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When Romance Strikes a Chord by Joanne Bischof | Keli Gwyn
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Keli Gwyn
When Romance Strikes a Chord by Joanne Bischof
Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne Bischof lives in the mountains of Southern California where she keeps busy making messes with their home-schooled children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life.
Joanne and I met online and had fun learning that we share several connections, as you’ll see in her post. Take it away, Joanne. . .

I’m so delighted for the opportunity to be a guest on Keli’s blog today! She is such a lovely lady and a sweet encourager in the writing world. I find it so fun that we share several things in common. We both live in California, both write historical romance and we both have music in our stories.

I play the mandolin and loved using that instrument through the hero of my upcoming novel, Be Still My Soul. My husband is also a musician. He’s a drummer and wait for it…a cellist. Yep, odd combo, I know! There’s something about watching him play that stirs my heart. It transcends conversation. It fills the gaps in moments when our words just aren’t enough. There is something so expressive—and romantic about music. I think that’s why Keli and I both used this beautiful language in our novels.

I smile when I remember the duet scene towards the end of Keli’s book, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. It was between her hero, Miles and the spunky heroine, Elenora. I can still remember the sensation of being in the concert hall. Hear the mismatched tuning of the stringed instruments, the hushed murmurs of the crowd as the performance drew near. Feel the leather of the violin case between my hands and understand the nervous anticipation between a couple who wanted to show their love, but didn’t know how.

It was one of my favorite moments. The tension, the intrigue, the yearning—all those came through in that piece of music. It’s the binding that can pull two characters together. Though they may fight it and though life may throw them challenges, that pull, that bond remains. It’s heart deep.

This is what I love so much about music and seeing it incorporated into fiction. Music is a vehicle for the heart and can showcase how romance blossoms, deepens. It expresses yearning, anger, hope, and desire. It becomes the words, when we ourselves, have none.

Has there been a time when music became the words when you had none? Is there a specific song that brings you back to a certain time and place?


Joanne’s Debut Novel

Night’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.
Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith. But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate.
Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.
Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?
Gideon only ever cared about himself. Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?

 ☙ ☙ ☙

Win a Copy of Be Still My Soul

To enter the drawing, leave a comment by Sunday, October 28th. Be sure to leave your email address when prompted so I can contact you if you win.

I’ll post the winner’s name here and in a comment.

Congratulations to Pam K., winner of Joanne’s book.

No purchase necessary.
Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to number of entrants.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian addresses only.
Keli Gwyn


  • Melissa Tagg says:

    Totally loved Joanne’s book and the thread of music throughout! And same with Keli’s!

    I talk about Coldplay all the time and how they’re my favorite band…but a huge piece of that is because I first starting listening to them when I studied abroad in England. The first song I really listend to of theirs was Clocks–in a bookstore in York. Then, I remember listening to The Scientist on a bus ride back to London. Yeah, I have a memory for so many of their songs. 🙂 Total nostalgia!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      I hadn’t heard of Coldplay before, Melissa. (I know, I know. I’m just a wee bit out of the loop. But ask me about the Eagles or America, and I’m there. =) Since I’m married to a scientist, I listened to that song. Kinda sad, but I like it.

    • Oh, Melissa I’m hugely jealous that you got to listen to Coldplay while literally in England. I’m a huge fan of theirs 🙂 I’ve been to England and spent just a few days in London, but never to York. I bet it is beautiful!

      So glad to hear that you enjoy music in books. It’s so fun 🙂

  • Erica Vetsch says:

    I have a mix tape (yes, a cassette–I’m old) that my husband made for me when we were first dating. Every song brings back those breathless, eager, edge-of-falling-in-love days of our early courtship.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      You’re not alone, Erica. I remember what cassette tapes are, too. =) Reliving the early falling-in-love days is fun, isn’t it?

    • Aw, that’s so romantic. I remember the days of mixed tapes. What a special memory and keepsake for you two, Erica! Between this and Keli’s comment above, I’m suddenly in the mood for the Eagles 🙂

  • Music is a huge part of my life and my husband’s too. I’m a singer and he plays clarinet. He also sang to me both when he proposed and at our wedding reception, even though he isn’t a singer. Talk about romantic!

  • How fun to learn more about Joanne’s book. I took piano lessons from the age of 5 until I moved away to college. It has been my connection to God at times when words couldn’t fill in the gaps. I’d love the chance to read Joanne’s novel (I’ve heard wonderful things!), so please enter me! 🙂

    • Sarah, I think the piano is one of the most divine instruments. How wonderful to have that in your life! This line just gives me chills: “It has been my connection to God at times when words couldn’t fill in the gaps.” It’s so special.

  • Ganise says:


    Oh, man, I squealed out loud when I saw this! *Smiling*. I’ve been eyeing this lovely author’s book, for a while now. Requested it at my library but I’d be absolutely thrilled to get my own copy! Thank you for the giveaway.

    And the post!

    My, my, my I couldn’t agree with you more, ma’am. How beautiful.

    ‘There’s something about watching him play that stirs my heart. It transcends conversation. It fills the gaps in moments when our words just aren’t enough.’

    Oh be still my hopeless romantic- who just happen to love music too- heart.

    Loved reading this! Thank you Joanne and Keli.


    • Ganise!!!! I always love it when you pop up! I just KNOW that one of these giveaways has your name on it! Thank you so much for requesting it at your library too. I have such a fondness for libraries and the thought of my book being on a shelf there is so exciting!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and its nothing short of delightful whenever I get to chat with another hopeless romantic 😉

  • Ganise says:

    Sorry, forgot to answer the question.

    There are songs that I listen to that just touch my heart every time. Mainly instrumental ones which I love!
    My Name is Lincoln just happens to be one of those.

    Thank you! And should I win, my e-mail adress is g.gclermont AT gmail DOT com.


  • Keli, thank you so much for having me! It has been so much fun releasing our babies so close together this year and watching your journey has been wonderful

  • Beth K .Vogt says:

    Love following this book around the blogosphere.
    I am not a musician — although I’ve sung in choirs through the years. I do love the sound of a full orchestra — or a piano solo.
    And sometimes when I can’t pray, I turn to praise and worship music and let the music “pray” for me.

    • Thank you, Beth! All those sounds are heavenly. I love a piano. There is something so simple and moving about it. A beautiful sound. I find I find that whenever life sort of feels off kilter, spending that time listening to worship brings it all back into focus.

  • Ah yes, Keli and Joanne … where would we be without the muse? I love that you both incorporate music into your work. Music was the basic foundation of my life … from the opera I heard as a baby, to the strains of the stringed instruments my brother collection, to his incredible harmonica collection. Radio and my brother was our only entertainment for years and the memories are like precious gems I hold in a treasure box.

    Thanks so much for this post. Thank you Joanne for the excerpt of your fascinating novel and most of all for the image of a drum beating cello player 🙂

    • I’m chuckling at the image of the drum beating cello player 😉 I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Florence! I can’t even imagine where we would be without music. It’s one of the great joys of life. Great seeing you here on Keli’s blog today. God bless!

  • Pam K. says:

    Though I can’t really even carry a tune and don’t play any instruments, music really speaks to my soul. I love the worship music at church. So often I am moved to tears by the words that express what I am feeling or going through.
    I enjoyed reading Keli’s book and have been reading good things about Joanne’s so am thankful for the chance to win a copy of Be Still My Soul.

  • In our early ministry we had a church filled with piano (me), mandolin, cello, banjo and guitar. We loved Sunday night singings & praising the Lord!

  • Keli Gwyn says:

    I held the drawing for a copy of Joanne Bischof’s debut novel, Be Still My Soul, and the winner is Pam K.

    Congratulations, Pam! I’ll be in touch.