A Conversation With Author Cristine Eastin

Screen-Shot-2019-07-14-at-4.51.57-PM-2Hi there, friends.  I have something fun and a little different for you today.  Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with talented fiction author Cristine Eastin who, like me, has a deep and profound love for Scotland.  Her most recent novel, Love Inherited, is set in the Scottish Highlands.  Although relatively new on the literary stage, Cristine is a skilled and creative storyteller.  She describes herself as an “author of contemporary fiction spiced with romance, faith, and hope”.  I am so delighted to introduce her to you today!  So without further adieu…

Wendy:  Welcome, Cris.  Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.

Cristine:  Thanks so much for the privilege of getting to do this!

Wendy:  It’s my pleasure.  Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Wendy:  What was the inspiration behind Love Inherited?

Cristine:  Hmm…a gorgeous American woman inherits a huge Highland estate and tons of money and gets the drop-dead gorgeous laird…I didn’t have to go very subconscious to get to…wouldn’t that be fun?  But seriously, having been an American young woman transplanted to England for two years, I know the outlander experience.  And I wanted to write a story that, when the reader came to the end, would count for something.  So I gave the main characters deep wounding or hurts they had to struggle with.


Wendy:  The story of Love Inherited takes place in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. Why did you choose this location as the setting for your book?

Cristine:  Because I love, love, love Scotland.  It’s where I’d love to live if they didn’t drive on the left.  Living there in my writer’s head was second best.  Having made eight trips to Scotland, I know it fairly well and I thought I could convey the setting to the reader.

The actual location of Love Inherited, Fionnloch, is a fictionalized Gairloch in Wester Ross in the northwest Highlands.  My husband and I stayed at Shieldaig Lodge a few years ago and I was so captivated by the area that I set my book there.

Shieldaig Lodge, Gairloch, Wester Ross…inspiration for Craggan Mhor in Love Inherited. When we stayed here in 2014, it was still operating as a hunting lodge and was all cozy and homey. (It’s since been done up.) -Cristine

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A Silent Eloquence

One of my heart’s desires on our recent trip to Scotland was to find a bluebell wood. I worried that we might have been too late, but was absolutely delighted to find them still in bloom. These photos were taken in a wood next to Boleskine Burial Ground on Loch Ness.

It’s the little things.

A fine and subtle spirit dwells
In every little flower,
Each one its own sweet feeling breathes
With more or less of power.
There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell,
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell.

∼from “The Bluebell” by Anne Bronte

Happy Summer Solstice!

Bed In Summer

-Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

In winter I get up at night 
And dress by yellow candle-light. 
In summer, quite the other way, 
I have to go to bed by day. 

I have to go to bed and see 
The birds still hopping on the tree, 
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet 
Still going past me in the street. 

And does it not seem hard to you, 
When all the sky is clear and blue, 
And I should like so much to play, 
To have to go to bed by day?

-from A Child’s Garden of Verses

Scott Monument

Hi friends,

I have a case of the glooomies. I can think of no other reason except that it’s the end of February, which here in Virginia feels like the purgatory of months. It may be the shortest month but somehow it feels like the longest! We’re too far removed from the holidays now to bask in the nostalgia and still a few weeks away from the the warmth and beauty of a new season. We’re caught in that yucky in-between time where winter feels unrelenting. Hurry up spring!

Friends, today I want to take a look at an iconic feature of Edinburgh’s skyline. When you visit the city, you notice right away that the landscape is dotted with spires. Perhaps the most recognizable among them is the awesome, gothic tower that looks as if it could have come straight out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination.

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“O Were My Love Yon Lilac Fair”: A Poem by Robert Burns (and one of my personal favorites)

“O Were My Love Yon Lilac Fair”, by Scottish poet Robert Burns

O were my love yon Lilac fair,
Wi’ purple blossoms to the Spring,
And I, a bird to shelter there,
When wearied on my little wing!
How I wad mourn when it was torn
By Autumn wild, and Winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing,
When youthfu’ May its bloom renew’d.

O gin my love were yon red rose,
That grows upon the castle wa’;
And I myself a drap o’ dew,
Into her bonie breast to fa’!
O there, beyond expression blest,
I’d feast on beauty a’ the night;
Seal’d on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
Till fley’d awa by Phoebus’ light!

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

XOXO


Merry Christmas!

Heap on more wood! – the wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.

∼From “Marmion”, by Sir Walter Scott

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May your Christmas bring joy to your hearts and happiness to your homes.  Love,  peace, and God’s blessings to all.

XOXO,

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And this is the testimony:  that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.           

∼1 John 5:11

 

*star photo courtesy of Pexels; popcorn photo courtesy of Pixabay

Autumn Fires, by Robert Louis Stevenson

Autumn Fires

by Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson

 

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

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What the Kelp?!

Hey gang!  Welcome back.

Today may I present to you… The Kelpies of Falkirk, Scotland.

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Well, as I saw them, at least.  Sadly, that would be as Mr. C and I whizzed past them on the M9 (I think).  I wish I could tell you that we had scheduled time to visit The Helix to walk the trails, take a paddle boat for a little spin on the lagoon, and to capture some artsy fartsy photos of these really cool equine sculptures.  But nope.  Because for some reason, I thought Falkirk was located in the Highlands and not a mere 27 miles from Edinburgh!  Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden I spotted these big guys coming up fast at 70 mph out the car window.  I mean, what the Kelp?!  I barely had time to grab my camera before they were a memory.

C’est la vie.  Perhaps we’ll catch them next time.

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What a Gem

Hi Friends!

One of my favorite discoveries from our Scottish adventures is a unique company called Heathergems.  The only manufacturer of its kind, the Heathergem company produces beautiful jewelry and other gift items from the stems of the heather plant.

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I first saw these interesting creations at the James Pringle Shopping Outlet in Leith, Scotland (a decent place to look for a few souvenirs, if not a tad bit on the kitschy side – I did once find a very good hat!).  I have since seen Heathergems for sale at the Celtic shop near my hometown here in the States.

Aside from the Scottish thistle, perhaps no other flower epitomizes Scotland the way that the heather plant does.  It makes me think of the movie Brigadoon – Gene Kelley capturing the heart of the beautiful Cyd Charisse as he sings sweetly to her of the heather on the hill.  The song follows with a dance number that has the pair gliding over the moor and I think that maybe Cyd Charisse isn’t the only one who is falling in love.  We do too a little.

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Prayer For the Faithful, by Saint Patrick

May the Strength of God guide us.fullsizeoutput_98

May the Power of God preserve us.

May the Wisdom of God instruct us.

May the Hand of God protect us.

May the Way of God direct us.

May the Shield of God defend us.

May the Angels of God guard us.

-Against the snares of the evil one.

May Christ be with us!

May Christ be before us!

May Christ be in us,

Christ be over all!

May Thy Grace, Lord, 

Always be ours,

This day, O Lord, and forevermore.  Amen.

 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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*Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.

Happy Valentine’s Day

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A Red, Red Rose

-by Robert Burns (1759-96)

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to each of you today!

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*Photo courtesy of Pixabay.