Tag Archives: Guardians of the Isles

A LITTLE HIGHLAND MAGIC: Release Day Blog Post Featuring Author Gerri Russell!

Light versus Darkness in Storytelling

The interplay of light and dark is a fundamental storytelling tool, woven into narratives since the dawn of cave paintings. It’s more than just a visual contrast; it taps into our primal fears and hopes, shaping the emotional landscape of our stories.

Light often symbolizes goodness, knowledge, truth, and hope. It’s the sun breaking through the clouds, the hero’s triumphant return, or a character’s moment of understanding. We associate it with warmth, safety, and clarity.

Darkness, on the other hand, represents evil, ignorance, mystery, and danger. It’s the lurking monster in the shadows, the villain’s sinister lair, or a character’s descent into despair. It evokes fear, uncertainty, and the unknown.

Photo purchased from iStockphoto and provided by author.

But the beauty of this dichotomy lies in its complexity. In art, light and dark are used to create contrast and depth, with shadows and highlights adding dimension to a piece. Light and dark are rarely absolute. They bleed into each other, creating shades of gray that make our stories richer and more nuanced. 

  • A seemingly good character might harbor dark secrets.
  • A villain might have a tragic backstory that sheds light on their motivations.
  • A moment of despair can give birth to newfound courage.

This dance between light and dark creates tension and suspense, keeping us guessing as writers and readers and invested in the outcome. It allows us to explore the full spectrum of human emotions and experiences, making stories truly resonate.

Here are some classic literature and film examples of how light and dark are used in storytelling:

  • Star Wars: The epic battle between the light of the Jedi and the darkness of the Sith.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Frodo’s perilous journey to destroy the One Ring, a symbol of ultimate evil, in the fires of Mount Doom.
  • Harry Potter: The ongoing struggle between good and evil, personified by Harry and Voldemort.

Beyond these grand narratives, the interplay of light and dark is present in countless stories, big and small. It’s a powerful tool that allows us to explore the complexities of the human condition and the world around us.

In A Little Highland Magic, the fifth book in the Guardian of the Isles series, Aria, who is half fae, half human, yearns for the warmth of her human family after years of living as an outsider in the fairy realm. By escaping Fairyland, not only has she made an enemy of Oberon, the king of the fairies, but she learns that the fairy king still has control over her. 

To break those ties and to right a wrong done to the MacLeods, Aria joins forces with Graeme Duff to travel back to Fairyland where she must confront not only the creatures of the dark, but also the darkness within herself. Success relies on a perilous journey and the unyielding support of her human kin, especially Graeme, who is untouched by Oberon’s influence. He serves as a reflection of Aria’s true potential. His unwavering belief in her goodness pushes Aria to confront the fairy king and break free from Oberon’s control. 

Abstract and magical image of Firefly flying in the night forest. Fairy tale concept. Photo purchased from iStockphoto and provided by author.

Like a firefly flickering in the night, A Little Highland Magic illuminates the shadows with laughter and love, reminding us that the brightest light often emerges from the deepest darkness. 

What book or movie has stayed with you because it explored the complexities of good and evil?

About the Author.

Gerri Russell is the award-winning author of historical and contemporary novels including the Brotherhood of the Scottish Templars series and Flirting with Felicity. A two-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and winner of the American Title II competition sponsored by RT Book Reviews magazine, she is best known for her adventurous and emotionally intense novels set in the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Scottish Highlands. Before Gerri followed her passion for writing romance novels, she worked as a broadcast journalist, a newspaper reporter, a magazine columnist, a technical writer and editor, and an instructional designer. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four mischievous black cats.


Start the New Year Off Right! Check out our January 2024 Releases (Plus Giveaway!) Now!

Read more about our new releases for January!

GIVEAWAY: We will pick ONE winner to receive a digital book of their choice from the January releases. Comment down below saying which book you’re looking most forward to reading! Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. The winner will be randomly selected at the end of the month.

A Little Highland Magic
by Gerri Russell (Muse)

Release Date: January 9, 2024
Guardians of the Isles, Book 5

To have a future, she must face her past…

Half human, half fairy, Aria traveled to the human realm seeking safety with her family, the powerful MacLeods, where she is welcomed and accepted as a warrior. But her happiness will be short-lived if they discover her inadvertent role in their beloved mother’s death and the kidnapping of their infant brother, Kieran, by the cruel fairy king. Still, Aria plans to right the wrong by rescuing Kieren, but traveling to the fairy realm is dangerous and potentially a betrayal, for she must use the legendary Fairy Flag and its one last miracle to barter Kieran’s release.

Graeme Duff and his ancestors have served as flag bearer and protectors of Clan MacLeod for centuries. It’s his duty to guard the Fairy Flag, and when the beautiful, fierce, and intriguing Aria proposes using the flag to negotiate Kieran’s freedom, Graeme suspects treachery. He determines to accompany her, vowing to ignore the passion she evokes.

Can two independent warriors learn to trust? Or are they risking the destruction of everything they know and love?

Killer Close to Home
by Carol Light (Tule Mystery)

Release Date: January 11, 2024
Cluttered Crime Mysteries, Book 3

Not all clutter is visible to the human eye… 

Professional organizer Crystal Ward’s latest client, her neighbor Roscoe Tremaine, is changing his will, an announcement that sets off an explosive reaction within his family. That same night, a gas leak ignites, destroying his house, killing him, and rocking the Ward family at its foundation.

Her husband, Rick, is injured in the blast, so Crys hires Roscoe’s former caregiver, Wink Keller, to help him recover after surgery. But trouble is just beginning. Both Crys and Wink are beneficiaries in Roscoe’s will, and their alliance sends accusations flying from the Tremaines’ side of the fence.

Crys has her hands full dealing with her client’s not-so-grieving relatives, a teenaged girl stalking Wink, and a suspicious fire inspector. But when threatening “gifts” left on the Wards’ doorstep escalate, Crys is forced to sort through a tangled web of relationships, including her own, to keep her family safe.

Was Roscoe’s death just an accident, or is there a killer close to home?

When the Viscount Wanted Me
by Lydia Lloyd (Muse)

Release Date: January 16, 2024
The Rake Chronicles, Book 2

Her reputation is at risk. He vows to help…but soon finds resisting her the greatest challenge of all.

When Lord Hugh Aldershot, the Viscount of Tremberley, overhears the drunken Earl of Hartley claiming to have bedded Lady Henrietta Breminster, his best friend’s little sister, he is livid. He drags the passed-out earl to Breminster House to face punishment for his blathering, only to find himself face-to-face with Lady Henrietta in a sexy night dress and little else.

When Lady Henrietta Breminster sees the Viscount of Tremberley dragging the unconscious Earl of Hartley to her doorstep, she panics. Not only was she indiscreet with the earl, but she has long nursed a flaming tendre for her brother’s best friend. Now she must ask Tremberley to help her keep her biggest mistake from the gossips of the ton.

Drawn closer by their efforts to subdue the jealous earl, Trem and Henrietta soon discover their own forbidden attraction. But even as Henrietta discovers true passion with Trem, she knows she could never marry for anything less than love.

Lucky Strike
by Janine Amesta (American Heart)

Release Date: January 23, 2024
Love in El Dorado, Book 3

Is finding an unexpected gem a lucky strike?

After getting a late jumpstart in life, Luna Lanza isn’t afraid to get what she wants, including the place of her dreams. When she loses out on the perfect duplex and settles for a standard apartment, she’s disappointed. But Luna remains determined to make it work, even if it sparks a contentious relationship with her new landlord– the same guy she accidentally kissed in an impromptu photo shoot.

Still grieving the sudden death of his brother, reformed bad boy Sam Sunderland feels trapped managing his father’s rundown apartment building. When the spunky beauty, who unexpectedly kissed him, moves in full of ideas, he can’t help being intrigued– that is until she starts changing things behind his back, endangering his position and the relationship with his father.

Sam and Luna wrangle over rules and misunderstandings while fighting against the undeniable attraction between them. It’s a hard lesson to learn that ‘perfect’ can take many different forms. But will the renovations they do together lay a foundation to something more?

A Stolen Shadow
by H L Marsay (Tule Mystery)

Release Date: January 25, 2024
Chief Inspector Shadow, Book 7

This winter, the York pantomime opens as a farce but closes as a murder scene

Chief Inspector John Shadow returns from a rare holiday to Italy but before he can unpack, he’s investigating the theft of an antique sabre. Everyone involved assumes it’s a prank, however later that evening, a reluctant Shadow attends the local pantomime—his least favorite form of entertainment—with his star struck sergeant. They watch stunned as Prince Charming dies on stage. Shadow suspects poison and launches an investigation. When he discovers the missing sabre backstage, Shadow realises the theft was no joke and the entire cast and crew are murder suspects. Then another body is found….

John Shadow is a man of contradictions. A solitary figure who shuns company but is a keen observer of all he meets. A lover of good food, but whose fridge is almost always empty. He prefers to work alone but is assisted by the eager Sergeant Jimmy Chang. Together, the two men must work through an ever increasing list of jealous husbands, angry fathers and spurned lovers to discover the identity of the killer.

Someone Rotten Riding the Rails
by Kris Bock (Tule Mystery)

Release Date: January 30, 2024
The Accidental Detective, Book 6

Kate Tessler and her crew of misfits set out to blow the whistle on two feuding crime families . . . 

Former war correspondent Kate Tessler has solved multiple murders since returning to her Arizona hometown, to the grudging appreciation of the local police. Now Detective Padilla and the FBI approach Kate with a proposal. Two Russian crime families have rented a private historic train to the Grand Canyon for their children’s wedding. The route is scenic and remote. No cell phones. The FBI needs to surveil, but anyone infiltrating the train must be above suspicion.

Kate poses as herself, sent by the newspaper to cover the society wedding, while her sister Jen is the photographer. Their multi-generational and eccentric crew pose as train staff. The goal is to observe, but that quickly derails when the groom disappears, and a search for him turns up a dead body. Everyone’s a suspect and trapped on the train.

The mob families won’t contact the police, so it’s up to Kate and friends to uncover the truth before their whole mission goes off the tracks.