It is my absolute pleasure to have Keli Gwyn visiting today. If you haven’t had the chance to visit Keli via her website, sit in her parlor, sip a cup of tea and get acquainted with Keli  and her lovely debut, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, you won’t be sorry you called. And I just have to add, that when Keli sent over her guest post and I read that she had included her thoughts on Be Still My Soul, I was touched to the bottom of my heart. That’s just the kind of lady that Keli is. It is my prayer that her heartfelt words offer you hope and encouragement.

  *  *  *

As a driver, don’t you love driving on a stretch of road right after its been resurfaced? You hit that freshly spread ribbon of black asphalt, and it’s smooth sailing.


Recently the stretch of Highway 50 that runs between my historic Gold Rush-era town of Placerville, California and the small town to the west was repaved. As part of that process the old layer of asphalt was stripped away, leaving a grooved surface strewn with small pebbles. After taking a rock in the windshield of his classic British sports car, Gwynly avoided driving that section of highway until the project was complete.


Being a writer with an imagination that runs full throttle, I saw a parallel between romance and that rocky road. While I’d like to think Gwynly and I can cruise through life without a care as we bask in the blissful state of matrimony, I know that vision of marriage is bunkum and balderdash. (Can you tell I write historicals? *grin*)


The reality is that any couple can get hit with challenges and trials that will be anything but romantic. Coming at us unexpectedly, just like those pebbles pelting a windscreen, they can threaten to shatter our vision of Happily Ever After.


The hero and heroine of a romance novel are on a journey as well. Our job as writers is to throw obstacles in their paths. My host, Joanne Bischof, did just that in her debut novel, Be Still My Soul. I was privileged to read an advance copy and loved the story.


Her book is not your normal romance. The hero, Gideon, is decidedly unheroic at first. The sweet heroine, Lonnie, is dodging relational pebbles on a regular basis as her reluctant husband makes one bad decision after another, some that endanger her very life.


Through it all, Lonnie exhibits a deep and abiding faith and a willingness to extend grace and show mercy. Joanne’s character is a wonderful example of how we can respond when our romantic ideals have a head-on crash with real-life. Lonnie doesn’t give up on her dreams of romance. Instead she accepts the fact that a relationship requires effort, commitment, and willingness to put the other person first.


When we focus on our partners, thinking up ways to woo them with our words and actions (as Lonnie does during a delightful haircutting scene), romance happens. Sure, there will be rocky roads, but we can choose to navigate them as a team and enjoy the journey with our partners by our sides.


• • •


What story have you read recently with a character who does a wonderful job of incorporating romance into a relationship in spite of the setbacks encountered?


How have you and your special someone worked to foster romance in your relationship when you’ve faced challenges and trials or were simply dealing with overfull schedules?


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 is currently available.

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.