Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Bookspotlight and Snippet: The Sight of Heather by Ally Stirling


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For centuries, the fae folk and spae women of Scotland were feared – and persecuted.

 Life in the 1800s countryside, with its unforgiving climate, was both magnificent and harsh – testing cultures, beliefs and the loyalties of crofters.

The first in this series, The Sight of Heather, begins a journey of allegiance, sacrifice, and fortitude in a land of bold, resilient women.

Jessie’s ideal life spirals when she learns she is a first daughter in a biological line of ‘spaes’ endowed with unique gifts of spiritual sight and healing, aided by powerful ancestral stones.

Backed by a vindictive priest intent on charging Jessie with murder and witchcraft, the new owner of the Cruachan Manor plots to rout the spaes and destroy their beloved forest.

Despite grave warnings and family conflict, Jessie determinedly pursues her skills and powers, plunging her family and village into danger.

Resolute in uplifting her fellow women, Jessie consults her stones.

Faced with those who deem her evil, she must choose to relinquish her craft, or sacrifice herself to protect her culture and kin – and Lily, the next first daughter – the future of the spaes.

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In the shadow of a Munro scarred by aeons of frozen waterfalls, a glorious moon fired shards of light across a cloudless sky, through bare tree branches, and into a room where three women gripped the hands, and wiped the brow of a friend as she laboured. Their chanting pulsed within the walls, choreographing the candle flames in a shadow dance as they beseeched their spirits and guides.

The weary mother-to-be cried out to the spirit of Cailleach to bring forth the child she’d wrestled for twenty-one hours, and in the moment of birth a tidal wave of relief dumped its weight. A child wailed, women whooped, and a mother cried. Fingers and toes counted, and a kiss on each eyelid confirmed her blessings. In the moments of respite and euphoria, a screech sliced through the air. Another child demanded to be born, oblivious to the exhaustion draining the life from her mother.

Ally Stirling

Ally Stirling is a Fiction writer of Scottish origin, currently living in Cape Town with her Braveheart husband, awesome children, the happiest dog in the world, and her menacing cat (aka 'Devil Cat').

An unexpected gift resulting in a prophetic message prompted Ally to give her passion for writing the time it demanded, and in 2018 she joined Cathy Eden's Working with Words writers group. She credits the love, support, and inspiration of this group of talented women, her 'writing tribe' for encouraging her to put words on paper. She also joined (ROSA,) and while Romance is not her genre, this association has been an invaluable source of knowledge and insight into the indie publishing world.

Allowing her imagination freedom to roam resulted in various short stories, before one in particular rooted itself, evolving into her first full-length novel. This book has now become first in a series, with the second and third ready to follow, four and five in the planning stage. Who knew her characters would be so demanding.

Her love of writing fiction stems from her belief that it transports us to magical places when life gets too real.

Addicted to her friends, coffee, every colour of wine, and any type of chocolate, she describes her clan as the family and friends who have built her castle and keep her sane, without whom she'd be short on humour and drinking games.

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  1. Thank you for featuring Ally Stirling on your lovely blog today!

    Cathie xoxo
    The Coffee Pot Book Club