Cattle in Highlands

A Highland Tryst, Without Leaving My Couch

Being Alien, fourth book in my Other Worldly series, is nearing completion, and it’s a bittersweet feeling. I’m not ready to leave Scotland.

Drafting final chapters of a novel is like completing a puzzle, or packing to move. Making sure to include every last tidbit of text to wrap up the story, but in the right chapter, at the right time, while setting the stage for the next book in the series. Nothing left behind, except perhaps those items that just won’t fit in that oddly shaped space in the final box.

But just as I’m reticent to move on from a story and its characters after reading a favorite novel, this writer isn’t ready to leave the world of Being Alien behind. It’s been different from previous tales in the Other Worldly series because it is set first in England, then in Scotland, before protagonist Rowan Layne finally returns home to Las Vegas at the story’s end.

I’d had hopes of returning to Scotland, where I studied law one summer more than thirty years ago, in preparation to write this book. I wanted to revisit places I’d been, and discover marvels of a few more, including the Isles of Skye and Lewis. But due to COVID restrictions, it was not to be.

Instead, I got out my old photo albums. And remembered how chilly a summer in Scotland can be, yet also enrapturing. Endearing. Enchanting.

Thanks also to the wonders of the internet, I travelled throughout Great Britain these past few months—without ever leaving my couch.

I was inside London’s Buckingham Palace, as well as Parliament with its imposing, elaborate gilded décor.

I selected fabulous meals from trendy restaurant menus, complete with whisky cocktails, wine, Scottish crab and lobster, plus “a sweet” for dessert. Indeed, I was dining online so much, I knew to the day, the very moment when eateries reopened after more than a year of closure. It was uplifting to share in that joy, if only from afar, of life stirring after a long respite. A modern-day Brigadoon.

I stayed in a historic, romantic boutique hotel next to the gates of Edinburgh Castle, and visited ancient stone circles at Stonehenge in England, and on Scotland’s Isle of Lewis. I was even on the famed Old Course in St Andrews, where golf carts are called buggies. No, I did not play golf. But Rowan Layne’s golf-obsessed family members did.

I strolled among castle ruins, and in fabled London and Scottish pine forests. I tasted thistle honey and learned of the imperiled plight of Earth’s honeybees. And I stood on the banks of both the River Ness and Loch Ness at Urquhart Castle.

Did I see Nessie rising from the depths of its murky, fog-enshrouded waters? Perhaps. But she might not be what you think she is. And about those mysterious voices in the forest stirring up whirlwinds…

Scotland is a land of spectacular natural wonder, rich in lore, and Rowan Layne finds herself wondering if she might like to stay there, where her ancient ancestors once dwelled.

This writer is also reluctant to leave the heather-scented land of Highland cattle and bleating sheep. Of rugged sea coasts, puffins, pools and waterfalls. Bagpipes, bonny men, and delightful brogues.

But I must move on, because Rowan Layne and her alien pals have more adventures ahead, at home in Nevada, and in outer space.



4 thoughts on “A Highland Tryst, Without Leaving My Couch”

    1. Chuck Oddenino

      My college roommate Michael Holland had a half dozen of those cows. Diid you go to Kinchylie, on the edgecof Loch Ness? Home of the McBean clan (mine, on my mother’s side)

      1. Lauryne Wright

        No, I didn’t make it to Kinchyle, but I did go to the edge of Loch Ness, both in 1990, and in this book. A very dramatic scene takes place there 🙂
        Clan MacBean, or MacBain, are Highlanders. A famous member, Gillies MacBean, fought at the Battle of Culloden. Did you know the clan motto is “Touch not a Catt bot a Targe,” and the clan crest is a wildcat holding a shield. Gotta love that.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *