Keli Gwyn
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Friday Fun Book Release Style

The release month for A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California has been such fun. I’m so grateful to everyone for the tremendous outpouring of support.

Because so many wonderful people have helped me reach this milestone, I’m eager to have you all share in the celebration. One way I’ve been doing that is to hold my Five Weeks of Fun drawings.

Today is the start of the final Bushel of Fun drawing. Each cute little basket is filled with a copy of my book and five items from the story, a prize package worth $40. This drawing will run through the end of the month. I’ll announce the winner in my post on Wednesday, August 1st.

The story-related items, as seen above, are: an autographed copy of A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, a French-milled lavender soap bar, a bag of lemon drops, a bag of peppermint sticks, a bag of rose potpourri, and a package of violet seeds. The winner gets the bushel, too.

All of the items in the basket were available in the year 1870, when the story takes place. Each Friday, I’ve shared a passage or two showing why one of the items the bushel plays a part in the story. Here are the passages about the fifth and final item.

Violet Seeds

Violets play a special role in the story. They’re Elenora Watkins’s favorite flower. The Victorians had a language of flowers that told them what each flower meant. The following lines are from the scene where Ellie is meeting Miles Rutledge for the first time. He expected a man as his prospective junior partner, but she doesn’t know that yet. At the end of this passage, she thinks about meaning of the violet.

…..“Mama, you were right. He is a nice man. And I think he’s handsome, don’t you? I know you were afraid he’d be—”
…..“Yes Tildy, he’s, um, a fine-looking man.” She attempted a smile, but it felt strained. Why was he glaring at her? “Did you find out if he sells candy?”
…..“Your daughter did ask, Mrs. Watkins. She’s honest about what she wants.”
…..“She can be outspoken at times, but she means well. And I’ve told her whispering is impolite. Did she say something amiss?”
…..His carefully combed mustache concealed a portion of his mouth, but the small lines at the corners indicated his lips were pursed. “Not at all. Tildy is forthcoming, unlike some people.”
…..Elenora fingered the silk violets at her throat. Mama had always said the tiny purple blossoms stood for modesty and served as a reminder to show no impropriety in appearance, behavior, or manner. Much of the time Elenora maintained rigid control, but this man vexed her. What did he mean by those inexplicable lines he’d dropped into their discourse?

In this scene much later in the story, Miles is observing Ellie from afar while attending a 4th of July celebration at his friends’ farm. Ellie came to California from Omaha and is adjusting to the heat of a Sierra Foothills’ summer.

…..Miles smiled. Will and Pearl had something special. Something he and Irene had never had. Something he wanted. His gaze wandered to Ellie, who swiped the back of a hand across her forehead and blew a breath over her face. The heat must be hard on her. Those not accustomed to temperatures that hovered around the century mark for days on end often suffered.
…..Unlike many who dressed too warmly their first summer, she’d chosen wisely. The dotted Swiss with its navy spots and the red bow at her throat were fitting for the day, but he preferred her in purple with the cluster of silk violets at her throat. The color suited her—regal and elegant.


A Question for You

Have you ever grown violets?

What is your favorite flower? Do you know it’s meaning?


The Final Bushel of Fun Drawing

I’m using Rafflecopter to hold the drawing.
Doing so gives you the opportunity to earn bonus entry points.

The winner of last Friday’s Bushel of Fun is Judy S.
Congratulations, Judy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grand Prize Drawing

Don’t miss the drawing for Elenora’s Extravaganza. The prize package, valued at $200, includes six Victorian-themed items such as Ellie would sell in her shop. Entries accepted through July 31st.


 Book Release Blog Tour Appearances

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California was officially released July 1. Many wonderful bloggers have offered to help me get the word out by hosting me on their blogs. I’ll be sharing the links to those posts at the bottom of mine throughout the tour, which runs though the end of this month.

July 27

Cynthia Herron ~ Guest Post with Book and Gift Card Giveaway
In this post, I share what’s fact and what’s fiction in A Bride Opens Shop.

Keli Gwyn


  • You just look like you’re having so much fun with this! Violet–yes, I know the meaning. A character from one of my thousand books I wrote has this name and I researched it.

    I like peonies, but am not a fan of their meaning. Hydrangeas.

    I’d love to host you on my blog for a fun Q&A or something. I’ve been running like mad lately, but I’ll email soon.

  • Melissa Tagg says:

    I haven’t grown violets and I’m afraid I don’t really know any flower meanings. 🙂 But I loved the role violets and roses play in Elenora’s story!

  • Nope, pretty sure I’d kill them, and I’d hate to do that to such a pretty flower! 😛

    So fun to see your creativity this month in your giveaways!

  • I’ve never grown violets, but after having read your book, I know I’ll never look at them the same way again without thinking of Ellie! 🙂

    My fave flower is the peony (waving at you, Wendy!) I especially like the white ones with the pinkish centers. They smell heavenly! We’ve tried growing them numerous times, but drat our silly moles! Those varmints ate every single bulb!!!

  • Beth K .Vogt says:

    Despite having a brown thumb, I did manage to grow violets — once. I think I found the perfect spot for them and they just took it from there.

  • I have some lovely violets a friend gave me for my birthday and they sit in the window in my kitchen.

    My favorite flower is the Lily of the Valley – but I don’t know their meaning. Hmmm…

  • My mom uses my old bedroom with the built in shelves for all her pots of violets! Says the sun is perfect through that window.

  • bn100 says:

    I haven’t grown violets. I like lilies, but don’t know the meaning.

  • Casey says:

    I, unfortunately, do not know the meaning of flowers. I have always been interested in the meaning behind the different color roses, but not taken the time to learn. You’ve done such a GREAT release month, Keli! I’m so glad I could take part in that. 😀

  • misskallie2000 says:

    I tried growing violets 30 yrs ago but just did not have the green thumb. I love Gardenia’s and have one now in my flower bed but don’t know the meaning of gardenia.

  • Karen Lange says:

    This is such a lovely idea. What a wonderful way to celebrate your book! I have had a few potted violets over the years, and a sprinkling of wild ones in my yard. They are so pretty. 🙂

    They remind me of my Mom, who cut and sold them at a roadside stand when she was a girl. They lived on a country road, so no one ever stopped and bought any, so my Grandmother used to buy them all. (When I was young, I thought that was the saddest story ever.) As a mom, I bought a lot of my children’s roadside wares and lemonade too. 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

  • Deevena says:

    I’ve grown little violets in small pots before. 🙁 They didn’t last long.

    I love so many flowers; it’s so hard to pick a favorite!

  • Anne Payne says:

    I’ve grown African Violets, but I don’t think those are the Violets you’re talking about 🙂 I have no idea the meaning of most flowers but I certainly love getting them from my husband!

    I’m so glad I could be a part of celebrating your debut novel, Keli!

  • Keli Gwyn says:

    Congratulations to Anne Payne, winner of the fifth and final Bushel of Fun!

    Thanks to everyone who has joined in the fun.