Tag Archives: NC

How Inspiration Comes + Ghostly, Gothic, Historical Romance Novel Traitor’s Curse


traitors curseIn Traitor’s Curse, I was walking in our meadow when I heard  a woman say, “Master Stuart do not venture here.” And she floated toward me in the mist so that I wasn’t certain she was real. Neither was Stuart Monroe, hero of the story, especially as he’s  in a graveyard at the time. That’s how the novel begins, and now you know why. The voices and visions were in my head, but rather startling. I never know how inspiration may come, only that it will.

Traitor’s Curse is available in Kindle and Nookbook and from other online booksellers. The novel is also available in print. The novel is the third in my Traitor’s Legacy Series and the Sequel to Traitor’s Legacy, released by The Wild Rose Press

Excerpt from Traitor’s Curse:

 “Turn back. A man watches you.”

Again, the warning carried from the unseen source.

What man, and how did she know Stuart was observed? He could barely discern anything.

“Who are you? Show yourself.” Uneasiness lent indignation to his demand.

Through the haze, he spotted the figure of a young female dressed all in white. A death shroud?

Pray God, it wasn’t. His gut knotted, and he stood staring at her.

Ethereal, ghostly, she seemed to float toward him, but must have walked.

 Must have.

A cold shiver stood the hair on the back of his neck on end. Was she flesh and blood, or spirit? Had she crossed the divide between the two worlds?

He scarcely dared to breathe.

Still, he stood rooted to the trail. And not only from fright. Fascination. Despite fear of being haunted, an aura about her drew him.

He waited, every muscle taut, poised betwixt heaven and earth, the scent of crumbling leaves in his nose. At least, that was real.

Whiteness swirling around her, she neared.

Then he spotted it, an ivory coverlet draped over her head and around her slender shoulders pinched together in front with pale fingers.

No shroud.

The blanket reached to her ankles and trailed behind along the ground. Mist muted the flowers stitched into the cloth. This accounted for him not spotting her sooner. She’d blended in with the vapor.~

***Visit my Amazon Author Page where ALL my books reside.

Historical Romance Novel Traitor’s Legacy On Sale for .99!


TraitorsLegacy_w8945_med.jpg (official cover) (2)Traitor’s Legacy, the sequel to award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King, is reduced to .99 in kindle at Amazon and nook book at Barnes & Noble.

Journey back to the drama, intrigue, and romance of the American Revolution, where spies can be anyone and trust may prove deadly.

Traitor’s Legacy Blurb:

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?

traitors curse***The Sequel to Traitor’s Legacy, ghostly Gothic historical romance novel, Traitor’s Curse, will be out this fall on November 6th. Stay tuned.

This is a series of three novels, so far. Each story is written to stand alone, but it’s more meaningful for the reader to begin at the beginning with Enemy of the King set in 1780 South Carolina.

The Traitor’s Legacy Series and the American Revolution


Colonial American SoldierMystery, adventure, spies, turncoats, traitors, Patriots, Tories, and above all, romance, are interwoven in The Traitor’s Legacy Series. Book One is award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King, my version of The Patriot with ghostly flavors of Daphne Dumaurier’s Rebecca.  Pleasant Grove, the home featured in Enemy of the King, was drawn from Drayton Hall, the oldest preserved plantation in America that’s open to the public, located outside the city of Charleston, SC. I also depicted parts of the old family homeplace in Virginia.

Enemyoftheking resizedPart of the inspiration behind Enemy of the King came from research into my early American Scots-Irish and British ancestors who fought on both sides of the American Revolution. One direct forebear five generations removed from me, Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam, fought in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, NC and kept a diary used by historians today. I was also inspired by the Battle of Kings Mountain, in North Carolina, that helped turn the tide of the revolution in favor of the Patriots and is featured in Enemy of the King. These accounts turned my focus to the Southern face of the war.

GeorgeEliot[1]Another tie to the past is my grandfather, seven greats back, Sir George Augustus Elliott, a British general and Governor of Gibraltar during the American Revolution. He was awarded the title Lord Heathfield, Baron of Gibraltar, in honor of his bravery in its defense during the attack by the Spanish and French. While Sir George was giving his all for king and country, his grandson was fighting under George Washington as a commissary officer. There must have been quite a rift in that family. While I’m on the subject of ancestors and the past, I should add that the research for this series is staggering, and seemingly endless. I’ve had help from historians, including the former head historian with colonial Williamsburg, Taylor Stoemer, and assistance from reenactors. I’ve visited the sites featured in the books, and read a lot. Watched every series on the American Revolution in general, plus specific battles and characters. But I digress. Frequently.

TraitorsLegacy_w8945_med.jpg (official cover) (2)The Wild Rose Press published Enemy of the King in 2009. A sequel featuring the fascinating antagonist, British dragoon Captain Jacob Vaughan, tugged at my mind. I even had a plot and title, Traitor’s Legacy. But, I couldn’t settle on the right setting for the story, so left it to simmer and went on with other works.

In late spring, 2012, North Carolinian, Ann See, a big fan of Enemy of the King and fellow colonial American enthusiast, contacted me about writing a sequel set in the oft overlooked, but historically significant town of Halifax, NC. As Enemy of the King takes place in North and South Carolina, and I have strong ties to the Carolinas, this suggestion was appealing.

 the Owens House

the Owens House

At Ann’s invitation, my husband Dennis and I made a trip to Halifax, and were given a royal tour of this carefully preserved glimpse into our nation’s dynamic past. The quaint town is like a mini colonial Williamsburg. Most impressive among Halifax’s claims to fame, in the spring of 1776, North Carolina’s Fourth Provincial Congress met there, and on April 12, unanimously adopted a document later called the ‘Halifax Resolves,’ the first official action by a colony proclaiming their independence from England. This made Halifax a nest of rebels and thorn in the side of the British––what I needed for my plot.

Photo of Person's Ordinary #2JPGMuch of Traitor’s Legacy takes place in and around Historic Halifax. Person’s Ordinary, featured in the novel, was an important stage-coach stop and is the oldest landmark in Halifax County. Located in Littleton, Person’s Ordinary is the oldest preserved structure of its kind in the East, and once served as a tavern owned by Thomas Person. The British occupied the Ordinary in May 1781 when they made their way through Halifax en route to Virginia.

The British Legion, also known as Tarleton’s Legion, headed by the infamous Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, were on horseback and out in front of the rest of the army under command of General Lord Cornwallis. Tarleton underestimated the harassment inflicted by the local militia, whose stubborn resistance resulted in an extended stay by the British and reprisals against the town. In fact, there was so much looting that when Lord Cornwallis arrived, he had to court-martial and execute one sergeant and a dragoon. Apparently, his lordship didn’t want to leave a trail of animosity everywhere his army went. .

174389418Thornton Hall, the plantation home featured in Traitor’s Legacy, is drawn from a run down but once outstanding old house, known as Little Manor, located a mile or two from Person’s Ordinary. The original home was also built by Thomas Person. He wouldn’t recognize it now. Dusk was falling when we drove to the overgrown site to see the derelict house. I knew at once I’d found the perfect home for the novel. Ann supplied me with descriptions of the old house in its glory days and I resurrected it, like restoring the Titanic, with some poetic license, of course. I’d love to move into Thornton Hall. The gardens are also lovely.

Mystery, intrigue, spies, a coded letter, and stirring romance fill the pages of Traitor’s Legacy, while bringing history to life. The story concludes in Williamsburg and Yorktown.

Bay Stallion

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?~

colonial militia preparing to fireBack to the novel that started it all, Enemy of the King made the top ten Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009  and is on the 2010 Best Romance Novel List at Buzzle. The story received a five cup review from Coffee Time Romance & More and was voted book of the week at Long and Short Reviews.

I recently completed the third novel in the Traitor’s Legacy Series, entitled Traitor’s Curse, and submitted it to my historical editor at the Wild Rose Press. While also carefully researched historically, Traitor’s Curse has a ghostly element and a mysterious Gothic flavor. This novel will come out in 2015. I don’t know when yet. Release date to be determined.

Stay tuned. Meanwhile, catch up by reading the two books already released in the series, Enemy of the King and Traitor’s Legacy are available in print and kindle at Amazon, and in eBook from all major online booksellers.

Book Launch for Historical Romance Traitor’s Legacy in Historic Halifax, NC


At the gala beside signs that resemble a colonial tavern.

At the gala beside signs that resemble a colonial tavern.

Discover Historic Halifax, at the forefront of the battle for independence, and the site of mystery and adventure. Where love wars with duty and allegiances, and false friends betray all.

A gala in a lovely home with special touches to make it resemble a tavern kicked off the three-day event. On Saturday, period reenactors, dancers, and musicians brought Historic Halifax to life for the book signing of Traitor’s Legacy. Like a mini Williamsburg, the town is a gem and well worth a visit. On Sunday afternoon, the charming 18th century tavern/inn, Person’s Ordinary, hosted me for a second book signing. Proceeds go toward preservation of Historic Halifax and the Ordinary. I can’t thank these good folk enough for all they did to make this a fantastic event.

Tavern style menu with dishes named after characters in the book.

Tavern style menu with dishes named after characters in the book.

Beth with the town crier

Beth with the town crier

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

Story Blurb: 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?

At the Masonic Royal White Hart Lodge, No. 2

At the Masonic Royal White Hart Lodge, No. 2

In May, 1781, the British Legion, soon joined by General Lord Cornwallis with the rest of the army, occupied Halifax, NC. 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. 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. These novels comprise the Traitor’s Legacy Series.

Three ladies who made the gala happen

Three ladies who made the gala happen

Quilt at the quilt show

They also had a beautiful quilt show.

Signing at the lodge with friends from the valley.

Signing at the lodge with friends from the valley.

Historic Halifax, NC and Historical Romance Novel Traitor’s Legacy


Banner for Traitor's Legacy and the event

Drama, adventure, intrigue! The American Revolution has long called to me. Part of my draw to this era stems from research into my early American and British ancestors who fought on both sides of that sweeping conflict. One direct forebear five generations removed, Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam, fought in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, NC, and kept a diary used by historians today. Another tie to the past is my grandfather, seven greats back, Sir George Augustus Elliott, a British general and Governor of Gibraltar during the American Revolution. He was awarded the title Lord Heathfield, Baron of Gibraltar, in honor of his bravery in its defense during the attack by the Spanish and French. While Sir George was giving his all for king and country, his grandson was fighting under George Washington as a commissary officer. There must have been quite a rift in that family.
Enemyoftheking resizedThe first book to come out of this rich well of inspiration was award-winning historical romance novel Enemy of the King, published in 2009 by The Wild Rose Press. I didn’t stop there. A sequel featuring the fascinating antagonist in Enemy of the King, British dragoon Captain Jacob Vaughan, tugged at my mind. I even had a plot and title, Traitor’s Legacy. Try as I might, though, I couldn’t settle on the right location to set the story, so left it to simmer.

In late spring, 2012, North Carolinian, Ann See, a huge fan of Enemy of the King and fellow colonial American enthusiast, contacted me about writing a sequel set in the oft overlooked, but historically significant town of Halifax, NC. As Enemy of the King takes place in North and South Carolina, and I have strong ties to the Carolinas, this suggestion was appealing.

IMG_7459At Ann’s invitation, husband Dennis and I made a trip to Historic Halifax, and were given a royal tour of this carefully preserved glimpse into our nation’s dynamic past. The quaint town is like a mini colonial Williamsburg. Most impressive among Halifax’s claims to fame, in the spring of 1776, North Carolina’s Fourth Provincial Congress met there, and on April 12, unanimously adopted a document later called the ‘Halifax Resolves,’ the first official action by a colony proclaiming their independence from England. This made Halifax a nest of rebels and thorn in the side of the British––what I needed for my plot.

(Image of Beth and the guide touring a home in Historic Halifax)
Some people ask, ‘Why write historical romance?’ I reply, ‘Why not?’ Folks fell in love back then too, and romance adds that thrill of excitement. The attraction between British Captain Vaughan and Patriot Claire Monroe most certainly leaps off the pages in Traitor’s Legacy. They were one of my all-time favorite couples to write.

Photo of Person's Ordinary #2JPGMuch of the story takes place in and around Historic Halifax. Person’s Ordinary, featured in the novel, was an important stage-coach stop and is the oldest landmark in Halifax County. Located in Littleton, Person’s Ordinary is the oldest preserved structure of its kind in the East, and once served as a tavern owned by Thomas Person. The Ordinary was occupied by the British in May 1781 when they made their way through Halifax en route to Virginia. The British Legion, also known as Tarleton’s Legion, headed by the infamous Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, were on horseback and out in front of the rest of the army under command of General Lord Cornwallis. Tarleton underestimated the harassment inflicted by the local militia, whose stubborn resistance resulted in a prolonged stay by the British and reprisals against the town. In fact, there was so much looting that when Lord Cornwallis arrived, he had to court-martial and execute one sergeant and a dragoon. Apparently, his lordship didn’t want to leave a trail of animosity everywhere his army went. (Image of Person’s Ordinary)

174389418Thornton Hall, the plantation home featured in Traitor’s Legacy, is drawn from a run down but once outstanding old house located a mile or two from Person’s Ordinary. The original home was also built by Thomas Person. He wouldn’t recognize it now. Dusk was falling when Dennis and I, guided by Ann, drove to the overgrown site to see the derelict house. I knew at once I’d found the perfect home for the novel. Ann supplied me with descriptions of the old house in its glory days and I resurrected it, like restoring the Titanic, with some poetic license, of course. I’d love to move into Thornton Hall. The gardens are also lovely. I hope you enjoy your tour.

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?

Back to the novel that started it all, Enemy of the King made the top ten Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009  and is on the 2010 Best Romance Novel List at Buzzle.

“I thoroughly enjoyed Enemy of the King…the characters are memorable, the setting beautifully described…the action riveting and the romance tender. For anyone who loves a well-crafted historical romance.” ~Reviewed by Poinsettia for Long and Short 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.” ~For Enemy of the King by Award-winning Romance Author Kris Kennedy

Traitor’s Legacy is coming out August 13th, 2014 by the Wild Rose Press. The third book in the Traitor’s Legacy Series is in the works. Romancing Colonial Americaa growing event evolving around the book signing, will take place on Oct. 11th in Historic Halifax.

148227848Experience the best of colonial America during this special event packed with activities, demonstrations, tours, music, dance, a book signing, and more on Saturday, October 11th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Historic Halifax State Historic Site. Romancing Colonial America will highlight the eighteenth century from pirate days through the revolution!

A book signing and reception will be held at the Royal White Hart Masonic Lodge, No. 2 (130 Saint David Street, Halifax, NC) 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pre-order your copy of Traitor’s Legacy, available for $15 each, call (252) 583-7191 to reserve copies, and make checks payable to Historical Halifax Restoration Association, Inc. Pre-orders can be picked up on the day of the event.

dance_200Enjoy colonial period musical performances and dances at various times throughout the historic site. Folk musicians, flutists, singers, and costumed dancers will provide eighteenth century entertainment in various locations on site. Also, throughout the day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., colonial era living-history demonstrations performed by costumed re-enactors will take place along with tours of the site’s historic buildings which date from circa 1760 through the 1830s. Stop by the Historic Halifax State Historic Site Visitor Center to pick up a complete schedule of activities and an event map.

For more information about Romancing Colonial America and any related activities, please call Historic Halifax at (252) 583-7191 or visit www.halifax.nchistoricsites.org. Historic Halifax is within the Division of Sate Historic Sites in the NC Department of Cultural Resources and is located at 25 Saint David Street, Halifax, NC 27839

Environmental Musings


The following is taken from a letter my environmentally minded mom wrote to ‘Living on Earth,’ the program that comes on our local public radio on Sunday afternoons. She said: “In looking over the offerings of this week’s show, I thought how extremely depressing almost all environmental news is and has been in recent years. Any topic you look at, is depressing. Those of us who are trying to do something lose heart and those who feel they can’t do anything significant anyway, don’t even bother to try. We seem doomed either way.”

EcoDorm-twilight

They sent me an email saying they’d been musing over this letter and wanted to read it on the air and have me reply to it, which, in fact, happened. In the time since I’d written the letter, however, I’d been to our denomination’s conference center in Montreat, NC, to an environmental conference, where I had visited Warren-Wilson College and become so excited about what they’re doing there, I had written a letter to Michelle Obama asking her to visit and spread the word. I told her about the new “eco” dorm they had built, including an article from the New York Times:

“Next fall, [2002] Warren Wilson College will open an ‘EcoDorm’ on its Asheville, N.C., campus. The residence hall is built almost entirely with reusable and recycled materials, such as wooden farm fences that were turned into siding. Solar fuel cells will convert sunlight into electricity and heat. Runoff from the roof, funneled through a converted 10,000-gallon railroad tank car, will provide water to the building and grounds. The dorm will also feature composting toilets and waterless urinals. Best of all for students hit with sudden hunger pangs, all the property’s shrubs and other plants will be edible.”

Additionally, we visited their gardens which include a gigantic composter, purchased second hand from a local penitentiary. (Seems the officials at the pen decided they would compost their scrap food to cut down on trips by inmates outside their gates.) Warren Wilson composts all the food from its dining hall. We saw it steaming away as it did its work. The compost then is moved to a large pile where it is finished, and then is spread on gardens all over the grounds. Healthy soil makes healthy plants which are better able to protect themselves from predators. Those who work in the gardens also practice companion planting, crop rotation, double dug beds, and use computers to plan their gardens for optimal production.

For years I have thought how terrible the food waste is from our schools, hospitals, retirement homes and other establishments in this country. If we could only go the compost route, it could be sold or distributed to local gardens instead of going to landfills.

One more point made by one of our speakers was to look at the website [StoryofStuff.com]. For some weird reason the writer visits landfills all over this country and others. She notes that “…we (Americans) are humongous waste makers…Nationally, we generate over 250 million tons of garbage each year, and that is only the municipal waste – or garbage – which doesn’t even include the much larger amounts of waste from industries, mining, and construction. We make enough garbage each year in the U. S. to fill a convoy of 10-ton trucks long enough to wrap around the earth six times!”
It’s too depressing to think about more than the one piece we can do. Try not to be discouraged, just do what we can.

Pat Churchman

*Pics are of EcoDorms at Warren-Wilson College.
The little cutie eating a tomato is one I added because I believe children greatly benefit from being part of the family garden.

Contributed by Beth Trissel for my mom.  I’m an avid gardener as well as a writer. We come from a long line of gardeners.