“When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden.” — Minnie Aumonier

A June morning in the dewy garden, with the birds singing, is a delight to the senses and the soul. I was up before the bees today. I’m no great photographer, but the garden calls, so I must go forth. My talented daughter Elise is not always here to take the images for me.

Breadseed poppies from seed I got at Jefferson’s beloved Monticello years ago in their gift shop after touring the wonderful gardens there.

Poppies and more poppies

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” — Alfred Austin

Evening Primrose bloom at dusk, attract hummingbird moths, and fade with the day.  These flowers are the delight of children. My five-year-old nephew was so excited by the magical unfolding that he ‘helped’ the blossoms open even faster.

Evening primrose in the dew

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.”— Gertrude Jekyll

Nicotiana, or flowering tobacco as it is also called, has come back for me year after year. This white variety is an old heirloom. Lovely in the morning and evening, it tightens its petals in the heat of day.  Pictured below blooming against a backdrop of larkspur, also an old friend that reappears every year.

Nicotiana with larkspur

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”— Marcus Tullius Cicero

The purity of light this morning was exquisite. Below, a multicolored zinnia in the foreground. This flower is one of many varieties in beds created for bees and butterflies.

“I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.” — David Hobson

Zinnia in June Garden

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” — Claude Monet

“Garden as though you will live forever.” — William Kent

Phacelia with annual baby's breath

Poppies, annual baby’s breath, and phacelia in early morning garden.

“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.”— Rudyard Kipling (No. They most certainly are not.)

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” — May Sarton

“The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.”— Gertrude Jekyll

Queen Anne’s Lace and larkspur below.

Queen Anne's Lace and larkspur

“There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.” — Alfred Austin

“I like gardening — it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.”  — Alice Sebold (Exactly!)

Larkspur and calendula

(Larkspur and calendula)

“Promise me you’ll never forget me because if I thought you would, I’d never leave.” ― A.A. Milne

Forget-me-nots are reminders to remember.

“The blue and bright-eyed floweret of the brook, Hope’s gentle gem, the sweet Forget-me-not.” ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Forget me Nots

(Image by Elise)

Yesterday I posted a photograph of forget-me-nots on Facebook, and yesterday saw me reconnected with a dear friend, and two nieces I rarely see. The garden was the draw for my nieces. I’m glad my earthy toils have rippled out and brought us together again. Gardening is common ground, a universal language. No need for the potentially divisive topics of politics or religion. Weather often comes up in the conversation, sharing tips on building up the soil, making compost, fighting fungus with organic brews, which varieties to plant… Elise and I favor a wild flower/cottage garden mix of herbs, reseeding heirlooms, and perennials. We tuck vegetables in among pollinator attracting plants. Fruit-wise, we have raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, grapes, and several trees.

forget-me-not-blossom.jpg1Despite the weather trials, many plants survive. I savor what’s in bloom now, and look forward to more in the future. My policy: if the earth is bare, sow seed, or plant something. Bear the pollinators in mind, Remember the bees and butterflies. Don’t leave ground empty, and don’t waste too much room on grass.  Unless you need a large stretch for playing cricket, or grazing goats, it’s wasted space. Americans and their chemically treated lawns drive me nuts. ***Beth’s soapbox.

Symbolism of the Forget Me Not Flower from: http://www.flowermeaning.com/forget-me-not-flower-meaning/

“Since the Germans coined the most common name used for this flower, it’s natural that there’s a myth of two lovers walking along the Danube River first seeing the bright blue blossoms. The man retrieved the flowers for the woman, but he was swept away by the river and told her not to forget him as he floated away. Whether the story is true or not, it’s certainly made the Forget Me Not a lasting symbol of remembrance. It’s also been adopted as a symbol by the Freemasons who faced persecution for their beliefs, and represents the Armenian Genocide that started in 1915. The Alzheimer’s Society uses it as an icon to raise awareness for the disease and support for caretakers. While the Forget Me Not has played a big role in Europe and America over the last few hundred years, it’s still relatively rarely used in other cultures.”

Forget me Nots

(Beth took this pic)

“If we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us.”
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Forget Me Not

“A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” ~Charles Spurgeon

Where has the Elusive Muse Flown Now?

the writing fairyOh fickle fae that thou art. Flitting hither and yon. Sometimes abiding with me for weeks, promising forever, only to be gone again. Reclaiming you is like netting butterflies soaring high overhead. So I listen to stirring music and watch intriguing shows, hoping for a glimmer of your presence. And yes, I read.

Lately, the garden calls. The June beauty outside my door is heaven. Much inspiration awaits me in the garden(s). I weed my way through scenes in my mind, sow ideas with the seeds, and plant thoughts along with the flowers. The trick is remembering these glimpses into story world after I return, exhausted, to the house. If I chatted away into a tape recorder as I work among the plants, our Old Order neighbors might think me stranger than they already do when they go by in their buggies.  The cyclists zipping past are too caught up in their speed to pay me any mind. Walkers might take note. Our hired hand is used to my mutterings. I think.

lavender in the garden

Then there’s the actual writing amid the mounting rules. Stifling in their way. Not all words ending in ly are to be ripped from the pages. Some have their uses, I argue.  ‘Was’ and ‘that’ play their part. Here and there. I’m so distracted by what I shouldn’t write, it’s difficult to pen/type anything. Oh, for the days when I didn’t know and in my innocence, simply wrote. Freedom.

Book, History, Writing, Old, Pen, AntiqueSo I looked up some great quotes to urge me forward.

“And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.”
– William Shakespeare (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

“If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.”
– Somerset Maugham
“I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” ~James Michener

“Ink and paper are sometimes passionate lovers, oftentimes brother and sister, and occasionally mortal enemies.” ~Terri Guillemets

A hearty Amen.

Some Whys Behind YA Fantasy Series ‘The Secret Warrior’

Resized Curse of the Moon.jpg1I’m not a one genre author, possibly because I’m too ADD to stick with a single category or era. No, seriously.  I’m multi-published in historical, ghostly, paranormal, time travel romance, and some nonfiction. YA (Young Adult) is my latest venture. I love writing this genre.

Daughter Elise and several nieces encouraged me to take the YA plunge, so thank or blame them.:)

The Secret Warrior is a YA fantasy/paranormal (with romance) series set present-day in our Virginia Mountains. Native American and mountain people lore, my love of herbs, colonial America, and my wild imagination are part of the inspiration behind the series. Shawnee warrior/wolf shifters, witches, a warlock, the Star People, and other characters, shifters, and creatures run through the stories. And there’s the prophecy…

The lizard shifting witch is drawn from mountain people lore about an old woman who basks in the moonlight as a large lizard. They call her the Lizard Lady. In the story, her name is Lilith Dubois, and she lives in a ramshackle old house back in the hollow in the mountains. Not only is she a lizard shifter in the moonlight, she’s a witch with memorizing eyes. If you gaze into their green depths, she can put a spell on you that only she can break. This sort of enchantress is called a gorgon. Bad things happen if you look into their eyes. Tough not to do.

(Old mountain home that inspired her house in the story. Image by hubby.)

old house where lizard lady lives

One of the most unusual creatures I’ve brought to life is the thunderbird, a mythological bird based on Native American lore. There are people, of course, who insist the bird is real. Check out YouTube, or MonsterQuest. Since I couldn’t conclusively prove its existence, I took characteristics from Native American lore and added a few of my own, like it hunts only at dusk and during storms. The legendary bird gets its name from the belief that the beating of its great wings account for the booms of thunder, and its flashing red eyes are the lighting. Pretty darn awesome. Likely, the thunderbird derives from NA respect for the bald eagle and is a greatly exaggerated version. I featured a big territorial male in book 1, The Hunter’s Moon. The bird comes up again in Curse of the Moon in the form of an incubating egg.

Royalty free image of Thunderbird.jpg1

What could be better than hatching and training a thunderbird yourself? It’s the Native American dragon. Thunderbirds are said to be intelligent, powerful, and wrathful, so you definitely want one on your side. In Curse of the Moon, Morgan’s younger brother, Jimmy, plans to train and fly a thunderbird. He’s a fearless kid.

Blurb for Curse of the Moon (Book 2, The Secret Warrior Series):

The bad news? Morgan Daniel’s wolf is out of control. The good news? There’s a treatment. She just has to get a potion from a lizard shifter witch–without looking into the witch’s eyes. Easy, right? But when the witch puts a spell on her younger brother, Morgan has to do the witch’s bidding to save him.

Fortunately Morgan isn’t alone. She has Jackson to lean on, a few witches coming into their powers, a secret warlock, and the always mysterious Chief Okema. What could possibly go wrong?~

Up next, The Panther Moon. Release Date TBD.

***For more on this story and my other books visit my Amazon Author Page.

***The Secret Warrior series is available from all online booksellers.

Glimpses of Our Late May Garden

ChivesSpring 2016 in the Shenandoah Valley has been especially challenging for farmers and gardeners. Crazy warmth in March lured plants out to be zapped by inevitable frosts and May has been the coldest, wettest I can recall until these past few days. We swung from having the furnace on in this old farm-house to sweltering heat. Not easy on people or plants. Still, there is much beauty in the garden, captured by daughter Elise.

“A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.” ~May Sarton

Chives and (Chives and poppies)

We mix herbs with flowers and vegetables. A wonderful meld. Wildflowers are also a favorite in the garden, like wild aster and Queen Anne’s Lace, plus, plus. Some were planted by birds and the wind, others from seed or stock we purchased. There are those who might refer to these as ‘weeds.’

Poppies 2(California Poppies)

Of course, we have the garden cat, also called the Apothecary Cat or Apothecarist. I decided our garden is a physic or apothecary garden because it has many medicinal plants, which includes some of the so-called ‘weeds’, thus justifying its less than perfect state (according to suburbia, anyway, which, thank God, we don’t live in). Elise suggested kitty be called the Apothecarist (one who dispenses medicines and herbal cures). Kitty doesn’t do that, but it’s a great name. Before this, he was known as one of the triplets.

Garden cat

Apothecarist Cat

The Apothecarist Cat

This spring we’re making pathways with cardboard boxes covered in straw, using my Amazon box collection. I save those boxes religiously. The straw we gleaned from the barn. Pathways are a work in progress. Below is a pic of me against a patch of sweet alyssum we’ve planted in drifts in many sections of the garden. It’s just beginning to bloom. We are using alyssum as a ground cover and to attract beneficial insects and honey bees.

The gardener at work

It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about gardening. You have got to love your garden whether you like it or not. ~W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman, Garden Rubbish, 1936

My box/straw pathway, next to the potato patch. The sticks mark the many little herbs and flowers we’ve added to keep them from getting stepped on. How glorious it will be when this is all lush and blooming. I’m smashing potato bugs.

Laying a path in garden

Salad Garden(Salad Patch)

Peony by Elise(This Peony has been here forever, since my Mother-in-law’s time and possibly farther back than that. The house was built in the 1870’s.)


In the kitchen window, I have several pots of cyclamen. These remind me of my late sister-in-law, Catarina. A cyclamen was the last plant she ever gave me. She loved flowers. I grow cyclamens in remembrance of her, and I often think of her. I ordered this pink one last year from Jackson & Perkins to commemorate her passing. The next month, J&P sent me a second identical plant. So I have two thriving cyclamens. Thank you whoever sent this. I inquired, but no one at the company seemed to know why it came at no charge. Maybe Catarina didn’t trust me to keep the first one alive. Admittedly, the cyclamen she gave me didn’t make it, but this is the same color, and I’ve learned more about their care now.

One of life’s mysteries. The garden is full of surprises.

Some roses didn’t survive the plummeting temps this winter, but Abraham Darby did. My favorite rose.


***All images by Elise Trissel.

Short Western Romance The Lady and the Warrior Free through 5-30

For a taste of my historicals with a frontier flavor, The Lady and the Warrior is Free in kindle through the 30th at: https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Warrior-Beth-Trissel-ebook/dp/B007EEF3O8

Short historical romance

Short historical romance

Note This is a Short Story. Also note how many readers have bashed it for being a short story, even though I have 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

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.


The Secret Warrior in YA Fantasy Series ‘Secret Warrior’

Southern Appalachian Blue Ridge Mountain Foggy Autumn Hillside

Blue Ridge Mountains

Living on a farm in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, surrounded by mountains, is stirring to the imagination. What secrets may hide in those misty ridges? Native American and mountain people lore, my love of herbs, colonial America, and wild imagination are part of the inspiration behind YA fantasy/paranormal (with romance) series, the Secret Warrior. Shawnee warrior/wolf shifters, witches, a warlock, the Star People, other shifters, characters, and creatures run through the stories set present-day in our mountains.

One of the most interesting characters in Curse of the Moon (Book 2), and The Secret Warrior Series, is Okema (Chief) of the Wapicoli and the original wolf shifter in this hidden Shawnee band. But Okema is so much more. His powers aren’t fully known. Without revealing too much, in Book 1, The Hunter’s Moon, you learn the Star People, hala’a’kwa lin’nuwech’kie (in Shawnee), gave him seven life times, and the spirit of the wolf. Plus, plus. Although the series is set modern-day, he dresses like it’s the 18th century. He hails from the colonial frontier.

Tomahawk, Warrior, Iroquois, Native AmericanAn Excerpt/Description from the first time Morgan sees Okema.

‘An older warrior sat before her on a chair. He might be seventy or a hundred. She wasn’t sure. A timelessness hung about him, and a bluish-white aura.

Morgan knew at once it was an aura, even though she’d never been aware of them before.

Long snowy hair flowed over his buckskin coat to his waist. Three golden feathers fluttered from the two white braids knotted together at the top of his head. The silvery eyes in his lined face were unlike any she’d ever beheld. He wasn’t blind, though. He regarded her with the fixity of the owl. Like pools of water in the moonlight, his eyes reflected the wisdom of the ages, strength of mind, and the sadness of one who’d seen far more than he cared to…war after war, and the death of his loved ones.

Where on earth had he come from? It was as if he’d materialized out of thin air.’~

Okema is the secret warrior in the series. At his death, his powers will pass to Jackson, his grandson seven times removed. Then Jackson will become Kitch Wabi Ayapia, The Great White Wolf. Okema is also the reason Morgan is a powerful wolf, and more. She’s only beginning to realize her abilities.

‘Nuff said. Read up.

Resized Curse of the Moon.jpg1Blurb from Curse of the Moon:

The bad news? Morgan Daniel’s wolf is out of control. The good news? There’s a treatment. She just has to get a potion from a lizard shifter witch–without looking into the witch’s eyes. Easy, right? But when the witch puts a spell on her younger brother, Morgan has to do the witch’s bidding to save him.

Fortunately Morgan isn’t alone. She has Jackson to lean on, a few witches coming into their powers, a secret warlock, and the always mysterious Chief Okema. What could possibly go wrong?

Follow The Secret Warrior Series on FB at: https://www.facebook.com/BethTrissel2YAFantasySeries/ 

Book 1, The Hunter’s Moon, and Book 2, Curse of the Moon, are available from all online booksellers.  Amazon link for Curse of the Moonhttps://www.amazon.com/Curse-Moon-Secret-Warrior-Trissel-ebook/dp/B01DH16746