Keli Gwyn
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.

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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.

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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?

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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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Comment Link 20 Comments
Keli Gwyn
LIH Spotlight: A Tailor-Made Husband

This week I’m shining the spotlight on
A Tailor-Made Husband, a June 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.

From Bachelor Sheriff to Family Man 

Tired of pining for handsome sheriff Ward Gleason, seamstress Hazel Andrews plans to head East for a fresh start—until Ward finds an abandoned child. Hazel can’t turn down his request that she watch the little girl while he investigates a spate of crimes. But spending time with Ward is sending local gossips—and Hazel’s heart—into turmoil.

Nothing in Ward’s world is the same since he took charge of orphaned Meg…and that includes his growing feelings for Hazel. A fake engagement will allow them to care for the child together until Hazel moves away and finds someone more worthy. But with little Meg convinced she’s already found her forever family, can Ward and Hazel dare to make her dreams come true, along with their own?

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.

💜💜💜

Visiting a Story Setting

I love setting my stories here in the Gold Country where I live. I’ve featured several towns, which I’ve visited, enabling me to bring them to life as accurately as possible.

My latest release, Her Motherhood Wish, features an exciting scene set in Clarksville, California at the base of the Sierra Foothills. The hero of the story, Chip Evans, and some of his friends take on a villainous trio in this small town.


Unlike other towns I’ve used in my stories, I didn’t have access to Clarksville because it sits on privately owned land. Once a year, the site is opened to the public for Clarksville Day. To my dismay, the event didn’t take place the year I was writing Her Motherhood Wish. Clarksville Day was postponed three years due to construction of a freeway overpass nearby.

This year, at long last, Clarksville Day returned! I got to visit the town this past weekend and see the sites in my story firsthand.

The location I was most interested in was a barn owned by the Tong family, which I mentioned in my story. I thought at first that the building pictured above, labeled a Tong barn, was it. As I read the information posted, I learned that this barn didn’t come into being until the 1940s, when the vacated schoolhouse that forms the center portion of the barn was moved down the street and the two sides added.

As I explored the rest of the town, I located the ruins of the original Tong barn that existed in the 1870s. You can tell from my smile in the selfie below how happy I was to be standing in the very spot where Chip stands in my story.

Although using real towns in my stories requires a lot of research, I don’t mind. Doing the research gives me a good reason to explore historic places in the area, which my husband and I love to do. It would be easier to develop a fictional town, but I prefer helping preserve the rich history of the Gold Country I’m privileged to call home.

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Question for You

Which do you prefer, fictional settings or real ones, and why?

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Book Giveaway!

Enter to win a print copy of A Tailor-Made Husband
by leaving a comment on this post with the answer to the
question above. You must answer the question 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, May 13 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Winner to be announced in my new
blog post on Monday, May 15.

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

Congratulations to the winner from my May 1 post!
Kathleen will receive a copy of The Bride’s Matchmaking
Triplets,
a June LIH by Regina Scott.

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Comment Link 29 Comments
Keli Gwyn
LIH Spotlight: Texas Cinderella

It’s September, and that means four new stories from
Love Inspired Historical will soon be on the shelves.

This week I’m shining the spotlight on
Texas Cinderella by Winnie Griggs.

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

texas-cinderella

In Search of a Groom 

After a life of drudgery on her family’s farm, Cassie Lynn Vickers relishes her freedom working in town as a paid companion for feisty Mrs. Flanagan. When her father suddenly demands she come home, she has no choice. Unless she can find a husband. If only she could convince handsome town newcomer Riley Walker to marry her…

Riley is on the run. He’s desperate to keep his niece and nephew safe from his crooked half brother. But a delay in Turnabout, Texas, shows him everything he didn’t know he was missing: home, family—and Cassie Lynn. Can he find a way to become her Prince Charming…and build a real family with the children and Cassie Lynn?

Copyright © 2016 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.

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Fun Question for Winnie…

I saw a picture of you on Facebook sporting a fun T-shirt with the words “Night Owl Writer” on the front (shown below, with Winnie’s permission).

I’ve read that you spent many years juggling a demanding day job and your writing career, making writing at night a necessity. Are you by nature a night owl? If so, has that always been the case? What do you like best about being awake into the wee hours?

winnie-griggs-night-owl-writer

Winnie says: “Yes, I’ve always had something of a nocturnal bent. But I haven’t always been able to indulge in it as I’d like. The day job I worked at for 35 years had me arriving at the office at 7:30. With a 35 mile commute and four kids to get ready for school I usually set my alarm for 5:30am (or earlier!), which meant if I wasn’t in bed by 11:00pm, the next day was not going to go well. So I ‘trained myself’ to be a morning person, even though it never really felt right.

Retirement changed all that. Now I’m often up until 2:00am, or even later when the writing really flows. And I find being able to play to my natural circadian rhythms really helps my creativity.

As far as what I like best about being a night owl, I think there is something energizing about being awake when you feel like much of the rest of the world is asleep, as if you have the opportunity to access more of the creative energy floating about us all. Fanciful notion, of course, but that’s how it feels to me.”

Your Turn…

Are you a night owl like Winnie, or are you more of an early bird?

What do you like best about your favorite time of day?

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Book Giveaway!

Enter to win a print copy of Texas Cinderella.

Giveaway ends Sunday, September 18  at 12 a.m. PDT.

Winner to be announced in my new
blog post on Monday, September 19.

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

Congratulations to the winner from my September 6 post,
Becky S, who will receive a copy of A Rancher of Convenience,
a September 2016 Love Inspired Historical by Regina Scott.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Comment Link 33 Comments
Keli Gwyn

 
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