Tag Archives: colonial American

Romance, Intrigue, Spies–The American Revolution and .99 Sale!


The American Revolution captivates me and is the focus of my Traitor’s Legacy Series, beginning with award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King. Before touching on the series, I’m shouting out a .99 kindle sale on book 3, Traitor’s Curse. The sale will run from August 26 through September 8, and extends to other major online booksellers.

Inspiration behind the series: I have ancestors who fought on both sides of that sweeping conflict, including a British general. My research into the Southern face of the war was partly inspired by my great-great-great grandfather, Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam, who kept a journal of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, 1781, used by historians.  

Stick around for a wild ride into Carolina Back County and the battle between Patriots and Tories. Our hero is the former and our heroine the latter.  Both of them bear names that belonged to my ancestors.

TheTraitorsLegacySeries_w11372_300LOVE, BETRAYAL, AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION! THE TRAITOR’S LEGACY SERIES!
Releasing as a box set in mid-September! Pre-order yours at Amazon now: https://www.amazon.com/Traitors-Legacy-Beth-Trissel-ebook/dp/B01L5PSE1K
This exciting series in a convenient and economical set! How cool is that?
Enemy of the King, an award-winning historical romance novel with a paranormal element, is my version of The Patriot. A big fan of Daphne Du Maurier since my teens, I was also influenced by her mystery/ghost story, Rebecca. Our Virginia home place, circa 1816, and other early homes left deep impressions on me. I’ve long harbored suspicions that those who’ve gone before us are not always entirely gone.  Most of all, I’m a Southern Virginia author, and it shows.

1780 South Carolina, spies and intrigue, a vindictive ghost, the battle of King’s Mountain, Patriots and Tories, pounding adventure, pulsing romance…ENEMY OF THE KING.

“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

*Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009 
*2010 Best Romance Novel List at Buzzle!

“An amazing and vibrant look into the American Revolution…this sexy historical is a must read!” ~Coffee Time Romance And More

“I love historical romances. They are one of my favorites and anymore when I think of a historical I think of Beth Trissel.”~Reviewed by Bella Wolfe, You Gotta Read Reviews

“Beth Trissel is a skilled storyteller and scene-builder. She immediately plunges the reader into  action and excitement with a vivid sense of time and place.” ~Historical Romance Author Kris Kennedy ( for Enemy of the King)

TRAITOR’S LEGACY–Sequel to ENEMY OF THE KING

(The Traitor’s Legacy Series)

Mystery, intrigue, spies, a coded letter, and stirring romance fill the pages of Traitor’s Legacy. Bringing history to life.

TraitorsLegacy_w8945_med.jpg (official cover) (2)Story Description

1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency.

Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire.

Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends?

Historical Romance Novel TRAITOR’S CURSE (SEQUEL TO TRAITOR’S LEGACY in the Traitor’s Legacy Series)

traitors curseGhostly, Gothic, historical romance novel, Traitor’s Curse, the sequel to Traitor’s Legacy, and the third novel in the series, came out in print and eBook autumn 2015 from The Wild Rose Press.

Set in historic Halifax, NC, on the heels of the American Revolution, Traitor’s Curse builds on the central theme in Traitor’s Legacy. Both novels center around the hidden treasure collected by a band of Patriots to bribe a Loyalist into revealing the whereabouts of the infamous traitor, Benedict Arnold, the man they badly wanted to hang. Although America’s most wanted ultimately fled to England, the treasure remained in Halifax where the haunting mystery in Traitor’s Curse unfolds.

While the historical aspects of that era are authentically depicted in the story, intriguing paranormal elements are also interwoven; among them, a ghost. Other possibilities for his presence in the home are suggested, so choose as you will. It’s kind of a mind game, but significant clues are given for the discerning reader. Bear in mind that the author believes in ghosts and cursed treasure.~

“The supernatural interventions mixed with foreshadowing are well done and believable, whether or not the reader doubts the ghostly possibilities and curses, they work well in the story … and do keep the reader turning the pages. The rapidly developing love story carries with it some inner turmoil in matters of belief and trust, but the gripping external conflicts are laced with danger and evil intent. The story draws the readers into the midst of the fray. And keeps them there.

I readily recommend this novel, “Traitor’s Curse” to anyone who wants to settle into a captivating read created by Beth Trissel, as she weaves her knowledge of the South, herbs and history into this enjoyable love story.” ~Marion Spicer

“A wonderfully spun novel that will keep a reader engaged till the end.” ~Stephanie Lodes for InD’tale
Won Creme de la Cover monthly contest
Nominated for Reader’s Choice at The Romance Review

***Traitor’s Curse is .99 in Kindle from August 26 through September 8. The sale extends to other major online booksellers.

The Writing Journey Behind Historical Romance Novel, Traitor’s Legacy (and why authors are kind of crazy)


TraitorsLegacy_w8945_med.jpg (official cover) (2)

Writing historicals is a way of time traveling and connecting with the past. Rather magical, really. Being drawn to the paranormal, I can’t resist adding a ghostly touch to some of my stories, but the history is carefully researched.

I also write actual time travels. To date, I have 1 short story, 3 novellas, 9 novels, and two works of nonfiction published either by The Wild Rose Press, or myself. I greatly value my editor and publisher, but sometimes I enjoy the freedom of writing whatever and however I want.

Daughter, Elise, formatted my nonfiction titles for print, also historical/paranormal novel, Somewhere My Love, (won the 2008 Preditor’s & Editor’s Readers Poll for best Romance Novel) the first book I had published with the Wild Rose Press. I later took back the rights and expanded the story. Elise does my Indie covers. Mom assists with editing, as do friends.

NEW SOMEWHERE MY LOVE COVER2

I have several critique partners. But when it comes to creating a story, I mostly talk amongst myselves. Authors are a little crazy. I have a theory about writers, those who are on medication and those who should be. Characters are all important and I’ve learned to listen well to them, because if I don’t, they won’t speak to me. How authors who plot out every step of their stories in advance manage, I don’t know. I try to plot. I do. Then I start writing and the story doesn’t go as I’d foreseen. EVER. I do my research, so I have a reasonable idea of what is and isn’t possible in a particular era. When the characters depart from the norm, at least I know what the norm is. And heroes and heroines by definition invariably march to their own drum.

Friesian horse

I suffered the worst writer’s block of my life midway through Traitor’s Legacy when I failed to heed the characters. There was nothing for it, other than to wait until the muse returned. I even wrote a different story in the interim, time travel romance, Somewhere in the Highlands, the latest in my Somewhere in Time Series (awaiting its sequel). My editor must’ve despaired of me ever getting back to her with the manuscript for Traitor’s Legacy, and was delighted when I did.

Enemyoftheking resized

To appreciate Traitor’s Legacy, I must first touch on its predecessor, award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King (ranked third in the top ten BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009 at Publisher’s Weekly, voted book of the week at Long and Short Reviews, and on the 2010 Best Romance Novel List at Buzzle).

Set in late summer and fall of 1780, Enemy of the King opens in an elegant plantation home outside Charleston, then swiftly moves to Carolina Backcountry. This adventure romance focuses on the Southern front of the Revolution and culminates in the Battle of King’s Mountain. Years before the idea for the novel emerged, I was researching my early Scots-Irish ancestors in the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains during the French and Indian War. My fascination with Native Americans led to my Native American Warrior Series. As my research progressed past the early settlement days, I kept coming across references to Kings Mountain, noting how proud the Virginia men were who’d gone over to take part in the battle. I made a mental note to return later and do further research, which launched me into the American Revolution. I’ve walked the battle grounds at Kings Mountain twice. Very moving.
Terrific Reader Review for Enemy of the King

One account I came across regarding my ancestor’s involvement in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, NC, was recorded in a journal by my Great-Great-Great-Great–Grandfather Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam and father of another Sam. To differentiate between the two cousins, his son was called Sad Sam, because his wife died young of consumption. The other Sam (not yet famous) was called Bad Sam because he was rather wild. Also interesting, the wife of Sad Sam, Mary Russel Rowland, was a copious letter writer. We learned the ‘Dear Uncle James’ she refers to in her writing is James Madison.

JEREMIAH from Enemy of the KingThe Patriot hero in Enemy of the King, Jeremiah Jordan, is named for my colonial ancestor, a captain during the Revolution. The antagonist in Enemy of the King, British Captain Jacob Vaughan, serves with the 17th Light Dragoons in Tarleton’s Legion. Vaughan was such a multifaceted and intriguing character, I decided to write a sequel featuring him. It was always my intent to give both points of view regarding the American Revolution, although I ultimately come out on the side of the Patriot’s. And still do. I’d begun work on the sequel and even had the title, Traitor’s Legacy, and basic plot in mind, but wasn’t happy with my Virginia setting. It didn’t work for the story and I wasn’t certain what would, so I set the manuscript aside and focused on other books.

Photo of Person's Ordinary #2JPG

Then in late spring 2012, I received an email from North Carolinian, Ann See, raving about how much she’d enjoyed Enemy of the King and insisting she had the perfect location for a sequel. Historic Halifax, NC. She also very much wanted me to feature Person’s Ordinary. So persuasive was Ann, that my husband Dennis and I undertook a visit and were given a tour of this charming glimpse into the past. I decided she was right; Halifax was exactly what I needed for the story, as was the old Ordinary. I’d been seeking just such a place. The British Legion, soon joined by Lord Cornwallis with the rest of the army, occupied Halifax in May 1781. This episode in history drew me and I read all the accounts I could find. The bulk of Traitor’s Legacy takes place in the Halifax area during the British occupation, and culminates in colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown.

The Drama and Romance of the American Revolution

While also being adventurous, Traitor’s Legacy is more of a mystery than Enemy of the King, with spies, turncoats, a coded letter, intrigue, and above all, romance.  I am at work on the sequel to Traitor’s Legacy, entitled Traitor’s Curse.  With Traitor’s Curse, I’m back into ghostly historical romance with a lot of mystery. In capturing a reader’s attention, I lead them back to a time and place they may know little or nothing about. It’s my hope, they will go on and do more research on their own, even visit the sites featured in my stories.

These three novels will comprise what my editor terms The Traitor’s Legacy Series. Because Enemy of the King was written before the series was conceived, it doesn’t bear that imprint. But leads the way.

Journey back to the drama and romance of the American Revolution, where spies can be anyone and trust may prove deadly–Traitor’s Legacy.

Ghostly night Sky

***Traitor’s Legacy was released on August 13th from The Wild Rose Press.

***My titles are available from various booksellers, but Amazon has them all.

Person’s Ordinary pictured above.

Christmas In Colonial America


George Washington’s Christmas list for his stepchildren in 1758 was ambitious: “A bird on Bellows, A Cuckoo, A turnabout parrot, A Grocers Shop, An Aviary, A Prussian Dragoon, A Man Smoakg, (a man smoking?) 6 Small Books for Children, 1 Fash. dress’d Baby & other toys.”

Children in colonial America might be given sweets or books, but most colonists wouldn’t have been this extravagant. Usually people of means gave one gift to their servants, apprentices, and children, but didn’t expect anything in return. These gifts were highly treasured and as commonly exchanged on New Year’s Day as on Christmas itself.

Christmas in colonial America bore faint similarity to the gala holiday we cherish today. The Puritans and Quakers (among other Protestant churches) banned celebrations altogether, claiming the holiday was popish and tied to pagan traditions. Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Lutherans introduced Christmas celebrations to colonial America, comprised of church services, dinners, dancing, visiting, and more of the same for wealthy folk. (*Wreath from Colonial Williamsburg)

The music featured at balls and parties was the dance music of the period, much imported from across the Atlantic. Religious carols were also sung. “Joy to the World” became popular in my home state, Virginia. “The First Noel,” “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen,” and “I Saw Three Ships” are several more carols still beloved today.

Rather than the fervor leading up to December 25th that dies out almost as soon as the last gift is opened now, Christmas Day in colonial America began a season of festivities that lasted until January 6—thus the “Twelve days of Christmas.” Twelfth Day, January 6, was the perfect occasion for colonists to enjoy balls, parties, and other festivals.

Our emphasis on Christmas as a special holiday for children didn’t come about until the mid-nineteenth century, brought to America by the more family centered Dutch and Germans. Christmas in colonial America was predominantly an adult oriented holiday. The Southern colonies were the root of many celebrations (less Quakers/Puritans in the South and more Anglicans) and these included parties, hunts, feasts, and church services. Children were tucked away in bed or left behind, neither seen or heard. One sign of entering the adult world was the honor of attending your first holiday ball. Think how exciting that must have been for young ladies awhirl in taffeta and lace.

Plantations and other colonial homes, even churches, were decorated with holly, laurel, garlands and sometimes lavender. My garden club used to decorate a colonial era home/museum and we were restricted to natural materials and native fruit like apples that might’ve been used in that day. Mistletoe, an ancient tradition and the centerpiece of every colonial home, was hung in a prominent place. Romantic couples found their way under the green leaves and white berries just as they do now. Light was of vital importance at this dark time of year. Yule logs blazed and candles were lit, the wealthier having more to light. (*Hearth in early American spring house.  Grandson above in same old house))

A key part of colonial Christmas celebrations were the large feasts. What foodstuffs were served and the amount set before the guests all depended on the provider’s income. The menu was similar to ours. Among the offerings at a colonial dinner might be ham, roast, turkey, fish or oysters, followed by mincemeat and other pies and desserts/treats like brandied peaches.

Wines, brandy, rum punches, and other alcoholic beverages were consumed in abundance in well-to-do households. Slave owners gave out portions of liquor to their workers at Christmastime, partly as a holiday indulgence and partly to keep slaves at the home during their few days off work. Intoxicated workers were less likely to run away or make long trips to visit distant relations.

One of our most cherished traditions was unknown to colonists. The Christmas tree traveled to America from Germany in the nineteenth century. Christmas cards originated in London and didn’t gain popularity until the nineteenth century. Santa Claus is a combination of Saint Nicholas and Father Christmas from Dutch and English traditions. As Americans absorbed new people and cultures, the holiday traditions expanded. Today, Christmas is an ever-changing blend of the old and new.

Our family makes these ‘Early American Ginger Cutouts’ from a colonial recipe I found in a cookie cookbook published back in the 1950′s.

Sift together dry ingredients:

2 ¾ C. flour, ½ tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. ginger, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. cloves, ½ tsp. salt

Cream together:

1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar, ¾ cup dark molasses (we use Blackstrap), 1 egg beaten, 1 tsp. hot water, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Mix wet ingredients into the dry until well blended. Cover bowl and chill dough for several hours (or more). Roll on lightly floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. We press sprinkles into the dough before baking but that’s a modern addition.

Enjoy this sweet spicy connection with our early American ancestors.