Ruthy here, having fun with fellow Love Inspired author Winnie Griggs! Winnie and I realized that our Christmas stories had The Same Title this past summer, so we figured... HEY! LET'S HAVE SOME FUN!!!! And that fun begins today! Winnie's delightful historical "Her Holiday Family" was released a couple of weeks back and my fun contemporary "Her Holiday Family" is hitting shelves this week! So come on in, have some fun with us, and we'll tell youse a little about "Her Holiday Family"... both editions!
Of all the gin joints, in all the world….
That’s the line that went through my mind when I realized that amazingly wonderful historical author Winnie Griggs and I had the exact same title for my 5th
Kirkwood Lake book and her 5th
Turnabout, Texas story (another coincidence!)
And not just the same title.... but with a 2 to 3 week sales overlap!!!!!
Now I’m ALL ABOUT riding the coattails of Winnie’s success! This could have her people buying my book! (YES!!!!) And my readers grabbing hers! (YES, AGAIN!) So today Winnie and I are giving away 5 double sets of “Her Holiday Family” in historical (Winnie!) version and contemporary (Ruthy!) version.
“Her Holiday Family”, one set in present day Western New York...
"Her Holiday Family" set in Turnabout, Texas, circa 1896...
(Winnie!!! I love this cover!!!!)
A gentleman, overseeing the care of ten young orphans and a returning military hero coming back to face the past he’d left behind.
A woman of means and elegant breeding and a woman whose hard work earned her a glowing community business until arson blinked it all out in one cold, windswept night.
What do these two stories have in common? What would earn them the same name?
That’s what we wondered! And you know what? At Christmas time, it’s all about family and neither one of these heroines had one. But let’s see what we’ve got!
: Eileen Pierce is a widow who made a lot of mistakes, including bearing some responsibility for her former husband’s death. Because of that she’s lost the socially prominent position she once held in the community. But she’s spent the three years since her husband’s death trying to keep up appearances and pretending the snubbing she’s received from most of her neighbors don’t matter to her. All the time she’s secretly longing for a family of her own. But having her home invaded by ten children and their handsome caretaker wasn’t at all what she had in mind!
Tina Martinelli is a tough young lady. She lost her family business to the underhanded dealings of her aunt’s late husband, her parents have died, her aunt and cousin don’t acknowledge her existence, and her beloved coffee shop was burned to the ground on a windy fall night. She’s got no reason to stay in Kirkwood Lake
, she needs a fresh start, a new beginning. And she’s ready to make that happen until Max Campbell rolls into town to help his sick father.
Simon Tucker is providing escort to Mrs. Fredrick, a kindly older woman, and the ten orphans she’s taken in, as they travel by train through Texas
to the new home waiting for them. Unfortunately, Mrs. Fredrick has a stroke before they reach their destination, forcing them to stop over in a strange town to seek medical help for her. Suddenly he finds himself the sole caretaker for ten children and though he has no idea how to be a father he’s determined to keep the children together-not separate them like he and his sisters were as youngsters. When Eileen Pierce, who has the biggest home in town is cornered into volunteering her home for their temporary lodgings, he can tell she’s not the maternal type. But beggars can’t be choosers, and besides, there’s something about the pretty young widow that intrigues him...
Military hero Max Campbell hasn’t come home in a long time. Coming home means facing the past he tried to bury. Epic: FAIL. Now he has no choice. His father is fighting cancer and the prognosis is grim. Max has to come back because his adoptive parents need him. He’s determined to make amends for teenage indiscretions, and when he comes face-to-face with Tina Martinelli, he realizes that maybe God brought him back for other reasons… Like settling down in the old hometown with a bunch of his siblings. But first he has to convince Tina to stay and Tina’s a mighty stubborn girl. (Any resemblance to any Tina’s in or around Seekerville is purely coincidental. Really.)
: Turnabout, Texas...a fictional town set among the rolling hills of north east Texas
. It’s the last decade of the nineteenth century and Turnabout is a small but growing community surrounded by farms and ranches. The townsfolk there are just your normal everyday people, which means it also includes, among others, the quirky, the busybodies, the wise mentors and the silly ninnies. For a small town, Turnabout has drawn lots of newcomers over the years, all of them looking for second chances, for someplace to turn their lives around. And for the most part, they’ve succeeded. The people of the town have become very dear to me and every time I think I’m ready to end the series another character tugs at me to have his or her story told.
: Kirkwood Lake… a fictional town and lake modeled after the beautiful Chautauqua Lake in Western New York. Gorgeous, surrounded by rural settings and yet home to wealthy people, it’s a great mix of folks to draw from for books! And who doesn’t L-O-V-E homegrown military and cop heroes???? I loved that I could run the full gamut of all four seasons, have babies and kids running amok, bad girls and sweet lakeside churches! And dogs, Nigerian dwarf goats, puppies, cows, and orphaned babies. Kirkwood Lake
had it all, and I’ve loved working there!
In Winnie’s story, the reserved heroine didn’t really intend to volunteer her home as a temporary children’s shelter. For one thing, she doesn’t want her true state of affairs to become public knowledge (she’s been secretly selling off many of her possessions to get by). But when the town’s busybody makes thinly veiled comments about Eileen’s unsuitability to play hostess to the group, Eileen’s I’ll-show-you side gets the better of her. Before she knows it her quiet, nearly empty home has been invaded by TEN rambunctious children and their laid back and oh-so-handsome caretaker. Her cool reserve has served as an effective shield for her since the scandal of her husband’s death rocked her life, but will these children - and Simon – succeed in thawing her heart once more?
In Ruthy’s version, the heroine is determined to go and not look back. (Did I mention she’s s-t-u-b-b-o-r-n??? Like possibly named after someone I know and love who is strong, hard-working, fiercely independent, and oh… WAIT FOR IT!!!!.... STUBBORN?????) She’s had enough, there’s nothing to keep her here and realizes it’s time to start over. So she has no intention of staying, but now that Max is back, he can’t leave. He has a duty to his parents, a task he must fulfill, and for the first time in a long time, Max Campbell feels like he’s finally come home. But can he convince Tina that staying in Kirkwood Lake
… with him… is the future God planned for her?
So there you have it – a quick comparison between Ruthy’s story and mine. It’s been fun sharing a title and we’ve had (and are having!) lots of fun comparing and contrasting our two stories. And we want to share some of our fun with you!
So what do you think – what stood out to you as the biggest thing they had in common, or the biggest difference (other than the century they are set in)? As Ruthy said, we’re giving away a copy of each of our books to five folks who stop by and leave a comment, so come on and join the conversation.
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.
On a fun note - having been born on a Friday the 13th, Winnie has always considered 13 her lucky number. This belief was recently reinforced when her 13th book, Handpicked Husband, won a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award in - what else - 2013.
|The Winding Road in front of Pam's House|
by Pam Hillman
Do you enter a lot of writing contests? Have you ever wondered about some of your weird reactions to contest scores but have been too embarrassed to share them with friends and family because…well, you know, it’s just weird! lol
Having entered hundreds of contests before receiving my first contract, I put together the 12 stages of the Writing Contest Journey. See if you relate to some of these.
Stage 1: You enter your first contest. You’re absolutely terrified, hoping for a kernel of encouragement that you MIGHT have a tiny bit of writing talent.
Stage 2: You survive your first couple of contests and throw your hat in the ring a few more times. Still terrified, but you’ve used every bit of advice from the first few contests and are hoping to up your scores. Here is the time where you have to research POV, GMC, head-hopping, clichés, scene and sequel, sagging middles, black moments. Ack!!!
Stage 3: But you persevere and move forward for another round. The mechanics (punctuation/grammar) are much better, so now you can now concentrate on cliches and craft.
Stage 4: You still don’t know why one judge dings you for a cliché and the other one doesn’t, or why one judge loves your heroine, but the other thinks she’s too stupid to live, but your scores are better (most of the time) and you’ve got a pretty good handle on POV. Now you really have contest fever, and you’re dreaming of a finalist slot, but you’re still not sure if you’re ready yet.
|The fenced in "lane" behind Pam's house going toward the hay field.|
Stage 5: Finally, you snag a finalist slot!!! But was it a fluke? Can you do it again? With that first finalist slot, you’re just thrilled to final. If there are 4 finalists, you know you’re not ready to win (what would you DO if an editor asked for a complete????), but you’d rather not end up #4 either. 2nd or 3rd place would be perfect.
Stage 6: You are a star! You finalled in a writing contest. You’ve proved to yourself and the publishing world that you can write. It’s just a matter of weeks (or the next contest) where big name agent or editor discovers you. Then one of your manuscripts that has already finalled and/or won in a couple of contests crashes and burns and comes in dead last in a field of 52. You’re a has-been before you had a chance to be. Sigh.
|The old Natchez Trace north of Natchez, MS. Wagons and travelers
wore this trail down over hundreds of years.
Stage 7: This is where you get serious. You get a little bit mad at how hard this is, how subjective, and you get a lot hardheaded. This is where you decide to fish or cut bait. All these thoughts run through your mind as you’re shredding your latest masterpiece. Breaking in is too hard! There’s too much to learn! But there’s something there that makes you want to try for one more rung of the publishing ladder. So you do. After all, that manuscript just won 3 contests. By this time, you’ve developed some writing buddies who can help pull you through this stage.
Stage 8: You pull up your big girl panties, grit your teeth and declare you’re going out there again. You’ve realized this is BUSINESS, not just fun-and-games, and that it is subjective, and everyone isn’t going to like what you do, but you’ve got enough feedback under your belt to know that SOME people do like what you do, and that’s enough to keep you going.
Stage 9: Now you get strategic. You develop a plan. You figure out which genre you’re most passionate about, you figure out what houses you’re best suited for, you figure out which of the half-dozen manuscripts you’re working on are the best you’ve got, and you run with that. Here you start finalling and winning more and more contests.
|Beautiful shaded lane between Pam's house and her mother's house.|
Stage 10: You’ve got a lot of contests under your belt, maybe even signed with an agent. Editors are requesting your stuff. Here, you’re likely to cut down on the number of contests you enter, just entering the big ones like the Golden Heart and the Genesis, and maybe a couple just because a certain editor or agent is judging. If you have an agent to send your stuff out, entering lots and lots of contests isn’t as critical.
Stage 11: You’re still in contest mode, but you’re very selective, and you only enter your absolute BEST work. It’s not exactly smart to enter a half-baked idea that MIGHT get in front of that editor who’s already got one of your best stories sitting on his or her desk.
Stage 12: Well, since these stages were about entering CONTESTS, I guess this is the last stage. At some point, an editor is going to pick up the phone and call you or your agent and offer a contract, and when you accept, you are ineligible to enter contests for the unpublished. And you enter a whole new set of stages as a published author.
Like the hero’s journey, these stages can be reversed, you can go through the same stage more than once, and you might even skip some of them, but for most of us, they’re probably much the same. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you make it to stage 12, the odds of you crossing the bridge to publication are pretty high.
|Pam's mother-in-law's bridge to nowhere. lol Actually, it goes to a
delightful island in the middle of their pond. Great fishing
spot and her yard is filled with gorgeous flowers and photo opps.
Have you read The Evergreen Bride yet? If so, the world would love to know what you think. Click here to review it on Amazon...and if you haven't read it, well...
When Pam saw the list of proposed titles for the 12 Brides of Christmas series, she jumped on The Evergreen Bride
as her title. “I knew immediately the story would be set in my home state of Mississippi, which is an evergreen state. We rarely have snow and even in the middle of winter, we still have a lot of greenery,” thus the heroine’s dream to see a white Christmas with her own eyes.