COME WITH ME TO WOLF CREEK! by Cheryl Pierson

This past year, I was honored to be asked to participate in two more of the “Wolf Creek” collections that are the brainchild of Dr. Troy Smith, a wonderful author, outstanding history professor at Tennessee Tech,  and a very good friend. Troy’s vision, when he created the fictional post-Civil War Kansas town of Wolf Creek, was that it would be populated by a very diverse community. That, in itself, would cause its own brand of problems as the people of Kansas were sorely divided during the Civil War—and that conflict left its mark long after the War ended.

With over two dozen western authors making up the fabled “Ford Fargo”, author of the Wolf Creek anthologies and shared universe books, I have found myself in some very fine company to work alongside in these creations. The beauty of this project is that each author has the freedom to incorporate their character(s) into a loose framework that Troy lays out, and every shared story gets off to a great start, has no “sagging middle”, and comes to a very climactic ending—yet, it does so with the efforts of (usually) 6 authors per book.Imagine the thrill of being a part of such a collective effort—and seeing how flawlessly the eventual project comes out!

Available in print and e-book formats at Amazon.

In 2016, I participated in two anthologies. These are somewhat different from the “shared universe” books in which there is one story, divided into chapters. The anthologies are separate short stories, but they do propel the same story along to the completion, in many ways, a lot like the chapter books do.

I had a story in a book that was published in May, Wolf Creek: Book 14—WAR STORIES. This was a fun one, because there is a creepy barber, John Hix, who lives in Wolf Creek. He claims to have had nothing at all to do with the Civil War, yet he’s always wanting others to talk about what THEY did during the War…and he has his own reasons. And let’s just say, there have been some “unexplained disappearances”… This was a bittersweet book, as the incomparable western author, Frank Roderus, was a contributor—and this was one of his last publications before he passed away.

In my story, UNCLE JOHN, my character, Derrick McCain, discovers quite by accident that he has a daughter, six-year-old Viviana, that he didn’t know he had—and her mother is dying. But just as Vivi’s mother passes, Derrick is in for another surprise—one that troubles him to his soul: it becomes apparent that somehow, John Hix, the barber, is well-acquainted with little Vivi and her mother—and this is one man that Derrick doesn’t want anywhere near his family!

Available in print and e-book formats at Amazon.

The second book I contributed to this past year was called Wolf Creek: Book 18—HUNTER’S MOON. My story was THREE GOOD MEN, and this time, the town of Wolf Creek will soon be under siege by a band of raiding Kiowas who will show no mercy. They’ll reach the McCain family farm first, and though Derrick wants nothing more than to stay behind with the three men who’ve come to warn him and make their stand in his farmhouse, he knows he has to see his family to safety above all else. With the help of Sheriff Sam Gardner, a crusty lawman, Derrick and his wife, Leah, begin the trip to Wolf Creek in the dead of night under a hunter’s moon. But it isn’t long before Derrick realizes they are going to have to abandon the wagon and take their chances in the darkness of the forest to have any kind of hope of making it safely to Wolf Creek.

Some of the Kiowas follow, and while Sam and Leah make their way through the night with Vivi and her baby twin brothers, Derrick battles the Kiowas to save his family. When daylight comes, will the McCains and Sam be alive to continue the journey to warn the citizens of Wolf Creek of the impending attack? And what will become of the THREE GOOD MEN who have stayed behind to hold off the Kiowas and give Derrick, his family, and the town of Wolf Creek a fighting chance under a HUNTER’S MOON?

Available in print and e-book formats at Amazon.

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Here’s an excerpt from THREE GOOD MEN. Leah, the children, and Sam are making their way through the forest, and Leah is understandably worried about what’s going to happen. Here, she talks things over with Sam–and wonders where in the heck her husband is–or if he’s even still alive…

They walked in silence for a few more moments. Leah’s mind raced. Where is Derrick? He said he’d be right behind us. By her guess, it had been at least twenty minutes since they’d parted—maybe longer. Leah hurried to catch up with Sam, leaving Vivi out of earshot. “Sam, can you tell me—what was going on with you and John Hix? Were you–”

“Hix is a killer. I figured him out, followed him to your place. Charlie and Roman had ridden up just before I got there. You know the rest.” He shook his head and shifted Liam in his arm. “I hated having to go off and leave him there with Charley and Roman. But…there was no other choice.”

“Do you think—” Leah bit her lip. “I shouldn’t even mention my house at all, with the danger of the Kiowas killing three men. But…I love my home. I love what it means—a family…where my children lay their heads to sleep every night, in safety. Where my husband and I drink coffee in the mornings…and plan our dreams for the future. And where I finally have a place of my own, where I belong. To lose it—”

“Leah, they may not come—”

“Oh, they’ll come. Charley and Roman wouldn’t have stopped at our place if they’d thought there’d be any chance the Kiowas would’ve gone straight on to Wolf Creek. I have a feeling…I know my home will be destroyed.”

“If that happens,” Sam said carefully, “Wolf Creek will help you rebuild. I know that’s small consolation, but—”

She shook her head. “Forgive me. I shouldn’t even be thinking about my things when men’s lives are at stake.” She smiled at him as he glanced at her.

“It’s natural. Thinking about everything you stand to lose,” he replied.

“My family is all that matters. We will rebuild if we have to, of course. The most important thing is that we keep everyone…safe.” Her voice broke.

“You’re worried about Derrick,” Sam stated flatly. “He’s an excellent tracker, as you well know. Could be he decided to go after them; buy us some time. Don’t be thinking the worst, Leah.”

She nodded, and kept putting one foot in front of the other, trying to calm her thoughts. Don’t be thinking the worst. But how can I keep from it?

“Mama, Uncle John said he paid for some candy for me at the store,” Vivi reminded her.

Leah forced herself to smile back at the little girl. “I heard. That was nice of him.”

“He’s going away.”

“Yes.” If John Hix was killed by the Kiowas, or if he went away forever, it would be a relief. Leah had never liked Hix, and she knew Derrick felt the same. They tolerated Hix for Vivi’s sake. And to be fair, Hix doted on their daughter. It was strange to think that the odd little barber knew Vivi better than she or Derrick…or, at least, had known her longer.

“Will he ever come back, Mama?”

“I don’t know, Vivi. But at least he was able to say goodbye.”

Vivi nodded, but she looked downcast.

Leah’s heart clutched. Vivi had suffered so much loss—leaving her home, losing her mother, and now, John Hix. Leah refused to consider the further impending loss that weighed so heavy on her soul right now. Where is Derrick? The thought nagged. Thank goodness Vivi was too young to understand what was happening, truly, at the moment.

They could be in the process of losing everything. Everything, including their very lives.

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Both of my stories have been entered in the WESTERN FICTIONEERS PEACEMAKER COMPETITION. I’ve been a finalist in that contest three times before, so I’m sure hoping for a win this year in the short fiction category with one of these stories.

Y’all keep your fingers crossed for me!

My character, Derrick McCain, is an odd hero because he is “just a man”—not a lawman or an outlaw or anything glamorous. He is a farmer who did some things in the Civil War he isn’t proud of. He’s half Cherokee and half white, and though he didn’t set out to be a “family man”, throughout the Wolf Creek series, he’s found himself in that situation under very different circumstances.

I’m wondering what kind of heroes you all like to see? A lawman set on seeing right done? An outlaw who’s seen the error of his ways and turned his life around? A cowboy fighting for justice on the range? Or someone like Derrick, who just winds up through fate’s hand becoming a hero—though he never thinks of himself that way…

Leave me a comment! I always want to know what other people think, and I’m giving away a print copy of a past WOLF CREEK book that I’ve been a part of to TWO LUCKY COMMENTERS!

Cheryl Pierson
A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work: https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 37 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here: fabkat_edit@yahoo.com
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.pierson.92
http://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules

26 Comments

  1. I love a cowboy working the range or a lawman doing his job. I also love stories about retired (young) lawmen who are trying to settle down but the outlaws don’t want to let him.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    1. Cindy, I love that type of hero, too–a young lawman wants to retire, settle down, have a family…but the pesky outlaws just won’t leave him alone! LOL Is he EVER going to get his desire to live a life that is normal, and where he doesn’t have to worry about his own safety or that of his family? Thanks for stopping by. I think I might just have an idea about my next book…

  2. I have everything crossed for you to win the WESTERN FICTIONEERS PEACEMAKER COMPETITION. I really hope you win!

    I like all kinds of characters but I guess if I had to choose it would be the average Joe, a farmer or a rancher, trying to make a life on the new frontier.

    1. Eliza, thanks so much for wishing well for me in the Peacemaker competition. It’s such an honor to even be a finalist, but oh lawzies, I would sure love to win it! As you might guess, competition is FIERCE! My other “finalist” stories were The Keepers of Camelot (which is probably my favorite short story I ever wrote), It Takes A Man (another Wolf Creek story), and Hidden Trails.

      I’m like you–I like them all, but Derrick was one of those guys who really didn’t know who he was–emotionally, or even literally. In It Takes A Man, he finds out that he has lived a lie his entire life–and boy, does he make some changes. Uncle John and Three Good Men take his story even further. Thanks for stopping by today!

  3. Sounds like a fascinating series. I never heard of it before.

    1. Debra, the earlier books are in boxed sets now called The Wolf Creek Chronicles at a steal of a price, and the later books are out there as single sells. These are really some excellent stories.

  4. I enjoy “just a man” books. Have not heard of this series before. Looking forward to it.

    1. Estella, Troy really had a great idea with this series. He formulates the loose framework of each story, and decides which characters are needed, and then the creator of those characters writes the part of the story they’re assigned to in order to further the plot. It is soooo much fun! Thanks for stopping by today–I hope you will check out the series–while it’s not “romance”, these are all excellent western tales with a huge variety of characters.

  5. Derrick McCain sounds like just the kind of man I like to read about. Someone who isn’t perfect, but tries to learn from his mistakes. Someone who has compassion for others who are not perfect, because he’s been there and understands.

    How great that you were asked to be involved in this series, Cheryl!

    1. Kathryn, I was really honored to be a part of this series from the beginning. With so many authors participating and Troy’s hand at the helm to keep everything flowing and happening as it has to, this has been one of the best group projects I’ve ever worked on. Incidentally, Derrick’s now-best-friend is a black Seminole who, at one point, Derrick was ordered to kill at the end of the Civil War. He refused, and was nearly killed by his commanding officer for disobeying. Years later, they both wind up in Wolf Creek, and Charley Blackfeather confronts Derrick. Charley is one of Troy’s characters, and it has been a lot of fun to develop the love/hate relationship between the two men to the point now where they are best friends.

      Thanks for stopping in today, Kathryn!

  6. What a great series!

    1. Melanie, it has really been a lot of fun. It’s one of those series that you just can’t wait for the next book to be out…and then, “Where’s the next one?” LOL Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Loved the excerpt! I love variety so I enjoy any kind of hero that you want to write 🙂

    1. Catslady, I love variety, too. Derrick was kind of a “first” for me–I’ve written about undercover cops in my contemporary books, medieval knights, and in my western romances, my heroes are usually lawmen or men who are hired guns of some kind…but Derrick was my first “regular guy” who had all kinds of secrets bottled up inside him after the Civil War. He just wasn’t sure what to do with himself. LOL

  8. Best of luck in the Peacemaker Competition, Cheryl! I must say I enjoy most all types of heroes.

    1. I do too, Britney. There aren’t very many heroes I can’t identify with on some level and want to find out what’s going to happen in their lives. Thanks for your very kind words!

  9. Would love to win your latest Cheryl Pierson I so have enjoyed the books I I have read by so far with Fire Eyes being my favorite so far.Love Love your writing!!!!

    1. Aw, Glenda! Thank you so much! You are too kind!

  10. Hi, Cheryl. Late again. Interesting post. Dr. Troy Smith must certainly have things outlined and coordinated well. I wouldn’t think it would be that easy to have that many authors working together seamlessly on a project like this. I hope this year will be the one for you to win the Peacemaker Competition. I’ll have to check into getting a few of these to read. Of course my TBR Mountain has gotten a bit out of hand. I’ll be laid up for medical reasons, so maybe I’ll get some reading done.

    1. Patricia, I understand about the TBR pile, believe me. So much to look forward to, though! LOL Hope everything will be right as rain with you real soon, dear friend. Yes, Troy is a genius when it comes to these things. He is really awesome at keeping the story line flowing and bringing in the different characters. It’s a lot of fun.

  11. Guess I really didn’t answer the question. Anyone can be a hero, so I can see any of those you mentioned filling the part. Sometimes just living your life, as ordinary as it may be, takes a lot of courage.

    1. You are so right. There are heroes everywhere–you don’t have to be a lawman or whatever–that’s why I had so much fun with Derrick, and he continues to surprise me with each story. LOL Thanks for coming by!

  12. Good luck with your Peacemaker submissions Cheryl.
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts about the Wolf Creek series. It is an interesting concept that I’m looking forward to being involved in come your summer when the next anthology comes out, having taken on the role of Jake Andrews. Troy has been a great help.
    I bought the first box-set the other day and have dived eagerly into it.

    To your question, I guess I’m a traditional type who always likes a figure who fights for right over wrong no matter what he does, although I tend to lean towards fast-guns with or without a badge, who stand-up for those who need it.

    1. Welcome aboard the WC crew, Brent! That’s awesome. You are going to enjoy collaborating and seeing the finished product–it’s always amazing how well it flows. I’m glad Troy put those into boxed sets–makes it so nice to have them “handy” to go right into the next story.

      Yes, that is truly what it boils down to, isn’t it? Fighting for right over wrong no matter what else. So glad you came over and commented, and so glad you’re going to be a part of Wolf Creek!

  13. This sounds like an amazing series, would love to read it.

    1. Quilt Lady, there’s never a dull moment in Wolf Creek–it’s a town just full of secrets and problems and Indian raids, along with evil men who are trying to take over the town for their own purposes–and of course, those who are fighting them off. LOL Thanks for stopping by!

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