I have finished book 14, The Guardian: A year at Kilchurn Castle.
It went through the twelve layers of edits/rewrites/tearsanddrama/proofs/notes/declaredfinished/morerewrites and finally proofed once more.
Some think I am a perfectionist. Some are pretty sure that I have a loose grip on grammatical usages.
The truth is both those things are true.
That’s why I have great people around me, some to point out the flaws, some to tell me to stop bellyaching, to massage my back with the mantra ‘flaws are beautiful,’ and some to tell me I’m flawless and to push that button and go.
Like my friend, LL Muir* of Ghosts of Culloden Moor fame, who distracted me from the search for the next typo enough so that I could actually push that button. And lo it was published.
Because the thing about stories is… they are meant to be told.
I am really excited about this one. We have the gang all together in a castle in the 18th century. There is fun, some arguments, a bit of ordinary day to day, and then, of course, crazy time-travel stuff intervenes on their peace and quiet, as they tend to do.
Here’s a wee taste from near the beginning…
Chapter 5 - Kaitlyn
I had finished the bulk of my chores, so I took Isla and a wide wool blanket down to the grass north of the castle and spread it out with a view of the water’s edge and the work that the men were doing.
The sun was high. It had been cold so it was nice to be warmed on my face. The scent of flowers and grass and breezes mingled with the smell of loch and castle. I wondered what that would be called in a candle fragrance — Fresh and Old? Medieval Glen?
Isla and I picked flowers. I called Hayley on the two-way radio: “Hey babe, you should come out and see this, summer is here, for sure, hot hot summer.”
“I am doing crucial work today. As Lizbeth put it, the line between life and death is me in this boring storeroom. I think she’s just kidding, because this does not seem important — why, got a better offer?”
I was making a daisy chain for Isla’s hair but my gaze was across the grass on the men, who one by one were stripping off their shirts: Magnus, Quentin, James, Zach, Fraoch, building something — shirtless.
Sean and Liam even, helping to build.
I said, “It’s like an epic ‘hot guys in kilts’ calendar down here. Bring Emma and Beaty if you see them.”
A few moments later Hayley and Emma appeared. Hayley joked as she raced down the grassy incline to where I was sitting, all her bosom and skirts bouncing. “I heard it was an emergency — hot damn, those are some...”
Fraoch hefted a piece of lumber to his shoulders and carried it to the small wheelhouse. She said, “Woo wee.”
Emma stood with a hand on a hip, the other hand shielding her eyes. “Hot damn.”
I said, “Ain’t that the truth.”
Beaty rushed over, her camera around her neck, Mookie trailing behind. “Madame Hayley did ye want me tae take a photo of the scene for ye?”
Hayley laughed. “Not for me, no, silly girl, not for me. I want you, heck, you need to take photos for all of womankind. Look at what is happening! We have men, half a dozen, all out there in states of disrobed, all kinds of masculine, testosterone, boiling...”
Fraoch looked up and waved. She waved back. “Was I talking about something?”
The women sat beside me on the blanket, in the warm sun, little Isla toddling around, with Mookie following her dotingly, while we watched the men work. Lizbeth wandered up.
I whispered, “Uh oh,” to Hayley.
“What are ye doin’ out here in the...?”Lizbeth stopped and watched for a moment. “Och, I am finding it quite warm out here taeday.”
We moved over to make room for her on the blanket. “Is this what we are tae do?”
I said, “Not all day, but we ought to take a moment to appreciate what God has given us in the bodies of these fine men.”
She laughed. “I will try nae tae look at m’brothers, tae nae think on the other men of the group, but my husband, Liam. He does look verra fine, I believe.”
I said, “Then that’s a good enough reason to rest from our work and spend some time here in the sun.”
* * *
Here's the preorder for book 14 of Kaitlyn and the Highlander here: The Guardian: The Kilchurn Years
Thank you for your continued reading!
Diana Knightley xox
*LL Muir, by the way, has a new book out! A Wee Wager #60 of the series!
In case you missed it, the prequel to this whole story (to be read in the #13 position): Lady Mairead
Before that was of course book 12, The Wellspring that’s where the gang left off (maybe go back and read the last chapter?)
And not long ago the audiobook of book 12, The Wellspring, too.
As always, if you want to hear about all of this excitement in real time, to ask me questions, or discuss the books with other fans, there is a FB group here: Kaitlyn and the Highlander group
If you haven't started the series yet, here are some quick links to the first book so you can grab your copy and get reading:
Book 1: Kaitlyn and the Highlander:
Books 1-10 are available now on Audible here: Audible books narrated by Keira Stevens and (beginning in book 4) Shane East
And P.S. Here's a full list of my books:
Check out my websites:
(You might have noticed this is a new format for my newsletter, I’ve moved it over to Substack, so that my pithy posts will have a pithy post home…)