Saturday, July 28, 2012
FIRE EYES--PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE by Cheryl Pierson
Fire Eyes is always going to be the “book of my heart”—most special to me for several reasons. By the end of my writing career, it may not be said that it’s my best work, but it will always remain the most memorable, because it was my first one.
I know e-books are the wave of the future, but I’m old fashioned. I love to hold a real book in my hands and read from paper. And when that first box of print books arrived at my doorstep, I was elated. I can’t tell you how long I sat and fondled the books as I took them out of the box. BEAUTIFUL! My husband wondered if I was going to “rub the paint off” the covers. But there is nothing to compare with receiving your first box of YOUR OWN BOOK and opening it up—the smell, the feel , the excitement of finally bringing your story to life for others to enjoy.
Writing Fire Eyes happened by accident. I had written a much longer “saga” type novel, Brandon’s Gold, and had queried for it. I received several letters of interest back from agents, finally settling on one that I thought would be a good fit for me and for my book. His first question to me was, “Do you have anything shorter?” Through other responses received from my queries, I knew that Brandon’s Gold was far too long for a first novel; far too long to be commercially viable, so I wasn’t surprised.
I had already started working on another novel after finishing Brandon’s Gold. But halfway through that second novel, the idea for Fire Eyes occurred to me. I set my WIP aside and started writing Fire Eyes instead.
The story of Marshal Kaed Turner and Jessica Monroe unfolded quickly, but as I wrote it, I couldn’t keep from developing subplots that I feared would eventually make it too long, as well. Finally, I gave myself permission to just write the story and get it polished enough to send it out.
Eventually, Fire Eyes was contracted through The Wild Rose Press. I had a wonderful editor there, Helen Andrew, who literally made my dream come true. We worked on that manuscript and cut and edited until I sometimes wanted to cry. She really explained in detail why certain things couldn’t stand and had to go or be changed. But the end result was wonderful, and it couldn’t have happened without her. A lot of very hard work had gone into that story, not just from my perspective, but also from many other people who were involved in one way or another.
Fire Eyes was a 2010 Epic Award Finalist, and received many wonderful reviews, including a 4 star review from Romantic Times Magazine. It also received the “Reviewers Top Pick” award from PNR reviewer Karen M. Nutt.
Three years later, in April of this year, I asked for my rights back to Fire Eyes. I loved that story, but I wanted to put it out the way I had written it in the beginning. It was a great story, even with the edits, to be brought out in the TWRP romance line. But part of what ‘had to go’ for the TWRP guidelines was important to the story, in my mind. There were company guidelines to be followed when Helen and I had worked so hard three years ago to make it ‘fit’, and neither of us could change that. So we’d worked together to find a way to take out the parts that made it more “western” than “romance” and still came out with a fine story.
But I wanted to put it back together again, like I’d intended. I submitted the story to another small publisher who has an imprint for westerns and western romances, WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER. I was able to re-edit the book and add in much of what I’d had to take out or rewrite in the first version. It was released again, May 15, just three years shy of my first release date, with a brand new Jimmy Thomas cowboy cover and lots of renewed interest.
The e-book version is available now at Amazon, Lulu, Monkeybars, Barnes and Noble,
Sony and Apple, as well as many other e-book retailers.
Here are the links for Smashwords and Amazon:
The print version is also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, among other retailers. I’m very happy about breathing new life into this wonderful story. I’ve ordered my print copies, and I sat on the floor and ‘rubbed the paint off’ again when they arrived. And I’m so very grateful that I’ve had two chances to get my story out there—another thrill, a second time around!
Future plans for Fire Eyes? Evidently, many of my secondary characters in that story have piqued interest and requests for those characters to have their own stories. One of the younger deputy marshals, Travis Morgan, intrigued me so much I felt the same way! He needs his own story…and he’s going to get it. In Fire Eyes, Travis has been mentored by Kaed Turner, the main character of the story. He’s learned a lot during the time he’s been riding with Kaed, but he’s still relatively young and pretty arrogant.
The more I thought about Travis, the more I wondered about where he’d come from and why he’d decided to become a U.S. Federal Deputy Marshal in the first place—it was a thankless job; dangerous, and not well-paying. Why would he do it? And what would ever make him give it up, once it became the way of life he was familiar with?
A WOMAN, OF COURSE! And one that he never suspects will steal his heart. That’s what will be coming up in the sequel to Fire Eyes. I’ve also written another book, Gabriel’s Law, that I’m still looking for a publisher for, that has Travis as a character as a young boy, so we can see where he came from and gain a bit of insight into his character and the man he becomes later on.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by today to read. Please don’t forget to comment! I’ll leave you with a blurb and excerpt from Fire Eyes:
Marshal Kaed Turner is given a rare second chance at love with the mysterious woman the Choctaw call “Fire Eyes.” But can he quiet the ghosts from his past and protect the love that was stolen from him once before? There’s only one way: Kill outlaw Andrew Fallon, along with the murdering band of men he leads.
EXCERPT FROM FIRE EYES:
THE SET UP: Marshal Kaed Turner has been deposited on widow Jessica Monroe's front porch by a band of Choctaw Indians with orders from the chieftain: "Do not let him die." But can she save him? He's been severely beaten by a band of renegades that run the borderlands between Arkansas and Indian Territory. The last man they brought to her doorstep died. What will become of Marshal Turner? Can she save him?
FROM FIRE EYES:
The bath could be put off no longer. Kaed lay quietly, watching Jessica's nervousness.
"Jessi." When she looked at him, his bones liquefied. She wanted him. All question of how the night would end were answered as their eyes met and held over an achingly sweet moment.
Jessica sank her teeth into her lower lip, her fingers moving to the tiny row of buttons at the front of her day dress. She slowly began to work them open. "Kaed, would you, um, I mean, well, I need to get my bath now."
"I suppose that means I need to at least turn my head." His mouth was dry. It was hot in the cabin all of a sudden.
"Uh-huh." She kept right on unbuttoning the buttons, caught in his gaze. "And close your eyes."
Yeah, well it wouldn't matter if he did. He'd still see the picture she burned in his mind as she stood there opening those buttonholes.
Her fingers hesitated at the button just above the rich swell of her breasts. Kaed wet his lips, not turning his head or closing his eyes.
"Kaed?" Her voice was a husky whisper. That made him close his eyes. The sound of his name on her lips had him imagining doing all the things that a man did with a woman. All the things that were soon to come.
God. The heat was unbearable.
"Huh?" He slitted his still-swollen eyes open and saw she had released that button and moved down to the next one. He gritted his teeth.
"Turn…your…head." A teasing smile played about her mouth, as if she knew exactly what he was thinking, what he was imagining.
Turning away would be a good thing right about now. If he could only persuade his neck to cooperate.
"Yeah. Okay." He turned his face toward the window. Sort of.
"I'm trusting you."
Kaed sighed, frustrated. "I know." It was the one thing she might've said that would have kept him true to his word, that part about trusting. He couldn't betray that. "I've gotta move slow. Hurts."
"Don't—" The dress whispered to the floor.
"I won't," he gritted, the words bitter in his mouth.
OH MY! I wonder what happens after that bath?
Please leave a comment. I love to hear from readers and other writers! For all my books and short stories, go to:
Cheryl's Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson