E.E. Burke's Best of the West with award-winning author Peggy Henderson

Ben Ferguson faces each day as it's handed to him. Assigned to a position in the newly formed Yellowstone National Park, life seems like it couldn't get any better. But patrolling for poachers is fraught with danger, and he soon finds his future looking bleak. Images of a blue-eyed guardian angel are the only thing he has to pull him from the edge of death.

Crazy. Weak. Worthless. Demon-possessed. Clara Youngblood has been labeled many things by people who cannot understand the challenges she must confront every day within her own mind. Without the support of family or friends, she is terrorized daily by fear and impending doom. When all seems dark, a glimmer of hope appears in the form of a retired soldier.

Ben and Clara wouldn't have chosen the circumstances that brought them together, but they soon discover their importance in rescuing each other. Strength of heart and mind are not always visible in outward appearances, but love and support can overcome the uncertainties of tomorrow.

Here's an excerpt:

“Shooting a dog is about as cowardly as a man gets.”
“Mind your own business, mister. The damned mutt attacked me.”
Clara’s breath caught in her throat. The familiar voice of Ben Ferguson came from somewhere close by. Tentatively, she opened her eyes and raised her head. Her hair fell into her eyes, obstructing her view, but not before she caught a glimpse of a horse and a man in the saddle, pointing a rifle at Max.
Tears flooded her eyes, and her heart continued its fierce pounding in her chest. Instead of being relieved that Ben had shown up, shame overtook her. This was the second time in the same day that this man had come to her aid when she’d been too weak and feeble-minded to fight her own battles. Why couldn’t she simply be like other people and stand up for herself without shattering into tiny pieces?
Terror gripped her like an icy vice around her heart. The coldness spread throughout her entire body. While she’d fought off the panic all day, keeping it simmering just below the surface, she couldn’t hold it back any longer and it erupted like the geysers she’d seen months ago.
She stumbled to her feet and ran. Ran as fast as her legs could carry her until her lungs burned and she couldn’t run anymore. She tripped over a protruding root from a nearby cottonwood and fell to the ground. Instead of getting up, she crawled beneath the tree’s branches to hide from the world.
She huddled against the trunk, drawing her knees up to her chest and wrapping her arms tightly around them. Her heart raced faster with each passing second, and her insides turned to ice.
Clara closed her eyes and rocked back and forth while the familiar terror engulfed her. Her addled mind had long overtaken any rational thought, convincing her she was going to die. The fear of dying swooped over her like a dark cloud, and the urge to get up and keep running as far and fast away from her own body gripped her. Pain squeezed her heart as if someone sat on her chest, and the sensation spread throughout her limbs. She fought for air, as her throat seemed to close off.
Not even Scamp could offer comfort at the moment. Many times, the faithful pet’s presence was enough to ward off the intense fear that claimed any lucid thoughts she possessed, but not this time.
Clara shivered as tears streamed down her face. Biting into her knuckles to keep from screaming for help, she rocked faster. No one would come to her aid. If she called out, her uncle and cousin would only find her and yell at her to snap out of it. Or worse.
Her body stiffened when something warm and solid wrapped around her. Arms drew her into a protective embrace. Had she died and was finally in Mama’s loving embrace again? It had been so long. She shuddered, then her rigid body relaxed against the comforting touch of another human being. A gentle hand held her head against a broad chest, stroking the length of her hair while holding her tight and shielding her from any harm.
“It’s all right. It’ll pass. You’re going to be all right.”

IN HIS THOUGHTS will be published soon. In the meantime, you can pick up other books in the Blemished Brides Series.

Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/1QhIzXX


Meet Peggy

Peggy L Henderson is an award-winning, best-selling western historical and time travel romance author of the Yellowstone Romance Series, Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series, Teton Romance Trilogy, the Blemished Brides and Wilderness Brides Western Historical Romance Series, and others. When she’s not writing about Yellowstone, the Tetons, or the old west, she’s out hiking the trails, spending time with her family and pets, or catching up on much-needed sleep. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart. She and her husband make their home in Yellowstone National Park.

Find out more: www.peggylhenderson.com
Follow Peggy:
Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/1QhIzXX

E.E.: What sound or noise do you love?

Peggy: I love the sound of thunder in the mountains. It just sounds different than anywhere else. I don’t necessarily want to be outside when there is thunder and lightning, but I do love the sound, then followed by raindrops hitting a forest floor.

E.E.: Is writing or storytelling easier for you?

Peggy: Writing is definitely much easier for me. I would be a horrible storyteller, lol. I’m very much an introvert, and get tongue-tied when I have to speak in public (or to more than one person at a time. Even then, I get tongue-tied sometimes.)

E.E.: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?

Peggy: The book I’m currently getting ready for re-publication, IN HIS THOUGHTS (Blemished Brides, Book 5), is about as close to me personally as I can get. I often get asked which one of my characters is most like me. I try not to write any characters to be like me at all. Of course, some will have a few of my characteristics, but that is never intentional. I strive to make my characters as different from me as possible.
   In this current book, however, I explored something that I don’t talk about much publicly – my struggles with anxiety and depression. The main character in the story, Clara Youngblood, suffers from debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. I didn’t give the poor girl depression as well, even though it often comes with having anxiety, although she’s frequently sad about her condition (sadness is not the same as depression). Mental disorders were not well understood, and definitely not treated correctly, in the nineteenth century when the story takes place, and it takes a special hero to help her with her struggles.
   This book was both easy and difficult to write because Clara’s internal thoughts and struggles as she deals with her anxiety and panic attacks are described from my own personal experiences.

 E.E.: If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?

Peggy: I would love to interview Lee Whittlesey. He is the recently retired park historian for Yellowstone National Park (where part of IN HIS THOUGHTS, as well as my Yellowstone Romance Series, take place.) He has written several books himself, and probably knows the history of Yellowstone better than anyone. His best-known book is called Death in Yellowstone, a book that should be required reading for anyone planning a trip to the park.

E.E.: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?

Peggy: I touched on this already in a previous question. As I’ve said, I don’t mention my struggles with anxiety and depression very much. I just recently started talking openly about it. I’ve struggled with social anxiety all my life, and more recently I have had to deal with anxiety about my health, ever since my father passed away in front of me. I’m perfectly healthy (except for my mental health) according to my doctors, but my twisted brain wants me to believe otherwise, and I’ve struggled with panic attacks since my dad’s death. I’ve also dealt with depression since I was a teenager. Anxiety and depression play a constant tug-of-war with a person’s mind. So, if I’m not the most bubbly and outgoing person you’ll meet, it’s because of my mental health issues. 

E.E.: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

Peggy: My biggest dream has been realized this year – living in Yellowstone National Park. How many people can say that this is their home? The reason I get to live here is because my husband works as a Historic Preservation Craftsman in the Old Faithful district, a position created for him this past year. 
   If it hadn’t been for my writing, and specifically my romance series that takes place in Yellowstone, I don’t think we would have had this opportunity. My husband would not have been able to take a year off several years ago from a job he didn’t like very much if I hadn’t been able to support us with my writing. During that year, he stumbled across a job posting in Yellowstone for a seasonal historic preservation crew member. He got the job, we packed our things and headed for Yellowstone for the summer last year. That job turned into a full-time position. Having been in love with Yellowstone since my first trip to the park the year I graduated high school, this is certainly a dream come true. 

E.E.: What drew you to write in the genre(s) you do?

Peggy: I write primarily western historical and western time travel romance. I have always loved the American West, even as a young girl living in Germany. Everything “cowboy and Indian” fascinated me. When I first decided to write, there was no other setting that was more interesting to me than the old west, and I took it back even a little further to the early explorers in the Rocky Mountains – the fur trappers and mountain men. Bringing the past and present together with time travel is fun to write because I love exploring how two people from such vastly different life experiences get together. I compare it a little bit with having to adjust to different cultures than what you’ve grown up with, but much more extreme.

E.E.: What has surprised you the most about being published?

Peggy: Hahaha…. I guess the most surprising thing is that people enjoy my books! I never thought anyone would want to read about an adventurous young woman who time travels two hundred years into the past to the Yellowstone wilderness and falls in love with a trapper. That book has led to over thirty more, and my adventure as an author continues!

Today, Peggy will give away a copy of IN HIS THOUGHTS. Just answer the question and enter the raffle below:

If you could travel to any time, any place, where would you go and why?

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  1. I would definitely go to the old west. Maybe around 1850. I would love to see the towns that were springing up everywhere. Meet the people. I think would like to be invisible though. I don't know if i could handle things as well as your heroines di!

  2. I love thinking of going back to the old west. Whenever we are on a road trip I always tell my husband just think if we were on a wagon and .......... Always picturing what they had to go thru and all of the trouble just to simple things now . I can't do ebook so if I am picked can you please sub a print book . Thank you Peggy for coming to GLIAS and you also E.E. for asking Peggy wonderful questions! Peggy Clayton

  3. Ah, Peggy, you and your books are so well loved! Cannot wait for this republished book and the others that you have on the docket to get your this year! You have caused me to love the Rockies even more than I do! I have never been able to go to Yellowstone, but I feel like I have been there with your books! I look forward to my dream coming true of visiting Yellowstone in person!

  4. 1400s England would be interesting

  5. I would go to Italy to see the view.