Tag: Christmas short stories

Bread Pudding: From Frugal to Fancy (and a recipe)

Kathleen Rice Adams header

Many dishes that are prides of the American table today once were ways to avoid wasting food. Shipping of all but basic staples didn’t begin until the latter half of the 19th century; perishables weren’t shipped at all until refrigerated containers, or “reefers,” were invented in 1869. Even then, perishable cargo could be carried only a few miles before the ice melted.

The first successful long-distance reefer transport occurred in the early 1880s. The first grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, opened in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1916.

Happy Cowboy ChristmasConsequently, settlers on the American frontier and American Indians used every part of the animals and plants they grew or gathered in order to avoid starvation. Frontier and farming families stewed poultry necks, tails, and wings because the meat and bones offered precious protein. Slaves in the American south prepared animal innards like chitterlings (intestines) and vegetable leavings like potato skins in a variety of ways because their masters considered those things offal. Anyone who has visited a restaurant in the past twenty years recognizes chicken wings and potato skins as trendy appetizers. At “soul food” eateries, chitlins are standard fare. (Yes, I have eaten them. No, I won’t do so again.)

Because carbohydrates offer a quick source of energy, bread, too, was a precious commodity. Many frontier families baked with cornmeal or corn flour. The latter was obtained by repeatedly pouring cornmeal from burlap sack to burlap sack and shaking loose the fine powder left clinging to the bags. Bread made with wheat flour was a treat…even though merchants in frontier towns often “extended” wheat flour by adding plaster dust. Frontier families might make a multi-day journey into town for supplies once or twice a year.

savory bread pudding

savory bread pudding

Since the early 11th century, “po’ folks” have turned stale bread into bread pudding in order to use every last ounce of food they could scrounge. Originally, the concoction was a savory main dish containing bread, water, and suet. Scraps of meat and vegetables might be added if the cook had those on hand.

What we think of as bread pudding today came into its own in New Orleans in the early 1800s. Creative cooks turned the dish into a dessert by combining stale bread with eggs, milk, spices, and a sweetener like molasses, honey, or sugar. Some also included bits of fruit, berries, and/or nuts.

My family and friends talk me into baking bread pudding each Christmas, and sometimes for other special occasions during the rest of the year. They don’t have to do much arm-twisting, because the rich dessert is easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and delicious.

bread pudding dessert

bread pudding dessert

One thing to know about bread pudding: Making it “wrong” is darn nigh impossible. Any kind of bread can be used, including sweet breads like donuts and croissants. Likewise, spices are left to the cook’s imagination, fruits and nuts are optional, and sauces are a matter of “pour something over the top.”

Through years of trial and error, I’ve created a recipe that works for me. Have fun experimenting with the basics (bread, milk, butter, and eggs) until you come up with one that works for you. I prefer mine fairly plain, but you may want to add or top with raisins (a New Orleans classic), chocolate, bananas, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, rum sauce, caramel sauce, powdered-sugar drizzle, or almost anything else you can imagine.

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
(can be doubled for a crowd)

Pudding
(makes 10-12 servings)

3 large eggs
1½ cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
¼ cup bourbon
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 cups milk
1 16oz. loaf stale French bread, cut or torn into 1-inch cubes

Heat oven to 325.

Stir together eggs, cream, granulated and brown sugars, bourbon, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a large bowl.

Place bread cubes into a lightly buttered 13×9-inch pan.

Heat milk and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until butter is melted. Do not boil.

Stir ¼ cup of hot milk mixture into egg mixture. When well-combined, slowly add remaining milk mixture, stirring constantly.

Pour egg mixture evenly over bread. For a fluffier pudding, lightly press bread into egg mixture so all bread cubes are coated with the liquid. For a dense pudding, allow the pan to sit for 20 mins. before baking.

Bake for 45-55 mins., until top is browned and no liquid is visible around the edges. (The center will look soft. Don’t bother with the toothpick test—it won’t tell you anything.)

Allow pudding to stand for 20-30 mins. Top with bourbon sauce and serve.

Bourbon Sauce
(This will knock folks across the room, so be careful how much you pour on each pudding serving. 2 tsp. vanilla or other extract may be substituted for bourbon, if desired.)

1 cup heavy cream
½ Tbsp. corn starch
1 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. sugar
¼ cup bourbon

In small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a boil.

Whisk together corn starch and water, then add the mixture to the cream, whisking constantly.

Bring the mixture to a boil.

Whisk and simmer until thickened, taking care not to scorch the cream on the bottom.

Stir in sugar and bourbon. Taste. Add more sugar and/or bourbon to taste.

Ladle sauce over each serving of warm-from-the-oven or room-temperature pudding.

Serve and enjoy!

 

PRPA MAIL ORDER CHRISTMAS BRIDE WEB.JPG FINALBread pudding wouldn’t be on the menu in the dingy cafe on the wrong side of Fort Worth where the heroine in my latest story works. The job is a big step down from her previous life as a pampered socialite. “A Long Way from St. Louis” appears with stories from seven other authors—including filly sisters Cheryl Pierson and Tanya Hanson—in Prairie Rose Publications’ new holiday anthology, A Mail-Order Christmas Bride.

A Long Way from St. Louis
Cast out by St. Louis society after her husband leaves her for another, Elizabeth Adair goes west to marry a wealthy Texas rancher. Burning with anger when she discovers the deceit of a groom who is neither wealthy nor Texan, she refuses to wed and ends up on the backstreets of Fort Worth.

Ten years after Elizabeth’s father ran him out of St. Louis, Brendan Sheppard’s memory still sizzles with the rich man’s contempt. Riffraff. Alley trash. Son of an Irish drunkard. Yet, desire for a beautiful, unattainable girl continues to blaze in his heart.

When the debutante and the back-alley brawler collide a long way from St. Louis, they’ll either douse an old flame…or forge a new love.

Here’s an excerpt:

If the lazy beast lounging on a bench beside the depot’s doors were any indication, the west was neither wooly nor wild. As a porter took her hand to assist her from the railway car, Elizabeth Adair stared. The cowboy’s worn boots crossed at the ends of denim-clad legs slung way out in front of him. Chin resting on his chest, hat covering his face, the man presented the perfect picture of indolence.

Surely her husband-to-be employed a more industrious type of Texan.

Her gaze fixed on the cowboy’s peculiar hat. A broad brim surrounded a crown with a dent carved down the center. Sweat stains decorated the buff-colored felt. Splotches of drying mud decorated the rest of him.

Lazy and slovenly.

Pellets of ice sprinkled from the gray sky, melting the instant they touched her traveling cloak. Already she shivered. Another few minutes in this horrid weather, and the garment would be soaked through.

The porter raised his voice over the din of the bustling crowd. “Miss, let’s get you inside before you take a chill. I’ll bring your trunks right away.”

Taking her by the elbow, he hastened toward doors fitted with dozens of glass panes. Ragtag children darted among the passengers hurrying for shelter. Without overcoats, the urchins must be freezing.

She glanced around the platform. Where was her groom? She had assumed a wealthy rancher would meet his fiancée upon her arrival. Perhaps he waited within the depot’s presumed warmth. Her hope for a smattering of sophistication dwindled, but a woman in her circumstances could ill afford to be picky.

A group of ragamuffins gathered around the cowboy. As the porter hustled her past, the Texan reached into his sheepskin jacket and withdrew a handful of peppermint sticks. A whiff of the candy’s scent evoked the memory of a young man she once knew—a ne’er-do-well removed from St. Louis at her father’s insistence, and none too soon.

After depositing her beside a potbellied stove, the porter disappeared into the multitude. The tang of wood smoke drifted around her, so much more pleasant than the oily stench of coal. Peering through the throng, she slipped her hands from her muff and allowed the hand-warmer to settle against her waist on its long chain. She’d best reserve the accessory for special occasions. Judging by the people milling about the room, she doubted she’d find Persian lamb in Fort Worth unless she stooped to ordering from a mail-order catalog.

Mail-order. At least the marriage contract removed her from the whispered speculation, the piteous glances.

The shame heaped upon her by the parents she’d tried so hard to please.

Elizabeth put her back to the frigid gusts that swept in every time the doors opened, extending gloved palms toward the warmth cast by the stove.

Heavy steps tromped up behind her. Peppermint tickled her nose.

“Bets?”

A gasp leapt down her throat, colliding with her heart’s upward surge. Her palm flew to the base of her collar. Bets? Deep and smooth, the voice triggered a ten-year-old memory: If ye were aulder, little girl, I’d teach ye more than how to kiss.

She whirled to find the lazy cowboy, his stained hat dangling from one hand. Her gaze rose to a face weathered by the elements, but the blue eyes, the crooked nose…

Brendan Sheppard.

What’s your favorite holiday dessert? I’ll give an ebook copy of A Mail-Order Christmas Bride to one of today’s commenters who answers that question. (All Petticoats and Pistols sweepstakes rules apply to this giveaway.)

Range War Winner

Available in paperback and e-book

The dust finally settled after all the gunfire. Thank goodness for bandanas, huh?

The last owlhoot standing is…

Laurie Gommermann!

Congratulations, Laurie! That was one tough shootout.

I’ll email your e-copy of Wild Texas Christmas in two shakes. Enjoy the book!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

 

 

Her Christmas Wish – Tracy Garrett

Greetings!  Since we last met here, I’ve been to Romance Writers of America in San Antonio, where I filled my head and my soul with books and stories and plot possibilities. But before I move to the next project, I want to tell you about my most recent release–

Her Christmas Wish

Her-Christmas-Wish-Garrett-4-Web

Even a woman capable of living on her own…
Kathryn McConnell is a widow celebrating a milestone birthday alone. Though she feels a woman should be able to mourn the passing of her thirtieth birthday any way she wants, she won’t turn away a cowboy in need of lodging—until she learns it’s the man she’d expected to marry thirteen years earlier.

…never forgets her first love.
Will O’Brien had challenged his father’s prejudice against the woman he loved only to discover he was unable to stand against his family’s wealth and connections. Without a way to support his bride, Will struck out for the west, determined to earn a living for them both. When he returned after two years with no word from Katie, he found she’d married another and moved away. Heartbroken, he returns to his work, but never stops hoping to find her.

When chance lands Will at the remote stagecoach station run by the widowed Kathryn, he grabs at the opportunity he’s been handed, hoping to win back the only woman he has ever loved.

“Originally published in the PRP anthology Wishing for a Cowboy, the story twists the enduring star-crossed lovers plot, giving Romeo and Juliet the happy ending they deserved but were denied.”  (Kathleen Rice Adams, author of Peaches, released in the Wishing for a Cowboy Anthology)

Tracy Garrett

 

Prairie Rose Publications released Her Christmas Wish as a single, available for only .99!  Check it out at Amazon/Kindle, Barnes & Noble/Nook, or Smashwords (most e-book formats).

 

 

NEW READING FOR CHRISTMAS! by CHERYL PIERSON

Cheryln100000149781632_8303In August, my good friend Livia W. Reasoner and I decided to open our own publishing house called  PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS. We limited our submissions to women only, since it’s traditionally been so very hard for women to break into the western writing genre. We also included historical stories as well as western historical romance among our genres.RR Article Prairie_Rose_Pub_Logo_1_SM

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t long until we knew we were going to have to add a contemporary imprint, FIRE STAR PRESS.

As much as we’ve talked about getting younger people involved in reading historical stories, we decided to also include an imprint for Middle Grade Readers (9-12), Young Adults (13-17) and New Adults (18-24). PAINTED PONY BOOKS was born.

Not wanting to leave out contemporary reading for these ages, we also created TORNADO ALLEY PUBLICATIONS. These three imprints are open to anyone to submit to.

RR Article FSPLogoRR Article TAP LogoOur first anthology at Prairie Rose Publications, WISHING FOR A COWBOY, made its debut the last week in October, and just this past week had already climbed to #49 in Books > Romance > Westerns,  #8 in Books > Westerns and #9 in Kindle > Westerns. Our little anthology was in the TOP 10 in two categories!

 

 

 

But with the amazing talent of the authors, Phyliss Miranda, Tanya Hanson, Jacquie Rogers, Livia Reasoner, Tracy Garrett, Sarah McNeal, and Kathleen Rice Adams—how could it not? I’m very excited to have my story included in this anthology with all these wonderful authors.

RR ArticleWishing for a Cowboy WebTanya Hanson, a seasoned author, also made her inspirational debut with her first full length inspirational western historical romance novel through Prairie Rose Publications, and has a sequel on the way. Her book is called CLAIMING HIS HEART.Hanson_Claiming_His_Heart_Web (3)

Gail Jenner’s Willa Award winning novel, ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS, will be available shortly,  and Kristy McCaffrey has a brand new offering called INTO THE LAND OF SHADOWS.

INTO THE LAND OF SHADOWS COVER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will also be releasing another anthology in time for Valentine’s Day, HEARTS AND SPURS, and in addition to the eight authors from WISHING FOR A COWBOY, it will also include  veteran romance novelist Linda Broday.

RR Article Hearts and Spurs T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve also got some great things planned for our other imprints! Livia and James Reasoner just released a wonderful story for PAINTED PONY BOOKS for our Middle Grade Reader list—THE PHANTOM RANGER AND THE SKATEBOARD GANG—an exciting adventure about a young girl who sees the ghost of her great-great-great grandfather who was a REAL Texas Ranger. This is an exciting read for boys and girls ages 9-12. 

Available in print and digital!  http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Ranger-Skateboard-Gang-ebook/dp/B00GYAOFU6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386545065&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Phantom+Ranger+and+the+Skateboard+Gang

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Also, from PAINTED PONY BOOKS, Sarah McNeal’s FLY AWAY HEART will be releasing in February, giving us more insight into the Wilding and Pierpont families she has created, with the story of Robin Pierpont and Lilith Wilding set in the early 1900’s. Her other books in this series may be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

Painted Pony Books Logo OWe’ve got many more projects in the works as well, and are just thrilled with the way our small publishing house is “coming together” with much hard work from Livia, me and our fantastic authors.  We’re very proud of our first three months!

 

 

I’m giving away an autographed copy of WISHING FOR A COWBOY to one lucky commenter today! If you just can’t wait to see if you won, jump on over to the PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS website for all the links where it’s available with one easy click!

Claiming His Heart by Tanya Hanson and Into the Land of Shadows by Kristy McCaffrey are also available here!

http://prairierosepublications.yolasite.com/books.php

 

 

A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS by CHERYL PIERSON

Well, who wouldn’t want a hero for Christmas…or FOUR of them? And they’ll all fit snugly in a stocking or on your e-reader!

Yep, I’m talking about my latest release, A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS, which is a collection of four of my Christmas themed historical romantic short stories! These are all available separately, as “single sell” short stories for only .99 through Western Trail Blazer, as well. But I was thrilled when my publisher suggested putting them all under one gorgeous cover and offering them as a collection.

A Night for Miracles is the first story in the collection. It will always be near and dear to my heart because it was the first holiday story I ever wrote, as well as being the first short story (which really turned into a novelette.) I still just love the story of Angela Bentley and Nick Dalton. Angela’s a widow, alone on Christmas Eve. Gunman Nick Dalton stops at her cabin in gathering wintry twilight. Wounded, and with three children in tow, there’s no chance of Angela telling him he has to ride on.  Will this be A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES for them?

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!

The second story is a very different kind of Christmas story, HOMECOMING. I wrote this story long before I ever even thought of selling it. In fact, I wasn’t sure I COULD sell it. But it turned out better than I ever imagined, with so much power and emotion, I’ve had many, many compliments on it. It still humbles me, to think of this story that came from nowhere, one I wasn’t sure would ever see the light of day—has now become one that so many people have enjoyed.

       A holiday skirmish sends Union officer, Jack Durham, on an unlikely mission to fulfill his promise of honor to a dying Confederate soldier—his enemy. In an odd twist of fate, a simple assurance to carry young Billy Anderson’s meager belongings home to his family a few miles away becomes more than what it seems.

       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 fiancee, Sarah. Despite his suffering, can Jack remember what it means to be fully human before he arrives at the end of his journey? Will the miracle of Christmas be able to heal his heart in the face of what awaits him?

MEANT TO BE is the third story in the collection. It’s a time travel story of love that crosses centuries. The heroine, Robin Mallory, is stranded on Christmas Eve and begins to walk for help, only to find that she’s walked down a road to the past and into the arms of handsome a Confederate soldier, Jake Devlin. Will she stay in 1864, or will she return to the lonely life she left behind? (If he looked like Jimmy Thomas, that would be a very easy decision!)

       Robin Mallory is facing another Christmas all alone when she decides to surprise her aunt and uncle several hours away. A flat tire leaves her stranded near a desolate section of interstate. With a snowstorm on the way, Robin has no choice but to walk, hoping to find shelter before the storm hits full force. But the road she chooses leads her back in time, to a battleground she’s only read about in history books.

       Confederate Jake Devlin, an officer in Stand Watie’s Cherokee forces, is shocked when the spy he jumps turns out to be a girl. She’s dressed oddly, but her speech and the ideas she has are even stranger than her clothing. Where did she come from, and what is he going to do with her? Will he be able to hold on to his heart? Is it possible for a love this strong to span centuries? It is, if it was MEANT TO BE…

And last but not least is a story I have wanted to write since I was a little girl. If you’ve ever heard the old folk song, SCARLET RIBBONS, perhaps you’ll understand why. In the song, the  singer (I love the Harry Belafonte version more than any other) tells of hearing his little girl praying for some scarlet ribbons for her hair. Everything is closed for the night, and there’s no hope of him being able to buy them for her; such a simple request and no way to grant it. All night long he’s thinking about it and finally goes to peek in on her only to find her asleep, the scarlet ribbons on her bed. “If I live to be a hundred, I will never know from where…came those lovely scarlet ribbons, scarlet ribbons for her hair…” Well, I can never get through that song without getting misty eyed, but I always wondered about the story behind the scarlet ribbons…so I wrote one.

    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?

Now you can get all these stories under one cover! The print version will not be available until next week, but the kindle version is available NOW.http://www.amazon.com/A-Hero-for-Christmas-ebook/dp/B009R2SGRQ/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1350438073&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=A+Hero+For+Christmas+by+Cheryl+Pierson

I will be giving away a digital copy today to one lucky commenter!

For all my books, short stories and anthologies, visit my Amazon author page here:

 

A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES by Cheryl Pierson

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!

To find out more about my upcoming releases, visit my blog: www.cherylpiersonbooks.blogspot.com

VISIT MY AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE TO SEE ALL MY SHORT STORIES AND NOVELS.

http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Pierson/e/B002JV8GUE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

I CAN’T COMPLAIN! by Cheryl Pierson

When everything happens at once, sometimes you have to wonder if you will survive the madness—but when it’s all good, who can complain? Here’s what’s going on with me!

The release of a collaborative effort  through the Western Fictioneers group came about on Saturday, September 1. Our first of the series book, “WOLF CREEK BOOK 1:BLOODY TRAIL” came out and has already had four wonderful reviews! This book
was written by Jim Griffin,  James Reasoner, Larry Martin, Troy Smith, Clay More, and me. The plot was outlined for us by Troy, who came up with this brilliant idea, and our characters’ parts took wing from our own plans for them within the guidelines of the story. There will be many more books to follow in this series, and there will be a slew of different authors working on each edition.  More about this the next time I blog, on the 19th of September, when the whole crew of book one will be here to talk about this project!

Sometime later this month, or early in October, I have two new .99 short stories that will be released through WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER. Meant To Be is a time travel Christmas story. The heroine, Robin Mallory, is stranded on Christmas Eve and begins to walk for help, only to find that she’s walked down a road to the past and into the arms of handsome a Confederate soldier, Jake Devlin. Will she stay in 1864, or will she return to the lonely life she left behind?

The other short story is also a holiday tale about a wounded gunslinger that winds up on the doorstep of widow Angela Bentley. She would patch him up and send him on his way, but for the three children he has with him.  In the midst of a blinding snowstorm, what precious gifts can she contrive to make their Christmas
special? Can she help them recover from the loss they’ve suffered? And what will become of her and Nick Dalton, the man with the dangerous reputation, on this…A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES?

In October, my contemporary novel, TEMPTATION’S TOUCH, will be released through The Wild Rose Press. TEMPTATION’S TOUCH gives Jack and Kendi a second chance at heaven…if they can manage to live long enough to enjoy it.

Two broken hearts find a second chance at love, but only if they manage to survive– When Kendi Morgan witnesses an attempted murder near her home one night, she makes the only choice possible: help the victim. But bringing the handsome stranger into her home traps her in the middle of a deadly drug war. Wounded DEA agent Jackson Taylor is a man with nothing to lose and nothing to fear–until he falls for a beautiful woman who risked everything to save his life. With his sting operation gone awry, Jackson realizes he is all that stands between Kendi and a powerful drug lord seeking revenge. Can their newfound love survive? Or will Jackson sacrifice his partner’s life and his own in exchange for Kendi’s safety
and their future together?

Also in October, my story THE KEEPERS OF CAMELOT will appear in the Western Fictioneers Christmas anthology, SIX GUNS AND SLAY BELLS: A CREEPY COWBOY CHRISTMAS. I am so honored to have my story in this collection.

This Western Fictioneers Christmas anthology is a new take on the old west, filled with Christmas
stories that entertain you with a paranormal twist. This multi-authored collection includes short stories by some of the finest writers in the genre, and gives you something different in the way of holiday stories, while keeping to the ‘old west’ theme.  Look for it on October 31.

 

That’s what’s happening with me—and I barely have time to turn around! I’ll keep you posted as release dates become available.  For all of my current books and short stories, go to:

https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

WHAT CHILD IS THIS?

I love the music of Christmas. I could play it all year long if I weren’t married to Scrooge. Those songs are so uplifting and beautiful that they make me feel good just to hear them, and you can’t help but sing along with them.

 

My dad always loved Christmas, and was a great practical jokester. He delighted in making phone calls to his grandchildren, pretending to be Santa. He’d call back later on for a rundown about what happened on our end—the looks, the comments, and the joy of getting a real live phone call from Santa! One of the traditions in our house was the box of chocolate covered cherries that was always under the tree for him from my mom, a reminder of hard Christmases in years past when that might have been the only gift she could afford. Another was that our house was always filled with Christmas music.

 

I was a classically trained pianist from the time I turned seven years old. My father’s favorite Christmas carol was What Child Is This? Once I mastered it, I delighted in playing it for him because he took such pleasure in it, and since it was also the tune to another song, Greensleeves, I played it all year round for him.

 

The tune known as Greensleeves was a British drinking song for many years, a popular folk song that was not religious. In ancient Britain, there have been more than twenty different known lyrics associated with the tune throughout history. It was first published in 1652.

 

Shakespeare mentions it by name in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in which it is played while traitors are hanged. It has been attributed to King Henry VIII, and said that he wrote it for Anne Boleyn. How did this song become one of the best-loved Christmas carols of all time?

 

In 1865, Englishman William Chatterton Dix wrote “The Manger Throne,” three verses of which became “What Child Is This?” During that particular era, Christmas was not as openly celebrated as it is today. Many conservative Puritan churches forbade gift-giving, decorating or even acknowledging the day as a special day for fear that Christmas would become a day of pagan rituals more than a serious time of worship. Although Dix wrote other hymns, in the context of the times, it was unusual for him to write about Christ’s birth, since many hymn writers and religious factions ignored Christmas completely.

 

The words represent a unique view of Christ’s birth. While the baby was the focal point of the song, the point of view of the writer seemed to be that of a confused observer. Dix imagined the visitors to the manger bed wondering about the child who had just been born.  In each verse, he described the child’s birth, life, death and resurrection, answering the question with a triumphant declaration of the infant’s divinity.

 

“The Manger Throne” was published in England just as the U.S. Civil War was ending.  The song quickly made its way from Britain to the United States. Dix died in 1898, living long enough to see “The Manger Throne” become the Christmas carol “What Child Is This?”

 I’m posting some of my Christmas covers for anyone who might be needing some historical Christmas story reading over the holidays! The link appears below.

   http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002JV8GUE 

Hope everyone has a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

 

 

 

 

HAVE YOURSELF A PARANORMAL HOLIDAY!

Love time travel? Crazy about holiday reads?  Well, then, I’ve got some great short stories to tell you about, including my latest release, MEANT TO BE, that appears in a new Christmas anthology from VICTORY TALES PRESS.

MEANT TO BE is a time travel set on the last Christmas of the Civil War, in 1864. A young single woman, Robin Mallory, from present day set out to pay a surprise holiday visit to her elderly relatives. When one of her tires blows out, she finds herself stranded on a lonely stretch of road with no one to call for help. 

When a handsome ‘Confederate soldier’ tackles her in the early evening shadows, Robin is outraged and frightened. Jake Devlin is dressed from a time gone by, but what are re-enactors doing in these woods over the Christmas weekend? When the predicted winter storm moves in, Robin has no alternative but to take a chance and trust Jake.

Jake’s presence is comforting, and Robin welcomes the sanctuary from the raw night that his camp offers. But something isn’t right. Once they arrive at the camp, she realizes she’s walked down a gravel road that’s taken her backward in time nearly 150 years. Jake is an officer of the Confederate Army, serving under Cherokee Chief, General Stand Watie.

Unsure of Robin’s motives and who she is, the general puts her in Jake’s care. When they are separated from the rest of the unit, Jake is severely wounded. What will Robin do? Will she seize the only opportunity she may have to return to her own time? Or will she stay in 1864 with Jake and take a chance on a love that was MEANT TO BE?

MEANT TO BE appears in the Victory Tales Press Sensual/Spicy 2011 Christmas Collection anthology, along with four other great stories by my fellow authors, Kit Prate, Stephanie Burkhart, Christine Schulze, and Sarah McNeal.

I also want to tell you about some great stand-alone paranormal holiday short stories that are available for only .99 through WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER PUBLISHING.

MEANT TO BE is not the only paranormal Civil War era holiday short story I’ve written. Another one, HOMECOMING, is a sweet love story that first appeared last year about this time in A Christmas Collection: Sweet through VICTORY TALES PRESS (VTP). It’s still available in the anthology, but now is also available in the .99 gallery at WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER as well. Though it’s a Civil War themed short story, it has a very different take and a surprise ending I hope you will enjoy.

Homecoming by Cheryl Pierson
A holiday skirmish sends Union officer, Jack Durham, on an unlikely mission to fulfill his promise of honor to a dying Confederate soldier—his enemy. In an odd twist of fate, a simple assurance to carry young Billy Anderson’s meager belongings home to his family a few miles away becomes more than what it seems.
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 fiancee, Sarah. Despite his suffering, can Jack remember what it means to be fully human before he arrives at the end of his journey? Will the miracle of Christmas be able to heal his heart in the face of what awaits him?

 

SCARLET RIBBONS is a story of lost love regained through a holiday miracle. The hero, Miguel Rivera, is a bordertown gunslinger who believes his heart can’t be touched. Christmas brings him a miracle he never expected; one that can’t be ignored.
 SCARLET RIBBONS by Cheryl Pierson
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? 

A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES is a novella available through THE WILD ROSE PRESS. This story takes place in Indian Territory of the 1800’s. A widow takes in a wounded gunman and three children on Christmas Eve. The small gifts she gives them all reveal something even more precious for all of them on A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES.

These are all great holiday short stories that will leave you wanting more. I f this isn’t enough paranormal reading for you, try my latest novel, TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, a WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER publication. Here’s the blurb for this time travel story of good vs. evil.

Trapped in Indian Territory of 1895 by a quirk of nature, high school teacher Jenni Dalton must find a way to get her seven students back to 2010.  Handsome U.S. Marshal Rafe d’Angelico seems like the answer to her prayers; he is, after all, an angel.  In a race against time and evil, Rafe has one chance to save Jenni’s life and her soul from The Dark One—but can their love survive?

 

The 2011 Christmas Collection can be purchased here:
http://www.amazon.com/2011-Christmas-Collection-Sensual-ebook/dp/B005Z8VOVG/

All my other novels, short stories and the anthologies I am a part of can be found here:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002JV8GUE 

 I write a mix of contemporary romantic suspense and historical western romance.  Please leave a comment and let us know the best paranormal western romance you’ve ever read. This is kind of an up-and-coming subgenre, and one I’d love to read more of.  I’ll be giving away a copy of the brand new 2011 Christmas Collection to one lucky commenter! Please be sure to include an e-mail addy in your comment.

 Here’s wishing you a very happy holiday season with lots of great reading ahead!
 

 

 

 

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