Tuesday, May 28, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: YA Author, Andrea Buginsky

Andrea Buginsky, author

YA Author Andrea Buginsky brings us THE CHOSEN,  “a great YA fantasy” according to reviewers. Andrea writes to inspire young readers to “imagine and create.” She produces a fantasy world with a heroine who doesn’t “feel like a heroine.”

When not writing her novels, Andrea is a free lance writer. She grew up with heart disease, which she describes in her book My Open Heart. She considers herself a “kid at heart,” and loves to fantasize. Family is important to her.

Be sure to explore the excerpt of THE CHOSEN at the end of her interview.

Q: If you could describe the purpose of THE CHOSEN to its readers what would you say to them?

Andrea Buginsky: I wanted to create a heroine that didn’t feel like a heroine. Halli had a lot to learn about herself and the world around her. She had to overcome her shyness, and learn to believe in herself. I wrote Halli this way because I thought my readers would identify with her.

Q: Why do you write for young readers?

Andrea Buginsky: I loved reading when I was young. Books gave me a chance to escape my world and enter thousands of others. They inspired me to use my imagination and create. I wanted my books to do the same for today’s young readers, to teach them to reach for the stars, and make their dreams come true.

Q: In the fantasy world of THE CHOSEN, what pulls in your readers? Do they care about your characters? Or is the primary reason for their interest suspense?

Andrea Buginsky: I’d like to think that it’s the characters that pull my readers in. Halli is the spotlight character, but she is surrounded by five other main characters who have their own individual character traits. I created these characters differently so my readers could find one they could relate to.

Q: What makes your readers care about your characters?

Andrea Buginsky: They’re real. They have issues, feelings and flaws. They can make you laugh or cry. You can get a real feel for who they are, and imagine them becoming your friends.

Q: How important is believability? What do you do to make the world of THE CHOSEN credible?

Andrea Buginsky: Since I write fantasy, I’m not overly concerned with believability, at least not on the surface. I do want my characters to fit their world and their role. I think I made THE CHOSEN’s world real by creating a variety of places these characters come from that are unique from one another, just like our world.

Q: Do your characters push you around and make you write what they want? Or are you in control?

Andrea Buginsky: I feel mostly in control, but sometimes they’ll reach out and tell me what they want to do. I honestly wish they would do that more often. It makes the writing more interesting, and the story, too, I believe.

Q: What are the characteristics of a hero? A villain? Are they relevant to THE CHOSEN?

Andrea Buginsky: I believe a true hero is someone who can overcome obstacles to help someone else in need. They’re not looking to be a hero. Villains, on the other hand, are all about showing off. They’ll do anything to get attention, even if it’s negative attention. Heroes and villains are both absolutely relevant to THE CHOSEN.

Q: Why are you a writer?

Andrea Buginsky: Because I love to create my own worlds, characters and stories, and I wanted to share them with readers.

Q: What else have you written besides THE CHOSEN?  What’s next?

Andrea Buginsky: (1) Nature’s Unbalance, which is the second book in THE CHOSEN series. (2) My Open Heart, an autobiography of growing up with heart disease. (3) The third book in THE CHOSEN series, which has not been published. I’m currently working on a new YA fantasy series

Q:  Tell us something about Andrea Buginsky? What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Andrea Buginsky: I’m a kid at heart. I love to fantasize. I watch a lot of TV and movies, read, and daydream. I’m very big on family, and like to spend time together. Now that I’m in Kansas, that time together is more over the phone than in person, but staying connected to my family is very important to me.

About Andrea Buginsky

Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer and author. THE CHOSEN was her first book, and was followed by “My Open Heart,” an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. “Nature’s Unbalance” is the second story in THE CHOSEN series. Andrea plans to write more in the series. She’s already done with the first draft of book 3 and has a concept for book 4. You can find Andrea on her website, Andi’s Realm. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Remember to sign up for Andrea’s  newsletter to stay up-to-date on all of her exciting events.


Halli is a shy, young dwarf who has no idea of her true calling. When the evil Prince Gastle sets out to destroy the world of Phantasma, Queen Laurali of the Elves comes to tell Halli she's a Holy Paladin with the power to heal, and will join The Chosen, a group of brave warriors being sent to defeat the evil beast and save Phantasma. Will Halli be accepted by her group, and be able to keep them alive through their adventures? Will the evil Prince Gastle be defeated, freeing Phantasma from his destruction? Only time will tell.


Queen Laurali and Halli set off on their ride from Drumple to the Castle of the Elves.  Along the way, the Queen told Halli about the journey she was about to take.
            “You’re going to meet a special group of people.  They are called The Chosen.  Striker is the leader of the group.  He and his family are elves too.  He and his wife, Kaidyla, are hunters.  Their daughter, Lumina, is a druid.  She has magical powers that can help during battles, and she can also heal.  Their good friends, Silvorhawk and Redsham, are Goliaths.  Silvor is a mage, with the power to control both fire and ice.  Red is a shaman.  They grew up with Striker.  He and Silvor were raised together like brothers.”
            Halli silently took in all of this information about the group she was soon to join.  Her eyes grew big when the Queen mentioned Red and Silvor were Goliaths.  She had heard her whole life about the gentle giants who lived in Phantasma, but had never met one.  She knew they weren’t as big as the Great Giants of Phantasma, like Prince Gastle, but that they were still very large in size in comparison to other creatures in the land, especially dwarfs.
            “They sound like a good mix.  But you said that Lumina was the only healer, and only a partial one?  That means that I’ll be responsible for keeping this group alive.  I don’t know if I’m ready for that.  I don’t even know how to use my powers yet...”  Halli trailed off quietly, nervous about what Queen Laurali told her about The Chosen.
            The Queen smiled.  “Don’t worry, Halli.  I have a lot of confidence in you, and I know that you can handle this.  Remember, I’ve known you since the day you were born, and I saw something in you that day that told me you are the best healer for this quest.  You just have to trust yourself.”
            They rode silently for a while, and stopped under a large oak tree for lunch.  It was here that Halli finally had the courage to ask Queen Laurali something that had been burning in her mind since she told her who she was, and that it was time to fulfill her destiny.
            “Queen Laurali, what exactly is this mission you’re sending The Chosen, and me, on?”
            The Queen smiled gently.  She knew she needed to choose her words carefully so she wouldn’t terrify the young dwarf.  “Halli, Prince Gastle must be stopped.  The only way I know how to stop him is to send my best warriors after him.  The Chosen is the best group of warriors I know, and I have faith that they’ll be able to conquer him.  But they need a strong healer to help them, and I know in my heart that that’s you.”


Purchase Links

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Twitter: @andreabuginsky

Thursday, May 23, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Legal Suspense Author A. Wayne Gill

A. Wayne Gill, Author

Lawyer A. Wayne Gill has authored THE RUNNER, a Christian legal thriller with “a good, intense storyline” according to reviewers. The first of a series, THE RUNNER features Michael Knight, a lawyer trying to figure out his life.

Head of his own successful law firm, Wayne has experienced the life of an attorney, but he claims his lead character is different from him.  In addition to writing and practicing law, Wayne has received numerous business and humanitarian awards. He is involved in many enterprises and when he has spare time, he prefers spending it with his family or reading.

Q:  What inspired you to write THE RUNNER? Given that you have a successful law practice, why start to write? Who or what influenced you to write?

Wayne Gill: I have always loved to write. My first experience with writing was when I was 6 years old. I entered a poetry contest at my elementary school and ended up winning first place. I wrote the poem on Martin Luther King. He has always been an influence on me not just in writing but also in my overall life.

Q:  THE RUNNER has been described as “A legal thriller filled with excitement and mystery” and also as a novel that “will interest those wishing to intersect the Christian faith with law.” Was it your intent to write a thriller or deliver a message about Christianity?

Wayne Gill:  My intent was for it to be a combination of both. Initially, the concept was to speak about people running away from God. Then when I sat down to outline the book, I wanted to keep the readers enthralled so I went in the route of suspense.

Q: How much of you, the lawyer, is incorporated in Michael Knight?

Wayne Gill:  There certainly are similarities between Michael and myself. However, Michael is a fictional character and his experiences beginning law school are different than mine.

Q: How did you make your characters engaging, especially Michael Knight? Why do readers care about him?

Wayne Gill: I strived to make the characters relate to everyone in some degree. In Michael’s case, I think readers understand where he is coming from and have been through a similar experience that he has.

Q: What makes a good villain? Can you say who is the villain in THE RUNNER?

Wayne Gill:  Villains have to be multi-dimensional. The reader needs to find them relatable and surprising or your story is going to be dull. You know I want the readers to develop their own ideas on the villain.

Q: “THE RUNNER delivers suspense, thrills, romance, mystery and excitement.” How do you create suspense, thrills and excitement?

 Wayne Gill: I think the key to creating these elements is by producing these multidimensional characters. Without a strong character, your story just can’t go anywhere.

Q:  Who are your targeted readers and what are they looking for in your books?

 Wayne Gill: As a spiritual work of fiction, the Christian community is certainly a “targeted” audience but with that said the messages of THE RUNNER are for everyone. I think that many young adults will find this book extremely relatable to their everyday lives.

Q:  If your book became a movie, who do you envision playing Michael Knight?

Wayne Gill:  I would say Tom Welling. He was the actor on the TV show Smallville. That is the physical appearance I had imagined when creating Michael. He would be an overall good fit for Michael and his small town appeal.

Q:  What’s next?

Wayne Gill: Well the tales of Michael Knight have just begun. I am right now in the middle of writing the second book in the Michael Knight series. Michael is in for quite the journey!

Q:  What do you like to do when you’re not practicing law or writing? (although it’s hard to believe that you have time for much else!)

Wayne Gill: Haha!  Yes, I tend to always have a full schedule. In my spare time, I love to read and also spend time with my family.

About Wayne Gill

When he isn’t crafting legal dramas, Wayne Gill serves as CEO and Managing Partner of Gill Law Firm, a law firm with offices in Florida and Georgia that serves some of the top companies in the world, including AT&T, Hilton Hotels Corporation, SunTrust Bank, and JM Family Enterprises.
A husband and father, Wayne is the recipient of numerous civil, professional and humanitarian awards, including Northwood University’s Arthur E. Turner Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Betterment of Mankind. He is also the co-founder of the Oasis Compassion Agency, a ministry to the disadvantaged in the community. THE RUNNER is the first book in the Michael Knight series.
Wayne has been recognized among the 50 Most Powerful Black Professionals in South Florida and the Who’s Who in Black South Florida. He’s received Macy’s Crystal Award for Outstanding Minority Business Advocacy, and he’s received several honors from NMSDC affiliates and the local Bar Associations. In 2002, he received Northwood University’s Arthur E. Turner Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Betterment of Mankind. He is a board member of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County and Secretary of the Board for The Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council.

Welcome to THE RUNNER

THE RUNNER is the first book in a seven-part series that follows the life of Michael Knight, a young man who is conflicted about his future and who embarks on a long journey of self-discovery. In that sense, Michael is like many of us. I don’t think anyone ever just “arrives.” We all have to go through things in life in order to learn and grow.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Authors Lynne and Valerie Constantine

Lynne and Valerie Constantine, Co-Authors
Lynne and Valerie Constantine shared the experience of growing up together in the U.S. as second-generation sisters in a Greek family. They drew on this experience to write CIRCLE DANCE, a novel reviewed as a “real page turner” “with lots of twists and turns” and “all about real people:” two second-generation Greek sisters and their adult life experiences. Reviewers are quick to add that, “This story will resonate with Greeks and non-Greeks alike.”

Although the two sisters enjoyed collaborating on CIRCLE DANCE, they are currently working on individual projects. Lynne has finished the first draft of her next book, a thriller, and is going through the editing process. Valerie is working on a contemporary novel.  

Don’t miss the excerpt from CIRCLE DANCE at the end of the interview.   

Q: What inspired you to write CIRCLE DANCE?
Lynne and Valerie Constantine: The realization that our experience growing up as second generation Greeks was one that our own children would not share was the inspiration for CIRCLE DANCE. We had talked a long time about collaborating on something together and the more we talked, the more we liked the idea of telling a story about family from our experience growing up in a close knit and very large Greek American family. We thought this would be a wonderful legacy for our children (and eventual grandchildren) – a look into an old country/new world drama that they would never experience as third and fourth generation Americans.

Q: You write about a Greek-American family. How universal is your story? Could it be a story about any family?

Lynne and Valerie Constantine: There is a two-fold answer to this question. First, the Parsenis family happen to be Greek but they could be any close family. The struggles they face are universal – realizing and nurturing one’s own identity; generational differences; growing into independence and confidence; divorce to name a few. So on that level, the story is about our humanness.

Secondly, there is the added element of their ethnicity and heritage. However, we all have cultural roots somewhere outside of America, it’s just that in CIRCLE DANCE those roots are recent. Second and third generation Americans may find the story more immediate, but certainly the story is universal.

Q: What is it like writing together as sisters? Do you typically agree on plot points? Does one of you excel at character development and the other at setting and plot? How do you decide when you disagree?

Lynne and Valerie Constantine: There are pros and cons to collaboration, but we both agree that the pros far outweighed the cons, especially for a first novel. Writing is a solitary experience and can be a rather scary one as well. It was great to have someone to bounce ideas off, to talk about characters and even to banter with the dialogue. There was also the added advantage of being accountable to one another in our commitment to write so many pages a day. It ratcheted up the self-discipline factor.

The disadvantage to writing with a co-author is that, by necessity, the book starts off as very plot driven vs. character driven.  We created the plot together over a series of many meetings and then assigned chapters to each other on a weekly basis. With this method, it is more difficult to allow the characters to evolve as organically because of previously agreed upon plot lines. This was one of the major driving factors in our decision to revise and rewrite parts of the book last summer and re-launch it in the fall. We both felt we knew the characters well enough to go back and change things based on how they would actually act vs. what we had originally plotted.

We each have our strengths and weaknesses, but they seem to complement each other in a way that works. There were some disagreements and sometimes it was difficult to give or to hear criticism, but we were both determined to put feelings aside in order to produce the best work that we could.  When there was a disagreement, whoever felt most passionately about it typically got her way.

Q: Your reviewers praise your “character development”… “The Constantine sisters have created characters you become invested in; they’re real and identifiable.” How do you create engaging characters?

Lynne and Valerie Constantine: We spent a lot of time talking about the characters as we created them. We developed character sketches that in addition to physical traits, included things like: pet peeves, favorite book, unconscious motivations, regrets, dreams, and hopes. Much of what we came up with we knew would never make it into the book but would form a basis for writing the characters as real people. When we edited the book we would always ask, “Is this something he or she would say, or do?” If it didn’t ring true then we would modify it.

Q: How would you define “hero” and “villain?” Does CIRCLE DANCE incorporate heroes and villains?

Lynne and Valerie Constantine: I would define a hero as one with integrity and bravery – bravery in facing self and others honestly, integrity in the way they lead their lives. A villain is the direct opposite – one whose own desires and well being come before others, even if that means bringing harm to or the downfall of another.

There are both in CIRCLE DANCE, although I would argue that there is no perfect hero and no perfect villain, either in literature or in real life.  The closest character to a true villain is Stewart. He is a tragic figure in that his inability to overcome his upbringing blinds him to the blessings in his life and prevents him from enjoying the love and acceptance finally available to him.  Peter is another character who has villainous qualities that are disguised by his charisma and charm and do not emerge until the end of the book.

The character closest to a pure hero in the story is Sophia, the wise YiaYia (grandmother) whose life is an example to her granddaughters of virtue, forbearance and forgiveness.

Q: Your reviewers like that “The story pulls you in almost immediately, and doesn't let up until the last page.” How do you build this suspense?

Lynne and Valerie Constantine: Editing, editing, editing. Seriously though, having other people you trust read the drafts and make their comments, having a good editor, and then putting the book down for awhile and picking up again for more editing – these are all the things that help improve the pacing and storyline.

Aside from the two main storylines of the sisters, there is a sub-plot regarding the family business that adds quite a bit of intrigue. This story line is interwoven with the other two and adds to the tension of the book.

Q: How helpful was your personal background to creating your story?

Lynne and Valerie Constantine: It was an important ingredient, perhaps the most important. The fact that it was a background we shared was important as well. We talked about so many stories we had heard growing up, so many shared experiences. They were the heartbeat of the story.

Q: Do you write largely for entertainment, or do you also try to deliver a message? To educate or inform?

Lynne and Valerie Constantine: I think both. Certainly we wanted the book to be entertaining, but we also hoped to send a clear message about what it means to be a family – the traditions, the expectations, the disappointments – and how central these lessons of family are to the people we ultimately become. We also wanted to dispel some stereotypes about Greek families and portray the segment of Greeks that have fully assimilated yet still hold firm to their traditions and customs.

Q: Why are you a writer? What’s next? Will you be writing another book together?

Lynne Constantine:  Being a writer provides me an entrée to a variety of different worlds and allows me to live vicariously through my characters.  I tend to become bored when I finish a project – for me it’s all about inspiration and creation. As a writer, I am limited only by my imagination. I find it gratifying to breathe life into a story and watch what unfolds. I feel extremely grateful to have found a profession that ignites my passion and allows me to follow my heart.

I’m currently working on a thriller. The first draft is complete and I will be spending the next several months editing and refining my research.

Valerie Constantine:  I am a great people watcher. I remember sitting in a classroom, or large gathering or on a bus and wondering what someone’s life might be like – what their house looked like, what kind of family they came from, the job they had. It’s like going on an adventure into a place you’ve never been or seen, something so very different from your own life. That is the world I can disappear into when I write – I can imagine other lives and other places. I love this make believe world and my characters become people I mentally and intimately live with as I write. Someone once told me it’s a great profession for someone who likes to tell lies. I’m working on a contemporary novel right now.

As much as we enjoyed writing together, at this point we are working on different projects but wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a sequel or prequel to CIRCLE DANCE.

Q: Tell us something about yourselves. We know that you are sisters. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Valerie Constantine: I love spending time with my kids who are now grown and living all over the U.S. I’m involved in community philanthropic organizations and also volunteer in work to end human trafficking. We live in Annapolis, a beautiful town on the Chesapeake Bay where we enjoy nature and bird watching. And I love reading – fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines – if it’s printed, I’ll read it.

Lynne Constantine: I love to read and spend time outdoors. We live near the beach and my favorite activity is to take the kids, a good book, and our beach gear and spend the day relaxing while inhaling the salt air. I like to spend time at the gym or walking.  I also enjoy photography and putting together video slide shows and digital photo albums. I’m involved in my church and local community.

We try to get together as often as possible and usually Skype or talk every day. When we can steal away for a weekend, our faces are sore from laughing so much by the end of it. We understand each other in a way that no one else does. We are looking forward to attending Thrillerfest together this July in New York.

About Lynne Constantine

Lynne wrote her first book, CIRCLE DANCE, with her sister Valerie. CIRCLE DANCE was a legacy of love fueled by the desire to pass on to their children the traditions and experiences unique to them as second generation Greek Americans. Lynne was raised in a close-knit family surrounded by an extended family and “adopted” family through the Greek community.

Lynne attended Hellenic College where she earned her undergraduate degree in Human Development. She went on to earn her masters degree in Business Administration at Johns Hopkins University.

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Lynne relocated to the New York area with her husband and children. She enjoys traveling, spending time on the beach and taking walks with her family and their adorable golden retriever. 

Lynne is currently at work on her next book, a thriller.

About Valerie Constantine

Valerie Constantine was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She has always loved books and spent many nights reading by the light of her bedside lamp until 3 a.m. (Those were the days when she was able to stay up that late.) She graduated from Nancy Drew to Shakespeare and went on to study at the University of Maryland where she received a degree in English Literature. She is an active community volunteer working with Free the Slaves in Washington, D.C. – an organization that fights human trafficking – and also with Caritas Society of St. John’s College Annapolis, which raises funds for student financial aid. In her spare time she reads, kayaks and travels. She spends part of the year in England and lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and Zorba, their brilliant King Charles Cavalier.

Young, smart and beautiful with everything figured out – or so they thought. Born into a prosperous Greek American family, sisters Nicole and Theodora have achieved the perfect balance between the old world rich in Greek tradition and the freedom of life in America. Headstrong and independent, Nicole plunges into life head-first, too often ignoring the risks. Her talent and astute business acumen make her the perfect heir to her father's empire, but his old-world attitudes prevent him from giving the top spot to a woman. Nicole's world spins out of control when she falls for a married senator who shares her heritage and her dreams. While struggling to navigate previously uncharted moral waters, she uncovers treachery and corruption that will break both her sister's and her father's heart. The decisions she makes will affect the happiness of those closest to her and will define the woman she is to become.

The young and conventional Theodora weds and quickly learns that marriage is not the paradise she envisioned. She must soon confront the growing suspicion that her husband is not the man he seems. Forced to endure the constant disdain and disapproval of her patrician mother-in-law, she resigns herself to the fact that she will always be considered an outsider. As she struggles to succeed at her marriage, she seeks the wisdom and council of her beloved Greek grandmother who has been happily married for over half a century. Ultimately she must come to terms with the reality of her own life and take responsibility for the role she has played in deceiving herself.

 As the dramatic plot unfolds, the two young women must confront deceit and betrayal and their own shortcomings – while they struggle to preserve the values they cherish. Set in Baltimore, Annapolis and the tiny island of Ikaria, Greece, Circle Dance provides a view into the lives of a dynamic family that has successfully achieved the American dream without abandoning the customs and traditions handed down through their Greek heritage. Artfully intertwined plots bring generations together in a dance of rejoicing and mourning, loss and healing that will keep readers enthralled until the last page.



            Theodora wouldn’t be wearing that rapturous smile if she knew what her fiancée had done last night, thought the woman in the third row. She almost felt sorry for her. Almost. It could have been her up there—would have been—until she’d discovered that Stewart’s abundance of charm and good looks was in perfect proportion to his lack of character and moral fiber. Not that she really cared all that much for morality. She did, however, care about being made a fool. Stewart was enjoyable, like an expensive meal, as long as you knew what you were buying. She’d made the right choice when she’d left him and married his best friend. Her husband’s devotion was unwavering and she squeezed the hand holding hers gratefully. How sweet of Caroline to invite them and how generous to insist they stay with her and Graham. It had been reminiscent of old times. The second to last step leading to their old hiding place still squeaked. Of course, with everyone else sound asleep, they were the only ones who heard it.

            Nicole’s gaze swept across the church, filled to overflowing and bathed in white roses and baby's breath.  Sun poured through the tall stained glass windows, intensifying the grandeur of the gold candelabra and icons.  She glanced down at the white crowns waiting to be placed on the heads of the bride and groom, and was struck again by the ritual of the Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony.  There was no mistaking the joy on Theodora’s face, and Nicole thought that maybe she had misjudged the situation.  Theodora was always the more levelheaded of the two.  Perhaps she was feeling more left out than she thought.  She was standing up here as her sister’s maid of honor and she would choose to be happy for Theodora and embrace her new brother-in-law. She caught Theo’s eye and they smiled warmly at each other. 

            The priest nodded at Paul, signifying that it was time for the rings, and taking them, made the sign of the cross on the foreheads of Stewart and Theodora.  This was performed three times.  He then handed the rings to Paul, who stood before the couple and placed the gold rings on their fingers.  While the priest chanted a prayer, the rings were interchanged three times.  The crowns were then placed on their heads and also interchanged three times, all in the name of the Holy Trinity.

            Sophia dabbed at her eyes with a corner of the white handkerchief she held in her hand.  She looked away from her granddaughter and remembered her own wedding sixty years ago.  The small village church had been packed with all those who lived on the island.  Her mother spent months working on the handmade dress Sophia had worn.  She was just a child, she thought, with no idea of the magnitude of the vows she was taking.  It seemed as though only a moment in time had elapsed and yet she sat here where her children had been baptized and married.


Lynne Constantine:

Valerie Constantine: 

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: "Tips for Those Who Are Celiacs or Gluten Intolerant" by Lorna Foreman

Lorna Forman, Author

In the following article, Lorna Foreman offers tips for those who are gluten intolerant or celiacs.  Her book WHEAT WATCHERS: A RECIPE BOOK FOR GLUTEN INTOLERANT APPETITES originated when she learned she was, at best, gluten intolerant.  

Lorna has been a journalist for ten years, writing on the arts, and also writing and producing a local community TV show. For more information on her and WHEAT WATCHERS, check out the information following her article. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to enter a giveaway at the end of this post.

            Tips for Those Who are Celiacs or Gluten Intolerant
                                      Lorna Foreman 

Of course it would be much simpler if one chose going gluten free, but there are many who have been informed that they are either Gluten Intolerant or Celiac. Being diagnosed as having Celiac disease doesn’t give one a choice and that can be daunting.
It was back in 1996 that I started noticing symptoms that my doctor thought could be related to Celiac Disease. There was not a lot of information around at the time. I refused to have the biopsy to determine if I were a Celiac but decided to go gluten free and see what happened. The symptoms went away. Years later (I had first started this adventure in 1996) I had a blood test which showed me as being just intolerant. Just - well it still means no gluten as far as I am concerned.
The first tip I can offer? I ruthlessly went through all my cupboards and got rid of all products that contained any trace of wheat. Since 1996 it has become easier as now more products like vitamin supplements are not using wheat but back then I had to get rid of sauces, some vitamins, soups and many more items. Once I got a couple of cardboard boxes filled with the offending products I gave them to my friends. What to do next?
Tip #2 - Off I went to a nutritionist...well two actually. If you can, that is a really important tip as we still need to find other sources of the nutrients we are giving up in not eating wheat and other products containing gluten.
The first one really didn’t do much as she just eliminated the offending products from our Canada Food Guide. I was not told what to replace them with. The second nutritionist was wonderful. I lucked out because she had just finished a holistic nutrition course and was really eager to use me as an experiment in a way. Actually I then took a correspondence course myself in holistic nutrition. I wanted to be able to control my diet as I went along.
Tip #3 - Refuse to feel that you are deprived. It is a matter of attitude. I decided that if this were the way it was, then I would treat it as a great adventure. That is how I put together my cookbook WHEAT WATCHERS. And it certainly was an adventure.

Tip #4 - If you have a family it is a little more difficult (or fun depending on your attitude). At first I used to apologize to the friends I had over for meals..... “sorry, this is gluten free pasta," or whatever else I was serving. Then it struck me that everything I was making was not meant to be exactly what I had been used to, so decided that I would just treat it as giving them something new or at least variations on tried and true meals. It worked. My husband had been the cook in our family (we had no children) and he did have to learn new ways of doing what he loved cooking. In fact he gave up when he discovered he was diabetic and so I ended up learning to cook not only for gluten intolerant me, but a diabetic. What a lesson and that was where the nutrition course helped. Just don’t tell anyone. Just say you are trying something different. Nobody knew the spaghetti was brown rice and gluten free...nobody knew my dishes were mostly made from scratch which is the best way to void hidden gluten and except for bread, it was just all good food.

Tip #5 - This may seem pretty obvious but DON”T CHEAT. Celiacs don’t have the choice but when you cheat once, it is soooo easy to do it again.

            Tip #6 - Enjoy the adventure. Look at the fact that your body is smart and 
eliminating the offending gluten has numerous health benefits.

About Lorna Foreman
Writer and artist, Lorna Foreman, has been a journalist for over ten years, writing on the arts.  As well, she is a regular contributor to Fifty-Five Plus magazine, having written her column, The Rest is Best since 1998.  Lorna wrote, produced and hosted 30 half hour programs entitled Welcome to My Studio for the local community television channel.  She is also a contributor to the online newspaper, Cornwall Free News and is currently working on two children’s books.

WHEAT WATCHERS is primarily for Celiacs and Gluten Intolerant people and it is her first cookbook. She has also written When Life Becomes Real, a compilation of 11 years of her columns. Lorna lives in Cornwall, Ontario with her two cats who are not gluten intolerant but like watching her cook just in case she has something for them. She works with a business partner giving workshops that deal with making changes in your life, something people resist and need to understand how to make into an adventure.
by Lorna Foreman
On the practical side, WHEAT WATCHERS came about when I was told I was possibly a Celiac-or at best-gluten intolerant. That was in 1996 and it was a shock. I did wonder if I would ever enjoy eating again. Besides the problem with wheat, I am mildly lactose intolerant which presented a double whammy. Little did I know what an adventure I was undertaking-and adventure it was-and still is.
In 1996 trying to stay away from gluten, especially in a small city, was a real challenge. But I am always open to new directions and I set off to assemble a new library of cookbooks. I was dismayed at the dearth of cookbooks dealing with gluten free diets so the obvious thing was to write my own. That is how this cookbook was born. 

I spent most of a year translating ordinary recipes into “Lorna Approved” ones. I also invented some of my own. They are a result of much trial and error since it is not always possible to just exchange gluten free flour for wheat flour. Textures had to be taken into consideration as well as what keeps batters together.
My late husband was the cook in our family as I professed to ‘hate cooking.' He helped considerably with some of the dishes, but the baking was strictly my responsibility. After all it is the desserts that give the Gluten Intolerant and Celiacs the most grief.
After vowing to my mother how I would never bake, she must be dancing and laughing “up there” when she sees me having such a good time in the kitchen. I had a lot of fun over that year and still challenge myself to discover or translate a new recipe.

Giveaway First prize, second and third prize: Autographed Copy of WHEAT WATCHERS
CLICK HERE for information about giveaway