Whether in a parade, a show ring or a Western movie, the palomino horse is a superstar. With its golden coat and creamy white mane and tail, palominos possess a near-magical beauty, all the more magical because the way it comes about is a genetic toss of the coin—a lucky accident.
The palomino isn’t a breed, it’s a color—a color as rare and precious as gold itself. The true palomino color is caused by a single color-diluting gene, usually working on a chestnut (red) coat. But the gene is rare and elusive. Even two palomino parents may not produce golden foals.
The color-diluting gene works on other colors, too. For example, on a bay coat, the gene will produce a buckskin, with a golden body but a black mane and tail. A double gene will produce a very pale horse, not a palomino at all.
I’ve simplified the explanation here. The reality is so complicated that breeding palomino horses is like throwing dice in Las Vegas. If some breeder ever finds a golden stallion that will always sire golden colts, then the palomino will become a breed instead of a color. Meanwhile, breeders wait with high hopes for foals to be born. Only about half of the expected palominos will turn out to be the real thing.
Palominos may appear by surprise among breeds like American Saddle Horses, Tennessee Walkers and Quarter horses. This accounts for the fact that palominos have been around for hundreds of years, long before the gene was known. They came to America by way of Spain (as did the ancestors of our wild horses).
A California rancher named Don Esteban is credited with owning the first known palomino in America. In 1800, as the story goes, he offered a reward for the most beautiful horse in the country. His peons looked at horses, but the ones they saw were covered with dust and mud. A little Indian boy saw a glint of gold. He captured the colt, washed it clean and presented it to Don Esteban for the reward. In the Mexican version of the story, Indians stole a pure white stallion and a buckskin mare from a hacienda. A year later the mare escaped and returned to her owner with a little golden filly.
Whatever the real story, palominos continue to be show-stoppers, and their golden color is a true treasure.
The hero in my January Desire does ride a palomino—but I really wanted an excuse to show you my new cover, which I love. The book isn’t available yet but can be pre-ordered on Amazon.
As a child, I remember how my mom used to shake her head every year as the stores put their Christmas decorations out earlier and earlier, each trying to get the jump on the others. If she were here today, she and I would both be shaking our heads together. Last week, I went into Wal Mart and noted that they had nearly completed their Christmas decorations in the lawn and garden center. Christmas trees were lighted and fully decorated. A mechanical Santa waved and said, “HO HO HO.”
That very day, when I came home, I had a notice from Amazon in my inbox with my short story, WHITE CHRISTMAS at the top of it along with many other Christmas short stories by other authors. It declared that Christmas was almost here and this would be a great time to pick up some holiday reading. My sales for that story rose overnight. I e-mailed my publisher and asked if we might hurry up the release of two more .99 Christmas stories that were nearly ready to go, and yes, I was shaking my head.
Christmas has always been a miraculous time for me. It still is. When I was younger, it was because of the presents, and the anticipation that came with the season. My parents were not wealthy, but we had the necessities and a few of the luxuries. My mom was a great manager. She could make the smallest thing seem of the greatest value. She could transform our house into a marvelous Christmas haven with her decorations, wonderful cooking and a few well-wrapped packages. When I became an adult, the torch was passed, but the anticipation merely shifted. The excitement I felt was not for myself, but for my children–the joy I could bring to them.
Once I had written A Night for Miracles, I began to think about my heroine, Angela Bentley, and how I might have reacted had I been in her place. I would like to think that I would have done what she did–transformed her small cabin into a memorable Christmas castle that none of the children would ever forget, simply through a good meal, a warm fire, and a gift. But it was all of these things that made Angela’s “gift” — the gift of her heart — special. She put herself out on a limb, having been emotionally wounded before.
I thought about the old legend–that Christmas Eve is a “night for miracles” to happen. Angela was not a rich person by any means, but she gave what she had, freely. She took in the stranger and the three children from the cold, gave them warm beds and fed them. But then she went even further. She gave her heart to them, although it was a huge risk. She comes through with physical gifts, but the true giving was in her spirit. And that leads to a miracle.
A Night For Miracles is one of those short stories that I didn’t want to end. I love a happy ending, and this is one of the happiest of all, for everyone in the story. This story was previously released with another publisher a few years back, but I have to say, I love it in its newly-edited format and the cover by Karen M. Nutt is just gorgeous. I WILL BE GIVING AWAY TWO COPIES OF A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES TODAY! Just leave a comment about one of your own very special Christmases.
Blurb for A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES by CHERYL PIERSON
Legend says that miracles happen on Christmas Eve. Can a chance encounter between a gunfighter and a lonely widow herald a new beginning for them both? On this special night, they take a gamble that anything is possible–if they only believe! Available now with WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER PUBLISHING!
EXCERPT FROM A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES:
Angela placed the whiskey-damp cloth against the jagged wound. The man flinched, but held himself hard against the pain. Finally, he opened his eyes. She looked into his sun-bronzed face, his deep blue gaze burning with a startling, compelling intensity as he watched her. He moistened his lips, reminding Angela that she should give him a drink. She laid the cloth in a bowl and turned to pour the water into the cup she’d brought.
He spoke first. “What…what’s your name?” His voice was raspy with pain, but held an underlying tone of gentleness. As if he were apologizing for putting her to this trouble, she thought. The sound of it comforted her. She didn’t know why, and she didn’t want to think about it. He’d be leaving soon.
“Angela.” She lifted his head and gently pressed the metal cup to his lips. “Angela Bentley.”
He took two deep swallows of the water. “Angel,” he said, as she drew the cup away and set it on the nightstand. “It fits.”
She looked down, unsure of the compliment and suddenly nervous. She walked to the low oak chest to retrieve the bandaging and dishpan. “And you are…”
“Nick Dalton, ma’am.” His eyes slid shut as she whirled to face him. A cynical smile touched his lips. “I see…you’ve heard of me.”
A killer. A gunfighter. A ruthless mercenary.What was he doing with these children? She’d heard of him, all right, bits and pieces, whispers at the “back fence.” Gossip, mainly. And the stories consisted of such variation there was no telling what was true and what wasn’t.
She’d heard. She just hadn’t expected him to be so handsome. Hadn’t expected to see kindness in his eyes. Hadn’t expected to have him show up on her doorstep carrying a piece of lead in him, and with three children in tow. She forced herself to respond through stiff lips. “Heard of you? Who hasn’t?”
He met her challenging stare. “I mean you no harm.”
She remained silent, and he closed his eyes once more. His hands rested on the edge of the sheet, and Angela noticed the traces of blood on his left thumb and index finger. He’d tried to stem the blood flow from his right side as he rode. “I’m only human, it seems, after all,” he muttered huskily. “Not a legend tonight. Just a man.”
He was too badly injured to be a threat, and somehow, looking into his face, shefound herself trusting him despite his fearsome reputation. She kept her expression blank and approached the bed with the dishpan and the bandaging tucked beneath her arm. She fought off the wave of compassion that threatened to engulf her. It was too dangerous. When she spoke, her tone was curt. “A soldier of fortune, from what I hear.”
He gave a faint smile. “Things aren’t always what they seem, Miss Bentley.”
A Night For Miracles is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other fine e-book retail outlets for only .99!
Howdy! Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented yeseterday. You turned my first official blog as a filly into a fabulous experience! We have a winner of my 5 Charity House books. Liz Riggs, please email me at email@example.com and I’ll get the whole bunch in the mail. More to come…
Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented writers here at Wildflower Junction. To purchase any of these fine books, just click on the book covers. And to learn more about the authors, click on thier names.
Cowboy entrepreneur Jackson Worth wakes up next to trouble…literally. His new business partner, boot boutique owner Sammie Gold, should have been off-limits, but something about her sweet vulnerability has gotten under his skin. Working with her is torture, as are the memories of what happened in Vegas….
A one-night stand with the cowboy? What on earth was Sammie thinking? Jackson Worth is drop-dead gorgeous and completely out of her league.
But if Sammie wants her happily-ever-after, she’ll have to shed her girl-next-door image to seduce the confirmed bachelor once and for all!
Two broken hearts find a second chance at love, but only if they manage to survive– When Kendi Morgan witnesses an attempted murder near her home one night, she makes the only choice possible: help the victim. But bringing the handsome stranger into her home traps her in the middle of a deadly drug war.
Wounded DEA agent Jackson Taylor is a man with nothing to lose and nothing to fear–until he falls for a beautiful woman who risked everything to save his life. With his sting operation gone awry,Jackson realizes he is all that stands between Kendi and a powerful drug lord seeking revenge. Can their newfound love survive? Or willJackson sacrifice his partner’s life and his own in exchange for Kendi’s safety and their future together?
SIX GUNS AND SLAY BELLS: A CREEPY COWBOY CHRISTMAS Multi-author Anthology
This Western Fictioneers Christmas anthology is a new take on the old west, filled with Christmas stories that entertain you with a paranormal twist. This multi-authored collection includes short stories by some of the finest writers in the genre, and gives you something different in the way of holiday stories, while keeping to the ‘old west’ theme.
Arthur and Guinevere have reappeared during the 1880’s to the western frontier. Under an Apache attack, Arthur and the other stagecoach occupants are forced to take shelter at a nearby stage station where he discovers Guinever living her new life as the wife of the station proprietor. As the Apaches attack once more, Arthur recognizes their leader as none other than Lancelot du Lac. He knows that Guinevere has recognized him, as well. They’ve each lived a thousand lives since that last fateful day they spent together, when Lance rescued Ginny and fought with Arthur, but has their dream of Camelot faded completely? One of the occupants of the stagecoach, a young boy, touches the forgotten vision within Arthur, centuries after Camelot’s loss. The prophecy says Arthur will return when the world needs him most–but why are Lance and Ginny here? And can the steadfast belief of one homeless boy rekindle the glorious hope of the greatest legend of all time?
Today, I’m proud to introduce five wonderful western writers who I was privileged to work with on a “new concept” western, the kick-off novel of the Western Fictioneers’ Wolf Creek series.
Western Fictioneers is producing a new series of western novels, under the umbrella title Wolf Creek. The series gets its name from its setting, the fictional 1870s town of Wolf Creek, Kansas. The first installment, Bloody Trail, was released on September 1, with a new volume to follow every three or four months. Under the house pen name Ford Fargo, the six authors who collaborated on the first book of the series, Bloody Trail, are Clay More, James Griffin, L.J. Martin, Troy Smith, James Reasoner, and me, Cheryl Pierson. I can truly say, this has been one of the best projects I’ve ever worked on. I couldn’t have asked for more talented co-authors and genuinely nice people to have been a part of this group for book 1 of the Wolf Creek series. And a big thanks to Troy Smith for coming up with this idea and keeping a guiding hand on things to see it through to a fantastic finish!
Bill Torrance, Spike Sweeney, Derrick McCain, Charley Blackfeather, G.W. Satterlee, and Logan Munro are common citizens, until the day their small town of Wolf Creek, Kansas, comes under a methodically cruel siege. Led by one of the most brutal men of the post Civil War years, Jim Danby, the outlaw gang that invades Wolf Creek figures they got away clean with murder and bank robbery. But the dwellers of Wolf Creek have secrets of their own, and the posse that goes after Danby and his men are anything but the ordinary people they seemed to be before the attack. They’ll go to any lengths to keep their town safe, no matter how long they have to follow the BLOODY TRAIL.
I asked three questions of each of the authors about their character, collaboration, and what’s to come in future editions of the Wolf Creek series. For the sake of space, I’ll post the questions once here at the beginning and number the answers to correlate.
1. Wolf Creek is a town filled with secrets, and people “with a past.” Tell us a little about
your character without giving away all his secrets. What kind of man is he and how does he change in this story?
2. The idea of a collaboration with other authors is sometimes daunting. What did you enjoy most about working with your co-authors under the pen name “FORD FARGO”?
3. Are there any plans for your character to reappear in a future edition of the Wolf Creek stories? If so, what edition will it be?
Let’s start with Clay More’s answers, since his character kicks the story off.
CLAY MORE—Dr. Logan Munro
1. Logan Munro is a Scottish doctor, as am I. Shortly after graduating from Edinburgh University he served with the British Army Hospital in Scutari in Constantinople during the Crimean War. In 1856, at the end of the war he had the opportunity to go to India. While there he married Helen, a young governess. A year later The Indian Mutiny took place and he was involved in the siege. Sadly, Helen died from malaria. Disillusioned with life, and bereft at losing Helen, Logan sailed for America. Along came the Civil War, during which he served as a surgeon in the Union Army. When the guns ceased and the smoke cleared he settled down in Wolf Creek. He has seen a lot of action in the three wars he served in and he has honed his surgical skills on the battlefields. He is tired of all the killing and he just wants to settle down as a family doctor in a sleepy town.
I don’t think that Logan has really changed in the course of the story. Like all of the decent citizens of Wolf Creek he is sickened by the attack by the Danby gang. When a posse is formed he insists on
going, since he feels that he may be needed. His training and his experience mean that he keeps a cool head when he is under pressure.
2. This was indeed a very daunting prospect, since I was working with top names in the western genre, five writers whose prose and imagination I greatly admired. When Troy gave me the task of opening the story I was naturally anxious in case I failed to engage the reader in those first two chapters, which would result in the whole project collapsing. Troy had worked out an outline for us all to work to and everyone had the opportunity to chip in until we had the plot mapped out. Then each writer told the story through the viewpoint of their character. I think Troy was inspired to come up with the whole concept. We wrote the book sequentially, so I had to write mine quickly and hand it on to Jim Griffin, who then wrote his story and handed it on to Troy. Then Larry took up the reins and handed it on to James. And of course, Cheryl had to finish it off, which she did beautifully.
It was a lot of fun, but each writer had his or her own pressure to keep the story moving. I really enjoyed working with all of the writers and seeing just how the story panned out. I feel privileged to have been involved in the first collaborative novel. Also, I have to say that Troy, who ramrodded the whole thing, did a fantastic job in taking the whole manuscript and blending it seamlessly together. I think the result is a book that has turned out to be greater than the sum of its parts.
3. Yes, I am happy to say that Logan returns in Book 4 – The Taylor County War. In fact, I am working on it right now.
LARRY MARTIN—Angus “Spike” Sweeney
Angus “Spike” Sweeney is the town blacksmith.
He wears a butternut wool Confederate Kepi with a Davis Guard Medal pinned above the eye shade and invites comments, which might just be met with an iron bender’s grip on the throat and a pounding left to the proboscis. Considered a hero of the Davis Guards and the defense of Sabine Pass. He is usually unarmed, but is deadly within twenty feet with his hammer, and can split hairs at fifteen with his hatchet or Arkansas toothpick. A decent and deliberate shot with both a sidearm and long gun.
Spike was born in New Orleans and was a sailor (both in trading vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Mississippi) and on-board smithy, where he acquired some skill as a gunsmith as well. He keeps a garden in the rear of the shop with both vegetables and flowers, and is teased about the flowers. He is bashful around women and wouldn’t swear in front of one if a beer wagon ran over his moccasin clad foot, but is on the prod for a woman who can put up with his (in his eyes) questionable looks, and long hours in front of a hot forge.
Spike’s silent partner at the forge is Emory Charleston, an ex-slave -the two men make an incongruous, but mutually loyal, pair. Em’s biggest complaint about Spike is the Confederate cap he insists on wearing.
JIM GRIFFIN—Bill Torrance
1. My character is Bill Torrance, the owner of the Wolf Creek Livery stable. He’s a man who seems to care only for horses, and little else. He’s never even been known to carry a gun. In modern-day terms, he’d be considered a “wimp”. However, Bill Torrance is not his real name, and his background is far from the picture he presents to the citizens of Wolf Creek. This becomes clear when the town is attacked by the Danby gang.
2. First, it was an honor to be asked to participate in this project, with authors far more well-known than I, all of whom I admire. What I found most amazing and enjoyable was the complete cooperation among all the authors, and the complete lack of egos. Everyone was willing to bend to let the storyline mesh together cleanly. All of the authors were allowed to use the other authors’ characters in their chapters, as long as they didn’t change the character “owner’s” concept of his or her character. By everyone working together and setting aside our natural instincts to not want anyone else using “our” characters, we were able to avoid transition and storyline problems.
3. Yes, Bill Torrance, now using his real name, will be appearing in a future Wolf Creek book. I believe Volume 6. In that book, we’ll learn more about him, plus he’ll be interacting with Edith Pettigrew, widow of one of the founders of Wolf Creek. Bill had a confrontation with her in Bloody Trail, so when
they meet again the sparks will once more be flying.
TROY SMITH—Charley Blackfeather
1. Charley Blackfeather’s father was an escaped slave, and his mother was Seminole –he was raised as a member of that tribe, and as a very young man fought against the U.S. military in the Seminole Wars. Later, during the Civil War, he served in the same blue uniform he had once fought against… now (1871) he serves as a cavalry scout, making use of his vast knowledge of Kansas and Indian Territory.
Charley is an adept tracker and hunter. He bears a lot of pain from the losses he has suffered in the various wars, but carries it stoically. He can be pretty intimidating if you don’t know him well –but if he is comfortable with you he can display a wry sense of humor. In the course of our first episode, Charley is visited by ghosts from his past that re-awaken his grief and rage. He also begins to develop new friendships, with people he would not have expected he would ever trust.
2. As editor of the series, I admit I did have some trepidation about trying to coordinate this kind of complex project, and about dealing with so many different authors. I feared it would end up being an exercise in herding cats, and that I would have a lot of stubborn, narcissistic, recalcitrant people to deal with (in other words, writers.) But I was pleasantly surprised. This book, and the ones that are set to come after, were joys to work on. Everyone cooperated wonderfully-it really did feel like a team from the outset. And the rich, vibrant characters everyone created came alive immediately.
3. Well, that’s kind of a trick question in my case. As editor, I will be writing a section in every book, to help pull the various other parts together. I have two characters –one for stories that take place mostly in town (Marshal Sam Gardner) and one for stories that take place largely outside of town
JAMES REASONER—Sheriff G.W. Satterlee
1. My character, Sheriff G.W. Satterlee, is a former buffalo hunter and army scout who drifted into packing a badge, and in the process he discovered that he’s an instinctive politician who enjoys the power of his position. He’s not the morally upright lawman hero so often found in Western fiction, but neither is he the corrupt official out to line his own pockets. Rather, he’s somewhere in between . . . which means that he’s capable of either inspiring us or disappointing us, depending on the situation in which he finds himself and his reaction to it. In BLOODY TRAIL, he discovers that maybe he has a little more of a conscience than he thought he did. As with most things about G.W. Satterlee, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, we just don’t know yet .. . and probably neither does he.
2. I really got a kick out of the passion and enthusiasm the other authors brought to the project. Everyone tried to make this the very best novel it could be.
3. Since G.W. Satterlee is the county sheriff, headquartered in Wolf Creek, he’s bound to make plenty of return appearances, ranging from brief cameos to leading roles in some books. I believe he’s supposed to be featured again in the fourth book in the series.
1. I have two characters in this story, Derrick McCain, who has come back to Wolf Creek after many years of “drifting” after the war. He’s uneasy with himself and his past–he did some things that he regrets both during and after the war. But he has a personal stake in joining the posse to go after the gang that attacked Wolf Creek…he’s seeking revenge of his own. My other character is Carson Ridge, a member of the Cherokee Lighthorse law enforcement. He makes a brief appearance but will be back in future editions of Wolf Creek.
2. I truly loved working on this project. Getting to read the other parts first really helped me in my decision as to how to end it properly, since I wrote the last two chapters. It was important to “get it right” because the ending has to leave the reader wanting more. But every chapter built on the one that came before it, and Clay, Jim, Troy, Larry and James really made my job a lot easier than it might have been otherwise. This was Troy’s idea, and he has been organized and kept the ball rolling all along. So for me, the entire experience was really a good one–and nothing like I’d ever done before.
3. Derrick McCain will appear in book 5, Showdown at Demon’s Drop. I also have a couple of short stories planned for his character in future anthologies. Carson Ridge may also appear in book 5–I’m not certain yet, but I know he will turn up again in the future somewhere!
Thanks to all my co-authors today for joining me here at Petticoats and Pistols. We’ve enjoyed being here today to talk about this very different western, and we welcome any questions and comments!
We will be giving away a print copy of WOLF CREEK: BOOK 1 BLOODY TRAIL to one lucky commenter. If you just can’t wait to see if you won it, here’s the link to the page at Amazon!
Sometimes it happens that I picked out two names at the same time, instead of one. Well, it happened tonight. So we have two winners, who are: Maria D. and Vickie Batton.
Maria and Vickie, please email me privately at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net — we’ll see what books of mine you have and what you don’t have and we’ll go from there. Congratulations and my hardy thanks to all who came to the blog today and left a message. It was a fun post for me today! You made it fun!
Did you know that the longest continually running county fair began in Watertown in New York’s Jefferson County and has been ongoing for 193 years! Watertown is also known as the birthplace of the Five and Dime and the safety pin of all things. What was once a way to bring the community together with livestock and horse races, for farmers to share ideas and see who had grown the best fruit, who baked the best pies, the county fairs of modern day has all those things along with so much more.
Our local county fair runs for the entire month of September and brings in hundreds of thousands of people from all over the state. The LA County Fair has a list of attractions such as Carnival Rides, Midway Games, Zipline, Kiddie Zone, Wild West show, Rawhide Dude Ranch and Farm Animals. As an parent, spending the day at the fair meant lots and lots of walking, trying to find shade, since it was usually the hottest part of the summer, consuming snow cones to keep cool and trying to keep track of my very excited children. It was crowds and heat and junk food eating. It was a farm animal petting zoo and horse races and cowboys strutting their stuff.
As a child, I was most excited about the midway games. I especially loved ski ball games. And shooting waterguns at a target to fill a balloon, with my seated opponents ready to outshoot me. I remember riding on a carousel and eating yummy funnel cakes. I remember walking grounds and seeing beautiful garden exhibits, listening to country music all day long and at night watching concerts under the stars. I’ve seen Travis Tritt and Sonny and Cher perform live! I have missed out on some really big name artists though. Toby Keith and Martina McBride recently performed in fairs close by. I’ll have to catch them next time. Ugh, they are two of my favorites and I’m sorry I missed seeing them! But I’ll always have great memories of spending the day with my family, eating hot dogs on a stick, the party-like atmosphere and festivities.
Tell me about your county fair experiences. Did you ever go? If not, what do you think you’d enjoy the most of the activities listed? One commenter will win a Two-in-One book from my Desire backlist.
Stop by my website at www.charlenesands.com or if you’d like a free magnet or pen send a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope to: