Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Still Life in Shadows has arrived!

Oh, happy day! My fifth novel, Still Life in Shadows, has made her debut! First, what a great cover! Next, I love breathing in the printed pages.

To celebrate this novel's entry into the literary world, I am giving away a few items. Want to join in the giveaway? All you have to do is join me on my Facebook Author Page, click LIKE and then proceed to the discussion that is going on. It's simple! Just answer the discussion question: Have you ever run away from home? What did you take with you?

Why do I ask this question? It does pertain to my novel. Gideon Miller ran away from his Amish home in Carlisle, Pennsylvania to Twin Branches, North Carolina. He carried one duffle bag. Now he helps other Amish youth relocate to English life in the modern world.

As a child, I often threatened to run away from home. Once I packed my red suitcase with the pink interior and set out to run. Of course, I was probably mad at my parents for something they'd done that I felt was unjust. I didn't get far. I think I sat on my suitcase about a block from our house for a bit and then got hungry, and walked home.

Head over to my Author Page and join us! Once you leave a comment there, you have entered the contest. I'm giving away the following and winners will be randomly picked by August 15th. Have fun!


1. A pack of Songs From Heaven postcards
2. Two "Memories Warmed by the Heart" magnet
3. A pack of A Grateful Heart Dances postcards
4. Down the Cereal Aisle cookbook

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Leaving the Amish: Is God Still There?

I confess that Mose Gingerich was my inspiration behind Still Life in Shadows. But the blurb in a magazine about Ira Wagler's memoir, Growing up Amish, is what I kept inside my desk. What moved me about a memoir I had yet to read?

The book description from the magazine read:

"One fateful starless night, 17-year-old Ira got up at 2:00 a.m., left a scribbled note under his pillow, packed his earthly belongings, and walked way from is Old Order Amish community in Iowa. You'll be riveted by this powerful memoir of what led him to leave, his search for personal freedom, and his conversion to Christianity."

Coversion to Christianity! I loved the way that in that moment of reading about Ira's book, I felt an affirmation within my own heart. Because, for so long, I had wondered how a religion who preached that leaving it meant an eternity in Hell, could be considered as pure and perfect as we English folk make the Amish out to be.

While many may see the Amish as quaint and simple, those who have left their Amish communities show us another side of the plain people.

Saloma Furlong, a former Amish, and author of Why I Left the Amish, says on her blog: "When I left the Amish, I only saw what I felt is the punitive nature of their religion — one belief in particular posed a problem for me. I was taught, from the time I could understand the concept that because I was born Amish, God wanted me to stay Amish, and if I left, all hope of my salvation would be lost. This belief was reinforced with fire and brimstone sermons."

In my soon-to-be-released novel, Still Life in Shadows, my ex-Amish characters struggle with what they were taught and wonder what they should believe about God now that they are no longer part of the old lifestyle. My character, Gideon Miller, wrestles with grace and forgiveness. Is he really headed for Hell since he left his home in Pennsylvania? And can people who profess to be Christians know God even if they are not Amish?

And even deeper lies the question: Why do the youth featured on the recent TV documentary, Amish: Out of Order, focus so much on the afterlife? Heaven or Hell? Is there nothing to be said for life on this earth? Are we not commanded to walk in faith, to love one another, to preach the good news, to show compassion, to feed the poor? Where does scripture tell us that we are doomed to Hell if we leave the Amish? Does this mean that the Amish believe they are the only ones chosen for Heaven?

Then, if this is so, where does that leave the rest of us people of faith, in their minds?

For too long we have idealized the horse and buggy images, even dreaming of what it would be like to be free from the modern constraints of life. But when it comes to a faith that saves the soul, no amount of plain living will get you closer to Jesus Christ. For it is not about the clothes we either wear or don't wear, it's not about covering our heads, but about opening our hearts.

Everyone has to come to Him with a contrite heart, and a desire to be forgiven.

And He is there, patiently waiting to welcome us----all of us, from all nations, races and cultures.

With God, we all matter, and we belong.

Order Still Life in Shadows today by clicking this link.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ex-Amish at the Library

-News Alert-

Date: July 18, 2012

CONTACT: Gina Rozier


919-560-0151 or grozier@durhamcountync.gov

Durham County Library Hosts Award Winning Fiction Writer Alice J. Wisler

Program: Meet the Author: Alice J. Wisler
Date: Tuesday, July 31
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.
Cost: Free and open to the public

About: Durham County Library welcomes Alice J. Wisler as she launches her latest novel, Still Life in Shadows, on Tuesday, July 31 at 7 p.m. at the Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St. A book signing will follow the reading.

In this work based upon the true story of ex-Amish member, Moses Gingerich, the novel‘s protagonist leaves his Amish community, settles in the mountains of North Carolina and helps other Amish relocate to life in modern America. The book captures many of Wisler’s interests: all of her novels revolve around North Carolina settings, and according to Wisler, “…have components of Southern fiction like sweet tea, grits and other things...” She also notes that “...if you find some parts that make you cry, well, that's an added bonus.” This latest work, however, departs slightly from thematic tones found within many of Wisler’s earlier novels. The subject matter in Still Life in Shadows is serious in nature, as it portrays protagonist Gideon Miller helping those choosing to leave the Amish faith and struggling to adapt to a new and unfamiliar modern world.

Wisler was raised in Japan, and returned to the United States where she graduated from Eastern Mennonite University. She has traveled and lived throughout the world, choosing to serve with organizations that minister to people. Through her travels, Wisler acquired experiences as diverse as her characters: She taught English as a Second Language in Japan and in refugee camps in the Philippines, worked in educational nonprofits with disadvantaged children and ran a cake-decorating business. Wisler now teaches grief writing courses to help others cope with the experience of losing loved ones. A Christy Award finalist for “Excellence in Christian Fiction,” Wisler resides in Durham, North Carolina.

For more information about the program, contact Joanne Abel at 919-560-0268.

Durham County Library provides the entire community with books, services and other resources that inform, inspire learning, cultivate understanding and excite the imagination. For more information, visit your local library or visit us online at durhamcountylibrary.org.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cooking with Katy Lee

Welcome author Katy Lee to my blog today! She's written a post about her latest book, Real Virtue, but first let's talk about food.

Thank you, Alice for having me on the Patchwork Quilt Blog! I am excited to be here with you and to meet all your readers. I have to admit, though, when you asked me to come and share about my favorite dish to cook, I got a little panicky.

You see, I’m not much of a cook. (Hanging my head in shame)

But I got to thinking, something I am good at is Crock-Pot cooking. I am all for throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot in the morning and around 5PM reaping the tasty reward. And with writing all day, it really is convenient. Plus, I don’t have the kids asking me, "What’s for dinner?" They can see it, and smell it, cooking all day.

I have many dishes and soups and stews that I make, but my two favorites are Chili and Beef Stew. They each have a secret ingredient in them that makes them so tasty. My chili is Ketchup. It sweetens it right up.

As for the Beet Stew, the secret ingredient is Tapioca Granules. 2 Tablespoons of those with 2 Tablespoons of sugar mixed with tomato sauce, makes for a great base that thickens up nicely. Then add all your meat and veggies on top and cover. Stir every now and then and you’ve got dinner waiting for you 8 hours later.


Pastime or Addiction? And the story behind Real Virtue

Did you know video game addiction is becoming an increasingly difficult problem with the youths in America today? It can affect the everyday life and social situations of children through young adults. Video game addiction can hinder a child's learning skills, cause real life problem solving to become more difficult, and cause a child to spend far less time with family and friends.

In Real Virtue, the story opens with my heroine, Mel Mesini, reaching the highest level in this online interactive game she plays. A game that promises her a life she can love. She’s playing while she is supposed to be working. She plays because she doesn’t feel so great about her real life. She plays because it’s a world she can control.

Or so she thinks.

In a virtual reality game where she can fly, someone’s aiming to take her down.

Mel Mesini is a New York City restaurateur and an avid, virtual reality world traveler. She’s risen above her misfit life and now bears a striking resemblance to her glamorous, gaming avatar. But her successful life—both online and in reality—takes a swerve the night her father is seriously injured in a hit-and-run. Mel is careened back to her judgmental hometown, where being the daughter of the town’s crazy lady had made her the outcast she was. To make matters worse, Officer Jeremy Stiles, the man whose harsh, rejecting words had cut her the deepest, is heading the investigation.

Jeremy knows he hurt Mel and attempts to make amends by finding her father’s assailant. When he realizes she’s the actual target, his plan for reconciliation turns to one of protection—whether she wants his help or not. What he wants is answers, especially about this online game she plays. Is it a harmless pastime as she says? Or is she using it to cover something up? As a faceless predator destroys the things that matter to her, Jeremy knows he’s running out of time before she loses the one thing that matters most—her real life.

Katy Lee writes higher-purpose stories in high-speed worlds. As an inspirational author, speaker, home-schooling mom, and children’s ministry director, she has dedicated her life to sharing tales of love, from the greatest love story ever told to those sweet romantic stories of falling in love. Her fresh and unique voice brings a fast-paced and modern feel to her romances that are sure to resonate with readers long after the last page. Her debut novel Real Virtue is a finalist in many writing contests, and took second place in the 2011 Georgia Maggie Award of Excellence. Katy lives in New England with her husband, three children, and two cats.

Visit Katy at these sites: Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Soulmate Publishing

And at her website.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Childhood on the Train

This was first posted at Geezer Guys and Gals, but I also wanted to include it here for my readers.



We know that any "seasoned" woman or man from an older generation is accused of telling anecdotes of how as a child she/he used to have to walk to school uphill in the snow. For at least ten miles. Without a warm coat. I didn't have to walk in the snow to school, but I did have to ride the train. That was forty-seven minutes to school and forty-seven minutes back. "So," I tell my kids, "Your mother had it rough." But looking back, I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.

We were six years old when we started riding the Hankyu line to school in the sixties from Awaji to Karasuma. During the winter mornings, the windows steamed up and we wrote our names on them. In the late afternoons, we crocheted long red scarves, tried to make sense out of math homework, and avoided conversing in English with Japanese men with brief cases.

You had to know a thing or two in order to be a proficient train rider, and the younger children learned the ropes from the older kids.

Rule number one was to walk briskly out our gates from our missionary homes. Once the five of us blond-haired American kids gathered, we marched past the incinerator behind the Yodogawa Christian Hospital, out the hospital gates, to the left, toward the station. Sometimes at 7 AM there was a dusting of frost on the grass. Sometimes one of us lagged behind due to racing back for forgotten homework or a lunch box. We had to pick up the pace; we had a train to catch and it would, sure as tofu is made from bean curd, not be late---even if we were.

Once the train pulled into the station, doors slid opened and passengers boarded the already packed car. Gloved station attendants pushed commuters onto the cars as the whistle blew. Inside the car, we lifted book bags onto the luggage racks or held them between our feet. Then we grabbed the hand rails—loops of plastic suspended overhead—as the train picked up the pace toward Kyoto.

The next rule was to be extremely quiet as the train doors opened at Takatsuki-shi. I think we heard David O talking to himself even before he boarded the car. We held our breath and closed our eyes, as though those actions would keep him from spotting us. As silent as we were, he always managed to find us.

"Hey," he said one morning so that passengers five cars down could hear. "I got this new chemistry set. Wanna see it?" He hoisted a brown square bag.

No one responded.

David O nudged me, his elbow poking both me and a woman trying to read a paperback. "It's really cool."

I was shy, especially around a boy who was two years older than I. While the other kids engaged in conversation leaving me alone to talk to David O, I shook my head and clung to the handrail.

At last, sensing he was being ignored, and the train was too congested to show us vials and test tubes anyway, he offered to show it to us later.

The third rule came into play at our destination. Immediately, when the doors opened, we were to head up the platform stairs as fast as we could. We raced past ladies in gray kimono and weaved between businessmen so that we could be first in line at the taxi stand.

Our final part of our journey was to ride a cab (five of us missionary kids packed into one Nissan) for six miles to our tiny international school where spelling tests and math equations greeted us. At recess, we enjoyed games of Kick the Can and Red Rover, Red Rover.

I have fond memories of those long treks to school. I smile to think how unusual we must have seemed in a land where the natives all had black hair and dark eyes, were dignified and soft-spoken. We were blond, tall, loud and rowdy.

And as for David O and his chemistry set, I did get to see it. One afternoon on a rather empty train car, he spread his set of chemicals and glass beakers onto the seat. As the train rounded a field of rice paddies, the whole car jerked, and my friend Josephine and I watched the green seat turn red and yellow. The conductor raced out of his compartment in a fury, yelling at the Canadian boy for damaging the train seat. David O hung his head while the conductor covered the stained seat with mounds of newspaper.

Which brings me to the next rule for riding the trains---this one became extremely important for survival. When the train conductor fumed over a spilled chemistry set, it was best to run---not walk---away as fast as possible.

And as Josephine and I crouched inside another car, we closed our eyes and were silent, hoping that perhaps no one would notice that we had anything to do with the boy who had caused a scene.

~ Alice J. Wisler grew up in Japan where she rode the train to and from school and dreamed of being an author. Now she lives and writes in Durham, NC and looks forward to the release of her fifth novel, Still Life in Shadows from River North. Her other novels are: Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl and A Wedding Invitation (all published with Bethany House). She also teaches writing workshops, both online and at conferences. Visit her website.