Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marsali Taylor Death on a Longship Blog Tour with Giveaway and Guest Post

Marsali’s Bio

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland’s scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland’s distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.


Marsali’s Website


Attica Books

I am so excited to have Marsali Tayler Guest Post with a Giveaway at Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews.

Marsali Taylor  is currently touring to promote hers new release Death on a Longship.

Thank you Attica Books, Marsali and Sourcebooks for letting me join your blog tour with a Guest Post and Review.

Please take it away Marsali!

Death on a Longship by Marsali Taylor

The low, heather hills and stony beaches of Shetland are filled with strange creatures, says Marsali Taylor, author of the newly-published Death on a Longship.

I found the way into my heroine, Cass, when I remembered one of our local folk-tales: the selkie wife.

It's an old Shetland tale: the seal woman who's shed her skin to dance as a human on a moonlit beach - except that a young fisherman's watching, and hides her skin, trapping her in the land world. When Cass was a teenager, I decided, she was wrenched from her Shetland life, where she spent her time messing about in boats. Her father was given a job in the Gulf, and sent her to her mother, now pursuing her singing career from an elegant flat in Poitiers, France. Cass felt ' heartsick for the tide flowing past in jagged waves, the sucking noise of the breakers on the shore, the tell-tales fluttering white on Osprey’s red jib ... These French girls were land people, and I was plunged in among them like the selkie wife who’d lived as a seal among currents, suddenly married to an earthling and having to talk of supermarket prices and new sofas with the other wives.'

That was the key I'd needed. Like the selkie wife, Cass is used to a grey, blue, silver wilderness of sea and sky. She's fearless, self-reliant, quick-thinking, practical. This crowded green land world, with birds gossiping in the trees and people scurrying like ants, is alien territory, a temporary halt between voyages, so she's never tried to make it home, any more than you'd buy ornaments for a motel bedside table.

Writing through Cass's eyes, I consciously took on her world, deleting all land comparisons. When she finds a dead woman on her foredeck, it looks ' like a marionette washed up by the tide, the manicured nails still gleaming like shells in the bloody mess the gulls had made of the exposed hands.'

The Selkies aren't Shetland's only mysterious creatures. In her next adventure, Cass is going to get into trouble investigating a Trowie mound - the home of trows, mischevious little humans who dress in brightly coloured clothes. In any traditional crofthouse, it was important to get the trows on your side. They were liable to cause a lot of damage if you left the main room in a mess overnight, playing pranks like spilling the milk and throwing earth on the floor - but if you pleased them by keeping neat and tidy, they might help out with an extra bit of cleaning. They'd kidnap human babies, and leave one of their own instead. They loved music so much that they had an awful habit of kidnapping some poor fiddler to play for a trowie wedding … he'd think he'd been there just for a night, but when he'd emerge from the grassy mound, blinking in the daylight, then everyone he knew would be dead, for over seventy years had passed…

Trows could well be a mixture of the Viking folk-creatures, trolls, and a memory of the Picts, who were driven into the hills when the Norsemen came, for they too dressed in bright colours, liked music and lived in wheelhouses that looked like green mounds.

Another creature who could be a long distant memory could be the mysterious Finns, tall, fair wizards who came from overseas - the Vikings themselves?

A Norse tradition that's still strong in the isles is what Shetlanders would call yarning. The Vikings were great story-tellers, and created long sagas about their history - that's how we know the story of Floki the Navigator, whose daughter has a district named after her, Girlsta, Geirhilda's place. Shetland men are still great story-tellers - get one going by the fire on a winter's evening, and you might hear stories of trows, or the Finn-men, or the tale of the 'Thief o da Neam', who lived on stolen sheep in a cave half-way up a cliff, or 'Jeemie's giant skate', a fish so large its wings touched both sides of the bay at once!

I'll end with a word of warning. Everyone loves Shetland ponies, those tubby, hairy sparks of mischief who won't walk if they don't feel like it, but can gallop lightning-fast, short legs drumming like pistons, if there's food offered ... but if you're in Shetland on a misty night, and see a most beautiful Shetland stallion grazing by the roadside, with his black coat gleaming like the silver on his saddle and bridle, then don't you go for a ride! No matter how friendly he seems, he's one of the nastiest creatures going, the dreaded njuggle, who'll plunge straight into the nearest loch with you and drown you - and don't think your body will ever be found, either, for he'll take you straight to his lair, under the mill wheel, and that will be the end of you!

Maybe Cass, my heroine of Death on a Longship, was right when she decided to spend her life at sea ...

Death on a Longship Blurb

When she talks her way into a job skippering a Viking longship for a Hollywood film, Cass Lynch thinks her big break has finally arrived - even though it means returning home to the Shetland Islands, a place she hasn't set foot on since she ran away as a teenager to pursue her dreams of sailing. When a dead woman turns up on the boat’s deck, Cass, her past and her family come under suspicion from the disturbingly shrewd Detective Inspector Macrae.

Cass must call on all her local knowledge of Shetland, the wisdom gained from years of sailing, and her glamorous, French opera singer mother to clear herself and her family of suspicion - and to catch the killer before Cass becomes the next victim.

Giveaway Info

Marsali is giving away THREE prizes; a copy of Death on a Longship at each blog stop on her tour, a 1st place grand prize giveaway at the end of the tour of some silver Viking-inspired jewelry from the Shetland Islands, and a 2nd place $15 Amazon gift card.

1) To win a book: leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win a book (open internationally for ebook or the US, UK, and Canada for a print book). Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.

2) To win Viking-inspired Jewelry OR a $15 Amazon gift card: Click the link to go to the contest’s website and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post. A first and second place lucky winner will be selected on October 1st. First place person gets to choose which grand prize he/she wants. The second place person gets the remaining grand prize. Open to every country.

Here’s the contest’s website >

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

Karysa Faire said...

I'm excited to sit down and read this book. The reviews I've read have all been glowing. :-) Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

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