Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter Getaways

There comes a time each winter when even the most cheerful winter-loving Canadian gets done with the snow, the grey skies and the shoveling. A winter getaway - or escape! - seems like just the thing.

Some go south. If you're not beach-people - and I'm not - this option might not work for you.

Some choose unlikely destinations. This is more my style. My favorite February destination is Scotland. I've gone there twice in the winter. There's the benefit of few tourists and the chance to see the area as locals do. I love having historic sites all to myself. The days are quite short in Scotland at this time of year (surprisingly so) and the air can be chilly, but there are plenty of cozy pubs and restaurants. The light is great for photography. One time that I was in Edinburgh in February, they had an early spring and the daffodils were in bloom. It was beautiful.

Of course, the benefit of travel is that it can be both rejuvenating and inspiring. It was on my first February trip to Edinburgh that I was inspired by a location to write a new medieval romance.

On that trip that I visited Tantallon castle, which is on the east coast of Scotland, not that far from Edinburgh. I actually visited a number of castles on that trip - it was exciting to be able to walk through so many medieval structures and I took hundreds of pictures. We arrived at Tantallon sunset, just as it was closing for the day.

This trip was sufficiently long ago that my pictures were taken on film. (Remember film?) I scanned them to digitize them, but that was sufficiently long ago that pictures were converted to teeny tiny jpegs of less than 20K. So, they're small pix, but I think they're still pretty.

This is Tantallon. In the distance, in the first and second shots, you can see Bass Rock, which is a rocky island in the North Sea. Isn't the light magnificent?

Tantallon so captured my imagination that it ultimately inspired a series of Scottish medieval romances, published under my pseudonym Claire Delacroix. The first book was The Rogue, set at a fictional estate called Ravensmuir, my fictional version of Tantallon. This book grew into a trilogy called The Rogues of Ravensmuir, which then spawned a spin-off series called The Jewels of Kinfairlie. That series featured the first three of eight siblings, and their stories continued with The True Love Brides. As of now, there are ten linked medieval Scottish romances that were sparked by this one visit to a ruined keep! (And more to come. I have one brother left...)

Why am I telling you about this? Today's post is an invitation to do some armchair traveling with me. (That's the third and by far the easiest choice for a winter getaway.) Leave winter behind and come to medieval Scotland - come to Ravensmuir!

Kinfairlie Knights is a new digital bundle going on sale tomorrow. It  includes three of these ten books. Each one is the first medieval Scottish romance in its respective series, and the entire bundle is priced at just 99 cents for its release. The bundle is available for pre-order today, or you can wait until tomorrow and download it right away.

If you're curious about Tantallon, you can read about it as my inspiration in an older post on my blog, right here. 

Comment on this post for a chance to win a signed trade paperback copy of one of the three titles included in this boxed set - winner's choice! What's your favorite winter getaway? Why?


  1. Montana is my favorite place live the snow on the mountains and the scenery

  2. What a great trip that must have been Deb, the first shot almost looks like a fantasy, and you'd know all about fantasy wouldn't you ;)

  3. We don't get much winter here in southwest Texas but when we do, I love curling up in front of a roaring fire! Loved the pictures of the castle!

  4. I personally never get to travel. Which really is too bad because I'd love to visit all the great castles of Europe.

  5. I've written my account twice already and when I hit publish, it DISAPPEARS and I get a comment that the comment box can't be empty. I am a one-finger typer and I need help.

  6. I see that made it. I'll try again. Quebec City for Carnival de Quebec was a fabulous vacation back in the 70's: boat/bathtub races across the frozen St. Laurence River, a lit-up night parade, and freshly made French onion soup when we got back to our friend's apartment.. It made the twenty hour train trip from Detroit to Quebec worth it. :-)

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  8. Absolutely gorgeous photos! I don't get away often but the last place I visited was San Diego and I would love to live there! :) I'm just a tad bit sick of winter here in Ohio...

  9. I have to say that we take advantage of my own country, so Alps are our getaway...