Keli Gwyn – Real Life Romance & Romantic Excerpt – Part 1 of 3

Shannon here: I first encountered Historical Romance author, Keli Gwyn  back in 2010 when she offered to host me on her blog. When she asked me to share something readers don’t know about me, I mentioned my shoe fixation (approximately 60 pairs of heels in all different colors). She asked for pictures. What a fun interview, my all time favorite. Later, I met Keli at an ACFW Conference where she asked how many shoes I brought (5 pairs of heels for a three day event). Today I’m honored to host Keli on my blog. She shares how she met her husband, plus a chance to win her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. Comment on any post dated July 2 – 6 for a chance to win. Deadline: July 14th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Keli:

How did Gwynly and I meet? If you ask him, you’ll get one version of the story. If you ask me, you’ll get another. Since I’m a writer and a hopeless romantic, I’ll share both.

The two meetings took place at social events held by our church’s singles group, the first at a Super Bowl Party. I may shock some of you die-hard football fans speechless, but I’m not into the game. I went to hang out with friends.

Since I wanted to be a good sport despite my lack of interest in the game, I took football- and football field-shaped cakes I’d made to the party. After the meal and the kickoff, I hung out in the kitchen doing dishes with a gal pal in order to tactfully avoid the enthusiastic football fans congregated by the T.V.

Apparently I spoke with a tall teacher sometime during the afternoon. Sadly, I don’t recall that conversation. The fellow does, though, and loves to remind me of the memorable first impression he made on me. What I find noteworthy is that Gwynly has about as much interest in football as I do. It appears the Lord really wanted us to meet, since both of us put fellowship over football that day.

Our next meeting holds a special place in my treasure trove of memories. A few weeks later our singles group held an international dinner. I can’t recall what my contribution was, but I know exactly what Gwynly took: chocolate chip cookies—without nuts. They’re my favorite kind of cookie, so a few of his ended up on my plate.

Gwynly presented a lighthearted devotion that evening about the different “dances” those visiting our group did when they came to our Sunday school class the first time, and he gave us tips on how we could ease their awkwardness. Since I had yet to meet Gwynly (in my mind, anyhow), I figured the least I could do after he’d given a devotion like that was introduce myself.

I wasn’t able to talk with him alone until he was preparing to leave. Using the excuse of wanting the two remaining cookies on his platter, I started a conversation. We exchanged the basics. I learned that he taught physics and physical science, and he learned that I was a bookkeeper and a college student.

Little did I know that Gwynly had been interested enough in me at the Super Bowl party to ask about me afterward. When he learned I was a college student, he figured I was off limits because of my age. He was a long-time bachelor of 37 and had decided he would date women up to ten years younger—but no more. What he didn’t know was that I was in my tenth year of college, making me 28 and “eligible.” Apparently that information came out during our introduction, because he did ask me out.

I’ll share the story of our memorable first date here on Shannon’s blog on Wednesday, July 4th. For now, she’s invited me to tell you how the hero and heroine in A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California meet, and I’m happy to do so. Here goes…

As was the case when Gwynly and I first met, Miles Rutledge and Elenora Watkins deal with a misunderstanding. His meddlesome but well-meaning mother, Maude Rutledge, is responsible for theirs. Miles thinks the person who answered his advertisement for a partner is a man, and his mother has chosen not to correct him.

When Miles meets the stagecoach and discovers a woman waiting for him, he’s none too happy. Miles and Elenora’s first conversation alone in the backroom of his mercantile doesn’t go at all well. He’s upset at Elenora’s apparent duplicity, and Elenora, who has no clue as to the reason for his rudeness and cool reception, is confused. Here’s a snippet from the scene, one I really like because it shows Elenora’s spunk and Miles tendency to speak before he thinks.

Model for Elenora Watkins

Model for Miles Rutledge



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.”

“You’re observant.”

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?

About Keli: 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, will be released in July 2012.

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. Learn more: Website –, Facebook Timeline –, Facebook Page –, Twitter –!/KeliGwyn, and Goodreads –

About the Book: 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?

Come back July 4th for Keli and Gwynly’s first date. 

17 Responses to “Keli Gwyn – Real Life Romance & Romantic Excerpt – Part 1 of 3”

  • Illene Stewart says:

    Love to read stories about fiesty, spirited women!

  • Keli Gwyn says:


    If you like feisty, spirited women, you’ll love Elenora. She’s got a lot of spunk and is determined to make her new shop a success–in spite of the fact that it’s across the street from the large, well-established shop of a certain mercantile owner by the name of Miles Rutledge, a man who wants to put her out of business. 🙂

  • Rita says:

    Being a romanic at heart, I love first strings of romance stories. Thanks for sharing your delightful and fun story. Both real life and from your novel. So want to read it!

  • Keli Gwyn says:


    I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you enjoy Mile’s and Elenora’s story. Despite their less-than-ideal first meeting, they end up not only fighting for the town’s business but fighting their mutual attraction as well.

  • Keli, I love this story about how you and Gwynly met! I’m bound and determined to win a copy of A Bride Opens Shop, so I’m blog hopping wherever I see you’re visiting – and I’m “meeting” so many other great bloggers in the process – *waving* to Shannon! 🙂

  • Keli Gwyn says:


    Shannon is a great person. I so enjoyed having her on my blog and showing off some of her shoes. For those who are interested in seeing that post on my old Romance Writers on the Journey blog, here’s the link:

    For those, like you, who want to enter lots of drawings for my book, you can visit The Press Room on my website ( and find a Contests and Giveaways page.

  • bn100 says:

    Very nice excerpt and story.

  • I met my husband in an Italian restroom, when I ordered lamb fries I heard someone say…a woman after my own heart. We were engages 3 months later. Been a pastors wife for 20 yrs., now we’re missionaries! 28 yrs. July 7!

  • Oh my gravy, I typed restaurant and it put in restroom! We didn’t meet in a restroom!

  • Keli Gwyn says:


    What a fun first meeting story. Of course, I do find myself wondering how a future pastor and pastor’s wife ended up in the same restroom. But then I realized you were in Italy and I recalled stories I’ve heard of how different things used to be there. 🙂

    Happy anniversary! I hope you and your hubby have a wonderful time celebrating your 28 years of togetherness.

  • Keli Gwyn says:


    Oh, my goodness! I just read your second comment and roared. I’d worked so hard to come up with a tactful reply to your first comment, but never once did it cross my mind that good ol’ auto correct had been at work. Thanks for the laugh. I needed one about now. 🙂

  • Melody,
    How funny. I read Italian and my brain filled in restaurant, so I never realized it said restroom until Keli answered. I needed that laugh too.

  • What a great post and, uh – do I dare say… the comments are great as well. I thought the restroom “auto-correct” was funny, too. I was wondering why food was ordered from restrooms?? I had to laugh at “good gravy” and then at Keli’s comments that followed.

    btw, I’d like to share that I have a fabulous chocolate chip cookie recipe on my blog

  • Keli Gwyn says:


    I love how much fun the comments on a blog post can be. It’s neat how connections can be made in a comment trail. I’ve met so many wonderful people that way. And this trail has been especially entertaining. 🙂

    I’ll have to check out your cookie recipe.

  • […] did just that. She’s hosting me for three real-life romance posts on her Inkslinger blog. Monday’s post talked about how Gwynly and I met. In my post on her blog today, I’m sharing a fish story. […]

  • Virley says:

    I’ve also pre-ordered Katie and Keli’s books, and yours too! I must confess, bfreoe I started dreaming about becoming a published author myself, I didn’t really buy books. I have shelves full from the past, but because in the last 5 years we were in a more stringent place in life financially (husband in law school), we started using the library more. Now I’m realizing how much authors need the support and how important that is. Plus, it’s really cool to own a book by someone you know! Also, if it’s a great book, I will read it over and over again. Happy Friday, Beth! Hope you get some good word counts done today.

  • Harinder says:

    Word of mouth is key as well as topic. I don’t really think too much about whteher a person is established or not. I’ve read more debut authors in the last two years, due to relationships developed online and word of mouth through online networks. I think ebooks have made it easy and more affordable to take a risk on debut authors too. (Also, those online relationships have encouraged me to branch out into genres I don’t normally read.)

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