Tag Archives: The Civil War

Release Day and the Story Behind #CivilWar #timetravel #romance Secret Lady (Part Two)


Secret Lady is based on events that occurred to my ancestors and my husband’s Mennonite forebears during the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Historical accounts from the Civil War are a huge part of the inspiration behind Secret Lady. I grew up hearing about the war and its enormous impact on the family, and knew it would inevitably become the focus of a story or two.  But the initial challenge to write this story didn’t come from the war.

My eldest daughter, Alison, told me of the uncanny connection she and her friend, Cristin, have with the creepy closet in our house. It is, in fact, the only closet. Old homes were built without them, and it’s a slightly more modern addition. Throughout her childhood, Alison was terrified of this walk-in, but duck your head space, particularly unfortunate as it occupied the far-right corner of her bedroom. The extra creepy factor is the entry to hidden parts of the house lies at the back corner of the closet. Alison learned that Cristin, as a child, had recurring dreams (nightmares) about a closet in an old boxy white farmhouse that strongly resembled ours. In her dreams, Cristin ventured up the stairs, traveled to the end of the hall, and entered the last bedroom. She feared a black antique trunk (check—we have one from my great-grandfather) in the closet at the far right of the room where a disturbing presence dwelled. It wasn’t a huge leap to conceive a heroine with similar fears.

Story Blurb:
At Lavender House, Evie McIntyre is haunted by the whispers from her bedroom closet. Before she can make sense of their murmurs, the house “warbles” between times and transports her to the Civil War. Past and present have blended, and Evie wishes she’d paid more attention to history. Especially since former Confederate officer, Jack Ramsey, could use a heads up.

Torn between opposing forces, Jack struggles to defend the valley and people he loves. Meeting Evie turns his already tumultuous world upside down. Will solving the mystery of the whispers return her home, and will the handsome scout be by her side?

Against the background of Sheridan’s Burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Jack and Evie fight to save their friends and themselves – or is history carved in stone?

Excerpt:

She took a steadying breath, turned the brass knob, and stepped into the room. The fragrance of lavender greeted her. Grandma G. had tucked sachets under her mattress to help her sleep and left small cloth bags in the drawers of an antique dresser. A sachet of apricot scented agrimony lay beneath her pillow.

This age-old herb was thought to induce slumber and offer protection against the dark forces. Other powerful herbs scented the room. Angelica, St. John’s Wort, and sage were in the bunch on the bedside stand beside the antique brass lamp with an ornamental white shade.

The walk-in, but duck your head, closet at the far side of the room summoned her. Boxes of Christmas decorations, a Santa, and reindeer figures stored inside the slanted nook partially hid the steps leading to the attic and the presence she swore was there. She hadn’t encountered the being in question. Yet. It wasn’t cool for a nineteen-year-old to harbor terrors of a closet, but she did.

She threw her hands up after a particularly loud summons. “What do you want from me?”

There was a rap on the downstairs door. ~

Secret Lady is available in print and eBook from The Wild Rose Press and eBook from all major online booksellers.

In Kindle and print at Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Lady-Ladies-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B07KNL7K3Z

In Nook Book: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secret-lady-beth-trissel/1129945225?ean=2940161956564

At iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/secret-lady/id1444455068?mt=11

At Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Beth_Trissel_Secret_Lady?id=s-2BDwAAQBAJ&hl=en

At Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/si/en/ebook/secret-lady

If you are interested in reviewing, leave me a comment or contact me. bctrissel@yahoo.com

For the fascinating story behind Secret Lady Part One visit this link: https://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/2018/11/17/fascinating-story-behind-secret-lady-book-3-ladies-in-time/

Secret Lady Is Out In Pre-order #CivilWar #TimeTravel #Romance


Secret Lady (Book 3, Ladies in Time) is a mystery/adventure time travel romance with carefully researched history and enough paranormal to categorize the story as fantasy.  

I drew inspiration for Secret Lady from events that occurred to my ancestors and my husband’s Mennonite forebears and their peers during the Civil War. The setting is the beautiful richly historic Shenandoah Valley where we live on a farm that has been in his family for four generations. Familiarity with earlier releases in the series isn’t necessary as I began a new thread.

Blurb:

Torn apart by time, reunited by flames.

At Lavender House, Evie McIntyre is haunted by the whispers from her bedroom closet. Before she can make sense of their murmurs, the house “warbles” between times and transports her to the Civil War. Past and present have blended, and Evie wishes she’d paid more attention to history. Especially since former Confederate officer, Jack Ramsey, could use a heads up.

Torn between opposing forces, Jack struggles to defend the valley and people he loves. Meeting Evie turns his already tumultuous world upside down. Will solving the mystery of the whispers return her home, and will the handsome scout be by her side?

Against the background of Sheridan’s Burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Jack and Evie fight to save their friends and themselves – or is history carved in stone?

(Image from our farm)

New Excerpt

“They brought the draft back?” This was it. She had officially lost her mind.

“It never went away. Where have you been, miss? More to the point, who are you?” His gruff demand stirred the hair at her cheek.

She tilted her face at him. Only the barest outline of his strong features was visible, and yet… Man, was he hot. Focus Evie. “I told you. I’m Evie McIntyre. I live here with my grandmother. Didn’t you realize?”

“That so? I don’t suppose you would be a spy in a Mennonite house. Still. Never know. I best get a good look at you.”

“Who would I be spying for?”

“Rebs. Neither side wishes me well. I’m in no man’s land.”

Her heart drummed wildly. “Where does that leave me?”

“That’s the question, isn’t it?” He steadied Evie on her feet.

 Was it? She had no idea what was going on and watched dazedly as he took something from the leather pouch hanging over his shoulder. “What’s that?”

“Lucifers.”

He’d lost her again. There must be a powerful resistance movement at work. She didn’t follow politics. Maybe she should. Had matters come to an explosive head tonight? Why hadn’t her grandmother said something?

He drew what resembled matches from a small metal container and struck one. Sulfurous sparks added pungency to the room. He lit the stubby candle in a tin lantern on an end table. Shadows danced from the pale taper glowing through the punches in the metal. Pretty, how the light made patterns on the ceiling.

 Wait. Where had that lantern come from?

The stained-glass lamp Grandma G. treasured was just there before she went to bed. Dear God in heaven. What had happened to the room?~

(Our farm)

Release date for Secret Lady is 2019-01-09.  The novel is in pre-order at Amazon now: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Lady-Ladies-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B07KNL7K3Z/

***On release day, Secret Lady will be available in print as well as kindle and in eBook from all other online booksellers.

Fascinating Story Behind Secret Lady (Book 3 Ladies in Time)


Many stories lie at the heart of my upcoming January 9th release, time travel romance Secret Lady (Book 3 Ladies in Time) from The Wild Rose Press. The characters in this mystery/adventure aren’t related to the first two releases in the series as I began a new thread. While strongly historical, Secret Lady has enough paranormal in it to categorize the story as fantasy.

The setting for Secret Lady is as close to home as I can get, our old farm-house (with a slight upgrade) in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I transformed our lush dairy farm into ‘Lavender and Lace Herb Farm’ and relocated it several miles up the road on the farm we once rented. During the Civil War, horses were hidden in the Alpine like woods beyond the house.

(Our house with the wild midsummer garden by Elise)
(Behind our farm by hubby Dennis)(Our pond by Dennis)

I gleaned inspiration for the story from events that occurred to my ancestors and my husband’s family, and their peers during the Civil War. My great-great-grandfather fought at Gettysburg and was captured at Pickett’s Charge, but the focus of this story is our richly historic valley. I grew up hearing about The Burning (autumn 1864) when Major General Philip Sheridan brought hard war to our green valley, called The Bread Basket of the Confederacy. In Sheridan’s ruthless destruction of farms, livestock, and supplies that might sustain Rebel troops, he unleashed Hell on countless innocents. Among the greatest sufferers in Rockingham County were the peaceful Mennonites, my husband’s ancestors among them. These plain, hardworking people are my adopted people and a vital part of the book.

(Old-Order Mennonite Buggy Passing our farm. Image by Dennis)

Our farm stands where the worst of The Burning took place, and it occurred to me that our Victorian house might have been built soon after the Civil War because its predecessor was destroyed. We knew our home dated at least to the mid 1870’s from an elderly woman who visited here decades ago and said she was born in the house. We dated our home even earlier after finding it on an 1866 map, plus our bank barn has original features that pin it to that era.

(Our old barn. Image by Beth. It used to be red.)

This past spring, in what was my last conversation with my father-in-law before his death, I asked him if he knew of a farm that once stood on our land that might have been destroyed during The Burning. His adamant ‘yes!’ surprised my husband who wasn’t aware of its existence. However, hubby never asked.

Dad Trissel told us he used to walk back the long lane that leads behind our farm up to the wooded hills beyond and there he saw the remains of a burned-out farm (woods have since overgrown the site). He also told us our farm used to encompass that land which was later parceled off. We decided to walk back to the woods and search for any remnants from the past. Fortunately, we chose April for our exploration as the only trace of earlier dwellers our untrained eyes could detect were the faithful daffodils outlining what must once have been a house, barn, and outbuildings.

(Daffodil discovery in dry early spring before rains came with me and granddaughter Emma. Images by Elise )

If we had chosen any other season for our walk, we wouldn’t have noted anything. We later learned foundation stones and usable timber were reused in rebuilding homes and barns after The Burning. Scavengers must have been at work, and nature has taken a toll over the years. I’m not sure what my father-in-law saw in the nineteen forties, but more than we did. The daffodils are an heirloom variety that used to grow in my garden, likely from those same bulbs. Not appreciating their historic value, I replaced them with more attractive varieties and must restore these blooms to a spot in the yard.

More research is needed to determine whether the farm behind us was, indeed, burned during Sheridan’s infamous valley campaign and whether that family built our present house or fled, and another took their place in the building. We learned the road that runs in front of our house used to cut through the meadow, which would account for a farm being located back there. The stream ran beside it in those days, and springs also provided water. It could be as Dad Trissel said.

A strong sense of history hangs over the woods, our farm, and our fair valley called Shenandoah, ‘Daughter of the Stars.’  Fiery war once raged here, but we survived and rebuilt. Of course, we did, we’re Virginians.

(The valley much as it would have looked then. Image by daughter Elise)

Secret Lady Story Blurb:

Torn apart by time, reunited by flames.

At Lavender House, Evie McIntyre is haunted by the whispers from her bedroom closet. Before she can make sense of their murmurs, the house “warbles” between times and transports her to the Civil War. Past and present have blended, and Evie wishes she’d paid more attention to history. Especially since former Confederate officer, Jack Ramsey, could use a heads up.

Torn between opposing forces, Jack struggles to defend the valley and people he loves. Meeting Evie turns his already tumultuous world upside down. Will solving the mystery of the whispers return her home, and will the handsome scout be by her side?

Against the background of Sheridan’s Burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Jack and Evie fight to save their friends and themselves – or is history carved in stone?

Excerpt:

She took a steadying breath, turned the brass knob, and stepped into the room. The fragrance of lavender greeted her. Grandma G. had tucked sachets under her mattress to help her sleep and left small cloth bags in the drawers of an antique dresser. A sachet of apricot scented agrimony lay beneath her pillow.

This age-old herb was thought to induce slumber and offer protection against the dark forces. Other powerful herbs scented the room. Angelica, St. John’s Wort, and sage were in the bunch on the bedside stand beside the antique brass lamp with an ornamental white shade.

The walk-in, but duck your head, closet at the far side of the room summoned her. Boxes of Christmas decorations, a Santa, and reindeer figures stored inside the slanted nook partially hid the steps leading to the attic and the presence she swore was there. She hadn’t encountered the being in question. Yet. It wasn’t cool for a nineteen-year-old to harbor terrors of a closet, but she did.

She threw her hands up after a particularly loud summons. What do you want from me?”

There was a rap on the downstairs door. ~

Secret Lady will be out in kindle and print at Amazon and in eBook from all major online booksellers.

In kindle and print  at Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Lady-Ladies-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B07KNL7K3Z/

In eBook from all major online booksellers.

Follow my Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6

Follow me on BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/beth-trissel

***If you are interested in reviewing please contact me: bctrissel@yahoo. com


(Old barn behind our farm. Now torn down–sadly.)

Southern Gothic Mystery by Susan Coryell–Beneath the Stones


beneath the stones coverAs a Virginian who enjoys Southern themes with mystery, romance, and a Gothic flavor, I’m pleased to have fellow Wild Rose Press Author, Susan Coryell, here to share her new release, BENEATH THE STONES, published in April, 2015,. The story is a standalone sequel to A Red, Red Rose. Both are cozy mystery/Southern Gothics.

From Susan: I wrote the sequel to A Red, Red Rose because so many reviewers asked for one. Much research was involved for Beneath the Stones since it is a contemporary setting with a Civil War background as a major theme: Unresolved issues from the past can literally haunt us in the present.

Civil War, American Civil War, War, Ghost, Armed Forces,The Civil War letters included in Beneath the Stones are based on actual letters written from battle fronts by family ancestors, Joseph Franklin Stover and John William Stover. After my mother-in-law’s death, the family found a nondescript box in her file cabinet. Inside we were amazed to find fifteen letters hand-written in beautiful, flowing script. Since this occurred as I was in the midst of writing Beneath the Stones, I immediately seized on the idea of using excerpts from the letters in the novel. Though, for practical reasons, I omitted many details, overall the letters reveal a haunting picture of life for the Confederate soldier. A final note: The flute mentioned in one of the letters is very likely the same flute on display at the Museum of the Confederacy in Appomattox, Virginia.~

Fascinating, Susan! I love the depth this gives your work. Our family also unearthed a treasure trove of letters from my great-great-grandfather George W. Finley who fought and was captured at Gettysburg and became one of the Immortal Six Hundred.. He’s one of the few surviving Confederates who not only lived to tell the tale, but wrote it all down. These connections with the past are so meaningful and moving. My brother, John Churchman, is doing a nonfiction book on Grandpa Finley.

southern-plantation-homeStory Blurb for Beneath the Stones:

Mystery, suspense and romance flourish against a backdrop of Civil War turmoil and ancestral strife–where immortality infiltrates the ancient air breathed by all who inhabit Overhome Estate.

Ashby Overton has everything to look forward to, including a promising writing career and her wedding at summer’s end. But, Overhome, her beloved historic family estate in Southern Virginia, is in financial peril and it is up to Ashby to find a solution.

Interfering with Ashby’s plans is a dark paranormal force that thwarts her every effort to save Overhome. Supernatural attacks emanate from an old stone cottage on the property rumored to be a slave overseer’s abode, prior to the Civil War. As the violence escalates, Ashby begins to fear for her life. Who is this angry spirit and why is his fury focused on her?

small pro photo of SusanLinks for Susan

Her Website: www.susancoryellauthor.com

Facebook page:

Amazon Buy links for Beneath the Stones: Paperback and Kindle 

Paranormal Activity at U.S Civil War Prisons and the Un-Civil Grounds


I’m pleased to have my friend and fellow Wild Rose Press Author Donna Dalton with me to share about her new historical romance novel,  The Rebel Wifeand the eerie discoveries she made on these un-civil grounds.

Thanks Beth. While researching settings for my historical romance, THE REBEL WIFE, I took a field trip to the southern-most point of the state of Maryland where Point Lookout Union Prison once stood. It was a glorious late spring day. Short-wearing weather. Yet as I passed through the reconstructed gate and into the prison innards, a heavy sense of oppression overcame me. This flat, austere land had once imprisoned thousands of men. It had seen much suffering and many deaths.  Flanked by the Chesapeake Bay on one side and the Atlantic ocean on the other, the harsh winter months must have been pure hell for the sparsely clothed and starving inmates. Although I didn’t encounter any paranormal activity that day, I could see how departing life in such a wretched place could leave behind tormented souls.

I did a little research and discovered Point Lookout is considered to have one of the most haunted lighthouses in the country. The lighthouse sits at the very end of the peninsula. The most frequent sighting is of a gaunt ghost clothed in ragged, homespun clothing, running back and forth across the road. Other visitors have reported seeing an old woman on the beach, and some speculate she is looking for her gravestone. Paranormal researchers to the area have recorded over twenty-four different sounds and voices.

Other prison camps have reported paranormal activity as well. At the Confederate prison in Andersonville, Georgia, many visitors have heard eerie noises, including gunshots, marching, voices talking, and moaning. There’s a stench that people have smelled in the general area of the camp. One visitor was walking the grounds during twilight and spotted a strange figure walking ahead of him. A putrid odor permeated the air. The stranger and the odor vanished, but later, the man overheard a voice behind him talking about giving the last rites.

At Fort Delaware prison camp, in a restored and fully working officers’ kitchen, there have been reports of a female ghost that lingers around the pantry, hiding items stored there and calling people by name, telling them to get out. The officers’ quarters is reported to be haunted by several apparitions. A childlike ghost tugs on people’s clothing and its laughter can be heard. A woman’s ghost has tapped people on the shoulder and has touched them. Books fall from shelves by themselves and crystals hanging from a set of candlesticks move back and forth when there is no breeze to account for the movement.

While I have never personally meet with any apparitions, I believe they do exist, especially those souls who met their end during calamitous times like the U.S. Civil War. For those readers who find this period in American history fascinating, my latest book, THE REBEL WIFE, is set during the height of the war. The hero is a Yankee war correspondent on his way to Point Lookout to write an article about the prison. Louisa Carleton, a southern rebel, is also headed to there to try and free her imprisoned brother. Jack sees the world in black and white, while dyslexic Louisa sees everything in a distorted light. The joining of these two people cannot help but be filled with conflict and emotion.

***You can read more about this story and how to purchase it on Donna’s website at www.donnadalton.netThe Rebel Wife is out in print and kindle at Amazon, and in various eBook formats at The Wild Rose Press. The book is also available from other online booksellers, or soon will be.

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