Tag Archives: Scotland

Mistletoe–So Much More Than A Christmas Plant


Christmas Mistletoe IsolatedMistletoe is steeped in lore from pre-Christian times, so much so that it might be easier to cover powers not attributed to this revered plant than those that are. Viscum album, the genus that grows in Great Britain and much of Europe, is recognized by its smooth-edged oval evergreen leaves borne in pairs along the woody stem, and waxy white berries, thought to be poisonous, in dense clusters of 2 to 6. Mistletoe is rare in Scotland, but references to it arise in Scottish herbals, so perhaps it was brought in from other regions of Britain. A similar species of mistletoe grows in North America with shorter, broader leaves and longer clusters of 10 or more berries. An evergreen parasitic plant, mistletoe grows on the branches of trees and derives all its nourishment from its host. The sticky berries, transferred by birds, attach themselves to the bark and send out roots. Because the plant prefers softer bark, it’s found more commonly on apple trees and is rarer on oaks which made mistletoe discovered on oaks greatly venerated by ancient Celts, Germans, and it was used in ceremonies by early Europeans. Greeks and other early peoples thought it had mystical powers and the plant gained a wealth of folklore over the centuries. Sacred to the Druids, many wondrous attributes are accorded to mistletoe, including medicinal powers, properties to boost fertility, and ward off evil spells.

Druidism, God, Tree, Praying,

From A Modern Herbal: Mistletoe was held in great reverence by the Druids. They went forth clad in white robes to search for the sacred plant, and when it was discovered, one of the Druids ascended the tree and gathered it with great ceremony, separating it from the Oak with a golden knife. The Mistletoe was always cut at a particular age of the moon, at the beginning of the year, and it was only sought for when the Druids declared they had visions directing them to seek it. When a great length of time elapsed without this happening, or if the Mistletoe chanced to fall to the ground, it was considered as an omen that some misfortune would befall the nation. The Druids held that the Mistletoe protected its possessor from all evil, and that the oaks on which it was seen growing were to be respected because of the wonderful cures which the priests were able to effect with it. They sent round their attendant youth with branches of the Mistletoe to announce the entrance of the new year. It is probable that the custom of including it in the decoration of our homes at Christmas, giving it a special place of honour, is a survival of this old custom.

British Oak

The curious basket of garland with which ‘Jack-in-the-Green‘ is even now occasionally invested on May-day is said to be a relic of a similar garb assumed by the Druids for the ceremony of the Mistletoe. When they had found it they danced round the oak to the tune of ‘Hey derry down, down, down derry!’ which literally signified, ‘In a circle move we round the oak. ‘ Some oakwoods in Herefordshire are still called ‘the derry‘; and the following line from Ovid refers to the Druids’ songs beneath the oak:

Ad viscum Druidce cantare solebant

Shakespeare calls it ‘the baleful Mistletoe,’ an allusion to the Scandinavian legend that Balder, the god of Peace, was slain with an arrow made of Mistletoe. He was restored to life at the request of the other gods and goddesses, and Mistletoe was afterwards given into the keeping of the goddess of Love, and it was ordained that everyone who passed under it should receive a kiss, to show that the branch had become an emblem of love, and not of hate.”

Parts Used Medicinally: The leaves and young twigs, collected just before the berries form, and dried in the same manner as described for Holly.

The preparations ordinarily used are a fluid extract and the powdered leaves. A homoeopathic tincture is prepared with spirit from equal quantities of the leaves and ripe berries, but is difficult of manufacture, owing to the viscidity of the sap.”

“Medicinal Action and UsesNervine, antispasmodic, tonic and narcotic. Has a great reputation for curing the ‘falling sickness’ epilepsy – and other convulsive nervous disorders. It has also been employed in checking internal haemorrhage.

***Bear in mind that although mistletoe has some possible medicinal qualities and has been used for centuries for various maladies, it is potentially toxic so do not administer it to yourself.

From http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/302/

“Mistletoe was thought to be a remarkable and sacred shrub because it seemed to grow from the air and not from the earth. Mistletoe has been considered undesirable because it feeds off other trees; however it is also thought to have a symbiotic relationship because it provides nutrients when the host is in dormancy. It also provides food for a host of animals and birds who consume its leaves and shoots.

Over time its folklore has grown to include the belief that the oak mistletoe could extinguish fire, that it held the soul of the host tree and placed in a baby’s cradle would protect the child from faeries.

Mistletoe KissKissing under the mistletoe is also cited in an early work by Washington Irving, “Christmas Eve,” which tells of the festivities surrounding the Twelve Days of Christmas:

“Here were kept up the old games of hoodman blind, shoe the wild mare, hot cockles, steal the white loaf, bob apple, and snap dragon; the Yule log and Christmas candle were regularly burnt, and the mistletoe with its white berries hung up, to the imminent peril of all the pretty housemaids.”

Used as good luck charms to ward off evil, its sprigs were also put under the pillows of young girls who thought it would entice dreams of the husband to be.”

From http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays/mistletoe3.htm

“Mistletoe is also said to be a sexual symbol, because of the consistency and color of the berry juice as well as the belief that it is an aphrodisiac, the “soul” of the oak from which it grows. The origin of the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is vague. However, the tradition may have stemmed from either the Viking association of the plant with Frigga (the goddess of love) or from the ancient belief that mistletoe was related to fertility. Another explanation for the tradition is that it is derived from the festival of Saturnalia, a popular mid-December celebration in ancient Rome.

Christmas Mistletoe IsolatedThe correct mistletoe etiquette is for the man to remove one berry when he kisses a woman. When all the berries are gone, there’s no more kissing permitted underneath that plant.

One legend states that a couple who kisses underneath mistletoe will have good luck, but a couple neglecting to perform the ritual will have bad luck. Specifically, it is believed that a couple kissing under the mistletoe ensure themselves of marriage and a long, happy life, while an unmarried woman not kissed under the mistletoe will remain single for another year.”

***Mistletoe and werewolves: In some ancient lore, mistletoe is considered a repellent and protection from werewolves.

***Royalty free images of mistletoe, Druid, British Oak, couple kissing beneath mistletoe

“Rowan trees and red thread put witches to their speed.”


Winter beautyThe Rowan Tree has a wealth of ancient lore and many associations with magic and witches. The tree is thought to lend protection against evil and bad spells. It’s old Celtic name, ‘fid na ndruad,’ means wizard tree. But it has many names. Ask an old Celt which they favor.

Rowan, known as the Mountain Ash in America, and Dogberry Tree in parts of Canada, is a familiar sight in the mountains surrounding the Shenandoah Valley. My mom planted one in her yard, just up the road from us, and it’s doing well (last time I checked). My dear grandmother who lived to be 99 and a half, and really knew her trees and wildflowers, was very fond of the beautiful mountain ash. Grandma would point it out to me in the Alleghenies when she lived in Blue Field, West VA. It’s gorgeous in autumn when covered with bright red berries, and particularly attractive to birds.

Rowan Tree, Mountain, Black Mount, Scottish Highlands

(Rowan Tree at Black Mount in the Scottish Highlands)

Red, the color of the berries, was thought to be the strongest color in battling the dark forces. In Ireland, rowan trees were planted near houses to protect them from the spirits of the dead; in Wales they favored graveyards for their tree plantings. In Scotland, the Rowan Tree is among the most sacred and cutting one down, or using any portion of the tree for any purpose other than spiritually approved rituals was taboo. The wood was seen as the most protective part and fashioned into sticks to stir milk to keep it from curdling, pocket charms (or amulets) to ward off rheumatism and bad mojo, and made into divining rods (for finding precious metals). Because the tree is associated with Saint Bridhig, the Celtic patroness of the arts, healing, smithing, spinning and weaving, spindles and spinning wheels were made of rowan in Scotland and Ireland.

Scotland, Forest, Old, TreeWalking sticks made of rowan were thought to lend protection to the traveler on their journey, and from evil spirits. Rowan trees planted near stone circles in Scotland were thought to be favored by fairies who held their celebrations within the protective tree enclosed circle. Fairies are extremely cautious. But the fae can also get up to mischief, so the rowan would protect you from that as well. One of those multi-use herbs/trees. (Image of old Scottish forest)

Rowan twigs were placed above doorways and barns to protect the inhabitants from evil and misfortune. These twigs might be formed into a cross and tied with a red thread while chanting, “Rowan trees and red thread put witches to their speed.”

Salem Witch Trials movieTo the 17th Century Scots, however, practicing folk medicine was associated with witchcraft, which could include carrying a Rowan charm, a twig tied with a red thread for protection. I don’t know if this (or some equally petty reason) is why my Scot’s ancestor, John Mack’s, parents were executed for witchcraft, but he left Inverness and settled in New England. There, he married Sarah Bagley, whose brother, Orlando Bagley, arrested his neighbor Susannah Martin for being a witch. Poor Susannah was later hung during the infamous Salem witch trials. So there was no getting away from the witch frenzy for John Mack. For more on my family’s involvement in the witch trials check out my post at: http://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/my-ancestor-orlando-bagley-and-the-salem-witch-trials/

In the witches’ favor, it’s interesting to note that the rowan is also called the witch tree because they used it to increase their powers and spells and for fashioning magic wands, so there appears to be some disagreement here. Did it speed witches on their way, or empower them? *These conflicting beliefs are often the way in herbal lore.

The_Bearwalkers_Daughter_Cover3The tree was also sacred to the Druids (of course) who believed in its protective powers and burnt it on funeral pyres, also in rites of divination and purification. The tree was associated with both death and rebirth. Because Rowan was thought to bring the gift of inspiration, ancient Bards called it the ‘tree of bards.’ I suppose all writers should have rowan. I used Rowan (among other herbs) in NA/Scot’s historical romance novel, The Bearwalker’s Daughter. The elderly Scot’s-Irish woman, Neeley, uses it to protect the home.

Rowan is one of the nine sacred woods burnt in the Druids’ Beltaine fire. And, the tree is associated with dragons who apparently once guarded sacred rowan. Not sure if dragons are still on the job, or have slacked off. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen any dragons in ages. let me know if you have.

I should add that where it wasn’t deemed wrong to use the timber, the strong wood has also traditionally been used for the handles of tools, cart wheels, and planks or beams.

“Rowan tree, red thread, hold the witches all in dread.” ~another old herbal saying

Teen wolfWood from the ash tree, in the form of ash outlining a building or circle, is showing up in a lot of paranormal TV shows with American settings, like Teen Wolf, and The Secret Circle, used to ward off evil, so even if some of these characters are the nicest werewolves or witches you could ever want to meet, they cannot cross a barrier of ash.

For more on Rowan Lore, this is an interesting site: http://www.druidry.org/library/trees/tree-lore-rowan

What to do when you’re Elf-shot–Herbal Lore


AgrimonyAgrimony:  Used from ancient times to treat many ailments and injuries, it’s also reputed to have magical properties.

From The Scots Herbal by Tess Darwin:

“Agrimony is found in dry grassy places in most areas except the northwest of Scotland. The Gaelic name of this plant, mur-druidhean, may derive from the use of agrimony by healers to treat spiritual troubles. Ferquhar Ferguson, tried for witchcraft on Arran in 1716, admitted using agrimony to cure elf-shotten people.” (Apparently a common affliction). “Ferguson was guided in his treatment by a voice heard while sleeping, which instructed him to pull the plant in the name of the Holy Trinity.”

***Elf-shot are those persons or animals who have fallen ill after being shot by the arrows of malevolent elves. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Lady's_Mantle_Alchemilla_vulgaris

Another powerful herb for protection is Lady’s Mantle, found in meadows throughout Scotland (and my garden when it’s happy).

From The Scots Herbal by Tess Darwin

“The large leaves collect drops of morning dew and it was a widespread tradition to use this pure water for a refreshing face wash.

It was a powerful remedy for domestic animals that had fallen ill after being shot by malevolent elves. Water containing juice from the plant was both sprinkled on the sick beast and given it to drink.”

agrimony, Herb, acrimony, Herbal Plant, Herbal Medicine,More on Agrimony From A Modern Herbal:

The plant is found abundantly throughout England,. In Scotland it is more local and does not penetrate very far northward. (It also grows in America)

Agrimony has an old reputation as a popular, domestic medicinal herb, being a simple well-known to all country-folk. It belongs to the Rose order of plants, and its slender spikes of yellow flowers, which are in bloom from June to early September, and the singularly beautiful form of its much-cut-into leaves, make it one of the most graceful of our smaller herbs.

The whole plant is deep green and covered with soft hairs, and has a slightly aromatic scent; even the small root is sweet-scented, especially in spring. The spikes of flowers emit a most refreshing and spicy odour like that of apricots. The leaves when dry retain most of their fragrant odour, as well as the flowers, and Agrimony was once much sought after as a substitute or addition to tea, adding a peculiar delicacy and aroma to its flavour. Agrimony is one of the plants from the dried leaves of which in some country districts is brewed what is called ‘a spring drink,’ or ‘diet drink,’ a compound made by the infusion of several herbs and drunk in spring time as a purifier of the blood.

Agrimony, Flower HerbThe long flower-spikes of Agrimony have caused the name of ‘Church Steeples’ to be given the plant in some parts of the country. It also bears the title of ‘Cockeburr,’ ‘Sticklewort’ or ‘Stickwort,’ because its seed-vessels cling by the hooked ends of their stiff hairs to any person or animal coming into contact with the plant.”

The whole plant yields a yellow dye: when gathered in September, the colour given is pale, much like that called nankeen; later in the year the dye is of a darker hue and will dye wool of a deep yellow. As it gives a good dye at all times and is a common plant, easily cultivated, it seems to deserve the notice of dyers.

History: The name Agrimony is from Argemone, a word given by the Greeks to plants which were healing to the eyes, the name Eupatoria refers to Mithridates Eupator, a king who was a renowned concoctor of herbal remedies. The magic power of Agrimony is mentioned in an old English medical manuscript:

‘If it be leyd under mann’s heed, He shal sleepyn as he were deed; He shal never drede ne wakyn,Till fro under his heed it be takyn.’ (That’s darn useful to know.)

agrimonyAgrimony was one of the most famous vulnerary herbs. (Vulnerary *is a plant used in the treatment of wounds). The Anglo-Saxons, who called it Garclive, taught that it would heal wounds, snake bites, warts, etc. In the time of Chaucer, when we find its name appearing in the form of Egrimoyne, it was used with Mugwort and vinegar for ‘a bad back’ and ‘alle woundes’: and one of these old writers recommends it to be taken with a mixture of pounded frogs and human blood, as a remedy for all internal hemorrhages.”

*I have to stop right here and comment. Pounded frogs and human blood mixed with Agrimony for all internal hemorrhages. Hmmm…it wonders me, as the Pennsylvania Dutch say, whose blood we’re to mix in. Probably someone else’s. And what would the proportions of pounded frog be to the herb and blood?  No exact proportions given. Just a spoonful of this and a cup of that. I suspect it would take more than a spoonful of sugar to help that medicine go down.

I also like where the author goes on to say that Agrimony “has had a great reputation for curing jaundice and other liver complaints. Gerard believed in its efficacy. He says: ‘A decoction of the leaves is good for them that have naughty livers.’” Got that?  It treats naughty livers.

Constituents: Agrimony contains a particular volatile oil, which may be obtained from the plant by distillation and also a bitter principle. It yields in addition 5 per cent of tannin, so that its use in cottage medicine for gargles and as an astringent applicant to indolent ulcers and wounds is well justified. Owing to this presence of tannin, its use has been recommended in dressing leather.

agrimony_herb_imgAgrimony is also considered a very useful agent in skin eruptions and diseases of the blood, pimples, blotches, etc. A strong decoction of the root and leaves, sweetened with honey or sugar, has been taken successfully to cure scrofulous sores, being administered two or three times a day, in doses of a wineglassful, persistently for several months. The same decoction is also often employed in rural districts as an application to ulcers.

Preparation: In North America, it is said to be used in fevers with great success, by the Indians and Canadians. In former days, it was sometimes given as a vermifuge, (*serving to expel worms and other parasites from the intestinal tract) though that use is obsolete. In the Middle Ages, it was said to have magic powers, if laid under a man’s head inducing heavy sleep till removed, but no narcotic properties are ascribed to it.

TinyFairyFrom Herb Magic.com: “AGRIMONY is an herb that is said to turn back jinxes that have already been made, roots that have already been laid, and curses that have already been cast. Combined with Slippery Elm Bark, it is said to break spells involving Slander and Lies…combined with Rue, it is said to send back the Evil Eye (Mal Occhio) even after the Eye has already taken effect. Combined with Salt, it is said to un-make Hexes and Witchcraft.”  They add, “We make no claims for AGRIMONY, and sell it as a Curio only.”

*I make no claims either and am only quoting from and commenting on what I’ve researched.

This is a terrific site: The Medieval Gardener:

Archery, Women, Medieval, Warrior, Female, Bow, Arrow, Middle Ages, Fighting, History, DressRegarding Agrimony it says: “This perennial with its tall yellow spires (to 24 inches) is a native European plant often found growing wild in the Middle Ages. Recorded in the inventories of Charlemagne’s gardens (but not in the Capitulare de Villis ) and the Anglo Saxon dictionary source of Aelfric, it was highly regarded for its general healing and magical powers and was believed by the Anglo Saxons to heal wounds, warts and snake bites. If laid under a pillow, they further believed it had magical powers to induce a deep sleep until removal. Another 14th century reference claims it for the treatment of back problems along with mugwort and vinegar. Agrimony was also used as a strewing herb and, bundled with rue, broom, maidenhair and ground ivy, was used to identify witches. Today we are aware of the tannin content of agrimony and use its lovely apricot scented dried flowers and leaves to make herbal teas as well as astringent infusions, and to attract bees in the garden.” ~ Contributed by B. F. Wedlake

Scottish Time Travel Romance Somewhere My Lass Free in Kindle


somewhere_my_lass_resized 2Sunday August 18th through Tuesday the 20th,  Somewhere My Lass is a free kindle.

Story Description:
Will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?
‘’The MacDonald comes’ warns Mora Campbell when Neil MacKenzie finds the young Scotswoman lying unconscious at the top of his stairs after he discovers his murdered housekeeper slumped at the bottom. Mora’s claim that she’s his fiancé from 1602 and was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, through ‘the door to nowhere’ seems utter nonsense. Neil thinks she’s addled from the blow to her head until his life spirals into chaos and the avenging Highlander shows up wanting blood. Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past, but he must also remember. And fast.

Although Niall’s kinsmen believe he’s dead, and Mora is now destined to marry his brother, she’s convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right. The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. The only problem is how to get back to 1602. An ancient relic, the ultimate geek friend, and a little Celtic magic help pave the way back to the enormous challenge that awaits them. If they’re in time.~
More About The Story Behind Light Paranormal Romance Somewhere My LassYes, it’s time travel with a twist. Somewhere My Lass is book two in my Somewhere in Time series. Somewhere My Love is the first book, and the sequel to Somewhere My Lass, Somewhere in the Highlands is out now in Kindle. The stories in this series adhere to a theme, not necessarily a continuation of the characters themselves. Although Somewhere in the Highlands picks up two years after Somewhere My Lass left off.
Somewhere My Lass was an intriguing tale to weave and quite an adventure. It’s also one I had no intention of undertaking until the vivid dream that led to the startling intro: the hero, Neil MacKenzie, returns home to find his elderly housekeeper lying murdered at the bottom of the winding staircase and a young woman in full Scottish dress slumped at the top. She, however, isn’t dead.
ancient doorAnd that’s all I had to go on at the start of this venture, but was so intrigued I had to learn Neil and Mora’s story and pondered all the clues given in the dream. An old Victorian house, check, I’m very familiar with those; man wearing modern suit, so the story opens in present day, got it, but the young woman came from the past. Scotland’s past. That would take some doing, I concluded, and did my usual obsessive research. I love gleaning more about the past and used an actual feud in 1602 between the MacKenzies and MacDonalds as a jumping off place.
 Doors play a big role in my ‘Somewhere in Time’ series. Behind every door lies a secret, an intriguing puzzle to be solved, so these romances are also suspenseful mysteries. There will be more stories in this series.  Somewhere the Bells Ring is a ghostly Christmas romance that flashes back in time.

For Lovers of Time Travel


castle turretWriting, or reading, a story set in any historical era is traversing time in a way, as would be a futuristic setting, but I’m referring to actual time travel stories. In my Somewhere in Time series the boundaries of time and space are hurdled in various manners. This idea has always fascinated me, also of discovering new lands. I’ve been seeking Narnia since childhood and never gave up the quest. C.S. Lewis is my favorite author and has been since I read his Chronicles of Narnia. I’m nothing if not devoted. Any fellow Narnians out there?

“Things never happen the same way twice.” C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian; The Return to Narnia

A concept I bear in mind while writing.

Door, Old, Fantasy, Halloween, Gothic Style, Mystery, Spooky, Wood, Medieval, Doorway (2)The theme behind my Somewhere in Time series is that the story opens in an old home, so far Virginia (I’m a Virginian with deep roots in this richly historic state), and then transports the reader back in time either in the same wonderful old house (I love old homes), or another place entirely such as the Scottish Highlands. As is the case in Somewhere My Lass and Somewhere in the HighlandsBoth stories convey the characters to and from 17th century Scotland via a portal in time. The unifying characteristic of the series is the paranormal/time travel element, but the stories themselves aren’t necessarily tied together, though some are, and will be. It’s the encompassing theme that matters. Doors play a big role in this series. Behind every door lies a secret, an intriguing puzzle to be solved, so these romances are also suspenseful mysteries.

Fergus, the unlikely hero of my latest release, Somewhere in the Highlandsheads up this fast-paced Sci-Fi Fantasy Time Travel Romance. Untold hours of scheming, dreaming, writing and revising went into the story. Yes, there will be another title in this continuing saga. Don’t ask me when, but plotting is underway. Somewhere in the Highlands is book three in the seriesfollowing Somewhere My Loveand is the sequel to Somewhere My LassSomewhere the Bells Ring is a hauntingly beautiful Christmas romance.

Blurb for Somewhere in the Highlands: 

The MacDonalds are coming! When Elizabeth MacDonald (a.k.a Beezus Mac) thrusts a sealed gold box at Angus Fergus amid panicked requests for him to hide the stolen artifact, she has no idea the ancient cloth it contains bestows unearthly powers. Red MacDonald knows and he’s hell-bent on traveling 400 years into the future to claim the charmed relic, even kill for it. Protecting Beezus from his old nemesis is only one of Fergus’s problems. 

Before they can stop him, Morley MacDonald, descendant of Red MacDonald, snatches the prize and leaps through the time portal to head the MacDonald clan and kill Fergus’s MacKenzie ancestor. If he succeeds, Fergus will cease to exist. Danger grows in the feud between the MacDonalds and the MacKenzies as the pair, along with an ingenious friend and high tech inventions, returns to 1604 Scotland to face these brawny Highlanders and reunite with kin. Will Fergus overcome his mistrust of Beezus and fan the growing spark between them before they battle Morley? If he waits, it may be too late.~

Excerpt:

Fergus turned to dive after Hal’s hazy form.

No time to glance at his watch. It had been a mad scramble since they first charged through the portal, but five minutes must’ve passed by now. That truck needed to blow!

A loud boom and bright light answered his prayer.

“Fire in the hole!” Fergus shot down to the hard-packed earth and stone below.

Hal grabbed him, breaking his fall. “Always wanted to shout that, didn’t you?”

“Yep.” Fergus swept his gaze over the faces faintly illuminated by the glow from above. “You guys OK?”

“A relative term,” Hal grunted. “But tolerable.”

Beezus gave a short nod. 

“This place is just as charming as I remember. No wider,” Fergus noted.

“Real cozy,” Hal said under his breath.

“Dug by dwarves, I expect. You may need to crouch down as we go along.”

“Counting on it.” Hal again. Beezus was sucking in deep gulps of air.

Fergus fished in a pocket for the LED flashlight and flipped it to green. That hue made everyone appear garish, but would show up less in the gloom. Beezus looked scared spitless, and with good reason. Morley might as well have painted a big red X on her. She was ‘it.’ But Fergus would die before he’d let Morley take her. The problem was, he might not still be here to stop him.

No room to ponder that challenge now. The clicking that emanated from Hal told Fergus his quick-witted friend had retrieved his ultrasonic device to better navigate their way. He’d better think fast too.

“Here, Beezus.” Fergus pressed the flashlight into her trembling fingers. “We can’t risk you bringing up the rear in case we’re pursued and you’re snatched again. Shine this ahead and follow the tunnel. Hal will go next and me last. And don’t look too closely at your surroundings.” He remembered his last trek through this tunnel with rats scattering across their feet, not to mention spiders and pushing through cobwebs. Wishing he could take her into his arms, Fergus laid a hand on her shoulder. “We’re right behind you. And if all goes as planned, Niall waits ahead.”

She lifted a quivering chin, resolve in her eyes. “Watch your back.” Snatching up trailing skirts with one hand, she directed the light with the other.

Angry voices sounded overhead.

Fergus snapped, “For God’s sake, don’t they ever give up?” 

“That would be a negative, Captain,” Hal said gruffly.

somewhere_my_lass_resized 2He tailed Beezus and Fergus brought up the rear. At least the really big men couldn’t get through this narrow pass. That still left a considerable foe. Of course, Fergus had smoke bombs inside his coat to toss over his shoulder. And he did. Luckily the breeze was in his favor.

Coughs and curses carried from behind, then a man with a strong Scottish burr roared, “After them, lads!”

Amazon Link for Somewhere in the Highlands, in case you missed the one above. And for its predecessor Somewhere My Lass.

 The Somewhere in Time Series; where the past meets the present.

***Royalty free images. Cover by my talented daughter Elise

New Release–Time Travel Romance Somewhere in the Highlands!


somewhere_in_the_highlands4.jpg 1 After a lot of scheming, dreaming, writing, and revising, the long-awaited sequel to my time travel romance, Somewhere My Lass, is out. Yes, there will be another story to continue this saga. Don’t ask me when, but plotting is underway.

About Somewhere in the Highlands: Will the brilliant geek Fergus and lovely but devious Beezus thwart a power mad time traveler wielding a supernatural relic before he kills Fergus’s Highland ancestor?

Blurb:  Retro KeyholeThe MacDonalds are coming! When Elizabeth MacDonald (a.k.a Beezus Mac) thrusts a sealed gold box at Angus Fergus amid panicked requests for him to hide the stolen artifact, she has no idea the ancient cloth it contains bestows unearthly powers.

Red MacDonald knows and he’s hell-bent on traveling 400 years into the future to claim the charmed relic, even kill for it. Protecting Beezus from his old nemesis is only one of Fergus’s problems.

Before they can stop him, Morley MacDonald, descendant of Red MacDonald, snatches the prize and leaps through the time portal to head the MacDonald clan and kill Fergus’s MacKenzie ancestor. If he succeeds, Fergus will cease to exist. Danger grows in the feud between the MacDonalds and the MacKenzies as the pair, along with an ingenious friend and high tech inventions, returns to 1604 Scotland to face these brawny Highlanders and reunite with kin. Will Fergus overcome his mistrust of Beezus and fan the growing spark between them before they battle Morley? If he waits, it may be too late.~

Story Excerpt

Haunted stairsFergus turned to dive after Hal’s hazy form.

No time to glance at his watch. It had been a mad scramble since they first charged through the portal, but five minutes must’ve passed by now. That truck needed to blow!

A loud boom and bright light answered his prayer.

“Fire in the hole!” Fergus shot down to the hard-packed earth and stone below.

Hal grabbed him, breaking his fall. “Always wanted to shout that, didn’t you?”

“Yep.” Fergus swept his gaze over the faces faintly illuminated by the glow from above. “You guys OK?”

“A relative term,” Hal grunted. “But tolerable.”

Beezus gave a short nod.

“This place is just as charming as I remember. No wider,” Fergus noted.

“Real cozy,” Hal said under his breath.

“Dug by dwarves, I expect. You may need to crouch down as we go along.”

“Counting on it.” Hal again. Beezus was sucking in deep gulps of air.

LED green flashlightFergus fished in a pocket for the LED flashlight and flipped it to green. That hue made everyone appear garish, but would show up less in the gloom. Beezus looked scared spitless, and with good reason. Morley might as well have painted a big red X on her. She was ‘it.’ But Fergus would die before he’d let Morley take her. The problem was, he might not still be here to stop him.

No room to ponder that challenge now. The clicking that emanated from Hal told Fergus his quick-witted friend had retrieved his ultrasonic device to better navigate their way. He’d better think fast too.

“Here, Beezus.” Fergus pressed the flashlight into her trembling fingers. “We can’t risk you bringing up the rear in case we’re pursued and you’re snatched again. Shine this ahead and follow the tunnel. Hal will go next and me last. And don’t look too closely at your surroundings.” He remembered his last trek through this tunnel with rats scattering across their feet, not to mention spiders and pushing through cobwebs. Wishing he could take her into his arms, Fergus laid a hand on her shoulder. “We’re right behind you. And if all goes as planned, Niall waits ahead.”

swordShe lifted a quivering chin, resolve in her eyes. “Watch your back.” Snatching up trailing skirts with one hand, she directed the light with the other.

Angry voices sounded overhead.

Fergus snapped, “For God’s sake, don’t they ever give up?”

“That would be a negative, Captain,” Hal said gruffly.

He tailed Beezus and Fergus brought up the rear. At least the really big men couldn’t get through this narrow pass. That still left a considerable foe. Of course, Fergus had smoke bombs inside his coat to toss over his shoulder. And he did. Luckily the breeze was in his favor.

Coughs and curses carried from behind, then a man with a strong Scottish burr roared, “After them, lads!”

 The Somewhere in Time Series; where the past meets the present. ***Somewhere in the Highlands is available in kindle at Amazon.

The Scottish Bluebell Fairy–Beth Trissel


Path Through Bluebell flowers

The Scottish Bluebells (Campanula rotundifolia) are known by various names, most commonly harebell, also Scottish bellflower and fairies thimble, as it was widely thought fairies live among the flowers. I don’t make this stuff up; these fascinating tidbits are from: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1615/

“These lovely flowers have been around for centuries. Legend has it that fairies live among them and humans should be wary of disturbing them.”

Scottish Bluebells“The name, Harebell, has its roots in magic. The name came from the fact that Scottish Bluebells are found growing in meadows frequented by hares. Some would argue, the name Harebell was given this flower due to the fact that witches were known to turn themselves into hares and hide among them. Both are interesting stories, one for the non-believer and believer alike.”

The flower is a favorite among poets. Two famous examples listed on the site:

Sir Walter Scott mentioned it in his 1810 poem, “Lady of the Lake;” “A foot more light, a step more true, Ne’er from the heath-flower dashed the dew; E’en the slight harebell raised its head…”

Emily Bronte wrote, “I lingered round them, under the benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers, for the sleepers in that quiet earth.” in her book, “Wuthering Heights,” published in 1847.”

From: http://www.livingartsoriginals.com/flower-bluebells.html

Scottish bluebell fairyAnother name for bluebells is Dead Man’s bells. This is due to the fact that fairies were believed to cast spells on those who dare to pick or damage the beautiful, delicate flowers. The people of Scotland are fond enough of the flower to continue this tradition in the hopes of protecting the little flower.”

Apparently, when meandering through drifts of bluebells, it’s wise to stick to the path, or you may stir up the wrath of fairies and release the spells trapped in the blooms. Never a good idea, and one that would be echoed by our resident fairy expert, my eight year old niece, Cailin, who warns never step into a circle of flowers or go anywhere without the fairies’ permission. Or they will get very upset. And you do not want an upset fairy, or fairies, on your hands. Particularly the furious wind fairies, but that’s another story.

*Royalty free images

Scottish Time Travel Romance Somewhere My Lass a Free Kindle–Beth Trissel


Somewhere My Lass Time Travel Romance 2013Today, Saturday the 16th through tomorrow Sunday the 17th, Somewhere My Lass is free in kindle at Amazon. This one time only, so hop on over.

Story Description:

Will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?’‘The MacDonald comes’ warns Mora Campbell when Neil MacKenzie finds the young Scotswoman lying unconscious at the top of his stairs after he discovers his murdered housekeeper slumped at the bottom. Mora’s claim that she’s his fiancé from 1602 and was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, through ‘the door to nowhere’ seems utter nonsense. Neil thinks she’s addled from the blow to her head until his life spirals into chaos and the avenging Highlander shows up wanting blood. Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past, but he must also remember. And fast.

Although Niall’s kinsmen believe he’s dead, and Mora is now destined to marry his brother, she’s convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right. The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. The only problem is how to get back to 1602. An ancient relic, the ultimate geek friend, and a little Celtic magic help pave the way back to the enormous challenge that awaits them. If they’re in time.~

More About The Story Behind Light Paranormal Romance Somewhere My LassYes, it’s time travel with a twist. Somewhere My Lass is the second book in my Somewhere in Time series. Somewhere My Love is the first. The stories in this series adhere to a theme, not a continuation of the characters themselves. That will change, though, with the upcoming sequel to Somewhere My Lass. This was an intriguing tale to weave and quite an adventure. It’s also one I had no intention of undertaking until the vivid dream that led to the startling intro: the hero, Neil MacKenzie, returns home to find his elderly housekeeper lying murdered at the bottom of the winding staircase and a young woman in full Scottish dress slumped at the top. She, however, isn’t dead.
ancient doorAnd that’s all I had to go on at the start of this venture, but was so intrigued I had to learn Neil and Mora’s story and pondered all the clues given in the dream. An old Victorian house, check, I’m very familiar with those; man wearing modern suit, so the story opens in present day, got it, but the young woman came from the past. Scotland’s past. That would take some doing, I concluded, and did my usual obsessive research. I love gleaning more about the past and used an actual feud in 1602 between the MacKenzies and MacDonalds as a jumping off place.
Doors play a big role in my ‘Somewhere in Time’ series. Behind every door lies a secret, an intriguing puzzle to be solved, so these romances are also suspenseful mysteries.
Yes, yes, I’m making strides on the sequel to Somewhere My Lass.
***If you missed it, here’s that Amazon link again.

The Whys Behind Time Travel Romance Somewhere My Lass–Beth Trissel


Will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?

somewhere_my_lass_final resizedFor inquiring minds, those of you who want to know, or are mildly interested, my suspenseful romance novel Somewhere My Lass, was an intriguing tale to weave and quite an adventure. It’s also one I had no intention of undertaking until the vivid dream that led to the startling intro: the hero, Neil MacKenzie, returns home from work to find his elderly housekeeper lying murdered at the bottom of the winding staircase and a young woman in full Scottish dress slumped at the top. She, however, isn’t dead.

‘What the heck,’ I said to self. And that’s all I had to go on at the start of this venture, but was so intrigued I had to learn their story and pondered all the clues given. An old Victorian house, check, I’m very familiar with those; man wearing modern suit, so the story opens in present day, got it, but the young woman came from the past. Scotland’s past. This will take some doing, I concluded. Being a member of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, a fabulous online group, was/is a great resource. I’d taken a Scottish history class and reread that trove of material while doing my usual obsessive research. I love gleaning more about the past and used an actual feud in 1602 between the MacKenzies and MacDonalds as a jumping off place.

Both Neil and the heroine, Mora Campbell, were so clear in my mind and a lot of fun to work with—send their regards—and definitely rank among my cast of favorites. The romance between them is one of the best I’ve written. The chemistry just took off. The story, though, is not super-hot, but seductively sensual. I actually received a high-five along with a ‘warning’ from one reviewer because it wasn’t erotic. Weird. Warning, warning, this is not super-hot. Who sends out a Mayday alert for that? It says something about the state of romance today.

Interestingly, the Scarlet Pimpernel, a classic love story, plus he’s ingenious, never does more than kiss the ground his beloved’s exquisitely shod feet have trod, because he can’t trust her enough to express his undying passion until the end when he tells all and carries her in his arms, as her poor feet are bloodied and bruised from a selfless attempt to save him. Only he didn’t need saving. I don’t recall even a kiss between the two, except when his heated lips brush her hand, and yet it’s deeply romantic and has sparked many films. But I digress. Frequently.

Regarding the setting for Somewhere My Lass, until this book all my stories took place in America, past and present. This departure to Scotland was a challenge, but I drew deeply on my English Scots-Irish roots, which I’ve been doing all along. Apart from the prominent Native American characters in some of my work, the others are of English/Scots-Irish backgrounds, with a smidgen of French. My ancestors, too, have a smidgen of French in the meld, a Norman knight who fought with William the Conqueror, and some French Huguenots.

One unique aspect of the story, is that rather than beginning with the hero or heroine going back in time, I brought her forward (as was the case in the dream) before sending them back together. I also included kewl sci-fi features, new for me. I’ve learned a great deal from my journey into Bonnie Old Scotland. I fell in love with the characters, new ones nudge at my mind, and I’m at work (possibly forever) on the sequel. The colorful secondary, Neil’s quirky friend Angus Fergus, has a lot of fans.

In writing Somewhere My Lass,  I was influenced by my beloved Author C S Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia that I grew up reading. I’m still looking for Narnia. Isn’t everyone? My love of old castles and the Scottish Highlands also lent inspiration.Many of the early Scots-Irish settlers in the Shenandoah Valley, my ancestors among them, chose to live here because of the resemblance the valley and mountains bore to Scotland and Ireland. As near to home as they were likely to find in the New World.

The concept behind my Somewhere in Time series, of which Somewhere My Lass is Book Two (though written to stand alone) is that the story opens in present day, so far my home state of Virginia, and then transports the reader Somewhere else. Either back to an earlier time in the same house, as in Somewhere My Love and Somewhere The Bells Ring, or another place altogether, as in Somewhere My Lass. The wonderful old homes I grew up in and visited over the years are an integral part of the inspiration behind this series. In Somewhere My Lass, I used a compilation of Victorian homes for the mysterious house in historic Staunton, Virginia where the story begins. How do they go back and forth in time, you may ask. Why through ‘the door to nowhere,’ of course, a portal to the past. I was acquainted with just such a door as a child.  However that was typically Victorian, not the ancient door pictured, a royalty free image, I hasten to add. No, this Medieval door is where one enters on the other side of the portal. Yes, yes, I’m earnestly at work on the sequel to Somewhere My Lass. (Somewhere in the Highlands, Fergus’s story)

***Somewhere My Lass is currently available in kindle for the lofty price of .99. 

Scottish Time Travel Romance Somewhere My Lass Relaunched!–Beth Trissel


somewhere_my_lass_final1 (1)For days, Somewhere My Lass has been the tireless focus of my attention, and is not only relaunched but revised with some new additions to the story. My next goal is to finish the sequel, Somewhere in the Highlands (Fergus’s story) and this time I shall conquer, so cheer me on.

My talented art major graduate daughter, Elise, did the lovely cover. I’m thrilled. Yes, that’s the Scottish Highlands in the background. Elise does all my Indie published titles, and has done covers for several other authors. If interested, you can contact her through me. She doesn’t do erotica, and is interested in various genres.

Back to Somewhere My Lass, the novel received many stellar reviews during its first run and is even better now, so I hope it will be well received. If you’d like to review the story, please contact me and I’ll provide you with a copy. At this time, the novel is only available at Amazon in kindle, but will spread further afield on down the road. And I might even put it into print.

Scottish Highlands pass at GlencoeScottish time travel romance novel Somewhere My Lass is the second story in my Somewhere in Time series, and no, you don’t have to read Somewhere My Love first. Until the sequel comes out, the stories in this series adhere to a theme, not a continuation of the characters themselves. That will change, though, with Somewhere in the Highlands. Then I will say ‘yes’ you better read Somewhere My Lass first.  My ghostly Christmas novella, Somewhere the Bells Ring, also stands alone. And it’s not only a holiday read (hint, hint).

bb_tab_eilean-donan_d1Blurb for Somewhere My Lass:

Will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?

‘The MacDonald comes’ warns Mora Campbell when Neil MacKenzie finds the young Scotswoman lying unconscious at the top of his stairs after he discovers his murdered housekeeper slumped at the bottom. Mora’s claim that she’s his fiancé from 1602 and was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, through ‘the door to nowhere’ seems utter nonsense. Neil thinks she’s addled from the blow to her head until his life spirals into chaos and the avenging Highlander shows up wanting blood. Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past, but he must also remember. And fast.

ancient doorAlthough Niall’s kinsmen believe he’s dead, and Mora is now destined to marry his brother, she’s convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right. The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. The only problem is how to get back to 1602. An ancient relic, the ultimate geek friend, and a little Celtic magic help pave the way back to the enormous challenge that awaits them. If they’re in time.~

***Royalty free images of the Scottish Highlands, Eilean Donan Castle, and the Door to Nowhere.  Or is it?

***Purchase Link for Somewhere My Lass at: Amazon (If you overlooked all the others)

“Mrs. Trissel masterfully blended the past and the present in order to create a lovely romance that spans centuries.” ~Long and Short Reviews