Monday, 24 January 2011

Welcome Marta Acosta!

I'm particularly thrilled to welcome Marta as our first guest of honour, because the whole idea of this blog - and indeed this party! - grew out of an email discussion with her. She is, if you like, the other parent :).

Marta is most famous for her wonderful and witty Casa Dracula novels, but if you frequent her entertaining blog, Vampire Wire, you'll know she also has a love of all things Scottish...

I was delighted when I was asked to contribute a story to The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance, but I told the editor Trish Telep, “I’ve only visited Scotland once, and all I know is from watching movies and posting Gerard Butler videos on my blog. And John Barrowman videos, and David Tennant tributes…” Trisha assured me that my extensive knowledge of Scottish culture vis a vis my blogging qualified me to write a Scottish romance.

So I put on the now ragged cashmere scarf I purchased on Princes Street and set to work. What was the allure of Scotland to someone from sunny California? First, it’s the memory of verdant green landscapes, the thrilling culture (how I long to go to the Edinburg Festival Fringe!), the antiquity and history. And, oh, my, the accents.

Our news announcers and show hosts have accents trained out of them and speak a Standard American English, as bland as dishwater. An accent flavors a story and conveys history and culture.  I am particularly fond of the Scottish brogue’s rolling r, because it’s luxurious and inviting.  A poem read aloud by someone with a brogue can make me weep. A joke can make me burst into laughter. A mystery can make me anxious and alert. And a love story with a brogue, well, that can make me believe in romance every time.

The delight of fiction is “what if?” My story, “Wolfish in Sheep’s Clothing,” is a what-if about a hard-working and too responsible young woman, Katherine Samuelson, who visits Scotland and decides to be a new person for one wild weekend in Edinburgh.  Yes, she meets a gorgeous man with a brogue – how did you ever guess?

Excerpt from Wolfish in Sheep's Clothing:

When she looked in the mirror, she saw a sophisticated and sexy woman, not the pretty, but rather ordinary girl-next-door she really was. She grabbed her ruined coat and went downstairs.

The hotel manager said, “Why aren’t ye bonny!  Special occasion, is it?”

“Yes, this is my first visit here. Can you tell me if there’s an internet cafĂ© nearby?”

“You can use the computer in our business center, sweetie.”

The business center was a closet with a narrow desk under the staircase. When she checked her email, there were several birthday greetings, including a dozen from Emma. All but one of them read “Happy birthday!”

The last message was odd, even for Emma, who’d written “Carpe diem. Dare to be someone different today...your wicked side. I saw it in a dream. Also, I have arranged a special birthday treat for you!  A visit to my mother’s cousin’s  historic castle. Will send details tomorrow. Cancel all other plans. Am I forgiven?”
Kathy smiled and wrote, “Weather is dreadful and so are you. Wish you were here. I’ll reserve the date.”  After thinking for a second, she added, “Forgiven for what?  Love, K,” and sent it off.

Kathy asked the hotel owner to call a cab, and the woman said, “You cannae go out in that coat.” She went to the office closet and brought back an old-fashioned moss-green mohair coat. “It’s warm and the color suits.  It’s been left here for years, so keep it.”

Kathy took the unexpected birthday present and said, “Thank you!  You’re too kind.”  A few minutes later, she was in the back seat of a small warm car, dashing up the hill toward Edinburgh Castle. The wet surfaces reflected shop lights and street lights, making the city look magical.

The restaurant was set beside theatres and bustling with Friday evening excitement. Kathy inhaled marvelous aromas as she took off her coat and left it in the cloakroom. As Kathy was escorted to her seat, men turned to watch, while women gave her more subtle once-overs.

The maitre d’ showed her to a table in a corner. It was too dark to study her guidebook here, but at least she could observe others. A waiter soon bustled over with a menu.
The prices were awfully high, though, and she was mentally converting pounds to dollars when the maitre d’ returned with a concerned smile.

“Yes?” Kathy said, looking up.

“I apologize for disturbing you, but we inadvertently doubled-booked a table and I thought you might not mind, considering the circumstances...”  He spoke with the precise accent of a BBC Scotland announcer.

“Mind what?” She hoped that he wasn’t going to ask her to move outside to the covered terrace, where latecomers huddled by patio heaters, because she wasn’t going to move, not on her birthday.

“I thought you might not mind sharing your table with another guest.”

Kathy wondered how she would have felt if her table had been given away. “Of course not,” she said, hoping that the other guest wasn’t talkative or rude.

“Thank you!  You’ve saved me and allow me to offer you a complimentary drink. What would you like?”

“I think a glass of champagne would be nice.”

“Only a glass?” said a deep voice with a warm soft brogue. “Why nae a bottle?”

Kathy turned her head and then she saw a gorgeous man – the careless man who had ruined her coat.

Marta Acosta website –
Marta Acosta’s Vampire Wire Blog –

Marta will give away a copy of the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance to one lucky winner who answers this question: What accent makes you melt? Or who comments on Marta's post in some other way. Sorry, the winner is limited to US addresses. Marta's contest will close at midnight tonight EST, and the winner will be posted on this thread.


  1. Love the excerpt, Marta :). Any plans to return to Scotland?


  2. Hi,

    Great opening post for the party!!

    And here am I, from England who now lives in Germany and I only got to Scotland one time in my life, last year while I was visiting my Mum in Londond, I took a weekend and went to visit Marie...but it was awful weather so I didn't see much outside her house, a short walk...but I did have a wonderful time.

    And it's definitly the Scottish accent that makes me melt...and I'm going to your blog Marta to see some of the delickable Gerard Butler...sigh!!!!


  3. mmm austrailian , the go'day mate makes me melt

  4. :)Valerie, I thought Marta's Gerard Butler videos might catch your attention!

    Hi Jennifer! I can see the charm... I used to share a flat with a very charming Australian :)


  5. A love story with a brogue...definitely sigh inducing. Great first party guest post, Marta. (and Marie)

  6. Loved the post! The excerpt you provided was fantastic and definitely makes me waht to read the book! As for your question....I'm partial to any accent that reminds me of anything UK it's Scottish, British, Irish, Welsh, Australian or even New Zeland....


  7. You want the god honest truth just about any accent lol. I know its kinda vegue but its not the accent that we are in search of but the exotic intreast. When you hear the accent it like you are transfered into a whole diffrent type of life and its an escape. I've heard Irish, English, and Aussies talk in person and it so intreasting just to hear the diffrence in the way we speak and they do.


  8. Hi Marta,
    I was in Scotland last September and it was quite an adventure. I already have the MAMMOTH BOOK OF SCOTTISH ROMANCE so leave me out of the contest, please. But I had to weigh in and say a Scottish accent makes me melt!!
    Enjoyed your excerpt.

    Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

  9. I have come to heckle Marta, as we Canadians all have a soft-spot in our heads...I mean hearts...for her. Marta, that was quite a nice post, actually, and it seems you really can write a story for a Scottish collection. Who knew? I guess I'll have to go buy it now.

    The melting accent for me is a tie between Scots and Italian. Hey, maybe you'll write an Italian short story next?!

  10. Goodness. British accents as a whole seem to be more popular than I'd imagined :).

    Meljprincess, can we ask what about your Scottish trip made it such an adventure?

    Drea,you're probably right. It's different accents from our own that make us thing exotic and interesting!


  11. I think after the Scottish, the Irish comes in a close second for me.

    Hi again,

    Just popping in between classes and have to run again in a bit.

    We have our English conversation evening tonight. We invite our participants to a restaurant nearby where we sit together, enjoy a drink or three and try to only speak in English. It's getting quite popular and we meet once a month.

    See ya later!!!


  12. Hi, everyone! Well, you all beat me to comment, because it's just morning now in California. The sun's out, so I've opened all the windows and am going to make coffee.

    -Marie, thanks so much for having me here! I'll be posting a link to this on my VampireWire blog. I don't have plans now to get back to Scotland, but I really really really want to go during the Festival Fringe. I'm a great fan of theatre and the performing arts.
    -Anon, I'll be posting some G. Butler videos at Vampire Wire today in honor of Marie's new site.
    -Jennifer, maybe I'll add a Hugh Jackman vid to my list. Now a man who says g'day and knows how to sing and dance and be a can't beat that.
    -Sarah, thanks! Writers have to seek a balance with dialect...If it's really accurate, the dialogue can't (cain't?) be understood by readers. I loved the series "Rebus" with John Hannah, but lost much of the dialogue.
    -Maria, hi! It makes me so sad that here in the US we've lost a lot of great regional dialects. I am very fond of a Texas twang, a story told with Kansan flair, and a variety of southern accents. I like Boston's various accents and am partial to the particular Baltimore-speak.
    -Drea, exactly! An accent conveys so much. I was taught by Irish nuns and still sit straighter when I hear an Irish accent.
    -Hi, MJ (Meljean is that you!), it kills me when foreign actors come to Hollywood and get directed in roles without their accents. Rufus Sewell cast as an American, agh! Oh, the days when someone would cast Sean Connery as a Philadelphia scion, or Russian naval officer, brogue and all.
    -Zita, heckle all you like. Italians! I've stayed in Italy and I never thought of writing a character with an Italian accent. They are fabulous. I will think on it.
    -Valerie, the Husband is from Argentina and has a fab accent. I told him he should teach a "How to talk like an Argentine" class for people going to visit Buenos Aires to study tango. It would involve waving your arms and hand gestures when you speak.

  13. Hi Marta. It's a pleasure, and thanks for the Mr. Butler videos on Vampire Wire :)

    Thinking of Sean Connery and actors' accents - does anyone remember the original "Highlander" film? So far as I can recall, Sean was the only Scot in that, and he played an Egyptian :). Accent and all.

  14. You may be right about Highlander, Marie, but as the movie said "there can be only one." Maybe they meant one Scottish actor?

  15. Love the Scottish accent! I don't hear alot of it in south Georgia but when I do my ears perk up.


  16. My choice would be Italian!

  17. Great way to kick the party off! Awesome!
    I love Marta's books and the excert is...I need to read it! lol
    Accents that just do it for me are Scottish and Irish, always have and always will. :)
    My dream is to visit both countries!

  18. Hi Marta! I just returned from a trip to Italy so I have to go with the Italian accent! Scottish accents are pretty much tied with Italian.

    GeishasMom73 on twitter

    user1123 AT comcast DOT net

  19. The Scottish accent always does it for me every time. I love the way they roll their r's. And the Irish accent isn't bad either.

  20. Hi Marta and Marie,

    Sean Connery is a great actor.I love all accents,I'm particular to Texas,Irish,and Scottish accents though.When the kids are older I would love to visit Scotland.Oh and the excerpt is great.I'll definently have to read this.And check out your other books!!!!


  21. is it wrong of me to say any accent?!?!?! But British or Australian would have to be my top two... OH SWOON!!!!!!

    Thank you for sharing with us...
    Can't wait to read.

    Kelly M

  22. That restaurant wouldn't be The Witchery, would it? We went there for my 21st (sometime last century) and I remember my then-partner being amazed at the bill. It also nearly caught fire, while we were there, but that wasn't our fault.

  23. My favorite accent would have to be a tie between Scottish and Irish. Love them both and am totally addicted to Scottish romance!! Yummy!!

  24. Scottish and British accents are my favorites :)
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  25. Waving to everyone! Great to hear all your accent preferences too - I can go with Italian...

    Zita - :)you may be right!

    Stephanie, there's a joke in there!


  26. Scottish and Australian are my two favorites! My hubby and I traveled all over Scotland. The place where we rented our car was surprised that we brought it back in one piece.

  27. Hi, Marta! I'm familiar with your Casa Dracula novels, but didn't know you'd branched out--how wonderfully exciting! Like other commenters, I'm a big fan of accents, but Scottish and Australian accents definitely make me swoon :) And how lovely that you can enjoy accented speech at home ;) Definitely let us know if your husband decides to get those classes off the ground! :) Thanks for the excerpt--a very fun peek at the story!

  28. Hi Marta and Marie :)
    Congrats on the cool blog Marie, I love the theme party idea.
    I have all the Casa Dracula books so far (Love'em )the excerpt ROCKS, I hope Kathy gives the coat spoiler a good setdown
    I melt at Irish and Scottish accents, they're just so sensual.

  29. Hi, look at all these comments! I'm thinking someone wants hawt Scottish stories.

    -Marie, I can't answer that question because I always get that movie mixed up with Outlander, with Sean wearing a banana hammock...and then my brain short-circuits.
    -Heather, there are theories that Scottish immigrants influenced the Appalachian accent.
    -Tetewa and Stacie, maybe Mammoth will come out with an anthology of Italian romances. I've spent time in Italy so I'd could come up with ideas.
    -Hi, Chris, hope you'll make your dream trip!
    -Stephanie, I should have linked to John Hannah reciting "Funeral Blues" which breaks my heart every time I hear it.
    -Anon, I have fond memories of Texan friends telling tall tales and laughing until it hurt.
    -Kelly, I posted a Hugh Jackman vid on my blog today, but I'll add another Aussie one tomorrow.
    -Stevie, now did the restaurant catch fire before or after you paid the bill? Just asking.
    -Tanya, good luck in the contest! If you google the book, some of the contributors have posted free reads of their stories.
    -Hi, ThroughtheHaze, one of my favorite Brit accents is Tim Curry's and his rich and decadent voice.
    -Cindy, what did you do to make the car rental agency suspicious?
    -Flchen1, when Trisha asked me for a story, I thought she wanted a paranormal. But I wrote the first paranormal as a one-off, little expecting that I'd write any others. I wish I could do any kind of accent. Does it count if my speech is totally affected? I can't talk normal if I try.

  30. Hi Mindy! Glad you like the theme party idea - it's certainly fun so far!

    Marta, affected is an accent too - in fact, lots of accents!


  31. Oh, A Scottish accent makes me melt....le sigh.

  32. Marta, we were young and we were Americans and the whole driving on the other side of the road thing. We put a ton of miles on that car and only hit a few curbs!
    I just rambled to Marie on a previous post about our adventures.

  33. I love British and Scottish accents, so sexy!

  34. I love accents esp. Irish,British and Australian but Scottish just does me in the most.


  35. Marie, I'm so glad you've created this fun blog!

    Cindy, yes, I had friends who crashed their cars that way. Didn't one country recently reverse the driving directions?

    Jeanette, without a doubt! Which is why I wish Hollywood would let actors keep their natural accents if it doesn't detract from a character.

    Gabrielle, no one has mentioned this, but I also love those too educated Indian accents. There are some academics who occasionally show up on news shows and CSPAN and they have amazing voices.

  36. Good excerpt. I love hearing the Scottish, Irish, or English accent. That's why I watch BBC America as often as I do. I have no trouble hearing and understanding the accents. Just love them!

  37. Ooh, this story sounds terrific! I'd really enjoy reading this anthology, I think.
    As for accents, I like most of them, but am particularly fond of any kind of British accent, as well as most Mediterranean.
    Thanks for the terrific giveaway!

  38. I love Scottish accents. Sean Connery. Sigh. I wish I could get my husband to imitate one on date nights. How cool would that be? *snort* Second would be Irish accents. Seriously, either one makes me melt.

  39. I'm a sucker for an Irish accent, always have been.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  40. Well, Scottish accents seem to have come out on top! I suspect you've never been in Glasgow city centre on a Friday night :).

    Thanks for all the fun answers! Marta, I'm glad I did too :).

    I'll be back soon with Marta's random winner...


  41. And Marta's winner of the Book of Scottish Romance is - MARIA (junegirl63)! Congratulations, Maria, you lucky woman! Please send me your postal address (

    Thanks for the generous prize, Marta!

  42. Wow I so want this Book.The Scottish and the Australian Accents make me Melt and Irish make me Smile

  43. Wow,

    So many comments already this morning. I think its very sexy when men have accents. I love the Scottish Brogue. I was at a Convention and this handsome man was decked out in full Tartan, Kilt and everything.

    I looked at him and said; "your really working the Kilt". He stopped and looked at me and said; "Well thank you Lassie", I litterly almost swooned. Marta this story sounds wonderful and wow what a Party your going to have.


  44. Gosh, I like an English accent, a Scottish burr, and a lilting Irish, but it's the Aussie that melts my bones.


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  45. Hi Stacey - so true, different accents have different effects!

    Good story, Teresa!

    Lisa, we have a lot of votes for the Aussie! Almost up there with Scottish :)


  46. Hi, everyone! Oh, the contest is over so soon? Well, congrats, Maria, I hope you'll like the book and my story!

    -She, I'm a fan of many BBC shows, including Torchwood where Scottish actor does a perfect American accent as Capt. Jack Harkness.
    -Kimberly, have you ever seen the show Top Chef? One chef, Fabio, was asked why his Italian accent is so thick even though he's been in the US for many years. He said, "The women love it." He's right!
    -Brenda, it is a twisted and brilliant idea to make your husband do a Sean Connery imitation.
    -Linda and Stacey, there was an Irish priest in my parish who was tall, blond, and stunning. All the women attended his mass.
    -Teresa, thanks for sharing that swoon-worthy story!
    -Lisa, and the thing about Aussie's is...they know how to party and they party hard.

    Marie, thanks so much for having me here and thanks everyone for your great comments!

  47. Did I end the contest too early, Marta? I thought it would be fun to have a different giveaway every day of the party, but maybe I should re-think for the next one!

    So Capt, Jack has a perfect accent? I often wonder about British actors playing Americans!


  48. Marie, seeing everything we could in ten days made it an adventure. There were some things we wanted to see but we were so tired we couldn't go see them. It was a whirlwind of a trip!

  49. Woohoo! I didn't even see that I had won till I went back over every post...emailing you now.

    Thanks to Marta for the contest and Marie for the concept!