A Birthday Post from Maggie Robinson + A Giveaway!

My darlings today we have birthday girl Maggie Robinson visiting with us! <3 She was recently in Scotland, but we like her anyway because it’s her birthday. 😉 Maggie was also totally awesome and has not only a giveaway for you, but her own question, so I’ll just leave you in her capable hands! (And remember to wish her a very happy birthday! Maggie I hope you have a brilliant day with lots of cake and ice cream :D)

In the Heart of the HighlanderI’m way past the presents-candles-spanking stage, though I would never turn away a piece of frosted cake. Hey, I’ll eat almost anything with frosting. But I love my birthday anyway, mostly because it’s in the fall. It’s as if a whole season sets itself on fire just for me, turns the sky its bluest ever, insists upon those forgivingly roomy sweaters. I’m still on a “Fall starts the beginning of everything” schedule, even though my school and teaching days are behind me. I get energized by crisp air, crisp apples, crisp leaves. October is the most glorious month, and then it’s all downhill from there, LOL. I live in Maine, where I’m soon to be buried in snow (but it’s great for staying inside and writing!).

Harris Tweed BagI have a new book out too, which makes October even more special. In the Heart of the Highlander is a fun change-of-identity romp, which makes it perfect for Halloween reading. Who doesn’t like to pretend to be something they’re not? And in the birthday gift department, I’m giving readers a chance at a great one—a Harris Tweed handbag worth 77.50 pounds. (That’s about $120.) You can visit my contest page for details, and read the first chapter of the book too if you have time.

Atholl PalaceI bought the bag in my favorite Highland store, Macnaughtons of Pitlochry. Pitlochry and its Atholl Palace Hotel were the inspirations for the setting of Highlander. We’ve visited the hotel twice, and each time there have been weddings and lots and lots of men in kilts. How can one go wrong?

Scotland is one of my favorite places. It turns out my husband’s paternal side emigrated from there to Nova Scotia in the 1800s. (He tells me the family lore is that they were “thrown out” of Scotland. I can believe it.) When they came to Maine, they changed Robertson to Robinson because they thought it would make American assimilation easier and it sounded “more English.” It makes me laugh, because every time I say my name, people write down Robertson. Just think, I should be even closer to Nora Roberts on the shelf. 😉

McNaughtonsSo, happy birthday to me and all the Robertson and Robinson clans. Does your family name have a story? Have you ever been thrown out of a country? What’s in your purse that you can’t do without? Answer any or all questions and I’ll give one commenter a copy of In the Arms of the Heiress, the first Ladies Unlaced book!

24 thoughts on “A Birthday Post from Maggie Robinson + A Giveaway!

  1. Mary Chen

    Happy Birthday, Maggie!!!

    My family name doesn’t have an unique history – not more than many other people in China. I’ve never been thrown out of a country before either (so boring, I know). Hmm, I’d say my car keys. lol

  2. Diane P. Diamond

    My family name doesn’t have a unique story, but I’m sure that somewhere in past generations, we were “somebody”, I’ve never been thrown out of a country. And, what I can’t do without in my purse is my epi-pen and inhaler. I hope that you have a spectacular birthday Maggie, and get lots of prezzies and cake. 🙂

  3. Cathy P

    There isn’t a special story for my family name, but I do know my brother-in-law traced it to some royalty. I have never been thrown out of a country. The two things in my purse I can’t do without is my asthma inhaler and my keys.

  4. CrystalGB

    Happy Birthday! My family name doesn’t have a grand history. I haven’t been thrown out of a country. Clippers and a nail file are my must haves in my purse.

  5. ki pha

    Happy birthday Maggie!! I’m just here to help you celebrate so no need to put me in the drawing.

    I’m going to share a long history you all today. Sorry if it’s too long.
    But as for my family name, yes, we have a story. Our last name is not widely known of course. It’s a rare Chinese last name because my paternal ancestors were a small sub-group living in China; therefore Pha were called Chinese (we’re not the Hans for sure, but a different group of Chinese because there were many different Emperors that ruled China, where wars broke out among different groups of people not the same Chinese sub-group, so it’s difficult to pin point which group of Chinese the Pha originated from).
    But because of some conflicts in, what ever years it was, the Phas kind of abandon our Chinese reference and took on the Sub-group clan reference name of the Hmong or Miao (the Chinese term). (Hmong people are not Chinese and totally have a different language and culture). So us Pha now refer to our selves as a part of the Hmong clan sub-group and not as a Chinese clan. (Although we still call ourselves Chinese from time to time and speak some Chinese words during certain rituals, we don’t literally refer to our selves as Chinese, it’s only used in passing and through teaching and explanations of the Pha name history).
    So the Pha calls our selves Hmong now was due in part by the Pha being adopted as blood brothers with the Lor/Lo Hmong clan; therefore we are now apart of the Hmong sub-group and families with the Lor/Lo clan, although we are still Chinese through paternal blood.
    So as years gone by living in the southern part of China, wars broke out and the Hmongs were pushed out of China and resettled in where used to know as IndoChina. But then the Hmong were once again displaced due to the Vietnam War and their involvement in aiding the US, Hmongs are now scattered around the world.

  6. Sharlene Wegner

    Happy Birthday! I already have the book, so don’t need to win. In my purse, the most essential thing would be my wallet. I know, boring! Hope you have a great day!

  7. Julie

    Happy birthday!!

    My family name isn’t that interesting (it means “to close” in Chinese), but what is interesting is that it’s been romanized into at least three different English spellings. So part of my family has a differently spelled last name, depending on when they immigrated.

  8. Mary Preston

    Happy Birthday!!

    I can’t do without wet wipes in my purse.

    No interesting name here. Which is kind of sad really.

  9. Diane Sallans

    Happy Birthday Maggie!
    My mother’s maiden name was Jordan and one of her ancestors was a Minister in New England in the 1600’s and annoyed the Puritans so much they arrested him! On my Paternal side my Irish grandfather told me his ancestors were chased out of England for sheep stealing (but He’s also the one that said he snatched the hat off the head of a leprechaun & then he showed it to me).
    I’ve never been thrown out of a country and I like to keep Kleenex & Tic-Tacs in my purse.

  10. Tina B

    Happy Birthday, Maggie!!
    Great story!
    I don’t have any stories behind my family name, though my grandfather once told me that his parents or grandparents dropped the first letter off of their name. I have never been kicked out of a country either. Lol.
    I have my Kindle in my purse and cannot live without it!
    I hope you had a fabulous day!

  11. Barbara Elness

    I don’t know any stories about my family name, although I’ve been researching it lately and have found a few interesting tidbits. I’ve never even been to any other countries except Baja Mexico, so no, I’ve never been thrown out of a country. And what’s in my purse that I can’t do without? My iPhone of course! 😀

  12. JenM

    I’m a day late, but Happy Birthday anyway! My maiden name is German and practically unpronounceable in the US – it has 3 consonants together, which makes peoples’ eyes just glaze over. I spent my entire school career answering to “Jennifer…….” (long pause because the teachers could never figure out how to say it). Finally, as an adult, when I visited Germany, it was great but disorienting when people didn’t even hesitate when they pronounced it.

    The fun thing about it though, was that it was very rare, and I always knew that if I ever found anyone else with that name, they were a relative of mine. When I was in high school, a gentleman saw my name in the paper and called me up out of the blue saying that he thought we were related. Sure enough, he turned out to be a fourth or fifth cousin from a branch of the family that we didn’t even know was in the States.

  13. flchen1

    Thankfully none of my family has ever been thrown out of a country (that I know of!) although my mom’s family did flee before they could be imprisoned by the communists. And my dad’s dad was a paper son, so his “real” last name is not the same one that we grew up with. And then of course, I married into a family with technically the same last name–it’s the same Chinese character, but it was a different spelling in English (different dialects got Anglicized differently)…

    Anyway, I think the gotta-haves in the purse are the wallet and keys. And in the winter, gloves–my hands get cold way too easily!


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