Never Give Up On Anything You Love

flowers near gardenYou probably think I’m speaking of my writing that I’ve fought like a mad dog for, but in this instance I’m referring to my beloved garden(s). After learning I rank in the top ten percent of allergy sufferers in the nation, which explained a lot and has led to 30 plus years of allergy shots (four at at time), daily meds, inhalers, etc, I can be outside much of the year, although ragweed season remains a challenge. My allergist declares I’m the only patient extremely allergic to spring who revels in it anyway. And definitely the only one who gardens as I do despite my inherent intolerance of all pollen.

hyssop in the gardenBefore making strides with my shots, allergies drove me indoors from August through late September, with bouts in between. This is actually how I ended up writing novels. I called that time ‘being under house arrest’ and gazed longingly out the windows. It occurred to me that I could focus on my love of literature, history, mystery, romance, and yes, the out of doors, in my books. My passion for herbs and herbal lore is woven throughout many of my stories, and I’ve even written an herbal. If I didn’t have allergies I’d probably still be making dried wreaths and arrangements, potpourri, raising and selling seedlings…Now, my gardening is strictly for myself and whoever else enjoys entering in. Daughter Elise is my right arm. The grandbabies take a keen interest, and those who drive past our farm enjoy seeing the garden(s) visible from the road. When allergies surge, they grow neglected, but my many hardy perennials, reseeding heirloom flowers, and herbs have a way of hanging on. And there’s always next year.

With spring around the corner, my thoughts turn, as ever, to the garden. My beautiful valley I call, ‘The Shire’, is known for being quite inhospitable to allergy sufferers, but nothing would compel me to leave.

Never give up on anything you love.

Emma and Owen in the garden1Images by Elise and hubby Dennis

Book Tour for The Hunter’s Moon + Chance at 35$ Amazon Gift Card


The Hunters Moon resized

I’m kicking off the tour for YA Fantasy Romance The Hunter’s Moon (Book 1 Secret Warrior Series) with a guest post at Mythical Books:

The post was fun to do. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about the mythos behind my werewolves in The Hunter’s Moon, and werewolf/moon lore in general. While you’re there, enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win the 35$ Amazon gift card I’ll award at the end of the tour. It runs from February 1-5.

For the full schedule of stops visit:

Or, check below.

February 1st – Mythical Books *Guest Post

February 2nd – Book-Marks the Spot *Review
February 3rd –
feedmeinbooks *Review & Favorite Quotes
Rachel’s Book Reviews *Review & Excerpt
Forever Obsession *Review
February 4th –
Book Lovers Life *Interview
February 5th –


Hope to see you in the comment sections on these blogs!

The Hunter’s Moon is available from all online booksellers: The Amazon Link:

Next up in the series, Curse of the Moon, coming out before long.. Release date TBD.


Old-Time Remedies from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

With all the colds and flu about, and slipping on the ice, I thought this post might come in handy.

These cures are recorded in Shenandoah Voices written by late Shenandoah Valley historian and author John Heatwole.  I knew John and much admired him.  He’s left a wealth of information behind in his books. He interviewed country and mountain people and compiled their remedies. The images are from the valley and mountains and all taken by my family.

Early spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
‘For a sprained ankle take catnip, sprinkle salt on it and bind it to the ankle.’

‘Mullein tea’ was also used for sprained ankles. The leaves of the mullein plant were boiled in vinegar and water and the ankle was bathed in it while it was still warm.

Turpentine was also rubbed on a sprain. You never covered it or it would burn.

Catnip tea was made for children with the colic. I mix a little catnip in with my mint for tea. It’s good and soothing.

Queen Anne’s Lace made into a tea is said to relieve backache. (You don’t want to confuse Queen Anne’s Lace with poisonous hemlock.)

summer hills and pasture in the Shenandoah Valley

Sage and honey tea is a good brew to give to someone with pneumonia. Drinking tea made from aromatic sage is said to keep a woman’s hair from turning gray prematurely.

Lobelia tea was used by Thomsonian herb doctor Gabe Heatwole as a purge. Lobelia is an annual or perennial plant of the bellflower family. It’s very pretty and does not want to grow at my house, prefers a moist creek bank. *Lobelia is also called ‘the puke herb’, thus the reference to its being used as a purge.

Goldenseal and Comfort Root (Pinelands Hibiscus or Cut-leaf Hibiscus) teas are good for an upset stomach.

If you have kidney problems, swamp root tea can be used for relief. *Swamp root is one of those old patent medicines that originated in the late 1800’s, akin to snake oil.


Greasy mustard plaster was used on the sufferer’s chest for a deep cold. To avoid being burned by the mustard, this plaster was made with lard and spread on a cloth that could be laid on the sufferer’s chest without burning. Another non-burning plaster was made with mustard, lard, and egg whites.

A family in Singers Glen used a mustard and lard poultice for pneumonia. When the patient’s chest started to turn red, it was removed. The patient was washed off thoroughly, and then a hot onion poultice was applied.

My very country mother-in-law spoke of using mustard plasters on the chest laid over a piece of old flannel.

Old Home in the Blue Ridge Mountains

For a bad cold or pleurisy, they’d put lard on your chest with salt sprinkled on it of a night.

A tea made of peppermint leaves will stop a stomachache. *I drink peppermint tea for my stomach and it really does help.

Pennyroyal tea was used to break a fever, for upset stomach and to treat the common cold. It’s of the same family as mint and yields aromatic oil, but it has health cautions. *Never Ever imbibe the essential oil as it’s deadly. The leaves may be brewed into a tea, but do not drink pennyroyal tea if pregnant. It can cause miscarriage. Go easy on pennyroyal in general.

During the Civil War, some Valley soldiers chewed slippery elm bark when in battle or on the march. It was said to relieve thirst and hunger.

Miss Gray Pifer of Mt. Crawford said that ‘horehound grew down near the creek. Mama made a horehound syrup with brown sugar for coughs.’

I love horehound drops.

Owl Cat in the garden

(Owl Cat in one of my flower/herb beds)

In Page County a woman said that her grandfather smoked a corncob pipe, and if a child in the family had an earache, he’d blow smoke in the ear as a cure.  She also said for spider bite, you should cut a piece from a new potato and hold it against the bite. Eventually the potato will turn black as it absorbs the poison.

*I was bitten at night while sleeping in my bed by a spider. Fortunately it wasn’t poisonous, but it really stung and I was up putting on witch hazel, rosebud salve, aloe, Benadryl, and, and, and. Forgot about using a potato. Never did find that darn spider.

“There’s rosemary that’s for remembrance. Pray, you love, remember.” ~Hamlet

RosemaryRosemary is the traditional herb to leave on graves, and there have been far too many deaths lately in our family and in the world. Daughter Elise and I have visited graves with nosegays of rosemary and left them there. A solemn time of remembering those who have gone before us. Rosemary is a fitting herb for Memorial Day.

I love the scent of rosemary and the wealth of history behind it. Known as the herb of remembrance from the time of ancient Greece, it appears in that immortal verse by Shakespeare. My fascination with herbs plays a significant role in my historical/paranormal romance novel Somewhere My Love, as does Hamlet, for that matter. I always wanted to write a murder mystery with a focus on herbs and parallels to a Shakespearean play, and so I did. Ghostly, murder mystery, time travel romance novel, Somewhere My Love, is interwoven with Hamlet and herbs. But herbs don’t stop there. I weave them into all my stories.

‘Tis the Season for Rosemary

Rosemary is considered a tonic, astringent, diaphoretic (increases perspiration), stimulant. Oil of Rosemary has the carminative (induces the expulsion of gas) properties of other volatile oils and is an excellent stomachic and nervine (has a beneficial effect upon the nervous system), curing many cases of headache.

Rosemary1Beloved by the ancients, rosemary had the reputation for strengthening memory. On this account, it became the emblem of fidelity for lovers. And holds a special position among herbs from the symbolism attached to it. Not only was rosemary used at weddings, but also at funerals, for decking churches and banqueting halls at festivals, as incense in religious ceremonies, and in magical spells. It was entwined in the wreaths worn by brides, being first dipped into scented water. Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII, and fortunate to escape with her life due to an annulment, is said to have worn such a wreath at her wedding. Maybe it protected her. She outlived his other wives, two of whom were beheaded, and the sixth one, Catherine Parr, might have been had he hung on much longer. Such were the vagaries of his moods. But I digress.

basket of herbs with rosemary

A rosemary branch, richly decorated and tied with ribbons, was also presented to wedding guests, as a symbol of love and loyalty. Rosemary was one of the cordial herbs used to flavor ale and wine. It was also used in Christmas decoration. Together with an orange stuck with cloves it was given as a New Year‘s gift. Rosemary came to represent the dominant influence of the lady of the house, “Where Rosemary flourished, the woman ruled.” I add, to prove their dominance, some husbands would damage the flourishing plants. (From A Modern Herbal)

“As for rosmarine, I lette it runne all over my garden walls, not onlie because my bees love it, but because it is  the herb sacred to remembrance,  and, therefore to friendship..” ~Thomas Moore

“Every life should have nine cats.” And several dogs.

Cream peering down from couch

The dastardly duo, my Siamese/tabby mixes Peaches and Cream, patrol the house seeking for anything to get into. They thoroughly enjoyed ransacking Christmas presents and the glorious tree. Big fans.

When in a calm mode, Peaches is a lap cat, as is our curmudgeonly older tabby, Percy. Between them, they manage to share me, though I’m hard-pressed at times to find space for my laptop.

Insatiably curious Cream sits by my head, purrs in my ear, and nibbles my hair. He’s also box mad. Loves Amazon box day (pictured below).

Cream loves him an amazon box

My tiny pom-poo Sadie Sue resides at my feet, and rescue dog, Jilly, on the love seat by the couch.

Two more kitties, Siamese mix, Pavel, and our elderly Minnie Mae prefer to perch overhead on the couch like vultures.

Sadie saves my seat for me when I get up. All of these furry friends aid in my writing. Some not as helpful as others, but each are faithful supporters. On those occasions when Peaches and Cream go coo-coo kitty, Sadie and I attempt to regain order, with little success. Cat herding is a thankless job, as Sadie will attest. Except for the odd scolding, Jilly mostly ignores the pair.

Sadie waiting for me

(Sadie Sue saving my seat)

jilly lou 2

(Jilly Lou being shy)

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. ~Robertson Davies

“Cats choose us; we don’t own them.”—Author Kristin Cast

“If you want to write, keep cats.”
—Author Aldous Huxley

Sleepy kitty

“If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work … the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp … The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding.” ~ Muriel Spark, A Far Cry from Kensington

“You cannot look at a sleeping cat and feel tense.”
Jane Pauley (journalist, The Today Show)

“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
Edgar Allan Poe (author, “The Raven”)

Cream insdie tree“Books, Cats, Life is Good.” ~ Edward Gorey

“I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don’t want to get up. She’s so much more calming than my husband.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

“It is very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made the remark) that, whatever you say to them they always purr.”
Lewis Carroll (author, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

(Cream loves him a good Christmas tree)

“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.”

Hippolyte Taine (critic)

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” ~Mark Twain

“Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.” ~Joseph Wood Krutch

My beautiful Cream“As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat.” ~Ellen Perry Berkeley

“The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.” ~Paula Poundstone

“Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience.” ~Pam Brown

“There has never been a cat
Who couldn’t calm me down
By walking slowly
Past my chair.”
~Rod McKuen

“There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat.” ~Tay Hohoff

Sleeping kitty Cream“I like cats a lot. I’ve always liked cats. They’re great company. When they eat, they always leave a little bit at the bottom of the bowl. A dog will polish the bowl, but a cat always leaves a little bit. It’s like an offering.” ~Christopher Walken

“A happy arrangement: many people prefer cats to other people, and many cats prefer people to other cats.” ~Mason Cooley

“Every life should have nine cats.”

***Fortunately, Peaches and Cream take a lot of naps, or this house would be in worse shape than it is. Images by daughter Elise Trissel

Enter a Hidden World filled with Secrets–YA Fantasy Romance, The Hunter’s Moon

SECRET WARRIOR--THE HUNTERS MOON‘No one could see what Morgan and Jimmy Daniel had witnessed and live to testify. All the safeguards of the witness protection program weren’t enough. A flaw in the security system—Morgan didn’t know what—and They found her and little brother Jimmy.’

The opening lines of The Hunter’s Moon (Book 1 Secret Warrior Series).

One of my favorite passages from the story:

Morgan fixed her blurry gaze on what appeared to be a black wolf emerging from the trees. The creature was larger than she’d thought wolves were, and she’d understood none remained in these mountains. They were all farther north or west. Somewhere else.

Apparently, she was misinformed. Judging by its size, she guessed this was a male. He stopped before their hideout. Eyes the color of red coals surveyed them before he turned and darted down the trail she’d spotted.

“Holy cow, Batboy. Did you see that?” she whispered.

Jimmy didn’t reply. He prodded her again. She stared at the big brown and gray wolf that took the black one’s place. Where on earth had he come from? The beast turned its furry head at her and Jimmy. His eyes shone with a luminous light, like fireflies in those golden depths.~

misty autumn mountain road

Much of my inspiration came from the misty mountains surrounding us on our farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and the secrets those hazy ridges might conceal. Stories of the mountain people, my passion for the past, and Native Americans, also fed my imagination.  I wove my love of history and lore throughout The Hunter’s Moon.

From an Amazon reader review: Teen Wolf meets Twilight: The Hunter’s Moon is a wonderful way for Beth Trissel to introduce her young adult series. It’s got something for everyone: romance, action, and a little bit of suspense. I couldn’t put it down and finished the whole thing in two days. I can’t wait for the rest of the series to come out!

Next up is Curse of the Moon (Release date TBD). I’m at work on book 3, The Panther Moon.

The Hunter’s Moon is available from ALL online booksellers. Kindle link:…/dp/B017OCROM8/ref=sr_1_1

Free Short Historical Romance–The Lady and the Warrior

For a taste of my historicals with a frontier flavor, The Lady and the Warrior is Free through 12/30 in kindle at:

Short historical romance

Short historical romance

Note This is a Short Story. Also note how many readers have bashed it for being a–wait for it–short story, even though I have clearly stated this, as has Amazon. Short stories are not as easy to write as some might suppose. The idea is that if you enjoy this story, you may enjoy my full novels in the same genre.

Story Description for THE LADY AND THE WARRIOR:

An abused young wife stranded in the Alleghenies in 1783 is rescued from drowning by a rugged frontiersman who shows her kindness and passion. But is he more than he seems? And can they ever be together?

My Native American Warrior Series includes:

Award-winning historical romance novel

Award-winning historical romance novel

Through the Fire, The Bearwalker’s Daughter, Kira, Daughter of the Moon, and Red Bird’s Song.  Amazon bought the eBook rights to the last two novels from The Wild Rose Press. All are available at Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author page:

THROUGH THE FIRE: Will love inflame these two natural-born enemies in fiery destruction?

Passions run deep in the raging battle to possess a continent, its wealth and furs. Both the French and English count powerful Indian tribes as their allies.
English lady Rebecca Elliot, having eloped to America with a British captain, finds herself a widow. When she ventures into the colonial frontier with the militia to seek her uncle, she unwittingly enters a dangerous world of rugged mountains, wild animals, and even wilder men. The rules are different here and she doesn’t know them, especially those of the savagely handsome warrior who captures her body and her heart.

Half-Shawnee, half-French warrior Shoka, former guide for English traders, is the hawk, swift, sure, and silent as the moon. He knows all about survival in this untamed land and how deadly distraction can be. His intent is to sell Rebecca to the French before she draws him under her spell, but if he lets her go he can no longer protect her. If he holds onto her, can he safeguard his heart? With battle looming and an enemy warrior bent on vengeance, Shoka and Rebecca must decide whether to fight together or be destroyed.

The_Bearwalkers_Daughter_Cover3THE BEARWALKER’S DAUGHTER: A Handsome frontiersman, Mysterious Scots-Irishwoman, Shapeshifting Warrior, Dark Secret, Pulsing Romance…The Bearwalker’s Daughter

Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright. A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman longing to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.

Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past. Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges—for her?

2c646-historicalromancekiradaughterofthemooncoverbyraremonetKIRA, DAUGHTER OF THE MOON (SEQUEL TO THROUGH THE FIRE)

Logan McCutcheon returns to colonial Virginia after seven years in the hands of Shawnee Indians. But was he really a captive, as everybody thinks? He looks and fights like a warrior, and seems eager to return to those he calls friends and family. Kira McClure has waited for Logan all those years, passing herself off as odd to keep suitors at bay–and anyone else from getting too close. Now that he’s back, he seems to be the only person capable of protecting her from the advances of Josiah Campbell and accusations of witchcraft. And to defend the settlers against a well-organized band of murderous thieves.

red-birds-song-coverRED BIRD’S SONG:

Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn’t how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl. George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts. As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.