Join Alice on her Facebook Author Page!

http://www.buttonshut.com

Saturday, December 29, 2012

After Christmas Novel Sale

Want an after Christmas special just for being at my blog?

Of course you do! My novels go well with that flavored coffee Santa brought you.

So act now!

Order any one of my five novels for only $14.00.



Rain Song
How Sweet It Is
Hatteras Girl
A Wedding Invitation
Still Life in Shadows


Yes, order any novel for $14.00 (includes S/H). I'll sign each one. Order by January 3, 2013! The offer ends then.

Send a check for $14.00 to:
Daniel's House Publications
c/o Alice Wisler
201 Monticello Avenue
Durham, NC 27707

OR

Use the Paypal tab below. The menu drops down; choose your selection.



Choose a novel for only $14.00



Monday, December 24, 2012

Grief at Christmas: Finding that Simple Quiet



Hang on, it’s begun. I heard my first Christmas carol on the radio two weeks before Thanksgiving and neighbors, as well as store owners, must have heard it, too. Lights and tinsel are popping up everywhere. The holidays. Watch out. I recall being in Burma (back when we called it Burma) and the simple Christmas Eve with communion. There was a loaf of bread and a chipped glass of wine inside a modest church, no blaring music about Santa, not a spruced-up fir in sight.

“What’s wrong with her?” others whisper as they joyfully join in the carols and stand in line at Target to purchase ornaments for the tree. “It’s a season to celebrate, to sing, to eat, to decorate the house, and to be happy with your family. Get with it!”

That’s the problem. Many can’t. Many Americans are unable to embrace good cheer and lift their glasses to festivities with family and friends. The holidays, for many, are a sobering time, a time of sorrow, of joy-less-ness, of memories of what used to be and what is not now.

It’s not that we don’t want to celebrate, it’s that our naivety has vanished; our eyes have been opened. For me it came when my four-year-old son was presented with an abundance of gifts at the hospital. Generous givers entered his room and the rooms of other sick little boys and girls on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They handed out toys. If only, I thought as my weak child opened each gift, one of these gifts was health.

Daniel died six weeks later. The next Christmas I had no desire to get excited about much of anything. The memory of his thin body injected with medicine, seated on the sterile bed opening gifts was just too painful.


I had to buy gifts though; I had three children who had each given me lists. One afternoon, I reluctantly wandered into a store and was drawn to a small porcelain manager scene, a broken one. Someone had glued it; the line of glue was right above the donkey’s ear. Feeling it was symbolic of my new life, I bought it. I would start a new tradition. This broken and repaired scene with Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the donkey would be my new decoration in memory of my son.

Years later, I was able to find a morsel of hope in a few Christmas hymns as I realized that the season was, of course, not about lights or parties at all. Those had the potential to steal from the season, making one feel that if her calendar wasn’t filled with party invites, she was unable or unworthy to enjoy the meaning of Christmas.

I held my decoration and rubbed my finger over the thin broken line. As I did, I felt the brokenness from my own heart. A baby born in a manager came into the world to heal that crevice, and offer peace, love, salvation, and hope. Why did our society let all the noise of commercialism get in the way of that simple, and yet very profound message?

“I am sometimes asked how I get through the holidays now,” a parent whose son died wrote to me. “Do I ever feel the Christmas Spirit these days? And after ten long years, I can finally say that the Christmas Spirit somehow always finds me. It might only l last a little while, but it’s there.”

May our grief open our eyes and hearts to reflect on that first manager scene when hope was born. May we find time to ponder, to listen, and to rest in the quiet. As we continue to miss loved ones, may we pray for strength to reach out to those around us who have lost hope so that they can experience even a little while of the Christmas Spirit.




~*~*~*
Alice J. Wisler lives in Durham. Her new book on grief and loss is Getting Out of Bed in the Morning (Leafwood Publishers). Read more at her blog: http://www.alicewisler.blogspot.com/






Friday, December 21, 2012

Update on the Sandy Hook Comfort Project: What does it mean to lose a child to death?

The outpouring for the families in grief and loss from the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, CT has been amazing. People are eager to donate books as an act of love to those mourning the loss of loved ones.

Originally the plan was to send a book (Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache) to Sandy Hook for each family who had been affected by the tragedy in the loss of a child--young (student) or adult (teacher). That was a meaningful act of comfort, and thanks to each of you, that goal has been accomplished!




When I read again the message from Lisa Schorp (the woman with the vision who posted on my Facebook page last Saturday), I noted that she said it would be great to be able to send copies of my book not only to the families at Sandy Hook Elementary School who lost a loved one, but to all the families. I suppose I overlooked that part of her message because it seemed too big a goal.

This project has morphed. That is amazing to me. Thanks to the generous donations that have come from all over the USA and Canada, we can send more books. The local churches in Sandy Hook can use copies of Getting Out of Bed in the Morning for their libraries and others in the devastated community can benefit from a book on hope and healing in the midst of loss.

When do we send this gift of love? Although the media is consumed with reports of what is going on now in the Newton community, we know from past experiences that the "hype" will soon dissipate. Humans are like that. We tend to move from one news-breaking event to another.

But the families who lost loved ones are only at the beginning of their journeys . . . When a child dies, the world stops for a parent. The first weeks, even months, are like living in a fog. When that anesthesia wears off, the reality kicks in.

My child is gone. He is not coming back.

Ever.




Parents need help and support for the rest of their lives. I continue to cherish those who have walked this bereavement trail with me. It's been fifteen years since my son Daniel's death and I still yearn for his smile and hug.

Right now we plan to send the books after the first of next year.

Here is what we are looking at:

1. An autographed book with the name of each child who died for the child's family

2. One of my Songs from Heaven empathy cards with each book

3. A letter with the names and hometowns of each of the donors (that would be you all) for each family




Thank you, each one, for your donations to this Sandy Hook Comfort Project.

If others would like to donate, click on this link and scroll to the end of the post.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Update on the Donation of Getting Out of Bed in the Morning for Sandy Hook

The outpouring has been wonderful!

Currently, we have raised enough to donate 15 copies of Getting Out of Bed in the Morning to the families affected by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.


Thank you to all of you!

If you would like to donate, please go here.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Donate comfort for Sandy Hook Parents and Families

On December 14, 2012, a tragedy too awful to believe could happen, did happen. Twenty-six people were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Sandy Hook village of Newton, Connecticut. Twenty children died. Six adults died.

I know the devastation of having a child die.

My cousin in Maryland asked if I'd donate one of my novels for an auction to benefit the survivors---those lost in the anguish and sorrow. I signed one of my novels and put it in a mailer to her.

Later today, a Facebook friend, Lisa Schorp, wanted to know if my new book, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache, could reach the hands of those devastated. Her message: To tell them that God is near.

Suddenly I realized that maybe I should act on this desire of Lisa's.

People could sponsor my new devotional, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache and a batch of my books could be sent with a note to the elementary school for each family who lost a loved one.

My book is written as raw and real; I know the pain of loss. There are also passages of hope, love and comfort. This book has been called a companion through grief. Eugene Peterson writes about it:

"Believe me, you will be changed as you read this book---a book of grief and comfort. Written without easy answers, but with gritty, courageous prayer, wrestling like Jacob with God's angel." ~ Eugene H Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Recent College, Vancouver, B.C.; translator of The Message

"Hope stirs fresh in Getting Out of Bed in the Morning as Alice Wisler tenderly challenges the remnants of our grieving hearts to a healing journey. This book is a safe place to reconcile painful losses; a graceful guide through the uncharted and often complex landscape of grief and loss. Alice’s heart whispers an understanding that comes only from one who has tasted consuming heartache yet uncovered the hope of God’s sustaining grace." ~ Jo Ann Fore, Author, Founder of WriteWhereItHurts.org


(Read more about Getting Out of Bed in the Morning here.)




If you like this idea and would like to make a donation, please press the Paypal DONATE button below. Or send a check made out to me using the snail mail address below. If you want to stay tuned in and have updates on the amount contributed as well as when the books will be sent, etc., email me at info@alicewisler.com with the subject: "Comfort to Sandy Hook". I will send out periodic updates.

Let's make Lisa's wonderful suggestion come true!

Mail your donation to:
Daniel's House Publications
201 Monticello Avenue
Durham, NC 27707 USA

OR

Donate via Paypal.









Saturday, December 8, 2012

Guest post: Attitudes of a Good Book Reviewer


Whether you're doing it for personal enrichment or you're being compensated as a critic for a newspaper, reviewing books is your job. Before diving into that very first review, getting your mind in gear to tackle the process is important. The following tips will make sure you've got the right attitude to craft an excellent book review!

*Subjectivity*
Looking at the novel as entirely "right" or "wrong" will likely be unhelpful for any review. If a book is excellent or terrible, you may say so. However, try to consider what other individuals enjoy. For example, individuals who hate fantasy but who are critiquing a fantasy book should attempt to look for positives. They should realize that as a non-fan of fantasy, they are probably going to dislike the book as a whole. However, maybe something redeeming exists in the imagery, characterization and so forth.

*Pre-Conceived Notions*
Another similar, although slightly different, problem arises when reviewers jump into a book with pre-conceived notions. Maybe you have read bad things about the author, or heard a friend say that the book was bad. These will not play a factor in the book review, so the reader needs to pack them away once the cover has been opened. Going into the book with a fresh perspective allows both the positives and the negatives to stand out. Remember, pre-conceived notions need not be negative. A reader might assume the book is wonderful because his or her friend wrote it, but this individual will soon find out the reality is quite different.

*Consider the Audience*
Many book reviews are written by individuals who have already graduated college and are working in the full-time domain; they are not necessarily written by middle or high school students. However, young adult literature is a genre in and of itself. What is a book reviewer to do when reading a novel that is intended for an audience much younger than him or herself? Such readers must try to place themselves in the shoes of the young, old, or whatever niche it is geared toward. Would I have enjoyed this in high school? Does this novel provide teachable moments to youngsters? Is it easy to read? All of these questions, amongst others, allow the reviewer to produce a brilliant write-up.

*Honesty*
After considering all of these factors, the book reviewer must also be honest. While cursing the book out is generally not the best way to show distaste for a novel, especially for new book reviewers, they can say that the book was not so great. They must include information as to why this was so though. For every critique that they make about the book, information must be included to back up that statement.

~ Caroline Jones is a reviewer, teacher, writer & mentor. Recently, she has written a great deal on helping young writers and readers find the best undergraduate degrees in social science.
http://www.bestdegreeprograms.org/top-schools/undergraduate-social-science

Friday, December 7, 2012

Rescue Me!

Join me for just 15 minutes at noon (EST) today as I read an excerpt from my new book, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning. I'll be reading chapter 7, Rescue Me!

Often in our grief, we want to be saved from the despair, cared for, and nurtured. We are in great need of help when life seems to have swallowed us whole.

Turn in to Writing the Heartache to hear some encouragement as well as some writing tips to help you during your season of grief.

And if you listen closely, you'll hear a way that you can get yourself a special gift.


For the podcast (in case you miss the show), click this link.

Thanks to all for listening!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fun sharing on this radio show



I so enjoyed being on two radio shows this week! You can listen to the podcast of the one from last night by clicking this link for Christian Devotions, Speak Up!

I talk about my missionary life in Japan (both as a child and as an adult), being in trouble in the dorm in high school, how I used to write and illustrate stapled books with stick figures, and the value of writing through grief. My new book, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning, even got a commercial blurb! Listen to how well this pitch for it is done by Scott McCausey.

To hear the other show I was on, The Vital Connection on 1450 AM radio, click this link for the podcast. Here I talk about my devotional that has just come out, and how hard the holidays can be for those in grief.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Guest blogger: Jo Huddleston

Today I welcome guest blogger and author Jo Huddleston to my Patchwork Quilt Blog. Her new book, That Summer , has just been released. Here's Jo's story of how her novel came to be.




How That Summer Came To Be:
The setting of That Summer is the Southern Appalachians of East Tennessee where my ancestors and I were raised. I’ve listened to the older generations tell their stories at family reunions about time before telephones and automobiles. Their stories fascinated me and caused me to want to write about a time before I was born.

This story percolated in my mind in the late 1990s. I’m what writers call a panster type of writer. I don’t outline my plot on paper. My entire plot and characters simmer in my mind before I write a word. Many times I don’t know the ending but I know how to get there. Of course, sometimes characters surprise me by going this way when I intended them to go another way. I love how my stories many times work themselves out as I write.




While this story still rumbled around in my mind, in 2001 I received a life altering health diagnosis with a negative prognosis. My first symptom was the loss of penmanship that nobody, even I, could read. Then I began to have involuntary muscle spasms that prevented me from holding my fingers on the home keys of a keyboard. I couldn’t write and couldn’t type—this was before speak-to-type.

I thought my writing career had vanished. I cleaned out my files—even trashed all my rejection letters I’d been saving. Now I wish I’d kept them to prove that I really am a writer. I gave away most of my writing craft books.

My mind was still intact but my body wouldn’t do what it was told. My balance while walking started to diminish and I quit going to writing conferences. My doctor advised me not to drive. I was dependent on my family to even get to my doctor’s appointments and still am.

In 2008, I began to improve. My hands were steadier and I could get my story started. The biggest aggravation when I write anything is the time I have to leave my story to research the facts. When the story starts pouring out of my mind I want to write. I write continuously, not indicating chapters but I do indicate scene and POV changes. After I finish that first draft I go back and do those things.

I have outlived my doctor’s prognosis by over a year and a half. I’m writing the second of a 3-book contract and feel fine other than fatigue when I don’t stop to rest now and then. Fatigue does bring on more unsteadiness in my hands and legs.

From 2001 to 2008 I had a lot of time to meditate. A relative marvels that I’ve never questioned God, why me? I have not become bitter because of the health issues. I think God just gave me time to understand a lot of things when I was inactive. I’m a more peaceful, patient, and faithful me.

This is the way That Summer came to be: hibernated for seven years, then became a story on paper.

Jo's publisher will offer her novel, That Summer, at a discounted price through this month of December only. You can buy the book for $9.99 if you click on this link.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Grief During the Holidays: Surviving

Survival, getting through, trying not to think too much . . . Yes, believe it or not, I'm talking about the holidays. Handling them after the death of a significant loved one can be brutal. The heart is filled with anguish and no amount of festivities can ease the pain.

Many want to hide, or close their eyes and not wake up till January 2.

We put so much emphasis on making the holidays happy and joyful, that often we wonder why those sentiments are so important for us. Can we have a season that is more reflective? Can we dare to let ourselves and others shed tears even while hanging the twinkling Christmas tree lights? Can we be real?

Deep down we know that Christmas is not all about unending joy because of a new diamond or a skateboard or even a BMW. Christmas is the gift of God with us. He came as a baby to live among us in this sad world. He wants to be with us during those times when we feel sorrow, regret, and even when our hope dwindles. He wants to be our hope.

Here are a few tips that I've found helpful on how to deal with the Christmas and New Year's season. These are especially for those who are new to this rocky path of grief and loss.

Remember Your Loved One Don't neglect his memory and all he means to you. Do something in his honor---write a poem, give to a charity he liked to support, bake her favorite Christmas cookie.

Write About It Journal a few lines each day if you can. Writing releases pent-up frustration.

Think of Others Chances are, you are not the only one who is missing a loved one and days gone past. Reach out to others who are also having a difficult time this season. People are laid off, lose loved ones, and hurt from broken relationships every December. You can listen and extend concern. That gesture will help your friend and help yourself.

Take it Slow You don't have to accept every invitation for each musical program or dinner. Don't overextend. Wherever you do choose to go, take plenty of soft tissues.

Get Plenty of Rest Don't burn the candle at both ends. Get the sleep you need. Grieving takes a toll on the body and so can the season before you. Replinish your body with the best sleep possible every night so that you have energy to face each day. Things go better with sleep.

My prayer is that God will be real to you this season and meet you in your grief.

Want to hear more about tips on getting through the tough part of the holidays? Join me for The Vital Connection on WHKP radio on Monday, December 3rd, at 10 AM EST.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book review: The Treasure Seeker

The Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father, by Teena Stewart, is a book of encouragement for women.



Teena starts with vivid accounts of treasure seekers of old. Being a Blackbeard fan myself, I enjoyed the pages about his treasure hunts. She continues with the words:
"God is the ultimate treasure hunter. Like [Indiana] Jones, He is well-acquainted with the details and beauty of what lies lost in the darkness. No matter how deeply we, the treasure, have sunk into the depths of blackness, we cannot go anywhere He won’t be able to find us."

With sections on being refined by God, our value, allowing for our flaws and faults and humility versus humiliation, there is richness in Teena's well-researched chapters.

Each chapter ends with a "Points to Ponder" set of questions, ideal for a group or individual study.

This is a book to be treasured and enjoyed.



Order a copy of The Treasure Seeker today by heading over to Amazon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: a taste from chapter 36


Thirty-six
Even When It’s Bleak


Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
—Habakkuk 3:17–18


I tell my children that life is tough. It isn’t easy being human. I’m not trying to take away their hope. Rather, I want them to know that troubles will come their way; and instead of shunning those troubles, they need to look up to God for help. Life and troubles go together. It took me a long to realize this. I think the desire to believe that I would be spared from sorrows stunted my early spiritual growth.

Jesus warned us, In this world you will have trouble(John 16:33). The fig tree will often be bare. But each time, hopefully, our trust in God deepens. We look back and see how He provided even when we were ready to call it quits.

I pondered the reason that we rejoice even when the fig tree doesn’t bud and realized that being joyful in God serves a wonderful purpose. If we can focus on God, this takes our mind off of the circumstances that plague us. If we can keep our eyes on a God who changes not, who is constant even though our lives are whirlwinds of change, we are acting on the knowledge that we serve Someone worthy of praise. We let praise overtake our burden. Praise gets the front row seat. Our heavy turmoil gets seated in the back of the auditorium. Time and time again, God asks us to look to Him as our refugee, to focus on His goodness in spite of our sorrow. Something about trusting in the midst of bleakness works to reiterate the worthiness of God to be praised. Even when things aren’t as we want them to be. Even when the day is dark. Regardless.

While Jesus said in John 16:33 that we will have trouble, He also left us with a promise in that same verse: But take heart! I have overcome the world. Our problems won’t go with us into our new life in Heaven. But God will.

I challenge you to get to know God better than you know your troubles. Push aside all the jargon you might have grown up with—“christianese”—certain phrases you’ve repeated that you aren’t even sure how to explain to a nonbeliever. Read the Bible, perhaps pondering on one passage over and over so that you can fully grasp its meaning for you. Discover ways to express both God and faith in your own words.

Reflections to Ponder
Can we trust that God is moving even when all seems impossible? When we have nothing to hang onto but God, when everything else seems at a loss, a mural of confusion, can we know that God is for us?

Prayer
Lord, I want to persevere. I want to be persistent as I serve You—believing that You are for me, that Your love for me is great, and that Your mercy and grace exceeds my expectations.

When You Walk
When there are days you don’t feel like going on your daily walk, how do you motivate yourself? If someone asked you what to do to become motivated, what advice would you give?

~ from Getting Out of Bed in the Morning by Alice J. Wisler
copyright 2012
Leafwood Publishers

Order a copy today from the Rivers of Life Gift Shop.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Getting Out of Bed: The arrival of GOOB

"You are a work of art in progress."

Yesterday, I was the happy recipient of a box of books titled Getting Out of Bed in the Morning. My two daughters (my son was at work) and husband were able to share in some of my excitement over the contents with me. My daughters breathed in the aroma of the pages, something I've taught them to do. There is nothing like the special scent of a newly-published book. Especially when your name is on the cover as the author.

Holding a copy of my devotional was a dream come true. I savored the feel of both the book and my heart. This book is compiled of forty devotions and a large piece of my broken heart.




In 1997 my son Daniel died after eight months of cancer treatments. He was four. I was thirty-six. I was angry with God for not healing him. The cancer hadn't killed him; it was the severe treatments that compromised his body. A staph infection took over and eventually his heart stopped. He died in my arms.

I was pregnant at the time. While my baby kicked inside the womb, my son gritted his teeth and left this earth. Three months to the day of his death, my fourth child, Elizabeth was born.

Getting out of bed each morning after Daniel's death was surreal. How could my son be gone? How could I still be alive? What was wrong with God? Why hadn't he saved my little boy from death? How would I live now? What was the point of going on?


I wrestled with questions, primarily to God. Why? How come? How could you? Why?

I wanted to die.

I didn't get to.

Instead, I put one foot in front of the other. And at the end of each day, I went to bed and woke to try again the next morning. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. Deep breaths.

I would never ask God for anything again.

I knew too well that He could say, No.

Journaling was a lifeline. So was the support of the Wake County, North Carolina Compassionate Friends group. Some books helped. I wrote articles that made it into print magazines. I founded Daniel's House Publications and through it, compiled two cookbooks of recipes and memories in memory of children, who like my Daniel, had died way too soon. Slices of Sunlight came out in 1999 and two years later, Down the Cereal Aisle followed. I had an online newsletter.

I cried and missed my son. Birthdays came and I sent balloons up to him in Heaven. Christmases made me hollow and I was glad when the season ended.

I spoke at conferences. I taught on the benefits of writing through grief. I met some wonderful people---real people----the kind that know they are broken and that life is not for wimps.

I wanted to write a book on how God fit into my struggle. Believe me, I tried. I had agents and editors interested, but nothing stuck.

Until . . .

Last year, Leafwood Publishers said, Yes! This publisher took my fragile mother's heart and said, We believe in you. We read your words. You do have something to say.

I wrote Getting Out of Bed in the Morning to offer a morsel of hope to those without. I want to share with others that although they are weak and struggle, they aren't alone. God is the provider of the daily bread, the wisdom, the cup of cold water, the balm of healing, the hope of tomorrow. He has this awesome thing called sustaining grace. He supplies it. And He loves us, no matter how battered we might feel.

God is for the broken hearted.

God is for you.


To order an autographed copy of Getting Out of Bed in the Morning , head over to my Broken Psalms blog (join it, if you'd like) and visit the Rivers of Life Gift Shop.

[This post also appears on my Broken Psalms blog and my Writing the Heartache blog.]


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Creating Fun Characters

The other day I met Todd Frei, a digital librarian with Wake County Libraries in North Carolina, to discuss how to go about creating fun characters. He filmed the segment which can be viewed when you go here.

This series of You Tube videos recorded by the library is part of the National Novel Writing Month (November). Have any of you taken part in writing a novel this month? I've got one going, but haven't made as much progress as I'd like.

I'll be presenting a workshop on character crafting at the East Regional Library in Knightdale on Sunday, November 18th at 2 PM. The event is free and open to the public. Join me!

946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Enter to win an autographed copy of Still Life in Shadows!

This month, I am offering a signed copy of my latest release, Still Life in Shadows. To enter the contest for the drawing of the novel, simply follow this blog if you have yet to do so, and then enter a comment below this post. Include an email address where I can reach you if you win.


Yes, it is that simple!

The names of all who enter will be placed in a hat and one person's name will be randomly drawn on November 30th.

Your comment should be in response to the following question:
What is your favorite kind of bread?
Still Life in Shadows has a recipe in it for bread in a can. You can comment on that as well. Have you ever had bread in a can? Would you like to?



Have fun!



Friday, November 9, 2012

Guest post with author K. Dawn Byrd


Today I want to welcome author K. Dawn Byrd to my blog. Her newest release is Amazing Love. Here's a bit about the story.


Gabe Knight, a pastor in a small coastal town, finds his life is turned upside down when Dee Dillow arrives and hires him to remodel an estate she's inherited from her aunt. Dee dashes his plans for wedded bless when on a drunken binge, she divulges that she's the highest paid call girl in Nevada and part-owner of the ritziest brothel in the state.

Gabe falls in love with her, but can't believe he's hearing the voice of God when a still, small voice tells him to marry her. After much questioning, they marry and he is deliriously happy. Until, Dee betrays him.

Gabe soon discovers just how hard it is to have the unconditional love God calls him to have for his wife, the kind of love God has for his children. When faced with losing her, Gabe realizes what true love is, how much it hurts, and just how much God loves and is willing to sacrifice for his children.


An Interview with the heroine of Amazing Love

1.Dee, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I'm not sure how interesting it is, but it would be pretty shocking to most people. I grew up in a brothel outside of Vegas. My mother owned it and since I was home-schooled, I spent most of my life there. I don't know exactly how it happened, but I became the highest paid call-girl in all of the state.

2. What do you do for fun?
Shop. I love fancy cars, fine jewelry, and designer bags and shoes. I also like to invest money. It's exciting to watch it grow. I left the brothel when I was teenager and ended up trying to survive on the streets when my mother turned her back on me. I never want to live like that again and that's why I save money.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I put off going to church with my husband, Gabe. I'm just not into all that religion stuff. I know he expects me to go, but I'm pretty good at coming up with excuses why I can't.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
I'm afraid of having to live on the streets again as a prostitute like I did when I was a teen. I'm also afraid of going hungry.

5. What do you want out of life?
All I want is to have a family. I never even thought about a husband and kids until I met Gabe and now that's all I think about.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
My money and Gabe.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
Remodeling magazines. Gabe is remodeling a huge estate I inherited from my aunt.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd want to make Gabe happy. He expects me to accept his God, but I just can't. It's hard to believe in a God you can't see.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pets. I really don't have time for them.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I would go back to the day I was born and find a way to take me away from my mother. She allowed terrible things to happen to me.

An Interview with the hero of Amazing Love:

1. Gabe, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I'm a preacher and God told me to marry a prostitute. Am I crazy? Am I hearing voices? I know God told Hosea to in the Bible, but this is 2012!

2. What do you do for fun?
I love working with my hands, especially carpentry work. I also own some old vehicles and like to work on them. Sometimes they're a challenge to keep running and my wife, Dee (the prostitute) hates them, but I can't afford all those fancy sports cars she drives on a preacher's salary.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I put off dealing with drama. An ex-girlfriend has stirred up all kinds of trouble in my relationship with Dee. Maybe I shouldn't look the other way so much. Maybe I should tell her like it is. I just hate hurting people and I have the church to think about. My greatest fear is that something will split it.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Dying alone. I want a wife and kids.

5. What do you want out of life?
I want it all. A wife. Kids. A little white house with a picket fence. Of course, I'll settle for Dee's mansion on the hill overlooking the ocean since that's where she wants to live. She inherited it from her aunt and I've been working on it for her.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
My faith. I've worked long and hard to get as close to God as I am and I don't want anything coming between us.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I read remodeling magazines.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about myself, it would be my past. I didn't always live for God. I did my share of drinking and had my share of women. If I could go back in time, I'd live my entire life for God.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No, I don't own any pets. I'm so busy with my job as a preacher and my side jobs remodeling that there's no time for them.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I'd love to meet Hosea face to face. Dee has put me through torture. She's ripped my heart out. I'd like to ask Hosea how he dealt with that kind of pain when Gomer was unfaithful to him.


About the Author
K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational novels in several genres, including, historical, suspense, romance, and young adult. Some of her favorite things are chocolate, cars, and her pets. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and riding down country roads in the passenger seat of her husband's Corvette Stingray. When asked why she writes, her response is, "For the simple joy of placing words on the page!"

Order your copy of Amazing Love today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Don't send fruitcake; send bread in a can!

Christmas is coming. Instead of fruitcake, why not send bread in a can?



I like modern technology and that includes the oven and range, but when it comes to making bread, I don’t mind being old fashioned. Neither does Ashlyn. She’s the sheriff’s daughter in my new release, Still Life in Shadows. Ashlyn makes bread. Not just any bread, but bread steamed inside a can.

Generations ago when there were no stoves and only fires to cook over, bread was made this way. A coffee can was used to pour flour, milk, and other ingredients into and then the can was sealed and steamed in a kettle of water. As the water boiled, the bread inside the coffee can, baked.



After two hours, the can was removed from the pan and if greased well, out slid a round bundle of bread. Often known as Boston brown bread due to the color of the flour and the molasses, some cooks also added raisins as an ingredient.




The recipe Ashlyn uses has molasses, buttermilk, raisins, cornmeal, whole wheat and rye. It’s truly a tasty and healthy treat. Her finance Luke, an ex-Amish man who left the Old Order lifestyle and now works as a car mechanic, likes it when she brings the bread to his shop.


Sound good? It is! Slice a round of this bread, warm it in the toaster oven or microwave and serve with butter or a dab of cream cheese. Tastes great at breakfast!

If you like the flavor of gingerbread, you'll love bread in a can!








Orders for Bread in a Can will be taken the whole month of November. Place your order by November 30th. The bread will be packed and shipped to you or to a friend's and arrive between December 11th and 15th.

Simply use Pay Pal or send a check to the address below. Also, you can order a round of bread and a copy of Still Life in Shadows. Pricing is as follows:

* 1 delicious loaf (actually in the shape of a round coffee can) of bread -- $14.00 (includes priority shipping)

* 1 delicious loaf plus an autographed copy of Still Life in Shadows -- $27.00

PAYMENT
Send check to:
201 Monticello Avenue
Durham, NC 27707

OR
Use the PayPal tab below



Bread in a can







Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Straight Pipes

Devotions for bikers---I wasn't sure whether or not it was appropriate to laugh. I imagined a bunch of burly men and women tearing through a town, tossing beer cans as they sped. I guess I never associated these being the types that would stop to pray or ask God for wisdom. (I know, I do have my stereotypes.)



As I read Straight Pipes: Devotions for Bikers by Barbara Ann Derkson, I decided that it was okay to laugh at myself, and in the process pause to enjoy the richness of her words. With clear explanations and in an easy-to-read style, Barbara gives insight into many biblical passages we might have once glossed over. This devotional has words of wisdom for us all. One paragraph that spoke volumes to me is: "Has God called you to a place where your encouragement is needed? Look around. It won’t take long for you to find a hurting soul or someone floundering in their faith. Are your doors open? Can people call you when they need a word of encouragement or prayer?"



Yes, I thought, may I never be too consumed with myself to seek ways to reach others through a word of encouragement.

Barbara's devotional can be ordered here. Pick up a copy today!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

In honor of Dixie


Today, and today only, I am offering any of my inspirational novels (autographed) to you for only $11! It's Dixie, my beagle's 11th birthday and she thinks this is a great way to celebrate her life and the joy of reading! (Of course, she reads.) The $11 price includes shipping costs. My novels retail for $14.99, so this is a nice birthday deal! (And if you like cake, How Sweet It Is is about a cake decorator in the mountains of North Carolina.)




Simply send a check today for $11 (USD) to the address below or pay via PayPal.
Specify which novel you'd like.





Address:
201 Monticello Avenue
Durham, NC 27707

OR

Use the Paypal button below.






Choose your novel


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Mom Spa Journal

Want to get away and have some time for yourself? As a mom, and especially a mom of small kids, that can be hard to do. Yet having time to read, ponder and write is needed.

How can you spend some quality time alone? Grab a copy of The Mom Spa Journal and you'll have a meaningful respite. Find a quiet (or semi-quiet) place and let the guided prompts in the pages of the book take you to a world where you can use the gift of writing. Some of the subjects include forgiveness, gentleness, waiting and love. Scripture verses provide food for thought and creativity.




You can either print the book or use it along with your personal journal. Either way, you'll find that penning heart to paper does wonders for your spritual growth.

Taking time for you makes you a better mom to your kids.


The Mom Spa Journal is an e-book, so it's easy to download onto your Kindle or onto your computer as a file. This book is designed for moms of all ages. Order a copy now!

Order from Smashwords
The Mom Spa Journal
by Alice Wisler
$2.99

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Oldest Enemy starts, grips the reader, and doesn't let go. I would equate it to being on a roller coaster ride; once you're spinning over the tracks, there is no letting up.



A pastor, a woman whose sister was killed, and a World War II concentration camp survivor all join together to battle enemy forces, many of which are unseen by the naked eye.

Michael Webb does an incredible job of keeping the momentum going in this well written story where the characters are nicely-drawn and the suspense is intense.



Pick up a copy today!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book Review: Psalms, The Sunrise of Hope

The psalms became very real to me after the death of my son Daniel in 1997. Daniel was four and had cancer. His death devastated me.

It was in my despair that I found the beauty of the biblical psalms.

There are psalms of despair, anguish and fear, as well as psalms of praise, expectation, and hope. It is my hope that you'll dig into Bob Saffrin's Psalms, The Sunrise of Hope and discover what reading the psalms can do for your spirit. Bob unveils much about the psalms and their meanings. At the end of each chapter he concludes with a Life Lesson, and a chance to consider and discuss. By pondering on the questions he asks, readers can reflect on their own spiritual journey.


Perhaps one of the aspects that I found most comforting about Bob's devotional is that he stresses God's love for us. What a privilege to be loved by the creator of the universe!

"Oh, LORD Our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" Psalm 8:9.

You can pick up an e-copy of Bob's Psalms, The Sunrise of Hope by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Guest Post about the death of a child

I usually have guest posts about grief and loss at my Writing the Heartache Blog, but wanted to share this piece on this blog today.


How to Cope With the Loss of a Child


Losing a child is just about any parent's worst nightmare. Unfortunately, I experienced this nightmare nine years ago. My son died unexpectedly, which made losing him even harder. Losing a child was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, and to this day I still struggle with the loss of my son. Luckily, I have a strong support group of friends and family, and over time, the pain has subsided considerably. Here are five ways that I was able to cope with the loss of my child, and hopefully they are as beneficial to you as they were to me.

*Support System*
I leaned heavily on my family and friends for years after my son died. I luckily, did not suffer from depression, and I think having such an outpouring support group helped tremendously. For the first month, my friends stayed over at my house, to keep my mind occupied and from going crazy. As painful as it was, I became closer to a lot of my family and friends after my sons death.

*Physical Health*
I will admit that in the first few months, I let my physical health suffer. I would advise anyone grieving over the loss of a loved one to avoid this mistake. I ate so poorly that my physical health was obviously deteriorating to anyone I came in contact with. This caused a further deterioration of my mental health, as I had no energy and it was as though I was trying to "feed" my depression (ironically). After the first few
months, I made sure to take walks on a daily basis and continue eating a healthy diet. Remember that poor physical health will affect all facets of anyone's life.

*Stay Busy*
Anyone who is grieving finds it difficult to stay busy - this is okay. After the initial month, I made it a point to stay as busy as possible. I started going back to the gym and even took a weekend trip to Las Vegas at the urging of my friends (after a few months). Grieving is natural, but when I started getting busy, I felt my mind clear up and a sense of normalcy returning.

*Tried & True*
I was lucky enough to find a wonderful support group for people who have experienced loss, and it was immensely helpful. I initially found message boards online where I communicated with other people who were also grieving. Eventually, I got up the nerve go visit to a local support group, where I was able to feel liberated when discussing my problems with people in the same situation. I am not religious, but a couple of people in the group found solace in their local church groups. When I found support, I
felt as though I was able to grieve and not be judged.

*Counseling*
On the recommendation of a friend, I obtained professional counseling. This helped me find happiness and meaning in other areas of my life. Although I did not take any medication for anxiety or sleep, my therapist did teach me some relaxation and breathing techniques. One on one counselling was tremendously helpful in my recovery, and I would recommend it to anyone who is grieving.

When I lost my son, my whole prospective on life changed. It took a couple of years for me to regain a sense of normalcy in my life. Remember, when grieving, do not be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. Without a support group, the process would have been more difficult. Though, I cannot say I feel perfect, life has improved as I have learned to cope.

Peter Rhimes is a contributing author at http://www.homeownersinsurance.org.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Faith Matters: Book Review

"Are you as close to God as you would like to be?" asks Carol Round in her devotional Faith Matters.


Carol Round is the type of person who takes her faith seriously. She wears a cross around her neck to remind her of what Jesus did for her on that old rugged cross 2,000 years ago. She also keeps a daily prayer journal to keep her in tune with what she's learning throughout the seasons of her life.



Each selection of Faith Matters begins with a scripture verse and then a short text where Carol expands on the meaning of the verse by using an anecdote from her life. Some are self-explanatory, with titles like, Get off the Pity Pot, Called to be an Overcomer and Fully Rely on God (F.R.O.G.). Carol writes each one in an upbeat style. She doesn't sugar-coat a believer's walk with God. She knows there are trying days.

For Christians, it’s not so much a question of whether we’ll have to face a trial but a matter of when.~ Carol Round in Faith Matters

For a sound, positive way to start your day, pick up a copy of Faith Matters. The book is also available in Kindle format.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Night Stories: Book Review

Do you ever wonder about your dreams and what they mean?

Do you believe that God might be using your dreams as a way of reminding you of His truths?

Kimberley Payne's booklet (it is short, so I'm naming it a booklet), Night Stories, deals with some of her dreams and the interpretations she gives them.

Here's one example:

My parents’ home served as the setting of this dream. I attempted to enter their house through the front door but found the frame and door handle covered with thousands of creepy bugs and swarming bees. I dashed in through a cloud of yellow jackets and bumblebees. I rushed to the bathroom frantically checking my clothes to make sure bees didn’t get under any layers. I cried out as I felt a sting to the right side of my nose. I swatted the bee away and looked at my face in the mirror.




Just then, I heard a voice in my mind that sounded clear and strong, “You don’t know what you’re getting into.” I knew that the ominous voice referred to my attempts at righting a wrong and facing up against an enemy – a definite threat and warning to me.
Still busy swatting away the pesky bees I said out loud, “You’re right. I don’t.” However, my response did not come from fear but rather it remained a childlike statement. I thought it obvious that I didn’t know what I was getting into but that didn’t bother me because I felt that it wasn’t my battle. It belonged to God. I allowed God to use me and work through me to face this enemy. Although I would’ve felt fear and threatened from the enemy if I intended to go up against him on my own, I didn’t plan to. It wasn’t my fight. I prayed to God and let Him do the battle.


This dream reminded me of the story of David and Goliath. All other men were afraid to fight the giant because they were relying on their own strength. They knew they were not as strong as him and they knew they would perish if they even tried. But, David relied on God’s strength when he went into battle. He believed that he served as God’s instrument and put the outcome of the battle in God’s hands. David placed his confidence solely in God’s power. We can too.

All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands (1 Samuel 17: 47 NIV.)

Reading the above and other chapters, made me think more about my own dreams and what they mean. And I always enjoy a book that makes me think.

Pick up a copy of Night Stories at Smashwords today.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: Adjust your attitude and land that job

I just finished Sidney Frost's Job Seekers' Attitude Adjustment Guide. And I'm ready to try out some of his tips and land a job.




In his easy-to-read upbeat style, Sid understands the job seeker. He knows that there may be anger and frustration, even blame, when a person suddenly finds himself unemployed. But Sid doesn't let you stew and fret, he wants you to adjust your attitude and carry on.

As you read his short, informative chapters, you'll note the importance of the things Sid stresses when looking for a job:

1) Set daily goals
2) Make lists
3) Stick to your lists
4) Be patient
5) Be willing to put in hours
6) Network
7) Stay focused and organized




Along with how to prepare for an interview, what to wear and how to better yourself within your field, Sid offers encouragement. He tells you to believe in you, to speak words of affirmation, to be your own cheerleader, and even to make time for laughter. He knows looking for employment begs the support of others. Because Sid believes that having someone who will listen to the ups and downs of the tedious task in landing the perfect job, he suggests finding a progress mentor. Daily reports are to be sent to this mentor, sharing what has been accomplished during the search, as well as honest feelings encountered during the difficulty of the journey.

Looking for a job? Pick up a copy of Job Seekers' Attitude Adjustment Guide and believe that success is around the corner.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting Out of Bed in the Morning

For years I've wanted to write a book about grief, loss and the brokenness of life. I've journaled and written articles, edited newsletters, spoken on heartache, taught writing workshops, cried, wondered, and pondered. Thanks to Leafwood Publishers, my devotional comes out in January! Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache holds forty different entries that each have prayers, scipture verses (many from the Psalms), and tips on reaching out to a God who sustains on every rocky journey.



Here's a little taste of my devotional, starting with the preface.

I set out to write a book about me—my anguish, my loss, my pain, my doubt, my questions. Instead I was pointed to God and wrote about His grace, His love, His faithfulness and His forgiveness. In those are His answers.

We often think it’s all about us—how much we suffer, how much we cry, how tormented we feel. But when we weigh all of our misery against His grace, His grace outweighs it all. God’s compassion is stronger, fiercer than our struggle, His love more constant, radiant and healing than any problem in our den of lions.

If you are early in your grief, you may not understand what I’m talking about. You might still be at odds with God and while you like the title of this book, as you flipped through the pages, that’s all you like. That’s okay. God meets us wherever we are and no amount of disbelief, anger or frustration keeps Him from loving His children. It has taken me fifteen years from the worst heartache of my life to come to this place of comfort, this stream of beauty. And I never thought I’d be here. When my son first died, I told God that we would only communicate in passing, like a neighbor I don’t like when I see her over the fence. I almost wished I had had no past with God—no history, no conversion story—so that I didn’t have to be angry with Him for my loss. God would be distant from now on. I would not expect anything from Him again as I learned to adapt to my heartache.

I am one who had to wrestle. Like Jacob, I did. I groaned and I fought and groaned some more. And through it all, I was surprised. What I thought I’d discarded for good instead became a new song in my mouth. I welcomed a stronger, genuine, more realistic faith—a possession I keep within my broken heart, a gift no moth or thief can steal.

~*~*~*

With the pre-launch of Getting Out of Bed in the Morning, I've created a blog called Broken Psalms. This blog will be a plce where we can share heartache and comfort from a Old and New Testament perspective. I hope you'll join me there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Still Life in Shadows Pre-Labor Day Special Deal

Friends, something in the air has made me decide to offer a free pack of postcards with envelopes to all who purchase an autographed copy of Still Life in Shadows from me by September 2! This offer is good for all of my faithful newsletter, Literary Lyrics, subscribers, and to all who follow me at my blog. If you get my newsletter or follow me here, then you are welcome to take part of this deal. Choose a pack of cards from the selection below. These cards are great to send to friends with ample room to write your own message on the back.


A Grateful Heart Dances Option #1

OR

Songs from Heaven Option #2 "Who will remember those who no longer sing on earth? We, who hear their songs from Heaven."





Simply pay $16.99---nope, I've reduced it for an even better deal---ONLY $12.99 with PayPal by selecting from the menu button which option you want----#1 or #2.

A set of your choice of cards and an autographed copy of Still Life in Shadows will be sent to you!


Offer only good in the USA and only good until September 2. You can also mail a check to: 201 Monticello Avenue, Durham, NC 27707

Email with any questions: info@alicewisler.com


PAYPAL



Still Life in Shadows






Sunday, August 19, 2012

Having fun with Still Life in Shadows: Stepping Outside the Norm

Novelist Alice Wisler creates unforgettable characters in a plot that keeps turning up surprises. Read it and weep. Or laugh. Maybe even pray. ~ Eugene H. Peterson, Translator of The Message

So, I am having much more fun than I should ever since my fifth novel, Still Life in Shadows, came out this month.

Having a new novel means a lot can happen and a lot has the potential to happen. Besides book events, there are tweets to post on Twitter, with the hopes of enticing folks to read. Some of the ones I've posted include:

* What's an ex-Amish man doing in the South? Find out for only 99 cents.

* Want to get inside of the mind of a 13-year-old autistic girl? Still Life in Shadows' Kiki is just waiting for you to read her thoughts.

*What do an ex-Amish man and an autistic girl have in common?"

There are photos to share. The one below is of the tranquil Smoky Mountains, since my novel is set there.



And speaking of photos, one of my influencers has set up a Gideon Photo Album, showcasing my character, Gideon Miller. How fun is that! Kimberli Buffaloe, my own photo journalist, takes her copy of Still Life in Shadows with her. The book has been photographed in various locations including the cute one below with Baby Silas. I call it "Still Life with Baby in Shadow."


Kimberli's captions for each photo are intriguing. For the photo with the baby she writes, "As I read Still Life in Shadows, I noticed Gideon is experiencing an emptiness in his life. He misses some things about his family--he definitely misses blackberry pie--and I get the impression he feels another family will fill that cavern. But Gideon's need is deeper, and from what I can tell, he hasn't yet learned he must be "like one of these". Thanks for allowing Silas to explain it to him, Sheri!"

My favorite aspects of this publicity season centers around what others are saying. This includes reading the comments from those who have read Still Life in Shadows. Since the story is an ex-Amish one, dealing with the not-so-pure sides of Amish life, I'm grateful when someone "gets" what my novel is trying to say.

* "None of the typical Amish fluff stuff in it." ~ Rachel Overton

* "This book brought to light the "other side" of the Amish world. Christian fiction has an overabundance of books, in my opinion, in which the Amish are portrayed in an overly positive light, one of purity and simplicity. While Wisler's goal is not in any way seeking to denigrate the Amish, she did draw on true-life experiences of those who have "escaped" the Amish culture in writing her novel. I've only read one other novel (Christian fiction) that dealt with the Amish way of life, and frankly, never much considered the negative aspects of it before reading this book. Wisler handles the topic thoughtfully and tastefully, yet honestly at the same time." ~ Angela McClendon

* "I have your book and I am really looking forward to reading it. I do love the peacefulness portrayed by Amish stories... the canning and the quilting bees, but life's NOT perfect, and I want that portrayed in books too. Thanks for stepping outside the norm!" ~ Ladette Collins Kerr

Others plan to read it, and confess the following:

* "For a long time, I placed the Amish community on a pedestal, thinking they were more pure and holy than the rest of us. Now I have come to realize that they are people just like the rest of us! Thanks for making that point, Alice Jay Wisler." ~ Andrea Schultz

* ". . . Quite frankly I believe that some (not all) Amish communities are not following the Gospel of Christ. There is a strong currency of legalism and works mentality. I'm not saying there are not Amish that are Christians, I definitely believe that there are. Amish is a closed community and also has a high rate of child abuse sadly. I pray that those that leave would come to know Christ and not be caught up in all the false sparkle of the world." ~ Julia Reffner

Pam Kellogg thanked me for having the "guts" to write my novel. I thank her for realizing that in an in-love-with-Amish-books mentality we have created in the Christian fiction world, some might see me stepping out of the norm as a little risky. But I feel the Amish, like the rest of us, are not beyond needing God's compassion, mercy and grace.

And if writing a novel can get someone to get out there and be inspired to be creative, then I like that, too!

* "Just finished it last night. Alice Jay Wisler, I'm truly in awe of this book. It's fantastic. Not what I was expecting (and of course I was expecting it to be good) but it was even better than my expectations. It even inspired me to do some of my own writing today. It doesn't get better than that for me!" ~ Sandra Smith

Hop over to get your own copy!

Hopefully, you'll agree with Kim Snoddy, "I really appreciate that your books have complex characters with real-life heart issues."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Going Against the Trend

This piece was first printed in Christian Fiction Online Magazine in August 2012.

Going Against the Trend

I’m not Amish.

Or a wanna-be Amish.

I’m not even an ex-Amish.

I went to a Mennonite college for four years, but I’m not Mennonite. I grew up in Japan, but I’m not Japanese. I’ve lived twenty-four years in Durham, North Carolina, eat grits and make my own sweet tea, but I’m not a real southerner.

I’m an outsider. I know what it’s like to look into cultures and subcultures from the outside.

When I thought of the Amish I was reminded of delicacies like shoo-fly pie and apple butter. I was mesmerized by the lovely handmade quilts displayed in souvenir shops. Horse-drawn buggies drew me into a land that time seemed to have forgotten. Even so, the whole culture held an eerie feel to me each time I visited Lancaster County with my college friends.

What were these people hiding?

I gave the Amish a rest for some time until one night, my husband turned on the TV. The documentary that he flipped to brought me face-to-face with Mose Gingerich, an ex-Amish man. Mose wasn’t just any ex-Amish, he was assisting other Amish who had left their farmland communities. I grabbed my pen and paper off my bedside table (every author keeps at least a few pads and pens by her bed for when she’s woken with those awesome plots, right?). I took notes. By the time the program ended, I had a story idea. This would not be a bonnet tale sprinkled with German dialect; this would be a story of leaving the Amish. My character, Gideon Miller, would help dissatisfied Amish youth relocate to the mountains of North Carolina (all my previous novels take place in North Carolina; I can’t help it, I’m endeared to this location).

As I plodded along at my computer, I wrote of abuse and struggles my Gideon dealt with growing up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. I knew I was going against the trend. Certainly, others—even authors in my own writing groups—would scold me for not depicting this peace-loving religion as gentle as the rolling hills of Lancaster County. I might be shunned from publication ever again.

I was willing to take the risk. Another side—a realistic side—needed to be told. I wanted to present a new angle to those hundreds of popular tales of bonnets and black hats. And part of me was angry that while claiming to believe the Bible, Amish told their children that leaving their hats and suspenders meant riding the buggy into the depths of Hell. (I get angry when the Gospel is falsely represented.)

My agent embraced my story. As he sent it to various publishers, he conveyed that a few felt it was a bit risky since it was not the norm for an Amish tale. But all I needed was one publisher to want it. And, one day last fall, Moody Publishers/River North did.




Perhaps you’re like me, wanting to write something different from the “norm”. Perhaps God has placed a story on your heart that you are compelled to create. You try to steer from it, and yet, it keeps tugging at your pen. Your story will not let you go.

Go for it! If we can’t write what we are passionate about, why write at all? Tell a good story, polish it to the best of your ability, and see where it lands. God is in the different, just as He is in the ordinary. As you seek Him and ask Him to guide you, He just might lead you to go against the trend.

Get your copy of Still Life in Shadows now.

~ Alice J. Wisler grew up in Japan as a missionary kid, graduated from a Mennonite college, traveled extensively, worked in a refugee camp in the Philippines, and finally settled in North Carolina. She’s the author of Rain Song (Christy Finalist 2009), How Sweet It Is (Christy Finalist 2010), Hatteras Girl, A Wedding Invitation and now, Still Life in Shadows. Ever since the death of her son Daniel, she’s taught Writing the Heartache workshops and speaks at conferences on the value of writing through grief and loss. Visit her website and join her on her author page on Facebook where she’ll be giving away prizes.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Carved By Heart

So, people think all I do is write novels and try to get people to buy them. Not so. I also cook dinner, walk three miles a day, battle weeds in my yard, and most recently, started a new business with my husband. One of my jobs was to create a website. I posted here about a week ago that our new venture is called Carved Remembrances. Carl (my husband) said, "Remembrances is easy to misspell. We need another name." So after brainstorming and even calling our friend Lori who was in Vegas at the time, we came up with a new name. Carved By Heart. After obtaining a name, I was ready to design our website.

What is Carved By Heart? It's a wonderful creation of wooden plaques made of oak, poplar, birch and pine. Each plaque is personalized. We have remembrance plaques, pet plaques, and memorabilia plaques.

The Memorabilia Plaques hold the memories of a recent vacation or special event. Depending on where you've been, we'll customize your plaque. For an example, this one is taken on the infamous Route 66. In the little "box" to the right is a piece of the actual road (Carl stole it, not me) and the picture is of Carl on the road.


Plaques can be painted as the example of this Welcome Friends Plaque shows.


Basically, we are ready, the shop is opened, the carving machine is oiled and we want to make a special plaque for you!

Stop by Carved By Heart and check it out. You can join our mailing list for exceptional promotions.

We are having a special right now on the Remembrance Plaques. Soon, we plan on having an open house or open garage so local friends can stop by for a visit to view our products and have some refreshments.