I love just about everything about Scotland, which will come as no surprise to those of you who know me. My son and I spent a month in Scotland this past summer, traveling around the mainland and many of the isles, in preparation for a new series I’m creating about a secret society of scholars, warriors, and everyday people who love Celtic and Viking lore and wish to preserve it. The name of the society is: The Damselfly Society. Their castle stronghold is on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, although the membership of the society is worldwide.
I am currently involved in a very real and not-so-secret society called, The Saint Andrew’s Society of the City of Milwaukee. The Saint Andrew’s Society was founded to, among other things, “relieve the distressed”. It is the oldest charitable organization in the state of Wisconsin. It’s Scottish, and was founded in 1859 to preserve Scottish heritage, culture and art as well as to help Scotland’s daughters and sons who need assistance. It’s a wonderful society and I’m proud to be a member. It also has a political underbelly that I find fascinating.
Some of the political machinations found their way into the first book in which the Damselfly Society is mentioned: Defending Destiny. The politics in that book and in the book: The Magician’s Chalice, which will be published this summer, are pure fiction ramped up to the highest level I thought believable. The formality and rules, though, are based in real life experience.
Every society—secret or not—has a girth of rules. Sometimes those rules strengthen it, and sometimes threaten to strangle it.
I take complete advantage of the latter in The Damselfly books.
So….on to Scotland! I’ve included some photos of this most recent trip. The summer of 2015—when my son and I went—was the coldest, wettest summer on record in the last forty years. We still had a wonderful time. I will post more about this trip, since there was so much to see. My daughter also spent the summer on a Neolithic dig in Orkney on the Ness of Brodgar. That is a whole separate post! I learned a lot about hands-on archeology in general and Neolithic Scotland in particular, and loved every rain-drenched second of it.
I’m roughing up the plot for a Viking era historical set in Scotland that will be in the works later this year. I don’t think anyone needs to travel to write about a particular setting, but it sure helps me. The sounds, scents, and feel of a place makes it more real. It also helps get the details right. Although the landscape in Scotland has changed over the last thousand years, many aspects, including the birds, trees, water flow…..remain the same. For me, immersion into all of that fills my heart and my psyche. The words don’t necessarily flow effortlessly from that, but the nuances do.
Wherever you travel, whatever organizations you belong to, whatever life throws your way, may you immerse yourself in it and find your story.
If you have an aspect of your life that has found its way into your writing or in what you enjoy reading, I’d love to hear about it!
Happy and safe travels whether you journey near or far.