Monday, April 25, 2011

Giveaway for TO WIN HER HEART by Karen Witemeyer


Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance fiction for Bethany House and was recently named a RITA® Finalist in the category of Best First Book for her debut novel, A Tailor-Made Bride. She loves to watch movies (even those not inspired by true stories), cross-stitch, and eat chocolate chip ice cream. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas with her hunky, computer nerd husband and their three children. To Win Her Heart is her third novel.

Karen Witemeyer has a fun announcement about a new contest she is sponsoring on her website. It is open to any writer or reader who would care to try their hand at fan fiction. In conjunction with the release of her latest novel, To Win Her Heart, she is inviting readers to write an epilogue for two of her secondary characters - Duncan and Chloe.
Entries will be judged on creativity, trueness of character, and the sigh factor – how much she enjoys the ending you create for this pair who stole her heart during the writing of Levi and Eden's story, and who deserve a fitting happily ever after of their own.
And she is giving away some great prizes, too.
$40.00 Amazon Gift Card
Your fan fiction piece published on her website
An autographed copy of any one of her books - winner's choice
The contest will run from now until the end of June. And the winner will be announced no later than July 15th.
Anyone can enter. Full guidelines are available on her website.
Inspired By Actual Events

My husband always gives me a hard time when I get excited about a movie trailer that has the catch phrase, "Based on a True Story" or "Inspired by Actual Events". He rolls his eyes and moans while I perk up and move to the edge of my seat. I can't explain it, but there is something about the knowledge that this story was based on real people and events that adds another layer of enjoyment to the experience for me.

When I write, my characters are strictly products of my imagination. However, if I stumble upon an element in my research that allows me to weave threads of actual history into my stories, I get that same little thrill of excitement as when I see those movie trailers. My plots aren't in any way based on true stories, but every once in a while, a story element comes to life that I can honestly say was inspired by actual events. That happened for me in my latest release, To Win Her Heart.

My hero, Levi Grant, enters the story after spending two years in Huntsville State Prison for an unintentional crime. He is a large, muscled man and was put to work in the labor camps breaking rock at a granite quarry. The abusive camp sergeants he faced there left him with scars inside and out, but the compassion of a prison chaplain helped him rebuild his faith and rededicate his life to serving the Lord. Upon his release, he takes up his father's blacksmithing trade and tries to create a fresh start by keeping his past a secret. Now, as the author, I couldn't allow this secret to stay hidden forever. So I began looking for ways to expose my hero's past. And I found the perfect solution in my time period research. 

(Top Picture) Texas Capital as it appeared in 1875
(Bottom Picture)  Texas Capital after the fire of 1881
In 1881, the Texas Capitol building was destroyed by fire. The Texas Legislature decided that when they rebuilt, they would use only materials native to the state. They initially chose limestone, as there was a quarry near Austin, but when iron particles in the rock led to discoloration, they elected red granite instead. The granite was obtained from Granite Mountain in 1885, and to cut costs, the state contracted convict labor for breaking the stone. The use of free—or almost free—convict labor in the quarries, however, was seen as an attempt by the state to undermine unionized labor and was opposed by virtually every organized labor group in Austin. Hence, word spread throughout the region about the controversial labor force.

This historical event allowed me to supply Levi with quarry experience during his incarceration (breaking rock at Granite Mountain), but with a project that was so well known for using convict labor, that it could easily expose his past should anyone learn of his involvement. And, of course, someone does. History provided me the perfect scenario.
So no, To Win Her Heart, is not based on a true story. But yes, there are some aspects of the setting and character development that were inspired by actual events.

 How about you? Are you inspired by books and movies that are based on real people and situations? Which true story movies are your favorites? Some of mine include Apollo 13 and Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken.Unstoppable, and the new Christian film, Soul Surfer looks good, too. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of To Win Her Heart. I'm still waiting to see Unstoppable, and the new Christian film, Soul Surfer looks good, too. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of To Win Her Heart.

           To Win Her Heart

A blacksmith with a criminal past. A librarian with pacifist ideals. Do they have a fighting chance at finding love?

Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father’s knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets. . . .

Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town’s new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.

Levi’s renewed commitment to his faith leads Eden to believe she’s finally found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of her love. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian’s affections?

Thanks, Karen, for that wonderful tidbit! I love history. Thank you for being on my blog!

CONGRATULATIONS Charity. You won The Sheriff's Sweetheart by Laura Kingery.
 Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday, May 9th.


  1. This sounds like such an interesting story! Thank you for the opportunity to win. I love meeting authors that I haven't read yet ~ :)

    True stories (both movies & books) do inspire me. I think my favorite is The Hiding Place. I ALWAYS cry. Or The Diary of Anne Frank. Bonhoeffer is good too... sheesh, there's a bunch I love!

    Thank you again for the opportunity.

    amanda38401 at gmail dot com

  2. Hi, Amanda. Thanks for leaving a comment. It's hard to beat the Diary of Anne Frank. That one tugs on the heart strings for sure.

  3. I'm the same as you Amanda, I love accurate historical nuggets. They make the story come alive. And this sounds like a wondeful story. One I will have to add to my to-be-read list.

  4. I am SO anxious to read this book! Congrats Karen!

    Amanda, The Hiding Place is one of my all time favorites.... Thank God for fleas. :)

  5. I love including historical events and figures in my books. That is a WONDERFUL thing that you found, Karen! A very interesting piece of history and the controversy surrounding it makes it even more fascinating.

  6. Christine and Salena - Thanks so much for stopping by today. You are both definitely in the drawing.

    Carla - Don't you just love it when all those pieces fit together so perfectly? Those historical tidbits can enrich a story like nothing else, and even enhance the plot. It's like a miner who finally found gold after months of digging. Priceless!

  7. I have Love on Assignment waiting to be read. This one looks great, I love historical romances!

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  8. Meredith - Another historical romance lover. Yay!! And Cara James is a wonderful author. I'm sure you'll enjoy her book. Don't you love her covers? Fabulous!

  9. Debby thanks for the post!
    Sounds like an amazing book, I am a fan of Karen Witemeyer's other 2 books so I am sure I'd like this one!

    Please enter me

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

  10. Thanks for stopping by, ladies. I'm in the middle of Karen's book now and loving it! If you don't win be sure to buy it. You don't want to miss reading this one.

  11. Please enter me for Karen's book!! Am so anxious to read it; I read Head in the Clouds and loved it! Thanks!!!

  12. Debbie Lynne - You are such a sweetie. Thanks again for having me here this week.

    Faye and Jackie - I'm so glad you enjoyed my other books. I'm sure Levi and Eden would love the chance to get to meet you both! :-)

  13. This sounds like such a great novel! All three of Karen Witemeyer's novels have been on my wishlist since I've read the summaries. I would love to win this!


  14. noseinanovel - Thanks for stopping by and leaving such an encouraging comment. Even if you don't win, maybe you could talk your local library into ordering them for you and others to enjoy. Wishing you luck with the drawing!

  15. I too love books or movies based on true stories, I think my favorite was "The Blindside". This book sounds wonderful, thanks for the chance to win.

  16. I'm trying to win this one everywhere I see it!! I'm going to turn into a giveaway stalker. ;)

    I remember watching Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken. It broke my heart! I'm really looking forward to Soul Surfer, too.

    bluerosesheart at yahoo dot com

  17. I caught right away the the granite mining information was true to life. I love the way you were able to work that in, Karen.

    To Win Her Heart was great, btw. Whoever wins will enjoy the book.

    Thanks for the interview, Debbie Lynne!

  18. I enjoy reading true stories, I recently read All Over But The Shoutin' by Rick Bragg about his life, a poor boy who grew up and won the pulitzer prize.
    Theresa N

  19. Since I'm relatively new in the Midwest, I want to learn more about Texas. My current WIP has Texas features in it. Please enter me for a chance to win your book. Rachel