Hi everyone! It’s near the end of winter, thank goodness, and spring is right around the corner. I have never been a “winter” person, and it seems like the older I get the less I like to see the approach of those cold, dreary winter months. We had our yearly ice storm—we get a lot of that here in Oklahoma—but it’s over!

Growing up, I don’t remember having “cabin fever”—I was always able to entertain myself with indoor activities—coloring, paper dolls, board games, reading,  and yes, even writing. This winter I was asked to participate in a little fun exercise that was very different, and not my “norm” for my writing self.

The story was to be a western historical very short piece. Two sentences were given: The shot rang out. I heard her scream at the same time the bottle crashed to the floor.

These sentences had to be used in this exact form—without any modification. The only “change” that was useable was the fact that they could come anywhere in the story, as long as they came together as shown here. And the story must be 500 words long—no longer. Mine came in at 497—and let me tell you, that was not easy for me!

It’s been a long time since I was this excited over something different like this—just something fun to try. There are 51 other participants as well–all published western authors–using these same two sentences. I’m so curious to see where this leads! The book will be sold for Kindle, but none of us are anticipating getting rich from it—whatever royalties it garners will go into a scholarship fund for a young writer. For me, the rewards were huge.

Also, keep your eyes peeled, as there’ll be one of these coming out each quarter. I just got my copy today, and plan to settle in this evening and see what everyone else wrote with their 500 words. My imagination took off, and I know my co-authors’ did, too.

I had such fun with this! Here it is—see what you think!

Two men, waiting for something. One of them is in for a huge surprise. What about the other one? Will he make it out alive?



“Let’s see…‘The shot rang out. I heard her scream at the same time the bottle crashed to the floor.’ That’s your story, right, fast gun?” Marshal Ferris smirked as he moved closer to the chair where his prisoner, Johnny Kilgore, was tied.

“Yeah,” Johnny muttered through split lips, blood streaming from the busted nose Ferris had given him. “It’s my story because that’s how it happened, pendejo.”

Ferris shot him a wary glance, unsure if he’d been insulted.

Johnny looked toward the narrow, barred window just in time to see a small hand disappear. Seeing things? Hoping for a miracle… He shook his head to clear it in the stifling air.

Ferris leaned down close, blocking Johnny’s view of the window. “You killed that woman, and you’re gonna admit it, you son of a bitch. We got all night. I can wait.” Ferris cracked his knuckles. Another vicious uppercut rocked Johnny’s head back. “You’re gonna write your confession.”

Who was the kid outside the window? Damn…why even think of that? I’ll be dead before midnight. There’s no help coming. No miracle for me…not this time… Wrong place, wrong time, just once too often…

He’d killed—but he’d never murdered a woman—especially not this one. Maria Lopez had been little more than a girl herself—and her scream from her upstairs room had been one of pure terror. By the time Johnny’d gotten to her, she was already dead. She wasn’t going to tell who did it, but Johnny had a fair idea from the dogged way Ferris kept after him about a confession.

Ferris crossed his arms. “It’s gonna be a long night. I got a powerful hunger. You just sit tight—I’ll be back after dinner. Just in time for you to confess…before you try to escape, and get killed doing it. Think about that while I’m gone,” he chortled as he walked away toward the outer office, banging the door shut like a death knell.

Johnny slipped his hands through the loose knots of the rope Ferris had tied him with. He untied his ankles, then stood and stumbled to the window. He told himself he didn’t believe in miracles anymore, but a pistol had been placed on the sill inside the bars—if that wasn’t a miracle, he didn’t know what was. He broke it open to be sure it was loaded. Six bullets.

“Señor.” The husky whisper with a hint of tears came from the outside wall. “Marshal Ferris killed my sister. I beg you…”

“Lo siento, m’ijo,” Johnny answered quietly. “I’ll do what I can. Thank you for this.”

The small hand appeared again, laying a hatpin on the ledge. His “key” to the cell door. Johnny smiled, even though it hurt.

One last miracle was his tonight, and with a little luck, he’d be halfway to the border by sunrise. After he killed Ferris.

He settled in behind the door. It’s gonna be a long night. But I can wait…

PROCEEDS GO TO A SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR A YOUNG WRITER SET UP BY SCOTT HARRIS. You can’t find a better reading bargain anywhere for only .99!


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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: http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
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: fabkat_edit@yahoo.com
Follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cheryl.pierson.92


  1. Wow Cheryl, this sounds interesting and I’m intrigued. When will this be available. I recently have gotten a young teenage boy who never knew he loved to read into reading westerns. He’s hooked. His mom is a great friend of mine and she said he would sneak her Linda Broday book she was reading and read when she wasn’t looking. Then one day they were eating lunch and he asked her what she thought about Yuma, the evil man in the book. She was shocked, Long story short I started sending him the short little westerns most men read, Max Brand, Louis Lamour, William Johnston, etc. so this might be a great book for him to read. But if it’s only in ebook form, well that might not work, as he doesn’t have a kindle.
    Thanks for sharing and knowing it’s for a great cause makes it even more appealing.
    Love & Hugs.

    • Hi Tonya! It will be in paperback form shortly within the next several days, I believe they said. Not sure of the time frame but I know it’s coming in paperback. How great that your friend’s son discovered reading. That same epiphany happened with my son when he was about 13 or so and was at my sister’s for a few days. He was bored. She handed him the Stephen King book, The Stand, and told him to read for a while. She called me that night and said he had gotten so hooked he told her he might just stay up all night reading. LOL (That is one long book!) LOL

      There will be more of these to come–one per quarter. I have will message you when I find out the availability date of the paperback.

      Thanks for stopping by! Oh, The Ghost With Blue Eyes by Robert Randisi would be a good one for your friend’s son to read.

      • Cheryl that’s awesome news about a paperback. I’ll also tell my friend about the other book. Thank you so much.
        Lol.. Stephen King.. yikes, I’ve tried his books and although I adore murder mystery, his books scare me. But I’m so glad it was a book that hooked your son. Whatever it takes to give someone the joy of reading.

        • Tonya, I used to read all Stephen King’s books in the beginning. When I got to “It”–I couldn’t do it. It just scared me soooo badly, and I remembered that old saying about “You can’t unring a bell”–I knew if I read more I would not be able to get it out of my mind. But my fave book of his was The Stand. That was his masterpiece–and there’s really not any way he could top it. He admits it, too–it’s one of those books that builds up to the “scary” part and there are so many twists and turns to get to the end that you just can’t stop reading it. Believe me if it was just horribly graphically gory I would have to put it down. But it’s more like an Alfred Hitchcock thriller or Twilight Zone–so much left to your own thoughts and it’s just such masterful storytelling.

  2. What a neat project! The only promblem I’ll have is wanting to know more about every single short story. I almost always want more to the story after every book I read. Just like this story, now I want to know whats going to happen. Not fair.

    • Stephanie, I am the same way–I always want to know more. LOL When I worked as a 911 operator, that was the part of the job that was frustrating. Sometimes I would see the story of a call I took earlier that day on the news that night, and then I would at least know MORE of the story about what happened. LOL But these are all good little stories, and what I love about them is the idea that we all took the same prompt and made all these different stories from it. I hope you will enjoy it if you read it.

  3. This sounds so intriguing. I will enjoy seeing how each of you used these sentences to entertain readers.

    • Connie, as soon as it became available on Kindle I snapped it up and I couldn’t put it down. There are a lot of really excellent authors included, and the stories are all so different! I know you’ll enjoy it.

  4. I love the excerpt Cheryl.Left me wanting, anxiously to know what happens next. Only a few more days :). Thanks for sharing the excerpt.

    • Carol, so glad you enjoyed it! Every one of these stories is only 500 words long–and it is amazing to see all the different “takes” on that same prompt. So what I included above is the entire story! But there are 51 others that you’ll want to read, and the money is going for a very good cause!

  5. Hi, Cheryl, love your blog and your upcoming book looks to be so interesting, too!!! It’s kind of neat to take off from two sentences. Takes lots and lots of imagination.

    • Thanks, Hebby! So glad to see you! It’s so much fun to do and it really lit a fire under me for my longer projects–one I had been struggling with. Letting our minds go in different directions (totally!) somehow injects us with a different kind of energy sometimes, and that’s what happened. I told Scott I was indebted to him for that, and I meant it. LOL Thanks for coming by, Hebby!

  6. What a fun idea. I am sure there is a wonderful variety of stories in this book. I love anthologies, but this will be even better. With my schedule, short and sweet (or not so sweet) is exactly what I need. I hope this book does well and I look forward to the next one. As for your short, you left us hanging. Not a bad thing. We can all write our own ending.
    Hope the weather hasn’t been too bad. It was in the 80’s on Friday and it is snowing and below freezing today. Crazy weather.

    • Hi Patricia! There are a lot of great stories here and it’s amazing how different people come up with ideas for stories based on the same prompt. Yes, these will be great for you with your busy schedule to just read a couple here and there when you need a little break.

      The weather here was in the mid-70s today and will be in the mid to high 80s tomorrow. We are so dry, though, and those wildfires are still burning out in the western part of the state. And…the wind will be really strong tomorrow. :((((

    • I was really happy Scott chose to do that, Denise. It’s so hard to try to strike out on your own and “make your mark” as a writer when you’re young, just starting out. Maybe this will ease the way for someone! (And we had so much fun doing this–all of us.)

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