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.
1. I was born in a sanitarium. Seriously. The Glendale Sanitarium and Hospital in the Los Angeles area, affectionately known back in 1959 as Glendale San. And in case you were wondering, my mom was in the hospital side. What I find fun is that the hospital was housed in an old Victorian hotel and now I’m writing Victorian-era romances.
2. I attended a one-room school in seventh and eighth grade. My dad was stationed at a Forest Service ranger station west of Redding, California. The only school in the area was in the nearby town of Platina, population 56. My two sisters and I made up one-eighth of the student body.
3. I had a pet mouse once. Don’t ask me what possessed me to get it, since I don’t like rodents. Maybe it was those adorable pink eyes peering out of his snowy white face. I didn’t have it long. The tiny thing got out of its cage one time too many and freaked my dad out. Today it would freak me out.
4. Gwynly and I lived in Germany from 1989-1993. He was teaching the dependents of U.S. Army personnel at Nürnberg American High School. We were there when the Wall came down and got to watch history in the making. While we were there, I got to visit twelve other European countries.
5. I never learned how to perform a cartwheel. I admire those who can, but my attempts were laughable. I have a feeling I’ll meet my Maker without having mastered this skill.
6. I don't like pie. Well, I like the crust. I just don’t like the filling.
7. We don’t wrap our Christmas presents with paper. We put them in reusable drawstring bags made out of pretty Christmas fabrics. They do a great job of disguising what’s inside and make clean up a breeze.
8. I’m not a shoe person, but I love purses, especially Coach bags. I’ve carried them since the 1980s, way before they were as popular as they are now.
9. I had LASIK surgery twelve years ago. Before the surgery, my good eye was 20/800 and my bad eye 20/900. When I came up out of the chair afterward and could read the eye chart without corrective lenses, I was so happy I couldn’t stop smiling and had to be reminded to blink.
10. I’m a hopeless romantic. I love reading romances, watching romances, and writing romances. One of my favorite romances is The Young Victoria because it’s a real-life love story. I'm giving away a DVD of the movie on this post. See below for the details.
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.
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.”
Susanne here. Ooh, don't you want to keep reading?
Keli has graciously offered a DVD of the movie, The Young Victoria--one of my personal favorites. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment before September 14. Include a way to contact you (please take precautionary measures to protect yourself from spammers, ie., email at site dot com). Giveaway is limited to the US and Canada. One winner will be randomly drawn the morning of September 15!