Keli Gwyn
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LIH Spotlight: Once Upon a Texas Christmas

This week I’m shining the spotlight on
Once Upon a Texas Christmas, a December release from
Love Inspired Historical author Winnie Griggs.

Learn more about the story below, and then scroll
down to enter the giveaway for a print copy.

Partners for the Holidays

Abigail Fulton is determined to find independence in Turnabout, Texas—and becoming manager of the local hotel could be the solution. But first, she must work with Seth Reynolds to renovate the property by Christmas—and convince him she’s perfect for the job. If only he hadn’t already promised the position to someone else…

Ever since his troubled childhood, Seth yearns to prove himself. And this hotel is his best chance. But what does someone like Abigail know about decor and furnishings? Yet the closer the holiday deadline gets, the more he appreciates her abilities and her kindness. His business ambitions require denying Abigail’s dearest wish, but can they put old dreams aside for a greater gift—love and family?

Copyright © 2017 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover art and cover copy text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
or its affiliated companies, used under license.

🎄🎄🎄

Reflecting on My Stories: Endearing Children

The release of my final novel this month has me feeling a bit nostalgic. As I look back on this story and the seven others I’ve had published, I’ve noted some commonalities. Last week I talked about the role music plays in many of my stories. This week I’m focusing on the children that appear in half of them.

My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, features nine-year-old Matilda Watkins, a precocious girl whose tendency to prattle embarrasses her widowed mother, Elenora, at times. Tildy’s winsome ways capture the heart of Miles Rutledge, the hero of the story. The two of them form a bond, which leads to some matchmaking attempts on Tildy’s part that put a smile on my face whenever I read them.

Because this story is longer than my others, I had the freedom to develop Tildy and give her a larger part than I could the children in my Love Inspired Historicals. She charms everyone she meets, so much so that I had to be careful she didn’t upstage her mother.

Three of my five Love Inspired Historicals include children. The first, Family of Her Dreams, is the tale of a widower, Spencer Abbott, his two young children, Luke and Lila, and the housekeeper he hires to care for them, Tess Grimsby. Luke is four, and his baby sister is just nine months old when the story begins.

Luke isn’t happy about Tess being there, and he lets her know it. Having spent most of her childhood in an orphanage, Tess understands what Luke’s going through and doesn’t push him. There’s one particularly touching scene that showcases her compassion and brings tears to my eyes.

The hero and heroine of Her Motherhood Wish, Chip and Callie, discover two recently orphaned children: five-year-old Jasper and his three-year old sister, Ruby. Chip and Callie, both of whom long to be parents one day, are great with the children. Their patience and understanding help the grief-stricken youngsters adjust to life at the orphanage.

Jasper and Ruby aren’t the only children in the story. Callie and Chip are working at the orphanage started by Tess and Spencer from Family of Her Dreams, so there are many other children around. I had fun revisiting my earlier characters and showing readers what their lives look like eight years later.

My final book, Their Mistletoe Matchmakers, features three siblings whose parents perished in a riverboat accident. Their paternal uncle, Henry Hawthorn, and maternal aunt, Lavinia Crowne, are equally determined to care for their eight-year-old nephew, Alex, and his six- and four-year-old sisters, Marcie and Dot. Although Henry and Lavinia believe they know what’s best for the children, their views are vastly different.

The children take matters into their own hands. Their matchmaking efforts, which really do involve the use of mistletoe, create some interesting interactions between Henry and Lavinia. Like all children, the siblings aren’t always perfectly behaved. Reserved Alex and outgoing Marcie clash at times, whereas sweet Dot stays out of the fray.

Including children in my stories has been fun. Unlike the adult characters who have to choose their words carefully, the youngsters don’t have the same filters. They’re apt to say the most inappropriate things at the most inopportune times, which can lead to humorous interactions.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I’ve been known to make use of children to interrupt at critical moments. They can also bring out the softer side in a hero, which gives us those aah moments we enjoy. There’s a scene in my debut novel where Tildy kisses Miles on the forehead, which, to quote his thoughts at the time, “nearly undid him.” I sigh whenever I read it.

🎄🎄🎄

Questions for You

What’s something funny your child or
a child you know has said or done?

What’s something your child or a child you
know has done that melted your heart?

🎄🎄🎄

Book Giveaway!

Enter to win a copy of Once Upon a Texas Christmas
by leaving a comment on this post with the answer to one of
the questions above. You must answer at least one to qualify.
(Be sure to leave your email address when you’re
prompted to do so during the commenting process.
To keep spammers from snatching your address,
please don’t leave it in your comment itself.)

Giveaway ends Saturday, November 18 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Winner to be announced in my new
blog post on Monday, November 20.

Must be 18 to enter. International OK. Void where prohibited.

Congratulations to the winner from my November 6 post!
Jan H. will receive His Frontier Christmas Family
by Love Inspired Historical author Regina Scott.

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Keli Gwyn

19 Comments

  • Mary Preston says:

    My son has a profound hearing loss. As well as sign language and lip reading we use a lot of notes. I woke up one morning to find a note on my chest reading “Wake up Mum”. (I still have it.)

  • Tiffany Hall says:

    I have 5 kids. One year on my birthday when they were younger, they wanted to give me something for my birthday. They were too young to go to the store by themselves, and the only family we had around was my husband and he was off at work. So when I woke up on the morning of my birthday, they had a special gift for me wrapped in toilet paper (lol!). It was a bottle of my favorite perfume they had taken off my dresser and wrapped up because they wanted to give me something special for my birthday.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Tiffany, that is such a special story. I love that your children wanted to give you a gift and figured out a way to make it happen–without any way to leave home and go shopping. I’m sure you appreciated that “re-gifted” bottle of perfume in it’s unusual wrapping paper more than almost any others you’ve received.

  • When my oldest was going through her middle school angst years she came home one day and was complaining loudly that some boy had called her a ho. She kept talking and telling me how rude it was and she kept saying it. Finally my youngest daughter very seriously says to her, “You should have called him a rake!” bwahahahahahaha! A perfectly reasonable answer to someone who calls you a ho”e” right?

    Something that a child has said to melt my heart has always been my grandchildren telling me “I love you” every time I hear it I melt to a puddle!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Julie, your story made me laugh so hard I have tears in my eyes. The innocence of a child can lead to the most memorable exchanges, as your daughter’s cute comment did. What made me laugh even more is that she probably had no idea that calling a boy a rake would be such a great put-down, due to its bad-boy meaning.

      Those three little words, “I love you,” mean so much coming from a child. I can only imagine how sweet it will be to here them from an grandchild when/if I have grandchildren someday.

  • MH says:

    Our just-turned-six-year-old daughter went to my husband last night with a box of chocolates and said, “Daddy! Welcome to a piece of paradise!” We both cracked up at the comment.

    And the same daughter loves to snuggle with me in bed for a few minutes before I have to get up to make her older siblings’ lunches. That melts my heart every morning.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      MH, your daughter’s comment is so clever. What a great way to describe the choices available in a box of chocolates. I’m surprised an advertising company hasn’t used it. Perhaps you could sell the idea to one of them. 🙂

      Daughter snuggles are the best. I have wonderful memories of those my gal and I shared when she was young.

  • Megan says:

    I was substitute teaching a few weeks ago, different classes different days. At lunch one day I overheard two sisters from the classes I’d worked with. Sister A: “Did you know she doesn’t have any kids?” Sister B: “What? Really?” At this point Sister B turned and asked if I had any kids. I told her no. She replied, “But you should have kids because you’re old.” I couldn’t help but bust out laughing. I never knew 31 could feel so ancient.

    I was in Malaysia last year and met for breakfast with some missionary friends. I took out a notebook and colored pens for their young daughter to keep occupied. Her mother told her to be nice with my things. She drew me several pictures then told me that she had written her name so that I would know who loved me. My heart melted.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Megan, your story about the sisters cracked me up. Who knew 31 was “old?” That’s the age I was when I had our daughter, and I has a lot to learn about life. Still do, in fact. From my vantage point of 58, I’d say you’re young. It’s interesting how our perspectives change as we mature, isn’t it?

      I love that the sweet Malaysian girl drew you all those pictures. I’m sure you treasure them, but I have a hunch it’s her precious words that meant the most to you.

  • Becky Smith says:

    When our oldest was young, he asked if he could play outside. He was told to go play in the backyard, but when my husband came outside, he found him in the front yard. When asked why he wasn’t in the backyard, he said, “But, daddy, I don’t know where the backyard is.”

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Becky, that’s so cute. Do you think your son was being honest and really didn’t know, or do you think he was being clever, thinking you wouldn’t see through his ploy?

  • Jan Hall says:

    When my son was young we were out shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas. He was pointing at all of the things he wanted for Christmas. I would reply tell Santa Claus. One day we were in the store and he said I want… As I opened my mouth he said I know, tell Santa Claus. Someday I’m gonna be Santa Claus! I got tickled and so did everyone around us.

  • Trixi says:

    I have an almost 4 year old grand-girl and she has SUCH an imagination. She’s always coming up with something funny or clever that melts my heart and makes me laugh all at the same time 🙂 Like you said, they don’t have the filters us adults have so they just say whatever comes to mind. I’m always calling her my silly girl and she calls me her silly Gamma.

    Thank you for the spotlight and giveaway for Winnie Griggs new LIH…I have several of the Texas Grooms books on my shelf and would love to add to my collection.

  • Marilyn R says:

    One of the cutest sayings from a SS child “I luv Jesus with hands” holding a baby Jesus from the nativity set.

  • Connie Saunders says:

    I never thought that being a grandmother was a possibility so I must admit that my almost 4 year old granddaughter says and does many things that I enjoy. I am often amazed at her reasoning abilities and I have to be careful not to let her “get by” when she does something wrong. My goal is to teach her right from wrong and to do as Jesus tells us!
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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