Hi everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I’m at that fun (and slightly terrifying) place where I’m starting a brand new book. This will be the third book in my Hope’s Haven series and will feature the third and oldest of the three Eicher sisters, Martha.
One of the key things I need to do before I get started with the actual writing, besides having at least a high level idea of my plot and character goals and motivations, is to nail down the names. And I don’t mean just the protagonists and key players. Just as important to me are the place names and names of pets/animals. In fact I will sometimes spend days trying to come up with something that I feel evokes just the right tone I’m looking for.
I draw on several sources for inspiration. For instance when coming up with town names I’ve used vegetation—names like Dewberry, Whistling Oak, Foxberry, Knotty Pine, Clover Ridge, Sweetgum, Sweetgrass and Nettlesford. Sometimes they’re based on theme, like my ten-book series set in Turnabout or my current series set in Hope’s Haven.
Other times I draw from things around me. For instance a city right next door to where I grew up was called Westwego. As a kid I never thought of it as anything but one word, it was only later that I realized it was made up of the three words west-we-go. Was it perhaps a rallying cry for folks heading west? After all it is located on the west bank of the Mississippi, across from New Orleans. Thinking about that I came up with the town name of Far Enough, sort of the other end of the journey. And another time I spotted a large flock of blackbirds rise up out of a field and circle overhead as a group. That inspired the town name of Pepper Cloud. Sometimes they just come out of left field, like Frog Swallow and Minnow Creek.
Of course there are other things that need naming in a book, most significantly, the animals. Whether it’s pets, horses or other livestock, finding just the right name can prove an elusive task at times. In the past, for cats and dogs) I’ve used names like Smudge, Taffy, Buttons, Poppy, Rufus, Daffy (short for Daffodil), Cookie, Kip and Mustard among others. For horses I’ve used Titan, Monarch, Fletch, Scout, Trib (short for Retribution), Cocoa, Buttermilk and Amber among others. I’ve had a couple of mules named Jubal and Moses. There have also been pet birds I’ve named Cricket, Sweetie Pie and Sundar.
As I said, at the moment I’m in the early stages of my third Hope’s Haven book. I’m currently thinking I will need names for 4 horses (two draft horses and two buggy horses), a dog, a cat and perhaps a goat. I’d love to hear any suggestions for names you might have.
And for those who leave a comment, you’ll be entered in a giveaway of any book on my backlist.
And have you seen what’s coming up on Friday?
Are you ready to party?
Because we are!
We’re celebrating our 14th birthday!
Please Join us because not only will it be fun but
Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I am excited to announce the release of my first Amish Romance novel Her Amish Wedding Quilt, will release in just a little over a week. This is a genre that for me as a writer wasn’t even on my radar 16 months ago. But then last September an editor contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in trying my hand at writing one. It so happened I was at a point in my career where I was ready to try my hand at something new so I jumped at it.
It’s been quite a year as I’ve immersed myself in research and all things Amish, trying to learn the ins and outs of this unique culture. I’d actually planned to make a couple of trips to Amish country this year but we all know what happened to travel plans in 2020 🙁
Anyway, Her Amish Wedding Quilt is the first of a three book series that will follow the Eicher sisters. This one features Greta, the middle sister, and Noah Stoll, a widower doing his best to raise his two preschoolers with the help of his younger sister.
Greta is a bit of an outspoken, take charge kind of gal, which is something of a problem since everyone tells her she needs to tone it down a bit if she ever wants to find a husband. Noah has just learned he needs to stop relying on his sister’s help and his answer is to find a wife.
The book opens on the first day of a brand new year with Greta convinced this is the day her best friend, Calvin Stoll will propose to her. But by the end of the day her whole world has come crashing down around her.
In this scene, Greta, who has successfully done some matchmaking in the past, has decided to help Noah out more as a way to take her mind off her own problems as anything. Oh, and for those of you not familiar with Amish dialect, here is a quick glossary:
fraa = wife
Gotte = God
jah = yes
kinner = children
mamm = mom
“Esther told me you asked her to help you find a new fraa.”
Something akin to irritation flashed across Noah’s face before his guard went up. “And why did she feel the need to speak of it to you?”
“She and I are good friends and she knew I’d help in any way I can.”
“Help you find a new fraa, of course.” She smiled. “And a mamm for your kinner.”
His guard eased a bit, but now he seemed ready to dismiss the subject. And her. “I appreciate your desire to help me, but I think this is something best left to Esther. She knows me and she knows my preferences.”
Greta wasn’t going to let him get rid of her that easily. “I realize Esther is your cousin and you might be more comfortable dealing with her. But perhaps you don’t know that I have experience helping other young men find a helpmeet.”
“Jah, I’m aware that you’ve played matchmaker in the past.”
The way he said “played” got her back up, but Greta decided to ignore his tone and keep her focus on convincing him he needed her help. “Then perhaps you’ll understand why Esther thought I’d be able to help in your search as well. If you give me a chance I know I can find a woman who’ll make you happy.”
“What do you know about what will make me happy?”
Good question, especially after her spectacular failure on her own behalf. And for a moment her certainty wavered.
But then she rallied. This was different. “I believe I understand people well enough to know who’ll get along nicely together and who won’t.” At least when it came to others.
He raised a brow at that. “Do you now?”
She refused to let his skepticism affect her again. “It probably sounds like pride and boastfulness to you, but it isn’t. I believe this is a gift from Gotte, just as your skill with woodwork is, and that it would be wasteful not to use it.”
She saw him sober at that and study her thoughtfully.
Trying to press her advantage, she quickly added. “But of course you’ll need to help me figure out some of your own specific likes and dislikes.” Would he agree? She realized she wanted to help him, that she needed to find some purpose to fill the emptiness that was stretching out in front of her.
But rather than respond directly, he asked a question of his own. “Why do you want to do this?”
“Because I love your kinner and want to help see that they are well cared for. And also because I think it’s something I can do well.”
“And for no other reason?”
She squirmed a bit under his steady, much too perceptive scrutiny. Surely he didn’t know about her feelings for Calvin and what had happened New Year’s Day.
She tilted her chin up. “What other reason would there be?”
Noah saw the slight reddening of Greta’s cheeks that belied the confident expression on her face. Was she thinking of Calvin? If she’d been so wrong about his brother’s feelings, how could she possibly know what he needed? But somehow it seemed cruel to point that out to her. And what could it hurt to let her try? “I suppose we could give it a try.”
Her face blossomed in a smile that made him blink—it had been a while since he’d seen those impish dimples of hers.
Her hands clasped tightly together as if trying to hold in some big emotion. “Good.” Her tone was charmingly businesslike. Apparently she’d wanted to do this more than he’d realized.
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak at Her Amish Wedding Quilt. To be entered in the drawing for an advance copy of the book, leave a comment related to Amish fiction – love it, hate it, never tried it but want to, or anything else that fits the bill. I’d also love to know what you thought of this set-up and excerpt
An Amish seamstress and a single father have a chance to make a fresh start in this heartwarming first novel of a new series.
Spirited, forthright, impulsive – everyone told Greta Eicher she’d have to change her ways if she ever hoped to marry. Then her best friend Calvin, the man she thought she would wed, chooses another woman. Now Greta’s wondering if the others were right all along. Her dreams dashed, she pours her energy into crafting beautiful quilts at her shop and helping widower Noah Stoll care for his adorable young children.
Noah knows it’s time to think about finding a wife. When Greta offers to play matchmaker on his behalf, Noah eagerly accepts. After all, no one knows his children better. But none of the women she suggests seems quite right, because, unexpectedly, his feelings of respect and friendship for Greta have grown into something even deeper and richer. But will he have enough faith to overcome the pain of his past and give love another chance?
Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I hope that all of you, despite the need to self-quarantine, had a Happy and Blessed Easter. I missed having my big extended family around me, but with the storms pounding through the area it was probably just as well. We did have a Zoom meeting in the afternoon which was fun. Lots of conversation, wry observances and laughter. It was ALMOST like being in the same room together.
So, before I get to the reason for the title of today’s post, I want to discuss a bit of recent, personal history. Back last Fall, my writing life took an unexpected turn. In late September Grand Central Publishing offered me the opportunity to submit an Amish Romance series to them. It was both exciting and scary. I’d read quite a bit in the Amish Romance genre and really enjoyed the books but I’d never tried my hand at writing one before. In fact, an editor at another house had told me once that she didn’t think that was the right genre for me, which made it all the more intimidating.
But it also strengthened my resolve and I was excited to accept the challenge. As it turns out the timing was fortuitous – I’d already made plans with a writer friend to meet up for 3 days the following week to do some planning, plotting and brainstorming. So within a week I had a fairly solid overview of the series I could send in, and though they asked for some tweaks, I did go on to sign a contract for a three book Amish Romance series featuring 3 sisters.
And though this is a departure for me, I am really enjoying what I’m doing. Just a little over a week ago I turned in the manuscript for the first one, titled Her Amish Wedding Quilt, which features the middle sister Greta. This book will release in December of this year. I took a couple of days off to shovel out my house and take care of some other things I let slide while I was racing toward my deadline and I’m now ready to dive into the next one. This book will feature the youngest sister, Hannah, and will debut sometime in the fall of 2021.
Now, on to the title I put on this post. I’d been thinking for a while it was time to overhaul my website – my existing one hadn’t had a major revamp for a dozen years or more. So when I committed to write these Amish stories I figured it was time to stop procrastinating and get it done.
In case you’re new here, this is what my previous post header looked like, which was a cropped version of my website header. It reflected what I was writing at the time it went up – small town Americana, both historical and a sprinkling of contemporary.
Given that I have absolutely no intention of abandoning my historical western roots, when I talked to my website designer I asked her to design a site that would reflect both aspects of my writing. You can see a cropped version of that new look at the top of this post. And if you’d like to see the website itself, you can find it HERE.
I’d love to hear what you think of the new site and especially what you like about it and what you think could be improved. Leave a comment and you’ll get your name in the hat for an opportunity to select your choice of any book in my backlist.
And just for fun, here is a teaser in the form of a blurb for HER AMISH WEDDING QUILT
Spirited, forthright, impulsive — everyone told Greta Eicher she’d have to change her ways if she ever hoped to marry. Then her best friend Calvin, the man she thought she would wed, chooses another woman. Now Greta’s wondering if the others were right all along. Her dreams dashed, she pours her energy into crafting beautiful quilts at her shop and helping widower Noah Stoll care for his adorable young children.
Noah knows it’s time to think about finding a wife. When Greta offers to play matchmaker on his behalf, Noah eagerly accepts. After all, no one knows his children better. But none of the women she suggests seems quite right because, unexpectedly, his feelings of respect and friendship for Greta have grown into something even deeper and richer. But will he have enough faith to overcome the pain of his past and give love another chance?