Ghostly Christmas Romance–Somewhere the Bells Ring

My fascination with ghosts might be the reason they appear in many of my stories. They don’t always take the same form, though. Some are sensed and seen only in the character’s mind.  Or in dreams. One’s a violent poltergeist.  Others are old loves…

In Somewhere the Bells Ring, the ghost seems perfectly real. When Bailey is with him, she’s transported from 1968 back to 1918 and the end of WWI in the same old house.

This is my favorite sort of ghost.  Some of the most intriguing stories I’ve come across have ghosts who seem solid, not vaporous, and give the person seeing them a glimpse of the past as though through a window in time.  And who’s to say that isn’t what’s happening?  Maybe a ripple opens up and allows a glimpse of what once was and those who lived in that time and place?

Can they see us in turn?  Maybe so.  And can there be communion with these corporeal spirits from the past?  Possibly.  That’s the premise for this story.

“When I see ghosts they look perfectly real and solid — like a living human being. They are not misty; I can’t see through them; they don’t wear sheets or bloody mummy bandages. They don’t have their heads tucked under their arms. They just look like ordinary people, in living color, and sometimes it is hard to tell who is a ghost.” ~Chris Woodyard

“I have thought that I have seen ghosts on many occasions.” Taylor Caldwell

“With true love as it is with ghosts; everyone talks about it, but few have seen it.”   ~Francois de La Rochefoucauld

“I fell in love with Ms. Trissel’s characters and look forward to the next delightful story ready with Kleenex box in hand. A must read for every romance fan.”~ Robin at Romancing the Book Reviews for Somewhere the Bells Ring

Somewhere the Bells Ring is a haunting story of timeless love, and of course, it’s true.

Blurb: Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative’s ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn’t so bad.

To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope–until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.

As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe–in Bailey and the ghost–before the Christmas bells ring?

*An old photograph of the Virginia family home place–the house Somewhere the Bells Ring is based on.

***Somewhere the Bells Ring is available in various eBook formats from The Wild Rose PressAmazon KindleAll Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook and other online booksellers.

What’s the Difference between Fantasy and ‘Reality’ TV?

Alaskan Bush People.jpg2Not much, apparently. After recent fraud charges, and the rejected plea deal from the Brown Family, of Alaskan Bush People fame, who’ve been calling into the Juneau hearings from Seattle, I’m feeling disenchanted. I know many of you were already wise to this show, but I enjoyed it and the family. If regarded as fiction, I suppose I still can. This then begs the question, are ANY reality TV shows actually real? I have my doubts.


Given the charade in reality TV, Grimm, a favorite show of mine, is really quite believable. Being a cool form of Wesen (pronounced Ves-sin) could definitely offer advantages. I’ve always wanted super powers. My favorite character in the series is Monroe, a gregarious Blutbad (prounced BLOOT-baad) a werewolf wesen. I’m also fond of his wife, Rosalee, a Fuchsbau (cute kitty looking wesen), with a wonderful Spice Shop. She sells all kinds of herbal potions, some with magical properties, of course. Grimm is filmed in Portland, Oregon. Here’s a link to some of the neat sites featured in the series. This season is off with a bang!

Sleepy Hollow.jpg2Sleepy Hollow, another fav, is a little weird, but then, it always has been. Fun show, though. Hot guy. The intro/music to the show is awesome. And it’s totally believable. Scout’s honor. Fingers crossed behind my back. As is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not exactly current, but a classic. I LOVE the show and am working my way through the series. Better late than never.


What are some of your favorite reality TV shows, which frankly, I now suspect can include them all.

Among my favorite Buffy quotes:

“If the apocalypse comes, beep me.” ~Buffy

[On life] “Yes, it’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.” ~Giles  (Giles is my favorite character on the series)

Inspiration Behind YA Fantasy The Hunter’s Moon (Secret Warrior Series)

Although The Hunter’s Moon (Book 1, Secret Warrior Series) is my first venture into the young adult genre, I’m an award-winning, multi-published author in historical, paranormal, and time travel romance. I was inspired to create this new series partly by my teenage nieces, Lizzy (the story is dedicated to her), Sara, and daughter Elise. We’ve watched many YA movies and TV programs together and had book discussions. They urged me to embark on this journey.

Blue Ridge Mountains

I pondered the concept behind Secret Warrior for years as it gradually took shape in my mind. My love of history, fantasy, and fascination with the mountain people and Native Americans is at the heart of the series. Living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by mountains veiled in mist and mystery lends itself well to creating the characters and setting for YA fantasy romance, The Hunter’s Moon, and the stories that will follow. Some of the characters and creatures are based on lore I’ve learned. Others appeared to me, as characters have a way of doing. A great deal of research and intuition went into writing The Hunter’s Moon. Next in the series is Curse of the Moon (release date TBD). I purposefully kept these stories to novella length so they would come out faster, which means eBook format only. The Wild Rose Press is publishing the Secret Warrior series.

Pre-order links for The Hunter’s Moon are up at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The official release date for the story is December 14th.


Seventeen year old Morgan Daniel has been in the witness protection program most of her life. But The Panteras have caught up with her and her younger brother. Her car is totaled, she’s hurt, and the street gang is closing in when wolves with glowing eyes appear out of nowhere and chase away the killers.

Then a very cute guy who handles a bow like Robin Hood emerges from the woods and takes them to safety at his fortress-like home.

And that’s just the first sign that Morgan and her brother have entered a hidden world filled with secrets.


“Should we stay, or go while the smoke lasts?” The cloth muffled her voice.

“You can hardly walk.”

She couldn’t argue that point. Neither could they wait to be found. “The Panteras won’t give up until we’re dead.”

“Maybe they think we are,” he argued under his breath.


She suspected Mateo would demand a body, even a charred one. Make that two. She and Jimmy didn’t have much choice, though, other than to crouch in dread while the fire crackled.

“Next birthday, I want an AK-47.” He nudged her. “Look.”

She 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.

th_Wolf_1Judging 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…

Sweet Pea & Friends The SheepOver–One of the Biggest Book Sales of the Year!

I’m thrilled to announce my brother, John Churchman, and his wife Jennifer’s, children’s book, Sweet Pea & Friends The SheepOver, has sold to Little Brown and Company in a multi-book deal for an astounding price. The write-up is in Publisher’s Weekly.

Sweet_Pea_cover_rev_largeThe catch your breath response to this heartwarming tale lies in ‘Farmer John’s’ enchanting illustrations, coupled with the country lifestyle he and his family embrace in rural Vermont. Sweet Pea, the star of the show with her irresistible smile, was an injured lamb this past winter when she gained the sympathetic attention of John’s Facebook friends. Folk of all ages eagerly followed her recovery, cheering her on, and relishing John’s wonderful photographs. Word spread and followers urged him to create a children’s book. That’s how this unbelievable journey began. Less than a year ago! Sweet Pea and friends have their own FB page too, which I invite you to savor.

Initially, John and co-author Jen, undertook a Kickstarter campaign to publish the book. After meeting their goal in the first 24 hours, they continually expanded it to greater heights. But that’s nothing in comparison to where they’ve launched now, among the stars.

In A Storybook Life, a film segment on the television show Stuck in Vermont, Farmer John, along with Sweet Pea and friends, were interviewed last February. This charming glimpse into their earthy world is well worth a peek.

Sweet Pea smiling with her hay hair

(Sweet Pea with her ‘hay hair’ look and that contagious smile)

After John took Sweet Pea & Friends The SheepOver to a local bookstore, The Flying Pig, the co-owner, Elizabeth Bluemie, was so impressed she wrote up a fabulous piece for Publisher’s WeeklyWhen a Self-Published Book Is Done Right. Bluemie’s enthusiasm, coupled with John’s utterly unique illustrations, caught the eye of agents. Overnight, or sooner, they were knocking on his door. He and Jen chose Brenda Bowen/Greenburger Associates, who didn’t waste any time in bringing Sweet Pea to the attention of the mightiest publishers in NY and the world. John and Jen soon found themselves speaking with the heads of publishing houses, (unheard of!), each one trying to persuade them that their company was the best pick. Everybody wants Sweet Pea.

So yes, I’m super-psyched to share in this astonishing journey, and look forward to continuing on as readers young and old discover the wonder of Sweet Pea & Friends The SheepOver. Makes sense to me. As a child, my favorite toy was a cuddly lamb. Our grandmother took John and me to a toy store–a rare treat–and told us we might each choose a toy. Lambey was my choice and I had her for years, through multiple family moves, until she was so disreputable I reluctantly parted with her as a teenager. I’ve found her again in Sweet Pea,

Because the book is already so perfect, Sweet Pea & Friends The SheepOver is coming soon to a bookstore near you in time for Christmas.

***Follow John Churchman on Facebook.

**** For those of you who’ve wondered what the C in my email addy and other media sites stands for, it’s Churchman!

Release Day for Ghostly Historical Romance Novel, Traitor’s Curse!

Deep intuition, visions, and research all inspired this historical novel with a strong paranormal element. Like ghosts. Traitor’s Curse is out in both kindle and print at Amazon, and Nookbook at Barnes & Noble, and various eBook formats wherever electronic books are sold. My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, has Traitor’s Curse in print and eBook, currently half price.

traitors curse

New Excerpt from Traitor’s Curse:

Stuart clasped her shoulders. She was flesh and blood beneath his grip, yet seemed not of this world. “What did he say?”

“To watch for your coming.”

“How could they possibly anticipate my visit?”

“That has not yet been revealed.”

Her answer baffled him, as did she. “Why did you call me master? Are you a servant?”


He’d doubted she was in anyone’s employ. Her smooth hands, opulent coverlet, and refined manner, all bespoke gentility. And she smelled of violets, a costly scent.

He gazed deeply into those mesmerizing eyes. “Why are you here?”

“I seek the living among the dead.”

A peculiar reply from the haunting stranger. “Who?”

“You. Stuart Monroe.”

Again, the sensation of ants scattering down the nape of his neck. “How did you know I would come?”

“I was told. In a dream.”

She spoke like one in a dream. The cold mist, the woman—an apparition in the fog—seemed unreal. Yet she was no ghost.

“You can foresee events?” A sense of dread possessed him.

“In glimpses. Your father appeared to me.” Her barely perceptible voice faded entirely, and her eyes fluttered, then closed. She swayed against him, any further explanation muffled by his coat.

Stuart held her fast and kept her from sliding to the cold earth. What did his father have to do with this visitation? Was the woman in his arms some sort of witch?~

 Visit my Amazon Author Page where ALL my books reside

The Man Who Would Rise–Tale from Old Cemetery in the Shenandoah Valley

On a recent fall foliage drive through the spectacular countryside, my hubby, Dennis, daughter Elise, and I stopped at the old Mt. Clinton Cemetery where the bizarre story I’m sharing took place.

Fall color in the graveyard

When Dennis was a little boy, he remembers riding to this cemetery with his father to gawk at the crowd gathered by the grave of valley resident,  the Reverend Paul Frye, who was expected to rise from the dead that day. Apparently, before his death, Reverend Frye spoke about rising again. His wife and son, Leon, (who fought in WWII and was deeply religious) assumed the devout Reverend Frye meant at the Christian Rapture. However, Leon was prone to visions and had a vivid one about his father rising sooner than that. Much sooner. His vision also included a cherry pie, his dad’s favorite. As his mother, Sadie, had discovered a crystallized piece of pie set aside for his father and forgotten in a kitchen cabinet, that imagery struck Leon as significant. In fact, it was a sign. Not a leap most would make, but Leon put a lot of stock in his visions. Especially this one.

The Fry gravestone at Mt. Clinton

Upon reflection, Leon concluded that his dad meant he’d rise from the grave a year after his death. We’re not certain how he arrived at that particular date. Details are sketchy. But we’ve spoken to valley residents who recall the event. Not only did Leon have this resurrection revelation, but his widowed mother also shared his zeal. Wishful thinking, maybe. With Sadie’s blessing, Leon made it known to the community that his father was going to rise on this day and word rapidly spread. As did morbid curiosity.

Armed with Sadie’s freshly baked cherry pie and a pair of shoes for the newly arisen, (no one’s buried with their shoes), Leon and his mom settled in with neighbors to await the big event. And wait. And wait. Maybe they brought picnic baskets. People swarmed that cemetery.

One valley man said Leon later admitted to him that by 4:00 in the afternoon, he decided he’d made an error and quietly slipped away, leaving the pie and the crowd behind. Not sure about his mom. Eventually, both the pie and people disappeared. Bear in mind that this event predates modern TV shows and movies about zombies and the Walking Dead, so that wasn’t what the family had expected would rise. If the Reverend Frye had actually battled his way from the grave, though, I expect there would have been a mad scramble to flee the cemetery. But he didn’t. Sadie and Leon are now also buried at that grave and their names etched on the tombstone.~

***Images by Elise Trissel. I pointed to which ones she should take, so my assistance was vital.

***If anyone reading this has added details, please share in the comment section.

Spooky Tale for Halloween

apparition creepy dead death dress eerie female figure floating forest fright ghost












Happy Halloween! Seems like an appropriate time of year to repost the account of the poltergeist in our old farm-house. Settle in for a ghost story, keep the lights on, and hug your dog or kitties close.

More than a dozen years ago, my son moved into the big white farm-house on our other farm. We have two farms located near each other in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and both homes are well over one hundred years old, going on two. Some of his guy friends moved in with him and everything was fine, then he and his fiancée (now wife) started remodeling the house. At first, no one thought much about the noises. Neither of them even mentioned a thing to me.

Then one night my son called, alone and uneasy. He was hunkered downstairs with his cat. Seems there were footsteps he couldn’t account for and a certain bedroom upstairs with a door that wouldn’t stay shut. No matter how many times he closed it, come morning it was always open. Earlier that week, his fiancé had been distressed when the bathroom doorknob turned and the door opened on her. No one was there. It freaked the cat out.  Didn’t do her much good either. She was promptly converted from a disbeliever in ghosts to one strongly considering their reality.

Fog, Farm, Mist, Cemetery, Tree, Wet, Tombstone, Field, Morning, Grave

Now, she’d gone away on a trip with her church and none of my son’s other friends were around. The last of his roomies had moved out. I suspected all the remodeling they’d done to the house had stirred something up. So, I went over. Here, I’ll digress to say I’d dreamed earlier of a small grave plot way back in the fields behind the house and of a restless spirit associated with both. As it turned out there is just such a cemetery, an antiquated one. After I arrived that evening, my son and I went upstairs to the suspect bedroom and shut the door. The sensation that came over me was of wanting to scream, and not just because I’m claustrophobic.

We held hands and I repeated the Exorcism prayer sent to my mother from an Episcopalian woman in England.  She’d written mom about visiting the church manse at the invitation of the new priest who was plagued by a poltergeist–one so violent, it had flung portraits down from the upstairs hall, shifted heavy furniture in front of  doors, and hurled a saucepan lid across the kitchen. But the congregants, along with the priest, had prayed it out. As this was a Christian prayer, my son and I did the same in the old farmhouse. Never again did he or his fiancé/wife hear footsteps or have any more trouble with doorknobs turning. That bedroom door remained as they’d left it and the chill feeling I had in the room is gone.

stained glass windowFor those of you who want it, here’s the Anglican prayer. Do not try this alone if the presence you sense is evil, only with a strong group of Christians. And join hands. Even if you think I’m nuts. “In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, may this distressed soul be relieved of his obsession with this world and sent to where he belongs.”  I added, ‘go to the light,’ although a truly evil presence won’t, but a troubled, restless one may. Seems only right to offer that as an option.

Award-winning paranormal romance novel

Award-winning paranormal romance novel

This is one of the experiences that influenced the writing of my award-winning paranormal murder mystery/ghost story romance novel Somewhere My Love.

“As I read Somewhere my Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago. Using deliciously eerie elements similar to that gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now.”~ Joysann, Publishers Weekly
***Visit my Amazon Author Page where ALL my books reside.