Moonstones, Herbs, and Magic, Oh My!
Writing a time travel paranormal romance requires one big decision: how do I make my characters travel through time? Since my latest books take part partially in New England, I could not use walking through a portal at the Scottish standing stones. (think Stonehenge) I could use a magical amulet, which I do use as a prop, but neither my heroine in My Honorable Highlander nor My Banished Highlander own the magical gem. My heroines are modern day witches who barely practice their craft for anything besides healing. In fact, they are both into herbs, potions, and the power of stones. In their quest for more knowledge, they meet an old crone who just happens to sell such items in her vendor tent at the New England Highland games.
In order to facilitate my characters’ journeys, I researched the properties of stones and plants found in both Scotland and New England. Many exist, and I give them to my characters to help them travel in time. Accidently, it seems.
In the first book in the series, Haven MacKay uses a potion suggested by the old crone that consists of mint, apple buds, and yarrow root. Haven has used yarrow root to staunch the flow of blood on injured friends, and is concerned to see the old witch use it in something meant to be swallowed! Haven stashes it in her pocket along with pieces of opal and quartz for attraction. You see, she plans to conjure a man to love. She has failed in that department, recently. When she adds a hunk of amber for luck, strength, and love, she hopes for the best.
Research was the key. I used several books, the internet, and a fascinating folded map of Scotland that included plants native to the huge island. I have included a few helpful book titles and internet sites at the end of my article.
An ancient book of spells is in Haven’s tent at the Highland games, where she is helping her friend Iona by pretending to be a Scottish villager. I had fun creating spells. I am also a fan of the TV series Charmed and simply followed their example of a simple three-line rhyme. Here is an example:
Rain and fire, trees and grass;
I wish to be in my lover’s grasp.
Hear my plea so mote it be.
I made up several spells throughout both books, and the results are fun. In the second book, Iona is prevented from speaking the spell all the way through, with disastrous results!
Elsewhere in both books, Haven and Iona need to treat their headaches. When Iona is stuck in 1598 Scotland without aspirin, she seeks out willow bark, the original source of aspirin. When Iona treats a woman’s burned arm, she resorts to items she has brought with her such as confervae, known to the locals as linarich. She also uses the popular ragwort. The only problem is that some of the people who witness her healing powers cry witch!
Minerals and gemstones have been thought to contain power, which is why my third book’s heroine, Skye Gunn, wears a moonstone around her neck. Skye is a bit wild, and as the daughter of the Laird of Clan Gunn in sixteenth century Scotland, she knows she has a certain power over men. I chose the moonstone because, besides its power to protect a traveler, it is balancing, reflective, promotes well being and joy, and alleviates emotional tension. When she meets a present-day blacksmith and must gain his help, things heat up and no magic amulet is going to keep them apart!
The back covers of my books show a necklace made up of a hunk of amber. Amber was created millennia ago from the petrified sap of long-dead trees. Amber is related to the fire element and the sun, which might be one reason my villainous sorcerer is after it! Old Dorcas wears it to bring wisdom and balance to her life. As she tells all who will listen, she is as old as dirt and her amber necklace keeps her going. When it is stolen, things turn upside down.
I have lists of reference materials that gave me the ideas of which stones or herbs to include in my romantic story. The research was fun and very enlightening. As I write, I keep a purplish hunk of amethyst by my computer, along with a lovely green piece of malachite. My research tells me that malachite is a powerful healing stone that can also be used for money, love, and for centering and balance. Amethyst, a more commonly found stone, calms fears, is healing, and good for peace, happiness, and love. Since it also is known to provide protection from negativity, keeping it close while I write prevents me from making my villains TOO evil. Ha!
If you feel a story is enhanced by the use of herbs, stones, and spells, I would like you to read my latest release in my Highland Games Through Time series, My Banished Highlander
Here are some links that could help:
www.babynology.com (yes, some people name their kids after gems)
And some research books I love are:
The Scots Herbal by Tess Darwin
Crystal Therapy by Doreen Virtue
Wicca & Witchcraft for Dummies by Diane smith
MAP: Clans & Tartans of Scotland/Collins/2008
When his clan convicts Cameron Robeson of treason in 1598 Scotland, the last thing he thought his cousin the Laird would do was banish him to the future. With a certain woman on his mind, he plans revenge while surrounded by the sights and sounds of the modern day New England Highland Games. His plans go awry when a comely redheaded lass wearing the Mackenzie plaid lands at his feet.
Iona Mackenzie is worried about her friend, Haven, and searches for answers among the tents at the games. Whom can she trust to help? Her father? The handsome blacksmith? Or, the tall, golden-haired Highlander? Romance takes a back seat because saving her friend is her priority, no matter how great Cameron can kiss.
When a magical amulet and an angry sorcerer send this unlikely couple back through time, more than one heart will be broken. Danger, intrigue, and threats surround them, and feelings between Iona and Cameron grow hot and steamy. They fight the sorcerer and search for Iona’s friend, the woman he vowed to steal from his cousin. Will the strong-willed Highlander and the present day witch stop fighting long enough to listen to their hearts?
With a letter in her hand and a Highlander at her back, what could go wrong?
A little Bit About my latest series:
My Banished Highlander is the second book in the Highland games Through Time series which started with My Honorable Highlander. Though fine to read as a stand-alone novel, I highly recommend you do not miss the first story. I am working on Book #3, My Reluctant Highlander. Both the first book and the second are available everywhere digitally, and are also available on-line at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in print.
FIVE (5) lucky people will be chosen to win a digital copy of their choice of My Honorable Highlander or My Banished Highlander. Simply answer this question when you leave a comment:
What SCOTTISH ITEM or PERSON would you like to see under the Christmas Tree?
Also, either leave your contact info, book choice, and format with your comment OR email it to me with ‘STAR’ in the header to firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author: Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread and wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, the Celtic Heart Romance Writers, and is a proud Army Mom.
How to Contact Nancy Lee Badger
Where to Buy My Banished Highlander
Amazon Buy link http://amzn.to/PAYBbX
Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/OREYO7
ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT! http://amzn.to/Su5a1G
-- Lynda Again,
I told you it was a fascinating post, didn't I? Don't forget to enter her drawing, those books sound terrific!
Have a Blessed Day!