Today, I’m blogging about my most recent release, JASON’S ANGEL. In case this title sounds familiar to you, it was previously released in an anthology with Victory Tales Press, and also as single-sell short story with Western Trail Blazer. It’s making its “re-release appearance” with PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS now, with an awesome new cover.
I’m excited about JASON’S ANGEL being released as a “stand alone” story, selling at only .99 ! I’m giving away two copies of JASON’S ANGEL today! Please leave a comment along with your contact info and you will be entered—it’s that simple.
Jason’s Angel takes on several issues with the society of that time. The story takes place just as the War Between the States is winding down. Jason wears Union blue, but speaks with a Georgia accent. To make things even more difficult, he’s half Cherokee, half Scottish! When he’s wounded and winds up at a Confederate hospital, there’s only one thing kind-hearted Sabrina Patrick can do…
Jason ‘s Angel by Cheryl Pierson
Two wounded Union soldiers will die without proper treatment. Sabrina Patrick realizes they won’t get it at the Confederate army hospital where she helps nurse wounded men. She does the unthinkable and takes them to her home.
Jason McCain’s pain is eased by the feel of clean sheets, a soft bed, and a touch that surely must belong to an angel. But what reason could an angel have for bringing him and his brother here?
EXCERPT FROM JASON’S ANGEL:
It was only a brief touch of their lips, Sabrina told herself, and should not have caused the waves of trembling heat to rush over her. His lips were firm and strong. And she kissed him back.
He’d reached up and gently pulled her to him. As if he’d sensed her concern over Desi being in the room, he’d glanced to where she sat talking to Eli, once more engrossed in conversation, and when Sabrina had started to protest, he’d squeezed her shoulder in silent reassurance. And she had kissed him back.
He’d been so gentle and—oh Lord, had Eli seen that kiss? She had responded heartily to his brother. She had not pushed Jason away or protested in the least. She had welcomed it. There was no doubt for either of them. She had definitely kissed him back.
As she pulled away, she opened her lids to find him watching her. His dark eyes smoldered with desire. But it didn’t scare her. It excited her.
Good Lord. She stood quickly, her head spinning so that she almost missed her first step toward the door. When had she last eaten? That had to be the cause of her unsteadiness. But why was her heart pounding so frantically? It was only a kiss. One kiss.
As a child, I remember how my mom used to shake her head every year as the stores put their Christmas decorations out earlier and earlier, each trying to get the jump on the others. If she were here today, she and I would both be shaking our heads together. Last week, I went into Wal Mart and noted that they had nearly completed their Christmas decorations in the lawn and garden center. Christmas trees were lighted and fully decorated. A mechanical Santa waved and said, “HO HO HO.”
That very day, when I came home, I had a notice from Amazon in my inbox with my short story, WHITE CHRISTMAS at the top of it along with many other Christmas short stories by other authors. It declared that Christmas was almost here and this would be a great time to pick up some holiday reading. My sales for that story rose overnight. I e-mailed my publisher and asked if we might hurry up the release of two more .99 Christmas stories that were nearly ready to go, and yes, I was shaking my head.
Christmas has always been a miraculous time for me. It still is. When I was younger, it was because of the presents, and the anticipation that came with the season. My parents were not wealthy, but we had the necessities and a few of the luxuries. My mom was a great manager. She could make the smallest thing seem of the greatest value. She could transform our house into a marvelous Christmas haven with her decorations, wonderful cooking and a few well-wrapped packages. When I became an adult, the torch was passed, but the anticipation merely shifted. The excitement I felt was not for myself, but for my children–the joy I could bring to them.
Once I had written A Night for Miracles, I began to think about my heroine, Angela Bentley, and how I might have reacted had I been in her place. I would like to think that I would have done what she did–transformed her small cabin into a memorable Christmas castle that none of the children would ever forget, simply through a good meal, a warm fire, and a gift. But it was all of these things that made Angela’s “gift” — the gift of her heart — special. She put herself out on a limb, having been emotionally wounded before.
I thought about the old legend–that Christmas Eve is a “night for miracles” to happen. Angela was not a rich person by any means, but she gave what she had, freely. She took in the stranger and the three children from the cold, gave them warm beds and fed them. But then she went even further. She gave her heart to them, although it was a huge risk. She comes through with physical gifts, but the true giving was in her spirit. And that leads to a miracle.
A Night For Miracles is one of those short stories that I didn’t want to end. I love a happy ending, and this is one of the happiest of all, for everyone in the story. This story was previously released with another publisher a few years back, but I have to say, I love it in its newly-edited format and the cover by Karen M. Nutt is just gorgeous. I WILL BE GIVING AWAY TWO COPIES OF A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES TODAY! Just leave a comment about one of your own very special Christmases.
Blurb for A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES by CHERYL PIERSON
Legend says that miracles happen on Christmas Eve. Can a chance encounter between a gunfighter and a lonely widow herald a new beginning for them both? On this special night, they take a gamble that anything is possible–if they only believe! Available now with WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER PUBLISHING!
EXCERPT FROM A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES:
Angela placed the whiskey-damp cloth against the jagged wound. The man flinched, but held himself hard against the pain. Finally, he opened his eyes. She looked into his sun-bronzed face, his deep blue gaze burning with a startling, compelling intensity as he watched her. He moistened his lips, reminding Angela that she should give him a drink. She laid the cloth in a bowl and turned to pour the water into the cup she’d brought.
He spoke first. “What…what’s your name?” His voice was raspy with pain, but held an underlying tone of gentleness. As if he were apologizing for putting her to this trouble, she thought. The sound of it comforted her. She didn’t know why, and she didn’t want to think about it. He’d be leaving soon.
“Angela.” She lifted his head and gently pressed the metal cup to his lips. “Angela Bentley.”
He took two deep swallows of the water. “Angel,” he said, as she drew the cup away and set it on the nightstand. “It fits.”
She looked down, unsure of the compliment and suddenly nervous. She walked to the low oak chest to retrieve the bandaging and dishpan. “And you are…”
“Nick Dalton, ma’am.” His eyes slid shut as she whirled to face him. A cynical smile touched his lips. “I see…you’ve heard of me.”
A killer. A gunfighter. A ruthless mercenary.What was he doing with these children? She’d heard of him, all right, bits and pieces, whispers at the “back fence.” Gossip, mainly. And the stories consisted of such variation there was no telling what was true and what wasn’t.
She’d heard. She just hadn’t expected him to be so handsome. Hadn’t expected to see kindness in his eyes. Hadn’t expected to have him show up on her doorstep carrying a piece of lead in him, and with three children in tow. She forced herself to respond through stiff lips. “Heard of you? Who hasn’t?”
He met her challenging stare. “I mean you no harm.”
She remained silent, and he closed his eyes once more. His hands rested on the edge of the sheet, and Angela noticed the traces of blood on his left thumb and index finger. He’d tried to stem the blood flow from his right side as he rode. “I’m only human, it seems, after all,” he muttered huskily. “Not a legend tonight. Just a man.”
He was too badly injured to be a threat, and somehow, looking into his face, shefound herself trusting him despite his fearsome reputation. She kept her expression blank and approached the bed with the dishpan and the bandaging tucked beneath her arm. She fought off the wave of compassion that threatened to engulf her. It was too dangerous. When she spoke, her tone was curt. “A soldier of fortune, from what I hear.”
He gave a faint smile. “Things aren’t always what they seem, Miss Bentley.”
A Night For Miracles is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other fine e-book retail outlets for only .99!
Have any of you ever incorporated your family history into your writing? Do you like to read books that are based, however loosely, on factual happenings?
My mom was the oldest of eleven children. She knew everyone in our family and how they were related. Because she and my dad grew up together in a tiny little town in southeast Oklahoma (their high school had a graduating class of twelve), she also knew quite a lot about his side of the family as well.
But when I was younger, I was not interested in the stories she told me. It was only later, when I
was grown and had children of my own, that I began to wonder and ask questions, and by that time, her memory had already begun to decline.
If you have ever read the book, The Education of Little Tree, (by Forrest Carter) or seen the HBO movie, this story might sound familiar. When Andrew Jackson decided that the Indians were to be assimilated into the white man’s world, he put lots of plans into action that would take years to snowball and evolve into what they eventually became—a truly shameful period in the US governmental policies and procedures. One of Jackson’s plans, besides Removal, that was carried through into subsequent presidencies, was the idea of assimilating Native American children in white homes to integrate them more completely. The Native American children were taken from their villages
and given to willing white families (along with a tidy little government stipend for their troubles) to raise.
My great-great-great grandfather was one of these children. We don’t know his real name. It was changed when he was delivered to his new “family,” a Presbyterian minister and his wife. Their last name was Walls. So his name was changed to Walls, and he was given the first name, David. Forbidden to speak his language, he was forced to forget all the ways of his People, and dress in white man’s clothing, go to white school. But he was never going to be white, and his place in the world was divided so drastically that he could not fit in anywhere. Eventually, the Rev. Walls sent David to medical school in Missouri. When he returned to the small town where he’d been raised, he was a doctor who rode to his patients on horseback. Later, he married and had children, but it was not a happy union and his son, my great-great grandfather, became an alcoholic whose own children, in turn, left home as soon as they possibly could. My great grandmother, his daughter, married at 13. Her older sister left home one day and never returned. No one ever knew what became of her. This is a picture of my great grandmother, Josie Belle Walls McLain Martin (1882-1972). She was around the age of 25 when this was taken in 1907. (Not a lot to smile about–she had four children and her first husband had been killed in an accident. She married a man who had 6 children of his own, and they eventually had 7 together…times were really hard.)
I’ve often thought of these children that were abducted by our cavalrymen, and taken away to their white “families”, forbidden everything familiar and forced to adopt completely new and different ways, even down to their speech and childhood games—and their own names. Can you imagine it? To never be allowed to see your mother and father again. Siblings separated and “given” to different families, their heritage and connection with one another lost forever. How many tears must they have shed? And how lonely and separate they must have felt, how isolated, even into adulthood…so that most of them, I imagine, never were able to fit in anywhere in the world.
My story, ONE MAGIE NIGHT, first appeared in the 2011 SUMMER COLLECTION, available through Victory Tales Press. It is based loosely on what happened to my long-ago ancestor. I’m very happy to say it will also be available (as of June 15) through WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER’S “dime novel” gallery as a single-sell e-book publication for only .99! I don’t have a buy link yet, but if you check my Amazon link it should be on my page shortly after the 15th. I’m very excited about this story because of the personal meaning it has for me, and I’m so glad to see it come alive again in this great .99 e-book venue.
Thanks for stopping by today! I will leave you with an excerpt of ONE MAGIC NIGHT, and a look at the brand new cover (which I am in love with!)
Dr. Shay Logan has just returned to Talihina, Indian Territory, from medical school in Missouri. Shay
hopes to settle down and make a life for himself, but how? He doesn’t belong to either world, Anglo or
Indian He’s made the acquaintanceof Katrina Whitworth at the July 4th town social, and the attraction is mutual from the very beginning. Shay begins to have hopes and dreams that may be out of the question…but Katrina seems to have stars in her eyes for him as well. Will she risk everything to be with him?
THE SET UP: Katrina makes a social blunder, and Shay follows her into the woods to apologize to her, but when they return, Katrina’s drunken father humiliates her. To make matters worse, her former beau shows a side of himself she had not seen before. Can Katrina and Shay have a life together that they so badly want?
FROM ONE MAGIC NIGHT:
As his hand started its descent, Katrina turned away. But Shay’s arm shot out, grasping Whitworth’s hand and holding it immobile.
“You will not.”
Three words, quietly spoken, but with a heat that could have melted iron, a force that could have
Katrina’s father’s face contorted, his teeth bared, finally, as he tried to jerk away. He didn’t utter a word. He stared up into Shay Logan’s eyes that promised retribution, as the seconds ticked by. Finally, he lunged once more, trying to pull free, but Shay still held him locked in a grip of steel. Only when he released that grip was Whitworth freed.
“You presume too much, Doctor Logan, unless you are assuming the care and responsibility of my
“Papa! Oh, please!” Katrina felt herself dissolving into a puddle of less than nothing beneath
stares of the townspeople of Talihina. What had started as an exciting, beautiful evening had become an embarrassing nightmare. It was torture to think that she was the cause of it all. How she wished she had stayed home with Jeremy as she’d first planned, before Mrs. Howard had volunteered to keep him company.
Now, Papa was saying these things that she knew he would regret later. It was always this way when he drank too much. These accusations had gone beyond the pale of anything he’d ever said before. But Shay Logan wouldn’t realize that. He wouldn’t know that Papa would be sorry tomorrow.
Evidently, there was one thing Shay did recognize, though. She saw the very slight flare of his nostrils as he drew in the scent of alcohol on her father’s breath, and in that instant, there was a flash of understanding in his eyes.
“You’ve had too much to drink, Mr. Whitworth,” he said in an even tone. “I will overlook your behavior
toward me because of that, but not toward your daughter. She has done nothing, yet you would strike her, and cause her shame.”
“She’s my daughter,” Whitworth replied sullenly.
“But not your property, Whitworth. Never that. You owe her an apology.”
“No, Shay, really—” Katrina began, then as her father whirled to look at her, she broke off, realizing her
mistake. ‘Shay,’ she had called him. As if she had known him forever. As if she was entitled to use his given name freely. As if she were his betrothed.
“‘Shay’ is it, daughter? Not, ‘Dr. Logan’? Shay.” He spatt the words out bitterly. He drew himself up, looking Shay in the face. “I’ll not be apologizing to her—or to you. And I’ll expect nothing less than a wedding before this week’s end. Do you understand me, Doctor?”
Shay had lost any patience he might have harbored. “You understand me, Whitworth. You will not dictate to me, or to your daughter on such matters of the heart. As I say, the alcohol has got you saying things you’re going to regret, and—”
“Threatening me, are you? Threatening me?”
“Truman.” Jack Thompson stepped out of the crowd and smoothly came to stand beside Katrina. “Let’s put this…unfortunate incident…behind us, shall we?” He confidently tucked Katrina’s hand around his arm. “I can see that the church auxiliary ladies have almost got everything set up
for this wonderful Independence Day meal—” he frowned at Mrs. Beal, nodding at the picnic tables behind her. She jumped, motioning the other ladies to resume the preparation.
He gave a sweeping glance around the group of onlookers. “I, for one, am ready to eat! How
about you all?”
Katrina was swept along at his side as he walked toward the tables, speaking to acquaintances and
friends, laughing and…and seething with tense anger the entire time. She could feel it in his body, with every step he took and the tightness of his grip as he covered her hand with his. Katrina glanced back over her shoulder, hoping to catch a glimpse of Shay, but the crowd blocked her view.
“Smile, my dear,” Jack gritted into her ear. “I’m hoping we can still salvage your virtue, no matter what happened, really, between you and the good doctor. If I see him near you again, I’ll kill him.”
I’ve always had a macabre fascination with prisons, and when I was formulating the story for HANNAH’S VOW, I knew I wanted a bad one for my hero. It took some digging, but with the help of a family friend who worked in a local university library, I found the perfect prison in which Quinn Landry would suffer.
You see, he shouldn’t have been in prison in the first place, but his older brother accused him of murder and did some conniving with the local law, and before Quinn could defend himself, he was whisked across Texas state lines and thrown into a notorious prison in New Mexico Territory.
This penitentiary was based on the Maine State Prison in the early 1830s. The convicts were housed in underground cells and sounded just awful. The dungeons were one story high with no way in or out except for a two feet square opening above them, secured with an iron grate. The convicts descended into the pits by a ladder, which was removed, of course, once they were down.
The pits were eight feet long, four feet wide, and nine feet high. Sometimes, the prisoner was in solitary, sometimes he shared the cell. There was no lighting, and at the bottom of the pit, only a small hole, one and a half inch in diameter, which allowed heated air in from the penitentiary’s furnace. No privies, either, but a tub was provided at night so they could do their business.
During the day, the convicts toiled in workshops as blacksmiths, wagon-makers, shoe-makers, wood-cutters and tailors. Some of the hardest criminals worked in a stone quarry. The female prisoners spent their time in wash-houses under the strict eye of a female officer.
In reality, this particular penitentiary sold the fruits of the convicts’ labors at full market price, and convicts were fed well. Their daily rations of beef or pork, bread, potatoes, and mush and molasses (breakfast) were surprisingly generous, as was their allowance for tobacco. They were allowed visitors and attended religious services on Sunday afternoons. For their care, the prisoners rarely died and hardly got sick.
But in fiction, Quinn had it much worse. He lives for revenge. It’s the only thing keeping him alive. When he learns of drug experiments on the prisoners, he knows he could die next. To right the wrongs dealt against him, he must risk his life and escape. And Hannah, of course, is there as his very unwilling ticket to freedom.
Drug experiments on the incarcerated is not a new practice, and there are distinct advantages, if you will. In modern times, the inmates are in a controlled environment, are available and usually healthy. In addition, they have a choice whether to volunteer. They’re informed and often paid for their trouble. The reasons they volunteer are varied, and while that could be fodder for a whole ‘nother blog, suffice to say, Quinn didn’t have a choice. 🙂 And doesn’t that make for much more interesting reading–especially when Hannah is there to stir up a little romance between them?
HANNAH’S VOW is now available as an e-book, and for a limited time, only 99 cents!