Tag Archives: Scottish historical romance

Furbaby Friday with Author Laura Strickland


I am happy to welcome Author Laura Strickland, who has a heart for elderly dogs. What a wonderful picture of Laura with her adopted dog, Jessie.

Laura: The Privilege of Loving to the End

“Why would you adopt such an old dog? You’re just letting yourself in for a lot of trouble, expense and heartache.”

I’ve heard this objection many times. My husband and I are in the habit of taking our dog, Jessie, with us to local festivals and gatherings just as we also took our last dog, Shannon. People who stop to admire our pet invariably ask, “How old is she?” And when we tell them, folks look taken aback.

Jessie, probably a spaniel/poodle mix, is our second senior rescue. The first, Shannon, came to us from a local rescue organization after her elderly owner failed to return from a hospital visit. Shannon’s story touched us so deeply we never hesitated to open our home to her, even though she was estimated to be eleven years old at the time. We had her almost exactly three years before we lost her to degenerative neuropathy. Every one of those days was a joy, and knowing we gave her a happy, safe and loving place to spend the end of her life more than made up for the pain.

Not to say losing Shannon wasn’t devastating. Anyone who’s lost a beloved pet knows how it feels—just as if a big empty hole has opened in your soul. You’d think after that we’d hesitate to take on another senior dog but lo and behold, along came Jessie. Estimated to be at least ten at that time, she was surrendered to an overcrowded shelter in another state and narrowly missed being euthanized. So my husband and I looked at one another, drew a deep breath and took the plunge again.

(Shannon)

Jessie, as you can see from the picture of her cuddling with me, bonded with us quickly. She’s proved herself to be a little angel full of love and happiness, energy and fun. Of course she’s had her health challenges. And if my husband and I are honest with each other, just lately we have to admit we can see her slowing down. You see, she’s also nearing her three-year mark with us. And we know what’s ahead.

But I’ll tell you something: it’s a privilege to love a dog to the end, to be the one who holds and reassures her, to be the last loving voice she hears. Will I be willing to rescue another senior dog in the future? Fool that I am, I probably will.

Beth: How deeply moving, Laura. I understand why you do it. God bless you and your husband for taking in these senior dogs. I know the love they give in return is worth the pain, but I also can well imagine the heartache.

About Laura’s wonderful books:

The heroine of my most recent Scottish Romance, The Hiring Fair, is also a fool for animals. Annie MacCallum collects stray and injured creatures the way other women collect hats. Is it so surprising she’d also take on a farm worker with an injured hand? Is Annie’s compassion her weakness, or her strength?

Blurb for The Hiring Fair:

Brutally dispossessed during the Highland Clearances, Tam Sutherland comes to the hiring fair at Oban, Scotland hoping to find a job for the season. But his maimed right hand, inflicted by the same cruel factor responsible for his parents’ deaths, means he’s one of few men available when the beautiful woman makes her surprising announcement: she’s looking not for a hand but a husband, not just for the season but forever.

Annie MacCallum is under threat from a brutal factor also, back at her home farm—one who preys on unmarried women. If she’s to protect all those who rely on her, including her beloved animals, she must have a husband, if only in name. Secretly glad when the attractive Tam takes up her proposition, she doesn’t realize she’s dragging him into a situation that will trigger old demons. Nor does she expect to give him her heart.

Social and buy links:

Author Web site: www.laurastricklandbooks.com

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000002632317

Author Amazon page:  http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Strickland/e/B001KHSACW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Buy link Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aSfWzi

Buy link Amazon Canada: http://bit.ly/2aSgBRn

Buy link Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2aSgYvq

Buy link The Wild Rose Press:

http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/4472-the-hiring-fair.html

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2aSgBRn

Author bio:

Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though she loves to travel, she can usually be found at home not far from Lake Ontario, with her husband and her “fur” child, a rescue dog. Author of Scottish romances Devil Black, His Wicked Highland Ways, Honor Bound: A Highland Adventure and The Hiring Fair as well as The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy consisting of Daughter of Sherwood, Champion of Sherwood and Lord of Sherwood, she has also published four Steampunk romances, Dead Handsome: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure, Off Kilter: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure, award-winning Sheer Madness: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure and Steel Kisses: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure. Her Lobster Cove Historical Romances include The White Gull, Forged By Love (which won the International Digital Award) and Words and Dreams.

The Lure of Herbal Lore


“Faierie-Folks Are in Old Oaks.” ~ Old Herbal Saying
“Where the yarrow grows there is one who know.”~

My fascination with herbs and herbal lore is largely prompted by my absorption with all things historic and the thrill of seeing, touching, tasting, and above all smelling the same plants known by the ancients. Herbs have changed little, if at all, over the centuries and offer us a connection with the past that precious little does in these modern days. It’s pure intoxication to rub fragrant leaves between my fingers and savor the scent while pondering the wealth of lore behind these plants. I hope my enthusiasm enriches your life with a deeper awareness of those people who dwelt on this earth long before us. With such a vast trove of plants to delve into, I’ve only done posts on a handful of herbs, but am working along on adding more. I also give online workshops on herbal lore and the historic medicinal use of herbs.
Regarding my resources, my favorite herbal ever, a massive two-part volume, is A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve first published in 1931. It’s not actually all that modern, but is in comparison to those of the ancient Greek and Roman naturalists, Pliny the Elder (Roman, 23 AD–August 25, 79 AD) Dioscorides (Greek, circa 40—90 AD) and Galen (Roman of Greek ethnicity AD 129-199/217 AD), or British herbalists John Gerard (1545–1612) and Nicholas Culpepper (1616-1654).
Interesting here to note that Pliny the Elder, whose 37 volume Natural History served as the basis of scientific knowledge for centuries, died on August 25, 79 A.D. while attempting the rescue by ship of a friend and his family from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The prevailing wind wouldn’t allow his ship to leave the shore. His subsequent collapse and death were attributed to toxic fumes. Go figure. His nephew, Pliny the younger, writer, historian, and Roman senator is also an important figure because of all the letters he left behind detailing events and persons.
Back to Maude Grieve and A Modern Herbal, apparently in the early twentieth century it wasn’t illegal to include instructions for growing and distilling opiates, but it is now so I won’t. However, despite her quaintness or perhaps because of it, there’s a wealth of information in her herbal.
I’m also quite fond of Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, by Rodale Press. I misplaced my original volume or foolishly lent it to someone, or perhaps it wasn’t mine to begin with and I returned it. All I know is it could not be found and so I bought another. Engrossing.
A little known volume I’ve found vastly useful regarding Native American plants and their historic uses is entitled Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants by Bradford Angier, published in 1978. This invaluable book was given to me by my dear late grandmother.
My collection is a rather random acquisition and I’m adding all the time, but I’ve learned a lot. OK, so those are my three faves out of all the herbals I’ve read, available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I’ve also come across innumerable online sites that I refer and link to as they arise.
somewhere_my_lass_final1 (1)In preparation for writing my light paranormal romance, Somewhere My Lass, I did a lot of research on medieval hospitals and came across some fascinating sites. For medicinal info on ancient British/Scottish practices found at the monastic hospital of Soutra outside of Edinburgh visit: A Day In The Life Of A Medieval Hospital.
 For more on medieval hospitals in general visit this site:

“Here’s flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun, And with him rises weeping…”

William Shakespeare, 1611.