Keli Gwyn
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LIH Spotlight: Her Motherhood Wish

This week I’m shining the spotlight on
Her Motherhood Wish, my March release
from Love Inspired Historical.

Learn more about the story below, and then scroll
down to enter the giveaway for a print copy.

Copyright © 2017 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover art and cover copy text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
or its affiliated companies, used under license.

💜💜💜

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at My Writing Life

Before I began writing with the goal of publication, I imagined what it would be like to create stories and see them in print. In my mind’s eye, writers lived serene lives with neat desks, clean houses and a deep sense of satisfaction from knowing that their stories were blessing the lives of readers.

Now that I’m a writer with my fifth novel releasing in less than two weeks, my rose-colored images have given way to reality. My office is a mess, my house is in desperate need of a post-deadline cleaning and my laundry hamper is overflowing.

I do, however, feel a sense of excitement as Her Motherhood Wish is making its way into the hands of readers, but that’s tempered by the knowledge that although I worked hard to create characters readers like, their story isn’t going to resonate with everyone who picks it up.

One star-reviews happen. So do mistakes in my stories.

When I receive my author copies, I look forward to sitting down with my latest book and encountering it as a reader. Since I haven’t read the story in several months, I don’t remember everything little thing that happens or the order in which the events take place. I’m often surprised and delighted to see the way the story plays out.

I was hard at work on Their Mistletoe Matchmakers when my copies of Her Motherhood Wish arrived last month, so I didn’t get to read my latest story in print form until this past weekend. I had fun spending time with Chip and Callie again. I laughed at times, cried at others and felt the same sense of frustration with a certain regimented hero that reviewers have.

There were times I cringed, too. Why? Because despite the number of people who read the story before it went to print, there are mistakes. I know they happen, but it’s hard for this recovering perfectionist to see them. I find it hard to believe that they got past me, my three writing partners, my editor, the line editor, the copy editor and the proofreaders, but they did.

In case you’re curious, here are the oopsies I found:

  • Page 68 : She glanced at Isaac, smiled at the obvious delight on her brother’s face and retuned her attention to Chip. (What a difference one missing R can make.)
  • Page 124: “And how about you, princess? Would you like to see what I brought with me?” (Princess is what Chip calls, Ruby, the little girl in the story, but in this case, Callie is speaking to Ruby. She was supposed to say sweetheart instead. My bad.)
  • Page 186: “When I was a younger, I used to read fashion magazines and dream about my next gown. (Extra words sometimes show up. In this case, I’d changed a young girl to younger, but I neglected to remove that little word, A.)

Those are the obvious errors I found, but when I read one of my books, I notice things I wish I’d done differently. For example, there were repetitions of words in Her Motherhood Wish that I would have changed, had I spotted them.

The writer’s life isn’t the blissful experience I envisioned, but there are rewards. Seeing one of my stories in print, hearing that readers are enjoying it and knowing I’ve done my best to glorify God through the faith elements make me happy.

💜💜💜

Question for You

How do you envision a writer’s life?

How do you feel when you spot a
mistake in a story you’re reading?

What would you like to know about me,
my writing process or my latest story?

💜💜💜

Book Giveaway – Three Copies!

Enter to win a print copy of Her Motherhood Wish by leaving
a comment on this post with the answer to one of the questions
above. You must answer at least one question to qualify.
(Be sure to leave your email address when you’re
prompted to do so during the commenting process.
To keep spammers from snatching your address,
please don’t leave it in your comment itself.)

Giveaway ends Saturday, February 25 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Winners to be announced in my new
blog post on Monday, February 27.

Must be 18 to enter. International OK. Void where prohibited.

Congratulations to the winner from my February 13 post.
Nancy B. will receive a copy of
A Temporary Family by Sherri Shackelford.

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Keli Gwyn

38 Comments

  • Deana Dick says:

    I would love to know where you do your writing at. What type of research you do and how you choose names for your characters. I envision writer’s life as hectic st times while trying to finish a book. I see several books open about the subject they are writing about. I’m sure you stay up late into the night working on just the right way to end a book. Glamorous life? Probably not, but definitely rewarding life as your words turn into a beautiful story that blesses readers.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Great questions, Deana.

      I have a small home office. It’s quite messy right now, which is why I didn’t include a picture in this post. Once I’ve cleaned it, I’ll share before and after pics in an upcoming post.

      Some writers make writing look so easy. Their desks and offices really are neat and tidy. They add their words in a few hours a day and enjoy plenty of free time. I’m a s-l-o-w writer. When I’m on deadline, I spend anywhere from ten to sixteen hours a day (or more) with my nose to the screen. That’s what the past seven weeks have looked like. If it weren’t for my wonderfully supportive husband, the house would be a disaster, but he’s kept things running while I’ve been writing.

      I love research. I have a bookshelf full of reference books at my fingertips. I visit Google so often that they’ve made me click a box to tell them I’m not a robot performing searches.

      I’m a night owl by nature, so I do write late into the night, especially when a deadline is looming. I’ve been known to still be up at 1 am here in California when a prolific, dedicated writer friend of mine in New York is just starting her writing day at 4 am her time.

  • Tanya says:

    How long does it take you to write a book? What does your daily schedule look like? I’m hoping to be an LI author one day! 🙂

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Tanya, I’m excited to hear that you hope to becoming a LI author one day. I wish you well as you pursue that dream. I have a few tips for writing for LI on the Study: Writing Tips page of my website.

      Every writer’s process is different. I wrote my first books in bits and pieces over a number of months. Once I began selling on contract and had official deadlines, things changed. I’ve written my past three books in intense eight week blocks where I’ve done little but sit in front of my screen. That’s not my ideal, but due to what was happening in my personal life, that’s how things worked out. I’m not sure what my process will look like going forward.

  • Julianna says:

    When I spot a mistake in a story I usually feel disconcerted at first, because I’m not sure if it was intentional or not. Once I’ve read the next few lines or paragraphs and figured that out I’m okay. Mistakes are meant to be made well at least that’s my thought I think it shows the author was really working at this story.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      I appreciate the grace you extend to authors, Julianna. We try out best to make sure they’re aren’t any in our stories, but they have a way of slipping past us, our editors, proofreaders, etc. They’re sneaky that way.

      I used to work as a copy editor back in the Dark Ages. I’m also a detail person, so mistakes jump out at me. What happens when I’m working on my own stories is that I’ve seen the same pages so many times, that my eyes see what is supposed to be there rather than what actually is there.

  • elizabeth says:

    I imagine a writers life to be full of imagination. It’s the work that separates people from actually writing. If there was an easier way to get all your thoughts on paper, I think everyone would be writers.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Elizabeth, there is a lot of imagination involved in being a fiction writer. Getting those ideas on paper is the hard part, at least for me. Once I have them down, I enjoy the pruning and polishing.

  • Hi, Keli, What is your favorite genre and time period ~ current or history? I have enjoyed reading two generational stories. Have you considered these? Thank you. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  • Kalan O. Stephens says:

    I envisioned a writers life as a very imaginative and creative one, where their stories allowed them to have no boundaries.
    I am a writer that’s just starting out and when I see tiny mistakes in the books I read it reminds me that nothing and no one is perfect, it gives me an odd sense of comfort.
    Something I’d like to know about you is some of your favorite spots to relax and write and how you keep your confidence up as a writer (something I struggle with)
    Thank you for your lovely stories and God bless!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Kalan, how exciting for you to be starting on your writing journey. It can be an exciting one. I wish you all the best as you create your stories.

      I do a lot of my writing at the desk in my office. I have both a sitting desk and a standing desk. I haven’t written at the standing desk as much as I’d like. I’ll have to make a more concerted effort to do so.

      Keeping my confidence up as a writer is an ongoing struggle for me. I battle doubts on a daily basis. I wish that wasn’t so, but I’m being honest. I have friends who are blessed with what I refer to as “the gift of story,” but I don’t have that innate ability. I have plenty of ideas, but the words don’t come easily to me.

      • Kalan O. Stephens says:

        Thank you very much!!
        And it’s encouraging to know that I am not the only one to struggle with writing confidence! You are an encouragement to me 😊

  • Melody sproule says:

    Would like to know how you cope with dishes and cooking and housework while still finding time to write!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Melody, I don’t do a very good job of keeping up with housework, meal preparation and such when I’m deep in writing mode. I’m blessed to have a retired husband who has taken over many of the chores for me, thus freeing up time for me. When it comes to personal heroes, they don’t come any more supportive than Carl.

  • I’m learning more and more how easy it is for editors and authors to miss those little mistakes in a manuscript. I have to admit that it does distract me a bit when I find one of those oopsies as I’m reading along. But I’m learning to be more forgiving 😉 I can’t imagine writing on a deadline as we readers are clamoring for an author’s next great work, so other than laundry piling up and a messy house how do you cope with the pressure of a deadline? Do you ever get panicked thinking you won’t make that deadline? That’s more than one question! ha!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Julie, like you, I’ve become more understanding when I encounter a mistake or two in a book. In the case of Her Motherhood Wish, those oopsies I spotted got past at least seven people, the pesky buggers. 🙄

      When it comes to dealing with deadline pressure, I wish I did a better job. I find writing on deadline to be quite stressful. Being creative on demand isn’t easy for me.

      I’ve made all but one of my deadlines. I missed that one by two days, but there were circumstances beyond my control. Thankfully, the editor I was working with on that project understood and gave me the added time I needed.

  • Lynne M Feuerstein says:

    Thanks for this post Keli.it made me smile.I have caught a few mistakes in some of the stories I’ve read and depending on the oops,my reaction has varied . Sometimes I’ve laughed,other times I’ve been confused,but most of the time I can figure out what the author meant. Thanks as always for your giveaway!

  • Marilyn R says:

    Writers lives are busy just like others who works a full time job, caring for a home and family. Being personal friends with a few authors I know there busy schedule plus prompting their books.

    An error in a book happens. Since I’ve been a beta reader for a few, I’ve realized others can miss something that someone might catch. Our minds and eyes can read one thing when clearly it’s saying something else.

    I must read Her Motherhood Wish since I’ve fallen in love with your LIH books. I’ll be reading it as soon as I obtain a copy and do a review for you. God bless as you continue to write amazing stories.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Marilyn, I appreciate your understanding. Writers can indeed be busy. There are times I’ve juggled writing one book, editing another and promoting a third. And those pesky errors can slip past us. We don’t like that, but it happens.

      Thanks for your kind words regarding my stories. They mean a great deal to me.

  • I feel your pain my writer friend. I cringe when I see a mistake in one of my books and no matter how many times we go through it, they happen. I did a reading at a school and during Q & A, a young girl smugly said, “I found a spelling mistake in your book.” I replied, “I know, I left it in to see if anyone would notice.” That was quick thinking on my part!!

  • Winnie Thomas says:

    I’m detail-oriented and a perfectionist, too, so my crazy brain picks up on typos and mistakes when I’m reading. It doesn’t usually bother me too much unless there are quite a few of them, then it distracts me from the story, and I start looking for mistakes. LOL I know how hard it is to find the errors in your own writing, though, especially when you’ve read through it so many times. Little mistakes like those you mentioned can slip through so easily, even when you have a great editing crew like you obviously have.

    I’ve read some books, though, especially self-published ones, that have so many errors they are painful to read. It can really affect how I view the book and the writer. I want to tell them to at least get a few detail-oriented early readers to check for mistakes.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Winnie, it sounds like you and I have some things in common. If I spot errors in books, they pull me out of the story. I know they’re inevitable, but I still see them and choose to move on. However, as you said, if I started seeing a lot of mistakes in a story, I wouldn’t be inclined to read future books by that author.

  • Brenda W says:

    When I spot a mistake in a book, I usually think the author and the proofreaders were in a hurry or that the computer software’s SpellChecker is not so smart at the software programmer thinks it is. I am never sure if I should mention the mistake or not.

    I don’t write books but I hate an automatic spellchecker–on e-mail, browser forms or word processor programs. I can check a word I am unsure of, or run the SpellChecker when I am finished.

    I have found time period mistakes in a few books–like in the late 1880’s the church was singing a song written in about 1960’s. I probably wouldn’t always know enough of history to catch something like that.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Brenda, I’m with you on debating whether or not to tell an author about a mistake I found. Generally, I choose to say nothing. I figure others will have pointed out the mistakes or the poor author will have found them on her/his own and cringed, as I do when I spot them in my stories.

      I do write with spellcheck on. I also turn on the grammar check feature. Because I’m such a detail person, I like knowing about potential problems as I go along. That way, I can fix them while they’re fresh in my mind.

      I work very hard to achieve historical accuracy in my stories. That requires a lot of research, but since I love research, that’s fine with me. If I take fictional license, I mention that in the Dear Reader letter at the end of the story.

  • I am a new author and also a perfectionist and constantly catch typos and grammar errors in everything I read these days. When I see an error or typo in a book I am reading, I truly desire to ask the author about it, especially if it is a storyline boo-boo. I just caught one the other day (although as I type this, the particular instance escapes me, but if you want to know, I will go back and find it), in your book A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Michelle, how exciting to be embarking on a career as a writer. It is one that includes joys as well as challenges. Those challenges include dealing with the imperfections in our stories because, despite our best efforts and those of the many people who help get our work into published form, mistakes happen. At times like these I remind myself that, unlike the Lord who is working to make me more like Himself, I’m an imperfect being. That helps some, but I still cringe when I discover those inevitable oopsies.

      As to the mistakes in A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, rest assured I’m aware of them. That book was released back in 2012. One of my first readers, a dear lady from my church, pointed them out to me. Since that book went out of print and was never reprinted, those mistakes will live on, a testimony to my imperfection. 🙂

      • Thank you for your personal response which filled me with encouragement. I am going back to the drawing board with my book and starting fresh.

        I was unaware “A Bride… it” is out of print, so I am extra pleased to have the pleasure of reading it. The ‘error’ I thought I found is not with any of the writing or the editing, but with regard to the book cover, which is not your fault. I found that every description of Ellie had a spray of silk flowers at her throat, but was not in the picture. A small detail, maybe I’m way too critical. I do render my sincere apologies.

        • Keli Gwyn says:

          Michelle, you’re right. Ellie wears a spray of silk violets at her throat. I’d hoped to see them on the cover, but I have very little say in what goes on the covers of my books. The title, cover and back cover blurb are created by the publishing company. I make suggestions, but they have the final say. I can point out errors, which I’ve done on occasion, but that’s no guarantee the publisher will make the change. Cover photo shoots cost a publisher hundreds of dollars, so they don’t like to stage a new one unless absolutely necessary. As my agent has told me, a cover gives a feel for a story, but they aren’t an exact representation of the character or a scene in the story.

  • Connie Saunders says:

    As I read about the three mistakes that you found I recalled my dayscas Adult Services librarian. I usually had at least one article per week (and sometimes more) in the area newspapers to promote a program, author or computer class that was going to be offered at our library. I poured over those articles and edited right up to the deadline to submit. I Would Never be able to submit a manuscript 🙂

    • Connie Saunders says:

      See, there is even an error here. Drat that auto correct!

      • Keli Gwyn says:

        Connie, one of those wise sayings I’ve heard throughout my life is that “mistakes happen.” Perfection is not a goal we can attain this side of heaven. As hard as that truth can be for recovering perfectionists like me to swallow, it’s part of life.

        I’m doing my best to accept that my stories, although they may contain errors, still bring joy to readers. It helps me to remember that those mistakes only represent three words out of 70,000, which is a 0.0000428% error rate. That’s not bad for a person like me who can make a mistake in a 140-character tweet or a short Facebook post.

        So, please don’t be hard on yourself. All we can do is do our best, right? 🙂

  • Emily Bailey says:

    How many books have you written? Do you write every day?

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Thanks for your questions, Emily. I’ve written about fourteen stories. Six of those were my early efforts, which are fraught with newbie mistakes. I’ve rewritten several of my stories, some multiple times. I’ve sold six novels, one novella and one short story. Her Motherhood Wish is my fifth novel. My sixth, Their Mistletoe Matchmakers, another Love Inspired Historical, will be released this coming November.

      I don’t write everyday. I have what I think of as writing seasons. They are intense periods when I spend weeks at the computer creating a story. I just completed one such seven-week season, resulting in the first draft of Their Mistletoe Matchmakers. I’m glad to have that behind me. Spending that much time at the computer racing toward a deadline can be stressful. Many tasks pile up, which is why I’m currently playing a game of catch-up. I have a to-do list five miles long.

  • Keli Gwyn says:

    Time to find out who won the three copies of my March release, Her Motherhood Wish. That would be Lynne F, Marilyn R and Kalan S. Congratulations, ladies! I’ll be in touch.

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