Saturday, June 30, 2012

Authors of the Month

Happy July, everyone!

I hope you enjoyed Karen Witemeyer as the featured author last month, I know I did!

For this month I am thrilled to be featuring two new authors: Regina Jennings and Keli Gwyn.

Yay!  I know you will have fun as you read about them and their fabulous novels!  I've changed my format just a bit, so let me know what you think about it.

Regina Jennings

I first read Regina's novel SIXTY ACRES AND A BRIDE several months ago and LOVED it.  You can read my review here.  She has a great personality and I have loved communicating with her.  If you haven't read her novel, you're a fool.  *teehee*  Just kidding!  *wink*

Here is what Regina said:

Tell us about yourself!

I married my high school sweetheart before graduating from Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. My professional life included employment at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards. I currently write historical romance for Bethany House and homeschool my four children.

I love the modern-like twist in your book on the biblical story of Ruth and Boaz.  Is that your favorite Bible story?  If not, which one is?

The Ruth and Boaz story is not central to my faith like the crucifixion and the resurrection, but it has to be my favorite romance of the Bible. The book of Ruth has everything  - a rich landowner, a desperate widow and a shocking proposal, but every time I read it I had some questions. First off, why didn’t Boaz offer to help before Ruth got so desperate? What was holding him back? And secondly, how did Ruth feel about her midnight trip to the barn? Was she embarrassed that everyone knew how she got her husband? Did she worry that he felt obligated to marry her? Writing this story allowed me to explore possible answers to those questions.

What is your favorite scripture or scriptures?  It's hard to pick just one!

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (NKJV) That pretty much sums up His promise and our hope.

Who is your favorite historical Christian romance author and why?

That’s a tough one because I could name several authors that I read everything they write, so I’ll name some of my favorite books. A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist has a fun marriage of convenience theme about it, although that’s not technically what happens. Did I mention the hero is a lumberjack? I love Lynn Austin’s Chronicles of the Kings series because it brings so many Old Testament characters to life. It’s dramatic and inspiring. The main character from A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers really challenged me. Also I love Siri Mitchell’s Love’s Pursuit. I could read it once a year.

Keli Gwyn

Keli Gwyn is another completely wonderful person, and a very talented writer!  Her debut novel comes out tomorrow!!!  YEE-HAW!! Her book is entitled: A BRIDE OPENS SHOP IN EL DORADO, CALIFORNIA.  I am reading it right now and folks, its great!  I hope to have my review up in a few short days.  Again, you gotta go get this book people, I'm tellin' ya!

Here is what Keli said:

Tell us about yourself!

I write what I love to read: inspirational historical romances with dashing heroes and determined heroines, all of whom embody the spirit and resourcefulness of those who settled the far western United States. I live in the heart of California’s Gold Country at the foot of the majestic Sierras with my husband and two skittish cats. When my fingers aren’t hovering over my keyboard, I enjoy strolling past stately Victorian houses in my historic town, burying my nose in reference books as I unearth interesting facts to include in my stories, and interacting with other romance readers.

The heroine in your book sounds great!  Is she at all like yourself or is she different—and in what ways?

Elenora and I have a few similarities. She’s not a very good cook, and neither am I. I’d love to have a housekeeper to prepare my meals the way she did growing up. Elenora likes things neat and tidy, and so do I. She does a much better job keeping things orderly than I do, though. If she saw all the piles in my office right now, she’d be itching to “put things to right.” Elenora likes to take long walks. When I first wrote the story, that wasn’t true of me, but I’ve become a regular walker in recent months.

There are a number of ways Elenora and I are different. She’s a violinist. I’d never even held a violin until after I wrote the story. I had such fun doing my research, which included hearing world-class violinists Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell in concert at my daughter’s university. Elenora has more courage than I do. She left her life in the east and traveled west to become a business partner with a man she’d never met after exchanging just a few letters. I’d have a hard time doing something like that. And Elenora’s younger and prettier than I am. :-)

What is your favorite scripture or scriptures?  It’s hard to pick just one!

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.

I hope you won’t think me silly or that I take God’s word lightly, but I like the verse, “Jesus wept.” Sure, it’s short and easy to remember, but that’s not why I like it. The reason I like the verse is that it really shows Christ’s humanity. He feels things deeply, just as I do. And as a member of the Weepy Women’s Club who sheds tears when I’m happy, sad, proud, etc., I find it comforting to know that God understands.

How did you come up with the idea for A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California?

I live in the heart of California’s Gold Country and wanted to bring one of the area’s historic towns to life. El Dorado is located just a few miles away from my town of Placerville. In researching El Dorado I learned about a successful mercantile owner with the largest business in town. He was active in the community and well regarded. He became the model for my hero, Miles Rutledge.

One of Placerville’s historic sites is the Emigrant Jane building. Built in 1861, it’s still standing today. The building bears a plaque telling about Jane, an industrious woman who drove a wagon across the country, had her store built, and went into business. I did my research and learned that women were able to own businesses in California from the early days of the Golden State. That knowledge led to the idea of having Elenora open her own shop when Miles refuses to accept her as partner in his.

Book Give-away:

Keli has offered to let me do a book give-away for an autographed copy of her book!  Yay!  Thank you, Keli!  I will give you more information about that after the 4th of you better be watching for that!

Thank you!!

Thank you, ladies for answering my questions!!  I loved reading your answers and getting to know you better!  Also, thank you for sharing your gifts with us and blessing our lives!

Happy Reading, everyone!


  1. YAY!! I've read Sixty Acres and a Bride but I can't wait to get Keli's new book! Those are some wonderful verses that they shared. I always have liked John 11:35 for the same reason Keli shared! It's nice to know that with God and his Soverignty knows what were going through.

    1. Candy,

      I just love knowing that the Lord understands. He's felt what we feel. We can go to Him knowing He can empathize with us no matter what emotions we're dealing with.

    2. Thanks for reading Sixty Acres, Candy. It's an honor to be here.

  2. Amber,

    Thanks so much for having me on your lovely blog. I've enjoyed getting to know you and hope to meet you in person soon.

    How special to be here with Regina. I've heard great things about her and her book.

    1. Keli! I love being about to "spotlight" you!! Today is the big day, and how exciting!! Congratulations!

  3. So wonderful seeing these lovely authors and fun learning more about them! I enjoyed Regina's book and am looking forward to reading Keli's soon!

    1. Thank you, Joanne! Yes, I have a blast learning about them too! Keli's book is wonderful I think you'll love it! Have a good 4th!!

    2. You are a perennial encourager, Joanne! Thanks for commenting!

    3. Thanks, Joanne! I'm so looking forward to your release. Not too much longer. :-)

    4. Wait, what? Joanne has a book coming out too?!?! Sweet!! I'm gonna need more info about that.... :)

  4. Amber,

    Sorry I'm late to the party! I've just returned from a family reunion with no electricity, sixty relatives and a two-seater outhouse. Let's just say my 19th century settings have further inspiration now.

    Thank you so much for hosting me with Keli! I've met Keli at conference (she is a sweetheart) and I so hope to meet you there this year.

    We appreciate you and your readers!

    1. Regina,

      What an interesting experience that reunion must have been. Nothing like real-life research to enhance our stories. :-)

      I've been doing my best to encourage Amber to join us at the ACFW conference this year, and I think it's working. Yay!

    2. Regina!! I'm so glad to see you on here!! Two seater outhouse?! WOW! I've been telling everyone at my family reuion about that and they are getting a real kick out of it! LOL
      Yes, I have signed up for the conference and I can't wait! What a blast it will be to mingle with all of you amazing ladies! (I just wanna be one of the "cool" people! teehee)
      Thank you again for stopping by--and thank you Keli for the encouragement to go to the ACFW conference. You are very persuasive... ;)

    3. Yippee! We'll meet in Dallas where, it's rumored, they have indoor plumbing.

    4. You don't say? And running water, too? What luxury..... :) I'm excited to meet you there!

  5. So loved your book Regina and I'm looking forward to your next one coming in March. You are an inspiration!

    Kimberly Hill

    1. Thanks, Kim. It means a lot to have the support of my friends.

  6. Fun to read about these ladies and their books! Blessings!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl. God bless you.

  7. Thanks, Cheryl! It's such a honor to be featured with Regina.