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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Who inspired you to write?

She was old, round, and short. Her gray hair curled around her face, a face with eyes that peered sternly at her students through a pair of black-rimmed glasses. She carried a sharp number 2 pencil with her long before I knew what a number two pencil was. On the blackboard, she produced some of the finest letters of the alphabet I had ever seen. True, at age six I hadn’t seen many, but I knew that my teacher was precise and neat. Miss Terwilliger taught me to read and to write, but she did more than that. She overlooked my sloppy penmanship and read the stories I created. She then read aloud them to the class. In second grade, she was my teacher again, and marched me and my classmates into the third and fourth grade classroom where I read more of my stories. There was Susie Has the Chicken Pops and The Birthday Party.

Because of Miss Terwilliger, I knew I could write. She accepted every stapled stick-person-illustrated-messy-lettered story I gave her. These were not part of any assignment, just my passion coming through. Something about her made me want to share my tales. Perhaps even at a young age, I recognized that with her, my stories were safe.

All these years later when I’m asked which great author encouraged me the most in my writing, I’m not certain. But when I let my mind detour from authors and meet me in a little Victorian-style school in Kyoto, Japan, I find my answer. Miss Terwilliger taught me that I am and have always been an author.

Contributed by Alice J. Wisler
This article was first posted at The Most Important Thing.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Just a quick post: Under the Silk Hibiscus

And it's November! This is the month that Under the Silk Hibiscus releases!

I look forward to sharing my story with you. I can't wait for you to meet Nathan Mori, Lucy, and Aunt Kazuko. Nathan takes us through his life as the middle son of a Japanese-American family from San Jose, California. He and his family are sent away to an internment camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. As you read Under the Silk Hibiscus, I hope you'll have a clearer understanding of what it meant for the 110,000 Japanese-Americans who had to evacuate their homes on the west coast and live in internment camps throughout America. I hope your knowledge of this stressful time in our country's history will increase, as well as your sympathy. But most of all, I want you to enjoy the read!

I don't want to create any spoilers. I don't want to disclose too much for those who have not read the book. But it's not too early to tell you what you will learn pretty early on----Nathan is in love with Lucy, the young girl who sings in the camp.

". . . Your book is a love story much more than it is a romance. Thank you. I really enjoyed the book." ~ Lelia Rose Foreman

Will Nathan make it out of camp? Will Lucy notice him? Will Nathan be reunited with his father, thought to be a spy?

Soon, soon, you can find out for yourself!

Get your copy at Amazon.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cooking with Author Tina Ann Forkner!

Who is Tina? For those of you who have not read any of her novels, you are in for a treat! I'm happy to have her as my guest today at my blog.

Tina Ann Forkner is the author of three novels including Ruby Among Us and Rose House (Random House), as well as her latest release, Waking Up Joy (Oct./Tule). Tina was raised in rural Northeastern Oklahoma where her most recent novel is set, but she makes her home in Cheyenne, Wyoming with her husband and their three teenagers. Tina has spent time serving on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board and is currently a substitute teacher for the Laramie County School District. Learn more:

And here is one of Tina's favorite recipes.

Tina’s Easy Strawberry-Lemon JELL-O Cake

Joy Talley, in Waking Up Joy, is famous for her strawberry-lemon cake and people in the book want to get the secret recipe. As the author, I like to make the easy version that my Mom made when I was a little girl. You won’t believe how simple it is. Joy’s friends could have just made this one and it would have tasted almost as dreamy.


One Prepared 13x9x2 inch Lemon Cake (From a mix, of course or it wouldn’t be easy.)
One Unprepared 3 oz. Pkg Strawberry JELL-O
1 Cup boiling water
½ Cup cold water
2 Prepared Pkg Dream Whip topping. (It has to be Dream Whip. Be careful not to let the berries “bleed” onto the dream whip. That’s why you prepare both packages. The thicker the cloud the better.)
2 pkg sliced fresh strawberries
1 thinly sliced lemon

Let prepared lemon cake cool
Dissolve JELL-O mix in the boiling water. Mix in the cold water. Set aside.
Use the end of a fork to poke holes evenly (or randomly) in the cake.
Ladle the JELL-O liquid over the cake evenly ensuring all holes have been filled.
Place cake in fridge for one hour. (Or hurry it up by putting it in the freezer.)
Lay 1 pkg of the sliced berries on top of the cake.
Prepare Dream Whip. Spread it on the cake until it looks like a fluffy cloud.
Add the rest of the strawberries to the top of the cake.
Refrigerate for another 2 to 3 hours. (Or hurry it up by… you guessed it…the freezer.)
When you slice it, the pretty yellow cake should have pink stripes. Serve it on a pretty paper plate and garnish with one of the thin lemon slices.

A bit about Waking Up Joy

Behind every dream lost lies a second chance. When Joy Talley wakes up from a coma, her quirky brothers and sisters think she is off her rocker, but she has never felt better. Now Joy must face her darkest secret and risk reopening old wounds. Taking risks brings change, and suddenly Joy’s once humdrum, rural life in Oklahoma is anything but routine. Filled with magical charm and a small-town love story that transcends time, Waking Up Joy tackles dark secrets and complex relationships with wit, humor, and insight.

"One title that should appeal to those crossover women's fiction readers is Waking Up Joy (Tule, Oct.), by Tina Ann Forkner. When the adored town spinster ends up in a coma and is shocked by the conversations she overhears about herself while down for the count, she is determined to fix things. Joy must face the past--and her failed romances--in order to embrace a brighter future." - Library Journal

You can find Waking Up Joy here:


Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Historical Romance, Under the Silk Hibiscus

And in less than four weeks, my sixth novel, Under the Silk Hibiscus, will arrive!

This novel takes place in an internment camp in Wyoming where many Japanese-Americans were sent after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. There's upheaval, frustration, pain, and sorrow. Families are separated. Some members are accused of being spies, like Nathan Mori's father.

To balance the discrimination that evolved during this time period, I had to rely on humor and romance.

One of the most fun relationships I enjoyed crafting was between the main character, Nathan, and his aunt Kazuko. Even though she's single and has no children of her own, Aunt Kazuko knows how to keep Nathan and his brothers in line. She knows truth----particularly that a body can't live on hard work alone. She loves cookies and keeps morsels in her sweater sleeves, taking them out when she needs a "pep".

And of course, there's young romance. Nathan dreams of the lovely singer, Lucy, and wants her to notice him, but she seems more interested in his older brother, Ken.

There are two characters which are not people---one is Heart Mountain, the mountain viewed every day from those in the barracks at the camp. Then there is the Mori family's coveted gold watch, a family heirloom from Japan.

So the questions form: Will Nathan get the girl? What happens to the family heirloom during the war and after the war ends? Does Nathan's father return? How does war and discrimination change hearts? How does God's love prevail?

Here's the book blurb:

During World War Two Nathan and his family are sent to Heart Mountain, an internment camp in Wyoming for Japanese-Americans. Nathan's one desire is to protect the family's gold pocket watch, a family heirloom brought over from Japan. He fails; the watch is stolen. Struggling to make sense of his life in a bleak camp as the only responsible man of the household, Nathan discovers truths about his family, God, and the girl he loves.

Read more at Amazon.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Guest blogger, Author Sandy Ardoin

Today my guest is Sandy Ardoin, a fellow Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas author.

Let's take a peek into her new book.

It's Christmastime in 1890s Meadowmead, and someone is venturing out at night to leave packages at the homes of the needy. Dubbed The Yuletide Angel, no one knows the identity of this mysterious benefactor.

No one, except Hugh Barnes, a confirmed bachelor who finds himself drawn to the outwardly shy but inwardly bold Violet Madison, a young woman who risks her safety to help others.

When Violet confesses her fear of eviction from her childhood home, Hugh longs to rescue her. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Hugh's estranged brother shows up in town ... and in Violet's company.

But Violet faces an even bigger threat. A phantom figure lurks in the shadows, prepared to clip the wings of The Yuletide Angel.

Passionate about horses and a fan of old westerns, it’s only natural that Sandra Ardoin sets her stories in the days of the horse and buggy. Her Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel, is no exception.

Her short stories have been published in both adult and juvenile denominational publications, and her story “Get A Clue” is part of the Family Ties: Thirteen Short Stories collection.

Sandy is the married mother of a young adult.

Visit her at her website ( and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. To receive updates, fun facts, and special offers, sign up for her newsletter.

You can get a copy of The Yultide Angel, published by Heritage Beacon, a division of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, by clicking here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Under The Silk Hibiscus, my newest novel

Unfortunately, our country has a history of discrimination. During World War Two, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Japanese-Americans were targeted. Out of fear, the United States government had those on the west coast sent to internment camps. Even though many of them were American citizens, they had to evacuate their homes, sell their belongings, and leave their businesses and friends.

Under the Silk Hibiscus, my sixth novel, is a story of such a time as this. The main character, Nathan, tells his saga through his fifteen-year-old eyes when he and his family were sent to Heart Mountain, Wyoming. As he grows older, we continue to hear, not only about life in the camp where his family lived until the war ended, but about life after the war when they returned to their hometown of San Jose, California and tried to rebuild their lives.

Early the next morning before faint sunlight crept through our billet’s slats, Aunt Kazuo screamed. “The baby is coming! The baby! Somebody help us!”

Ken wasn’t in our barracks. His cot was empty, untouched; in fact, both the pillow and wool army blankets were still in place as though he hadn’t slept there at all.

As usual, it was going to be up to me. I scrambled out of my own cot. One of my blankets fell onto the floor. From the back of a wicker chair, I pulled off a checkered shirt and then grabbed a pair of trousers that were in a heap at the foot of my bed. Once dressed, I worked my feet into my shoes and looked for my jacket. I didn’t wait for Aunt Kazuo to tell me not to dilly-dally. Sprinting toward the clinic, the frosty autumn air didn’t bother me.

By the time I reached the clinic, my face was damp from sweat. The main door was locked. I banged on it; I had to get a doctor.

Mekley, one of the uniformed soldiers assigned to the camp, appeared from the clinic’s vicinity. “What in tarnation are you doing?” he cried.

“I need a doctor.”

“Well, I need a million dollars.” He spoke with a drawl. Everybody told me it was southern. I didn’t know for sure. I’d never heard a southern accent before. I just knew that he was ornery. That characteristic had nothing to do with accents.

“I need a good woman too.” He winked, but it wasn’t a wink like Ken’s; it made me feel dirty to have witnessed it. “Know where I can find one?” he asked.

Thirst cloaked my throat and I tried to swallow to ease the dryness. Mama needed help and it was up to me. “Where’s the doctor? Where’s Doctor . . . ?” My mind suddenly became like a boarded-up window. What was the doctor’s name from San Jose? “Yamagata.”

“Ya-ma-ga-ta?” He said, drawing the surname out like it was a piece of taffy, the kind you got at the fair. “What happened that you need a doctor?”

“My mother’s having a baby.”

He grinned. “A baby, huh? Another one?”

I wasn’t sure what he meant by that. I knocked on the door again and then heard a strong and familiar voice from behind. “Are you looking for me?”

Turning around, I tasted relief. Dr. Yamagata stood before me, a Dunlap hat on his head.

“You have to come. My mother is in labor.”

“Can’t she come to the hospital like all the other mamas?” asked Mekley.

Under the Silk Hibiscus will make her debut on Veteran's Day, November 11---an appropriate date.

Under the Silk Hibiscus can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Because we remember always

One of the reasons we are Carved By Heart is because we treasure memories. Memories----happy, silly, fun, tender and sometimes tearful---live in our hearts. We have lost a great love, but we have not lost love. Our loved for those no longer here on earth with us is forever present. I know that my memories of my son Daniel are always ready for me to recall and sometimes, even after nearly 18 years, I can still feel his four-year-old fingers in my hand.

Candles are a great symbol of remembrance. Candles offer a wonderful glow, a light to let us know that our loved one's light lives on.

Taking an unscented white pillar candle, we have embellished it with strips of white and purple ribbon. To personalize, we've added a label with a loved one's name. We've carved the name into a wooden stand with a carved dark brown border. There's an indentation for the candle. And then, we've included a silver photo frame. As a final touch, we've added a wooden heart, painted it in silver and glitter. Under the name, we've added a tiny silver charm.

Our remembrance candles burn bright in memory of our loved ones.

See more photos of our candles here at this link. We are happy to personalize a candle and stand/holder for you.