Thursday, July 28, 2016

This Summer I Took Up Photography

I've upped the time I spend outdoors this summer, working in my garden(s), and seeking potential images. The geese, flowers, sunsets, fireflies, any aspect of nature, are all subjects of my pics. Some of my images are surprisingly good. Many, not so much. But it's fascinating to see what I've captured. So far, I'm just using the camera on my Android phone.

You may wonder if I'm getting any writing done? I'm kind of stuck in my WIP. "Wibbly wobbly timey wimey...stuff," and I haven't figured out all the wibbles yet. But thoughts whir outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine--or rain. I go out if it's not a downpour to scout for geese and rainbows. 


When I began my garden forays earlier this spring, I was in slug mode. A half hours work and I was exhausted, my back aching. Now, I've gained more endurance. I still wear out, but not nearly as fast. Even after the cold weather returns, I plan to continue my journey's outside to take images. Being outdoors is good for the spirit, and photography rejuvenates me. 

I spend a lot of time sneaking up on the geese. I tried tossing grain in their direction to get closer, but they feared I was throwing stuff at them and fled. Suspicious gaggle. I happened upon them counting cows (image below). They don't count very well. However, they have a lot to say. Mostly random stuff.





Cows are much easier to photograph. They're always hopeful I've brought them a little something. Sometimes I have. The geese hold frequent meetings. Yesterday, they voted on their favorite cookie. It was intense. Below, they're assembling before striking out on a grand adventure. They have no clue where. They rarely have a clue about anything. Barnyard geese are not overly bright.




We've had so much rain this summer, it's made gardening far easier. Also challenging because of all the weeds. But I'd rather fight them than suffer a hideous drought. I have many heirloom flowers that reseed themselves, in addition to wild flowers, perennials, herbs, and vegetables. And whatever the birds plant. A pic below of the main garden in its July glory before storms toppled a lot of plants. I'm trying, not very successfully, to prop them back up.




Sunsets are often wondrous here with the spectacular panorama of the meadow, farm pond, hills above our farm, and the barn. Most evenings, I scurry outside at sunset. Sunrise is tougher to capture, though I have tried and will continue to. If the sky is really amazing at sunset, I run from one side of the yard/barn/meadow to the other getting different angles, and back again. I've never liked exercise for the sake of exercise, but it's crazy what I'll do for a picture.t I'll do for a picture.





Endless possibilities for images lie before me. And the story ideas that come while I shoot away. 
This morning, I discovered tiger lilies blooming in my jungle of a backyard garden They are splendid in the light. Like jewels.
.

(White phlox below at sunrise.)

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fantasy, Mystery, Time Travel, Ghosts, and Romance--Somewhere in Time Series



Open the door. You never know where it may take you. Who likes time travel? Maybe a ghost or two? Highlanders? A mystery to solve? Love stories?

The idea behind my ‘Somewhere in Time series’ is that the story opens in an old Virginia home (I love old homes!), ranging from stately plantation manors to Victorian beauties, and then transports the main character, or characters, back in time either in the same house or to another place entirely, such as the Scottish Highlands. And each story has a door.

Moreover, I’m intrigued by ghost stories, and Virginia has more tales than any other state. I find myself asking if the folk who’ve gone before us are truly gone, or do some still have unfinished business in this realm? And what of the young lovers whose time was tragically cut short, do they somehow find a way? This is the theme behind my light paranormal, murder mystery, ghostly, time travel romance novel, Somewhere My Love.


Somewhere My Love (Book 1, Somewhere in Time):
Fated lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it’s too late?

Blurb: Two hundred years ago Captain Cole Wentworth, the master of an elegant Virginian home, was murdered in his chamber where his portrait still hangs. Presently the estate is a family owned museum run by Will Wentworth, a man so uncannily identical to his ancestor that spirit-sensitive tour guide Julia Morrow has trouble recognizing Cole and Will as separate. As Julia begins to remember the events of Cole’s death, she must convince Will that history is repeating, and this time he has the starring role in the tragedy. The blade is about to fall.

"A beautiful love story with plenty of suspense and mystery. The story will draw a reader in and will not let go until the very last page. It is a novel that will live in the hearts of its readers for a very long time."  ~Reviewed by Hitherandthee for Night Owl Romance

In Somewhere My Lass, I journeyed back to 1602 Scotland and more deeply explored my Scottish roots.  

'An ancient relic, a medieval crypt, a mad highlander at their throats and time fast running out. Mystery, suspense, romance, Somewhere My Lass.'


Blurb: Will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?


‘‘The MacDonald comes’ warns Mora Campbell when Neil MacKenzie finds the young Scotswoman lying unconscious at the top of his stairs after he discovers his murdered housekeeper slumped at the bottom. 


Mora’s claim that she’s his fiancé from 1602 and was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, through ‘the door to nowhere’ seems utter nonsense. Neil thinks she’s addled from the blow to her head until his life spirals into chaos and the avenging Highlander shows up wanting blood. Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past, but he must also remember. And fast.


Although Niall’s kinsmen believe he’s dead, and Mora is now destined to marry his brother, she’s convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right. The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. The only problem is how to get back to 1602. An ancient relic, the ultimate geek friend, and a little Celtic magic help pave the way back to the enormous challenge that awaits them. If they’re in time.


Reviewed by: Silvermage of Night Owl Reviews ~ “Somewhere My Lass was a wonderful time-travel romance. I enjoyed that the time-travel went from the past to 2009 and not the other way.”



Somewhere in the Highlands (Somewhere in Time)
Sequel to Somewhere My Lass

Blurb: The MacDonalds are coming! When Elizabeth MacDonald (a.k.a Beezus Mac) thrusts a sealed gold box at Angus Fergus amid panicked requests for him to hide the stolen artifact, she has no idea the ancient cloth it contains bestows unearthly powers. Red MacDonald knows and he’s hell-bent on traveling 400 years into the future to claim the charmed relic, even kill for it.


Protecting Beezus from his old nemesis is only one of Fergus’s problems. Before they can stop him, Morley MacDonald, descendant of Red MacDonald, snatches the prize and leaps through the time portal to head the MacDonald clan and kill Fergus’s MacKenzie ancestor. If he succeeds, Fergus will cease to exist.


Danger grows in the feud between the MacDonalds and the MacKenzies as the pair, along with an ingenious friend and high tech inventions, returns to 1604 Scotland to face these brawny Highlanders and reunite with kin. Will Fergus overcome his mistrust of Beezus and fan the growing spark between them before they battle Morley? If he waits, it may be too late.~


So many readers were taken by the strong, quirky character, Fergus, in Somewhere My Lass (as was I) that I decided to write Fergus’s story. Now, I plan to write yet another story in this continuing saga–part of my Somewhere in Time series.
But first, I need to finish the time travel I am currently at work on.



“Beth Trissel is a master at weaving Scottish lore with the modern day without it seeming forced or implausible all while weaving a beautifully-crafted tale of romance and adventure. There'd better be more Fergus coming. I mean it!”~ Born with a Book

The Somewhere in Time Series; where the past meets the present.

Speaking of wonderful old homes, (a major part of this series) the image below is of the old Virginia family home place that lies at the heart of many of my stories and is the setting for my ghostly Christmas romance novella, Somewhere the Bells Ring.



'Although Somewhere the Bells Ring has a holiday theme, it’s an anytime read for Romance Lovers.’


The story opens in 1968 and flashes back to 1918 and the end of WW1.

Blurb


Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative’s ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn’t so bad.


To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope–until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.


As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe–in Bailey and the ghost–before the Christmas bells ring?


For Somewhere the Bells Ring:


“Ms. Trissel captivates her reader from the moment you start reading the first page. She has written a compelling love story that spans some fifty plus years and keeps you entertained every step of the way with the story within a story…I fell in love with Ms. Trissel’s characters and look forward to the next delightful story ready with Kleenex box in hand. A must read for every romance fan.” 
~Reviewed by Robin for Romancing the Book

I am currently at work on a new ‘Somewhere’ themed romance. Maybe two. 
Time Travel, Ghosts, Fantasy, Mystery, and above all Romance may lie on the other side of the door.

My Somewhere in Time Series is available on my Author Page at Amazon.



Monday, July 4, 2016

Thomas Jefferson--Foe of Tyranny--Author of Freedom!

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson is one of the wisest most accomplished men who ever lived. Not perfect, but amazing. He was a founding father of America, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, the third president of the United States, and foe of oppressive government. He and John Adams, another brilliant founding father and our second president, both died on the 4th of July--such a key day for them and America. The two men had a volatile relationship, but were fast friends in their later years.
Adams's last words were, "Thomas Jefferson still survives." But he was mistaken, Jefferson had died five hours earlier at Monticello at the age of 82.
In these challenging times, it's prudent to look back at those who helped create this great nation and learn from their wisdom. Some quotes from Jefferson:
Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it. ~Thomas Jefferson
~I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
                      ~One man with courage is a majority.
Colonial American Soldier
~Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind.
~Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.
~He who knows best knows how little he knows.
~It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.
~It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.
~If God is just, I tremble for my country.
~I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.
~I cannot live without books.
~But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.
~I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.
~Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
~I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.
~I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
The Wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, Colonial Williamsburg, and Monticello
~I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
~My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
~No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.
~Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
~We never repent of having eaten too little.
~We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
~Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very fast.
~When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.
~There is not a truth existing which I fear... or would wish unknown to the whole world.
~Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.
~Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.
~To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
~That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.
~The earth belongs to the living, not to the dead.
~The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.
~The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.
~The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.
~Politics is such a torment that I advise everyone I love not to mix with it.Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.
~Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.
~Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
*Jefferson's beloved home and gardens of Monticello

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I like gardening — it's a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself. — Alice Sebold


After a hard winter, and vexing spring, June has been a joy to the senses. Such a delight to dash outside any time the pure gold light beckons. I never know what I'll find to photograph, a new hobby for me. I'm using my cell phone, haven't advanced to an actual camera yet. The garden is alive with butterflies, bees, bumbles, birds, and fireflies (tough to capture pics of those tantalizing glimmers) in addition to the plants. Extra time in the garden is good for the spirit, so I'm out the door the instant it summons. 

The double apricot hollyhocks I photographed below are blooming on the only plant that survived the winter from the many seedlings I started last spring and nurtured all summer. Endless watering during the long dry spell...and all gone, but this one remaining hollyhock is glorious. I will save seed from it and try again for more.



The poppies are exquisite, like butterflies fluttering in the breeze...their silken petals fabric for sumptuous gowns. If such whimsy were possible. Maybe for the fairies. The pollinators also love poppies. 

"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides." ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show


(Breadseed Poppies below. I got the seed for these at Monticello)


(Shirley Poppy and Miniature Hollyhocks)

Another thing about the garden, I think best there. Story ideas and scenes come to me. I've been advised to talk into a recorder so as not to lose these thought threads before jotting them down. I haven't yet done that, though. I'm already a neighborhood eccentric. Old Order neighbors have spotted me--gasp--in the garden on a Sunday more than once as they drive past in their buggies. Not done, you see. And they're not the only ones who disapprove. For those of you who do not live in a highly conservative area, you have no idea how wicked I am. I try to simply tour the grounds on the Sabbath and not do any actual frowned upon work. But a stray weed here and there temps me to a quick tug. And I've transplanted a geranium or two..three. I got caught arm deep in potting soil a few weeks ago. Daughter Elise was with me then and said there was nothing for it but to wave as they drove by. She did. I pretended not to notice.


(Red Admiral butterfly on cone flowers)

If possible, I hide from passersby, sink down behind the asters or dart around the sunflowers. I'd really like a secret garden. Speaking of, I love The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Another lovely children's book, also wonderful for appreciative adults, is Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. She has some of the most beautiful garden imagery I've ever read.

“Nothing stands still, except in our memory.” 
― Philippa PearceTom's Midnight Garden


That quote is true of life, and certainly of the garden. Each day is different out there. If you stay away a whole week, the growth in summer is staggering. Two weeks and it's a jungle.


(Evening Primroses bloom at dusk like time lapse photography. This pic was taken in the early morning while they are fresh and dewy.)

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden


I believe the world would be a far far better place if more people had gardens. I'm all for community gardens, and getting children involved in growing things. Herein lies the key to world peace. Beth's shared wisdom. If only the world would listen.


(Poppies and larkspur)

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done--then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.” 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden


"My garden is my favorite teacher." ~Betsy Cañas Garmon


(Abraham Darby, my favorite rose)

If anyone is interested, I wrote an herbal available in kindle and print at Amazon, also print at Barnes & Noble.  

Amazon link:https://www.amazon.com/Plants-Medieval-Garden-British-Isles/dp/1496111494 


An illustrated collection of plants that could have been grown in a Medieval Herb or Physic Garden in the British Isles. The major focus of this work is England and Scotland, but also touches on Ireland and Wales. Information is given as to the historic medicinal uses of these plants and the rich lore surrounding them. Journey back to the days when herbs figured into every facet of life, offering relief from the ills of this realm and protection from evil in all its guises.


Monday, June 27, 2016

YA Fantasy Series--The Secret Warrior

The Secret Warrior series is a YA fantasy/paranormal/romance trilogy (unless I write a fourth story) set present-day in our Virginia Mountains. Native American and mountain people lore, my love of herbs, colonial America, and my wild imagination are part of the inspiration behind the series. Shawnee warrior/wolf shifters, witches, a warlock, the Star People, and other characters, shifters, and creatures run through the stories. And there's the prophecy...


The lizard shifting witch is drawn from mountain people lore about an old woman who basks in the moonlight as a large lizard. They call her the Lizard Lady. In the story, her name is Lilith Dubois, and she lives in a ramshackle old house back in the hollow in the mountains. Not only is she a lizard shifter in the moonlight, she’s a witch with memorizing eyes. If you gaze into their green depths, she can put a spell on you that only she can break. This sort of enchantress is called a gorgon. Bad things happen if you look into their eyes. Tough not to do with her magnetic lure.
(Old mountain home that inspired her house in the story. Image by hubby.)
old house where lizard lady lives
One of the most unusual creatures I’ve brought to life is the thunderbird, a mythological bird based on Native American lore. There are people, of course, who insist the bird is real. Check out YouTube, or MonsterQuest. Since I couldn’t conclusively prove its existence, I took characteristics from Native American lore and added a few of my own, like it hunts only at dusk and during storms. The legendary bird gets its name from the belief that the beating of its great wings account for the booms of thunder, and its flashing red eyes are the lighting. Pretty darn awesome. Likely, the thunderbird derives from Native American respect for the bald eagle and is a greatly exaggerated version. I featured a big territorial male in book 1, The Hunter’s Moon. The bird comes up again in Curse of the Moon in the form of an incubating egg. By book three, The Panther Moon, it's a hatchling.
Royalty free image of Thunderbird.jpg1
What could be better than hatching and training a thunderbird yourself? It’s the Native American dragon. Thunderbirds are said to be intelligent, powerful, and wrathful, so you definitely want one on your side. In Curse of the Moon, Morgan’s younger brother, Jimmy, plans to train and fly a thunderbird. He’s a fearless kid.
Blurb for Curse of the Moon (Book 2, The Secret Warrior Series):
The bad news? Morgan Daniel’s wolf is out of control. The good news? There’s a treatment. She just has to get a potion from a lizard shifter witch--without looking into the witch’s eyes. Easy, right? But when the witch puts a spell on her younger brother, Morgan has to do the witch's bidding to save him.
Fortunately Morgan isn’t alone. She has Jackson to lean on, a few witches coming into their powers, a secret warlock, and the always mysterious Chief Okema. What could possibly go wrong?~
Up next, The Panther Moon. Release Date TBD.

(Setting for the series)
***For more on this story and my other books visit my Amazon Author Page.
***The Secret Warrior series is available from all online booksellers.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Some of the 'Whys' Behind YA Fantasy Series The Secret Warrior

Resized Curse of the Moon.jpg1I’m not a one genre author, possibly because I'm too ADD to stick with a single category or era. No, seriously.  I'm multi-published in historical, ghostly, paranormal, time travel romance, and some nonfiction. YA (Young Adult) is my latest venture. I love writing this genre.
Daughter Elise and several nieces encouraged me to take the YA plunge, so thank or blame them. :)
The Secret Warrior is a YA fantasy/paranormal (with romance) series set present-day in our Virginia Mountains. Native American and mountain people lore, my love of herbs, colonial America, and my wild imagination are part of the inspiration behind the series. Shawnee warrior/wolf shifters, witches, a warlock, the Star People, and other characters, shifters, and creatures run through the stories. And there's the prophecy...
The lizard shifting witch is drawn from mountain people lore about an old woman who basks in the moonlight as a large lizard. They call her the Lizard Lady. In the story, her name is Lilith Dubois, and she lives in a ramshackle old house back in the hollow in the mountains. Not only is she a lizard shifter in the moonlight, she’s a witch with memorizing eyes. If you gaze into their green depths, she can put a spell on you that only she can break. This sort of enchantress is called a gorgon. Bad things happen if you look into their eyes. Tough not to do.
(Old mountain home that inspired her house in the story. Image by hubby.)
old house where lizard lady lives
One of the most unusual creatures I’ve brought to life is the thunderbird, a mythological bird based on Native American lore. There are people, of course, who insist the bird is real. Check out YouTube, or MonsterQuest. Since I couldn’t conclusively prove its existence, I took characteristics from Native American lore and added a few of my own, like it hunts only at dusk and during storms. The legendary bird gets its name from the belief that the beating of its great wings account for the booms of thunder, and its flashing red eyes are the lighting. Pretty darn awesome. Likely, the thunderbird derives from NA respect for the bald eagle and is a greatly exaggerated version. I featured a big territorial male in book 1, The Hunter’s Moon. The bird comes up again in Curse of the Moon in the form of an incubating egg.
Royalty free image of Thunderbird.jpg1
What could be better than hatching and training a thunderbird yourself? It’s the Native American dragon. Thunderbirds are said to be intelligent, powerful, and wrathful, so you definitely want one on your side. In Curse of the Moon, Morgan’s younger brother, Jimmy, plans to train and fly a thunderbird. He’s a fearless kid.
Blurb for Curse of the Moon (Book 2, The Secret Warrior Series):
The bad news? Morgan Daniel’s wolf is out of control. The good news? There’s a treatment. She just has to get a potion from a lizard shifter witch--without looking into the witch’s eyes. Easy, right? But when the witch puts a spell on her younger brother, Morgan has to do the witch's bidding to save him.
Fortunately Morgan isn’t alone. She has Jackson to lean on, a few witches coming into their powers, a secret warlock, and the always mysterious Chief Okema. What could possibly go wrong?~
Up next, The Panther Moon. Release Date TBD.
***For more on this story and my other books visit my Amazon Author Page.
***The Secret Warrior series is available from all online booksellers.