Conference Tips with Keli GwynI

by | Sep 14, 2011 | Christian authors, God's grace, inspirational fiction | 8 comments

If you’ve never been to Romance Writers on the Journey, you need to scootdaddle right over there and check it out. It’s the brain-child of Keli Gwyn, encourager -extraordinairre and debut author. I met Keli last year at ACFW, but she’d made an impact on my life well before then. She’s one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met – and her timing is impeccable.

In January this year, right after receiving a pretty scathing critique from a contest, a card arrived in the mail from Keli. It read: 2011 – This is YOUR year.

What a sweet encouragement and reminder that there are people on this journey WITH me – so many cheerleaders. Keli is one of the BEST.

So – I’m extremely happy to cheer her own as her first book, A Bride Opens Shop in Eldorado, California, expects to arrive in bookstores in 2012.

What are Keli’s tips?

1) A willingness to learn
2) Realistic expectations
3) A map with directions to the nearest Taco Bell in case withdrawal symptoms appear
Good stuff here, Keli. Realistic expectations is a tough one  to keep under control because we all want the ‘big dream’ to happen to use while were among the famous and infamous at ACFW 😉
But just as Kaye Dacus reminded us last week, if we remember the root of WHY we  write (what our purpose is), then it helps keep our heads.
And Taco Bell directions? Oh yeah. Just had some today, in fact 🙂
Thanks so much, Keli.
You can learn more about Keli, her blogs, and her upcoming novel at


  1. audraharders

    Keli you are the encourager supreme! Not only with your blog, Romance Writers on the Journey – which is awesome in itself – but also your uncanny ability to sense when we need encouragement the most. Like Pepper, I was a recipient of one of your “encouragement cards” just when I needed it most. You made my day.

    I can’t wait for your debut book, Keli. I’m so proud of you!!

    And Taco Bell? I think I could eat Meximelts all day long, LOL!

  2. Julie Lessman

    LOL!!! Keli, you are TOO cute and dirt practical, too, something I LOVE!!! “Realistic” expectations is key, and I would even say “critical.” There’s an expression I love that says, “Under promise, over deliver,” which we can modify here to read, “Under expect, over enjoy.” I find that it’s best to stay grounded in the reality that in every situation there will be ups and downs, highs and lows. To stay grounded in Him no matter the emotional swings because really and truly a conference like this is not life and death, so we shouldn’t let our emotions and nerves act like it is.

    Oh, gosh, I’m waxing philosophical this morning, aren’t I? Time for more caffeine … 🙂

    Can’t wait to give you a hug, Kel.


  3. Keli Gwyn

    Thanks for including me in your conference tips post line-up, Pepper. I have to admit that when I saw the list of awesome authors you’d contacted and it included my name, I wondered if you’d made a mistake. Keeping company with the likes of Julie, Mary, and the others is a heady experience for this newly contracted writer.

    I appreciate your kind words. I feel a need to come clean, though. While I maintained Romance Writers on the Journey for over three years and was blessed to interview many awesome novelists, I’ve had to bring the blog to an end. My last interview appeared August 30th. I need to prepare a farewell post, but I’ve not had the heart. Bringing the blog to a close was a tough decision because I loved the connections I made there. I still post regularly on my personal blog and am part of my agency’s blog, but I had to wrap things up at RWotJ since I could no longer invest the time needed to showcase not-yet-published and debut novelist in the manner I feel they deserve.

    Regarding the conference tips, I’ve located the Taco Bell nearest the conference hotel. Since it’s on the opposite side of the Gateway Arch, getting to it would require a mile-long trek, but at least I know where to go if the withdrawal symptoms get too intense for this Taco Bell addict.

  4. Keli Gwyn

    Audra, you’re a gem. It was such fun having you as my guest back when your first book was coming out. And just look at you now. Wow! I love seeing all the Lord’s done in your writing world.

    I’ve been to Taco Bell thousands of times, but I’ve never tried a Meximelt. I’ll have to remedy that one of these days.

  5. Keli Gwyn

    Julie, dearest Julie, how I treasure you and your wisdom. I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. One of the reasons I’m contracted today is because of YOU.

    I worked hard to win a blog contest where the prize was a 15-page critique from you, and I succeeded. Your feedback was great. I took it to heart and worked hard to implement your wonderful suggestions throughout the manuscript. That spiffed-up first chapter you critiqued was read by my agent in a contest, which led to my offer of representation and First Sale. Your cover letter filled with encouraging words hangs on the wall of my writing office to this day.

    Thanks for being such a cheerleader for others. You rock!

  6. Julie Lessman

    Thanks, Kel, but the truth is if YOU didn’t “rock” in your writing, even Francine Rivers couldn’t get you published, so the credit goes solely to you, my friend, and I am THRILLED that I even got to read you!!


  7. Casey

    Keli is one AWESOME lady and I agree with you Pepper, a sweetheart in every sense of the word!


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