Monthly Archives: April 2012

Gluten-free recipes, The Beach Boys, and a cautionary tale.


Readers have asked me about Grace’s muffin recipes. Full disclosure, Grace is the expert muffin baker. I am not. Remind me to tell you a funny story about that later.

Anywhoo…I was recently working on Autumn Changes. What’s that, Bev? Why, thanks for asking. It’s the next full-length novel in the series, dropping autumn 2012, Lord willing.

Since Grace is always trying new recipes, she’s trying to come up with her own version of a gluten-free muffin. To icky results. (yep. I can relate. Okay, before you judge me, did you know all The Beach Boys don’t actually surf? But they still sing some pretty gnarly songs about it.) 

Sidebar: I’m lactose intolerant, “and I’m not taking it anymore!” Sorry, old joke. Being so has made me sympathetic to anyone with food allergies/sensitivities. (Gary is sensitive to flour. Not a true celiac, but you can see how we make a fun couple, especially while you wait for us to find something to eat in an Italian restaurant.)

I consider myself lucky. At least dairy is fairly easy to avoid, and I can carry OTC remedies. (They are not always 100% effective and sometimes the cure’s worse…ahem, you get where I’m going.)

Back to Grace, always trying to evolve her recipe, and in that spirit, her latest quest is to develop her own gluten-free muffin. In her honor, and because I would only muff them if I tried (see story below), here are some links for gluten-free baked goods, other yummy dishes, and more resources, including a memoir that looks like good reading for anyone who’s affected by celiac.

Now you mention it, I suppose I should share the recipes with Grace. But then I’d have to re-write the scene, and…sorry, a writer’s mind often wanders.

Here’s the list. This will take you directly to their muffin page, but the entire site is chock full of great information.

Gluten-free Girl This is a pretty site. I like pretty. Oh, and she talks about what it’s like to live with celiac, and by the way, she’s written a best selling book/memoir, on you guessed it, living gluten-free. Gluten-Free Girl:How I Found the Foods that Loves Me Back and How You Can Too Shauna also has a page of great links. You may recognize her since she was a child actor. You know I have a soft heart for child actors.

Restaurant Guide – obvious.

KidCeliac – again, you can tell what this one’s about.

And here’s my painful muffin baking story. When I was writing Fresh Start Summer, and dreaming some day it might be deemed worthy of publication, I promised myself that if it ever did, I would bake a batch, and present a basket of muffins, Grace-fashion, to the long-suffering critique group who had read said manuscript since its infancy at Rebecca’s kitchen table.

Flash forward. The week after the editor from Lamp Post called offering a contract, which had resulted in the proverbial happy dance and apparently some brain numbing, I remembered my plan. With barely a couple hours until critique group, I dusted off my mixer, thumbed through the actual Boston Cooking School cookbook, that Grace used.

Time: 3:00 in the afternoon. No prob. Crit group’s at 7:00.

First attempt=gum. Not the recipe’s fault, I got distracted and let the mixer go too long. Ru-roh, the cupboard is bare, need more flour.

4:00 P.M. Quick trip to store and a quick calculation. By the time I get back home, shower, and drive to critique group…I will not have enough time to bake from scratch.

Solution? Packaged muffin mix. (Grace would FREAK OUT. Do not tell her!)

5:00 P.M. Back home, stir in egg, water, into oven, voila! Find basket, line with lovely dishtowel, and then upstairs to bathe.

Result? Hard rock-like boulders suitable for lining your garden path. 

6:00 Still need to dress, and print out critique sample. Grab basket, drive back to store.

6:30 Hunt for bakery muffins. They are nowhere. Completely sold out of the lovely, professionally baked ones.

Last resort? The boxed kind, stocked in cold breads. (That’s the actual grocery store term, y’all. I cannot bake, but I can lingo with the best of ’em.)

Thank you, Sara Lee. (At this point, Grace would unfriend me on every social network.)

So the cook behind the curtain… is a fake.

But what was real was how happy I, and my critique group, was that I’d sold my first fiction manuscript. (And they were grateful I did not serve them anything I cooked to celebrate…and because they knew they’d never have to see that manuscript again! A trifecta of happiness)

Oh, and the individually cello-wrapped Sara Lee’s were enjoyed by all.

Do you surf? Have a kitchen fiasco story? If you suffer from celiac, or another troubling dietary challenge, God bless you. But I’m not cooking for you. And for that you can be grateful. 





New Historical Fiction series by Joanne Bischof

Today I’m hosting Joanne Bischof, the author of The Cadence of Grace series. The first, Be Still My Soul, is due out this October from Waterbook/Multnomah press.  I’ve had a sneak peek at them, and predict they will become classics in historical fiction. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

SUMMARY OF BE STILL MY SOUL- Lonnie Sawyer is pretty, sweet, and innocent; an ideal target for the talented bluegrass musician, Gideon O’Riley. Her world turns upside down when Lonnie’s alcoholic father sees the arrogant Gideon stealing a kiss, and hastily forces her to marry him to save her honor.

The harsh realities of life soon bring out Gideon’s anger, attracting the intervention of an elderly couple. Under their gentle instruction, the newlyweds seem to have a chance, and Gideon tries to start over as a new man. While Lonnie settles in to create a comfortable home, a new challenge appears on their horizon. Will their tenuous love be enough to hold together this rocky relationship?

Set in Appalachia over a hundred years ago, you’ll experience mountain life as it was in a simpler time. Tap your toes to the mandolin, and smell the fresh apple pies lovingly baked by women who toiled from dawn to dusk for their men working the land to provide homes for their families. You’ll be touched, inspired and transported by all three books in The Cadence of Grace series.

And now, the author, Joanne Bischof. 



Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne keeps busy making messes with their home schooled children living in the mountains of Southern California. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, being a writer, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life at Heartfelt Fiction


Q&A with Joanne

What aspect of your book was the most fun to research? Well, setting up the moonshine still in my backyard was pretty fun. Just kidding! Seriously, the best part  was doing lots of hands on activities like soap making, rug braiding, butter churning, etc. Some experiences turned out better than others, but I include them on my blog in the Adventures of Country Living, and am always looking for more projects to immerse myself in.

How do you choose your character’s names? For historical fiction, I always strive to find a name that would have been around in a particular time or place. For this series, I took it one step further and researched names specific to the Appalachian region. It was tons of fun reading through records of names like Erwin and Floyd. When I stumbled upon the name, Lonnie, I knew it was the perfect name for my heroine.

Aside from your hero and heroine, who was your favorite character to write? It’s a tough one to choose, but I would probably have to say Jebediah. There’s something about channeling one’s inner 65 year old man. Jebediah is as kind as they come but with enough spunk to push Gideon around a bit. Nothing was more fun than making my hero squirm.

You handle some delicate subjects in your book. Do you ever worry about offending someone? I think many writers worry about offending readers at one point or another, but with some of the touchy topics in this story, I hope to shed light on the freedom that can come in Christ. I think we can express a difficult situation without bringing glory to it. Shedding light on it for what it is—sin. I feel strangely amazed and blessed to watch these characters grow. As the chaff falls away, the refinement process is truly aweing. Something that can only be accomplished through Christ!

I know your inspiration for this novel came partly from bluegrass music. Do you play any instruments? I play the mandolin. Of course my dad plays it about five times better than I do, but I love the instrument. It’s near and dear to my heart, and writing that into Gideon’s character was really fun. Every time he plays in the books, I can feel the fondness for the mandolin that he feels and I hope that comes across to readers.

Thanks, Joanne, and God’s blessing on your writing, and this series. Thanks for having me.

You can find Joanne on Facebook, Twitter and her bog, Heartfelt Fiction, where you can sign up to receive her twice-a-year newsletter. Don’t miss another post about soapmaking, churning butter and lopping off chicken heads. JK. I think.