Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guest Blog by Allie Mackay - Haunted Warrior – Behind The Opening Scene

Please welcome Allie Mackay to The Qwillery. Haunted Warrior, Allie's most recent novel, was published on January 3, 2012.

Haunted Warrior – Behind The Opening Scene

Firstly, I must apologize to Sally for overlooking her email with the original date for my guest appearance at The Qwillery. I was delighted when she asked me to visit and then somehow didn’t see her email with the date.

I’m blaming the Deadline Dragon as he’s been breathing fire down my neck in recent weeks.

So I’m very pleased to be here today.

I’m hoping a bit of background info on Haunted Warrior will make up for my gaffe.

The most interesting tidbit about Haunted Warrior is that the opening scene is real. It happened to me exactly as described in the book, with only a few elaborations to make the experience suitable for a romance novel.

Balmedie Beach really exists and is quite storied. Legends abound about the beach and rightly so, as the seas there are rough and many ships have been lost off this stretch of rugged coastline.

As I have a fondness for wild places, Balmedie is a favorite walking spot for me on my trips to Scotland.

The beach is gorgeous with red sand and high, grass-covered dunes. One afternoon when I was walking there, I spotted a kilted man standing on the dunes. All kilted men look good, obviously. But this man was more. He had the air of a guardian about him. That word leapt into my mind when I saw him. Perhaps it was his proud stance, as if he owned the empty strand and its long line of dunes. Or maybe it was the way he was looking out to sea, almost as if it was his duty to watch over those waters. He also struck me as not quite of this world or time, even though he was perfectly solid and not ghostly in any way.

Whoever he was, he was striking. It was a cold autumn day and wind tossed his hair and tugged at his kilt. No one else was around and the solitude worked as an attractive backdrop for him.

I tried to watch him unobtrusively.

I also wanted a picture of him. So I snapped away, pretending to aim at the beautiful seascape. I took three photos. The first two show him as I saw him, standing on the dunes and staring out to sea.

When I took the third photo, something weird happened.

He vanished before my eyes.

The third photo shows a large ball of light where he’d been standing.

Stunned, I ran up the dunes to see if he’d nipped down the other side, disappearing from view. But he wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Nothing but empty moor grass stretched in all directions. There also wasn’t a road anywhere near, so he couldn’t have zipped away in a car.

He was simply gone.

I think he was a ghost. I can’t imagine any other explanation.

Sadly, I’ll never know for sure.

Either way, the incident sparked Haunted Warrior. Everything the heroine, Kendra Chase, experiences in the book’s opening scene is exactly how it happened. The only difference is that, when I continued my walk, I didn’t have a second meeting with the kilted man as Kendra does in the story. That part is pure fiction. But I sure had fun letting Kendra run into him.

And I loved giving him a name and personality as the hero of Haunted Warrior. I made him Graeme MacGrath, who lives in a fishing village on Scotland’s rugged North Sea coast. He’s a guardian, indeed. Protective of his home and also an ancient secret that could destroy everything he loves.

His heroine, Kendra Chase, is an American spirit negotiator. A ghost whisperer, if you will. She can see and speak with the dead. Her job is to soothe disgruntled spirits, usually souls who are angered about disturbances to places they love, such as restoration projects.

It is such an assignment that takes Kendra to Graeme’s village, a special place that’s being refurbished into a living history site. The local ghosts aren’t amused and it falls to Kendra to appease them.

Unfortunately, other forces are stirring in the village. Their menace is the reason, among others, that Graeme isn’t pleased when Kendra appears on the scene.

Of course, as Haunted Warrior is a romance, they soon find themselves fighting their attraction for each other as well as facing down a very powerful – and, at times, charismatic – enemy.

Here’s a mini-excerpt showing their first meeting. (the book’s opening scene as discussed above)

Set-up: Kendra is walking a deserted Scottish beach when she sees a sexy kilted man atop the dunes. She continues on and a short while later, she sees him again. But he’s down on the strand now. And he’s no longer kilted but wearing jeans and a black leather jacket…

Kendra and Graeme’s Meeting on the Beach…

         He was the man from the dunes.
         And he was coming right up to her, his strides long and easy, his dark gaze locked on hers.
         “This is no’ place for a woman to walk alone.” His voice held all the deep, richness of Scotland. “The seas here are aye heavy, the surf rough-”
         “Who are you?” Kendra didn’t miss that his dark, good looks were even more stunning up close. “Didn’t I just see you on the dunes?”
         “You’re an American.” A corner of his mouth lifted as he avoided her question. His sexy Scottish burr deepened, as if he knew the rich, buttery tones would make her pulse leap. “A tourist come to visit bonnie Scotland?”
         “Yes.” Kendra’s chin came up. Hunky or not, he didn’t need to know her business here.
         She was interested in his. Only Superman could change clothes so quickly.
         “Weren’t you in a kilt a while ago?” She kept her chin raised.
         “A kilt?” His smile spread, a dimple flashing in his cheek. He held out his arms, glanced down at his jeans. “I do have one, aye. But as you see, I’m no’ wearing it now.”
         “You did have one on. A kilt, I mean.”
         “You’re mistaken, lass.” He lowered his arms, fixing her with the same intent gaze as he’d done from the dunes.
         “I saw you.”
         “You could’ve seen anyone. That’s why I’ll tell you again, this is no’ place for a bonnie lassie-”
         “I’m not a lassie.”
         “Nae?” He gave her a look that made her entire body heat.
         “I’m an American.” The excuse sounded ridiculous. “We don’t have lassies.”
         “Then beautiful women.” He touched her face, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
         Kendra’s pulse beat harder. “There are lots of gorgeous women in the States. Smart women who-”
         “Those other women aren’t here and dinnae matter.” He stepped back, studying her appreciatively. “I meant you.”


Kendra and Graeme were fun to write. And my inspiration came from more than a mysterious kilted man on an empty Scottish beach.

Kendra’s character was inspired by my own fascination with ghosts. I spent years ghost hunting in the UK with two like-minded friends, exploring as many haunted sites as possible. We had lots of ghostly adventures, witnessing enough paranormal activity to make me a believer. My experiences on those ghost hunting trips helped me write Kendra.

There are other bits and pieces of ‘me’ that inspired the story. My great love of animals, especially dogs. My appreciation of cozy, atmospheric inns and pubs. My love-hate relationship with left-driving in the UK. And always, my passion for wild places and cold, blustery weather.

A book is a blend of the writer’s heart, mind, and life experiences. The trick is weaving it all together to breathe life into the story. When everything comes together as it should, magic happens…

And a book is born.

Thank you, Sally, for inviting me to The Qwillery to share my inspiration for Haunted Warrior. I’ll give away a signed copy of the book to one commenter. And I’ll post anywhere in the world, so international readers are welcome.

Readers can visit me at my website:
Or at my blog, Tartan Ink:

About Haunted Warrior

Haunted Warrior
Signet (January 3, 2012)
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages


Kendra Chase earns her living as a ghost whisperer. Her work is often emotionally draining, so she’s been looking forward to a vacation in Edinburgh. But it turns into a working holiday when an assignment sends her to Scotland’s rugged north coast. The tiny fishing village of Pennard is being excavated for a historical restoration project, and the locals aren’t the only ones upset by the plans: Supernatural uprisings have been reported.

No one knows better than Graeme MacGrath that his village is a hotbed for psychic trouble. Bound by a centuries-old legacy, Graeme is the fiercest opponent to the development project. The renovation work has disrupted the protective veil between this world and darker, more ancient ones. And though he doesn’t have time for dallying with a fetching American, desire –and love– flares between them. Soon Graeme will depend on Kendra for more than her paranormal abilities as they work to save Pennard from the brink of unspeakable evil.

About Allie Mackay

Allie Mackay is the pen name for Sue-Ellen Welfonder who writes Scottish medieval romance under her real name. A former flight attendant, she has three grand passions: Scotland, the paranormal, and dogs. All can be found in her medieval romances and the paranormals she writes as Allie Mackay. She’s proud of her Scottish descent, spent fifteen years in Europe, and now just tries to live quietly although she never misses a chance to visit Scotland. She’s devoted to her Jack Russell Terrier, is an absolute night owl, and writes at a 450 year old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle.


The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a signed copy of Haunted Warrior from Allie Mackay!

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Kilts or jeans? Which should your Highlander be wearing?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Thursday, January 26, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. ^^ i'm really happy to discover you

    for me he should wear jeans ( i don't like to share ^^;;)

    thanks you for the international giveaway

    all the best

    +1gfc follower


  2. Kilts. I like to keep my dirty imagination rolling...

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  3. A kilt, of course! It makes him stand out from the crowd. What better way to advertise that our hero is Scottish.... and oh, those sexy legs!

  4. a kilt defenitely, cant imagine the warrior wear a jeans, maybe when he travel time ;)

    GFC : eli_y83

  5. Good Morning!

    I have adored Sue-Ellen and her books for the past decade, and this one is not only a keeper, but a re-read. Run don't walk to wherever there are books and purchase or check-out HAUNTED WARRIOR! Thanks Sue-Ellen for giving us a wee bit more about the beginning.

    And my answer is a resounding...KILTS! Oh yes...
    Mary M

  6. My Scottish man should wear a kilt, but just for me in private. In public, I prefer he just wear his jeans since I don't want to share.

    +1 comment

    +1 GFC follower

  7. Wow, this is a tough question. I guess it depends on his knees, really. Cuz if he's got weird looking knees, I have to go with jeans.

    Thanks for the giveaway!


    +1 follower
    +1 comment
    +1 tweeted (!/RebeLovesBooks/status/160047177689874433)

  8. Also 1 comment tweeted.

  9. Morning, Everyone!

    Thank you so much, Qwill, for inviting here today. I appreciate the chance to say hello to readers.

    Miki ~ You've very welcome. I lived in Germany for many years and remember how hard if was back then to get American books. That's why I always include International readers.

    Tracey D ~ A Highlander has told me the truth should never be revealed, so I can't say about the big kilt question. It is fascinating, isn't it?

    Betty ~ You know I love kilts, too.

    Eli ~ I love kilts best, too.

    Mary M - Bless you for your kind words. You've brightened my deadline-zonked day. (((HUGS)))

    Cathy P ~ You made me laugh. You're so right... a man in a kilt is an instant draw for all the world's women. No kidding...

    Rebe ~ Kilties with cute knees are the best. Good calves are also necessary. ;) Btw, I adore your dog. Beagle? I have a Jack Russell and absolutely LOVE dogs. Love cats, too, but dogs more. There's a wonderful dog in Haunted Warrior, a very special border collie named Jock.

    Everyone else... I will look in again later today. Have fun in here. Isn't this a great blog?

  10. Definitely a kilt!

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc follower

  11. My highlander would be wearing jeans. I'm afraid having him in jeans may give him too much of an unfair advantage over his enemies!

    I'm a GFC follower

  12. Please don't enter me I have a copy. I just wanted to say hello to Allie and squee as I Love her books.

  13. A kilt of course, can't top that!
    Was your heart going 100 mi/hr once you saw him? Great story, and I am so glad you used that expierence to write this book. It sounds wonderful!
    And yes Sue-Ellen this is a great blog!

    GFC follower Lexi
    eyesofblueice (at) gmail (dot) com

  14. I think jeans. It the framing aspect.

  15. Thanks to Allie/Sue Ellen for letting me know about your site.

    The first book of Allie's I read was Highlander in Her Bed back in 2006.

    Because of Allie's wonderful characters since than I've definately prefered my man in a KILT or nothing at all!

  16. I forgot to put with my comment above:

    +1 Follower
    +1 Comment

    jeannemiro at yahoo dot com

  17. Hi Allie!
    Kilts or jeans? That's just too hard of a question and I'd have to answer with it depends on the situation. I love both on a man... just not at the same time of course:) I so wanted to keep reading more about Kendra and Graeme’s Meeting on the Beach! Can't wait to read Haunted Warrior!!!

    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower of The Qwillery
    +1 Tweeted:!/yadkny/status/160069888071835648

  18. Hi Allie/Sue-Ellen, I'm lending my support to your blog giveaway ;-). It's great to "see" you out and about for a while. It's good to let the deadline dragon know you have a life too, lol. I can't wait to read HAUNTED WARRIOR. I've been reading your back titles and loving each one :-). I'm in TALL, DARK & KILTED now.

    You know my highlanders MUST BE KILTED with a yummy Scot burr and a big claymore strapped to his back. Take care and write away, we'll be sure to enjoy it! glittergirl54 at ymail dot com

  19. He would wear a kilt. I have been an avid reader of your books.

    I have traveled to Scotland and found that is where my soul comes alive. It just tingles. I also have a picture of a ghost taken in one of the churches. He is very very real. He is coming down steps, that by the way, are not there. He has on a hat and is wearing a gold cross.

  20. Kilt please, nothing sexier :)

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower
    +1 tweeted-!/joleneallcock/status/160086588544651264


  21. Oh, definitely a kilt!!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweet:!/jwitt33/status/160089096084127744

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  22. Kilt of course!! Easier to get out of. The book sounds really great and i'd love to be entered to win.

    old gfc follower & email subscriber

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  23. It's really hard to decide because they both have there advantages but I think Kilt.
    By the way the cover is gorgeous!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower

    Candy G
    Ontario, Canada

  24. has to be a kilt - come on guys - what are you thinking - of course that scottish burr doesn't hurt any - just like in the book - he could be reading the most boring book in the whole world as long as I can hear that accent - WOW - I'm about 1/2 way through now - loving every word

  25. Kilt, love a hero in a kilt...
    Haven't found 'Haunted Warrior' yet, but even if I never read one of your books, the sexy cover would draw me in. (By the way, I've read them all)...

  26. I think I would prefer jeans. Well worn that hug him in all of the right places.

    geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

    +1 comment
    +1 Twitter follower @GeishasMom73

  27. A kilt, of course! duh/ jeans sheesh do u even need 2 ask lol

    thanks you for the international giveaway

    all the best w/ the book sales

    +1gfc follower[rogier]

    rogcaprino[at]hotmail com]

  28. Well I would have to say both, a kilt and jeans. The kilt just for me (you know so I can run my hands here and there), and some tight fittin jeans, well what can you say about those. Some guys just look fine in a pair of jeans. :)
    1+ commenter
    1+ Quillery follower
    1+ posted on my facebook page
    Thanks Allie and Qwillery for having this great giveaway.

  29. Enjoyed your blog today...thanks for the info on Haunted Warrior...I'm adding it to my list of books to read. He should wear a kilt.

  30. Kilts for sounds like a good one.
    +1 comment

  31. I want my highlander to be wearing Kilts. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber.

  32. Hi Ladies! It's great to see so many of you looking in today. New and familiar faces. I love that. Thanks so much.

    Stephanie ~ I'm with you. Kilt all the way. Adore your cat image. I love cats. :)

    Na ~ Some men do wear jeans so well, don't they?

    Z ~ Bless you for your kind words. I know you've been reading me (under both names) since Devil in A Kilt. Thanks so much.

    Lexi ~ I agree with you on kilts. Nothing is sexier. A man in a kilt is a god. Yes, I was wowed to see the kiltie on the dunes, especially such a 'hot guy' kiltie. I couldn't resist turning the experience into a book. Graeme is that kiltie. :)

    Chary ~ You made me almost slide off my chair. 'That framing aspect.' Isn't that the truth? Jeans are good for that, aren't they?

    Jeanne M - Big smiles to you! I LOVE Highlander In Her Bed. That book, too, was inspired by an incident on one of my Scotland trips. Thank you so much for your kind words about the Allie books. I have so much writing them.

    And I agree about kilt or nothing at all. I'd only add the burr. M'mmm...

    Yadkny ~ Thank you so much for your enthusiasm. I'm so glad you enjoyed the mini-excerpt and hope you'll love the whole book, too.

    You're right.. hard call, kilt or jeans. Both look great, and each works best in different situations.

    Glittergirl ~ ((HUGS))) to you! Hope the hand is doing better? Let us know in the tea room.

    And thank you so much for looking in here today. Tall, Dark, And Kilted is set in my all-time favorite corner of Scotland. All the places you'll visit in the book are real and many of the situations were my own experiences over there, as usual. I adored Uncle Mac in that book.

    I know you're a kilt and burr and claymore gal. Me, too!

    The Deadline Dragon is almost sated and happy, thank goodness.

    Trenda ~ I agree. Gimme a kilt!

    Toni T ~ Wow to your Scottish ghost photo! I'd love to see the ghost. What a wonderful experience!! You were blessed.

    I know what you mean about Scotland. I feel the same way. And I'm so glad you enjoy my books. Thank you.

    Jolene ~ I agree... kilts all the way. Yesss!

    Martha L ~ A woman after my own heart. Kilts it is! Thanks so much for looking in here.

    CandyG ~ I agree. Go kilts! The cover is gorgeous isn't it? NAL does amazing covers for all their authors.

    Kathy ~ I so agree. Wonderful as the kilt is, the true magic of a Highlander is his voice, the burr. OMGosh....

    Suzy ~ Thanks. The cover is stunning, isn't it? I hope you'll enjoy the book. :)

    Stacie D ~ You're right... jeans do hug a man just right, don't they?

    Roro ~ I'm with you, Roro. Kilt all the way. You're welcome for the International drawing. I always include International readers in my giveaways. Good luck! :)

    Kansassweet43 ~ You really made smile. Yes, kilts are good for hand movements, no kidding!

    Jackie W~ Thanks so much for looking in today. I appreciate it. Hope you'll enjoy the book. :)

    Joye ~ Kilts for me, too. I hope you'll enjoy the book! Thanks for the good words.

    Tore ~ I'm with you. Kilts it is!

    Everyone, thank you again for looking in here today. I'll pop in again late tonight so I don't miss anyone.

    Qwill... thank you again for having me here today. Great group of readers!

    Back later, ladies...

  33. After seeing the cover for Haunted Warrior, I must say Kilt!

  34. Definitely kilts. I love my Highlanders in kilts as much as possible. There's nothing like that plaid and those rugged looks to get my pulse racing.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC follower

  35. Definitely kilt. Except if he has ugly knees. Than tight jeans ;)

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc: erin

  36. Kilt. Nothing but kilt.

    GFC: ML

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  37. Defenitely A kilts!! My highlander must be wearing kilts.

    Thanks you for the international giveaway.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 facebook


  38. Just stopping by to say hello, Sue-Ellen and to let you know I enjoyed your post today. I'd like my Highlander to be wearing a kilt, but please don't enter me in the giveaway as I already have my copy of Haunted Warrior! Hope the Deadline Dragon is getting ready to go away soon - we miss you!

  39. A kilt every time, no doubt about it.

    I follow.


  40. He needs to be wearing something? Drats. :P

    Well ok, then kilts. Gotta admire a guy who can pull off wearing a skirt.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follow
    +1 tweet!/LindaThum/status/160176955348615169

  41. I think kilts would be great.
    Great post. I enjoyed reading it.
    debby236 at gmail dot com


  42. He should wear kilts.

    I follow this blog.


    + 1 comment
    + 1 follower

  43. Ah, Sue-Ellen, You always stir my heart and imagination with your words. And, when you pen a ghostly paranormal mixed with romance I can hardly resist! And, then there's the sensual mix of a Scottish brogue with a kilt thrown in...well...there is no fighting it. Your tales are magic in so many ways! My Best Wishes and Blessings to you, {{{Dear Lady}}}! ^.^

  44. Thank you to the Qwillery for hosting Sue-Ellen today. As always great blog. Jeans are a must for my everyday guy and the kilt for the special days and yes, I would share the site - for eye candy only. I am having to increase my book search for Allie's "Haunted Warrior" as my Walmart and Kroger does not have it. (the only place in my little town for books). Yes, I know there is always the internet. I will be liking this on my facebook. Helen Bullard in Ark

  45. Linda McDonald ~ I'm with you on the kilts. Btw, the MacDonalds are my very favorite Highlanders. I've used them in books. Most recently in my Highland Warrior series under my real name. MacDonalds are The Best!

    Barbara E. ~ I agree.. kilts rule.

    Erin ~ No kidding. No ugly knees, please.

    ML - I agree. Kilts all the way.

    Filia O. ~ Absolutely on the kilts. I so agree. And my pleasure re the International giveaway. I lived in Munich for many years and remember how difficult it was to get US romance novels. For that reason, I always include International readers in my giveaways.

    Karen C ~ Thank you so much forlooking in here today! I really appreciate it. I hope you'll enjoy Haunted Warrior. :)

    The deadline is as good as done now. I only need to edit and polish now. The tea room will be back to normal again very soon.

    Marybelle ~ I agree about the kilt. Oh, yes!

    Linda ~ You made me laugh out loud. Thanks for that. Sure, we'd all love nekkid Heilanders, wouldn't we? Or in the kilt, as you say. :)

    Debby ~ Kilts it is! And thank you for your kind words. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post.

    BN100 ~ I agree about kilts. Absolutely.

    Kimphy ~ Bless you for looking in here. I really appreciate it. And your kind words. Thank you! You're another one who has been around since Devil In A Kilt days. (((HUGS)))

    Helen ~ Thanks so much for looking in here today. You're another long-time reader and I appreciate your support so much. I'm so sorry your local stores don't have Haunted Warrior. Let me know if/where you find it.

    You're right.. jeans are great for every day. Kilts are definitely special.

    Qwill ~ Thank you again for having me here today. It's been fun and I've enjoyed the visit. Super blog, great readers.

    Everyone ~ Thank you so much for looking in to say hello today. I've loved chatting with you.

  46. Kilt, of course, since I love the sway when he walks. Besides it lets you imagine a lot with your hero.

  47. Kilts, because I love traditions. Besides, my imagination would be very busy!

    +1 comment
    +1 blog follower

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  48. Most definitely a KILT...YUM! mater what century he is in! My husband is at his most gorgeous, in his Kilt! (of course, I'm biased and he has "Verra Bonnie Knees!" Thank you Sue Ellen/Allie for your books, I have every one and I read them over and over! You are a phenomenal writer! I'd love a signed copy of your latest master piece!
    Alba Gubrath, Judi

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. Sue-Ellen,you know I'll follow you anywhere you go :)

    Run and buy this book if you want to read a story that will seep into the very depths of your heart. Wonderful characters and a great read!

    A tall, strong, kilted man whispering with a deep burr against my ear, if you please ;)

  52. Isn't it part of the contract that a Highlander be in a kilt?
    < wink >


  53. Sheila
    KILT most definitely!! Just discovering were Scottish it's exciting to see the men in Kilts!!

  54. I would have to go with jeans out in public. I would want him in a kilt in private and all for myself. Thanks for the chance.

    I am a follower
    sariahwalters at gmail dot com