Winnie’s Winners

 

Okay, I admit it, I’m a doofus! I created and posted this winner notification then didn’t think anything more about it. Then a reader contacted me today and gently inquired as to whether I’d ever picked my winners. When I went back and looked I’d somehow future dated it so that it never actually showed up and wouldn’t have for quite some time.  So here it is, several weeks late, along with my sincere apologies

Hello y’all.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by Monday to comment on the excerpt of Texas Cinderella.  I tossed the names in the hat and drew out the following:

Ann 

Nanci Katz

pickle6773

Vicki B

Congratulations!  Each of you have won your choice of any book from my backlist. You can find a list of them HERE.  (Or you can select the Texas Cinderella 2-in-1 volume)
Once you make your selection, use the contact button to send me the title and your mailing info.

Texas Cinderella Re-issue

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. At the end of the month Harlequin will be releasing one of my older titles, Texas Cinderella, as part of a 2-in-1 special edition bundled with Regina Scott’s Would Be Wilderness Wife. It’s always fun to see an older work being given new life. Texas Cinderella was the 8th book in my Texas Grooms series (all can be read as stand alone books).

It was a fun story to write, not only because I really fell in love with the characters, both primary and secondary, but also because I added just a small touch of mystery/suspense to this one, something I rarely have the opportunity to do.

One of my favorite things to write in any romance story is the first time the hero and heroine meet. So today I thought I’d share an excerpt from that part of this book. It’s a bit lengthy but I wanted to give you both the heroine and hero’s perspective. And I will be giving away at least one copy, the winner(s) to be selected from those who leave comments.

Cassie dug the apple slices from her pocket as the two livery horses came trotting over to see what she’d brought them today.

“Here you go Duchess,” she crooned, holding out her hand and let the black mare lip two slices from her palm.

She laughed as a mahogany-colored mare tried to push Duchess aside. “Mind your manners Scarlett, I have some for you too.”

She gave Scarlett her treat. “I’ve had some excitement today, both good and bad,” she confided as she stroked Scarlett’s muzzle. “The good news is I’m moving forward with my bakery business.”

Cassie shifted to give Duchess her share of attention. “The bad news is Pa wants me to go back to the farm and take care of him and my brothers.” She breathed a sigh. “I don’t want to do that, so now I need to find me a husband.”

She gave both horses a final pat then crossed her arms on the top rail. “I sure wish you two could speak. I bet you’d give me some good insights. The way a man treats his animals is a good measure of his character.”

“Are you talking to the horses?”

Cassie turned to see a freckle-faced boy of six or seven eyeing her curiously.

“Of course. They’re friends of mine.” She smiled and straightened. “I don’t think we’ve met before, have we?”

The boy shook his head. “We just got to town. I’m Noah.”

“Glad to meet you Noah. I’m Cassie.”

“My Uncle Riley likes to talk to horses too.”

“Sounds like a smart man.” She held out her last few apple slices. “Would you like to feed them?”

The boy smiled, showcasing a missing front tooth, and took the slices. He eagerly stepped on the second-from-the-bottom fence board so he could lean over the top rail. Fearlessly holding his hand out just as she had, Noah smiled as the black mare took the offering. “What’s her name?” he asked.

“Duchess.” Cassie moved beside him, concerned by his precarious perch. She rubbed the other mare’s neck. “And this is Scarlett.”

She smiled as the boy stroked the mare’s muzzle. “I see you’ve done this before.”

He nodded. “Uncle Riley has a real fine horse. He’s inside talking to the owner about stabling him here.”

At least she now knew the boy wasn’t alone. Cassie patted Scarlett’s muzzle so the animal wouldn’t feel left out, then leaned against the top rail again. “Are you and your folks just visiting or do you plan to settle down here?”

The boy shook his head. “We don’t know anyone here. And I don’t have folks anymore. It’s just me, Pru and Uncle Riley.”

She absorbed the words as well as his matter-of-fact tone. Before she could form a response, though, they were interrupted.

“Noah, what are you doing out here?”

At the sharply uttered question, Noah quickly turned and in the process lost his footing. Cassie moved swiftly to stop his fall and ended up on her backside with Noah on her lap.

“Are you okay?”

She looked up to see a man she didn’t know helping Noah stand. But the concerned look on his face was focused on her.

“I’m a bit dusty, but otherwise fine,” she said with a rueful smile.

He stooped down, studying her as if he didn’t quite believe her reassurances.

She met his gaze and found herself looking into the deepest, greenest eyes she’d ever seen. The genuine concern and intelligence reflected in his expression made her temporarily forget that she was sitting in the livery yard dirt.

“Can I help you up?”

She blinked, coming back to herself, and quickly nodded. “Yes, thank you.” Hoping there was no visible sign of the warmth she felt climbing in her cheeks, Cassie held out her hand.

He took it in his larger, work-callused one and she had the strangest feeling that she could hold on to that hand forever.

Then he placed his other hand behind her back and with surprisingly little effort he had her on her feet in no time. He stepped away once she was steady and she found herself missing the gentle strength of his touch.

He continued to eye her. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Cassie nodded as she busied herself dusting her skirt. What was wrong with her? It wasn’t often she found herself flustered this way. “Please don’t worry. I’ve taken worse falls tripping over my own feet.” She quickly turned to Noah. “How about you? Are you all right?”

“Yes ma’am. Thanks for catching me.”

She ruffled his hair. “Glad to help.” For the first time she noticed a young girl standing behind the man, chewing her lip. Before she could introduce herself, however, the man spoke up again.

“I’ve told you before not to wander off without telling me.” His tone was stern.

Noah’s expression turned defensive. “I just wanted to get outside. We’ve been cooped up forever.” The boy scuffed the ground with the toe of his shoe. “Besides, I didn’t go far.”

The man didn’t seem the least bit appeased. “That’s no excuse.”

Noah’s shoulders slumped. Then he gave his uncle a hopeful look. “But Pru saw where I was going. And you found me right away.”

Cassie could detect genuine concern behind the man’s scolding. This, of course, must be the Uncle Riley that Noah had mentioned.

She studied the man while trying not to appear nosy. There was something about him that intrigued her. It wasn’t his appearance, though that was appealing enough in a rugged, well-muscled sort of way. No, it was something about his bearing that commanded her attention, an air of self-confidence and strength, balanced with concern for his nephew which added a hint of vulnerability—it all came together in a way she found compelling.

….

***

Riley hurried Pru and Noah along. There were a few things he still had to do this afternoon and the sooner he settled them in at the hotel the better.

He needed to get a telegraph off to Mr. Claypool. He always made a point of letting the Pinkerton detective know where to reach him when he arrived in a new town.

Then he needed to take River for a run. The horse had been cooped up in that train car for much too long and would be ready for some exercise.

Riley’s mind drifted back to Miss Vickers. She was an interesting lady. He’d first thought her a tomboyish adolescent. With her slight build and the way she’d stood so casually at the corral fence laughing with Noah, no wonder he’d gotten the wrong idea.

Rushing to Noah’s aid with such disregard for her own well-being or dignity, then taking her fall with a touch of humor rather than dismay—there weren’t many grown ladies who’d have done such a thing.

It was only when he’d stooped down to check on her that he’d realized his mistake. That engagingly rueful smile had most definitely belonged to a woman, not a child.

It was when their gazes met, though, that he’d found himself thrown off balance. He’d never encountered quite that combination of innocence and humor before, especially mixed as it was with an air of maturity and resolve.

It was such a curious mix he wondered if he’d really seen all of that in one quick glance. Still, the impression had remained with him. Of course her cheery smile and that dimple that kept appearing near the corner of her lip had contributed to that unexpected air that seemed to surround her. It bestowed on her a kind of unconventional attractiveness, even when she sat in the dust with a chagrinned look on her face. He hadn’t been so taken by a woman in quite some time. For just a heartbeat he’d been tempted to linger, to get to know her better.

And that had brought him up short. Because he couldn’t afford to let himself be diverted by such fetching distractions.

Not given what was at stake.

Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for any book from my backlist.

 

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 his Texas Cinderella?

 

For more information or to reserve your copy click HERE

 

 

 

 

How I Decorate For Christmas

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I’ve been busy over the past week or so getting my halls decked out for Christmas and today I thought I’d give you a peek into what the results are.

First of all, it’s important to know that I LOVE decorating for Christmas. I have one large closet in my house dedicated entirely to Christmas decorations and there is some overflow that has found its way into other areas of my home. In fact, it’s a source of eye-rolling acknowledgement among my family members that at some point in the not-to-distant future they may need to hold an intervention if I continue to add to my collection.

All of that is to say that I never decorate my house the same way twice, although there are some special pieces that make an appearance every year.

So here are some photos of my tree and what things I’ve pulled out of the closet this year:

Here is my tree.  I used my four foot tree this year instead of the 7 footer so I could set it up off the floor. This is mainly  a concession to my 18 month old grandson who likes to ‘closely examine’ bright shiny new things <g>. It’s also the reason the gifts are up off the floor.

Here’s a close up of the tree topper – it’s one of those special items that makes an appearance every year. We’ve had this one for over 30 years and it doesn’t feel like Christmas without it.

And speaking of heirlooms, this little bubble tree is another precious-to-me item. It belonged to my grandmother and is over 65 years old.

 

This little white ceramic tree with colorful birds is more recent but is such a happy little decoration that it makes me smile every time I look at it.

The picture above also shows one of my nativity sets. Here are a few more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This next nativity set is a wooden one I bought for my kids to set up and rearrange when they were little. They still look for it whenever they come over this time of year.

These trains are a decoration that had been in storage for a while. It’s 3 of the 4 Winnie the Pooh Christmas trains I have (I have a thing for Winnie the Pooh collectibles). Unfortunately I didn’t have room for the fourth. There’s also a close-up of one of the trains so you can get a better feel for what they look like.

 

And here are some clip-on Christmas critters that pop up in random spot throughout my house

I have a few more bits and pieces of holiday cheer scattered about but that’s probably enough for now.

How about you, Do you go all out with your decorations or do you sport a more understated look? Leave a comment related to my décor or yours and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a copy of one of my backlist books.

 

Marriage of Convenience Stories – What’s The Draw?

 

Hi everyone, Winnie Griggs here.

I want to admit right off the bat that I’m a sucker for a good marriage of convenience story, as both a reader and a writer.  In fact, off-the-top-of-my-head I can come up with the titles of nine of my own novels that have some form of that trope included.

The other day I was trying to analyze why I’m so drawn to these stories, in both my writing and my reading.    I came up with the following three reasons

  • First and foremost, there’s so much built in conflict and room for growth when two people are forced to get to know each other after they’re married rather than before.  And strong emotional conflict, of course, is what makes a story really snap, crackle and pop.
  • Then there’s the fact that the now married pair can’t really get away from each other as they work through their differences and try to deal with the inevitable attraction that results – a recipe for a potential page turner.

  • And of course, as a writer, there’s the fun of coming up with unique but totally creditable reasons for said marriage of convenience. Some of the twists I’ve come up with in the past:
    • In THE HAND-ME-DOWN FAMILY, the heroine, Callie, is a woman who has a lot of love to give but, because of her appearance, is certain she will never marry.  Then, in less than one month’s time, she enters into not one but two marriages of convenience and in the process becomes the mother figure to three orphaned children.   Jack, the hero, is a man who has very carefully built a life where he is footloose and fancy free and is determined not to let his unlooked for marriage change his life.
    • In THE HANDPICKED HUSBAND, the heroine is forced to select one of three possible contenders to be her husband, and the stakes are dire if she refuses.
    • In THE BRIDE NEXT DOOR and THE PROPER WIFE the couples are caught in compromising situations and are forced into marriage to salvage their reputations. While this is a fairly common device, it’s coming up with the specifics of the ‘compromising situation’ that’s fun
    • In HER AMISH WEDDING QUILT the widowed hero is searching for a new wife to help him raise his two children. Again, this one is a fairly common device, but it’s common for a reason – it works.

So how do you feel about marriage of convenience stories and why? And can you come up with some unique twists or do you have a favorite type of MOC story?

Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for winners’ choice of any book in my backlist

Winnie’s Winners!!

Hello everyone. Thanks to those who dropped by on Monday to leave a comment on my post.  I tossed all the names in a virtual hat and drew out the following names:

Alicia Haney

Connie Lee

Patricia B.

Rachel

Congratulations ladies!  If you’ll visit my WEBSITE and select the book you want, then send the title and your mailing info to me I’ll get your book right on out in the mail to you

 

Winnie’s Winners!

congratulations

A Great Big THANK YOU to everyone  who stopped by to offer up ideas on my What’s In A Name post.  There were so many fabulous suggestions I decided to select 7 winners.  So I tossed them all in a cyber hat and randomly selected

Alisha Woods

Linda Groth

Janine Catmom

Caryl Kane

Denise Holcomb

Lori Smanski

Colleen

Congratulations ladies!  Select with book you’d like to have – you can find a list on my website at https://www.winniegriggs.com/booklist.html
Once you’ve decided, send me the title and your mailing info (you can use the Contact button on my website) and I’ll get the book out to you in a few days.

What Should I Tackle Next?

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. Today’s post is a bit different than my usual post. Instead of sharing information I came across in my research I’m going to ask you to help me with a bit of research of the reader variety.

I have three older releases that I’ve received the rights back for and I’d like to reissue them as self-published editions. However, they all need to be gone through and updated and right now I’m working on a contracted book that has a firm deadline. That means I have limited time to focus on them and will need to do them as low-priority side projects. So I’d be interested in learning which of the books intrigues you the most. So please rank the following in the order in which they interest you – and there are no wrong answers.  I’ll select at least one person to receive their choice of any book from my backlist (and I still have several copies of the below out of print books I’ll throw in the mix as well)

Book 1 – this was first published in 2002 under the title Whatever It Takes. Here’s the original blurb:

Flirting With Perfection…

To adopt the little girl she’s come to love, widow Maddy Potter needs a fiancé, not another husband. Luckily, she’s found the ideal beau for her purpose:

Clayton Kinkaid agrees to court her, propose marriage, and then leave her at the altar as she requested. But when he arrives on her doorstep she knows their charade will never work. Clay is too handsome, too smooth… too potent. Who would believe such a charming, good-looking man wants to woo her?

Clay accepted Maddy’s proposal in order to repay a family debt of honor. He traveled to Missouri expecting to find a reserved widow, not a beautiful young woman—a woman who has the temerity to suggest he comb his hair differently, mess up his clothes a little, maybe even walk with a limp. She even has the audacity to instruct him on how to court her!  Clay knows he could be the perfect suitor. What he didn’t realize was that he’d soon long to be the perfect husband.

Book 2 – this was originally published in 2004 under the title A Will of Her Own. Here’s the 2004 blurb:

Will Trevaron’s grandfather demands that he leave America and return home to England to claim his title of Marquess. Will is expected to put himself on the marriage market but balks at the idea. He hits on the perfect solution: a marriage of convenience to Maggie Carter. A union with a “nobody from the colonies” would shock and horrify his stuffy family and rescue from poverty the woman who had once saved his life. Will didn’t count on getting three spirited children in the bargain though. And he didn’t expect to fall for his wife.

But as Maggie sets his household straight about what an independent lady from an ‘unsophisticated country’ would and would not accept, the new marquess begins to discover that his marchioness has a will of her own.

Book 3 – this one was originally published in 2010 under the title The Heart’s Song. The 2010 blurb reads:

Widower Graham Lockwood hasn’t stepped foot in church since he lost his family. So he can’t possibly say yes to his new neighbor’s request that he lead the hand bell choir. But widowed mother Reeny Landry is so hopeful—and her fatherless children so in need—that Graham agrees to help.

Suddenly, the man who closed himself off is coming out of his shell. And he finds himself acting the father figure to Reeny’s sweet, mute daughter and her loner son. But going from neighbor to husband is another matter altogether. Until a loving family teaches Graham to hear the heart’s song.

 

So there you have it, the three projects I’m itching to get to work on. Let me know which order you think I should tackle them in and why, and I’ll throw your name in the hat for the drawing!

 

Horsepower – History and Trivia

 

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. Last moth I did a post on the Transcontinental Railroad. While I was doing my research I came across a little footnote on the term horsepower, one of those little trivia nuggets that led me down a rabbit trail. Today I thought I’d share the results of that little research sidetrack.

The concept of horsepower was created in the eighteenth century by a man named James Watt. And believe it or not, it was created as a last ditch marketing gimmick.

In the 1760s, Watt was tasked with repairing a defective steam engine. But Watt was an enterprising inventor and noted some inefficiency problems with the overall design that he thought he could correct.

So instead of completing his assigned task, Watt created a new and improved steam engine that was far and away better than anything on the market at that time. However he had trouble finding any customers willing to give his product a try. The problem was, previous steam engines had failed, in sometimes spectacular ways, making folks unwilling to replace their familiar and reliable horses with yet another version of the engine.

But Watt was not one to give up easily. He decided the answer to his marketing problem was to come up with a unit of measure that would allow him to compare his engine to horses. He poured a lot of time and thought into how he would do this. Watt eventually came up with a unit of measure that was defined as the power exerted by a single horse to move 33,000 pounds of material one foot in one minute. He dubbed this unit of measure the horsepower.

 

His calculations went something like this: He had observed ponies at a coal mine and  figured out that on average the animals were able to move 220 pounds of product over a mineshaft 100 feet long in one minute. By his calculation, that was equivalent to 22,000 pounds over one foot in one minute. Then he made one additional tweak to his calculation – he figured a horse could do 50 percent more work than a pony, thus his new horsepower measurement would equal 33,000 foot-pounds of force per minute.

As you can see, the manner in which he computed his horsepower measurement was not truly scientific, nor was it entirely accurate, but the important thing to Watt was that it gave him a method to convey the power of his engine in a manner people could visualize. Armed with this new way of measuring his engine’s power, he claimed his machine had the power of ten horses, in other words ten horsepower. It worked – people were receptive to this new way of looking at his engine and so were willing to reconsider the value of his machine.  This tactic proved so successful that his competitors began using horsepower in their advertisements and sales pitches too.  And this unscientific measurement that was developed as a marketing tactic is still in use today, more than 240 years later.

A couple of additional bits of trivia

  • Because of The Watt Engine’s rapid incorporation into many industries, many consider the Watt engine to be one of the defining developments of the Industrial Revolution.
  • James Watt was later recognized for his contributions to science and industry, the unit of power in the International System of Units, the watt, was named for him.
  • An actual horse’s peak power has been measured at  just under 15hp. However, for prolonged periods of time, the average horse can’t deliver even one horsepower.

There you have it, a short accounting of what I discovered about the origins of the term horsepower. So what do you think, did any of the information in this post surprise you?  Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a copy of any of my backlist books.

Winnie’s Winner

A big thank you to everyone who stopped by to tell me about their train adventures on Monday. The winners of their chaice of any of my backlist books are:

February Jones

Linda Klager

Congratulations to both of you. Just check out my list of books (https://www.winniegriggs.com/booklist.html ), then contact me via my website with the title you selected and your mailing info.

The Transcontinental Railroad

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. According to my This Day In History Calendar, today is the 152nd anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (May 10, 1869), an event that had a profound effect on everything from commerce to the environment of this country.

So today I thought I’d share a bit of history and trivia around this event.

First a timeline of key events:

  • 1832 – Dr. Hartwell Carver made his first push for construction of a railroad to connect the east coast to the west coast. That proposal didn’t make it through, but Dr. Carver didn’t give up and over the next several years continued to write articles supporting his proposal.
  • 1853 – Congress commissions a survey of 5 possible routes. These were completed by 1855
  • 1862 – The Pacific Railroad Bill signed by Abraham Lincoln. The act offered government incentives to assist “men of talent, men of character, men who are willing to invest” in developing the nation’s first transcontinental rail line.
  • 1863 (Jan) – The Central Pacific Railroad breaks ground in Sacramento. They lay the first rail in October of that same year.
  • 1863 (Dec) – The Union Pacific Railroad breaks ground in Omaha. But because of the Civil War it isn’t until July of 1865 that the first rail on the eastern end is laid.
  • 1869 – Transcontinental Railroad completed

Now on to some other Interesting facts and trivia:

  • The railroad line followed a route similar to that used as the central route of the Pony Express primarily because this route had been proven navigable in winter.
  • There were two main railroad companies involved in constructing the historic line. The Central Pacific Railroad received the contract to construct the line from Sacramento to points east. The Union Pacific Railroad was awarded the contract  to forge the path from Council Bluffs, Iowa west. As noted above, construction began in 1862 and in the early days the place where the two legs would meet up and become one was not decided.
  • As the project neared completion, President Ulysses Grant set Promontory Point Utah as the place where the two rails would meet. On May 10, 1869, the final spike was driven and the Transcontinental Railroad was deemed complete.
  • The final spike driven is often called the Golden Spike. However the spike was actually gold plated, a solid gold spike would have been much too soft to drive into the rail.
  • The total length of the rail line was 1,776 miles. 1086 miles was laid by the Union Pacific crew and 690 miles by Central Pacific. At the time of its completion it was one of the longest contiguous railroad in the world
  • The chosen route required 19 tunnels to be drilled through the mountains. This was no easy task during this time period and it managed to push forward barely a foot per day. Even when  nitroglycerin was introduced to blast through the rock it only increased their progress to 2 feet per day.
  • When completed, the Transcontinental Railroad allowed passengers to cross the country in just one week as opposed to the four to six months it had taken before.
  • The fare to travel from Omaha to San Francisco was $65 for a third class bench seat, $110 for a second class seat and $136 if you wanted to ride first class in a Pullman sleeping car.

And there you have it, a short and sweet lesson on the Transcontinental Railway. So what about you, do you have any experience with trains and railways you’d like to share? If not, would you like to ride a train someday?

My only personal experience was on a vacation to the Grand Canyon – we road the train from Williams AZ to the south rim, a trip of about 2 hours. It was a really fun addition to our vacation experience.

Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a choice of any book from my backlist.