Celebrating with my Critique Partner

Waiting can be tough, and there’s plenty of it in a writer’s life.

I’d been eagerly awaiting the release of my critique partner Jody Hedlund’s second book, the first one I helped her edit. The official release date is September 1st, but I’ve learned that books begin appearing in stores a few weeks before the big day. I’d found Jody’s debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, three weeks before the release date last fall, so I began looking for The Doctor’s Lady August 5th.

I did my best to wait patiently, but it wasn’t easy. In my exuberance, I explored all the possibilities of finding a copy early. The closest big-box bookstore was Borders, so that option was gone. I pestered the poor staff at my local Christian bookstore until I was afraid to show my face there again, especially when they said The Doctor’s Lady was back-ordered. I resigned myself to waiting for Amazon to ship my pre-ordered copies and made my post office run daily so I didn’t miss the package due to show up in my box any day.

This past Monday, I remembered that there had been a Family Christian store in a town half an hour away. I’d not been there in several years and feared the place had closed. I looked up the number, called, and was thrilled to learn the store was still in business. I dropped everything and made a trip down the hill.

When I reached the bookstore, I parked, rushed through the door, and sprinted to the fiction section. I went straight for the H’s and found the book sitting face front.

Thankfully no one saw me and the racks were well over my head, so I was able to get my first look at The Doctor’s Lady in privacy. Why is that a good thing? Because when I beheld the book for the first time, I burst into tears. And this was no dainty display either.

I was so moved by the sight of Jody’s book that tears flowed over my cheeks, dripped off my chin, and rolled down my arm before I could get a tissue out of my purse. It took two tissues to mop my face. Let me tell you, I’m glad I don’t wear mascara, or I’d have been a terrible mess. As it was, there was no eye shadow left by the time I’d restored a modicum of control, as is evidenced by the picture the very understanding clerk took of me holding Jody’s  book in my hands.

Why did I react so strongly? I told Jody that while she put her whole heart into writing The Doctor’s Lady, a part of my heart is in it, too. Sure, I helped her by critiquing it, but what’s far more important to me is that our friendship was forged as we went through the process of getting The Doctor’s Lady ready for readers. For that reason, it’s very special to me.

• • •

Despite my concerted efforts, I wasn’t the first one to locate a copy of The Doctor’s Lady. I was, however, the first to post a review on Amazon. Here’s the text of my five-star review:

A Tale of Heartache, Hardships, and Hard-earned Happiness

Jody Hedlund’s debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, captivated readers and left them wanting more of her page-turning stories. They’re sure to be satisfied with The Doctor’s Lady because she’s crafted another gripping tale, one that takes her characters—and her readers—on a journey fraught with hardships and heartache.

When Eli Ernest and Priscilla White learn that they must wed in order to fulfill their dreams of serving the Lord as missionaries, they agree to a marriage in name only. They embark on a dangerous trip across the country, one that will test them to the utmost of their endurance and abilities.

Both strong and independent, Eli and Priscilla battle not only the harsh conditions but also their growing attraction, which neither of them planned for nor welcomes. Past disappointments have left them wary and unwilling to drop their guard. Tension crackles as they face one challenge after another and are forced to rely on each other or perish. Only when they release control to the Lord can they overcome their differences and find happiness.

Hedlund is a masterful storyteller who paints a lush picture of life in the early 1800s, peoples the story with well-developed characters readers will long remember, and adds non-stop action and adventure. I highly recommend The Doctor’s Lady and eagerly await the release of Hedlund’s next book.

• • •

Win a Copy of The Doctor’s Lady

I’m giving away two copies of The Doctor’s Lady.

To enter the drawing, leave a comment, including your email address when prompted.

I’ll hold the drawing on Friday, August 19th, choosing two winners, and will post their names here and contact them via email to get their mailing addresses.

Congratulations to the winners, Rosslyn Elliott and Eileen Astels.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian addresses only.

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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27 Responses to Celebrating with my Critique Partner

  1. Susan Mason says:

    How exciting, Keli & Jody! I think I’ll need a trunk to get all the books that I intend to buy back from St. Louis!! Looking so forward to reading this one!


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