Tag Archives: Shirley Plantation

Haunting Romance Novel Somewhere My Love .99 Thru May


SOMEWHERE MY LOVE RESIZEDA Night Owl Top Pick“The story will draw a reader in and will not let go until the very last page. It is a novel that will live in the hearts of its readers for a very long time.”
Volumes and volumes of books have been written about the ghosts of Virginia. Apparently, we have more ghost stories than any other state in the Union. And not because Virginians have a more fertile imagination (although we may) but sadly because the Old Dominion has seen more bloody battles over the centuries than any other. Before you differ with me, think back.
Jamestown (founded 1607) was the site of the oldest successful English settlement and its history is a violent one. It’s also kind of creepy. And on we go to the many heart-rending wars fought with the usurped Indians, a number of them waged on Virginia soil. Virginia used to be a lot bigger than it is now, too. It spanned states.
Ghostly night SkyAnd on we march to the Revolution. Anyone heard of Yorktown, to name just one famous battle? And let’s not forget that horrific most uncivil of wars, much of it fought in, you guessed it, Virginia. My ancestors took part in these wars, with the possible exception of James Town, although I’m thinking we came across a family account somewhere. Need to check.
Berkeley_plantation_harrison_homeBack to the ghosts: This plethora of paranormal activity doesn’t only feature soldiers caught in an endless fray who haven’t gotten word the war’s over–although some clairvoyant really should make the rounds of old battle fields and direct these poor souls to the light. Many tales center on the myriad of people who dwelt in our richly historic state. The old Virginia homes and plantations have accumulated a wealth of such stories. It was while touring some of these English styled manor homes with my dear mother that the kernel of a story first came to me for Somewhere My Love (Somewhere in Time Series).  
Added to this meld of vintage Virginia is my own heritage. On my father’s side, I descend from old Southern gentry, impoverished after the Civil WarGreat Depression, and other misfortunes, including the untimely death of my brilliant grandfather. But the gracious Georgian home his ancestor built (circa 1816) still stands in the countryside near historic Staunton. My ghostly Christmas novella, Somewhere the Bells Ring (Somewhere in Time Series), was inspired by this wonderful old home.
Chapel Hill - old VA family home place
Since childhood, I felt the family home place was haunted and wove stories through my fevered mind, along with my continual search for Narnia which entailed frequent treks into the old wardrobe. But I digress. Frequently. The magnificent ancestral portraits in my family and on display in other Virginia homes held me transfixed, wondering. And it was just such a portrait of a striking dark-haired gentleman who embedded himself in my thoughts. Who was he? Why did he die so young? That other painting of the fair young lady…did she love him?
Shirley PlantationOften, the guides at these old homes are brimming with tales. But other times we are left to wonder…and ask ourselves are these folk who’ve gone before us truly gone, or do some still have unfinished business in this realm? And what of the young lovers whose time was tragically cut short, do they somehow find a way? Love conquers all, and so I answer ‘yes.’
 
Julia from Somewhere My LoveBlurb For Somewhere My Love:
Fated lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it’s too late?
 
Two hundred years ago Captain Cole Wentworth, the master of an elegant Virginian home, was murdered in his chamber where his portrait still hangs. Presently the estate is a family owned museum run by Will Wentworth, a man so uncannily identical to his ancestor that spirit-sensitive tour guide Julia Morrow has trouble recognizing Cole and Will as separate. As Julia begins to remember the events of Cole’s death, she must convince Will that history is repeating, and this time he has the starring role in the tragedy. The blade is about to fall.~
“As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago. Using the same deliciously eerie elements similar to that Gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now.”~joysann for Publisher’s Weekly
Illustrated Excerpts From Light Paranormal Romance Somewhere My Love
 ***Somewhere My Love is available in kindle and print at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and in eBook at Kobo.  

 

*Homes most prominent behind the inspiration for Somewhere My Love:

Berkely Plantation (On the James River & well worth a visit)
Family home place called Chapel Hill (Not open to the public)
Shirley Plantation (On the James River & well worth a visit)

The Ghosts Behind Haunting Mystery Romance Somewhere My Love


SOMEWHERE MY LOVE RESIZEDA Night Owl Top Pick: “The story will draw a reader in and will not let go until the very last page. It is a novel that will live in the hearts of its readers for a very long time.”

Volumes and volumes of books have been written about the ghosts of Virginia. Apparently, we have more ghost stories than any other state in the Union. And not because Virginians have a more fertile imagination (although we may) but sadly because the Old Dominion has seen more bloody battles over the centuries than any other. Before you differ with me, think back. Jamestown (founded 1607) was the site of the oldest successful English settlement and its history is a violent one. It’s also kind of creepy. And on we go to the many heart-rending wars fought with the usurped Indians, a number of them waged on Virginia soil.
Civil War, American Civil War, War, Ghost, Armed Forces,Virginia used to be a lot bigger than it is now, too. It spanned states.
And on we march to the Revolution. Anyone heard of Yorktown, to name just one famous battle? And let’s not forget that horrific most uncivil of wars, much of it fought in, you guessed it, Virginia. My ancestors took part in these wars, with the possible exception of James Town, although I’m thinking we came across a family account somewhere. Need to check.
Berkeley_plantation_harrison_homeBack to the ghosts: This plethora of paranormal activity doesn’t only feature soldiers caught in an endless fray who haven’t gotten word the war’s over–although some clairvoyant really should make the rounds of old battle fields and direct these poor souls to the light. Many tales center on the myriad of people who dwelt in our richly historic state. The old Virginia homes and plantations have accumulated a wealth of such stories. It was while touring some of these English styled manor homes with my dear mother that the kernel of a story first came to me for Somewhere My Love (Somewhere in Time Series).
Chapel Hill black and white imageAdded to this meld of vintage Virginia is my own heritage. On my father’s side, I descend from old Southern gentry, impoverished after the Civil WarGreat Depression, and other misfortunes, including the untimely death of my brilliant grandfather. But the gracious Georgian home his ancestor built (circa 1816) still stands in the countryside near historic Staunton. My ghostly Christmas novella,Somewhere the Bells Ring (Somewhere in Time Series), was inspired by this wonderful old home.
Chapel_HillsmSince childhood, I felt the family home place was haunted and wove stories through my fevered mind, along with my continual search for Narnia which entailed frequent treks into the old wardrobe. But I digress. Frequently. The magnificent ancestral portraits in my family and on display in other Virginia homes held me transfixed, wondering. And it was just such a portrait of a striking dark-haired gentleman who embedded himself in my thoughts. Who was he? Why did he die so young? That other painting of the fair young lady…did she love him?
ShirleyOften, the guides at these old homes are brimming with tales. But other times we are left to wonder…and ask ourselves are these folk who’ve gone before us truly gone, or do some still have unfinished business in this realm? And what of the young lovers whose time was tragically cut short, do they somehow find a way? Love conquers all, and so I answer ‘yes.’
*Homes most prominent behind the inspiration for Somewhere My Love:
Berkely Plantation (On the James River & well worth a visit)
Family home place called Chapel Hill (Not open to the public)
Shirley Plantation (On the James River & well worth a visit)

P&E Logo thingBlurb For Somewhere My Love
:
Fated lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it’s too late?
Two hundred years ago Captain Cole Wentworth, the master of an elegant Virginian home, was murdered in his chamber where his portrait still hangs. Presently the estate is a family owned museum run by Will Wentworth, a man so uncannily identical to his ancestor that spirit-sensitive tour guide Julia Morrow has trouble recognizing Cole and Will as separate. As Julia begins to remember the events of Cole’s death, she must convince Will that history is repeating, and this time he has the starring role in the tragedy. The blade is about to fall.~
Somewhere My Love Won the Clash of the Covers Contest at Embrace The Shadows!“As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago. Using the same deliciously eerie elements similar to that Gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now.”~joysann for Publisher’s Weekly
 
***Somewhere My Love is available in kindle and print at Amazon and  Barnes & Noble and in eBook at Kobo!

The Ghosts Behind Paranormal Romance Novel Somewhere My Love–Beth Trissel


NEW SOMEWHERE MY LOVE COVER2A Night Owl Top Pick“The story will draw a reader in and will not let go until the very last page. It is a novel that will live in the hearts of its readers for a very long time.”

June is when I conceived the idea for Somewhere My Love, so time for a backwards glance.

Virginia has more ghost stories than any other state in the Union, umpteen volumes of them. Not because Virginians have a more fertile imagination (although we may) but sadly because the Old Dominion has seen more bloody battles over the centuries than any other. Think back, Jamestown (founded 1607) was the site of the oldest successful English settlement and its history is a violent one. And on we go to the many heart-rending wars fought with the usurped Indians, a number of them waged on Virginia soil. March on to the Revolution; anyone heard of Yorktown, to name just one famous battle? And let’s not forget that horrific most uncivil of wars, much of it fought in, you guessed it, Virginia.
Berkeley_plantation_harrison_homeThis multitude of hauntings doesn’t only feature soldiers caught in an endless fray who haven’t gotten word the war’s over, although there are legions of tales that do and entire companies of ghosts said to battle on. Many tales center on the myriad of people, great and small, who dwelt in our richly historic state. The old Virginia homes and plantations have accumulated a wealth of such stories.
Old Virginia Homes, Ghosts, And The Inspiration Behind My Paranormal Romance Somewhere My LoveIt was while touring some of these English styled manor homes with my dear mother that the kernel of a story first came to me for Somewhere My Love (Somewhere in Time Series).  Added to this meld of vintage Virginia is my own heritage. On my father’s side, I descend from old Southern gentry, impoverished after the Civil WarGreat Depression, and other misfortunes, including the untimely death of my brilliant grandfather. But the gracious Georgian home his ancestor built (circa 1816) still stands in the countryside near historic Staunton.  My Christmas novella, Somewhere the Bells Ring (Somewhere in Time Series), was inspired by this wonderful old home.
Chapel_HillsmSince childhood, I felt the family home place was haunted and wove stories through my fevered mind, along with my continual search for Narnia which entailed frequent treks into the old wardrobe. But I digress. Frequently.  The magnificent ancestral portraits in my family and on display in other Virginia homes held me transfixed, wondering. And it was just such a portrait of a striking dark-haired gentleman who embedded himself in my thoughts. Who was he? Why did he die so young? That other painting of the fair young lady…did she love him?
Shirley PlantationOften, the guides at these old homes are brimming with tales. But other times we are left to wonder…and ask ourselves are these folk who’ve gone before us truly gone, or do some still have unfinished business in this realm? And what of the young lovers whose time was tragically cut short, do they somehow find a way? Love conquers all, and so I answer ‘yes.’
*Homes most prominent behind the inspiration for Somewhere My Love:
Berkely Plantation (On the James River & well worth a visit)
Family home place called Chapel Hill (Not open to the public)
Shirley Plantation (On the James River & well worth a visit)

P&E Logo thingBlurb For Somewhere My Love
:
Fated lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it’s too late?
Two hundred years ago Captain Cole Wentworth, the master of an elegant Virginian home, was murdered in his chamber where his portrait still hangs. Presently the estate is a family owned museum run by Will Wentworth, a man so uncannily identical to his ancestor that spirit-sensitive tour guide Julia Morrow has trouble recognizing Cole and Will as separate. As Julia begins to remember the events of Cole’s death, she must convince Will that history is repeating, and this time he has the starring role in the tragedy. The blade is about to fall.~
Somewhere My Love Won the Clash of the Covers Contest at Embrace The Shadows!“As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago. Using the same deliciously eerie elements similar to that gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now.” ~joysann for Publisher’s Weekly
***Somewhere My Love is available at Amazon in kindle and print, but I expanded the story for the relaunched kindle version, so more for less.

Virginia–Steeped in History and Inspiration–Beth Trissel


The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration.  Not only have I lived in the Old Dominion for most of my life, but also several previous centuries in the sense that my ancestors were among the earliest settlers of the Shenandoah Valley (1730’s/1740’s). Chapel Hill, circa 1816, the Churchman family home place on my father’s side, is part of the inspiration behind the old homes in my novels, as are the other early plantations I’ve visited like Berkeley, Shirley and Carter’s Grove.  My Scots-Irish forebears settled Augusta County in the southern valley with names like Houston, Patterson, Finley, Moffett and McLeod.  These clannish people often intermarried, so I can tie in with many other early families depending on how I swing through the ancestral tree.

Colonial Virginia encompassed a vast territory.  Initially  Augusta County named for Princess Augusta, wife of Frederick, Prince of Wales, stretched northward from the present day county of Rockingham to include part of Page; to the South it extended the full length of Virginia’s border, and to the northwest it included the present day states of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and part of western Pennsylvania, all the territory claimed by Great Britain at that time.

Jamestown, the earliest successful English colony, and  Williamsburg,  a vital center in early America, are both in Virginia.  If you haven’t visited Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, you’re in for a real treat.  These sites are wonderfully  restored so it’s like stepping back in time to another age, one that fascinates me.

Virginia is steeped in history.   How could I not be drawn to this wealth of stories here?  They span centuries.  And if the earth could speak what tales it would tell, some of them horrific.

Virginia is also the site of more battles than any other state in the union, encompassing the Indian Wars, the Revolution and that most uncivil of wars, the Civil War.  Not to mention, Virginia has more ghost stories than any other state.  Also fodder for the imagination and yet more stories.

One of Virginia’s Famous Ghosts (we have a lot)


Six years ago when my mother and I visited old Virginia homes, we went to Shirley Plantation along the James River.  Beautifully preserved, Shirley is well worth a visit.  While there, we saw the portrait of Aunt Pratt which has been the subject of odd occurrences at Shirley, and elsewhere, depending on where the painting is hung. It seems ‘Aunt Pratt’ prefers a certain back bedroom, though the guide wasn’t sure why.

Shirley Plantation and the story of Aunt Pratt were part of the inspiration behind my ghostly murder mystery romance novel  Somewhere My Love.  As were other old portraits and homes…with that in mind, more on the ghost of Shirley Plantation.called “Aunt Pratt.”

To quote Shirley Plantation’s website: “Aunt Pratt” was Martha Hill Pratt, the daughter of early Shirley ancestor Edward Hill III. Her portrait in the bed chamber of Shirley’s Great House is the subject of intriguing stories which have been retold by noted author L.B.Taylor, Jr. in his book, Ghosts of Virginia, Volume I. Mr. Taylor is also author of Haunted Houses, published by Simon and Schuster, as well as five regional Virginia ghost books, including Civil War Ghosts of Virginia.

The story of “Aunt Pratt” is included in Lori Haskin’s Book –Spooky America: Four Real Ghost Stories

A reviewer of the book describes the tale:
Picky Aunt Pratt
Shirley Plantation, Charles City, Virginia
January 2002

Martha Hill Pratt must have been an extremely strong woman when she was alive, that’s the only way she could have a ghost that could command so much attention. Martha Pratt was born at the plantation but married and moved to England, the portrait of her hung in the first floor gallery for years, overlooking the family cemetery. In the mid 1800’s the family decided to redecorate and moved the painting to the attic.

Night after night, family members could hear a tapping noise coming from the attic, puzzled they realized the only thing that was moved to the attic was the painting so they decided to move it to the third floor. The tapping continued so they tried the second floor.

That didn’t seem to work either so they returned the painting to the first floor where it originally hung. After that, everything was quiet again. That is until 1974 when family members shipped the painting to New York City for a display of haunted goods. Martha didn’t like it, not at all; the painting rumbled and rattled until they decided to put it in a closet for the night. The family decided that Aunt Pratt had enough, they had the frame fixed [it was damaged when it was in the closet] and hung it back in it’s original location where it still hangs a little crooked to this very day. The last line sums it up perfectly: It’s just a friendly reminder from Aunt Pratt…leave me alone!

To explore other historic ‘haunts’ in Virginia check out:
http://www.virginia.org/site/features.asp?FeatureID=52

http://www.hauntedtraveler.com/HauntedTraveler/haunted_virginia.htm

Author Pamela Kinney has done a series of non-fiction books about paranormal activity in Virginia, Haunted Virginia, Haunted Richmond, Virginia’s Haunted Historic Triangle,  available at Amazon.

Author LB Taylor Jr. (cover pictured) also has an intriguing book about hauntings in the Old Dominion: Amazon link

Light Paranormal Romance novel  Somewhere My Love:

Newly arrived at Foxleigh, the gracious old Wentworth home in Virginia, British born Julia Morrow is excited at the prospect of a summer working as a guide in the stately house and herb garden. She quickly discovers the historic plantation holds far more. She becomes obsessed with the portrait of handsome Cole Wentworth, killed in a quarrel over the lovely English lady, Julia Maury, two hundred years ago.

Then she meets his double, William, the only remaining Wentworth heir. Somehow, Julia must persuade Will that their fates are entwined with those of Cole Wentworth and Julia Maury, and that the man who killed his ancestor has returned to enact the deadly cycle again, or she will lose him twice. The blade is about to fall.

“As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca.” ~Joysann, Publishers Weekly

Scenic, Historic Virginia


Not only have I lived in the Old Dominion for most of my life, but also several previous centuries in the sense that my ancestors were among the earliest settlers of the Shenandoah Valley (1730’s/1740’s). Chapel Hill, circa 1816, the Churchman family home place on my father’s side, is part of the inspiration behind the old homes in my novels, as are the other early plantations I’ve visited like Berkeley, Shirley and Carter’s Grove.  My Scots-Irish forebears settled Augusta County in the southern valley with names like Houston, Patterson, Finley, Moffett and McLeod.  These clannish people often intermarried, so I can tie in with many other early families depending on how I swing through the ancestral tree.

Colonial Virginia encompassed a vast territory.  Initially  Augusta County named for Princess Augusta, wife of Frederick, Prince of Wales, stretched northward from the present day county of Rockingham to include part of Page; to the South it extended the full length of Virginia’s border, and to the northwest it included the present day states of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and part of western Pennsylvania, all the territory claimed by Great Britain at that time.

Jamestown, the earliest successful English colony, and  Williamsburg,  a vital center in early America, are both in Virginia.  If you haven’t visited Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, you’re in for a real treat.  These sites are wonderfully  restored so it’s like stepping back in time to another age, one that fascinates me.

Virginia is steeped in history.   How could I not be drawn to this wealth of stories here?  They span centuries.  And if the earth could speak what tales it would tell, some of them horrific.

Virginia is also the site of more battles than any other state in the union, encompassing the Indian Wars, the Revolution and that most uncivil of wars, the Civil War.  Not to mention, Virginia has more ghost stories than any other state.  Also fodder for the imagination and yet more stories.

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*Pics are of: The Shenandoah Valley, Chapel Hill, Thomas Jefferson‘s Monticello, Early home in Jamestown, The first church in America in Jamestown, Shirley Plantation, Early American church doorway in Jamestown, Colonial Virginia home, The rotunda at the University of VA designed by Jefferson, young girls in colonial dress at a historic farm, old plantation kitchen, the capitol building in Williamsburg, the Susan Constant Sailing Ship that brought English settlers to Jamestown Virginia in 1607, and several from colonial Williamsburg.

The Wonder and Beauty of Historic Homes


My fascination with old homes and plantations, a theme that figures regularly in much of my writing, is partly inspired by the family home place, circa 1816, located outside the historic town of Staunton, Virginia in the lovely Shenandoah Valley.  *Note I did a previous post on Staunton.

Called Chapel Hill (old homes invariably have names) this Georgian style brick house has been in the family for eight generations.  Sadly, the old kitchen, a separate building from the main house, no longer stands but I remember it from my childhood.  Some outbuildings still remain; among them the smokehouse and stable.  The house itself is filled with a wonderful collection of heirlooms.  The miniature china dogs I played with as a child turn up in Enemy of the King.

The story I’m writing now, my next ‘Somewhere’ story,  is set at Chapel Hill at Christmas, the season I remember best.  More on that in future posts.

The home in Somewhere My Love is a compilation of Berkeley and Shirley plantations with flavors of Chapel Hill, and lord only knows what else considering all the old  homes I’ve toured or lived in over the years.  The curved staircases I favor in my novels are replicas of the one at Chapel Hill that winds from the foyer in front of the old parlor up to the second floor.  As a child, I’d anxiously wander up and down those stairs in the moonlight in my white nightgown, no doubt looking like a ghost girl, because I wanted to be with my parents asleep downstairs, but hated to admit it during the day when my cousins were about.  So, I’d be tucked in with them upstairs, far from asleep, and worries of the night would settle in.  Then I’d wandered the steps until I finally made a bolt for mom and dad, feeling quite foolish in the bright sunshine of morning with birds singing cheerily.  However, nighttime in that house was quite another matter.

The ‘snake thing’ in Chapter One of Enemy of the King is drawn from an incident that happened to me at Chapel Hill when I was a girl during my night wanderings.  Back in my contest circuit days, more than one judge told me a snake couldn’t possibly get into a house and wind around the antlers of a buck mounted up on the wall.  They can and one did; a rather horrifying discovery for a child to make in the wee hours.   And then there’s the fact that I always suspected the house was haunted…not sure by whom.  But I’m not entirely certain I was alone on those stairs, though whoever kept me company was benign.

To clarify, I do not live at Chapel Hill.  My aunt does, but it’s not far from where my husband and I live on the family farm, and I’ve visited Chapel Hill all of my life.

My light paranormal romance Somewhere My Lass opens in an old Victorian home in the historic town of Staunton, (mentioned above).  I also love homes of the Victorian era.   Our farm house dates back into the 1800’s.

Old homes from the nineteenth or eighteenth centuries (and beyond) have character, charm, mystery, and sometimes…ghosts.   Beneath the staircase at Chapel Hill is a deep closet, long rumored to be the site of a secret passage now closed from view.  Whether any truth exists to this family legend I do not know and apart from tearing out the back of the recessed closet can’t think how else to make this determination.  But I assure you, there will be a secret passage when I set my story there. :)

The Joshua Wilton house in Harrisonburg VA is a beautifully restored Victorian home operating as an Inn and Restaurant.  They also serve tea in the afternoons if visitors wish to come only for that lovely occasion.

For more on the Joshua Wilton house visit: http://joshuawilton.com/

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

Shirley Plantation and Berkeley Plantation homes pictured in that order.

Chapel Hill pictured first.

The Inspiration and Historic Homes Behind Somewhere My Love


I’ve read that Virginia has more ghost stories than any other state in the Union, not necessarily because we have a more fertile imagination, but sadly because the Old Dominion has seen more bloody battles over the centuries than any other. Think back, Jamestown (founded 1607) was the site of the oldest successful English settlement and its history is a violent one. And on we go to the many heart-rending wars fought with the usurped Indians, a number of them waged on Virginia soil.
March on to the Revolution; anyone heard of Yorktown, to name just one famous battle? And let’s not forget that horrific most uncivil of wars, much of it fought in, you guessed it, Virginia.

And yet, this multitude of hauntings doesn’t only feature soldiers caught in an endless fray who haven’t gotten word the war’s over, although there are legions of tales that do and entire companies of ghosts said to battle on. Many tales feature the myriad of people, great and small, who dwelt in our richly historic state. The old Virginia homes and plantations have accumulated a wealth of such stories.

Thus, it was while touring some of these English styled manor homes with my dear mother that I conceived the idea for my paranormal romance, Somewhere My Love.  Added to this meld of vintage Virginia is my heritage, a vast source of inspiration from my childhood. On my father’s side, I descend from old Southern gentry, now impoverished after the Civil War, Great Depression, and various other misfortunes, including the untimely death of my brilliant grandfather. But the gracious Georgian home his ancestor built (circa 1816) still stands outside the historic town of Staunton.

I was ever determined our old family home place was haunted and wove stories through my fevered mind, along with my continual search for Narnia which entailed frequent treks into the old wardrobe. But I digress. Frequently.  The magnificent ancestral portraits in my family and on display in other Virginia homes held me transfixed, wondering. And it was just such a portrait of a striking dark-haired gentleman who embedded himself in my thoughts. Who was he? Why did he die so young? That other painting of the fair young lady…did she love him?

Often, the guides at these old homes are brimming with tales. But other times we are left to wonder…and ask ourselves are these folk who’ve gone before us truly gone, or do some still have unfinished business in this realm? And what of the young lovers whose time was tragically cut short, do they somehow find a way? Love conquers all, and so I answer ‘yes.’

*Homes pictured in order are the most prominent behind my inspiration for Somewhere My Love:

Berkeley Plantation (well worth a visit)

Shirley Plantation (well worth a visit)

Family home place called Chapel Hill (Not open to the public)

Blurb For Somewhere My Love:

Star-crossed lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it is too late? Newly arrived at Foxleigh, the gracious old Wentworth home in Virginia, British born Julia Morrow is excited at the prospect of a summer working as a guide in the stately house and herb garden. She quickly discovers the historic plantation holds far more. She becomes obsessed with the portrait of handsome Cole Wentworth, killed in a quarrel over the lovely English lady, Julia Maury, two hundred years ago. Then she meets his double, William, the only remaining Wentworth heir.

Somehow, Julia must persuade Will that their fates are entwined with those of Cole Wentworth and Julia Maury, and that the man who killed his ancestor has returned to enact the deadly cycle again, or she will lose him twice. The blade is about to fall.

Star-crossed lovers, flashbacks to early 18th century Virginia, ghostly, murder mystery, light paranormal romance, Gothic flavors…SOMEWHERE MY LOVE.

****
A cold finger laid its icy touch on Julia and ran down the length of her spine. “How did it happen?”

“He’s said to have been run through by the very man who made that mark on the door. A Mr. Cameron. Scottish fellow he was, back in…” Mrs. Hensley pursed her thin lips, blue eyes distant. “Ah, yes, 1806. Some fuss over a woman.”

“How dreadful. What about Mr. Cameron?”

“The friend of a neighbor, I believe. He escaped and was never found. No justice was ever done in the matter.”
Julia hesitated, then asked, “And the woman?”
“Heartbroken, poor thing. She returned to England. She was a guest of the Wentworth family and greatly enamored of Cole. All the young ladies were, but he had a particular fascination with this girl.”

“Why was she so special?”

“Apart from her legendary beauty? She had an angelic quality about her. Or so the story goes.”

An irrational jealousy twanged a jarring note in Julia. In the space of a few short minutes she’d fallen in love with the man in the portrait—typical of her impractical nature and unlikely to advance her nonexistent love life. And yet, she couldn’t help plunging into this sweet madness.

She tore her eyes from the painting. “Do you recall the lady’s name?”

Mrs. Hensley gave a little laugh. She tapped a finger to her furrowed forehead. “Isn’t that odd? It was Julia something…hmmmm.”

Was Mrs. Hensley teasing her? She had to know.

“I’ve got it. Julia Maury,” the guide continued and arched graying brows. “You’re from England, aren’t you, Miss Morrow? Tread with care here, my girl. We don’t want you stirring up any ghosts. Foxleigh has enough already.”

“No,” Julia said, reaching out to the dresser to steady herself. Without meaning to, she suspected she’d already stirred up some force beyond her understanding.

****

A man spoke from the hall. “Charlotte, I need to speak to you about the new staff. Ah—I see she’s arrived.”

Julia startled at the low, uncannily familiar voice and whirled around to find none other than Cole Wentworth poised in the doorway. Her jaw dropped and she stared up at him. He was tall, all right, easily over six feet. The rational part of her knew this couldn’t possibly be Cole, but dear Lord, they were much alike, down to the small cleft in his chin, though the expression in his dark eyes was far less impassioned. He even appeared to be the same age as Cole in the portrait, in his late twenties. She’d had little experience with sensuality—strict education at home under tutors that her eccentric professor father had seen to—but this man awakened every sense latent within her.

Mrs. Hensley chuckled softly. “He’s not the ghost. Julia Morrow, meet William Wentworth, former attorney in Richmond, now manager of Foxleigh.

His name struck a familiar chord as Julia stood gaping at her new employer, not at all the impression she’d hoped to make. His thick wavy hair was shorter than that of the figure in the portrait and the hunting costume replaced by a burgundy shirt and Levis stretched across his muscular thighs. Instead of mahogany topped riding boots, he wore brown leather shoes.

He looked at her with a sardonic glint in his eyes. “I trust you don’t intend a repeat of this performance each time we meet, Miss Morrow? It’s flattering, but somewhat unnerving. You’ll frighten the life from our visitors.”

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“As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago.  Using deliciously eerie elements similar to that gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now.” ~Joysann, Publishers Weekly

*Somewhere My Love is available in digital download and print at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many other online booksellers.

Virginia, My Rich Inspiration (Old Homes & Historic Sites)


You may know I’m a Virginian living in the lovely Shenandoah Valley, but did you realize my family has been here for several hundred years and were among the earliest settlers in the valley, that the driving force behind my writing has been my passion for Virginia and its rich history, and reaches even further back to my English/Scots-Irish roots?

I find inspiration in the stories and places known to the people who’ve gone before me.  Many of these homes were dear to them and still are to us today.  I’m also an enormous fan of old gardens, mills, churches…if it’s historic, I’m on board.

Some of the old Virginia homes I’ve found most intriguing and inspiring are described and illustrated below.  This is only a sampling of the many beautiful houses that date to various time periods in Virginia’s extended history.

Mount Vernon, (above), the home of George Washington (built in 1757).  Mount Vernon is absolutely exquisite and the grounds are too.  I can’t rave enough about Mount Vernon.  The gardens are wonderful and the last time I was there, they sold heirloom flower seeds you can grow in your own gardens.  Same thing at Monticello.  Many of these historic sites are accompanied by museums and gift shops that offer items and books unique to that place.  Excellent for doing research on any particular site or time period.

Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson (Built in 1772). I love Monticello, a wonderful old home, and the grounds and gardens are fabulous.  It’s filled with Jefferson’s inventions.  He was an amazing man whom I much admire.  We are proud to claim him as a Virginian, along with a number of other outstanding founding fathers, including George Washington mentioned above.   Not to neglect the founding mothers of whom my favorite is Abigail Adams.  If you haven’t seen The Adam’s Chronicles, you really should.  Extremely well done series, produced by Tom Hanks,  much of which was actually filmed in Virginia.

The beautifully historic homes in Colonial Williamsburg…all of Williamsburg, actually, are wonderful. Largely restored in the 1930’s, Williamsburg is a major tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world.  My dad tells me his aunt had an antique shop there he used to visit, now gone.  Sigh.  Wish that was all restored and still in the family.  How kewl would that be?  I’m a huge fan of colonial Williamsburg.  You haven’t lived until you’ve visited Williamsburg, but if at all possible go during the less crowded and more pleasant seasons of spring or fall.  Summer can be quite hot and humid, but anytime is better than missing it altogether and they do have air conditioning in most of the buildings.  The last time I was there the weather was cool and the crowd thin.  Just the way I like it.  I toured once in cold wind-driven rain, but the crowd was light.  Come to think of it, it’s high time I went back for another visit.

The magnificent Carter’s Grove Plantation (Completed in 1755)  An amazing place!  We visited Carter’s Grove repeatedly on our honeymoon as we went to Williamsburg and it’s not far.  Carter’s Grove is spectacular.  Definitely one of the most impressive colonial homes I’ve ever visited.  I try to imagine actually living there.

Shirley Plantation (Completed in 1738) Fascinating old home and outbuildings.  Shirley is part of the inspiration behind light paranormal romance Somewhere My Love. I have a separate post about Shirley’s famous ghost, Aunt Pratt.  That’s an amazing tale in itself.

Berkeley Plantation (Brick home built in 1726 but the history of the site extends much further back into early America).  I was particularly struck by Berkeley, part of the inspiration behind light paranormal Somewhere My Love.  Berkeley has beautiful gardens too.  I have a separate post on Berkeley, the actual site of the first Thanksgiving.

Chapel Hill, our Virginia family home place (Circa 1816) *the snowy pic.  This beautiful old house had enormous significance in my life and undergirds every story I tell set in an old plantation.  That ‘snake incident’ in historical romance Enemy of the King happened right here.  Those of you who think snakes can’t wind themselves around the antlers of a buck mounted up on the wall best think again.   And they like to do it at night when small children are on route to the bathroom.

The Joshua Wilton House: “The Joshua Wilton House…is a superb small inn and restaurant” – The Sunday New York Times ~ To quote from their website: “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.”

This lovely old home is part of the inspiration behind light paranormal romance 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~

Books I’ve written most influenced by old homes thus far include:

Colonial American Romance Novel Enemy of the King

Light Paranormal Romance Novel Somewhere My Love

Light Paranormal Romance Novel Somewhere My Lass (Release date TBD)

A Warrior for Christmas,  in An American Rose Christmas Anthology.

I’ve explored my fascination with castles in Somewhere My Lass as part of my Scottish roots. This is the beautiful Eilean Donan. I hope you share my passion for the past and these wonderful old homes in particular.  But whether you do or not, I will always cherish these places and my memories of them.

Aunt Pratt, Shirley Plantation’s Famous Ghost


ShirleySeveral years ago when my mother and I were visiting old Virginia homes, we went to Shirley Plantation along the James River.  Beautifully preserved, Shirley is well worth a visit.  While there, we saw the painting of Aunt Pratt which has been the subject of odd occurrences at Shirley, and elsewhere, depending on where the portrait is hung. It seems ‘Aunt Pratt’ prefers a certain back bedroom, though the guide wasn’t certain why.

Shirley Plantation and the story of Aunt Pratt were part of the inspiration behind my light paranormal romance Somewhere My Love, released a year ago this month.  In honor of the anniversary of Somewhere My Love, I am reposting that most interesting piece.

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SomewhereMyLove_WRP_2024_300Shirley Plantation is home to a famous ghost called “Aunt Pratt.” To quote their website: “Aunt Pratt” was Martha Hill Pratt, the daughter of early Shirley ancestor Edward Hill III. Her portrait in the bed chamber of Shirley’s Great House is the subject of intriguing stories which have been retold by noted author L.B.Taylor, Jr. in his book, Ghosts of Virginia, Volume I. Mr. Taylor is also author of Haunted Houses, published by Simon and Schuster, as well as five regional Virginia ghost books, including Civil War Ghosts of Virginia.

The story of “Aunt Pratt” is included in Lori Haskin’s Book – Spooky America: Four Real Ghost Stories

A reviewer of the book describes the tale:
Picky Aunt Pratt
Shirley Plantation, Charles City, Virginia
January 2002

Martha Hill Pratt must have been an extremely strong woman when she was alive, that’s the only way she could have a ghost that could command so much attention. Martha Pratt was born at the plantation but married and moved to England, the portrait of her hung in the first floor gallery for years, overlooking the family cemetery. In the mid 1800’s the family decided to redecorate and moved the painting to the attic.

Night after night, family members could hear a tapping noise coming from the attic, puzzled they realized the only thing that was moved to the attic was the painting so they decided to move it to the third floor. The tapping continued so they tried the second floor.

That didn’t seem to work either so they returned the painting to the first floor where it originally hung. After that, everything was quiet again. That is until 1974 when family members shipped the painting to New York City for a display of haunted goods. Martha didn’t like it, not at all; the painting rumbled and rattled until they decided to put it in a closet for the night. The family decided that Aunt Pratt had enough, they had the frame fixed [it was damaged when it was in the closet] and hung it back in it’s original location where it still hangs a little crooked to this very day. The last line sums it up perfectly: It’s just a friendly reminder from Aunt Pratt…leave me alone!

For more on Shirley Plantation and Aunt Pratt visit: http://www.shirleyplantation.com/aunt_pratt.html

To explore other historic ‘haunts’ in Virginia check out:
http://www.virginia.org/site/features.asp?FeatureID=52

http://www.hauntedtraveler.com/haunted_virginia.htm

To purchase Pamela Kinney’s non-fiction book, Haunted Richmond, Virginia or her newest book, Haunted Virginia, visit http://www.schifferghosts.com/

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