Tag: Fire Star Press

CURING HOLIDAY FEVER AND A GIVEAWAY by CHERYL PIERSON

Christmas is almost here and I feel the panic creeping up on me every day just a little bit more. That’s not RIGHT! Christmas shouldn’t be a time of worry or frenzy or “fever” pitch—but many of us feel that way because of the expectations of others and the standards we hold ourselves to at this time of the year.

It’s hard to make time for everything—and sometimes we tend to put ourselves at the very bottom of the list. I read a lot of books throughout the year in genres I might not normally pick to read because of my position at Prairie Rose Publications as Editor-in-Chief. But when the holidays roll around, I know I have to find some relaxation time for myself—and the best way to do that is to read some things I’ve been looking forward to but maybe haven’t had a chance to get to yet.

Now that my kids are grown and out of the house, I find that’s a lot easier to do than it used to be. I love to write Christmas stories, too, and I’m going to post some of mine and some others here, too, in case you need a little Christmas list of your own! Taking time to relax and unwind with a book can make the holidays go a lot smoother and help you keep your sanity.

A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS is an “oldie but goodie” with four Christmas novellas included. One of these, A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES, was the first Christmas novella I ever wrote (first published with The Wild Rose Press) and it’s still one of my favorites. Other stories included are MEANT TO BE, THE GUNFIGHTER’S GIRL, and HOMECOMING.

Here’s a little about each story:

A Night for Miracles
Widow Angela Bentley takes in three children and a wounded gunman one snowy Christmas Eve. Angela determines to keep her distance—until the children drag in a scraggly Christmas tree. Will she find love on this, A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES?

Homecoming
A holiday skirmish sends Union officer, Jack Durham, on an unlikely mission for a dying Confederate enemy. Will a miracle be able to heal his heart and reunite him with his beloved?

Meant to Be
Robin Mallory is shocked when she is tackled by a man in a Confederate uniform. A flat tire and a coming snowstorm have stranded her in the middle of a re-enactment – or is it?

The Gunfighter’s Girl
Persuaded by a vendor, Miguel Rivera ~ El Diablo ~ makes a foolish purchase—scarlet ribbons. Will they, and a mysterious meeting, set him on a new path? Can he find his way back to the love he left years before?

Most of my stories are set in Indian Territory since I was born and raised in Oklahoma, and our family roots on both my mother’s and father’s side go back too many years to count here. I try to incorporate family history and stories in my writing when I can, but no matter what, I always try to set my stories in then-Indian Territory, making a detour sometimes to Texas, if the story calls for it.

A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE was included in a mail-order bride anthology from Prairie Rose a few years ago, (A Mail-Order Christmas Bride) and now is also sold as a stand-alone story! A MAIL-ORDER CHRISTMAS BRIDE also contains stories by former fillies Kathleen Rice Adams and Tanya Hanson, as well as many other very talented authors (Jacquie Rogers, Livia J. Washburn, Patti Sherry-Crews, Jesse J. Elliott, and Meg Mims)

Beautiful heiress Melanie duBois is running for her life—halfway across the continent. Marriage to a man she’s never met is preferable to what her stepfather has planned for her. Thank goodness for the mail-order bride offer she received from a handsome officer of the law—even if he is in wild Indian Territory.

Lawman Rocky Taylor is expecting a “surprise” to arrive on the stagecoach, never dreaming it will be a young woman. She’s here as his mail-order bride, she says— Trouble is, he never sent for her, and he’s sworn off women after a disastrous first marriage.

With her stepfather’s man hot on her trail, Melanie vows she’ll not return to West Virginia to a monstrous fate. Can A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE keep her safe, and open the door to love?

The same is true of OUTLAW’S KISS—this one is so special to me because it was the first story I wrote for Prairie Rose Publications and was included in our first Christmas anthology, WISHING FOR A COWBOY. You can find it there (along with Christmas stories by fellow fillies and past fillies Phyliss Miranda, Tanya Hanson, Kathleen Rice Adams, and Tracy Garrett) or in single-sell format. By the way, all the stories in this collection are sold as single sell stories, but for the best bargain, get the entire collection—these are some wonderful Christmas tales you won’t want to miss.

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.

 

LUCK OF THE DRAW is part of a trilogy of stories I wrote about three brothers, Nick, Brett and Jake Diamond. Originally, these stories were part of different Prairie Rose Publications anthologies, but I eventually got them all under one cover in a single-author anthology called WINTER MAGIC. Here’s a bit about the stories:

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!

LUCK OF THE DRAW is also available in a Christmas collection, WILD TEXAS CHRISTMAS, containing stories by Kaye Spencer, Jacquie Rogers, and Kathleen Rice Adams.

 

 

KIDNAPPING KALLI is my newest novella, and one of my favorites. What can go wrong with a simple kidnapping plan? Miles from nowhere with a snow storm moving in, the handsome kidnapper, Shiloh Barrett, gets bitten by a rattlesnake. Will Kalli O’Connor, his kidnapp-ee, stay with him to help? Or will she see the perfect opportunity to make her escape? It’s Christmas, and Kalli is curious to see where he’s taking her–all bets are off!

Here’s the blurb:

Texas Ranger Shiloh Barrett loses his hotheaded older brother to a gunfight over a hand of cards. Now the “winner”—a wealthy landowner who’s coveted the Barrett homestead—finally has what he wants. But could there be something Seamus O’Connor desires more than the Barretts’ land?

O’Connor has not seen his beautiful daughter, Kalli, for thirteen years. He knows that she’s living with her mother’s Cherokee people in northeastern Indian Territory. Determined to have her kidnapped and brought to him, Seamus uses the deed he holds to the Barrett homestead to get what he wants. Even though it goes against everything Shiloh Barrett believes is right, O’Connor’s blackmail cannot be ignored.

But beautiful Kalliroe White Dove O’Connor has some tricks up her sleeve as the handsome ex-ranger spirits her away into the nearby San Bois Mountains. The tables turn when Shiloh is bitten by a rattlesnake their first day on the trail. Though Kalli tells herself she has no other choice but to stay with Shiloh—and she does want to reunite with her father—deep down, she knows there is another reason she can’t leave the handsome lawman. Could it be she’s falling in love with him?

In a final showdown with a cutthroat outlaw gang, Shiloh heads straight into the pit of vipers to buy some time for the man he despises—Kalli’s father. No matter how this all plays out, KIDNAPPING KALLI has been the best thing Shiloh Barrett’s ever done—if he only lives to see it through…

 

 

 

 

For a full-length Christmas story, try THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON.

A woman with no home…
Beautiful Southern belle Julia Jackson has just been informed she and her niece must find a new home immediately—or else. With no family to turn to in Georgia, Julia takes a mighty gamble and answers an advertisement for a nursemaid in wild Indian Territory—for the child of a man she knows nothing about. Together, she and five-year-old Lauralee waste no time as they flee to the safety of the new position Julia has accepted. She can only hope this move will be the start of a bright future for them away from Lauralee’s dangerous much older half-brother.

A rancher with no heart…
The death of Devlin Campbell’s young daughter has ripped the light from his life. Though the birth of his son, little Jamie, should have been a source of happiness, the subsequent loss of his wife forces Dev to ignore his emotions and trudge through life’s joyless responsibilities. But all that changes with the arrival of Miss Julia Jackson from Atlanta! Not at all what Dev is expecting in response to his ad, his resentment boils over at her failure to mention her tag-along niece—a painful reminder of the loss of his own little girl just two years earlier. Yet, how can he deny the sunshine Julie brings into his drab existence with her very presence?

Can love find a way?
In the depths of Dev’s boundless sorrow and his accompanying anger, is there room in his life for anyone else as Christmas approaches? Can Julie convince him that love is the cure for a broken heart, and hope is the only recipe for a new beginning between THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON…

Still Christmas! But not a “romance” as we think of them…or perhaps the greatest romance of all. My story THE KEEPERS OF CAMELOT was nominated for the Western Fictioneers’ Peacemaker Award a few years ago, and it remains one of the best stories I’ve ever written, in my opinion. Here’s a little bit about it—see what you think.

Legend says that King Arthur will rise once more when the world needs him the most. But in my story, something goes awry, and Arthur has returned in many times, many places, throughout the centuries since his final battle.

The story opens with Arthur on a stagecoach in the American west—Indian Territory—of the 1880’s. But in this life, he comes across two people he’d never thought to see again—Lancelot and Guinevere. Why are they here—and how will it all end…this time?

The stage is attacked by Apaches minutes before the driver gets the passengers to the safety of the next stage station. Though they’re safe for the time being, a nerve-wracking Christmas Eve is in store as the Apaches wait for them outside.

Arthur has a plan. He’s seen the fearless leader of the Apache—the man they call “Sky Eyes”—a man he knew as Lancelot du Lac a hundred lifetimes ago.

Will Lance’s prowess as a warrior combine with his legendary arrogance to seal the fate of the people inside the station—including Guinevere, the woman he gave up everything for in the past?

One young boy in the group unknowingly holds the key to Lance’s decision. But will the glorious legend of Camelot be remembered?

If you are in the mood for a contemporary story, try THE WISHING TREE. The end of this story gets me every time—even now all these years later!

Pete Cochran, a war veteran with both visible and invisible scars, is mostly a loner. Then a special woman with a young son walks into his life as he works at his father’s Christmas tree lot–a woman with problems he can’t ignore.

Maria Sanchez and her son Miguel eke out an existence on her part-time earnings, but share an abundance of love, except when terrorized by her drug addict relative. When she meets Pete, she sees him not as a frightening man, but a wounded hero returned from war. Her son seems immediately drawn to the unusual Christmas tree vendor.

Will a special tree–a wishing tree–contain enough magic to fulfill all their Christmas desires?

Since Christmas is upon us, I want to do a giveaway today! Be sure to leave a comment mentioning a favorite Christmas tradition in your family to be entered. I’ll draw two names to win a free digital copy of KIDNAPPING KALLI and two names to win a free PRINT copy of A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS OR THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by today! I’m going to leave the link to my author page below where each and every one of these Christmas stories or collections can be found. Happy reading over the Christmas holidays! Be sure to check back on Sunday to see if your name was drawn!

CHERYL’S AUTHOR PAGE:                                                                                     https://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Pierson/e/B002JV8GUE/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1/strong/span/p?tag=pettpist-20

 

 

BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH–VILLAINS AND TREACHERY! by Cheryl Pierson #blogabookscene #Prairierosepub

Oh, how I love a good villain! Whether I’m reading about one or watching him/her on film, or best of all—WRITING ONE!

What makes a good villain? Well, in my opinion, first and foremost he can’t be one-dimensional. I know in our “real world” there are those people that seem to be evil just for the sake of it and some of them probably are. But in our reading/writing, we want to know WHY. What made this person turn out like he did—a diabolical, cunning, demonic person that will stop at nothing to accomplish what he’s set out to do?

 

This leads to the question, is there anything at all that would stop him from carrying out his evil plans? Would a memory stop him, or trigger him? Would any one person be able to reason with him? Would a “new plan” divert him from carrying out the blueprint for disaster for the hero/heroine that he’s already come up with?

 

 

But there are other things that have to be reckoned with. Those things that might have happened to him in his past to create and mold him into the kind of person who would be so bold and determined to use anything—no matter how it hurts others—to his own advantage are important. But what are the factors that drive him presently? A circumstance of opportunity? A long-seated need for revenge and the path to that revenge being presented? Greed? Burning jealousy? Maybe even the death of a loved one that he may not have wanted to embarrass by his actions while they were still living—now that they’re gone, all bets are off! THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON has the heroine caught between a distant relative who throws her and her niece out of their home and the job as nursemaid she takes in Indian Territory, working for a man who is, at first, cold and unresponsive. The villain in this story shifts between the man who threw Julia out of her home to someone else who means to destroy her employer.

 

 

 

 

I’ve had so many villains I’ve created in my writing that were motivated by different things. My first one, Andrew Fallon, appeared in FIRE EYES. He was just pure evil. He didn’t care about anything or anyone—even his family, as his brother found out when he came looking for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my first contemporary romantic suspense, SWEET DANGER, Tabor Hardin has his revenge handed to him on a silver platter, being in the right place at the right time to turn the tables on the undercover cop who put him in jail—before his escape. He’s a man with nothing to lose at this point, and Jesse Nightwalker, the cop, has a new life hovering on the horizon—if he can survive.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The villain is paranormal in TIME PLAINS DRIFTER—a demon who can shape-shift. How in the world will the innocents he’s after survive? They have a reluctant angel or two on their side, but the demon is powerful. Can they overcome his strength?

 

 

Greed comes into play in BEYOND THE FIRE, when undercover DEA agent Jackson Taylor’s cover is blown and a drug lord comes after him, trying to use Jack’s undercover partner against him. But there is a secret that even Jack hasn’t known about his partner—and the woman he’s falling in love with. Is it enough to defeat the powerful drug cartel and keep Jackson, Kendi, and his partner safe?

Treachery comes in all forms and it’s most often quite a surprise. No matter how vigilant our heroes are, they come up against some very foreboding, sharp cunning from the villains—after all, they have to have a worthy opponent, right?

Speaking of worthy opponents, I’ll talk a little about my contemporary romantic suspense CAPTURE THE NIGHT—where the villain, Kieran McShane, runs his own rogue faction of the Irish Republican Army and plans to murder Great Britain’s Prime Minister while he’s on vacation in Dallas. Johnny Logan is an undercover Dallas cop, staying in the hotel as added protection for the prime minister; Alexa Bailey is treating herself to a one-year divorce anniversary vacation. When McShane takes over the entire hotel, it’s only a matter of time before he discovers them up on the roof in the maintenance housing—and collateral damage means nothing to him. With the hostages brought to the roof, McShane threatens to begin throwing them over one by one—unless his demands are met. Can Johnny and Alexa survive the whims of a madman, bent on political revenge?

 

One of my favorite recent stories is SABRINA, one of four novels that appears in the boxed set MAIL ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON  SISTERS. Four sisters are at the mercy of their stepfather who plans to sell them to the highest bidder now that their mother is dead. But these girls have other plans. Can they manage to get away? Will they be able to keep themselves safe from Josiah Bloodworth no matter how far away they go? This is a very fun set of four full length novels, each sister’s story penned by a different author. Livia Washburn Reasoner—Lizzy; Jacquie Rogers—Belle; Celia Yeary—Lola; and Cheryl Pierson—Sabrina.  

Here’s an excerpt of Sabrina facing down the villain, her stepfather, in the dressmaker’s shop. Cam is listening to it all from the back, waiting for his chance to save her, his sister, and the proprietor of the shop. Here’s what happens:

“So you see, dear Sabrina, you have no true choice about what you do—and neither do your sisters.” Bloodworth spread his hands as he spoke. “You will, indeed, come home to Pennsylvania from this godforsaken place and do exactly as you are told. You will marry a man—a proper gentleman—of my choosing.” He took a step closer to her.

She faced him unflinchingly, her head held high. “I will no more return to Philadelphia with you than fly to the moon. You would do well to carry your pompous, maggot-ridden self away from here and get as far east as you can go posthaste—before my husband returns for us—and sends you straight to hell.” She spoke as regally as a queen to the lowliest dregs of society, without a trace of fear.

A thin smile touched Bloodworth’s lips, but the calm iciness in his pale eyes was what put Cam on alert. This man was determined, and he believed no one could stop him.

His muscle-bound cohort stood near the door, keeping watch so that Bloodworth didn’t need to worry about any distractions—from the two other women, or from any of the townspeople.

“My dear Sabrina, you are most definitely going to do exactly as I tell you. Or else.”

Else what? You’ll drag me back by my hair like the brute that you truly are?”

Bloodworth chuckled. “Well, well. Our little Sabrina has come into her own, hasn’t she?” He stroked his chin. “Actually, I don’t believe I shall have to drag you back. I think you most likely will do anything I say once I lay my hands on that half-breed husband of yours…even if I tell you to climb up on this counter and spread your legs like the whore you are…just like your mother was—”

The slap Sabrina gave Bloodworth echoed through the room, and brought a spot of blood to the corner of his mouth. Unruffled, he took out his handkerchief and dabbed at it.

“I’m going to kill your husband, Sabrina Rose. It will be a long…slow…and very, very painful death. And you will have only yourself to blame.”

 

So many wonderful reasons for becoming a villain! The motivations are just endless, aren’t they? It’s a fine line to walk, making them evil, yet sympathetic in some instances, and letting our readers see a glimpse of their humanity—if they have any left.

Do you have a favorite villain you’ve written or read? What about your favorite film villain?

PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS WEBSITE:  http://prairierosepublications.com/

Cheryl’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/cheryl.pierson.92

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/cheryl.pierson.92  

MAMA TRIED! (WHAT DOES A MEAL MEAN IN OUR WRITING?) by Cheryl Pierson

Cooking is the bane of my existence.  I know, I know. I hear the gasps of disbelief now! (Big grin here, because I know there are some people who agree with me, too.)  I think the reason for this is that my mother was TIRED by the time I came along. She was 35 when she had me, and already had her hands full with my 10-year-old and 12-year-old sisters. Like the Merle Haggard song says, “Mama Tried”—but it just didn’t work out.  I would have rather been climbing trees than making cookies.

When I was around 5 years old, our entire family went through the allergy clinic in Oklahoma City.  I got a wonderful flash of news that day! The doctor told my parents to let me eat whatever I wanted for breakfast—even if it was a hotdog.  I never liked “normal” breakfast food at breakfast—I usually just wasn’t hungry in the morning. I married a man who could wake up and eat a huge breakfast—but not me. Opposites DO attract.

So when I began to write, I tended to forget that my characters needed a meal every once in a while.  I still don’t write long cooking scenes, or even dinner scenes.  But, I know that dinner scenes most usually have a deeper meaning in our writing, or are meant to reveal something.

I will confess, I have never forgotten the breakfast scene in SWEET SAVAGE LOVE where the Mexican general makes Ginny come to his room as he is eating breakfast, offers her a bite, and then makes sure Steve sees it–while she’s half-dressed! I almost hated Ginny in that moment, seeing the scene through Steve’s eyes after he’d given himself up to save her. I had to remind myself she was just as duped as he had been. Anyone else remember that scene? It’s stayed with me after all those years, and I can still recall that feeling of shock and betrayal when I read it for the first time.

 

 

 

 

 

I wrote a scene in my novel BEYOND THE FIRE, where Kendi is making breakfast for herself and Jackson Taylor, the wounded DEA agent she’s caring for.  In FIRE EYES, Jessica makes oatmeal, and at one point she has cooked something earlier. But my cooking scenes are few and far between.

How about you? Do you love to cook? Hate it? Love to read about it or write about it? Anyone have a most memorable cooking scene in reading or writing ventures you want to share?

I will leave you with an excerpt from BEYOND THE FIRE, where Kendi and Jackson share a meal. I’m also including a DIVINE, easy recipe—the first thing I ever learned to bake—Blonde Brownies.

Amidst all this, I should say that I’m very very thankful to be able to cook and do it well. It’s a talent I never cultivated, but I’m thankful every day that I have the appliances I have to cook with rather than what was available in the old west.

Have you read or written any “meal” scenes that revealed something so deep you couldn’t get it out of your mind? Inquiring minds want to know! This subject intrigues me because it’s such a basic thing, but something that truly IS so revealing.  If you can’t think of one, tell me what your favorite thing to cook is–I’m always looking for new recipes and ideas!

I’m giving away a digital copy of one of my books of your choice–FIRE EYES (western historical romance) or BEYOND THE FIRE (contemporary romantic suspense) today to a commenter! Be sure to leave your contact information in your comment. 

 

EXCERPT FROM BEYOND THE FIRE:

She stirred the eggs and laid the unbuttered slices of bread onto a cookie sheet, then popped it into the oven to toast. Jack’s earlier confession about running drugs had been quite a surprise. He obviously wasn’t used to sharing information about himself, especially something so personal.

She sighed, turning the bologna, then cutting a slice in each piece as it rose up in the center. That confession had been honest, though totally unexpected. There were only two choices—to trust him, or not. If not, she needed to find him one of Tal’s old shirts and send him packing no later than tomorrow morning.

If she did trust him, that was a bit stickier. That meant more doctoring, more talking, more caring…and letting him stay until he recovered enough to…to what? Go back and get himself killed trying to rescue this ‘partner’ of his?

Kendi gave a caustic chuckle as she pulled the toasted bread from the oven. Some partner. She’d never forget the way Clint Rivers had bent and put the gun close to Jack’s head. That he’d shot to the side is beside the point, she thought indignantly. Logically, she realized if the man had wanted to, he could have killed Jack. But in her heart, she was angry he hadn’t killed the shorter man with him and driven Jack to a hospital for the care he needed. Didn’t partners take care of each other?

She lifted the eggs up from the pan to the plate, then the bologna, which she cut up. Even that small task would be too much for Jack to manage with his wounded hands.

Somehow, she realized her dilemma was solved. She couldn’t say how or why, but looking at the tray she’d put together, she knew Jack would be staying. No matter what happened, her life was already entwined with his. It had happened the moment she witnessed his ‘murder’—and it might very well end with her own.

Oddly, that was why Kendi trusted him. She had brought him into her home, and she had not called for help. She had cleaned and bandaged his wounds and sat up with him through the rest of the night. She had even laid down beside him to give him her own warmth.

She wanted to laugh at herself. Her fate had been decided the minute she stepped out of the house last night, intending to scare the high school kids off her property. She tried to tell herself there wasn’t room on the tray for two plates, and that was why she’d put the food on one common dish for both of them. But in her heart, she knew it was more.

She put the coffee carafe on the tray then slowly opened the silverware drawer and took out two forks. Eating separately from the shared plate was a lot like living individually in the same, suddenly small universe. She started toward the stairs with mingled fear and wonder, knowing there was nothing she could do to stop this world of theirs from turning toward whatever end Fate dealt them. She wondered if Jack knew it, too.

 

BLONDE BROWNIES

4 eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla

1½  cups flour

2 ½  cups brown sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

½  cup (OR MORE!) choc. Chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat eggs well. Add brown sugar gradually, beating until well mixed. Add vanilla, flour, salt and mix well. Add chopped nuts and mix. Pour into a greased, 9×13 pan and sprinkle chocolate chips over top of the batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes (depending on your oven). This makes a 9×13 pan of brownies. You can half this recipe for an 8×8 pan, and reduce cooking time to 25 minutes.

FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL OF CHERYL’S WORK, CLICK HERE:  http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson/a/strong/em?tag=pettpist-20

ROMANTIC VALENTINE READS AND A GIVEAWAY! by Cheryl Pierson

Who loves a great Valentine’s Day story? I DO! I love to read them and write them! If there is a more romantic time of year, I don’t know what it is—and it’s especially so for me, since my hubby and I got married on February 10, 1979, thirty-eight years ago!

 

 

He’s my “real-life” hero, but I do love to write fiction—ROMANTIC fiction—so I couldn’t pass up the chance to let my imagination roam and write a few Valentine’s Day stories of my own, in both contemporary and historical genres. But goodness, we can’t limit ourselves just to ONE DAY, can we? I’ll be sure and mark the stories that have a Valentine’s Day theme—the others are just wonderfully romantic stories that you won’t want to pass up.

 

With flowers and candy at the top of the “romantic” list, I always indulge in a guilty pleasure or two and buy myself some VERY romantic stories to lose myself in at this time of year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few “picks” for you if you’re looking for some romantic Valentine’s Day reading…

HEARTS AND SPURS is a short story collection that features nine sensual Valentine’s Day love tales of the old west that will leave no doubt—Cupid is a cowboy, and he’s playing for keeps! How do you capture a cowboy’s heart? HEARTS AND SPURS includes stories by many of our P&P past and present “fillies” along with Livia J. Washburn, Sarah J. McNeal and Jacquie Rogers!

FOUND HEARTS by Cheryl Pierson—An enemy from the past threatens Alex Cameron’s future on the day he’s set to wed mail-order bride Evie Fremont. Can they survive their wedding day?

OPEN HEARTS by Tanya Hanson—A woman living as a man to practice the law she loves must guard her identity—and her heart—from a handsome sheriff, who discovers her secret and must decide whether to turn her in or fall in love.

THE WIDOW’S HEART by Linda Broday—Desperate and alone, Skye O’Rourke finds courage and a love she thought she’d lost when a man from her past emerges from the shimmering desert heat.

COMING HOME by Tracy Garrett—Sometimes it takes two to make dreams come true. When a man who believes he’ll never have a home and family finds a woman who has lost everything…It takes a lot of forgiveness and a few fireworks to realize that together, their dreams can come true.

TUMBLEWEEDS AND VALENTINES by Phyliss Miranda—The wildness of a tumbleweed and the sweetness of chocolate bring Amanda Love the love of a lifetime.

THE SECOND-BEST RANGER IN TEXAS by Kathleen Rice Adams—A washed-up Texas Ranger. A failed nun with a violent past. A love that will redeem them both. (WESTERN FICTIONEER PEACEMAKER AWARD WINNER!)

What a wonderful anthology this is, and it’s now FREE THIS WEEK for the digital edition. It’s also available in print!

For this excellent collection as well as many other FREE and .99 books, stories and anthologies Prairie Rose Publications is running a huge VALENTINE EXTRAVAGANZA! Go to the PRP WEBSITE below to see many more free Valentine’s Day special offers you won’t want to miss!

http://prairierosepublications.blogspot.com/

A HEART FOR A HEART is a contemporary Valentine’s Day novella you might enjoy… Kiera Leslie is all set to welcome Cory Tiger into her home as a foster child. Orphaned and with a learning disability, Cory is looking forward to living with his tutor. Until his uncle shows up… Sam Tiger returns from military duty to find his deceased brother’s son being taken in by a stranger. The boy needs his family—and Sam is it. He never expects the tutor to stand up to him and want to keep Cory. Then the worst happens—he finds himself attracted to Kiera. It’s Valentine’s Day, and Cupid’s got deadly aim!

 

 

HIDDEN TRAILS takes place right around Valentine’s Day in a blinding snowstorm.

Levi Connor has never run from anything in his life, and he doesn’t intend to start now. After killing the two bandits who’d followed him into Indian Territory, he finds himself wounded and riding through a blinding February snowstorm. With no purpose ahead of him and no past to guide him, he discovers a reason to exist—the beautiful mixed-blood girl who takes him in and heals him. Valentine Reneau lives in fear that her father will find her someday in the heart of Indian Territory and force her to return to Mississippi to take her mother’s place—in every way. She knows her time has run out when a stranger shows up on her land with two hired guns—and the devil in his plans. With some unlikely help, Valentine must try to escape the slave’s fate that her mother left behind so many years before. Will Levi kill for a woman he barely knows? The chips are down, the guns blaze, and everything finally comes clear along these HIDDEN TRAILS…but who’ll be left alive?

HIDDEN TRAILS was a finalist in the short fiction category of the Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Awards!

 

No, this one is not a Valentine’s Day themed story, but it has to be one of my all-time favorite love stories. If you have not read it yet, you won’t be disappointed! It’s Penelope Williamson’s THE OUTSIDER—an oldie but a goodie!

Throughout the years on her Montana homestead, Rachel Yoder had never been afraid—the creed of the Plain People had been her strength. Then the day came when lawless men killed Rachel’s husband in an act of blind greed. Now, at her darkest hour, an outsider walks across her meadow and into her life… Johnny Cain is bloody, near death, and armed to the teeth. A man hardened by his violent past, Cain has never known a woman like Rachel—someone who offers him a chance to heal more than his physical wounds. Cain’s lazy smile and teasing ways steal Rachel’s heart and confound her soul. Soon she must choose between all she holds dear—her faith, her family, perhaps her very salvation—and the man they call the Outsider.

Another excellent story by Penelope Williamson that I really enjoyed was HEART OF THE WEST…you can’t get enough of Penelope Williamson!

Here are some tales that are sexy, romantic, and wonderful!

HANNAH’S VOW by Pam Crooks

 

 

TEXAS REDEMPTION by Linda Broday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SENECA SURRENDER by Karen Kay writing as Gen Bailey

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEYOND THE FIRE by Cheryl Pierson

When Kendi Morgan witnesses an attempted murder near her home one stormy November night, she makes the only choice her heart will allow: she has to 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 the beautiful woman who risks everything to save his life.

With his cover blown, Jackson knows he’s all that stands between Kendi and Benito Sanchez, a powerful drug cartel lord. Sanchez swears his vengeance, vowing to see Jackson and Kendi both dead.

Love comes fast when there may be only hours left…can it survive? Or will Jackson sacrifice his partner’s life—along with his own—in exchange for Kendi’s safety? Does a future exist for them BEYOND THE FIRE…
Previously published as Temptation’s Touch.

http://firestarpress.blogspot.com/

What’s the most romantic story you ever read? Leave your answer in the comments along with your contact information for a chance to win a digital copy of HIDDEN TRAILS! Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, everyone–and don’t forget to pop over to the PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS blog for tons of bargains from FEB. 13-17!!

http://prairierosepublications.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS–MAKING A DIFFERENCE by Cheryl Pierson

Cheryln100000149781632_8303LiviaJWashburn_Web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RR Article Prairie_Rose_Pub_Logo_1_SM In August, 2013, my business partner, Livia Reasoner and I decided to take the plunge and open our own publishing house. So many little companies were bursting on the scene that we wondered if we would be able to make much of a difference in the publishing world. Less than a year later, I want to share with you all what we’ve done. To start with, I better talk a little about why we wanted to start Prairie Rose Publications to begin with. Livia and I both belong to a professional western writing group, the WESTERN FICTIONEERS, of which we are both very proud to be members. I am currently acting as President of the Western Fictioneers until 2016. We had both noticed that there were many women writers—good women writers—who were having trouble “breaking in” to the western genre.

Many of these women wrote “gritty” western stories—not so heavy on the romance as on the “western” aspect; many of them wrote shorter stories than the normal popular length for a novel, or novella; and many were having trouble just because they were women—with the name to prove it.

PRP Cowboy Cravings Web FINAL

Lots of publishers don’t like taking a chance on westerns anymore, written by man or woman—but when they have a choice, they’ll be publishing the ones by men—since men are more apt to buy western and science fiction works by another man than by a woman.

Livia and I agreed that one of the submissions requirements for our publishing house would be first and foremost, to submit, you had to be a woman. We have not been sorry, and have had more business than we can handle at times.

 

 

 

SOME OF OUR PRP AUTHORS

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Another thing we wanted to do was encourage new writers as well as seasoned ones. We’ve got a fantastic mix of both, and have thoroughly enjoyed working with them all. Our royalty rate is one of the best anywhere, paying 80% net to the authors, who work so hard to write these wonderful tales and hope with everything in them to find a home for their stories. After years of being offered the traditional meager 35% for e-books and 7% for print, our authors are extremely happy with the royalty payments, and so are we.

 

We can do this because we don’t accept anything that requires heavy editing, so we are able to produce more quality stories and novels in a shorter time span.

 

It wasn’t long after we opened Prairie Rose Publications that we were asked if we published children’s westerns. And what about contemporary and science fiction? Well, did we also have an imprint for youngsters’ contemporary or fantasy stories? The answer became YES very quickly.

 

Painted Pony Books is our imprint for Middle Grade, YA and New Adult western fare; Tornado Alley Publications is the sister imprint for Middle Grade, YA, and New Adult contemporary stories, and Fire Star Press satisfies contemporary, science fiction and fantasy categories for adults. PPBThe Saga of Indian Em&_39;ly Bk 1 WebAll of our imprints except Prairie Rose Publications are open to ANYONE to submit to—men and women, alike; newbies and experienced writers. Since opening our doors, we have published many anthologies at PRP—Wishing For a Cowboy (Christmas 2013), Hearts and Spurs (Valentine’s Day 2014), Lassoing a Bride, Lassoing a Groom, Lassoing a Mail Order Bride, and Cowboy Cravings (Summer stories, 2014). We’ve also put out 14 novels in the PRP line, as well as 6 novellas. In the Painted Pony Books imprint, we’ve published 9 books, some for all three of our age groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAP THIS SUMMER STORM WebIn the Tornado Alley Publications imprint, we published our first anthology, THIS SUMMER STORM, for YA readers just a few weeks ago in time for summer reading for ages 13-17. We also released a “retro” novel about the Viet Nam era, Echoes in the Night, and will be releasing two more about that era in the next couple of months. Fire Star Press has seen the release of one novella and one novel, with many more on the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of what we want to do with our company is to inspire people in many ways, and one of these ways is by helping others. We have partnered with some charities that are so rewarding and exciting to work with. One of them, The Lighthouse For Recovery Ministries, has many branches that reach out to all segments of the Birmingham, Alabama community—the homeless, abused animals, addiction programs, and programs for veterans who need help. http://www.thelighthouseforrecoveryministries.org/

Another of our “pet projects” has been helping with Westie rescue expenses by donating books to the Westie Rescue Missouri Fundraising Auction (here is the Facebook page for their event, for anyone who might be interested): http://www.facebook.com/groups/WestieRSQMissouriAuction/

 

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What do we have coming up in the next year? More of the same! Prairie Rose Publications will have its first Halloween anthology, Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico making a debut in late September. But there’ll also be an anthology from Tornado Alley Publications for Middle Grade Readers this fall called My Dog Can Do Magic! For New Adult readers, we’ll have an anthology just in time for Halloween—It Could Happen—stories that have a love story with a Halloween twist.

We have submission calls open for all three of these anthologies, if you have a story you might meet the requirements!

 

TAP My Dog Can Do MagicTAP It Could Happen 3PRP COWBOYS, CREATURES AND CALICO cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas will see two anthologies, Present for a Cowboy and Present for a Cowgirl in our PRP line. And Valentine’s Day will be marked by another new anthology to be released in the middle part of January.

But even more immediately, we have a special CHRISTMAS IN JULY event coming up from July 25-Aug. 1! During that time period, we’ll have many new Christmas-themed novellas and short stories available for purchase at our brand new website! We’ll have a lot of giveaways going on, too! We hope you’ll come join us during National Week of the Cowboy, the week we’ve chosen for our Christmas in July event—and get to know our authors.

But don’t wait until then—here’s the link, come on over and join us now!

PRP website:

PRP blog: www.prairierosepublications.blogspot.com

Questions? Ideas? Thoughts? Please leave a comment with your contact information! I will be drawing the names of 3 lucky winners today!

Time Plains Drifter SmHere’s what’s up for grabs from the PRP goodie bag!

1 signed print copy of TIME PLAINS DRIFTER

1 digital copy of COWBOY CRAVINGS

1 digital copy of LASSOING A MAIL ORDER BRIDE

Winners will be announced tonight! Thanks so much for stopping by and celebrating with me!

Cheryl

INTRODUCING PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS! by CHERYL PIERSON

Cheryl7126Have you ever had a dream that “just happened” –before you could think about it anymore, or try to decide how to accomplish it—it was just…there?

One of the things I’ve always “thought about” was opening a publishing company of my own. That would be impossible because as everyone who knows me is well aware, I am NOT a “computer guru” at all. So how could I ever do all the things I’d need to do to open a publishing house? The answer is, I couldn’t.

I’d pretty much let those thoughts go until Livia Reasoner and I were talking about a way to be able to get some brand new, very talented authors “out there” for others to read and enjoy, and this topic came up. As it turned out, we both had the same idea—an imprint for women authors, both well-seasoned and fresh talent, to submit historical westerns and historical western romances.

Since so many women read westerns and western historical romances, Livia and I thought this might be a great way to reach even more women authors who write those kinds of stories.  What we wanted to do was provide a venue for these authors to shine—to get their work “out there” with a publisher who is interested in helping give them a hand navigating the publishing waters and seeing that they get their fair share of profits for their hard work. With that in mind, our imprint, PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS, was born!PRAIRIE ROSE PUB PINK logo

Livia and I are so excited to be working together. With her bookkeeping, formatting, and other computer skills and her ability to make such fantastic covers for our books I have no worries. It’s my job to edit, promote and do much of the correspondence (cause I DO love to talk about writing!)

Our first venture will be a Christmas anthology called WISHING FOR A COWBOY. We’ve got a wonderful group of authors lined up for this collection: Phyliss Miranda, Tanya Hanson, Sarah McNeal, Jacquie Rogers, Tracy Garrett, reviewer Kathleen Rice Adams, Livia and me. This short story grouping will be western historical romance, in the sweet to sensual category. All the stories have mentioned a certain holiday food, and the story is either built around the food or can just mention it casually. The recipes will be included in the back of the book, and we are just having a fantastic time with this! WISHING FOR A COWBOY will be available November 1, 2013, in print and digital formats—it’ll make a great Christmas gift for anyone!

Wishing for a Cowboy SmWe also have another anthology of cowboy romance coming your way for Valentine’s Day! It’s called HEARTS AND SPURS, and in addition to all the fine writers listed above, our fellow filly Linda Broday also has a story to contribute. These stories will be a bit “steamier” than the sweet stories in Wishing for a Cowboy. Well, it IS Valentine’s Day!

But it doesn’t stop there! I have a novel coming out early next year called THE HALF-BREED’S WOMAN. More about that in the future, but I am so excited about it that it’s really hard to keep it under wraps a while longer.

Once we opened PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS, we got e-mails from writers who wanted to know if we had a children’s line? Did we have a contemporary/futuristic line? Well, how could we say no? So, for the younger readers of western/historical stories (Middle Grade 9-12, Young Adult 13-17, and New Adult 18-24) we opened PAINTED PONY BOOKS. We’ve already had several submissions for this line and look forward to bringing out some excellent quality reading  materials from this imprint.Painted Pony Books Logo O

In addition, we opened FIRE STAR PRESS for contemporary/futuristic books for adult readers, and TORNADO ALLEY PUBLICATIONS for young readers of this same genre. We are having a ball with all this, and are so thrilled with the submissions we have received. Our main goal is to help authors receive the royalty money they are due, and to provide some wonderful reading material for all ages.

We have a brand new website here: http://prairierosepublications.yolasite.com/

If you have questions, you are welcome to contact me at fabkat_edit@yahoo.com or Livia at livia@flash.net

Please wish us well on our new publishing adventure, and come on over to the website for more information on the anthology and submissions procedures.

Thanks for all your support! Here’s a sneak peek at HEARTS AND SPURS (available Jan. 15, 2014).

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