Sunday, July 29, 2012

My New Scottish Novel!

Well, everyone, I am happy to announce that On a Foreign Field is finally available for purchase!! (Even a little earlier than I thought). It's also my first book available in both hardcopy and ebook. And I hope everyone is happy about the ebook because that was the most annoying thing I think I have ever dealt with (there will be a post on ebook formatting later), but I did it for my readers because you're who really matters at the end of the day =) Also, both versions will be on discount for the first month and lasting until the end of my blog tour (the full itinerary of which I will be posting when I have that information). Not only that, but Freedom Come All Ye and Ballad of the Highwayman are also discounted, (even if it doesn't say so, they do have a couple dollars taken off). And remember, ebook versions of those will hopefully be out within the next couple months! I'm working on it, and now that I know what to do, it will go a lot smoother. Also, I want to let everyone know that all my books are now available in the UK and Europe as well!

Here are the purchase links for On a Foreign Field

Createspace: (12.00 special right now!!)

Amazon/Amazon Kindle:

Smashwords: (2.99 special right now!!)

Slainte, Hazel

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Another Liebster Nomination!

Bonnets and Broadswords was just nominated for a Liebster Blog Award by Meg Hoover at Meg's Nature Photography Blog! My other blog, Character Purgatory, was nominated as well. (See here.) So I get to do this all over again.

Rules for the Liebster Blog Award

1. Each person must post 11 pacts about themselves.

2. Answer 11 questions the tagger has given you and give 11 questions for the person you tag.

3. Choose 11 people and link them to your post.

4. Tell them you've tagged them.

5. No tag backs.

11 Facts about Hazel West

1. My favorite writing snack is either cherry sours or animal crackers.
2. I've written three novels and four short stories about William Wallace.
3. I would love to go to Scotland someday.
4. I prefer to go book shopping instead of clothes shopping (in fact, I absolutely hate clothes shopping.)
5.I almost always wear jeans even though I live in sweltering Florida.
6. My favorite kind of shoes are boots.
7. I love hats.
8. I am currently accomplishing a writing goal by writing my first mystery novel.
9. I play piano, guitar, fiddle, tin whistle and bodhran (typical folk musician.)
10. I always wear some kind of ring on my fingers.
11. I shoot and English longbow.

Questions asked by

1. What is your favorite appetizer?
Chips and salsa

2. If you could so anywhere is the world where would it be?
Scotland, hands down.

3. If you could be transported to a different time period in history when would it be?
Victorian to live in, otherwise, I'd say medieval Scotland.

4. What's your favorite hobby?
Besides writing, I like to paint with watercolors.

5. What's your favorite book?
Something by Rosemary Sutcliff. I don't choose favorites ;)

6. What's your favorite flavor of Ice Cream?
Mint chocolate chip.

7. What would be your idea of a dream vacation?
Going to Scotland, England and Ireland and having unlimited funds!

8. What is your dream job?
Pretty much what I'm doing. Being a writer and a freelance and getting paid for it.

9. What's the worst store you have ever shopped at?
Wal Mart. Does anyone think differently on this subject?

10. What's your favorite smell?
Leather, wood and evergreen.

11. If you were a multibillionaire what would you build?
My writer's retreat!!!

My nominations for the Liebster Blog Award (I hope it's okay that I use the same ones I did on my other blog)

My 11 Questions

1. Coffee or tea?
2. What's the best book you read this year and what's the worst?
3. What's your favorite genre to read?
4. What's your favorite snack food?
5. Your favorite movie?
6. What's your favorite candle scent, or what would you love to have a candle scent of?
7. Your favorite vacation spot?
8. Your favorite article of clothing?
9. What's something you have always wanted to do?
10. Your favorite band?
11. What's a book you would recommend to anyone?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day 2012

Well, it just came to my attention that, while I have celebrated two St. Patrick's Days on this blog already, I have failed to write something about the history behind it!

Typically, St. Patrick's Day is just a saint's day commemorating St. Patrick who was the patron saint of Ireland. The reason it is quite well celebrated still today and so widely spread, is most likely the fact that it had a certain Irishness incorporated into it, such as wearing green, which started mostly in the 17th century.  This was only heightened during the 1798 Rebellion, where wearing green became more of a thing of patriotic pride than anything else.

Shamrocks were worn on St. Patrick's Day at about the same time green was; leprechauns, on the other hand, never have had anything particular to do with this holiday, and I think that's just some random things the American's threw into the mix. Leprechauns are simply characters from Irish folk and fairy tales. It's odd how random things like this get into the mix...

Here's a webpage that goes into the history of St. Patrick and St. Patrick's Day a bit:

So, wear green today, do something a little Irish, and Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!

Slainte, Hazel

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Burns Day! And The Second Anniversary

Hi everyone! I have several things to talk about today; first of all is that it's Burns Day, and I hope all of you having a Burns Night have a wonderful time and eat lots of haggis for me ;)

Here's your Burns Day song from me: Scots Wha Hae sung by the amazingly talented Scocha!

On another note, this is also the second anniversary of this blog! I really can't believe I have been writing for this for two years. It's been a lot of fun, and though I didn't do as much as I had hoped last year, I will not stop writing for Bonnets and Broadswords.

Due to my writing career, I regret to say that my posts will only be about as frequent as last year, but I will endeavor to post at least a couple things each month. This year, I am going to mainly be focusing on writing stories about legends or famous historical events that happened in Scotland. A lot of people enjoyed what I did for my Bruce month last year when I wrote short stories about some of his exploits. I want to do this again for other things, because I have come to a conclusion over my years of studying Scottish, and also Irish, history: The people and things that happened were really too beautiful or heartbreaking, or brave to be written into the typical textbook history format. They need to be told like the bards told them over the centuries. Who could come up with a story as heroic as the ones that Bruce and Wallace lived? Noble characters such as Montrose, and the real life Robin Hood, Rob Roy MacGregor? I love history for the stories and the people, and I want to keep it that way. There's nothing worse than someone beating the life out of history to study it. Do not study history: Enjoy it.

So that said, I hope that everyone has a wonderful year, and I hope to write at least a few wonderful stories that have caught my attention over the years in my own hand and carry on the long lost tradition of the Bards.

Slainte, Hazel

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Taking of the Stone of Destiny

While looking for an historic event that happened on Christmas Day in Scotland, the first thing that came to my mind was that Christmas Eve night in 1950 when four young people broke into Westminster Abbey, liberated the Stone of Destiny, and drove it back over the Border of Scotland.

The Stone of Destiny; the symbol of sovereignty in Scotland. Wherever the stone rested, there would Scotland be ruled, said the old legends. It was taken by Edward Longshanks during the Wars for Independence and brought to England, resting there for nearly seven centuries until a young man, Ian Hamilton, and three compatriots decided to take it back.

If you read Ian Hamilton's biography, Stone of Destiny, you find that he had grown up with stories of Bruce and Wallace and the devastation Scotland had suffered through the ages by many English rulers. Times in Scotland in the mid 20th century were hard, pleas for home rule kept being denied by Parliament; the people of Scotland needed a symbol to bring back their pride and Ian Hamilton and his three companions, Alan Stewart, Gavin Vernon and Kay Matheson decided they were going to take back the Stone of Destiny.

They planned for months, studying maps and layouts of the Abbey and procuring funds and everything they would need to do it. The entire story of the taking of the Stone is something right out of a fiction thriller, in fact, I've read fiction with less exciting plots! Going down to London in middle of winter, sleeping in freezing cars, nearly getting caught on more than one occasion, struggling to drag the stone out of the Abbey into their waiting vehicle... I'm not going to attempt to tell the whole story for I could not do the it justice here, so I would suggest highly that you all go and find a copy of Ian Hamilton's book. There's no better way to describe it than he does, for, obviously, he was there, and he lived it.

When they drove the Stone back over the Border, it was the first time the Stone had been back in Scotland since Longshanks took it in 1296. That Christmas Day in 1950 was one Scotland will remember for centuries to come as the day that true Patriots of Scotland won a victory as big as Bannockburn and brought hope back to the people.

They eluded the police for months, and probably never would have been found by them if they hadn't given the Stone back, putting it in Arbroath Abbey where the famous Declaration of Arbroath was signed by Robert the Bruce and his followers in 1320. The Stone was sent back to England, Ian and his friends were arrested, but never were put in prison, and Scotland was given the hope it needed to thrive once again.

And of course, now the Stone is back in Scotland where it belongs, having come over the Border in 1996 to much exaltation; then 1997 brought the Yes-Yes vote and Scotland's own Parliament.

So at the end of this post, I wish to quote that famous passage from the Declaration of Arbroath:

"For as long as a hundred of us remain alive, we shall not submit to the domination of the English. It is in truth not for glory, or honor, or riches that we fight, but for Freedom alone. Which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

Go read Ian Hamilton's book Stone of Destiny and also watch the wonderful film of the same name. Both are spectacular, and the fact that it's a true story only makes it more so.

Merry Christmas, and a Guid Hogmany to you all!

Alba gu Brath

Slainte, Hazel

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shortbread Galore

I just wanted to post a quick thanks to the people who sent me shortbread recipes, particularly, Karen and Mara who's recipes I tried yesterday and found they turned out quite wonderful! I even tried them on friends and we shared them over hot chocolate. Again, thank you very much! If anyone still has any recopies, you may send them, even any other traditional Scottish/Irish/English desert, especially surrounding the holidays would be a treat. =)

I feel terribly awful for not posting anything historical in a long time, but I have truthfully been so busy I have not had time to research. I usually wrote along the lines of what I was writing in novel form, but I have not been working on any particularly Scottish novels in a long time. However, I am planning a special Christmas post this week about a very wonderful, and amazing true story that happened on Christmas Eve and was to change Scotland forever. So keep a look out for that, and do have a wonderful holiday!

Slainte, Hazel

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wanted: Shortbread Recipes!

It's that time of year again. Autumn, Winter and--baking season! Because everyone needs a little extra fat to stay warm (and as long as you're diligent with your sword practice, there should be no blame!) Anyway, for a long time, I have been looking for the perfect shortbread recipe. I have one that tastes very good, but it's not the right consistency. It's too caky and not crispy or flakey enough. This holiday season, I'm asking everyone to share shortbread recipes or tips that will help me make the perfect shortbread! Because shortbread is at the heart of Scottish tradition and it's also very good with coffee!

If you want to share, just post it here, or if it's online, post a link. I'll be willing to try any suggestions that come in! I might even share a couple recipes this year as well!

Slainte, Hazel