Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Life and Times of Cheryl Pierson







Hi everyone,

Well, here’s a bit about me. I’m from Oklahoma, born and raised here. My parents and two “much older” sisters and I lived in Duncan, where I was born, until the summer I turned 6—that was 1963. That summer, my dad, who worked in the oilfields as a chemical engineer, was transferred to Seminole. My oldest sister Annette had managed to graduate from Duncan High School, but my middle sister, Karen, was going to have to do her last two years in Seminole.

We were pretty much the typical family, like the Cleavers, only Mom didn’t vacuum in high heels and pearls like June did. She kept busy with my sister Karen’s activities, and I started first grade that year at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, just a three-block hike from my front door.

I was lucky to have a stay-at-home mom, who loved to bake and cook things from scratch. Being a child of the Dustbowl and the Great Depression, it was the only way she knew to cook. A wonderful seamstress, she made a lot of our clothes, including my first prom dress!

Talk about an idyllic childhood. It was small-town America. The “neighborhood gang” rode our bicycles all over that part of town with no restraint, other than most of us were not to go past the main busy street, Strothers. However, there were plenty of other places to ride and we explored every inch of them. My best early childhood friend, Jane, moved in the same week I did, and she was only one year older than I. We grew to be as close as any sisters, and I was heartbroken when her father was transferred a few years later. I took dance lessons and played the flute in band. I was a classically trained pianist, and though I hated the hours of practice, if my mom was still here today, I would tell her what she always said I would—“THANK YOU.”

Going to the library was an every-Saturday affair. When Mom went to get her hair done, she dropped me off at the library. Goldie Barnett was the old maid librarian. Books were her life. She had a humped back and the sweetest, gentlest smile that you ever saw. She knew every book on the shelves, and loved to see young people come in and choose “no more than seven” to take home with them.

In the summers, we ran wild, playing sandlot baseball, riding bikes, climbing trees (yes, I was a bit of a tomboy!) and lying on an old packing quilt in the shade with a pitcher of cold lemonade and a favorite book for hours on end. We made frequent trips to Durant, in the southeastern corner of the state, where both my parents were from and where we still had many, many relatives on both sides. My dad’s parents had a huge garden that we would go down and help harvest. This was where I learned the fine art of shucking corn, picking beans and okra, and canning tomatoes.

When I finished my junior year in high school, my dad was transferred again--this time, to Charleston, West Virginia. I was told time and again how lucky I was to have been able to stay in school in one place all those years. I didn’t feel so lucky, though, to have to leave everyone I knew, and all that was familiar. I finished high school in Winfield, a small suburb of Charleston, and started college nearby. Turned out, the move was “in the cards” because I met my husband, Gary, there at college.

Gary and I were married in 1979, and here we are nearly 33 years later—still together. Only because we never owned a gun, I’m sure. (just kidding, really!)

Gary had been married before and had two children from his first marriage, Jennifer and Russell, who came to live with us in 1982. It was really a saving grace, because this was a very hectic time, and a time filled with upheaval, as Russell’s mom insisted on taking him back to live with her, leaving Jennifer with us. Time flew, and in 1986, our first child, Jessica, was born. I had started to write by then, but only at night when everyone else was in bed. In 1989, our son, Casey, came along, and by then Jennifer was a senior and ready to graduate.

We moved into Oklahoma City from one of the outlying suburbs and bought the home we still live in today. For many years, my life was full with taking the kids to their sporting events, play practices, and school activities. I worked part time during those years, and taught piano and guitar for many years, as well. Jessica, Casey and Jennifer all live nearby. Sadly, we lost Russell in a car accident when he was 18.

I’ve loved to write my entire life. I remember as a child, my mother would take little notepads to church with her in her purse for me to “occupy myself” with. In elementary school, I wrote poems, short stories and even a play that my 4th grade teacher let us practice and perform in class. My writing career took off a few years ago when I sold a short story to Adams Media for their Rocking Chair Reader collection. I sold several more to them, sold some newspaper articles, and then sold my first novel, FIRE EYES, a western historical, to The Wild Rose Press. I had a wonderful editor there, Helen Andrew, who really helped me find my way with the book, and will be forever grateful to her. I have since sold another novel there, SWEET DANGER, a contemporary romantic suspense, and a short story, a western historical, A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES.

Since then, I have sold many short stories with Victory Tales Press for their anthologies as well as having sold TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, a paranormal western, to Western Trail Blazer, an imprint of VTP. I’m really excited about TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, because it was given a 4 ½ star rating in Romantic Times Magazine, and has garnered many wonderful reviews. My daughter created the cover for it, and this book means a lot to me because of the rocky road it had on the way to publication.

My latest release is a short story called THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS, that appears in an anthology called THE TRADITIONAL WEST. This is an anthology of stories that was put together by a group of well-known western writers that I belong to called the Western Fictioneers. I am thrilled to be included in the group, and have gotten some great reviews on my story.

That’s my life in a nutshell. Not too greatly exciting, just a life mixed with some trials, tribulations, and wonderful happiness. I hope you haven’t been bored—I loved getting to read all about you all and getting to know you. I’ve been in and out a lot this month and haven’t always commented, but have read every single post, and feel glad that I got to know you all a little bit better.

Hugs to all my SWEETHEART sisters!
Cheryl

26 comments:

  1. It's nice to get to know you a little better, Cheryl. :) Best of luck with your books, and you'd better write fast to keep your readers satisfied. LOL

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  2. Hi Jacquie,
    Thanks so much for coming by--I am out of town today and internet connection is sporadic. I had to laugh when I saw this blog--I had interspersed the pictures when I formatted it, but evidently blogger had other ideas and stacked them all on top of one another. LOL I am writing as fast as I can, for sure, Jacquie. There just aren't enough hours in the day, are there?
    Cheryl

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  3. Lovely blogpost, Cheryl. You did have an idyllic childhood. Much success in your writing. Go, girl!

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  4. Gardens, homemade meals from scratch and clothes sewn by your mother all bring back happy memories for me. You mentioned the love of writing from way back in your childhood and it's a theme that seems to run true for every writer which leads me to believe that writing in in our DNA.
    I am so sorry to read about the death of your son, Russel. I know that had to be devastating.
    I played the flute in elementry school then moved on to the violin. I always wanted to play the piano but I couldn't read the music for two hands at the same time. Of course, I never received professional instruction either. LOL
    You have yet to write a book that I don't like. You have such a special talent. I have not bought the anthology with your most recent story in it but I certainly intend to. I wouldn't want to miss it because I already know it's going to be wonderful.
    Thank you for sharing your life's journey with us. I enjoyed reading it so much.

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  5. Cheryl, I loved hearing about your life story. We shared a lot of the same things growing up. Although only my mother went to work after my brother Pat was born. He is seven years younger than I.. But we did a lot of the same childhood things.. Riding our bikes, playing baseball, although I did not climb trees, heights and I are at odds..

    Thanks for sharing your life story with your fans...

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  6. Hi Vonnie,

    It was a great childhood, for sure, filled with tons of wonderful memories. There were a lot of kids in our neighborhood, and we all pretty much got along together well, and those were the days when it was perfectly safe to go all over town without worry. Thanks so much for stopping by, Vonnie! I appreciate your comments.
    Cheryl

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  7. Hi Sarah,
    Yes, Sarah, you are right about the "writer gene" in all of us. LOL You are so sweet to say that about me having yet to write a book you didn't like. That's the greatest compliment I could ever receive! Thanks so much for taking time to come by and comment. It means a lot to me!
    Hugs,
    Cheryl

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  8. Hi Kathleen,

    I loved climbing trees! That was back when I was young, though. I wouldn't dream of it today. I think as we get older we get 'better sense' than to do some of the things we did as a youngster. My daughter is like me--she had no fear of heights and was a 'climber' from the time she could walk. I always had to watch her.LOL

    So good to hear from you, Kathleen! Thanks so much for coming by.
    Hugs,
    Cheryl

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  9. You were a wild one, Cheryl! I grew up pretty much the same, only about a decade or two earlier--just make an estimation, here.
    And doesn't everyone remember a lady from the past named "Goldie?"
    I always wonder if it was short for another namer--if it is, I can't figure it out.
    If you're out of town where I think you are--you be careful, but have as much fun as you possibly can! Enough for me, please.

    Nap time--I ate cake after church, and cake always makes me sleepy. So....talk later.
    You did a wonderful job on your "get to know you" post--they've all been so good...I'm very pleased with our August format.
    Sept. 1--back to the regular posts.
    Celia

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  10. Cheryl, thanks for sharing your life with us. I also played sand lot baseball (oh, the gotehead stickers in my bare feet!), rode my bike, and climbed trees. Although I'm older, born in 19mulbledymumbledy, we shared a lot of the samethings. My mom started work when my dad's eyesight began to fail, so that ended our Cleaver lifestyle, but I sill had a great life growing up and a greater one now.Best of continued succes!

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  11. I agree with you, Cheryl, it has been fun getting to know everyone. I really didn't want to do it, especially first, but it turned out to be a positive experience.

    Our old maid librarian was Miss Jewel and I can still see that dear lady in my mind's eye. She made reading magical to us kids.

    Keep on writing those stories. They sound great.

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  12. Celia! You guessed it!!! I'm headed for the casino here in a few minutes. I was there until 10:00 last night. How have I lived this long without going to one? LOLLOL Thanks so much for your kind words, Celia. It means a lot to me. Maybe Goldie is short for "Goldenrod?"LOLLOL
    Hugs,
    Cheryl

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  13. Hi Caroline,
    Oh, yes...those stickers! Awful things! Those were the days, weren't they? Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it!
    Cheryl

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  14. Paisley,
    God bless Miss Jewel and Miss Barnett. They were very important people and never even knew it. I have truly enjoyed getting to know all of my fellow "sweethearts"--this was a great idea Celia had. Lots of fun.
    Hugs, Paisley!
    Cheryl

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  15. Fun getting to know you, Cheryl!

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  16. Cheryl,
    I think the stacked photos look great! Very stylish. :-)

    Enjoyed getting to know you better. Good luck with your books!

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  17. Hi, Cheryl. I thought I knew you well before, but now I know you so much better. :-) I would hate to have had to transfer to a new high school for my senior year. I can only imagine how tough that was on you.

    I remember those idyllic summers. Sigh. I wish adults got those, too.

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  18. Wonderful post, Cheryl! I loved reading about your idyllic childhood,it sounds heavenly.

    I've really enjoyed learning more about all the Sweethearts this month, too.

    Nic

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  19. Thanks, Paty. It was a fun post to write!
    Cheryl

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  20. Thanks so much, Jeanmarie! Yes, I'm with you about the photos! The more I look at them the better I like them. LOL Glad you came by!
    Cheryl

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  21. Keena,
    Thank you for coming over--I know how busy you are right now--I've been keeping up with you but haven't been commenting much the last few weeks. Yes, moving my sr. year was really really tough, for sure.

    I am going to send you a nice long e-mail soon...we need to catch up!
    Hugs,
    Cheryl

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  22. Hi Nic,
    Well, you know, looking back on childhood is sometimes colored by the advance of years, for sure. But I do really thank the Good Lord for having had all the love and nurturing I had as a child. It was, I think, one of the best times ever.

    Thanks so much for coming by and commenting, Nicole.

    Cheryl

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  23. Cheryl -- I love your post, and was fascinated to learn you are a classical pianist, in addition to be a wonderful writer. Yay, you! I also loved your remembrance of the spinster librarian, and could picture you as a little girl with that pitcher of lemonade reading beneath the big, blue sky. Thanks for sharing your story with us.
    ((hugs)) ~ Ashley

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  24. You are welcome, Ashley, I truly enjoyed writing this post and had to just stop myself from going on and on. LOL Yes, dear old Miss Barnett-- I can picture her climbing that massive flight of stairs slowly (no handicapped accessibility in those days!) and have many, many fond memories of the hours I spent in the library. Thank you for your comments and for allowing me to share my memories here.

    Hugs,
    Cheryl

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  25. Cheryl, I always love reading about you and reading your books. Sorry I am late commenting, but I just saw Celia's announcement for Sweethearts and enjoyed your post.
    Waving from so far away.

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  26. Mona,
    Bless your heart for stopping by--it's never too late, now that we have the internet! LOL I hope you are enjoying your getaway--I read where you were going overseas. Thanks so much for taking the time to come by and read and comment. You are always so supportive!
    Hugs,
    Cheryl

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