posted on October 20, 2020 by Heather McCollum

Do You Believe in Curses?

What gives you the heebie jeebies? Humans are amazing creatures in so many ways. We imagine futures, remember and ruminate over the past, and create dramas that may or may not be going on around us. The human mind can come up with both fantastic and horror-filled ideas. This is why things like scary stories and rumors of haunted houses often catch our attention. It’s like fuel to the fire of our creative thoughts. Unlike my sweet eleven-year-old pup, Sophie, who goes through the day blissfully lounging until a cat walks past the window, making her bark as if The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are riding down into my cul-de-sac. End of the world or a cat? Depends on the day as to what my mind decides it must be.

Hi! I’m Heather McCollum, writer of historical romance (not horror like you might be thinking now) with brawny Highlanders and feisty, take-no-guff heroines. I’m also a mom of three growing-up-too-fast kids, wife of a six-foot, four Highlander, dog-mom of a rescued golden retriever, ovarian cancer slayer (9-year survivor), and lover of chai tea lattes and baking things I shouldn’t eat. My twentieth historical romance, The Highlander’s Unexpected Proposal, just released on October 19th!

The Highlander’s Unexpected Proposal is the first book in my new Brother’s of Wolf Isle series about five brothers who are trying to reestablish their clan on their ancestral island off the west coast of Scotland. Unfortunately, everyone believes the isle to be cursed. The inhabitants moved off it when strange things began to occur after a self-proclaimed witch cursed the Macquarie clan.

“I do not believe in curses,” is the favorite statement of my hero, Adam Macquarie, the oldest brother and chief of the clan. Unfortunately, curses do not need to be real in order for them to be effective. What makes a curse real is the human mind deciding it is real. I have no doubt that if my pup, Sophie, were to visit Wolf Isle, she would find it wonderful. There would be tufts of grass to roll around in, waves lapping at the shore for her to dodge, and rabbits to chase. Blissfully happy. It is the human brain that conjures all sorts of darkness on Wolf Isle because it is said to be cursed. And it doesn’t help that someone or something on the isle is playing tricks to make the abandoned village seem sinister.

It is October, time for All Hallows’ Eve or Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) when the barrier between life and the spirit world is rumored to be thin. With increasing shadows and crisp nights sitting around campfires, the human body switches easily into fight or flight mode. We literally jump at inconsequential noises because we imagine that there are dangers lurking, ready to strike. Imagined curses and rumors of ghosts suddenly seem possible. For some, this is terrifying and unpleasant. For others, a good “jump scare” is fun. Either way, the human mind is exceedingly powerful in its ability to create danger when there is none (or we hope there is none). This Halloween, when you see a scary movie or visit a scare house or corn maze, take a moment to decide if you believe in curses or ghosts or the danger around you. It might make the whole production easier to endure, but if it ruins a fun “jump scare” for you, never mind. Dive in and exalt in the fun of a good scare!

For a chance to WIN a $10 gift card and a signed copy of another of my Highlander books, The Beast of Aros Castle, please answer this: If given the chance, would you move to a “cursed” Scottish isle with five brawny Highland brothers? Do you like a good scare or avoid it at all costs?

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.

9 thoughts on “Do You Believe in Curses?”

  1. Avatar Denise Walsh says:

    Yes I would move to the island even if it was considered haunted. First of all, I’m sure the scenery is gorgeous and would be worth the possibility of it being haunted. And if it was haunted, finding out the reason why would be fascinating and well worth the chance. I have been a home which was haunted and did see signs directly in front of me that could not be explained.

    1. We should trade haunted house stories, Denise! There are definitely things that cannot be explained : )

  2. Avatar Mary Volpe says:

    I would definitely go. I have always wanted to go to Scotland and love Scottish men. I would hope the five brothers would be my protectors.

    1. Absolutely! I’m an only child and always wanted a brother to look out for me, and I’d love five of them (well one would be my man!). In this series, the brothers warm to Lark, but they worry at first that she will keep the curse going because of… oh, that would be a spoiler : )

  3. If anyone would like to read my post about living in a real haunted house, here is the link:

    It was a pre-Civil war manor house on a plantation in Virginia. It was used by the Union army as a make-shift hospital for awhile so it was not burned like many in the area. Definitely some “movement” going on there!

  4. Avatar GB says:

    I try to avoid scares pretty much at all costs so would not likely go to a ‘cursed’ Scottish isle until after the five brawny Highland brothers solved the mystery and ridded the area of any malevolence. Just keeping it real. That said, it is the kind of story that I would totally escape into from the current horrors we are experiencing.

  5. Avatar GB says:

    I tend to try to avoid scares, myself, at all costs so would be unlikely to go to the ‘cursed’ Scottish isle until after the five brawny Highland brothers solved the mystery and ridded the area of any malevolence. Just keeping it real. That said, this would be the type of story that I would likely indulge in to escape scares/concerns we are experiencing in real life. Thank goodness for books!

    *This is my second attempt to leave a comment so my apologies if two of them appear.

  6. Avatar AuntySuzany says:

    No I don’t! And no I don’t care to be scared in real life! But I would love to read about it!

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