Saturday, September 20, 2014

Checking In!

What an incredible time to be in Scotland! These last few days has been insane! I can't talk very long right now but there's so much I have to tell you!! Is Castle MacCulloch haunted? And you'll never guess! I met Elliot Ross! 

Okay, okay I know, slow down, Nikki. I've never been good at that. 

I had to check in with you all just to tell you that all's well over here... of course the atmosphere is saddened by the Independence rejection but we just have to keep our heads high and carry on. It's not the outcome that I had hoped for, but it happened and there is nothing we can do about it now. 

I'll check in later, he's calling me ;) 



Silent Whispers (c) M. Katherine Clark

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Do you believe in ghosts?

I sure as hell didn't. I mean seriously? It's all smoke and mirrors right? A scam for some person to swindle millions of dollars out of unsuspecting people. My grandma paid this medium to contact her husband after he died and was taken in for about $10,000. I felt badly for her but come on, there is no life after death... at least not like that. But now... I'm not so sure.

As I rode in the taxi that Ross had gotten for me, I watched the beautiful countryside pass by and I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming connection to the old place. I felt like I was home after so very long away, I was finally home. It helped that the men were fricken hot too! I mean Ross was amazing! But he was really secretive too.

I practically knew Graeme’s and Gerard’s life history but I hardly knew anything about Ross Sutherland. Then it hit me. I didn’t have any of their phone numbers.
Ah hell! I wanted to scream. Great job, Nik… Ugh! Okay okay, whatever… I mean how many Ross Sutherlands or Graeme and Gerard Fergus’ could there be? I’m in Scotland… my luck? There’d be hundreds.
Too late to worry about it now, I thought as the rolling hills of the Scottish countryside raced passed my window. Besides I have a date with Jamie Fraser. I pulled out my iPad and turned it on. A message popped up on my screen. I read it and couldn’t help but grin.
Miss Writer,
                Grabbed this while you used the facilities on the plane, hope you don’t mind. I wanted to tell you that I am very glad you decided to join my friends and me on my plane. I do hope you are having as much fun as I am… Something I wanted to tell you about MacCulloch Castle might whet your writer’s appetite. Like all Scottish Manor Homes of at least seventy years, it is reportedly haunted. The ghost of Fearsome MacPherson roams the halls. I have included a link to his biography and some sightings. I do hope you find this as interesting as I find you. Trust me, if I could, this flight would not be only two hours. It hardly seems fair. I can hear you moving about in the cabin. I’ll return this to your bag but before I do, I have to tell you… you look so fricken hot in those Prada's and your American Pride t-shirt. It was for selfish reasons I invited you along. I couldn’t stop looking at you and trust me I really don’t want to. I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing each other again very soon.
                Graeme and Gerard send their love and wanted me to take their picture. Check your photos, lass.
                                                                                          Yours Respectfully, (But not too respectfully)
                                                                                                   Ross Sutherland

The cab suddenly got very warm. Ross thinks I’m hot? He couldn’t take his eyes off me? There’s no way. He had to be joking. Yeah, the guys put him up to it. There’s no way Ross thinks I’m cute. Not the way I look right now. Maybe tonight when I actually dress up and put on some makeup to hide my ridiculous amount of freckles… but right now? No, he was teasing. He had to be. Besides I’m not looking… oh but I was looking. Crap!

I have to admit his ghost story appealed to my mystery/thriller mind. What if I could utilize this Fearsome MacPherson in some way in a new book? One I hoped I would be able to write on this retreat. It was no use, I knew I still couldn't write. Man, Daren really did a number on me, didn't he? Oh well. My dad rang me on skype and as the taxi pulled into the drive of Castle MacCulloch I was telling dad for the ninetieth time that I was fine and everything worked out, I promised to call him tomorrow and show him the grounds. (I had forgotten to call him when I landed and he was frantic) Hanging up with him, I thanked the cabbie and got out. He helped me with my luggage and tipped his hat to me. I smiled at him and handed him a twenty pound note, hoping that would be enough of a tip.
“No need, lass,” he said. “Mr. Sutherland’s valet already took care of everything.”
“Oh,” I replied. “Great well, um… thank you for driving me all this way.”
“No worries,” he grinned and bid me a good day.
He must be pretty important to have a private jet, hobnob with Hollywood royalty at Heathrow and to have a personal valet. Geesh, who is this guy? A clap of thunder made me jump. I was under the awning but I really wanted to see the old place. I hadn’t gotten a chance to read through what Ross had sent me while I was talking to my dad, but his ghost story sounded intriguing. If there was a perfect look for a haunted house without the Disney right in my head, this place was it.
Red brick and stone faded with age. Battlements and guard towers wrapped the main part of the hotel. I could definitely see a ghost living here. I grabbed my two bags and headed up the ramp to the main doors. Immediately my stomach twisted in knots. These people were going to be fricken famous. What the hell am I doing here? I’m just a girl from the Chicago suburbs. Deep breaths. I can do this.
“Hello,” I heard a breathy voice say behind me.
“Hi,” I forced a grin and turned.
No one was there.
“Hello?” I called out again. “Anyone there?”
There was no answer only rain beating the pavement harder. A chill ran up my spine. Shivering I tugged my leather biker coat tighter around me. I took a step towards the open door. Just as I reached for it, it slammed shut. I screamed and stepped back.
“Okay not funny! Whoever’s playing around, just stop. I’ve had a hell of a day and I really don’t need this too,” I said to no one.
“You all right, lass?” A man’s voice came from the door.
I whirled around and glared at him.
“Everythin’ all right?” he asked.
“Peachy,” I answered storming passed the older man and into the lobby. “Nikki Thompson, I’m here for the writer’s retreat.”

I swear it was crazy! I heard the voice clear as day but no one was there. My room is amazing, by the way and I made it in time to hear Elliot Ross speak. I need to freshen up though and a glass of champagne sounds amazing right now! Talk soon!!

Love, Nikki

Silent Whispers (c) M. Katherine Clark

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tough Choices!

Ok, this has to have been one of the craziest days of my life!! After I missed my flight and met the dreamy Ross Sutherland, nothing seems to have been the same. I haven't really thought about Daren at all... Could this be healing? I felt the pain once while I was in flight to Edinburgh.... ok ok so I'm getting ahead of myself. After meeting Ross I accepted his invitation to fly me to Edinburgh on his.... get this.... private jet! Oh and that's not the only thing. I had to hurry to catch the plane before it left terminal B and you would not believe what happened!

I ran from the bar (after tipping the bartender - so what he was sweet!) and made my way to the escalators. I passed the caviar stand… who the hell has a caviar stand in the middle of an airport? Raced down the hall passed another escalator. Flashing cameras, squealing girls and big guys in sunglasses appeared all around me. I had no time to see what celebrity had just arrived. With my luck though it would have been Prince Harry or Benedict Cumberbatch. Still, I couldn’t stop. I had to make that plane. So when I eventually reached the entrance to terminal B a bunch of big guys in suits blocked my way. When one of them deigned to look down at me, he asked me my name. Of course my mind when blank but I was able to actual answer him. They let me pass, sooooooooo much security for this terminal. And guess why....... I looked around and Sean Connery was sitting, reading a newspaper by the window at one of the terminals. NO JOKE!! JAMES BOND WAS SITTING FIFTEEN FEET AWAY FROM ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He looked up at me and gave me his James Bond grin, you know the one that makes ya weak at the knees? Yeah that one..... 

Oh and then of course I happen to nearly fall to the ground because my knees were jelly, and guess what...... Chris Pine caught me and held me close. Seriously the muscles on that guy! WOW! So I swooned over James Bond and fell into Captain Kirk. That's my little starstruck moment at Heathrow.

As much as I wanted to stay and chat and take pics with them, I was running late and I'm sorry but meeting Elliot Ross, my favorite author of all time, was more of a priority. After getting proper directions from Chris Pine... yeah ok ok... I found my way to Ross Sutherland's terminal. I looked around but didn't see Ross until I heard his sexy Scottish brogue behind me. My god that man is hot!!
“Nikki,” he grinned. “Glad you decided to join us.”
“Mr. Sutherland,” I said. “Thank you for the kind offer.”
“Ross, please,” he smiled. “And it’s my pleasure. We’re boarding.” He turned and guided me towards the gate. “Did you find your way here all right?”
“Yeah,” I answered. “Quite a crowd.”
“Oh yeah,” he shrugged it off. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to the boys.”
I smiled and walked with him. We walked downstairs and out a door. The sun hit me right in the eyes. Squinting, I barely had a chance to see the personal jet Ross was leading me to. Taking the plane steps two at a time he turned to help me up. Walking in, I saw a man and woman standing just inside.
“Melanie, John this is Nikki Thompson,” he introduced me.
“Welcome aboard, Miss,” John said. “I’ll be your pilot and my beautiful wife will be your flight attendant.”
“Welcome, Miss Thompson,” Melanie said. “May I take your bags?”
My bags… aw hell, my suitcase was already halfway to Edinburgh. I sighed in frustration.
“What’s up?” Ross asked.
“My luggage… it was on my previous flight the one that I missed,” I said.
Ross looked over at John who nodded and disappeared into the cockpit.
“John’ll take care of that,” Melanie smiled. “Let me show you to your seat.”
“I got it, Mels,” Ross grinned and guided me into the cabin. “Nikki, allow me to introduce to you three of the rowdiest men in all of Scotland. My best mates Graeme and Gerard and our chaperone MacDonald.”
The two men I had seen earlier smiled at me. The elder man stood and nodded in my direction.
“Hell, Sutherland take pity on your oldest friend and teach me some of your tricks. How do I get a beautiful lass to follow me after a five minute conversation?” One of the men asked.
Cursing the flush of color and heat that raced to my face, I could do nothing but look down.
“Och, forgive my brother, Miss Thompson,” the other stepped forward. “He forgets himself.”
I smiled at him.
“Gerard Fergus,” he smiled.
“Nikki,” I answered.
“Well, come on and sit down we’ll be taking off soon,” Ross said. He indicated the seat facing another empty seat. Once I was buckled in, John’s voice came over the intercom telling us that we were third in line and the weather looked fair. He had been able to contact TSA in Edinburgh and they had found my luggage! Eureka!! 

If I had any concern about who Ross Sutherland was or what he wanted in return for his offer, all those fears were put to rest after about a half an hour into the flight. I had never laughed as much as I did on the flight. I found out that Graeme and Gerard were fraternal twins and that the three of them had been best friends since the eighties. They were all early thirties and very much single as Graeme made sure to tell me. They were all so cute!
Gerard owned a farm near Inverness that his grandfather had willed to him several years ago. Graeme was older, albeit by only a couple minutes but as such, he stood to inherit the family’s whisky distillery. I was pretty sure I had seen a bottle or two in daddy’s collection.
Ross was a little more tight-lipped about what he did for a living. All I could get out of him was that he was self-employed and did rather well for himself. Then their attention turned to me.
“So tell us, lass,” Graeme exaggerated his Scottish accent, I believe in an attempt to woo me. “What brings you to Bonny Ole Scotland? All Ross said was that you’re a writer.”
“I am,” I answered. He grinned and glanced over at Ross who was fixing us one of his famous whisky sours.
“What have you written? Are you published?” Graeme went on.
“I write mostly suspense and all its sub genres. It seems nothing sells anymore unless it has a hot sex scene in it,” I said.
“That’s all I read,” Graeme teased. “Skip through the book until that bit.”
“It’s terrible though,” I laughed.
Ross came around with a tray of drinks and winked.
“Nothin’ wrong with a few scenes,” Ross grinned.
“No, but it’s just not my style,” I said.
“More of a fade to black or fireplace close up?” Graeme teased.
“Exactly,” I answered.
“So what’s the one you have out now?” Ross asked.
How he knew I had only one book out, I wasn’t sure. But I ignored it, slainte mhath’ed with them and drank my whisky sour.
“Bloody well done, man,” Gerard complimented Ross’s drink. Ross raised his glass to him in thanks.
“So lass don’t leave us hanging here, what have you written?” Graeme asked.
“Oh, um… it’s called Secret Revenge,” I said. “It’s about this CIA agent who uses her training to disappear after her partner and lover is killed. She has to survive on her own and get away from America because she’s pretty sure she was the intended target. She disappears for five years until the man she had found out was responsible for her lover’s death is running for president. She gets a job in his campaign and slowly, secretly she puts her plan of revenge in motion.”
The three men were staring at me.
“It did fairly well,” I shrugged sipping the drink.
“I’m hooked,” Graeme said.
“Me too,” Gerard replied. They both pulled out their iPads.
“Just bought it,” Graeme said triumphantly.
“Beat me to it, ya bugger,” Gerard said. “There, done. Got two more fans and I just liked your Facebook page.”
Joy at knowing they just bought my book overwhelmed me but so did the usual dread I felt hoping they liked it. I had already had a bad review, four to be honest but as my grandfather used to say I got back on that horse and worked my butt off. Only, those reviews came at roughly the same time as Daren’s heartbreaking revelation and it turned me off of writing.
“I’ll finish it first,” Gerard stated.
“Yeah right, when do you have time to read?” Graeme asked.
“I’ll make time,” Gerard replied.
Watching them, it was easy to see what they would have been like as boys since it seemed they haven’t grown up at all.
“Any plans for a sequel?” Ross asked.
I shook my head.
“I’ve tried a few ideas but nothing has really stuck and after… never mind,” I couldn’t believe I was going to tell these guys my life story. I hardly knew them and when we landed, I would probably never seen them again. That thought hurt a little. I kinda liked them.
“After what?” Ross asked gently.
“It’s not important, but I just haven’t been inspired much. Writer’s block, you know,” I said hoping I sounded a little normal.
“Don’t worry, Nikki, Scotland is filled with stories, I’m sure you’ll find your inspiration again,” Gerard said.
I smiled at him. He was by far the most down to earth of the twins. Graeme was the cutest but I think he also knew it. They both had dirty blonde hair but Gerard’s was cut short, almost military style. Graeme’s was longer, curly and shaggy, hanging past his ears. Gerard’s features were sharp and square. Graeme’s features were a little softer. He still had the aquiline nose but the jaw was not nearly as sharp and square as his brother’s. Their blue eyes danced against their pale skin.
I like Ross’s quiet demeanor. He was sitting opposite me with his ankle crossed over his knee showing off his faded jeans and slip on dress shoes. He must have seen me stare at each of his friends and then him because when I raised my eyes to his, he was observing me with a lazy smirk. I immediately looked away but couldn’t help the small thought that entered my mind… Ross hadn’t bought my book.
I shook my head subconsciously. What’s wrong with you? I demanded from myself. So what maybe he doesn’t like to read. Maybe he’s too busy and doesn’t want to get my hopes up. Maybe… he doesn’t think he’ll like it.
“You know, Nik,” Graeme started. “If you need a tour guide while in Edinburgh, you need but to ask me. I grew up a little north of there, but went to school there and lived there for a while. Know it like I do the back of me own hand.”
“Ya lazy yoke,” his brother piped up. “We all lived there. Ya don’t have the corner market on that.”
“I’m just offering,” Graeme winked at me.
“Thank you, Graeme that’s very sweet of you,” I winked at Gerard just for effect. “But I’m not going to be in Edinburgh for more than a couple minutes. I’m expected north.”
“Och, aye?” Graeme asked. “Where would that be?”
“The MacCulloch Castle about fifty miles north of Edinburgh,” I explained.
Both sets of eyes flashed to Ross.
“Really?” Ross asked. “And what are you doing there?”
“I’m here for a writer’s retreat,” I explained.
“So you’re gonna hole up in an old castle and write?” Graeme asked.
“Hopefully,” I said. “I haven’t been doing much of that lately but I am hoping to write my bestseller. Although I will definitely be switching publishers.”
“Why’s that?” Ross asked.
“They promised the world and delivered… nothing,” I said. “My lawyer is helping me but I’m scouting for a new agent but I need an idea and better yet a manuscript.”
Ross nodded softly but said no more. We landed in Edinburgh about twenty minutes later. I'm in the taxi that Ross hired for me heading up to the Castle and I have SOOOO much to do before I get there. 

Wish me luck!!! More to come soon, scout's honor!



Silent Whispers (c) M. Katherine Clark