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May/June flew by like a whirlwind. Edits for the first book of the Stones of Iona Series, STONE OF LOVE, are almost finished. Most of June I spent traveling Scotland. What an exciting, riveting, and tiring trip where I visited most all the places I write about. More about the trip in this newsletter.

Work continues on Book 2, Stones of Iona Series, STONE OF FEAR, and my Christmas book, THISTLE IN THE MISTLETOE.

An exclusive tidbit for Newsletter recipients only: Find any fairy on select web pages. Click her, and you'll be taken to a secret page.

ANNOUNCEMENT! has had a complete revamp as I prepare to release my debut novel, STONE OF LOVE.

Make sure and check out The Izard Clan Page!

Dunstaffnage Castle

The castle was built before 1240, probably by Duncan MacDougall, son of Dubhgall, Lord of Lorn, and grandson of the great Somerled, ‘King of the Isles’. These were stirring times in Argyll because of the struggle between the Kingdom of Scotland and Norway to control the Hebrides.

The King of Scots won control of the region in 1266, but Dunstaffnage continued to see plenty of action during the Wars of Independence (1296–1356). Robert the Bruce famously besieged the mighty fortress around 1308 after his victory over the MacDougalls at the Pass of Brander.

Dunstaffnage remained a royal castle until it passed to the Campbell earls of Argyll in the 1460s. From then until the last Jacobite Rising in 1745–6, Dunstaffnage’s story is interlinked with the constant struggles by the Crown and the Campbells to control their unruly Western subjects.

In my series, the MacDougalls own the castle and have restored the building to a modern historical gem frequented by the MacDougall Laird, Colin MacDougall.

Chapel in the woods

The Chapel in the Woods is also a star of the series. In the first book, Brielle DeVolt renovates the property to its original glory.

The ruined chapel lies around 150 meters (490 ft) to the southwest of the castle. Duncan MacDougall of Lorn also built this as a private chapel, and it features detailed stonework of outstanding quality.

Book Quote Stone of Love

At the study, the door was ajar. A low fire glowed around the room. Good, someone already lit the fire. Brielle slipped into the dim room, crossed to the fireplace, and set the candle on the mantel. A flash of lightning illuminated the room, drawing her gaze to the shelves beside the fireplace.

She perused the shelving, trying to find the perfect book. She realized the one she wanted was three shelves up, and she couldn’t reach that high. Climbing to her knees on the lower cabinet, she stood and reached to the shelving above. Her fingertips barely touched the book she wanted. She stretched a bit more, and just as she was about to reach the spine marked Love Poems and Sonnets, a crack of thunder startled her, and she fell backward off the bookcase. Her cry was cut short when she hit something solid. A warm, muscular chest shifted along her back, and strong arms cradled her. Mortified, she kept her eyes shut. How much worse could it get?

Then the chest shook with a chuckle. The voice that belonged to it said, “Careful what ye seek, lassie. Ye might find something ye aren’t looking for.” In utter embarrassment, she kept her eyes shut. It was Colin.

“Ye can open your eyes, Brielle.” She turned her head farther into his chest. That was a mistake. He was shirtless and smelled too damn good. 


7-Layer Taco Dip

Prep Time: 30 mins Total Time: 30 mins Servings: 56



1 (16 ounce) can refried beans

1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix

1 (16 ounce) container sour cream

1 (16 ounce) jar salsa

1 large tomato, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 bunch chopped green onions

1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained



Blend refried beans and taco seasoning in a medium bowl; spread mixture onto a large serving platter.

Mix sour cream and cream cheese in a medium bowl; spread over refried beans.

Top with salsa. Layer tomato, bell pepper, green onions, and lettuce over top.

Sprinkle over Cheddar cheese and garnish with black olives.


Raspberry Vanilla Whiskey



½ cup Fresh Raspberries

2 ½ ounces Whiskey

2 ounces Vanilla Simple Syrup



Ice (crushed)

Mint (for garnish)

1 cup Granulated Sugar

1 cup Water

1 Vanilla Bean (split lengthwise)



1. Put raspberries in a cocktail shaker and muddle as much as possible. Add in whiskey and vanilla simple syrup, along with a few ice cubes, and shake well.

2. Fill glass with crushed ice. Strain mixture out of the cocktail shaker and over the ice.

3. Garnish with raspberries and mint

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