About Once Upon a Word: We're a large group of multi-talented authors working together, to bring you the best romances.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Writing outside your comfort zone by Gerald Costlow

Writing outside of your comfort zone.

I have a passion for writing.  Every writer I know has a passion for writing, or we wouldn’t be driven to doing such a crazy thing.  And most writers I know have one particular type of story they’re interested in writing.  I’m no different.  I love sword-and-sorcery type fantasy and my imagination is filled with dragons and elves and witches and above all, magic.  That’s my comfort zone.  My first published novel, The Weaving, was a straight-up witches and demons and wizards and kings battling type of thing.

But that’s not all I’m interested in.  I like the thrill of stepping out of my comfort zone once in a while.  I love trying out new styles and genres.  After all, a story is about the people, not the setting.  My writing is character driven, so once I develop the characters and drop them into a setting they always come alive and adapt. 

 Lately, certain Western imprints have caught my eye and I got the crazy idea to write a story set in the old West.  I’ve never written a Western before.  I suppose I didn’t think I knew enough about life on the frontier.  For example: where, exactly, do I set my story?  The “wild west” covered about a third of the country at various times.  Texas and Nebraska were both the frontier but were as different then as now.  I do not and have never lived west of Ohio except for a few miserable weeks of Air Force basic training in San Antonio one summer.  The cows I grew up with on the farm were milked, not wrangled.  What do I know about daily life on a ranch?

Then my writer side stepped up and slapped me for being so dense.  I’ve never lived in a castle or worn a sword, either, but that didn’t stop me from writing a story that took place in a castle.  I didn’t grow up in the West, but I knew the cowboy myth as well as any child who grew up in the golden age of Westerns.  I spent many hours immersed in Bonanza and Cheyenne and a dozen more series on our television, not to mention the movies.

So the child in me woke up, strapped on the six-shooters and headed out West.  The result is this, my first but certainly not last Western Romance.  I sent it in to Rebecca Vickery and Becca liked it well enough to publish.  So along with my Appalachia Romance series, I just might start a series of stories set in the mythical town of Wilcox, Nebraska.

So if you're a writer, have you decided to step outside of your comfort zone before?

"A Wicked Past" by Gerald Costlow, published by Rebecca Vickery

Nancy Darling is enduring a Nebraska winter alone in her isolated farm. Two men, each trying to escape a wicked past, are in a race to find hidden Confederate gold.  When they arrive one Christmas, will she find the fallen angel she's dreamed of or face a devil in disguise?
        
Where to purchase the book [only 99 cents at these locations]:





Thursday, November 28, 2013

GIVING THANKS FOR EVERYTHING by CHERYL PIERSON



Hi everyone. Our Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA is today! For the last several years, I have not “cooked” a big Thanksgiving dinner. With my daughter going to LA every year at that time and my son opting for McDonald’s so much of the time in the past, there just wasn’t a need to make a big dinner. Yes, my husband did complain. Every year. But he never offered to help with anything, either. In desperation, we tried different traditions—the “Festive Fajita Party Pack” from our nearest Mexican restaurant, which is wonderful, by the way; the “Smoked Turkey Dinner and Fixin’s” from a fantabulous barbecue place we love…but of course, it wasn’t the same.

This year, my daughter will be home with us, and she wants “the dinner.” I haven’t bought my turkey—or anything else. It’s Tuesday. I’m not stressed, though. Let me tell you why. I have the money in the bank to buy those groceries. So many people don’t. If I want to make sweet potato pie, I don’t have to skimp on the marshmallows. If I want to make turkey, I don’t have to worry about one brand being ten cents cheaper than the brand I really want. And best of all, I can buy both kinds of cranberry sauce, since I’m the only one in my family who really loves the whole berry kind. So I’m very thankful for the fact that I don’t have to worry about being able to provide the menu I want to make for this holiday dinner. And everyone will get what they want, even Embry--who likes everything. Would you believe English peas are one of his favorites?

My third "child"--Embry
I have learned to cook pretty darn well. It wasn’t always this way, believe me. My mother was a wonderful cook, but being a child of the 60’s I couldn’t have cared less about learning from her. I was happy with a hamburger (which I did learn how to make for myself) and chips. I learned how to cook only after I got married—and there were quite a few trial and error “flubs” that had to be tossed. They were unsalvageable. So I’m glad that now I have learned through the years and am able to do the job right, at this point. And I'm so glad I don't have to make everything from scratch like my mom and grandmothers did!

My great great grandmother on my dad's side of the family, Sarah Manery Casey. She was full blood Indian, married to an Irishman...My son, Casey, is named for that part of our family.
I have the physical ability to cook. This may seem like a little thing. We gripe and complain sometimes about having to fix a meal, but I promise you, one short walk through a nursing home will make you thankful for so many things. Seeing the older people there who would give anything to be able to prepare a meal once more, or go work in their gardens, makes me realize how much I have to be thankful for—even the simple preparation of a holiday meal takes on new meaning.

I have a wonderful family. And this year they are all going to be home for Thanksgiving! So many military men and women are far away from everything familiar in dangerous situations. Families separate as children grow up and move away. It’s not always possible to get home for the holidays. And many homeless men and women have no families to go to.

I have fantastic memories of growing up, all of us gathered around my grandmother’s table, or wherever we could manage to find a place to perch with our plates. We spilled out onto the porch, into the living room, eating in shifts. Of course, the men ate first. It was a huge gathering—my grandmother had eleven children. I have thirty-three cousins on my mother’s side of the family. When we were done there, we’d go to my dad’s side and visit. There were only eight cousins there, but three of them were boys, and the younger two loved to play cowboys and Indians. What could be better? Another blessing to be thankful for—boy cousins who were just my age.

A good time was always had by all, and that was the holiday that brought everyone home to granny’s house, even if they couldn’t come at Christmas. I had a cousin, Julie, who was a few months older than I. She was my “partner in crime”. One Thanksgiving, we spotted a package of six Milky Way candy bars in the refrigerator—our favorite. With everything going on, we managed to sneak the package out, and she hid it in her jacket. We made it out the door and into the nearby woods. This was quite a trick, since she had three younger siblings at the time. We ate those candy bars, three each. I can tell you, I was feeling sick when I ate that last bite. But we were so proud of ourselves for managing to get them out undetected and to actually be alone to commit the rest of the crime. When we got back to the house, our Aunt Joyce was beside herself. It turned out, she had bought those candy bars for a specific purpose—to make her “Mississippi Mud Slide Cake” that two of her brothers-in-law had requested. Of course, as eleven-year-old children, we’d never even thought that the candy bars might be needed for a recipe. We laugh about it now, but at the time, it was serious stuff. I thought she was going to whip us good, and Julie and I both believed our mothers would have let her!

My Aunt Joyce--she was the only woman I ever knew growing up who had been in the Navy. Loved that woman, but she put the fear in us over those Milky Ways!

These are only a few of the “everyday” things that I’m so thankful for. This is really just the tip of the iceberg. When we think of everything we have in this beautiful world, it’s impossible to make a list of things to be thankful for, isn’t it?

What are you thankful for this holiday? Do you have a favorite memory to share? Let's hear it!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

WHEELS of JUSTICE now available...



WHEELS OF JUSTICE 
Now available online at 

EBook $ 2.99

Paperback $ 11.95

Justice comes in all forms, whether through police departments, private investigators, or in some cases private citizens. Wheels of Justice is a collection of fourteen crime stories set in mostly small towns in eastern Nebraska where all three groups, either individually or working together as planned, reluctantly do what they can to see that justice prevails. We understand why crooks do what they do, but we also understand why the police and concerened citizens must make a stand to try and control the unsavory elements and their passion for their actions. This collection contains stories of robbery, murder, mistaken idenity, and justice seekers. 




Monday, October 28, 2013

SARAH'S MUSIC: A CHOCTAW CHILDREN'S STORY FOR EVERYONE


JESSICA PIERSON

I'm giving my normal blog days to my daughter, Jessica Pierson, to talk about her part in illustrating the beautiful new children's book, SARAH'S MUSIC, published recently by Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery. The story is by one of my writing students and long-time friends, a professional storyteller for the Choctaw Nation, Stella Long. This story was based on her own life, and I know she is working on "book 2" right now. Here is Jessica's post about illustrating the book for Stella and working with her--a once in a lifetime experience! ----- Cheryl Pierson

Over the course of the last two years, I’ve been lucky enough to work with Choctaw storyteller Stella Long on the illustrations for her children’s book, Sarah’s Music.

At out last meeting, I struggled clumsily to explain to Stella why I thought Sarah’s Music was so special, and ended up saying something incredibly articulate, like “It’s just…I mean…it’s a great story.” She hadn’t asked me, but I desperately wanted to tell her why I had been so grateful for the opportunity to work on her story. “You know…” I began, “when I think of the books the girls I work with like to read, I mean, there’s nothing like this. There’s nothing…relatable. It’s all just… princesses.” (Slow clap) Well said, Jessica. Well said. Maybe you could have been less specific, but I doubt it. Not to be dissuaded, however, what follows is another more targeted stab at using my words.

Why Sarah’s Music is a “Great Story”: A Book Review by Jessica Pierson

Sarah’s story begins when she discovers that she is inspired by music, but seems to have no way to share her songs with others. With the help of her animal friends, Sarah goes on a journey all by herself and receives the gift of a musical instrument made especially for her by her. When she fails initially to make it sound, she becomes discouraged, but she doesn’t give up. Instead, she tries again, and practices, and learns at last to release the songs that have been locked in her heart.

Sarah’s Music is a moving glimpse at a worldview long forgotten by our dominant culture. In Sarah’s world, the creatures she encounters in the woods are not strange or frightening, but her closest friends. The natural world isn’t Sarah’s adversary. There is no “big bad wolf,” or “dark forest.” Rather, the natural world around her is generous, helpful, and inclusive. Sarah is a member of the forest community, not a stranger or an interloper. She isn’t superior to the plants and animals around her, but considers them her loved ones and her wise teachers. She lives comfortably among her relations in nature, learns from them humbly, and is ultimately only able to accomplish her goal because of the gifts she receives from her friends. Imagine the improved health of our planet if more children began to see themselves not as separate from the natural world, but as members of a community of living creatures.

In what is yet another departure from our established modern archetypes, Sarah is a child, a girl, and an empowered individual all at once! Her parents have shown her how to meet her needs, and allowed her the autonomy to make her own discoveries. It is no surprise, then, that she is brave enough to embark on a journey all by herself because she feels confident that she is prepared. Throughout the story, Sarah chooses for herself, and asks for help and guidance when she needs it. As a result, her learning process is unhurried and unstructured, the result of her own unique experiences. Her self-knowledge is completely uncontrived, and part of her accomplishment. Sarah isn’t a helpless object waiting for someone to save her, or take care of the hard parts. She is an active participant in making her dream a reality.

Perhaps the most subtly beautiful and surprising element is Sarah’s wish itself. Sarah’s greatest wish is not to gain anything for herself, but to share her music, which is already inside of her. She doesn’t dream of a husband, or a crown, or a treasure, or wish to be something she isn’t or to attend a ball. She wishes for an ability, not so she can gain something, but so she can use her own gifts for the enjoyment of those around her. What a delicate, wise wish for our world!

In addition to the opportunity to revisit a familiar and yet foreign traditional reality, there is one final facet of Sarah’s Music that I fell in love with as I worked to create the images. The final item that would make me want to read this book to my child every night at bedtime is that there is not one singular mention of Sarah’s physical appearance.

In our image conscious world, this might seem, at first, like a glaring omission. Our fairy tales are often about girls who are described as beautiful. “Once there lived a beautiful princess.” Stories about girls are almost always about their extraordinary beauty, as though these precious women/children had no other important or distinguishing qualities. If beauty doesn’t figure heavily into the story (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, etc.) it is almost guaranteed that as soon as the heroine is introduced, a physical description is provided. Sarah is not described as beautiful or in any other way, because it is utterly unimportant what she looks like. This is refreshing! She is a girl, acting to bring her goals about, and it doesn’t matter to anyone if she is beautiful. She has many praise-worthy qualities, and in the story, she learns new ones (patience, perseverance, etc.) It is lovely to find a story about a girl where literally everything else about her matters more than her appearance.

If you happen to be looking for a new bedtime story or a Christmas gift, consider sharing Sarah’s Music with your family. It is…healing. That’s the word I wanted to find for Stella, but somehow I suspect that she knows this already.

Sarah’s Music is currently available in print and as an ebook, thanks to Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery.

It isn’t possible to say an adequate “Thank You” Rebecca J. Vickery, Laura Shinn, and Cheryl Pierson for their hard work. Cheers, ladies.


Print copies can be purchased at the links below for under $10.00. Ebook downloads are available here as well for $3.99.

http://www.amazon.com/Sarahs-Music-Stella-Long/dp/1492751456/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1382803522&sr=1-1


JESSICA'S PERSONAL BLOG--"CAUTION TO THE WINDS"

http://cautiontothewindsblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/sarahs-music-a-book-report/

Monday, October 21, 2013

My "Lance Kelly Series" by Les Williams

I wanted to share info about my latest release, A Western Trail Blazer Dime Novel: 

“A man never knows when fate will step in with a lending hand. Like the time back in 69 when I was in Hays City Kansas. That’s when I crossed paths again with a friend from my past. This was after gun shots were exchanged and a bushwhacker lay dead in the dusty street. Seems like history has a way of repeating itself.” - Lance Kelly 

Brief Excerpt:


"Hey, you in the Marshal's office! Step on out here. I've heard you're lightning with a gun. Let's see just how good you are."
Kelly is jostled out of his reverie. He gets up, adjusts his ash gray sombrero, and goes out to the boardwalk in front of his office.
Standing with widespread legs in the middle of the mucky street is a kid of eighteen, maybe nineteen, years old wearing a blue and white striped shirt with Levis tucked into his hand-tooled brown boots. His right hand is poised over the walnut butt of a .44 holstered on his left hip.
Men gather on the boardwalk in front of the Red Dog and the adjacent false fronted buildings, waiting to see what will happen next.
Bronson strides over from the restaurant, wiping his mouth with a red and white checkered cloth napkin. He steps up next to Kelly. "What's this all about?"
Before Kelly can answer, the kid, whose eyes never leave the lawman, speaks up, "This is none of your concern, Mister."

Trail's End is the second story in my Lance Kelly Series.
Available at Amazon 





This was the first Dime Novel about Lance Kelly:


"The bad thing about being fast with a gun is there's always someone who wants to see if he's faster. My day started like that, and it doesn't look to get any better. This unwanted reputation sure draws attention. Walk with me for a day and see what I mean." – Lance Kelly 



Brief Excerpt:  
"Once I kill you, men will have to respect me. I’ll be known as Jake Saunders, the man who killed Lance Kelly."



A few dry leaves blowing around the hardpan street, the yaps of a dog, and the yowls of the tomcat it’s chasing break the silence. A crow lifts off from a gnarled oak tree, cawing to show its displeasure at being disturbed.



Sweat trickles down the side of the kid’s face, but he can’t wipe it away. Jake needs to keep his eyes on the man facing him in the street. Besides, one move toward his gun could signal the Marshal to draw. He licks his lips, his mouth suddenly feeling dry like a desert underneath a scorching noon sun. Doubt begins to form in his mind as the lawman calmly stands facing him.



Is that pity he sees in the Marshal's eyes? Why you sorry son of a…! 



Buy at: Amazon   Smashwords  Nook  and more online ebook retailers

Monday, September 30, 2013

KMN Books: HALLOWEEN FLASH FICTION BASH! #giveaways #books #flashfictionbash #free @KMNbooks

Centuries before The Wolfman and Bram Stoker’s Dracula became Halloween favorites, the ancient Greeks and Romans loved tell scary stories about monsters, ghosts and the afterlife.

I’d like to carry on the storytelling tradition at KMN Books Blogspot with the Halloween FLASH FICTION BASH! 

OCT. 1 to Oct. 31. Thirty one days of FREE stories form 31 authors! 

Some of the authors are also giving away extra goodies, and at midnight on Oct. 31st there will be a grand prize drawing. 3 GRAND PRIZES FOR 3 LUCKY WINNERS! 

Don't be late and bring a friend! We promise we won't bite... unless asked. :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

TRAVELING -- HOW DO YOU USE IT IN YOUR WRITING? by CHERYL PIERSON



When we write a short story or a novel, that work is a “journey” from beginning to end in many ways.

Hopefully, our main characters will learn something about themselves and grow emotionally and in their personal values of not only each other, but the world around them. They must become more aware of their place in the world as individuals to be able to give of themselves to another person, the hero to the heroine, and visa versa.

The main conflict of the story brings this about in a myriad of ways, through smaller, more personal conflicts and through the main thrust of the “big picture” dilemma. I always like to use Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell as a prime example of this, because the States’ War was the catalyst for everything that followed, but it also remained the backdrop throughout the book. This generated all of the personal losses and gains that Scarlett and Rhett made individually, so if the War hadn’t been the backdrop, the main original conflict, their personal stories would have taken very different routes and their love story quite possibly would have never happened.

No matter what kind of story we are trying to weave, we have to have movement throughout—not just of the characters’ growth, but of the setting and circumstances that surround them.

Have you ever thought about how important it is to have travel in your writing? No, it doesn’t have to be lengthy travel, although that’s a great possibility, too. Even a short trip allows things to happen physically to the characters, as well as providing some avenue for emotional growth and development among them.

One of my favorite examples of the importance of travel is the short story by Ernest Haycox, “Stage to Lordsburg.” You might know it better as the John Ford movie adaptation, “Stagecoach,” starring a very handsome young newbie…John Wayne. A varied group of people are traveling on a stagecoach that is attacked by Indians, including John Wayne, (a seriously good-looking young outlaw by the name of Johnny Ringo) who is being transported to prison. The dire circumstances these passengers find themselves in make a huge difference in the way they treat each other—including their hesitant acceptance of a fallen woman and the outlaw.

If your characters are going somewhere, things are bound to happen—even if they’re just going to the store, as in the short story “The Mist,” by Stephen King. Briefly, a man goes to the grocery store and is trapped inside with many other people by a malevolent fog that surrounds the store and tries to come inside. Eventually, he makes the decision to leave rather than wait for it to get inside and kill them all. He thinks he can make it to the pickup just outside in the parking lot. A woman that he really doesn’t know says she will go with him. By making this conscious decision, not only are they leaving behind their own families (he has a wife and son) that they know they’ll never see again, but if they make it to the vehicle and survive, they will be starting a new chapter of their lives together. It’s a great concept in my opinion—virtual strangers, being forced to make this kind of life-or-death decision in the blink of an eye, leaving everything they know behind, when all they had wanted to do was pick up a few groceries.

In all of my stories, there is some kind of travel involved. In Fire Eyes, although Jessica doesn’t travel during the story, she has had to travel to get to the place where it all takes place. And Kaed is brought to her, then travels away from her when he is well enough. Will he come back? That’s a huge conflict for them. He might be killed, where he’s going, but it’s his duty. He can’t turn away from that. After what has happened to him in his past, he has a lot of mixed feelings about settling down and trying again with a family, and with love.

One of my professors once stated, “There are only two things that happen in a story, basically. 1. A stranger comes to town. Or, 2. A character leaves town.” Pretty simplistic, and I think what she was trying to tell us was that travel is a great way to get the conflict and plot of a story moving in the right direction. I always think of “Shane” when I think of “a stranger coming to town” because that is just such a super example of how the entire story is resolved by a conflicted character, that no one ever really gets to know. Yet, although he may have a checkered past, he steps in and makes things right for the Staretts, and the rest of the community.

In my novel Time Plains Drifter, a totally different kind of travel is involved—time travel. The hero is thrown forward sixteen years from the date he died (yes, he’s a very reluctant angel) and the heroine is flung backward one hundred fifteen years by a comet that has rearranged the bands of time on earth. They come together in 1895 in the middle of Indian Territory. But the time travel is just a means to bring them together for the real conflict, and that is the case with most of the stories we write. We aren’t writing to look at the scenery/history: we want to see the conflict, and the travel is just a way to get that to happen.

How do you use travel in your writing? Do you have any tips that might make it easier to describe the actual travel sequences? I find that is the hardest thing sometimes, for me.

Here’s a short excerpt from Time Plains Drifter. Rafe and Jenni have just met, and there’s a definite attraction! Hope you enjoy!

FROM TIME PLAINS DRIFTER

For the first time, Rafe began to wonder what—and who—she might have left back there in her own time. Two thousand-ten. A mother and father? What about siblings? Was she as close to someone as he and Cris had been? Was she…married? Did she leave children of her own?

She was a school teacher, and he took comfort in that thought. In his own time, school teachers were usually women who were not yet married.

Suddenly, the question burned in his mind. Was she married? Did she have someone waiting for her? Hell, what difference does it make? He sighed. You’re dead, Rafe. Remember? Dead. All a mistake. Beck’s sure sorry, but—

If he was dead, why did his leg ache? He felt the pinch of the cramped nerve endings in his left calf just as he had always suffered from when he held this position too long. Was it real? Or did he just anticipate that pain, where it had always been when he was alive? He hadn’t imagined the raging hard-on he’d gotten earlier, holding Jenni Dalton in his arms. That had been real enough.

He stood up slowly with a grimace, and his fingers went to the small of his back automatically for an instant before he bent to massage his leg, then walk a few steps to ease the strain of the muscles. The twinges faded, but Rafe knew he hadn’t imagined either of them.

If I’m dead, how can I hurt? Was this part of what Beck had tried to explain to him earlier, about giving in to the “human” side of himself? Those “bodily urges?” Beck had seemed horrified that Rafe even entertained the thought of wanting to live again—in a normal, human state.
But he did, God help him. He did. And five minutes with Miss Jenni Dalton was all it had taken to reaffirm that conviction to the fullest measure.

There was something about her; something strong, yet, so vulnerable. Her eyes captivated him, her lips seductively beckoned to be kissed—but what if she knew she was kissing a ghost? A dead man?
His glance strayed to Jenni once more as she stood up, and he controlled the urge to go after young Kody Everett and choke the life from his body for his deceit.

Jenni came toward Rafe stiffly, her back held ramrod straight. Without conscious thought, he opened his arms to her, and she kept right on walking, into his embrace, until he closed the gates of safety across her back and held her to him, protected inside his fortress.

She didn’t cry, and Rafe knew it was because she was too exhausted. They stood that way for a long moment, breathing the night air. He wanted to give her what she needed—shelter, safety, and…togetherness. She wasn’t alone any more, and he wanted her to know it.

He felt her take a shuddering breath of bone-deep weariness. Who was waiting for her in her own time, to comfort her like this when she returned?

“Jen?”

“Hmm?” Her voice was a contented purr.

He smiled. “Where you come from, are you, uh—married, or—”

“Huh-uh. No husband. No kids. Nobody at all.”

“No—betrothed?” He searched for a word they might still use a hundred and ten years from now, and by the way she smiled against his shirt, he knew he had sounded old-fashioned to her. “Okay, what’s your word for it?”

“Boyfriend. Fiance. Lover—”

“Lover!”

She drew back at his indignation, looking him in the face. “It’s—It’s just a word,” she stammered. “It really doesn’t mean—”

“Don’t say that one,” Rafe growled. He shook his head to clear it. “What I mean is—you wouldn’t want to say that around anyone. They’d take you for a—loose woman.”

She looked up earnestly into his smoldering gaze, liquefying his bones with her piercing green eyes, her lips full and sensual, the tangle of copper hair blowing in the breeze. “Would you think I was ‘loose’ if I asked you to—to just lie down beside me? It’s not that I’m afraid,” she hastened to add. “I just feel—kind of shaken up.”



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WHAT ARE YOU READING? by CHERYL PIERSON



This summer started off with a bang for me, in a fantastic way, and kept getting better and better. I wanted to share with you all what my year has been like (the good parts of it!)

I always think when summer rolls around I will have more time. I think this started when my kids were little and I looked forward to not having to get up and make the school run every single morning, and then again in the afternoon. Even though it never happened the way I thought it would, for some crazy reason, I believed it would be that way year after year.

The one thing I did get a little more of in the summer was reading time. At least, it seemed that way. This summer I’ve had several new releases of my own I want to tell you about. Some of these are re-releases in a different format, but others are brand new!

KANE’S DESTINY is the third and final book in the Kane trilogy. It was released a few months ago. Each of these books were released separately (KANE’S REDEMPTION, KANE’S PROMISE, and KANE’S DESTINY) but then we decided to release them all under one cover as KANE’S CHANCE. Why? There are a couple of contests I’d like to enter, but there is no category for these shorter works. With a bit of editing and shaping, the stories were made into one continuous novel.

KANE’S CHANCE was released earlier this month and is available in both print and digital formats.
These “KANE” stories are for all ages, young and old alike. And everyone in the middle. They’re a “coming of age” tale about Will Green, a young boy who is kidnapped by a band of renegade Apaches after his family is killed. The first two books deal with that part of his life, and the last one, KANE’S REDEMPTION, deal with one of his biggest fears—his Bostonian grandfather coming west to claim him and trying to force him to leave Texas and go back East with him.

When KANE’S CHANCE begins, Will is ten years old, and by the end of the book, he’s thirteen. The adventures he has, the changes he goes through, and the inner torment he deals with throughout the stories speak not only of the maturing process every young man must go through, but also, his realization that the deaths of his entire family hinged on the poor judgment of his father. This is not a romance, but I hope you’ll find it to your liking all the same. Here’s the blurb for KANE’S CHANCE:

My name is Will Green and I have to share the story of how I met Jacobi Kane or I'll bust from holding it in. Apache renegades murdered my family and took me prisoner when I was ten. I never believed I'd live to see another sunrise, but Kane appeared as if from nowhere and fought to save me. Never saw a man so determined before, but I did have to step in and help a bit.

I didn't know at the time that Kane kept a secret from me, one which might change my high opinion of him. Then he met Laura, and she helped both of us heal in different ways.

Later on, once we settled down on a place of our own, Kane led a band of lawmen in their mission to annihilate the renegades responsible for killing my folks – and Kane's first wife and children. Laura sent me along after them, just to be sure Kane stayed safe. It turned out to be good planning on her part.

Once I turned thirteen, my own doubts crept in as to whether I actually should be with the Kane family. Then my wealthy grandfather showed up from back East, determined to take me to Boston. Took some doing for me to learn the true meaning of family and just where I belonged. In the end, my grandfather and I faced a fight for our lives and, once more, our survival relied on Jacobi Kane and me. Now, I've got a family fortune to deal with – one I never knew about or wanted – one someone else wants bad enough to kill me for.

But I've found my place in life, with Kane's help, and I don't plan on giving it up anytime soon...


And speaking of romance, I have a brand new western historical romance, GABRIEL’S LAW, that just came out through WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER. Here’s the blurb for it:

When hired gunman Brandon Gabriel is double-crossed, it seems that his luck has run out. But Gabriel has more than luck; he has Allison Taylor, a lost angel from his troubled past who turns up and turns the tables. Old love blooms and new wounds begin to heal as Brandon and Allie tentatively make plans, but danger and self-doubt cast shadows on their hopes. When Allie and her ranch are threatened by an old enemy, long-buried secrets come to light and the stakes have never been higher. Will Brandon discover his chance at happiness in time to fight for it? Can Brandon and Allie confront the past, face down their demons, and forge their dreams into a future?

One thing Brandon doesn’t count on is the fact that Allie has already set a plan in motion that includes bringing orphans to her home—orphans like she and Brandon had been, early in life. Remember Travis Morgan from Fire Eyes? OK, that’s all I’m gonna say!

One of my favorite short stories, SCARLET RIBBONS, was re-released under a new title--THE GUNFIGHTER'S GIRL, with a brand new cover. Take a look!


Christmas in July at WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER saw another of my short stories (Christmas, of course!) released as a “single sell” story for .99. THE WISHING TREE was first released in the VICTORY TALES PRESS A 2012 CHRISTMAS COLLECTON. Now, it’s being offered as a stand alone story, and I’m thrilled.


Pete Cochran, a war veteran with both visible and invisible scars, is mostly a loner, rather than scare children. Then a special woman with a son walks into his life as he works at his father's Christmas tree lot – a woman with problems he can't ignore.

Maria Sanchez and her son Miguel eke out an existence on her part-time earnings, but share an abundance of love, except when terrorized by her drug addict relative. When she meets Pete, she sees him not as a frightening man, but a wounded hero returned from war. Her son seems immediately drawn to the unusual Christmas tree vendor.

Will a special tree – a wishing tree – contain enough magic to fulfill all their Christmas desires?

This is a lovely, heartwarming story that I hope will touch you as it did me.


Now, back to the old west and the WOLF CREEK series with WESTERN FICTIONEERS! One of the characters I created for the post-Civil War Kansas town of Wolf Creek is Derrick McCain. He was introduced in book 1 of the series, Bloody Trail, and with the recent release of Wolf Creek Book 5: Showdown at Demon’s Drop, just a few weeks ago, his past comes back to threaten his sister, Kathleen.

The brutal Danby gang paid dearly for their raid on Wolf Creek. But some of them escaped, and their new leader Clark Davis is hungry for revenge -on the town, and on the man that he believes betrayed the gang, Derrick McCain. Seminole scout Charley Blackfeather, meanwhile, wants his own revenge on Davis for his actions in the war...at the Centralia Massacre. Blood is going to flow… Appearing as Ford Fargo in this volume: Robert J. Randisi, Bill Crider, L. J. Martin, Wayne Dundee. Cheryl Pierson, and Troy D. Smith.

Yet another delicious entrĂ©e from the Wolf Creek writers will came out on July 2. Book 6 HELL ON THE PRAIRIE, is different than the others. It’s the first Wolf Creek anthology. I loved this idea because each participant is able to write a short story featuring their character(s) and show a depth to their character they might not be able to convey in a collaborative effort such as the other books before this have been. My story is called IT TAKES A MAN, and of course, Derrick is at the center of this one.

When Derrick and his mother are ominously summoned to the Cherokee settlement of Briartown, Derrick is determined to set things straight with the man he’s learned is his real father. But once he arrives, he’s distracted by the beautiful cousin, Leah Martin, of his best friend’s wife. Leah is hiding a secret—one that could be the death of her. Once Derrick discovers it, will he walk away? Or will he save her…and possibly himself? IT TAKES A MAN to do what his heart tells him.

I sure hope this will provide you with some ideas for some stories you might enjoy! There’s something here for everyone, and here's the link!

https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

Thursday, August 1, 2013

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT AND EVERY GIRL'S DREAM BY CHERYL PIERSON


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, That's just what happens. EVERY GIRL'S DREAM is the opening story from A WESTERN SAGA (Victory Tales Press), and is now also available as a "dime novel" in the .99 gallery at WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER publishing.

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, for both of them, 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 EVERY GIRL'S DREAM TO TWO LUCKY COMMENTERS TODAY! BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT!

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.”



Be sure to leave a comment with your contact information in order to be registered for the drawing tomorrow evening! For this and all my other work, click here:
https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson




Saturday, July 27, 2013

CHRISTMAS IN JULY AND A FREE NOVELLA BY CHERYL PIERSON


Hey everyone, welcome to CHRISTMAS IN JULY here at Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery, Victory Tales Press, and Western Trail Blazer!


Here in Oklahoma, it’s been scorching hot, but not as bad as in years past. Every night on the news, we see that it was “only” 98 degrees as we sweltered walking to the mailbox and back, and only 5 years ago it was 108! So we have something to be thankful for, after all.

July is my favorite month of the year—probably because my birthday falls on the 28th and that was preceded by the Independence Day holiday, an occasion for our entire extended family to get together. But in between, there were lazy summer days of laying out on a quilt under the shade of our four elm trees with my best friend, reading books and drinking a pitcher of Kool-aid or lemonade.


So, speaking of reading, here are my “Christmas in July” offerings!My latest release, THE WISHING TREE, was included in the Victory Tales Press “A 2012 Christmas Collection” and is now released as a single-sell .99 short story! Even better? For the Christmas in July event, it will be offered FREE at Amazon today, Sunday, July 28. Here’s the blurb and the link!
~ A very special short contemporary romance setting by bestselling author Cheryl Pierson; a Christmas story enjoyable at any time of the year ~

Pete Cochran, a war veteran with both visible and invisible scars, is mostly a loner, rather than scare children. Then a special woman with a son walks into his life as he works at his father's Christmas tree lot – a woman with problems he can't ignore.

Maria Sanchez and her son Miguel eke out an existence on her part-time earnings, but share an abundance of love, except when terrorized by her drug addict relative. When she meets Pete, she sees him not as a frightening man, but a wounded hero returned from war. Her son seems immediately drawn to the unusual Christmas tree vendor.

Will a special tree – a wishing tree – contain enough magic to fulfill all their Christmas desires?

THE WISHING TREE IS FREE TODAY AND TOMORROW, JULY 27th and 28th, AT AMAZON! BE SURE TO PICK IT UP FOR YOURSELF AND LET OTHERS KNOW!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Wishing-Tree-ebook/dp/B00E364RPG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374515102&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Wishing+Tree+by+Cheryl+Pierson

If you’d like to order the entire anthology, you can find it and all the other books and short stories mentioned below at my author page, here: https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson


Other .99 Christmas themed short stories are: Homecoming, Scarlet Ribbons, Meant to Be and A Night for Miracles. Each of these are historical sweet to sensual stories, with a hint of a paranormal twist in them. Purchase them separately, or under one cover in the “A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS” anthology! This anthology is in print and digital format. Here are the blurbs for these stories:

~ A four-story Western collection from award winning author Cheryl Pierson ~

A Night for Miracles ~ Widow Angela Bentley takes in injured Nick Dalton and three orphans on Christmas Eve. Angela determines to keep her distance – until the children drag in a scraggly Christmas tree.

Homecoming ~ A holiday skirmish sends Union officer, Jack Durham, on an unlikely mission for a dying Confederate enemy. Will a miracle be able to heal his heart and reunite him with his beloved?

Meant to Be ~ Robin Mallory is shocked when she is tackled by a man in a Confederate uniform. A flat tire and a coming snowstorm have stranded her in the middle of a re-enactment – or is it?

Scarlet Ribbons ~ Persuaded by a vendor, Miguel Rivera ~ El Diablo ~ makes a foolish purchase—scarlet ribbons. Will they, and a mysterious meeting, set him on a new path?


My two contemporary Christmas short stories are The Wishing Tree, mentioned earlier, and White Christmas. The Wishing Tree is sensual, while White Christmas would be classified as spicy.

All of the VTP Christmas Collection anthologies are available both in print and in digital format, as well, and you can find them all listed on my author page, as well as all these other wonderful short stories and novellas. Don’t let Christmas in July pass you by—stock up now! Christmas is never out of season!

Many of my fellow authors here at PbRJV have some great Christmas bargains as well--you can go here for the entire list. There are lots of "free reads" at this link, too! http://rebeccajvickery.blogspot.com/

STILL not enough reading material? Take a look here, at the WESTERN FICTIONEERS BLOG. There are MANY excellent reads here for only .99, including the first volume of the Wolf Creek series "WOLF CREEK BOOK 1: BLOODY TRAIL" --a full length novel! Scroll down for a full list of great western bargains! Be sure to double check the prices--they should still be marked down, but it's always good to check before you click.
http://westernfictioneers.blogspot.com/2013/07/independence-day-and-some-wonderful.html

HAPPY READING!!! Don't forget to pick up your FREE copy of THE WISHING TREE!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Christmas in July ~ July 24 - July 31


Once a year is not enough for Christmas and Winter Holiday decorations, movies, books and stories. Please join our authors as we post our Holiday book titles, share recipes & decorating, and discuss movies.

Maybe the fire is a bit much for our snow-people, but we want to get everyone in the mood for our Holiday books! 



 
   
And what would Christmas or the Holidays be without gifts?  Here are some presents we hope you will enjoy.
Click on the link beside the titles you want and grab a free read from our authors. 
Christmas Dessert Decadence (recipes): Smashwords 
Give it All You've Got by Linda Swift: PublishingbyRJV 
The Cattlemen's Ball  by Celia Yeary: PublishingbyRJV
Last Assignment by Les Williams: PublishingbyRJV
Death at the Whistling Swan by John D. Nesbitt: PublishingbyRJV
O'Halloran's Hell by Adrian Scott: PublishingbyRJV 
Deirdre by Miriam Newman: Smashwords 
The Trouble With Fishing by Rebecca J. Vickery: Smashwords Use Coupon Code: JD93E

New Additions to Gifts:
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Linda Swift: 
Smashwords Use Coupon Code: XU33S [Sat & Sun only]
Let Nothing You Dismay by Linda Swift
Smashwords Use Coupon Code: BD95D [Mon & Tue only]


Please be sure to check within the comments as authors and followers will be adding links to other freebies, participating blogs, and fun links as well. Tell all your friends (and enemies too)! Beat the heat and think "Christmas in July"!