Tag Archives: British Isles

Herbal Lore of the British Isles–April Workshop


herb gardenMy Herbal Lore Workshop for Celtic Hearts Romance Writers is also open to others. For more info and to register visit the link. The workshop runs from April 3-30, and will be interesting and informative. Although the focus of the herbs are those used historically in the British Isles, if a question arises about Native American plants, I can help out there, too. Be an active participant or a lurker. The material can be saved for later use. Lively interaction does make the class more fun, however.

Regarding homework, there isn’t any. If  you incorporate one or more of herbs into a scene you’ve written and would like feedback, I invite you to share it in the broader group, or email it to me privately and I’ll tell you if I think the herb choice and use seems right. My role is to offer information and inspiration.

Visit: http://celtichearts.org/herbal-lore-of-the-british-isles/

Now in Print! Plants for a Medieval Herb Garden in the British Isles


Plants for a Medieval Herb Garden in the British Isles CoverAfter exhaustive efforts on my and daughter Elise’s part, Plants for a Medieval Herb Garden in the British Isles is available in print at Amazon (also other outlets).

For those of you who’ve been patiently waiting, it’s here, with over 100 lovely images. Remember, a number of these plants accompanied the colonists to the New World. Many are the herbs we use today, though some of their applications fell into disfavor. Not everyone still seeks a way to avert the Evil Eye, or risks potentially poisonous treatments for a cure.

Book 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.~

dill with white aster and heirloom poppiesA Few Amazon Reader Reviews:

 
A perfect resource for gardeners and history buffs alike.  By Dorothy Johnson
 
Plants for a medieval herb garden is a fun, easy resource. I have been making my way through its pages and enjoying every minute of it. I’ve even found some new plants that I’d like to try out in my own garden.
Excellent Source for Herbal Lore,

Beth Trissel delivers detailed and useful information about herbs in the middle ages. Of course, no self-respecting medievalist would be without a thorough knowledge of healing herbs and their uses, and Beth lays it all out for us in alphabetical order.

archangel-michael, old stained glass windowWell-researched Medieval Herbal
I was in the online workshop where Beth first began putting this book together. The information she gave the participants in each session was amazingly detailed and very well-documented. She gave us an early version of this book and I’ve referred to it more than once as a resource for my own novel writing. When I saw the finished product was out and available, I grabbed my copy immediately. If you’re ever lucky enough to attend one of her herbal workshops — DO IT!! Until then, this is an excellent substitute and one heck of a resource. If you’re writing in this time period and location and want to make sure your characters are using historically accurate herbs in the way they were used at the time, you’ll definitely want this book. If you’re simply interested in learning how herbs were used in Medieval times in the British Isles, if you love knowing the history of the herbs you might use every day, or if you’re just learning about using herbs, this is the book for you!

October Workshop–Herbal Lore and Medicinal Plants in the British Isles–Beth Trissel


herb gardenCome one! Come all! I’m leading this workshop for Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, but it’s also open to the public. For more info and to register visit the link. The workshop runs through October and will be interesting and informative. Although the focus of the herbs are those used historically in the British Isles, if someone has a question about Native American plants, I can help out there too. Be an active participant or a lurker, just don’t nibble on the hemlock while hiding behind the trees. The material can be saved for later perusal. Lively interaction does make the class more fun, however.

English country garden flowers and herbsRegarding homework assignments, (assuming you’re a writer) this isn’t mandatory, but I suggest at some time during the workshop you incorporate one or more of herbs into a scene you’ve written and post it for feedback in the broader group, or email it to me privately and I’ll tell you if I think the herb choice and use seems appropriate. I will post some examples from my own novels. My role is to offer information, inspiration, and kicks and giggles.

Ancient Celts and Paranormal Romance With Author Juli D. Revezzo


I’m glad to have fellow author Juli D. Revezzo with me to share about Celtic history and her new Paranormal Romance release from The Wild Rose Press.

DunluceCastleCountyAntrimIrelandThanks, Beth. If you’ve read historical romance for any length of time, you’re bound to have read quite a few books modeled on the movies Highlander and Braveheart. Everyone I can think of stars as a Scotsman in a kilt somewhere. So much so, it’s almost become a cliché. In fact a good friend of mine just two days ago said, “Oh, but I thought your book was like Highlander.” I love her, but…um, no. When researching my début paranormal romance novel, PASSION’S SACRED DANCE, I decided to focus on the Celtic tribes from the Continent to the British Isles.

Scotland-highlandsDelving into the history of the Celts, I found many interesting things. While the story of their origination around the Danube River is common, some say they go back as far as the Bell Beaker Culture who originated in Iberia (Spain) sometime around 2800 BC.  Wherever the Celts were born, they eventually spread throughout the Greco-Roman world, all over Central and Southern Europe, to end up settling in Ireland before the Romans wiped out their culture (for the most part). Turning to the scholars, Nora Chadwick says “In the heroic age we find Corc, the son of Lugaid took refuge in Scotland from his usurping uncle and ultimately returning with a Scottish bride to rule Munster.” (Chadwick, p. 87) Poor girl. Why would they make a distinction of Corc’s bride as Scottish if they were the same group? To me, that says clearly, they’re separate groups. On the other hand, a later article I found says that the Celts and Scots may have both actually originated on the British Isles. (So who were the Continental Celts, chopped liver?) It’s enough to give a writer a headache! (Amen to that, Julie)

220px-Braveheart_impAt any rate, while Braveheart made the Scots a very popular subject in modern romance, the Celts are the ones that make me swoon, the ones that are underrepresented in the field. Be that as it may, the Celts were no mere raiders (though they are famous for their cattle raids). These were the men and women of the heroic age.

Descriptions of the courageous qualities of their gods and heroes—Arthur, Owain, Lugus, Morrigan, Scathatch and Corc, mentioned above among many others—remain in the tales that even the scribes of the Common Era couldn’t muffle.

beautiful red haired womanAs it was this set I’d been studying all along, it wasn’t hard to move them into the story of PASSION’S SACRED DANCE, instead of reverting to the ever-popular Highlander in a kilt image. To me, their story just needed to be told. Would you like a glimpse? Okay.

Story Blurb:

Battling mounting debt, Stacy Macken is determined not to lose her historic art gallery. When Aaron Fielding appears and offers to help, she fights to keep the attraction sizzling between them from clouding her judgment. He may be her savior in disguise–but can she trust him?

long haired young manAaron intrigues her with tales of the Tuatha dé Danann, sworn warriors who protect humanity from the monsters seeking their destruction. If Aaron can prove what he claims, she would give up anything to help–even the gallery he claims is sacred ground. But with her property set to stage the next epic battle, she needs answers. An old family diary will confirm the ancient legend is true, if only they can find it in time.

If the battle is lost, the enemy will take control of Earth for the next five hundred years. Stacy and Aaron’s budding love might only complicate things.~

Sounds fascinating, Juli!

PassionsSacredDance_w6021_750About Juli D. Revezzo: Juli D. Revezzo has long been in love with writing, a love built by devouring everything from the Arthurian legends, to the works of Michael Moorcock, and the classics and has a soft spot for classic the “Goths” of the 19th century. Her short fiction has been published in Dark Things II: Cat Crimes, The Scribing Ibis, Eternal Haunted Summer, Twisted Dreams Magazine and Luna Station Quarterly. She also has an article and book review or two out there. But her heart lies in the storytelling. She is a member of Independent Authors Network and Magic Appreciation Tour. Passion’s Sacred Dance is her first romance novel.

Passion’s Sacred Dance can be purchased from Amazon

Coming soon to The Wild Rose Press webstore.

You can find out more about Juli at her homepage: http://julidrevezzo.com/ Blog: http://julidrevezzo.com/blog

Like her on Facebook: Follow her on Author’s Den Google+: On Good Reads: Shelfari: On twitter: @julidrevezzo

Works cited: The Celts by Nora Chadwick Beaker Culture, Wikipedia.

More About The Story Behind Light Paranormal Romance Somewhere My Lass


SOMEWHERE MY LASS,  out May 26, 2010, is the next installment in my ‘SOMEWHERE’ series.  SOMEWHERE MY LASS was an intriguing tale to weave and will not, I trust,  disappoint.  I did my usual obsessive research, but I love gleaning more about the past, so that’s all good.  The hero and heroine, Neil and Mora, were vivid in my mind and a lot of fun to write.  The romance between them is one of the best I’ve ever written.  The chemistry just took off.

Interestingly enough, that’s not always the case.  Sometimes my H&H dislike each other intensely, or one resents the other.  Either I write my way through it until I uncover the live coals simmering beneath the ashes of their contempt, or seek out a different heroine.  Usually, I”m pretty set on the hero.  In the story I’m  working on now, he was dead set against the heroine until I dug a little deeper and realized she wasn’t who she seemed to be. 🙂

Maybe this inner dialogue writers have with their characters contributes to the reputation of our being rather eccentric, or shall we say crazy.  Those of you not given to this particular madness may assume I simply create my characters and have control over them.  No way.  I discover them, and get to know their likes and dislikes, what they would and wouldn’t do, all those quirks and foibles that make us unique human beings.  I offer direction and reason with them as to why the story needs to go a certain way, but have learned that the flow is much better, certainly more natural,  if I listen well to what they’re telling me.  And so, I talk amongst ‘myselves,’ which worries my mother a trifle.  But it’s an essential part of the creative process.  At least, for me.

Regarding my settings, up until SOMEWHERE MY LASS I’ve set all my stories in America, past and present.  This departure to Scotland was a challenge, but I drew deeply on my English Scots-Irish roots, which I’ve been doing all along.  Apart from the prominent Native American heroes and characters in my work, (Through the Fire, Red Bird’s Song, Daughter of the Wind) the others are all of English/ Scots-Irish backgrounds, with a smidgen of French.  My ancestors, too, have a smidgen of French in the meld.  Being a history buff I’ve read up on and watched numerous programs set in the British Isles, a favorite of mine.  I’m a British junkie, an anglophile, while equally preoccupied with early America.  But then America and Great Britain are both tied together, and were especially  linked in the colonial time period.

I’ve learned a great deal from my journey back to Bonnie Old Scotland and am pondering a sequel.  My editor assures me there must be one (or two).  I fell in love with the characters and new ones nudge at my mind.  After you read SOMEWHERE MY LASS you will guess who I am likely to feature.  🙂  Hint, his name begins with an F.

First though I must finish my WIP, my first historical romance set in England.  Again, an adventure to write and I’m learning a lot about England and France in 1789, the break out (big time!) of the French Revolution.  Heads weren’t rolling yet but the country was aflame and aristocrats fleeing or fighting to hold onto their estates.  No Scarlet Pimpernel on the scene yet, but I’ve always been fascinated with Sir Percy Blakeney.  We have a noble gray tabby named Percy.

A little more about the inspiration behind SOMEWHERE MY LASS.

As is often the case, the opening of light paranormal romance SOMEWHERE MY LASS was inspired by a dream, one that grabbed my attention and made me wonder where in the world do I go from here?  Inquiring minds like mine want to know the rest of the story and so I delved and plotted.  Even lay awake nights trying to recapture that dream.  Ultimately, this suspenseful time travel evolved from years of research into my distant Scottish roots and a long held fascination with the idea of actually being transported to the past, with a proviso that I can return to the present whenever the thrill wears off.   Say, by teatime. My characters are more adventurous than I.

Scottish Highlands pass at GlencoeCertainly, I was influenced by my beloved C S Lewis in his Chronicles of Narnia that I grew up reading.  I’m still looking for Narnia.  Isn’t everyone? Not to mention, movies like Back to the Future and Timeline, but I like to think, and my editor assures me, that I’ve achieved an original take on the oft visited time travel theme.  And no, I’ve not read author Diane Gabledon or other Scottish time travels so cannot be accused of those influences. I read little romance, investing much of my time in research and non-fiction.

Of course, my love for old castles and the Scottish highlands also lent inspiration. Many of the early Scots-Irish settlers to the Shenandoah Valley, my ancestors among them, chose to live here because of the resemblance the valley and mountains bore to Scotland & Ireland.  As near to home as they were likely to find in the New World.

The concept behind my SOMEWHERE series is that the story opens in modern day, so far my homestate of Virginia and I don’t see that changing, and then transports the reader SOMEWHERE else.  Either back to an earlier time in the same house, as in SOMEWHERE MY LOVE, or another place altogether, as in SOMEWHERE MY LASS.  Sounds simple enough, right?  But writing these stories isn’t.  I thought I’d never make it through ‘Lass’ but am thrilled that I did.   I hope you will be too.

Joshua Wilton House in Harrisonburg, VAhttp://joshuawilton.com/
“The Joshua Wilton House…is a superbsmall inn and restaurant” – The Sunday New York Times
“Joshua Wilton House offers guests an oasis of quiet charm and gracious living in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.  In an elegantly restored Victorian home, Joshua Wilton House occupies a corner in the historic “Old Town” district of Harrisonburg, Virginia.”

I love this beautiful old home, part of the inspiration behind SOMEWHERE MY LASS I used a compilation of Victorian era Virginia homes, some of which I’ve lived in, for the mysterious house in historic Staunton Virginia where the story begins~

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Blurb: 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 that she is just addled from a blow to her head–or so he believes until the MacDonald himself shows up wanting blood. Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past. Although her kinsmen believe he’s dead, and she is now destined to marry Niall’s brother, she’s convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right. The only problem is how to get back to 1602 before it’s too late. The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. An ancient relic and a few good friends in the future help pave the way back to the past, but will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?

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*The door to nowhere (or so Neil MacKenzie thought).

SOMEWHERE MY LASS is available in digital download from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, and other online booksellers.

The Curative Powers of Yarrow


Yarrow commonWoundwort: the generic name for yarrow, achillea, was granted this herb in honor of the Greek warrior-god, Achilles, who used this herb to stop the bleeding wounds of his soldiers after using the leaves successfully on himself. It has been used extensively since Achilles’ time to stop bleeding in battle wounds and has earned the folk names: soldier’s woundwart, knight milfoil, staunchweed, and herbe militaris. Yarrow is also used for the treatment of colds and flues.

Yarrow roots have been used by many Indian tribes as a local anesthetic.  Scrubbed and crushed to a pulp, this medicinal mash is applied to wounds to dull the pain.
Washes made from boiled leaves and stems are also considered effective for bathing injuries.  Yarrow acts as a coagulant to help stop bleeding.  A healing paste can also be made by crushing the entire plant.  The leaves are an aide in treating rashes,  bites, inflammations, infections…you name it.  A tea made from the leaves is boiled and drunk for a variety of ailments.

Yarrow is a powerful herb with many uses.  An ointment for wounds made by blending the leaves with lard provides an old fashioned antiseptic/anesthetic salve.  Yarrow has also been relied on as a contraceptive–don’t go there.  We have better options these days.

Native Americans shared their vast storehouse of knowledge regarding herbal treatments with early colonists who used these remedies in combination with those lauded cures they brought with them from the British Isles and Europe.

*Common wild yarrow is the white variety pictured above.

I listed several of my favorite medicinal herbal/plant books in the tags below. I used woundwart/yarrow in American historical romance Enemy of the King and light paranormal/The Bearwalker’s Daughter.

For more on my work please visit: www.bethtrissel.com

Tend the Earth


Green-gold light slants into the walled garden in the back of the house, my secret place. Time stops here as I kneel beside the heady mix of herbs…silvery sage, lavender-flowered nepeta, and minty bergamot. The red blossoms that will follow are irresistible to hummers. Pungent Russian sage awaits the blue flowers that envelope it later this summer.

Unaware of my silent presence, a rust-capped sparrow rustles beneath the wild privet, planted by his kind, and the bittersweet vine…its white flowers lemony sweet when they appear later in spring. He darts past the peach tree in the center of this verdant space to scavenge sunflower seeds from under the feeder that hangs in the sour cherry tree. A towering crabapple that my great Uncle Houston warned me would get far too large has fulfilled his prediction and presses against the back of the house. But its shady branches filter the hot western sun from the kitchen and are glorious beyond words when dripping with a wealth of crimson blossoms. A profusion of flowers, more than is sane or possible, crowd along the garden wall, fill the island around and under the peach, and creep or swarm their way into the rock-strewn path.

Soft light touches glistening white iris, spires of lavender dame’s rocket and regal lupines. Nodding columbines meld together like kindred spirits in shades of pink, rose and yellow. Dainty sprays of pink coral bells float above a cloud of blue forget-me-nots and filmy love-in-a-mist. Bright yellow globe amaranth flowers intersperse almost everything, all rioting together in happy abandon.

More herbs mingle with the flowers in every bed I touch and the vegetable garden: thyme, sweet marjoram, lavender, dill, basil, parsley, and with them their rich link to the past. Ancient Romans, Greeks, and my ancestors from the British Isles knew many of these same plants as they are today and cherished their varied uses. When I see, touch, smell, or taste herbs of antiquity, I am experiencing what countless generations have before me.

My job? To tend this bit of earth, but mostly to savor and learn.