I've always wanted to include standing stones as an important element in a story. Finally, I had the opportunity when my friend Terry Spear suggested we write an anthology of Scottish historical romance novellas. Standing stones are featured in each of our stories in Kissing the Highlander by Terry Spear, Victoria Roberts, Eliza Knight, Willa Blair and myself. The book is available for pre-order on most bookseller sites, including Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and coming soon on pre-order to B&N and iTunes. It will be released Feb. 10 just in time for Valentine's Day. My novella is called My Captive Highlander and it is a part of my Highland Adventure Series. You will see familiar characters from past books but also many new characters. This story is the beginning of a new MacKenzies spin-off series.
My Captive Highlander by Vonda Sinclair
After a galley wreck in a storm, Shamus MacKenzie is taken hostage by the enemy MacDonalds. Maili, sister of the ruthless chief, feels compelled to bring this dark warrior food and see to his injuries. With one forbidden kiss, Shamus steals her heart. Can he convince the enchanting lass to help him escape the dungeon, preventing a battle between their clans and saving many lives?
Now, about those standing stones, one of my favorites is Callanish Standing Stones on Isle of Lewis in Scotland. It is a circle that extends out into a cross shape.
Callanish is beautiful, atmospheric and mystical just as I'd imagined from all the photos I'd seen of it over the years. Carbon dating has shown that Callanish is older than Stonehenge. They were erected between 2900 and 2600 BC. It is believed that people lived here as far back as 3000 BC. This is around the same time period that Skara Brae was settled on Orkney.
Experts believe that the main circle at Callanish was designed over a long period of time and may have had input from seaborne travelers because of the similarity between Callanish, Stonehenge and Avebury in England and Carnac in Brittany.
Do you see how the central stone is taller? When you are reading my story, My Captive Highlander, and the scene that takes place among the standing stones, visualize this stone. :)
Callanish was almost hidden, buried beneath the deep layers of peat for many hundreds or perhaps over a thousand years. A nearby chambered cairn was just discovered in the 1990s and it is believed more standing stones and other ancient monuments could still lie beneath the peat at various places around Lewis waiting to be discovered.
We learned Callanish isn't just one standing stone circle but that there is a whole complex with many standing stones in the surrounding area. It includes eighteen sites. We didn't get to visit any of them but they include Clach Stei Lin in Airidhantuim, Clach an Truiseil in Ballantrushal, Steinacleit in Lower Shader, Kerb Cairn in Breascleit and several others. Some are chambered burial cairns. Most of them have interrelated sight-lines which means they have a close relationship to the main circle at Callanish. This may have once been the most important spot on Lewis for political or religious reasons.
Callanish is a circle with 13 main stones with a central monolith and five radiating rows of stones. The two rows of stones which form an avenue, aligning almost true north, links with Stonehenge, Avebury and Broomend of Crichie in Aberdeenshire. Some say the overall layout of Callanish is a Celtic cross design although it was built in pre-Christian times. The stones are 1 to 5 meters in height and they are made from local Lewis gneiss stone. The tallest marks the entrance to a burial cairn where human remains were found. The site was excavated in 1980 and 81 and they discovered the cairn was a later addition to the site. Experts believe the stones were a prehistoric lunar observatory. Others believe there is a relationship between the stones, the moon and the Clisham range on Harris.
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