I wanted to talk a bit about my single author anthology, DARK TRAIL RISING that just made its debut a few days back! Dark Trail Rising is a collection of four of my short stories, The Keepers of Camelot, The Kindness of Strangers, Shot for a Dog, and Hidden Trails.
These are all historical western stories with no romance except for Hidden Trails. Oh, shoot. How can I say any story that has Guinevere, Arthur, and Lancelot as characters ISN’T romantic? So I suppose in one sense of the word, The Keepers of Camelot has romance in it too, but not in the conventional way we think of when we think of western historical romance.
You know that question people always ask you about “Which one of these stories is your favorite?” In this case, I’d have to truly say they all are, but for different reasons.
The Keepers of Camelot was a favorite because it was so different. I love the concept of the three main characters of the Camelot legend meeting centuries later, and finally being able to understand that forgiveness will bring them peace. It’s a Christmas tale, but one of redemption, and keeping the legend of Camelot alive in a young boy who loves it –hundreds of years later—just as Arthur did in the beginning. The Keepers of Camelot was a finalist in the Western Fictioneers short story category in the 2013 Peacemaker Awards.
The Kindness of Strangers is a favorite because it’s the first one I wrote that had no romance in it. A man is searching for the raiders who killed his wife and daughters. But when he finds them…will revenge keep him from saving three children who need him now that their parents are dead? This story was my first submission to a Western Fictioneers anthology—another reason it’s special to me.
Shot for a Dog…you know, this one was one of those stories that just came to me—you know the type. You try to put it off, say “Let me finish this other one first…” But it just won’t leave you alone until you give it what it wants—to be written! So I did, and it really was one of those that just twisted me up inside and wouldn’t let go. Lucas is jealous of his younger brother to the point of madness. Once he goes over the edge, he doesn’t know if he’s got hydrophobia or if he’s going insane.
Hidden Trails is the “true” romance of the bunch. It’s one I had thought I would put in the Valentine anthology last year…but sometimes, a story just gets out of hand and won’t let you end it where you’d thought you might. It’s got a lot of twists and turns in it, and I really loved the way it turned out for everyone.
What I’m really happy about is that these were all single sells or in other anthologies, but this is the first time they’re all together and IN PRINT!
Release day happened a few days ago, and I’m giving away an e-copy to a lucky commenter!
Here are the blurbs to whet your appetite for more!
These four incredible western tales with a twist by Cheryl Pierson won’t let you rest until you’ve read the entire single author collection. DARK TRAIL RISING is an anthology of old west stories that will keep you wondering and thinking long after you read the last line.
THE KEEPERS OF CAMELOT—When King Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot are again united on the 1880’s western frontier, can forgiveness bring them the peace that has eluded them for centuries? It’s an unforgettable Christmas brought about through one young boy’s steadfast belief in rekindling the glorious hope of the greatest legend of all time. THE KEEPERS OF CAMELOT was a 2013 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award finalist in the short story category.
THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS—Jericho Dean has one thing on his mind: revenge for the murders of his wife and two little girls. As he closes in on the ruthless gang of Comancheros responsible for the crime, he is joined by an odd cowboy, Freeman Hart, who possesses some powerful magic. The two men come upon the outlaw band as they are attacking another homestead, and Jericho must make a decision. Will the relentless pursuit of vengeance destroy him, or will he find redemption and a reason to live in the eyes of three orphans who are left with no one to care for them but him?
SHOT FOR A DOG—At sixteen, Lucas Marshal is eight years older than his half-brother, Jeremiah. His hatred and jealousy of Jeremiah is all-consuming, until one dark day, it gets the best of him. Luke does the unthinkable, and shoots the family dog, Shadow. In trying to prevent it, Jeremiah is killed, as well. Forced to leave home by what he has done, Luke finds he has a companion he didn’t count on, and can’t get rid of. A river runs with blood, he hears voices—does he have hydrophobia, or is he losing his mind? The doctor is his only chance. But when he gets to town, somehow, the townspeople already have learned what he’s done—and the sheriff has a terrible secret of his own that may, indeed, be the death of Lucas Marshal.
HIDDEN TRAILS—Levi Connor has never run from anything in his life, and he doesn’t intend to start now. Wounded and riding through a blinding February snowstorm, he discovers a reason to exist when a beautiful mixed-blood girl takes him in and heals him. Valentine Reneau lives in fear that her father will find her someday. Time runs out when a stranger shows up on her land with two hired guns—and the devil in his plans. Will Levi kill for a woman he barely knows? The chips are down, the guns blaze, and everything finally comes clear along these HIDDEN TRAILS…but who’ll be left alive?
Now if you just can’t wait to see if you won a copy, here are the links to jump over and snap one up! Thanks to everyone for stopping by today!