Friday, January 15, 2010

Guest Author: Helen Scott Taylor on Celtic Magic & Mayhem

It is my special pleasure today to welcome guest author Helen Scott Taylor. Her debut book The Magic Knot, a paranormal romantic fantasy, was released early last year and was very favourably received and garnered a raft of awards. The Phoenix Charm, the next book in the Magic Knot series has just been released. Later this month Helen has a novella, The Feast of Beauty appearing in The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance.

Helen has generously donated signed copies of The Magic Knot and The Phoenix Charm as a giveaway to one lucky commenter. Guidelines for entering can be found at the end of the post. Please welcome Helen Scott Taylor as she talks about Celtic Magic and Mayhem and leave a comment or question. A perfect opportunity to find out more about Celtic myths and faerie. Helen will drop in to respond periodically throughout the day.


Celtic Magic & Mayhem

Thank you, Doug, for having me as a guest today. I’m delighted to be here.

As I live in the UK, I naturally explored the local Celtic myths when I conceived my fantasy world for The Magic Knot fairies. I live in Devon, in the English West country. A short distance away is the county of Cornwall, an area with strong Celtic legends. The rolling countryside with its wooded valleys and mysterious lanes, its ancient houses and churches, and its megaliths and rugged coastline inspired me to base my fairy world there.

In each of the books in the series, I take my characters to a different place. In The Magic Knot, the characters go to Ireland—I had a wonderful time visiting Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains for research. In The Phoenix Charm, I send my characters to Wales to face the Welsh Fairy King, who is also King of the Underworld. In the third book (due out at the end of 2010), my hero ends up in Scotland trying to survive the machinations of the Unseelie and Seelie Scottish Fairy Courts. I visited Scotland in summer 2009 for research, and had a fantastic time exploring the countryside and visiting as many castles as I could cram into two weeks.

I wanted my fairy characters to be human sized, so I tweaked the existing mythology and made my Cornish piskies tall rather than small. (These are what we call pixies in most of England, but in Cornwall, they are called piskies.) The heroes of both the first two books in the series are Irish. I love the Irish accent. Combine that with dark hair and blue eyes and you have my sexy identical twin heroes. The Irish Tuatha Dè Danaan are a noble race of fairies, supposedly descended from Greek gods, so they were ideal for my story. Just to mix things up a little, I gave my heroes some leprechaun blood as well. The hero of The Magic Knot has the leprechaun touch of luck, while Michael, the hero of The Phoenix Charm, inherited his powers from his father. I won’t give away what his powers are as they are fundamental to the plot. (The title gives you a clue.)

Celtic mythology has provided the starting point for my fairy world, but I like to give the old myths a new spin and also introduce some ideas that are just my own. The character of Nightshade sprang from my imagination. He is a black vampiric fairy with wings and silver eyes. He is a major secondary character in the first two books of the series, and his own book, The Ruby Kiss, will be out at the end of 2010.

I’ve also included some Norse Mythology in my fairy world, although that only comes in to the later stories. I have a novella set in the Norse gods’ kingdom of Asgard due out at the end of September 2010.

I love coming up with titles for my books, and I often think of the title before I start writing the story. The Magic Knot, The Phoenix Charm, and The Ruby Kiss refer to something magical that is relevant to the story. I’d love to hear some of your favorite book titles and why they appeal to you.

To read excerpts of The Magic Knot or The Phoenix Charm, please visit my website at www. helenscotttaylor.com.
HE’S PURE TEMPTATION.
Cordelia has sworn she’ll abstain from looking into Michael’s future—particularly when the image in the gilded smoke of her divination mirror shows him half naked. Yet she can’t resist watching the sexy rascal slowly running his hand down his ribs, over his abdomen, flicking open the button on his jeans with a little flourish like a magician performing a trick.

SHE’S TRYING TO RESIST.
Respectable wise woman Cordelia restrains her secret water nymph sensuality with the Celtic symbols painted on her skin. But Michael’s powerful fairy glamour leaves her breathless, off balance, struggling for control. When Gwyn ap Nudd, the Welsh King of the Underworld, steals away Michael’s infant nephew, Cordelia must work with him to save the child. But how can she trust her instincts with Michael tempting her to explore the hidden elemental depths of her nature and insisting that she believe in the power of…The Phoenix Charm.

HE'S A BIKER WITH AN ATTITUDE
What woman wouldn't be attracted to Niall O'Connor's soft Irish brogue and dark good looks? But Rosenwyn Tremain must find her father, and she isn't going to let a sexy, stubborn Irishman and his motorcycle distract her. Rose's intuition tells her he's hiding something, a secret even the cards cannot divine. Her tarot deck always reads true, but how can one man represent both Justice and Betrayal?

SHE'S A WOMAN ON A MISSION
Magic. Niall's body tingles with it when he finds the woman snooping in his room. Rosenwyn might believe she's a no-nonsense accountant, but her essence whispers to him of ancient fairy magic that enslaves even as it seduces. Her heritage could endanger those he'd die to protect, but her powers and her passion, if properly awakened, might be the only thing that can save both their families, vanquish a fairy queen bent on revenge, and fulfill a prophecy that will bind their hearts together with... THE MAGIC KNOT


Thank you Helen for the special guest post today and sharing your love of Celtic mythology.

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:

Helen Scott Taylor has kindly donated a signed copy of the The Magic Knot and The Phoenix Charm to be won by one lucky commenter.
  1. Leave a question or comment for Helen. 
  2. Open worldwide.
  3. Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
  4. Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
  5. Giveaway open until Midnight, January 25, 2010 EST. Winner will be selected by the Randomizer.

73 comments:

  1. Noth books sound fabulous and I love love love the covers!

    lilazncutie1215 @ yahoo.com

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  2. I haven't read any of your books as yet but I will certainly make an effort to find some of them over here in South Africa.

    I love the way you are using the various differing myths from Wales, England and Ireland. There is such a rich and varied mythology in the UK and it has not really been used enough by writers, or when it has been it has tended to focus on only a small section.

    I look forward to hearing that you have resurrected many other myths, especially perhaps unknown or little known ones from the vast body of Celtic history.

    More strenght to your pen.

    Neville.


    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

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  3. Hi Helen,
    I am actually reading The Phoenix Charm now! I read and loved the Magic Knot last year. That was a wonderful find to read that The Ruby Kiss is Nightshade's book and due out the end of the year! I have very much enjoyed the mysterious Nightshade.

    Fascinating post!

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  4. Hi Helen!

    I also love the idea of mixing up different mythology and folklore and making it your own, it's really fun to read somebody else's take on tried and true themes.
    To answer your question, I think Lisa Kleypas has some of the best titles; Tempt Me At Twilight, Seduce Me At Sunrise, Mine Till Midnight...I love the way the titles just roll off the tongue!

    cheryl(dot)mcinnis@yahoo(dot)com

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  5. s sound fabulous. I feel in love with a half-POrtuguese, hal-Irish man so I hoped he had an Irish accent. I was gutted as he came from sarf London lol. Oh well, we've been married 6 and 1/2 years now. The Irish in him still has his eyes twinkling tho.

    sarah [dot] keery [at]googlemail[dot]com

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  6. Hi Jeanette,
    I'm glad you like the covers. I'm pleased with the cover of The Phoenix Charm. Luckily I like blue!

    Helen

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  7. Hi Buddyt,
    I don't know if my books are available in South Africa. They are available online of course.

    I'm ideally placed to take advantage of the history and mythology all around us in the UK. I'm planning to set some books in Europe--possibly France and Spain. The mythology in those countries seems to be overlooked while the mythology of countries such as Greece is used often.

    Helen

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  8. Hi Amy C,
    I'm delighted that you enjoyed The Magic Knot. I'm writing a novella about Troy's daughter at the moment, set in Asgard, the Norse gods' kingdom. That will appear in a fantasy romance anthology out in October. Then I shall finish up The Ruby Kiss.

    Helen

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  9. Hi Cheryl,

    You're right. The titles you've suggested do roll off the tongue. Some of my personal favorite titles are Laurell K Hamiltons 'A Kiss of Shadows', 'A Caress of Twilight'. Love the images they evoke.

    Helen

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  10. Sara,
    Portugese, Irish, and London is an interesting combination!

    Helen

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  11. Great post.I really like that cover,very eye catching.great trailer too.

    tweeted http://twitter.com/elaing8/status/7794629812

    elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

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  12. Hi Elaing,
    Thank you for stopping by to read my post. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Helen

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  13. I haven't read your books yet but I love that you are using different myths from the UK.

    sgiden AT verizon DOT net

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  14. Hi Sandy,
    Thanks for stopping by to read my post and leave a comment.

    Helen

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  15. You are a new author for me. I enjoyed your post, especially reading about how you use different mythologies in your work. Thanks for visiting.

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  16. What a great post with beautiful photos! Thank you for explaining your inspiration and your ideas to us. Your books sound great, can't wait to read them!

    tiahmichelle@gmail.com

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  17. I've added these to my wish list.

    You have a valid point about the mythology of certain countries being overlooked. It will be interesting to see what you come up with in future books.

    I have to admit,it's usually cover art that catches my eye more than titles. The titles which do get my attention are the ones with paranormal or mythological references.

    Thank you for taking the time to chat with us.

    cheleooc at yahoo dot com

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  18. Hi Helen!
    I've heard a lot of good things about your books and can't wait to read them for myself!
    I've seen the symbols which are connected with the "O" in the titles - do they mean somethings special? are they connected to the story?
    wish you all the best,
    Ina

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  19. Hi LSUreader,
    I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I love writing about the process of creating my fantasy worlds.

    Helen

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  20. Hi Tiah,
    I'd love to take credit for the lovely photos but they are Doug's. I love the stamp. I assume it's Canadian as it bears the Queen's head, but I haven't seen it in the UK.

    Helen

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  21. Hi Daelith,

    I agree with you that cover art is crucial. I should know better than to judge a book by its cover but I still buy books because I like the cover art. I think all authors pray for eyecatching cover art as it can make or break a book.

    Helen

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  22. Hi Ina,

    The decoration in the 'O' in The Magic Knot title is a 'Magic Knot' --three linked rings. This has a magical significance in the book. The 'O' in The Phoenix Charm contains an image of a Phoenix. This was the cover artist's idea and I loved it.

    Helen

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  23. Tiah and Helen
    Actually the stamp is from a set issued in the UK on Mythical Creatures which you can see here.

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  24. have heard so many great things about these two books, will definitely add it to my 'to buy' list.

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  25. Thanks for stopping by Helen. These books sound great. I've always been a fan of Celtic lore and wish I had some of it in my blood. :-)

    rosie0512 @ hotmail . com

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  26. wow, the samps are lovely. I see they were June 2009 and I never saw a single one. We have a franking machine so don't use stamps, but I'm surprised I didn't notice them on letters we received.

    Helen

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  27. Hi Van pham,

    Thanks for stopping by to read my post. Glad you like the sound of the books.

    Helen

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  28. Hi Rosie,
    I'm lucky so many people share my interest in Celtic myths. I'm trying something a little different at the moment and writing a novella set in the Norse gods' kingdom of Asgard. I've enjoyed doing some research into different mythology.

    Half the fun of writing for me is creating my fantasy worlds.

    Helen

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  29. Hi Helen! I love celtic mythology. I hadn't heard of your books before but this interview got me curious. I'll surely read them!

    carianmoonlight at gmail dot com

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  30. Hi Silent Raven,
    Delighted to know you enjoyed my interview. I'm just writing about ravens. The Norse god Odin has two raven shape-shifter spies!

    Helen

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  31. Hi Helen :)
    Thank you for the excellent post!
    I enjoy learning about Celtic mythos and I like your use of them.
    I`m looking forward to reading your series!

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  32. I haven't read any of your books as of yet but I they are definitely on my wish list. I am a big fan of anything that revolves around myths and legends, doesn't matter where they are from. There are many places where myths and legends have not been greatly explored (Croatia comes to mind), and I am looking forward to seeing some of those utlized in some books.

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  33. Oh wow. First I have to say that I am blown away by your cover, it is stunning!!! And secondly... I want this book!!

    Thanks Sci for having Ms. Taylor here, it has been a pleasure to read you article!
    alliwantandmorebooks(@)gmail.com

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  34. Great interview, and very informative! I can't wait to read your books!

    tl.etheridge(at)gmail(dot)com

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  35. Have not read them but they look interesting .I Can't wait to read them.Hope your having a Great New Year.
    sasluvbooks(at)yahoo.com

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  36. Oooooooh, more books to add to my TBR list!
    Congrats on your release, Helen! :)

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  37. I haven't read either of these books, but I'm going to look for them when I get to work tomorrow. Would love to win them. The covers are amazing and very eyecatching.
    lynnflagler@yahoo.com

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  38. Hi Helen,

    I'm still trying my bestest luck here to win your fabulous series !

    - what is your favorite scene on both books ? (since i haven't read both of them, i really like to know from you : ) )

    + I tweet'd here http://twitter.com/becunique

    uniquas at ymail dot com

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  39. Hi RKCharron,
    Thanks for stopping by. I'm delighted you enjoyed the post.

    Helen

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  40. Hi Stephanie,
    I don't remember reading any mythology from Croatia. It's interesting you mention somewhere in Eastern Europe as I'm just planning a visit there in the Spring when I finish up with The Ruby Kiss. I'm doing research for a high fantasy novel that I plan to write next and one of the fantsy lands will be based on Eastern Europe. I shall be looking into the mythology of the area as well to give me more ideas.

    Helen

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  41. Hi Cecile,
    Thanks for the praise for the cover. I was delighted with The Phoenix Charm cover. So far the cover artists have managed to get models who look like my characters as well.

    Helen

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  42. Hi Tawania,
    I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

    Helen

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  43. Hi Stacey,
    Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great 2010 as well!

    Helen

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  44. Hi Christine,
    Thank you for the congratulations!

    Helen

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  45. Hi Lynnette,
    I'm pleased you like the sound of my books. Thanks for stopping by to read my post.
    Helen

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  46. Hi Mariska,
    Gosh, choosing a favorite scene is difficult, especially as, crazy as it sounds, I've forgotten some of the scenes in The Magic Knot. Once I've finished a book and moved on to write a new story I tend to excise the last book from my mind so I can focus on the new one. I think my favorite scene in The Phoenix Charm is one with the cat late on in the book because my editor told me it made her laugh out loud--which is what I was aiming for. At the moment I have scenes from three stories I'm currently working on swirling around in my head.

    Helen

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  47. I have always been intrigued by Celtic myths and Ireland has long been a place I'd love to visit. I haven't read any of your books yet, but I will certainly put them on my wish list. I think I would enjoy them very much.

    seriousreader at live dot com

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  48. I have always loved reading Celtic myth so I definitely plan on reading these books. They sound very interesting

    Raelena
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

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  49. Hi Helen,

    +1 I enjoyed your post and look forward to reading your books. :)

    +1 tweeted:dlsmilad

    +1 posted on Facebok also(friend of Helen's on FB)

    Thank you,
    Dina

    dlsmilad@yahoo.com

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  50. Hi Linda,
    Ireland is beautiful, very green of course and full of history. Very much like England actually. When I visited Ireland I realised I could have imagined it without visiting, because the area of the Wicklow mountains that I use in The Magic Knot is just like the English Westcountry with Dartmoor.

    Helen

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  51. Hi Throuthehaze,
    Glad you enjoyed my post. Thanks for stopping by.

    Helen

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  52. Hi Dina,
    Thanks for stopping by to read my post.
    Helen

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  53. You are a new to me author!! I love finding new authors and books.. These look fabulous and I will be putting them on the to buy list. The covers are so pretty.

    I am a follower.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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  54. I love the Celtic myth theme in the books and I'm looking forward to reading them. The new book with the Norse gods' kingdom of Asgard sounds wonderful as well. That's not something I've seen much of, so it should be interesting.

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  55. What is it about a foreign land that makes the books so much hotter? I'm looking forward to reading a reviewing your book....Stacy

    samnstacyAtmeDOTcom.

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  56. I alway loved read any book that had any celtic myth or theme in it so I looking forward to read this book and other books also

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  57. Hi Helen,

    I love the way you're using the different myths, I can't wait to read it. I also can't believe there's a Mammoth Book of Irish Romance!

    Thanks so much!
    chichai_hana at hotmail dot com

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  58. It sounds like an interesting book.

    Tweet: http://twitter.com/Sparima/status/7978750150

    spav05(at)gmail(dot)com

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  59. I've been wanting to read The Magic Knot for some time now, thanks for the chance!

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

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  60. Hi Helen. Great post. Your books sound good.

    Crystal816[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  61. Helen,
    I enjoyed reading about your books. I was wondering which authors are your favorite.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

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  62. Hi, Helen.

    Do you think book trailers help increase book sales?

    Thanks,
    Tracey D
    booklover0226 AT gmail DOT com

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  63. Great interview. My fave character is the one that is a black vampiric fairy with wings and silver eyes. What an awesome imagination.

    dorcontest at gmail dot com

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  64. loved the first book in this series. And can't wait to read this one. I'm especially looking forward to reading Nightshade's book.
    I posted this on my blog contest sidebar
    www.bookcrazyscrapbookmama.blogspot.com
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

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  65. the books sound great. i love that you started with Celtic mythology as the starting point for your fairy world, and gave the old myths a new spin. The character of Nightshade sounds great. I love that He is a black vampiric fairy with wings and silver eyes.

    ginnn7(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  66. I love books about mythology but especially Celtic history and myths.

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  67. Your books sound very interesting. I have not read them yet and am looking forward to reading them. How long of a process does it take from first idea to seeing your book in print?

    lneslo@aol.com

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  68. Hi Helen! I've heard really good things about your books, and I can't wait to read them!
    Other than paranormal fantasy romance, what are some of the genres you'd like to write in some day?
    In answer to your question, two of my favorite book titles are Till We Have Faces (C.S. Lewis) and The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Carrie Ryan).
    Thanks for stopping by!

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  69. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  70. Hi Helen,

    I'd actually never heard of your books before, but I'm definitely going to buy them now!
    I (usually) live on the west coast of Scotland myself, within walking distance of a lot of standing stones and cairns, so I've grown up hearing various Scottish fold stories. I was wondering which parts of Scotland you send your characters to in that book?

    Oops, forgot the contact part: ailsa.floyd@yahoo.com

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  71. These sound so good! I'd love to win them! You asked about our favorite titles. One of mine is The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint. I can't really say why. Something about how mysterious and yet necessary grace really is to us all, I guess. Thanks for the giveaway!

    theintrovertedreader [at] gmail [dot] com

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  72. I love the way you've mixed magic with romance. I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  73. I love to read books based on Celtic myths. There is just something so fascinating about the part of the world that you write about - Ireland, Wales & Scotland.

    Thanks ~ megalon22 at yahoo dot com

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