featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Mary J. Forbes writes stories with an emotional depth that is reflected in each of her characters. Several of her Harlequin books were Waldenbooks bestsellers, and reached Nielsen’s BookScan and Amazon’s respective top 100 lists. Mary loves to garden, and the rain of the Pacific Northwest where she lives with her family is often portrayed in her stories. But once the clouds roll away, her heroes and heroines always find their rainbow waiting on the horizon. Learn more about Mary and her books at her website.

I’ve always loved dabbling in arts and crafts. I’ve gone through an oil and watercolor painting phase. Sketched with charcoal. Knitted afghan throws. Dipped into the realm of sewing and embroidering. And, lately, fallen in love with quilting.


Finding the right craft for my heroine of Home Secrets wasn’t easy. Lily wanted her craft to be a home business that would emulate the ideology of her grandmother’s ideology: to live happy and simply.

After all, she was renting a cabin on a neglected fruit farm near her Granny’s hometown. And as a single mother, Lily wanted to see her daughter off to school each morning and be home when the bus dropped the girl at the farm’s gate.

Although she’d been a teacher in her married life, Lily had always wanted to create beauty in glass—an art form I, personally, had never tried. Yet, Lily would not be denied. She persisted, whispering in my ear. “Stained glass, broken glass portraits...”

So, I drove to a quaint neighboring village where I knew merchants sold artsy creations and materials. And found a lovely little store tucked into an alleyway behind Main Street.

It harbored beauty in every shade and shape of glass. Large pieces, tiny bits, tall chunky spectacles, thin elegant splendors.

What caught my eye were two portraits. One was of a horse galloping across a meadow, the other of a cat curled up in a basket.

And suddenly I knew. This was Lily’s “Scene-In-Glass” business.

I asked the owners of the store, a husband-wife team, dozens of questions. At home, I researched hundreds of sites about the making of portraits in glass, and discovered a world of unique and intricate art.

I learned about pistol-grip glass cutters, breaking pliers, and tile rippers which broke large pieces of glass into attractive shards or the tiniest sliver. I read about using sponges and brushes to wipe away grout. And why to always use goggles and protective gloves when manipulating glass.

And so I had Lily set up shop in the empty garage on the farm. A born artist, she sketched outlines of pets from photos—taken by their owners—onto squares of wood. She’d select colored glass, break it into desired pieces, then glue the shards onto a wood panel to form a beautiful mosaic. From start to finish, the process could take days or weeks.

What I didn’t know when I began writing Home Secrets was that Lily’s “business” would pop up in certain scenes and simply make me smile.

Home Secrets
She believed in him when no one else did... 

A terrible divorce and car wreck scars Lily Wheaton inside and out. Desperate to reclaim normality, she flees to the quiet ambiance of her late grandmother's birthplace in Washington’s Cascade Mountains. There, Lily believes she has conquered her demons. That is, until her ex-husband demands sole custody of their child. Without funds to battle him in court, Lily will do anything to keep her daughter, even stand up for her landlord and neighbor, Grey Montgomery—a man her ex insists is a criminal. 

After serving time for a drunk-driving fatality sixteen years ago, Grey escaped the censure of Hawkes Landing. Now his mother is dying, and he returns to his childhood home where his sister remains as obstinate as ever, the lack of medical facilities could mark the downfall of his family, and people won’t let him forget the nightmare of his mistakes. Only Lily sees him for the man he is today. But as another tragedy strikes at the heart of Grey’s past, he and Lily must accept a dark truth about their families before discovering that some of life’s toughest choices involve the healing power of forgiveness, love, and the will to go on.


Mary J. Forbes said...

Thanks, Anastasia, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers. I'm honored to be able to talk to your readers and followers about the glass art craft business of my heroine in HOME SECRETS. :)

Cindy Procter-King said...

A great article that shows how deeply authors think about their characters. All that research made Lily and her business come alive.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Mary, your book sounds fascinating. Best wishes for continued success.

Mary J. Forbes said...

Cindy, thanks for stopping by! The one thing I love about writing is the research on a specific topic. Most often we get way more info than we'll ever use in a book, but it's nice to file away. :) ~Hugs~

Mary J. Forbes said...

Thanks for popping by, Caroline, and for the kind wishes! :)

Diana Cosby said...

Thank you for sharing your path to creation for, "Home Secrets." I love hearing how characters came to life, demands and all. :) I'm a huge fan, you write the most amazing stories!!!

Mary J. Forbes said...

Diana, so nice that you could pop in! It always fascinates me how characters demand their own say during the writing. ;) Can't wait for your next series! ~Hugs~