Tag Archives: The Allegheny Mountains

Sweet Saturday Snippet from Historical Romance Novel The Bearwalker’s Daughter–Beth Trissel


Excerpt From Chapter Five:

The_Bearwalkers_Daughter_Cover3Autumn, 1784, the Allegheny Mountains of Western Virginia, the former McNeal homestead, a log cabin

Jack slowly withdrew his palm from Karin’s lips. Why did his light touch feel so right, his low voice stirring to her shivery center?  She was as heady as if she’d finished off that flask he’d pocketed. Maybe the fiery brew had affected her more than she realized?

No. These sensations went far beyond a few swallows of whiskey. Tumultuous cannons fired inside, tumbling her into an uncertain world of red moons and shooting stars, her universe exploding. And there was no one to hold onto, except him. She almost grabbed his hand, and thought better of it.

What, then? What should she do?

In stillness, she kept her eyes fastened on his, colored the hue of the woods in summer. She couldn’t look away. Then a quavery sigh escaped her. “Oh, Jack.”

Tenderness washed over his face. “Let me guide you.”

“I suppose I must.”

A smile lifted the corners of his masculine, deeply sensual, mouth. “Let’s begin with your mother. What else have you been told of her that might be of use? Let your mind journey back and the past flow through you.”

Rain drummed on the roof and wood sizzled in the hearth as Karin ferreted out every scrap she’d ever heard, weighing some, discarding others. Then a memory returned like the whiff of a nosegay long since forgotten. It might mean something.

“Neeley once said Mama sat curled by the fire much of the time in those last days, staring into the flames as if she saw something.”

Jack eyed the glowing hearth. “Not something. Someone.”

His insight took Karin aback. “You mean him?”

“Probably.”

She gestured at the bed built against the wall, its high back lovingly carved by her grandfather. “Neeley only just told me Mama died there where I was born.”

“That’s why the bed was left behind when they moved,” he said quietly.

She bit her lower lip. “I didn’t realize.”

“You were a child then. How could you?”

A red haze flashed through Karin like sparks set to dry leaves. “Someone might have told me sooner.”

He looked bemused. “What good would that have done?”

“I would know. And knowing matters.”

Jack held up his hands. “So, now you do.”

Crossing both arms over her chest, she said, “Of this I’m certain, Mama was kind and beautiful. Whatever she died of, ’twas a broken heart. Papa should have come to her, whoever he was. I would tell him so to his face if I could.”

“Whew.” Jack drew back as if at a sudden wind. “You’re not such a milksop after all.”

His exaggeration lessened Karin’s ire only slightly. “Well, it makes my blood boil. Why did he leave her to grieve herself to death?”

“If you want answers, begin by finding that necklace.”

She blew out her breath in frustration. “Neeley says she cleaned this cabin from top to bottom and never found anything out of the ordinary.”

“Maybe she wasn’t meant to.”

Karin sat up straight. “You think maybe I am?”~

***The Bearwalker’s Daughter is available in Amazon Kindle for .99

***To visit more authors participating in Sweet Saturday Samples Click HERE!

*Royalty free images

Sweet Saturday Sample from Historical Fantasy Romance The Bearwalker’s Daughter


The_Bearwalkers_Daughter_Cover2Excerpt From Chapter Five

Autumn, 1784, the Allegheny Mountains of Western Virginia, the former McNeal homestead, a rustic log cabin

Jack slowly withdrew his palm from Karin’s lips. Why did his light touch feel so right, his low voice stirring to her shivery center?  She was as heady as if she’d finished off that flask he’d pocketed. Maybe the fiery brew had affected her more than she realized?

No. These sensations went far beyond a few swallows of whiskey. Tumultuous cannons fired inside, tumbling her into an uncertain world of red moons and shooting stars, her universe exploding. And there was no one to hold onto, except him. She almost grabbed his hand, and thought better of it.

What, then? What should she do?

In stillness, she kept her eyes fastened on his, colored the hue of the woods in summer. She couldn’t look away. Then a quavery sigh escaped her. “Oh, Jack.”

Tenderness washed over his face. “Let me guide you.”

“I suppose I must.”

A smile lifted the corners of his masculine, deeply sensual, mouth. “Let’s begin with your mother. What else have you been told of her that might be of use? Let your mind journey back and the past flow through you.”

Rain drummed on the roof and wood sizzled in the hearth as Karin ferreted out every scrap she’d ever heard, weighing some, discarding others. Then a memory returned like the whiff of a nosegay long since forgotten. It might mean something.

“Neeley once said Mama sat curled by the fire much of the time in those last days, staring into the flames as if she saw something.”

Jack eyed the glowing hearth. “Not something. Someone.”

His insight took Karin aback. “You mean him?”

“Probably.”

She gestured at the bed built against the wall, its high back lovingly carved by her grandfather. “Neeley only just told me Mama died there where I was born.”

“That’s why the bed was left behind when they moved,” he said quietly.

She bit her lower lip. “I didn’t realize.”

“You were a child then. How could you?”

A red haze flashed through Karin like sparks set to dry leaves. “Someone might have told me sooner.”

He looked bemused. “What good would that have done?”

“I would know. And knowing matters.”

Jack held up his hands. “So, now you do.”

Crossing both arms over her chest, she said, “Of this I’m certain, Mama was kind and beautiful. Whatever she died of, ’twas a broken heart. Papa should have come to her, whoever he was. I would tell him so to his face if I could.”

“Whew.” Jack drew back as if at a sudden wind. “You’re not such a milksop after all.”

His exaggeration lessened Karin’s ire only slightly. “Well, it makes my blood boil. Why did he leave her to grieve herself to death?”

“If you want answers, begin by finding that necklace.”

She blew out her breath in frustration. “Neeley says she cleaned this cabin from top to bottom and never found anything out of the ordinary.”

“Maybe she wasn’t meant to.”

Karin sat up straight. “You think maybe I am?”~

***To visit more authors taking part in Sweet Saturday Samples click HERE!

***The Bearwalker’s Daughter is available in Amazon Kindle for .99

Wicomechee from Native American Historical Romance Novel Red Bird’s Song


Warrior, Sailor, Soldier, Spy~

As a tribute to the men who star so outstandingly in my stories of ‘Romance charged with danger from Ages Past,’ I’ve put together a glimpse into each one.

First shades of Wicomechee, the Shawnee warrior/hero from Red Bird’s Song:

“Wicomechee was undeniably attractive. She’d never expected that in a warrior. His eyes reminded her of dark pools where the deep-woods fern grow. His nose, neither too large nor too small, complimented his smooth brow, high cheekbones and strong chin. Nor could she fault his gleaming hair, or muscular chest partly revealed beneath the cream-colored hunting shirt open at the neck. But his intimacy in the night left her bewildered, as did her disquieting response.”~

****

“Wicomechee’s chest pounded beneath his shirt from his race down the ridge. Charity’s anguished shrieks had sent cold dread knifing through his heart, unlike anything he’d ever imagined. She must be in dire peril to call out to him. Her name for him swelled in his ears.”~

~“You are paca, beautiful.” Closing his arms around her, he drew her gently against him. He combed his fingers through her hair. “Like fire, your hair, and your eyes…never have I seen such a color. You are the sun, the trees, come to life.”~

****

“How do you guess my thoughts? You’ve done this before.”

“A warrior must see in the face what lies in the heart. This is why we are careful to guard our thoughts.”

“Why don’t you want others to know?”

A hawk shrilled overhead as he answered. “Much danger lies in this.”

“I don’t know how to hide mine.”

“No. Like clouds making shadows over the earth, your face changes to show what you think.”

“It’s just as well I haven’t any secrets, then.”

His eyes looked deeply into hers. “None?”

“Perhaps I’ve a few.” Suddenly self-conscious, she squirmed under his forceful gaze.~

****

“I am the man in your dream, but you will not say.” Without waiting for her stammered reply, he continued. “You grow cold. I will take you from here.”

“Wait. Before you do, where is my home?”

He pointed to the east. “There.”

She searched the rippling ocean of ridges for a final glimpse of the lush green valley called Shenandoah, Daughter of the Stars. “Will I ever see the valley again?”

A sweep of his arm encompassed the western sky. Lavender and rose streaked the golden rim of the ruggedly beautiful Alleghenies. “Your home lies that way, beyond the mountains. You belong to Shawnee now.”~

****

Wicomechee sought shelter in the fast descending darkness. These ridges would be cold tonight and Charity was especially vulnerable to the chill. A wolf loosed a long thin howl above the wind crying through the trees.

She jostled against him. “Mechee—a wolf.”

“Brother Wolf will not harm you.”

“How can you call that beast your brother?”

“He is clever. Shawnee respect him.”

Wicomechee guided her through the dusky light to the cluster of evergreens. A rocky mound on the windward side of the trees offered additional cover.

He paused before the dim outline of the thickly branched evergreen. “Go under.”

She crawled beneath the sweeping boughs and hunched on the layer of needles. He slid in beside her. The force of the wind instantly lessened and he kept her in the innermost recess of their hideaway.

He laid his musket down and slipped the shot pouch and powder horn from his shoulder, barely discerning their shapes in the gloom. His tomahawk joined the others at arm’s length. The knife remained at his waist. Like trusted friends, he kept his weapons close.~

****

He untied her cloak and pressed his lips over the curve of her neck…like swans’ down. “You feel some fondness for me? Before, you said I am only your enemy.”

“You are. I’m just—having difficulty remembering.”~

****

In one lithe movement, Wicomechee was out of the water. With three short strides he stood over her, his black hair streaming. “You attacked Chaka first?”

She stared up at him, shivering in her wet clothes. “He provoked me,” she faltered. “ I only tried to knock him down.”

Disbelief mixed with the potent censure in Wicomechee’s eyes. “Is this a fight you thought to win?”~

****

With a howl of deepest anguish and blackest rage, Wicomechee flung down his musket and grabbed his tomahawk Before the big Long Knife could reload, he sprang at him.~

****

“Can a heart be taken, like a horse? Even horses remember their masters. A man cannot force a woman’s heart as he can her body…her heart is mine. She seeks my love in return. Not yours. When she wakes with fear, she holds to me, not to you. Her tears wet my shirt, not yours. When she is glad I hear her laughter. For me she sings.”

****I am seeking good quality Native American images to purchase.  I’ve bought everything istock has.  If you know of any, please contact me. bctrissel@yahoo.com

The Story Behind Award Winning Colonial Native American Romance Novel Red Bird’s Song


Quantcast2012 EPIC eBook Award Finalist!

Red Bird’s Song is the story of my heart for many reasons.  The initial encounter between Charity and Wicomechee at the river was inspired by a dream I had on New Year’s Eve–a highly propitious time for dreams–about a young warrior taking an equally young woman captive at a river and the unexpected attraction between them. 

That dream had such a profound impact on me that I took the leap from writing non-fiction essays (by hand back then) to historical romance novels and embarked on the most amazing journey of my life.  That was years ago and the saga continues.  I also met the prophetic warrior, Eyes of the Wolf, in another vivid dream at the advent of this adventure, so when I describe him in the book I’m envisioning a character I feel I know.

The setting for much of Red Bird’s Song is the same as Through the Fire, the spectacularly beautiful Alleghenies.  Much of the history and events depicted in the storywere inspired by accounts I came across while researching my early American English/Scots-Irish roots and the Border Wars.

Most of you have heard of The French and Indian War, the time period in Through the Fire, but there were others.  (Chief) Pontiac’s War followed on the heels of the French and Indian and is the time frame of Red Bird’s Song

Lord Dunmore’s War took place a decade later–all occurring in the colonial frontier.

Actually, life in the frontier was continually unsettled up through and even after The American Revolution had drawn to a close and warfare a reality. The boundaries of the frontier just kept shifting farther west.

In the early-mid 18th century, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia was the frontier and only hardy souls dared settle here.  The bulk of these were the tough Scots-Irish.  I think if the Indians had only had to fight regular British troops they might ultimately have won because they scared the s— out of men trained for conventional warfare, but the long knives were another matter. They weren’t easily intimidated and soon learned from their cunning enemy.

Although Hawk Eye in The Last of the Mohicans is an adopted Mohican, his lifestyle and behavior is that of a colonial frontiersman.  The more rugged of these men dressed as he did, much in the Indian way.  They hunted & fought with muskets, tomahawks, and their famous knives.   Indians acquired these knives as well.  They blended traditional weapons and ways of living with new found tools and weapons of Western man.  A highly adaptable people.

The attack at the opening of Red Bird’s Song in the Shenandoah Valley is based on one that occurred to my ancestors at the tail end of Pontiac’s War and is recorded by Historian Joseph A. Waddell in The Annals of Augusta County. A renegade Englishman by the last name of Dickson led the war party that attacked them.  Initially I’d intended to make the Colin Dickson in Red Bird’s Song a villain but as soon as he galloped onto the scene I knew differently.  He’s now one of my all time favorite characters.

Wicomechee, the hero in Red Bird’s Song, is based on the Shawnee warrior by that name who lived early in the nineteenth century and to whom I have ties.  The Moffett’s, an early Valley family I’m related to, include a reference to him in their genealogy.  Wicomechee’s father, John Moffett, was captured in Kentucky by the Shawnee at the age of eight and adopted into the tribe.  It’s said he was a boyhood companion to the great chief Tecumseh, a chief for whom I have enormous admiration.  The accounts of John Moffett and Wicomechee are recorded by Waddell.  It’s also noted that during the Black Hawk Wars Wicomechee recovered the captive daughters of a Dr. Hull and brought them safely into camp, which reminds me of Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans.  I’ve included more on this amazing warrior at the end of the novel as a bonus for those who read it.

Charity, the heroine in Red Bird’s Song, is drawn from a reference I came across of a young Scots-Irish woman captured along a river in the Virginia frontier.  Remember, early Virginia was enormous.  Augusta County, near where I live, encompassed present day states and was later sectioned off.  Nothing is known of what happened to that young woman.   Just a single line in an old account of captives taken during the Indian wars.

The same sort of capture and subsequent lack of information occurred to the sister of my great grandmother a number of greats back.  Both of these women may have made new lives with the Indians.  There are records of women who married into the tribes and did not want to leave their warrior husbands and adopted people.  Tragically, some those captives who wished to remain were later forced to return to their white families through treaties, causing great heartache.  There are also accounts of captives who couldn’t get out fast enough!  One such captive was Daniel Boone.

Charity’s cousin Emma in Red Bird’s Song is based on the young, very  pregnant wife carried off in that original attack.  In the actual account it’s uncertain whether or not her husband survived his injuries.  His last name was Estelle, as it is in the story, and we have early Estelle’s in our family tree.   However, that name is no longer common in the Shenandoah Valley but has vanished into the mist of time along with a mostly forgotten era and its people.  Few remember or care.  Perhaps you will come to.

James, the little boy in Red Bird’s Song, is drawn from the lively child taken in the original attack who lived to tell about it and did so with great relish.  He’s also modeled after several high spirited little boys I’ve known and loved.  James is a tribute to my young nephew, Matthew Trissel, killed in a farm accident, and my youngest daughter Elise’s close friend, Garry Keens, killed by a drunk driver.  Wonderful boys, gone before us but never forgotten.

Although Eastern woodland Indians had a reputation for brutality, once a captive was adopted they were well treated and regarded as equals.  Warriors were unpredictable and didn’t always behave in a certain manner anymore than all European men acted alike.  Warriors could be unexpectedly gentle or sadistic.

I’ve read accounts of warriors getting up in the night to stir up the campfire and cover captive women and children with blankets, even delay their journey while a woman gave birth.  These men protected and fed their captives while other warriors burnt them at the stake.  It all depended on who took you captive and why as to what your fate would be, and whether they kept, traded, or sold you.  Or killed you in retribution for a love done lost at the hands of the English.  Of course, some braves didn’t take captives.  Just scalps.  The warriors most feared in the Shenandoah Valley were the Shawnee, regarded as the fiercest of all.  The more I studied these remarkable people, the more engrossed I became, especially as they figure into our family roots.

The sources I used in researching Red Bird’s Song would take up pages, my list of reading material sizable, and I’m indebted to the long-suffering anthropologists and archeologists who answered my many questions and supplied me with research materials, also helpful reenactors, historians, and historical sites.  Most of all, I’m indebted to my own forebears.  Without these hardy souls, their faith in God and determination to forge a life in the New World, I wouldn’t be here.  Neither would many of you.

****

*Red Bird’s Song is available from The Wild Rose Press in print and digital download (ebook), and Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.  Your bookstore and library can  order it in.  To read excerpts from the novel.

*Image from the 1992 film The Last of the Mohicans and royalty free images   ***I am seeking good quality Native American images to purchase.  If you know of a source please contact me: bctrissel@yahoo.com  or leave me a comment.

Excerpt From Native American Colonial Romance Novel Through the Fire


 

BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009

Award-winning Native American Historical Romance Novel Through the Fire takes place in the Virginia Colonial Frontier during the French and Indian War.

Chapter One

June 1758, the Colonial Frontier, the Allegheny Mountains of Western Virginia

Even the scent was different here, an earthy musk of living plants and crumbling leaves as ancient as the giant chestnuts. High above the forest canopy, a shrill cry sounded.

Rebecca Elliot glanced up and saw a red-tailed hawk plummet through the blue, snatching a dove on the wing. Buff-colored feathers exploded in a cloud, then, nothing. Limp dove in its talons, the hawk flew out of sight.

A chill prickled down Rebecca’s spine. What other predators lurked in this ocean of trees? The stout walls of the log cabin she’d passed by earlier seemed a haven; a sturdy fort would be safer still. Urging her mare on, she caught up with her younger sister, Kate, riding just ahead of her.

Branches snagged Rebecca’s blue linen skirts. She freed her hem, only to have a limb grab her wide-brimmed straw hat. Halting the mare, she tugged at the satin ties under her chin, arching in the sidesaddle to disentangle herself.

“Easy, Mrs. Elliot,” Lieutenant McClure cautioned in low tones from behind. He guided his roan horse alongside hers.

She studied the young officer in his homespun shirt, breeches, and worn riding boots. The angle of his firm jaw, roughened with brown whiskers, reminded Rebecca of her late husband, John. But no man could be as handsome as her English captain, she thought, with the familiar ache.

Lieutenant McClure freed her hat and handed it to her. “Best keep it in your lap and your skirts well tucked up.”

“Thank you,” she said, smoothing back strands of blond hair that slipped loose from the knot at the nape of her neck. “Tell me, does this mountain have a name?” To know it would make this strange land seem somewhat tamed.

His watchful gray eyes met hers. “Shenandoah, Ma’am.”

“Like the valley? I’m told Shenandoah means Daughter of the Stars. Such a lovely name.”

His mouth tightened. “I suppose so. It’s Indian.”

Her sister Kate glanced back over her shoulder, the green bonnet framing her delicate features, warm brown eyes alight with curiosity. “Do you think we’ll see any Indians, Lieutenant?”

“God, I hope not,” he muttered.

Rebecca gazed at the blue-green ridges looming above her like the storm swells of an uncharted sea. “How much farther to the fort? My sister and I are eager to join our uncle.”

Lieutenant McClure shrugged. “You’ll be united with him soon enough. Lord willing,” he added, and waved them both on.

In contrast to the men’s guarded silence, a gold warbler chattered among the leaves. Shafts of late day sunlight streamed through breaks in the thickly clustered trees to touch the nodding heads of columbine and rosy mountain laurel. The woods were like a garden long ago abandoned.

She jerked up her head. A big black bear ran across the path just ahead of the lead militiaman and sent a flock of wild turkeys flapping from the laurel thicket. The soldier slowed. Rebecca steadied her nervous mare. Any comparisons to an idyllic garden took flight with the scattering birds. Nor could the lush fern and flowers relieve her growing fatigue. Legs and back aching, she shifted uncomfortably in the saddle.

Kate turned again, furrows creasing her brow. “Are you dreadfully weary?”

“A bit. I’m not the horsewoman you are.”

“Perhaps we’ll make camp early,” Kate offered.

“Not if yesterday’s journey is the standard.” Rebecca summoned a reassuring smile. “Don’t fret for me, dearest. I’ll manage.” Somehow, she always had.

She looked beyond Kate to the soldiers guiding their mounts over the rocky trail. What did this rugged militia, sent to reinforce Fort Warden, think of the two young English ladies traveling under their protection? No one had said anything, but the women’s presence had to be unusual, to say the least.

How far away Philadelphia seemed now; London was unspeakably distant. Was she mad bringing her sweet sister into this remote place? Whatever lay ahead couldn’t be worse than the life she and Kate had left behind.

Even so, doubt plagued Rebecca as the company rode into a grassy clearing among the trees. Deer lifted their heads in the muted evening light while a thrush trilled from high up in the boughs. This seemed a fair spot to make camp, and yet, her stomach fluttered uneasily.

Lieutenant McClure reined in his mount and held up a silencing hand as if he sensed something hidden in the leaves. Men warily turned their heads from side to side. Rebecca’s eyes joined several dozen others searching fern-filled shadows—but only for an instant. Then the shadows came violently to life, and an explosion of musket fire tore through her every nerve.

Soldiers struck by the hail of lead shot screamed out. Some slumped over their horses. Others tumbled to the ground. Wounded men writhed in the crushed grass, their piteous cries in her ears, while the dead lay where they’d fallen. Crimson stains pooled beneath them.

“Dear God!” Heart in her throat, Rebecca wheeled her frightened mare toward Lieutenant McClure.

He snatched the musket from his shoulder. “Stay low!” he yelled, leaping from his horse.

Soldiers scrambled to the ground to meet the unseen foe, but Rebecca and Kate crouched in their saddles fighting to control their skittish mounts. Abandoning the horses would leave them with no means of escape.

It crossed her desperate mind that neither she nor Kate knew how to reach the fort.

Another volley of shots flung more men to the grass.

Nothing could have prepared Rebecca for such an enemy. Elusive as ghosts one minute, a second later, bloodcurdling war cries rent the air as halfnaked warriors swept from the trees—so many more than the fast-falling soldiers. Bare arms swung lethal tomahawks with hellish fury.

Those men still able to stand fired into the surging tide, bloodying one brave’s shoulder, grazing another’s leg. Faces contorted, wounded men heaved themselves up from the grass and raised long knives to strike at their attackers.

She gaped in horror through the acrid haze of gun smoke—the taste of burnt powder in her mouth—as more soldiers fell screaming under brutal tomahawks. Sightless eyes stared up. The stench of battle filled her nose. She wanted to retch.

From the corner of her eye, Rebecca saw a warrior tearing right toward her and Kate. “Lieutenant!” she cried, battling the reins to twist her frantic mare away.

He planted himself before the two women, musket leveled. He fired, hurling the warrior back, but had no time to reload.

“There are too many! Get out of here, Mrs. Elliot!”

Throwing down his musket, he grasped his own tomahawk and disappeared into the smoky chaos of clashing men and bolting horses.

Rebecca fought numbing panic and turned to her sister.  Kate sat wide-eyed atop her mount, her gaze riveted on the warriors as they wielded bloody scalping knives, stripping hunting shirts and powder horns from the fallen men. Rebecca’s mare reared, tossing its head, eyes rolling in fear. She wrestled the reins for control. Kate’s big gelding was also frantic, but she checked him with instinctive expertise.

“Kate! Give him his head! Go!” Rebecca shouted, slicing through the paralysis that gripped her sister.

Kate’s gelding sprang away and galloped past several riderless horses with warriors lunging at the reins. Bent low over the horse’s straining neck, she flew across the hazy clearing into the woods beyond.

Rebecca hauled on the reins with clammy palms, turning her mare’s head to follow Kate.

A sinewy brave rushed at her, his mouth gaping in a fierce cry, bare arms outstretched. She shrieked, lashing him across the face with her crop. He tore it from her hand and twisted a quick bunch of her skirts to rip her off the horse.

Jerked down by the force, she clung to the saddle with one hand and smashed her fist up under his chin. His head snapped back. She raked his painted cheek with her fingernails.

“Get away!” Kicking out hard, she drove her foot into his chest.

He stumbled back with a grunt, surprise on his bleeding face. But he’d be at her again in a tick. She thrust trembling fingers into the saddlebag and closed her hand around the loaded pistol that had belonged to her husband. With deadly will, she drew it out and pointed the gleaming barrel. She cocked the hammer just as John had taught her.

The brave jumped aside as she fired. The shot exploded uselessly. The mare whinnied, dancing sideways, pitching like a ship.

Rebecca clung shrieking to the sidesaddle. If she fell, she’d be trampled—or worse.

“Hold on!” a man yelled, his voice deep, arresting.

Black hair flying, dark eyes riveted, a powerful warrior sprinted toward her, his long legs vaulting over downed soldiers, muscular arms shoving other warriors out of his path.

“Naga! Ambelot!” Shouting strange words, he seized her assailant and flung him reeling over the grass.

The lesser man lifted conciliatory hands and spun away.

Rebecca met the newcomer’s black eyes in astonishment. Did he truly think to help her? If not, she might get off a clout to his jaw with the pistol butt before he grabbed her.

He extended one hand to her frenzied mare. “Easy, steady.” His calm manner and commanding presence soothed the alarmed animal. He stepped nearer, reaching for the bridle.

Triumphant whoops of victory rose around them.

The horse whinnied and reared again, hooves pawing the air. With a despairing cry, Rebecca flew from the saddle and tumbled to the unforgiving ground. She cracked the back of her head and lay in a fog. The riotous jubilation reached her as if from a distance. Vaguely, she sensed someone near.

“So fair you are,” a low voice said near her ear.

Strong arms lifted her, and she had the unreal sensation of being safe before blackness claimed her.

*****

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

THROUGH THE FIRE is available in print and or digital download from Amazon, The Wild Rose PressBarnes&Noble, and other online booksellers.  Your local bookstore and library can order it in.

***All images are royalty free.  The musket pointing from behind the tree belongs to our family, image by my mother, Pat Churchman.

 

November Musings


Stone hearthMisty autumn day, cold rain falling, leaves scattering from the trees in a red-gold swirl.  The Alleghenies are veiled in the distance beyond the hazy hills above our meadow.  On my dining room table sits a box of tiger lily and tulip bulbs that need planting, should already be in the sodden ground.  I trust we’ll have some fine sunny days yet that may entice me out into the garden before winter settles in.

Daughter Elise and I ordered the bulbs back in hot, muggy August when fall seemed but a  dream of deep blue skies, crisp air, and glorious leaves.   Too fast it comes and goes, the wonder and beauty that lures us into those long dark months before the return of my beloved spring.  Not all the leaves are fallen yet and some vivid color remains on the trees, but not for long.  Still, there is much to be savored about every season and I shall seek for the joys in this one while bidding a wistful farewell to what has been a spectacular October.

campfireFor one thing, advancing November is what I call ‘the snugly time.’  For those of you with real fireplaces, I envy you.  There’s such primal satisfaction and comfort in the crackle of a wood fire, the orange glow of the flames and red coals,  the smoky scent.  I have a fireplace DVD, I kid you not, and an large electric space heater that looks like a wood stove with a fake fire in it.  But it gives out warmth and if I play the fireplace DVD while running the space heater/wood stove, at least it provides the feel of a hearth.  Certainly better than back when all I had was the DVD alone.  That emitted zero heat in this drafty old farm house.  My sister, feeling this was the height of pathetic, gave me the wood stove/space heater for Christmas.  We do have ancient chimneys here but none are safe to use.  Someday, someday, we shall build a new one.  But the farm has a way of eating up all the scanty funds before they stretch to include a new stone hearth.

iStock_000002286112XSmallI’d love a massive hearth such as I describe in many of my novels.  Hint, hint.  The Big Meadows Lodge up on the Skyline Drive has the most wonderful hearth in the world.  I could settle in for days and write in that cozy room with a superb view of the ridges and valley spreading out below.  On a clear day, you can see for miles and miles.  And when I’m up there before that hearth I am deeply content to let the rain fall and fog shroud the ridges.  A snug log cabin would also do nicely as a writers retreat.

As for one of the benefits of these darkening days.  It’s an excellent time for writing and reading, two of my most favorite occupations.    I need a new CD, something with an historic and fantasy sound, music that transports me from here to there, to finish writing my latest light paranormal novel.  Recent choices include the soundtrack from Prince Caspian, Lord of the Rings (all three of them) the latest Harry Potter soundtrack…I’m open to suggestions.  I love Celtic music, but own quite a collection of various artists and nothing I have seems to suit the mood I’m seeking.  On goes my search for the perfect music to write to.

*This is also a great time of year for making soup.

New Reader Review for THROUGH THE FIRE


throughthefire_W2756_300

This was a beautiful story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really loved the characters of Rebecca and Shoka and the secondary characters were really great too. Beth Trissel is a wonderful author, she brings the time period to life. I will definitely be looking for more from this author.
Date Added: 08/19/2009 by Joan Osborne