Grand Central Publishingseducingscottishbride5b15d1-21

 March 2009

 ISBN: 10-446-19529-4

He risked everything to love her… Lady Gelis MacKenzie, one of the most desirable heiresses in the Highlands, yearns for love. When a vision shows her a darkly seductive man, she knows she’s seen her future betrothed. But when she finally meets the handsome stranger, she finds a man who has endured more than any warrior can bear. She must use all her wiles to convince him that love is worth any challenge. With his dashing good looks and smoldering eyes, Ronan MacRuari, known as the Raven, is every woman’s dream. Yet with his late wife newly buried and the MacRuari curse haunting him, he weds only to satisfy his clan. Refusing to believe in curses, Gelis trusts the magic of her second sight. As she kisses away the Raven’s doubts, she unleashes a torrent of desire. Yet Ronan knows that loving Gelis places her in mortal danger. Soon he’ll fight dangerous forces to protect her as only a Highlander can — with his whole heart, his honor, and his life….


*** Highland Second Sight – The Truth Revealed

Thank you so much for inviting me here today, Wendy. I’m delighted to have a chance to chat about my latest Scottish medieval, Seducing A Scottish Bride.

 I’ve been wanting to write Gelis’s story ever since she came into her own as a character in Bride For A Knight. Vibrant, lively, and bold, she’s the strongest heroine I’ve ever written. Of course, as Devil In A Kilt Duncan’s favorite daughter, it shouldn’t be surprising that she’s quite a handful. In the opening of Seducing A Scottish Bride, she also learns that she’s inherited her mother’s gift of second sight.

And it is this amazing talent – Highland second sight – that I’ve chosen as my blog topic.

 Many Scottish-set historicals have characters with second sight. Mine certainly do, beginning with Linnet in Devil In A Kilt and now Arabella. And there is my meddlesome crone, Devorgilla, who has the sight and then some!

So the sight – also known as Celtic precognition – isn’t something unusual to find in romances. There are, however, quite a few misconceptions about the sight. So I thought I’d take you outside the realm of fiction and do some nitty-gritty second sight myth busting.

Probably the greatest misconception is that second sight is a thing of the past. That simply isn’t so. It certainly does exist in our modern day world. Even if many people nowadays regard it as folklore.

It might be my own personal experience, but I have yet to meet a Highland Scot who does not believe in it. Such belief is even greater in the Gaelic speaking regions of the more remote Highlands and the Isles. Quite a few people in these areas of Scotland either have it themselves or they know someone who does. My own grandmother had it and although I do not, I am highly intuitive. Sometimes I just know things and these gut feelings are usually spot on.

Another myth is that second sight is more prevalent among women. Truth is that anyone who studies old Celtic lore and knowledge will soon discover that much more often men are gifted with the sight.

Something else of note is that many people so gifted, do not consider second sight a gift at all. Quite a few seers that I’ve researched and also some that I know personally or have spoken with, say they would prefer not to have it.

In fiction – and real life – many seers are sought after for their ability to foretell the future. The sight is wrongly believed to function like carnival crystal-ball gazing or other forms of divination. Fact is, a true seer’s visions are spontaneous and cannot be forced.

One thing some seers can do is use touch to enable another person to see the vision. This is just one of the many and fascinating facets of Highland Second Sight and I used this ability in Seducing A Scottish Bride as you can see in the following excerpt…

(Set-up ~ Gelis has ‘seen’ a stone that the Raven’s ancestor, Maldred the Dire, took from a standing circle and then used as a crest stone. She is about to tell the Raven she has the sight and also wishes to let him see the stone. Torcaill is an Archdruid and friend to the Raven)

Excerpt is in the Raven’s point of view:

     Clearly bent on bedeviling him, Gelis remained where she stood, not budging an inch. 

     “There are things we must discuss.”  Her eyes gleamed and a swirl of rose-scented warmth seemed to slide around him, almost a caress.  “Matters of great import that have naught to do with Maldred the Dire.”

     Ronan drew a breath, tried hard not to move.

     Speech was out of the question.

     His most damnable bits were reacting to her. 

     Mere stirrings as yet, but if she kept taunting him, a full-fledged river of heat would soon pour into his loins and then he’d be hard-pressed to resist her.

     Seemingly oblivious – or perhaps not – she lifted a hand to his face.  “Look ,” she urged, “see what I can show you.”

     “Show me?”

     She nodded.  “You know my mother has the sight?  I-”

     “You have the same gift.”  He made the words a statement.  “Torcaill said you did.”

     “He spoke true,” she admitted, her chin lifting.  “And sometimes, if a seer touches someone, that person can see what the seer does.”

     Ronan swallowed, quite certain he didn’t wish to peer into any such image.

     Not now, not on the morrow, and not even next year.

     Perhaps never.

     But already she was pinning him with her gaze and resting her palm against his cheek.  Her fingers slid down to touch his mouth, lingering there as the room darkened around them and he lost sight of her, seeing instead Maldred’s blight of a crest stone.

     “By glory!”  He stared, but the thing was truly there, hovering before him.

     No longer cracked and crumbling, the stone shimmered with a brilliance that hurt his eyes.  The sculpted raven, its proud outline barely visible on the stone as he knew it, looked almost alive.  Glistening feathers seemed to ripple in a distant wind and two curving horns that he’d ne’er before seen appeared to rise from the bird’s head. 

     But before he could focus on this wonder, she took her hand from his face and the fleeting image faded, disappearing as if it’d never been.

     Ronan blinked.

     He put his own hands to his head, pressed his fingers against his temples.

     “I canna believe you did that.”  He looked at her.  “How-”

     She gave a light shrug.  “I do not understand how or why such a wonder is possible.  My mother warned me that it is so.  A marvel to be accepted not questioned.”


More common would have been for Gelis to place her foot over the Raven’s.  As I write romance, I opted to have her touch his face.  She could also have used an incantation.  Such variations apply to all aspects of true Celtic precognition.  Many are the ways a seer finds him-or-herself so gifted.  Some, like Linnet in Devil In A Kilt, inherit the gift because they are the seventh son or daughter of a seventh son or daughter.  Others, like Gelis, develop the talent later in life, seemingly out of the blue. 

Some seers in past centuries claimed their gift was bestowed on them by fairies.  One of Scotland’s most famous seers, Coinneach Odhar aka The Brahan Seer, wasn’t a seer in the traditional sense at all.  His prophecies were stunningly accurate, but he saw his visions by gazing through a small stone that had a hole in it.  There are variations on how the stone came into his possession.  Some say a fairy gave it to his mother, telling her to give it to Coinneach when he turned seven.  Other tales claim he found the stone in a raven’s nest.


Below is a photo of Fairburn Tower on the Black Isle (near Inverness) and associated with one of the Brahan Seer’s prophecies against the Mackenzies of Fairburn.  The seer predicted that the tower would stand uninhabited, desolate, and forsaken.  Further, he claimed that a cow would give birth in the uppermost chamber, as would a pig.  Historical fact: it all came to be.  In 1827, two men visiting the ruin were making their way up the crumbling stairs when they were nearly knocked down by several pigs barreling past them down the stairs.  The pigs had been nesting in upper rooms.  Years later, a farmer used the used the ruin as a barn and a cow, attracted by the hay, found her way into the ruin and up the stairs where – ta da! – she indeed gave birth in the uppermost room.



Coinneach Odhar made several other prophecies about Fairburn Tower, including that a rowan tree would one day grow from the tower’s roof.  All of his predictions came true, including the rowan tree, though it is no longer there.


I enjoyed exploring Fairburn Tower and have visited other sites associated with the Brahan Seer’s prophecies.  That’s one of the most wonderful things about Scotland.  So much of the past is still there, living and tangible proof of the rich Celtic heritage that steeps the Highlands.


It is difficult to walk about in such places and not be awed.  And prophecies such as Coinneah Odhar and other seers made are just the tip of the Highland sight iceberg.  Precognitive dreams is yet another way the sight works.  In these instances, the seer isn’t overcome by a sudden vision but simply dreams the event.


In Gaeldom, animals were also thought to be gifted with the sight.  They certainly were thought to be able to see apparitions.  Animal behavior was closely observed because it was believed that things like raised hackles, howling, or seemingly senseless tail-wagging or staring at something that wasn’t there, could all indicate a coming event.


Carefully observed, too, were the little details of a vision.  They helped reveal the meaning.  If a vision appeared to be in early morning, it was thought that the event was imminent.  If at noon, then the event could be expected sometime that day.  And if the vision has an after-dark appearance, it could be anywhere in the future.


It would require a book to list all the variations of Highland second sight.  One thing seers always seem to agree upon is that their gift should never be used for gain or amusement.  In accordance with this conviction, many Highland seers practice a ‘barter system’ with those they are able to help.  Locals often keep the village seer well supplied with, say, a brace of pheasant, plump salmons, or bottles of fine single malt.  Or perhaps, if the seer is old and not too fit, they’ll make sure that he has plenty firewood or that his croft’s peat stack is dry and well-supplied.  Those seers who have broken the taboo of using their gift for profit often lose it.  Sometimes in quite literal and telling ways, such as by having their eyesight weaken or developing an illness that makes it difficult for them to speak.


In Seducing A Scottish Bride, Gelis is convinced that her gift of sight is revealing a very urgent and special message to her.  I don’t want to reveal what it is, but I will say that she’s determined to use her talent to help a clan – and a glen – that she’s convinced has been blighted too long.  And, of course, along the way, she hopes to win her Raven’s heart.  She does, naturally.  The book wouldn’t be a romance if she didn’t.  But I sure had fun helping her achieve her goals.  I hope you’ll enjoy her journey.


I hope, too, that you’ve found the above discourse on Highland second sight to be interesting.  Everything noted above is just a fleeting skim across the surface.  I wish I had the time and space to give you a more in depth look, but I encourage the curious to research on their own. 


My questions to you – do you believe in second sight?  Or know someone who has it?  Are you, like me, highly intuitive?  Do you just know things sometimes?  If you could have such a gift, would you want it?


I’m giving away three signed copies of Seducing A Scottish Bride.  Good luck to those who comment.


To find an excerpt and to see setting photos for Seducing A Scottish Bride please visit my website: and click on “To Learn More About This Book” next to the cover on the home page.  More of my Scotland photos can be seen on my Allie Mackay website:


Thanks so much, Wendy, for having me.  To everyone else … Alba gu brath!  (Scotland forever)