Scotland Trip: Day 1 & 2, Edinburgh

My trip to Scotland was fantastic! I loved everything about it except for the exhaustion and lack of sleep. I must have missed almost two night's sleep between here and Edinburgh, what with the early hour I got up the morning we took off and the late hour when we finally went to sleep. We stayed the first two nights at the Apex City Hotel on Grassmarket. Step out the front door and there is a phenomenal view of Edinburgh Castle high up on the hill above.
Our first afternoon there, we walked along Grassmarket and onto West Port. Interestingly enough, the citizens were doing a walk to raise money for breast cancer research. Lots of people wearing bras or T-shirts with bras over them or printed on them. Even the cars were decorated. Some people wore T-shirts with bare breasts printed on them. We said you would never see that in the US. We are apparently a very uptight nation. LOL

One thing that surprised us was the speed at which people drive on the streets. It is seriously dangerous to cross the street. If you see a car in the distance, best to wait. A motorcycle whizzed by us in a blur. It must have been going 60 mph, although the speed limit in the city is, I assume, about 40 mph. 60 mph on other roads and highways, even single track. Can you imagine? And these wild Scots do take advantage of these high speed limits. I can say that because I'm a descendant of wild Scots. LOL

Our first night, we had dinner and entertainment at the Edinburgh Thistle Hotel. Entertainment was a Scottish cabaret show including bagpipes, Scottish dancing, singing along with fiddles and other musical instruments. Comedy and a "haggis" routine followed, along with a sampling of the haggis. It reminded me of homemade sausage. It tasted like venison (though there was none in it) and liver mixed with spices. I didn't hate it nor love it. My friend loved it. I would give it another chance later. :-) For anyone who doesn't know what haggis is...first you must realize Scots, especially Highlanders centuries ago, were very frugal. They didn't let any part of a sheep go to waste. So, all the spare parts and organ meats went into a concoction called haggis. Oats, barley and spices were also mixed in and it was all baked in a sheep's stomach. The man assured us only liver and regular lamb meat along with the oatmeal, barley and spices were in the haggis we sampled. But who knows really? It's the not knowing what's truly in it that's half the fun.

When we left the show at 10 pm it was barely dusk, not even dark enough for drivers to use their headlights. It only gets dark for a couple of hours in Scotland during summer because it's so far north.

Manor Place

Isle of Skye, Scotland

On Saturday, June 16, I'll be leaving for my vacation to Scotland. My first! Woohoo!! I thought I would post some photos I've found for one of the places I'll be visiting, Isle of Skye. I didn't take these photos, but hopefully when I return I'll have some good ones to share as well, (though I doubt they'll be as good as these!)

If you would like to learn more about Isle of Skye and the surrounding islands, here is a very interesting article with lots of details.

New Camera & Garden Photos

I just got a new camera a couple weeks ago for my trip to Scotland. It's a Canon Powershot S3 IS 6.0 megapixels, 12x zoom. The new version comes out in a month, but I couldn't wait. I needed one now. I love it so far. Here are some photos of my garden I took with it. I had to shrink these down lots.

Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception & Interview w/Lois Winston

Today I'm talking with Lois Winston about her latest book release from Dorchester, Love Lies and a Double Shot of Deception. Wow, look at this delicious cover! Definitely makes me want to dive right into the book while sipping a mocha latte.

Award-winning author Lois Winston writes humorous, cross-genre, contemporary novels. She often draws upon her extensive experience as a crafts designer for much of her source material. Lois's first book, TALK GERTIE TO ME, a combination chick lit/hen lit/romantic comedy with a touch of the paranormal, was an April 2006 release from Dorchester Publishing and has to date won a Readers and Bookbuyers Best award and racked up nominations for a Reviewers Choice Award, a Golden Leaf Award, and a Beacon Award. LOVE, LIES & A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION, a mom-lit romantic suspense, is a June 2007 release from Dorchester.

Lois, please tell us about your latest release.

LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION is a story about secrets and revenge and the steps some people will go to in order to protect the former and achieve the latter. Life has delivered one sucker punch after another to Emma Wadsworth. As a matter of fact, you could say the poor little rich girl is the ultimate poster child for Money Can’t Buy Happiness — even if she is no longer a child.

Billionaire real estate stud Logan Crawford is as famous for his less-than-platinum reputation as he is his business empire. In thirty-eight years he’s never fallen in love, and that’s just fine with him — until he meets Emma. But Emma’s not buying into Logan’s seductive ways. Well, maybe just a little, but she’s definitely going into the affair with her eyes wide open. She’s no fool. At least not any more. Except things don’t go exactly as Emma has predicted, and when Philadelphia’s most beloved citizen become the city’s most notorious criminal, she needs to do a lot more than clear her name if she wants to save her budding romance with the billionaire hunk someone is willing to kill for.

Do you have reviews you could share with us?

LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION has been getting some great reviews so far. Here are what some of the reviewers are saying:

Huntress Reviews--5 Stars!
Once again Lois Winston has created a novel that will hook readers with the very first sentence and refuse to let go! A person who reads ANY of this author's books goes on to become a huge fan; myself included. Fun characters, lots of adventure and drama, and some witty dialogue that will have you begging for more! Excellent! (reviewed by Detra Fitch) --5 Stars!
Award winning Lois Winston’s LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION will snare readers right from the title and keep us entertained long after the book is closed...Strong likeable heroes, evil, greedy, bad guys and a fast paced story line with a unique plot should make LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION a best seller for Lois Winston. Instead of a the “weak kneed, save me” heroine I first thought Emma to be, I find she is perfectly able to take care of herself and reason her way out of her difficulties. Of course having a gorgeous hunk standing by his woman is a big plus. Ms. Winston writes scenes and dialog that put the reader in the story, skillfully evoking emotions and keeping us engrossed. She has also shown her readers diversity in her writing from witty comedy to anxious suspense. With this, her second awesome book, Lois Winston will soon become a well known name in romance circles. (reviewed by Donna Zapf)

Romance Reviews Today
LOVE, LIES, AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION is a work of art. Ms. Winston gets her readers’ attention from page one and keeps it until the final page. Pick this one up and get ready to burn the midnight oil. When I began the first page, I didn’t stop reading until I reached the last page. (reviewed by Carol Carter)Please tell us about your favorite character in the book and why is he/she your favorite?This is a hard question because I don’t create characters I don’t like. I suppose you’d expect me to say Emma because she’s the spunky heroine or Logan because he’s such a sexy hunk of a hero. But I’m going to say that my favorite character is Marty because he’s such a sleazy weasel. I really like writing villains. You can have so much fun with them. Your hero and heroine have to be likeable, loveable, and heroic, but you can have a lot of fun making a villain as despicable as possible.

Click here to see the wonderful book video!

What was the most important thing you learned (the thing that made all the difference) just before you made your first sale?

I learned that it’s not good enough to write the best possible book, that no matter how many people love what you write, you’re too often at the mercy of marketing. The book business is a business. No publisher is going to buy your book unless the powers that be believe it’s going to make money for them. Marketing rules the world. It’s a sad fact. But they don’t have a crystal ball and can’t predict how well a book will do with 100% accuracy. They’re like the weather guys. Sometimes they’re right but often they’re wrong. Coming to this realization didn’t make any difference as far as selling my book, but it made dealing with the rejection a bit easier.

Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?

Don’t give up. If you really, truly believe in your work, keep learning, keep writing, and keep polishing. This is not a business for people looking for instant gratification. Every once in awhile you hear about someone who wrote a book in a few months and sold it to the first publisher she sent it to. For the majority of us it’s a long road that takes years and years to travel and is littered with many rejection letters along the way.

Lois also contributed to DREAMS & DESIRES, a charity anthology of 19 romances by 19 authors which was released as an e-book, a paperback, and a hardcover book in February from Freya’s Bower. All proceeds from this anthology go to a shelter for battered women. In addition, Lois is a contributor to HOUSE UNAUTHORIZED, a November 2007 release from BenBella Books. When not writing or designing, you can find Lois trudging through stacks of manuscripts as she hunts for diamonds in the slush piles for the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. Visit Lois at

Thank you, Lois, for being our guest! I've enjoyed it!