December 19, 2012

Holiday Cheer - A Hero For Christmas

By Cheryl Pierson

With the holidays upon us, I was thinking about traditions in our family and how much they mean in our memories.  Growing up, there wasn’t a Christmas that passed that my mom didn’t make divinity for my dad. A hard candy to make because of its temperamental proclivity not to “set”, when it “turned out”—it was a happy day. I didn’t care much for divinity—I’d rather have the other traditional candy we always had—fudge. But I still remember how my dad loved that white confection with the green and red candied cherries on top.
A tradition I started when I had kids was to buy them an ornament every Christmas. Every year, I think, “maybe this is the year to give them their collection”—they’re 23 and 26—and every year, I just can’t bring myself to do it.
 
And what could be more traditional for a good Christmas story than a handsome, to-die-for, hunk of a hero? Who wouldn’t want a hero for Christmas…or FOUR of them? And they’ll all fit snugly in a stocking or on your e-reader!
Yep, I’m talking about my latest release, A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS, which is a collection of four of my Christmas themed historical romantic short stories! These are all available separately, as “single sell” short stories for only .99 through Western Trail Blazer, as well. But I was thrilled when my publisher, Rebecca Vickery, suggested putting them all under one gorgeous cover and offering them as a collection.
 
A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES is the first story in the collection. It will always be near and dear to my heart because it was the first holiday story I ever wrote, as well as being the first short story (which really turned into a novelette.) I still just love the story of Angela Bentley and Nick Dalton. Angela’s a widow, alone on Christmas Eve. Gunman Nick Dalton stops at her cabin in gathering wintry twilight. Wounded, and with three children in tow, there’s no chance of Angela telling him he has to ride on.  Will this be A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES for them?
Legend says that miracles happen on Christmas Eve. Can a chance encounter between a gunfighter and a lonely widow herald a new beginning for them both? On this special night, they take a gamble that anything is possible–if they only believe! Available now with WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER PUBLISHING!
 
The second story is a very different kind of Christmas story, HOMECOMING. I wrote this story long before I ever even thought of selling it. In fact, I wasn’t sure I COULD sell it. But it turned out better than I ever imagined, with so much power and emotion, I’ve had many, many compliments on it. It still humbles me, to think of this story that came from nowhere, one I wasn’t sure would ever see the light of day—has now become one that so many people have enjoyed.
       A holiday skirmish sends Union officer, Jack Durham, on an unlikely mission to fulfill his promise of honor to a dying Confederate soldier—his enemy. In an odd twist of fate, a simple assurance to carry young Billy Anderson's meager belongings home to his family a few miles away becomes more than what it seems.
       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 fiancee, Sarah. Despite his suffering, can Jack remember what it means to be fully human before he arrives at the end of his journey? Will the miracle of Christmas be able to heal his heart in the face of what awaits him?
 
MEANT TO BE is the third story in the collection. It’s a time travel story of love that crosses centuries. The heroine, Robin Mallory, is stranded on Christmas Eve and begins to walk for help, only to find that she’s walked down a road to the past and into the arms of handsome a Confederate soldier, Jake Devlin. Will she stay in 1864, or will she return to the lonely life she left behind? (If he looked like Jimmy Thomas, that would be a very easy decision!)
        Robin Mallory is facing another Christmas all alone when she decides to surprise her aunt and uncle several hours away. A flat tire leaves her stranded near a desolate section of interstate. With a snowstorm on the way, Robin has no choice but to walk, hoping to find shelter before the storm hits full force. But the road she chooses leads her back in time, to a battleground she's only read about in history books.
       Confederate Jake Devlin, an officer in Stand Watie's Cherokee forces, is shocked when the spy he jumps turns out to be a girl. She's dressed oddly, but her speech and the ideas she has are even stranger than her clothing. Where did she come from, and what is he going to do with her? Will he be able to hold on to his heart? Is it possible for a love this strong to span centuries? It is, if it was MEANT TO BE
 
And last but not least is a story I have wanted to write since I was a little girl. If you’ve ever heard the old folk song, SCARLET RIBBONS, perhaps you’ll understand why. In the song, the  singer (I love the Harry Belafonte version more than any other) tells of hearing his little girl praying for some scarlet ribbons for her hair. Everything is closed for the night, and there’s no hope of him being able to buy them for her; such a simple request and no way to grant it. All night long he’s thinking about it and finally goes to peek in on her only to find her asleep, the scarlet ribbons on her bed. “If I live to be a hundred, I will never know from where…came those lovely scarlet ribbons, scarlet ribbons for her hair…” Well, I can never get through that song without getting misty eyed, but I always wondered about the story behind the scarlet ribbons…so I wrote one.
       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?
Now, you can get all these stories under one cover! In one final note, I will say that after I wrote these stories and put them all together, I noticed something that is certainly NOT traditional—each of them as a special twist, the magic of Christmas working in a way that truly does bring about a miracle in each case. These stories are rated sweet to sensual.  I will be giving away a digital copy today to one lucky commenter!
For all my books, short stories and anthologies, visit my Amazon author page here:
And one more bit of tradition—a recipe that we can’t live without for very long here in the Pierson household—I’ll be making this tomorrow for sure. It’s the first thing I ever learned to bake and no matter what other fancy desserts are on the table, this is always the one I go for.

BLONDE BROWNIES
4 eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla  cups flour
2 ½  cups brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
½  cup (OR MORE!) choc. Chips
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Beat eggs well. Add brown sugar gradually, beating until well mixed. Add vanilla, flour, salt and mix well. Add chopped nuts and mix. Pour into a greased, 9x13 pan and sprinkle chocolate chips over top of the batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes (depending on your oven). This makes a 9x13 pan of brownies. You can half this recipe for an 8x8 pan, and reduce cooking time to 25 minutes.

18 comments:

Cheryl Pierson said...

Anna Kathryn,
Thanks so much for having me here today! I'm so glad for the opportunity to talk about Christmas traditions and my latest Christmas release, A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS. If you've never made Blonde Brownies before, you are in for a treat. They are one of my "comfort foods."
Cheryl

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Cheryl, I just finished A Night for Miracles. Hubba. Loved it. I know, I know, it's hard to pass along the treasures, but our daughter has a home now so I'm weeding out things for her. And when my son's little boy was born, I passed over the gorgeous olive-wood handcarved Nativity set my mom brought me from Bethlehem. I love Christmas. May yours be merry and bright!

Cheryl Pierson said...

Tanya! I'm so glad you enjoyed A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES. I know what you mean about passing things on--I think I'd be more inclined if my kids were more settled, and if I had grandkids! LOL I love Christmas, too. I hope you have a wonderful one this year, Tanya!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I've read every one of these books and they were sensational. Homecoming will probably always be my favorite. I do like to just stare at the cover of A Hero For Christmas and drool. LOL
I'm with you on the fudge. This may sound weird, but we always had to have nuts--you know the kind you have to crack into yourself. Don't know why, just always had to have them.

Celia Yeary said...

Cheryl--I love that you bought an ornament every year for each of their kids. You have a big collection now. The time to give them their collection is when they marry and have their first tree.So, you may have to wait a while. Kids are waiting much longer these days to be married.
I've read all your Christmas stories in your collection.
Wishing you lots of good luck and sales on your collection--it's the perfect Christmas book.
Have a blessed and merry Christmas!!!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Sounds delightful - both the excerpt and the browinesl

Cheryl Pierson said...

Sarah, I'm like you--that cover just takes the cake, doesn't it? Karen Nutt did that for me. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting! I remember those days of cracking and shelling nuts. Did you ever have one of those nutcrackers that had somekind of rubber band slingshot thing on it that cracked the nut? My dad had one of those!
Cheryl

Cheryl Pierson said...

Yes, Celia, I do have a huge collection for them and I think this year when I put away the Christmas ornaments, I'll start them each a box. I know kids ARE waiting longer, and that's okay with me--after the "almost" fiasco with my son. LOL Thanks for your kind words, my friend!

Merry Christmas!
Cheryl

Cheryl Pierson said...

Thanks, Maggie--and thanks for taking time out to stop by -- I don't know how you find enough hours in the day to do all you do.
Merry Christmas!
Cheryl

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Cheryl, I just had to comment on the nut cracker thing. I saw those sling-shot crazy nut crackers advertised on TV and was fascinated. I thought a person might lose a finger in one of those things. Sadly, we never got one. Bummer.

Cheryl Pierson said...

Sarah, my dad loved that thing, and so did I! LOL It really worked, but was slower than using a regular hand held one.
Cheryl

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Cheryl, that nut cracker you're talking about...was it a long cylinder looking thing? My dad had one and I saw it at my mother's house earlier this year. I think my brother has it now. It did work well. I don't recall anyone hurting themselves with it.

Barbara Edwards said...

I can't decide which one I like more. Getting this for myself. Thanks
barbara.edwards2@yahoo.com

Cheryl Pierson said...

Yes, Anna! Dad's was somehow attached to a really nice board that allowed you to set it on a flat surface. No one hurt themselves with it at our house either. I wish I could remember how it was made to prevent that.
Cheryl

Cheryl Pierson said...

Barbara,
The anthology is the best way to go, if you buy, because it saves a dollar over buying them individually. I sure do hope you enjoy it! Merry Christmas!
Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Oh...so many great reads! Will be buying this one this weekend.

Blonde Brownies sound very good. Will make some this weekend.

Deb T.
mammy4423(at)yahoo.com

Cheryl Pierson said...

Oh, Deb, they are my favorite thing, still, after all these years. LOL Very simple, too. I hope you enjoy them, and please let me know what you think about A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS!

Merry Christmas to you!
Cheryl

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

The brownies sound so yummy! I'll have to make them. I love that you bought an ornament every year for each of the children. What a collection!! I love all yoru stories!!

kmnbooks at yahoo dot com