Benjamin Franklin was thought to have said,  “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

So, when you have taken the time to make plans and a freak concussion happens shortly thereafter, plans come to a screeching halt.

Now what Benjamin Franklin? Perhaps he would say, “Rest my dear, time for a latte.”

Days of laying perfectly still in a semi-darkened room, unable to wear my glasses, walking only to the washroom & and back, no screen-time of any kind, and limited noise.  It got boring very fast.  After a few weeks I began to realize that my plan’s would have to drastically change.  I had already adapted to the movie-star syndrome of wearing sunglasses indoors which helped limit the brain strain.  The reality of the circumstances was very frustrating and disappointing, to have Scotland trapped in my brain.  Any type of loss takes time to grieve, and I did.

Brain Tip: don’t fret and get upset, because it overloads the brain too!  Keep crying to a minimum.

My new word is ‘FLACCIDITY’ as in flexibility and adaptability.  It’s about letting go, allowing the healing and changes that need to happen, happen.    That is easier said, than done, as the reality is very challenging when you are coping with a new normal,  praying it will only be temporary.  Some days are just plain difficult when you can do nothing or you must rest more often than you are awake, thankfully they are countered with encouraging days of progress.  Slug slow, but moving forward.

At the 2 month mark I was able to wear my glasses for periods of time, walk my dachshund Jordie around the half-block, work on the computer for short blocks of time, as long as I lay down for 30 to 60 minutes between activities.   Sometimes I unknowingly push the limits of what I could do, and then I paid the price, usually the next day with a migraine or extreme fatigue.

10 months later I am finally able to work for several hours without straining the brain so much that I need to lie down.  I still avoid driving if I can, amazingly it takes too much cognitive brain energy, that I would rather save that for other things like rewriting this post.

Do you know how amazing our brain is?

“The brain is the control centre for all the body’s functions, such as walking, talking, swallowing, breathing, taste, smell, heart rate and so on. It also controls all our thinking functions, our emotions, how we behave and all our intellectual (cognitive) activities, such as how we attend to things, how we perceive and understand our world and its physical surroundings, how we learn and remember and so on.” (

 Have you had to lay any plans aside?  Lets journey together……..lots to discover along the way.

If you would like to receive updates on new posts, and the progress of my Historical Fiction Novel then just leave your name and email address.

A few photo’s from my research trip to the Isles & Highlands of Scotland, April 2016.

Marinda exploring black-house ruins on the Isle of Lewis, a few secrets to be found.

Eil Don bridge 4

Marinda envisioning a wedding at Eilean Donan castle

Royal Scone path

Marinda walking down the royal path at Scone Castle, Perthshire.

16th century cruck ceiling, Briar cottage in Scotland

Cheers, to moving forward in 2017

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Writing Superheroes: Linda Zupancic

A wonderful end to my research in Scotland with my husband, a glass of wine in our hosts 17th century home, a warm fire to help us absorb the precious treasures that we discovered, the planned and the unplanned. Thankyou Fraser and Kim Proven

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Historical Fiction lovers, check out my blog….for a link to three FREE chapters that will take you into medieval 1069 AD.
To give you some background history, I have also posted a modern musical rendition (4 min) of 1066 AD that presents the Norman conquest of Anglo-Saxon England.  You will be exposed to the famous Bayeux Tapestry that is 70 metres long, and is center stage on the video.  The tapestry is famous for the 70 scenes that were embroidered in eight colours, representing the Norman Conquest of 1066.
  Video credit ( HistoryTeachers)

Marinda Skynner aka L.M.Z. would like to introduce to you the talented Emily Murdoch of the United Kingdom.  She has a degree in History and English, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of York.    I have asked Emily a few questions about history and research in relation to her book seriesConquered Heartsset in 1069 AD.
The sneak peak is a link  at the end of this blog, where you can access Emily’s 1st 3 chapters of ‘Conquest’ FREE.
Conquests- Hearts Rule Kingdoms

Emily Murdoch

Q1.  Emily, does history really matter, is it relevant to the 21st century?

I think history really matters: without learning from the mistakes in our past, how can we apply that knowledge to the future? It frustrates me sometimes when people say that there is nothing relevant for us to learn from the medieval times. I mean, it was a time of huge political unrest, dramatic increases in literacy, greater understanding about science, religious movements trying to claim land by slaughtering the locals, and increased awareness of the world around us. That describes the 21st century just as much as it does the 14th.

Q2.  History can reveal the good, the bad & the ugly.  In your research for ‘Conquest’ did you find this to be true?

As a Brit, I’m conditioned to always support the underdog, so I approached the Norman invasion firmly on the side of the invaded Anglo-Saxon people. As I read more and researched more, however, it became clear that some of the Anglo-Saxons benefited, rather than suffered, through the change in government, and that many of the ‘invading’ Normans were just vagabonds or drifters that were drafted into William the Conqueror’s armies. Being able to pin down a ‘good’ side and a ‘bad’ side just isn’t possible in real life, and so that shouldn’t be possible in fiction either.

Q3.  Did you find it challenging to find the probable historical truth?

Every source is biased, prejudiced, lying, and omitting certain facts. When you can embrace that and start to consider why they are prejudiced, what they are lying about, and why they may want to avoid certain truths, that’s where the narrative kicks in. Even with something like the Norman Conquest, which could arguably have only two sides, what about the Anglo-Saxons who welcomed William vs the Anglo-Saxons that championed another? What about the Anglo-Saxons who wanted Harald Hardraadar? What about the Normans who wanted to return home and were not permitted to? There are always plenty of sides. As a historian, I can sometimes be frustrated by the lack of clear historical truth – but as an author, I relish those gaps! Those gaps are where I make my home.

Q4. How many perspectives of the same story do you consider before selecting a viewpoint?

I always try to use three approaches when I’m writing.  The first is as a historian, someone who wants the absolute truth and wants facts beyond all others.  That is the part of me that never strays from the path.  Secondly, I look at the story as a novelist, and try to find the tension, the drama, the humanity: the parts that will draw in my reader and make them desperate to not just know what happened, but why it happened.  Then thirdly I try to look at the story as someone who has no idea of the history.  Have I explained titles, and arguments between characters enough? Do I need more description to geographically place this?  Will that verbal insult make sense without any historical context?  It may seem like a lengthly process, but I like to think that’s why so many reviews of my book have commented on how easily accessible the history is.  I haven’t dumbed it down, just made it possible for someone with no knowledge of the Anglo-Saxons to walk in their world.

 Q5. It was 950 years ago that William the Conqueror of Normandy invaded England.  Have you gained a better understanding of 21st c. England through your research of your series?

I certainly understand a huge amount more of the day to day aspects that I didn’t even realize dated that far back. In England we have a Chancellor of the Exchequer because the Normans used a chequered table to calculate taxes. The first known juries were appointed over 100 years before William the Conqueror even set foot in England, and were imported by the Vikings – who also gave us fines instead of death for crimes committed. We live amongst medieval inventions every day, and I like to think that as I know their source, I can appreciate them more. After all, they’ve stood the test of time!

 Q6. In your research have you uncovered any of your family treasures or legacy ?

Perhaps not strictly my family, but an uncle who has married into my family has discovered that his roots go all the way back to King Ethelred the Unready – far beyond William the Conqueror! It’s kind of fascinating to think that so many of my ancestors lived unremarkable and yet intensely precious lives that show no record, and yet I may have been taught how to knit just as they taught their daughters 400 years ago. The strangest things continue down, and I think that parent-child relationship is something I’m fascinated by – something I explore in the sequel to Conquests. 



Emily’s book series Conquered Hearts is comprised of three novels:

Conquests which is the first novel,

Captives which is the sequel,

 Love Letters, a novella that bridges the two.

You can read them all separately, or get them bundled up into one.

Free- 1st Three Chapters of Conquest 

To Buy Books

click on link below

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Research ON THE FIELD today with Hilary and Bernard Barker of Mid-Torrie Farm in Callander, Scotland. They graciously spent a few hours with us, sharing their 36 years of experience in raising Longhorn Highland Coo (gaelic for cow). They had a calf that was just born 22 hrs old, it licked Rene’s hand. Linda brushed a Highland coo out in the field….YES they have very long horns, but these coo have been handled while young and they obviously trusted Hilary and Bernard. Their inquisitive noses tried to search our pockets for treats, and they bent their heads low to the ground while being brushed.  AGAIN, MORE, DONT STOP.  It was very windy today and cold, so afterwards we retreated to their house for tea and shortbread. Bernard then showed us the treasures that he had dug up from a recent renovation on the land…old coins, pipes, buckles. So much history in Scotland. 

Check out their website. They have a holiday cottage rental, beef sales and beautiful Highland Coo Art by Hilary

This photo features “Roddy” short for Roderick.  He is an 8 year old bull.  Notice the horns. The bulls have the shorter horns that point forward. The cows have the extra long horns that point upward.

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imageA beautiful sunny day to search out the Folk Museum in the wee village of Killin, but to no avail.  Temporarily sidetracted by a wee bridge that was calling  Rene’s name, we encountered a Scottish Nana walking on the narrow bridge towards the island.  She had moved over so that we could drive past her, but Marinda thought that she might be able to direct us. “Rene, ask her where the museum is?”, says Marinda (aka Linda)

In her endearing scottish accent she told us that she used to volunteer at the Folk Museum, but alas it was not operating any more.  Seeing our disappointment she was quick to point out that across the bridge and beyond the distant stand of trees was a castle ruin that we should explore. Linda innoscently asked if there were any MacGregors around?  OH! She exclaimed with a disturbed voice, “this is a MacNab Island, they were NOT friends with the MacGregors.”  Oopps, faux- pa?

 But then she smiled with a twinkle in her eye, and said, “Many MacGregors now live in the village of Killin, and even a store is owned by a MacGregor family called MacGregors Market“.  Marinda breathed a wee sigh of relief.  Another treasure, this Nana was a gem that we fortuitously encountered.


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Marinda & Jordy

Thoughts on Treasure: a secret stash to save for later….buried to conceal from others….hidden for a purpose or a season….something awaiting discovery….retrieving and restoring what has been lost….finding something of value…. unearthing, delving into, exploring and searching out the clues that lead you to truth…

Travelling to Scotland as my character ‘MARINDA M. SKYNNER’.                                          Minus my dachshund Jordie who is on guard duty.  I promised to bring him back a plaid.


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