In the category of “dreams come true”, here is my latest one. I became a member of the WESTERN FICTIONEER group about a year ago with the help of one of my friends, Kit Prate.  Kit’s a fantastic western writer who’s been doing this a lot longer than I have, with many more “notches in her belt”—figuratively speaking—in the writing world. She put my name before the group and I was accepted—a greenhorn in the truest sense of the word.

I’m still totally in awe. Robert Randisi, Jory Sherman, Peter Brandvold, Kit Prate, Kerry Newcomb, James Reasoner, Livia Washburn Reasoner…the list goes on—these are the members of the WESTERN FICTIONEERS.

A few months after I joined up, they decided to put together their first anthology.  Livia and James Reasoner worked tirelessly on it—collecting the stories from those of us who wanted to submit, editing, formatting, writing the introduction to the book, and even deciding the order of the stories.  One of the other contributors, Pete Peterson, provided the gorgeous artwork for the cover of the book.

This book is not, by any means, a romance offering.  But there are stories from 24 different authors with many different “takes” on the west. It’s the largest anthology of original western short stories ever put together, and though every one of them might not be to your liking, you’re sure to find some different authors you might want to try out for further reading pleasure from this fantastic collection.

My story is called THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS.  It has a LOT of paranormal twist to it, but it’s one of my favorite projects I’ve ever worked on.

I’ll leave you with a blurb and an excerpt.

Jericho Dean is on a one-man mission: to track down the outlaw gang that murdered his wife and daughters. When Freeman Hart joins forces with him, Jericho isn’t sure which side this peculiar stranger is on. Determined to gain his revenge no matter the cost, Jericho finds redemption in a most unlikely circumstance. Will he take that fork in the road, or will his thirst for revenge end his chance for a new start?


Jericho gave Dan one final pat.  “Ain’t many men lost as much as I did on that day, Freeman.  My wife, my daughters, and my desire to exist in this world without them.”  He pointed at the growing pile of wood.  “No fire.”

Hart gave a sage nod.  “I see.  You’re expecting to be reunited once you complete your mission—kill the Comancheros.  Once you die, you think you and Elena will be together again, along with Maria and Ana.”

Jericho stood completely still.  How did this stranger know the names of his family?  How did he know Jericho’s own heart and purpose so clearly?

Hart dropped the last two pieces of wood on top of the pile, then dusted his hands.  “We need to have a talk, Jericho.  A good long visit about things.  I don’t aim to do it in the cold.  And make no mistake, this night’ll be an icy one—way too cold to spend without a fire.  Trust me, boy.  They ain’t gonna know—or care—if you spend it warm or freezin’.  Got a match on you?”

Jericho sized up the other man once more, a shiver running up his spine.  No, things were not what they seemed, but whether for good or evil, he didn’t know.  He cursed his luck, either way.  He didn’t want to be burdened with whatever it was this Freeman Hart brought to the table. He hadn’t asked for it, either way.  He remembered that he had deliberately not prayed, carefully refrained from asking God for any favors, so he wouldn’t have to be in His debt.  Well, he still didn’t plan on owing Him anything, no matter how this all worked out.

He finally forced his legs to move, walking stiffly to his saddlebags.  He put the brush away, and drew out the box of matches wrapped in oilskin.

Hart caught them when Jericho tossed them over, opened the box and struck one of them on the bottom of his boot. The match head flared in the gathering semi-darkness and Hart hunkered down, cupping his hand around the flame as it caught the base kindling of the pyre and the wood above it began to burn.

Jericho stood watching as the fire flared to life, remembering how he’d burned the cabin. After he’d buried Elena, Maria and little Ana, he’d poured kerosene throughout their home.  The smell of it had made his stomach twist and roll over.  He’d poured it over the cabinetry he’d built so lovingly for Elena, remembering how proud she’d been to have a pantry in her kitchen.  He’d poured it across the bed where they’d made love. Made children. Made a family together.

He’d opened up the old trunk that had been Elena’s, full of her keepsake treasures.  He had taken only one thing from the chest before he’d saturated the rest of the contents with the kerosene remaining in the can.  He’d stood at the door and tossed in the match, watching as the trail of fire raced across the dirt floor of the cabin and began to eat the furniture, the woodwork, and finally the walls. 

Then, he had turned his back on the entire dream he’d created and then destroyed, riding away from it as it burned.  It maybe burning still, he mused.  That entire northern part of Indian Territory could be nothing but acres of smoldering blackness destroyed by his hand.  Right now, if he could, he’d set the entire world ablaze.

Yes. A fire would be good to have tonight.

“Say, Jericho.  You hungry? Me, I’m so hungry my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut. I’ve got some tins of beans and peaches we can open up.” Hart rose and crossed to where his saddlebags lay, rummaging for the tins of food. He pulled them out and came back toward Jericho, who stood rooted to the spot where he’d gone moments earlier to get the matches.

Hart nodded toward the fire.  “C’mon.  Let’s get some grub.  Talk a spell.  I can see you’ve got some questions.”

“Who are you?” Jericho’s voice was hoarse.

Hart laughed.  “I knew that’d be the first one.”

To order your copy of THE TRADITIONAL WEST, click here:


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A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work:
I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 40 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here:
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  1. Congratulations, Cheryl! You’re in great company, and belong there for sure.

    This anthology looks amazing, and the cover is gorgeous! A copy will be winging its way to my kindle in just a few minutes. :o)


  2. Thank you, Kirsten! As in any anthology, there are stories that I liked better than others, and I’m sure you will, too, but if you like traditional western stories, this is a good anthology. I had my doubts about writing something with NO ROMANCE in it,LOL, but I think The Kindness of Strangers was a quirky paranormal twist on a traditional type of story. I sure hope you enjoy it. I’m still thrilled.

  3. Well…Wow! That’s all that comes to mind. 🙂 Sounds like another wonderful read. Just finished Cal and Sheena’s story. My only negative comment on that is…it’s waaaaaaay to short. LOL

    You’re in the company of quite an impressive group of writers, Cheryl. Now I have to get this anthology into my NOOK. At this rate, half of all I read will be Mz. Cheryl. 🙂

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Yep, he is a bit different, for sure. LOL I really had fun writing this one. Thanks so much for stopping by–I know you are working hard on Banjo’s story!

  5. Hi Karen,
    I tell you, I am in awe of this group of writers–they have been at it (most of them) for a very long time, and I truly do enjoy reading their stories. I’m very proud to be part of the group.
    Thanks for your sweet comment!

  6. Hi Gail,
    This is the first story I’ve written in a very long time that wasn’t a romance, so I was on pins and needles with it the entire time. But I was very pleased with the outcome, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it. Thanks so much for your kind words!

  7. Hi Caroline!
    I hope you enjoy it. I’m sure you’ll find something to tickle your fancy in there–it’s over 100,000 words, so that’s a lot of good stories for $4.99!
    Thanks for swinging by and commenting!

  8. JOYCE!
    I’m sooooo glad you enjoyed Cal and Sheena. I know, I know…it was too short, wasn’t it? I may have to revisit them and give them their rightful LONG LENGTH. LOL Oh, yes, and I neglected to put the NOOK link on here! But it’s up at Barnes & Noble and available there, too. I do hope you enjoy it, Joyce. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!

  9. Hi Vicki,
    Isn’t that cover gorgeous? We had been waiting on the cover from another artist, but he got sick. Everything was ready to go but the cover. So Pete Peterson, one of the contributors, said he had some paintings he had done that he would be glad to let us pick from and use for the cover. Well, let me tell you, he made it sound so easy, but his paintings are all WONDERFUL. I love the way it looks–he is a very talented guy, for sure, not just in writing, but in the artistic field as well.

    I’m with you, girl! LONG LIVE WESTERNS!!!

  10. Wow, Cheryl! You’re keeping some mighty good company there. It looks fantastic. And your excerpt sure whetted my appetite. Congratulations at being included in the antho. I wish you wagon loads of success. 🙂

  11. Thanks so much Linda! I’m hoping that this will be the first of many to come. I started out reading Louis L’Amour when I discovered westerns, and love the old traditional stuff.

  12. Hi, Cheryl and Petticoat friends! Since Cheryl is a friend, and an excellent author, and…I have read this anthology, I thought I should give a quick review. Among the list, I’m sure you will find some favorites just as I have.

    First one, of course, is Cheryl’s “The Kindness of Strangers.” The story kept me mesmerized, even though it was pretty clear who the stranger was, that gave no hint of the surprises to come. Great job, Cheryl!

    Another unique one–“Kataki.” Yes, it’s an odd title, but the story is absolutely fascinating. I couldn’t believe I was so pulled in by this rather weird story. Loved it.

    Still another– “When Was It Ever Going To Rain?” You might think this is about a drought–did someone say ‘drought?’ Please, don’t mention it. Anyway, it’s not really about a drought, but instead, it’s the most wonderful little love story you ever read–and it has a surprise, too.

    Try the anthology–see which ones are your favorites. Celia

  13. Hi Tanya!

    Oh, I did too. They were just “there” when I started that story. You and I are alike about being careful about names, and these are definitely symbolic in the story. I hope you enjoy it, and will tell Pete how much you loved the cover!
    Hugs, my filly sis!

  14. Celia,
    Thank you so, so much for coming by and leaving your review here! You don’t know how I appreciate that, and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the anthology so much. I, too, loved Kataki!There is a wonderful bunch of stories to choose from here and I’m just thrilled that you found some favorites that stayed with you!

  15. Cheryl, it’s so cool that you have a story in this anthology! I’m definitely going to read it. I grew up reading westerns but I haven’t read a trad western for a long time, even though I downloaded a couple to my Kindle. Just haven’t had time.

    Dwight Swain says the reader reads for feelings, and the purpose of every action is to evoke a feeling. Do you think the emphasis on writing emotion and relationships in your romance stories helped you when writing this story? I’m thinking here of the movie Secondhand Lions, a beautiful story about the love of a boy for his uncles, and the love of the two brothers. It certainly wasn’t a romance but the whole story was about love.

  16. Hi Jacquie,
    Thanks so much for coming by and commenting–I know you are really busy with your latest release, MUCH ADO ABOUT MARSHALS!

    That’s a good question, about the emotion and relationships. You know, my old standby in that realm that I always go back to is SHANE. What a tale that was! So full of emotion of all kinds, and love on so many different levels. The love of a child for a hero, the love of a woman for a man, and the love of another man for a true, brotherly friend. You just couldn’t ask for a better story or the showing of the emotional sides of one person, such as Jack Schaefer did with Shane (hope I spelled his name right!) But if I could scratch the tip of the iceberg that he did, I would be very very content. LOL I think a short story is so much harder to try to use as a tool to delve into the emotions of the characters as deeply as maybe I would love to. I don’t like reading short stories that really shortchange the reader by rushing things, so I tend to get lengthy with my short stories. LOL I want the reader to connect with the hero/heroine and even the villain (if there is one) in a way that leaves a very memorable impression on him/her. Very thought provoking question. I have not seen Secondhand Lions, but it sounds wonderful. Thanks again for stopping by, Jacquie!

  17. This sounds like it will be a book worth having. Your story is intriguing. I clicked on order and realized it is in Kindle form only. Will it ever be available in print or other e-reader formats? It is such a good collection of authors. Congratulations on being included.
    Just read some of the earlier comments and noticed you mentioned it is available for Nook. I don’t have one yet, but hope to by Christmas. There are so many good books available in e-form only. You have stories in several anthologies that sound really good. I notice many of your single title books are now available in paperback too.

    Thanks for the word on this book and a good excerpt. I hope it does well.

  18. Hi Patricia,
    Most of the short stories through Victory Tales Press and Western Trail Blazer are available in other formats besides Nook and Kindle. The 2 novels I have a The Wild Rose Press are available in Nook, Kindle, and now through an app for Android, and soon will be available through an app for iPhone! WOW! The Traditional West is not available in other formats, I don’t believe, other than Nook, Kindle and print. A lot of the short stories have been put out as single title stories for .99 cents and have done really well–I think it’s the Jimmy Thomas covers! LOL Yes, keep your fingers crossed–I’m hoping this anthology will do very well, too. Thanks for coming by and commenting–I appreciate all your very kind words!

  19. Hey Connie!
    Thanks so much! I can’t say enough what an honor it is to be included in this anthology with so many awesome writers.

    Thanks again for stopping by!

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