Tag: White Christmas

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.

“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!

 
Petticoats & Pistols © 2015