Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Jessi Gage Guest Blog and Giveaway: Kilts

Today is exceptionally special because I have the honor of introducing you all to Jessi Gage, my dear friend, critique partner, and the talented author of WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER, which debuted this week. It has been a lot of fun seeing this book grow from its earliest stages where Jessi was just tossing ideas around to the polished piece of humor and heart that is now available in stores. I am so proud of Jessi and thrilled about this book, which stars one of my favorite romance heroes. So, without any further ado, it is my pleasure to give Jessi the stage so she can share with you all about the misconceptions about that glorious Scottish garment, the kilt.

While examining Andrew Carnegie’s lucky rosewood box, single-and-pregnant museum worker Melanie makes a tongue in cheek wish on the artifact--for a Highland warrior to help her forget about her cheating ex. Suddenly transported to the middle of a clan skirmish in sixteenth-century Scotland, she realizes she should have been a tad more specific.

Darcy, laird in waiting, should be the most eligible bachelor in Ackergill, but a cruel prank played on him in his teenage years has led him to believe he is too large under his kilt to ever join with a woman. He has committed himself to a life of bachelorhood, running his deceased father's windmills and keeping up the family manor house...alone.

Darcy's uncle, Laird Steafan welcomes the strangely dressed woman into his clan, immediately marrying her to Darcy in hopes of an heir. But when Steafan learns of her magic box and brands her a witch, Darcy must do what any good husband would--protect his wife, even if it means forsaking his clan.

WARNING: A pregnant museum worker, a sixteenth-century Scot, and a meddlesome wishing box.

 Thanks so much for having me, Laura! Not only are you one of my favorite bloggers for your wonderful breakdowns of fantasy novels with strong female characters, but you are a dear friend, talented writer, and steadfast critique partner. It's such an honor to write a guest post for your blog today and to talk about my new release with Lyrical Press, WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER.

I read a lot of historical Scottish time-travel romance (Yes, that is a subgenre, and it is immensely popular thanks to writing giants like Sandy Blair, Connie Brockway, Diana Gabaldon, Julie Garwood, Karen Marie Moning, and many others). One of the first things I learned in reading in a historical Scottish setting was that kilts are called plaids…even if they're not patterned with what you and I think of as plaid *picturing the Scotch Tape Logo here* And that is just one of the many misconceptions about kilts that diverge from historical truth. Here are a few misconceptions about kilts that readers of historical Scottish fiction might be familiar with (much of this information was found on the Scottish Tartans Museum:

Misconception 1: Kilts were worn in Scotland all the way back to ancient times.

Not true. Kilts don't appear in Scottish historical record until the 16th century. Many historical romances are set earlier than that, and yet we almost always see the hero in a kilt. This is an artistic liberty that I, for one, approve of because it is just plain fun to picture a muscle-bound, broadsword-carrying Highlander in a beautiful tartan kilt…especially if he has no shirt on underneath, which was not historically accurate nor prudent in the often chilly Highlands.

Misconception 2: Kilts are garments worn much like a pleated skirt.

Well, sometimes. But not always. The belted, skirt-like kilt ("small kilt" or "walking kilt") is actually a fairly modern version of the traditional plaid, which was essentially a length of wool measuring up to 7 yards in length (60 inches wide) that would be wrapped around the upper body as well as the hips and legs in intricate pleats and folds. This style is called a "great kilt" or "belted plaid" and is often shown with a "shoulder wrap" or worn "cloak style".

Misconception 3: Kilts were always patterned with the traditional "plaid" stripes of varying colors.

The image that comes to mind when we think about "clan tartan" includes bright colors, sharp lines and checked patterns, family crests, and national pride. Unfortunately, in historical periods, bright dyes were not available. When they did become available, they were usually reserved for royalty and the very wealthy. Only in fairly modern times have bright tartans become available for the masses, certainly not in medieval or late medieval times.

The root of the word "tartan" is French and refers to the wool fabric itself and not the pattern dyed into it. Similarly, the term "plaid" historically referred to the cloak-like or great-kilt garment itself rather than the pattern of the fabric.

Misconception 4: Only men wore kilts

This is kind of true and kind of not. Women did wear a version of the great kilt. It was called an earasaid and was worn cloak-style over a dress.

So, are there kilts in WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER? Heck yes. I describe the hero as wearing a shoulder-wrapped great kilt dyed a muted brown. The garment itself likely wasn't something a common Highland man would have worn in the early sixteenth century, but the color would have been appropriate to the period.

I know after reading all this, you’re asking yourself, how can I get my hands on WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER?

Buy links are at the bottom of this post, but you can also enter the GIVEAWAY I’m holding this week to celebrate my very first release. Two ecopies of WISHING FO A HIGHLANDER are up for grabs. To enter the drawing, commenters should (1) leave their email address and (2) answer the following question: If you could play dress-up and put a kilt on any celebrity and take pictures to your heart’s content, who would you choose?

My answer: Simon Cowell, because I think he’d look hot in a kilt, and he’d be scowling the entire time, which would just make him sexier.

For more chances at a free ecopy of WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER, swing by my blog and comment over there on any post I put up between 1/7/13 and Friday 1/11/13. Winners will be notified by email on Saturday 1/12/13.

If anyone would like more information about WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER or my other works, they are more than welcome to swing by my blog or website.

Thanks again for having me, Laura! This book would not have been possible without your friendship and support, and it’s AWESOME to be able to share this new release celebration with you and to know that your day is coming very soon with RED AND THE WOLF.

Lyrical (50% off for the month of January)

Jessi Gage Bio

Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. In addition to writing paranormal romance, she’s a wife, a mom, an audiologist, a church-goer, a Ford driver, a PC user, and a coffee snob. Her guiding tenet in her writing is that good triumphs over evil, but not before evil gives good one heck of a run for its money. The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.


  1. I cannot wait to read this!! I didn't know it was a time travel and so I'm even more eager!

  2. Lots of cool background on the history of kilts. Most of that was news to me. Fun post, Jessi. I'm looking forward to diving into this book! :)

  3. Okay, I'll play. LOL! I'd dress up Stuart Townsend in a kilt, but I might not have much time to take pictures...

    This sounds like a great book BTW!


    1. Yeah, I'd like to see him in a kilt too:) Thanks for commenting!

  4. Thank you so much for having me, Laura!

  5. Thanks again for having me, Laura! I wanted to announce the winners of my giveaway. One is from your blog! Congratulations to Angela! The other winner, Betty, commented on RR@H Novel Thoughts & Book Talk. I'll be notifying the winners by email but wanted to let you know here in the comment thread for the post who the winners were!

  6. Jessi, it was a pleasure.

    And congratulations to Angela and Betty. I hope you enjoy Wishing for a Highlander half as much as I did.