posted on May 30, 2019 by Heather McCollum


Hi, everyone! I’m Heather McCollum, author of happily-ever-afters featuring brawny Highlanders and feisty heroines. I’m thrilled to be here today on Writerspace to celebrate my newest Scottish historical romance, THE WICKED VISCOUNT!

This story takes place in the 17th century, during a time of great political, religious, and social upheaval in Scotland and England. Cat Campbell, a country lass from the Highlands, must travel down to Whitehall Palace in London to help the queen and king find a potential assassin. The hero of this book, Nathaniel Worthington, Viscount of Lincolnshire, is a bit different from my usual heroes in that he is actually English. He is the brother of the heroines in the first two books in The Campbells series (The Scottish Rogue and The Savage Highlander – which can be read as stand alones, although I prefer them in order).

In THE WICKED VISCOUNT, Nathaniel is trying to understand the wildcat that he’s escorting down to London. Even without the haunting memory of their fever-induced kiss months ago, he is intrigued by Cat’s outrageous courage and unique beauty. In order to discover more about her, Nathaniel invents a card game called Cards Up. It’s somewhat like Truth or Dare, but without the dare part. So… Truth or Truth!

Cards Up Directions

  1. The game is for even numbered players because players are paired up with the person across from them.
  2. Deal out the same number of cards to each person, face down. Somewhere between 5 and 7 cards.
  3. One player of the pair is assigned “red” and the opposite player is assigned “black”. In THE WICKED VISCOUNT, Nathaniel has dark hair, so he takes black, and Cat has reddish hair, so she takes red.
  4. Player #1 flips up one card. If the card matches their color (ex. If Cat flips up a red card), they must tell a secret about themselves. If the card matches their partner’s color (ex. If Cat flips up a black card), they can ask their partner a question.
  5. The number on the card determines if the secret or question is easy or something wicked or difficult to answer or tell. For example, if the player turns up a 3, then they may ask or tell what their favorite color is or the flavor of their favorite tart. If the player turns up a high number, like a king, then they might ask or tell who they love, or if they are a virgin, or something equally risky. The middle numbers can go either way.
  6. Once the question is answered or the secret is told, then the next player in the circle flips one of their cards, and so on. If someone refuses to answer a question or tell a secret, then they are out of the game.

The scene in the book becomes quite interesting when Cat flips over an Ace of Hearts! She rarely divulges anything about herself, but she also hates to lose.

Card games are thought to have originated in China around 1000 AD. Cards looked like paper dominoes and were eventually made out of wood and bone. (

Paper cards that looked more like modern cards originated in Europe in the 14th century. The suits were not standard, and some countries had more than four suits in a deck, such as: hearts, bells, leaves, acorns, swords, batons, cups, and coins. In 1480, France standardized their playing cards with the four suits we know today. The kings and queens of different suits were designed after real kings and queens in history (ex. King of diamonds was Julius Caesar).

Card games moved west into Britain in the 1500s. Before the French Revolution (1789 – 1799), the king was the highest card in the deck. After the revolution, the ace became the highest card. The Joker wasn’t added to the deck until the 1870s. (

The card games Whist and Trump can be traced back as far as the 16th and 17th century in England and became favorite games amongst all classes. In THE WICKED VISCOUNT, Cat grows bored of Whist and uses Cards Up at Whitehall Palace to try to trick a potential traitor into revealing their secrets. Cat ends up learning more than she bargained for!

Do you like to play card games? Maybe you can try Cards Up the next time you’re with a group of friends (or enemies!). Have a lovely, royal-flush kind of day!


Heather McCollum

Heather McCollum

Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal and YA romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor's dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart finalists. The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entrances Ms. McCollum's heart and imagination every time she visits. The country's history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since her first journey across the pond. When she is not creating vibrant characters & magical adventures on the page, she is roaring her own battle cry in the war against ovarian cancer. Ms. McCollum recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero, rescued golden retriever & 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

6 thoughts on “CARDS UP”

  1. This is so cool. Love the cover!

    1. Thanks so much, Storm! Have a lovely, all-aces kind of day : )

  2. Avatar Patricia Starks says:

    I love Heather McCollum’s books! I love
    her victory over cancer, and her inspiration
    for those still fighting.

    Her Highland Heroes, and the strong ladies
    who love them are awesome, I can’t put them
    down until finished. I enjoy rereading them!

    1. Patricia, you just made my day!
      Thanks so much! Have a lovely, find-a-four-leaf-clover kind of day : ) Heather

  3. Avatar Theresa Henry says:

    Excited for a new writer. Love historical romance. A Texas Fan..

    1. Hi Theresa!
      So glad you found me : ) It’s nice to meet you. I grew up reading Julie Garwood’s Scottish historicals and love the romance genre. There are too many non-happily ever afters in the world, so I will only write happy endings.

      Have a lovely day! Heather

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