April in the Garden


jonquils and Virginia bluebells April 2014April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go. ~Christopher Morley, John Mistletoe

It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain

The year’s at the spring
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hillside’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven -
All’s right with the world!
~Robert Browning

***To this I would say, at least, in the garden, all’s right with the world.

tulips and daffodils April 2014

April is a promise that May is bound to keep.  ~Hal Borland

Where man sees but withered leaves,
God sees sweet flowers growing.
~Albert Laighton

That God once loved a garden we learn in Holy writ.
And seeing gardens in the Spring I well can credit it.
~Winifred Mary Letts

bluebells and tulips April 2014


And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant”

The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze.
~Julian Grenfell

white bleeding heart

Our spring has come at last with the soft laughter of April suns and shadow of April showers. ~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens

Every April, God rewrites the Book of Genesis. ~Author Unknown

Well-apparell’d April on the heel
Of limping winter treads…
~William Shakespeare

tulips in the garden-April

Spring has returned.  The Earth is like a child that knows poems.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
~Robert Frost

Elise tulipsI think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?  ~Edward Giobbi

April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.  ~William Shakespeare

A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.
~Emily Dickinson

The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.  ~Bern Williams

***Images of tulips, jonquils, Virginia bluebells, white bleeding heart by Elise

Quotes from ‘The Quote Garden’: http://www.quotegarden.com/

Bluebells, daffodils and tulips.jpg smaller

10 Timeless Heroes–Time Travel Romance Book Bundle


Ten Timeless Heroes10 Timeless Heroes combines the diversity and talent of ten awesome authors, and I’m honored to be among them. A big high-five to my friend and fellow author, Sky Purington, for putting this bundle all together. My contribution to this collection is Somewhere My Lass, a Scottish tine travel romance with a twist, and I’m getting the rest of my Somewhere in Time series up at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.


About 10 Timeless Heroes:

Magic & destiny unite lovers across time and space in this epic collection of award-winning, chart topping tales. From sweet to sizzling romances, 10 Timeless Heroes has a little something for everyone. With over fifteen hundred pages and a retail value of $25.90, you save almost $23 with the special introductory price of 2.99. Don’t wait to stock up. Summer is right around the corner…

Fiona by PL Parker: In the past, she found her future.

Scottish Highlands pass at GlencoeSomewhere My Lass by Beth Trissel: Neil MacKenzie’s well-ordered life turns to chaos when Mora Campbell shows up claiming he’s her fiancé from 1602 Scotland. Her avowal that she was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, is utter nonsense, and Neil must convince her she’s just addled from a blow to her head–until the MacDonald himself shows up wanting blood.

Going Back For Romeo by LL Muir: Alone with a Highlander, in his castle, on a cold dark night…Okay, so it wasn’t that cold. Jillian is duped back to 15th Century Scotland to rescue a plaid-clad Romeo and Juliet. The monster in her way, however, is a handsome Highlander who may just be her own Romeo.

swordSwordsong by Skhye Moncrief: He’s arrived to help her create the perfect bride. His ticket home relies on a lonely woman haunted by more than apparitions. If time-travel duty, romance, and a bit of magic don’t help them realize their destiny resonates in mysterious fairy SWORDSONG, all known history could change.

Highland Mystic by Sky Purington: Caitriona is not who she seems. Her fate was foreseen long before birth and so important it will impact all future MacLomains. When dreams of Alan Stewart begin, she knows the time has come. But how to convince a Highland laird from another century that he must die for her? Especially when she couldn’t bear his death.

My Honorable Highlander by Nancy Lee Badger: Bumbling present day herbalist, Haven MacKay, gets more than she bargains for when her love spell goes awry, is cast back in time, and meets her true love — Laird Kirkwall Gunn. Kirk’s plans go slightly off course when he falls in love with a woman wandering through the Scottish Highlands. After all, he has pledged to marry another, from an enemy clan, in order to end a century-old feud.

romantic couple kissingOut of the Blue by Caroline Clemmons: Police Detective Brendan Hunter wants answers. Who shot him and killed his partner? Why? And why does Deirdre Dougherty know details of the event? He can’t let her out of his sight until she confesses to how she learned details no one but he and his late partner knew.

A Train Through Time by Bess McBride: Ellie awakens on a train to Seattle to find herself on a bizarre historical train full of late Victorian era reenactors. When handsome Robert convinces her the date is 1901, Ellie presumes she is in the middle of a very interesting dream—a dream she doesn’t want to awaken from.

WW11 airplaneCaptive Hero by Donna Michaels: Test flying an invisible plane—unreal. Time-shifting to WWII—unbelievable. Capturing a hero—unavoidable. When test pilot Samantha Sheppard accidentally flies back in time and inadvertently saves a WWII pilot, she changes history and makes a crack decision to abduct him back to the present, but convincing him it’s another century proves tough.

Desires of the Heart by Linda LaRoque: At a cottage in the UK, recently divorced Loren Fairchild rebuilds her life. A simple-minded woman appears and triggers an event that hurls Loren 60 years into the past. During WWII, Miles Chapeau’s wife is hurt in an air raid. She now has the mind of a child. One day she disappears. That very night a strange woman appears. Caught in a web of confusion, Loren and Miles struggle with the direction their lives must take.

Magical opening through Forest with light behindPurchase Links:

At Amazon in Kindle

At Barnes & Noble in Nookbook

At Kobo

Author Websites:

P.L. Parker- http://www.plparker.com

L.L. Muir:- www.llmuir.weebly.com

Skhye Moncrief- www.skhyemoncrief.com

Sky Purington- www.skypurington.com

Nancy Lee Badger- http://www.nancyleebadger.com

Caroline Clemmons- http://www.carolineclemmons.com

Bess McBride- www.BessMcBride.com

Donna Michaels- www.donnamichaelsauthor.com

Linda LaRoque- www.lindalaroque.com

The Drama and Romance of the American RevolutionReviews

“Captive Hero… It’s an amazing adventure that will tug at the reader’s heartstrings and refuse to let go!” InD’tale Magazine, Awarded Crowned Heart of Excellence

“From the dark, eerie prologue through the very unexpected ending, “Fiona” by P. L. Parker is an engaging and eventful account of a life, and a timeless love.” ~Long and Short Romance Reviews

Swordsong- “Moncrief creates a unique culture from which Murdo comes and weaves it in with the present culture, making a compelling, sparkling love story with a unique twist near the end.” ~Camilla, The Long and Short Reviews

Going Back for Romeo- “…Muir does a delightful job blending humor, a sweet love story, action, danger, and the everyday realities of life in medieval Scotland.” Grave Tells Recommended Read

DunluceCastleCountyAntrimIreland“My Honorable Highlander was a great read and I totally look forward to Iona and Cameron’s story in the next book of the series.” —Shelly at Dark Diva’s Reviews

Desires of the Heart- “There were no frivolous words, or scenes. Only perfect symmetry and lovable characters.”  Tami—You Gotta Read Reviews

Somewhere My Lass- “A good adventure and romantic time travel story that delivers.” ~Romance Novel Junkies

Historic CoupleA Train Through Time- “Bess McBride brings the past to life in her fabulous rendition of a time travel story where love conquers all…You don’t want to miss Bess McBride’s perfectly titled, completely engaging, attention grabbing work.” Writers and Readers of Distinctive Fiction

Highland Mystic- “I could read this book over and over and never tire of each individual couple finding their one true love.” ~Amazon Review

“…OUT OF THE BLUE is a beautifully written story… A perfect mixture of witty dialogue, sensual love scenes, and the happily-ever-after ending!” 5 Siren Stones ~ Siren Reviews

And be sure to enter the kindle fire giveaway at Donna Michael’s website: http://www.donnamichaelsauthor.com/

kindle fire giveaway

Gluten-Free Banana Bread


Gluten Free bananna BreadThis recipe is from our Mennonite church cookbook, a two-volume set my mother-in-law was the driving force behind getting together years ago, and one my late sister-in-law contributed. Today is the anniversary of Catarina’s death last April, so this is in memory of a strong, beloved Christian woman. I’ve adapted the recipe for gluten-free and the bread turns out great. It’s a favorite in this household. No one can tell it’s gluten-free.

Gluten free bananna bread on sunporch1 Cup Sugar (I used half a cup), 1/2 Cup Shortening (I use organic coconut oil or light olive oil for baking), 2 Eggs, slightly beaten (I use good-sized eggs)

3 mashed bananas

1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking soda (be certain it’s gluten-free), 1/2 tsp. baking powder (Rumford is gluten-free)

1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I use Jules, and it’s super, but you can try another brand. You may need more or less flour depending on how large your bananas and eggs are)

*3/4 cup chopped nuts (Optional, and no)

Cream together the sugar and shortening (or coconut oil, etc.). Add eggs and mashed bananas. Combine dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture. Blend well. Bake in greased bread pan at 350 for about 50 minutes, but check at 35 because it may take less time depending on your mixture. This is a moist bread and freezes well.

After learning I have a form of Interstitial Cystitis this winter (on top of severe gluten intolerance), and adopting the IC diet, I found bananas are a trigger food for me, but I can tolerate this bread. Catarina was extremely health conscious and would approve my adaptations of her recipe.

*Images by daughter Elise

May Workshop: Herbal Lore and the Historic Medicinal Uses of Herbs!


dill and poppiesFor the month of May, join in the journey as we venture back to the days when herbs entered into every aspect of life. From the ancients to the British Isles, colonial America, Native Americans, and the Granny Women, this workshop spans centuries. Plus, everyone who participates will receive the illustrated eBook of my new herbal, (recently revised to include yet more herbs and images) Plants For A Medieval Herb Garden in the British Isles (soon to be available in print as well as eBook).

While sponsored by Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, this May workshop is also open to the public. For more information and to register visit:

http://www.celtichearts.org/events/herbal-lore-and-the-historic-medicinal-uses-of-herbs/

medieval herb garden smaller sizePlants For A Medieval Herb Garden in the British Isles 

Description: An illustrated collection of plants that could have been grown in a Medieval Herb or Physic Garden in the British Isles. The major focus of this work is England and Scotland, but also touches on Ireland and Wales. Information is given as to the historic medicinal uses of these plants and the rich lore surrounding them. Journey back to the days when herbs figured into every facet of life, offering relief from the ills of this realm and protection from evil in all its guises. ***In Kindle and Nookbook.

(Image of dill and heirloom poppies in our garden by Elise. Book cover also by Elise.)

Value Yourself, Ladies


My dear sister, Catherine, a breast cancer survivor, shared this on Facebook, I’m so impressed by her wise words that I’m sharing them with you.

Catherine and LizzyCatherine: When I was tagged in a photo to take my picture without makeup, I had to think how this would raise awareness for breast cancer… something I’ve dealt with. My great-grandmother had breast cancer and died of old age. My mother is a “breast cancer survivor.” And, I guess, so am I. Although, I prefer to think of myself as someone who went through cancer and chooses not to allow it to define me. I don’t want my beautiful daughters to ever have to deal with it. I wish all forms of cancer were eradicated. So, how can my picture without makeup help to bring that about? It can’t, unless I can touch just one person and help them to care enough about themselves to take care of themselves. 

Catherine and BethNo makeup? Sure, we are, at our core, imperfect. But, there’s beauty in that imperfection. And, others see us as far more beautiful, even without makeup, than we often see ourselves. Where we stop and see the puffy face, the skin spots that show our age, the little wrinkles around our eyes, we should stop and see the life we have been given, another day, another opportunity, another chance to demonstrate love and to witness that amazing beauty, that incredible gift to all those around us… and to value each and every person just as they are! So, value yourselves.

Pink Breast Cancer Ribbon.When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, I was told that I was EXTREMELY fortunate. Because I had gotten a mammogram, and because I hadn’t settled for the answer to go home and keep an eye out for a lump (I asked for more info and an answer), I am here to celebrate life. The kind of cancer I had was aggressive, but was caught early. I was told that if I’d waited to feel for a lump, it would have been too late to save me. With my dr’s guidance, I chose to have a double mastectomy, a choice I don’t regret. So, my advice to all of you beautiful women out there… do regular self exams, get your mammogram, go to the Dr regularly for checkups, cultivate friendships, laugh often, know that there is someone out there who cares about you. So, puffy face, wrinkles, pimples and all…. VALUE yourself.

*Images of Catherine and her oldest daughter, Lizzy. And Catherine with me taken over the holidays

Gardening and Country Life in Glorious Color!


cover-for-swcI’ve labored away adding lovely images to Shenandoah Watercolors, my nonfiction book about life on our small family farm in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Given my love of gardening, this includes a strong focus on my gardens and love of nature. The book is already out in print with images, but now that kindle and nook E-Readers support colored photographs, I’ve added heaps more. Shenandoah Watercolors in available in  eBook and print format at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  I will also get it up on Kobo soon. If someone is dying for me to have it somewhere else, let me know.

Book description: Author/farm wife Beth Trissel shares the joys and challenges of rural life on her family’s small farm in the scenic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Journey with her through the seasons on the farm, owned by the family since the 1930′s, and savor the richness of her cherished gardens and beloved valley. This journal, with images of her farm and valley, is a poignant, often humorous, sometimes sad glimpse into country life. Recommended for anyone who loves the country, and even those who don’t. ***Shenandoah Watercolors is a 2012 EPPIC eBOOK FINALIST.


The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in springExcerpt:
  The heavy rain has given way to a misting drizzle, but streams of water pour down from the hills and make new ponds and creeks. It’s chilly with that raw wet feel. This spring is awash in moisture and amazing after last summer’s searing drought. I’m struck by the intense beauty around me, and I thought I was already seeing it, but it’s so much more somehow. The grass seems to shimmer, yet there’s no sun out today, and the meadow is so richly green it’s like seeing heaven. Our barnyard geese are enraptured, as much as geese can be, with all the grass. If there’s a lovelier place to revel in spring than the Shenandoah Valley and the mountains, I don’t know it. Narnia, maybe.I’ve been thinking about my favorite places.

Dark hollow falls on Skyline drive, Shenandoah national parkThe pool I like best lies in the woods near a place called Rip Rap Hollow in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A splendid falls cascades up above, but I like the pool far more. We always meant to go back, but never have. The cold water ripped through me like liquid ice and is as clear as melted crystal. I could see the rocks on the bottom, some slick with moss, others brown-gold in the light where the sun broke through the leafy canopy overhead. Trout hid beneath big rounded stones or ones that formed a cleft, but the men tickled them out to flash over the flat rocks strewn across the bottom like a path. Drifts of hay-scented fern rose around the edges of the pool, warming the air with the fragrance of new mown hay, and made the shady places a rich green.Now, that’s a good place to go in my mind when I’m troubled. The problem with cities is that people don’t learn what really matters. Don’t really feel or know the rhythms of the earth. When we are separated from that vital center place, we grow lost. Sadly, most people will never know what they are lost from, or where they can be found.~

***Images of the Shenandoah Valley in early spring and Dark Hollow Falls in the Blue Ridge.

Time Travel Romance Somewhere in the Highlands On Sale for .99


Sci-fi, Fantasy, Time Travel Romance

Sci-fi, Fantasy, Time Travel Romance

Time travel romance novella Somewhere in the Highlands is reduced from 2.99 to .99 through March 31st at Amazon.
Story BlurbThe 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.

Old Victorian StaircaseExcerpt From Chapter One:

Early November 2011, a Victorian home in historic Staunton, Virginia

Footfalls pounded down the stairs from the second story. A woman cried, “They’re coming!”

Beezus? Angus Fergus lowered his leather recliner with a thump. “Who is?”

Long brown hair spilling down over her red Trekkie T-shirt dress and hoodie, Beezus Mac tore into his living room. Particularly surprising as Fergus hadn’t even realized she was in the house.

“Here!” She thrust an ornate gold box at him. “Hide this!”

He set his laptop on the end table beside the jellyfish mood lamp and ‘There is no try, only do,’ Yoda coffee mug, and sprang to his feet. Warily, he took from her hands the gilded chest, its metal cold in his grasp. The only other light in the room came from the laserpod streaming a starry blue galaxy on the ceiling making everything appear surreal, especially her find—or take.

He gaped into her frightened eyes. “What is it?”

Darting glances over a slender shoulder, she insisted, “No time to explain. They’re coming. The MacDonalds are coming.”

An old fear welled in him. “All of them?”

“Not certain. I heard shouting behind me.”

Lock and Key series7No angry bellows reverberated in the old home. Yet. “Beezus, what have you done?”

She gulped out, “I borrowed your energy field detector—”

“Absconded with it, you mean.”

“And went through the portal,” she rushed on. “Only supposed to be an in and out job, but I was seen in the crypt.”

He dropped his gaze to the shine of gold. The reliquary had a disturbingly familiar design associated with some seriously bad mojo. It came to him—Raiders of the Lost Ark!

“Cripes, Beezus. Tell me you didn’t steal the Ark of the Covenant.” According to the Old Testament, anyone who touched it was zapped by a bolt from heaven.

“The original is God knows where, and considerably larger, Fergus. This is from Persia, or some ancient place, carried to Scotland by the Knights Templar.”

fierce highlanderThat accounted for it winding up with the MacDonalds. “Any idea how many irate Scotsmen are on your tail?”

“Might only be one. Sounded like more shouting than that.”

“If it’s the fiend I’ve encountered, all it takes is one.”

Fergus raced to a corner of the room, flipped open the head on the life-sized droid, a replica of R2-D2, and stuck the jewel-like chest inside its body at a vertical angle. He snapped the head shut. Turning around, he ran into the front hall, making a mental note to find a new place to stash his stuff now that Beezus knew of his secret safe—assuming he lived that long. He grabbed the lightsaber from the Chinese urn holding canes and umbrellas in the foyer.

Beezus followed at his heels. “But that’s just a toy!”

“Actually—” He hit a switch on the end and the weapon of the Jedi came to green glowing life. “It’s a taser. I made a few alterations.”

She drew up. “Cool.” Even in her near panic, she sounded impressed.

“Grab a stout walking stick while we’re at it.”

Springing to action, she snatched a heavy knobbed cane with an impish monkey head.

“You would choose that one.” The same cane Neil had wielded in pursuit of the Red MacDonald two years ago. Fergus pivoted and made for the winding staircase. “What were you doing back in the MacDonald camp at Domhnall castle?”

She clambered behind him. “That’s where the portal leads.”

“Still? I figured the portal would’ve shifted after it closed.”

ancient doorWhen he last passed through the wormhole connected to the mysterious door upstairs, it had been from the crypt below the castle chapel. He’d magnified the sensor in his energy field detector to pick up any activity, however slight, but not a blip or a buzz—until now. And Beezushad been the one to find it?

Annoyance and alarm melded in the flood of emotion coursing through him. “And you went through it because?”

“That reliquary should be mine. I’m the rightful MacDonald descendant.”

“How do you figure? There are hundreds of them, even got their own restaurant. You may have heard of it, Mickey D’s?

“Not this line. And I’ve got the key to open that chest.”

She probably swiped that too. In a flash of insight he realized Beezus Mac must be short for Elizabeth MacDonald.

“Why don’t the original MacDonalds have the key?”

“Lost it during one of the raids on the castle. It turned up later in the family. Domhnall’s in ruins now.”

Retro Keyhole“And the gold box I just hid?”

She panted, “In a Scottish Museum.”

Exactly where it belonged. Fergus never should’ve told her about the wormhole linked with this house and his adventure through it two years ago. In a moment of weakness, punch-drunk from too much caffeine, lulled by those bewitching golden-brown eyes and an overpowering desire to share with someone, he’d succumbed.

She’d hung around the perimeter of his cyber circle, a geek wannabe, or so he’d thought. A recent transplant to Staunton, she’d appeared on his doorstep as though drawn to him, the fortunate chosen one. He should have realized no woman that good-looking paid him much notice without an ulterior motive. If only he wasn’t so attracted to her.

“You’re fortunate you didn’t get stranded back there. The portal’s unpredictable.”

She was practically on his heels. “This is bad enough. You’ve got to keep the MacDonalds from coming through.”

“I can’t close a fricking wormhole, Beezus. Just drive back anyone emerging through it.”  Or die trying.

In his Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock T-shirt and jeans, he wouldn’t appear much of a threat to a 17th century Highland chieftain. But it was imperative to keep the Red MacDonald out of the house and the 21st century altogether. His last appearance here had fatal consequences. The man was a murderer, vowing vengeance. And none too fond of Fergus.

Well, the feeling was mutual.

full moon and clouds--blue-black night sky, hauntingFergus tore down the upstairs hall lit by the floral china lamp on the table along one gold print wall. A full moon shone through the windows, the old glass wavy in the light.

There!

At the end of the passage stood the intricately carved door, the oak darkened with age. The stained glass archway above it fanned out in a half circle of saffron, red, and gold like the entry to a chapel. The door to nowhere, so called as it led out onto a nonexistent balcony. But nothing could be further from the truth when the portal opened.

The aged wood swung wide.

Through the blackened archway appeared the demon Fergus dreaded ever to meet again, Red MacDonald. Shadows dulled the fiery mane blowing over his scarlet and green plaid, but Fergus spotted the great sword slung across one broad shoulder in leather back scabbard. The hilt of the claymore protruded above the giant’s shoulder blade.

One step closer and stout legs encased in full-length green trews came into view. Then those glittering blue eyes.

Man's_face_and_eyesHow he hated those eyes.

The enraged Scotsman pierced him with a glare. “You!”

A primal yowl tore from some place deep inside Fergus and he raised his lightsaber.~

***Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Time Travel Romance Somewhere in the Highlands is the sequel to Somewhere My Lass. Available in kindle at Amazon.