Developing a character and a Giveaway!

Hi, Winnie Griggs here.   I have a new book coming out next month, Handpicked Husband, and I thought I’d give you just a small peek into what goes through my mind as I flesh out a character for my books

 Regina Nash, the heroine of the book, is , a maiden aunt and a woman with a personality as big as her heart.  She’s also opinionated, independent-minded, and an unapologetically quirky individual.  One of the first things I had to decide about her is how she got by financially since she has no husband, no benefactor, and no ‘inherited money’.  After cogitating on this a while I decided photography would be the perfect vocation for her – it would allow her to work for herself and set her own hours – important since she is caring for her nephew – and would give her a creative outlet.

Then I decided that I needed something else, some outward sign of her quirky side.  Again, this took some thought and I came up with and then discarded quite a number of items as being ‘not quite Reggie’.  I finally came across an article about gypsy caravans and knew I had hit upon just the thing.  I decided the conveyance she would have to travel in and transport her equipment around with would be something very colorful and garish, something that would turn heads and raise brows.   I envisioned something between a gypsy caravan and a circus wagon.


I had great fun researching these and found any number of very colorful examples.  (You can see images of gypsy caravans HERE and circus wagons HERE)

In the end, I found an example of just what I was looking for.  You can see a picture of it, along with all the other visuals I used for imaging people and places in my story, on the Pinterest board I created (but you need to imagine it with much brighter/gaudier colors)  HERE.

And to celebrate the upcoming release of Handpicked Husband, I’m going to giveaway an advanced copy to one of today’s commenters. 

 Note, in the interest of full disclosure I want to let you know that this is a refresh of a story that was originally released under the title Lady’s Choice under the Dorchester Leisure Books imprint.  In addition to the hero, the story features three bachelors who came toTexasas potential grooms for my heroine.  I always wanted to give each of these gentlemen stories of their own, butDorchesterand I parted ways before that could happen.  I was discussing this with my editor at Love Inspired and we decided to move forward with the idea.  But I wanted to make that first story available again to those who may have missed it the first time.  So I did some fairly extensive rewrites, both to fit within the guidelines of the Love Inspired Historical line and to ‘fix it up’ based on things I’ve learned in the seven years that have passed since I wrote this story.

 So that’s how Handpicked Husband came about, and it becomes the first of my four book Texas Grooms series.

Here is an excerpt to (hopefully) whet your appetite for more.


Northeast Texas   1894

An ear-splitting shriek ricocheted through the forest, startling a raucous cloud of blackbirds from the roadside trees. 

“Easy, Trib.”  Adam Barr patted the horse’s neck as the animal shied.  What now?  

The buggy behind him slowed to a stop, but Adam ignored it, along with the uneasy questions from the three men seated inside.  He’d promised to escort the men from Philadelphia to Texas, not be their nursemaid.

The wailing continued and Adam fought the urge to tilt back his head and answer with a wild, full-throated howl.  He’d gritted his teeth so often these past few days the muscles in his jaw hurt.  Taking on this job when more important business waited for him in Philadelphia had him in a foul mood, as his companions could no doubt attest. 

After six years of biding his time – six years, two months and thirteen days to be exact – he’d thought he could finally pursue his goal without distraction. 

If this assignment had come from anyone but Judge Madison…

Adam scanned the brush-skirted hardwoods lining the trail.  Whatever the source of that eerie sound, it was headed their way.

He eased his rifle from the scabbard.  Anticipation stirred his blood.  He might have to employ his ‘company manners’ with his three charges, but this bellowing beast was another matter. 

No telling what manner of creature roamed this forsaken backwoods.  The wail was too high pitched for a bear.  A large cat maybe? 

He urged Trib closer to the trees.  There seemed to be a pattern to the sound, a certain mangled cadence.  Almost as if–

Well, what do you know? 

He leaned back.  Not a wild animal after all.  Too bad.  (read more)


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Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at or email her at

35 thoughts on “Developing a character and a Giveaway!”

  1. Winnie, I can hardly wait to read this one and the ones to follow. I always thought I would love the life of a gypsy. At least the colorful homes, new places, and friends. Took me awhile to discover that they maybe didn’t make friends easily. Looking forward to these.

  2. those wagons are beautiful,like a piece of art,,how clever of them to do that,looking forward to reading the book,thanks for the post

  3. Vickie and Rebecca – aren’t these wagons fun. I’d be embarassed to admit how many hours I spent thumbing through pictures and reading about them while I was ‘researching’ LOL

  4. hi Winnie, How lovely to give your Leisure characters a new life! One of your Dorch books was the first book I read after selling my first-ever book to them. I think it was Something More? Anyway, ever since then, you’ve been one of my heroes, especially now with the Love Inspired. Best of luck, my friend and filly sister! xoxox

  5. Loved the excerpt! This looks like another winner. And the cover is great.

    I’m too much of a homebody to ever make it as a gypsy. But there is something about the freedom of that lifestyle that carries an allure.

  6. Tanya!! You made my day – thanks soooo much for the generous words. And Something More was one of my favorite books to write. I hope to someday be able to give that book new life as well.

  7. Good excerpt. I look forward to your book. The wagon is very colorful. Did you do a lot research on gypies and circuses for that time period?

  8. I am glad that you will finally get your Texas Grooms series published.

    I’m looking forward to reading HANDPICKED HUSBAND!

    My in-laws came over from Hungary. They talk a lot about the gypsies that roamed about over there.

    Beautiful wagons!

  9. Winnie, LOVE the cover! I CAN’T WAIT to read it! And I would LOVE to be entered for a chance to win a copy! 🙂

  10. I looked up the old book and like this cover MUCH better and the story sounds great. Thank you for offering to give a copy to a devoted reader! I can only hope that I’ll be the devoted reader chosen to receive the book, lol.


  11. Winnie, this looks like another winner! Gypsies have always fascinated me–what a way of life! I love the cover of the book, btw. Another must have for me. Great excerpt, too!
    Cheryl P.

  12. I am so glad we get the chance to enjoy one of your books that was previously out and see the rest come to life soon! Congrats on its upcoming release! 😀

  13. Lori.Y – Glad you liked the excerpts. No, I didn’t do much research on gypsies – just their caravan wagons 🙂

    Laurie.G – Wow, so wonderful to have that handed down history in your family – must be fascinating to hear their stories

  14. Brandy – Thanks for stopping by!

    Wendy – Oh wow, thanks for taking the time to look up the old cvoer. And yes, I think Live Inspired did a great job on this one

  15. I loved the gypsy caravans on the link you provided. Lovely pictures.

    The Pinterest page for you book is inspiring. I can see why something like that would help with writing a story. You can always pull up the picture to remind you who you are working with and just where you are standing in the cabin. Helps the continuity of the story, I would think.

    I just read the excerpt. A very good set-up of the main characters involved. Like Miss Nash (I assume that as her), we got to take their measure in short order. I look forward to Everett getting his comeuppance , Chance coming into his own, and Mitchell finding the woman he deserves. As for Adam, he intrigues me. Just what has he been biding his time for? Miss Nash, she will give anyone a run for their money and is well worth the effort.

    I look forward to reading all their stories.
    Thanks for the excerpt from HANDPICKED HUSBAND and good luck with its future release.

  16. Sounds good. Since I’ve now gone ‘n married m’self a Texan, I think I’ll have to read this one. 🙂

  17. PatriciaB – Glad you liked the pictures – there were some REALLY eye catching ones in the lot, weren’t there. Glad you liked the set-up. I’m have so much fun with these four very different men! I just turned in my draft for Everett’s story and am beginning work on Chance’s. Mitchell will be last.

    Janet – LOL – I’ve heard Texans make great husbands 🙂

  18. Reggie sounds like my kind of heroine. I like when a heroine is smart and independent. Add in quirky and that’s even better. I like the colorful gypsy caravans.

  19. Hildie – thanks! So glad you enjoyed the excerpt

    Na S – Another fan of feisty, intelligent heroines I see. Thanks for stopping by!

    Judy – thanks again for the super review, and glad you are enjoying the series!

  20. Thanks so much for the excerpt – sounds like a delightful book. I love the spirit the heroine is showing. Would love to be entered in the drawing. Thank you!

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