Thursday, May 21, 2009

Behind the Story: THROUGH THE FIRE by Beth Trissel

When I wrote historical romance novel Through the Fire I felt as though I’d been through the flames. My hero and heroine certainly had. This adventure romance with a Last of the Mohicans flavor and a mystical weave was born in the fertile ground of my imagination, fed by years of research and a powerful draw to my colonial American roots.

My fascination with stirring tales of the colonial frontier and Eastern Woodland Indians is an early and abiding one. My English/Scot-Irish ancestors were among the first settlers of the Shenandoah Valley and had family members killed and captured by the Indians. Some individuals returned and left intriguing accounts of their captivity, while others disappeared without a trace. On the Houston/Rowland side of the family, I have ties to Governor Sam Houston, President James Madison and Malcolm 1st of Scotland (that last one’s a stretch).
Family annals list early names like Beale, Jordan, Madison, and Hite (a German connection I discovered). A brief account of my grandmother (nine generations removed) Elizabeth Hite, says her sister Eleanor was taken captive and sister Susan killed, though not by which tribe. Their brother Jacob was killed by the Cherokee in South Carolina.

Another ancestor, Mary Moore, is the subject of a book entitled The Captives of Abb’s Valley. A Moffett forebear captured as a child became a boyhood companion of the revered Shawnee Chief Tecumseh. When young Moffett grew up, he married into the tribe and had a son, but that’s the subject of a different novel. An ancestor on the Churchman side of the family was invited by the Shawnee/Delaware to help negotiate a treaty with the English because he was Quaker and more sympathetic to the tribes.

Many accounts are unrecorded, though. Historian Joseph Waddell says we know only a fraction of the drama that occurred during the Indian Wars. I invite you to journey back to a time long forgotten by most.

Hear the primal howl of a wolf, the spill of a mountain stream. Are those distant war whoops? Welcome to the colonial frontier where the men fire muskets and wield tomahawks and the women are wildcats when threatened. The year is 1758, the height of the French and Indian War. Passions run deep in the raging battle to possess a continent, its wealth and furs. Both the French and English count powerful Indian tribes as their allies.

Rebecca Elliot is an English lady. In her attempt to escape a painful past, she unwittingly enters a dangerous world of rugged mountains, wild animals, and even wilder men. The rules are different here and she doesn't know them.

Shoka is a half-Shawnee, half-French warrior, swift and sure like the hawk, and silent as the moon. He makes Rebecca his prisoner, but the last thing he wants is to lose his head and already shredded heart to another impossibly beautiful woman…this one with blindingly blue eyes and a blistering temper. With dark forces gathering against them, will Rebecca and Shoka fight together or be destroyed?

Through the Fire is coming to the Wild Rose Press May 22nd. Daughter of the Wind, a light paranormal romance novel with strong Native American elements, was released May 1st.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BEAUTIFUL PLACES: A Village in Ireland and a Tiny Medieval Village in France

Thanks for being patient while I resolved my internet crisis. I think it's resolved, at least.

Don't you love this one? Sent in by Kerri Nelson, she says: "Just found your blog and love your new contest. Thought I'd send you a pic of where we went for our honeymoon. Well, this was one adorable town that we visited in Ireland known as "Westport: The Tidiest Town in Ireland". Gotta love a tidy town, aye?"

There will be more later from others, I hope, since several people have indicated they want to send in pics. In the meantime, I thought I'd show you the place that was the surprise of our Mediterranean Cruise last September:

I didn't go on the cruise with any special expectations of France because my interest was in Italy and Spain, where I want to set some books. But I thought a tiny 16th Century village set in the foothills of the Alps would be a unique change of pace. It was more than that. St. Paul de Vence, above Nice, completely charmed me. Today it's mostly a tourist trap, of course, but it is remarkable anyway. Above is a view of residences on the outskirts of this little walled village. Few people live inside the walls now and most of it consists of lovely little boutiques, art galleries and outdoor cafes. But much of the ancient structure is preserved.

The village area was inhabited at least back to the 9th Century. In the 16th Century, apparently the King of France saw the village as vital to the defense of his interets, so he took over, kicking out most of the residents to re-build and wall in the village as a fortress to defend the pass between France and Savoy. The walled structure from this time remains, but there is not much change in the actual buildings. I'm telling you this the way the tour guide told us. You can find a more detailed- and more accurate- summary of this charming little place at

There are no streets inside the walls wide enough to drive a car. These wonderful paved walkways wind up and down, all through the village, past shops and outdoor cafes, up to the high capped city walls where you can look down on the cramped little cemetery and beyond to the valley below. I didn't see the Mediterranean from here, but it's visible from the village walls.

I didn't actually ask, but I'm sure these lovely pebbled pavements were created very recently. But their charm only adds to the medieval ambiance.

So now I have one more Most Beautiful Place in the World. And now I'm imagining stories of a fictional tiny village guarding a pass between two nations in the Alpine foothills, and the struggle to possess it. Hero and heroine on opposite sides of the conflict, of course.

Big Internet Fight

I'm back, at last, after fighting with the internet for over a week. New router, more trouble. But it looks like we're back on line solidly now. I'll be posting later this afternoon. Thanks, all, for being patient.


About Me

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I write write write. Sometimes I travel. Then I write some more. And I have a great family who understand that I write write write.