It is always my great pleasure to welcome USA-Today, bestselling author, Sue-Ellen Welfonder to my blog.
Former flight attendant, Sue-Ellen Welfonder, has three grand passions: Scottish medieval history, the paranormal, and animals. A firm believer in writing what you love, she blends these elements into her romances: Scottish medievals written under her real name and fun and sexy Scottish-set paranormals penned as Allie Mackay. Of Scottish descent, she lived in Germany for fifteen years and still visits Scotland as often as possible.
Thank you so much for having me here today, Ceci. Your ‘Month of Courage’ lead-in to HIGHLAND COURAGE is a great idea and I’m delighted to participate with my own tale of courage.
Some readers may know that my day-to-day language is German, which is why I’m using a literal translation of a German saying to illustrate how I view courage. The saying is: ‘jumping over one’s shadow’ and it means that when faced with something that scares us, we must push through, forcing ourselves past our ‘shadow,’ or dread.
For me, that ‘shadow’ was driving. I should say ‘driving again.’ I’ll spare the gory details and just say that many years ago, in Germany, I was nearly killed in a head-on collision. Two years were needed to recover from the injuries. The emotional trauma was another matter. It was very difficult to get into a car again and even more so to drive.
That was a problem, especially for someone who loved to travel and explore.
Driving in Scotland was out of the question. After all, I wasn’t just plagued by my dread of driving, Scotland means driving left! A big a hurdle, for many years.
So I visited Scotland on coach tours or would hire a driver for day trips. Sometimes I used public transportation and then walked miles to reach an out-of-the-way destination. It sufficed. After all, there isn’t an inch of Scotland not worth seeing and I was grateful for every inch I could see, getting there by any means available.
But it is the truly wild and remote Scotland that makes my heart beat fastest.
And to get to off-the-grid locations, you need a car.
So I had to overcome my fear of driving and my even greater dread of driving left.
I did, thankfully. My burning wish, the soul-deep ache, to get to the places that called me the most, gave me the courage to rent a car, slide behind the wheel, and head off to the Highlands and all points beyond.
I ‘jumped over my shadow,’ braving left driving and, along the way, facing terrifying roundabouts, thread-thin roads, hair-raising curves, and my every other left-driving nightmare.
I also finally saw the Scotland of my dreams. The wild, empty places my heart so longed to be. I even mastered boarding ferries with my rental car so I could explore Scotland’s amazing islands.
That was many years ago, my first time behind a left-sided wheel. I haven’t looked back. I’m still not fond of driving left (as readers of my Allie Mackay books will know), but I do it. Because my need to see the Scotland I love best is greater than fear.
Ceci, thank you so much for hosting me. And for spotlighting HIGHLANDER IN HER DREAMS, which gives a few glimpses of left-driving (and my opinion of it). I’m wishing you much success with HIGHLAND COURAGE!
PS ~ For the curious, the above-mentioned crash was caused by another driver.
Highlander In Her Dreams
They met through Highland Magic, can true love keep them together?
After stepping through a magical gateway, Kira Bedwell finds herself in fourteenth century Scotland, face-to-face with Aidan MacDonald, the irresistible Highlander who has visited her in dreams. Now that their romance transcends dreams to reality, they find themselves under attack by Aidan’s enemies. And it will take all of their courage and will for their love to survive beyond time itself…
Aidan is a Romantic Times K.I.S.S of the Month Hero!
Buy links (including a special bargain price link), full blurb, reviews, and more, are available at Sue-Ellen’s website: http://tartaninkblog.wordpress.com/
Please note: Highlander In Her Dreams was originally published by Penguin NAL. The indie version has been revamped and some scenes have been changed to how I originally wished to write them. The ebook also includes special bonus content.
Ceci, thank you so much for having me here today. It’s always so much fun to visit with you.
And, hey, should anyone not know ~ Ceci and I (and also the fabulous Kate Robbins) are getting together for a ‘real’ Girls’ Night Out in April! We’re making plans to include you , will be taking lots of pictures (because we want to share and know readers love seeing current, updated pix of their author pals out-and-about in the world), and there may just be a great Scottish Giveaway involved, too. More details to come as the big day approaches.
For now, helloooo, all! And thanks so much for looking in to say hi. 🙂
I can’t wait for our night out! Laughs will be had, books will be signed, beverages will be consumed and more laughs will be had. Pictures will be taken and shared, even though I usually hate pictures of myself. I simply must be done. I have some ideas about live games we can play to select the winners ON THE SPOT!
Me, too!! Your ideas sound great and make me wish it was April now!! 🙂 Ha ha re the pix. Always a chance we’ll have our eyes closed or a be caught in an unflattering way, but the pix will be candid and IN-THE-MOMENT (not an ancient bio pix) and that’ll make it more fun for readers to feel as if they are there with us. We are going to have a blast! 🙂
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Hii, Sue-Ellen and Ceci!! Love the idea of month of courage lead-in. Sue-Ellen, it is wonderful that you found the courage to jump over your own shadow nafter your horrible accident. I really admire you even more for it.
Isn’t this a great idea? Ceci’s Month of Courage? The posts so far have been wonderful and I’m looking forward to the coming ones. Thanks so much for your kind words. That incident was dreadful, indeed, but loving Scotland as much as I do, gave me no choice but to ‘jump over my shadow.’ Seeing Scotland, and seeing it as I dearly wanted to do, was a tremendous motivation.
Hi Sue-Ellen and Ceci! Great idea and what stories will be shared!
Sue-Ellen I swear you are a cat with nine lives. Scotland will make a person “jump their fear”. I know how much you love Scotland.
Well, I certainly had an extra one that day, for sure. As I believe, it was not my time to go. Yes, I do love Scotland so much. That is why I write Scottish books. From love and passion for the place that holds my heart so fiercely. Were I to write something else, the words would be flat, just ink on the page, because my interest and passion and heart would not be in the writing.
What a wonderful story of courage, Sue-Ellen. I believe your passion for Scotland fueled your courage to overcome. Gosh, I can’t even imagine how it must have felt when you got into the car for the first time after the accident. You certainly “jumped over and beyond” your fear. Cheers, my friend!
And for those who have not read Highlander in Her Dreams, please pick up a copy. One of my favorites!
It was hard, Mary. To this day, I ‘jerk’ in a car if someone shoots out at me, out of nowhere. But Scotland, as you know, is a powerful motivation. A cure-all to top all cure-alls.
Thank you so much for your good words about Highlander in Her Dreams. I am sooo happy to have had the chance to breathe fresh, new life into a story I love so much.
I agree with you all, overcoming this fear was monumental. I am certain that courage is born when the thing you are afraid of, stands in the way of that which you love. Thank you again, Sue-Ellen for sharing this. I know this is something you haven’t talked much about publically. I am honored that you provided this very unique glimpse into a personal struggle with us.
Very well said, Ceci: “I am certain that courage is born when the thing you are afraid of, stands in the way of that which you love.” That is why someone can develop Herculean strength and lift a car off a loved one, etc, etc. Why people rush into burning buildings to save a loved one. Once, as a child, I saw a man jump into the swamp at the Everglades National Park, and pry open the jaws of an alligator who’d snatched his little dog. (the dog survived, thank goodness)
No, I do not speak publicly about the crash and will not discuss details. Overcoming my fear of driving (again) and driving left, seemed an appropriate topic for your Month of Courage, so I had to mention it or the piece wouldn’t have made sense. Otherwise, I do not like seeing anyone roll out their tragedies and sufferings. Doing so can seem too much like vying for attention and sympathy. I also do not care for melodrama. But noting the incident served a purpose for this post. I’m really loving the various courage pieces you’ve been offering and am looking forward to the coming ones.
Sue Ellen, You are amazing. To overcome such a fear after that horrible accident. But you see your love for everything Scotland drove you onward until you jumped passed your fear. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said ” You have nothing to fear, but fear itself”. Great post. I’ll be putting both books on my TRL. Thanks for sharing.
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com
Thanks so much for your good words, Carol. You’re so right, I give the entire credit to Scotland. It was killing me to visit on coach tours and see the places I loved zipping by through the glass of a coach bus window. Or only having a 10 minute photo stop at places I could’ve spent all day. And hiring a driver to get to remote sites was super-costly. I wanted freedom and control over what I saw and how long I spent there, plus the ability to get to the wildest spots. My great love of Scotland let me to push past my fear and dread.
Thanks so much re the books. Highlander In Her Dreams has some hilarious driving scenes. (as do most of my Allie Mackay titles) Ceci’s Highland Courage is wonderful. I’m reading it now and loving it even more than her first book, Highland Solution. (which was also great)
Everyone, I am away now to eat lunch and walk my wee Em. He loves getting out and about in the fresh air and exploring the world. So he’s giving me ‘that look’ already. I’ll check back in here later today to say hello to anyone who yet drops in.
Thanks so much for having me here, Ceci! Everyone, thanks for coming to visit me today!
It’s a great post, Sue-Ellen. So glad you were able to go do the things you loved. It gave us things we love (your books)!
Thanks so much, AutumnFire! I’m glad, too. And I’m ever so happy that you enjoy the books so much. I know you’re a loyal and long-time reader. Thank you for that. (((HUGS)))
Sue-Ellen, what an awful experience but I’m glad that you survived it! I understand about being leering about driving again too as I went 2 1/2 years without driving because the stupid state of Florida took my license when my epilepsy returned and then lost my application to get it back (can get it back after 6mos; I was on first name basis with the DMV). I was timid at first but am now back to normal after 8 years. Thanks again for blogging about your desire to see Scotland overcoming your fears too. I’m running into the same problems scheduling my trip and I may have to go it alone. However in my case, I don’t know how to use a manual transmission car; driving left isn’t so much a threat as the round-abouts are. You have given me hope! Thanks!
Wow, Trudy, that was a nightmare, indeed, with the Florida DMV. Absolutely harrowing, and I am so sorry. Thank goodness all is well now and I certainly understand how the experience would impact your Scotland trip. Speaking of which, it costs more, but you could rent a car with automatic. I always do. It is one less thing to worry about when driving left.
Another suggestion is to take public transportation (bus or train) to Inverness or Aberdeen, depending on what you want to see, and then renting a car at one of those airports. Leaving either of these airports is less scary than driving away from the Glasgow airport. And the roads in general, in the north (excepting one or two main ‘A’ roads) are less congested and easier to drive.
You could then return the car in the north and use a bus or train to head south again, or drive south. After the first day of left driving, you’ll be a pro. Just thoughts and not meant to paint myself as an expert.
I absolutely agree Sue-Ellen. I have more experience in Ireland than Scotland, but away from the city, managing the other side is much easier. We always rent manual transmissions, but automatics are available.
Once I had been in England for a while on business. My family joined me, we rented a car and we were driving to Pembroke to take the ferry to Ireland. Having just arrived, jetlagged, they rested while I drove. It is a divided highway (dual carriageway) much of the way from Heathrow to Pembroke and driving on one highway is much like another. I was zipping along, going a bit too fast, and jokingly said to my Irish husband, “What do police cars look like?” He described the car in my rear-view mirror. I eased off the gas, moved out of the lane and the officer sped past without a second look. Thank you Jesus.
Oh Trudy I hope you didn’t hear that evil cackle coming from the north. I couldn’t help it reading about leaving Glasgow Airport. Mind you I have only left it in a taxi. I have yet to drive left. I have trouble crossing the street. Think road pizza! I have always had great respect for Sue-Ellen’s driving left. Now it is way beyond that.
Thanks for the tips; I’m probably going to go with public transportation all the way. I absolutely want to see Glasgow (home of our Scotsman), Edinburgh (because of the very first romance novel I read over 30 years ago) and Culloden (for obvious reasons). If I could get to Skye as well, I’d be thrilled. But I’m trying to cover two countries in three weeks and I want to see as much of Ireland as I can. I’ve finally found out where my mother was stationed during WWII; it was in Belfast but don’t know where as all her records were destroyed in the fire in St. Louis in 1972.
Ceci, I LOVED your story about driving in England and really lost it on seeing the bit about the police cars! What a hoot!! I can feel your relief even now, and am sure it was great on that dual carriageway!! Dear heavens!
And thanks for joining in to reassure everyone that driving left is much easier once you get away from the busy hub cities. Of course, there are other problems then: the super-thread-thin roads and sheep everywhere, sheer drop-offs with no guard-rails, and what-not. But still better than left-driving in a big city.
Kathy, I think it is actually much easier to exit the Glasgow Airport and head north, than to maneuver back to the Avis car return in the GLA airport!! I have almost missed flights because of driving in circles, trying to get to the Avis return place. It is somewhere else ENTIRELY from all the other car rental returns and will drive a sane person nuts, trying to find it. So I would advise anyone not to use Avis at GLA – or to be darn sure you know how/where to return the bloody car!
Trudy, you can easily make such a ‘loop’ and toss in a side trip to Skye, which is nearest to Inverness. If you won’t be driving yourself, you might be best hiring a day trip driver out of Inverness to take you to Skye and drive you around there. Likewsie Culloden and the nearby Clava Cairns. You really should see Skye/Kintail (where Eilean Donan is, aka Duncan’s castle in my books)
Something else, there are a bazillion trains a day running between Glasgow and Edinburgh and vice versa. Depending on your intinerary, you can use that connection and zip to either city, stay a couple nights, and see loads, then train it back to your origin city and journey onward. Or hang on such a trip to the end of your holiday. The travel time between the two cities is super-brief, so it’s very do-able.
You were meant for great things. That, I truly believe deep in my heart. Your story brings hope to my heart that anything can be conquered. That soul deep pull, the need to return, got you through and gave you strength.
“Jumping over one’s shadow” …. I simply love that!
You are so kind, Leah. Thank you so much! I do not know about great things, but I truly do believe it just wasn’t my time to exit this earth. By rights, I should not be here today, so something (I believe Fate/Destiny) kept me from slipping away that day.
“Jumping over one’s shadow” is good, yes. I always loved the expression. 🙂
OMG!! Love the idea of month long courage…Ceci you are a new aurhir to me but I have you titkes on my TBA list.Sue-Ellen you know I love you….so excited for you on your uocoming release..
I agree, Sue-Ellen is remarkable and I love her too. I hope you enjoy my books and that you continue to stop by during the month to see other great perspectives on courage.
Isn’t Ceci’s Month of Courage brilliant? Great idea, and lots of fun. You’ll love her books. 🙂
Yes, I know you love me, April! I love you and WendyK bunches, too!! You’ve both been with me since the get-go and that means so much. Thank you so much for looking in here tonight. (((HUGS))) XXOOXX
Can’t spell. New phone. Sorry
😉 Been there, done that.
Ha ha ha ha ha, April!! Same here. Nothing is more irksome than the drat ‘automatic spell check’ thingy on cell phones. Even my Kindle has one and I hate it. Don’t get me started on the teeny keys…
My heart hurts that you endured such a horrific accident. And I am so very happy you were able to overcome all that and then jump over your shadow to be able to drive again. I believe you are right; it wasn’t your time and you were destined for many other wonderful things in your life. Especially the glorious books you give us! I’ve jumped over my shadow a couple of times, but they pale in comparison to what you have accomplished. God Bless.
Yes, that is surely how it was, Karen. My time here wasn’t up yet. I really believe that. Bless you for your good words. They mean a lot. As for those shadows, we all have them, for sure. They just take different forms, but knock the wind out of us all, now and then. And, as you, too, did, there is nothing for it but to stand up, brush ourselves off, and keep going. God Bless, indeed.
Ceci, thank you so much for having me here today! It was wonderful, as always. I am honored to be a part of your Month of Courage, and am looking forward to seeing the upcoming posts. Am also super-excited about Highland Courage.
Everyone, I am reading Highland Courage now and it’s fabulous!! You’ll love it. 🙂
To all of you who stopped in today/tonight, thanks ever so much! It was great seeing and chatting with you. Love and (((HUGS))) all around!
See you next time! 🙂
Ceci’s Highland Courage is wonderful as is Highland Solution I agree Sue-Ellen. I gave. Both 5 stR reviews on Amazon and Goodreads! I can’t wait for book #3 xo
I have been reading you since your debut Sue-Ellen You are definitely one of my Rock stars in Scottish romance. I have loved everything you have ever out under Sue Ellen Welfonder and Allie Mackay! You know my Scottish ancestors seat is at Eilean Dunan Castle …. Clan Macrae….haha. Thanks for posting my book shelf view on your author view, at Booktrader my dear friends bookstore in NJ I am affiliated with your books are a big hit with the readers. I am excited about your new release at the e Nd of April, always excited over a Sue-Ellen Welfonder release!!! Hugs to both you and Ceci!