Tag Archives: new romance release 2012

Herbal Lore and Historical Romance The Bearwalker’s Daughter–Beth Trissel


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

Set in 1784 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 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~The Bearwalker’s Daughter is available for .99 in Amazon Kindle

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~

Sweet Saturday Sample from The Bearwalker’s Daughter


An expectant nicker welcomed Karin from the first stall. She brushed chilled fingers over the mare’s soft black muzzle and fed her searching mouth the apple she’d brought. Velvet lips crunched the juicy fruit and nudged her for more.

“That’s all.” Her voice was lost in the rattling wind.

She walked past the remaining stalls and nuzzling lips. McNeal bloodlines were heralded in these parts and painstaking attention given to their horses. More brood mares and foals were out in the pasture and Joseph waited in the lean-to they’d built for foaling.

As for Jack, Karin spotted his shadowy figure inside the farthest stall. He’d bridled his mount and looped its reins around one of the stout poles joined to the wide beams overhead. His back to her, he curried a magnificent strawberry roan stallion, its chestnut coat heavily mixed with gray. The horse snatched hay from the manger and stood quietly, seemingly good-natured and well-trained.

How on earth did he come by such a superb mount? Karin had no more opportunity to wonder, and it wasn’t the stallion she kept close watch on as she approached the two, unsure what Jack might say or do.

“Mister McCray!”  She was careful not to take him by surprise as she’d done last night, ready to turn and race back outside in an instant if need be.

Jack turned his head, eyes narrowed beneath his hat. Tension ran the length of his jaw. She faltered at the anger in his face. He must still be vexed with her grandfather; possibly with her too. Uncertain, she said, “Jack?”

A smile turned up the corners of his drawn mouth, making him appear even more youthful and less like a hardened frontiersman. “So, you’ve come. I figured John McNeal would hold you prisoner before ever letting you go off with me.”

Maybe he should have. Karin stepped nearer to Jack, the hay cushioning her shoes. “Grandpa can be prevailed upon by your bonnie mother.”

He paused, the brush in his hand. “And you?”

Karin shifted from one damp sole to the other and ran her tongue over her lips. “Perhaps.”

His smile widened. “Come and meet Peki.” He opened the short stall door.

She hesitated outside the narrow space.

“You’re not afraid, are you?”

“Not of the horse.”

Jack chuckled. “I’ll be on my best behavior.”

“For a warrior or a soldier?”

“Myself.”

Keeping her eyes on his broad back, she said, “I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.”

“Come discover.”

She slipped inside the pen bedded with clean straw and turned almost in awe at the horse towering above her. She patted his sleek neck. “He’s beautiful. You could start a new line with him.”

“Yes. He’s the finest I’ve ever known. But God help me, Karin, so are you.”

A current charged through her at his words and the emotion behind them. She swiveled, lifting her eyes to the intensity in his. “Why do you need the Lord’s help?”

“You have no idea,” he said huskily.~

The Bearwalker’s Daughter is a historical romance novel interwoven with an intriguing paranormal thread, set among the clannish Scots in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies. The story is similar to others of mine with a colonial frontier flavor (Red Bird’s Song, Through the Fire, The Lady and the Warrior) and also features Native American characters. My passion for the past, and some of the accounts I’ve come across while researching my early American ancestors and the Shawnee Indians, is at the heart of the inspiration behind this novel, available at Amazon kindle for the sweet price of .99.

***For more authors participating in Sweet Saturday Samples Click HERE.