Friday, November 23, 2012

Fabulous Friday Feature-Keli Gwyn

Today I welcome a kind, giving, fun-loving author friend: Keli Gwyn. 

Enter to win an autographed copy of Keli's book A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, see below.

I met Keli through ACFW. she showed a warm friendship right away. I asked her to share her writing journey with you. She of course thought about Thanksgiving and wrote this:

How a Writer is Blessed Big Time

The stereotypical writer sits at a keyboard, alone for hours on end with no one but a cast of characters for company. When I embarked on my writing journey nearly seven years ago, that description fit. I wrote in virtual isolation for two years. Although I had the support of my family and local friends, I knew no other writers.

And then the Lord began showering me with even more blessings.

How did it happen?

He brought some awesome people into my life. People like you.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the many people we meet on our journeys are one of the biggest blessings of being a writer.

Contest judges were the first people I met. A friend of a friend suggested I check out Romance Writers of America®. I joined, learned about the numerous contests held by the organization and its many chapters, and began entering four of the five stories I’d written. (The first remains hidden on my hard drive.) Those generous judges taught me a great deal about writing.

Next came writer friends. When I finaled in the Golden Heart in 2008, Tina Radcliffe invited me to be a guest on the popular Seekerville blog. Discovering the blogosphere and the wonderful world of writers online was a huge blessing. I realized I wasn’t alone. They, too, heard voices in their heads, had story ideas wake them in the night, and got excited when a plot point fell into place. I rejoiced to meet blogging buddies and make Facebook and Twitter friends.

Some of my writer friends became writing partners. My critique partner, Anne Barton, and I met at RWA® Nationals in 2008 and have been together nearly five years. Not only does Anne help me improve my stories; she is also a treasured friend and confidant.

I’ve attended nine writing conferences, including RWA and American Christian Fiction Writers, where I learned lots. Sure, there were great workshop leaders imparting their wisdom, but the lessons didn’t stop there. I learned from my fellow conferees, too. And had oodles of fun in the process.

Publishing professionals have played an important part in my journey. My agent, Rachelle Gardner, offered me representation in December 2009, after having judged my story in a contest. She went on to sell the story to Barbour Publishing, which released it as my debut novel this past July, six and a half years after I embarked on my journey.

When the book hit the shelves, I was blessed beyond belief by friends, bloggers, and book reviewers eager to serve as influencers and reviewers. I couldn’t keep up with the generous offers to serve as a guest blogger that flooded my inbox. To say I was grateful would be an understatement.

Then came readers! What a delight it’s been to have others read my story and enjoy it.

What follows the thrill of one’s first release? The return to reality. I won’t sugarcoat things. There can be a bit of a letdown when the month is over, a bunch of new of books hit the shelves, and your story becomes old news. The high can’t last forever, although the memories made can be treasured for years to come.

One thing remains the same. The friends I’ve made along with way are still there, supporting and encouraging me.  Friends like you, Mary, who graciously invited me to share my writing journey with your readers. Thank you for this opportunity.

• • •
I’d like to end with a question for all of you. Who are some of the people who’ve blessed you as you’ve worked toward your goals?

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.

To learn more about Keli, you can visit her Victorian-style cyber home at, where you’ll find her parlor, study, carriage house, and more, along with her blog and her social media

To enter the contest for an autographed copy of Keli's book A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, become a follower if you aren't already (see the upper right corner of this blog to join). And leave a comment. Include your email address (username (at) yahoo (dot) com) The winner will be selected by a third party,, and will be announced on Monday. U.S. residents only. 

Thank you Keli for joining us this weekend!


Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks so much for inviting me to be a guest at your lovely blog, Mary. You are such a gracious hostess.

Janice said...

I see one thing that you two both appreciate, and it is the color purple! This was an inspiring post and so appropriate for Thanksgiving week. My life has certainly been enriched since I have found the joy of reading writer's blogs.

Blessings, Janice

Mary Vee Writer said...

LOL Janice, I didn't even notice the purple theme woven from Kelli's post into my site. I could fib and say it was all planned :)
So happy to have you here today. Grab some virtual apple pie before you leave.

Mary Vee Writer said...

It is my honor to have you hear today. You bring spice and sparkle to my site. Love yah.

Cynthia Herron said...

Keli was one of the folks I secretly admired from afar for a lonnnggg time. When I met her at ACFW two years ago, I had a starstruck moment. Yep, nearly cried all over her. I'd read about her writing journey on her blog and connected with her in a way that will always stay with me. Go, Keli! You rock!

And then, of course, met the superfab Mary Vee, too, and was blessed all over again by God bringing wonderful writer friends into my life.

Mary Vee Writer said...

When I was a kid we had a saying that seems perfect for you, Cynthia, takes one to know one. You are a treasured, superfab friend and an inspiration. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Thanks for sharing, Keli! I am always so encouraged when I hear about another writers journey! So grateful we connected this year and am blessed being belief by Beth Vogt, Rachel Hauck, Chip MacGregor, and all the amazingly supportive friends like you. Now that all my submission stuff is in, I get to read... You're in my stack! Can't wait to dive in!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Having time to read for a writer is like having ice cream with apple pie. What a delight.
Blessings on your submissions, may they be fruitful.

Keli Gwyn said...

Janice, for years I was a blue gal, but I've returned to the purple I loved as a young teen. Does that mean I'm reliving my childhood? :-)

There are so many wonderful blogs out there giving excellent writing tips, aren't there? Writers are such generous people, willing to pass on what they've learned.

Keli Gwyn said...

Cindy, I remember our in-person meet so well. You made me feel like a celebrity that day. Loved seeing you at the conference again this year.

Keli Gwyn said...

Amy, what a wonderful Dream Team you have in place--a blessing indeed. I wish you the very best on your submission.

Erica Vetsch said...

Keli, YOU are one of the ones who blesses me the most! Thank you so much!

Keli Gwyn said...

Erica, I treasure the gift of your friendship.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Erica! So nice to have you visit again today. Happy Thanksgiving to you. We are enjoying our fellowship here. Sit and chat for a spell and get some virtual coffee and dessert.:)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Thanks, Mary!