Saturday, 29 December 2012

A Year In Review: Aiden's Angels 2012

We're coming to the end of the year so I thought now would be a good time to sit back and look at some of the highlights of 2012 for Aiden MacRae and his Angels. There's lots of links to check out so feel free to puruse. We've got lots of ideas for the new year so you guys she get really excited.

We started the year of Aiden off with a crazy 'Burns Night Event' that we're going to have a hell of a time topping this year (but we'll do it). Then Hell Transporter was completed in February and Cyndi's author photo got a make over (I loved it before and after).
Hell Transporter was officially published on March 15th 2012 and the Aidens Angels got their first offical page on Cyndi's website. We did a little Aiden MacRae casting (if you have ideas about who you'd like to play Aiden in the movie, keep them in mind) and in April Cyndi did an EPIC giveaway that included swag and a deleted scene from Aiden's POV. There were also two new book trailers released. Check them out on Cyndi's Youtube Channel 
May 1st also marked Aiden MacRae's birthday (which, trust me, we're going to celebrate) his 313th birthday to be exact which will make 2013 his 314th birthday (crazy, I know). In July I wrote a Hell Transporter fan fic (still looking for more if you got them) and August had Cyndi posting her notes from Between which are a little hard to read but still really cool.
September brought...*drumroll*....THE AIDEN'S ANGELS FAN SITE!!! It's hard to believe we're only four months old but that just means we have no where else to go but up. Thanks to all of you Angels for spreading the word and hanging out with us. I am beyond honored that I'm not alone in my insanity. Since the site started we've done some AWESOME things:
and Too Many Reviews to Count
This year has been a fantastic year to be an Angel (or Reaper) and it can only get better from here. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of Aiden's Angels this year and here's to many more!
Bliadhna mhath ur!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Traditional Scottish Christmas

It’s getting close to Christmas and so I thought it would be nice to sit around the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and learn a little about Scottish Christmases. This isn’t some comprehensive guide by any means; just some little tidbits to amuse you.

First of all, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. Christmas Eve is the 24th and St. Stephen’s Day (also known as Boxing Day) is celebrated on the 26th –commercially, Boxing Day is kind of like Black Friday; lots of sales.

The Christmas Tree gets its origins from Germany (Tannenbaum) and are decorated with different lights and homemade decorations like holly and tartan bows.

Christmas Dinner is filled with many dishes but some musts are (taken from How To Have a Scottish Christmas):

This cake in a crust is the traditional New Year cake in Scotland. Every housewife has her own variations. This one is from a family recipe book

PreparationFirst make a 1lb weight of short crust pastry your usual method. Leave to chill.

Take a springform (if possible) cake tin, and line with baking parchment. Set aside.

Mix together

1teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground ginger, 1/4 fresh grated nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper.

Weigh into large bowl 10oz plain flour and 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda, mix well. Add 4oz Demerara sugar, then the spices, and weigh in 1lb currants, 1lb raisins, 4oz broken or flaked almonds, 4oz mixed candied peel.
Mix altogether well.

Add two beaten eggs, 5 tablespoons buttermilk (or milk will do) & two or three tablespoons whisky. Mix to a stiff sticky dough.

Roll out 2/3rds of the pastry and line the caketin with this. Press the fruit mixture into the pastry shell so that it is filled densely. Roll out the rest of the pastry to form a lid, and put on top in the usual way, moistening the edges with water to make then stick.

Take a long skewer, and pierce several times, right through the cake till you feel the tip touch the tin bottom. Brush the lid with a mixture of egg and milk, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 325 Fahrenheit; 170 Centigrade for about three hours. Test with skewer, when it is done, the skewer will not have any cake mix sticking to it.

Serve with coffee, or as the Scots do, with a wee dram of whisky!


This cake is popular throughout Britain as an alternative to Christmas Cake. It is less rich, and not so indigestible. But it is originally a Scottish Christmas cake from Dundee.

Line an 8" cake tin with baking parchment. I prefer to use springform tins, as they are easier.. Set aside.

Cream together 8oz butter & 8oz sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with a little flour taken from the total weight of 10oz. This stops the eggs curdling.. Stir in orange rind, finely grated.

Sift together the rest of the flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt. Use plain flour and baking powder if you can, as it gives a better stability for the heavy fruit.

Fold the flour mix into the creamed mixture and add 2 oz ground almonds, 1lb of mixed dried fruits and 4 oz candied peels.

Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth the surface, hollow it slightly in the middle so that when it rises it will not peak. Arrange whole blanched almonds around the top. Brush all over with beaten egg white. Bake in a pre-heated oven 325 Fahrenheit, 170Centigrade for about three hours. After the first hour, put a sheet of baking parchment on top, to prevent it going too dark and burning. Test with skewer, when it comes out clean the cake is ready.


This biscuit type cake is a modern version of a very ancient cake or Bannock, which was baked in honour of the Sun. Nowadays, we make marks which divide the biscuit into slices or wedges, but these marks originally were symbolic of the rays of the sun. Bannock was the old name which was used to describe a mix baked in a large flat round shape, and generally hardish like biscuit rather than cake texture.

For this recipe you need to line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Cream together 4oz butter, 3oz caster sugar (very fine). Mix in 8 oz flour& a pinch of salt. This should be a stiff dough, pliable enough to roll our like pastry. If too crumbly, add a tiny drop at a tine of ice cold water (from the fridge).
Roll out to 1/8 inch thick only. A tip here, I roll it out on a piece of baking parchment, and then lift it onto my baking tray complete with the parchment. It breaks very easily! Define a large circle by cutting around a dinner plate . Remove the bits. Then take a small circular cutter and cut away a centre hole, but not right through, just enough to get the indented shape of a circle (or a sun!). Make eight evenly spaced 'rays' or wedges around the cake. Pierce each wedge three times with a fork.. Bake in a pre heated oven at 350 Fahrenheit, 180 Centigrade for about 20 minutes. It will be softish when you take it out, but will harden as it cools - like cookies.


Ingredients:1 lb.Self-Raising Flour
2 cups of Sugar
small packet Mixed Spice
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ginger
4 oz.Vegetable Suet (e.g."Atore" brand or similar)
2 lbs.Seedless Raisins, Californian
1 grated Apple
1 grated Carrot

Also, Linen Cloth to contain all ingredients while cooking. And a Pot big enough to take it all.

Mix together all dry ingredients then add raisins, suet, grated apple and grated carrot. Mix with cold water to a stiff batter.

Dust Cloth with flour, after rinsing the bottom of Cloth in boiling water. Tie Cloth tightly, but leave space to swell; tied halfway up is about right. Put in Pot.

Fill Pot with boiling water. Keep boiling and simmering for at least three hours.


At the stiff batter stage, we used to put silver threepenny pieces, wrapped in greaseproof paper, into the dumpling for the children to find. You might try the same with your decimal equivalent of the Silver "Thruppny".
Here is a delightful letter I received:

Dear Maria,

As an afterthought, it struck me that your folks might like some Braes of Atholl Brose to go with their Dumpling. It is not all that popular in my own family since drinking it led to the ensnarement of a relative of ours, Iain-mhor Donald, Lord of the Isles. Since then, the Macinnes´s have been traditionally teetotallers as far as Atholl Brose is concerned (but oddly enough, the Macdonalds have never let it bother them. I suppose they got the taste for it...

The Year was 1745 and Iain Macdonald was leading his clan in Bonnie Prince Charlie's Rising against the Protestant German Hanoverian that the scurrilous English had put on the throne of the Catholic Scottish Stuarts. In those days, people got uptight about that sort of thing and felt that the English should mind their own business. The English thought is was their business since they owned more than half the island and the intransigent Scots kept moving the goalposts where the Border should have been. Anyway, the word got around that our Iain (who was maybe originally a teetotaller himself?) always enjoyed drinking the water in a spring in Killicrankie in the Scottish Highlands. So that traitorous, treacherous scoundrel, the Duke of Atholl (you can see here how partisan feelings can arise, depending on your point of view) ordered that the well should be filled with a concoction of honey and whisky, bound in oatmeal. The noble Lord of the Isles (yes, you can definitely see a trace of residual partisanship creeping in again, even now), very taken with the brew, hung around for a few drams more than was wise and spent the rest of the Rising in the Duke´s dungeons. The Duke of Cumberland subsequently came up the M9 and arrived at Atholl with a permanent cure for Iain Macdonald´s alcoholism...

So if you fancy capturing a Highlander for yourself, here is the recipe for Atholl Brose: First prepare the body from oatmeal. Pour half a pint of oatmeal into a basin (the traditional measure is four sherry glasses full of the stuff) and stir in cold water until you have a thick gooey paste about the same consistency as wallpaper paste. Leave the mix to firm up for half an hour or so then squeeze through a fine strainer, using your hands or a non-metallic implement like a wooden spoon. The idea is to get the creamy extract, to provide a bit of body for the brose. The oatmeal you can throw away, or keep for somebody´s morning porridge, depending on how long you have been hiding in the heather. You don´t need it any more. Pour the extract into a jug and add four dessert spoons of whichever pure honey you prefer Stir it well, using a silver spoon. (If you don´t have a silver spoon, anything that.s handy will do; they´re only being pretentious). Pour the lot into a quart (1 litre) bottle and fill the bottle with malt whisky to your own favourite taste. Shake well before serving at room temperature. The toast is Slainte Mhath! (pronounced Slanjey-va, meaning "Good Health"). The response is Slainte Mhor! (pronounced Slanjey-voe, meaning "Great Health").

Slainte Mhath, a Mhari!



Today, most Scots will have their Turkey like everyone else. But Venison Stew is a rich traditional Scottish dish which would grace any Christmas table. Popular on tables of gentlefolk at Christmastide and New Year in the 18th-19th century.

Cut 1lb lean venison into strips. Cut off the rind from 1lb streaky bacon. Put 1oz butter into a non-stick pan, and brown the two meats briskly. Add salt & pepper to taste. Slice small 1lb carrots, a stick of celery, 1 large onion and grated peel of one orange. Add to meats. Then put in about 3/4 pint milk, just to cover meat, add a spray of thyme, and cover. Simmer for two hours until venison is tender.

Remove meat & vegetables, thicken juices with a little flour, and then add 2 tablespoons whisky and 1/4 pint cream. Heat gently until thick and smooth. Pour over the meat and vegetables in the dish. Grate a little cheese over, and brown in the oven until it bubbles.

Serve with buttered mashed potatoes and buttered mashed swedes or turnips - if you can get them.

And of course what Christmas Party would be without music? You’ve got your basic bands like Dougie Maclean, The Irish Rovers and Jimmy MacLeod and then there’s your traditional carols (though none have their roots directly in Scottish history).

I hope your Christmas is merry and bright. Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Free Ebook of Between!

If your budget is tight this Christmas, that’s okay. Cyndi's got you covered! If you have friends who love YA romance, shoot her their name and email, and She’ll give them an ebook copy of Between for free (now thru 12/25). Who doesn't want Aiden MacRae tied up in a bow and sent right to your computer? Share the love this holiday season:

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

New Between Teaser

Cyndi promised a happy teaser and she wasn't kidding. Tell me you're not melting just a little...

Joy and relief surged in me, bringing a wave of fresh tears. I tried to hold them back, but the smile on his face was my undoing. I let the tears pour down my face. “You are an angel, lass.” Grinning, I repeated the words he’d said to me when I first met him.
“No, angels are incredible beings, fierce and dangerous, and so beautiful you can barely stand to look at them.”
“You’re not proving me wrong, then,” he said, his voice a shade lower than before. One hand reached out to cradle my cheek and my heart went into overdrive. “So soft, and yet so strong,” he whispered. A lock of hair fell over his brow as he leaned forward to kiss me. All the stress from the last couple days melted away at the touch of his lips. None of it mattered. Only that moment. Only us.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Blog Updates

Sorry guys, no Aiden-y goodness today but if you need your daily fix of drop-dead gorgeous, head on over to Cyndi Tefft's Pinterest Board "Handsome" *fans self* now those are some healthy, well-groomed men.

Anyways. Today I'm just going to give a really brief update on what's going on in the next few months. Not changes persae, just new things.

1) We'll be doing a post next week about Christmas and then on the 29th, we'll be looking back at Aiden's Angels and of course lots of Between 3 goodness.

2) In the new year, we'll continue to post reviews of Between and Hell Transporter (if you have reviews PLEASE send them to me but January is going to be a little different

3) Burns Night will be celebrated on January 25th with awesome stuff TBA

4) January 19th will be.... MOVIE NIGHT! I'll post an online copy of the classic 'Brigadoon' and you can watch it all day.

5) What February would be complete without a little Valentine's Day lovin' so we're going to look at the history of the day and maybe some sweet, Book BF loving as well.

5) In addition to all this awesomeness, Cyndi Tefft's third installment of the Between series will be released in the Spring but before that she's promised a title reveal and a Chapter One reading for you guys so seriously, get pumped for JANUARY 12th!!!!!!!. That's right, you guys are going to get the title of Between 3 AND the first chapter of the book in less than a month! How awesome is that?

6) The month of the release (as soon as I know, you'll know) is going to be fantastic. I'm already thinking up some things we can do to celebrate.

7) Last thing I should note is that there won't be any post on January 5th because I'm taking that entire week off as my vacation.

I think that's everything. To those of you just finishing your university exams, I wish you well, to everyone else: happy last minute Christmas shopping!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

My review of Hell Transporter

I thought it was time to post my review of Hell Transporter taken from Goodreads. This is back before I got into reviews and actually posted full length ones.

This book, the sequel to Between, is a lot more intense and darker than the first book and I absolutely loved it. It seemed so much cruder and dirtier which was so fitting because we were in the real world now and everything was so much harder. There were a lot more heart-pounding moments compared to the last book because the villain was a lot more tangible but was also bone-chillingly mysterious which had me flipping the pages faster than I could imagine. And the loving that went on (physically and emotionally) was a lot more real and yet still such a fantasy which is exactly what I think fiction should be - a hope that through all this gritty realism that you can find in your daily life, even the most incomprehensible of loves can survive. Overall, a page-turner from start to finish. Cyndi Tefft's books just keep getting better and better and I personally can't wait to see what she does next.

(Also, Derek and Micha get a kick in the balls from all the woman in the world)
What did you think of Hell Transporter? Let me know in the comments or email me at


Saturday, 1 December 2012

St. Andrew's Day!

Yesterday (November 30th) marked the Feast of Saint Andrew which is celebrated all across Europe and especially in Scotland. Saint Andrew was the patron saint of Scotland making St. Andrew’s Day (or, in Gaelic: Latha Naomh Andra’s) and it was declared a bank holiday in 2006. Saint Andrew is also the patron saint of Greece, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and it’s also celebrated in Germany. Austria and Poland.

Saint Andrew was a fisher from Galilee and one of the first disciples off Christ. He never actually set foot on Sotland during his preaching but he was crucified on an ‘x’-shaped cross which inspired the cross that forms to Saltire (Scotland’s National Flag). As the story goes, an angel came to a Roman monk (Rule) and told them to move Saint Andrew’s bones from Constantinople to the ends of the earth for safe keeping but the boat carrying his bones was shipwrecked on a settlement on the east coast of Scotland that would be called St. Andrews. His bones were placed on the same sight as the cathedral of St. Andrews which was built in the 11th century. Many of the relics were destroyed during the Scottish Reformation.

Celebrating St. Andrew’s Day is like celebrating the 4th of July in the States. There’s dancing and music and tones of wonderful dishes including Cullen skink, Spiced winter fruit and rice pudding and Roast shoulder lamb with potato and onion.

Here’s a playlist of St. Andrew’s Day music to dance to:

And what Scottish festival would be complete without a kilt? Here’s a guide with tips on what to wear and how to wear it:

Kilts are often worn instead of a black tie and suit at formal occasions such as weddings. The kilt is a really flexible outfit and can be formal or informal and traditional or modern. The pattern of the kilt and the choice of jacket, shoes and socks can make a real fashion statement.

Some typical events when you might see people wearing a kilt are St Andrew's Day, Robert Burns’ Night and Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve). Occasions when people wear kilts can range from weddings to ceilidhs and football and rugby matches.
The pattern of a tartan is often linked with a Scottish surname but tartans have been designed for cities and businesses too. Some surnames have more than one pattern linked with them in different colours.
If you don’t have a connection with a Scottish name then don’t worry, there are no rules stopping you wearing whichever tartan you like.
Take a look at the outfit options below to get some ideas for creating your own style.
Tips for wearing a kilt for the first time
  1. Try to practice sitting, standing up and even getting in and out of a car
  2. When you sit down make sure the front of your kilt falls between your legs to avoid embarrassment for anyone facing you
  3. When you stand up sweep your hand over the back of your kilt to make sure the pleats are flat
  4. It is a good idea to make sure your sporran is weighted down
  5. Most importantly have fun and enjoy all the attention you will get!

Bonnie Prince Charlie

You might choose this outfit for any formal occasion including weddings and black tie dinners. At Scottish weddings it is very popular for the groom and all the male guests to wear a kilt. The Bonnie Prince Charlie is also often worn at graduation ceremonies for Scottish universities.
Day Wear Tweed
The Tweed jacket and kilt with matching colours is increasingly popular. The colours on this outfit are usually blues and greens perfectly matching the colours of the Scottish countryside. You don’t need to have a formal occasion to attend when deciding to wear a kilt.
Casual and Fashion
There are loads of great kilt designs that have taken a modern twist on the kilt. The popularity of the kilt has increased as celebrities and fashion icons have been seen wearing kilts made in a variety of patterns and materials such as leather and cotton. This is a funky way to show your individuality!

For more information on St. Andrew’s Day head over to and have a bonnie day!