Friday, February 20, 2015
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Find a new jump off place. Launching from the same spot and crashing 'is no even working,' to quote from my then 3-year-old grandson, Colin. Fresh wind will give you lift and the perspective to explore new ground. Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. If you never deter from the path, you don't know what wonders may be hidden in the trees. Hold fast to your faith. If you don't have any, reach deep inside and find some. You're gonna need every last bit.
An author once told me I'd need a second and third skin to be a writer. I was still working on the first one. I'm tougher now, but that doesn't mean the barbs don't hurt. Just less. Every venture in life is a challenge. Some more than others. Writing has to rank way up there. I write because it's what I do, and put my heart into each story. The labor required to craft these creations is indescribable. The gratification must come from the journey, though. Nothing else is a given. Readers may or may not appreciate my efforts. Ultimately, I must write for myself, and I'm exploring new ground. The path's a little hazy, but I'll find my way.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
~ Maya Angelou
~ Maya Angelou
"Out of difficulties grow miracles." ~Jean de la Bruyere
"We know what we are, but know not what we may be." ~William Shakespeare
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Catnip is native to Eurasia, but is naturalized over much of North America and the world, including my garden(s). During the Middle Ages, catnip was used in the treatment of nervous complaints, for colds, to sooth upset stomachs, and as a sleep aid. Catnip was rubbed on meats before cooking (possibly to disguise the flavor if it had gone off) and the leaves were added to salad. Early colonists took catnip to the New World, and it spread from there. (Image of catnip in our garden)
In The Family Herbal, English botanist John Hill says, “Catmint (another name for catnip) is common about our hedges, but of very great virtues.” He recommends it, “Be gathered just when the flowers are opening, and dried. It is an excellent woman’s medicine; an infusion of it is good against hysteric complaints, vapours, and fits, and it moderately promotes the menses.”
In Colonial America: A tea brewed from the leaves was used to treat stomach ache and head colds. Catnip was also steeped in wine and imbibed that way. If a woman wanted to increase her fertility she might soak in a catnip sitz bath. Catnip will take over the garden if you let it, but I like the scent, and the plant, though kind of weedy, is appealing in full flower. Very cheery.
Our cats, particularly our Siamese Tabby Mix, Pavel, love catnip. He rolls in it and chews on the leaves when I sprinkle some on the climbing perch. Even if Pavel is upstairs, he appears in seconds when I get out the catnip. I'm not sure why cats are so besotted by it, just that many are. Though not all. Percy doesn't care one way or the other. Our kittens, Peaches and Cream, are fans. This summer, daughter Elise and I gathered seeds of various plants to save, including catnip. We put them in an envelope and left it on the counter, only to discover the contents scattered and Pavel's mouth suspiciously covered with the leaves of catnip that had accompanied the seed gathering. He claimed to know nothing about it, with that innocence felines can conjure.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Mystery, adventure, spies, turncoats, traitors, Patriots, Tories, and above all, romance, are interwoven in The Traitor's Legacy Series. Book One is award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King, my version of The Patriot with ghostly flavors of Daphne Dumaurier's Rebecca.
Pleasant Grove, the home featured in Enemy of the King, was drawn from Drayton Hall, the oldest preserved plantation in America that's open to the public, located outside the city of Charleston, SC. I also depicted parts of the old family homeplace in Virginia.
Part of the inspiration behind Enemy of the King came from research into my early American Scots-Irish and British ancestors who fought on both sides of the American Revolution. One direct forebear five generations removed from me, Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam, fought in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, NC and kept a diary used by historians today. I was also inspired by the Battle of Kings Mountain, in North Carolina, that helped turn the tide of the revolution in favor of the Patriots and is featured in Enemy of the King. These accounts turned my focus to the Southern face of the war.
Another tie to the past is my grandfather, seven greats back, Sir George Augustus Elliott, a British general and Governor of Gibraltar during the American Revolution. He was awarded the title Lord Heathfield, Baron of Gibraltar, in honor of his bravery in its defense during the attack by the Spanish and French. While Sir George was giving his all for king and country, his grandson was fighting under George Washington as a commissary officer. There must have been quite a rift in that family. While I'm on the subject of ancestors and the past, I should add that the research for this series is staggering, and seemingly endless. I've had help from historians, including the former head historian with colonial Williamsburg, Taylor Stoemer, and assistance from reenactors. I've visited the sites featured in the books, and read a lot. Watched every series on the American Revolution in general, plus specific battles and characters. But I digress. Frequently.
The Wild Rose Press published Enemy of the King in 2009. A sequel featuring the fascinating antagonist, British dragoon Captain Jacob Vaughan, tugged at my mind. I even had a plot and title, Traitor’s Legacy. But, I couldn't settle on the right setting for the story, so left it to simmer and went on with other works.
In late spring, 2012, North Carolinian, Ann See, a big fan of Enemy of the King and fellow colonial American enthusiast, contacted me about writing a sequel set in the oft overlooked, but historically significant town of Halifax, NC. As Enemy of the King takes place in North and South Carolina, and I have strong ties to the Carolinas, this suggestion was appealing.
At Ann's invitation, my husband Dennis and I made a trip to Halifax, and were given a royal tour of this carefully preserved glimpse into our nation’s dynamic past. The quaint town is like a mini colonial Williamsburg. Most impressive among Halifax’s claims to fame, in the spring of 1776, North Carolina’s Fourth Provincial Congress met there, and on April 12, unanimously adopted a document later called the ‘Halifax Resolves,’ the first official action by a colony proclaiming their independence from England. This made Halifax a nest of rebels and thorn in the side of the British––what I needed for my plot.
Much of Traitor's Legacy takes place in and around Historic Halifax. Person’s Ordinary, featured in the novel, was an important stage-coach stop and is the oldest landmark in Halifax County. Located in Littleton, Person’s Ordinary is the oldest preserved structure of its kind in the East, and once served as a tavern owned by Thomas Person. The British occupied the Ordinary in May 1781 when they made their way through Halifax en route to Virginia.
The British Legion, also known as Tarleton’s Legion, headed by the infamous Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, were on horseback and out in front of the rest of the army under command of General Lord Cornwallis. Tarleton underestimated the harassment inflicted by the local militia, whose stubborn resistance resulted in an extended stay by the British and reprisals against the town. In fact, there was so much looting that when Lord Cornwallis arrived, he had to court-martial and execute one sergeant and a dragoon. Apparently, his lordship didn’t want to leave a trail of animosity everywhere his army went. .
Thornton Hall, the plantation home featured in Traitor’s Legacy, is drawn from a run down but once outstanding old house, known as Little Manor, located a mile or two from Person’s Ordinary. The original home was also built by Thomas Person. He wouldn’t recognize it now. Dusk was falling when we drove to the overgrown site to see the derelict house. I knew at once I’d found the perfect home for the novel. Ann supplied me with descriptions of the old house in its glory days and I resurrected it, like restoring the Titanic, with some poetic license, of course. I’d love to move into Thornton Hall. The gardens are also lovely.
Mystery, intrigue, spies, a coded letter, and stirring romance fill the pages of Traitor’s Legacy, while bringing history to life. The story concludes in Williamsburg and Yorktown.
Story Description: 1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency.
Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire.
Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends?~
Back to the novel that started it all, Enemy of the King made the top ten Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009 and is on the 2010 Best Romance Novel List at Buzzle. The story received a five cup review from Coffee Time Romance & More and was voted book of the week at Long and Short Reviews.
I recently completed the third novel in the Traitor's Legacy Series, entitled Traitor's Curse, and submitted it to my historical editor at the Wild Rose Press. While also carefully researched historically, Traitor's Curse has a ghostly element and a mysterious Gothic flavor. This novel will come out in 2015. I don't know when yet. Release date to be determined.
Stay tuned. Meanwhile, catch up by reading the two books already released in the series, Enemy of the King and Traitor's Legacy are available in print and kindle at Amazon, and in eBook from all major online booksellers.
Monday, October 27, 2014
I have eight American historicals published and just completed my ninth, Traitor's Curse, book 3 in the Traitor's Legacy Series. Book 1, Enemy of the King, set during the drama of the American Revolution, opens in an elegant plantation home outside of Charleston, SC, in 1780, and swiftly moves into Carolina Backcountry. The antagonist in Enemy of the King, British Dragoon Captain Jacob Vaughan, captured my imagination and is the hero of Book 2, Traitor's Legacy. Filled with intrigue, spies, and romance, Traitor's Legacy, is largely set in Halifax, NC in 1781, toward the end of the revolution. The story concludes at Williamsburg and Yorktown.
Traitor's Curse, Book 3 in the Traitor's Legacy series, has a mysterious ghostly flavor. This historical is set in and around the town of Halifax, North Carolina at the conclusion of the American Revolution. And I'm slowly inching forward in time. Book four in the Traitor's Legacy series will take place in the latter 1780's. I'm laying the groundwork for that novel, Traitor's Revenge
My colonial American Christmas romance novella, A Warrior for Christmas, is set in affluent colonial society, but the hero, a former Shawnee captive, recently returned from the frontier. This story is also available in audio.
Red Birds Song, Through the Fire, Kira, Daughter of the Moon, and The Bear Walker's Daughter are part of my Native American Warrior series and set in the colonial American frontier. The French and Indian War and Pontiac's War are the backdrop for several stories. Some follow on the heels of war, including the American Revolution. My short story, The Lady and the Warrior, takes place in the frontier after the revolution.
Whether it's Scots-Irish settlers clashing with Native Americans in the colonial frontier, Rebels and Redcoats battling in the revolution, or a more genteel colonial world, apart from the ghosts and furtive assassins, my work encompasses a wide range of settings. All my stories are carefully researched, but they're called fiction for a reason. They take place in Virginia, (also what is now West Virginia), North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
***Amazon has all my titles, some in paperback. Many are also available from other online booksellers.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~Roald Dahl
“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce
“Be patient. The best things happen unexpectedly.”
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ~Dr. Seuss
“It’s a slow process, but quitting won’t speed it up.”
This can apply to most any undertaking
“Give it to God and go to sleep.”
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”
“All glory comes from daring to begin.”
“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” ~Maya Angelou
“Follow your heart but take your brain with you.”
“If you can’t say something nice, say it in French.” ~BabeWalker.com
“If you still care about it, you still care about it.”
“The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.” ~mark nepo
“It doesn’t matter what others are doing. It matters what YOU are doing.” ~ss
“Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.” ~BeHappy.me
“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”
“Even the nicest people have their limits.”
“God has a plan even when you don’t.”
“Surround yourself with the things you love. Discard the rest.”
“Let what you love be what you do.” ~Rumi
“All it takes is one song to bring back a thousand memories.”
“See everything; overlook a great deal; correct a little.” ~Pope John XXIII
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” ~Jimmy Johnson
“Don’t look where you fall, but where you slipped.” ~African Proverb
“Do not fall before you are pushed.” ~English Proverb
“When you throw dirt, you lose ground.” ~Texan Proverb
“God is good, but never dance in a small boat.” ~Irish Saying
“Let go or be dragged.” ~Author Unknown
“Spread joy. Chase your wildest dreams.” ~Patch Adams
“Whatever you are be a good one.” ~Abraham Lincoln