Tag Archives: The Allegeny Mountains

The Lady and the Warrior is Free in Kindle-#shortstory #historicalromance


For a taste of my historical romances with a frontier flavor, The Lady and the Warrior is free in kindle through March 6th at:

https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Warrior-Beth-Trissel-ebook/dp/B007EEF3O8

Short historical romance

Short historical romance

Note This is a Short Story. Also note how many readers have bashed it for being a short story, even though I have clearly stated this, as has Amazon. Short stories are not easy to write and this one took time. If you enjoy The Lady and the Warror, you may like my full novels in the same genre. Some have paranormal elements interwoven with the well researched historical detail.

Story Description for THE LADY AND THE WARRIOR:

An abused young wife stranded in the Alleghenies in 1783 is rescued from drowning by a rugged frontiersman who shows her kindness and passion. But is he more than he seems? And can they ever be together?

My Award-Winning Native American Warrior Series includes:

Award-winning historical romance novel

Through the Fire, The Bearwalker’s Daughter, Kira, Daughter of the Moon, and Red Bird’s Song.  Amazon bought the eBook rights to the last two novels from The Wild Rose Press. All are available at Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author page:

THROUGH THE FIRE: Will love inflame these two natural-born enemies in fiery destruction?

Passions run deep in the raging battle to possess a continent, its wealth and furs. Both the French and English count powerful Indian tribes as their allies.

English lady Rebecca Elliot, having eloped to America with a British captain, finds herself a widow. When she ventures into the colonial frontier with the militia to seek her uncle, she unwittingly enters a dangerous world of rugged mountains, wild animals, and even wilder men. The rules are different here and she doesn’t know them, especially those of the savagely handsome warrior who captures her body and her heart.

Half-Shawnee, half-French warrior Shoka, former guide for English traders, is the hawk, swift, sure, and silent as the moon. He knows all about survival in this untamed land and how deadly distraction can be. His intent is to sell Rebecca to the French before she draws him under her spell, but if he lets her go he can no longer protect her. If he holds onto her, can he safeguard his heart? With battle looming and an enemy warrior bent on vengeance, Shoka and Rebecca must decide whether to fight together or be destroyed.

The_Bearwalkers_Daughter_Cover3THE BEARWALKER’S DAUGHTER: A Handsome frontiersman, Mysterious Scots-Irishwoman, Shapeshifting Warrior, Dark Secret, Pulsing Romance…The Bearwalker’s Daughter

Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright. A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman longing to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.

Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past. Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges—for her?

2c646-historicalromancekiradaughterofthemooncoverbyraremonetKIRA, DAUGHTER OF THE MOON (SEQUEL TO THROUGH THE FIRE)

Logan McCutcheon returns to colonial Virginia after seven years in the hands of Shawnee Indians. But was he really a captive, as everybody thinks? He looks and fights like a warrior, and seems eager to return to those he calls friends and family. Kira McClure has waited for Logan all those years, passing herself off as odd to keep suitors at bay–and anyone else from getting too close. Now that he’s back, he seems to be the only person capable of protecting her from the advances of Josiah Campbell and accusations of witchcraft. And to defend the settlers against a well-organized band of murderous thieves.

red-birds-song-coverRED BIRD’S SONG:

Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn’t how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl. George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts. As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.

pipetomahawk

Think Colonial Frontier and The Last of the Mohicans–my Native American Warrior Series


Native American historical romance Red Bird's SongYears ago, while researching family genealogy, I gained the courage to take the leap from penning non-fiction essays about country life and plunge into historical romance novels set in early America. That first story, Red Bird’s Song, written and rewritten more than any other, is the book of my heart, and heads up my NATIVE AMERICAN WARRIOR SERIES.

RED BIRD’S SONG was purchased from The Wild Rose Press by Amazon for republication under their Encore line on 8-25-2015. eBook rights belong to Amazon. Look for it there in kindle and print.
“This book touched my soul even as it provided a thrilling fictional escape into a period of history I have always found fascinating.” ~ Laurie-J Reviewer for Red Bird’s Song at Night Owl Romance

Red Bird’s Song is a 2012 Double Epic Award Finalist!

musket_powder hornMy fascination with Colonial America, particularly stirring tales of the frontier and the Shawnee Indians, is an early and abiding one. My English, Scot-Irish ancestors had interactions with this tribe, including family members taken captive. In Red Bird’s Song, I honed in on my early American roots in a story featuring the Scots-Irish and an Indian attack that happened to my ancestors.

My award-winning Native American themed historical romance novel Through the Fire is also based on research into my colonial forebears and the French and Indian War.  Although written to stand alone, historical romance novel Kira Daughter of the Moon, is the sequel to Through the Fire. These three novels, along with The Bearwalker’s Daughter comprise my Native American Warrior Series.

(Image of old family musket, hunting pouch, and powder horn and the Alleghenies pictured below by my mom, Pat Churchman)

The Alleghenies, the Virginia colonial frontier
Red Bird’s Song (Native American Warrior Series):
Blurb: Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn’t how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.
George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts. As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.~

pipetomahawk
“With “Red Bird’s Song”, Beth Trissel has painted an unforgettable portrait of a daring and defiant love brought to life in the wild and vivid era of Colonial America. Highly recommended for lovers of American history and romance lovers alike!” ~Review by Virginia Campbell

Through the Fire cover Resized AgainThrough the Fire (Native American Warrior Series) is an adventure romance with a The Last of the Mohicans flavor and a mystical weave. Some of the most unusual aspects of this story are based on individuals who really lived. A passionate love story set during the French and Indian War.

BlurbWill love inflame these two natural-born enemies in fiery destruction?
Passions run deep in the raging battle to possess a continent, its wealth and furs. Both the French and English count powerful Indian tribes as their allies. 

English lady Rebecca Elliot, having eloped to America with a British captain, finds herself a widow. When she ventures into the colonial frontier with the militia to seek her uncle, she unwittingly enters a dangerous world of rugged mountains, wild animals, and even wilder men. The rules are different here and she doesn’t know them, especially those of the savagely handsome warrior who captures her body and her heart.

Half-Shawnee, half-French warrior Shoka, former guide for English traders, is the hawk, swift, sure, and silent as the moon. He knows all about survival in this untamed land and how deadly distraction can be. His intent is to sell Rebecca to the French before she draws him under her spell, but if he lets her go he can no longer protect her. If he holds onto her, can he safeguard his heart? With battle looming and an enemy warrior bent on vengeance, Shoka and Rebecca must decide whether to fight together or be destroyed.

Through the Fire is full of interesting characters, beautifully described scenery, and vivid action sequences. It is a must read for any fan of historical romance.” ~Poinsettia, Long and Short Reviews

The French and Indian War, a Shawnee warrior, an English lady, blood vengeance, deadly pursuit, primal, powerful, passionate …THROUGH THE FIRE.

“Ms Trissel spins a very fine yarn with Through the Fire. Her vivid imagery takes you right back into the action. The colours, scents and views tickle the senses. The deep description of scenery and historical setting gave me just the right idea of what Rebecca went through, both physically and emotionally. Ms Trissel knows how to tell a wonderful tale.

A beautifully written love story, with enough dangers lurking to keep us on our toes. Perfect reading material.” ~Historicals Reviewed
 pipetomahawk
THE BEARWALKER’S DAUGHTER (Native American Warrior Series)
Historical paranormal romance novel, The Bearwalker’s Daughter, follows on the heels of the American Revolution and takes place in the ruggedly beautiful Alleghenies.

A Handsome frontiersman, Mysterious Scots-Irish Woman, Bearwalking Shawnee Warrior, Dark Secret, Pulsing Romance…The Bearwalker’s Daughter

Blurb: Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright. A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman longing to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.

Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past. Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges—for her?

(The Bearwalker’s Daughter is a revised version of my award-winning romance novel Daughter of the Wind)
Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009 

“Ms. Trissel’s alluring style of writing invites the reader into a world of fantasy and makes it so believable it is spellbinding.” ~Camellia, Long and Short Reviews
KIRA, DAUGHTER OF THE MOON (Native American Warrior Series) was purchased from The Wild Rose Press by Amazon for republication under their Encore line on 9-22-2015. eBook rights belong to Amazon. Look for it in kindle and print!

Kira Daughter of the Moon‘A beautiful Scots-Irish healer in the rugged Alleghenies finds herself accused of witchcraft. With the terror of the French and Indian War fresh in her mind, can Kira love a white warrior?’

I have a growing selection of historical romance featuring those Celts settled in the rugged Alleghenies and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and the Native Americans they encountered.

‘The Rugged Alleghenies, A White Warrior, Beautiful Scots-Irish Healer, Unrequited Love—Requited, Charges of Witchcraft, Vindictive Ghost, Lost Treasure, Murderous Thieves, Deadly Pursuit, Hangman’s Noose Waiting…Kira, Daughter of the Moon’

Set among the superstitious Scots in the rugged Alleghenies, the story is an adventurous romance with a blend of Celtic and Native American flavors. Although written to stand alone, Kira, Daughter of the Moon is the long-awaited sequel to my award-winning historical romance novel, Through the Fire.

Blurb: Logan McCutcheon returns to colonial Virginia after seven years in the hands of Shawnee Indians. But was he really a captive, as everybody thinks? He looks and fights like a warrior, and seems eager to return to those he calls friends and family.

Kira McClure has waited for Logan all those years, passing herself off as odd to keep suitors at bay–and anyone else from getting too close. Now that he’s back, he seems to be the only person capable of protecting her from the advances of Josiah Campbell and accusations of witchcraft. And to defend the settlers against a well-organized band of murderous thieves.~

(Logan, the ‘white warrior’ from Kira, Daughter of the Moon. One of my all time favorite heroes.)

“This is one pageturner you might read in record speed. Except when you get near the end. If it’s read slower the story will last longer. That’s when it’s time to savor the story for a while and when the story is really good it almost seems a shame to begin another book with the memory of the current book still fresh in your mind.” ~Martha Decker for Examiner.com
Five Stars For Kira, Daughter of the Moon!

From Poinsettia for Long and Short Reviews:

Voted_BoM_by_LASR_Readers_2013“One of the things I enjoy most about Ms. Trissel’s writing is her amazing ability to transport readers directly into her stories. Her mastery of descriptive language never ceases to amaze me. “Green-gold light streamed through the rippling leaves while high overhead a yellow warbler trilled sweet, sweet, sweet and the warmth of hay-scented fern wafted on the mild breeze.” 

After reading this first sentence, I already felt as if I were standing next to Kira in the woods. I could see, hear, and smell everything she did. Completely immersed in the story, I eagerly dove into the pages that followed…”

***The Bearwalker’s DaughterRed Bird’s Song, Through the Fire and Kira, Daughter of the Moon are part of my Native American Warrior Series. Short story, The Lady and the Warrior, also fits this line and may someday be a full novel. All are available on my Amazon Author Page.
pipetomahawk

Short Western Romance The Lady and the Warrior Free through 5-30


For a taste of my historicals with a frontier flavor, The Lady and the Warrior is Free in kindle through the 30th at: https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Warrior-Beth-Trissel-ebook/dp/B007EEF3O8

Short historical romance

Short historical romance

Note This is a Short Story. Also note how many readers have bashed it for being a short story, even though I have stated this, as has Amazon. Short stories are not as easy to write as some might suppose. The idea is that if you enjoy this story, you may enjoy my full novels in the same genre.

Story Description for THE LADY AND THE WARRIOR:

An abused young wife stranded in the Alleghenies in 1783 is rescued from drowning by a rugged frontiersman who shows her kindness and passion. But is he more than he seems? And can they ever be together?

My Native American Warrior Series includes:

Award-winning historical romance novel

Through the Fire, The Bearwalker’s Daughter, Kira, Daughter of the Moon, and Red Bird’s Song.  Amazon bought the eBook rights to the last two novels from The Wild Rose Press. All are available at Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author page:

THROUGH THE FIRE: Will love inflame these two natural-born enemies in fiery destruction?

Passions run deep in the raging battle to possess a continent, its wealth and furs. Both the French and English count powerful Indian tribes as their allies.

English lady Rebecca Elliot, having eloped to America with a British captain, finds herself a widow. When she ventures into the colonial frontier with the militia to seek her uncle, she unwittingly enters a dangerous world of rugged mountains, wild animals, and even wilder men. The rules are different here and she doesn’t know them, especially those of the savagely handsome warrior who captures her body and her heart.

Half-Shawnee, half-French warrior Shoka, former guide for English traders, is the hawk, swift, sure, and silent as the moon. He knows all about survival in this untamed land and how deadly distraction can be. His intent is to sell Rebecca to the French before she draws him under her spell, but if he lets her go he can no longer protect her. If he holds onto her, can he safeguard his heart? With battle looming and an enemy warrior bent on vengeance, Shoka and Rebecca must decide whether to fight together or be destroyed.

The_Bearwalkers_Daughter_Cover3THE BEARWALKER’S DAUGHTER: A Handsome frontiersman, Mysterious Scots-Irishwoman, Shapeshifting Warrior, Dark Secret, Pulsing Romance…The Bearwalker’s Daughter

Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright. A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman longing to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.

Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past. Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges—for her?

2c646-historicalromancekiradaughterofthemooncoverbyraremonetKIRA, DAUGHTER OF THE MOON (SEQUEL TO THROUGH THE FIRE)

Logan McCutcheon returns to colonial Virginia after seven years in the hands of Shawnee Indians. But was he really a captive, as everybody thinks? He looks and fights like a warrior, and seems eager to return to those he calls friends and family. Kira McClure has waited for Logan all those years, passing herself off as odd to keep suitors at bay–and anyone else from getting too close. Now that he’s back, he seems to be the only person capable of protecting her from the advances of Josiah Campbell and accusations of witchcraft. And to defend the settlers against a well-organized band of murderous thieves.

red-birds-song-coverRED BIRD’S SONG:

Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn’t how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl. George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts. As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.

pipetomahawk

Free Short Historical Romance–The Lady and the Warrior


For a taste of my historicals with a frontier flavor, The Lady and the Warrior is Free through 12/30 in kindle at:  http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Warrior-Beth-Trissel-ebook/dp/B007EEF3O8/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Short historical romance

Short historical romance

Note This is a Short Story. Also note how many readers have bashed it for being a–wait for it–short story, even though I have clearly stated this, as has Amazon. Short stories are not as easy to write as some might suppose. The idea is that if you enjoy this story, you may enjoy my full novels in the same genre.

Story Description for THE LADY AND THE WARRIOR:

An abused young wife stranded in the Alleghenies in 1783 is rescued from drowning by a rugged frontiersman who shows her kindness and passion. But is he more than he seems? And can they ever be together?

My Native American Warrior Series includes:

Award-winning historical romance novel

Award-winning historical romance novel

Through the Fire, The Bearwalker’s Daughter, Kira, Daughter of the Moon, and Red Bird’s Song.  Amazon bought the eBook rights to the last two novels from The Wild Rose Press. All are available at Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author page:

THROUGH THE FIRE: Will love inflame these two natural-born enemies in fiery destruction?

Passions run deep in the raging battle to possess a continent, its wealth and furs. Both the French and English count powerful Indian tribes as their allies.
English lady Rebecca Elliot, having eloped to America with a British captain, finds herself a widow. When she ventures into the colonial frontier with the militia to seek her uncle, she unwittingly enters a dangerous world of rugged mountains, wild animals, and even wilder men. The rules are different here and she doesn’t know them, especially those of the savagely handsome warrior who captures her body and her heart.

Half-Shawnee, half-French warrior Shoka, former guide for English traders, is the hawk, swift, sure, and silent as the moon. He knows all about survival in this untamed land and how deadly distraction can be. His intent is to sell Rebecca to the French before she draws him under her spell, but if he lets her go he can no longer protect her. If he holds onto her, can he safeguard his heart? With battle looming and an enemy warrior bent on vengeance, Shoka and Rebecca must decide whether to fight together or be destroyed.

The_Bearwalkers_Daughter_Cover3THE BEARWALKER’S DAUGHTER: A Handsome frontiersman, Mysterious Scots-Irishwoman, Shapeshifting Warrior, Dark Secret, Pulsing Romance…The Bearwalker’s Daughter

Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright. A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman longing to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.

Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past. Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges—for her?

2c646-historicalromancekiradaughterofthemooncoverbyraremonetKIRA, DAUGHTER OF THE MOON (SEQUEL TO THROUGH THE FIRE)

Logan McCutcheon returns to colonial Virginia after seven years in the hands of Shawnee Indians. But was he really a captive, as everybody thinks? He looks and fights like a warrior, and seems eager to return to those he calls friends and family. Kira McClure has waited for Logan all those years, passing herself off as odd to keep suitors at bay–and anyone else from getting too close. Now that he’s back, he seems to be the only person capable of protecting her from the advances of Josiah Campbell and accusations of witchcraft. And to defend the settlers against a well-organized band of murderous thieves.

red-birds-song-coverRED BIRD’S SONG:

Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn’t how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl. George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts. As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.

Supernatural Tales from Back in the Gap


These excerpts are taken from Supernatural Tales,The Virginia and West Virginia Mountain and Valley Folklife Series by late Shenandoah Valley author and historian John Heatwole. Mr. Heatwole interviewed many inhabitants of Brock’s Gap and wrote up a wonderful collection of stories included in his series. He said, “The Brocks Gap section of Rockingham County is rich in folklore of all kinds. It is an area in the northwest part of the county isolated by the North Mountain range.”

The following spooky stories are a great source of entertainment while snug inside next to a warm hearth, but not so much fun if you find yourself out on your own in the woods and hollows after dark.~

“Frank Caplinger lived across the road from the old Caplinger Chapel near the Criders Post Office in western Brocks Gap. In the evening Frank would sometimes hear pews scraping on the floor of the church on the other side of the road. Each time he walked over to check on things he would find the building empty with no signs that anyone had been there.

Once Frank was crossing the German River on the old suspension foot bridge; he was going to the post office on the opposite bank. As he entered the bridge he looked up and saw a strange man sitting on top of the cable frame, still and quiet. When Frank neared the other end of the bridge he looked back and the figure had vanished. It was impossible for the man to have scrambled down and run out of sight that quickly.” 

****

“Other folks remember strange lights on the mountains or in the cemeteries.  Harrison May recalled: ‘We’d see lights up in the Caplinger Cemetery every so often. When we got there to check there’d be no lights anywhere. Guess they were just spooks.’”

****

Moonlit Night

“When Nelson Whetzel was a young man he had an interesting experience while walking home from work one evening. In Brocks Gap in earlier times the only things to light ones way were the stars or the glow from a lamp in a neighbor’s window. 

As he walked Nelson heard a horse coming up the road behind him.  Nelson stopped for a moment, thinking, ‘Good! I’ll have someone to talk to.’ But the sound of the horse’s hooves stopped when he did. He called out, asking who was there in the pitch-black.

No answer came and Nelson began uneasily walking again, this time a little faster. The sound of the horse picked up pace to match Nelson’s. He stopped a second time and the sound of the horse ceased to be heard. Nelson started trotting and the sound horse’s hooves were heard at a trot behind him, close on his heels. He grew very frightened and began to run as fast as he could.  The galloping horse seemed to be so close, Nelson thought he felt the breath on the back of his neck.

Up ahead Nelson saw the lighted windows of the cabin belonging to George and Mat Smith. He was so terrified that he hit the Smith’s front door at full force. He knocked it down and went right through the structure, knocking down the back door as he exited. The Smiths blinked at each other in wonder and amazement. They saw no phantom horse follow Nelson through their home.

Immediately after his encounter with the doors Nelson noticed the sound of the pursuing horse was gone, however, he ran on home as fast as his feet would carry him.”

****

*That tale reminds me of the headless horseman from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Scary!

“The Roadcaps lived in a two-story log cabin just down the road from Gospel Hill Mennonite Church. All of the girls of the family shared a room upstairs.  One night one of the sisters, Peggy by name, went to the bedroom alone.  There she saw a woman sitting up on the iron headboard of one of the beds.

The woman didn’t say anything or move toward the frightened child, just sat there and looked at her. Peggy was rooted to the spot in fear but able to find her voice and call to her father to come to her aid.  There was something in her voice that demanded immediate attention and she heard his heavy footfall as he hurried up the stairs. As her father neared the room, the woman vanished into thin air.  Peggy never entered that room alone again.

****

The children of the Roadcap family loved to play on the banks of the little Shoemaker River near their home. Once they came running home and told their father they’d seen a woman all dressed in white walking along the opposite bank of the river from where they played. They’d never seen her before and being shy had not spoken to her but only observed her progress.

Their father listened thoughtfully and then told them they had seen the spirit of a young woman who had died years before of a broken heart. They were told they would probably see her again and that she would do them no harm. They were to behave as they had before and refrain from calling out to the spirit.

They believed their father. There were not that many people living in those parts and the children knew them all. They promised not to disturb the apparition if they encountered her again. During their childhoods they witnessed her strolling along the river on several more occasions.~

That story reminds me of the novel, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, which was a very intriguing BBC mystery/thriller starring Tara Fitzgerald. I saw the film on Netflix and highly recommend it.

***If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy the one I wrote entitled:

The Poltergeist in our Old Farm House

***John Heatwole’s books are at Amazon, but may only be available as used copies.

 

A Blustery Autumn Eve and Paranormal Activity in The Alleghenies


The Allegheny Mountains are muted in haze. Only the faint silhouette of blue ridges shows through the shroud. Most of the brilliant foliage that I reveled in has fallen from the trees covering the hills up behind our house. The woodland lends a sort of secretiveness to the valley and the mountains.

I can well imagine how the tales of ‘haints’ and wandering spirits grew out of these misty hollows and remote ridges.  It’s easy to feel secure snugly tucked by the fireside with a steaming bowl of soup…but outside when the night breeze rustles the few leaves left clinging to bare branches, and creatures stir in the shadows, then I wonder if some of the stories may even be true.

There’s a tradition in the southeastern corner of Rockingham County, Virginia, about the lizard lady near Grottoes who lives up the mountain road. I first heard about her from a caller on a local radio show, and the story is written up by the late historian/author John Heatwole in his book of Supernatural Tales — also in Shenandoah Voices.

To quote Mr. Heatwole, the caller said “on nights when there’s a full moon, an old lady who lives on the road leading up to Brown’s Gap turns into a lizard, a big lizard; about human size…when you ride up on that road at night you get the freakiest feeling that you’ve ever had in this world.”

Mr. Heatwole went on to say that there aren’t any stories of the Lizard Lady doing anything more than basking in the moonlight, but added, “The image of that giant lizard with that old woman’s eyes can set goosebumps to rising.” And neither he nor anyone else has trekked up there during a full moon to see her for themselves.  Nor shall I.

***If you enjoyed this account, you might also enjoy this post:The Poltergeist in our Old Farm House

Second Excerpt From Native American Historical Romance THROUGH THE FIRE


Mild breezes caressed Rebecca’s face, wafting the tang of wood smoke and the meaty aroma of roasting venison, nudging her from a place of no dreams. Water gurgled over stones. She must lie near a stream. Earthy humus cushioned her beneath, and a woolen blanket covered her. She traced the cloth with her fingertips. The ache in her head made it hard to think.

Groaning softly, she opened her eyes to the branches of a great oak silhouetted against the saffron sky. Sunset. How had she come to be lying sore and bruised on the forest floor? Was Kate here?

Men’s voices drew her. She strained to understand their words. Bewildered and frightened, she shifted gingerly onto her side, peering through smoky shadows at a series of campfires.

Dear God. Warriors, not soldiers, encircled each blaze—dozens of them. Memories of the ambush rushed back as she covered her mouth in a futile effort to stifle a cry.

All heads turned, and a host of dark eyes glinted at her. She went rigid with dread, her heart pounding. She was as good as dead. Why did she yet live?

After an agonizing moment, the men resumed their banter, some smoking pipes. One tall warrior rose from the cluster seated around the nearest campfire. His muscular body was clad only in an elk skin breechclout, blue cloth leggings, and buckskin moccasins that reached well up his calves; the same skins fashionable men wore with a far more primitive use. A sheathed knife hung from the woven belt at his waist. He’d slung a tomahawk at his side. The blade protruded above his belt and the carved handle below, ready to grasp in an instant.

She watched him intently. Her life hung on his every move. But he didn’t reach for either weapon. Rather, he bent to dip a cupful of steaming liquid from the kettle near the fire then walked to her. Icy fingers clenched, every muscle taut, she stared up at him. Even without dry-mouthed fear, her eyes would have been fastened on this formidable male, like some New World god sprung from this wild land. A shudder coursed through her rigid body as he knelt beside her.

SHOKA“I’ll not harm you,” he said.

His assurance in clear English took her by surprise. Not only that, but there was a familiar quality about his face, his voice. Striving to remember, she searched every contour: eyes as black as a night without stars, high cheekbones, sculpted nose, strong chin. His lightly tanned skin was unstreaked by red and black paint. No silver cones hung from his ears. No ornament pierced his nose. Instead of the scalp lock worn by most braves, his black hair hung loose around his shoulders.

She shifted her gaze to the muscled planes of his bare chest, an eye-opening sight for a woman accustomed to long-sleeved shirts, waistcoats, and cravats. She let her eyes drop lower. His narrow breechclout revealed a great deal of masculine thighs. She hurriedly returned her widened stare to his dark scrutiny. Gaping at a man, even a potentially deadly warrior, wasn’t her nature.

For a moment, he simply looked at her. What lay behind those penetrating eyes?

He held out the cup. “Drink this.”

Did he mean to help her? She’d heard hideous stories of warriors’ brutality, but also occasionally of their mercy. She tried to sit, moaning at the effect this movement had on her aching body. She sank back down.

He slid a corded arm beneath her shoulders and gently raised her head. Encouraged by his unexpected aid, she sipped, grimacing at the bitterness. The vile taste permeated her mouth.

Weren’t deadly herbs acrid? Dear Lord. Had he tricked her into downing a fatal brew? She eyed him accusingly. “’Tis poison.”

He arched one black brow. “No. It’s good medicine. Will make your pain less.”

Unconvinced, she clamped her mouth together.

“I will drink. See?” he said, and took a swallow.

She parted her lips just wide enough to argue. “It may take more than a mouthful to kill.”

He regarded her through narrowing eyes. “You dare much.”

Though she knew he felt her tremble, she met his piercing gaze. If he were testing her, she wouldn’t waver.

His sharp expression softened. “Yet you have courage.” Setting the cup aside, he lifted his hand to her head.

She hardly dared to breathe.

He loosened the remains of her knot and spilled her hair over her shoulders and down her back. Gold streaks shone in the firelight as he wound the abundant lengths around his fingers. “If I wished your death, fair one, you would already lie dead. Your scalp mine. I wish you to live. Drink now.”

His firm tone suggested that he wouldn’t tolerate further refusal. She drained the vile brew, wrinkling her nose. “What is this?”

“Tea from the bark of the tree you call willow. We give this to our injured.” He wrapped the navy blue blanket snugly around her. “You fell hard from the horse.”

Only a dim recollection of those final moments surfaced, but he stood out with growing clarity. “You brought me here?”

He gave a nod and stood.

She followed him with her eyes. “What is your name?”

“Shoka.” It rolled out in his quiet baritone.

Metal glinted at his hip as he turned. A brass stock stuck out above his belt. “Hey. That’s my pistol.”

He glanced at her with the ghost of a smile. “Mine now. I left your necklace.”

She patted at her throat for the locket, reassured to find the precious keepsake hanging just inside her bodice beneath the ivory kerchief tucked around her lacy neckline.

He scrutinized her with the barest hint of amusement in his dark eyes. “I could have taken it, your earrings, all.”

“Why didn’t you?”

Shoka made no reply, just left her to wonder as he strode back to his companions and the haunch of venison roasting over their fire. An older man, scarred and fierce, his braided scalp lock heavy with silver brooches, greeted him with disapproval. The scowl he fired at Rebecca made her cringe. If it were up to this warrior, she had no doubt she’d already lie dead, her bloody scalp in his possession.

A younger brave, however, regarded her with friendly curiosity. He rested his hand on Shoka’s broad shoulder and spoke to him, eliciting a smile and a response too soft to hear. The youth smiled in return. His face bore an appealing resemblance to Shoka’s. Were they brothers? Clearly, the younger man admired the warrior. He also wore his hair long, and his lean body was free of piercings and paint.

Laughter erupted from the larger gathering, the high spirits an evident result of their success against the militia. The war party’s injuries had been minimal, unlike the soldiers cut down in the clearing, left to wild animals.

mountain streamDearest Kate, what had become of her? How could Rebecca bear not knowing? Somehow, she must find her sister. Only she could aid Kate now that the militia had fallen.  A pang of regret cut through Rebecca as she thought of Lieutenant McClure lying in the bloodied grass. Unwilling to look any longer upon the warriors’ revelry, she rolled onto her side facing the stream. Gradually, her inner turmoil diminished a little as the willow tea eased her physical pain, and woodland beauty soothed her wounded spirit.

Hues of green cloaked the trees like the softest mantle. Hay-scented fern carpeted the ground, drifting down the bank to the stream. If she pinktrilliumblocked out the strange voices and listened only to the water spilling over stones as it rushed along and the call of night birds, she could almost pretend the attack hadn’t happened. Almost.

Pearly flowers glowed in the dusk. White, queen of the night, was the last color to fade as darkness enveloped the ridges. “God keep you, Kate. Forgive me,” she whispered.

The first stars somehow seemed closer here, peeking out from between the tossing branches. The cold settled in with the breezy night, and the blanket wasn’t enough to stop her from shivering. If only she had the cloak left in her saddlebag. At least Kate should still have provisions.

Rebecca startled at the touch of a hand on her shoulder.

“I’ll carry you nearer the fire,” Shoka said.

She twisted to look at him. The flames at his back flickered over a tan hunting shirt overlapped in the middle and held together with his blue woven belt. Was the shirt his or torn from one of the militia? She saw no fresh bloodstains. “I didn’t hear you come.”

“Why should I wish you to hear?”

Panic fluttered in her chest as he slid his arms beneath her. She wanted to be no nearer the others, particularly that scarred warrior. “Wait. I’m not cold.”

“Your body does not agree with your words.”

“Even so. Let me remain here.”

“Warriors will not harm you.”

She pointed shakily at the scratched features of the brave who’d tried to yank her from the horse. “He would.”

Shoka snorted. “Amaghqua will trouble you no more,” he said and lifted her, blanket and all.

“Put me down! The others—”

“Will do you no evil.”

“No. Don’t take me any closer.”

“Do you think they do not see you? Not hear you?”

She struggled against his raw strength, like trying to uproot the oak towering above her. “Please—I beg you.”

“You are foolish,” he said, and carried her out from beneath the tree.

“Leave me here, Shoka.”

He paused and pursed his lips as if considering her plea.

Surrounding warriors regarded them with the intensity of a wolf pack. The fierce warrior shot her a scorching look.

Shoka and Rebecca (2)She threw her arms around Shoka’s neck, shrinking against her new protector. He smelled of wind, sun, and a masculine scent she found both attracting and oddly comforting.

“No nearer. No nearer.”

He pivoted and stepped back under the tree. “Eat first,” he relented and set her down against the trunk. Raising his arm, he beckoned to the young warrior she’d seen him with earlier. “Bring meat.”

The brave drew his knife and sawed off a hunk of venison. He skewered it on a sharpened stick and walked over to them, smiling shyly. “Take, lady,” he said, offering it to her.

Her stomach in knots, she held the spear in her fingertips. What was she to do with such an unwieldy chunk?

“Are you hungry?” Shoka asked.

“Some. Yes,” she whispered, beneath her gutclamping fear.

Shoka took the stick from her and waved the youth off. He trailed back to the others.

“Who is that brave?”

“Meshewa, the son of my uncle.” Shoka drew his knife and knelt beside her. He sliced a manageable piece, snagged it on his blade, and held it out to her, but kept a firm grip on the deerskin-wrapped handle. “Even a fine lady can chew this.”

Ignoring his sarcasm, she bit into the warm venison. The smoky meat tasted good, and she was emptier than she’d realized. She chewed, swallowed, and took another bite, all the while slanting glances at his dimly lit face. He’d saved her life and was her best hope of staying alive.

“Thank you, also for the willow. I am improved.”

Though he made no reply, she sensed her gratitude pleased him. “How is it that you speak English so well?”

“Not all warriors are ignorant of your tongue. I also speak Mohawk, Cherokee, Ojibwa, and French.” Scorn underlay his tone.

She refused to be put off. “Even so, there’s something highly unusual about you.”

“Ah. You know much of me?”

“You stand apart from the others.”

SHOKA SECOND SHOTHe swept his hand at the men. “I stand with my people.”

She pushed back the hair blowing across her eyes. “You have not always been with them.”

“No, clever one. Before we went to war, I was a guide for the English. They taught me much of English ways. A priest taught me the most.”

“You spent all that time with a priest, and you’re still doing these dreadful things? How can you fight your friends?”

He tensed beside her. “I have killed no friends.”

“Perhaps not, but you’ve battled many of their comrades. This war—” she shuddered, “—is terrible.”

“Have your eyes ever looked on battle?”

“Not like this.”

“This war is like others,” he said.

“It’s far worse. Your warriors kill women and children.”

“Not all. Many are taken captive and adopted. Do you even know who we are?”

“Indians.”

“Shawnee.”

The name held an ominous ring. “I’ve heard of this tribe. Your warriors are said to be fierce. You are certainly living up to your reputation.”

“Your people have killed no one?” he countered.

“Not women and children.”

“You are certain?”

She faltered as images of the British Legion charged through her mind. “If they have, it’s wrong. Don’t you see?”

“You come from plenty. If all is taken from you, will you still speak this way? More and more settlers come, like birds covering the sky. If Shawnee do not fight, no land will remain. Where will we go then to hunt, to live?”

“I never thought—I know nothing. I’m a newcomer.”

Shoka sat back against the oak. “I see this.”

She chafed at his disdain. “I’m also English. If you’re so bent on killing us, why did you save my life?”

colonial woman“I do not like to see a woman struck down. To make you my captive is better.”

He took a smooth stone from the fringed beaded pouch at his waist and slid his knife across it to sharpen the blade. “Tell me your name.”

“Rebecca Elliot,” she said, flinching at each scrape of the blade. She twisted the gold and onyx ring on her middle finger. “What will you do with me?”

He sliced another piece of venison and handed it to her. “Feed you. Keep you safe.”

She relaxed a little, a very little. “Is that all?”

“Is that not enough?”

“I mean—” she hesitated, “men usually require something more for their protection.”

“Ah.” He wiped his blade on a leaf and sheathed his knife.

She bit into the meat as he said, “I will not keep you with me. You will go to the French.”

****

~The French and Indian War, a Shawnee warrior, an English lady, blood vengeance, deadly pursuit, primal, powerful, passionate…

THROUGH THE FIRE~