Tag: Victory Tales Press

JASON’S ANGEL–A HISTORICAL COLLECTION

Hi everyone!  I just wanted to share with you all what a great month May has been for me! I have had two short stories released this month with Victory Tales Press.  Today I wanted to tell you about the one that appears in A HISTORICAL COLLECTION, an anthology that I’m in along with Karen Michelle Nutt (The Devil’s Wolf), Kate Kindle (A Tale From the Red Chest), and Miriam Newman (Deirdre). These stories all take place in different historical settings and time periods. My story, Jason’s Angel, is set in the final days of the War Between the States. 

Writing Jason’s Angel wasn’t easy.  My conundrum was the fact that for me, the Civil War was such a tragic time in our history that I wasn’t sure if I could see that my characters reached their “Happily Ever After” ending that I wanted them to have.  The only way I could see to do that in this case was to make Sabrina Patrick’s compassion so great that she saw beyond all boundaries of gray or blue, and didn’t think of the hero, Jason McCain, as the enemy, but first as a wounded man who needed her help.  

 Since Jason and another fellow Union soldier had been captured and are being held in the hospital where Sabrina volunteers, she knows that they will both die of their wounds if she doesn’t do something more than let nature run its course in those deplorable conditions. There is nothing she can do but bring them home, away from the inhumane treatment they are receiving from their guard and even from some of the hospital staff.  No one is more surprised than her Aunt Emmaline, who is none to happy with Sabrina’s decision. 

The only thing that could make matters worse is to find out that not only is Jason wearing Yankee Blue, he’s a southern boy, born and bred in Georgia—only a few miles from where Sabrina’s home is situated. What could make him fight for the Union? As Sabrina finds out more about Jason’s devastating past, she begins to understand. Because he is half Cherokee, his family has been shunned, and unimaginable tragedy has followed.  Can his restless soul find peace in Sabrina’s sweet love for him? 

I will leave you with a blurb and excerpt from JASON’S ANGEL. To order A HISTORICAL COLLECTION, go to the Victory Tales Press store here:

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

 or to my Amazon author page here:

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

 If you would like to read about the other exciting stories in this anthology, or any of the other anthologies that Victory Tales Press offers, here’s the link

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

 I WILL BE GIVING AWAY PDF COPIES OF A HISTORICAL COLLECTION TO TWO COMMENTERS TODAY! Please leave a comment when you stop by to read the blog along with your e-mail address and you will be automatically entered for the drawing.

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?

 FROM JASON’S ANGEL: 

Sabrina nodded. “Is there something else, Aunt Emma?”  

“You’ve been acting mighty peculiar, Sabrina.  Did something happen between you and Jason?”  The kindness and assurance of understanding, no matter what, in her aunt’s tone undid what little resolve Sabrina had left.  She had been on pins and needles since Jason had kissed her.  And she’d thought of nothing else.  But she’d been careful to avoid being in a similar position again since that day, and when she’d brought up his meals there had been only polite conversation between them.   

 Once, she’d thought she’d caught a glint of a deviling reminder in his eyes, but he’d looked past her after a moment and she couldn’t be sure. She couldn’t even tell Desi.  Desi would have gotten the greatest bit of fun from that knowledge—and she was unpredictable. 

For all Sabrina knew, had she confided in Desi, her younger sister might have decided to take matters into her own hands and tell Jason that Sabrina liked it. Which she had.  Or that Sabrina wished with all her heart he would kiss her again.  Which she did. She might even tell him of that indescribable rush of wind and heat and wonder that moved over her entire body when their lips had met—a feeling that she was still trying to figure out how to put into words herself.   

But Desiree would certainly have no trouble telling Jason what Sabrina had felt like—she was never at a loss for words.  And that’s why Sabrina could never tell her—not until she grew up a little.  

 How wonderful it would be to unburden herself to Aunt Emmaline. And how utterly shameful.  

“He…he kissed me,” she blurted. The familiar heat burned her cheeks.  

But Aunt Emmaline only smiled, and Sabrina watched her face transform into a reminder of the beauty she must have been as a young woman. 

“Is…that all?”  

Sabrina took a deep breath.  This was harder than she had imagined it might be.  “No.  I—Aunt Emma, I kissed him back.” 

Aunt Emma didn’t answer for a moment.  Finally, she took Sabrina’s hand in hers until Sabrina met her eyes.  “Sabrina, when I was young—younger than you, though not quite as featherheaded as Desi—there was a young man in my life.  He kissed me one time—and I kissed him back.  I’ve often wished through the years, that I’d allowed myself a second kiss.  Things…might have worked out very differently if I had.” 

“Aunt Emma—are you saying—”  

The older woman squeezed Sabrina’s hand gently.  “I’m saying follow your heart.  He’s a lonely soul, your Jason.  He’s searching for a place in the world.  And this world is changing, dear.  He may never find it without your help.  I’ve often wondered why you brought home two Yankees.  I’ve done a little digging of my own, as well.  These boys are Georgia born and bred.  Mrs. Davenport knows of their family, the McCains from over near Allen’s Ridge.”  

Sabrina was quiet, wondering how much of the family history her aunt had uncovered. 

“I…learned quite a bit, Sabrina,” she said gently.  

 Apparently, though, she wasn’t going to share any details. 

 “Mrs. Davenport is a fount of information.  Those men have been through hell, and not just the last years while the war has been raging.” 

Sabrina nodded, her throat tight. What must Jason believe, after what he had told her?  That she was keeping her distance because he’d opened his heart to her?  Or, because he was, as he said, “a half breed”?  

She had to go to him.       

 

TRAVELING IN OUR WRITING–HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?

 Writing a short story or a novel is a “journey” from beginning to end in many ways.  

Hopefully, our main characters will learn something about themselves and grow emotionally and in their personal values of not only each other, but the world around them.  They must become more aware of their place in the world as individuals to be able to give of themselves to another person, the hero to the heroine, and visa versa, or the story stagnates. 

The main conflict of the story brings this about in a myriad of ways, through smaller, more personal conflicts and through the main thrust of the “big picture” dilemma.  I always like to think of Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell as a prime example of this, because the States’ War was the catalyst for everything that followed, but it also remained the backdrop throughout the book.  This generated all of the personal losses and gains that Scarlett and Rhett made individually, so if the War hadn’t been the backdrop, the main original conflict, their personal stories would have taken very different routes and their love story quite possibly would have never happened. 

No matter what kind of story we are trying to weave, we have to have movement throughout—not just of the characters’ growth, but of the setting and circumstances that surround them. Sometimes, that “ain’t” easy! 

Have you ever thought about how important it is to have travel in your writing?  No, it doesn’t have to be lengthy travel, although that’s a great possibility, too.  Even a short trip allows things to happen physically to the characters, as well as providing some avenue for emotional growth and development among them. 

One of my favorite examples of the importance of travel is the short story by Ernest Haycox, “Stage to Lordsburg.”  You might know it better as the John Ford movie adaptation, “Stagecoach,” starring a very handsome young newbie…John Wayne.  A varied group of people are traveling on a stagecoach that is attacked by Indians, including John Wayne, (a seriously good-looking young outlaw by the name of Johnny Ringo) who is being transported to prison.  The dire circumstances these passengers find themselves in make a huge difference in the way they treat each other—including their hesitant acceptance of a fallen woman and the outlaw.  

If the characters of the story are going somewhere, things are bound to happen—even if they’re just going to the store, as in the short story “The Mist,” by Stephen King.  Briefly, a man goes to the grocery store and is trapped inside with many other people by a malevolent fog that surrounds the store and tries to come inside.  Eventually, he makes the decision to leave rather than wait for it to get inside and kill them all.  He thinks he can make it to the pickup just outside in the parking lot.  A woman that he really doesn’t know says she will go with him.  By making this conscious decision, not only are they leaving behind their own families (he has a wife and son) that they know they’ll never see again, but if they make it to the vehicle and survive, they will be starting a new chapter of their lives together.  It’s a great concept in my opinion—virtual strangers, being forced to make this kind of life-or-death decision in the blink of an eye, leaving everything they know behind, when all they had wanted to do was pick up a few groceries. 

In all of my stories, there is some kind of travel involved.  In Fire Eyes, although Jessica doesn’t travel during the story, she has had to travel to get to the original setting where it all takes place.  And Kaed is brought to her, then travels away from her when he is well enough.  Will he come back?  That’s a huge conflict for them.  He might be killed, where he’s going, but it’s his duty.  He can’t turn away from that.  After what has happened to him in his past, he has a lot of mixed feelings about settling down and trying again with a family, and with love. 

In a long ago English class, one of my professors once stated, “There are only two things that happen in a story, basically.  1.  A stranger comes to town.  Or,  2. A character leaves town.”  Pretty simplistic, and I think what she was trying to tell us was that travel is a great way to get the conflict and plot of a story moving in the right direction.  I always think of “Shane” when I think of  “a stranger coming to town” because that is just such a super example of how the entire story is resolved by a conflicted character, that no one ever really gets to know.  Yet, although he may have a checkered past, he steps in and makes things right for the Staretts, and the rest of the community.

 In my upcoming novel, Time Plains Drifter, a totally different kind of travel is involved—time travel.  The hero, Rafe,  is thrown forward sixteen years from the date he died (yes, he’s a very reluctant angel) and the heroine, Jenni,  is flung backward one hundred fifteen years by a comet that has rearranged the bands of time on earth.  They come together in 1895 in the middle of Indian Territory.  But the time travel is just a means to bring them together for the real conflict, and that’s the case with most of stories.  Whether as readers or writers, we don’t want to look at the scenery/history for the most part; we want to see the conflict, and the travel is just a way to get that to happen.

For all the writers out there, how do you use travel in your writing?  And for the readers, what kinds of travel passages bore you, or make the story come alive? 

Here’s a short excerpt from Time Plains Drifter, which will be re-released at the beginning of June.  Rafe and Jenni have just met, and there’s a definite attraction!  Hope you enjoy!

FROM TIME PLAINS DRIFTER

For the first time, Rafe began to wonder what—and who—she might have left back there in her own time.  Two thousand-ten.  A mother and father?  What about siblings?  Was she as close to someone as he and Cris had been?  Was she…married?  Did she leave children of her own?

She was a school teacher, and he took comfort in that thought.  In his own time, school teachers were usually women who were not yet married.

Suddenly, the question burned in his mind.  Was she married?  Did she have someone waiting for her?  Hell, what difference does it make?  He sighed.  You’re dead, Rafe. Remember?  Dead.  All a mistake.  Beck’s sure sorry, but—

If he was dead, why did his leg ache?  He felt the pinch of the cramped nerve endings in his left calf just as he had always suffered from when he held this position too long.  Was it real?  Or did he just anticipate that pain, where it had always been when he was alive?  He hadn’t imagined the instant response of his body earlier, holding Jenni Dalton in his arms.  That had been real enough.

He stood up slowly with a grimace, and his fingers went to the small of his back automatically for an instant before he bent to massage his leg, then walk a few steps to ease the strain of the muscles.  The twinges faded, but Rafe knew he hadn’t imagined either of them.

If I’m dead, how can I hurt?  Was this part of what Beck had tried to explain to him earlier, about giving in to the “human” side of himself?  Those “bodily urges?”  Beck had seemed horrified that Rafe even entertained the thought of wanting to live again—in a normal, human state.

But he did, God help him.  He did.  And five minutes with Miss Jenni Dalton was all it had taken to reaffirm that conviction to the fullest measure.

There was something about her; something strong, yet, so vulnerable.  Her eyes captivated him, her lips seductively beckoned to be kissed—but what if she knew she was kissing a ghost?  A dead man?

His glance strayed to Jenni once more as she stood up, and he controlled the urge to go after young Kody Everett and choke the life from his body for his deceit.

Jenni came toward Rafe stiffly, her back held ramrod straight.  Without conscious thought, he opened his arms to her, and she kept right on walking, into his embrace, until he closed the gates of safety across her back and held her to him, protected inside his fortress.

She didn’t cry, and Rafe knew it was because she was too exhausted. They stood that way for a long moment, breathing the night air.  He wanted to give her what she needed—shelter, safety, and…togetherness.  She wasn’t alone any more, and he wanted her to know it.

He felt her take a shuddering breath of bone-deep weariness.  Who was waiting for her in her own time, to comfort her like this when she returned?

“Jen?”

“Hmm?”  Her voice was a contented purr.

He smiled. “Where you come from, are you, uh—married, or—”

“Huh-uh.  No husband.  No kids.  Nobody at all.”

“No—betrothed?”  He searched for a word they might still use a hundred and ten years from now, and by the way she smiled against his shirt, he knew he had sounded old-fashioned to her.  “Okay, what’s your word for it?”

“Boyfriend.  Fiance.  Lover—”

Lover!”

She drew back at his indignation, looking him in the face.  “It’s—It’s just a word,” she stammered.  “It really doesn’t mean—”

“Don’t say that one,” Rafe growled.  He shook his head to clear it. “What I mean is—you wouldn’t want to say that around anyone.  They’d take you for a—loose woman.”

She looked up earnestly into his smoldering gaze, liquefying his bones with her piercing green eyes, her lips full and sensual, the tangle of copper hair blowing in the breeze. “Would you think I was ‘loose’ if I asked you to—to just lie down beside me?  It’s not that I’m afraid,” she hastened to add. “I just feel—kind of shaken up.”

TO MAKE THE MAGIC LAST

  Today I have something kind of “unwestern-y” to blog about–it’s a short story of mine called TO MAKE THE MAGIC LAST.  It first appeared in an anthology put out by VICTORY TALES PRESS last summer called A SUMMER COLLECTION. All the stories in the collection took place in the summer, but they could have been during any time period. Mine, I decided, would take place in a contemporary setting. 
 
In Oklahoma where I live is part of the area known as “tornado alley.”  The story opens with a newly divorced police officer starting down the stairs of his apartment building with the tornado sirens wailing in the distance.  All in a day’s work for a police officer in Oklahoma City, but the excitement is only just beginning on this very unusual day. Who would ever expect to find love in the middle of Latino gang warfare and a tornado? 
 
I was so pleased that my story was included in one of the very first anthologies that VICTORY TALES PRESS put out, and I can’t say enough good things about Rebecca Vickery and her up-and-coming publishing company. TO MAKE THE MAGIC LAST also appears now as a “stand alone” short story in one of the VTP imprint companies. 
 
One thing that is very exciting to me about this story is that my daughter created the cover for the e-book stand alone version. I have several new releases heading your way over this summer, and wanted to start by showcasing this short story, the only non-western one of the bunch!
 
I will be giving away 2 copies of TO MAKE THE MAGIC LAST–all you have to do is leave a comment.  Please check back later on this evening to see who the winners are!  I hope you enjoy!
 
The set up: 

To Make the Magic Last 

Police officer, Steve Cooper, heads out for work one morning just as the city’s tornado sirens blast a warning. In the stairwell he runs into a different situation—a gang war in his apartment building. Shots ring out and Steve catches a bullet. Seriously injured, he pushes the beautiful woman who has come through the door behind him back toward safety.

Christy Reed, his enchanting new neighbor, pulls him into her apartment and attempts to stop the bleeding. Recently arrived from Mississippi, Christy has no idea what the sirens and gunfire mean, but she knows enough to be terrified.

The phone lines aren’t working and the storm is bearing down. They take refuge in the bathroom as the sound of a freight train roars over the building. Through the pain, Steve finds himself drawn to Christy. There’s some sort of magic about her. Christy feels the same about Steve. He’s the man she’s always dreamed of meeting.

When the building collapses around them and they meet the gunmen once more, will Steve and Christy have what it takes to help each other through this? Can they make the magic last?

 
EXCERPT FROM “TO MAKE THE MAGIC LAST”:
The wind was roaring outside, deafening even in the small bathroom.  They were practically yelling to be heard above the storm.

Hesitantly, Christy crawled over the side of the tub, careful of where she placed her hands.    Finally, his good arm came around her in a strong embrace, pulling her down flush with his body until she lay on top of him.  She tried to hold herself away from his shoulder, but he drew her down, tucking her head beneath his chin, and she reached to pull the comforter around them.

Steve could feel her shaking as she lay down.  She was more afraid of the storm than the gunmen, it seemed.  But as soon as he thought it, she asked, “Do you think they were after you, or just anyone who came down the stairwell?”

Her breath was warm against his neck, the comforter enveloping them in a cocoon of false security.  The wind roared outside, deafening in the small bathroom.  There was a high-pitched sound of rending metal, the heavy clunking noise of tearing wood, and Steve knew the roof of the building was gone.

Christy gasped, pressing closer into his chest.  He patted her awkwardly, his arm at an odd angle.  After a moment, he answered her question.  “Neither.  They were after each other.” They’d been yelling at each other in Spanish, he remembered.  He had just happened to walk into the middle of rival Latino gang warfare, ongoing in this neighborhood, day and night.  What was a girl like Christy doing in this area?  “Right now, this storm is more of a threat.”

She had stopped shaking despite the fact the storm still blew with wild strength outside.  She seemed to have forgotten it, lying so close to him.  But he knew they were still in terrible danger, and he might not get the chance to tell her what he needed to say if he waited.

A long moment of silence hung between them, the only sound the worsening storm outside.  “Christy.” He touched her arm again, and she glanced up.  “Thanks for trying to . . . help me.”

“I didn’t do anything.”

Her voice sounded muffled, he thought.  Like she was crying, and trying to hide it.  “Sure you did.”  The comforter was soft. The bleeding was stopped.  And, Steve decided, he loved the feel of Christy Reed’s body on his, warm and curvy, and more comforting than that damn piece of down-filled material ever could be.

Her fingers slowly curled into the folds of his once-starched uniform, then settled against the soft cotton tee shirt.

“You’re doing it . . . even now, sweetheart.”

Slowly, she lifted her head and met his eyes in the dark haven they’d made.  “Steve—” she broke off, raking her teeth over her bottom lip quickly, nervously. 

He smiled at that habit of hers, thinking how he’d like to kiss her; how he wished he knew her better; how it would seem to her if he even  . . . 

Hell with it.  He pulled her to him slowly, her lips coming across his, warm and sweet and soft as the brush of butterfly wings.  Uncertainly, she tasted his mouth, and he opened for her, letting her explore him.  Her right hand moved to his jawline, her thumb skimming his cheekbone before her fingers found their way to thread through his hair.

“What’s happening to us?” she murmured, drawing back slowly to look at him. 

Her voice was quiet and low, and Steve realized that they must be in the eye of the storm.  There was no sound but the rain now, and far away in the distance, the wail of a siren somewhere. “Magic,” he whispered, believing it himself.  He’d never felt so protective of any other woman—even Lacey.  Christy needed him, but she was a giver, too.

She shook her head and lay back down against his chest.  “Magic always fades away.”

Not this time, he wanted to say.  But he was too exhausted to form the words.  Instead, his hand drifted to her short curls, tangling gently there, finding comfort in the clean softness. She’d been hurt before, he knew; he could hear it in her voice.  He wanted to know who…and why.  But he couldn’t ask—not right now. He couldn’t keep himself awake.  “Christy, I’m . . . so tired.”

  There was a long pause.  He knew she was afraid, not only of the storm and the predators, but also of what was happening between them—the magic they’d made so suddenly, the fire that had kindled so unexpectedly between them.  He wouldn’t let it disappear, he thought fiercely.  She was something special—he could feel that already.  Something worth holding onto.“I know, darling,” she whispered finally.  “Just rest, okay?  I’ll be here when you wake up.”

THE ROMANCE OF A ROOM ADDITION

What is the most romantic room in a home?  In our romance stories, it’s quite often the bedroom where the romance actually physically happens.  Other rooms in our characters’ homes are romantic and meaningful to the hero and heroine for various reasons as well.

 The room I think of as most romantic is one that doesn’t exist yet:  the room addition.

 How can adding on a room be romantic?  Okay, first of all, let’s remember this IS make- believe! In real life, home construction or remodeling projects will cause the topic of divorce to be introduced into the loving couple’s conversation at some point.  Over and over.

 Two short rollers and a can of paint in a bathroom can break a marriage faster than an overdrawn bank account.  But come with me to the world of fiction—historical fiction—where women are heroines and men are heroes…and the announcement of “needing another room” is a joyous occasion, and not just another “honey-do.”

 The addition of a room most generally heralds the impending arrival of a baby, or the growth of the young family in some way.  Because cabins were so small and were generally put up as quickly as possible to provide a more permanent shelter for a family, improvements often had to wait until time, weather, or supplies permitted.

 In our historical romances, our heroes are always eager to do whatever is necessary to provide the best possible quarters for their families.  You’ll never hear them say, “I’ll do it when the playoffs are over.”

 All joking aside, I believe we find the room addition romantic for several reasons, the most obvious one being that our heroine is pregnant and there needs to be a room for the little one the couple has created.  Most women can relate to that maternal instinct of preparing a safe, warm place for their baby to sleep.

 The second reason a room addition is romantic, is that the hero is actually building something with his skill, knowledge and love to provide for his growing family.  It’s his answer to the heroine’s maternal need.  Generally, the delivery of the news that a baby is on the way and discussion of the room addition is a shock to the hero, but not an unwelcome one.  It transitions him from “husband” to “family man” and gives him the opportunity to “show his stuff.”  He proves himself by his reaction to the news.  The action he takes toward following through with the reality of building on shows the heroine (and the reader) that he is our “dream man.”

 The family unit, complete, is probably the most romantic reason of all.  The room addition shows the reader that the heroine and hero have matured, grown in their love for one another and are able to look toward the future as a family unit now.  In the child to come, they will see themselves and one another, and will risk everything for the safety, comfort and protection of that child.

 And it all starts with…the addition of the extra bedroom for the new life they’ve created.

 In the following excerpt from FIRE EYES, Jessica gives Kaed the news that they’re going to be needing a nursery.  This is an especially poignant moment because of Kaed’s past, and what it means to him personally.  He’s being given a second chance—one he wasn’t sure he wanted, but now is desperate to hold onto.

FROM FIRE EYES:

  “Looks like we gave up our bed.” Kaed’s gaze rested on Frank and the two girls. Nineteen. God, he looked so young, like a boy, as he slept, all the lines of worry around his eyes erased. Nineteen. I remember nineteen. Just didn’t understand until now how young it really is.

“Twice now.” Jessica’s voice called him from his thoughts. She grinned and nodded toward where Tom lay talking to Harv. “Maybe by this time tomorrow morning we’ll get lucky,” she whispered, reaching up to kiss his cheek.

“Neither one of us is going to ‘get lucky,’ in any respect, until everyone’s gone,” he grumbled softly, letting go a frustrated sigh. “One thing’s for sure. When everything settles down around here, I’m gonna add on a bedroom. With a door that shuts.”

Jessica was quiet for a moment, then very softly she said, “Better make that two.”

“Two bedrooms?”

“Uh-huh. Ours, and a nursery.”

Kaed nodded. “For Lexi.”

“And the new baby.”

His gaze arrowed to hers.

Our baby, Kaed.”

The blood rushed through his ears, pounding at his temples. Nothing existed but the woman standing in his strong embrace, her love washing over him in warm waves as her eyes sparkled into his.

“Jessi.” The words he’d spoken to her the day he left came back to haunt him. I just hope that maybe we got lucky. Maybe it didn’t take.

But it had. And damn if he didn’t feel like the luckiest man alive. A baby. He read the unasked question in her expression, and he bent to kiss her. To reassure her. To let her know a family was what he needed and wanted. He felt her relax beneath his hands.

“I told you I was working my way through it, Jess,” he whispered against her cheek. “I’ll be a good father.”

Tears rose in her eyes. She nodded, her hair soft against his stubbled beard. “You’ll be the best.”

“Better than I was before, that’s for sure.” The words slipped out before he could stop them. He took a deep, jagged breath as Jessica finally dared to meet his eyes. He looked away, his gaze wandering about the small cabin, finally returning to lock with Jessica’s.

“I can appreciate what I’ve got this time, Jessi. I took it for granted the first time, and I lost it. I won’t let that happen again.”

Jessica shook her head. “Promise—” she began, but he tilted her face up, putting his lips to hers once more in a gentle, reassuring kiss.

“I’ll never let you go, Jessi. And I’ll never hurt you. I want what we talked about, the family, the farm, maybe a ranch.” He stopped and moistened his lips that had suddenly gone dry. “But most of all, I want you.” He glanced across the room at Tom, who gave him a fleeting grin. After a moment, he returned his gaze to the fathomless pools of Jessica’s eyes. “None of it means anything without the woman I love, Jessica. You. Yes, I promise, sweetheart. I promise everything.”

Travis leaned against the kitchen doorjamb, fresh coffee in hand. “Guess we’d better start beating the bushes for a preacher-man, boys. Get it done up legal and right for Miss Jessi while Kaed’s in this mood. I never seen him like this. Never heard him talk so serious.” He took a drink of his coffee, his green eyes mischievous above the rim of his cup. “I do believe he means it, Miss Jessi.”

I hope you enjoyed this post and excerpt.  Do you have any experience with a “romantic” room in your house?  I’d love to hear about it! 

 These gorgeous covers are from my novel, FIRE EYES, available at:

http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=534&zenid=bbb2b42b9ad603f1802c0800fac01b38

and a new Valentine anthology from VICTORY TALES PRESS called A VALENTINE COLLECTION, available here.

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

  My story, “A HEART FOR A HEART”, is a contemporary about a single young woman who is a tutor.  When one of her young Indian students, Cory Tiger, loses his parents in a tragic automobile accident, she steps in to be his foster mother. But the night before he is to become her ward, his uncle, Sam, returns from his military service in Iraq to claim him.  Here’s the blurb:

 A Heart for a Heart by Cheryl Pierson – Kiera takes Cory into her home, but when his uncle returns from military duty he wants to take over. Can  they work this out for?

“A CHRISTMAS COLLECTION” ANTHOLOGIES

I am so excited to share with you that I just had three holiday short stories released through Victory Tales Press last week!  As you all know, I normally write historical western romance, and two of these stories are just that. The third is a contemporary story, and I would like to tell you a bit about all of them.

HOMECOMING is a story I had written about a year ago.  I knew it was very odd, and probably had no chance of “making it” in the romance market, especially with the larger houses.  I don’t want to give anything away, so I will just have to be content to say that it has a very odd twist to it, a bit of the paranormal, and is a very different kind of story.  It appears in the Sweet edition of A CHRISTMAS COLLECTION.  Darn it, I wish I could tell you more because this is one of my favorite stories, but I’m afraid I’ll say too much!   I’m in this collection with four other wonderful authors.  Here’s the blurb for HOMECOMING, a story of forgiveness and faith at Christmas:

A holiday skirmish sends Union officer Jack Durham on an unlikely mission for a dying Confederate soldier–his enemy.  While thinking of the losses he’s suffered, can Jack remember what it means to be fully human?  Will the miracle of Christmas be able to heal his heart in the face of what awaits him?

My story in the Sensual edition of A CHRISTMAS COLLECTION is called SCARLET RIBBONS.  For as long as I can remember, the song of the same title has been part of my life.  I grew up in the 60’s/70’s and folk music was a staple in my home.  This poignant song, made popular by Harry Belafonte, tells the story of a man who hears his child praying for Scarlet Ribbons for her hair. It’s late, and the streets are empty, with no place to get the Scarlet Ribbons. During the night, the father anguishes over not being able to get such a simple gift for his daughter.  In the morning, just before dawn, he goes into her bedroom and there on the bed are two beautiful scarlet ribbons for her hair. If you have never heard the song, it’s well worth a listen or ten–I promise it will touch your heart (I can never listen to it without crying like a big third grader.)

My story of SCARLET RIBBONS is about a half-breed gunslinger who comes back to Mexico after many years to several surprises.  There is, again, a hint of the paranormal in this story.  I was so happy to be able to place it with Victory Tales Press, as it is quite different.  But this was a story I had had in mind for a long time.  Here’s the blurb:

Miguel Rivera is known as El Diablo, The Devil.  Men avoid meeting his eyes in fear of his gun.  Persuaded by a street vendor, he makes a foolish holiday purchase–two scarlet ribbons.  Can a meeting with a mysterious priest, and the miracle of the scarlet ribbons set Miguel on a new path and restore the love he lost before? 

My contemporary story, WHITE CHRISTMAS, appears in the Spicy edition of A CHRISTMAS COLLECTION along with three other wonderful authors.  I think my idea for this story stemmed from the many hospital visits I have made with my sister this year, and talking with so many wonderful ER nurses and doctors. What happens with their holidays? And what about first responders–fire fighters and police officers?  In my story, I took a lonely divorced ER nurse who hasn’t had a proper Christmas in many years, and a long-single fire fighter who has lost everything dear to him and threw them together for Christmas.  Here’s the blurb for WHITE CHRISTMAS:

Since her divorce, busy ER nurse, Carlie Thomas, is happy to spend Christmas on duty.  Fire fighter Derek Pierce needs special care after being injured on the job.  But Derek’s wounds are more than skin deep.  Will they spend the holidays haunted by the ghosts of the past, or could this Christmas spark a beautiful friendship–or even something more?

If you love holiday stories, this is a treasure-trove!  There are four books in all in the A CHRISTMAS COLLECTION set: sweet, sensual, stimulating and spicy.  The stories are grouped according to “heat” level so there are no surprises.  These are great for gift-giving for this reason.

To order, or for more information, here’s the link. http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php

I’d love to hear from y’all.  What is your favorite holiday story? Is it one of your own, or someone else’s?  I love holiday stories and I’m always looking for new ones.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!