Category Archives: Native American

The Story Behind Historical Romance Novel Red Bird’s Song


Award-winning historical romance novel

Award-winning historical romance novel

Red Bird’s Song is inspired by events that occurred to my ancestors in the Virginia colonial frontier. This award-winning adventure romance centers around their conflict with the Native Americans during the French and Indian and Pontiac’s War and has a The Last of the Mohican’s flavor.

Research into my English/Scots-Irish ancestors unearthed accounts that led to my writing Red Bird’s Song. My fascination with Colonial America, particularly stirring tales of the frontier and the Shawnee Indians, is an early and abiding one. My forebears had interactions with this tribe, including family members taken captive. I have ties to Wicomechee, the hero of Red Bird’s Song, an outstanding Shawnee warrior whose real-life story greatly impacted the novel. More on Wicomechee  is included at the end of the novel, as a bonus for those who read it.

I’ve written other Native American themed historical romances, some with paranormal elements, each carefully researched. I’m grateful for the help of historians, reenactors, anthropologists, archaeologists, and the Shawnee themselves. All the titles in my Native American Warrior series are available in kindle at Amazon.

Handsome Native American warrior

The initial encounter between Charity and Wicomechee at the beginning of Red Bird’s Song was born in a dream I had on New Year’s Eve–a propitious time for dreams–about a young warrior taking an equally young woman captive at a river and the unexpected attraction between them. That dream had such a profound impact on me that I took the leap from writing non-fiction pieces to historical/paranormal romance novels and embarked on the most amazing journey of my life. That was years ago and the saga continues.

At the start of Red Bird’s Song, I also met the prophetic warrior, Eyes of the Wolf, in another dream. When I describe him in the book I’m envisioning a character I know. Eyes of the Wolf became a spirit guide and spoke to me throughout the writing of this book, and others. He’s there still in various guises. My journey with him is not complete.

pipetomahawkThe attack at the opening of Red Bird’s Song in the Shenandoah Valley is based on one that occurred to my ancestors and is recorded by Historian Joseph A. Waddell in The Annals of Augusta CountyA renegade Englishman by the last name of Dickson led the war party that attacked them. I’d initially intended to make Colin Dickson in Red Bird’s Song the historical villain that he was, but as soon as he galloped onto the scene I knew differently.

Hawk EyeRegarding the setting for Red Bird’s Song: In the early mid 1700’s, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and surrounding mountains was the colonial frontier. Only hardy souls dared to settle here. The bulk of these were the tough Scots-Irish, among them my ancestors. If 18th century warriors only had to fight regular British troops, they might ultimately have prevailed. They scared the crap out of men trained for conventional warfare. But the long knives were born fighters, and not easily intimidated. They learned from their cunning enemy and adopted their methods, weapons, and clothing.

The ruggedly beautiful Alleghenies are also the setting for some of my other historical-paranormal romance novels, Through the FireKira, Daughter of the MoonThe Bearwalker’s Daughter, and my short historical romance, The Lady and the Warrior. I see these ridges from our farm in the Shenandoah Valley. The foothills are only a hop, skip and a jump away from us. The ever-changing panorama of the seasons never fails to inspire me. My Young Adult/Native American Wolf Shifter romance series entitled The Secret Warrior is also set in the mountains.

The Alleghenies, the Virginia colonial frontier

Red Bird’s Song is Book 3 in my Native American Warrior Series. The series loosely ties together based more on time and place and strong Native American characters than as a traditional series that follows the story line. However, Kira, Daughter of the Moon is the actual sequel to Through the Fire, and there will be other sequels. In addition to Native Americans, hardy Scots-Irish frontiersmen and women, colonial Englishmen and ladies, and even a few Frenchmen also play an important role in this series. So far, it spans the gamut from the dramatic era of the French and Indian War, through Pontiac’s War, The American Revolution, and shortly afterwards.

Story Blurb for Red 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.

ReviewerTopPick-NOR

“A beautifully written story filled with adventure and suspense…This book touched my soul even as it provided a thrilling fictional escape into a period of history I have always found fascinating.” —Night Owl Book Review by Laurie-J

Eppie

“I loved the descriptions…I felt I was there…Many mystical episodes are intermingled with the events…The ending is a real surprise, but I will let you have the pleasure of reading it for yourself.”  —Seriously Reviewed

***For more on Red Bird’s Song and my other titles, visit my: Amazon Author Page.

Native American Man Headshot

The Anniversary of My Tumble Down the Rabbit Hole


old books

I’m approaching the twentieth anniversary of my initial launch into the mad world of writing fiction. I tumbled down the rabbit hole and am still discovering just how deep that hole goes. It’s quite a labyrinth. To all of you who have supported me in my journey, a heartfelt thanks. I’m especially grateful for my readers and fans. Rest assured,  I am boldly forging ahead. To fill you in, my latest undertaking is a YA fantasy that will also appeal to many adults. I’m having so much fun writing this story, ‘I may never come down to earth again.’ I plan for it to be a series. As to the setting and theme, think Native Americans, misty mountains, a secret valley, legends, warriors, werewolves, fantasy…romance. I’m back with the Indians I love, plus, plus. The idea for this story has been brewing in my mind for years and I’m delighted to finally channel the voices and give them life.

Will I write more historicals? Probably. I also enjoy my time travels. For now, I’ve departed into the fantasy world. I may even add that dragon I’ve been talking about…

A look back at my journey and some of the awards I’ve received along the way.

Voted_BoM_by_LASR_Readers_2013_zpsc7716aaf2008 Golden Heart® Finalist

2008 Winner Preditor’s & Editor’s Readers Poll
Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009

2010 Best Romance Novel List at Buzzle
coffee time romance2012 Double Epic Award Finalist

2012 Reader’s Favorite Finalist

2013 Won Book of the Month at Long and Short Reviews

Five_StarReviewerTopPick-NORGH Banner

5starP&E Logo thing
trrtoppicksbook rated 5 at lasr ARIAL ROUNDED copy


Eppie2012 EPIC Ebook Award finalist-nonfiction

Herbal Lore and The Bearwalker’s Daughter


The_Bearwalkers_Daughter_Cover3As my earlier posts feature herbs and the lore surrounding these age-old plants, I’m sharing several herbal related excerpts from my recent release, historical fantasy romance novel The Bearwalker’s Daughter.

Set among the clannish and superstitious Scots-Irish in the Allegheny Mountains, the story is similar to others of mine with a colonial frontier flavor and also features Native American characters, with the addition of an intriguing paranormal thread.

Remember, the herbs didn’t have to originate in America for the settlers to use them.  They brought seeds, cuttings, and rootstock with them from the Old World and learned about native plants from the Indians.

This first excerpt is from the old Scots-Irish woman, Neeley’s, point of view:

A brooding darkness hovered over the McNeal homestead. Of that, Neeley was certain. And she sensed from where it came. She needed all her wisdom now to prevail against it. She’d limped stiffly through the home sprinkling a sweetly aromatic decoction of angelica root into every corner, the most powerful herb for warding off spells and enchantment. Then she’d hung a bough of rowan wood above the doorway to lend protection from evil. The leafless branch dripped with clusters of orange-red berries, pleasant to behold as she sat by the hearth.~

And later in the chapter: Her needle winking in the firelight, Neeley sewed the blue fringe on the cape collar and around the long hem. The fragrance of angelica, the most sacred of herbs, rose from the linen. She’d sprinkled a decoction of the holy root over the cloth to bring protection to the wearer. Jack would need all the defense he could get.

As for Karin, her innate goodness would aid her, but Neeley wasn’t taking any chances. An herbal bath of angelica mingled with the purifying power of agrimony, redolent of ripe apricots, awaited the girl. Jack too, if Neeley managed to coax him in.~

This excerpt is from the heroine, Karin’s, point of view:

Neeley rose stiffly from her chair and shuffled forward, her stooped figure a head shorter than Karin’s. “You’ll want my help, John McNeal. Fetch the woundwort, Karin. Sarah, steep some comfrey in hot water and bring fresh linens. Joseph, the poor fellow could do with a spot of brandy,” the tiny woman rapped out like a hammer driving nails. Old, she might be, and as wizened as a dried apple, but Neeley took charge in a medical emergency whether folks liked it or not.

Sarah dashed to the cupboard to take down the brown bowl. Karin flew beside her and grabbed the crock reeking of salve. Sarah snatched a towel and they spun toward the hearth as the men made their way past the gaping crowd. The stranger lifted his head and looked dazedly at both women. Karin met vivid green eyes in a sun-bronzed face stubbled with dark whiskers. A fiery sensation shot through her—and not just because he was devastatingly handsome.~

The two following excerpts are from the hero, Jack’s, point of view.

The matriarch called Neeley bustled into the room with a steaming basin of what Jack supposed, from the herbal scent wafting in the mist, was a medicinal wash.

“Thomas, see Sarah gets to bed and brew her a cup of betony. That’ll calm her,” Neeley directed.

“Come on, Sarah. You’ll do better with a rest and some tea.” Thomas helped his stepmother to her feet and guided the unsteady woman from the room and through the assembly clustered beyond the door.  Murmurs of sympathy accompanied her departure.

Then Neeley set the white porcelain bowl on the washstand and squinted down at Jack like a hen hunting for spilt grain. She gestured with bent fingers at the girl peering from behind John McNeal’s bulk. “Karin, come closer. You’re my hands, lass.”

Her eyes, too, Jack suspected.~

And later in that scene: Karin dabbed his shoulder dry, then dipped her small hand into the pungent crock. Pursing rose-tinged lips, she smeared the aromatic paste on his wound. “I’ll give the salve a while to work before I dig the ball out and stitch you up. Ever had woundwort, sir?”

“Dulls the pain right well,” Jack managed, hiding a grimace. Even her soft touch stung like the devil, but he wouldn’t push her away for anything.~

I interweave herbs and other plants through all of my stories, though some more than others.

***Striking cover by my daughter Elise~