Keli Gwyn
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LIH Spotlights: Pony Express Christmas Bride and Cowgirl Under the Mistletoe

This week I’m shining the spotlight on
Pony Express Christmas Bride by Rhonda Gibson and
Cowgirl Under the Mistletoe by Louise M. Gouge,
two December 2016 releases from Love Inspired Historical.

Learn more about the stories below, and then scroll
down to enter the giveaway for a print copy of each,
which will go to two different winners.


Want-Ad Wife 

Mail-order bride Josephine Dooley’s trip West was supposed to end in marriage to her intended groom—not with the discovery that he hadn’t actually placed the bridal ad! Now her only choice is to convince Pony Express rider Thomas Young to wed her anyway to save her from her scheming uncle.

A bride shouldn’t be a surprise package, and when Thomas finds out about his meddling brother’s ruse, he plans to send his would-be wife packing. However, when he realizes Josephine desperately needs his help and a marriage of convenience is the only way he can protect her, he vows to become the husband she needs. But he quickly learns that it will be hard to keep his new bride at arm’s length…because Josephine is his perfect match.

A Colorado Christmas Courtship

Deputy Grace Eberly can outshoot and outride most men in Esperanza, Colorado…but lassoing a husband is an impossible task. At least she has her good friend Reverend Micah Thomas to keep her company. When outlaws threaten their community, the two join forces to stop them, and Grace’s feelings for the reverend deepen. But she’s sure he’d never love a too-tall cowgirl in trousers and boots.

Micah believes that it’s time to find himself a wife—someone sweet and ladylike who can help him better serve the town. So why do none of the elegant young women of his acquaintance stir his heart like the feisty tomboy deputy? As they work to bring peace to the community, will Grace and Micah finally see that they make the perfect team?

Copyright © 2016 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.


Changes to my blog format…

To make things quicker and easier for all of us, I’ve switched things up a bit.

  1. Instead of asking the author(s) a question, I ask you one as a way to get to know you better.
  2. No more Rafflecopter entry forms. All you have to do is comment to enter the weekly giveaway.
  3. I’ll be giving away two December books away this week and next. The last two weeks of the month, I’ll give away two January books. Starting in January, I’ll be giving away the following month’s books. This way you can win the books before they hit the stores’ shelves.


Question for You…

This past weekend, my family enjoyed
Christmas events from two different cultures.

sutter-creek-2016-las-posadas-keli-gwynOn Saturday, we participated in the Las Posadas pilgrimage held in the nearby Gold Rush-era town of Sutter Creek. We joined Mary and Joseph and a sizable group on a trek down luminary-lined streets. Along the way, we stopped at three inns, which turned the couple away. Our final stop was a manger, where we welcomed Baby Jesus.

sacramento-2016-christkindlmarkt-keli-gwynOn Sunday, we went to the Christkindlmarkt in Sacramento, which is a German Christmas market. In honor of the event, we wore our traditional German clothing. I’m shown in my Dirndl with St. Nikolaus and the Christkind, an angel-like character. We enjoyed the smell of Glühwein (mulled wine) in the air, visited the booths selling craft items and German wares, and ate Bratwurst for lunch.

What Christmas events based on other cultures have you participated in? Please include a description for those of use who might not know what the events are all about.


Book Giveaway!

Enter to win a print copy of either a Pony Express
Christmas Bride
or Cowgirl Under the Mistletoe
by leaving a comment on this post with the answer to the
question above. You must answer the 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, December 10 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Winner to be announced in my new
blog post on Monday, December 12.

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

Congratulations to the winner from my November 28 post,
Chrissy D, who will receive a copy of
The Negotiated Marriage
by Christina Rich.



















Keli Gwyn


  • Kirsten Rinehart says:

    Sadly I have not participated in other culture Christmas but when I was in Puerto Rico the missionary I was staying with told me that celebrate the three kings day with parade and then say that kings deliver the gifts to the children instead of santa clause

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Kirsten, I’m sure your missionary experience in Puerto Rico was special. How fun to have learned more about their culture. Their Three Kings Day parade sounds like fun. I like that the kings deliver the gifts to the children there. It makes sense. The kings were the ones who gave gifts to our Lord, after all. 🙂

  • Deana Dick says:

    I have not participated in any other Cultural Christmas events. I think it would be interesting to do so though. To experience how another culture celebrates would be a treasure and lifelong experience .

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Deana, I didn’t realize how many cultural Christmas events were available until I went looking for them. I hope you’re able to enjoy one someday. Sounds like you would really appreciate the opportunity to do so.

  • Debra Duncan says:

    I have not had the oppurtunity to participate in any other cultures Christmas activities. However , i would love the chance to participate in the german one like you described as well as scottish and irish, as my heiritage is german, scottish and irish.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Debra, I hope you can experience Christmas events that feature the customs of Germany, Scotland and Ireland one day. Since that’s your heritage, I’m sure those celebrations would have special significance for you.

  • Diane Estrella says:

    We have a Polish Christmas Eve dinner every year. They have a special unleavened bread that we share as a family.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Diane, what fun to incorporate a Polish tradition into your Christmas Eve meal. Does that come from having some Polish heritage or just from appreciating the culture? Do you put anything special on the unleavened bread or dip it in anything?

  • Brenda W says:

    I haven’t had an opportunity to participate in a Christmas event of another culture.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Brenda, I hope one day you can experience a Christmas event that incorporates the traditions of another culture. In a way, many of ours do. For example, the Christmas tree has German origins. Prince Albert introduced the German tradition of decorating a tree to the British people after he married Queen Victoria.

  • Melody says:

    I have never done anything! I feel lame answering that way, but it’s the truth! 🙂

  • Lucy Reynolds says:

    I have not participated in other culture Christmas celebrations. Would be fun and interesting. Thank you.

  • Nicole Wetherington says:

    Your experience sounded like fun! I haven’t really experienced a Christmas outside of my culture. It’s something I will have to do in the future!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Nicole, I encourage you to find ways to get a taste of Christmas in a celebration from another culture, if possible. It can be a lot of fun.

  • Susan Williford Cobb says:

    I have only participated in another another cultures celebration while living in Germany, I have never participated in another religious traditions. I loved the German celebrations and found the whole experience of living in another country fascinating.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Susan, I didn’t realize/remember you’d lived in Germany. When and where? Carl and I lived in Fürth by Nürnberg from 1989-1993. He was teaching in an American high school run by the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, so we were there as civilians but worked closely with the wonderful military folks.

      It sounds like you were able to experience a Christmas market or two while you were there. What fun! We were blessed to be able to visit the most famous Christkindlesmarkt of all in Nürnberg a number of times during our years in Germany. What a treasure store of memories we have.

  • I haven’t participated in any events from other cultures. But both of the ones you attended looked fun!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Julie, it can be fun to experience Christmas from the viewpoint of a different culture. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, many of our traditions, such as the Christmas tree itself, come from other cultures. It would be fun to research that at some point.

  • Donna Killian says:

    We sing carols, decorate the Christmas tree, give presents, bake cookies and have a big family Christmas dinner. I think all of these came from someplace else. But I love the lights and celebrations. Merry Christmas

  • Trixi says:

    I’ve never participated in Christmas traditions from other cultures and what your family did Keli, looks like a lot of fun!! Especially the German one, my husband is of German descent and I think it would be neat to celebrate it like they do 🙂 Thanks for sharing the pictures with us!

    Talking about pictures, my husband and I went to Leavenworth WA for two of our anniversary trips years ago. It’s an Austrian-themed town at the foot of the Cascade Mountains and all the shopkeepers and workers dress up in traditional garb. And many traditional festivals during the year too! Well anyway, we found a little photography shop that specialized in taking old timey pictures. They had were you could dress up in traditional Austrian (or German) clothing and have your pictures taken…and that’s what we did!! I’m in the traditional Dirndl with a wreath of flowers in my hair and my husband in the Lederhosen & felt hat with a feather. Oh my goodness, the photographer made the session so much fun, we laughed so hard! And we have pictures to prove it 🙂

    Now that I’ve rambled a bit (LOL), that cover to Rhonda’s book is THE BEST one I’ve seen yet!! LIH does a wonderful job on the covers but that is just beyond gorgeous…it makes me want to ride in a horse-driven sleigh. Thanks so much for the chance at either book!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Trixi, what a treat it must have been to visit a town like Leavenworth, WA. Sounds like a place Carl, Adriana and I would enjoy.

      I love the story of how you got to have photos taken in traditional Austrian/German clothing and how the photographer made the experience so fun. Such a special memory.

      The LIH design team does such a good job with our covers. I’m with you. The one on Rhonda’s book in a winner.

  • Merry S. says:

    I have not personally experienced other Christmas cultures. The closest I have gotten was listening to the Holidays around the World customs at Epcot in Disney World. I liked the customs in Norway, Italy, Mexico and Germany the best. My cousin brought me a nativity set from Mexico. It’s very interesting.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Merry, the Holidays Around the World attraction sounds like a wonderful way to learn about the Christmas customs and traditions of other cultures. I got a taste of Mexican and German customs this month, but not Norwegian or Italian. What did you learn about theirs?

      What a thoughtful cousin to bring you a nativity set from Mexico. I’m sure it’s lovely and that you enjoy setting it up every Christmas.

  • Jennifer Hibdon says:

    I have enjoyed Christkindelmarts while stationed in Germany during the 80’s. The cinnamon roasted nuts are fabulous!!! I am from Michigan and we loved to go to Frankenmuth to visit Bronner’s Christmas store. Fried chicken is the popular dish at the town resteraunts. Now that we live in Texas, we enjoy Mexican traditions. Tamales and cheeses are a delicious tradition!!! As you can see, we love to eat our way through the cultural traditions!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Jennifer, where in Germany where you stationed? And which Christkindlesmarkts were you able to visit? Did you make it to the one in Nürnberg, perhaps? My DoDDS teacher husband and I lived in Fürth by Nürnberg from 1989-1993, so we got to visit that Christkindlesmarkt many times.

      I love the smell. The scents of the Glühwein (mulled wine) and Gebrannte Mandeln (brown sugar and cinnamon-glazed almonds) combine to create an inviting aroma that will always be associated with Christmas in my mind. If only Bath and Body Works could capture it in a candle, I would buy one or two or ten.

      I’m a big fan of Mexican food and love the idea of eating tamales for Christmas. Don’t know if my family would go along with it, though. Maybe on Christmas Eve…

  • Andrea Stephens says:

    What a wonderful post Keli! It looks like you had a lot of fun.
    The closest I’ve come to other cultural celebrations was Christmas Around the World at Epcot in Disney World (like Merry S.) and The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a Christmas around the world display with multiple trees decorated with the things from the other countries. We visited there several times. Of course, they have all the proper signage explaining everything and a gift shop.

  • Jordann Langness says:

    Each year my family would pick a country and we would celebrate Christmas the way they would. We learned about the different Christmas traditions, foods, etc. It was always fun doing something a little different!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Jordann, I love the idea of choosing a country and then celebrating Christmas by incorporating its customs and traditions. What a fun way to learn about other cultures.

  • Becky Lee says:

    I haven’t participated in any other culture events but I have gone to the Holy Walk in Bremen, Indiana. It’s a depiction of Bethlehem & the birth of Jesus. Tonight I’m hoping to do the Bethlehem Experience at Coppes Common in Nappanee, Indiana. Since this is the 1st year for it I don’t know what it’s like but they posted that it will take about 30 minutes to do. Can’t wait.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Becky, celebrating by participating in the Holy Walk sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the Bethlehem Experience tonight.

  • Tammie Edington Shaw says:

    I have not participated in any other cultural Christmas celebrations, but have visited the Christkindlmarkt in Chicago. Would like to be a part of something where I would be able to learn from others.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Tammie, what fun that you were able to experience Christmas German-style at the Christkindlmarkt in Chicago. I’m sure their market is impressive.

  • Kalan O. Stephens says:

    Sadly I haven’t gotten to participate in any other cultural Christmas events but I find different traditions to be interesting, I enjoy seeing people celebrate Christmas in their own way and bask in the love and peace that comes with the season of christs birth

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Kalan, it is fun to see all the different ways people celebrate our Lord’s birth, isn’t it? There are so many traditions to be embraced—or started.

  • Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. I popped over to and found out who our winners are. Congratulations to Lucy Reynolds, who won a copy of Pony Express Christmas Bride, and Merry S, who won a copy of Cowgirl Under the Mistletoe!

    Be sure to stop back by this coming week when I’ll have the other two December LIHs up for grabs.