Tag Archives: American Historical Romance

In Need of An Herbal Tonic?


sassafras leaf in autumnSassafras comes to mind and figures prominently in my colonial American historical romances set in the Alleghenies among the Native Americans. Think the colonial frontier–The Last of the Mohicans–and you’re there.

Back to sassafras. I love the tree’s varied mitten shaped leaves and its distinctive, aromatic scent. My parents have a sassafras tree growing in their yard, but I’d have to head into the mountains to get my fix, or buy sassafras from the small local grocery store.

*Note to self, plant sassafras trees. Maybe if I put in an entire grove some would survive. Our challenge is the cows which occupy much of our land and eat anything not protected behind secure fencing. Saplings are among their favorite delicacies.

old sailing shipYou might be interested to learn, as was I, that Christopher Columbus is said to have quelled mutinous seamen by the sudden sweet smell of sassafras which indicated the nearness of land. Not only did it aid in the discovery of the New World, but was an important export to Europe in the early days of colonial American, even exceeding shipments of tobacco.

Wine made from the darkly blue berries has been imbibed for colds. During the spring-flowering period, the blossoms were simmered to make a tea for reducing fevers. A blood purifying spring tonic was and still is imbibed from a tea made by brewing the roots. A tea distilled from the bark was believed to aid in the treatment of bronchitis, respiratory ailments and tummy upset. Chewing the bark was thought to help break the tobacco habit, a problem even in the early days of this country. The roots were distilled and the oil from them used to flavor many products including ginger ale, sarsaparilla, cream soda, root beer, toothpaste…

Sassafras leaves in autumn

A poultice made from the leaves and laid on wounds was used to stop bleeding and aid in healing. Native Americans steeped in the many uses of sassafras passed their knowledge along to European settlers in the colonial frontier. A tea from the bark was also thought to be beneficial in the treatment of venereal disease, needed by both Indians and colonists alike. If you wonder what ailments afflicted folk in the early days of this country, you need only read what they were most interested in finding treatments for and cancer doesn’t make the top ten.

How to make sassafras tea: One method is to vigorously scrub several roots, a couple of inches long, and use the whole root, or cut them in into pieces, and bring to a boil in three pints of water. Reduce heat and simmer for fifteen minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and steep for another ten minutes before straining and serving. Yet another method is to drop several roots into a quart of boiling water, remove from heat and steep then serve. A pound of roots will make 4 quarts of tea and can be used several times before they lose their strength.

Native American historical romanceFor the bark, especially used as a spring tonic, cut or grind a teaspoon of bark and steep in a cup of boiling water for ten minutes, strain and sip. The tea from either root or bark should have a yellowish red hue, rich smell and pleasing taste. It can be thinned with milk or cream and sweetened. I would add some honey, but those of you who like it plain, enjoy.

And good health to us all.

Mystery, Adventure, Romance–American Historicals!


Traitor's Legacy resized pgI have eight American historicals published and just completed my ninth, Traitor’s Curse, book 3 in the Traitor’s Legacy Series. Book 1, Enemy of the King, set during the drama of the American Revolution, opens in an elegant plantation home outside of Charleston, SC, in 1780, and swiftly moves into Carolina Backcountry. The antagonist in Enemy of the King, British Dragoon Captain Jacob Vaughan, captured my imagination and is the hero of Book 2, Traitor’s Legacy. Filled with intrigue, spies, and romance, Traitor’s Legacy, is largely set in Halifax, NC in 1781, toward the end of the revolution. The story concludes at Williamsburg and Yorktown.

Traitor’s Curse, Book 3 in the Traitor’s Legacy series, has a mysterious ghostly flavor. This historical is set in and around the town of Halifax, North Carolina at the conclusion of the American Revolution. And I’m slowly inching forward in time. Book four in the Traitor’s Legacy series will take place in the latter 1780’s. I’m laying the groundwork for that novel, Traitor’s Revenge

Award-winning historical romance novel

Award-winning historical romance novel

My colonial American Christmas romance novella, A Warrior for Christmas, is set in affluent colonial society, but the hero, a former Shawnee captive, recently returned from the frontier. This story is also available in audio.

Red Birds Song, Through the Fire, Kira, Daughter of the Moon, and The Bear Walker’s Daughter are part of my Native American Warrior series and set in the colonial American frontier. The French and Indian War and Pontiac’s War are the backdrop for several stories. Some follow on the heels of war, including the American Revolution. My short story, The Lady and the Warrior, takes place in the frontier after the revolution.

Whether it’s Scots-Irish settlers clashing with Native Americans in the colonial frontier, Rebels and Redcoats battling in the revolution, or a more genteel colonial world, apart from the ghosts and furtive assassins,  my work encompasses a wide range of settings. All my stories are carefully researched, but they’re called fiction for a reason. They take place in Virginia, (also what is now West Virginia), North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

***Amazon has all my titles, some in paperback. Many are also available from other online booksellers.

PARTY ‘TILL YOUR HEELS FLY OFF: MEGA AUTHOR BLOG HOP (STOP # 28)


Welcome to the mother of all blog tours.

TOUR RULES:
1) HAVE FUN!
2) INVITE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS AND SPREAD THE WORD!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, June 13, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, June 20, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
Winners will be drawn and posted June 21st! ***
4) MEET AND MINGLE WITH ALL THE AUTHORS! EXPERIENCE A NEW PARTY DESTINATION AT EVERY STOP. PARTICIPATE IN EVERY BLOG CONTEST AND BE ENTERED FOR CHANCES TO WIN MULTIPLE PRIZES! EVERY BLOG VISITED IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN~
5) PARTICIPATION AT ALL BLOGS IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. REMEMBER, THE MORE BLOGS YOU HOP, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES. EVERY AUTHOR IS WAITING TO MEET AND INTERACT WITH YOU, SO PLEASE BE SURE TO SHOW EVERY AUTHOR SOME LOVE 🙂

As a participating author, my theme is Summer in the Big House, Old Southern Plantation Recipes~

A gracious welcome to my stately plantation home. Please have a seat in the wicker chairs on the veranda and relax in the shade of the towering live oaks.    Listen to the warbler singing high overhead in the moss-draped boughs and savor the sweetness of jasmine while I serve refreshing mint juleps and peach upside-down cake prepared with old Southern recipes from Charleston Receipts.

This cookbook ‘was first published in 1950 and the oldest Junior League cookbook still in print. It contains 750 recipes, Gullah verses, and sketches by Charleston artists. Inducted into the McIlhenny Hall of Fame, an award given for book sales that exceed 100,000 copies.’

My copy is actually my mother’s book which she purchased in the early 1960’s while our family was on vacation in Charleston South Carolina.  I kind of borrowed it from her and still have it. 🙂

MINT JULEP:

For each cold goblet use:

Several mint leaves, sugar syrup (2-3 teaspoons), Crushed, dry ice, 2 ounces bourbon, 1 sprig mint

Crush leaves and let stand in syrup. Put this into a cold silver julep cup or glass and add ice which has been crushed and rolled in a towel to dry.  Pour in the whiskey.  Stir, not touching the glass, and add a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.~

Peach Upside-Down Cake:

1/3 cup shortening, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons baking powder,  1  and 2/3 cups flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring

Cream shortening and sugar.  Add remaining ingredients and beat well.  Pour over peach mixture. Serves six.

Peach Mixture: 1/3 cup butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups sliced peaches

Place butter and sugar in a sheet cake pan and heat slowly, stirring constantly until well browned.  Add peaches.  Cover with cake batter, bake 3/4 hour at 350.  Turn out peach side up.   Serve hot or cold with whipped cream.  Other fruits may be substituted for peaches.  ~

For my blog hop prize, I’m giving away an ebook of my Revolutionary War romance novel, Enemy of the King, and Native American historical romance novel Through the Fire.

Blurb for ENEMY OF THE KING:

1780, South Carolina: While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife. When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor’s death fighting for Jeremiah? If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won’t give her a choice.~

Blurb for THROUGH THE FIRE:

At the height of the French and Indian War, a young English widow ventures into the colonial frontier in search of a fresh start. She never expects to find it in the arms of the half-Shawnee, half-French warrior who makes her his prisoner in the raging battle to possess a continent––or to be aided by a mysterious white wolf and a holy man.~

Thanks for visiting me. Leave me a question or a comment here at my blog below. Please also leave your email address so I can notify you in case you are a winner!

THE NEXT STOP ON OUR FUN BLOG HOP IS AUTHOR RACHEL VAN DYKEN SO POP ON OVER TO : http://deliciousromancebyrachel.blogspot.com/2011/06/party-til-your-heels-fly-off-author.html

If You Like Colonial American Romance Set During The Revolution~


“In addition to creating memorable characters, Ms. Trissel makes wonderful use of descriptive language. “Dreadful screeching, like the cries of an enraged cat, tore through the muggy night and into Meriwether’s chamber…The sweetness of jasmine wafted from the trellised vine as she peered down through moss-draped branches.”  Description like this can be found throughout Enemy of the King and really pulled me into the story so that I felt as if I were actually there.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Enemy of the King. Not only are the characters memorable and the setting beautifully described, but the action is riveting and the romance between Meri and Jeremiah is tender.  I highly recommend Enemy of the King to anyone who loves a well crafted historical romance.”

~Poinsettia Long and Short Reviews

BHB READER’S CHOICE BEST BOOKS OF 2009 AT PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY BEYOND HER BOOKS

ENEMY OF THE KING AT: FIND A GREAT ROMANCE BLOGSPOT~

ENEMY OF THE KING ON BEST ROMANCE NOVEL LIST AT BUZZLE!

ENEMY OF THE KING AT HISTORY UNDRESSED~

ENEMY OF THE KING AT LITERATURE PROJECT~

ENEMY OF THE KING AT BEST ROMANCE NOVELS TODAY~

BHB READER’S CHOICE BEST BOOKS OF 2009 list~

1.  Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
2.  In Over Her Head by Judi Fennell
3.  Enemy of the King by Beth Trissel
4.  Succubus Heat by Richelle Mead (tie)
4.  Through the Fire by Beth Trissel (tie)
5.  Daughter of the Wind by Beth Trissel
6.  Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead
7.  The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
8.  Tempted by P. C. Cast
9.  City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
10. Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Enemy of the King is an amazing and vibrant look into the American Revolutionary War and tells the story through the eyes of a remarkable woman. While Jeremiah Jordan himself is a strong soldier and heroic patriot, it is Meriwether Steele who makes such a great impression in this epic novel. Her dedication to the man she loves, the lengths she must go to defend herself and others, and the unstoppable force that she is makes Meriwether one heck of a heroine.

Ms. Trissel brings the countryside and its people alive with her fascinating and at times gory details. This sexy historical book is a must read!

~Danielle
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

ENEMY OF THE KING AT MISTRESS BELLA REVIEWS~

“I love historical romances. They are one of my favorites and anymore when I think of a historical I think of Beth Trissel. She is an author who has proved herself over time. She is a beautiful storyteller. Ms. Trissel can take a story line and make it a work of art. And she did just that with Enemy of the King.

This tale was so wonderful; it really was a magical read. As soon as I started reading I felt like I was in the pages. The author has a way of pulling you into the story; this is your story. I could see the characters and the images Ms. Trissel described as if I were there or watching a film on TV. It’s a classic read for the ages and I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to read a true fairy-tale.”

Blurb: 1780, South Carolina: While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife. When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor’s death fighting for Jeremiah? If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won’t give her a choice.~

ENEMY OF THE KING is Published by the Wild Rose Press~also available At Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers.

*THEME SONG FROM HBO’S PRODUCTION JOHN ADAMS~This song is awesome.  And if you haven’t seen the series, do.

American Historical Romance Enemy of the King On Best Romance Novel List At Buzzle!


I was amazed to discover ENEMY OF THE KING on this prestigious list (below) at Buzzle. Talented fellow author Diana Cosby also made this list.

Best Romance Novels 2010 and Others

That was the lowdown on some of the best romance novels, and a list of other good novels in the romance genre,
that you can read. Hope you enjoyed it!

By Sujata Iyer
Published: 10/28/2010

Pondering Title for American Historical Romance Novel


Yes ma’am/sir, I’m writing another historical romance novel with a  Native American element and have been on and off for the past ten + years.  Nailing the ending is tricky–and that whole middle part.  The opening is great, if I do say so myself, after umpteen revisions.  I’ve changed book titles  and written scenes from different points of view.  When I first wrote this novel, the whole story was told from the heroine’s POV, but I have reworked some scenes and added new ones from the heroes.  I really like him, one of my all time favorites, and am still figuring out how to make him more inclusive.  I’ll work hard on the novel and then set it aside again.   Each year I declare this is the year I finish it.  When this story is finally completed it is/will be the sequel to Native American historical romance novel Through the Fire.

When I first began work on this major project I entitled it Kira because the heroine is very much her own person.  Then it evolved into Wary is the Heart….now I’m back to Kira.  Anyone have a preference between the two?    Or I could do another Daughter of thing.  I already have Native American historical fantasy Daughter of the Wind, so I could do a Daughter of the Moon.  At some point, I want to write a novel entitled Daughter of the Stars, after the Indian name for the Shenandoah Valley where I live and my family has lived for the past several hundred years.  But as this particular novel is set among the Scots-Irish in the Alleghenies, I don’t think that title would fit.  Still pondering…

The Story Behind Award Winning Colonial Native American Romance Novel Red Bird’s Song


Quantcast2012 EPIC eBook Award Finalist!

Red Bird’s Song is the story of my heart for many reasons.  The initial encounter between Charity and Wicomechee at the river was inspired by a dream I had on New Year’s Eve–a highly 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 essays (by hand back then) to historical romance novels and embarked on the most amazing journey of my life.  That was years ago and the saga continues.  I also met the prophetic warrior, Eyes of the Wolf, in another vivid dream at the advent of this adventure, so when I describe him in the book I’m envisioning a character I feel I know.

The setting for much of Red Bird’s Song is the same as Through the Fire, the spectacularly beautiful Alleghenies.  Much of the history and events depicted in the storywere inspired by accounts I came across while researching my early American English/Scots-Irish roots and the Border Wars.

Most of you have heard of The French and Indian War, the time period in Through the Fire, but there were others.  (Chief) Pontiac’s War followed on the heels of the French and Indian and is the time frame of Red Bird’s Song

Lord Dunmore’s War took place a decade later–all occurring in the colonial frontier.

Actually, life in the frontier was continually unsettled up through and even after The American Revolution had drawn to a close and warfare a reality. The boundaries of the frontier just kept shifting farther west.

In the early-mid 18th century, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia was the frontier and only hardy souls dared settle here.  The bulk of these were the tough Scots-Irish.  I think if the Indians had only had to fight regular British troops they might ultimately have won because they scared the s— out of men trained for conventional warfare, but the long knives were another matter. They weren’t easily intimidated and soon learned from their cunning enemy.

Although Hawk Eye in The Last of the Mohicans is an adopted Mohican, his lifestyle and behavior is that of a colonial frontiersman.  The more rugged of these men dressed as he did, much in the Indian way.  They hunted & fought with muskets, tomahawks, and their famous knives.   Indians acquired these knives as well.  They blended traditional weapons and ways of living with new found tools and weapons of Western man.  A highly adaptable people.

The attack at the opening of Red Bird’s Song in the Shenandoah Valley is based on one that occurred to my ancestors at the tail end of Pontiac’s War and is recorded by Historian Joseph A. Waddell in The Annals of Augusta County. A renegade Englishman by the last name of Dickson led the war party that attacked them.  Initially I’d intended to make the Colin Dickson in Red Bird’s Song a villain but as soon as he galloped onto the scene I knew differently.  He’s now one of my all time favorite characters.

Wicomechee, the hero in Red Bird’s Song, is based on the Shawnee warrior by that name who lived early in the nineteenth century and to whom I have ties.  The Moffett’s, an early Valley family I’m related to, include a reference to him in their genealogy.  Wicomechee’s father, John Moffett, was captured in Kentucky by the Shawnee at the age of eight and adopted into the tribe.  It’s said he was a boyhood companion to the great chief Tecumseh, a chief for whom I have enormous admiration.  The accounts of John Moffett and Wicomechee are recorded by Waddell.  It’s also noted that during the Black Hawk Wars Wicomechee recovered the captive daughters of a Dr. Hull and brought them safely into camp, which reminds me of Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans.  I’ve included more on this amazing warrior at the end of the novel as a bonus for those who read it.

Charity, the heroine in Red Bird’s Song, is drawn from a reference I came across of a young Scots-Irish woman captured along a river in the Virginia frontier.  Remember, early Virginia was enormous.  Augusta County, near where I live, encompassed present day states and was later sectioned off.  Nothing is known of what happened to that young woman.   Just a single line in an old account of captives taken during the Indian wars.

The same sort of capture and subsequent lack of information occurred to the sister of my great grandmother a number of greats back.  Both of these women may have made new lives with the Indians.  There are records of women who married into the tribes and did not want to leave their warrior husbands and adopted people.  Tragically, some those captives who wished to remain were later forced to return to their white families through treaties, causing great heartache.  There are also accounts of captives who couldn’t get out fast enough!  One such captive was Daniel Boone.

Charity’s cousin Emma in Red Bird’s Song is based on the young, very  pregnant wife carried off in that original attack.  In the actual account it’s uncertain whether or not her husband survived his injuries.  His last name was Estelle, as it is in the story, and we have early Estelle’s in our family tree.   However, that name is no longer common in the Shenandoah Valley but has vanished into the mist of time along with a mostly forgotten era and its people.  Few remember or care.  Perhaps you will come to.

James, the little boy in Red Bird’s Song, is drawn from the lively child taken in the original attack who lived to tell about it and did so with great relish.  He’s also modeled after several high spirited little boys I’ve known and loved.  James is a tribute to my young nephew, Matthew Trissel, killed in a farm accident, and my youngest daughter Elise’s close friend, Garry Keens, killed by a drunk driver.  Wonderful boys, gone before us but never forgotten.

Although Eastern woodland Indians had a reputation for brutality, once a captive was adopted they were well treated and regarded as equals.  Warriors were unpredictable and didn’t always behave in a certain manner anymore than all European men acted alike.  Warriors could be unexpectedly gentle or sadistic.

I’ve read accounts of warriors getting up in the night to stir up the campfire and cover captive women and children with blankets, even delay their journey while a woman gave birth.  These men protected and fed their captives while other warriors burnt them at the stake.  It all depended on who took you captive and why as to what your fate would be, and whether they kept, traded, or sold you.  Or killed you in retribution for a love done lost at the hands of the English.  Of course, some braves didn’t take captives.  Just scalps.  The warriors most feared in the Shenandoah Valley were the Shawnee, regarded as the fiercest of all.  The more I studied these remarkable people, the more engrossed I became, especially as they figure into our family roots.

The sources I used in researching Red Bird’s Song would take up pages, my list of reading material sizable, and I’m indebted to the long-suffering anthropologists and archeologists who answered my many questions and supplied me with research materials, also helpful reenactors, historians, and historical sites.  Most of all, I’m indebted to my own forebears.  Without these hardy souls, their faith in God and determination to forge a life in the New World, I wouldn’t be here.  Neither would many of you.

****

*Red Bird’s Song is available from The Wild Rose Press in print and digital download (ebook), and Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.  Your bookstore and library can  order it in.  To read excerpts from the novel.

*Image from the 1992 film The Last of the Mohicans and royalty free images   ***I am seeking good quality Native American images to purchase.  If you know of a source please contact me: bctrissel@yahoo.com  or leave me a comment.