I should be writing, but… I pour a cup of tea and scoot over to the window. Two bluebirds feed beetles to their brood in the wooden house attached to the garden fence. Sparrow babies cry to be fed from a nest in the prickly Rugosa rose bush. A titmouse grabs a sunflower seed as if the feeder is a drive through restaurant and flits off to a nearby tree to enjoy its treat. Finches jostle for position on the tube feeder. Mourning doves peck at the ground. A Carolina wren sings to his mate while the majestic cardinal sits on the fence observing his realm. All goes still when a hawk spirals overhead. The other day, two snowbirds (Juncos) arrived along with flurries on the wind; a sure sign winter is on its way. Many of the birds will fly south soon.
One of my guilty pleasures is to take a break in the afternoon and watch the birds enjoying the garden. Sometimes, birds end up in my stories. Wee tidbits—a touch of the natural world to make the tales more realistic.
From Just Beyond the Garden Gate, Book 1 in the Highland Gardens series:
–The pleasant trills and warbling of a lark serenaded them as they worked in silence, intent on their own thoughts.
–Seabirds soared over the waves, rose on updrafts then plummeted to the water to catch their prey.
–Flocks of birds fed among lush foliage, the flapping of wings and cries creating a noisy, chaotic orchestration.
–As they descended the ridge, Laurie raised her hand to shade her eyes from the bright sun. Her breath caught. The sight before her stole the air from her lungs. Cormorants flew over the water, dipping and diving, plunging into the sea in search of fish, surfacing moments later nearby. She even glimpsed a seal poking its whiskered nose out of the water for air.
–Patrick crept through the dense forest on silent feet. Braches slapped at him, scratching his skin. Hearing the screech of an owl and the flutter of wings nearby, he stood motionless. He peered into the dark. It pressed in on him, a heavy weight against his chest.
From Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon, Book 2 in the Highland Gardens series:
–Brushing the unwanted thought away, she giggled when a wren scampered across the ground in search of crumbs.
–She marched across the ridge, her hair blowing in the wind. A loud, rapid kek kek kek kek kek sounded before the whish of wings and the large bird landed on her outstretched arm.
“Trystan, you’ve returned to our mountain. I’m glad to see you, my friend.”
The peregrine falcon murmured close to Caitrina’s ear.
“Ah, you want to feel the sun on your face again. Aye, I imagine the northern tundra was verra cold.”
–Deer darted from their path as they rode along a meandering trail through the trees. Birds flew from thicket to thicket in advance of their approach. Duncan led, with Finn taking up the rear. She concentrated on her upcoming task, certain she’d locate the plants she sought near her brother’s hunting cottage.
Thanks ever so much, Babette, for having me on your blog today.
Now, a question for you all: What is your favorite bird? Might we find it mentioned in a romance novel?
Giveaway (US only): In celebration of the release of the print edition of Just Beyond the Garden Gate, one lucky commenter will receive a pre-release signed copy (paperback). Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you.
Highland Gardens Series Blurb: The Scottish Highlands—a place where faeries and brownies and other fae creatures dance through time. On occasion, so do mere mortals. This is the setting for HIGHLAND GARDENS, a sexy time-travel romance series spiced with scheming faeries and one incredibly mischievous brownie. Journey from the lush gardens of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to the Scottish Highlands of the early sixteenth century with Just Beyond the Garden Gate and Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon.
You can find Just Beyond the Garden Gate at:
Amazon.com – Kindle | Barnes & Noble – Nook | Kobo
You can find Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon at:
Amazon.com – Kindle | Barnes & Noble – Nook | Kobo
Bio: Dawn Marie Hamilton dares you to dream. She is a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist who pens Scottish-inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Some of her tales are rife with mischief-making faeries, brownies, and other fae creatures. More tormented souls—shape shifters, vampires, and maybe a zombie or two—stalk across the pages of other stories. She is a member of The Golden Network, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart chapters of RWA. When not writing, she’s cooking, gardening, or paddling the local creeks of Southern Maryland with her husband.
You can find Dawn at:
Photo: Sparrow Babies – Dawn Marie Hamilton
21 thoughts on “Birds in Novels – Guest Post by Dawn Marie Hamilton, Author of The Highland Gardens series”
Dawn, I love birds of all kinds, even the unsexy vultures. I used to be a volunteer in the bird department at the Bronx zoo and I learned to appreciate them all. I have to say though that if I had to choose, my favorites are Kestrels (sparrow hawks), owls and crows. I intend to have birds and all manner of flora and fauna in my writing. Nice post! Thanks!
Hi, Myrna! Thanks for stopping by. Volunteering at the zoo sounds like fun. I find birds of prey fascinating. We have many Osprey in Southern Maryland during the summer.
Dawn. Living in the forest I interact with our local birds on a daily basis. My favorite would have to be a Raven. They can become quite tame and interactive. They mimic voices and sounds and think things through. They have definite habits and patterns.
They also bond with their flock. We have had some young ones decide that my dogs and family were flock worthy.
Hi, Jae. One of my future books, ‘Raven’s Revenge’ is about a female vampire who shapeshifts into a raven. We often camp in Shenandoah National Park and a raven visits the campground around noontime after people begin to check out. Love their sleek feathers. Thanks for dropping in, Jae.
I really enjoyed your descriptions, both in your real life and your books! I think making nature a part of stories is a lot of the reason I like historicals. People lived closer to the natural environment back then than most of us do now. I’m not sure I have a favorite bird. I enjoy watching even the sparrows and robins in our yard. Although I do love the house finches and the goldfinches who come to eat the seeds in my garden.
Hi, Mary! I enjoy historicals too. I doubt most ancients had the luxury to just pause and watch the critters and birds, but the natural world was such a large part of their lives. 🙂 I love watching the goldfinches hang upside down on my sunflowers, eating the seeds. Thanks for visiting, Mary.
The “authorities” tell us to write what we know, and you clearly know your birds, Dawn. The original Tweeters! I enjoy watching them all, but I particularly love the hummingbirds. So much power is such little bodies. Enjoyed the excerpt. Best wishes, Pat
Oh, yes, Pat. We put up a hummingbird feeder and I’m gradually adding plants to the garden that attract hummers. The jewels of the garden. 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Pat.
I love the bright red cardinals. Of course my favorite sports team is the St. Louis Cardinals. I have a beautiful wooded view out my office window. I find myself watching the animals play outside when I take a break from writing. I had to turn my desk around last year to keep from spending too much time nature-gazing.
Hi, Teri. Cardinals make me think of Christmas. Adore their color. My new office faces the street so I’ll be less likely to be distracted. Thanks for stopping by, Teri.
Hi Dawn! Loved this post! Read it aloud to Rod while we are driving back from the Gulf coast. Ian is working in Tampa this week so we met him for dinner a few nights. If a hummingbird is truly a bird, then I’d have to say it’s my favorite! You know we love nature and the outdoors as much as you! ♥
Hey, Lois. Hope you’re enjoying Florida. Frank still has the pictures of the cranes by your condo on our screen saver. 🙂
I loved your post, Dawn! Songbirds (favorite: Titmouse) and water birds (favorite: Blue Heron) are so special to me. I live near Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, and a treasured afternoon activity with friends is checking out the latest wave of migratory birds. Snow Geese have just arrived en masse! Yes, I include a bird or two in my novels, which are set in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York. I’m so glad you raised the question and shared your love for birds.
Hi, Kate. Sounds lovely. One day during the summer, we were canoeing in Southern MD and heard a screeching racket. We paddled around a bend in the creek and found a colony or blue heron. I was ecstatic. They are majestic birds. Thanks for stopping by for a visit, Kate.
My favorites are definitely ravens. And, why yes, 🙂 I’ve put them in quite a few of my WsIP and they are in my new PNR novel. 🙂
Hi, Juli. Thanks for visiting. Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” 🙂
*LOL* Yes, that too, Dawn!
Great post, Dawn! My favorite bird is the blue jay. And one of these days I really ought to put one in a novel!
Hello, Jessica! Blue jays are such rascals. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by for a visit.
Thanks, Babette. It was such fun hanging on your blog. 🙂 And thank you to everyone who stopped by and shared their favorite bird. I’ll pull a name out of the garden hat on Monday, November 25th. So…if anyone else stops by before then, leave a comment, and I’ll add your name to the garden hat. Have a fabulous weekend!
Congrats to drkatecollier! I have a gift copy of ‘Just Beyond the Garden Gate’ for Kate. Watch your email for the notification, Kate.