WHAT DO YOU PREFER? SHORT STORIES OR NOVELS? (AND A GIVEAWAY!) by CHERYL PIERSON

I had never thought of myself as a short story writer.  But if it hadn’t been for short stories, I never would have “broken in” to this business.  I’d always wanted to write longer projects, and in fact, had written a huge saga-type western novel that I still have hopes of someday revamping (and it will take a LOT of revamping) and getting out there. That was the true book of my heart that set me on this path.  But I had a lot to learn about writing.

After sending the query and first three chapters out to several agents, I did land one. But after a year of nothing happening, I couldn’t see anything changing. I was getting very depressed, to say the least.

A friend of mine found a call for submissions from Adams Media for their Rocking Chair Reader series.  This series was somewhat akin to the Chicken Soup For the Soul books, and my friend and I had already missed the deadline for the first of the series! But there was another anthology coming out as a follow up to the first one.  The second one was called, ROCKING CHAIR READER—MEMORIES FROM THE ATTIC.  These stories were true stories about something the writer had found years later that brought back memories of something that happened in childhood.  I had the perfect tale! I wrote it and submitted it, and thankfully, the editor liked it, as well. That led to several more publications with Adams Media through these anthologies, and then a few stories with Chicken Soup.

 

But these stories were all based in truth, and I wanted to write fiction.  Western romance fiction.  It was shortly after that when I sold my first book, FIRE EYES, to The Wild Rose Press, and then branched out into contemporary romantic suspense with SWEET DANGER.  While writing these novels, I had been approached by a couple of publishing companies asking for fictional short stories.  But did I really want to go back to short stories?  The answer was YES.

Writing those short stories in the beginning helped me realize that while I was adding to my portfolio of credits, I was also proving to myself that I could write compactly, in short story form.  Writing a short story is a totally different breed of cat than writing a novel. Making each word or scene count and not seeming to rush the story while doing it is something I will forever be working on, just to improve the telling of the story even more.

Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to tell a story in six words. This is what he wrote:  “Baby shoes for sale.  Never worn.”  If that doesn’t tell a story, I don’t know what does.

 

I’ve written many Christmas-themed short stories–most of them with a western historical holiday setting. A Night for Miracles, Homecoming, Meant to Be,  and The Gunfighter’s Girl are all included in my single author collection, A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS

One of my favorite Christmas short stories is Outlaw’s Kiss–because I love stories that give the hero his redemption!

 

I have two other single author anthologies of short stories. WINTER MAGIC is  a set of three stories about three brothers and how they meet the woman of their dreams–under less than ideal circumstances!

And DARK TRAIL RISING is a collection of western short stories, containing my Western Fictioneer Peacemaker nominated stories HIDDEN TRAILS and THE KEEPERS OF CAMELOT, as well as two other stories, SHOT FOR A DOG and THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS.

All of these stories are available at my Amazon page:

    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002JV8GUE/a /strong/em?tag=pettpist-20

Here’s a bit about some of these stories.

HOMECOMING:

A holiday skirmish sends Union officer, Jack Durham, on an unlikely mission for a dying Confederate soldier—his enemy. As he nears his destination, the memories of the soldier’s final moments mingle with his own thoughts of the losses he’s suffered because of the War, including his fiance, Sarah. Will the miracle of Christmas be able to heal his heart in the face of what awaits him?

THE GUNFIGHTER’S GIRL:

Miguel Rivera is known as El Diablo, The Devil. Men avoid meeting his eyes for fear of his gun. Upon returning to a town where he once knew a brief happiness, Miguel is persuaded by a street vendor to make a foolish holiday purchase; two scarlet ribbons.

When Catalina, his former lover, allows him to take a room at her boarding house, Miguel soon discovers a secret. Realizing that he needs the scarlet ribbons after all, he is stunned to find them missing.

Can a meeting with a mysterious priest and the miracle of the scarlet ribbons set Miguel on a new path?

THESE ROUGH DREAMS:

When Southern socialite Gabrielle Mason discovers she’s pregnant, she takes her future into her own hands. She has her family name to consider, and a husband is what she needs. She answers an ad for a mail-order bride in Indian Territory. But the man who proposes isn’t the man she ends up marrying.

Johnny Rainbolt is not a family man by any stretch of the imagination…but Fate is about to give him no choice. His late sister’s three children will be arriving on the next stage, and he has no idea what to do with them. When cultured Gabby Mason is left waiting for her prospective groom at the stage station, Johnny sees a way to solve everyone’s problems.

Some dreams get off to a rough start. A mail-order marriage is only the beginning. When one of the children is stolen, Johnny and Gabby are forced to depend on one another in an unimaginable circumstance that could turn tragic… or show them what might become of THESE ROUGH DREAMS. ** SENSUAL

OUTLAW’S KISS:

Talia Delano has been humiliated before the entire town of Rock Creek by Jake Morgan. A known gunman, Jake has bid an outrageous sum for Talia’s “boxed supper”, a kiss, and the gift of her time for the rest of the Independence Day celebration. But, as always, Jake changes the rules and takes more than he should—especially with the whole town watching. Talia’s chance of happiness is dashed, along with her reputation, when Jake leaves Rock Creek suddenly.

When he shows up five months later at her farmhouse, wounded, and in the midst of a blinding snowstorm, she can’t turn him away—even though she knows being alone with him will cause tongues to wag once more. But with Christmas only two days away, how can she harden her heart against the handsome outlaw who has no place else to go—even if he is being trailed by someone just as dangerous? Magic and danger are woven together in the OUTLAW’S KISS.

WINTER MAGIC:

The Diamond brothers are cast out into the world by a crooked business deal at a young age. They’ve lost everything—including their father. Although they are forced to make their own way, brotherly bonds remain unbreakable: It’s all for one and one for all.

HEARTS AND DIAMONDS—Revenge sets hired gun Nick Diamond after a bride, and nothing will stand in his way. But when that bride happens to be outspoken firebrand Liberty Blankenship, all bets are off. Anything can happen when HEARTS AND DIAMONDS collide!

SPELLBOUND—Safecracker Brett Diamond and witch Angie Colton take on a border gang leader who is pure evil. Can Angie’s supernatural powers save them? No matter what, Brett and Angie are hopelessly SPELLBOUND.

LUCK OF THE DRAW—Handsome gambler Jake Diamond and beautiful fledgling sorceress Lainie Barrett make a last-ditch effort to reunite Lainie and her mother for Christmas. Along the way, Jake and Lainie realize there’s no escape from the powerful attraction they feel toward one another. But do they know each other well enough to become a family when they rescue an abandoned infant? With their own particular talents, they discover life is one big poker table—and love can be had if they are willing to risk it all!

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE DRAWING OF A DIGITAL COPY OF OUTLAW’S KISS OR THESE ROUGH DREAMS! I WILL PICK TWO WINNERS AFTER 8:00 P.M. THIS EVENING.

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

22 Comments

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  1. Cheryl, I LOVE your short stories and have read several of them. However I would much prefer a novel. I love getting lost in a great book. I have the opportunity to read for a couple of hours every night and I’m kind of a slow reader, (I like to absorb what I’m reading) so it takes me about a week or two to finish a book (depending on it’s size). But I love to just take my time and enjoy the story and get to know the characters. Fall in love with them, remember them. I absolutely love it when characters stay with me after I am done with a book. That’s when I know it’s a great book!

    1. Dale, you’ve made my day! LOL It’s always nice to hear that someone has read and enjoyed my work–short stories or novels! I’m a slow reader, too–especially if it’s a book I love–I read quickly to see what is happening! But then…I go back and read it slower and just savor it. And I don’t have much time to read for pleasure any more–most of my reading is editing for Prairie Rose. I’m the same way about characters–I want them to stay with me after the book ends–oh, there are some books that stay with us forever, aren’t there? Those are the best!

  2. Cheryl- Gello what a wonderful giveaway and I am so glad you started writing short stories. Fire Eyes and Capture The Night were my 1st two books by you and they totally engulfed me. Since those 2 I’ve read many more. I’m on my dream vacation right now in Wyoming. Today I’ll be visiting The Tetons and tomorrow Yellowstone and I’m so excited. I hoe you have a wonderful week and keep these amazing books coming. Love & hugs!!

    1. Hi Tonya! Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed Fire Eyes and Capture the Night–those are special to me–I guess they’re all special, but for different reasons, those two are especially. Wyoming! What a great vacation! I’ve never been there, but always wanted to see it. Yellowstone, especially, is something I’d like to see. You’ll have to give us a run-down when you get home and send some pictures! Y’all have fun!

  3. I love short stories occasionally but I love a nice thick saga type Western Historical Romance mostly. I have red Fire Eyes and The Half Breeds Woman by you and I throughly loved them both!! My daughters just last week bought me a Kindle Fire and I would dearly love to win these books from you to add to it and begin to build a library on it. Have a Blessed day!!!

    1. Glenda, I love those saga-type western romances, too. More and more, those seem to be fading away–I loved Diana Gabaldon’s books, though I know they’re not westerns–those are the kinds of stories I love–so rich in detail and character development! How cool you got a Kindle Fire — you’ll have to load it up now! LOL Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. I actually love both. Sometimes you just want a nice sweet quick story other times u just don’t want to let the characters to.

    1. Sherry, that’s how I feel, too. Depends on my mood and what I’m feeling like. When I’m writing a short story, I confess there have been a couple of times when I just knew I had to keep adding to the story–it was not “done” yet–and I’ve ended up with full length novels from a short story idea I started with. LOL!

  5. I enjoy both. Sometimes I am in the mood for something short and sometimes I want a nice long one.

    1. Yep, I totally understand. I get that way with my reading AND my writing, Debra.

  6. I read both. It all depends on how much time I have. If I know during the week, I won’t get a lot of reading time, I will pick up a novella. If I have nothing to do all week, I read a full length book.

    1. Hi Janine–I usually read what I want to read when I’m eating lunch. I got in that habit years ago, and still do it when I can–only now that my husband’s retired, I can’t do that as much as I’d like. LOL! I feel fortunate if I can get a chapter a day in on something I am reading for pleasure.

  7. Most of the time I enjoy the short stories. If I know I have more time, like a long trip or vacation, I will pick up a full length book. I love seeing the characters evolve. The short stories, sometimes, leave me wanting more character development.

    1. Lynda, you’re right about that–many short stories lack character development because of the length, of course. But worse is to pick up a full length book and get that same feeling! LOL (I’ve seen my share of those, too.) I like to have my characters in my short stories have some prior knowledge of each other, so that they don’t have to start from “square one” and race to the bedroom before they really know one another. In Outlaw’s Kiss, they had known one another from their past. In The Keepers of Camelot, of course, Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot all had a shared past, only now they’re meeting on unfamiliar ground. At least if the characters have some kind of past together it’s easier to get them to the end of the story without as much awkwardness, in some cases.

  8. I generally prefer novels but I do read short stories and I’m reading one now. You’re exactly right about each work and scene counting in a short story, and I think that in a way they’re harder to pull off for those reasons. Thank you for the list of your short stories that I’ll check out to see what I’ve missed. (Please don’t enter me in the contest since I don’t have a digital reader.)

    1. ELIZA! OMG, it’s sooooo good to see you back here at P&P! I hope you are on the road to recovery and feeling so much better! Please e-mail me when you feel up to it, will you? No rush, just when you feel like it. fabkat_edit@yahoo.com

      Yes, short stories are very hard to write, but I think writing them has helped me a lot with my writing in general. It does teach you to be very careful when you are having to keep to a word limit for an anthology!

  9. Novel but I do read short stories too.

    1. I do, too, Kim–I read everything! I remember in high school how so many of my classmates hated the short story unit in English, but I loved it–so many new things to read and it was SCHOOL WORK! LOL

  10. I enjoy reading both… just depends on time and mood which I choose at a certain moment to read!

    1. I’m with you, Colleen. I especially love holiday-themed short stories.

  11. Sorry I got here late. Good for you starting out with short stories to at least get your foot in the publishing door. It sounds easier, but like you said, it takes a special ability to tell a story succinctly and in a short format. Hemingway’s example is stunning. You have put out some good books in both short and long format. I would like to think that some day I will get organized enough and life’s distractions will ease of enough for me to be able to sit down and write.

    Your winners are in for some enjoyable reading. Have a great week.

    1. Better late than never, Patricia! LOL I’m always glad to see you, late or not. I hope, too, that one day SOON you will be able to sit down and write. I know you have some wonderful stories to tell–you’ve had a really interesting life–and we always incorporate ourselves into our stories somehow. Thanks so much for your very kind words!

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