Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Interview & Giveaway! Keli Gwyn ~ Author of A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California!!



Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Keli!! Will you tell us a little about yourself?

PhotobucketI’m delighted to be here, Melanie. What a fun way to spend my birthday, sharing it with you and your blog’s visitors.

I’m a native Californian living in a Gold Rush-era town at the base of the majestic Sierras. Enamored by the history of the area, I set my debut novel in a nearby town. When I’m not writing, I enjoy strolling past the elegant Victorian houses in my historic hometown, pouring through research books in search of interesting facts to use in my stories, and reading romance novels while walking on the local hiking trail—my favorite form of multitasking.

Happy birthday! :) What is A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California about?

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?

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California is your debut novel. Will you explain to us your journey to publication?

I’ll be nice and give you the short version. I wrote five historicals in two years, entered them in contests, and got lots of great feedback from contest judges but few finals. I also sent out some queries and found out how much a rejection can sting. I learned that I had lots to learn.

I spent the next year studying craft. I picked out the strongest of the five stories, rewrote it, entered a few more contests, and placed first a number of times. I received several requests for the full from my final round judges, including one from Rachelle Gardner, who offered me representation. I spent several months rewriting the story under her direction. When I finished, she submitted it, we received two offers, and I durn near dislocated something doing a rather vigorous happy dance.

What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you? 

I have a collection of wooden tops I bought when my husband and I lived in Germany. I don’t know why they fascinate me so. Maybe because they’re pretty, or maybe because I could use my collection as an excuse to visit toys stores when we traveled around Europe during my teacher husband’s summer vacations.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’d dreamed of being a writer since I was seven. It took me forty years to go from dreaming of writing to embarking on my writing journey. I don’t advise waiting so long. Dreams won’t come true if we don’t act on them.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Hmm. I’m pretty quirky, so choosing just one quirk is a challenge. Let me see. I guess I’d have to say watching movies with the subtitles on. I like to see the words, so I can study the dialogue. Screenwriters can teach fiction writers a lot about creating snappy dialogue.

Where do you like to write?

I’m a homebody and am happiest writing at home. Don’t ask me why, but I don’t like anyone to see me while I’m writing. I tend to talk to myself while I write dialogue, act out facial and body movements when I’m trying to capture an emotion on the page, and do a fair bit of staring into space as I envision a scene, all of which might lead to some interesting looks if I were to write in a public place. (See? I told you I was quirky.)

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I enjoy visiting the Coach factory outlet store, going on top-down rides with my husband in his classic MGB sports car, and fueling my creativity with frequent trips to Taco Bell. (I’m addicted to the place.)

Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet?

I really am happiest at home, but I would like to visit Australia one day and feed a kangaroo. I’ll pass on seeing a Tasmanian devil, though. That creature looks pretty scary.

Do you have a favorite song?

My favorite song? This is tough, since there are so many great ones to choose from. I’ll go with the one that mushes me out every time, the hymn “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” This was the recessional at my wedding. Whenever I hear it, my eyes fill with tears of joy.

What is your favorite dessert?

This is easy. My husband’s shortbread. It’s yummy!

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? 
I’m encouraged by Isaiah 41:10a, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” There are times the writing journey requires courage and forging ahead in the face of disappointments, and it’s comforting to know the Lord is there for me on the dark days as well as the days of rejoicing.

Okay, I thought I'd ask a few this-or-that questions:

Snowstorms or Thunderstorms?

Thunderstorms. There’s so much power in them. It’s like God is putting on a light show for us.

Tea or Coffee?

Tea. I love the smell of coffee but never developed a taste for it.

Boat or Airplane?

I’m not overly fond of either, but I’d pick plane travel over going by boat.

Early-bird or Night-owl?

I used to be a night-owl, but in recent years my body clock seems to have shifted. I wake early, even if I stay up late. Aw shucks. This makes me sound old, doesn’t it? Well, I am turning fifty-three today, so there you have it.

Cats or Dogs?

Cats. We have two long-haired brothers whose fur clings to my clothing like an over-protective mother clings to her beloved child. I have a new motto, “Have lint roller; will travel.”

Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?

I’m working on another story set in one of California’s Gold Rush-era towns and have ideas in the works for lots more.

Thanks so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?

Thanks so much for hosting me, Melanie! It’s been a pleasure. I can be found at my cyber home, www.keligwyn.com, and invite visitors to stop by. The Parlor is ready, and the tea is steeping. 


Giveaway!




Enter to win a copy of Keli's book, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California! Giveaway is only open to the US and Canada.

Enter via the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

123 comments:

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    1. Starry Blue, aren't kangaroos the cutest?

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  2. I admire you for persisting with your dream even when it seemed out of reach. It makes the accomplishment that much sweeter.

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    1. Heidi, tenacity is definitely a great trait to have in this business, isn't it?

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  3. Cute cute cute! This definitely looks like a book that I would like! Please enter me!

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    1. Wall-to-wall Books, I'm glad you like the look of my book. My publisher's design team did a great job with it, didn't they?

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  4. How does one master the art of becoming an early-bird? My 6 AM mornings come way too early, haha ;)

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    Beth

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    1. Beth, I wanted to be a morning person, even though I wasn't one. I'd seen how much Gwynly enjoys starting his day early and how productive those early morning hours can be, so I prayed God would shift my body clock. Seems He has, although the shift did take over two decades. Of course, I did sleep in today, but since it's my birthday, I decided that was all right. :-)

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  5. I have been seeing this book around and would love to win it thanks for the chance

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    1. Apple Blossom, they say persistence pays. My blog tour isn't over until the end of July, so there are still several chances to win. Keep on entering!

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    1. Kathryn, I wish you well in the drawing.

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  7. This book sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for the giveaway. julierupert@gmail.com

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    1. Julie, your name is in the hat, so to speak.

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  8. Great review, Melanie and awesome giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity to win

    marianne dot wanham at gmail dot com

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    1. Marianne, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Melanie asked great questions, didn't she? I had fun answering them.

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    2. Thanks, Keli! I'm glad you had fun answering them. :)

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  9. I love reading about women starting their own businesses in the past. My grandmother ran the post office in Fort Pierre, South Dakota and sold pies to the Indians there.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Carol, your grandmother sounds like a fascinating woman. I hope she shared lots of her stories with you.

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  10. Sounds like a good book! I encourage everyone to visit Australia. It's beautiful!

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    1. Margaret, we have friends who live in Queensland. Gwynly and I would love to visit them and have them show us around. One day. . .

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  11. I really,enjoyed reading the interview! Oh, and happy birthday to Keli! :) I also like to watch movies with the subtitles on as well...I thought I was the only one. :)
    I would enter the giveaway but our library has the book, so I will let someone else have a chance to read it since I can get it at the library.
    Bethany

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    1. Bethany, I'm glad I'm not the only one who watches with the subbies on. I'll be sure and tell Gwynly there's another who does.

      How cool that your library has the book.

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  12. Great interview ladies! I must get this book!Happy Birthday Keli! Hope it is filled with many blessings!

    Julie@My Favorite Pastime

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    1. Julie, thanks for the birthday wishes. I feel so blessed. Life is great!!!

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  13. Enter me!
    God Bless!
    Sarah Richmond
    sarahrichmond.12@gmail.com
    Blanch,N.C.

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  14. Great giveaway, as usual, Melanie. This looks like a super book to read. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

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    1. Penny, I hope you enjoy the story.

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    2. Thanks, Penny! I'm glad you liked the giveaway! :)

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  15. Sounds like a great read. The Gold Rush is a particularly fertile period for fiction. Do you know of a lint roller big enough for my entire house? That would be a big help. Thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. Carl, I just did a double-take. Had to ask Gwynly if he'd commented on this post because his first name is the same as yours.

      I hear you on needing house-sized lint rollers. The furniture and carpet in our house is chronically covered in cat fur. I really do keep lint rollers in every vehicle because the stuff clings to my clothing more tightly than Saran Wrap to a bowl.

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  16. This new book sounds wonderful! The author and I have some things in common... Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee was the recessional at my wedding too and Is. 41:10 is a favorite verse of mine and I would LOVE to go to Australia! :) Thanks for offering this book as a giveaway.

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    1. Robyn, how cool that we have so much in common. Do you tear up every time you hear Joyful, Joyful these days the way I do?

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  17. LOVE that picture of Keli! So excited for her and what a wonderful birthday present for her! :O)

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    1. Diane, my agent offered me representation on the eve of Christmas Eve in 2009. In December 2010, she sold my book. Those were awesome Christmas presents. When Rachelle told me the release date, she said she was sorry it wasn't in December, too. I told her that was fine because July is my birthday month and that I couldn't think of a better birthday present than the release of my debut novel. :-)

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  18. Good morning! It's 9 a.m. in California, and I'm just getting going. My launch party took place this past Sunday. The event was awesome, but after all the weeks of preparation, I'm still catching up on sleep it seems.

    Once I woke, Gwynly had my birthday present for me. He had my cover flat professionally mounted and framed. It looks gorgeous! I've dragged myself away, and now I get to party with you. :-)

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    1. Good morning, Keli, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :) That is a neat present! :)

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  19. I can picture your happy dance, Keli! I'm so happy for you and I can't wait for my chance to read your book. Please include me in the drawing. Thanks!

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    1. Merry, I do a rather vigorous happy dance whenever one of my writing friends gets good news. I've sent our scaredy cats running for cover many times.

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  20. I really want to read this book!

    Colletta

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    1. Colletta, I love your name. I've not seen it before. Is there a story behind it?

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  21. Sounds really good! Thanks for the chance to win!

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    1. Natasha, you're entered. Best of luck.

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  22. Enter me this book looks absolutely wonderful!!

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    1. Sharon, I appreciate the compliment.

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  23. Thank you for the awesome chance to win! This sounds like a great book :)

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    1. Krystal, your name is in the hat--or wherever Melanie keeps the entries. :-)

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  24. Thank you for the great Interview, Keli, I'm a homebody too but would love to visit Australia, I love them koala bears and kangaroos, they are so cool.
    Your Book sounds great and I can't wait to read it. Please add me to your Giveaway.
    Many Blessings.

    I'm a follower
    ingrids62448(t)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Ingrid, it can be hard for homebodies like us to leave home. Once I do get away, I usually end up having a great time. Is that the same for you?

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  25. Love books set in this era. Can't wait to read

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    1. Andrea, I'm such a fan of the Victorian Era. There are many authors writing great books set in the period. If only I had more time to read them.

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  26. This books sounds so good. Would love to win and read it.
    Karen Hamill Gervais
    kmgervais(at)nycap(dot)rr(dot)com

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  27. Some friends of ours recently (as in exactly 1 week ago) moved to Australia. They visited a wildlife park and posted pictures on Facebook. The park was FULL of kangaroos, the were able to feed & pet them. -- I like to put the subtitles on while watching a movie, too (my family thinks I'm weird). I hope you get to visit Australia, too!!

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    1. Dianne, how cool that your friends moved to Australia. Wouldn't it be neat if you were able to visit? Glad to find another person who watches with the subtitles on. There are at least three of us. Bethany admitted to doing so in an earlier comment. =)

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  28. This sounds like a great book. Thanks for the contest.

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    1. Janette, best of luck in the drawing.

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  29. I too, find comfort in Isaiah 41:10a. I hope your birthday year ahead is a blessed one.I like the cover and title.. very eye-catching!Thank you for the chance to win your book. I find the story a must read.
    Cyndee Thomas
    cyndee.thomas0@gmail.com

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    1. Cyndee, thanks for the compliments on the cover. My publisher's design team gets all the credit. They did a great job, didn't they?

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  30. This sounds like a great book, can hardly wait to read it.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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  31. This is a new author for me, looks like a great book!

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    1. Just Peachy, this is my debut novel. I'm glad it sounds interesting.

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  32. It sounds like a wonderful book!

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  33. I get very poor quality sleep, so I'm NEITHER a night owl nor an early bird...

    Karen Schulz

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    1. Karen, I'm sorry you have trouble sleeping. I do when I'm excited or deep into my story world. My nightly routine is a soak in a Calgon-scented tub while I savor a few chapters of a romance. That helps me unwind enough to sleep. What works for you?

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  34. Great interview:) I am definitely a Nite owl which is hard for me now with a little one lol.

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    1. I feel for you, Elisha. Being a Night Owl mommy can be tough, especially if you have a wee one who wakes early.

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  35. Great interview! Thanks for sharing with us. Adding this to my wishlist.

    Jennifer
    avidreader(at)middleswarth(dot)net

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    1. Jennifer, your name is in the hat. =)

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  36. Sounds like it'll be interesting, I'll check it out! Thanks for the giveaway !

    -Angy

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  37. Thanks for the giveaway- the book sounds interesting-love to read and it would make a good gift. Good luck everyone.

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  38. This books sounds like a great suspenseful romance. Thanks for the chance to enter!
    awhartness@yahoo.com
    Angela Hartness

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    1. Angela, there are some suspenseful moments. There's also plenty of tension between Miles and Elenora. =)

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  39. Great interview! Thanks for a chance to win this fantastic book!
    MonjaBlue(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Monja, I wish you well in the drawing.

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  40. I am so interested in this book!! I would love to win it. Unfortunately, the Rafflecopter thing is not working for me at all. :(

    ladettek[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Ladette, sorry about the difficulties you experiened. Don't ya love technology? It's great when it works, but when it doesn't. . .

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  41. This looks like a good book. I am always looking for a new book.

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  42. Looks like my kind of book. Fun!

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    1. Holli, thanks for reading the post and leaving a comment.

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  43. Sounds so wonderful, Keli!
    It's great so you there.
    Thank you for the post and the giveaway :-)

    Ganise

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    1. Ganise, I love you name. It's so unique.

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  44. The book sounds really good, i haven't seen it before! Thanks for sharing and thanks for the contest!

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    1. Carrie, this is my debut novel. I so appreciate Melanie helping me introduce it to readers.

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  45. I watch movies with the subtitles on too, but more to keep from annoying my hubby with "what did they say" every 5 minutes. He's glad DVDs with subtitles was invented. :)

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    1. Melissa, one of reasons I watch with the subbies on is the same as yours. As a writer, I don't want to miss a word, so if I do miss one, I quiz Gwynly. Turning them on spares him.

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  46. Congratulations on selling your book and its release. Sounds like a book I'd love. Australia is one of the places I'd love to visti also.

    Vickie

    fictionfan1(@)cox(dot)net

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    1. Vickie, thanks for sharing in my excitement. You know the thrill of seeing your first book hit the shelves. =)

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  47. Ah, I too have dreamed of being a writer since childhood. Over the years, I have written sporadically, even sometimes submitting work. Unfortunately, it took being limited to part-time work in my early forties to push me to get serious about my writing dreams.

    Like you, when I began serious about writing, I submitted frequently and received lots of feedback. The positive feedback has increased recently, which is perhaps why now I wish to pull back again from submissions to just study the craft and the markets. Your response to the road to publication encouraged me.

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    1. Allison, I'm glad you found the post encouraging. Congratulations on the positive feedback you've been receiving. Sounds like your writing has really been improving. A friend once told me a writer "just knows" when s/he's reached a new level. I didn't understand that until it happened to me. I wasn't sure my work was at a marketable level, but I knew it was better than what I'd written in the past. My wish for you is that you experience that rewarding feeling of having your hard work and study lead to work that's better than ever.

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  48. Sounds great! Please drop my name in the hat.

    writer_weaver(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  49. I really enjoy the interviews with authors, and especially when they are new-to-me authors. I'd love a chance at winning Keli's book...it looks wonderful. Thank you for the entry in your giveaway.

    Have a blessed day!
    Sandee61

    Muzzley56(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Sandee, I appreciate your kind words--the kind that put a smile on my face. =D

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  50. Enjoyed reading the interview. Interesting you like subtitles to see the words.
    Nancy P.

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    1. Nancy, I'm a visual person, so seeing the words helps me grasp their meaning more fully.

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  51. Hi Keli, I am still following you and hope to win copy of A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. Looking forward to reading. Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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    1. Kallie, I wish you well in the drawing. Persistence is often rewarded. =)

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  52. I'm so totally going to read this book now!

    Like your kangaroo pic.

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    1. Kenzie, I'm glad you like the sounds of the story. =)

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    1. Abigail, I hope you get the opportunity to do just that. =)

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  54. I enjoy thunderstorms too (as long as I can watch via covered porch)! I'm a cat person, too.. fur balls follow me.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Marie, I generally like thunderstorms, although we experienced one here in the Sierra Foothills of California a week or so ago that made me feel a bit like one of the VonTrapp children in need of Maria's comfort. Normally a thunderstorm here lasts 15-20 minutes. This one went on for three hours or more. The lightening lit up the entire sky, reminding me of the sheet lightening I saw in Texas once. The thunder rumbled for ever so long after each flash. It was rather impressive in a somewhat unsettling way. I was thankful there were no fires as a result of all that lightening. We even got some rain out of the storm, which is extremely rare for us in the middle of July.

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  55. A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California sounds wonderful.Thank you for the opportunity to win.

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    1. I wish you well in the drawing, Emma.

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  56. I enjoyed the interview, and getting to know you, Keli. :)

    I've heard so many wonderful things about your book, and I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the chance to win! I love books in this time period and setting!

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    1. Michelle, thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you like the period. I'll admit to being rather smitten with the Victorian Era. If you saw my website, you'd know it. =)

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  57. Fingers crossed to win, this book looks like a lot of fun to read! Thank-you for the giveaway :)

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    1. Judith-Pamela, thanks for stopping by and entering the drawing.

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  58. This book sounds really interesting. I'd love to read it. Congratulations on your debut book, Keli!

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