I have to admit I am not at all objective when it comes to our member in the spotlight this month. Having known Collette for years, I can assure you she’s as lovely in person as she is in her photos, and she’s a sweeter, kinder person than you can imagine. Please help me welcome multi-published member, Collette Cameron, into the spotlight this month!
Before we start talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself and what you write.
I’m so tickled to be here!
So you want to know a little about me? Well, I live in the Pacific Northwest and am a self-confessed Cadbury Milk Chocoholic. I’m also a bit nuts about dachshunds and cobalt blue!
I write Regency and Scottish historicals, always with a dash of humor and often with a pinch of suspense.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write full-time now.
In January 2016 I stopped teaching and now spend all day long, every day doing what I absolutely love!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I wasn’t one of those people who always knew they wanted to be a writer, though I did dabble in poetry writing as a teenager. Awful stuff!
But, in the back of my mind, this little thought niggled and niggled, that perhaps, someday, maybe, I’d attempt to write a book.
I never dreamed I’d write romances. Ever!
What drew you to write in the historical romance genre?
Historical romances are my preferred genre for reading, always have been, and it seemed logical when I started writing to dip my toes into what I knew.
I’m also a history buff, and I enjoy uncovering all sorts of interesting tidbits during research for my books.
What’s your favorite historical movie?
The Count of Monte Cristo! Yummy.
If you could time travel, what era would you visit?
19th century Scotland! I don’t think I mentioned I’m also a bit obsessed about almost everything Scottish.
Are there specific books or authors who have influenced you as a writer?
Not so much as far as my writing craft goes, but I attribute Kathleen Woodiwiss’s THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER for causing me to fall head-over-heels for historical romances.
I even named my daughter Brianna after Heather Brianna in that story.
Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in the middle?
I have a friend who calls me a linear panster, although I’d call myself a plotser.
I always have basic plot points I make sure I hit, and before I start my books, I complete a Goal, Motivation, and Conflict chart for my hero and one for my heroine. I also complete an extensive questionnaire for each of them, and for my last few books, I’ve written a short summary of where I think the story will go.
My novels are character driven, though, which means, I end up places I didn’t know I was going.
That’s okay; I simply adjust the plot and keep on writing.
Thanks for stepping into the spotlight this month, Collette! To find out more about Collette, you can visit her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Unpublished or published members, would you like to be featured in the member spotlight? Just drop me a line at email@example.com!
The Referendum on Scottish independence brings to mind the fate of a little girl born to forge a much earlier Union.
In 1283, some three hundred years before England and Scotland were joined under a single monarch, a daughter was born to the sea-king of the north, Eirik II of Norway. The little Maid of Norway, as the baby Margaret came to be known, was the only surviving grandchild of the Scottish king, Alexander III.
In Scotland, Alexander set about rectifying the matter at once. Perhaps he did so too hastily, for he died of a fatal accident on horseback, hurrying to the side of his new wife, the young Yolande de Dreux.
Photo Credit – The University of Aberdeen
Over 400 Scottish Carved Stone Balls have been found spread out in Scotland, primarily around Aberdeen. These balls are uniformly three inches in diameter, made from a wide range of materials, sandstone to granite, and sport a variety of patterns and knobs that range from the basic to the more ornate.
Archeologists have dated the balls as far back as the Neolithic era. They were made by Celts and some think the people before them, the Picts.
What were they used for? Ah, there is the conundrum. Because of the deep groves in some of the balls it’s thought that leather strapping was tied around the balls so they could be used as the South American bola. I dangerous weapon in deed but that theory has fallen out of favor, as has others.
The consistent size leads some speculation that the balls may have been used as part of a weighing device. That idea fell apart when further investigation proved that the weights of the stones were not consistent so that mathematically they could not be used in a weight system.
One theory was the balls were used in fishing nets. Others thought possibly as oracles, the way the ball rested when the balls were cast would lead to a interpreting a message. Since the balls fit comfortably in the hand, perhaps they were used to give someone the ‘right to speak.’ The person who held the ball had the ‘microphone.’
Were they weapons? Toys for a deadly game of catch? Tools, used in tanning hides where the balls were used to hold down the hide.
Because of their unique design and the precise placement of the knobs, there is some speculation that Neolithic people may have created the stone balls as an experiment in Greek solid geometry.
Although there are hundreds of stone balls, very little is known about how they were used. Almost all the balls are in good to perfect condition and show little sign of use. Authorities do not think these were utilitarian objects but were more symbolic and had a social significance indicating power or prestige.
Many years ago my brother gave me a small crystal oval, three inches and almost egg shaped. I had no idea what it was other than a pretty sculpture in the shape of an eagle. My husband and I speculated that it was a paper weight but we were wrong. I was surprised when I found out what it was used for.
I used carved stone balls in my new short story, Whispers on the Wind one of five short stories in Timeless Treasures, out this October.
If you’re interested in the answer look at the comment below. So, what do you think? Could these carved stone balls have been used for similarly?
Jane Maxwell, Duchess of Gordon and son
“She kiltit up her kirtle weel tucked/To show her bonie cutes sae sma’
And walloped about the reel/The lightest louper o’ them a’!
While some, like slav’ring, doited stots/Stoit’ring out thro’ the midden dub, Fankit their heels amang their coats/And gart the floor their backsides rub.
Gordon, the great, the gay, the gallant/Skip’t like a maukin owre a dike, Deil tak me, since I was a callant/Gif e’er my een beheld the like!”
—On the Duchess of Gordon’s Reel Dancing (published March 27, 1789 – London’s Star newspaper, Peter Stuart, ed.)
Much has been written on Jane Maxwell, Duchess of Gordon (1749?-1812). I shall not attempt to review it all in this post, but suffice it to say she was born in Scotland, either in Edinburgh or her family estate at Myrton, and made a brilliant marriage to the Duke of Gordon. She was alleged to have been desperately in love with a Fraser lad who she thought had died. Sadly, she was already ensconced in the Bog-of-Gight stronghold of Gordon Castle when her lover resurrected–too late for her to accept his proposal of marriage.