having a family was number two. As a kid, I’d camped all over the western US with my family, and loved experiencing new places, so in a flight of fancy, I wrote “Travel the world” for my number three.

Japanes TempleI met and married my DH before we graduated from college. #1 & #2 Daughters arrived thereafter. Then, lo! and behold, out of the blue, my math major/computer guru DH had the opportunity to become a travel IT professional. While he worked for several different airlines, we made great use of the flight benefits. We flitted about at every opportunity. Our kids had passports before they had double digit birthdays. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been to Europe, something we couldn’t have afforded without the DH’s job. I routinely tag along when he travels to interesting places for work and our latest adventure took us to Japan.

Of course, if the work travel isn’t enough to ease my travel bug, we launch out on our own. Even though I suffer from mal de mer, I love cruising. I almost don’t feel as if I’m on vacation unless the deck of a ship is swaying beneath my feet. So, it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I am not in my Boston condo today. I’m actually in Portsmouth, England, getting ready to board a ship for a 12 day cruise around the British Isles!

Plaid to the Bone

Click to pre-order!

We’ll be stopping at one of the Channel Islands, Cork, Dublin & Belfast in Ireland, Glasgow, one of the Orkneys, Inverness & Edinburgh in Scotland and finally, Le Havre, France. I’m so excited about this trip, but actually, there is a bit of work involved. I just accepted a new contract from Kensington for more Scottish stories, so I’ll be researching like crazy! I  know, I know. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

I have a couple of Scottish titles coming out later this year. First in late August, there’s Plaid to the Bone, #1 in the Spirit of the Highlands series.

Adam Cameron, laird of Bonniebroch, didn’t expect his bride to turn up at his castle so soon after their arranged marriage was settled. But the daughter of his former enemy is comely beyond the common, so he’s counting his blessings. Unfortunately, Adam doesn’t know the lovely Cait Grant has sworn to kill her new husband with a blood oath that will set a terrible curse in motion if she fails.

But Cait never counted on falling in love with the man her father had taught her to hate.

Plaid Tidings

Click to pre-order!

Then on October 1st, my Scottish Christmas story Plaid Tidings hits the bookstore shelves.

Christmas in the Highlands…

Not any dashing English lord’s idea of a good time. But now that Lord Alexander Mallory has won a Scottish estate in a hand of cards, he is the unlikely laird of the wild, snowy Bonniebroch. Worse yet, the ancient pile of stones comes with a betrothal. To a fiery red-headed virgin. And a curse.

Alex will have his hands full honoring the first, seducing the second and breaking the third … all by Twelfth Night.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t share the special price Sourcebooks is offering on my first Scottish story, Sins of the Highlander. I wrote this one in collaboration with romance legend, Connie Mason~a New York Times Bestseller and a wonderful writing partner! It’s only $2.99 right now but the sale is only good till May 26th.


Sins of the Highlander

Click to order!

“Mad Rob” MacLaren thought stealing his enemy’s bride would be the perfect revenge. But Rob never reckoned that this beautiful, innocent lass would awaken the part of him he thought dead and buried with his wife. Against all reason, he longs to introduce the luscious Elspeth to the pleasures of the flesh, to make her his, and only his forever.

Sins of the Highlander is available for both Kindle and Nook at the special price of $2.99 till May 26th.

But back to goals…what about YOU? Do you write down your dreams? Is there one you’d like to share with us here? I may not have access to the internet in order to respond today, but your thoughts are important to me. I’ll check back here when I return!


If you’d like to do a little armchair traveling with Mia, be sure to pop over to her blog for updates on her adventures in Scotland!


Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson


Fun, Jaunty Post, Nancy Robards Thompson, readers, Research



what do you want


Yesterday Kathy posted about things that make her happy. Our Jaunty Quills community is very, very high on my happy list. I particularly love the way we all interact. Sometimes the blog is more like a chat room with back and forth banter and sharing.  It’s so much fun to talk to you, to hear your thoughts on our posts and the stories you share.

Recently, my sister Jaunties and I have been wondering what makes YOU happy?  What do you like to read about here on the blog? Do you like glimpses into our writing processes? How we come up with ideas; how those ideas eventually make it to the page? Kristan’s post about making out with her hand springs to mind.  (Haha! Waving at Kristan) Do you like glimpses into our personal lives and hobbies… a la Kathy’s ode to her son or the time Robyn gave you a tour of her crafting/scrapbooking room? Do you like us to post recipes or previews of coming releases? How about character interviews? Or guest bloggers? What would you think about us doing occasional JQ blog reader spotlights where we interview you? Maybe we could do a ‘Reader of the Month’ feature?

question marksToday, it’s all about you, dear readers. What would YOU like to see here on the JQ blog? And the possibilities are not limited to what I stated above.  Those were simply suggestions to get you thinking.  So tell us…what would you like to read about?Celebration's Bride

I just received several advance copies of my new book CELEBRATION’S BRIDE, which will be released in July. I will give away copies to several of you who comment. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!


Shana Galen
Shana Galen


Best Of, Our Books, Research, Shana Galen

This month we’re posting our best blogs from years past. Here’s one I found with a research emphasis from the 2007 publication of Blackthorne’s Bride. I don’t write nearly enough of these!

Blackthorne's Bride--Rita Finalist for Best Historical Romance 2008

If you’ve read a few historical novels, you’re probably familiar with Gretna Green. I’ve married two of my fictional couples there, and I had so much fun researching this romantic spot.

In 1752 the English Parliament passed the Hardwicke Marriage Act, which prevented the rampant practice of clandestine marriages. These marriages were being used by unscrupulous men looking to marry an heiress and secure their fortunes. As you can imagine, the parents of these heiresses were more than slightly displeased, even more so when incidents of men being clandestinely married to three or four women came to light. Lord Chancellor Hardwicke proposed a bill to end the worst abuses of the clandestine marriages. The Hardwicke Marriage Act, as it came to be called, made elopement all but impossible in England.

Brazilian Cover for Blackthorne's Bride

So what’s a couple who lacks parental support to do?

Elope, of course! And the nearest spot was Gretna Green.

Of course a couple didn’t have to elope to Gretna Green. Boats waited at Southampton to take runaway couples to the island of Guernsey, where the clandestine marriages were legal. But Scotland was easier to access, and therefore more popular.

There are many romantic stories of prospective brides and grooms running away to Gretna Green, the bride’s father in hot pursuit. In fact, Gretna Green has built quite a reputation as a destination wedding spot off these legends.

The primary legend was that the first stop eloping couples made was the local blacksmith’s shop to be wed over the anvil by the local blacksmith—men called anvil priests. There’s probably not much truth to the legends about blacksmiths and anvils, but there were several men who made their fame and fortune marrying England’s desperate lovers. Robert Elliott was one. Some scholars speculate that Elliott married over 3000 couples.

Joseph Paisley was another anvil priest, and he was not your typical “priest.” He’d been a smuggler before he got into the marriage business, and he had a bit of a drinking problem.

Joseph Paisley

Blackthorne’s Bride, my latest novel, incorporates a story about Joseph Paisley and mixed up marriages. Take one drunk anvil priest, a father with a pistol banging on the door to the blacksmith’s shop, and two couples in a hurry, and you get…well, let’s just say that I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed taking this real-life tale and weaving it into fiction.

Read more about Blackthorne’s Bride or any of my more recent releases on my website.

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