Tag Archives: researching historical romance novels

The Story Behind Historical Romance Enemy of the King–Beth Trissel


“Passion Governs and she never governs wisely.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Years ago, I was researching my early American Scots-Irish forebears and often came across references to a battle fought during the Revolution called the Battle of Kings Mountain. The name alone drew me. I vowed to go back later and research it more in-depth and uncovered fascinating fodder for the imagination.

I learned about the gallant, ill-fated British Major Patrick Ferguson who lost his life and Loyalist army atop that Carolina Mountain (large knob, really) called King’s back in the fall of 1780. Ferguson is buried there beneath a stone cairn, possibly along with his mistress who also fell that day. He had two, both called Virginia, but it’s believed one mistress made her escape on a horse by betraying his whereabouts to the advancing Patriots. I guess she figured better him than her and he was probably going down anyway… 

Speaking of which, I discovered the hardy, sometimes downright mean, Overmountain men of Scots heritage didn’t take kindly to Ferguson’s warning that they desist from rebellion or he’d bring fire and sword upon them and hang all their leaders, all these ‘enemies of the King!’

‘Book title,’ I said to self. And Enemy of the King sounds much cooler than The Patriot. So I began what came to be my version of that famous book/film, though I’d started my novel before it even came out.

Years of research went into the high drama and romance of the Revolution. I don’t regret a moment and am seeking like-minded persons to share in this passion with me. That has an unfortunate e-Harmony ring to it.

But I digress, (often). Needless to say, the Battle of Kings Mountain, a mega conflict that altered the course of a nation, plays a prominent role in this fast-paced Historical Romance. And, being drawn to mysterious old homes and the notion that those who’ve gone before us aren’t always gone, I included a ghost.

I also suspect my ancestors are speaking to me, as I have a colonial forebear named Jeremiah Jordan and discovered an early Meriwether in the family. Not to mention a British general whose grandson was fighting with George Washington. My journey back through time gathered intrigue, and I wondered how the people who lived through anything as all-consuming as the American Revolution ever got their lives back to normal. The ripples from that enormous upheaval are still flowing out in concentric circles. They’ve certainly encompassed me, and now I’m at work on the sequel.

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So, step into the elegant parlor of Pleasant Grove, an eighteenth century Georgian plantation built high on the bluff above the Santee River. Admire the stately lines of this gracious brick home and its exquisite decor. Stroll out into the expansive garden between fragrant borders of lavender and rosemary. Bask beneath the moss-hung branches of an enormous live oak, then saunter back indoors to dress for a candlelight dinner in the sumptuous dining room. But don’t plan on a lengthy stay, you’re about to be snatched away for a wild ride into Carolina backcountry.

Jeremiah Jordan is a Patriot and Meriwether Steele a Loyalist. She risks a traitor’s death if she fights for the one she loves.

‘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.’

The year is 1780, one of the bloodiest of the American Revolution. The entire Southern garrison has been captured and Lord Cornwallis is marching his forces deep into South Carolina. ‘Bloody Ban’ Lieutenant Major Banestre Tarleton and his infamous Legion are sweeping through the countryside. Revenge is the order of the day on both sides and rugged bands of militia are all that stand between crown forces and utter defeat.

***ENEMY OF THE KING is available at Amazon KindleBarnes & Noble’s Nookbook, All Romance eBooks, The Wild Rose Press and other online booksellers.

“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.” ~Bella Wolfe, You Gotta Read

***Daughter Elise created the promo images. The remainder are royalty free

Ties to the Past~Succotash and Sage


During my vast research for historicals set in early America I came across a wealth of plant lore and recipes.  An avid gardener, I love to grow herbs, heirloom flowers and vegetables. To see, smell, touch and taste the same plants known to my ancestors is a rich connection to those who’ve gone before me.  A common thread in my work, whether writing straight historical or paranormal romance is my passion for the past.

The following early American recipes are lifted from a slim volume I picked up at the nearby Museum of Frontier Culture located outside of historic Staunton Virginia in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley where my family has lived for several hundred years.  By ‘frontier’ they mean colonial.  At one time, the valley and mountains were the colonial frontier, the setting for my new release colonial Native American Romance Novel Red Bird’s Song.

From The Good Land: Native American and Early Colonial Food by Patricia B. Mitchell

SUCCOTASH:

“To make your own Indian style succotash, combine equal parts cooked red or kidney beans and cooked whole kernel corn. Season to taste with salt and pepper, butter or margarine (or bacon drippings)  and  heat.

Historically speaking, succotash is the forerunner of the popular Southern ‘Big-pot’ combination of vegetables and meats known as Brunswick stew. (Incidentally, boiled soup was typical Indian fare.  The Iroquois served soup at almost every meal. Each person had his own spoon and wooden bowl, and when invited to eat with a friend, he took along his own utensil and bowl.)

Sage is indigenous to the North shore of the Mediterranean, but when the Europeans brought it and other herbs here, the Indians were quick to investigate the new plants. They found sage useful as a curative for ‘a host of ills.'”

*The colonists were equally eager for the plants/herbal knowledge shared with them by the Native Americans.

Recipe for Old Sage Cornmeal Scones:

2 cups yellow cornmeal, 2 cups whole wheat flour,  Tab. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 3/4 tsp. sage, 3 Tabs. vegetable oil, 3 tsp. honey, 1 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk

Combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl mix the liquids and then stir in the dry ingredients. Mix well. Using your hands, form two balls. On a level surface flatten these balls into discs about 3/4 inch thick. Cut each disk into eight wedges. Place on baking sheet and bake at 375 F. oven for about 10 minutes. Turn the scones over and bake another five minutes. Serve hot.