A History of Kilts

A History of the Kilt, Part II

According to legend, in about 1720, a Quaker from Lancashire named Thomas Rawlinson was working with Ian MacDonnell, chief of the MacDonnells of Glengarry, on a charcoal and iron foundry near Inverness. While trying to fit in with the locals, Rawlinson had taken to wearing a feileadh beg, the common walking kilt of the day. While he may have enjoyed the freedom of movement and breezy circulation, he did note that the kilt was too bulky. He […] Read More

A History of Kilts

A History of the Kilt, Part I

Scotsmen, she had occasion to observe, often did have nice knees. Perhaps that was why they insisted upon kilts. — Gail Carriger If you’ve ever been to a Highland games, a Scottish wedding or just a pub crawl on Saint Patricks’ day, you’ve probably encountered lads in kilts. You might have worn one yourself. Right up there with good whiskey, bagpipes and haggis, there aren’t many things as traditionally Scottish as a kilt. And like […] Read More

The Caber Toss

A Bunch of Tossers

Few things put the “games” in Highland Games more than the caber toss. If you’ve ever been to a Scottish Festival, you probably had trouble missing those imposing men and women — also known as “throwers” or “tossers” — doing their able best to flip a telephone pole end over end. Like pretty much all traditional Highlands sports (including the hammer throw, stone put and sheaf toss), the caber toss involves one thing: throwing something […] Read More

Thou Shalt Not Kilt

Murder Isn’t Easy

No one ever said that murder was easy. After four years of writing, editing, setting aside, reconsidering and restarting, I published my first novel, Thou Shalt Not Kilt, this week (now available on Amazon — been waiting a long time to write that!). My goal was to drag it across the finish line ahead of my 50th birthday. I am proud to say that I finished almost a month earlier than planned. A few observations. […] Read More

Types of Murder Mysteries

Types of Mysteries, Part II

Last month we looked at some of the major types of murder mysteries in lit today. The Whodunit and the Hard-Boiled Detective are classic tropes in mystery fiction. Let’s finish up the list with four more favorites. The Pastiche is really big right now. You may not know the term, but if you’re into alt-history, you’ve probably read at least one. These are books written by one author in the style of another author. For […] Read More

Types of Murder Mysteries

Types of Mysteries, Part I

There really must be a murder, or at least a major felony — otherwise, what’s the point? Who’s ripping off the hand towels at the Dorchester Hotel is hardly the business of a mystery novel. — Howard Haycraft When I say I am a novice writer, people ask, “What kind of books do you write?” “Well,” I answer, “I’m writing a mystery.” “Ooh,” they often reply, “I love Agatha Christie.” While it’s not exactly a […] Read More

A Clever Game of Murder

A Clever Game of Murder

Driving to Nashville last week, a friend asked me, “Why a mystery? Why choose to start your writing career with a cozy?” Simple. There’s something viscerally satisfying about a mystery novel. We encounter murder, intrigue and misdirection. As in life, we face problems that seem to have no answers. Unlike in life, each death or mishap is (eventually) followed by a tidy, fulfilling resolution. And I discovered this gratification early in life within the pages […] Read More

Literary Podcasts

A Healthy List of Literary Podcasts

Writing, I have found, is good for my health. Over the past few months, I have been focused on wrapping up my first novel, Thou Shalt Not Kilt. My best editing is done in my head, and it comes together nicely when I walk. Every night I’ve been putting in 30 minutes to complete a few laps around the block. The results have been fantastic — both for my book and my blood pressure. My […] Read More