Speaking of hot romances and summertime, let me welcome sister TWRP romance novelist, Nancy Jardine. Are you having a hot summer, Nancy?

Summer time?  We Scots are likely to say – please explain that term; I don’t know what you mean.

It’s the 10th of August, and it’s supposed to be our summer time here in Scotland. Have you heard of that phenomenon when there’s lots of lovely sunshine? Warmer temperatures when we can remove the heavy fleeces, and don the shorts and T-shirts? The occasional squirt of sun screen needed-maybe factor 10 will do because it isn’t very hot? Oh, I know, you’ll think that has to be a joke. Wait till you visit my country, because lovely as it undoubtedly is, sun screen isn’t bought in bulk hereabouts. And we can easily experience all four seasons in one day.

We do get a lot of rain, but the opposite side of that particular coin is I’m thankful not to have a problem with water supplies. Apologies, here, because some of you might live in Tornado country, or are close to horrendous out-of-control fires, or your landscape is parched dry. During 2012, we’ve already seen weather patterns-across the globe-which have been variations to the norm. In places where extreme conditions are not expected something devastating has occurred-drought parched land becomes a flooded quagmire bringing havoc and despair to the people who inhabit the areas. Controlling worldwide weather isn’t within man’s capabilities, yet.

Talking about weather may seem too mundane, but it can furnish a good scenario for action scenes in a novel. In my recent release, TAKE ME NOW, Aela and Nairn find themselves at the mercy of the weather a few times. Why is that a problem for them, and how do they overcome it? Since the story is largely based in a castle, on an island off the west coast of Scotland, weather conditions are pretty important for them. They have to get to the mainland, and there are only two ways to do that. Number one is to sail, and number two is to fly.

Either method presents problems when the weather is rough. You might well question why they set off in rough weather? It’s a very good question, but if you hung around in Scotland for a very good day you might have a long wait…though, the weather forecasters can give much better predictions nowadays, which sometimes gives you a ‘weather window’ to work in. But then, again, you might set off when the going is favourable and find that something unexpected delays your progress. This happens to Nairn and Aela as they fly above Loch Long.

I’ve gone through a couple of pretty bad storms over the European Alps in a British Airways Boeing Airbus (something like the 321-200 type) which can seat around 180 people. The high turbulence was, at first exciting, even thrilling in a roller coaster sort of way, but when the cabin lights started to flash off and on, and the jouncing around opened overhead lockers, setting debris to fly around inside the cabin…that’s when it got a little bit scarier. Not to mention the smell of fear that seemed to permeate the plane, though the passengers were eerily quite. No-one was in any way loudly vocal about the buffeting conditions, but the indrawn breaths were not as quiet as people intended them to be. The fierce lightening storm-jagged forks of bluish white in a lowering purplish darkened sky-outside the tiny window wasn’t so welcome either, as we flew over mountain tops, the pilot having dropped altitude to prepare for landing. Yet, in that larger plane, there was a much greater element of cocooning in the cabin. I’m very glad, though, that I wasn’t sitting next to the pilot in the cockpit while the controls were being adjusted constantly, viewing what was ahead, and all around the plane in a more panoramic view.

I’m not sure I’d want to be flying around in similar really rough weather in a tiny floatplane-as Aela and Nairn do in take me now. When I wrote the scene, in my mind, I revisited my own experience of flying in cloudy weather during my seaplane trip, though it wasn’t raining then, and was only marginally, and intermittently, windy. . Even in reasonable weather it feels as though all you need to do is reach down to touch the trees tops, or the top of the hillsides you’re flying over. Every noise, inside and out, is heard more acutely. The ground dipping up to meet you in severe turbulence would make memorable moments. To my own seaplane experience I added incidents of being in a small boat in rough conditions, in the same area they were travelling over, and merged the two in my imagination.

It’s early July in Scotland. Nairn’s already injured, and in some degree of pain, before he sets off on what becomes a hazardous flight, but his competent assistant, Aela, transports him with superb skill. Here’s how she saves the day:

 With incredible skill Aela landed on the far side of the island in heaving waters so high at times the waves sloshed over the wings, breakers he wasn’t convinced he’d tackle himself. Although only late afternoon the summer sky was so slate-dark it was like night; the angry grey-caps surging up and around them, their height dangerously close to submerging them. The rain battered the glass windshield, a momentary blocking of the way ahead till the wipers did their job.

“Brace again, Nairn!” she yelled over the horrendous noise. “This isn’t going to be smooth.” Her words were no sooner uttered than the floatplane lurched, a dangerous list in the high winds. “No worries, Nairn! I’ve got it under control!”

How Aela managed to keep it steady he hadn’t a clue, but it would have been beyond his own experience. The craft vibrated, a violent and relentless buffeting, as she taxied around the headland to Mariskay harbor. The storm lamented, the rain bombarding them with even more force from that direction. Having radioed ahead the automatic roller doors of the boatyard opened for them as Aela made the harbor entrance where she bumpily-bounced the little plane up the slip and inside out of the weather.

“You still with me, Nairn?” Aela grinned. He knew her adrenaline was pumping wild around her-for his was no different.

His smile was weak, his pain-wracked body having given in to the relief they were home. Not dry by any means…but home. And Aela was safe. “Jeeze! That beat the hell out of a boring ride, Aela.”

Thank you for allowing me to bring you some Scottish summer weather today, Lilly. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, but haven’t been put off learning about my part of the world.

**My-TAKE ME NOW-Tour Contest** 
To celebrate the launch of Take Me Now I’ll be giving away 2 e copies of Take Me Now, 2 e copies of Monogamy Twist, and 4 goodie bags of Scottish Castle Gift Cards and Tags to some lucky winners. At each tour stop I’ll be asking a different question. To be entered into the draw find the answer to the question set, at each tour stop, and send the answers to me at nan_jar@btinternet.com before Saturday the 11th August 2012. The more questions you answer, the better your chance will be! (ie send in four answers your name’s in the draw four times) The draw will take place at noon (GMT/ UK time) on Sunday 12th August.

For the URL details of the other tour stops (and special giveaways) please check the calendar on Nancy Jardine’s blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com

Quiz question for Friday 12th August: Which Scottish Loch is featured in the blog today?

Nancy can be found at:
Website: http://nancyjardineauthor.weebly.com
Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com
FaceBook:  http://facebook.com/nancy.jardine.56
Twitter:  http://twitter.com@nansjar
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6166205-nancy

Books by Nancy Jardine:
The Wild Rose Press:
Print:  http://bit.ly/MrlI8x   E book formats: http://bit.ly/MQJXvw
Amazon: Print: http://amzn.to/LEUb1g
Take Me Now YouTube Trailer link – http://youtu.be/stDC4Yhm2r0

Also available:
Coming Soon:
THE BELTANE CHOICE will be available in ebook formats from Crooked{Cat}Publishing 31st August 2012. Print will follow.