Shenandoah Watercolors
My new nonfiction release is out!
Written in a month by month journal style, Shenandoah Watercolors follows a year in my life on our farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. This collection of word paintings begins in May 2003 and concludes at the end of May 2004––a highly significant year for our family as it turned out.
Uncertain what route to pursue regarding its publication, I set it aside and continued to work on my fictional historicals for The Wild Rose Press. However, my mother showed Shenandoah Watercolors to a local historian who insisted it beautifully captured a vanishing way of life and must be published, an insistence that nagged at the back of my mind. With the evolution of the eBook world I decided to self-publish and share Shenandoah Watercolors with my fans.
My mother, Pat Churchman, did the spectacular cover and was of immeasurable help in editing this book, reading it over and over.  We originally intended to include some of her wonderful photographs of the valley and mountains, but the enormous undertaking involved was too daunting.  As it was, I had to hire an editor to format the manuscript for epub, not as easy as you might think.  So I invite you to explore my home blog where many of mom’s photographs are featured in various posts on gardening and rural life at
Description of Shenandoah Watercolors:
Author/farm wife Beth Trissel shares the joys and challenges of rural life on her family’s small farm located in the scenic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Journey with her through the seasons on the farm, owned by her family since the 1930′s, and savor the richness of her cherished gardens and beloved valley. This journal is a poignant, often humorous, sometimes sad glimpse into a vanishing way of life for anyone who loves or yearns for the country and even those who don’t.~
Shenandoah Watercolors is available as an ebook at Amazon Kindle and at Barnes & Noble as a Nookbook. (However Barnes&Noble hasn’t gotten my cover up yet and I have no idea why.  Amazon was prompt.)
*Also, for those of you who didn’t realize, you can download Free software at Amazon for reading Kindle books on your computer called Kindle for PC.

No fancy pictures today because I am gonna tell you about my psychic experience!
I had a reading. The very first thing she said is that she saw money all around me. Where????
She did say that my second book was fantastic, Hmmm, I was gonna make a lot and sell it very soon.
But what was most interesting was the spirits she saw around me. She picked up on my grandmother and she told me a few things. She said my grannie was squeezing my cheeks and doing the Woo, Woo, that the last pope used to do. Well I'll tell you I got the chills. Cause she always did that.
She told me my aunt was there, the great cook. The one who taught me how to. Wow!!
That there was a baby girl there with them and she is happy. Now I never had any children so this one tripped me up. Until I got the chills when my sister yelled, "It's Lauren!!" The daughter she lost at birth. Freaky eh?
She talked about land I had near Maggie Valley in NC. The reason we have had so much trouble is that the place is haunted by angry spirits!!! That I will sell it and move somewhere else, the spirits would never allow us to be happy, just like the people that live there now. And let me tell you they all fight!!
Over nonsense!
But the thing that touched me the most was when she talked about my father. She got him right off, the force of his personality set her back. She told me he was sorry. Now, many times in my life I have tried to get my father to say that. He never would. She said he was abusive, but that he wanted me to know that was all he knew. She said he loved me and that he wished he'd acted differently. What hit me like a rock was when she said he was proud of me. Very. That would be a first if it were true. He was a rough taskmaster and his idea of respect was if you were afraid of him. But for the first time in my life. I heard those words. And I hope in my heart that they are true words. Cause then I could go on and forget the bad things. So what do you think, is she for real? What do you all think. Do you believe???

You may know I’m a Virginian living in the lovely Shenandoah Valley, but did you realize my family has been here for several hundred years and were among the earliest settlers in the valley, that the driving force behind my writing has been my passion for Virginia and its rich history, and reaches even further back to my English/Scots-Irish roots?
I find inspiration in the stories and places known to the people who’ve gone before me.  Many of these homes were dear to them and still are to us today.  I’m also an enormous fan of old gardens, mills, churches…if it’s historic, I’m on board.
Some of the old Virginia homes I’ve found most intriguing and inspiring are described and illustrated below.  This is only a sampling of the many beautiful houses that date to various time periods in Virginia’s extended history.
Mount Vernon, (above), the home of George Washington (built in 1757).  Mount Vernon is absolutely exquisite and the grounds are too.  I can’t rave enough about Mount Vernon.  The gardens are wonderful and the last time I was there, they sold heirloom flower seeds you can grow in your own gardens.  Same thing at Monticello.  Many of these historic sites are accompanied by museums and gift shops that offer items and books unique to that place.  Excellent for doing research on any particular site or time period.
Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson (Built in 1772). I love Monticello, a wonderful old home, and the grounds and gardens are fabulous.  It’s filled with Jefferson’s inventions.  He was an amazing man whom I much admire.  We are proud to claim him as a Virginian, along with a number of other outstanding founding fathers, including George Washington mentioned above.   Not to neglect the founding mothers of whom my favorite is Abigail Adams.  If you haven’t seenThe Adam’s Chronicles, you really should.  Extremely well done series, produced by Tom Hanks,  much of which was actually filmed in Virginia.
The beautifully historic homes in Colonial Williamsburg…all of Williamsburg, actually, are wonderful. Largely restored in the 1930′s, Williamsburg is a major tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world.  My dad tells me his aunt had an antique shop there he used to visit, now gone.  Sigh.  Wish that was all restored and still in the family.  How kewl would that be?  I’m a huge fan of colonial Williamsburg.  You haven’t lived until you’ve visited Williamsburg, but if at all possible go during the less crowded and more pleasant seasons of spring or fall.  Summer can be quite hot and humid, but anytime is better than missing it altogether and they do have air conditioning in most of the buildings.  The last time I was there the weather was cool and the crowd thin.  Just the way I like it.  I toured once in cold wind-driven rain, but the crowd was light.  Come to think of it, it’s high time I went back for another visit.
The magnificent Carter’s Grove Plantation (Completed in 1755)  An amazing place!  We visited Carter’s Grove repeatedly on our honeymoon as we went to Williamsburg and it’s not far.  Carter’s Grove is spectacular.  Definitely one of the most impressive colonial homes I’ve ever visited.  I try to imagine actually living there.
Shirley Plantation (Completed in 1738) Fascinating old home and outbuildings.  Shirley is part of the inspiration behind light paranormal romance Somewhere My Love. I have a separate post about Shirley’s famous ghost, Aunt Pratt.  That’s an amazing tale in itself, and one I've featured on this blog and my home blog at One Writer's Way. For the ghost story of Aunt Pratt click here.
The idea of haunted homes has also influenced my work.  But I digress... 
Berkeley Plantation (Brick home built in 1726 but the history of the site extends much further back into early America).  I was particularly struck by Berkeley, part of the inspiration behind light paranormal Somewhere My Love.  Berkeley has beautiful gardens too.  I have a separate post on Berkeley, the actual site of the first Thanksgiving.
Chapel Hill our Virginia family home place (Circa 1816) *the snowy pic below of the home decorated for Christmas.  This beautiful old house had enormous significance in my life and undergirds every story I tell set in an old plantation.  That ‘snake incident’ in historical romance Enemy of the King happened right here.  Those of you who think snakes can’t wind themselves around the antlers of a buck mounted up on the wall best think again.   And they like to do it at night when small children are on route to the bathroom.
I recently completed the next story in my 'Somewhere' series entitled Somewhere the Bells Ring, a light paranormal Christmas short set at this old family home in 1968 with flashbacks to 1918 and the World War One era.
The Joshua Wilton House“The Joshua Wilton House…is a superb small inn and restaurant” – The Sunday New York Times ~ To quote from their website: “Joshua Wilton House offers guests an oasis of quiet charm and gracious living in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. In an elegantly restoredVictorian home, Joshua Wilton House occupies a corner in the historic “Old Town” district of Harrisonburg, Virginia.”
This lovely old home (lit up at night) is part of the inspiration behind light paranormal romance Somewhere My Lass. I used a compilation of Victorian era Virginia homes, some of which I’ve lived in, for the mysterious house in historic Staunton Virginia where the story begins~
Books I’ve written most influenced by old homes thus far include:
Colonial American Romance Novel Enemy of the King
Light Paranormal Romance Novel Somewhere My Love
Light Paranormal Romance Novel Somewhere My Lass 
A Warrior for Christmas,  in An American Rose Christmas Anthology.
I explored my fascination with castles in light paranormal time travel romance  Somewhere My Lass as part of my Scottish rootsThis is the beautiful Eilean Donan. I hope you share my passion for the past and these wonderful old homes in particular.  But whether you do or not, I will always cherish these places and my memories of them.

Happy Easter, all!
I hope you are having a good hare day.

No I did not hide an egg there!

Or there

What am I doing this lovely Easter weekend? Well, I played Mama Thursday night so my daughter is now able to work over the weekend. Hey, working is a good thing.

I am working to self-publish a book of my heart, actually 2 books of my heart. Why would I do that? The truth is that I have tons of rejections and want folks to be able to read my stories. I am still working on stories I hope to sell, of course.

I found a gem of a cover artist who asked me questions and prepared a mock up for me. Bet you'd like to see it. Well, not yet! As soon as it's ready, you'll see it here! Just a hint. It rocks, so far.

Now back to reading the directions to upload it or download it or whatever. I am so technically challenged!

Enjoy your

On May 20, my erotic novella Celestial Sin releases from The Wild Rose Press, The Wilder Catalog, under the name Bianca Swan. I enjoyed writing this novella and am glad to swim out to sea on the next great wave of paranormal romance/urban fantasy. Demons and fallen angels are the vampires of yesterday. Not that vampire novels aren’t still popular—and I’m glad they are. My short, Black Swan, is about a society of humans who willingly submit to the vampire to experience the ecstasy of the Kiss.

So my offering as the demon/fallen angel wave crests:

Early on, Essie McBane set her standards high and waited for true love. She never expected the answer to her prayer to literally fall from heaven in the shape of a warrior angel with chestnut curls and a celestial body. As much as she'd love to teach the divine creature a thing or two about sex and lust, can she be responsible for leading him into temptation?

Sinfully handsome Cam-ael, an angel, is wounded in the second war between heaven and hell and plummets into the arms of a beautiful human. But Cam knows he must return eventually, no matter how much he likes the material pleasures of earth. Not to mention the sensual pleasure he's found with Essie.

But when his mortal feelings for Essie draws a demon into the midst, can Cam protect her or will he learn the true meaning of the word sacrifice?

Excerpt: (edited for a PG-13 site)
“Do you eat? I didn’t think to ask.” Essie continued soaping and stroking his wings.
He bit his lip to stifle another groan of ecstasy. “I never have eaten, but the soup smelled delicious.”

“I guess there’s a lot you’ve never done. Tell me about Heaven.”

“Later.” He couldn’t think of home in this condition. Guilt stabbed through him, his stomach clenching, but why should he care anymore? He and his brothers had been betrayed.

She patted a wing. “There you are. Rinse before you get a chill.”

Reluctantly, Cam dipped his wings in the pond. He’d promised not to read her mind, but she was broadcasting on such a strong frequency he couldn’t help hearing her thoughts.

Now, big boy, strut out naked.

He gave Essie her wish, emerging from the water fully erect. He didn’t try to hide anything as water and cold glazed his skin.

She inhaled slowly, her lips parted. Her expression robbed him of breath. The phenomenon of unintentionally hearing her thoughts must occur in intense situations—and they were both emotionally and physically charged. Cam felt like he was ionized.

Essie peeled her gaze off his equipment and looked into his eyes. “I thought angels were supposed to be androgynous.”

“No.” His grin tasted wicked, and he knew that mischief sparkled in his eyes. “We come fully equipped.” He shook the hair back from his face. “That’s the hell of it. I’m not supposed to use it.”


I wrote the script, our own Toni Sweeney and I chose the pictures, she chose the music and produced this New Covey nominated trailer for Celestial Sin.

For the SO sinful cover, another excerpt and a free erotic read, Bianca invites you to visit Bianca’s blog.

Hope you’ll drop by May 20th for the Release Day party. Prizes are involved!