Sunday, September 28, 2014
EVERYTHING (ALMOST) YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CHERYL PIERSON by Cheryl Pierson
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.
THIS IS ME AT AGE 3--TAKEN FROM A LARGER PICTURE OF THE FAMILY TOGETHER. MY DAD LOVED TO EXPERIMENT WITH PHOTOGRAHY
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.”
MY BEST FRIEND, JANE, AND ME IN MY SANDBOX. JANE PASSED AWAY LAST YEAR OF CANCER. I WILL MISS HER FOREVER.
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.
MY MOM AND DAD AS NEWLYWEDS IN 1944
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.
HERE I AM AS A JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL. MY MOM MADE THIS DRESS FOR ME--SHE WAS A WONDERFUL SEAMSTRESS!
Gary and I were married in 1979, and here we are nearly 36 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.
These are my "babies" now--just before their birthdays this year (both in September).
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. It is now re-released through Prairie Rose Publications, along with most of my other works.
Last year (2013), a good friend, Livia Reasoner, and I teamed up to open a publishing house, PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS. In one year’s time, we’ve expanded with a total of five imprints: Prairie Rose Publications, Fire Star Press, Painted Pony Books, Prayers and Promises, and Tornado Alley Publications. We’ve enjoyed publishing many seasoned authors as well as several very talented new authors, as well—and publish a large variety of stories and formats, from anthologies to single-sell short stories, and novels, of course.
I also continue to write westerns for the Western Trail Blazer’s anthologies and shared world novels about the fictional town of Wolf Creek, Kansas. These are some wonderful tales of the old west, and it’s a lot of fun to work with other authors on a common project.
WOLF CREEK BOOK 1: BLOODY TRAIL--THIS STARTED IT ALL!
This is my granddog, Embry, who has lived with us not for the last 4 years or so. Jessica rescued him from a shelter, then had to sell her house and move into an apartment. So you can see, with his size, he would not have been happy there. He came to live with "Grandma and Grandpa" and is the king of the house here. Remember the old joke, "Where does an 800 pound gorilla sit? Anywhere he wants to..." That's true in our house, too--Embry weighs in at 200 pounds!
Here's the blurb and excerpt from my latest short story, SPELLBOUND, that appears in PRP's COWBOYS, CREATURES, AND CALICO VOL. 2 which will be available for presale this week, along with Volume 1!
Angie Colton and her young sister, Earlene, leave their circus life behind when their mother is killed and their father fears for their safety. Now, living in their hideaway is their only chance to keep Angie from the clutches of the evil man who may have murdered her mother. But Angie has a desperate secret she hides—she and Earlene are both witches, and are just coming into their own.
Brett Diamond must save his brother, Jake, from a ruthless killer. Teller Magdon is determined to force Brett to rob a bank in order to keep Jake alive. But on his way to Ft. Smith, Brett is wounded by an unknown assailant, and taken in by a beautiful angel and her hellcat younger sister. With no time to spare, Brett must confide in Angie about his mission—and Angie must decide how she can help him, yet protect herself from the evil that has managed to find her through an ironic twist.
There’s only one thing for certain: their chance encounter is a work of Fate and love. No matter what happens next, they’ve both been left Spellbound!
Her kiss was tentative, sweet, and yearning. Brett let his breath fill his lungs slowly. Her hand caressed his cheek. He raised his right arm and threaded his fingers through her shimmering mass of golden curls, remembering how her head had felt, resting on his shoulder, and the thoughts he’d had as she had snuggled her body close in to his.
She lifted her mouth from his and he gave her a slow smile. “You tryin’ to bewitch me, Angie…or are you just practicin’ your kissin’ on me?”
She smiled back, letting a finger toy with his hair. “Maybe it’s a little of both…I do need to practice…as you said.” Her smile faded, and she met his eyes. “But I do wish it was in my power to bewitch you completely, Brett Diamond.” Her teeth caught in her lower lip as if to keep the rest of what she wanted to say inside.
Heat rushed through Brett’s body at her softly-spoken admission. He pulled her to him, a low groan escaping his chest as her lips met his one more.
“Angie,” he whispered, her name like a prayer in his heart.
She pulled away reluctantly, and Brett cursed himself for scaring her with his aggression. He was taken off guard when she spoke.
“There’s things about me you—you don’t know. And you don’t ever want to find out, Brett.”
“What’re you talkin’ about, Ang?”
She shook her head. “There’s other reasons why Papa wanted us to leave the circus and live out here away from people.” She gave a short laugh. “I guess—maybe he thought he’d keep me and Earlie safe, but…he wanted to keep other people safe, too. From us.”
Uneasiness settled over Brett. He didn’t want to hear any more. He wanted to hold on to his newfound dreams of what life might be like if he settled down with Angie Colton…and he had a feeling she was about to shatter all his illusions.
“You asked if I was tryin’ to bewitch you, Brett. Truth is, I—could, if I wanted to.”
Brett laughed outright at that bold statement. Angie was overcom-ing her uncertainty in leaps and bounds, for sure.
“Why’s that, Ang? You a witch or somethin? The real deal?”
She gave him a long look, remaining silent. The tension in the room stretched between them until Brett felt the air would shatter around them.
“Yes, Brett. That’s what I am. The real deal.”
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 better.
Hugs to all my SWEETHEART sisters!
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Great post, Cheryl. We had many things in common in childhood. I was ten before I had a dress my mom didn't sew. That was only because my half-brother and his wife were visiting on my birthday and took me to Sears to pick out my present. I chose a red plaid dress with a white Peter Pan collar.
Caroline, I remember my mom being such a perfectionist. And looking back now, so many of the other kids' clothes were all store-bought, where mine were mostly all hand sewn. SO wish I had kept one or two of my favorites. But I do have some of my baby dresses she made for me.ReplyDelete
Interesting to hear about your life and writing. The snippet from your Halloween book looks very interesting. I am eager to find some time to finally sit down and read your books (more than a few are on my Kindle waiting) and those by other authors whose books enticed me. Stories about witches are right up my alley ;)ReplyDelete
Our moms were a great deal alike, Cheryl. The Great Depression certainly influenced the way that generation behaved and what their values were. Interesting to know you were a bike addict. I was so sorry to hear that your childhood friend, Jane, died.ReplyDelete
Well, I was really gettin' into your story excerpt when you ended it all of a sudden...and on purpose, I'm sure. I can't wait to read all of it.
I really enjoyed reading this blog. I knew about your children, but I didn't know about Russell. That must have been heartbreaking.
I'm wishing your great success and happiness...
Hi Rain! I love these times when we get to share things about our lives and our past--I always learn something about my on-line friends and colleagues that I never knew before.ReplyDelete
I hear you about no reading time! Luckily for me, I DID get to read all the stories in both anthologies since I was editing. LOL I really love supernatural stories.
Yep, it seems like they were a lot alike. I read your post and truly enjoyed learning about your "raisin'"--you had a lot of freedoms to make mistakes and learn from them. My parents were more controlling about things, and consequently, I guess I was, too, as a parent.
You know, Jane and I didn't talk all that much in more recent years, but I think we both just took comfort knowing that each other was "out there." I feel a hole in my world, just knowing she's gone. As for Russell...that was the absolute worst day of my life when we got the news of his death. He lived with us off and on for several years, and there's still not a day that goes by that I don't think of him.
Thanks so much for coming by, Sarah!
I really enjoyed your post, Cheryl. We also have a lot in common. I grew up at the same time. My dad was in the Navy, so we also moved a lot. I was lucky to go to just one high school; my older brother went to 4. I loved the excerpt, too. You are the "real deal" as well!ReplyDelete
My mom was so much like yours, Okie, it's scary. Those were the days, weren't they?ReplyDelete
I also remember riding my bike all over creation, playing stick ball, and building forts in crab apple tree hedges. Climbing trees, too. Some of us lived blessed childhoods.
Glad you found your way back to Oklahoma and started PRP with Livia. Y'all founded something really special. :-)
Hi Lorrie! Those were some great times to be a kid and grow up in, weren't they? I'm sure our parents thought "how awful!--the 60's!" LOL I'm so glad you liked the excerpt--and thanks so much for your kind words, my friend!ReplyDelete
Tex, you know that's because our moms were the same MOM, don't you? I mean, we ARE sisters--just born on different sides of the Red River. LOLReplyDelete
Yes, we did have some blessed childhoods. One of my favorite memories was, as a "tween-teen" how we'd all get together (all the neighborhood kids) in the evenings and one of us would bring a radio, and we'd be able to listen to Wolfman Jack all the way from WLS in Chicago! It was a miracle! (Only happened at night!) We loved him so much, and that was how we spent so many summer evenings growing up.
I'm glad to be back here in OK, too, and so glad Livia and I got PRP going--we both enjoy it so much!
OMG -- Wolfman Jack! I'd forgotten about that. We only got him at night, too. What fun!ReplyDelete
I almost forgot to add that I love your big doggie. In a hardship you could pack him up like a mule if you had to "bug out" like one of those doomsday "preppers".ReplyDelete
He was just the coolest thing ever--at least, we thought that. Lots of great memories!ReplyDelete
Sarah, he is a dear to the four of us, but to anyone else, he is all teeth and on guard. He does that rumbling growl in his chest and when the mowers come, he just goes nuts running from one end of the Florida room to the other barking. So we couldn't take him anywhere. We're thinking we need to get a tornado shelter here big enough for him, Gary and me. They have some at Home Depot that are above ground, like a big tube you can step into. I don't know if he'd go, though--he hates small spaces.ReplyDelete
Howdy! And great post, Cheryl. It's fun getting to know you (and the others) better.ReplyDelete
I'm afraid my childhood was not as exciting as yours... Well, sort of. Although I have to admit having cousins (2 - brother and sister) living with us was kind of "strange" to the people in the neighborhood. But then, my mom was well-known from rescuing stray human beings. :) And I guess I'm the same... as I've had friends of my children stay here with us for a more or less long period of time (not mentioning cats who, incidentally, are still here).
Love the excerpts and can't wait to get my hands onto those Halloween anthologies - the print version, most probably. Keep your fingers cross so that my "plan" to get a few books isn't foiled, again.
So nice to learn more about you. I'm heartbroken about Russell. That is never easy.
I can't believe you were allowed 7 books at the library. :-) What a treat that must've been.
Thanks for all the love and support that you share so willingly each and every day. Please know what a treasure it is!
Your story brings back so many memories of my childhood back in Illinois. It was a good time, but I belong to the mountains now.ReplyDelete
Like you, I also wrote plays, poems, etc. Played the piano, sang and played a clarinet and lived at the library ten miles away. That is perhaps why I own so many books. I'd finish the books too soon and have nothhing to read, well, I bought books even back then.
Thank you for sharing not only your life, but your talent and patience in helping others realize their deams. Doris
Liette, I think everyone has an exciting life. It might not seem that way at the time--especially to the one living it--but to others, it is.ReplyDelete
And God bless your mom for taking in the "strays" and caring for them. We need more people like her and YOU!
Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you can get your hands on these anthologies, too-they're both just great. We'll be doing some giveaways once they're released next week, so keep your eyes peeled!
Yes, losing Russell was terribly heartbreaking. He'd just turned 18 in June and was killed in a car wreck the first weekend in September. That's been 21 years ago, but I still miss him, and always will.
I loved our old librarian, Goldie Barnett. That library was her life, and she must have been around the day it was built--it was old, even when I lived there, and there was a mountain of steps to get up to it, which she climbed every day, with her hunch back and arthritis, and she always had a smile for everyone in spite of it all. She was doing what she loved. Seven books was so wonderful! Even if I knew I could never read them all in 2 weeks, I had a choice! And if I started one and it wasn't as great as I'd thought, I would start another one. That's where I got my habit of reading multiple books at one time.
Thanks for your very kind words, Kristy. Livia and I both are SO glad we decided to do this--neither one of us has looked back and I hope we have many more years ahead of us. I do love all our authors--it's like a big family.
I love these childhood memories and reminiscences. Seems like so many of us had similar "beginnings" and even those who didn't developed an early love for books and writing that have stayed with us all for all these years.
I'm so glad you submitted Home for His Heart--and I look forward to more stories from you, young lady!
I really enjoyed your post. It's a blessing to have an ideal childhood. I've always been grateful for mine. I'm so sorry for the losses in your life.
This was such a great idea for us to post about our lives. I think it's easy to forget we're all human out there with blessing and tragedies, as we usually just see the book releases and happy news and not the behind the scenes.
I love the excerpt for SPELLBOUND! It's another must read by Cheryl Pierson. :)
Kirsten, I like this idea, too, about posting about ourselves and the things we did in the past (Well, some of them, anyhow...) and us all getting to know one another better. It's been a lot of fun doing this.ReplyDelete
I've read every post, and sure did enjoy them all.
So glad you enjoyed the excerpt for Spellbound. My story for the Christmas anthology is about the third Diamond brother, Jake, who is introduced briefly in this story.
Thanks for stopping by!
I always enjoy learning new things about you. My brothers and I spent summers on our bikes, too. Since we had a lake within riding distance, it's amazing we didn't get into more trouble than we did.ReplyDelete
Hi! I kept waiting for your post to learn more about you. As it turns out, since we're been friends so long, I knew much about you, your family, and your life.ReplyDelete
I loved seeing your children....my imagination can go just so long.
Embry? For some reason, I had a mental picture of this dog....pet...maybe I've seen him on FB?
Even though it seems we lived similar lives, we couldn't have all that much. There is a big age difference here, that I can barely admit. But when you think about it, our parts of the country/world have been slow to change when compared to the east or west coast.
Oh, I love those photos. Your parents are movie-star handsome and beautiful.
And that photo of you at age...13?...was very glamorous for the time.
Thanks for giving up the full story about you. Oh, believe me, I know there's much, much more, but you have given us a wonderful glimpse into The Life and Times of Cheryl Pierson.
Interesting reading, Cheryl! I spent a couple months in WV and can't say it's my favorite place--I ended up with "Chemical Valley Crud" and it took the clean air of Seattle and three rounds of antibiotics before I could breathe again! So I'm glad you found your way back to Oklahoma.ReplyDelete
I always envied the city kids because they got to play so much, and their friends lived so close. Luckily, with books you're never alone, plus, with all those chores on the farm, there wasn't much time to mope about things.
Livia, speaking of trouble on bike...One year when I was about 12 or so, a bunch of us had heard that the Hell's Angels were camping out a little ways from one of our friends' houses who lived "out" a little from town. We were not supposed to ride that far out, but we figured it was worth it! (STUPID KIDS!) We thought we were being so stealthy. We rode up over by where Melody's house was and kept going. We didn't see anything. We figured it was just a rumor. What if we went a little farther on? UH...YEP. There they were. OH MY LORD. We turned tail and biked out of there so fast--I still remember that feeling of terror. One of them looked up -- I'm sure we made a noise--there were about 3 of us--well, they probably got a huge laugh seeing us scrambling down the road to get away. LOLReplyDelete
Yep, Embry is on my cover photo on my home page--when he was younger. And my kids--I can't believe I haven't posted pics of them! This one is really "impromptu"--they like to go to a nearby lake and catch up on things--they took sailing lessons there when they were younger and it's safe. They're best friends, even into adulthood--couldn't ask for better kids or a happier outcome for them to be so close.
I was 17 in that picture--that was part of my "senior portrait package" as they called it. LOL Anyhow, Mom made me two really nice outfits to wear (this was back when they'd just started doing the deal where you could go to a private photographer and use props--out in the woods, a chair, etc.--some of them are so funny.)
My mom also had a beautiful voice--she could have been right up there with any of the stars of the 40's/50's in another time, another place. I wonder how many people in this world that can be said about? My husband's dad and my dad both invented things to use around the house/garage/farm. Wonder how many more there are/were like that in the world?
You're right--our part of the country is slower to change, and that's probably why we have so many similarities--but we won't even talk about age difference. Most of my sisters--related and by choice--are older than I am, and we all get along great.
Hugs, Celia, and much love to you always.
Jacquie, I can see why you wouldn't like WV if you were just in the Chemical Valley part of it. But outside of that, it's a gorgeous state--so many beautiful things to see. I detested the winters, though, and so did Gary--so when it was possible for him to transfer to OK City, we did not let the door hit us in the butt to get out here, and he's fine to just go home and visit once a year. I wish we could go in the fall rather than the summer, but my brother in law has a huge family gathering the weekend before the 4th of July every year, and has for several years, so that's when we go.ReplyDelete
I'm glad to be back in Oklahoma. It's got its own kind of beauty, and it's home to me. And now, to my kids. Gary has even adapted. LOL
It was wonderful having kids all around. We had a great time, and for the most part, we all got along and had some great adventures.
Cheryl, I am tempted to henceforth call you Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I loved hearing about your childhood and your parents, how you met your husband and got into writing. You exude such a happy, positive energy. How DO you do it? LOL Anyhow, you know I am a great fan of you as a person, and as a writer. Best of luck with your publishing endeavors, too. (((hugs)))ReplyDelete
Ha! Ashley! You crack me up. And, you humble me, as well. Those are some very nice comments, and I appreciate them.ReplyDelete
Well, I have to say, it wasn't ALL "Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm-ish"--though my husband does sometimes take to calling me "Pollyanna". LOL
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I value your friendship so much, and one of these days we are GOING to meet in person!