Thursday, December 31, 2009

Carrying Memories Into the New Year

With the church bell’s ringing
the New Year enters
echoing the days of yesteryear.

Memories of happiness
the smiles of our children,
the sunlight within each face.

Who will remember these dear ones
far from our yearning arms?
Who remembers all they were,
the way she danced, the hat he wore?
With the old year gone
will they no longer be known?

We will remember them, each one.
We will hold them in our hearts
as we carry memories into this New Year.

We will allow the memories
to make us laugh, to make us sing.
Their lives will fill the air
as the church bells ring.

~ Alice J. Wisler

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Entering the new year with old memories

Christmas has ended, and the living room still has that unwrapped look. With the festivities now part of future memories, I anticipate the next hurdle----the new year. The TV commercials romanticize champagne toasts illuminated by glowing candles. People start to make resolutions, hopeful that this brand-new unblemished year will be the one that fuels their successes.

For the parent who has lost a child to death, a new year can be daunting. The first New Years' after my son Daniel's death was scary. I wanted to hold onto 1997. Although it was the year he'd lost his battle with cancer and died, it was also the year he'd lived. 1998 would mark the first calendar year without him.

For some reason, the image of an old-fashioned wooden bucket came to me. With this item I heard the word carry. That's it, my newly-bereaved mind said. The key with a new year is to carry the old into it.

So here we are, on the brink of another year, a new decade, with fresh hopes and dreams. A clean slate. There are many things about 2009 I wish to forgive and forget, but I don't want to ever forget my son.

Each year marks a year further from when I last held him, heard his voice, and saw his smile. I yearn to hug him, tell him how much he's grown, and ask him what he'd like for dinner. My heart feels that distinct hollowness and sorrow that belongs to a mother without her child.

But the bucket I have isn't hollow. It is brimming with memories and fondness, warmed with love and laughter; I hold it tightly.

Just as I carried Daniel's four-year-old memories into 1998, now---thirteen years later---I will continue to carry them. And I will do more than just hold them, I'll let them trickle out, forming their own glow, as I share this special boy with my world. "Wasn't it funny when Daniel called adults redults? Do you remember how he gave stickers away in the hospital, and once when bored made a collage out of baby lotion and glitter?"

Daniel lived, he loved, and I believe he continues to live in Heaven.

So, get yourself a sturdy bucket and carry. Boldly carry the memories into the new year. Along the way, give yourself permission to forgive. Let the memories you recall be the brightest ones.

Listen. There is nothing to fear. Listen. Your child's voice can be heard in your heart.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Eleven Tips to Deal with the Holiday Tinsel

That holiday-pang hit my stomach the first October after Daniel died. Greeting me at an arts and craft shop were gold and silver stockings, a Christmas tree draped with turquoise balls and a wreath of pinecones and red berries. What was this? And was “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” playing as well? It was only October.

I had anticipated that Christmas and the holidays would be tough. In fact, I’d wake on those cold mornings after Daniel died in February and be grateful that it was still months until his August birthday and even more months until Christmas. I dreaded living both without him. I would have preferred to have been steeped in cow manure. At least then I could take a hot bath with sweet smelling bubbles and be rid of the stench. But bereavement isn’t that way. As those who had gone on before let me know, you have to live through it.

Christmas came. I did live through it. It continues to happen as do the other significant days of the calendar year. Daniel never arrives at any of them although his memory lives on. By incorporating him into these days of festivity, I can cope.

Some of you have your child’s birthday and/or anniversary day within the November through January season. These days, in addition to the holidays everyone else is celebrating, make the season even more complicated and painful, I’m sure.

I offer eleven tips I’ve used to survive the holidays. Some are my own suggestions and some are borrowed from the many who walk the path of grief.

1. Know you will survive. Others have done it and you will, too. Keep in mind that your first Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day will not be easy.

2. Find at least one person you can talk to or meet with during the holiday season. Perhaps this person has gone through a few Thanksgivings and Christmases before and can give you some helpful ideas that have worked for her.

3. Things will be different this holiday season and perhaps for all the rest to come. Don’t think you have to do the “traditional” activities of years past when your child was alive. Your energy level is low. If no one in your household minds, skip putting up the tree. Forget spending hours making your holiday cookies.

4. Spend the holidays with those who will let you talk about your child. You will need to have the freedom to say your child’s name and recall memories, if you choose to do so. Your stories about your child are wonderful legacies. Tell them boldly again and again.

5. If going into the mall or stores brings too much pain, shop for gifts online or through mail-order catalogs. Thinking everyone is happily shopping at the malls with intact lives while your heart is crushed is terribly tough. Go easy on yourself.

6. Getting away from the house is an idea that worked for my family. The first Christmas without Daniel we went to a nearby town and lived in the Embassy Suites. The kids enjoyed the indoor pool and breakfast buffets. Christmases that followed were spent at a rented cottage on the shore and the Christmas we rented the beach house, we were able to invite extended family to join us. We all shared in the cooking.

7. Create something to give to those who have helped you throughout the year. I made some very simple tree ornaments with “In Memory of Daniel” stamped on them and gave them to friends that first Christmas.

8. Decorate the grave. Put up a plastic Christmas tree with lights. Sometimes being busy with decorating the grave gives a feeling of doing something for a child we can no longer hold.

9. Do something in memory of your child. Donate to a charity or fund in his memory. Volunteer. My oldest daughter Rachel and I volunteer at the Hospice Tree of Remembrance each December and share memories of Daniel as we spend this time together.

10. If your bereavement support group has a special candle-lighting service to remember the children in your area who have died, attend it. Doing something in memory of your child with others who understand the pain these holidays hold can be therapeutic.

11. Spend time reflecting on what the season is about. Everyone around you may be frantic with attending parties, services, shopping and visiting relatives. Perhaps you used to be the same way. Now you may want to avoid some of the festivities. Give yourself permission to excuse yourself from them. Light a candle in your favorite scent. Record some thoughts in a journal. This is great therapy, too.

One day you will wake up and it will be January 2. The holidays will have ended. You will have made it. If you are like me, you will find that surviving the tinsel has made you stronger and although you may cry, somewhere within you, you will feel that core of new steel.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reviews of Rain Song & How Sweet It Is

Rain song / Alice J. Wisler. LCCN 2008028123. Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany
House, 2008.
PAP 0764204777, 9780764204777, $13.99
Fic 295 p. ; 22 cm.
Adult Rating: 4
Rain Song, the debut novel of Alice J. Wisler, offers a charming plot that is partially a mystery with overtones of a romance. The story centers on Nicole, who lives a solitary life which is focused around her interactions with her quirky southern relatives and caring for her aquarium of fish. Her life is filled with teaching middle school English and periodically writing an on-line column for Pretty Fishy. It is through her column that she becomes acquainted with Harrison who lives in Japan and owns a koi pond. Nicole has strong ties with Japan, having been born there to missionary parents; however, her mother tragically died there when Nicole was but a toddler. Nicole vows she will not return to the land of her birth, no matter that her correspondence with Harrison reveals he knew her as a child. Nicole begins to waver as the mystery of her mother’s death begins to unravel, and she tries to overcome her apprehensions of flying and returning to her birthplace.

Wisler’s style is captivating. The story unfolds as a soliloquy of sorts, as Nicole goes through life. Set in North Carolina, readers enjoy the cast of distinctive relatives, ranging from the matriarch Ducee to the wild child Monet. Each character adds to the story in such a way that the eccentricities add and not distract. Amid life’s emergencies such as an ailing grandmother and a cousin’s failing marriage there is quibbling over serving cucumber sandwiches at the family reunion luncheon and the need to make and provide pineapple chutney for all occasions. The heartbeat of the story is pineapple chutney, and the old family recipe is provided. Tender spiritual truths are present, mainly those dwelling on the strength of faith, even if it is just a seed. Gently-paced, this story was surprisingly a page-turner.
Pam Webb
From Christian Library Journal, August 2009

How sweet it is / Alice J. Wisler. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2009. LCCN 2009004739
PAP: 0764204785, 9780764204784, $13.99
Fic 309 p. ; 22 cm.
Adult Rating: 4
Alice Wisler provides another likable heroine in her second novel, How Sweet It Is. Deena Livingston had been planning her wedding until her car accident. The accident left her with serious scars, both emotional and physical. In order to start over she leaves her comfortable job as a pastry chef at an upscale restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, and moves into her grandfather’s North Carolina mountain cabin. The cabin and all its belongings will become hers, after she fulfills the will’s stipulation that she teach cooking at an after-school center. Upon arrival Deena is embraced by her flamboyant Aunt Regena Lorraine, who helps Deena move into her beloved father’s cabin. As Deena adjusts to her new life she realizes she is not the only one who carries scars. With the help of an Eagles-lyric spouting plumber, surly middle-schoolers, and the charming social worker, Deena decides life can once again become sweet.

Wisler’s first novel Rain Song showcased her ability for providing readers with an absorbing plot laced with a cast of memorable characters. Her second offering builds upon this talent, making the reader eager for her next novel. Her plot devices and character interactions breathe life into the Christian fiction genre. The only real holdback is the cover, which is embarrassingly saccharin in design. The content is definitely solid, and Wisler is a welcome addition in those writers who offer spiritual truths wrapped up in believable, contemporary settings.
Pam Webb
From Christian Library Journal, October-December 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Alice's Wonderland

Take a moment to check out my new column about writing from home, Alice's Wonderland: Writing from Home at Jill Hart's Christian Work at Home Moms website. At the end of my post, I ask readers to send me their reasons for not diving into their writing dreams. Take a moment to send me yours. But read the article first!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rain Song: Interview & Chance to Win

Another opportunity to win an autographed copy of Rain Song! Simply read the author interview at this blog, and toss in your comments. It is that easy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Novel Giveaway

Want a copy of Rain Song or How Sweet It Is? Then, follow these simple rules for the Win by Joining Contest for a novel giveaway!

Contest Rules:
1. The contest runs from November 13 till November 30.
2. During that time, if you haven't already, join the Alice J. Wisler Fan Club on Facebook. (Scroll down to click on the FB badge to the left of this page.)
3. Once you've joined, submit your name for the drawing by
answering the following question: How do you get away from it all?
What do you do to relax, have fun, or take a break from your daily routine? Submit your entry by posting below here (include an email address)or on Facebook at the Alice J. Wisler Fan Club page.
4. In December, those who have entered the contest, will have
their name placed in a drawing and one will be selected to win!
5. The prize is either an autographed copy of Rain Song or an autographed copy of How Sweet It Is.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

TalkRadioBlog Tonight!

Join me, and host Sarah, at 9:40 PM tonight, November 10th, for Sisters on Assignment where we'll be discussing my second novel, How Sweet It Is.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thanks to all who entered!

The Name Contest to name characters for my fourth novel has ended, and I was grateful to all 38 who entered! The winners are:
Sarah P. for the handsome American from Winston Salem, Carson
Shelly E. for the half Vietnamese, half American girl (Amerasian), Lien
and Carly K. for the aunt in Winston Salem who raises butterflies, Dovie

Thanks, to all who played this contest for my fourth novel. You will be acknowledged in the back of the book when the book comes out in 2011. Also, copies of Rain Song and How Sweet It Is (your choice) will be sent to you soon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Cup of Coffee

October, for me, will always be radiation month. My son Daniel was diagnosed with cancer in May, and by the fall, he was scheduled for radiation treatments every morning. For two weeks, after putting my six-year-old daughter on the school bus, my sons and I would make the trek to UNC-Hospital. After unbuckling both four-year-old Daniel and eleven-month-old Benjamin from their car seats, I would put Benjamin in a stroller. The three of us would enter the clinic. As we sat in the lobby, waiting for Daniel's turn for the tumor on his neck to be radiated, coffee in a Styrofoam cup, would be handed to me. I'd thank the hospital worker, an elderly man, and sip the hot beverage.

Soon Daniel would be called and taken into the small room for his treatment. Ben, usually content with a toy, and I'd wait in the lobby where I'd pray for all to go well. I also spent time thinking about buying winter clothes for Daniel; he'd outgrown all of his pants, and his next chemo treatments. I sometimes gave a little thought to my pregnancy; I was due in May.

While my thoughts during those chilly mornings changed, the coffee never did. Faithfully, each morning, the worker presented me with a cup. His name was Lawrence, although his name tag said Larry.

Daniel did get winter clothes, and a baby sister. But he never saw his sister as he died three months before her birth.

Now on October mornings, I think of that time at the clinic. Thirteen years later, I still remember the cups of coffee. I look back on that woman of thirty-five, pregnant, with a first grader, a toddler, and a cancer patient. I wonder how she coped. I do know that the kindness of a man who was once a stranger, continues to warm her spirit. He must have seen her coming that first day, fumbling with the front door, hair still damp from her hurried shower, and knew he had to help her in any way he could.

You never know how meaningful your acts of concern---even the simple ones---can be to someone. At the time you perform them, and, many years later.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Name Contest

Wouldn't you like to participate in a name those characters contest?
Here's your chance.

What I need for my fourth novel, set in North Carolina, are the following names:

1. Name for a 15-year-old girl who is half Vietnamese and half American
2. Name for a handsome 28-year-old American man from NC
3. Name for a 65-year-old aunt who raises butterflies in Winston Salem, NC

What to do? Simply send your suggestions to by October 30th.

If your suggested name is chosen for the book, (right now the novel is tentatively titled A Wedding Invitation), you can choose your prize. Winners will receive
either a copy of:
Rain Song
or a copy of:
How Sweet It Is.

Winners will be notified by November 5.
Happy creating!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rain Song in Canada

What fun it was to be on CHRI Radio in Canada yesterday!
Hear the whole broadcast by clicking on this link.

Thanks to Salem Storehouse in Ottawa for offering Rain Song at a discount this week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Down the Cereal Aisle

Down the Cereal Aisle is not your ordinary cookbook. This book is a tribute to children who have died much too soon. Their loved ones have sent in recipes and memories so that all of us can now enjoy the treats these precious kids once enjoyed. Learn to make Amy's fruit cobbler and Ethan's frog-eyed salad.

The book also holds poetry as well as tips on parental bereavement. Get a copy today! Special offer from October 14 to October 31 is this:
Pay only for shipping/handling. (Down the Cereal Aisle retails for $12.95)
Send $4.00 checks to the address below:
Daniel's House Publications
201 Monticello Avenue
Durham, NC 27707

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blog Tour: A Taste of Fame serves up fun, romance, and delectable food!

With a whimsical flair, co-authors Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson have written A Taste of Fame, a story that takes the reader into reality TV and cooking. What could be more fun than that? The six Potluck Catering Club women of Colorado are on their way to New York City to be contestants in The Great Party Showdown. Their adventures and challenges in the big city, as well as their ties to friendship, make for an easy, comical, and tasty read.

With recipes at the back of the novel, readers can cook up sweet potato fries or easy banana cream pie and eat while enjoying the flawed and feisty characters. My favorite one is Lisa Leanne, the president of the catering club, a woman struggling in her marriage and yet, determined to make it work.

The Potluck Club Cookbook

The Potluck Club Cookbook, also by Shepherd and Everson, accompanies A Taste of Fame in a rich way. The cookbook holds some wonderful treats, including one of the best desserts ever created--Grandmother's Coconut Chess Pie. In addition, there are plenty of recipes for appetizers, main dishes, soups, and salads. The stories that are inserted in the pages make this book a legacy of past family cooks.

A Taste of Fame, as well as The Potluck Club Cookbook, are available September 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How Sweet It Is Novel Dessert Decorating Party

The Dessert Decorating Party held at my home on Saturday, the 12th of September, was so much fun. We filled chocolate tarts and mini-fillo shells with whipped cream, walnuts, berry crisp, brownies, custard, chocolate, peaches, kiwi slices, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate pudding, and icing. And then . . . we ate!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Woman to Woman

It is always a treat to find yourself online where you least expect it. Thank you to Woman to Woman website for listing my novel, How Sweet It Is, as your October 2009 pick. Discussion questions are even included from the back of the novel. I'm impressed!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blog Tour for Fools Rush In

In this delightful tale, Fools Rush In, author Janice Thompson has combined the state of Texas with the country of Italy--two cultures that manage to provide humorous entertainment for those eager for a light and fun read.

Taking on the responsibility of the family's wedding-planning business, twenty-nine-year-old Bella Rossi, is determined to make her Italian-residing-in-Texas family proud of her. She jumps at the idea of holding themed weddings, the first one starring cowboy boots. Along comes D. J. to provide the music, and more fun than she ever imagined, as he captures her heart with his charm and good looks.

Yet, D. J. and his Southern family are clearly different from Bella, causing her uncertainty. In steps Aunt Rosa to let Bella know that different isn't bad and following one's heart is important.

Skillfully written, with a playful narrative and a host of quirky family members, Fools Rush In is a romantic comedy that makes reading an adventure. I particularly liked Twila's beauty secrets (I'll never look at a bottle of Pepto-Bismol without being able to wonder how it would feel against my skin).

Fools Rush In
is the first in a three-book Weddings By Bella series.

September Reminds Us

When September rolls around, I look like any other haggled parent standing in the checkout with three kids. The shopping cart is filled with packs of pencils, note paper, crayons, markers, and tissues.

"Why do we need to buy tissues for school?" my kindergartener asked last year.

I pictured a whole class of five-year-olds with runny noses and was tempted to reply, "So kids won't use their sleeves." But I chose the logical, "For when your nose is runny."

My neighbor claimed it would be a busy year when she found out I'd have one in kindergarten, one in first grade and one in middle school. But not busy enough, I thought, and again resisted the urge to let her know that I was wondering what my fifth-grader would be needing for school this year.

My fifth-grader, Daniel, never passed fourth grade. Or third, or even first. He didn't get a school supply list. Instead he got a kit from the hospital with syringes and bandages, all highly sterile.

On Memorial Day Weekend, 1996, Daniel was three and diagnosed with neuroblastoma. After eight months of treatments, surgeries, prayers and hope, this bald-headed kid, who acknowledged he was a “Brave Cookie,” was ready to be a cancer survivor. But a staph infection entered his weakened body and we had to kiss him good-bye.

September—now meaning for me, not only back to school, but Childhood Cancer Awareness Month— has rolled around again and as I stand in line with my kids, I know why the supply lists include tissues.

Just the other day while joining other parents and children in the “shopping for school supplies frenzy,” a woman noticed the gold ribbon pinned to my T-shirt. “What’s gold for?” she asked. “I know that pink is for breast cancer.”

“Children,” I said.

Her puzzled look caused me to further explain. “Gold because our children are golden to us.”

I half expected her to show shock or horror, being one of the thousands who refuses to believe that cancer is the number one illness among children. Another person who has no idea that each year one in every 330 kids will be diagnosed with cancer before age 19.

I was ready for her to walk away from me down the aisle. Why should today be any different? Instead, she mouthed the words, “Did a child of yours . . . ?”

“Yes,” I said, avoiding her look as I grabbed a Curious George notebook. “A son who would be ten now. He died.” He loved Curious George; we'd read it ofen in the hospital.

When I did manage to catch her gaze, her eyes showed tears. They were blue, like my son's.

Then this woman—a stranger—touched my arm. “I am so sorry.” She smiled at my other three children. “They are beautiful. I’m sure your son was, too.”

I nodded, wiped my nose, and thanked her.

If you happen to see a mother wearing a gold ribbon on her shirt—the symbol of childhood cancer awareness—don't be afraid. Ask about the ribbon. The opportunity to talk will help with her healing, and might even give you new wisdom. Most likely, the mother will cry. Feel free to hand her a tissue. Although she has done it before, she probably shouldn't be using her sleeve.

(Borrowed from a piece written by Alice J. Wisler in 2002 and dedicated to all mothers who have to kiss their bald-headed kids "good-bye.")

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jill & Diana's new book!

Home-based businesses are estimated to be a $427 billion-a-year industry. In recent studies it was found that as many as 105 million people in North America alone were working at home. Considering this information, it is obvious that home-based businesses can be successful and authors Jill Hart and Diana Ennen will help you succeed with your own.

So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom details all the basics of starting a business in a spiritual, motivational, and comprehensive manner. From deciding what type of business to start to keeping your family and faith first, this helpful tool details every aspect of establishing a business. With proven success tips utilized by the authors and others who own work-at-home businesses, this inspiration approach will provide you with the resources you need to start your own home-based business.

So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom includes:
* Detailed information on types of businesses to start
* Ideas and assistance for setting up, operating, and marketing your business
* Definitions and descriptions of work-at-home terminology and processes
* Help for developing your Website
* Explanations of the business nuts and bolts, including bookkeeping, taxes, and more

About the Authors
JILL HART is the founder of Christian Work at Home Moms, Jill is a co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. Jill has published many articles and is a contributing author in Laundry Tales, The Business Mom Guide Book, I'll Be Home for Christmas, and Faith Deployed. She holds a bachelor's degree in human development and family studies. Learn more about working from home at .

DIANA ENNEN has been a leader and mentor in the work-at-home industry since starting her business, Virtual Word Publishing, in 1985. She is the author of many books, including Virtual Assistant the Series; Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and Words from Home: Start, Run, and Profit from a Home-Based Word Processing Business. She resides in Margate, Florida, with her husband and their three children.


Below is an interview with the authors of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom – Jill & Diana.

have questions they are happy to answer your questions anytime. Leave a comment below or email or

How long have you been working at home?

Jill Hart - I've been working at home since 2000. I had to go back to work full-time for a brief period in 2003 when my husband got out of the Air Force. At that point I got even more serious about making my business work and I've been home full-time since then.

Diana Ennen – I’ve been working at home since 1985, when my son was born. He’s now graduated college and already working towards his own career. I absolutely love it. I can’t imagine doing anything else.


What types of businesses do you operate?

Jill Hart – I run Christian Work at Home Moms,, a website full of free resources, job listings and information about home businesses. I also write articles and books (yes, more books to come!) and am a blogger for sites like Time/Warner's Christian and a member of the Guideposts blogger team

Diana Ennen– I’m the President of Virtual Word Publishing. I’m a virtual assistant and specialize in marketing & publicity. I’ve also written numerous books on how to start a VA business and offer PR and VA Coaching.


Tell us about your book? How do you think it can benefit those who want to start a business?

Jill Hart - The book has been such a "God thing." He orchestrated the entire sequence of events - from putting Diana and I together as co-authors to bringing us to the right publisher. The book is a hands-on practical guide for anyone who wants to build a business from home. We cover topics ranging from how to select the right type of business for you, to how to get started, to how to market and grow your business.

Diana Ennen - I think one of the best features of our book is that it’s not only informative, but motivational as well. You’ll feel like friends are helping you on your journey to success. Also, we discuss numerous types of businesses to start and provide proven methods to achieve success. We also often hear how starting a business can be so overwhelming. That’s why we pay special attention to all the how tos. We feel very confident our book will help, not only those starting a business, but those already in business wanting to expand it.


What types of businesses are featured in your book?

Jill Hart - We have such a great range of contributors - everything from direct sales companies like Southern Living at Home and Avon to unique product-driven businesses like BSM Media and GrillCharms. These woman are amazing and give readers a great insight into how they've grown their businesses in very different ways.

Diana Ennen - We cover everything from direct sales companies to specialized areas such as medical transcription and virtual assisting. Also, Jill shares detailed information on starting a community based membership site. We think you’ll get a lot of helpful tips too from such work-at-home powerhouses as Maria Bailey and Lesley Spencer Pyle.


Do you have any tips for success for Christian entrepreneurs that you’d like to share?

Jill Hart - I think my favorite tip - shared with me by one of our contributors, Tammy Degenhart, almost ten years ago is that working together benefits everyone. She told me, "Jill, what you give to others God brings back tenfold" and I've seen that hold true time and time again. It may not be in financial gains and it may not look like what we expected but God is so faithful in that when we work together there is no competition - it's a win-win situation.

Diana Ennen - Do what you believe in and use your own skills and prior experience to find the business that’s just right for you. Research/Research/Research. The more you research, the better your business. Continue to market and be out there. So many once they find a few clients stop marketing. You need to get out there continually. You then become the go to person when someone needs services or products that you offer.


What are some of the challenges that you see with those starting or operating a business?

Jill Hart – In my experience, I've talked with many women who get frustrated because success doesn't come easily or quickly. Working from home may sound easy, but in reality it can actually be just as hard as working outside the home. There are many unique challenges, especially when working at home while raising children. If women don't prepare themselves, they can become discouraged and disheartened.

Diana Ennen– One of the major challenges I see is losing belief in yourself that you can do it. That’s why I think a faith-based book will be so beneficial. Even when times get tough, you can rely on your faith to forge ahead.


With the economy, do you believe it’s still a good time to start a business? Why?

Jill Hart – I think it's a better time than ever. The internet is so much more widely used than it was even nine years ago when I began my website. If people do their research and find a company that fits them as well as their budget this can be a great time to break into the work-at-home field.

Diana Ennen – Absolutely. In fact, I think there’s never been a better time. You might have to work a little harder, but it absolutely can be done. Plus, there are so many businesses who need us more than ever because of the economy. For example, with virtual assistants because businesses are downsizing they are seeking the help of a VA to help on an as needed basis.


Your book is written from a Christian perspective? Tell us a little about that and how you feel that makes it so unique?

Jill Hart – My faith is central to who I am and therefore central to my business. I began Christian Work at Home Moms because I wanted women to have a safe place where they could discuss not only business things, but also talk about an area that doesn't get talked about a lot in business circles - how our faith affects our businesses. The book is written in a way that doesn't hit anyone over the head with our faith, but it's true to who we are and talks about things from the vantage point that we see life - through the lens of our faith.

Diana Ennen – There are so many books out there today on starting a business. However, few have the Christian mom in mind. We provide a lot of scriptures and examples of how you can use your faith to help you. Our hope is that not only will your business thrive, but it might just give a little boost to your faith as well.

Learn more about the book at Beacon Hill Press or


Monday, August 31, 2009

The BMW and the interview

Along with learning about how I got my literary agent and two-book deal, listen to the interview today at I Just Finished and hear how distracted I became at the end. Husbands should not come home with a 2009 BMW for parents to test-drive in the middle of a radio blog interview!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Broadcast of Promoting Your Books

Tomorrow I'll be talking with Jill Hart on her Christian Work At Home Moms (CWAHM) program. To listen to the show and get some tips on how to promote your books, head over to this page at 10 AM CST / 11 AM EST on August 27th. You might even learn something!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Here we are again . . .

Summer is winding down and everyone is busy with school starting. Walmart's aisles are filled with overwhelmed parents and active children as pens, notebooks, and markers are tossed into shopping carts.

I wish I had a seventeen-year-old, wanting an over-priced binder and new clothes to wear to school. I wish that I had one more kid to send off in the mornings. One more child to ask each afternoon, "What happened at school today ?" so that I could hear him say, "Nothing."

Daniel would be seventeen tomorrow, starting his senior year of high school.

Instead of wishing him a good day, I will visit the grave and brush the twigs off of his headstone. Instead of buying him an iPod or a new cell phone, I'll purchase colorful helium balloons to send off into the blue sky.

On the attached note, I'll write as I have every year, Miss you, Daniel. So happy that you came into my life. I love you always. ~Mommy.

I wish I had a seventeen-year-old to sing Happy Birthday to.

Instead, it will be another birthday without him.

Seems after thirteen years of watching balloons lift into the summer air, I would be calloused and used to this. But every birthday, it breaks another piece of my heart.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Daniel Journal

I embraced it; I loathed it. It was a cloth bound book with blue and red swirled flowers on the cover. Inside were the raw words from my heart and soul.

Once it was filled with crisp, lined pages. That was the day it was gifted to me by my three-year-old son Daniel's oncology nurse. That day it was just a pretty journal. Daniel smiled as I thanked this nurse for her thoughtful present.

Months later, this object contained sentences no one wants to ever write.

Never far from me, I lived for moments when I could take respite from my days to visit with this book. No longer clean and white, it was stained with tears, full of questions, anger, agony, and sorrow.

I'd kept a plaid-covered journal when Daniel was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. That was a journal where hope lined the pages because I was certain that with faith and prayers, chemo, surgeries, and radiation, my son would be cured of his aggressive tumor.

After Daniel's funeral, I knew that the blue and red journal would never hold hope. Life, as I knew it and wanted, had ended. With Daniel gone, I only wanted the floor to open up and swallow me, taking me away from pain and misery.

The floor never opened. But the journal was there every day, allowing me to deposit whatever I needed onto the numerous pages. I wrote under a weeping willow tree at a local park, at a secluded booth in my favorite coffee shop, at stop lights. I wrote when I was frustrated with those who didn't care about my brokenness, and when a stranger sent a card to comfort me.

When the pages ran out, I purchased another journal, and then another. I never expected one journal to be able to contain the entire volumes of my heartache.

My journals of the early years after Daniel's passing sit in a bag in my closet now. I know that at anytime I could open one, and read. Yet, I don't. Although much stronger now, thanks to my journal-writing, I still don't want to face that woman who didn't want to live.

The blue and red journal is more than a journal. This gift I received became a gift to myself and my sanity whenever I opened it to release parts of my torn heart.

While I often hated having a reason to have to write in it, I will always be grateful that it was there for me---never judgmental, never belittling, never preachy. Writing made me a believer that putting pen to paper is one of the best resources we have as humans for healing.

Because as I wrote, this journal provided me with something I didn't think it ever could or would. Hope.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Posting at Red Room Months Ago

September 9, 2008, 3:04 pm

My novel is here, it's here, it's really here! Sure, I feel like a kid, like the kid I once was in bagging red tights, eager to win the spelling bee in Ms. Terwilliger's first grade class. However, when I look in the mirror and hold Rain Song, uh, well.... I guess I did turn 47 on my last birthday.

At the back of Rain Song sits my acknowledgments page. I like how I've thanked a few folks, including the woman at the spa who gave me a pedicure years ago. She told me not to give up. I think we must have been discussing our dreams and goals. She wanted to be a manicurist on a cruise line; I yearned to hold my published novel in my hands. After my feet were all clean and my toenails shimmered with a glossy pink, the manicurist looked at me, right into my eyes. She told me that she felt my dream would come true. Somehow, she sensed it. I managed a smile. Now, three years later, I can't help but wonder if she ever made it to the great blue seas, providing nail care for a host of passengers that enjoy stuffing large bills into her tip jar.

I didn't acknowledge Ms. Terwilliger. She is most likely dead, she was over 100 years old when she taught me. But I should have. This teacher is the one who, like my current editor and agent, believed in me. She gave me a start in fiction. Sure, I was embarrassed, but who wouldn't be when reading a story about a birthday party in front of the third and fourth grade classes of our little international school in Kyoto, Japan? Yet, there was pride for me, too. My teacher, with her round face, and long yellow number two pencil behind her ear, was proud of me. She ushered our entire first grade class into the older kids' room, and announced that Alice had written a story, "so everyone sit up and listen."

They did.

Ms. Terwilliger, thank you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Tools You Need to Keep You Going: Resources for Aspiring Novelists

When I was young, my best friend Josephine cried at my teen-romance stories. "Oh, Alice," she would say dabbing at her eyes, "You write so well. That was great."

From age eleven on, I thought I was the next Great American Novelist. Josephine said I wrote well. Although she did give me the confidence I needed to continue with my passion for fiction writing, she also made me think that I was talented--no matter what.

Probably all of us have had someone like Josephine in our lives. Somewhere along the journey a grandmother, a father, or a teacher believed in our potential.

However, too many times writers think that passion and the love of stringing words together is enough. For me, if Josephine cried, then I'd written effectively.

There comes a time in our lives that we need to push a little harder.

There are six tools aspiring novelists need in order to build their craft with perfection and get published.

1) Novelists Need Practice

What do a violin player, a ball player and a ballerina all have in common? If they want to improve and compete in their areas of expertise, they have to practice! Writers need to practice at their craft in order to move from writing the tear-jerkers of our youth to adult novels with developed characters, scenes that move the story along, and dialogue that sounds like real people talking.

Practice comes by sitting down and writing, rewriting, editing, and reading your piece aloud. A critique group comes in handy. With a group, you have people who share your passion for writing and want to help you polish your work to a beautiful shine. A writer needs a thick-skin to handle the feedback from other authors. Grow one; listen to what others in your field have to say about your fiction.

2) Novelists Need to Read

Read good novels, ones that keep you thinking about the characters long after you turn the last page. Ask yourself: Why did the story mean so much to me? Chances are, it was the way the story was told or the voice in which it was written. When you read a novel you don't like, analyze it. Why didn't it work for you? Was the plot too sappy? The heroine too perfect? What made it boring? How could the author have improved it?

When you find an author you like, read everything he or she has written. I did this with Elizabeth Berg. Reading all of her books helped me to get a better grip on finding my own voice for my novel Rain Song.

Berg's honesty in her works inspired me to sit at my computer and write. Good writing does that to us. Upon returning from a Monet exhibition, my young artist daughter spent hours drawing. Inspiration often produces inspiration.

3) Novelists Need Discipline

Yes, you have to write if you are going to aspire to get your work published. I don't say this as a joke. For the longest time I thought that just wanting to be a writer would make me one. That's like saying if you sit in the kitchen long enough you will produce a tasty chocolate cake. No, you must follow a recipe and making sure you have the ingredients needed for the cake sure helps, too.

Carve out time to write. Keep at it. Every job has aspects about it you don't like. Writing is no different. You may want to watch that special on TV or go out with friends. Then tell me, when will you write? Make time. Writing has to be a priority. If you wait to write only when there is nothing else to do, you will have nothing to show for it. Trust me; you have to guard your writing time. Set a goal. Want to have fifty pages completed by end of the month? Have a query letter for your novel out to an agent by the first of next year? Get busy!

4) Novelists Need to Share with God

Have you ever poured out your hopes and dreams to God? Have you ever sat in church and asked him to lead you on the writing path he wants for you? James 1:5 tells us not to be afraid to ask for wisdom. Ask, believe it will be supplied, and don't doubt. Then listen and God will guide you. As with every part of our lives, God needs to be the Overseer of our writing.

Bring God into your writing dream. He is, after all, the Giver of Talent. Your creativity is a gift to you from him.

5) Novelists Need Other Sources

I am amazed at the number of aspiring authors out there who have never purchased Writer's Digest or The Writer. These magazines and others that have valuable information about honing your skills are vital to the writer’s toolbox. Subscribing to online e-zines will also increase your writing potential.

There are a number of Christian writers' conferences held every year. Agents, editors, and authors are often on the faculty and their workshops and expertise can inspire you along this journey.

If you are serious about getting your novel completed and sent to an agent, you need to know about the process. A wealth of books sits on shelves, and purchasing a few at the bookstore or borrowing from the library will help to build your creative muscles.

Here are a few I recommend to help improve your writing as well as those on finding agents and how the publishing world works. You need to be prepared because you certainly don't want to be clueless when your big break happens and an editor wants to buy your novel.

* Fiction Writer's Workshop by Josip Novakovich
* Write and Sell Your First Novel by Oscar Collier with Frances Spaz Leighton
* How Not to Write a Novel by David Armstrong
* The Sell Your Novel Toolkit by Elizabeth Lyon
* The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published by Sheree Bykofsky and Jennifer Basye Sander

If you want to be under the tutelage of a pro, take an online fiction writer’s class or a continuing education writing class at your community college.

6) Novelists Need Encouragement

Yes, yes, we don't want to belittle any of the encouragement we can get! Let it come from our friends, groups, those who have read an essay or piece we wrote for the local paper--the more praise the merrier.

We must also remember that not everyone is going to love everything we've written or that we will write. So, once again, develop that thick skin and know that the motivation to continue on has to come from within. You are your best motivator.

So set yourself at your writing place, turn on some music, block out the rest of the world, and write.

Keep all of these tools handy and use them often. Let your mantra be from Ephesians 2:10: "For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Writing the Heartache: What Does It Mean?

When Daniel died, writing took on a whole new meaning for me. Writing was my sanity, my lifeline to coping with the tragedy of losing a child to cancer. There were times I couldn't wait to rush to the shelter of my home so that I could pull out my pen and journal and pour out my heart. In the early days of grief, I needed a way to organize my muddled thoughts, work out my emotions, and scribble my prayers and fears.

Writing is an essential tool in grief. Writing calms us, lowers our blood pressure, slows our pulse, and keeps our minds from going crazy. When we can write out our feelings, they no longer loom large and out of control. By putting them on paper, we have contained them to a workable space in our journal. We can read them over and over and analyze, or we can choose to never look at our words again. Whatever our decision, the act of writing from our broken heart is healing.

My next Writing the Heartache online course starts August 24th and runs to September 25th. In these five weeks, I'll send participants assignments to complete via email. When these are sent back to me, I'll offer critique, support, and suggestions. We'll discuss writing for publication as well.

Outline for Writing the Heartache Writing Workshop
1. Week One: Introduction - Getting to Know You
2. Week Two: Introducing Your Loved One Through Poetry
3. Week Three: Writing a Letter to Your Loved One and to Others
4. Week Four: Writing for Change - The Essay
5. Week Five: Writing for Publication

Join us! Visit my website AliceWisler for more information.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This Week's Featured Author at I Just Finished

I'm happy to be the featured author this week at I Just Finished ... The Conversation of Books. How nice to see the photos of my book covers. Thanks, Leslie and Renee!

Monday, July 13, 2009

How I Got My Agent

Read this post and others on the Writer's Digest blog for
stories about how authors got their literary agents.

Books A Latte

Thanks to Takiela, for the interview at Books A Latte
Click here to read about How Sweet It Is and to
hear the interview.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The speech that will never be heard

Speech written for Rain Song at The Christy Awards in case Rain Song
wins the New Novel Category
(Rain Song is a 2009 Christy Award Finalist.)

Well, my first thought is: Surely, a mistake has been made. Quickly, I’ll add—that’s okay; I’ll accept it! Wow, what a huge honor this is for me.

When I see the cover of Rain Song (such a beautiful cover Bethany House has created!), I recall all the feelings I held on that journey to publication. I think relinquish is the word I tie the most closely to Rain Song. On Sunday mornings in church I was constantly begging God for someone to believe in my story and accept both the novel and me. Some Sundays I was weary of begging and just asked for strength to carry on with all that was happening in my life at the time—a bipolar husband who abandoned my three kids and me, my children’s tears, our lack of finances, and theft of cars and home three times in one month by a young man who later was televised nation-wide as a murderer. They do say that truth is stranger than fiction! I was also challenged to trust that in God’s timing, my manuscript, which I’d titled The Kimono Lady Sings, would be accepted. However, I’d been rejected by at least seven-hundred agents already; were there any left? I wrote, I edited, I changed the narrative from first person to third person and then back to first again. I read my favorite authors and felt inferior. Time and time again, I handed this novel over to God during worship services by forming a fist and then letting my fingers open to an empty palm.

Thanks for allowing me into the Published Club, Bethany House. I’ve wanted to be accepted ever since I wore red tights and could staple my stick-figured-illustrated stories together. And thank you for this Christy Award, one I will cherish for a lifetime. I also thank all my readers, my critics, my encouragers, my agent Kristin Lindstrom, the team at Bethany House, and my children. I reserve the loudest applause for my biggest fan—my new husband, Carl. Like Ducee and Iva in Rain Song, I can’t sing, but that won’t stop me from trying. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The new boat

This summer I've been thinking a lot about summers of my youth
in Nojiri-ko, Japan. Buying a boat has much to do with this
reminiscing. As my husband, kids and I power over the local
lakes (we like Falls Lake), I recall the days of cruising
around Lake Nojiri in Nagano-ken, a mountain resort where I
spent summers with my family and other missionary kids.
The sun was bright; few clouds sat in the sky. I was tan, young,
content, and whenever water sprayed my face, as the sailboat
sailed across the lake, I felt I was truly experiencing one
of life's finest gifts---boating.

Today, I'm glad that I can give that gift to my three children.
The new boat is named Rain Song, after my first novel. That
was my husband Carl's idea. A good one, I'll have to agree.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Spitting watermelon seeds

The Fourth of July, our country's independence day, is nearly here. What comes to mind besides the anticipated fireworks, food and parades? Watermelon, and watermelon seeds.

Actually, it all goes back to my son Daniel. He was confined to the hospital July 4, 1996, getting his monthly chemo infusion. A friend brought a large watermelon when she and her mother came to visit.

Daniel was excited to have his own watermelon. We cut slices and he spit the seeds at this nearly-thirteen-year-old friend. The friend later told me she hadn't the heart to spit seeds at a cancer patient.

After we had our fill, we stored the watermelon in the bathtub in the bathroom connected to Daniel's room.

The Fourth of July will always remind me of a little bald-headed boy with an infectious laugh who loved watermelon almost as much as he loved his siblings and parents.

Daniel did not live to see another Independence Day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Pineapple Chutney Following

When my novel, Rain Song, made its debut, I was eager to promote it with the typical book signings at local stores. I arranged three events and enjoyed each one; people came and bought books. However, I wanted more, something unique, something to stand out. As one friend said, with a wry smile, "You want a following." I grimaced; that sounded lofty.

Rain Song is set in Mount Olive, NC and has quirky southern relatives who believe in tradition and unity. They don Mount Olive Pickle Company aprons and make pineapple chutney while discussing the next family reunion. I wanted my novel to expand off the pages and generate some fun in the lives of others today. So, after the book signings, I hosted a Holiday Reunion Open House Event. I sent out printed invitations to neighbors, those in my writers group, friends, church folk, and relatives. I announced the event on social networking sites.

I'd never done this before, but with the help of my children and boyfriend, I knew the event couldn't go wrong. We planned the menu to reflect the food in the novel--hot ginger tea, egg salad and cucumber sandwiches, shortbread, and of course, homemade pineapple chutney. About an hour into the open house, I gathered everyone into the living room and read portions, primarily the food-related ones, from my southern novel. Books were for sale in the kitchen, and after the reading, many were ready to purchase with cash and checks.

I posted pictures on my Facebook page and, days after the event, I heard from two friends planning a canning party. Their delicacy of choice? Pineapple chutney, using the recipe at the back of my novel. They bought twelve ripe pineapples and enjoyed a day of chopping and cooking. Centering a copy of Rain Song in the twelve pineapple line-up, they took photos. The 48 jars of chutney they made were for Christmas gifts. (These friends also purchased twelve books between them to give as presents.)

You, too, can think about themes and topics that are evident in your books. Have fun! Fun creates a bright audience, an audience waiting and ready to talk about your novel, and anticipate your next.

I guess you could call it a following, and there would be nothing wrong with that.

Alice J. Wisler created the characters of her novel, Rain Song, by observing those around her in stores, airports, and restaurants. The recipe for pineapple chutney is in the back of her novel so anyone can make it and host his/her own reunion party. Read more about Alice's work and upcoming novel, How Sweet It Is, at

~ Published by WritersWeekly on 1/21/09

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Regulator Bookshop

Tomorrow is a night I'm looking forward to because there is nothing quite like a book event at the cozy Regulator Bookshop on Ninth Street in Durham. I like being able to stand up on the podium with a mic and address my audience. I hope many can join me tomorrow for a fun discussion of getting away from it all, how you were named, favorite cake recipes and the power of journaling/writing through pain.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Review of How Sweet It Is --The Herald Sun

Review: Wisler's second a lesson in writing through pain

Jun 21, 2009

"How Sweet It Is"

By Alice Wisler

(Bethany House, 309 pages, softcover, $13.99)

Deena Livingston can't move on. Or get past it. She's just trying to get through it. What other option is there when your fiance almost kills you in a car wreck, then never visits you in the hospital, where you find out he's dating someone else. Deena is left with multiple scars -- deep rivers on her arms and emotional damage that won't seem to heal.

Enter the opportunity to move away from Atlanta to the mountains of Bryson City. The bad memories follow, but new memories are created, thanks to her late grandfather. Deena teaches cooking classes to troubled middle school students at her grandfather's behest, and she starts her own cake business.

"How Sweet It Is" is the second novel of Durham author Alice J. Wisler -- herself a baker of cakes.

There are pieces of Wisler in the novel, in terms of circumstance. Her 4-year-old son died, and she teaches a class in writing through pain. Deena writes through her own pain in a journal. Wisler once ran a cake business from home like Deena. And Wisler has a bachelor's degree in social work and worked with emotionally challenged children.

Her last novel, "Rain Song," also had personal elements. The setting is Mt. Olive, which Wisler had passed through, and the main character also lived in Japan, as did Wisler. She has spent the past 21 years in Durham and has three children.

Wisler's publisher, Bethany House, is a Christian fiction imprint. Religion is woven into the story in location and Deena's thoughts. The youth center where Deena teaches is in her church, and Bible verses posted throughout serve as reminders to Deena as well as the kids. And in Deena's own thoughts, she thinks how she is all the things she shouldn't be -- angry, jealous, unforgiving. Yet she also prays for things both trivial and serious about herself and reaches out to God for strength.

Faith is an undercurrent that bubbles up here and there throughout the novel as Deena deals with her new life. She constantly doubts herself. The words outside of quotes are her real self, while what she says aloud is guarded and cautious. She has flaws, which readers might find appealing in the sense that Deena isn't so different from the rest of the world. Everyone has negative thoughts. Everyone has a hard time getting through difficult times. Everyone jumps to conclusions about others until they get to know them better. Wisler shares these ideas in a casual way, a natural way as Deena's story unfolds. It is light and easy reading, but it deals with serious topics most of us face at some point in our lives.

Deena takes comfort in food, and in the faint presence of her grandfather. She didn't know him much at all, but learns about him through what he has given her -- his cabin, a job at the youth center, a letter about life, and a sense of home. She also gains family that isn't so guarded. Her aunt -- her dad's sister -- welcomes her openly and knits a family bond with her. That is new to Deena, whose mother kept her from her in-laws and urged her to keep her emotions bottled up. That makes it even harder for Deena to consider a new life, with a potential new love, a social worker she meets at the center. He tries to draw her out, but she is most relaxed around the local plumber, Jonas, who has his own mental challenges but keen insight.

Wisler gives readers the story of a woman who tries to find her way to recovery and forgiveness, with sweetness that is subtle but real.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Webinar Fun

Have you ever been part of a webinar? Well, if you haven't, it's not
too late to try it out.

Carly and I will be part of an afternoon of webinar fun as she
interviews me on Saturday, June 27th at at 2 PM EST. This is going
to be a state of the art production, thanks to Carly's webinar
master, also known as Del, her husband.

In addition to my novels, we will be talking about Avon, getting away
from it all, and all things Southern. You have the opportunity to
call in and chat with us, if you'd like.

Sign up is easy! Reserve your space today
by going to this site

Once at the site, you'll be registered. It's that simple! Then just be sure to listen in on the 27th from 2 until 3 PM.

Questions? Feel free to email me at:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Meet some quirky characters!

Join us Friday, June 12 at 7:30 PM at the New Hope
Commons Barnes and Noble in Durham for a fun How Sweet It Is book event! How Sweet It Is takes place in Bryson City, NC and is filled with characters you will be amused to meet.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Peek at Deena's Bookshelf

Deena Peterson posted a great review of How Sweet It Is!

Check out her blog at A Peek at My
Bookshelf Book Reviews

Book Club

Thanks to Susan, and women in her neighborhood, we
had a fun evening last night discussing my novel,
How Sweet It Is. Susan's cake from Foster's
was an instant hit.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Review of How Sweet It Is

Thanks to Carla for writing a review of How Sweet It Is and for posting it at Carla's Writing Cafe

If anyone has an extra moment or two, please consider posting
a review of How Sweet It Is on Amazon.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Traditions are made at Kanki

We went out to eat at Kanki to celebrate my newest two-book deal with Bethany House.
What a good time the five of us had!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Today's Broadcast

What an honor to be on Gloria and Heidi's show, Healing the Grieving
If you missed the show, aired on Voice America, you may click here and it will take you directly to the program. Turn on your speakers and you can listen to the entire hour show.

Isn't technology wonderful?

Writing Into the Night

Special thanks to Jayne Newton for posting this on the
Atlanta Compassionate Friend's FaceBook site. I'd forgotten
that I'd written this, but then again, I forgot what
I ate for breakfast yesterday, too.

Writing into the Night

It's eleven p.m. and the rest of your household has slipped into bed, but your mind is bombarded and you can't sleep. You pick up a book, but the words are too lengthy to decipher at this hour.

As bereaved parents, and especially as newly bereaved, our minds have trouble concentrating and staying focused. It takes an enormous amount of energy just to get out of bed in the morning. So to have to read lengthy paragraphs and figure out what the author is saying can be too consuming. We want bite-size pieces to chew on, we want healing in easy-to-swallow capsules.

While reading the books on surviving life after the death of a child, are essential, so is something else--writing.

Writing's benefits are vast. Putting pen to paper releases pent-up feelings, some good, some nasty, but all honest. When you let your pain over the death of your loved one flow out on the paper, you are providing therapy. Your blood pressure is lowered, your pulse rate slows, and you give your heart an all-around healthy work-out.

Buy a notebook, spiral or bound. Set aside some time each day or night to write freely for ten to fifteen minutes. Write how you feel. Your notebook will not judge you. This is a friend who will hold all your secrets.

Let your mind remember as you write the memories of your child. View a photo of him at the beach and recall what the water and sun felt like that day. Remember a summer picnic at grandma's. What did your child eat? What did she wear? What were the expressions she used?

What did your child do that made you laugh? Sing in the bathtub? At the top of one of your notebook or journal pages write the word "Funny" and record those things that your child did that were funny to you.

We often think we will forget our child-- not his life, but pieces to his life. Sometimes a photo or a video can trigger a good memory. When these are brought to mind, write them down. Carry a notepad in our purse or in the car's glove compartment. I have written many of my son Daniel's antics in my notepad while sitting at a red light.

Studies have proven that writing through the pain is therapeutic. Give it a try! After pouring out your pain, you may even be able to find something else you need -- sleep.

~ Alice J. Wisler
~reprinted from Tributes June 2005

Monday, May 25, 2009

Radio Event

If you can, please tune in to Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley's Healing the Grieving Heart radio show this Thursday, May 28th at 9:20 PST or 12:20 EST. The topic is The Power of Grief and I look forward
to being a guest on the show.

Since the first guest is unable to make the show, I've been asked
to "appear" as a guest at 9 AM PST which is noon EST.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thanks for a great time!

Last Saturday at LifeWay Store was a wonderful event for me as
I signed copies of my two novels, Rain Song and How Sweet It Is.

I got to meet one of my FaceBook friends for the first time.
Missy joined me at my book signing table to purchase Rain Song.

My good friend, Katharine, was also there to support me.

I appreciate all who listened to me talk about my novels
and then am grateful for those who were kind enough to buy

Thanks, to LifeWay's staff for being so welcoming.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I was happy to see a review of How Sweet It Is at the Borders Bookclub site. Thanks, Jan S. !

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Coming up: National Fiction Day

This Saturday is the day! Please come out to the LifeWay Store on
Walnut Street in Cary. I'll be there at a table from 11 AM until
1 PM signing copies of How Sweet It Is.

Would love to see you there!

Cary LifeWay Christian Store
Centrum at Crossroads Shopping
2450 Walnut Street
Cary, NC 27518
Phone: 919-859-7379

Monday, May 11, 2009

Freedom to Cry at The Expanded Sky

Are you grieving the death of a loved one? Be sure to check out my columns in The Expanded Sky at this site.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

An American Daughter

Yesterday my 18-year-old Rachel and I were loading up my Jeep to
carry her dorm room items home from East Carolina University.
As we made trips from her room to the parking lot, I was amazed
at her collection of shoes, purses, body wash and shampoo bottles.
I don't remember having so much of those when I was a freshman
in college, I thought. I made do with little; my daughter has
made many trips to Walmart.

However, I did commend her for a few of her purchases. She wiped
the room's mini fridge and microwave with scented wipes, something
I don't think I would have thought to buy at her age. A roll
of pink Duck tape came in handy when the bottom of a box fell out.

I didn't know about Duck tape at her age nor did I know that
a girl needed eleven different purses and bags.

Congratulating her on her first year at college, I thought I
also need to be congratulated. While I did go to college
and well remember the feelings of relief and happiness
after an academic year, I didn't grow up as she has. I
was a foreigner in an American setting. While classmates
lived in homes with basements and TV shows that blasted
out Laverne and Shirley and Mash, I'd lived in a small
house in a neighborhood in Osaka where on winter nights the hum
of the sweet potato truck selling the hot tasty goods
could be heard. Home for me was ten thousand miles away
from Harrisonburg, Virginia where I spent four years
of "higher learning". I had no driver's ed in high school
and graduation did not require wearing a cap and gown.

"You have an American daughter," my mother recently told me.
"And you don't know what it's like to be an American growing up
in this country." True, my daughter and I do not share American
childhoods. For that matter, my own mother was an American child
and later as a mother in Japan, raising my brother and me. We
certainly weren't like she was at our age.

"There were no drama queens," my France-born husband tells me of
his experience in a high school in The Netherlands. "And we weren't
all from America. We lived in a foreign country with
classmates from all over the world. We weren't typical

He explained it well. Our ideas, experiences and environment
caused those of us living as Americans in another country
to shape us into something other than Americans. To this
day, as adults living in the US, we still do not feel

My daughter, and her siblings, however, do and will. Born
and raised in Durham, North Carolina, they will think like
those around them.

I like to think that my children are privileged to have a mom
and step-dad who have seen the world, and although we struggle
with where home really is, we have a lot to share and offer about our rich experiences.

Meanwhile, I will realize that yes, my daughter is different from
me in may ways. While I don't always understand her American
attitudes or her vast shoe collection, I do embrace her for who
she is becoming and the potential she has. I like to think that
her world view is broader than most kids her age due to having
me around---a mother who loves sushi and eel, sings
karaoke songs in Japanese and is still figuring out many things

Monday, May 4, 2009

Interview at So Many Books ... So Little Time

Take a moment to drop by So Many Books ... So Little Time time to read an interview Jennifer had with me and posted at her site. The questions she asked were fun to answer---I especially liked the one about my favorite scene in How Sweet It Is. As I answered her questions, I learned a little more about myself. Always a good thing.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Grace FM: The Morning Rush with Sandra

If you're up and available around 8 AM tomorrow (Friday) morning,
please tune in to Grace FM to hear my interview about Rain Song.

On April 1, I was on The Morning Rush with Sandra around 8:40 AM to start the month of with Rain Song, the novel selected by Sandra as the April pick.

Tomorrow will be the follow-up interview. When you get to the station's website, click on the Streaming Audio button at the top of the page. There will be a short announcement and then you'll hear the show.

Hope you can join us!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why is it hard going down the cereal aisle?

Everything screams difficult after the death of a child. The cereal aisle is no exception. Walking down the cereal aisle after a child has died can be painful. Memories lie with the boxes of Cocoa Puffs and Fruit Loops.

Down the Cereal Aisle is more than a cookbook. The pages contain not only recipes, but food-related memories and stories of children gone too soon. You can read the book and cry, as well as create one of the recipes and weep. And while you're doing it, it will make your heart feel good that you are remembering a child who did live, was loved and is missed every day. Learn to make Chicken Broccoli Casserole and Tommy's Chocolate Cake. Or just sit down with a cup of your favorite tea and read the poetry and stories in this tender book.

Down the Cereal Aisle was compiled by me, with the help of dozens of moms and dads who contributed to the cookbook.

James Cox of Midwest Book Review says, "Down The Cereal Aisle: A Basket Of Recipes And Remembrances is a unique and very special cookbook of favorite recipes of children who have since been lost to their parents. As much a testimony of grief and bereavement as it is a fond memory of cherished dining with their loved ones, Down The Cereal Aisle is a soulful, meditative, and sober compilation of easy-to-prepare dishes. From Aunt Vicki's Macaroni and Cheese Stuff (in memory of Michael Haskins, May 9, 1979--October 11, 1996) to 7 Layer Bars (in memory of Teresa Wesley Hough, April 25, 1968--October 2, 1993), Down The Cereal Aisle blends capsules memorial tributes with recipes from the heart's own memory."

Order a copy today at the discount price. Send $12.00 (that includes shipping and handling) per book to the address below.
Visit this page at my Writing the Heartache website to read more about the book.

Address check to Alice J. Wisler and send to:

201 Monticello Avenue
Durham, NC 27707

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

National Fiction Day

There seems to be a day for everything, so it doesn't
surprise me that there is a National Fiction Day.

I've been invited to come to the Lifeway Store on Walnut Street
in Cary for this year's National Fiction Day. On May 16th from
11 AM to 1 PM I'll be at the location signing books.

I'm thinking about wearing an apron and/or chef's hat (my son Daniel
wanted a tall white hat so I got him one) since my new novel,
How Sweet It Is is about a chef. I might chicken out though. We'll see.

I hope you can come out to Lifeway on Saturday, May 16. I'd love to
see you there!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Shout Out To Fine Folk

Gratitude! I am truly feeling it. With the release of my newest novel,
How Sweet It Is, I am grateful for my audience of readers. Many old
friends and new came to my book reading at Cameron Village Library
yesterday. Thank you to each one of you!

I also want to thank these folks.

* Carly at Carlybird

* Nancy at Womankind

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Easter was late that year, just like this year. Down in South Carolina, at Daniel's grandparents' home, the dogwood and azaleas were in vibrant bloom. Three-year-old Daniel was more interested in his Easter basket, an assortment of treats that he managed to eat without getting too much chocolate on his new Easter outfit.

We didn't know. No one, but God knows these things. Looking back, you see it all differently, putting emphasis on the curve of Daniel's smile, his genuine excitement, the awe his eyes portrayed as he and his older sister looked for dyed eggs.

Twelve years later, you view the scene through murky glasses with an odd rosy tint. You didn't know on that Easter, Easter 1996, that it would be the last one Daniel would ever find a colorful egg.

Yet, it was. Shortly after the chocolate was consumed, Daniel was diagnosed with a small blue cell tumor. I'd never heard of neuroblastoma before.

Daniel was a brave cookie. He thrived, much of the time, even though doctors insisted on filling his small body with radiation and chemo. The cancer had to die. In his hospital room, Daniel loved Toy Story, The Three Stooges and Little Foot and he really loved it when his parents brought him hotcakes from McDonalds.

Eight months worth of potent chemicals filled his body and worked to kill the poison in his neck. But in the end, those chemicals were what killed him, the little boy, that Brave Cookie.

I have four children. I hope that you will understand that while three of them continue to bring me joy here on Earth, one brings me hope in Heaven. He resides there now.

This Easter, once more, I am thankful that even cancer cannot destroy our souls. Death is swallowed up in victory. Daniel lives.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How Sweet It Is that today is the release date!

Today marks the release date for my second novel, How Sweet It Is.

Here's one of the first reviews from a recent issue of Library Journal.

"Atlanta chef Deena Livingston returns home to the North Carolina cabin she inherited from her grandfather to start a new life far from the heartbreak she suffered in Georgia. But instead of becoming isolated in self-pity, Deena finds her grandfather's will also stipulates that she work with local middle-school children. Written with a seasoning of Southern charm and populated with richly drawn characters, Wisler's second novel (after Rain Song) mixes romance, humor, and drama and tackles such issues such as child abuse and self-image. Sure to appeal to fans of Susan May Warren, Lisa Wingate, Angela Hunt, and Rene Gutteridge."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rain Song is a Christy Award Finalist

Yep, in the New Novel category. The finalists
were announced at the Book Expo Event this
past weekend in Dallas. The winners will be
announced in July.

I am just delighted that my novel was

It feels great!

View a listing of all the 2009 Finalists.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Few Lines From a Few Reviews

I did a Google search and came up with some reviews of Rain Song
that make my heart grow warm and fuzzy. Thanks to all! I
am including a few lines from a few reviews.

~ Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (11/08)

If I had to condense Alice J. Wisler’s “Rain Song” into one word only, it would actually be an easy task to accomplish. The first word that comes to mind after having read it is “exquisite.” Everything about it is truly lovely, starting from the beautiful cover and continuing through the sharp, yet delicate writing contained within.


~ By Heidi at

Alice J. Wisler definitely has a gift for writing. Her style is unique - interesting and fun to read in a voice all her own (which I think is unusual in today's Christian fiction market where so many books start to sound alike after awhile).

Her main character, Nicole, has an endearing personality. From the very first page, you find yourself cheering for her to overcome her fears and insecurities. I found myself reverting back to "cheerleader mode" - wanting to say "You can do it! 3 cheers for Nicole!" The supporting characters in the book are also very memorable - I love the choice of names and the extreme variety of personalities that are represented here. The end is satisfying. Though, I must admit, I find myself longing for book 2 - wonder if there's one in the works?!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I had fun during yesterday's interview on the radioblog. You can still hear the interview by going to the CWAHM website.

Thanks for all who wrote to be on the Influencer List
for How Sweet It Is. I'm grateful for the many who are rising to the challenge. There's still a little time left until March 15th, so if you'd like to get a copy of the upcoming novel (now at the printer's), you can let me know.

Meanwhile, be sure to check out my website.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tune in: Interview with Alice

This coming Tuesday, March 10th, at 11 AM EST, I will be interviewed by Christian Work at Home Moms. To hear the interview, simply go to CWAHM and you will be set.

Hope you can tune in! Then let me hear from you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How Sweet It Is that the pub date is around the corner

How Sweet It Is will be in bookstores and at Walmart soon. Release date is scheduled for May 1. Be sure to read the blog posting below if you would like to be on the Influencer List. You can email your snail address to by March 15th to receive a free copy of How Sweet It Is. Of course, be sure to note what I need you to do.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Recycled Watermelon

Recycled Watermelon

(In memory of Daniel, age four)

He was given the watermelon
on the Fourth of July
It weighed more than he -
smooth skin
shining in his hospital room
like the skin on his head

He let the juice run down
his chin and onto the sheets,
laughed, and spat
tiny black seeds
with life from lungs
that would later stop

so we laughed with him
and the seeds sailed
as far as we could make them fly
believing that determination
and the right doctors
would conquer all

In the end we are here
reminded of yesterdays
and a little boy
tales of watermelon
retold, embellished, recycled
as long and as far as our lungs can cry.

~ Alice J. Wisler