Tag: Victory Tales Press

A “RECIPE” TO HELP HURRICANE SANDY VICTIMS

After Hurricane Sandy devastated so much of the East Coast, help began to pour in immediately. But here in the farther inland parts of the U.S., we were left wondering what we could do, other than donate money?

In times of disaster, we all wish we were able to do more. Many people don’t want to give to a nebulous charity, fearing scams of all sorts.

One of my publishers, Rebecca Vickery, came up with the idea of a recipe book. The authors that write for her three imprints were asked if they wanted to contribute recipes to go in the book. The sales from the book would go, in part, to one of two charities, which we voted on. By a large margin, Save the Children was our choice.

The book was a work of love that we all participated in, some with more than one recipe. It’s filled with quite a variety, and even though on the cover it says, “Featuring favorite holiday recipes by various authors”, I promise there are several in this book that I will be making all through the year.  Who can wait for the holidays to have some of these scrumptious treats?

I’m sharing my contributions with you today, but there are plenty more where this came from in this little gem of a book—many of them easy and geared for our hectic lifestyles.

I can certainly vouch for the two below—Blonde Brownies has been a staple in our family since I was born. It was on a “Brownie” recipe sheet when both of my sisters belonged to a troop, and my mom was a leader. This recipe is one of those that doesn’t last long around our house—the ingredients are items you usually keep stocked, and it’s easy to make. Same with the Hello Dolly Bars.

I’m giving away a copy of our AUTHORS IN THE KITCHEN cookbook today—just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. If you can’t wait to see if you won, here’s the link!

http://www.amazon.com/Authors-Kitchen-Rebecca-J-Vickery/dp/1481179225/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358885661&sr=1-1&keywords=authors+in+the+kitchen

I hope you enjoy!

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 30-40 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.

 

HELLO DOLLY BARS

½ cup butter

1 ½  cup graham cracker crumbs

1 six oz. package chocolate chips (I always add extra!)

1 can Eagle Brand milk (sweetened condensed milk)

1 1/3  cups shredded coconut

1 cup chopped nuts

Pour melted butter into a 9×13 pan. Cover evenly with the following: graham cracker crumbs (press down to soak up the butter), nuts, chocolate chips, coconut. Pour milk on top. Bake at 350 F. until lightly brown or chips have melted (about 25 minutes). Cool before cutting.

(You can also add some butterscotch chips along with the chocolate chips for variation.)

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW HOW TO CUT UP A CHICKEN

Our generation has lost so many important talents and skills. Technology makes it easier for us, but in some ways, it takes away our independence. Maybe that’s one reason we love to read (and write!) historical romance. We can go back in time vicariously without having to live through all the hardships and trials of everyday life, experiencing only the top layer of what must have been difficult, by our standards, every moment. 

Does anyone know how to cut up a chicken anymore? My mother did. I remember her getting out the wickedest looking knife I’d ever seen every Sunday and cutting up a chicken to fry. They had started to sell cut-up chickens in the store, but they were more expensive. Mom wouldn’t have dreamed of paying extra for that. By the time I began to cook for my family, I didn’t mind paying that extra money—I couldn’t bear to think of cutting a chicken up and then frying it. 

It’s all relative. My mom, born in 1922, grew up in a time when the chickens had to be beheaded, then plucked, then cut up—so skipping those first two steps seemed like a luxury, I’m sure. I wouldn’t know how to begin to cut up a chicken. I never learned how. 

Hog killing day was another festive occasion. Because my husband was raised on a farm, he and my mother had a lot of similar experiences to compare (this endeared him to her in later years.) Neighbors and family would gather early in the day. The hog would be butchered, and the rest of the day would be spent cutting and packing the meat. When my husband used to talk about the “wonderful sausage” his mother made, I was quite content to say, “Good for her. I’m glad you got to eat that when you were young.” (There’s no way I would ever make sausage.) 

Medical issues? I was the world’s most nervous mother when I had my daughter. But being the youngest in the family, I had a world of experience to draw on. I also had a telephone and I knew how to use it! I called my mom or one of my sisters about the smallest thing. I can’t imagine living in one of the historical scenarios that, as writers, we create with those issues. The uncertainty of having a sick child and being unable to do anything to help cure him/her would have made me lose it. I know this happened so often and was just accepted as part of life, but to me, that would have been the very worst part of living in a historical time. I had a great aunt who lost all three of her children within one week to the flu. She lost her mind and had to be institutionalized off and on the rest of her life. 

 My mother was the eldest of eleven children. She often said with great pride that her mother had had eleven children and none of them had died in childhood. I didn’t realize, when I was younger, how important and odd that really was for those times. My father’s mother had five children, two of whom died as children, and two more that almost died, my father being one of them. 

It was a case of my grandmother thinking he was with my granddad, and him thinking three-year-old Freddie was with her. By the time they realized he was missing, the worst had happened. He had wandered to the pond and fallen in. It was a cold early spring day. Granddad had planted the fields already, between the pond and the house. A little knit cap that belonged to little Freddie was the only evidence of where he’d gone. It was floating on top of the water. By some miracle, my granddad found him and pulled him up out of the water. He was not breathing. Granddad ran with him back to the house, jumping the rows of vegetables he’d planted. The doctor later told him that was probably what saved Dad’s life—a very crude form of CPR. 

Could you have survived in the old west? What do you think would have been your greatest worry? What would you hate to give up the most from our modern way of life? I’m curious to know, what skills or talents to you think we have lost generationally over the last 100 years? I’ve written two time travel stories where the heroine found herself living in the old west, 1800s Indian Territory. They both faced issues that were daunting, simply because of the time period…would they stay if given a choice, or go back to their present-day living? Does love REALLY ‘conquer all’?  In my time travel novel, TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, the heroine must go back in time, but in the sequel, I’m turning the tables. The hero of that book is going to go forward. Once he gets there, will he ever want to go BACK to his time?

 I’m not sure I would have lived very long, or very pleasantly. I know one thing—my family would never have eaten sausage, unless they had breakfast at the neighbor’s house.

Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from my time travel short story, MEANT TO BE, available in the 2011 Christmas Collection from Victory Tales Press.

BLURB:

Robin Mallory is facing another Christmas all alone when she decides to surprise her aunt and uncle several hours away. She becomes stranded near a desolate section of interstate. With a snowstorm on the way, Robin has no choice but to walk, looking for a house to provide shelter.

Jake Devlin is shocked when the “spy” he jumps turns out to be a girl. She’s dressed oddly, and talks like a Yank. Where did she come from, and what is he going to do with her?

The set up: Jake, a Confederate soldier, has been seriously wounded by a Cheyenne arrow as he tries to protect Robin from the attack. His only hope is for her to be able to go back through the “portal” in the woods to her old truck, parked along the interstate, and get the medicine from another time that he so badly needs. With Cheyenne in the woods along with a platoon of Yankee soldiers, what chance will she have of survival? Can she even find the rift in time again…twice?

EXCERPT:

Robin turned her back on the pickup and started down the gravel road. Doubt assailed her. Was she crazy to go back to a time she didn’t belong in?

But she did belong. She’d been…alive. More so in that time than here, in her own. And could she possibly hope for a future with Jake? It was too soon for commitments…but wasn’t she making the biggest one of all?

Her steps slowed. If she took the medicine back to him, what guarantee was there that, should she want to come back to her time, she’d be able? She may be stuck in Indian Territory of 1864 with no way back, ever.

She couldn’t let Jake die. How could she live with herself in either time if that happened?

What if she was misreading his intentions? He seemed—interested—in her. Her heart shrank at the thought of another rejection. She wouldn’t be able to handle that. But…that fear might also be keeping her from letting herself fall in love with the kindest, most decent man she’d ever met—in any time. Trusting was so hard.

Yet, he’d trusted her, hadn’t he, with much more to lose than she had. He could very well die if she didn’t take the antibiotics back to him.

And…another thought, too awful to bear, rose up, refusing to be ignored. What if he died in spite of the antibiotics? She might be trapped in a time that wasn’t hers, without the man she’d fallen in love with.

Oh, dear God. She stopped walking as the reality hit her full force. She was in love with Jake already. How could this have happened? The damn magical doorway through time had to have some other influence. There was no other explanation. But…it felt real. And if she lost Jake, the heartache would be very real, she already knew. She’d sworn, after her last romantic fiasco, that she wouldn’t jump into anything again. Yet, here she was, in love with Jake Devlin after only twenty-four hours. And worried sick. She began to run. What if she couldn’t get back through the portal? What if the medicine doesn’t work?

What if Jake doesn’t love me? Her mind seized on the question, mocking her, taunting her, throwing it back to her again and again.

He loves me, her heart answered, remembering the way he’d reached to pull the blanket over her, and the gentle touch of his hand on her cheek in the night when he thought she was asleep.

Remember, her heart reminded her, as she thought of the way he’d put himself between her and their attackers. He would have died for her. He still might.

She stopped running, trying to catch her breath. Her side hurt, and she noticed the sky seemed to be darkening more than normal, which probably meant they were in for more snow.

Nothing else had changed, though. Panic gripped her. The road remained graveled and wide, never narrowing in the least as it had before. The trees weren’t nearly as thick as they had been a scant half-hour earlier when she’d come this way.

With her heart pounding from fear as much as exertion, Robin looked behind her. She could still barely see the top of the rise that hid her truck. Maybe she hadn’t come quite far enough! She couldn’t remember. It had all been so gradual before. But now, everything looked the same, unchanged. She held her breath listening for the far-away sounds of the interstate traffic. She couldn’t hear anything, but maybe it was just because there weren’t many cars. It was Christmas Eve. Everyone would most likely be at their destinations by now, so late in the afternoon, the day before Christmas.

“Oh, please,” she whispered, starting down the road again. “Please.”

The wind whipped up, and the first flakes of snow began to fall. She was so close—so close to getting the medicine back to Jake—how could everything go so completely wrong? She fought back angry tears of frustration, her throat raw from the cold. It would never do for her to really get sick now—now that Jake was in such need of her medication.

She lifted her chin determinedly. She was going to get it to him. Somehow, someway. And she prayed it would be strong enough to heal him. Christmas was a time for miracles. She needed one right now. 

The 2011 Christmas Collection anthology containing MEANT TO BE, my novel TIME PLAINS DRIFTER,  and all my other work can be found here:  https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson  or at Barnes and Noble.

 

 

TWO NEW RELEASES! (AND A GIVEAWAY OR TWO!)

Today, I’m blogging about my two most recent releases, JASON’S ANGEL and EVERY GIRL’S DREAM. In case these titles sound familiar to you, they are historical short stories that were both previously released in anthologies with Victory Tales Press. JASON’S ANGEL appeared last year in A HISTORICAL COLLECTION, and EVERY GIRL’S DREAM appeared in A WESTERN SAGA.

I’m excited about both of these being released as “stand alone” stories, selling at only .99 each! And since this is “read an e-book” week…I’m giving away two copies of JASON’S ANGEL today! Please leave a comment along with your contact info and you will be entered—it’s that simple.

Jason’s Angel takes on several issues with the society of that time. The story takes place just as the War Between the States is winding down. Jason McCain wears Union blue, but speaks with a Georgia accent. To make things even more difficult, he’s half Cherokee, half Scottish! When he’s wounded and winds up at a Confederate hospital, there’s only one thing kind-hearted Sabrina Patrick can do…

Jason ‘s Angel by Cheryl Pierson

Two wounded Union soldiers will die without proper treatment. Sabrina Patrick realizes they won’t get it at the Confederate army hospital where she helps nurse wounded men. She does the unthinkable and takes them to her home.

Jason McCain’s pain is eased by the feel of clean sheets, a soft bed, and a touch that surely must belong to an angel. But what reason could an angel have for bringing him and his brother here?

EXCERPT FROM JASON’S ANGEL:  

It was only a brief touch of their lips, Sabrina told herself, and should not have caused the waves of trembling heat to rush over her.  His lips were firm and strong.  And she kissed him back.  

He’d reached up and gently pulled her to him.  As if he’d sensed her concern over Desi being in the room, he’d glanced to where she sat talking to Eli, once more engrossed in conversation, and when Sabrina had started to protest, he’d squeezed her shoulder in silent reassurance.  And she had kissed him back. 

  He’d been so gentle and—oh Lord, had Eli seen that kiss?  She had responded heartily to his brother.  She had not pushed Jason away or protested in the least.  She had welcomed it.  There was no doubt for either of them.  She had definitely kissed him back. 

As she pulled away, she opened her lids to find him watching her.  His dark eyes smoldered with desire.  But it didn’t scare her.  It excited her.  

Good Lord.  She stood quickly, her head spinning so that she almost missed her first step toward the door.  When had she last eaten?  That had to be the cause of her unsteadiness.  But why was her heart pounding so frantically?  It was only a kiss.  One kiss.  

But she had kissed him back.

 

EVERY GIRL’S DREAM

Do you believe in love at first sight?  Can it happen?  More importantly, can it last over the long haul of the ups and downs of a relationship?

Throw in a few obstacles from the very first meeting of the hero/heroine, and the relationship becomes even more intriguing.

In my novella, EVERY GIRL’S DREAM, that’s just what happens.

Sheena McTavish, a young Irish girl, has been raped by the son of her father’s employer. Now, with a baby on the way, Sheena is given an unthinkable choice:  give her baby to the father’s wealthy family to raise, or travel to New Mexico Territory by stagecoach to live with her aunt and uncle until her child is born.  At that point, she will have to place it in a nearby orphanage.

Desperate to buy some time and protect her baby from its father, she chooses to travel west.  Alone and afraid, she starts on the journey that will change her life forever.  Before Sheena’s stage leaves, she meets handsome Army scout Callen Chandler.  The attraction is there, even under difficult conditions.

As the story progresses, Sheena must learn to trust again, and Cal begins to realize he doesn’t have to live the solitary existence he’s endured up to now.  Being half Comanche has left him with no place in either world—white or Indian.  When Sheena comes along, everything changes…for both of them.

TO SET THE SCENE:

Cal is a half-breed U.S. Army scout, who has just rescued Sheena, the heroine, from a Kiowa attack on the stagecoach she was in. They had met briefly the morning before, and as luck would have it, Cal comes upon the stage after the Kiowas have attacked and are getting ready to ride away with Sheena. He tells them he and Sheena are married and the Kiowas reluctantly let him take Sheena, but then… 

Cal felt…something.  His back tingled as he waited for the stinging burn of a shale arrowhead.  He risked a glance backward, and saw the Kiowa leader’s stare heavy upon him. “Sheena, hold on tight.”

“The baby—”

“I know, sweetheart.  We won’t ride hard any longer’n we have to.   Lowell’s Ridge is only about four miles away.” A very long four miles.

She nodded in understanding.  “I’m sorry, Callen.”

“No call for that.”

“You came for me.”

He smiled at that.  There was a small amount of disbelief in her tone, overshadowed by a huge amount of wonder.  Who wouldn’t come for her?

“You could be killed because of me,” she said softly, as if she had only just realized it.  She laid her hand over his, and in that moment, he wondered if dying for her would be worth the twenty-seven years he’d lived so far.

His heart jumped at her touch, then steadied.  But as he risked another glance back, he saw exactly what he’d feared.  Two of the braves were mounting up, and they weren’t riding the opposite way.  “That still might happen,” he murmured.

He leaned forward, trying to protect Sheena with his body as he slapped the reins against the horse’s side, urging him into a lope, then a full-out run.

The Kiowas were close behind them.  There must have been dissension among them. The leader had seemed content to let him take Sheena and ride away.  One of the others must have disagreed with that decision.

Cal reached to pull his revolver from his holster.

They were strangely quiet, he thought. 

The first bullet cracked from behind them, and Cal reflexively bent lower.  The bullet whined past his ear like an angry bee.

Sheena gasped.  He fired off a shot and got lucky.  One of the warriors screamed in agony and fell from his saddle.  But the other rode low, hanging onto the side of his mount. And he kept right on coming.

The next bullet sang over Cal’s head.  He concentrated on eating up the miles to Lowell’s Ridge.  Riding double was slowing them down considerably.  Sheena’s body was tense beneath the shelter of his own.  Fragile, but strong.  Delicate, but determined.  His hand splayed over her stomach, holding her close, cradling her from the jarring of their wild ride.

A whoop from behind them accompanied the crack of a rifle, and this time, the Kiowa warrior’s bullet found its mark.  A bolt of fire seared through Cal’s right shoulder, and for a minute, the pain was so strong he almost sawed back on the reins. But at his harsh curse, Sheena glanced up at him, her hand instantly clamping tightly over his. The reins were still wrapped in his fingers, but Sheena kept her hand on his, reminding him to let the horse have his head and continue their flight for freedom.

“Hang on, Cal!”

The pain was so breathtaking he could do nothing but nod his understanding.

“Dammit!” she cursed.  That almost made him smile, but the agony in his shoulder surged up and stole his breath again as the horse’s hooves pounded the ground below.

The road was not much more than a trail, and where it narrowed, branches reached out to scrape and snarl in hair and clothing, scratching their faces as they blindly rode toward safety.

As they broke through the brambles and low limbs into the clearing on the other side of the wooded section of road, Cal glimpsed the steeple of the church, then in a moment, the rooftops of houses.

He glanced behind him to see the Kiowa had stopped.  He was taking careful, deadly aim with the Winchester he held. “Christ,” Cal muttered.  “Keep down, Sheena.”    

         JASON’S ANGEL is available now at Amazon and other e-book retailers.

http://www.amazon.com/Jasons-Angel-ebook/dp/B007H14KGU/

 DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE YOU CONTACT INFO ALONG WITH A COMMENT TO BE ENTERED TO WIN JASON’S ANGEL!

 EVERY GIRL’S DREAM WILL BE AVAILABLE BY THE END OF THE WEEK, AS WELL! If you enjoy anthologies, you might be interested in these:

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!
 

 

 

 

NEW FALL SHORT STORY RELEASES

I couldn’t let another day go by as we rush into fall without showing off my new “stand alone” short stories.  Let me tell you why I’m so excited about these stories.

First of all, I love to read and write short stories as well as novels.  In today’s world, short stories are growing increasingly popular because they can be finished in one sitting, usually. Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery, and her imprints, Western Trail Blazer and Victory Tales Press, have been a fantastic source of anthologies and “stand alone” short stories in today’s growing market.

The anthologies are themed anthologies, based upon a season or holiday. The stories that are contracted for those anthologies cannot be reprinted anywhere else for six months. But, when their “time” is up, a contract may be put in place to continue to sell them in the anthologies and to also offer them as “single sell” .99 offerings, as well.

I just had three of my stories come up for that option this past month: ALWAYS AND FOREVER, which first appeared in A HALLOWEEN COLLECTION last year; THE LAST OF HER KIND, which came out in A MYSTERY/SUSPENSE COLLECTION; and A HEART FOR A HEART, which was first offered in A VALENTINE COLLECTION.

This growing short story market has been a great way for readers to sample different authors in sub-genres they love, or take a chance on an author that maybe they’ve never read before in a sub-genre they wouldn’t normally read—because the price is right.  At just .99 a story, you really can’t go wrong.

All of my short stories are available on Nook, through Barnes and Noble, and on Kindle, through Amazon.   Here are some covers and blurbs for the latest short stories of mine that have come out this past month as single sell offerings. 

If you enjoy Native American heroes, you will find them in two of my newest single sell offerings, featured below, A HEART FOR A HEART and ALWAYS AND FOREVER. (And it never hurts to have Jimmy Thomas on the cover, either.) <G>

I hope you enjoy!

THE LAST OF HER KIND (paranormal suspense):

An old Victrola is the cherished possession of Cassie’s grandmother.  Her father also seems oddly attached to the antique phonograph, but her new stepmother detests it and wants it gone.  Grandmother is sick, probably dying, and Cassie will be the only one left in the house who sees through Trish as Cassie’s brothers no longer live with them. 

 Then Cassie discovers a wonderful, yet frightening secret.  Will her new knowledge save her family or destroy it?

 ALWAYS AND FOREVER (contemporary “2nd chance at love”):

 

At a children’s Halloween carnival, a Gypsy fortuneteller predicts a new love for both Cindy and Gage.  When the two meet over a poorly carved pumpkin, love flickers to life and the stars begin to align.

But the odds of finding a new love later in life seem insurmountable and the prophecy seems too good to be true.  After all, Gage has been burned before and Cindy doesn’t believe in fortunes or second chances. 

Will doubt overshadow their attraction or has love already been set in motion?  Can the star-crossed pair put their faith in the love that was foretold? Can they believe in each other? 

A HEART FOR A HEART (sweet romance):

 

 Kiera is all set to welcome Cory 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. 

FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL CHERYL’S WORK, CLICK HERE:

Cheryl’s Amazon Author Page:    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002JV8GUE 

TIME PLAINS DRIFTER IS RELEASED…AGAIN!

Time Plains Drifter is a different kind of romance novel than anything I’ve ever read.  I think that’s why I enjoyed writing it so much. 

After being released in December of 2009 with an unscrupulous publisher, I took my rights back after only three months and spent the next year searching for another home for it.  Just this past spring, it was placed with WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER, an imprint of PUBLISHING BY REBECCA J. VICKERY.  This is a marvelous company that handles some much “bigger” names than I have, such as Peter Brandvold, Jory Sherman, and Madeline Baker, among others.  Print books are important to me, although I understand that e-publishing is growing by leaps and bounds.  I’m sure that WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER will prove to be the perfect place for Time Plains Drifter, and I’m glad to say I now have the sequel in the works. 

That being said, let me tell you why Time Plains Drifter is so hard to pigeonhole and why that may be a bit scary in today’s market. 

I knew Time Plains Drifter was going to have to be classified as a time-travel romance; that’s how the H/h meet one another.  She’s from 2010—he’s from 1879.  That was the easy part.  The part that was a bit harder to work around was that he was dead.  I just couldn’t get past the premise that Rafe d’Angelico was going to be the “paranormal element” of the story.  I didn’t want him to be a werewolf, vampire, or shapeshifter.  So that left angels, demons, zombies and so forth.  I chose for him to be an angel.

Working with Rafe—an angel who didn’t want to be an angel—was a challenge.  I told him he had a pretty good deal going.  He told me, “I want to be human again.”  In the end, I realized he was right, and that was the only way to resolve the issue of time-travel-paranormal-angel-demon-human issues. 

Jenni Dalton, the heroine, was completely unsuspecting in all this.  She went out on a stargazing field trip with seven of her high school students one night and they never came home.  Instead, they ended up in Indian Territory, 1895; one hundred-fifteen years in the past. 

Jenni’s got it rough, trying to deal with her seven charges, four of them the senior class troublemakers.  It takes Rafe to bring them to heel and get them to toe the mark, until the gravity of their situation causes them to all make some surprising adjustments. 

As Rafe and Jenni realize their growing attraction to one another is fated, they also understand there is no way anything can come of it on a permanent basis—Rafe is an angel, and Jenni is human. 

The twists and turns that finally bring the book around to the HEA were the most fun to come up with for me.  But the story itself, being so unique, is tough to categorize. 

Time Plains Drifter is special to me because it’s the first project my daughter, Jessica, and I have had the chance to work on together.  She designed the cover art. I absolutely LOVE what she did. 

Time Plains Drifter was the recipient of The Reviewer’s Top Pick Award by Karen M. Nutt, PNR reviews.  It also received a 4.5 star review from Romantic Times Magazine.  I was selected as the recipient of the Honorable Mention—Best New Paranormal Author category in PNR’s PEARL Awards last year (March 2010), based on Time Plains Drifter. 

The sequel has been a delight to work on, with a different twist than the first book, and some familiar characters will be the stars of the show this time around since the story is built around Rafe’s brother, Cris, and Jenni’s sister, Victoria. 

Time Plains Drifter is now available in all formats, including print, Kindle, and Nook. Take a look at my Amazon page to order. (See link below.)

 Cheryl’s Amazon Author Page:

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

I’ve included the blurb and an excerpt below.  Please leave a comment!  I always love to hear from readers and other authors.  Visit my website at http://www.cherylpierson.com

Enjoy! 

BLURB:

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 2005. 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? 

EXCERPT from TIME PLAINS DRIFTER: 

He closed his eyes, letting the pleasurable feel of her wet mouth on his body wash over him, along with her voice. “Some things never change,”she’d said earlier. Her Oklahoma accent was a slow waltz to his mind, its lilting cadence urging him to accept what they had between them. Still, he couldn’t let it go. Couldn’t ever be dishonest with her, of all people.

“Don’t you want to know—”

She stopped him, placing two cool fingers across his lips, smiling at the tickle of his moustache against her skin. The smile faded as she absorbed the worry in his expression, the smoldering fire in his eyes, and made it her own.

“Not now, I don’t. You asked me—earlier—if I felt it. Whatever it is between us. I do.” Debating with herself, she hesitated a moment before coming to a decision. “I want you, Rafe,” she murmured. “I trust you.” She nuzzled his neck.“It doesn’t matter now, who—or what—you are.”

His hand closed in a fist around the shimmering satin of her copper hair, his chest filling with a sweet peace at her quiet words.

Dead…alive…Mexican…American…man…ghost…angel…

His mind churned as Jenni kissed him once again. Accepting him, for whoever he might be. She loved him. She hadn’t said it yet, but he knew it by the gentle way her lips grazed across his, then claimed his mouth completely, as if that was the only way she had to let him know how she felt. They breathed together, as one.

He answered her wordlessly, his tongue going into her mouth, fingers splaying and tightening against her scalp as he pulled her to him.

She came across his bare chest, the stiffness of the material of her own blouse gliding with gentle abrasion across his nipples. He groaned in pleasure and felt her smile against his mouth. She made the move again as she lifted her lips from his, emerald eyes sparkling into his searing gaze.

“We’ll talk later,” she assured him.

“It’ll be too late to change your mind about me then,” he said, half-jokingly.

“I won’t change my mind, Rafe.”

The sweet sincerity in her voice and the promise in her eyes reassured him. He pulled her down silently. As their mouths melded once more, he rolled, taking her with him, changing their positions so he lay atop her.

She gasped, yielding to him, her cool palms sliding over the fevered heat of his skin, across his chest and shoulders. He began to unbutton her blouse as he kissed her, his fingers moving deftly. He pushed away the first layer of material with his customary impatience, then started on the stays of her corset.

She twisted beneath him at the loosening of the undergarment. He pulled her upright momentarily, whisking blouse and corset over her head, dropping them in a heap on the floor.

In silent invitation, Jenni lifted her hand to him. She touched his side, and he flinched slightly as her fingers lingered over the very place the Bowie had gone into him earlier that day. Even though a red scar marked the spot, there was no pain for him, and he saw no puzzlement in her eyes…only concern.

“Does it hurt?”

It was as he had suspected. She’d seen what had happened, how bad it should have been…but wasn’t. And she had accepted it, unconditionally. They would talk later, as she’d said, but somehow, he felt he would find the words he needed to explain things to her. He shook his head slightly. “No.”

A vulnerable uncertainty crossed her face for a moment. “Well, then, Marshal—what’re you waiting for?” He unfastened her skirt and petticoat, then made short work of the stockings and underpants.

God. Rafe swallowed hard, reaching to trace the faded tan lines across her shoulders. He moistened his lips, his teeth sinking into the lower one momentarily. His pulse raced as his gaze moved over her face—then lower, to her breasts, her flat belly, and the triangle of soft hair, below.

PLEASE WELCOME REBECCA VICKERY

Hey everyone!  It’s my great pleasure to introduce our visitor today here at Wildflower Junction, Ms. Rebecca Vickery. Rebecca is one busy lady.  Not only does she write some awesome short stories and novels, she owns her own publishing company, Victory Tales Press. 

Hi Cheryl and Everybody! It’s wonderful to be here.

I try to stay busy as it helps keeps me out of trouble. (My Hubby says not completely.)

Laura Shinn and I were discussing writing short stories as a way to hone our craft back in March 2010. We decided to invite a few authors to join us for publishing an anthology or two. The idea caught on and snowballed and Victory Tales Press was born. Several authors say that not only have the shorts improved their writing, but they have given them a new excitement by enabling them to try something new. Laura came on board as Chief Designer and Consultant and our first anthology, in which Cheryl’s story, To Make the Magic Last, first appeared, was published June 1, 2010.  

Victory Tales Press has only been in existence a little over one year.  But what a wonderfully successful year it has been! With  14 assorted anthologies published over the past 17 months, there is no end in sight. Anthologies are a popular venue these days for people who are “on the go”—and who isn’t? Victory Tales Press has a great system for letting you, the reader, know just what you are buying with their “heat” rating.  These anthologies are rated sweet, sensual, and spicy.  

Laura and I both write Happy Ever After Romance in various sub-genres from sweet to spicy so we decided to stay within boundaries we know. Therefore, we don’t publish erotica or other than traditional romance. (We leave that to others who know more about it.) We always have heat ratings on our VTP books. Our Sweet stories contain long, lingering glances, hand holding, and gentle kisses. The Sensual stories contain passionate kisses, foreplay leading up to the bedroom door, and possible mild cursing. Stimulating is probably my favorite and includes lightly described love scenes, intense emotions, and the more violent thriller or suspense stories. And for the in-depth love scenes, stronger language, and intense passion we have the Spicy rating. We often have an anthology that combines Sweet and Sensual, but we try not to ever include Sweet and Spicy in the same book. 

Rebecca’s company has been so successful that she has added two imprints, Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery, and Western Trail Blazers. This imprint boasts well-known western authors such as Pete Brandvold, Jory Sherman, and Kit Prate.  Tell us what brought this all about. 

Once our anthologies were launched, I began to have requests from authors to assist them with publishing their book and to help them get into print. Rather than charge them money for my services, we agreed to share royalties. Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery was the result and is now the “parent company” according to my legal advisors. At PbRJV we publish in a variety of genres not limited to romance (but do not include erotica) and currently have works available from 17 authors and are adding more all the time. Amanda Ashley is one of the better known, NY Times Bestsellers who contracted a story with us this year.

Then Cheryl introduced me to a Western author who was looking for a new publisher. We began talking and Western Trail Blazer was born soon after. With many traditional publishers closing or discontinuing their Western lines, the American Western I grew up reading was about to die out. I don’t want my grands to grow up not knowing about our Wild West and this is my way to help achieve that. To the authors Cheryl mentioned, we should add Troy D. Smith, Madeline Baker, John Duncklee, John D. Nesbitt, and Chuck Tyrell, all very experienced Western authors and we are adding more there, too. 

Now that you know who Rebecca Vickery is, I’ll let her “do the talking”—here are some questions and answers y’all might like to know about Rebecca, and if there’s anything she didn’t tell you here, just ask! She’s a mighty nice lady and very knowledgeable about all aspects of the publishing world.  And she’s also a darn good writer, in her own right! 

Rebecca, let’s talk about the publishing end of things first.  Why did you choose anthologies to focus on in the beginning?

There really isn’t another publisher out there I know of that focuses on romance anthologies. Publishing anthologies was a chance to involve more authors and it provides us all with a much needed break from working on longer books. We can also share a wider variety of romance for our readers and in different heat levels. A win-win situation.  

How successful have the anthologies been for you?

Monetarily, we aren’t getting rich by any means. Royalties are split among the authors in each book and Laura and I take a very small cut for expenses. But money was never the point. The anthologies have been successful in helping several authors regain their eagerness to write, come up with new material, step out of their “box”, and improve and tighten their writing skills. So personally, these anthologies have been very successful for me. Best of all, I’ve made friends with authors and readers I would not have met otherwise. 

Do you see a resurgence of interest in anthology stories rather than novels?

Book interests seem to be almost as changeable as Hollywood husbands. For a short time anthologies were more in demand than full-length novels. Right now sales are down for both anthologies and novels as a newer trend takes over.  

What plans do you have for future anthologies? Do you ever publish “stand alone” short stories?

I’ll answer these two questions together. The current trend seems to be moving away from the anthologies, except for holidays. We plan to cut back on them for 2012 and probably publish only for Halloween and Christmas, which have been our most popular ones so far. The trend is now moving toward short stories published individually and sold inexpensively. With the new reading apps for cell phones and less expensive e-readers, the shorts are perfect for waiting in line, at doctor offices, on work breaks, and even while stuck in traffic. We currently have a 99 cent Gallery for short stories at PbRJV and we offer Dime Novels for 99 cents at WTB. They are extremely popular. 

What about your imprint, Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery? Tell us about what kinds of material you publish through that venue?

We offer mainstream fiction and non-fiction, romance, suspense, Inspirational, speculative fiction, fantasy, time travel, and historical. I probably missed something, but it is pretty much all genres non-erotic and non-Western.  

Well, you know this is a western-y blog, so tell us all about your Western Trail Blazers imprint.

We are really happy with the way our Western imprint is growing. We published our first story in September of 2010 and had two authors with us. Now we have 15 authors and have published 45 works so far. At WTB we accept submissions in fiction and non-fiction, Action/Adventure, Romance, Historical, Fantasy, Paranormal, SteamPunk, Time-Travel, and Mystery/Suspense as long as they are based in the American West and have a Western theme. No erotica or non-traditional relationships are accepted. We would also like to publish a few non-fiction biographies of Western heroes and maybe a campfire cookbook. 

What do you have lined up in the future for these imprints?

We plan to publish more quality reads at affordable prices while helping authors who are tired of the traditional publishing madness, but aren’t quite ready to go out and publish independently. We hope to continue to grow and to help encourage both writing and reading. 

Now let’s talk about YOUR writing. Tell us about your novels?

I have four novels currently available and two short stories. Surviving with Love is a sensual adventure romance. A female tracker and an ex-military man must rescue two boys kidnapped by thieves. Looking Through the Mist is a sensual mystery/romance about a detective who does not believe in psychics, but gets stuck working with one when he must locate two missing children. Following Destiny is a highly sensual romance with fantasy elements, in the form of a magic ring, which helps a woman hear warnings from her ancestors about a serial killer. Seeking Shelter is my most recent and a sweet romance about a young woman who gets in a pile of trouble trying to find her horse, a home, and a man she can love. One of my shorts is The Rescue, a speculative fiction story about a crashed spaceship crew and an alien. (Beware it has an ironic ending.) The other short is The Trouble with Fishing and is a slightly humorous, romantic adventure of a city girl on a camping vacation.

 I hear you are giving away a prize or two. Tell us about those prizes and how we can win? 

Every visitor is welcome to a free download of our VTP recipe book (no coupon needed):

Christmas Dessert Decadence at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/42869

and 2 WTB shorts,

The Divided Prey at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/36979 (coupon code SSWSF)

Kill Crazy at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/25001 (coupon code SSWSF)

From PbRJV, my short:

The Trouble with Fishing at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/43093 (coupon code SSWSF)

Then if you leave a comment and your email address, you will be entered in a drawing to win a pdf ebook of either Bad Wind Blowing by Peter Brandvold or In the Shadow of the Hills by Madeline Baker and published by Western Trail Blazer. (Reader’s Choice to 2 winners) I’ll post the winner at 9 EST tonight.

 Where can your books be purchased?

Our e-books can be purchased at major online retailers:

Smashwords, Amazon, B & N, Sony, Apple iStore, etc.

Our Print books are available at Amazon, B &N online, Books-A-Million online.

The links are at our website stores for your convenience.

 Can you give us a link for the sites we’ve mentioned so everyone can go see what’s available from these awesome imprints? 

The link to Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery has just changed. You can now find us at http://pbrjv.com

Western Trail Blazer is at http://westerntrailblazer.com or at

http://westerntrailblazer.yolasite.com

Victory Tales Press is at http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com

 Thanks so much for being here with us, Rebecca. I know you said you’ll pick your winner(s) later on tonight, but just to whet our appetites, can you give us an excerpt or two?

This is an excerpt from Peter Brandvold’s Paranormal Western:

Bad Wind Blowing

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/33855

(To set the scene:

Clay Carmody has ridden into a strange town to bring dead bushwhackers to the Sheriff and stumbled into a gunfight at the saloon.)

Carmody dropped to his butt and pressed his back against the bar. As he automatically began replacing the spent brass from the .44’s cylinder, he glanced left, where the smoke hung thick over the overturned gambling table. Blood-splattered chips and playing cards were scattered across the floor. The man who’d produced the derringer lay limp over an overturned chair, bleeding from several wounds. Carmody caught only glimpses of the other gunmen lying in twisted heaps against the far wall.

The sheriff sat with his back to an overturned table, knees raised toward his chest. The lawman was fumbling with the gun in his lap, reloading from his cartridge belt. He was having a hard time, as his right arm was shaking, apparently from the graze to that shoulder. His face was hidden by the flat brim of his snuff-brown hat.

Carmody got up and walked over to the sheriff, his ears ringing, eyes stinging from the smoke. As he stopped before the man and opened his mouth to speak, the man snapped the Peacemaker’s loading gate closed and jerked his head up suddenly. The pistol shot straight out from the man’s chest, the barrel aimed squarely at Carmody’s heart.

Carmody’s gaze flitted from the revolver to the face of the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

An excerpt from Madeline Baker’s Historical Western:

In the Shadow of the Hills

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/69450

(To set the scene: John McKenna, half white and half Cheyenne, has married a white woman. Because his grandfather is rich and powerful, he has been allowed into society.)

 My mother was delighted to hear the news of Clarissa’s pregnancy and immediately began making arrangements for one of the rooms in the mansion to be turned into a nursery so the baby would have a room of its own when we came to visit.

The Van Pattens were less than pleased, though they tried to hide it. Grace Van Patten looked at me as if I had defiled her daughter; Belmont looked as though he was going to be sick.

I saw the hurt in Clarissa’s eyes when her mother forced a smile and said, “how nice”. I saw the tears my wife blinked back when her father poured himself a stiff drink and downed it in one quick swallow.

That night, as I held Clarissa in my arms, I was suffused with guilt. But for me, Clarissa would have married some fine, upstanding young man who came from the same background she did, a man her parents would have welcomed with open arms.

And hard on the heels of that guilt came a surging tide of anger at their reaction. Clarissa was their only child. Why couldn’t they see how happy she was? Why couldn’t they be happy for her?

“It doesn’t matter, John,” she told me late one night.

But it did matter. Among the Cheyenne, family was everything. Mothers, aunts, and grandmothers played an important role in the raising of a daughter; fathers, uncles and grandfathers all had a hand in the raising of a boy. No Cheyenne child ever lacked for a lap to sit in, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear. Because a boy’s father was often away hunting or fighting, he spent much of his early years in the company of his grandfather.

“Please don’t let it bother you, John,” Clarissa urged. “You’re my family now, all the family I need. All I’ll ever need. I don’t care what my parents think. I know you’ll be a wonderful father.”

Holding Clarissa in my arms, I vowed that our child would lack for nothing, that, if necessary, I would be father, brother, uncle and grandfather.

 Thanks so much for being with us today, Rebecca!

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.

ONE MAGIC NIGHT from A 2011 SUMMER COLLECTION

Have any of you ever incorporated your family history into your writing? Do you like to read books that are based, however loosely, on factual happenings?

My mom was the oldest of eleven children. She knew everyone in our family and how they were related. Because she and my dad grew up together in a tiny little town in southeast Oklahoma (their high school had a graduating class of twelve), she also knew quite a lot about his side of the family as well.

But when I was younger, I was not interested in the stories she told me.  It was only later, when I was grown and had children of my own, that I began to wonder and ask questions, and by that time, her memory had already begun to decline.

 If you have ever read the book, The Education of Little Tree, (by Forrest Carter) or seen the HBO movie, this story might sound familiar. When Andrew Jackson decided that the Indians were to be assimilated into the white man’s world, he put lots of plans into action that would take years to snowball and evolve into what they eventually became—a truly shameful period in the US governmental policies and procedures. One of Jackson’s plans, besides Removal, that was carried through into subsequent presidencies, was the idea of assimilating Native American children in white homes to integrate them more completely. The Native American children were taken from their villages and given to willing white families (along with a tidy little government stipend for their troubles) to raise.

 My great-great-great grandfather was one of these children.  We don’t know his real name. It was changed when he was delivered to his new “family”, a Presbyterian minister and his wife.  Their last name was Walls.  So his name was changed to Walls, and he was given the first name, David. Forbidden to speak his language, he was forced to forget all the ways of his People, and dress in white man’s clothing, go to white school.  But he was never going to be white, and his place in the world was divided so drastically that he could not fit in anywhere.  Eventually, the Rev. Walls sent David to medical school in Missouri.  When he returned to the small town where he’d been raised, he was a doctor who rode to his patients on horseback. Later, he married and had children, but it was not a happy union and his son, my great-great grandfather, became an alcoholic whose own children, in turn, left home as soon as they possibly could. My great grandmother, his daughter, married at 13.  Her older sister left home one day and never returned.  No one ever knew what became of her.

I’ve often thought of these children that were abducted by our cavalrymen, and taken away to their white “families”, forbidden everything familiar and forced to adopt everything new and different, even their speech and childhood games. Can you imagine it?  To never be allowed to see your mother and father again. Siblings separated and “given” to different families, their heritage and connection with one another lost forever.  How many tears must they have shed? And how lonely and separate they must have felt, how isolated,  even into adulthood…so that most of them, I imagine, never were able to fit in anywhere in the world.

 My story in the 2011 SUMMER COLLECTION, available through Victory Tales Press, is based loosely on what happened to my long-ago ancestor  

Dr. Shay Logan has just returned to Talihina, Indian Territory, from medical school in Missouri. Shay hopes to settle down and make a life for himself, but how?  He doesn’t belong to either world, Anglo or Indian He’s made the acquaintance of Katrina Whitworth at the July 4th town social, and the attraction is mutual from the very beginning. Shay begins to have hopes and dreams that may be out of the question…but Katrina seems to have stars in her eyes for him as well. Will she risk everything to be with him?   Katrina makes a social blunder, and Shay follows her into the woods to apologize to her, but when they return, Katrina’s drunken father humiliates her.  To make matters worse, her former beau shows a side of himself she had not seen before. Can Katrina and Shay have a life together that they so badly want? Here’s an excerpt for you.

FROM ONE MAGIC NIGHT:

As his hand started its descent, Katrina turned away.  But Shay’s arm shot out, grasping Whitworth’s hand and holding it immobile.

You will not.”

Three words, quietly spoken, but with a heat that could have melted iron, a force that could have toppled mountains.

Katrina’s father’s face contorted, his teeth bared, finally, as he tried to jerk away. He didn’t utter a word.  He stared up into Shay Logan’s eyes that promised retribution, as the seconds ticked by.  Finally, he lunged once more, trying to pull free, but Shay still held him locked in a grip of steel.  Only when he released that grip was Whitworth freed.

“You presume too much, Doctor Logan, unless you are assuming the care and responsibility of my daughter.”

“Papa! Oh, please!” Katrina felt herself dissolving into a puddle of less than nothing beneath stares of the townspeople of Talihina.  What had started as an exciting, beautiful evening had become an embarrassing nightmare.  It was torture to think that she was the cause of it all.  How she wished she had stayed home with Jeremy as she’d first planned, before Mrs. Howard had volunteered to keep him company.

Now, Papa was saying these things that she knew he would regret later.  It was always this way when he drank too much.  These accusations had gone beyond the pale of anything he’d ever said before.  But Shay Logan wouldn’t realize that.  He wouldn’t know that Papa would be sorry tomorrow.

Evidently, there was one thing Shay did recognize, though.  She saw the very slight flare of his nostrils as he drew in the scent of alcohol on her father’s breath, and in that instant, there was a flash of understanding in his eyes.

“You’ve had too much to drink, Mr. Whitworth,” he said in an even tone.  “I will overlook your behavior toward me because of that, but not toward your daughter.  She has done nothing, yet you would strike her, and cause her shame.”

“She’s my daughter,” Whitworth replied sullenly.

“But not your property, Whitworth.  Never that.  You owe her an apology.”

“No, Shay, really—” Katrina began, then as her father whirled to look at her, she broke off, realizing her mistake.  ‘Shay,’ she had called him.  As if she had known him forever.  As if she was entitled to use his given name freely.  As if she were his betrothed.

“‘Shay’ is it, daughter?  Not, ‘Dr. Logan’Shay.”  He spit the words out bitterly.  He drew himself up, looking Shay in the face.  “I’ll not be apologizing to her—or to you.  And I’ll expect nothing less than a wedding before this week’s end.  Do you understand me, Doctor?”

Shay had lost any patience he might have harbored.  “You understand me, Whitworth.  You will not dictate to me, or to your daughter on such matters of the heart.  As I say, the alcohol has got you saying things you’re going to regret, and—”

“Threatening me, are you?  Threatening me?”

“Truman.”  Jack Thompson stepped out of the crowd and smoothly came to stand beside Katrina.  “Let’s put this…unfortunate incident…behind us, shall we?”  He confidently tucked Katrina’s hand around his arm.  “I can see that the church auxiliary ladies have almost got everything set up for this wonderful Independence Day meal—” he frowned at Mrs. Beal, nodding at the picnic tables behind her.  She jumped, motioning the other ladies to resume the preparation.

He gave a sweeping glance around the group of onlookers.  “I, for one, am ready to eat! How about you all?”

Katrina was swept along at his side as he walked toward the tables, speaking to acquaintances and friends, laughing and…and seething with tense anger the entire time.  She could feel it in his body, with every step he took and the tightness of his grip as he covered her hand with his. Katrina glanced back over her shoulder, hoping to catch a glimpse of Shay, but the crowd blocked her view.

“Smile, my dear,” Jack gritted into her ear.  “I’m hoping we can still salvage your virtue, no matter what happened, really, between you and the good doctor.  If I see him near you again, I’ll kill him.”

BUY LINKS

Smashwords:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/66862

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/victorytalespress

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/VTPanthologies

 Lulu:

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/2011-summer-collection-anthology-sweetsensual/16048225

http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=55332464

Here’s the link at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00564A820

 I WILL BE GIVING AWAY COPIES OF A 2011 SUMMER COLLECTION TO TWO LUCKY COMMENTERS! JUST LEAVE ME A COMMENT WITH YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS AND I WILL DRAW WINNERS SOMETIME AFTER 8:00 TONIGHT!

BLOG—EVERY GIRL’S DREAM from A WESTERN SAGA

Do you believe in love at first sight?  Can it happen?  More importantly, can it last over the long haul of the ups and downs of a relationship?

Throw in a few obstacles from the very first meeting of the hero/heroine, and the relationship becomes even more intriguing.

In my novella, EVERY GIRL’S DREAM, the opening story from A WESTERN SAGA (Victory Tales Press), that’s just what happens.

Sheena McTavish, a young Irish girl, has been raped by the son of her father’s employer. Now, with a baby on the way, Sheena is given an unthinkable choice:  give her baby to the father’s wealthy family to raise, or travel to New Mexico Territory by stagecoach to live with her aunt and uncle until her child is born.  At that point, she will have to place it in a nearby orphanage.

Desperate to buy some time and protect her baby from its father, she chooses to travel west.  Alone and afraid, she starts on the journey that will change her life forever.  Before Sheena’s stage leaves, she meets handsome Army scout Callen Chandler.  The attraction is there, even under difficult conditions.

As the story progresses, Sheena must learn to trust again, and Cal begins to realize he doesn’t have to live the solitary existence he’s endured up to now.  Being half Comanche has left him with no place in either world—white or Indian.  When Sheena comes along, everything changes…for both of them.

 I WILL BE GIVING AWAY PDF COPIES OF A WESTERN SAGA TO TWO LUCKY COMMENTERS TODAY!  BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT!

There are three other wonderful stories in this anthology besides EVERY GIRL’S DREAM.   They are ALONG CAME WILL by my good friend CELIA YEARY, STORM RIDERS by my pal KAREN M. NUTT, and SAFE HANDS by my long time friend CINDY CARRIER.  These are all wonderful stories, packed with plenty of emotion and lots of action.  To see all of the other wonderful anthologies available from VICTORY TALES PRESS, click here:

http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php

At Amazon/Kindle: 
http://www.amazon.com/Western-Saga-Anthology-Sensual-ebook/dp/B0051BIBWC/

Also, check out their exciting imprint of all WESTERN books and short stories at WESTERN TRAIL BLAZERS:

http://westerntrailblazer.yolasite.com/online-store.php

I’ll leave you with an excerpt of EVERY GIRL’S DREAM

Cal is a half-breed U.S. Army scout, who has just rescued Sheena, the heroine, from a Kiowa attack on the stagecoach she was in. They had met briefly the morning before, and as luck would have it, Cal comes upon the stage after the Kiowas have attacked and are getting ready to ride away with Sheena. He tells them he and Sheena are married and the Kiowas reluctantly let him take Sheena, but then…

Cal felt…something.  His back tingled as he waited for the stinging burn of a shale arrowhead.  He risked a glance backward, and saw the Kiowa leader’s stare heavy upon him.

“Sheena, hold on tight.”

“The baby—”

“I know, sweetheart.  We won’t ride hard any longer’n we have to.   Lowell’s Ridge is  only about four miles away.” A very long four miles.

She nodded in understanding.  “I’m sorry, Callen.”

“No call for that.”

“You came for me.”

He smiled at that.  There was a small amount of disbelief in her tone, overshadowed by a huge amount of wonder.  Who wouldn’t come for her?

“You could be killed because of me,” she said softly, as if she had only just realized it.  She laid her hand over his, and in that moment, he wondered if dying for her would be worth the twenty-seven years he’d lived so far.

His heart jumped at her touch, then steadied.  But as he risked another glance back, he saw exactly what he’d feared.  Two of the braves were mounting up, and they weren’t riding the opposite way.  “That still might happen,” he murmured.

He leaned forward, trying to protect Sheena with his body as he slapped the reins against the horse’s side, urging him into a lope, then a full-out run.

The Kiowas were close behind them.  There must have been dissension among them. The leader had seemed content to let him take Sheena and ride away.  One of the others must have disagreed with that decision.

Cal reached to pull his revolver from his holster.

They were strangely quiet, he thought. 

The first bullet cracked from behind them, and Cal reflexively bent lower.  The bullet whined past his ear like an angry bee.

Sheena gasped.  He fired off a shot and got lucky.  One of the warriors screamed in agony and fell from his saddle.  But the other rode low, hanging onto the side of his mount. And he kept right on coming.

The next bullet sang over Cal’s head.  He concentrated on eating up the miles to Lowell’s Ridge.  Riding double was slowing them down considerably.  Sheena’s body was tense beneath the shelter of his own.  Fragile, but strong.  Delicate, but determined.  His hand splayed over her stomach, holding her close, cradling her from the jarring of their wild ride.

A whoop from behind them accompanied the crack of a rifle, and this time, the Kiowa warrior’s bullet found its mark.  A bolt of fire seared through Cal’s right shoulder, and for a minute, the pain was so strong he almost sawed back on the reins. But at his harsh curse, Sheena glanced up at him, her hand instantly clamping tightly over his. The reins were still wrapped in his fingers, but Sheena kept her hand on his, reminding him to let the horse have his head and continue their flight for freedom.

“Hang on, Cal!”

The pain was so breathtaking he could do nothing but nod his understanding.

“Dammit!” she cursed.  That almost made him smile, but the agony in his shoulder surged up and stole his breath again as the horse’s hooves pounded the ground below.

The road was not much more than a trail, and where it narrowed, branches reached out to scrape and snarl in hair and clothing, scratching their faces as they blindly rode toward safety.

As they broke through the brambles and low limbs into the clearing on the other side of the wooded section of road, Cal glimpsed the steeple of the church, then in a moment, the rooftops of houses.

He glanced behind him to see the Kiowa had stopped.  He was taking careful, deadly aim with the Winchester he held. “Christ,” Cal muttered.  “Keep down, Sheena.”

 

 

 

Petticoats & Pistols © 2015