Friday, April 1, 2016

When the Muse Calls

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to stick to a writing and publishing schedule, the muse has other ideas. I'm supposed to be working on a Book 7 in the Yellowstone Romance Series, and then on another book in the Blemished Brides Series. That's what my "to write list" tells me. Somewhere far, far down that list is a scribbled note that says "Oregon Trail series with siblings getting lost." 
Well, as I was writing dutifully on my Yellowstone book one day, my mind decided to take a detour, and the first story in that Oregon Trail series popped into my head. The characters screamed loud enough over the next few days that I couldn't get another word written in the book I was working on. Reluctantly, I set my WIP aside and started charting out this new story that wouldn't leave me be. About six weeks later, I published Cora's Pride (Book 1 in the Wilderness Brides Series). 
I'm fortunate to have an editor who works closely with me during my writing process, and beta readers who are quick readers. The book hit a slight snag about two-thirds of the way through, when several people thought the heroine was a bit too hard-headed. My editor dubbed the book "Badass Heroine on the Oregon Trail" initially. Despite having to go back and reworking some of the earlier chapters to soften her up a little, this was one of the fastest books I've ever written. I guess when the muse calls that strongly, you have to answer! 
Cora's Pride was released on March 17, 2016. It's garnering some great reviews already. Now the dilemma I jump right into the next book in the series, or go back to my other WIP? I'll just have to see which characters scream the loudest now...

She just wants a new start for her family, and no one will stop her.
He simply wants to get home with his winter supplies and keep his scalp.
Together, they're on a collision course for adventure and perhaps even love.


Hot air blew on his face. Nathaniel woke with a start and scrambled to the side. His hand reached for the rifle that lay next to him even before his eyes flew open. He stared up at the dark muzzle of one of his horses and relaxed. Touching a hand to the animal’s nose, he pushed the large head away and sat up with a groan. 
He blinked to clear the fog from his head. Sunlight streamed in thin ribbons through the forest canopy, ending in circular patterns on the ground. 
“You could have woken me sooner,” Nathaniel grumbled to the horse and stood. Two, no, three restless nights were taking their toll on him. 
He’d come back to his camp last night, his head full of thoughts about Cora and the things he’d overheard at her camp, and it had kept him awake well into the night. When he’d set out on his journey from Harley’s Hole to Fort Hall several weeks ago, the notion that his path would cross with a woman who completely consumed his thoughts would have been laughable. 
Even more amusing was the fact that she wanted nothing to do with him. Perhaps he’d simply lived in the wilderness too long with his brothers and Harley, and it didn’t take much for a woman to catch his eye. 
Nathaniel shook his head. He’d seen plenty of women on the wagon trains that passed through Fort Hall and Fort Laramie over the years. He’d never wasted a second thinking about any of them. Besides, there were three other women in Cora’s company. Anna Porter was polite and appreciated him, yet she didn’t catch his eye the way her friend did. He hadn’t seen or heard much from the two younger girls to make a judgment about them, other than the one named Josie wanted to learn how to shoot. What was it about Cora Miller that held him captivated? She hated him.
He scoffed while gathering some twigs and branches for a fire. Stopping in front of his horse, he patted the animal’s neck and looked the gelding in the eye.  “It’s because she dislikes me.”
The horse stared back at him, his ears pitched forward.
“I’m just trying to set her straight about me, that’s all.” Nathaniel bent to pick up a handful of twigs for tinder. When he straightened, he made eye contact with the horse again. “There’s nothing else I want from her.” The gelding shook his head and snorted.
Nathaniel leaned forward, glaring at the gelding. “What? You think I’m interested in her for a different reason? I didn’t make the trip to Fort Hall to find a woman, and absolutely not one as disagreeable as Cora Miller.” He turned to move away from the horse, abruptly stopped and looked at the animal again, pointing a stick at him for emphasis. “A woman like that can surely make a man’s life miserable as hell.”

The gelding took a step forward, stretched his neck to sniff at the stick, then lowered his head to crop at some grasses on the ground. Clearly, this conversation was over. Nathaniel’s trusted mount didn’t believe a word of what he’d said.

Peggy L Henderson
Western Historical and Time Travel Romance
“Where Adventure Awaits and Love is Timeless”

Award-Winning Author of:
Yellowstone Romance Series
Teton Romance Trilogy
Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series
Blemished Brides Western Historical Romance Series

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