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


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


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.

Friday, August 3, 2012

All Things Southern: Sweet Tea!

What better image is there of the South than a few friends gathered on a wrap-around porch in rocking chairs with a pitcher of iced tea? It's summertime, of course. Everyone is barefoot and in sleeveless dresses, or shorts and tank tops. In the distance is the hum of Mr. Robinson's lawn mower and a few catbirds cry out in the nearby magnolia tree.

Sweet tea! Even as a child growing up, I enjoyed sweet tea in Japan. Only we called it iced tea, and my Virginian mama made pitchers of it every summer. From an early age I learned that if you want the sugar to dissolve, you have to add it while the brew is still hot and stir like crazy.

"Sweet tea," says my Durham, North Carolina-born and bred friend, Hilarie. "Why do we need to add the sweet? If it's iced tea, it's supposed to be sweet."

Now don't get Hilarie started on this topic. I did the other night and well, this girl has her opinions. For her, it's them Yankees who decided to make it sugarless and now we have to distinguish between sweet and non. Even in the South! Certainly, in these parts, the home of tea, we shouldn't have to ask, "Do you want tea? Do you want it sweet or not sweet?" The assumption should be that if it's tea you want to drink, well, it's sweet!

Where did iced tea get its roots in the United States?

In the 1900s it was known as a luxury because tea was not readily available nor were ice and sugar, so drinking it was a sign of wealth. The first mention of a recipe for it was found in a 1879 cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree. The recipe called for green tea, because during that era, that's what Americans drank. After World War II, green was replaced with black. The reason? While America was at war with Japan, the shipment of green tea stopped. America was allies with Great Britain and was able to import black tea since there was plenty of it in British-controlled India. Iced tea was then made with black tea.

And in the South, if you wanted tea, it meant you desired a nice glass of tea, poured over ice cubes. No need to call it sweet, folks knew what you meant.

Now we have to decide not only if we want it sweet or not, but if we want it with a squirt of peach or mango or raspberry.

My, things have changed!

According to my friend Margaret Leigh's relations, tea should be sweetened so well that it can give you cavities by just looking at the mason jar it comes in. I liked that image so much that I used it in my first novel, Rain Song, which takes place in Mount Olive, North Carolina.

So here's to tea, one of the South's finest inventions.

"Ice Tea. - After scalding the teapot, put into it one quart of boiling water and two teaspoonfuls green tea. If wanted for supper, do this at breakfast. At dinner time, strain, without stirring, through a tea strainer into a pitcher. Let it stand till tea time and pour into decanters, leaving the sediment in the bottom of the pitcher. Fill the goblets with ice, put two teaspoonfuls granulated sugar in each, and pour the tea over the ice and sugar. A squeeze of lemon will make this delicious and healthful, as it will correct the astringent tendency." ~ Housekeeping in Old Virginia

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Our New Venture

My husband and I have a new venture. Carved Remembrances is a special way of remembering those you love. The red oak plaque here can sit on your table or hang on the wall. There's room for a picture of your loved one as well as his/her name and the birth and death dates. We're expanding our selections to suit your needs. And we're excited about providing our public with wonderfully-crafted items to bring you solace.

Visit our webpage.

Email info@alicewisler to ask for an order form today!