Category: events

Life is Tough. Read Romance.

Why do I write romance? I haven’t been asked that question as much as I expected, but there’s a simple answer. Life is tough.

I’m sitting at Starbucks staring out the window at the gray, misty world around me, and realize the weather matches my mood. As usual, life and my procrastination means I’m writing this closer to my deadline than I’d hoped, and recent events are weighing heavy on my mind and my heart.

Yup, life is darn tough. Recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, et al have wreaked havoc with people’s lives. While those natural disasters are devastating, what truly tears at my heart is what destruction we inflict on each other. When did we get to the point where so many people believe the answer to their problems is violence against their fellow man? Someone cuts you off on my highway? Pull out a gun and shoot ‘em. Gone is a girl about to be a college freshman, along with all the good she could have done in the world. Something not right in your life? Take an arsenal with you to a Las Vegas hotel room and kill fifty-nine people who’ve done absolutely nothing to you. My heart breaks for the lives lost and those irreversibly changed because of the violence we perpetrate on each other.

Which brings me back to why I write romance. When I read, I don’t want to come away depressed. Life has a way of doing that on its own. The lyrics to Tom Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down” have run through my head since his death on the heels of the Vegas tragedy. “No, I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around. And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down. Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down.” I write romance for the same reason I read it—to keep the world from draggin’ me down.

In my books my characters have been knocked around by life. In To Love A Texas Cowboy, when Cassie’s sister and brother-in-law are killed in a plane crash, she moves from New York to Texas because she become guardian to her niece. In Roping the Rancher, Colt, a single father to a teenage girl who’s left the military, struggles to find purpose and meaning in his life.

I write about characters discovering a strength they never knew they possessed and receiving help when they least expect it, but need it the most. Themes of finding an untraditional family when theirs has failed them time and time again run through my stories. Good always triumphs. The bad guys always get what they deserve in true Western fashion. My characters face life’s difficulties, but receive the reward for facing them and getting through the dark tunnel. At the end they find love, strength and happiness.

So that’s why I write romance—because life is tough. I hope when people read my books they escaped for a little while, and maybe they are filled with hope that they too, can find their happy ending.

Comment and let me know why you read romance to be entered in the drawing to win a Texas Starbucks mug, a gift card and either Roping the Rancher or To Love a Texas Cowboy.

 

Updated: October 3, 2017 — 7:58 pm

10 Things You May Not Know About Me…Winnie Griggs

WG Logo 2015-04

Hello all, Winnie Griggs here. It’s my turn to share little known facts about who the ‘true Winnie Griggs’ is. So here goes:

  1. This may sound like heresy to some of you, but as a kid I just did not care for Nancy Drew – I only read the series when I was hard up for reading material and there was nothing else available. But I was a BIG fan of Trixie Belden, The Hardy Boys and dozens of other teen adventure/mystery series. I still own many of those old books.
    trixie
  2. The first real story I ever wrote from start to finish was of the fan fiction variety. I was about ten years old and it featured Roy Rogers and the gang from the old Saturday morning TV show. I guess Westerns were in my blood even then.
    roy-rogerrs
  3. Among the other very special things about me is that I have two middle names. That’s right, I am officially Winnie Mae Marie.
    name
  4. I’m one of those odd ducks who really enjoys math and puzzles. In fact, that was my major in college. I got a BS in Mathematics, with minors in Computer Science and Accounting – how much geeekier can you get!
    math
  5. I am the oldest of five siblings- my sisters and brother hint (strongly) that this makes me bossy. I prefer to think of myself as confident.
    As a side note, my youngest sister is 20 years younger than me – I got the news my mother was pregnant at the end of my sophomore year of college – how’s that for a shocker! My boyfriend was with me when my dad told me. That boyfriend is now my husband so I guess it didn’t scare him off.
    wow
  6. One of my younger sisters got married before I did, so, true to tradition, I danced barefoot at her wedding.
    barefoot
  7. And speaking of dancing, I absolutely LOVE to dance, it’s hard for me to be still when there is music playing. Unfortunately I’m totally uncoordinated and I’m not a pretty sight on the dance floor.
    dancer
  8. I almost didn’t attend the college where I eventually ended up. I’ve always been a homebody so I had picked out two universities that were within a two hour drive of home. When I went in to take my ACT test, howeverr, there was a place on the test form that asks you to list 3 colleges you’re considering. I listed the two I wanted, but I’m a bit OCD about forms and couldn’t leave the last spot blank. So I remembered that just that morning, my best friend had casually mentioned a college she was looking into that was nearly 400 miles away, so I quickly added that one to the form and promptly forgot all about it. Until a month later when the admissions department contacted me and offered me a full ride scholarship based on my score. It’s kind of scary and awesome how my whole life changed direction based on that one off hand incident. Because that college is where I met the man who would eventually become my husband.
    college
  9. And speaking of meant-to-be, I’d always dreamed of having three kids – it just seemed the ideal family size to me. But apparently the Good Lord had other plans for me. My last pregnancy resulted in twins! Now I have four grown, remarkable, wonderful children whom I wouldn’t change for the world.
    kids
  10. Summer before last we took a family vacation to Hawaii, where I not only had a fabulous time but I got to check something off my bucket list. My husband and I took a ride around the island in a helicopter. I loved it – very exhilarating and the views were breathtaking!
    helicopter

So now you know more than you ever wanted to know about who I am. Is there anything on this list you can relate to? And how about you reciprocate by sharing one or two fun facts about yourself? Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for your choice of any book from my backlist. Drawing will take place sometime tomorrow.

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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?

Updated: September 26, 2016 — 8:59 am

RWA 2016 and ME and a SURPRISE!

Charlene-with-Books

Today I’m in sunny San Diego at the Romance Writers of America conference and unable to post to you live, but I will give you a brief idea of what we do, as I write this ahead of my departure.

 It’s a week of meeting up with friends I usually see only online, having dinner with my editors, going to writing workshops during the day and nighttime is saved for parties.  On Tuesday the plan is to take the trolley to join my Tule friends and publisher at historic Old Town San Diego. I am excited about walking through the history and seeing sights that had first inspired me to write westerns!   old town sdold town sd 1

Wednesday morning is open and Tanya Hanson (my roomie) and I will be doing a touristy walk of the spectacular Marina.  The afternoon is filled with the annual Writer’s for Life Literacy booksigning.  Picture a room with 400 authors, ready and willing to sign books to benefit the worthy charity. I’ll be signing my Desire Twins for the Texan.  After the signing, there’s an off-site party at an author’s home that we’ll attend as well. Twins for the Texan_Sand

 By now, I am halfway to exhausted with a few more exciting things planned for the end of the week. Thursday means workshops, the Keynote Speaker luncheon and dinner with my two Harlequin editors. Afterward, the Desire editors are hosting a poolside cookie party for all of the Desire authors.  (I hope the walking I do will offset the calories I intake—one can hope!)  Friday means breakfast buffet with the gals from Petticoats and later that night I will be dressing up in Ralph Lauren for the always fabulous Harlequin party held in a ballroom at another magnificent hotel.

Saturday night I’m home and will need all of Sunday to recuperate!   Dress

If you follow me on Facebook  you will probably see some of my fun pictures of these events.  I hope you have a lovely rest of the week!!   Just curious, have you ever been to San Diego?  If not, what is your favorite historical spot?

My surprise is that by now, Claim Me, Cowboy should be FREE for a limited time on all major online retailers.  Be sure to pick up a copy!!   (You will also see it on your Bookbub ad on July 19th) Not signed up?  Sign up here and don’t miss another release or discounted book from me!

Claim Me, Cowboy 300 DPI.

Happy Reading!

Charlene

 

Updated: July 8, 2016 — 12:23 pm

Today is Memorial Day!

flag soldiers

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
–Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

 

HEADQUARTERS GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC

General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

  1. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

  1. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
  2. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

By order of

JOHN A. LOGAN,
Commander-in-Chief

N.P. CHIPMAN,
Adjutant General

Official:
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

 

ameagleflag1024wp

Today we celebrate Memorial Day, though celebrate may not be the best word. We remember—that’s more appropriate. Originally called Decoration Day, it was meant to be a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. Though it has turned into the unofficial first weekend of summer and most of us spend it picnicking and boating and barbecuing with friends and family, we shouldn’t lose sight of its meaning—its reason.

“Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while in military service
to the United States of America.”

Today, let’s take a minute out of our day of boating, eating and celebrating, to remember.  Put down the hot dogs, the baseball bats, the sunscreen, and remember all those who sacrificed for us—both those in the past and those doing so right now—so we may enjoy a wonderful summertime tradition.

Remember Memorial Day!

Tracy Garrett
HER SANCTUARY–available now!

Her Scanctuary Garrett Web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Readers Rock!

WG Logo 2015-04

Hi, Winnie Griggs here. Just a few days ago I attended the Barbara Vey Readers Appreciation event and I’m still jazzed about what a fabulous time I had! This event does a wonderful job of focusing on and celebrating the readers, that marvelous class of people that we authors are so indebted to and enjoy getting to know better. There were 60 authors in attendance and over 420 readers, and getting all of those folks together in one room, well that was definitely a party in the making!

Today I thought I’d share a little of the fun I had with a pictorial post – (and keep reading for info on a giveaway!).

I got in Thursday evening and had a chance to decompress from a long travel day by mingling with the other authors who were also early arrivals.  And, as often happens at these events, I had one of those great serendipitous, out-of-the-blue moments. I was chatting with the fabulous Tina DeSalvo and we discovered that we grew up in the same town, only a few miles from each other and graduated from the same high school (though several years apart). So I traveled all the way to Milwaukee to find a neighbor from my small south Louisiana hometown.

Me & Tina DeSalvo

Then on Friday, a group of five authors – myself, Holly Jacobs, Sharon Sala, Liz Talley and Lenora Worth – sponsored an early bird event for those attendees who arrived early and were looking for something fun to do. It was a book title bingo game and we were all a little anxious to see how it would go over. It actually surpassed all our expectations! We had nearly 250 in attendance and from all accounts, everyone had a grand time! Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of the event itself, but here are a few of the ‘getting ready’ shots.

Here is the giveaway table, holding lots of goodies for our attendees to grab. There was also a second table filled with books and tote bags, provided courtesy of our publisher, Harlequin. Those posters in the background were also provided by the folks at Harlequin and if you look closely you’ll get an early peak at the cover for my upcoming Sept. release, Texas Cinderella.

Bingo Goody Table

 

Here is a closer look at three of the covers along with fellow bingo mavens, Liz and Lenora.

Posters

 

And Here is a shot of the five of us kicking off the event.

Bingo mavens2

 

Later that evening was the official kick off which was a Meet and Greet. The authors were asked to come up, one by one, introduce themselves, then pull a question from a jar and answer it. It was a bit nerve-wracking waiting to see what question you’d get, but I got lucky. Mine was ‘what author, other than those present, would you like to collaborate on a book with?’ My answer was the indomitable Maggie Osborne whose releases were on my auto-buy list and whose books I devoured as soon as I bought them. I still mourn the fact that she retired from writing.

Below is a picture of half of the author group, nervously waiting for their turn ‘at bat’

Meet & Greet

The next morning was the main event, the Saturday luncheon. Each author hosts a table that includes seven readers and the decorations and giveaways are marvelous to behold – it’s become informally known as table wars. My theme was Booklovers and here is a view of my table before the doors opened.

My Table set-up2

 

 

Just before the doors opened, we all gathered for an author group photo. (Can you spot me in the crowd?)

Author Group Photo

Then the doors opened and here is a shot of the fabulous ladies who sat at my table.

Ladies at my table

The luncheon was followed by a booksigning. Here is a shot of me with Jennifer, one of the lovely ladies I’m friends with online but don’t get to see in person very often.

Me and J.Tipton

 

There were fun and games later that evening, but I was having too much fun to get any pictures of that, I’m sorry to say.

The next morning there was a breakfast where again the readers selected an author to sit with, and while it was more low key than the luncheon, it was still a great opportunity to meet and visit with some wonderful readers.

Breakfast group

 

And of course I couldn’t leave without getting a picture of me and the lady responsible for pulling this fabulous event together, Barbara Vey herself!

Me & Barbara

 

So there’s a very quick recap of a fabulous weekend.

 

Booklover bagAnd to celebrate, I have an extra one of those little Booklover bags I gave away at the luncheon and I would be happy to give it to one of you, along with the book of your choice from my backlist.

Simply leave a comment telling me if you’ve ever been to a reader luncheon and what you enjoyed most about it.

If you haven’t been to one, what would make it a can’t miss experience for you?

Updated: May 9, 2016 — 1:17 am

Meet Me in St. Louie, Louie! (#WFcon15)

Kathleen Rice Adams header

Fellow filly Cheryl Pierson and I spent last weekend at the inaugural Western Fictioneers convention (also known as #WFcon15) in St. Louis. What a great time we had! We met some of the iconic authors in the western genre, learned more than my head can hold during seminars and panel discussions, got to sit around and gab with people we’d only spoken with online previously…and, of course, ate lots of good food. I may never eat again.

You can discover more about Western Fictioneers — a professional organization for authors of western fiction — and the convention here. If we can find Micki Milom, the superwoman who put the whole thing together single-handedly this year, we’re hoping to host another shindig next year, possibly in Fort Worth. Micki appears to have disappeared into the Convention Organizer Protection Program — a wise move on her part.

Instead of the usual post, this week I thought I’d share photos from the convention. Yes, I realize this is a bit like showing home movies to captive relatives, but I can be cruel that way.

Without further ado…

MickiAndJacquie

 

 

Take a good look at the woman on the left. You may never see her again after this convention. She’s Micki Milom, Nashville singer and songwriter, author of traditional westerns, and ramrod of the convention. Evidently, that smug expression on her face is meant to camouflage her nefarious attempt to strangle western historical romance author and all-around nuisance Jacquie Rogers.

 

 

 

Legends panel

The Living Legends panel discussion featured, from left, Robert J. Randisi, Robert (Dick) Vaughn, Dusty Richards, and Frank Roderus. Between them, the gentlemen have published thousands of stories. For such prolific, popular authors of traditional western fiction, all four men are down-to-earth, funny, charming characters (emphasis on “characters”).

 

RomancePanel_by DianeDuring the Romancing the West panel, authors (from left) Jacquie Rogers, Kathleen Rice Adams, Meg Mims, Kat Martin, and Cheryl Pierson astounded attendees with their… Well, I’m sure we astounded the audience with something, but the “something” probably was our ability to be extraordinarily silly. Couldn’t Micki have found western historical romance authors who possess at least a modicum of decorum?

Social Media panel_by Diane

 

The most evil thing about the Taming Social Media and Other Necessary Evils panel was the panelists: traditional western authors (from left) JES Hayes, that Kathleen Rice Adams person again, Jacquie Rogers (again), and Tom Rizzo.

 

PublisherPanelPublishers who specialize in western fiction also addressed the madding crowd. From left, Prairie Rose Publications editor-in-chief and co-founder Cheryl Pierson, Pen-L Publishing‘s Kimberly and Duke Pennell, High Hill Press‘s Louella Turner, Mike Bray of Wolfpack Publishing, and Golway Publishing’s Dusty Richards provided insight into what publishers look for when considering authors and their work.

 

KeithAndHunterKeith Souter, a medical doctor and popular traditional western author from the U.K., traveled all the way across the pond to present one of the most fascinating seminars during the convention — The Doctor’s Bag: Medicine and Surgery of Yesteryear. The presentation provided a hint of the enormous amount of material Keith covers in his newly released reference book of the same name. He was much too gentlemanly to refuse when I threatened him with a necktie party unless he autographed a copy for me. The book is a fabulous resource for anyone who writes historical fiction. I highly recommend it.

MichaelMilom

 

Intellectual property attorney Michael Milom presented one of the most popular sessions during the convention — The “Rights” Side of the Law: Legal Labyrinths. Despite his prowess as a high-powered entertainment lawyer, he quickly lost control of the rowdy herd and abandoned his planned talk in favor of answering a slew of questions from the audience. Michael, who is married to Micki, was gracious about our rude behavior, but as you can see by the metamorphosis in his expression, the lot of us probably should stay out of Nashville for a while.

 

 

There was plenty of time for fun, as well.

PRP Outlaw Gang_by JES Hayes

 

The Prairie Rose Publications gang whooped it up. (From left, Kathleen Rice Adams and Jacquie Rogers [Who are those women, and why did they keep butting in everywhere?], Keith Souter [who makes a wonderful bank robber, for a Scot], Cheryl Pierson [another outlaw who repeatedly butted in], Micki Milom, and Meg Mims.)

 

Cheryl signing book_by JES

 

 

 

Some of us, like Cheryl Pierson, autographed books. Did I autograph any books? Of course not. My ego may not survive.

 

 

MickiRandisiDuet

 

 

 

The entertainment was entertaining, especially when Micki Milom and Robert Randisi sang a couple of duets. We didn’t have to cover our ears or nothin’! (Micki’s a professional, but Bob was a surprise. He’s actually quite good.)

 

And there you have it — #WFcon2015 in a nutshell! (Most photos are mine, but thanks to JES Hayes for the image of the PRP outlaws and to Diane Rodes Garland for the image of Cheryl autographing a book.)

 

TheDoctorsBag

 

UPDATE: I’ve just received word that we kidnapped about a box-full of Dr. Keith’s The Doctor’s Bag — autographed! They’re available for $15 (including postage), which is a great deal considering the paperback version sells for $18.99 on Amazon. Cheryl Pierson has details.

 

 

A Cowboy's Touch Box 2

 

 

To thank everyone for schlepping through all this rambling, I’ll give two commenters a KINDLE COPY of a very special Prairie Rose release: A Cowboy’s Touch. The boxed set of four full-length western romance novels by Cheryl Pierson, Livia J. Washburn, Kit Prate, and me contains nearly 1,000 pages of spicy love in the Old West, and it’s a steal at 99 cents. To be eligible for the drawing, tell me which of the seminars you would have liked to attend. (All Petticoats and Pistols sweepstakes rules apply to this giveaway.)

 

 

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