Monday, November 26, 2012

Meet the Authors of the 2012 Christmas Collection

The Wishing Tree by Cheryl Pierson
A war veteran with visible and invisible scars, mostly a loner, meets a special woman and her son. Will he provide their tree for Christmas and change his own life forever?

KAREN: What inspired you to write your tale? 

CHERYL: When a man goes to war, he comes home with scars that no one else can see. He is forever changed inside, no matter how he may look on the outside.  When I decided on my hero for THE WISHING TREE, my Christmas story in the Victory Tales Press 2012 Christmas Collection, I knew that he would have both physical and emotional scars that would separate him from a normal life. He goes through the motions, but being severely wounded in Iraq and losing one eye has set him apart forever. Nothing is the same for him, once he returns; it can never be, for our veterans who have seen things that civilians will never have to encounter. Six years have passed since his return and he has all but given up hope of attaining the dreams he once had. No one can encounter the horrors of war and then continue their lives as if that part of it hadn’t happened. That was why I chose for Pete, the hero in my story, to have had a soldier’s background—to bring awareness to readers that, no matter the war, no matter the era, the damages to our soldiers are the same. How is he going to handle it, once he finds a beautiful young woman who loves him, no matter what?

KAREN: Tell us what you liked most about the holidays:

Christmas is my favorite holiday. Growing up, it was always a time of happiness, good food and lots of laughter. I think my favorite part of Christmas is standing back and looking at the Christmas tree, once we’ve finished decorating it! It’s always “the best one ever.”

CHERYL'S Holiday Favorites:

My favorite holiday movie has to be “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”—I always cry in it at a couple of places, but especially at the end.  My favorite Christmas carol is “SILENT NIGHT”—I know there are lots of others— newer, more “hip”—but that one has always been my favorite through the years.  

Image of Cheryl PiersonABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cheryl was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, and grew up in Seminole, Oklahoma. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma, and holds a B.A. in English. She has taught numerous writing classes and workshops over the past years and also works on an individual basis with many of her students, and other authors, locally and nationwide.
Cheryl's most recent publications include "A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS", which is a collection of four of her historical western Christmas short stories (A Night for Miracles, Meant To Be, Scarlet Ribbons and Homecoming)in her own single-author holiday anthology. Blog:


Holiday Surprise by John Duncklee 

Joe and Marge, once high school sweethearts, travel different paths when Joe decides to become a cowboy. Years later, on a special Christmas Eve, Santa Claus brings Joe a surprise.  

KAREN: What inspired you to write your tale?

JOHN: Few of my stories are inspired by anything in particular. I develop them from my experiences and people I have met during my 83 years.
KAREN: Tell us what you liked most about the holidays:

Christmas is a holiday and for me is another holiday during which I try to write my 2000 words a day.

JOHN'S Favorite holiday meal...

Refried beans frijoles refritos and tamales

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Duncklee is an award-winning author of twenty-five books. His published work covers fiction, non-fiction, satire, short stories and poetry. Prior to his writing career, John was a university professor in both the United States and Mexico, a cattle rancher, Quarter Horse breeder, designer of mesquite wood furniture, and served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He lives in New Mexico with his wife, Penny, an illustrator and artist.


Snowy Cocoon by Joshua R. Shinn

Ryan Yamada meets his former childhood email pal, Yuki Stanton, during high school. Will their friendship and blossoming love for each other persist despite her domineering father?

KAREN: What inspired you to write your tale?

JOSHUA: The desire to write my very first story and have it be a short story somehow connected to Christmas. Also, all of the characters in Snowy Cocoon are inspired by people I actually know.

KAREN: What does Christmas mean to you?

JOSHUA: To me, it's the time of giving,not getting. And you can give both through presents and through compassion towards others, even people who don't like you or understand you. Lastly, and most importantly, it's the birthday of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior since I was eight.

KAREN: What's your favorite holiday movie?

 JOSHUA: My favorite Christmas holiday movie is The Grinch Who Stole Christmas; the Jim Carrey live-action one.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Josh Shinn, born on July 7th, 1991, has been a writer since he was fourteen-years-old, writing fan-fiction for fun and as an exercise to improve his skills. He graduated from high school in 2010 and currently lives in Texas. His mother is Laura Shinn, a fellow author who also is a cover artist and an editor. Being a born-again Christian since age eight, he enjoys discussing the Bible with others, fellow believers or not, and stands by his belief in Jesus Christ no matter what. 

You can find Joshua Shinn on Facebook.


Gifts by Stephanie Burkhart

Will Christian and Famke's attraction interfere with them earning a spot on the Netherlands Olympic pairs skating team? Must they push aside their feelings to succeed?

STEPH: Thanks so much for doing this. Happy Holidays to your readers. May everyone have a blessed holiday season this year.

KAREN: What inspired you to write the story for the 2012 Christmas Collection?

STEPH: I just want to say I look forward to writing a story every year for the anthology. They're short, fun, and who doesn't love Christmas?

I have a criteria for my Christmas anthology stories: They have to have an international favor to them. Being in the military, I spent several Christmas' overseas in Germany and it really opened me up to experiencing the holiday in a broader fashion.

This year I chose to go to the Netherlands. I visited the country on several occasions in the late 1980's, early 1990's. Amsterdam is truly an international city. What I remember is that there was always a hidden jewel you could find – and did find – when you didn't expect it. Amsterdam has canals, great beer, and a wonderful tulip garden at the Keukenhof. My story is called "Gifts." Christian and Famke are pairs ice skaters hoping to be selected for the Olympics. Can they overcome past hurts to offer the best performance they can and earn a spot on their country's Olympic team?

KAREN: What does Christmas mean to you? 

STEPH: Jesus' birth offers hope to the world, so I try to impart that to my boys who are still young. Jesus birth is also filled love. It's a time for charity and faith. I do my best to impart this simple message to the boys while balancing commercialism and the demands of society. It's important to remember Christmas is in your heart and your family, and what you do or don't is a reflection of what's in your heart.

KAREN: What's your favorite holiday meal?

STEPH: Rib roast. We used to host an ornament exchange dinner for the boys when they were younger and we made a rib roast for it. The boys are a tad older now and it's hard to get everyone together so we made the rib roast our traditional holiday dinner.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. Her previous Christmas short stories include: Christmas in Bayeux, Feast of Candles, and a novella published with Desert Breeze called "The Faberge Secret."  BLOG:

Kimberly's Christmas Cake by Chuck Tyrell
The year Kimberly turned eighteen, she made an extra effort to learn lots of woman things. Would baking a special Christmas cake for Russ Taklin help prove she had grown up?

KAREN: What inspired you to write the story for the 2012 Christmas Collection?

CHUCK: I'd never written a "romance" story, so I couldn't let the opportunity to give it a try go by without taking a stab at it. I had a character, young Kimberly McCullough, the protagonist in Big Enough, and I had my dear mother's recipe for Christmas fruitcake. Blend the two with a tall, rugged man trying to get a ranch going in the highlands of Arizona, and romance comes naturally. They say that the road to a man's heart goes directly through his stomach, but Kimberly took the long way around. The story was a joy to write, and it made me think that I could possibly write a full length Western romance novel.

KAREN: What does Christmas mean to you?

CHUCK: Christmas time is family time in my experience. It's when kids come home to spend the holidays with parents. It's when everybody picks up to go see grandpa and grandma. And the traditions families have seem to be kept alive by Christmas. Also, Christmas is the time when people loosen their purse strings somewhat to help people less fortunate than themselves. Lots of good gets done at Christmas, and it makes you wish that Christmas happened 52 times a year. (Every day would be a burden?) Of course Christmas is time to reflect upon our Savior and what he and his gospel mean to each of us. It is a time to reflect upon our own lives and see how we can become a little more Christ-like in our sayings and our doings. 

Chuck's Favorites: 

I've always had a soft spot for the movie "Miracle on 34th Street." Twas the Night Before Christmas brings happy childhood memories whenever I hear it. Each year I personally do the turkey. Sometimes it's galantine, sometimes it's baked whole, sometimes it's cut up beforehand and baked in shifts (some frozen for later use), but it's always there. As for Christmas fruitcake, check out my story--Kimberly's Christmas Cake.
About the Author: Charles T. Whipple is an international award-winning copywriter, journalist, author and novelist. His awards include Editor & Publisher Magazine DM Award, World Annual Report Competition Award, 2010 Oaxaca International Literature Award, and 2011 Global eBook Award. Whipple was born in Show Low, Arizona. He spent two and a half years in Japan as a volunteer youth missionary, and majored in Japanese History as a graduate student and grantee at the East West Center, University of Hawaii. He is fluent in spoken and written Japanese, and has long been interested in the fantastic aspect of traditional Japanese tales. Whipple lives in the city of Chiba, the capital of Chiba Prefecture, which encompasses the ancient Kanto Kingdoms of Awa, Kazusa, and Shimosa. Today, Chiba hosts the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland and is gateway to Japan via the international airport in Narita. He has one wife, four daughters, two sons, 18 grandchildren, and one dog. Whipple also writes western novels under the pen name of Chuck Tyrell.

Family Heirloom by Gerald Costlow 
Alone at Christmas, Marian discovers an antique angel in ornaments from the attic. When she places it atop the tree, she begins a journey through time and her life will never be the same.

KARENWhat inspired you to write the story for the 2012 Christmas Collection?

  Actually, I read something from an author, I believe it might have been Karen, where she talked about how she loved writing time travel stories, and that inspired me to put my own unique spin on one. Then I looked through some old Christmas carols and one verse popped out at me, and the story arrived pretty much complete in my head.
KAREN: What does Christmas mean to you?

GERALD: Helping others. I love being a Secret Santa. I've been blessed with family and a wonderful wife and a good job, but I spent a few years working on a Suicide hotline as a young man and Christmas is a lonely time for many people.

Gerald's Favorite holiday meal...

GERALD: Oh, my wife is a wonderful cook and she does a ham every Christmas that beats anything I've tasted in a restaurant!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gerald Costlow lives in Michigan with his wife and three dogs. His previous stories published by Rebecca J. Vickery include Mars Needs Men and A Distant Call.

His first two novels, The Weaving and A Plethory of Powers, were published in 2011 to great reviews. He has numerous short stories published over the past few years in anthologies and magazines including A Distant Call and Deal with the Devil from Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery. His next novel, Crazy Jack, will be published before the end of the year.
To find out more about this fantasy romance author and his work, visit his website at:
or at: 


Cassandra Hayes has been dating Tremayne Graystone, the vampire she’s been sent to eliminate. To stake or not to stake is the least of their problems when masked men kidnap them and hold them hostage. They realize all they want for Christmas is a chance to make their relationship work. Kisses under the mistletoe may not make this holiday merry, but they’re willing to give it a shot. 

What inspired me to write the story for the 2012 Christmas Collection?

I love the paranormal and my muse of late insists that I pen vampire tales. What else could I do? I combined a little vampire lore, a wee bit of the medieval Yuletide celebration with the Christmas holiday, and voilaMistletoe, Stakes, and Yuletide Cheer was created.

What does Christmas mean to me?
Christmas time is spending time with the family. We have a family dinner on Christmas day at my mother’s house. She makes her wonderful Italian dumplings, a family tradition passed on through the generation. They are yummy!!

My favorites: 
My favorite holiday movie is: While You Were Sleeping. 
Favorite book: The Gift a Magi by O. Henry.  
Favorite song: God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen.  
Favorite holiday meal: My mother’s dumplings of course. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chihuahua/Yorkshire terrier is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer. 

Her new passion is creating book covers for Western Trail Blazers and Rebecca J. Vickery Publishing. In her spare time, she reviews books for PNR-Paranormal Romance Reviews. 

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.

 Visit the author at:

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Cathy said... Best Blogger Tips

Sounds like a great anthology. Quite a few different stories. :)

katsrus said... Best Blogger Tips

All these stories sound wonderful. I love the cover. So pretty. Thanks for the giveaway.
Sue B

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Cathy,

There are a great variety here for the readers and a chance to try a new genre. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Sue,

I love the cover, too. This was created by the talented Laura Shinn. She did a wonderful job capturing the Holiday Spirit!!

Cheryl Pierson said... Best Blogger Tips

Hey Karen and all, I'll be in and out today but wanted to pop in this morning and just say hello. I really enjoyed getting opportunity to learn more about my fellow authors in this anthology. Lots of very different stories and truly "something for everyone", for sure. I've contributed to several of these anthologies and am always excited to see the final result--they never disappoint. I just got my author copies the other day and they look wonderful. I've started reading but haven't made it all the way through yet with these busy holidays. I'm looking forward to sitting down tonight and just reading.

Gerald Costlow said... Best Blogger Tips

Hello to everyone and Happy Holiday season!

pc said... Best Blogger Tips

This sounds like a wonderful anthology I would love to read!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Cheryl Pierson

I just finished reading the collection. I enjoyed the different stories. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Gerald Costlow

Hi Gerald!
Happy Holidays to you, too!

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

I ve ht these stories afre as diverse as the authors who wrote them. I have this book due to the generosity of another author. after reading these wonderful tidbits, I can't wait to dig into these stories. I wish each of you tremendous success and a wonderful holiday season.

Katrina Gillian said... Best Blogger Tips

All the stories sound really good.

My favorite part of the holidays is spending time with my family.

bn100 said... Best Blogger Tips

Very nice interviews.

Fiona McGier said... Best Blogger Tips

My favorite holiday movie is The Cheaters, a little-known movie from the 50s with Joseph Schieldkraudt and Billie Burke (she was Glynda, the good witch in Oz). Trust me, even though it might be hard to find, you will really enjoy it! I laugh and cry with it each year.

Anthology books are a great way to discover new writers. Best of sales to you.

Beckey said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow what an amazing anthology collection, sound like it'll be a great book to read. Thanks for sharing.


Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Fiona McGier I'll have to check out the movie. Sounds like a good one. Thanks for sharing with us. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Beckey Thanks for stopping in for a quick peek. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@bn100Hi bn100,

Thanks for coming by! :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Katrina Gillian Hi Katrina. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Sarah J. McNeal Sarah,
You'll have to let us know how you enjoyed the tales. :)