My Bio, Book Info, Author Photos, Excerpts, Etc.
Brief (and a bit boring) version: Award-winning novelist Keli Gwyn writes inspirational historical romance. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville in the Sierra Foothills with her husband and two skittish kitties.
Fun (and my favorite) version: Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, set in the heart of the Gold Country where she lives is currently available.
When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, the Coach factory outlet store, and Taco Bell.
Writerly (and somewhat stuffy) version: Award-winning novelist Keli Gwyn writes inspirational historical romance. She’s a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America® and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Keli earned her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication/Print Journalism from California State University East Bay and worked as a copyeditor for a small textbook publisher. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released by Barbour Publishing in July 2012.
Website and Social Media Links
Website – http://www.keligwyn.com
Facebook Timeline – http://www.facebook.com/KeliGwyn
Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/KeliGwynReadersGroup
Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/KeliGwyn
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5411901.Keli_Gwyn
To make things easy, the following can be used instead of adding all the links.
To learn more about Keli, you can visit her Victorian-style cyber home at www.keligwyn.com, where you’ll find her parlor, study, carriage house, and more, along with her blog and her social media links.
Book Basics and Blurbs
Title: A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance
Release Date: July 1, 2012
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California was chosen as a finalist for the prestigious 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence contest sponsored by the Southern Magic chapter of Romance Writers of America®.
The story is a sweet romance with hints of humor that readers of Margaret Brownley, Erica Vetsch, or Karen Witemeyer’s work might enjoy.
Reviews and endorsements can be found by visiting My Books page, housed in The Study.
Blurb option 1: Widow Elenora Watkins looks forward to meeting her new business partner, Miles Rutledge, who owns a shop in 1870s El Dorado. But Miles is shocked to see a woman step off the stagecoach. His rude behavior forces Elenora to reconsider—so she becomes his competition across the street. Can Miles win her heart while destroying her business?
Blurb option 2: Widow Elenora Watkins is determined to provide for herself and her daughter without relying on anyone else. Can she run a successful business after falling for the competition? Miles Rutledge finds himself willing to do anything to keep Elenora in town. But can he win her heart while putting her out of business?
Blurb option 3: An ever-resourceful widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the street. Is this town big enough for the two of them? Miles can’t help but stick his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business? Miles’s mother, Maude, is bent on Elenora becoming her new daughter-in-law while Elenora’s daughter, Tildy, thinks Miles would make a perfect papa. How far will these meddlers go to unite this enterprising pair?
Back cover copy
Love Is Gold in El Dorado, California
Widow Elenora Watkins heads to California with her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy, eager to become a partner in a mercantile. When the mulish owner withdraws his offer because she’s a woman, she opens her own shop. She’s determined to prove herself capable of running a successful business without the help of anyone—including her controlling father, her seemingly distant heavenly Father, and one Miles Rutledge.
Widower Miles Rutledge is not about to get involved with another willful woman like his late wife, especially when she’s his competition. But the beautiful Elenora may be too hard to resist. When another man appears out to claim Elenora’s heart, Miles searches for a way to win her back. . .while putting her out of business.
Meanwhile, Maude Rutledge, Miles’s meddling mother, longs to see her son make a good match. And Tildy is just as bent on gaining a loving papa.
The battle of wills begins, but can anyone win when the competition is more than they bargained for?
The Sierra Foothills of California
The stagecoach lurched to a stop, throwing Elenora and Matilda Watkins against a damask-covered sidewall.
Elenora clutched her nine-year-old daughter to her side. “Are you all right, Tildy?”
“Oh Mama. You don’t have to be so skittery.” Tildy shrugged out of the protective embrace, scooted across the bench seat, and shoved the leather window shade aside. “I want to see what’s going on.” She peeked out, whirled around with wide eyes and an enormous grin, and let the dust shield fall with a thwap. “It’s an outlaw, and he’s pointing a gun at the driver.”
Where did her daughter get those wild notions of hers? Elenora shot Tildy a reassuring smile and leaned over the center jump seat to have a look. “Lord, help us.”
A shudder ripped through her. The horrid man atop the big black horse was, in fact, aiming a gun at the coachman, but he was aiming a look of sheer evil at her. One of his eyes bored into her while the other seemed to roam. His sneer made her skin crawl.
How could this be happening? They’d ridden all the way from Omaha on that snorting beast of a train and made the line changes in Ogden and Sacramento City without incident. Why did something have to go wrong on the final five miles between Shingle Springs and El Dorado?
The outlaw’s deep voice boomed. “Hand it over.”
A Favorite Passage
The following interchange takes place minutes after Miles Rutledge and Elenora Watkins meet. They’re alone in the backroom of his shop following a tense introduction that leaves her wondering what’s wrong. His meddlesome mother handled his correspondence and neglected to tell her son that his new partner is a woman. Ellie is unaware that Mrs. Rutledge has withheld that information from Miles.
Mr. Rutledge grabbed a bentwood chair and placed it in front of her, but he didn’t sit. Instead he strode a few paces away, wheeled around, and held his fisted hands at his sides.
“You’re a woman.”
He inhaled deeply, his nostrils flaring. “You’re going to continue your game, are you?”
“Game? What game? I don’t understand.”
He stalked toward her one slow step at a time, his fists planted on his waist, until he towered over her. “I rarely get upset, Mrs. Watkins, but your charade is…is…contemptible.”
She leaped to her feet, her chest heaving, and stared into icy-blue eyes. Mere inches from him, she heard his labored breathing and saw his jaw flex. What could she have done to drive him to such an ungentlemanly outburst?
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My Writing Journey
I embarked on my writing journey January 1, 2006. During the next two and a half years I pounded out five historical romance manuscripts. Why historicals? The research is a blast. Plus I get a kick out of using words like addlepated, gewgaws, and smitten.
Contest fever grabbed me early on. I submitted 36 contest entries during those early years, receiving a wealth of helpful feedback from my generous contest judges along with a few finals. The most exciting was my double final in the 2008 Golden Heart®, a national contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America. That led to my first blog guest appearance and introduced me to the wonderful world of writers online.
At that point, I learned how much I had yet to learn and spent a year studying craft. Armed with my newfound knowledge, I took a look at my stories to see which of them showed the most promise. I loved them all, but Miles and Elenora told me theirs was the story I should pick, and I listened. I’d rewritten it once, but I knew it needed more work, so I got busy.
That rewrite proved my characters were right. Miles and Ellie’s story won several contests, earned me requests from editors and agents, and led to my offer of representation. Rachelle Gardner made her offer on the eve of Christmas Eve in 2009. Talk about an amazing Christmas present!
I’d love to tell you that Rachelle sold my story right away, but I still had work to do. After spending several months making my story the best I possibly could, I sent it to Rachelle and held my breath. To my delight, she liked it and was ready to submit it, which she did. Six weeks later we had two offers, and I got a contract for Christmas.
On July 1, 2012, my debut novel was released, eighteen months after my contract offer. July is my birthday month, and I can’t think of a better birthday present than holding my debut novel in my hands. It was a thrill. I hope readers enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.