IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW HOW TO CUT UP A CHICKEN

Our generation has lost so many important talents and skills. Technology makes it easier for us, but in some ways, it takes away our independence. Maybe that’s one reason we love to read (and write!) historical romance. We can go back in time vicariously without having to live through all the hardships and trials of everyday life, experiencing only the top layer of what must have been difficult, by our standards, every moment. 

Does anyone know how to cut up a chicken anymore? My mother did. I remember her getting out the wickedest looking knife I’d ever seen every Sunday and cutting up a chicken to fry. They had started to sell cut-up chickens in the store, but they were more expensive. Mom wouldn’t have dreamed of paying extra for that. By the time I began to cook for my family, I didn’t mind paying that extra money—I couldn’t bear to think of cutting a chicken up and then frying it. 

It’s all relative. My mom, born in 1922, grew up in a time when the chickens had to be beheaded, then plucked, then cut up—so skipping those first two steps seemed like a luxury, I’m sure. I wouldn’t know how to begin to cut up a chicken. I never learned how. 

Hog killing day was another festive occasion. Because my husband was raised on a farm, he and my mother had a lot of similar experiences to compare (this endeared him to her in later years.) Neighbors and family would gather early in the day. The hog would be butchered, and the rest of the day would be spent cutting and packing the meat. When my husband used to talk about the “wonderful sausage” his mother made, I was quite content to say, “Good for her. I’m glad you got to eat that when you were young.” (There’s no way I would ever make sausage.) 

Medical issues? I was the world’s most nervous mother when I had my daughter. But being the youngest in the family, I had a world of experience to draw on. I also had a telephone and I knew how to use it! I called my mom or one of my sisters about the smallest thing. I can’t imagine living in one of the historical scenarios that, as writers, we create with those issues. The uncertainty of having a sick child and being unable to do anything to help cure him/her would have made me lose it. I know this happened so often and was just accepted as part of life, but to me, that would have been the very worst part of living in a historical time. I had a great aunt who lost all three of her children within one week to the flu. She lost her mind and had to be institutionalized off and on the rest of her life. 

 My mother was the eldest of eleven children. She often said with great pride that her mother had had eleven children and none of them had died in childhood. I didn’t realize, when I was younger, how important and odd that really was for those times. My father’s mother had five children, two of whom died as children, and two more that almost died, my father being one of them. 

It was a case of my grandmother thinking he was with my granddad, and him thinking three-year-old Freddie was with her. By the time they realized he was missing, the worst had happened. He had wandered to the pond and fallen in. It was a cold early spring day. Granddad had planted the fields already, between the pond and the house. A little knit cap that belonged to little Freddie was the only evidence of where he’d gone. It was floating on top of the water. By some miracle, my granddad found him and pulled him up out of the water. He was not breathing. Granddad ran with him back to the house, jumping the rows of vegetables he’d planted. The doctor later told him that was probably what saved Dad’s life—a very crude form of CPR. 

Could you have survived in the old west? What do you think would have been your greatest worry? What would you hate to give up the most from our modern way of life? I’m curious to know, what skills or talents to you think we have lost generationally over the last 100 years? I’ve written two time travel stories where the heroine found herself living in the old west, 1800s Indian Territory. They both faced issues that were daunting, simply because of the time period…would they stay if given a choice, or go back to their present-day living? Does love REALLY ‘conquer all’?  In my time travel novel, TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, the heroine must go back in time, but in the sequel, I’m turning the tables. The hero of that book is going to go forward. Once he gets there, will he ever want to go BACK to his time?

 I’m not sure I would have lived very long, or very pleasantly. I know one thing—my family would never have eaten sausage, unless they had breakfast at the neighbor’s house.

Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from my time travel short story, MEANT TO BE, available in the 2011 Christmas Collection from Victory Tales Press.

BLURB:

Robin Mallory is facing another Christmas all alone when she decides to surprise her aunt and uncle several hours away. She becomes stranded near a desolate section of interstate. With a snowstorm on the way, Robin has no choice but to walk, looking for a house to provide shelter.

Jake Devlin is shocked when the “spy” he jumps turns out to be a girl. She’s dressed oddly, and talks like a Yank. Where did she come from, and what is he going to do with her?

The set up: Jake, a Confederate soldier, has been seriously wounded by a Cheyenne arrow as he tries to protect Robin from the attack. His only hope is for her to be able to go back through the “portal” in the woods to her old truck, parked along the interstate, and get the medicine from another time that he so badly needs. With Cheyenne in the woods along with a platoon of Yankee soldiers, what chance will she have of survival? Can she even find the rift in time again…twice?

EXCERPT:

Robin turned her back on the pickup and started down the gravel road. Doubt assailed her. Was she crazy to go back to a time she didn’t belong in?

But she did belong. She’d been…alive. More so in that time than here, in her own. And could she possibly hope for a future with Jake? It was too soon for commitments…but wasn’t she making the biggest one of all?

Her steps slowed. If she took the medicine back to him, what guarantee was there that, should she want to come back to her time, she’d be able? She may be stuck in Indian Territory of 1864 with no way back, ever.

She couldn’t let Jake die. How could she live with herself in either time if that happened?

What if she was misreading his intentions? He seemed—interested—in her. Her heart shrank at the thought of another rejection. She wouldn’t be able to handle that. But…that fear might also be keeping her from letting herself fall in love with the kindest, most decent man she’d ever met—in any time. Trusting was so hard.

Yet, he’d trusted her, hadn’t he, with much more to lose than she had. He could very well die if she didn’t take the antibiotics back to him.

And…another thought, too awful to bear, rose up, refusing to be ignored. What if he died in spite of the antibiotics? She might be trapped in a time that wasn’t hers, without the man she’d fallen in love with.

Oh, dear God. She stopped walking as the reality hit her full force. She was in love with Jake already. How could this have happened? The damn magical doorway through time had to have some other influence. There was no other explanation. But…it felt real. And if she lost Jake, the heartache would be very real, she already knew. She’d sworn, after her last romantic fiasco, that she wouldn’t jump into anything again. Yet, here she was, in love with Jake Devlin after only twenty-four hours. And worried sick. She began to run. What if she couldn’t get back through the portal? What if the medicine doesn’t work?

What if Jake doesn’t love me? Her mind seized on the question, mocking her, taunting her, throwing it back to her again and again.

He loves me, her heart answered, remembering the way he’d reached to pull the blanket over her, and the gentle touch of his hand on her cheek in the night when he thought she was asleep.

Remember, her heart reminded her, as she thought of the way he’d put himself between her and their attackers. He would have died for her. He still might.

She stopped running, trying to catch her breath. Her side hurt, and she noticed the sky seemed to be darkening more than normal, which probably meant they were in for more snow.

Nothing else had changed, though. Panic gripped her. The road remained graveled and wide, never narrowing in the least as it had before. The trees weren’t nearly as thick as they had been a scant half-hour earlier when she’d come this way.

With her heart pounding from fear as much as exertion, Robin looked behind her. She could still barely see the top of the rise that hid her truck. Maybe she hadn’t come quite far enough! She couldn’t remember. It had all been so gradual before. But now, everything looked the same, unchanged. She held her breath listening for the far-away sounds of the interstate traffic. She couldn’t hear anything, but maybe it was just because there weren’t many cars. It was Christmas Eve. Everyone would most likely be at their destinations by now, so late in the afternoon, the day before Christmas.

“Oh, please,” she whispered, starting down the road again. “Please.”

The wind whipped up, and the first flakes of snow began to fall. She was so close—so close to getting the medicine back to Jake—how could everything go so completely wrong? She fought back angry tears of frustration, her throat raw from the cold. It would never do for her to really get sick now—now that Jake was in such need of her medication.

She lifted her chin determinedly. She was going to get it to him. Somehow, someway. And she prayed it would be strong enough to heal him. Christmas was a time for miracles. She needed one right now. 

The 2011 Christmas Collection anthology containing MEANT TO BE, my novel TIME PLAINS DRIFTER,  and all my other work can be found here:  http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson  or at Barnes and Noble.

 

 

CELIA YEARY IS OUR GUEST TODAY!

Celia Yeary is with us today with a great post on dime novels. Celia is a dear friend of mine and an excellent writer, with a slew of wonderful books and short stories to her credit.  A fifth-generation Texan, she’s understandably proud of her heritage and most of her stories take place in her home state of Texas.  Now here’s Celia to give us a bit of insight into where western writing all began–the DIME NOVEL. (And y’all be sure and leave a comment with contact info, cause Celia plans to give away two of her “dime novels”!)

 

A “dime novel” was an inexpensive and generally sensational tale of adventure sold as popular entertainment in the 1800s. Dime novels can be considered the paperback books of their day, and they often featured tales of mountain men, explorers, soldiers, detectives, or Indian fighters. Despite their name, the dime novels generally cost less than ten cents, with many actually selling for a nickel. The most popular publisher was the firm of Beadle and Adams of New York City.

 

The heyday of the dime novel was from the 1860s to the 1890s, when their popularity was eclipsed by pulp magazines featuring similar tales of adventure. Later, comic books had a part in the trend.

 

Critics of dime novels often denounced them as immoral, perhaps because of violent content. But the books themselves actually tended to reinforce conventional values of the time, such as patriotism, bravery, self-reliance, and American nationalism.

 

Today, Western Historical novels and Western Historical Romance novels hold to the same standards: Truth, Justice, and The American Way.ie, treat women and children with respect, as well as your neighbor, protect the downtrodden, and carry out justice within the law…if at all possible.

 

Today, Western Historical Romance novels and true Westerns are published as Dime Novels at “Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery” through the imprint Western Trail Blazers. The Dime Novels are shorter stories, perhaps novellas, priced at 99Cents.

 

The idea intrigued me. Since I had nine full-length novels published traditionally, along with two novellas and three anthologies, I found myself writing 22,000 word stories with catchy titles. As of this moment, I have two as WTB Dime Novels:

http://westerntrailblazer.com/dime-novel-store.php

 

ANGEL AND THE COWBOY

http://www.amazon.com/Angel-and-the-Cowboy-ebook/dp/B0058VZTWU/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309546603&sr=1-11

 

He needs a wife…
Because the sheriff summons him, U.S. Marshal Max Garrison rides to town. He resents learning he must supervise a young man just out of prison who will work at his ranch for a time. But when he meets the beautiful young woman who owns the teashop, he knows his trip is not wasted. Max decides she’s the one for him.

She faces more loneliness …
Daniella Sommers lives alone above the book and teashop her English parents left her. When U.S. Marshal Max Garrison walks in and asks for tea, she almost laughs. Soon, her merriment turns to hope. Then Daniella learns a shocking truth about herself. If she reveals her past, will Max still love her?
Is it time for miracles and hope? 

*~*~*~*

ADDIE AND THE GUNSLINGER– 

http://www.amazon.com/Addie-and-the-Gunslinger-ebook/dp/B006LXB6GW/ref=sr_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324161074&sr=1-13

He’s not looking for anything except freedom.

Ex-gunslinger Jude Morgan lands in jail in a far-flung West Texas town. On the fourth day in his cell, the sheriff arrives with a beautiful woman dressed in men’s pants and toting her own six-shooter. Adriana Jones claims he is her worthless husband who married her but never came home.

She need a stand-in for a husband.

The young woman makes a bargain with Jude in front of the sheriff. Jude is to come home where he belongs, and she will have him released. When they’re alone, she explains his job is to pose as her husband to thwart the marriage advances of her neighbor, wealthy rancher Horace Caruthers. The older man wants her ranch to join his, because the Pecos River runs through her property.

To seal the bargain, Jude wants a kiss. During the next few weeks, however, Jude and Addie learn that the kiss meant more than they meant it to be. Then, Addie’s life is in danger.

Will Jude rescue his Addie? Or will Addie save herself and her gunslinger?

~*~*~*~

Future Dime Novel releases are:

Charlotte and the Tenderfoot

Kat and the US Marshal

 Thank you Petticoats! This site has been one of my Favorites since I found it two years ago. I appreciate the opportunity to post among so many successful authors.

Celia Yeary-Romance…and a little bit ‘o Texas 

You may find me here: 
http://www.celiayeary.blogspot.com
http://www.celiayeary.com

http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Celia-Yeary-Author/208687145867971              

Cheryl St.John: My Christmas Story and a Giveaway!

I just love writing novellas for the western Christmas anthologies and am always tickled when my editor invites me to participate. I’d wanted to do a train story for a long time, so when I got the call, I immediately started thinking about a train. Some stories are meant for novellas and others have enough plot for a full length book. A wise writer knows which is which. I often come up with a story idea and then tuck it away for the future, because the premise won’t sustain a full-length novel.

This time I didn’t go to those stored ideas, I sat down and brainstormed new characters. Characters always come first. Once they’re established, I know what they’ll do and how the plot will come together.

Jonah had a few other names in the process—names are a number one priority for my creative process. Without the perfect names I can’t move forward. I considered and dismissed Cole McAdam, Grady Neville, Ivan Kingsley and Jeremiah Thorpe among others. But Jonah Cavanaugh won out. He sounds like a duty-bound U.S. Marshal, doesn’t he? He’s inflexible, honorable, protective and always on the lookout for danger. With Jonah it’s all about duty.

Meredith was always Meredith. Her name came to me with the story premise, and she was the easiest to flesh out. Born into a well-to-do family with a railroad tycoon father, Meredith is living up to expectations. She doesn’t like to feel ordinary. Nothing is grand enough for her; she loves drama, and she has an adventurous spirit. She’s competent, bossy, headstrong and used to getting her own way. But while Meredith is fearless, she hides her lack of confidence regarding her true worth.

Now to get these two together.

Christmas = snow.

A few days before Christmas Jonah is protecting a gold shipment on a train pulling the Abbott’s luxury Pullman. When he spots a notorious bandit aboard, he knows there’s trouble coming, so he alerts the engineer and uncouples the last three cars, stranding the mail car, the luggage car—and the Pullman in a blizzard.

Little does he suspect the railroad heiress is traveling alone on her way to a Christmas Eve party in Denver, where her suitor will propose. Now, not only does he have a strongbox filled with gold to protect, but a pampered female—and before the day’s out—two stowaway orphans.

I had so much fun writing this story about the true meaning of Christmas and the promise of love that I believe it’s one of my favorites. If you’ve already read it, I hope you’ll leave me the gift of a comment or brief review on amazon.

If you leave an amazon review today CLICK HERE, send me a quick email: SaintJohn@aol.com and I’ll add your name to a drawing for this beautiful 50” single strand bead necklace! (The round disk beads are pale pink, which you can’t see well in my photo.)

If you haven’t read Snowflakes and Stetsons yet, here’s the link to order:

 

If you order today, let me know and I’ll add your name to the drawing.

Among my favorites by other authors are Mary Balough’s Christmas anthologies. Many readers tell me that the novellas are their favorite Christmas reads and they buy them all. Are you one of those readers?

THE TRADITIONAL WEST–AN ANTHOLOGY

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?

 EXCERPT FROM “THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS”:

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:

http://www.amazon.com/Traditional-Western-Fictioneers-Anthology-ebook/dp/B005E1JI8U/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1314121098&sr=1-1

TO ORDER OTHER BOOKS AND SHORT STORIES  BY CHERYL, CLICK  HERE: 

http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Pierson/e/B002JV8GUE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1314121244&sr=1-1

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.

ONE MAGIC NIGHT from A 2011 SUMMER COLLECTION

Have any of you ever incorporated your family history into your writing? Do you like to read books that are based, however loosely, on factual happenings?

My mom was the oldest of eleven children. She knew everyone in our family and how they were related. Because she and my dad grew up together in a tiny little town in southeast Oklahoma (their high school had a graduating class of twelve), she also knew quite a lot about his side of the family as well.

But when I was younger, I was not interested in the stories she told me.  It was only later, when I was grown and had children of my own, that I began to wonder and ask questions, and by that time, her memory had already begun to decline.

 If you have ever read the book, The Education of Little Tree, (by Forrest Carter) or seen the HBO movie, this story might sound familiar. When Andrew Jackson decided that the Indians were to be assimilated into the white man’s world, he put lots of plans into action that would take years to snowball and evolve into what they eventually became—a truly shameful period in the US governmental policies and procedures. One of Jackson’s plans, besides Removal, that was carried through into subsequent presidencies, was the idea of assimilating Native American children in white homes to integrate them more completely. The Native American children were taken from their villages and given to willing white families (along with a tidy little government stipend for their troubles) to raise.

 My great-great-great grandfather was one of these children.  We don’t know his real name. It was changed when he was delivered to his new “family”, a Presbyterian minister and his wife.  Their last name was Walls.  So his name was changed to Walls, and he was given the first name, David. Forbidden to speak his language, he was forced to forget all the ways of his People, and dress in white man’s clothing, go to white school.  But he was never going to be white, and his place in the world was divided so drastically that he could not fit in anywhere.  Eventually, the Rev. Walls sent David to medical school in Missouri.  When he returned to the small town where he’d been raised, he was a doctor who rode to his patients on horseback. Later, he married and had children, but it was not a happy union and his son, my great-great grandfather, became an alcoholic whose own children, in turn, left home as soon as they possibly could. My great grandmother, his daughter, married at 13.  Her older sister left home one day and never returned.  No one ever knew what became of her.

I’ve often thought of these children that were abducted by our cavalrymen, and taken away to their white “families”, forbidden everything familiar and forced to adopt everything new and different, even their speech and childhood games. Can you imagine it?  To never be allowed to see your mother and father again. Siblings separated and “given” to different families, their heritage and connection with one another lost forever.  How many tears must they have shed? And how lonely and separate they must have felt, how isolated,  even into adulthood…so that most of them, I imagine, never were able to fit in anywhere in the world.

 My story in the 2011 SUMMER COLLECTION, available through Victory Tales Press, is based loosely on what happened to my long-ago ancestor  

Dr. Shay Logan has just returned to Talihina, Indian Territory, from medical school in Missouri. Shay hopes to settle down and make a life for himself, but how?  He doesn’t belong to either world, Anglo or Indian He’s made the acquaintance of Katrina Whitworth at the July 4th town social, and the attraction is mutual from the very beginning. Shay begins to have hopes and dreams that may be out of the question…but Katrina seems to have stars in her eyes for him as well. Will she risk everything to be with him?   Katrina makes a social blunder, and Shay follows her into the woods to apologize to her, but when they return, Katrina’s drunken father humiliates her.  To make matters worse, her former beau shows a side of himself she had not seen before. Can Katrina and Shay have a life together that they so badly want? Here’s an excerpt for you.

FROM ONE MAGIC NIGHT:

As his hand started its descent, Katrina turned away.  But Shay’s arm shot out, grasping Whitworth’s hand and holding it immobile.

You will not.”

Three words, quietly spoken, but with a heat that could have melted iron, a force that could have toppled mountains.

Katrina’s father’s face contorted, his teeth bared, finally, as he tried to jerk away. He didn’t utter a word.  He stared up into Shay Logan’s eyes that promised retribution, as the seconds ticked by.  Finally, he lunged once more, trying to pull free, but Shay still held him locked in a grip of steel.  Only when he released that grip was Whitworth freed.

“You presume too much, Doctor Logan, unless you are assuming the care and responsibility of my daughter.”

“Papa! Oh, please!” Katrina felt herself dissolving into a puddle of less than nothing beneath stares of the townspeople of Talihina.  What had started as an exciting, beautiful evening had become an embarrassing nightmare.  It was torture to think that she was the cause of it all.  How she wished she had stayed home with Jeremy as she’d first planned, before Mrs. Howard had volunteered to keep him company.

Now, Papa was saying these things that she knew he would regret later.  It was always this way when he drank too much.  These accusations had gone beyond the pale of anything he’d ever said before.  But Shay Logan wouldn’t realize that.  He wouldn’t know that Papa would be sorry tomorrow.

Evidently, there was one thing Shay did recognize, though.  She saw the very slight flare of his nostrils as he drew in the scent of alcohol on her father’s breath, and in that instant, there was a flash of understanding in his eyes.

“You’ve had too much to drink, Mr. Whitworth,” he said in an even tone.  “I will overlook your behavior toward me because of that, but not toward your daughter.  She has done nothing, yet you would strike her, and cause her shame.”

“She’s my daughter,” Whitworth replied sullenly.

“But not your property, Whitworth.  Never that.  You owe her an apology.”

“No, Shay, really—” Katrina began, then as her father whirled to look at her, she broke off, realizing her mistake.  ‘Shay,’ she had called him.  As if she had known him forever.  As if she was entitled to use his given name freely.  As if she were his betrothed.

“‘Shay’ is it, daughter?  Not, ‘Dr. Logan’Shay.”  He spit the words out bitterly.  He drew himself up, looking Shay in the face.  “I’ll not be apologizing to her—or to you.  And I’ll expect nothing less than a wedding before this week’s end.  Do you understand me, Doctor?”

Shay had lost any patience he might have harbored.  “You understand me, Whitworth.  You will not dictate to me, or to your daughter on such matters of the heart.  As I say, the alcohol has got you saying things you’re going to regret, and—”

“Threatening me, are you?  Threatening me?”

“Truman.”  Jack Thompson stepped out of the crowd and smoothly came to stand beside Katrina.  “Let’s put this…unfortunate incident…behind us, shall we?”  He confidently tucked Katrina’s hand around his arm.  “I can see that the church auxiliary ladies have almost got everything set up for this wonderful Independence Day meal—” he frowned at Mrs. Beal, nodding at the picnic tables behind her.  She jumped, motioning the other ladies to resume the preparation.

He gave a sweeping glance around the group of onlookers.  “I, for one, am ready to eat! How about you all?”

Katrina was swept along at his side as he walked toward the tables, speaking to acquaintances and friends, laughing and…and seething with tense anger the entire time.  She could feel it in his body, with every step he took and the tightness of his grip as he covered her hand with his. Katrina glanced back over her shoulder, hoping to catch a glimpse of Shay, but the crowd blocked her view.

“Smile, my dear,” Jack gritted into her ear.  “I’m hoping we can still salvage your virtue, no matter what happened, really, between you and the good doctor.  If I see him near you again, I’ll kill him.”

BUY LINKS

Smashwords:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/66862

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/victorytalespress

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/VTPanthologies

 Lulu:

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/2011-summer-collection-anthology-sweetsensual/16048225

http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=55332464

Here’s the link at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00564A820

 I WILL BE GIVING AWAY COPIES OF A 2011 SUMMER COLLECTION TO TWO LUCKY COMMENTERS! JUST LEAVE ME A COMMENT WITH YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS AND I WILL DRAW WINNERS SOMETIME AFTER 8:00 TONIGHT!

BLOG—EVERY GIRL’S DREAM from A WESTERN SAGA

Do you believe in love at first sight?  Can it happen?  More importantly, can it last over the long haul of the ups and downs of a relationship?

Throw in a few obstacles from the very first meeting of the hero/heroine, and the relationship becomes even more intriguing.

In my novella, EVERY GIRL’S DREAM, the opening story from A WESTERN SAGA (Victory Tales Press), that’s just what happens.

Sheena McTavish, a young Irish girl, has been raped by the son of her father’s employer. Now, with a baby on the way, Sheena is given an unthinkable choice:  give her baby to the father’s wealthy family to raise, or travel to New Mexico Territory by stagecoach to live with her aunt and uncle until her child is born.  At that point, she will have to place it in a nearby orphanage.

Desperate to buy some time and protect her baby from its father, she chooses to travel west.  Alone and afraid, she starts on the journey that will change her life forever.  Before Sheena’s stage leaves, she meets handsome Army scout Callen Chandler.  The attraction is there, even under difficult conditions.

As the story progresses, Sheena must learn to trust again, and Cal begins to realize he doesn’t have to live the solitary existence he’s endured up to now.  Being half Comanche has left him with no place in either world—white or Indian.  When Sheena comes along, everything changes…for both of them.

 I WILL BE GIVING AWAY PDF COPIES OF A WESTERN SAGA TO TWO LUCKY COMMENTERS TODAY!  BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT!

There are three other wonderful stories in this anthology besides EVERY GIRL’S DREAM.   They are ALONG CAME WILL by my good friend CELIA YEARY, STORM RIDERS by my pal KAREN M. NUTT, and SAFE HANDS by my long time friend CINDY CARRIER.  These are all wonderful stories, packed with plenty of emotion and lots of action.  To see all of the other wonderful anthologies available from VICTORY TALES PRESS, click here:

http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php

At Amazon/Kindle: 
http://www.amazon.com/Western-Saga-Anthology-Sensual-ebook/dp/B0051BIBWC/

Also, check out their exciting imprint of all WESTERN books and short stories at WESTERN TRAIL BLAZERS:

http://westerntrailblazer.yolasite.com/online-store.php

I’ll leave you with an excerpt of EVERY GIRL’S DREAM

Cal is a half-breed U.S. Army scout, who has just rescued Sheena, the heroine, from a Kiowa attack on the stagecoach she was in. They had met briefly the morning before, and as luck would have it, Cal comes upon the stage after the Kiowas have attacked and are getting ready to ride away with Sheena. He tells them he and Sheena are married and the Kiowas reluctantly let him take Sheena, but then…

Cal felt…something.  His back tingled as he waited for the stinging burn of a shale arrowhead.  He risked a glance backward, and saw the Kiowa leader’s stare heavy upon him.

“Sheena, hold on tight.”

“The baby—”

“I know, sweetheart.  We won’t ride hard any longer’n we have to.   Lowell’s Ridge is  only about four miles away.” A very long four miles.

She nodded in understanding.  “I’m sorry, Callen.”

“No call for that.”

“You came for me.”

He smiled at that.  There was a small amount of disbelief in her tone, overshadowed by a huge amount of wonder.  Who wouldn’t come for her?

“You could be killed because of me,” she said softly, as if she had only just realized it.  She laid her hand over his, and in that moment, he wondered if dying for her would be worth the twenty-seven years he’d lived so far.

His heart jumped at her touch, then steadied.  But as he risked another glance back, he saw exactly what he’d feared.  Two of the braves were mounting up, and they weren’t riding the opposite way.  “That still might happen,” he murmured.

He leaned forward, trying to protect Sheena with his body as he slapped the reins against the horse’s side, urging him into a lope, then a full-out run.

The Kiowas were close behind them.  There must have been dissension among them. The leader had seemed content to let him take Sheena and ride away.  One of the others must have disagreed with that decision.

Cal reached to pull his revolver from his holster.

They were strangely quiet, he thought. 

The first bullet cracked from behind them, and Cal reflexively bent lower.  The bullet whined past his ear like an angry bee.

Sheena gasped.  He fired off a shot and got lucky.  One of the warriors screamed in agony and fell from his saddle.  But the other rode low, hanging onto the side of his mount. And he kept right on coming.

The next bullet sang over Cal’s head.  He concentrated on eating up the miles to Lowell’s Ridge.  Riding double was slowing them down considerably.  Sheena’s body was tense beneath the shelter of his own.  Fragile, but strong.  Delicate, but determined.  His hand splayed over her stomach, holding her close, cradling her from the jarring of their wild ride.

A whoop from behind them accompanied the crack of a rifle, and this time, the Kiowa warrior’s bullet found its mark.  A bolt of fire seared through Cal’s right shoulder, and for a minute, the pain was so strong he almost sawed back on the reins. But at his harsh curse, Sheena glanced up at him, her hand instantly clamping tightly over his. The reins were still wrapped in his fingers, but Sheena kept her hand on his, reminding him to let the horse have his head and continue their flight for freedom.

“Hang on, Cal!”

The pain was so breathtaking he could do nothing but nod his understanding.

“Dammit!” she cursed.  That almost made him smile, but the agony in his shoulder surged up and stole his breath again as the horse’s hooves pounded the ground below.

The road was not much more than a trail, and where it narrowed, branches reached out to scrape and snarl in hair and clothing, scratching their faces as they blindly rode toward safety.

As they broke through the brambles and low limbs into the clearing on the other side of the wooded section of road, Cal glimpsed the steeple of the church, then in a moment, the rooftops of houses.

He glanced behind him to see the Kiowa had stopped.  He was taking careful, deadly aim with the Winchester he held. “Christ,” Cal muttered.  “Keep down, Sheena.”

 

 

 

HOWDY FROM A NEW FILLY

Hi everyone!  I’m Cheryl Pierson (Cheryl #2 here at P&P)!  This is my first “official” post as a new filly, and I’m very excited to be here at Petticoats & Pistols in such great company!  I’ve done a couple of guest posts in the past, and from the moment I began to get to know my “fellow fillies,” I knew I wanted to be here amongst ya!

I won’t bore you with too many details–just want to tell you a little about me and I’d love to hear about you all, too.  I was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, in 1957.  I had two “way older” sisters (10 and 12 when I came along) and I was a Tomboy–with a capital “T” for sure!  Although I loved Barbie, I’d much rather have been playing cowboys and Indians–probably why I chose to write western historicals.

I finally got to go to a rodeo when I was about 9 with my cousin, and Larry Mahan was there!  I was in love.  After that, I wanted to be a barrel racer, thinking that would be a great way to get those handsome cowboys to notice me when I was older…of course, that was a huge pipe dream since my family was NOT into rodeoing at all.  But my first “serious” little story I wrote in elementary school had a guy in it named “Larry” and girl named “Cherry” (original, huh?)

My dad was an oilfield hand–a chemical engineer, on call 24/7 for as long as I can remember.  Mom was the “June Cleaver” type, and both of them were appalled when I told them I wanted to write books for a living.  As they predicted, that dream had to be placed on hold for many years–enough time for me to marry and raise my two kids–with a myriad of “real jobs” (as others called them) in between.

But I was writing all the time, every spare minute I got.  I started out with an idea for a western romance, and the more I wrote, the bigger the story became, until I had a 1000 page manuscript!  Of course, it’s still unsold (go figure!) but it’s the book of my heart–and I know each of you has written a book that holds that special place in your heart, as well.  That was what I needed to “get me going.”  Ideas flowed, and so did the words.

Although that first “tome” is still as yet unpublished, the third book I wrote, FIRE EYES, was published in May 2009, and went on to become an EPIC Award finalist.  The Wild Rose Press also published two of my western short stories, and my first contemporary romantic suspense, SWEET DANGER, will be released on October 1.

The fourth book I wrote, TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, was published through another smaller press.  After a few short months, we parted ways, and TIME PLAINS DRIFTER is homeless again. My daughter designed my cover for this book so it’s very special to me.  It also garnered me the award of Honorable Mention for Best New Paranormal Author in PNR’s PEARL Awards this year.

Right now, I am waiting (on pins and needles) to hear back from Berkley about one of my manuscripts that’s under consideration with them.  GABRIEL’S LAW was the third place recipient in this year’s historical category in the San Antonio Romance Authors’ Merritt Contest.  The judge for that final round asked for the full manuscript. It’s been thirty-five days, six hours and fourteen minutes…but who’s counting?

I live in Oklahoma City with my “transplanted” (from West Virginia) husband, Gary, who plans to make good on his threat to retire this fall.  My daughter, Jessica, is 23 and works at an actors’ casting agency here.  My son, Casey, is 20 and a physics major in college (and believe me, those math and science genes did not come from me!)  Along with my business partner, I teach writing classes for all ages, and have done lots of work with the Indian Education Program for one of the major school systems here in OK City.  And I’m FINALLY getting to actually write! 

Thank you all so much for your warm welcome and your generous friendships.  I am thrilled to be here–a “regular filly!”

I’ll leave you with an excerpt from one of my short stories,  A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES. 

When a wounded drifter and three children appear at her doorstep, widow Angela Bentley can’t turn them away.  Nick Dalton has a dangerous reputation, but is it truly deserved, or is it just talk?  Will love find two lonely people on this, A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES?

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, she found 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.”

http://www.cherylpierson.com