Anita Clenney talks about hunky Highlanders

I want to thank Lindsay for having me at Murders and Mysteries to talk about how I built my paranormal world. The second book in my paranormal series, Embrace the Highland Warrior, will be out in just a few days. This book continues with the Connor Clan and will wrap up some mysteries left over from the first book, and introduce a lot more.

I’ve always been fascinated with the paranormal, things that can’t be explained, but when I started writing it never occurred to me to write a paranormal story. Since I’ve always loved mysteries and romance, that’s what I wrote…romantic suspense. But almost immediately, my love of the supernatural started seeping into my writing. I was playing around with an idea of someone finding an ancient warrior who was buried but not dead. About this time, I had a dream that I couldn’t shake. It was about evil hiding in plain sight behind a handsome face. I won’t go into all the details, but this dream rattled me to the bone. And the idea for Awaken the Highland Warrior was born.

In keeping with my dream, I needed evil creatures hiding in plain sight behind pleasant faces, hence my demons. Building on that, I borrowed Michael the Archangel, the warrior angel, said to battle evil forces among us, strong enough to cast Lucifer and his dark angels
from heaven. But I wanted Michael working behind the scenes, ordering my warriors on their missions.

My warriors, where would they come from, who were they? They had to be powerful warriors, human, but super strong. Who better than highlanders, with their reputation for fighting so fiercely and passionately to protect their clans? My warriors needed that same passion and protective spirit, but they fight for all of humanity. In this world I’ve created, there are warriors on every continent, but this series deals with the highland warriors.

And we ladies like our highlanders. We picture them all as handsome and strong, but even if they weren’t as braw as the models gracing the covers of the highlander books today, please let us enjoy our myths.

So I had my plot, evil demons disguised among us, trying to destroy humans, and I had my fierce highland warriors, as well as an archangel orchestrating the battles. Now I needed women who would meet these warriors toe to toe and lip to lip. I love a strong heroine; not a men-are-scum, trash-talking heroine, but a woman who knows she’s just as good as any man, and that he’s also just as good as her. One who’s smart enough not to sit around
waiting for a man to rescue her, but also smart enough to know that everyone needs help. And since I love hidden things, I started with a historian who’s obsessed with finding hidden things. The second heroine has discovered that her whole life was one big lie, and just when she thinks she’s over the betrayal, it only gets worse. I decided that the warriors and their mates would be destined, which made it all the more fun. My tagline sums it all up. Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil, and Destined Love.

Now that I had the pieces in place, I had to create the rules. This is fun, but it gets tricky. You need to be specific enough to make it believable, but vague enough to allow to story to broaden. I’ve layered the mysteries in each book and some are woven throughout the
series. Sometimes it feels as if the warriors are part of my family. I hope that readers have as much fun reading these stories as I had writing them.

Here’s a blurb for Embrace the Highland Warrior:

Cody McBain’s family spent over two decades protecting the identity of a powerful female warrior who was targeted by an ancient demon when she was a child. Fearing for her life, they even kept the secret from her, but years later, when she discovered that her entire life had been a lie, she turned her back on her clan and Cody, who had
been her best friend since childhood. Now, the demon who left Shay for dead has
discovered her empty grave and is looking for vengeance, believing she possesses an ancient book he has sought for centuries. But the vampires also want the book.

Shay knows she can’t fight this evil alone, so she returns to her clan and the Scottish Warrior who betrayed her…the only man she’s ever loved, where she discovers that betrayal isn’t always what it seems. Sometimes it’s far worse.

And if you’d like to read an excerpt, you can check it out here on my website.

Do you have a favorite paranormal legend or myth? Or one that just irks you? One commenter will win an autographed copy of Embrace the Highland Warrior, along with a copy of Lindsay’s new book, A Body in the Attic when it comes out.

And if you get a chance, stop by my regular blog, Mysteries and Margaritas where author Kerri Nelson is guest blogging for me today about Cliffhangers, and talking about her new book, Courting Demons.

Yes folks, I’ll also be throwing in a copy of A Body in the Attic which has an interesting history in itself. Many time we are asked where we get ideas for our stories. Well, the idea for my book actually came from an exchange of comments with Anita back in April
of this year when she was promoting her soon to be released Awaken the Highland
Warrior. In the comments she started talking about attics and the secrets they could hold.

From those back and forth comments the seed was planted for my story. I felt it only right that I include Anita in the story. Since I don’t use real names of people I know, unless they are either a victim or villain, in other words people I don’t like, I took the ‘A’nita and
‘C’lenney and came up with Annabelle Carlyle.

That’s all I’m allowed to say about the story, except, expect to see Dakota at his best to date.

Anita Clenney grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle
factory (picture Lucy and Ethel–lasted half a day)…she realized she’d missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense  about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids. You can learn more about her writing at



This entry was posted in Anita Clenney, Barbie Jo Mahoney, Collie, Dakota, Emily Dahill Story, Guest Blogger, Interview, Kari Lee Townsend, Liz Lipperman, Military, Promotion, Suspense. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Anita Clenney talks about hunky Highlanders

  1. Anita: I always love reading your posts. Every time you leave me with much to think about. Thank you. With our books I think we create a multitude of fantasy worlds. Even when mine take place in a city commonly known or in the current time, I still have to invent the people, the plot, and the place. You’ve done a fantastic job of taking that to the next level. It’s so impressive.

  2. Hi Cassy, so glad to see you here. Thank you for the kind words. I think whether we create our stories in the normal world or a paranormal one, it’s just so much fun coming up with the people and the plot. There are so many choices, it really is like a giant jigsaw puzzle of words.

  3. Anita: You are so right to call it a jigsaw puzzle. Part of the game for me is my “What if?” challenge. I need to play that with both my characters’ traits and the plot. I haven’t tried “what if” in an imaginary world. It sounds amazingly complex.

  4. I love “what if”! When I get stuck, I’ll often use it.

  5. childofyden says:

    Great post! I always enjoy evil creatures who seem good on the surface! Good luck with the release.

  6. Sue says:

    thank you for a fascinating discussion. I do believe demons are in plain sight, and yes our characters do become part of the family. So many things, as you demonstrated, come into play when inventing new story lines. the ideas often come from the oddest places and become woven into the end product. thank you again 😀

  7. Lindsay says:

    It’s great having you here today.

  8. jennajaxon says:

    Hi, Anita. I don’t usually read paranormal, but your works sound fascinating. And I do love Scotsmen! Especially the hunky ones. 🙂 Enjoyed your post.

  9. Great post, Anita. Having already read AWAKEN THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR, I am super excited for EMBRACE. It’s preordered on my kindle. I love the way you blended paranormal with romance and suspense. My kind of reading.

    Good luck with Embrace. And Lindsay, I’m looking forward to reading A BODY IN THE ATTIC, also.

  10. Lindsay says:

    And Jenna if you read the books you might find out what a Scotsman has on under his kilt.

  11. Kerri Nelson says:

    I truly adore everything about my Celtic sister, Anita! Her talented writing, sparkling personality, sense of humor, and gracious heart are just some of the reasons I’m one of her biggest fans!

    Honestly, you had me at “hunky highlanders”. Drool….

    Oh…sorry…but as far as legends or myths…a favorite? Hmmm…I get irked with some of the urban legends out there. I guess that’s what you call them. Remember the thing about “if you dream you’re falling but actually hit the ground it means you’re having a heart attack”? I heard that so many times growing up and it would irk me to no end. I think I’d dream about falling just because it sounded so scary. That being said…I fall down in my dreams a lot. But mostly it is because I’m clumsy. LOL

    Can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us…


    • Lindsay says:

      It’s all about cliffhangers and hooks. That’s how to get the reader drawn in. Check out my Tuesday Tales story if you don’t believe me.

    • Kerri, wow, can I keep you around as a cheerleader when I’m feeling in the dumps? 🙂 You’re too sweet. Thank you! Yep, I’ve heard that “falling” legend so many times and actually found myself wondering if there was any truth to it. I haven’t really fallen in a dream, but I did get tased in a dream a couple of nights ago. I have weird dreams, as you can see from Awaken.

  12. Your world-building sounds wonderfully layered and fraught with dangers and surprises! I loved the excerpt! The chemistry between Shay and Cody really sizzled and I found myself already wanting to see more of them. I can tell this will be a lively read!

    • Allison, thanks so much! I love, love, love brainstorming the story, layering in those twists and turns that surprise the reader. It’s grand when I get an idea that surprises even me. I was talking to my agent last night about short stories, and she told me she didn’t think I could size down my plot enough for a short story. I think she’s right. I love complex plots.

  13. Casey Wyatt says:

    I can attest that Anita’s Awaken the Highland Warrior is a fantastic read. I already have the next installment pre-ordered and I can’t wait to read it. I love myths and legends and frequently incorporate them into my paranormals. I really love using mythic beings in a modern setting. It’s fun to play around with them and see how they react to the modern worlds. Happy Launch Anita!

    • Casey, awww, thank you! I’m so thrilled that you liked Awaken and that you’re preordered Embrace. Can I hug you? It is fun to play around with myths in modern settings, and I love seeing characters out of their comfort zone. I just love writing, even though it drives me insane sometimes.

  14. kirsten Ferrigan says:

    Your books sound fantastic!!! Love your post, its definitely gotten me interested in your books!!


  15. I really enjoyed reading about your process of creating your characters. Your book sounds wonderful and very interesting. I will definitely be adding this to my TBR list!

    • Thanks, Regina. It’s a fun process…except when the characters won’t cooperate. It can be fun then as well, when a secondary character takes over and becomes larger than life.

  16. Your blurb sounds wonderfully frightening, Anita! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your writing methods and sources of inspiration. Congrats on the pending release of “Embrace the Highland Warrior.” I wish you much success with the series, and with all your writing.

  17. Ciara Knight says:

    I love stories where the demons are hidden behind attractive or unassuming faces. Sounds like a great read. I’ll go check it out.

  18. Sounds like a very interesting series! Especially interesting how it came to be 🙂

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