Tag: The Wild Rose Press

COOKING IN 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.  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.  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 part 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. 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?

I wrote a scene in my novel TEMPTATION’S TOUCH, 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 TEMPTATION’S TOUCH where Kendi and Jackson share a meal, as well as an 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.  Yes, I’m going to cook tomorrow, but will be glad to have the leftovers to fall back on in the day after.

HAVE A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!

EXCERPT FROM TEMPTATION’S TOUCH:

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

TEMPTATION’S TOUCH by CHERYL PIERSON

Today, I’m celebrating my latest novel release, TEMPTATION’S TOUCH. It’s a contemporary romantic suspense novel—not what I usually write. Though this is my second novel in that particular genre, and I have written numerous short stories in that classification, I seemed to struggle with this one. That’s part of what I wanted to talk about today—the struggle.

I began this novel four years ago. To be so short, you wouldn’t think it would have taken a person so long to get it written and get it “out there”—but things don’t always turn out like we expect them to.

I had this great idea—a young divorcee, living in the country near Dallas, awakens in the night to the sound of a truck motor running. She’s had trouble with the local high school wild bunch, throwing parties on her land down by the creek. Well, she has had enough of that! She takes off in the darkness to tell the teens their partying days on her land are over. But when she gets to the creek, the scene is nothing like what she had expected. No party. No kids.

A murder is about to take place, and even though she has her gun, she is so terrified, she can’t do anything to stop it. The two murderers drive away, and Kendi hurries to the man who has been shot.  But he’s not dead—only beaten within an inch of his life. Now, Kendi faces the biggest decision of her life—does she leave him exposed to the elements until an ambulance can get there? Or does she take him back home with her? No matter what she does, he’s demanded that she not call 911, telling her if she does, both of their lives could be in danger.

I wrote like crazy, but was interrupted by REAL LIFE over and over again. Finally, I put the book aside, even though I was nearly finished with it—with all the harrowing twists and turns and the wonderful roller coaster of emotions…I put it on the shelf until things calmed down.

Close to two-and-a-half years later, I pulled it out and began to work on it again, to get it finished, and then to edit the finished product. I submitted it to The Wild Rose Press, and my wonderful editor there, Lori Graham, was as excited about it as I was. Though we finished the edits on it and had it ready to go by early spring, the release date was not set until October 24, 2012.

Finally the day arrived…and none of my “buy” links were live at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or any of the other sites. I wanted to cry. But within another 48 hours most of the links had gone live, and it only meant putting off my announcement of my release date for a short time. I’m so thrilled that I went back to it and finished it up, and made sure it got published–it’s definitely a love story worth telling.

Now, TEMPTATION’S TOUCH is out there and though it’s not a western historical, it’s still a wonderful love story of two broken hearts that find each other under the oddest of circumstances, proving that love will find a way, even when it seems impossible.

Blurb:

When Kendi Morgan stumbles upon the victim of a would-be murder, she has no choice but to help him back to the safety of her home. Wounded DEA agent Jackson Taylor is a man with nothing to lose and nothing to fear. Can their newfound love survive as they are targeted by a powerful drug lord seeking revenge?

EXCERPT:

     Kendi glanced up the remaining five stairs. So close.

     She looked at Jackson again and saw the steel in his expression.

     “Just give me…a minute, Kendi.”

     “Don’t fall—”

     “I won’t. Not gonna break my neck…since you’ve gone to all this trouble.”

     He was teasing her. She heard it, but she was still worried. He looked unsteady, still—all six feet

two inches of him. Her eyes ranged over him, finally meeting his dark gaze. “I told you—don’t be so

scared.”

     “Aren’t you?” she breathed.

     “Uh-uh.” He gave her a quick semblance of a grin through swollen lips. “I’m still here—still standin’.”

     Not for long, Kendi wanted to retort.

     “You’re thinkin’ it’s a close thing,” he muttered, “me…standin’ yet.”

     “Well, I’m right, aren’t I?”

     “Maybe. But I’m not afraid.”

     “Why not, Jack? After what you’ve been through—”

     “Where I’m headed looks better than where I’ve been.”

     They took the last step, gaining the wide landing.

     “‘Where you’ve been…where was that?” She was moments away from tucking a stranger into her bed.

She moistened her lips, suddenly nervous. “I mean— you could be anybody.”

     “I’m a DEA agent.”  

     She let Jack’s weight shift to the side of the mattress, then bent to unbuckle his belt. She looked into his face, her fingers faltering at the button placket of the faded jeans he wore.

     His swollen eyes held hers. “You’re safe with me.”

What would you do if you were in Kendi’s place? Leave the “victim” out in the freezing rain, or bring him to the house? Now remember, even though he’s been severely beaten, there’s a spark of chemistry between them she can’t ignore…

My first venture into contemporary romantic suspense, SWEET DANGER, is also available at Amazon and B&N. https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

I will be giving away a copy of TEMPTATION’S TOUCH to one lucky commenter today! Thanks so much for coming by!

WHAT BRINGS US ALL TOGETHER

I love reading stories about how other writers got started on their writing paths, because it makes me realize AGAIN what holds us all together as writers! So many of us have similar experiences, yet many of them are very unique–and they all have brought us together in this world of writing and sharing our stories with our readers.

I had written the “book that started it all” for me–my “baby”–trouble was, by the time I finished it, it was WAY too long to be published (for a first time author).  It’s around 284,000 words!  (But who’s counting!?)  I sent it off (FINALLY!) and of course, it was rejected by all the agents I sent it to, except for three.  Those three wanted to see something shorter.  That’s what made me get busy and write the “next” book–another western, but different characters and MUCH MUCH shorter.  I got an agent and was sure that that book would be “the one” to be published.  But, no.  I was already working on book # 3– another western.  When I shipped it off to my agent, again, it was with high hopes and crossed fingers.  He wrote to tell me that “No one reads westerns much anymore.  Have you got anything different?”

My husband had very graciously been “standing by” all this time while I had more or less taken a
break from working to write.  He was starting to get impatient about the way our money was at the time, and I was worried, too.  I went back to work part time, first as an emergency serivces operator (911) and then as a “guard” in the National Cowboy and Western Heitage Museum here in Oklahoma City.
My husband was not happy about me switching from the 911 job to the museum, but I knew I had to do it for self-preservation.  It was not nearly as much money per hour, but the pressure was not as tremendous either.  I enjoyed working there.  And as time went by, I realized that it was where I neededto be.

For whatever reason, I found that people who came through the museum were willing to open up to me and talk about all kinds of things–I don’t know if it was because we were strangers and they felt safe about telling me about old emotional wounds, knowing they’d never see me again– but even my co-workers noticed it.  No, it didn’t happen every day, but I’m thankful that I was “there” for them when
it did happen.  It’s hard to explain in an e-mail, but I felt like I was where I needed to be for those 2 years that I worked there.  The Viet Nam vet who talked about losing his best friend, the man whose father got him out of going to Viet Nam who blamed himself when his best friend was killed over there, the couple who had married, divorced, and then remarried after TWENTY YEARS, the man who had never made peace with his father before his father passed on. . . and on and on.

What does that have to do with writing?  In a way, it took the focus off — and the pressure– to crank
out that next book and hope that it would sell.  I realized that I would be writing, whether my books sold NOW, LATER, or NEVER.  I was a writer, and that was what I loved to do.  I was forced to quit the job at the museum due to a bout of poor health that year, and I never went back to work there, but I made some lifelong friends among my coworkers that I never would have met had I not worked there.  I gained a new perspective on my role as a writer, and what writing meant to me.  It was not a “job”–it
was something I’d been doing, literally, since I could hold a pencil.

 I’ve gone on to write several full length novels, and that third one I wrote (the western that “no one is reading anymore”) was the first one I sold.  Fittingly enough, the heroine is named for my daughter Jessica, who is my biggest fan, and the hero bears the same last name as my dear friend and supervisor at the museum, Martin Turner, who has since passed on. (The cover at the left is the 1st cover my book had when it was published with The Wild Rose Press. The one below is the new one it was given when it was reissued with Western Trail Blazer.)

It all connects.  Success is measured in so many ways for so many people, but for me, that little
“detour” of 2 years at the museum was filled with cherished memories, and I think it helped me as a writer in so many ways.    At the time, I saw it as something I had to do to help the family financially, but now, I realize it was not just the money I earned– it was the building of friendships, and helping others, and learning more about human nature and healing the spirits of those who confided in me in whatever small way I could.

I’m still hoping to sell the ‘book of my heart”– that 284,000 word saga– but if I don’t, I’m okay
with it.  I enjoyed writing it, and I will probably still be working on it, rewriting on it, cutting and editing on it forever.

What got you started writing? Any budding writers out there who want to share their experiences? I love it that we are all brought together by this wonderful fove of writing!

All my books and short stories are available here: https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

THE HELP YOU GET ALONG THE WAY

Do you have a “collection” of special people in your life? People that helped you in ways maybe you hadn’t really given much thought to, but that turned out to be extremely important? One of the first milestones in my writing career—becoming a finalist in the EPIC Awards with my first novel, FIRE EYES—brought this realization home to me. I got curious. I know there are incidents in people’s lives that are pivotal to their entire careers, dreams, and goals, that, perhaps at the time, don’t seem that important. Later, looking back on it, it becomes an “aha” moment—you understand that THIS was the moment when you made the decision to do something you might not have done otherwise, or because of a word of encouragement you continued on when you’d been ready to stop.  

Most people that I’ve met in the last half of my adulthood would never describe me as “shy,” but as a youngster, I was—horribly.  That’s one reason I turned to writing.  It was a great way for me to get my feelings out without actually having to say them.  I could have someone else say it all for me. 

I imagine that’s how many of my fellow writers started, too.  I sometimes wonder what might have happened had we all known each other when we were younger.  Would we have developed into the writers we are today, or would we have found our “niche” with one another and NOT turned so much to writing? 

If you can relate to the “shy” part, then maybe you felt this way, too:  I was never competitive.  Not like so many sports contenders might be.  The things I enjoyed, writing and music, were open to everyone, I felt.  I am not a “joiner” and I am not one to enter a lot of contests.  I entered FIRE EYES in the 2010 EPIC Awards competition, and something odd happened when I did. 

From the moment I entered, my attitude about myself changed.  BEFORE I entered, I thought, “I probably don’t have a chance.”  But my mom always used to say, “If you don’t enter, you certainly are NOT going to win!”  I remembered those words, and sent in my entry that very day.  Once it was sent, I began to feel some confidence growing.  As I analyzed WHY, here’s what I came up with. 

FIRE EYES was a joint project.  I wrote it, but I couldn’t have if I hadn’t had the cooperation and support of my family—my kids and my husband.  While I was writing it, my oldest sister, Annette, was constantly asking about “how it’s coming” and she was the one I could bounce ideas off of.  Once written, my business partner read it for glaring mistakes, and my best friend of 45 years read it for moral support. The Wild Rose Press accepted it, and my editor, Helen Andrew, was so phenomenal in helping me mold it and shape it into the story that was released last May.  My cover artist, Nicola Martinez, did a superb job on the beautiful cover. My family and friends were all pulling for me, and constantly offering encouragement. With all these people behind me and my story, my confidence rose.  Whatever would be, would be—and entering the competition was a win/win situation.  Even if I didn’t make it to the finals, I would still have taken the chance and had the experience. 

When I received the news that my book was, indeed, a finalist, I thought immediately of all the people who had helped me get to this point; people in my life who had faith in me, and in my ability, and in the story itself.  I thought of that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  It’s true, even in the broader sense of our lives as writers.  The experiences we had growing up, people who encouraged us even then, our spouses, our children, mentors and teachers we’ve had along the way, and peers that have helped and encouraged us.  Editors, artists, publishers and organizations such as EPIC that give us a chance to compete and strive to be better and better, along with our readers, are all part of the completed circle of a successful writer’s endeavors.

 Though FIRE EYES didn’t win that year, the experience of entering the competition and finaling in it was more important that I could have realized when I sent my entry in. It was the thing that made me understand just how many people had been involved in the entire process of writing that book. And it gave me the impetus and encouragement to move forward with the rest of my writing projects since that time. That realization was far more important than winning the contest, and has been with me every day, like a component of myself that I didn’t have before; another part of my make-up. 

Does anyone have a “special person” that helped them along the way? Not just in writing, but in your life’s goals and dreams?  What about a “collection” of special people? My “collection” of special people in my life is the thing that I am most thankful for above all else.  Without them, my dreams could have never happened.  I could never have done it alone. 

Cheryl’s Amazon Author Page:   

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

 

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!
 

 

 

 

THE WHAT IF GAME–WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM?

Have you ever been asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” 

 Where do your ideas for writing fiction come from, and what makes them worthy of the time, effort, and creative energy we expend to bring that idea to full fruition—to craft a well-written story from it? 

One source of story ideas is from real-life experience.  Whether we are retelling a chapter of our own life, or something that happened to someone else, we must have come to the conclusion that that idea was worthwhile and that others would be interested in it, as well.

 Gleaning ideas from actual happenings can be tricky.  For many years, I taught a series of classes on “writing your life story.”  You can’t imagine how popular those classes have remained, especially with the older generation.  The idea that one’s life is unique or different suddenly takes on new meaning when others say, “You should write that down!”  It comes to mean, “Your life has been fantastic!”  It may well have been fantastic but when you stop to think about it, many, many people have had unusual, one-of-a-kind experiences at one time or another.  What would make a person believe that their life story would be the one people would rush to Barnes and Noble to pluck from the shelves and lay down a twenty dollar bill to buy?

 Many times, we, as writers, can draw from our life experiences as a bank of ideas for our fiction. But to write our own life story in full would generally prove to be a project that might, in the end, be a disappointing failure.

 Characters we’ve met in our lives also give us ideas for the characters we create.  Although we might not think of our sourpuss Aunt Betty as a “character” in real life, once we begin to write the fictional story we’ve been plotting, we might see one of the secondary characters begin to take on attributes of Aunt Betty–someone we haven’t been around for the past five years.  People we’ve met casually, or known in a family context, can firmly insert themselves into our stories–much to our surprise.

 Books, poetry or movies that might have influenced our thinking during our lives also can have an impact on our ideas.  I once read a book based on a song that was popular in the early 1970s about a young woman who was in love with a sea captain.

 Other forms of mass media can also add to our treasure trove of ideas. Articles we’ve read in magazines or newspapers spark ideas.  True stories that are fictionalized have become one of the most popular genres ever created.  Truman Capote’s best seller “In Cold Blood” was the book that became the catalyst for and set the standard of this type of fictionalized reality.

 Historical events from the past can also provide us with ideas that can either stay fairly true to history or take a wide turn around the actual events. Alternate history is a new up-and-coming genre that encompasses all types of fiction writing, from science fiction to historicals, including certain genres of romance, mainstream, and political fiction.

 Now that we’ve talked a bit about where some of our ideas might come from, how we know whether an idea is “story-worthy” or not? Have you ever started writing on a manuscript that you loved the idea for, but suddenly…the plot fizzles?  Maybe you get to a certain point and don’t know where to go next. (This has happened to me, since I’m more of a “pantser”, not a “plotter.”) Does that mean your idea is no good?

Or does it mean you are just in need of some brainstorming to re-direct your plot, punch it up, and keep the middle from “sagging”?

 Someone once said, you can wash garbage, but it’s still garbage.  Learning what is garbage and what is salvageable is the most important thing we need to know, as writers.  If you begin with an idea that you love, chances are, there’ll be someone else out there who’ll love it, too—your readers!  If you have an idea that’s “sort of” good, the question is, will you care enough, as a writer, to see it through to the end?

 Of course, everyone who has ever written anything for pleasure has had self-doubt.  Remember Miss Smith’s third grade class?  If the assignment was to write an essay, or a short story, you didn’t dare let that smirk of anticipation cross your face.  What would your friends think of you if they knew you were looking forward to actually writing a paper?  While everyone else wrote a paragraph, you couldn’t help yourself:  you wrote two whole pages!  And the secret was out.  Self-doubt set in the very moment one of your classmates asked, “Gosh, why’d you write so much?”

 So, you see, self-doubt has been instilled in us since we were in Miss Smith’s class.  It will never leave us.  We have to practice introducing ourselves in the bathroom mirror:  “Hi.  I’m (insert your name here.) I’m a writer.” This takes some practice for most, and is one of the most difficult stumbling blocks.

 One of the best idea-getters is the “what-if” game (one of my favorites.)

What if there was a man and he had a beautiful daughter.  What if he fell in love with a woman who had two daughters of her own.  What if they married.  But, what if the woman wasn’t what the man had believed her to be?  What if she hated his daughter and was jealous of her?

CINDERELLA!!!

 I love this game because it leads to all sorts of possibilities.  Our stories can take flight in directions we never imagined, becoming a joyous surprise even to ourselves, the authors!

 Though we must battle our self-doubt on two fronts (a, will the story idea be interesting and good; and b, will I be able to write it, finish it, bring it to fruition through publication) reminding ourselves every day that we are professional writers and that our ideas are worthy is one way to combat that doubt.  I’m not a fan of critique groups normally, but finding other writers who are supportive through other venues is a great confidence booster.

 Something to think about:  The greatest “what-if”?  What if I wasn’t a writer?  That would have a terrible outcome—my stories would have never been written! 

 I’m curious as to how other writers come up with their plots and ideas. And how do most readers see them, once they actually “come about” and appear in a novel or short story? I’ve told you some of my ways of coming up with ideas. I would love to hear yours! And for our readers, what kinds of ideas would you like to see more of? What are you tired of? We’re listening, and we love to hear what you think!

 

CHERYL PIERSON’S AMAZON LINK:   http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002JV8GUE

Do Westerns (and Other Historicals) Have a Fighting Chance in Today’s Market?

Lately, I’ve been doing some hard thinking about the seeming “decline” of history lovers.  Why, I wonder, are western romance and other historical sub-genres of romance being turned down by some of the bigger New York publishers?  As a general rule, it seems that contemporary romance is on the upswing more now than ever before. Yet, I know many people, myself included, who enjoy nothing more than a well-written historical (especially western, in my case) romance novel.

It seems that a lot of the people who have written western romance for years, and in fact, have made their name and career in that sub-genre, are now being told they are going to have to write contemporary in order to sell.  At least, according to  the big New York houses.  I’m seeing this with my own work. I’ve submitted my latest western historical to a couple of agents recently and both of them told me they were interested in seeing something contemporary rather than a historical.  It would seem that historicals are on the way out, to be replaced with contemporary, at least as far as New York is concerned. With all the marketing studies that have been done, there must be some research that supports this theory of declining historical readership. I might be out in left field with this, but here’s my take on it.

The main obstacle to anything historical is that we don’t teach it in our schools any longer.  So kids, growing up, have no sense of what came before. They don’t learn about history in depth at all, it’s just glossed over, and with the watered-down, public educational system’s “no child left behind” program, they don’t have to care or study.  The academic programs are softened so that no child, despite lack of effort or concern, will have to worry about failure. When my son was in high school 4 years ago, his history textbook devoted a two-page spread to World War II; a one page (including a picture) write-up of Viet Nam. How can this be?  Do we care so little about the causes, repercussions, and influences of the wars our countrymen have died for that we reduce it to a one-page retelling? Shameful. There’s an old Sioux proverb that says: “A people without history is like wind on the buffalo grass.” I believe that.  And there is something within us that needs to know where we came from to give us the strength and determination to get to where we are going. Knowing our history and values of the past instills this within us.         

The next dismissal of history is in our entertainment field.  If you look at the television programming, it’s all police drama, detective and forensic work of some kind, sitcoms or reality tv. There are no historical dramas anymore other than what you see on cable, such as series like The Tudors. Growing up in the 1960’s-1970’s, I was fortunate to have been exposed to all those wonderful old historical series—westerns such as Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Lancer, High Chaparral, Wagon Train, Rawhide, The Virginian…the list goes on and on. Not only were these shows teaching history, geography, and giving us a glimpse of everyday life in those times, they also taught values. There was clearly a “good guy” and a “bad guy.” We learned about the workings of cattle drives, that lightning could stampede the cattle, that towns were built around railroads, that Matt Dillon always got his man, and he never quit.  These westerns provided entertainment, but they gave us so much more.  History provides us values of the past to carry forward into the future.  There is no other period where this is more evident than the western.

As a society, we are moving away from even concerning ourselves with history in any venue–movies, television…or reading. Sounds bleak, doesn’t it?  But wait! There’s a light up ahead. With the advent of the smaller publishing houses, and e-publishing, there is a great possibility for the writers and readers of historical fiction! New York might not realize it, but there are some of us out here who still yearn for a good old fashioned piece of historical fiction every once in a while! And thanks to the e-publishers and the smaller presses, we are going to be able to have our cake and eat it, too.  There are a lot of wonderful writers who are being passed over by NY, even people who have big names, who are being told “write contemporary or you’re out.”  Well, those people have a following already.  So how could they have that following, writing western historicals, if no one read those? Why are they being told to write contemporary?  Because New York sees it as the way the world is turning now, and they are desperate to make every dollar they can make.  That leaves the smaller presses and e-publishers to make the money on the historicals that NewYork doesn’t want to publish anymore. These smaller presses are going to build their own following, and the writers they publish will do the same.

Historicals rise and fall in popularity, but “westerns will never die.” I think John Wayne said that, and it’s very true. I write a mix, both contemporary and historical.  My heart is with the historicals, and I will continue to write them, because I know that there are people out there who read them.

Not everyone who reads a book lives in New York City, but it seems that that’s what the New York houses cater to. I get really tired of how every show on tv being set in New York or Los Angeles.  There are other places in the world! And the same is true of the books we read–they don’t all have to take place in those two places.  There are tons of other very interesting locations to set a story in, and there are thousands of people who want to read – and relate—to a variety of settings.  Exciting things can happen anywhere, any time period, as long as the writer has the imagination to make it realistic.

Society, as a whole, is responsible for the disregard of our rich heritage and past that should be remembered, written and read about, and learned about.  I love history, and though I read and write contemporaries too, there is sometimes nothing like picking up a good ol’ western and reading it.  And that’s why I will continue to write historical westerns.  There will always be a readership for them, because of the fulfillment they offer our need for a true hero and heroine, and always, a “happily ever after” ending.

I’m curious as to what your favorite historical romance is. I have so many, my list would be endless. And while I write in both genres, I can’t picture myself ever giving up writing historicals to  pen only contemporaries.

FOR ALL CHERYL PIERSON NOVELS AND SHORT STORIES, PLEASE VISIT:  http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Pierson/e/B002JV8GUE/ref=sr_tc_ep?qid=1316144509

PLEASE WELCOME JOYCE HENDERSON!

Joyce Henderson is a multi-published author who writes Native American Romance set in Central Texas where she was born. Joyce writes “what she knows,” horses and ranching, and she loves researching Indian lore. Her work has finaled in national contests: National Readers’ Choice Award, Georgia Romance Writers Maggie, and several others. During her 25-year writing career, she’s mentored a half-dozen or more writers who have gone on to publication.

And she worked for local newspapers for several years writing a by-lined column.

Married forever, she has three children and three grandkids, plus six step-grandkids and six step-great-grandchildren.

Yeehaw, I’m back to kick up my heels at the Junction! It’s a right pretty place I love to visit.

Now, to get on with why I’m here…

I’m asked over and over by readers and other writers: Which one of your heroes is your favorite?

The short answer is: The one I’m presently writing.

Upon donning my thinking cap, I realize there’s a much deeper, more complex reason for that answer.

I suppose it has to do with how I write in the first place. First, if you’re a writer let me say for the umpteenth time when writers have been faced with “rules,” there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to how one devises prose. We all approach this art form differently. And I believe, oft times to my detriment, those so-called rules are made to be broken. LOL

I consider myself a visual writer. By that I mean, more often than not I “see” entire scenes in my mind, and then I see people acting, reacting within those scenes. What that scene depicts is a visual of the era and location where my entire story will be set and expanded upon. Actually, I use scenes almost like another character.

While I’m writing a story, people pop into scenes, so… I must visualize many individuals, give each a tick or trait that make each one stand out from others. For me, that’s one of the fun parts of writing. I usually write a ton of secondary people into my stories, but I have to caution myself as I conjure these characters…don’t let them take over. All my stories are he-and-she romances, secondary characters must have a purpose, but remember who each one is: secondary. And since my stories are romances, they must end with HEA, happily ever after.

Look with me at the Prologue and opening scene of my very first published book, Walks in Shadow, and the visual I saw before I typed the first word…

It’s dark, with light rain at the tail end of a storm. A lone man gazes into the distance, stands beneath trees, limbs bending and swaying overhead. He wears a Stetson hat, rain drips before his eyes and cascades off the brim down his back . His arms hold a bulge beneath his yellow slicker. That’s my basic visual.

You’ve probably heard the admonition directed at writers, “Write what you know.”

Most of my Native American historical stories are set in and around the town where I was born in Central Texas. While I knew dirt when it was still a rock, honestly, I wasn’t around in the year in which this story is set, 1860. LOL The oaks my hero stands beneath are like those which used to line the dirt road leading to my great-grandmother’s old homestead. I know the place.

Okay, back to my scene… (This is wheels grinding in my pea brain. LOL) I ask myself, what’s this guy doing there? What’s riveted his attention? What’s hidden beneath the slicker that he’s holding against his chest? I enlarge my visual.

Across a clearing is a two-story house… (My great-grandma’s place was one story.)  There’s a porch the width of the house (Grandma’s was half the width), one central door with a window each side from which light spills. Nearby, a barn, and an attached lean-to, a chicken coop.

Switch back to the man…He looks down, separates the coat and stares into the face of a sleeping child. From his thoughts I begin to learn who he is and why he’s there. He’s anguished because he’s about to abandon this boy-child on the porch. But why? Because…he promised his adopted sister on her deathbed he would take her…half-breed son to be raised in the white man’s world.

Why would she ask that of him? Let me think…. Because…this guy is a white man who was captured while a toddler and raised Comanche. He’s the logical one to honor his sister’s wish, return to his roots, but…he’s unsure if he can be a white man again, or if he really wants to.

Little Spring is the product of his sister’s rape by a white man. Still, why is this guy now leaving the child here? Because…the white man who helped his sister lives in this house. It’s super hard to leave Little Spring, but he whispers a promise. One day he will return for the boy.

Let’s see. I already like this guy because…no matter how difficult it is and despite his love for the boy, he’ll honor his sister’s dying wish. This is the basic premise for my hero. Now what’s his name? Light bulb flash. He travels at night, remains in the shadows so…Walks in Shadow is born!

The prologue ends with Walks in Shadow’s promise, chapter one begins with the heroine, and that  produces another visual in my mind. The terrain is rolling, oaks dotted here and yon. A black stallion stands on a distant hill, silhouetted against a cerulean sky.

What does that have to do with anything? The first lines of chapter one will introduce the heroine, and ultimately clue-in the reader to what that visual is and why the horse is important.

Samantha Timberlake wanted him the first time she saw him. The yearning was so intense, so primal, it took her breath. She was twenty-five years old, and though she loved her father, Aunt Mattie and Little Guy fiercely, she’d never experienced a desire so strong—until now.

He’d stood on a hill, wild, proud, fierce, as beautiful as Texas was brutal. Then he disappeared from view.

I’ve led the reader to believe she’s seeing Walks in Shadow. Not until the bottom of the page does the reader discover she’s seeing and yearning for a black stallion. And that gets my thoughts to grinding again…make Walks in Shadow a horse-whisperer-style trainer.

When Samantha meets Walks in Shadow, it’s five years from when he left Little Spring on this very ranch. Walks in Shadow has more or less transformed himself into a white man, he speaks very precise English that he learned during this time, and his name is now Holden Walker.

Why that name? Walker, of course, is a play on his Indian name, but why Holden? Because…it’s a name he vaguely remembers from when he was a toddler.

When Walks in Shadow recognizes Guy as Little Spring and realizes he can’t take the boy from this place, from these people who now consider him son and brother, his heart breaks a little.

In order to remain close to the child, he offers to train the stallion, and not break the horse’s spirit in the process like, to his mind, the white man’s sometimes brutal methods.

From Samantha’s POV I now begin to see Walks in Shadow/Holden Walker more clearly. He’s a hunk! Did you doubt it? Well, hey, this is a romance. LOL Tall, dark hair. I often see Benjamin Bratt as my hero in these stories. 

Although, when writing most of my Native American heroes, I picture Adam Beach’s hair and how he wears a feather.

As the story unfolds in my mind, I learn of the length’s Walks in Shadow has gone in an effort to honor his dead sister’s final request, to make himself presentable as a white man. While seeing these scenes, I learn how gentle the man really is. What he abhorred about the Comanche, what he loved about them, how undecided he is about making a life forever in the white man’s world.

He’s immeasurably sad when he knows the boy has grown up without learning about his Indian people. Walks in Shadow’s heart breaks just a little when he regrets not teaching Little Spring to use the small bow and arrows he made just for him; the gift he still carries in his belongings. Ah, yes…the gift conjures another scene that I make notes about for later use.

And in each scenario, I like what I see when Holden handles horses. I like how he helps Guy through the child’s first brush with the death of a loved one. I like how he helps a soiled dove in her time of need. I like how he defends Samantha and her beloved Timberoaks from the obnoxious neighbor and his overbearing father. Each of these “likes” occur as I conjure scenes for each one.

With each revelation, I fall a little more in love with him. I guess that’s why I believe my favorite hero is the one I’m writing.

I’m having fun discovering another Native American hero. While my Indians rarely smile, this hunk is certainly how I picture my new guy. Meet Comanche Duane Loken.   That’s probably a white shepherd he’s holding, but a wolf does play a prominent in this story.

This time the hero is baffled by a twenty-first century heroine who drops into his life, in Texas. i.e: Can a woman of today seize her destiny—to love a Comanche warrior?in the year 1860?

This story takes me into a new sub-genre of writing: time travel. Writing is never easy, but I make it doubly hard for myself when I fly off into the mist in a sub-genre foreign to my prior writing knowledge. Still, this idea came about when I pictured my heroine waking in a gully. It takes a while to realize she’s no longer in the twenty-first century.

My mind spins, and once again I begin to fall in love with a hero as he comes to life in my head; as I picture scenes and conjure a story around two protagonists. For a romance writer, there’s nothing better.

May I again thank you for having me at the Junction. And to those visiting today, I wish writers productive writing…and happy reading to everyone!

Take a look at my latest release from The Wild Rose Press. It’s historical and Western themed, but it’s set in Southern California where I ranched for 20 years. In fact, Garrett Montez’s ranch is patterned after the Mexican Landgrant on which my ranch occupied a little corner.

Southern California, 1898: Scarred by his father’s

rejection, Garrett Montez prefers a life of solitude on

the prosperous ranch he’s built on land bequeathed

him by his grandfather. When his housekeeper quits,

he is desperate to find another, but not the beautiful

woman with gentle eyes and a sweet smile who

arrives on his doorstep. Neither his ranch nor his heart

needs the kind of trouble she could cause. With

nowhere to go, Neely O’Conner must find employment,

but handsome and rugged Garrett Montez

rejects her the minute he lays eyes on her. More

determined than ever, she offers to work for a month

without pay, hoping time will change his mind. Does

a mysterious woman hold the key to Garrett’s love, or

can Neely crack through his iron-encased heart

and…Promise the Moon?

Leave a comment and Joyce will include your name in a drawing to receive a free pdf of Promise the Moon. Return to the Junction tomorrow to see if you’re the lucky winner!

Joyce loves to hear from her fans @: www.joycehendersonauthor.com

Short Stories vs. Novels

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Just this past month, I had three of my short stories that had been previously published in anthologies with Victory Tales Press re-released as stand-alone stories.  Two of them, SCARLET RIBBONS and HOMECOMING are western short stories, available for only .99 through their WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER imprint.  WHITE CHRISTMAS is available through Victory Tales Press for .99 as well. The best thing is…they all have JIMMY THOMAS covers. <G>

All of these stories are available at my Amazon page here:

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

Here’s a bit about these stories.

HOMECOMING:

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

WHITE CHRISTMAS:
Since her divorce, busy ER nurse, Carlie Thomas, has been only too happy to spend Christmas on duty. This year, however, she’s decided to take a much-needed break. What she gets instead is an unexpected house guest, courtesy of her Uncle Rick. Derek Pierce, a fireman with no family, needs some special care after being injured in a fire. As Christmas approaches, Carlie discovers that she has more in common with Derek than being alone. But Derek’s wounds are more than just skin deep. Will they spend the holidays haunted by the ghosts of the past, or could this Christmas spark a new, beautiful friendship…or even something more?

SCARLET RIBBONS:

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?

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE DRAWING OF YOUR COPY OF YOUR CHOICE OF ONE OF THESE THREE STORIES! I WILL PICK TWO WINNERS AFTER 8:00 P.M. THIS EVENING.

SWEET DANGER

Sweet Danger is my first contemporary romantic suspense novel.  Up until this point, I have stuck with writing western historicals, though my third book, Time Plains Drifter, which is due to be released next month, is also a bit of a departure from that as it ventures into the paranormal/time travel aspect, as well as historical. 

Sweet Danger is the story of Jesse Nightwalker, an undercover cop, and Lindy Oliver, his beautiful next-door neighbor.  They’ve been very much aware of one another for the past year or so, but have never formally met, until one fateful Friday morning when they both come into the local deli and end up next to each other in line. 

But things turn deadly as a gang of criminals takes over the deli in what seems to be a robbery.  Unfortunately for Jesse, the leader of the pack is Tabor Hardin, a vicious cop killer that Jesse helped put behind bars.  Hardin’s purpose changes instantly.  The robbery was only a façade for a much more heinous crime—kidnapping the governor’s children from the adjoining daycare.  Now, Hardin swears to make Jesse pay for his part in Hardin’s imprisonment before anything else takes place. 

As if things couldn’t get worse, one of the other children in the daycare is Jesse’s own son, Nash.  Jesse has to walk a fine line to figure out what he can do to save his son and Lindy, as well as the other hostages—even though it means certain death for himself. 

When his wife died four years earlier, Jesse cut off all romantic feelings, immersing himself in his undercover work.  Now, Lindy Oliver has reawakened those feelings at a most inopportune time, and Jesse is incredulous at what’s happening between them, now that he stands to lose it all at Hardin’s bloody hands. 

I loved the premise of this book, and especially loved figuring out how to make it all “come around” so that Jesse and Lindy could have the HEA they so richly deserved. 

Sweet Danger became available through the Wild Rose Press on October 1, 2010. It’s also available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon, among other distributors.  I’ve posted the blurb and an excerpt below for your reading pleasure!  Please leave a comment.  Visit my website at http://www.cherylpierson.com  

 BLURB: 

When undercover cop Jesse Nightwalker enters Silverman’s Deli, he doesn’t expect to find himself at the mercy of Tabor Hardin, a sadistic murderer he helped put in prison five years earlier. Now, Hardin’s escaped, and he’s out for more blood—Jesse’s.

Lindy Oliver has had her eye on her handsome neighbor for several months. Fate provides the opportunity for them to finally meet when they both choose the same deli for breakfast. Becoming a hostage was not in Lindy’s plans when she sat down to share a pastry with Jesse, but neither was the hot kiss he gave her when bullets began to fly. That kiss seals both their fates, binding them to one another with the certainty of a vow.

But Jesse’s got some hard-hitting secrets. With both their lives at stake, Lindy has a plan that just might save them—if Hardin takes the bait. Will they find unending love in the midst of Sweet Danger? 

 EXCERPT FROM SWEET DANGER: 

This excerpt takes place in the first chapter.  Jesse Nightwalker, an undercover cop, runs into his neighbor, Lindy Oliver, in the local deli.  Though they’ve never met, they are very aware of one another. The deli owner introduces them officially and points them toward the only available booth.  But their Friday morning takes a quick nosedive in the next few minutes.  Here’s what happens.

Jesse looked past her, his smile fading rapidly. As the flash of worry entered his expression, Lindy became aware of a sudden lull in the noisy racket of the deli. Jesse’s dark gaze was locked on the front door, a scowl twisting his features.

“Damn it,” he swore, reaching for her hand. “Get down! Under the table, Lindy…”

But she hesitated a second too long, not understanding what was happening. In the next instant, the sound of semi-automatic gunfire and shattering glass filled the air.

Lindy reflexively ducked, covering her head. The breath of a bullet fanned her cheek as Jesse dragged her down beneath the sparse cover of the small table. He shielded her, his hard body crushing against her, on top of her, pushing her to the floor. The breath rushed out of her, and she felt the hard bulge of the shoulder holster he wore beneath the denim jacket as it pressed against her back. 

Her heart pounded wildly, realization of their situation flooding through her.  A robbery! But why, at this hour of the morning when the take would be so low? The gunfire stopped as abruptly as it had started. From somewhere near the counter, a man shouted, “Come out and you won’t be hurt! Come out—now!” 

Lindy looked up into Jesse’s face, scant inches from her own. What would he do? They were somewhat concealed here at the back of the deli, but these men were sporting semi-automatic weapons. 

“There’s a back door,” Jesse whispered raggedly. “Get the hell out of here. I’m gonna be your diversion.” She didn’t answer; couldn’t answer. He was likely to be killed, helping her go free. He gave her a slight shake. “Okay?” 

An interminable moment passed between them before she finally nodded. “Get going as soon as I get their attention.” He reached to brush a strand of hair out of her eyes, his own gaze softening as he leaned toward her and closed the gap between them. “Take care of yourself, Lindy,” he whispered, just before his mouth closed over hers. 

The instant their lips met shook her solidly. Every coherent thought fled, leaving nothing but the smoldering touch of his lips on hers, burning like wildfire through her mind. Soft, yet firm. Insistent and insolent. His teeth skimmed her lower lip, followed by his tongue, as he tasted her. Then, he pulled away from her, their eyes connecting for a heart-wrenching second.  

“Safe passage,” he whispered. 

Lindy didn’t answer, more stunned by the sudden sweet kiss than by the madness surrounding them. Jesse pushed himself out from under the table and stood up, directly in front of where Lindy crouched. Only then did she hear his muted groan of pain, his sharp, hissing intake of breath. The blossoming red stain of crimson contrasted starkly with the pale blue of his faded denim jacket as his blood sprang from the bullet wound, soaking the material. 

He’d been shot

Lindy gasped softly at the realization. How could she leave him now?

I will give away a pdf copy of SWEET DANGER to one commenter today!  To order SWEET DANGER and all other Cheryl Pierson work, click here:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002JV8GUE 

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