Welcoming Author Norma Gail Thurston Holtman to our Thursdays Guest Author Posts! Don’t forget to leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win Norma’s book!
Her book takes you directly to the highland of Scotland. Lovely book, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy her post about her adventures in Scotland. Read on . . .
More than just the northern part of Great Britain, Scotland is a unique and unusual place. Everyone knows about kilts, bagpipes, and castles, but little else. When I decided to set my debut novel, Land of My Dreams, in Scotland, there was quite a learning curve. During a two-week vacation, I barely glimpsed the top of the ben (mountain) when it came to understanding the language and culture necessary to portray Scottish life with accuracy.
Our education began in the “car park” of the rental car agency. Rather than “entrance” and “exit”, the straightforward Scots use “way in” and “way out”. My husband was tempted to spend two weeks driving around the lot, considering the speed of the cars whizzing past. Scots drive fast on the left side of the road, undaunted by extreme weather or rugged landscapes. Traffic circles or “round-abouts” are preferred to traffic lights, some having as many as four or five streets branching off. If you miss your turn, go around again. Praying helps!
A Scottish accent either confuses the daylights out of Americans or makes them swoon. I love their unique English, peppered with Scots, a Germanic language, and Scottish Gaelic, a native Celtic language. Fun words such as bubbly jock for turkey, tattyboggle for scarecrow, and clishamaclaver for chatter or idle talk make me giggle. Pesty insects are wee beasties, and they might refer to a disturbance to as a stramash or kerfuffle. The first time we ordered water with a meal, the waiter asked if we preferred “still or sparkling”.
Scots might be among the toughest people on earth, plans continuing in spite of the weather. While we layered shirts, sweaters, and rain jackets for the Highland Games, children sported shorts and sleeveless shirts. A dapper, elderly couple, him in his kilt and her in a tartan skirt, eating ice cream cones in the chilly weather, declared it a “Lovely day!” It was August, after all.
Determined to eat what the Scots eat, I ordered their national dish, haggis, a “pudding” made from the heart, lungs, and liver of sheep, minced fine and mixed with spices and oats. Imagine this mixture, resembling dark, coarse sawdust, sewn into the stomach of a sheep and boiled. Mine arrived in a plastic baking bag, but it took a few minutes to make myself taste the unappetizing dish. My husband teased that the thimble-full of Drambuie, a potent liquor nested on top, was to give tourists the courage to eat it. However, it wasn’t bad.
My husband refused haggis but agreed to don traditional dress for a keepsake photo. After all, a Highlander in his kilt impresses women, especially this one. I still tease my Dutchman about how sexy he looked and he does a passable Scottish accent.
My favorite vacation by far, not a day goes by without longing to return to the land of my dreams. Scotland stole my heart.
© Copyright Norma Gail Thurston Holtman, April 29, 2016
Alone and betrayed, American professor, Bonny Bryant longs for a haven of peace. She accepts a position at a small Christian college in Fort William, Scotland, craving escape from her painful past. The passionate love which develops when she meets fellow professor and sheep farmer, Kieran MacDonell, is something she never anticipated.
Kieran harbors a deep anger toward God in the face of his own devastating grief. When Bonny’s former fiancé reenters her life, Kieran’s loneliness draws him to a former student.
How will Bonny decide between her rivals? Can they set aside the past to make way for a future, or will it drive them apart?
Land of My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.
About the Author:
Norma Gail’s debut contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, set in Scotland and New Mexico released in April 2014. She has led weekly women’s Bible studies for 21 years. Her devotionals, poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, FaithWriters, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. She is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 40 years. They have two adult children.
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