Thank you, Lady Scribes, for having me here today. My name is Peggy Henderson, and I make no bones about it that I am a complete newcomer to the big world of book publishing. I am thrilled to be given this opportunity to introduce myself.
I’ve been an avid reader of romance novels since my early 20’s. I love a good love story, and since I’m a history buff of the old west as well, I am naturally drawn to historical romance of the 1800’s American west. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would write a novel, much less publish it someday. Since I have no great insights into writing at this point, and come to places like this for learning, I thought I’d share my journey to publishing my first book.
My journey to writing began four years ago in 2009, on a return trip from an annual family vacation to Yellowstone National Park. Interstate 15 though Utah can be a long stretch of highway, and it was during those long hours on the road that my mind drifted, and I conceived the idea that turned into my first novel, Yellowstone Heart Song.
Over the next few months, the story and characters took shape, and wouldn’t let me go. Another year went by, and another long drive home. After all the camping gear was packed away and the laundry finished, I sat down and wrote my first sentence. I had no intention of letting anyone read the story, much less publish it someday. Another year went by, and I tweaked and adjusted, and I finally decided I wanted some feedback. So I entered a contest. My scores were decent, but not enough to final. I tweaked some more, based on the judges’ comments, and entered the San Diego RWA Chapter’s Spring into Romance Contest in 2011.
My jaw dropped when I received the email that my story was a finalist! One judge commented I should get a critique partner. Hmm…not sure if her comment was a polite way of telling me I had major work to do, or what, but I took her advice. And I’m so glad I did. I found a wonderful critique partner online, and besides learning immensely from her – she’s never sugar-coated any of her comments - we’ve formed a personal friendship as well.
She nudged and prodded that I should publish the story. I balked and balked. She asked what I would write next. What? I hadn’t thought about another story, but I sat down, and began to write. And six weeks later, I had a first draft of Yellowstone Redemption finished.
By the time I began writing book four, my crit partner not-so-politely told me again that I needed to get the first one published. I finally relented, and decided to give it a try, but wanted to go the independent route, not through a publisher. My critique partner was getting quite discouraged with her own experiences with her small press publisher, so much so that she no longer wanted to write.
So here I am today. I published Yellowstone Heart Song at the beginning of January, with no expectations whatsoever. For me personally, it has been a big success. This week I published Book 2 in the series, and hope to get Book 3 and 4 out later this year. From there, who knows….. I still take the advice I gave my crit partner. I write for my own enjoyment, what I would like to read myself.
You can find out more about me and my stories here: http://peggylhenderson.blogspot.com
Here is a short description of Yellowstone Heart Song:
Nurse and avid backpacker Aimee Donovan is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. She encounters a patient who tells her he can send her two hundred years into the past to spend three months in the rugged Yellowstone wilderness at the dawn of the mountain man era. The only requirement: she cannot tell anyone that she’s from the future.
How did a white woman suddenly appear in the remote Rocky Mountain wilderness? Trapper Daniel Osborne’s first instinct is to protect this mysterious and unconventional woman from the harsh realities of his mountains. While he fights his growing attraction to her, he is left frustrated by her lies and secrecy.
Daniel shows Aimee a side of Yellowstone she’s never experienced. She is torn between her feelings for him, and exposing a secret that will destroy everything he holds as truth. As her three months come to an end, she is faced with a dilemma: return to her own time, or stay with the man who opened her eyes to a whole new world. When the decision is made for her, both their lives will be changed forever.
Excerpt from Yellowstone Heart Song:
Daniel emerged from the river, and Aimee swallowed hard. Her eyes roamed over his glistening wet body as he advanced. His feral virility stunned her. Several large jagged scars on his chest stood out against his olive skin. She wondered why she hadn’t noticed them the day before. Her gaze traveled lower, and she sighed involuntarily in relief. He wasn’t completely nude. He wore a breechcloth, but it didn’t leave much to the imagination as to what it covered, and only served to accentuate his flat, rippled stomach and muscular thighs. The smoldering look he gave her as he kept advancing sent her a few steps backwards, and the smile on her face faded.
Oh God! Is he really this angry because I threw some mud at him?
In one lightning fast predatory move, Daniel grabbed her up and flung her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and turned back to the water.
“What are you doing? Put me down!” Aimee shrieked. Her fists pounded his hard back, her feet kicking uselessly in the air. He waded into the water a few feet, and unceremoniously threw her into the river. Before she hit the water, her thought was one of disbelief that he carried the game this far. It seemed so uncharacteristic of him.
“You slimeball,” she yelled as her head emerged from the water. She was actually pleasantly surprised at this new, playful side of him.
“How dare you!” she squealed in mock anger. Daniel dove into the river after her and came up inches from her face. She splashed water at him to ward him off. Daniel’s hands shot up and encircled her wrists.
Flashing a devilish grin, he asked, “What is a slimeball?”
She couldn’t keep up her false anger any more. “A slippery snake,” she laughed. “Like you, who preys on helpless women.”
Daniel’s eyebrows shot up. “I thought you said you weren’t helpless.”
“You’re right, I’m not helpless,” she confirmed, flapping like a fish to try and free herself from his iron grip. Daniel released her wrists, but snaked his arms around her waist and reeled her in close to him, while the slow current carried them downriver. She braced her palms against his chest, and a jolt of electricity seared up her arms at the contact with his warm skin.
“I thought you told me not to go in the river again.” Her voice was slightly breathless. Daniel’s expression changed. His eyes darkened and any hint of a smile faded. Intense desire registered in his dark eyes. Her heart rate accelerated, and she struggled to breathe. This game, she realized, was taking a turn in a very dangerous direction.
“Don’t go in the river unless I’m here to fish you out.” Daniel’s voice was low and husky. His hand came out of the water and wiped a strand of hair away from her face. His deep brown eyes fixed on hers. His fingers lingered, caressing her cheek. Aimee’s stomach tightened, and she groaned inwardly at the pure pleasure of that simple touch. His thumb traced along her cheek, and he cradled her face in his hand, his fingers raking through her hair.
Slowly, he lowered his face to hers. She swallowed nervously. Her thoughts earlier might have strayed in this direction, but this is not right, she reasoned. I can’t get involved with him. I’m not going to be here for long. It would do no good to give in to this temptation.
Available at Amazon: