Friday, September 25, 2009

A Highlander's Temptation Blog Tour & Guest Post + giveaway

I'm excited to be part of A Highlander's Temptation Blog Tour! Let's welcome Sue-Ellen Welfonder to Starting Fresh. She's here to chat about A Tale of Two Books. Without further ado, Sue-Ellen Welfonder!


A Tale of Two Books by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

No, the blog title isn’t a typo. I really am here to talk about two books. And I’m so excited for the opportunity.

Sure, my publisher arranged this blog tour to promote my latest Scottish medieval romance, A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009) and I’ve really been enjoying the whirlwind. It’s fun to revisit a book I finished last year and once again spend time with characters I love.

So when I learned that Grand Central Publishing is offering a special $1.99 e-book edition of my first book, Devil In A Kilt to coincide with the release of A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009) I thought it would be fun to share a bit of back history about two of the most significant characters in both books.

Although the books stand alone, there’s a strong tie binding them. Arabella MacKenzie, heroine of A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009) is the eldest daughter of Duncan MacKenzie, hero of Devil In A Kilt. I’ll follow the ladies first rule and begin with Arabella.

I really love this heroine. She was born at Yuletide in the epilogue of my third book, Bride of the Beast, which told the tale of Sir Marmaduke, a secondary character from DEVIL IN A KILT. Arabella was named after her father’s late sister who’d been Sir Marmaduke’s first wife.

You can catch glimpses of Arabella in later books. She has especially strong roles in Bride For A Knight and Seducing A Scottish Bride.

So I’d been looking forward to writing her story for a long time.

And when she finally stepped onto the page, ready to be a heroine, we both embarked on quite an adventure.

Because Arabella is practical-minded, a good and obedient daughter, and also doesn’t believe (overly much) in magic, I knew I’d have to shake up her world to get her to step out of her comfort-zone and seize the passion she deserved.

Secretly, of course, she’s always yearned for that passion.

And as a sympathetic author-in-charge, I was very willing to help her along. I did, after all, chart an exciting journey through the Hebrides for her. And – don’t let her fool you - she went gladly, eagerly boarding the merchant cog that was to take her into her hero’s arms.

But a writer can never make things too easy.

So what I didn’t tell her was that the hero of A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009), Darroc MacConacher, lived for only one thing. He burned to wreak vengeance on the powerful MacKenzies who’d brought ruin to his clan. Chased from their lands, the MacConachaers now live on a remote Hebridean isle. It is here, in this windswept and lonely place, where Darroc plots the revenge he hopes will restore his family’s name and honor.

When a shipwreck lands Arabella in his arms, he can’t help but admire her strength and bravery. Much to his annoyance, he also finds himself attracted to her. But she’s the daughter of his greatest foe and, as such, the ideal means to bring down his enemies.

I, of course, knew that these two were the best-suited-for-each-other pair I could have thrown together. And I’m genuinely sorry for any distress I caused them in the months I needed to finish their book and send them off into their own happy ever after.

Now that the deadline is met and A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009) releasing, I like to think they’ve forgiven me.

I also hope Duncan MacKenzie, hero of Devil In A Kilt has come around. As you can imagine, he wasn’t very pleased when I chose Darroc as Arabella’s hero. Looking back, he also wasn’t happy when I decided Arabella’s mother, Linnet MacDonnell, should be his bride.

He stormed about and raged quite a bit. He’s good at that sort of thing, being quite the Alpha hero. Speaking of which, I did promise to tell you about him. So here you go….

It happened like this: Duncan came to me out of the Highland mist. I was walking around outside one of Scotland’s most romantic castles, Eilean Donan near Skye, when he just ‘appeared.’

It was a cold, gray day full of swirling, chill mist. The castle looked much as in this photo that I took on a November visit several years ago. Duncan was magnificent, every inch the wild Highland chieftain. Fierce and proud, he strode towards me, sword glinting at his side, and his dog, Mauger, at his heels.

The look on his face told me he meant business.

And he did.

He wasn’t happy with his life and he wanted me to fix it. He’d decided I could do so by writing his story. It didn’t seem to bother him that I was a very happy flight attendant at the time and had no aspirations to write books.

He wanted me and, obviously, he got his way.

As soon as I capitulated, he vanished into the mist. What remained was a desire to do what he wanted. Thank goodness, he left me with his life story. I knew it all, then and there. I knew his name was Duncan MacKenzie and that he was chief to his clan in the early 1300s. I also knew he was known as the Black Stag of Kintail.

He was a man much-loved by his friends and greatly feared by his enemies.

Everyone respected him.

And in Kintail, his word was law.

But he carried a terrible ache inside him. It was such a fierce sorrow that those who knew him well even suspected that his grief had caused his heart to freeze. Duncan knew better. He did have a heart. And he wanted me, as a writer, to help him get it back because everything he tried on his own only made things worse.

In Devil In A Kilt, Arabella’s mother, Linnet MacDonnell, is the one who finally turns Duncan’s life around. She makes him happy again and herself in the by-going. Like Arabella and Darroc, Duncan and Linnet were perfect for each other.

I was happy to bring them together.

And I owe them so much because when Duncan appeared to me that day at Eilean Donan, he didn’t just persuade me to write a story. Because of him, I started down an entirely different career path.

Writing can be a roller-coaster sort of career and I do miss flying. Sometimes. But the good in this business far outweighs the bad and I feel very blessed to be doing something I love so much.

For the curious, what happened that long-ago day at Eilean Donan was the birth of a gift book. The rare and precious stories that just pop into a writer’s mind, out of nowhere. Such stories are always fully fleshed out and so real that, as happened to me, you almost see the hero or heroine right there before you.

I called Duncan’s story Enchanted because that’s how I’d felt that day at Eilean Donan. The book sold, obviously, and with its catchy new title, Devil In A Kilt, even went on to win RT’s Best First Historical Romance Award. It’s been years, but the book remains a favorite with many of my readers.

So I’m super excited that Grand Central Publishing is making it possible for readers to get an e-edition of DEVIL IN A KILT at the great price of $1.99. I also know that Duncan is pleased, too. After all, having his e-book release with Arabellas A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009) is a fine way for him to keep an eye on his girl.

Though when all is said and done, I know he’ll approve of Darroc and even (if grudgingly) make peace with the MacConachers.

If anyone is wondering, I still see Duncan at Eilean Donan. I visit the castle whenever I’m in Scotland and always make a late night walk around the grounds. When I do, I can almost see Duncan and his good friend, Sir Marmaduke, up on the battlements, looking down at me.

They smile, nod, and vanish.

I like that.

Question: Have you ever been somewhere special and met a ‘Duncan’ of your own?

Learn more about Devil In A Kilt, A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009), and all the books between at my website:



Arabella MacKenzie, the eldest daughter of Duncan MacKenzie a.k.a. The Black Stag of Kintail, yearns for an adventure of her own. Her younger sisters are wed to loving and wealthy warriors, but she seems destined to remain at home. Her father scares off most of her suitors and has increased her dowry expecting that the prospect of greater wealth will bring out more suitable men. With the help of her mother and her uncle Sir Marmaduke, Arabella is allowed a trip to the Seal Isles. Arabella's secret plan is to visit a hermit's shrine that is reputed to help women fall in love, bear children and find happiness. The ship is attacked and Arabella is washed ashore on MacConacher's Isle. But the MacConachers are blood enemies of the wealthy MacKenzies. Their laird Darroc MacConacher has plotted revenge against his enemies for years but he can't bear to be cruel to Arabella. Otherworldly spirits intervene to help Darroc and Arabella move beyond the past.


A Highlander's Temptation combines paranormal intrigue in a story of highlander love. A likable heroine, Arabella MacKenzie blossoms outside of her father's watchful gaze. Her reaction to learning the MacConacher's side of the feud is one of the highlights of the book. I tend to enjoy these highlander novels where the lovers have to overcome the prejudice of a longtime and bloody feud. If you're looking for a fun, highlander romance, I recommend A Highlander's Temptation.

Publisher: Forever (September 29, 2009), 400 pages.
Courtesy of the publisher.


To enter, please tell answer Sue-Ellen's question above.

Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address and answer, no entry. The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on October 31, 2009.

Thanks so much to Sue-Ellen, Anna and Hatchette Book Group for this opportunity!


  1. Good Afternoon, Gaby!

    Thank you so much for featuring A Highlander's Temptation - and by association, the new Devil In A Kilt ebook - on your blog today. I'm delighted to be here and am very excited about the opportunity to say hello to readers in such a fun and positive way.

    I'll look back in later today. For now, best of luck to everyone and have fun!

  2. Hello, Ladies! I have never been somewhere special and met a "Duncan". However, I must confess to more than one vivid fantasy trip involving Gerard Butler. Does that count? Obviously, I could be tempted by a Highlander! Love those Scots! gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  3. Hi Virginia! - I'm so glad to see you in here! Yes, I would say that a GB fantasy trip certainly does count. Thanks so much for looking in here today. I appreciate it! I hope you'll enjoy the book.

    Should anyone else stop by, I'll look in again late tonight.

  4. Hi Sue-Ellen,
    Thanks so much for stopping by, though I wish more people were around to chat. Devil In A Kilt sounds great - I liked Arabella's parents a lot!

  5. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me. I have not been somewhere special and met my own "Duncan". My someone special (DH) lived in my home town.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  6. Thanks, Gaby.

    There's always a silver lining and with Virginia being the only one to look in today, I imagine she'll win one of the books. That makes me happy. She's visited the other blogs on the tour, too, so I know she'll apreciate receiving a copy. And I adore her cat.

    Sooo, thank you, Virginia, for looking in today. And I hope you'll enjoy the book!

    Thank you again for doing this, Gaby. I appreciate it very much.

  7. I would love a Highlander Temptation. I met my Duncan in college and the kisses he gave me then still linger 14 years later. or

  8. Ooh, I made a big deal of the guest post over at Win a Book. Thanks for the e-mail, Gaby! Sue-Ellen, if we can help you build buzz, drop us a line.

  9. Wow! What a great post! I feel like I know the characters and now I MUST get the books to find out what happens. I absolutely love books about Scotland. I hope to visit Scotland someday.

    Unfortunately, I have never met a "Duncan".


  10. Although I wasn't traveling when I met my Duncan, I was quite fortunate to meet him in the workplace. I still melt, 30 years later, when I look into his large olive eyes.

    Thanks for this opportunity.


  11. Sadly, I am still waiting for a Duncan. And waiting. And waiting.
    But maybe I can fill the waiting time with this Duncan...


  12. Nope, haven't met a Duncan!

    BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

  13. Great post!
    I havn't been somewhere special and met my own "Duncan"

    chey127 at hotmail dot com

  14. Really enjoyed this posting - my kind of book(s) for sure. I thought I had met my "Duncan" but, alas, it wasn't met to be...

    thanks for the giveaway.

    bsyb100 at gmail dot com

  15. Hi Ladies - It's late Sunday night and I wanted to look back in here so I didn't miss anyone.

    Beth - I love that you found your "Duncan" in your own home town. That's really heartwarming and special.

    Scarpettajunkie - I'm glad you have the memories of your "Duncan's" kisses. Such memories are worth more than all the world's gold.

    Susan Helene Gottfried - Thanks for looking in here. I'll have to look up your site.

    Heatherzilla - I love your tagline and I adore the walking-the-dog photo. I'm a tremendous dog lover, too, and am owned by the worlds's most precious Jack Russell male. I am delighted you love Scotland and hope you do get there someday. Your good words about my post and the characters made my night. Thanks so much. I hope you'll enjoy the book.

    Anonymous - You're really blessed - I love that you still melt when you look into your Duncan's eyes after so many years. A thousand blessings on the two of you.

    Misty - Your Duncan is surely out there. Meantime, my Duncan will gladly keep you company.

    BBRB - See above. You'll meet him yet, I'm sure.

    Chey - Same to you. When the time is right, you'll meet him.

    Busy Bee - We've all had those, sigh... I'm delighted you're keen on the book(s). Thanks so much.

    Everyone, thank you again for looking in here. I appreciate it.

    Good luck in the drawing and I hope you'll enjoy the book(s)!

    Goodnight, all.

  16. Sadly, I haven't met my Duncan either. I'm still hopeful, though. :0) Would love the chance to read about your Duncan...count me in, please!

    librarygrinch at gmail dot com

  17. I've only met a Duncan once, and he was a dream.

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

  18. I met my "Duncan" when I was 12 years old. He was 5 years older (don't worry, nothing happened except my crush), and when I was 19 we married. 18 years later, I'm still crushing on him :)


  19. Morning, Ladies -

    I'm just looking in so I don't miss anyone. I'm delighted to see a few more of you in here. Thanks so much.

    Dawn M. - Never give up. Good things always happen when the time is right. Not a moment before or after, much as we'd wish otherwise sometimes. I hope you'll enjoy my Duncan.

    I Heart Book Gossip - Thanks so much for looking in here. Your Duncan sounds like he was very special, indeed.

    Coffeeeee .... Again, your tagline is so cute. Wow, you did start those crushes young. Seems to have worked very well for you, too. I love seeing people so happy after so many years. Blessings on you both!

  20. No, not yet. I described my last x as my current soon to be ex- lover, for years, before we died. I used to write romances and now write murder mysteries. It will be lovely when my Duncan arrives. May it be soon.


  21. I'd really like to win A Highlander's Temptation as I enjoy all Highlander books. It must be the Scott in me. or

  22. Hello no I can not say I have met duncan but do love a good highland tale so please enter me and hopefully your story will warm me on cold winter evenings when it snows as it is supposed to do soon and it is good to curl up with a good book and a warm drink. thanks for the contest.

  23. I am afraid I haven't met a "Duncan" while someplace special but oh well I am happily married now so no looking either. I would love to win this book - really loving books with a highland theme these days.

    budletsmom at yahoo dot com

  24. I have met my own Duncan, but in my own backyard.

  25. I don't think I have ever met anyone exactly like Duncan, but my dear husband has a few of his traits, which is fine with me.

    I would love to win a copy of this book! It sounds great!


  26. Yes. I met my Duncan on my first job, and I married him. Please enter me. Thanks!